OPC UA security analysis
11.5.2018 Kaspersky Analysis  ICS

This paper discusses our project that involved searching for vulnerabilities in implementations of the OPC UA protocol. In publishing this material, we hope to draw the attention of vendors that develop software for industrial automation systems and the industrial internet of things to problems associated with using such widely available technologies, which turned out to be quite common. We hope that this article will help software vendors achieve a higher level of protection from modern cyberattacks. We also discuss some of our techniques and findings that may help software vendors control the quality of their products and could prove useful for other software security researchers.

Why we chose the OPC UA protocol for our research
The IEC 62541 OPC UA (Object Linking and Embedding for Process Control Unified Automation) standard was developed in 2006 by the OPC Foundation consortium for reliable and, which is important, secure transfer of data between various systems on an industrial network. The standard is an improved version of its predecessor – the OPC protocol, which is ubiquitous in modern industrial environments.

It is common for monitoring and control systems based on different vendors’ products to use mutually incompatible, often proprietary network communication protocols. OPC gateways/servers serve as interfaces between different industrial control systems and telemetry, monitoring and telecontrol systems, unifying control processes at industrial enterprises.

The previous version of the protocol was based on the Microsoft DCOM technology and had some significant limitations inherent to that technology. To get away from the limitations of the DCOM technology and address some other issues identified while using OPC, the OPC Foundation developed and released a new version of the protocol.

Thanks to its new properties and well-designed architecture, the OPC UA protocol is rapidly gaining popularity among automation system vendors. OPC UA gateways are installed by a growing number of industrial enterprises across the globe. The protocol is increasingly used to set up communication between components of industrial internet of things and smart city systems.

The security of technologies that are used by many automation system developers and have the potential to become ubiquitous among industrial facilities across the globe is one the highest-priority areas of research for Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT. This was our main reason to do an analysis of OPC UA.

Another reason was that Kaspersky Lab is a member of the OPC Foundation consortium and we feel responsible for the security of technologies developed by the consortium. Getting ahead of the story, we can say that, following the results of our research, we received an invitation to join the OPC Foundation Security Working Group and gratefully accepted it.

OPC UA protocol
Originally, OPC UA was designed to support data transport for two data types: the traditional binary format (used in previous versions of the standard) and SOAP/XML. Today, data transfer in the SOAP/XML format is considered obsolete in the IT world and is almost never used in modern products and services. The prospects of it being widely used in industrial automation systems are obscure, so we decided to focus our research on the binary format.

If packets exchanged by services running on the host are intercepted, their structure can easily be understood. There are four types of messages transmitted over the OPC UA protocol:

The first message is always HELLO (HEL). It serves as a marker for the start of data transfer between the client and the server. The server responds by sending the ACKNOWLEDGE (ACK) message to the client. After the initial exchange of messages, the client usually sends the message OPEN, which means that the data transmission channel using the encryption method proposed by the client is now open. The server responds by sending the message OPEN (OPN), which includes the unique ID of the data channel and shows that the server agrees to the proposed encryption method (or no encryption).

Now the client and the server can start exchanging messages –MESSAGE (MSG). Each message includes the data channel ID, the request or response type, a timestamp, data arrays being sent, etc. At the end of the session, the message CLOSE (CLO) is sent, after which the connection is terminated.

Source: https://readthedocs.web.cern.ch/download/attachments/21178021/OPC-UA-Secure-Channel.JPG?version=1&modificationDate=1286181543000&api=v2

OPC UA is a standard that has numerous implementations. In our research, we only looked at the specific implementation of the protocol developed by the OPC Foundation.

The initial stage
We first became interested in analyzing the OPC UA protocol when the Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT team was conducting security audits and penetration tests at several industrial enterprises. All of these enterprises used the same industrial control system (ICS) software. With the approval of the customers, we analyzed the software for vulnerabilities as part of the testing.

It turned out that part of the network services in the system we analyzed communicated over the OPC UA protocol and most executable files used a library named “uastack.dll”.

The first thing we decided to do as part of analyzing the security of the protocol’s implementation was to develop a basic “dumb” mutation-based fuzzer.

“Dumb” fuzzing, in spite of being called “dumb”, can be very useful and can in some cases significantly improve the chances of finding vulnerabilities. Developing a “smart” fuzzer for a specific program based on its logic and algorithms is time-consuming. At the same time, a “dumb” fuzzer helps quickly identify trivial vulnerabilities that can be hard to get at in the process of manual analysis, particularly when the amount of code to be analyzed is large, as was the case in our project.

The architecture of the OPC UA Stack makes in-memory fuzzing difficult. For the functions that we want to check for vulnerabilities to work correctly, the fuzzing process must involve passing properly formed arguments to the function and initializing global variables, which are structures with a large number of fields. We decided not to fuzz-test functions directly in memory. The fuzzer that we wrote communicated with the application being analyzed over the network.

The fuzzer’s algorithm had the following structure:

read input data sequences
perform a pseudorandom transformation on them
send the resulting sequences to the program over the network as inputs
receive the server’s response
After developing a basic set of mutations (bitflip, byteflip, arithmetic mutations, inserting a magic number, resetting the data sequence, using a long data sequence), we managed to identify the first vulnerability in uastack.dll. It was a heap corruption vulnerability, successful exploitation of which could enable an attacker to perform remote code execution (RCE), in this case, with NT AUTHORITY/SYSTEM privileges. The vulnerability we identified was caused by the function that handled the data which had just been read from a socket incorrectly calculating the size of the data, which was subsequently copied to a buffer created on a heap.

Upon close inspection, it was determined that the vulnerable version of the uastack.dll library had been compiled by the product’s developers. Apparently, the vulnerability was introduced into the code in the process of modifying it. We were not able to find that vulnerability in the OPC Foundation’s version of the library.

The second vulnerability was found in a .NET application that used the UA .NET Stack. While analyzing the application’s traffic in wireshark, we noticed in the dissector that some packets had an is_xml bit field, the value of which was 0. In the process of analyzing the application, we found that it used the XmlDocument function, which was vulnerable to XXE attacks for .NET versions 4.5 and earlier. This means that if we changed the is_xml bit field’s value from 0 to 1 and added a specially crafted XML packet to the request body (XXE attack), we would be able to read any file on the remote machine (out-of-bound file read) with NT AUTHORITY/SYSTEM privileges and, under certain conditions, to perform remote code execution (RCE), as well.

Judging by the metadata, although the application was part of the software package on the ICS that we were analyzing, it was developed by the OPC Foundation consortium, not the vendor, and was an ordinary discovery server. This means that other products that use the OPC UA technology by the OPC Foundation may include that server, making them vulnerable to the XXE attack. This makes this vulnerability much more valuable from an attacker’s viewpoint.

This was the first step in our research. Based on the results of that step, we decided to continue analyzing the OPC UA implementation by the OPC Foundation consortium, as well as products that use it.

OPC UA analysis
To identify vulnerabilities in the implementation of the OPC UA protocol by the OPC Foundation consortium, research must cover:

The OPC UA Stack (ANSI C, .NET, JAVA);
OPC Foundation applications that use the OPC UA Stack (such as the OPC UA .NET Discovery Server mentioned above);
Applications by other software developers that use the OPC UA Stack.
As part of our research, we set ourselves the task to find optimal methods of searching for vulnerabilities in all three categories.

Fuzzing the UA ANSI C Stack
Here, it should be mentioned that there is a problem with searching for vulnerabilities in the OPC UA Stack. OPC Foundation developers provide libraries that are essentially a set of exported functions based on a specification, similar to an API. In such cases, it is often hard to determine whether a potential security problem that has been discovered is in fact a vulnerability. To give a conclusive answer to that question, one must understand how the potentially vulnerable function is used and for what purpose – i.e., a sample program that uses the library is necessary. In our case, it was hard to make conclusions on vulnerabilities in the OPC UA Stack without looking at applications in which it was implemented.

What helped us resolve this problem associated with searching for vulnerabilities was open-source code hosted in the OPC Foundation’s repository on GitHub, which includes a sample server that uses the UA ANSI C Stack. We don’t often get access to product source code in the course of analyzing ICS components. Most ICS applications are commercial products, developed mostly for Windows and released with a licensing agreement the terms of which do not include access to the source code. In our case, the availability of the source code helped find errors both in the server itself and in the library. The UA ANSI C Stack source code was helpful for doing manual analysis of the code and for fuzzing. It also helped us find out whether new functionality had been added to a specific implementation of the UA ANSI C Stack.

The UA ANSI C Stack (like virtually all other products by the OPC Foundation consortium) is positioned as a solution that is not only secure, but is also cross-platform. This helped us our during fuzzing, because we were able to build a UA ANSI С Stack together with the sample server code published by the developers in their GitHub account, on a Linux system with binary source code instrumentation and to fuzz-test that code using AFL.

To accelerate fuzzing, we overloaded the networking functions –socket/sendto/recvfrom/accept/bind/select/… – to read input data from a local file instead of connecting to the network. We also compiled our program with AddressSanitizer.

To put together an initial set of examples, we used the same technique as for our first “dumb” fuzzer, i.e., capturing traffic from an arbitrary client to the application using tcpdump. We also added some improvements to our fuzzer – a dictionary created specifically for OPC UA and special mutations.

It follows from the specification of the binary data transmission format in OPC UA that it is sufficiently difficult for AFL to mutate from, say, the binary representation of an empty string in OPC UA (“\xff\xff\xff\xff”) to a string that contains 4 random bytes (for example, “\x04\x00\x00\x00AAAA”). Because of this, we implemented our own mutation mechanism, which worked with OPC UA internal structures, changing them based on their types.

After building our fuzzer with all the improvements included, we got the first crash of the program within a few minutes.

An analysis of memory dumps created at the time of the crash enabled us to identify a vulnerability in the UA ANSI C Stack which, if exploited, could result at least in a DoS condition.

Fuzzing OPC Foundation applications
Since, in the previous stage, we had performed fuzzing of the UA ANSI C Stack and a sample application by the OPC Foundation, we wanted to avoid retesting the OPC UA Stack in the process of analyzing the consortium’s existing products, focusing instead on fuzzing specific components written on top of the stack. This required knowledge of the OPC UA architecture and the differences between applications that use the OPC UA Stack.

The two main functions in any application that uses the OPC UA Stack are OpcUa_Endpoint_Create and OpcUa_Endpoint_Open. The former provides the application with information on available channels of data communication between the server and the client and a list of available services. The OpcUa_Endpoint_Open function defines from which network the service will be available and which encryption modes it will provide.

A list of available services is defined using a service table, which lists data structures and provides information about each individual service. Each of these structures includes data on the request type supported, the response type, as well as two callback functions that will be called during request preprocessing and post-processing (preprocessing functions are, in most cases, “stubs”). We included converter code into the request preprocessing function. It uses mutated data as an input, outputting a correctly formed structure that matches the request type. This enabled us to skip the application startup stage, starting an event loop to create a separate thread to read from our pseudo socket, etc. This enabled us to accelerate our fuzzing from 50 exec/s to 2000 exec/s.

As a result of using our “dumb” fuzzer improved in this way, we identified 8 more vulnerabilities in OPC Foundation applications.

Analyzing third-party applications that use the OPC UA Stack
Having completed the OPC Foundation product analysis stage, we moved on to analyzing commercial products that use the OPC UA Stack. From the ICS systems we worked with during penetration testing and analyzing the security status of facilities for some of our customers, we selected several products by different vendors, including solutions by global leaders of the industry. After getting our customers’ approval, we began to analyze implementations of the OPC UA protocol in these products.

When searching for binary vulnerabilities, fuzzing is one of the most effective techniques. In previous cases, when analyzing products on a Linux system, we used source code binary instrumentation techniques and the AFL fuzzer. However, the commercial products using the OPC UA Stack that we analyzed are designed to run on Windows, for which there is an equivalent of the AFL fuzzer called WinAFL. Essentially, WinAFL is the AFL fuzzer ported to Windows. However, due to differences between the operating systems, the two fuzzers are different in some significant ways. Instead of system calls from the Linux kernel, WinAFL uses WinAPI functions and instead of static source code instrumentation, it uses the DynamoRIO dynamic instrumentation of binary files. Overall, these differences mean that the performance of WinAFL is significantly lower than that of AFL.

To work with WinAFL in the standard way, one has to write a program that will read data from a specially created file and call a function from an executable file or library. Then WinAFL will put the process into a loop using binary instrumentation and will call the function many times, getting feedback from the running program and relaunching the function with mutated data as arguments. That way, the program will not have to be relaunched every time with new input data, which is good, because creating a new process in Windows consumes significant processor time.

Unfortunately, this method of fuzzing couldn’t be used in our situation. Owing to the asynchronous architecture of the OPC UA Stack, the processing of data received and sent over the network is implemented as call-back functions. Consequently, it is impossible to identify a data-processing function for each type of request that would accept a pointer to the buffer containing the data and the size of the data as arguments, as required by the WinAFL fuzzer.

In the source code of the WinAFL fuzzer, we found comments on fuzzing networking applications left by the developer. We followed the developer’s recommendations on implementing network fuzzing with some modifications. Specifically, we included the functionality of communication with the local networking application in the code of the fuzzer. As a result of this, instead of executing a program, the fuzzer sends payload over the network to an application that is already running under DynamoRIO.

However, with all our efforts, we were only able to achieve the fuzzing rate of 5 exec/s. This is so slow that it would take too long to find a vulnerability even with a smart fuzzer like AFL.

Consequently, we decided to go back to our “dumb” fuzzer and improve it.

We improved the mutation mechanism, modifying the data generation algorithm based on our knowledge of the types of data transferred to the OPC UA Stack.
We created a set of examples for each service supported (the python-opcua library, which includes functions for interacting with virtually all possible OPC UA services, proved very helpful in this respect).
When using a fuzzer with dynamic binary instrumentation to test multithreaded applications such as ours, searching for new branches in the application’s code is a sufficiently complicated task, because it is difficult to determine which input data resulted in a certain behavior of the application. Since our fuzzer communicated to the application over the network and we could establish a clear connection between the server’s response and the data sent to it (because communication took place within the limits of one session), there was no need for us to address this issue. We implemented an algorithm which determined that a new execution path has been identified simply when a new response that had not been observed before was received from the server.
As a result of the improvements described above, our “dumb” fuzzer was no longer all that “dumb”, and the number of executions per second grew from 1 or 2 to 70, which is a good figure for network fuzzing. With its help, we identified two more new vulnerabilities that we had been unable to identify using “smart” fuzzing.

As of the end of March 2018, the results of our research included 17 zero-day vulnerabilities in the OPC Foundation’s products that had been identified and closed, as well as several vulnerabilities in the commercial applications that use these products.

We immediately reported all the vulnerabilities identified to developers of the vulnerable software products.

Throughout our research, experts from the OPC Foundation and representatives of the development teams that had developed the commercial products promptly responded to the vulnerability information we sent to them and closed the vulnerabilities without delays.

In most cases, flaws in third-party software that uses the OPC UA Stack were caused by the developers not using functions from the API implemented in the OPC Foundation’s uastack.dll library properly – for example, field values in the data structures transferred were interpreted incorrectly.

We also determined that, in some cases, product vulnerabilities were caused by modifications made to the uastack.dll library by developers of commercial software. One example is an insecure implementation of functions designed to read data from a socket, which was found in a commercial product. Notably, the original implementation of the function by the OPC Foundation did not include this error. We do not know why the commercial software developer had to modify the data reading logic. However, it is obvious that the developer did not realize that the additional checks included in the OPC Foundation’s implementation are important because the security function is built on them.

In the process of analyzing commercial software, we also found out that developers had borrowed code from OPC UA Stack implementation examples, copying that code to their applications verbatim. Apparently, they assumed that the ОРС Foundation has made sure that these code fragments were secure in the same way that it had ensured the security of code used in the library. Unfortunately, that assumption turned out to be wrong.

Exploitation of some of the vulnerabilities that we identified results in DoS conditions and the ability to execute code remotely. It is important to remember that, in industrial systems, denial-of-service vulnerabilities pose a more serious threat than in any other software. Denial-of-service conditions in telemetry and telecontrol systems can cause enterprises to suffer financial losses and, in some cases, even lead to the disruption and shutdown of the industrial process. In theory, this could cause harm to expensive equipment and other physical damage.

The fact that the OPC Foundation is opening the source code of its projects certainly indicates that it is open and committed to making its products more secure.

At the same time, our analysis has demonstrated that the current implementation of the OPC UA Stack is not only vulnerable but also has a range of significant fundamental problems.

First, flaws introduced by developers of commercial software that uses the OPC UA Stack indicate that the OPC UA Stack was not designed for clarity. Unfortunately, an analysis of the source code confirms this. The current implementation of the protocol has plenty of pointer calculations, insecure data structures, magic constants, parameter validation code copied between functions and other archaic features scattered throughout the code. These are features that developers of modern software tend to eliminate from their code, largely to make their products more secure. At the same time, the code is not very well documented, which makes errors more likely to be introduced in the process of using or modifying it.

Second, OPC UA developers clearly underestimate the trust software vendors have for all code provided by the OPC Foundation consortium. In our view, leaving vulnerabilities in the code of API usage examples is completely wrong, even though API usage examples are not included in the list of products certified by the OPC Foundation.

Third, we believe that there are quality assurance issues even with products certified by the OPC Foundation.

It is likely that use fuzz testing techniques similar to those described in this paper are not part of the quality assurance procedures used by OPC UA developers – this is demonstrated by the statistics on the vulnerabilities that we have identified.

The open source code does not include code for unit tests or any other automatic tests, making it more difficult to test products that use the OPC UA Stack in cases when developers of these products modify their code.

All of the above leads us to the rather disappointing conclusion that, although OPC UA developers try to make their product secure, they nevertheless neglect to use modern secure coding practices and technologies.

Based on our assessment, the current OPC UA Stack implementation not only fails to protect developers from trivial errors but also tends to provoke errors –we have seen this in real-world examples. Given today’s threat landscape, this is unacceptable for products as widely used as OPC UA. And this is even less acceptable for products designed for industrial automation systems.

Tech giant Telstra warns cloud customers they’re at risk of hack due to a SNAFU
11.5.2018 securityaffairs  Hacking

On May 4th Tech giant Telstra discovered a vulnerability in its service that could potentially expose customers of its cloud who run self-managed resources.
Telstra is a leading provider of mobile phones, mobile devices, home phones and broadband internet. On May 4th, the company has discovered a vulnerability in its service that could potentially expose users of its cloud who run self-managed resources.

Telstra told its users that their “internet facing servers are potentially vulnerable to malware or other malicious activity,” the experts from the company urge to “delete or disable” the “TOPS or TIRC account (privileged administrator accounts) on self-managed servers”.

Telstra managed resources

The company sent to users of self-managed servers a letter and advised customers of Telstra-managed servers that they’re in the clear.

“We’ve also taken steps to access your account and remove the TOPS or TIRC accounts to minimise the risk on your behalf,” reads the advisory issued by the company.

“We’re still encouraging you to check your account settings and remove/disable any unused accounts as we can’t confirm at this stage if we’ll be successful updating the accounts from our end.”

Experts speculate that TOPS and TIRC Telstra accounts are using default passwords, attackers can easily use them to access them.

“Our customers’ security is our number one priority. We identified a weakness, moved quickly to address it and worked closely with our customers to ensure the necessary steps were taken to fully secure their systems.” a Telstra spokesperson told El Reg.

At the time of writing, there are no info on the origin of the security issue.

Symantec Stock Plunges After Firm Announces Internal Probe
10.5.2018 securityweek IT

Symantec announced its fourth quarter and full year financial results on Thursday and while its revenue has increased, the cybersecurity firm’s stock dropped roughly 20% after it revealed that an internal investigation will likely delay its annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Symantec reported a Q4 GAAP revenue of $1.22 billion, which represents a 10% year-over-year increase, and $1.23 billion in non-GAAP revenue, an increase of 5% year-over-year.

As for the full fiscal year ended on March 30, GAAP revenue increased by 21% year-over-year to $4.84 billion, while non-GAAP revenue went up 19% to nearly $5 billion. The company said it had a cash flow of $950 million from operating activities for the fiscal year 2018.

Despite strong financial results, Symantec stock dropped from over $29 to less than $24 in after-hours trading after the company announced the launch of an internal investigation by the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors.

Few details have been made public by the company, but the probe was apparently triggered by concerns raised by a former employee.

“The Audit Committee has retained independent counsel and other advisors to assist it in its investigation. The Company has voluntarily contacted the Securities and Exchange Commission to advise it that an internal investigation is underway, and the Audit Committee intends to provide additional information to the SEC as the investigation proceeds. The investigation is in its early stages and the Company cannot predict the duration or outcome of the investigation,” Symantec said.

The security firm believes it’s unlikely that it will be able to file its annual 10-K report with the SEC in a timely manner due to the investigation.

In response to news of the internal probe, investor rights law firm Rosen Law Firm announced the preparation of a class action to recover losses suffered by Symantec investors. Rosen says it’s investigating allegations that Symantec “may have issued materially misleading business information to the investing public.”

Many Vulnerabilities Found in OPC UA Industrial Protocol
10.5.2018 securityweek

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab have identified a significant number of vulnerabilities in the OPC UA protocol, including flaws that could, in theory, be exploited to cause physical damage in industrial environments.

Developed and maintained by the OPC Foundation, OPC UA stands for Open Platform Communications Unified Automation. The protocol is widely used in industrial automation, including for control systems (ICS) and communications between Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT) and smart city systems.

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab, which is a member of the OPC Foundation consortium, have conducted a detailed analysis of OPC UA and discovered many vulnerabilities, including ones that can be exploited for remote code execution and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.OPC Foundation patches 17 vulnerabilities in OPC UA protocol

There are several implementations of OPC UA, but experts focused on the OPC Foundation’s implementation – for which source code is publicly available – and third-party applications using the OPC UA Stack.

A total of 17 vulnerabilities have been identified in the OPC Foundation’s products and several flaws in commercial applications that use these products. Most of the issues were discovered through fuzzing.

Exploitation of the vulnerabilities depends on how the targeted network is configured, but in most cases, it will require access to the local network, Kaspersky researchers Pavel Cheremushkin and Sergey Temnikov told SecurityWeek in an interview at the company’s Security Analyst Summit in March. The experts said they had never seen a configuration that would allow attacks directly from the Internet.

An attacker first has to identify a service that uses OPC UA, and then send it a payload that triggers a DoS condition or remote code execution. Remote code execution vulnerabilities can be leveraged by attackers to move laterally within the network, control industrial processes, and to hide their presence. However, DoS attacks can have an even more significant impact in the case of industrial systems.

“In industrial systems, denial-of-service vulnerabilities pose a more serious threat than in any other software,” Cheremushkin and Temnikov wrote in a report published on Thursday. “Denial-of-service conditions in telemetry and telecontrol systems can cause enterprises to suffer financial losses and, in some cases, even lead to the disruption and shutdown of the industrial process. In theory, this could cause harm to expensive equipment and other physical damage.”

All the security holes were reported to the OPC Foundation and their respective developers and patches were released. Applying the patches is not difficult considering that the OPC Stack is a DLL file and updates are performed simply by replacing the old file with the new one.

The OPC Foundation has released advisories for the security holes discovered by Kaspersky researchers, but grouped all the issues under two CVE identifiers: CVE-2017-17433 and CVE-2017-12069. The latter also impacts automation and power distribution products from Siemens, which has also published an advisory.

“Based on our assessment, the current OPC UA Stack implementation not only fails to protect developers from trivial errors but also tends to provoke errors – we have seen this in real-world examples. Given today’s threat landscape, this is unacceptable for products as widely used as OPC UA. And this is even less acceptable for products designed for industrial automation systems,” researchers said.

Industry Reactions to Iran Cyber Retaliation Over U.S. Nuclear Deal Exit
10.5.2018 securityweek Cyber

President Donald Trump announced this week that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on the Middle Eastern country. Many experts fear that Iran will retaliate by launching cyberattacks on Western organizations.

Industry professionals contacted by SecurityWeek all say that there is a strong possibility of attacks, but they mostly agree that Iran will likely not try to cause too much damage as that could lead to massive response from the United States and its allies.

And the feedback begins...

Ross Rustici, senior director, intelligence services, Cybereason:

“Iran is currently in a precarious position, any disproportionate retaliation risks alienating the European community that is currently aligned with continued sanctions relief in exchange for IAEA inspections. Compounding that with the fact the Iran's domestic situation has degraded over the last several years a result of its intervention in the broader Middle East and its proxy war with Saudi Arabia, leaves Iran's leadership needing to be very careful with how directly it confronts the United States on this issue.

In the near term Iran is most likely going to take a wait and see approach to the decertification of the deal by Trump. If sanctions are imposed on Iran and it serves to cause significant economic harm though rigorous enforcement, then Iran will probably seek to retaliate in a fashion similar to what the US experienced in 2013 with the DDoS attacks against the financial sector. Despite the Iranian cyber program maturing significantly in the past five years, they will focus on a proportional response to whatever sanctions regime is levied against them. Disruptions that cause financial loss rather that destruction is where the regime is likely to go first. Iran is only likely to use significant destructive capabilities if the situation escalates or the US expands its role in supporting Saudi Arabia.

Given Iran's growth over the last five years in the cyber domain, I would expect them to at least be initially successful against civilian targets in the US should they decide to go that route. From a technical perspective they have more than enough capability to carry out successful attacks, as we have seen in the Middle East and the United States. If private sector networks are left to their own defences, Iran will have a high success rate. The thing that will reduce their operational capacity is if the US government takes a proactive and aggressive counter cyber posture and actively disrupts Iran's program before an attack is launched. While this would greatly hamper Iran's efforts it would not eliminate them completely and it would also be an escalation that could result in Iran taking more destructive measures because they have less options and control.”

Priscilla Moriuchi, Director of Strategic Threat Development, Recorded Future:

“President Trump’s actions have placed American businesses at increased risk for retaliatory and destructive cyber attacks by the Islamic Republic. We assess that within months, if not sooner, American companies in the financial, critical infrastructure, oil, and energy sectors will likely face aggressive and destructive cyber attacks by Iranian state-sponsored actors.

Further, our research indicates that because of the need for a quick response, the Islamic Republic may utilise contractors that are less politically and ideologically reliable (and trusted) and as a result, could be more difficult to control. It is possible that this dynamic could limit the ability of the government to control the scope and scale of these destructive attacks once they are unleashed.”

Phil Neray, VP of Industrial Cybersecurity, CyberX:

“Cyber is an ideal mechanism for weaker adversaries like Iran because it allows them to demonstrate strength on the global stage without resorting to armed conflict. I expect that Iran will continue to escalate its cyberattacks on US targets but will keep them below the threshold that would require a kinetic response from the US.

TRITON shows that Iran has the skills to launch damaging attacks on critical infrastructure. However, for now they confine these attacks to Middle Eastern targets in the same way that Russia has so far only shut down the power grid in the Ukraine. We should expect Iran to conduct phishing and cyber espionage attacks against US-based industrial and critical infrastructure firms -- as we've seen with Russian threat actors -- with the goal of establishing footholds in OT networks that could later be used for more destructive attacks.”

Gen. Earl Matthews, senior vice president and chief strategy officer, Verodin:

“The Iranians continue to improve and have become more sophisticated with their cyber capabilities. In my opinion, they are in the top 5 of countries with significant capabilities. We will definitely see increased cyber activity as a result of the US backing out of the nuclear agreement. Attacks not only against the US but many of our allies, especially Israel.

Iran has previously attacked our financial institutions with Denial of Service and most recently penetrated a number of universities. The latest attacks represented the continued loss of intellectual property of our nation. It wouldn’t surprise me if many of these universities were specifically targeted because they are doing research and development on behalf of the US Government.

Iran most certainly has the capability of launching significant attacks but I would view that probability to be low. They will continue to pursue softer targets where common means of access will be through social engineering and penetrate organizations with weak cyber hygiene. These attacks can be mitigated if organizations continuously automated and measured the validity, value, and effectiveness of their cybersecurity controls. We are well beyond the checklist compliance and thinking we are safe.”

John Hultquist, Director of Intelligence Analysis, FireEye:

“Iranian actors remain among the most aggressive we track, carrying out destructive and disruptive attacks in addition to stealthier acts of cyber espionage. Prior to the nuclear agreement, Iranian actors carried out several attacks against the West. There were also clear signs these actors were probing Western critical infrastructure in multiple industries for future attack. These efforts did not entirely disappear with the agreement, but they did refocus on Iran’s neighbors in the Middle East. With the dissolution of the agreement, we anticipate that Iranian cyberattacks will once again threaten Western critical infrastructure.”

Sherban Naum, senior vice president for corporate strategy and technology, Bromium:

“The premise that Iran can or will increase their attacks is predicated on both their existing computer network attack practices and risk tolerance to potential retaliation. The regime may see a need to show strength internally and take action. They will have to balance the time and resources dedicated to increase offensive efforts with the need to shore up defensive efforts due to the increased conflicts in the region from regional actors as well a potential retaliation by those that they attack.


There are three possible areas they could focus: Critical infrastructure, a doxxon like attack looking to shame those involved with the reversal decision and the third being in region actors and their weapons systems.


The questions to ask are what would motivate their taking action and their acceptable outcomes. Taking action, putting lives at risk could result in a kinetic response from the US and/or its allies as well as put into question Europe’s current support of the agreement. If they were to take out a power station and a hospital loses power, they lose the PR war and retaliation from the US is quite plausible. At this point, they want to show the world they are going to continue down the path of adhering to the nuclear agreement, that they are the ones targeted and have so much to lose. They would be better off influencing Europe to play into their hands as it could suit their economic needs and try to influence their own social media movement.”

Robert Lee, CEO, Dragos:

“ICS cyber attacks and espionage can be highly geopolitical in nature. Every time we see increased tension between states we expect to see a rise in ICS targeting, this does not mean we expect to see attacks. In this case, activity moves beyond conducting early reconnaissance to gaining access to infrastructure companies and stealing information that could be used at a later date. However simply having access to the information does not mean an attack is easy or imminent. Avoiding such tension while also defending against such aggressive efforts is the goal.”

Sanjay Beri, CEO & Founder of Netskope:

“While the repercussions of the United States pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal will be wide reaching, one of the first places you can expect to see a response is cyberspace. Nation-states, including Iran, have historically used cyberattacks as a low-risk, high-reward tactic for retaliating to political opposition. We saw this with North Korea in the form of the Sony hack, and Iran’s attack against US banks following Stuxnet.

The U.S. needs cybersecurity leadership today more than ever if we are to stand a chance at defending the country from nation-state sponsored cyber attacks. Forming a cohesive cyber defense strategy has become nearly impossible as hundreds of departments report into a siloed set of decision makers. There’s no silver bullet, but appointing a federal CISO to oversee all of our nation’s cybersecurity initiatives and promote inter-agency collaboration would be a big step in the right direction.”

Willy Leichter, Vice President of Marketing, Virsec:

“It seems likely that a deteriorating relationship between the US and Iran will lead to more cyberattacks. There have been numerous reports about state-sponsored hacking groups in Iran including APT33 that have already targeted critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and the US. These hacking groups have access to advanced tools (many leaked from the NSA through the Shadow Brokers) to launch attacks that corrupt legitimate processes and memory, and have proved adept at creating multiple variants of these exploits. We need to expect ongoing cyber warfare to be the new normal, and it’s critical that all organizations take security much more seriously, improve their detection and protection capabilities, and train all employees to protect their credentials against theft.”

Andrew Lloyd, President, Corero Network Security:

“Given multiple reports implicating the Iranian government in the cyber-attack on the Saudi petrochemical plant, the prospect of cyber-retribution for the US withdrawal certainly exists. Also, it’s well worth remembering that even if a nation doesn't have well developed cyberwarfare resources, there’s plenty of bad actors on the global stage who are more than happy to launch attacks against the foes of anyone who’s willing to pay. Moreover, the irony is that such bad actors are able to leverage the exploits that major forces such as the US government have themselves developed and which subsequently leaked across the Dark Web’s darker commercial corners. For example, it’s well reported that groups such as the Shadow Brokers have released and brokered tools from the NSA.

Also, basic and advanced DDoS-for-hire services abound, as we’ve seen in recent weeks and months. This all underscores the fact that all operators of essential services (and especially, critical national infrastructure) must up their game when it comes to DDoS defences. Ironically, today is the day that the EU NIS Directive becomes law in all 28 EU Member States.”

Cyber Insurance Startup At-Bay Raises $13 Million
10.5.2018 securityweek IT

Cyber insurance firm At-Bay announced this week that it has raised $13 million in Series A funding, which brings the company’s total funding to $19 million.

The Mountain View, Calif-based company emerged from stealth in November 2017 with a mission to shake up the status quo in cyber insurance.

At-Bay brings a new model of security cooperation between insured and insurer to reduce risk and exposure to both parties.

"We will be collecting data and using researchers to push the limits of our understanding of risk," Rotem Iram, CEO and founder of At-Bay, previously told SecurityWeek. "As we do that, we will be improving the quality of our product. Product quality is depressed today because insurance companies do not really understand the cybersecurity risk.”

The Series A funding round was co-led by Keith Rabois of Khosla Ventures, Yoni Cheifetz of Lightspeed, and Shlomo Kramer.

"Cyber insurance is one of the fastest growing and complex markets, yet the incumbents are still currently relying on standardized checklists and irrelevant actuarial data to model risk. At-Bay is focusing on customized and real-time risk modeling and risk reduction for its customers which unlocks superior pricing and coverage options for them," said Keith Rabois, general investment partner at Khosla Ventures.

The company said the new round of financing will help accelerate development of its proactive cyber security monitoring service and roll out its insurance products.

Allanite threat actor focused on critical infrastructure is targeting electric utilities and ICS networks
10.5.2018 securityaffairs ICS

Security experts from the industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos warn of a threat actor tracked as Allanite has been targeting business and industrial control networks at electric utilities in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Dragos experts linked the campaigns conducted by the Dragonfly APT group and Dymalloy APT, aka Energetic Bear and Crouching Yeti, to a threat actors they tracked as ‘Allanite.’

Allanite APTAllanite has been active at least since May 2017 and it is still targeting both business and ICS networks at electric utilities in the US and UK.

Experts believe the APT group is conducting reconnaissance and gathering intelligence for later attacks.

Dragos, Inc.
Today, we're unveiling a public dashboard of ICS-focused activity groups that aim to exploit, disrupt, and potentially destroy industrial systems. Each week this month, we'll release new content discussing these adversary details that you can read here: https://dragos.com/adversaries.html …

4:53 PM - May 3, 2018
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For those that are unaware of Dymalloy APT, the threat actor was discovered by Dragos researchers while investigating the Dragonfly’s operations. The Dragonfly APT group is allegedly linked to Russian intelligence and it is believed to be responsible for the Havex malware.

According to the researchers, the TA17-293A alert published by the DHS in October 2017 suggests a link between Dragonfly attacks with Allanite operations

Dragos experts highlighted that Allanite operations present similarities with the Palmetto Fusion campaign associated with Dragonfly by the DHS in July 2017.

At the same time, the experts believe the threat actor is different from Dragonfly and Dymalloy.

Like Dragonfly and Dymalloy, Allanite hackers leverage spear phishing and watering hole attacks, but differently from them, they don’t use any malware.

Is Allanite a Russia-linked threat actor?

Many security experts linked the APT group to Russia, but Dragos researchers did not corroborate the same thesis.

According to the Dragos, the hackers harvest information directly from ICS networks in campaigns conducted in 2017.

At the time the group has never hacked into a system to cause any disruption or damage.

The report published by Dragos on the Allanite APT is the first analysis of a collection of related to threat groups targeting critical infrastructure.

Summary info on threat actors will be made available through an Activity Groups dashboard, but users interested in the full technical report need to pay it.

The source code of the TreasureHunter PoS Malware leaked online

10.5.2018 securityaffairs Virus

Security experts at Flashpoint confirmed the availability online for the source code of the TreasureHunter PoS malware since March.
The researchers found evidence that the threat has been around since at least late 2014. TreasureHunt was first discovered by researchers at the SANS Institute who noticed the malware generating mutex names to evade detection.

TreasureHunt enumerates the processes running on the infected systems and implement memory scraping functions to extract credit and debit card information. Stolen payment card data are sent to C&C servers through HTTP POST requests.

The experts at FireEye believe who analyzed the malware back in 2016, discovered that cyber criminals compromised the PoS systems by using stolen or weak credentials. Once the TreasureHunt malware infects the systems, it installs itself in the “%APPDATA%” directory and maintains persistence by creating the registry entry:

Flashpoint experts discovered the source code of TreasureHunter on a top-tier Russian-speaking forum, the guy who posted the code also leaked the source code for the graphical user interface builder and administrator panel.

The original developer of the PoS malware appears to be a Russian speaker who is proficient in English.

“The source code for a longstanding point-of-sale (PoS) malware family called TreasureHunter has been leaked on a top-tier Russian-speaking forum. Compounding the issue is the coinciding leak by the same actor of the source code for the malware’s graphical user interface builder and administrator panel.” reads the analysis published by Flashpoint.

“The availability of both code bases lowers the barrier for entry for cybercriminals wishing to capitalize on the leaks to build their own variants of the PoS malware.”

Cybercriminals could take advantage of the availability of the above code bases to create their own version of the TreasureHunter PoS malware, according to the experts, the number of attacks leveraging this threat could rapidly increase.

The actor behind the TreasureHunter leak said: “Besides alina, vskimmer and other sniffers, Treasure Hunter still sniffs ( not at a very high rate, but it still does ) and besides that , since now you have the source code, it can be update anytime for your own needs.”

The good news is that that availability of the source code could allow security firms to analyze the threat and take the necessary countermeasures.

Flashpoint proactively collaborated with researchers at Cisco Talos to prevent the diffusion of the malicious code.

“In the meantime, Russian-speaking cybercriminals have been observed on the vetted underground discussing improvements and weaponization of the leaked TreasureHunter source code,” continues the analysis.

“Originally, this malware appears to have been developed for the notorious underground shop dump seller “BearsInc,” who maintained presence on various low-tier and mid-tier hacking and carding communities (below is a graphical representation of such an operation on the Deep & Dark Web). It’s unknown why the source code was leaked at this time.”

TreasureHunter PoS Malware

The malicious code is written in pure C, it doesn’t include C++ features, and was originally compiled in Visual Studio 2013 on Windows XP.

The code project appears to be called internally trhutt34C, according to the researchers the author was working to improve it by redesign several features, including anti-debugging, code structure, and gate communication logic.

“The source code is consistent with the various samples that have been seen in the wild over the last few years. TreasureHunter\config.h shows definite signs of modification over the lifespan of the malware.” concluded the analysis.

“Early samples filled all of the configurable fields with FIELDNAME_PLACEHOLDER to be overwritten by the builder. More recent samples, and the source code, instead writes useful config values directly into the fields. This makes the samples slightly smaller and uses fresh compiles to create reconfigured files.”

TreasureHunter PoS Malware Source Code Leaked Online
10.5.2018 securityweek

New variants of the TreasureHunter point-of-sale (PoS) malware are expected to emerge after its source code was leaked online in March, Flashpoint warns.

Capable of extracting credit and debit card information from processes running on infected systems, the PoS malware family has been around since at least 2014. To perform its nefarious activities, it scans all processes on the machine to search for payment card data, and then sends the information to the command and control (C&C) servers.

The malware’s source code was posted on a top-tier Russian-speaking forum by an actor who also leaked the source code for the malware’s graphical user interface builder and administrator panel.

The availability of both code bases is expected to allow more cybercriminals to build their own PoS malware variants and start using them in attacks. However, the availability of the code also provides security researchers with the possibility to better analyze the threat. In fact, Flashpoint, which discovered the leak in March, has been working together with Cisco Talos to improve protections and disrupt potential copycats who may have obtained the leaked source code.

“In the meantime, Russian-speaking cybercriminals have been observed on the vetted underground discussing improvements and weaponization of the leaked TreasureHunter source code,” the security researchers explain in a report shared with SecurityWeek.

The original malware developer is likely a Russian speaker who is proficient in English. According to Flashpoint, the threat might have been originally developed for the notorious underground shop dump seller BearsInc, but the reason why the code was leaked is unknown.

TreasureHunter likely installed using weak credentials. The attacker accesses a Windows-based server and the point-of-sale terminal, installs the threat, and then establishes persistence through creating a registry key to execute the malware at startup.

The threat then enumerates running processes and starts scanning the device memory for track data such as primary account numbers (PANs), separators, service codes, and more. Next, it establishes a connection with the C&C and sends the stolen data to the attacker.

“Besides alina, vskimmer and other sniffers, Treasure Hunter still sniffs (not at a very high rate, but it still does) and besides that, since now you have the source code, it can be update anytime for your own needs,” the actor behind the TreasureHunter leak apparently said.

Internally, the code project was supposedly called trhutt34C. The malware is written in pure C with no C++ features and was originally compiled in Visual Studio 2013 on Windows XP. The researchers believe the malware author was also looking to improve and redesign various features including anti-debugging, code structure, and gate communication logic.

The source code is consistent with the previously analyzed TreasureHunter samples and a config.h file shows “definite signs of modification over the lifespan of the malware.” More recent samples write useful config values directly into the fields, which makes them smaller.

LG Patches Serious Vulnerabilities in Smartphone Keyboard
10.5.2018 securityweek

Updates released this week by LG for its Android smartphones patch two high severity keyboard vulnerabilities that can be exploited for remote code execution.

The vulnerabilities were reported to LG late last year by Slava Makkaveev of Check Point Research. The electronics giant patched them with its May 2018 updates, which also include the latest security fixes released by Google for the Android operating system (security patch level 2018-05-01).

According to Check Point, the flaws affect the default keyboard (LG IME) shipped with all mainstream LG smartphones. Researchers successfully reproduced and exploited the security holes on LG G4, G5 and G6 devices.

An attacker could exploit the flaws to remotely execute arbitrary code with elevated privileges by manipulating the keyboard update process, specifically for the MyScript handwriting feature. Hackers can leverage the weaknesses to log keystrokes and capture credentials and other potentially sensitive data.

The first vulnerability is related to installing new languages or updating existing ones. The device obtains the necessary files from a hardcoded server over an HTTP connection, which allows a man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacker to deliver a malicious file instead of the legitimate update.

The second flaw can be exploited by an MitM attacker to control the location where a file is downloaded. A path traversal issue allows hackers to place a malicious file in the LG keyboard package sandbox by including the targeted location in the name of the file.

If the file is assigned a .so extension, it will be granted executable permissions. In order to get the keyboard app to load the malicious file, the attacker can appoint it as an “input method extension library” in the keyboard configuration file. The malware will be loaded as soon as the keyboard application is restarted.

LG noted in its advisory that the vulnerabilities only impact the MyScript handwriting feature.

Reports published last year showed that LG had a 20 percent market share in the U.S. and 4 percent globally. This means there are plenty of devices that hackers could target using the vulnerabilities discovered by Check Point. On the other hand, there are also many critical and high severity flaws in Android itself that hackers could try to exploit and those can pose a bigger risk considering that they could be weaponized against multiple Android smartphone brands.

Firefox 60 Brings Support for Enterprise Deployments
10.5.2018 securityweek Security

Released on Wednesday, Firefox 60 allows IT administrators to customize the browser for employees, and is also the first browser to feature support for the Web Authentication (WebAuthn) standard.

The new application release also comes with various security patches, on-by-default support for the latest draft TLS 1.3, redesigned Cookies and Site Storage section in Preferences, and other enhancements.

To configure Firefox Quantum for their organization, IT professionals can either use Group Policy on Windows, or a JSON file that works across Mac, Linux, and Windows operating systems, Mozilla says. What’s more, enterprise deployments are supported for both the standard Rapid Release (RR) of Firefox or the Extended Support Release (ESR), which is now version 60.

While the standard Rapid Release automatically receives performance improvements and new features on a six-week basis, the Extended Support Release usually receives the features in a single update per year. Critical security updates are delivered to both releases as soon as possible.

Mozilla has published the necessary information for IT professionals to get started with using Firefox Quantum in their organization on this site.

The WebAuthn standard allows end users to use a single device to log into their accounts without typing a password. The feature is available only on websites that have adopted the standard and can also be used as a secondary authentication after entering a password.

“Essentially, WebAuthn is a set of anti-phishing rules that uses a sophisticated level of authenticators and cryptography to protect user accounts. It supports various authenticators, such as physical security keys today, and in the future mobile phones, or biometric mechanisms such as face recognition or fingerprints,” Mozilla explains.

One of the first major web services to have adopted the standard is Dropbox, which announced on Wednesday that WebAuthn is now supported as a two-step verification.

Firefox 60 also brings along patches for over two dozen security vulnerabilities, including two memory safety bugs rated Critical severity.

The latest version of the browser patches 6 High severity flaws, namely use-after-free with SVG animations and clip paths, use-after-free with SVG animations and text paths, same-origin bypass of PDF Viewer to view protected PDF files, insufficient sanitation of PostScript calculator functions in PDF viewer, integer overflow and out-of-bounds write in Skia, and uninitialized memory use by WebRTC encoder.

A total of 14 Medium severity flaws were addressed in the new release (including one that only affects Windows 10 users running the April 2018 update or later), alongside 4 Low risk issues.

Protego Labs Raises $2 Million in Seed Funding
10.5.2018 securityweek IT

Serverless application security firm Protego Labs announced Wednesday that it has raised $2 million seed funding from a group of investors led by Ron Gula of Gula Tech Adventures, Glilot Capital Partners, and the MetroSITE Group of security industry pioneers, including former RSA CTO, Tim Belcher.

The serverless approach -- where the server being used is managed by a cloud provider rather than the application owner -- offers great advantages in speed, simplicity and cost-savings. Gula believes it is a transformative step in leveraging the full potential of the public cloud.

Protego"But," he adds, "but it also presents a host of new threats and security challenges that traditional application security cannot handle. Protego offers a security solution designed specifically with serverless in mind, putting it at the forefront of this major technology shift."

Protego summarizes the security problem in a blog published in March 2018. "Not owning the platform means not being able to leverage the platform for security in ways you might have in the past. You’re at the mercy of whatever security mechanisms the cloud provider puts in place for you, and those rarely provide the level and granularity of protection you’d like."

The Protego platform operates by continuously scanning the serverless infrastructure, including functions, logs, and databases. It uses machine-based analysis and deep learning algorithms to build a model of normal behavior to find threats by anomaly detection as they initiate and begin to propagate. It does this in real time allowing the minimal effective protection dose in the right place -- maximizing security while minimizing costs.

Protego has offices in Baltimore, MD, and Israel. It was founded by Tsion (TJ) Gonen, Hillel Solow, Shali Mor, Itay Harush and Benny Zemmour. In January 2018 it won the Startup Competition for the most innovative cyber initiative at the Cybertech Tel Aviv 2018 Conference.

'Allanite' Group Targets ICS Networks at Electric Utilities in US, UK
10.5.2018 securityweek ICS

A threat actor has been targeting business and industrial control networks at electric utilities in the United States and United Kingdom, according to industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos.

The group, tracked as “Allanite,” has been linked to campaigns conducted by Dragonfly (aka Energetic Bear and Crouching Yeti) and Dymalloy, which Dragos discovered while analyzing Dragonfly attacks.


According to Dragos, a report published by the DHS in October 2017 combined Dragonfly attacks with Allanite activity. The company also noted that Allanite’s operations closely resemble the Dragonfly-linked Palmetto Fusion campaign described by the DHS in July 2017. However, while their targets and techniques are similar, Dragos believes Allanite is different from Dragonfly and Dymalloy.

Allanite leverages phishing and watering hole attacks to gain access to targeted networks. The group does not use any malware and instead relies on legitimate tools often available in Windows, Dragos says.

While the U.S. government and private sector companies have linked Allanite activity to Russia, Dragos says it “does not corroborate the attribution of others.”

In July 2017, US officials told the press that the hackers had not gained access to operational networks, but Dragos confirmed third-party reports that Allanite did in fact harvest information directly from ICS networks.

Allanite has been active since at least May 2017 and continues to conduct campaigns. Its operations target both business and ICS networks at electric utilities in the US and UK in an effort to conduct reconnaissance and collect intelligence.

Dragos believes with moderate confidence that the threat actor gains access to industrial systems in an effort to obtain information needed to develop disruptive capabilities and be ready in case it decides to cause damage. However, the security firm says the group has yet to actually cause any disruption or damage.

Dragos’ report on Allanite is the first in a series focusing on threat groups targeting critical infrastructure. Information on each actor will be made available through an Activity Groups dashboard, with full technical details made available to paying customers.

Is The Education System Keeping Women Out of Cybersecurity?
10.5.2018 securityweek Cyber

While the Gender Bias in Professions Remains Strong, There Are Indications That Factors Beyond Genuine Aptitude Are at Play

Despite the increasing cybersecurity skills shortage, projected by Frost & Sullivan to reach 1.8 million unfilled roles by 2020, we are yet to engage with the obvious solution. There is currently more interest in reducing vacancies using artificial intelligence (AI) and automation than in training youngsters to adopt the profession.

The problem with AI as a solution, according to a report published Tuesday by ProtectWise, is, "The impact of artificial intelligence on the man-hours required to staff a security operations center is basically nil today -- and will be for a significant amount of time."

This is confirmed by a separate survey (PDF) published Wednesday by Exabeam. Exabeam queried 481 cybersecurity professionals around the world. It found nearly 68% of respondents reported they do not currently use AI or ML in their jobs or don’t have plans to use in the future, even though 75% agreed AI/ML can make their job better or easier and improve security.

The short-term solution to the skills gap must necessarily be to increase skills rather than the long-term reduction of demand.

Together with the skills gap is an awareness of the paucity of women in security. This is also confirmed by Exabeam's study, which found that 90% of security professionals are male.

ProtectWise returned to the data it gathered in an ESG survey last year, but specifically looked for any indication that the two problems may be linked: in short, could increasing the number of young women entering the security profession reduce the skills gap?

What it found is somewhat counterintuitive. Although the well-known gender bias in professions remains strong, there are indications that factors other than genuine aptitude are at play. In high school, twice as many men as women plan to study engineering, computer science or mathematics at college. Similarly, twice as many men as women consider IT as a future career.

At the same time, women are less confident in their aptitude for a career in cybersecurity. Forty-two percent of women profess to not knowing enough about the subject, compared to 35% of men; while 34% of women (compared to 25% of men) consider they do not have the aptitude.

What is surprising, however, is that the early exposure to technology that is believed to be the springboard to first studies and then careers in IT is stronger in young women than it is in young men. As many women as men game online, and the numbers that consider themselves to be early adopters of technology are also similar.

In some cases, however, young women are actually the early adopters -- 52% of women had tried VR compared to 42% of men; and more women than men have advanced technology in their household.

One conclusion that can be drawn is that the education system is the block. Young men and women enter the system with an equal aptitude for technology in general; but fewer women than men leave it to pursue technology careers. More concerning for cybersecurity is that very few of either gender consider security as a potential career.

A primary reason is that they simply do not have the option. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents said they had never taken a cybersecurity class in school, and 65% said that their school never offered a cybersecurity course.

This lack of interest from the schools does their pupils no favors. The Exabeam study shows a median salary range of $75,000 - $100,000 per year, with 34% earning more than $100,000 per year (chief security officers can expect around $200,000 and above); while 86% of existing professionals would recommend a career as a security analyst to new graduates. Good money and job satisfaction should be strong incentives.

ProtectWise co-founder and CTO Gene Stevens believes the problem is a latency between society's needs and society's understanding of those needs. “Our society has not yet embraced cybersecurity as a civilization-defining competency, yet it is exactly central to our capacity to function in this massively technological age," he told SecurityWeek. "In foundational terms, it's an education and awareness problem."

The solution is a sustained effort to get cybersecurity into the educational syllabus. "In education," he continued, "one of the best roads is to have cybersecurity technology standards baked into state standards of expectation for all students. State boards review these on a regular basis, usually every three to five years. We should reach out to departments of education state by state to engage on this topic. As digital citizenship is currently being developed locally, we need to reach out to school counselors and partner with teachers -- reaching out to education associations to offer resource and support is easy and could be highly beneficial."

While educational restraints may be playing a part in a lacking cybersecurity workforce, Ashley Arbuckle, Cisco’s VP of Security Services, believes that inclusion will help put a stop the perpetual scrambling for cybersecurity workers.

“No matter how you measure it, the number of unfilled cybersecurity positions is big and it’s a problem we’ve been lamenting for years,” Arbuckle wrote in a recent SecurityWeek column. “The traditional approach to address the shortage has been to encourage more individuals to pursue technical and engineering degrees. But which individuals? And if you aren’t “technical” does that mean there’s no room for you in cybersecurity? If we think more broadly about the type of talent we need and how to build even better security teams, we’ll see that the solution to the workforce gap is through inclusion.”

Arbuckle also believes there is no one definition of a cybersecurity professional and no one path to get there. “By increasing awareness of the varied skills needed and providing support to cultivate such talent, we have an opportunity to expand the pool of workers and improve security and financial performance in the process, with teams that are based on inclusion and diversity. We need to marshal all our resources to strengthen our defenses,” Arbuckle said.

Lenovo releases updates to fix Secure Boot flaw in servers and other issues
10.5.2018 securityaffairs 

Lenovo has released security patches that address the High severity vulnerability CVE-2017-3775 in the Secure Boot function on some System x servers.
The standard operator configurations disable signature checking, this means that some Server x BIOS/UEFI versions do not properly authenticate signed code before booting it.

“Lenovo internal testing discovered some System x server BIOS/UEFI versions that, when Secure Boot mode is enabled by a system administrator, do not properly authenticate signed code before booting it. As a result, an attacker with physical access to the system could boot unsigned code.” reads the security advisory.

“Lenovo ships these systems with Secure Boot disabled by default, because signed code is relatively new in the data center environment, and standard operator configurations disable signature checking.”

An attacker can exploit the vulnerability to execute unauthenticated code at the bootstrap of the affected system. The CVE-2017-3775 vulnerability impacts a dozen models, including Flex System x240 M5, x280 X6, x480 X6, x880, x3xxx series, and NeXtScale nx360 M5 devices.

Lenovo disclosed the complete list of impacted products and provided the related BIOS/UEFI update, it also explained that they ship with Secure Boot disabled by default.


Lenovo also issued a patch to address the CVE-2018-9063 buffer overflow in Lenovo System Update Drive Mapping Utility. -The flaw could be exploited by attackers for different kind of attacks, include the execution of arbitrary code on the target machine.

“MapDrv (C:\Program Files\Lenovo\System Update\mapdrv.exe) contains a local vulnerability where an attacker entering very large user ID or password can overrun the program’s buffer, causing undefined behaviors, such as execution of arbitrary code.” reads the security advisory.

“No additional privilege is granted to the attacker beyond what is already possessed to run MapDrv.”

The flaw could be easily exploited by an attacker entering very large user ID or password in order to overrun the program’s buffer. The attacker could potentially execute code with the MapDrv’s privileges.

Users need to update the application to Lenovo System Update version 5.07.0072 or later.

Users can launch Lenovo System Update to automatically checks for newer versions and accept the update if present, otherwise it is possible to manually update the application downloading the latest app version from the company website.

Analysis of CVE-2018-8174 VBScript 0day and APT actor related to Office targeted attack
10.5.2018 securityaffairs 

Recently, the Advanced Threat Response Team of 360 Core Security Division detected an APT attack exploiting a 0-day vulnerability tracked as CVE-2018-8174. Now the experts published a detailed analysis of the flaw.
I Overview
Recently, the Advanced Threat Response Team of 360 Core Security Division detected an APT attack exploiting a 0-day vulnerability and captured the world’s first malicious sample that uses a browser 0-day vulnerability. We codenamed the vulnerability as “double kill” exploit. This vulnerability affects the latest version of Internet Explorer and applications that use the IE kernel. When users browse the web or open Office documents, they are likely to be potential targets. Eventually the hackers will implant backdoor Trojan to completely control the computer. In response, we shared with Microsoft the relevant details of the 0day vulnerability in a timely manner. This APT attack was analyzed and attributed upon the detection and we now confirmed its association with the APT-C-06 Group.

On April 18, 2018, as soon as 360 Core Security detected the malicious activity, we contacted Microsoft without any delay and submitted relevant details to Microsoft. Microsoft confirmed this vulnerability on the morning of April 20th and released an official security patch on May 8th. Microsoft has fixed the vulnerability and named it CVE-2018-8174. After the vulnerability was properly resolved, we published this report on May 9th, along with further technical disclosure of the attack and the 0day.

II Affection in China
According to the sample data analysis, the attack affected regions in China are mainly distributed in provinces that actively involved in foreign trade activities.Victims include trade agencies and related organizations.

III Attack Procedure Analysis
The lure documents captured in this attack are in Yiddish. The attackers exploit office with OLE autolink objects (CVE-2017-0199) to embed the documents onto malicious websites. All the exploits and malicious payload were uploaded through remote servers.

Once victims opened the lure document, Word will firstly visit a remote website of IE vbscript 0day (CVE-2018-8174) to trigger the exploit. Afterward, Shellcode will be running to send several requests to get payload from remote servers. The payload will then be decrypted for further attack.

While the payload is running, Word will release three DLL backdoors locally. The backdoors will be installed and executed through PowerShell and rundll32. UAC bypass was used in this process, as well as file steganography and memory reflection uploading, in order to bypass traffic detection and to complete loading without any files.

IV IE VBScript 0day (CVE-2018-8174)
1. Timeline
On April 18, 2018, Advanced Threat Response Team of 360 Core Security Division detected a high-risk 0day vulnerabilities. The vulnerability affects the latest version of Internet Explorer and applications that use the IE kernel and has been found to be used for targeted APT attacks. On the same day, 360 immediately communicated with Microsoft and submitted details of the vulnerability to Microsoft. Microsoft confirmed this vulnerability on the morning of April 20th and released an official security patch on May 8th. The 0day vulnerability was fixed and it was named CVE-2018-8174.

CVE-2018-8174 is a remote code execution vulnerability of Windows VBScript engine. Attackers can embed malicious VBScript to Office document or website and then obtain the credential of the current user, whenever the user clicks, to execute arbitrary code.

2. Vulnerability Principles
Through the statistical analysis of the vulnerability samples, we found out that obfuscation was used massively. Therefore, we filtered out all the duplicated obfuscation and renamed all the identifiers.

Seeing from the POC created by using the exploit samples we captured, the principles of the exploit is obvious. The POC samples are as below:

Detailed procedures:

1) First create a cla1 instance assigned to b, and then assign value 0 to b, because at this point b’s referenced count is 1, causing cla1’s Class_Terminate function to be called.
2) In the Class_Terminate function, again assign b to c and assign 0 to b to balance the reference count.
3) After the Class_Terminate return, the memory pointed to by the b object will be released, so that a pointer to the memory data of the released object b is obtained.
4) If you use another object to occupy the freed memory, it will lead to the typical UAF or Type Confusion problem

3. Exploitation
The 0-day exploit exploits UAF multiple times to accomplish type confusion. It fakes and overrides the array object to perform arbitrary address reading and writing. In the end, it releases code to execute after constructing an object. Code execution does not use the traditional ROP or GodMod, but through the script layout Shellcode to stabilize the use.

Fake array to perform arbitrary address reading and writing
Mem members of 2 classes created by UAF are offset by 0x0c bytes, and an array of 0x7fffffff size is forged by reading and writing operation to the two mem members.

typedef struct tagSAFEARRAY {
USHORT cDims; // cDims = 0001
USHORT fFeatures; fFeatures =0x0880
ULONG cbElements; // the byte occupied by one element (1 byte)
ULONG cLocks;
PVOID pvData; // Buffer of data starts from 0x0
SAFEARRAYBOUND rgsabound[1];

typedef struct tagSAFEARRAYBOUND {
ULONG cElements; // the number of elements (0x7fffffff, user space)
LONG lLbound; // the initial value of the index (starting from 0)

A forged array composes of a one-dimensional array, the number of elements is 7fffffff, each element occupies 1 byte, and the element memory address is 0. So the accessible memory space for the array is from 0x00000000 to 0x7ffffffff*1. Therefore, the array can be read and written at any address. But the storage type of lIlIIl is string, so only by modifying the data type to 0x200C, i.e. VT_VARIANT|VT_ARRAY( array type), attackers can achieve their purpose.

Read the storage data of the specified parameter

In the malicious code, the above function is mainly used to read the data of the memory address specified by the parameter. The idea is to obtain the specified memory read capability via the characteristics of the first 4 bytes of the string address (namely, the content of the bstr, type, size field) returned by the lenb (bstr xx) in the vb (the data type in the VBS is bstr).

This is shown in the above code. If the input argument is addr(0x11223344), first add 4 to the value to get 0x11223348, and then set the variant type to 8 (string type). Next, call len function: if found to be BSTR type, vbscript will assume that the forward 4 bytes (0x11223344) is the address memory to store the length. So the len function will be executed and the value of the specified memory address will be returned.

Obtain Key DLL Base Address
The attacker leaks the virtual function table address of the CScriptEntryPoint object in the following way, which belongs to Vbscript.dll.

Obtain the vbscript.dll base address in the following way.

Because vbscript.dll imported msvcrt.dll, the msvcrt.dll base address was obtained by traversing the vbscript.dll import table, msvcrt.dll introduces kernelbase.dll, ntdll.dll, and finally the NtContinue, VirtualProtect function address was obtained.

Bypass DEP to execute shellcode
Use arbitrary reading and writing technique to modify the VAR type type to 0x4d, and then assign it with a value of 0 to make the virtual machine perform VAR:: Clear function.
Control with caution and let the code Execute function ntdll!ZwContinue. The first parameter CONTEXT structure was also constructed by the attacker.

Control the code with caution to execute ntdll! ZwContinue function. The first parameter CONTEXT structure is also carefully constructed by the attacker.
The first parameter of ZwContinue is a pointer to the CONTEXT structure. The CONTEXT structure is shown in the following figure, and the offset of EIP and ESP in CONTEXT can be calculated.

5. The values of the Eip and Esp in the actual runtime CONTEXT and the attacker’s intention are shown in the figure below.

V Powershell Payload
After the bait DOC file is executed, it will start to execute the Powershell command to the next step payload.

First of all, Powershell will fuzzy match incoming parameter names, and it is case-insensitive.

Second step, decrypt the obfuscated command.

Next, the script uses a special User-Agent access URL page to request the next load and execute.

The size of the requested payload file is approximately 199K. The code fragment is as follows.


We found that this code was modified from invoke-ReflectivePEInjection.ps1. buffer_x86 and buffer_x64 in the code are the same function but from different versions of dll files. File export module name: ReverseMet.dll.

DLL file decrypts ip address, port and sleep time from the configuration. After the decryption algorithm xor 0xA4, and subtracted 0x34, the code is as follows.

Decryption configuration file from the ip address port 1021 to obtain the next load and execute.

 After it connects to the tcp port, it will get 4 bytes to apply for a memory.
Subsequent acquired writes into the new thread, and execute the acquired shellcode payload, Since the port of the sample CC server is closed, we cannot get the next load for analysis.

VI UAC Bypass Payload
In addition to use PowerShell to load the payload, the bait DOC file also runs rundll32.exe to execute another backdoor locally. There are several notable features of the backdoor program it uses: the program uses COM port to copy files, realize UAC bypass and two system DLL hijacks; it also uses the default DLLs of cliconfg.exe and SearchProtocolHost.exe to take advantage of whitelist; finally in the process of component delivery, use file steganography and memory reflection loading method to avoid traffic monitoring and achieve no file landing load.

1. Retro backdoor execution
The backdoor program used in this attack is actually the Retro series backdoor known to be used by the APT-C-06 organization. The following is a detailed analysis of the implementation process of the backdoor program.

First execute the DLL disguised as a zlib library function with rundll32 and execute the backdoor installation functions uncompress2 and uncompress3.

It uses a COM port for UAC bypass, copying its own DLL to the System32 path for DLL hijacking, and the hijacked targets are cliconfg.exe and SearchProtocolHost.exe

Copy the DLL file in the AppData directory to the System32 directory through the COM interface and name it msfte.dll and NTWDBLIB.dll.

Then copy the file NTWDBLIB.dll to the System directory and execute the system’s own cliconfig to achieve DLL hijacking and load NTWDBLIB.dll.

The role of NTWDBLIB.dll is to restart the system service WSearch, and then start msfte.dll.

The script will then generate and execute the MO4TH2H0.bat file in the TEMP directory, which will delete the NTWDBLIB.DLL and its own BAT from the system directory.

Msfte.dll is the final backdoor program whose export is disguised as zlib. The core export functions are AccessDebugTracer and AccessRetailTracer. Its main function is to communicate with CC and further download and execute subsequent DLL programs.

Similar to the previously analyzed sample, it is also using image steganography and memory reflection loading. The decrypted CC communication information is as follows:

The format of the request is:

Hxxp://CC_Address /s7/config.php ?p=M&inst=7917&name=

Among them, the parameter p is the current process authority, there are two types of M and H, inst parameter is the current installation id, name is the CC_name obtained by decryption, this time is pphp.

After decryption after downloading, the process is exactly the same as the format of the previous image steganography transmission.

For the CC URL corresponding to the test request, because we did not obtain the corresponding image during the analysis, the CC is suspected to have failed.

In the implementation process, Retro disguised fake SSH and fake zlib, intended to obfuscate and interfere with users and analysts. Retro’s attack method has been used since 2016.

2. Retro backdoor evolvement
The back door program used in the APT-C-06 organization’s early APT operation was Lucker. It is a set of self-developed and customized modular Trojans. The set of Trojans is powerful, with keyboard recording, voice recording, screen capture, file capture and U disk operation functions, etc. The Lucker ‘s name comes from the PDB path of this type of Trojan, because most of the backdoor’s function use the LK abbreviation.

In the middle to late period we have discovered its evolution and two different types of backdoor programs. We have named them Retro and Collector by the PDB path extracted from the program. The Retro backdoor is an evolution of the Lucker backdoor and it actives in a series of attacks from 2016 till now. The name comes from the pdb path of this type of Trojan with the label Retro, and also has the word Retro in the initial installer.


The evolution of the reflective DLL injection technique can be found from the relevant PDB paths, and there are a lot of variants of this series of backdoors.

VII Attribution
1. Decryption Algorithm
During the analysis, we found the decryption algorithm that malware used is identical to APT-C-06’s decryption algorithm.

In the further analysis, we found the same decryption algorithm was used in the 64-bit version of the relevant malware.

2. PDB Path
The PDB path of the malware used in this attack has a string of “Retro”. It is one specific feature of Retro Trojan family.

3. Victims
In the process of tracing victims, we found one special compromised machine. It has a large amount of malware related to APT-C-06. By looking at these samples in chronological order, the evolution of the malicious program can be clearly seen. The victim has been under constant attack acted by APT-C-06 since 2015. The early samples on the compromised machine could be associated with DarkHotel. Then it was attacked by Lurker Trojan. Recently it was under the attack exploiting 0-day vulnerabilities CVE-2018-8174.

VIII Conclusion
APT-C-06 is an overseas APT organization which has been active for a long time. Its main targets are China and some other countries. Its main purpose is to steal sensitive data and conduct cyber-espionage. DarkHotel can be regarded as one of its series of attack activities.
The attacks against China specifically targeted government, scientific research institutions and some particular field. The attacks can be dated back to 2007 and are still very active. Based on the evidence we have, the organization may be a hacker group or intelligence agency supported by a foreign government.
The attacks against China have never stopped over the past 10 years. The Techniques the group uses keep evolving through time. Based on the data we captured in 2017, targets in China are trade related institutions and concentrated in provinces that have frequent trading activities. The group has been conducting long-term monitoring on the targets to stole confidential data.
During the decades of cyber attacks, APT-C-06 exploits several 0-day vulnerabilities and used complicated malware. It has dozens of function modules and over 200 malicious codes.
In April, 2018, the Advanced Threat Response Team of 360 Core Security Division takes the lead in capturing the group’s new APT attack using 0-day vulnerabilities (CVE-2018-8174) in the wild, and then discovers the new type attack – Office related attack exploiting 0-day VBScript vulnerabilities.
After the capture of the new activity, we contacted Microsoft immediately and shared detailed information with them. Microsoft’s official security patch was released on 8th May. Now, we published this detailed report to disclose and analyze the attack.

Further technical details including IoCs are reported in the analysis published by 360 Core Security Team at the following URL:


Misinterpretation of Intel docs is the root cause for the CVE-2018-8897 flaw in Hypervisors and OSs
10.5.2018 securityaffairs 

Developers of major operating systems and hypervisors misread documentation from Intel and introduced a the CVE-2018-8897 vulnerability into to their products.
The development communities of major operating systems and hypervisors misread documentation from Intel and introduced a potentially serious vulnerability to their products.

The CERT/CC speculates the root cause of the flaw is the developers misinterpretation of existing documentation provided by chip manufacturers.

“The MOV SS and POP SS instructions inhibit interrupts (including NMIs), data breakpoints, and single step trap exceptions until the instruction boundary following the next instruction” states the advisory published by CERT/CC.

The flaw, tracked as CVE-2018-8897, relates the way the operating systems and hypervisors handle MOV/POP to SS instructions.

“In some circumstances, some operating systems or hypervisors may not expect or properly handle an Intel architecture hardware debug exception. The error appears to be due to developer interpretation of existing documentation for certain Intel architecture interrupt/exception instructions, namely MOV to SS and POP to SS.” continues the security advisory published by CERT/CC.

The CVE-2018-8897 flaw was discovered by the security experts Nick Peterson of Everdox Tech and Nemanja Mulasmajic of triplefault.io.

The CERT/CC published a security advisory to warn of the CVE-2018-8897 flaw that impact the Linux kernel and software developed by major tech firms including Apple, the DragonFly BSD Project, Red Hat, the FreeBSD Project, Microsoft, SUSE Linux, Canonical, VMware, and the Xen Project (CERT/CC published the complete list of companies whose products may be impacted)

An attacker needs local access to exploit the vulnerability and the impact depends on the specific vulnerable software. In the worst scenario, attackers can, potentially, gain access to sensitive memory information or control low-level operating system functions.

“Therefore, in certain circumstances after the use of certain Intel x86-64 architecture instructions, a debug exception pointing to data in a lower ring (for most operating systems, the kernel Ring 0 level) is made available to operating system components running in Ring 3.” continues the advisory.

“This may allow an attacker to utilize operating system APIs to gain access to sensitive memory information or control low-level operating system functions.”

Experts explained that in the case of Linux, the flaw can trigger a denial-of-service (DoS) condition or cause the crash of the kernel.

According to Microsoft, an attacker can exploit the security flaw on Windows for privilege escalation.

“An elevation of privilege vulnerability exists when the Windows kernel fails to properly handle objects in memory. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in kernel mode. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.” reads the Microsoft’s kernel advisory

“To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would first have to log on to the system. An attacker could then run a specially crafted application to take control of an affected system.”

Security patches for CVE-2018-8897 flaw have been released for many OS, including the Linux kernel, Windows, Xen, and Red Hat.”

Proof-of-concept (PoC) exploits have been released for Windows and Linux operating systems.

The King is dead. Long live the King!

10.5.2018 Kaspersky Vulnerebility
Root cause analysis of the latest Internet Explorer zero day – CVE-2018-8174
In late April 2018, a new zero-day vulnerability for Internet Explorer (IE) was found using our sandbox; more than two years since the last in the wild example (CVE-2016-0189). This particular vulnerability and subsequent exploit are interesting for many reasons. The following article will examine the core reasons behind the latest vulnerability, CVE-2018-8174.

Searching for the zero day
Our story begins on VirusTotal (VT), where someone uploaded an interesting exploit on April 18, 2018. This exploit was detected by several AV vendors including Kaspersky, specifically by our generic heuristic logic for some older Microsoft Word exploits.

Virustotal scan results for CVE-2018-8174

After the malicious sample was processed in our sandbox system, we noticed that a fully patched version of Microsoft Word was successfully exploited. From this point we began a deeper analysis of the exploit. Let’s take a look at the full infection chain:

Infection chain

The infection chain consists of the following steps:

A victim receives a malicious Microsoft Word document.
After opening the malicious document, a second stage of the exploit is downloaded; an HTML page containing VBScript code.
The VBScript code triggers a Use After Free (UAF) vulnerability and executes shellcode.
Initial analysis
We’ll start our analysis with the initial Rich Text Format (RTF) document, that was used to deliver the actual exploit for IE. It only contains one object, and its contents are obfuscated using a known obfuscation technique we call “nibble drop“.

Obfuscated object data in RTF document

After deobfuscation and hex-decoding of the object data, we can see that this is an OLE object that contains a URL Moniker CLSID. Because of this, the exploit initially resembles an older vulnerability leveraging the Microsoft HTA handler (CVE-2017-0199).

URL Moniker is used to load an IE exploit

With the CVE-2017-0199 vulnerability, Word tries to execute the file with the default file handler based on its attributes; the Content-Type HTTP header in the server’s response being one of them. Because the default handler for the “application/hta” Content-Type is mshta.exe,it is chosen as the OLE server to run the script unrestricted. This allows an attacker to directly call ShellExecute and launch a payload of their choice.

However, if we follow the embedded URL in the latest exploit, we can see that the content type in the server’s response is not “application/hta”, which was a requirement for CVE-2017-0199 exploitation, but rather “text/html”. The default OLE server for “text/html” is mshtml.dll, which is a library that contains the engine, behind Internet Explorer.

WINWORD.exe querying registry for correct OLE server

Furthermore, the page contains VBScript, which is loaded with a safemode flag set to its default value, ‘0xE’. Because this disallows an attacker from directly executing a payload, as was the case with the HTA handler, an Internet Explorer exploit is needed to overcome that.

Using a URL moniker like that to load a remote web page is possible, because Microsoft’s patch for Moniker-related vulnerabilities (CVE-2017-0199, CVE-2017-8570 and CVE-2017-8759) introduced an activation filter, which allows applications to specify which COM objects are restricted from instantiating at runtime.

Some of the filtered COM objects, restricted from creating by IActivationFilter in MSO.dll

At the time of this analysis, the list of filtered CLSIDs consisted of 16 entries. TheMSHTML CLSID ({{25336920-03F9-11CF-8FD0-00AA00686F13}}) is not in the list, which is why the MSHTML COM server is successfully created in Word context.

This is where it becomes interesting. Despite a Word document being the initial attack vector, thevulnerability is actually in VBScript, not in Microsoft Word. This is the first time we’ve seen a URL Moniker used to load an IE exploit, and we believe this technique will be used heavily by malware authors in the future. This technique allows one to load and render a web page using the IE engine, even if default browser on a victim’s machine is set to something different.

The VBScript in the downloaded HTML page contains both function names and integer values that are obfuscated.

Obfuscated IE exploit

Vulnerability root cause analysis
For the root cause analysis we only need to look at the first function (‘TriggerVuln’) in the deobfuscated version which is called right after ‘RandomizeValues’ and ‘CookieCheck’.

Vulnerability Trigger procedure after deobfuscation

To achieve the desired heap layout and to guarantee that the freed class object memory will be reused with the ‘ClassToReuse’ object, the exploit allocates some class objects. To trigger the vulnerability this code could be minimized to the following proof-of-concept (PoC):

CVE-2018-8174 Proof Of Concept

When we then launch this PoC in Internet Explorer with page heap enabled we can observe a crash at the OLEAUT32!VariantClear function.

Access Violation on a call to freed memory

Freed memory pointer is reused when the second array (ArrB) is destroyed

With this PoC we were able to trigger a Use-after-free vulnerability; both ArrA(1) and ArrB(1) were referencing the same ‘ClassVuln’ object in memory. This is possible because when “Erase ArrA” is called, the vbscript!VbsErase function determines that the type of the object to delete is a SafeArray, and then calls OLEAUT32!SafeArrayDestroy.

It checks that the pointer to a tagSafeArray structure is not NULL and that its reference count, stored in the cLocks field is zero, and then continues to call ReleaseResources.

VARTYPE of ArrA(1) is VT_DISPATCH, so VBScriptClass::Release is called to destruct the object

ReleaseResources, in turn will check the fFeatures flags variable, and since we have an array of VARIANTs, it will subsequently call VariantClear; a function that iterates each member of an array and performs the necessary deinitialization and calls the relevant class destructor if necessary. In this case, VBScriptClass::Release is called to destroy the object correctly and handle destructors like Class_Terminate, since the VARTYPE of ArrA(1) is VT_DISPATCH.

Root cause of CVE-2018-8174 – ‘refCount’ being checked only once, before TerminateClass function

This ends up being the root cause of the vulnerability. Inside the VBScriptClass::Release function, the reference count is checked only once, at the beginning of the function. Even though it can be (and actually is, in the PoC) incremented in an overloaded TerminateClass function, no checks will be made before finally freeing the class object.

Class_Terminate is a deprecated method, now replaced by the ‘Finalize’ procedure. It is used to free acquired resources during object destruction and is executed as soon as object is set to nothing and there are no more references to that object. In our case, the Class_Terminate method is overloaded, and when a call to VBScriptClass::TerminateClass is made, it is dispatched to the overloaded method instead. Inside of that overloaded method, another reference is created to the ArrA(1) member. At this point ArrB(1) references ArrA(1), which holds a soon to be freed ClassVuln object.

Crash, due to calling an invalid virtual method when freeing second object

After the Class_Terminate sub is finished, the object at Arr(1) is freed, but ArrB(1) still maintains a reference to that freed class object. When the execution continues, and ArrB is erased, the whole cycle repeats, except that this time, ArrB(1) is referencing a freed ClassVuln object, and so we observe a crash when one of the virtual methods in the ClassVuln vtable is called.

In this write up we analyzed the core reasons behind CVE-2018-8174, a particularly interesting Use-After-Free vulnerability that was possible due to incorrect object lifetime handling in the Class_Terminate VBScript method. The exploitation process is different from what we’ve seen in exploits for older vulnerabilities (CVE-2016-0189 and CVE-2014-6332) as the Godmode technique is no longer used. The full exploitation chain is as interesting as the vulnerability itself, but is out of scope of this article.

With CVE-2018-8174 being the first public exploit to use a URL moniker to load an IE exploit in Word, we believe that this technique, unless fixed, will be heavily abused by attackers in the future, as It allows you force IE to load ignoring the default browser settings on a victim’s system.

We expect this vulnerability to become one of the most exploited in the near future, as it won’t be long until exploit kit authors start abusing it in both drive-by (via browser) and spear-phishing (via document) campaigns. To stay protected, we recommend applying latest security updates, and using a security solution with behavior detection capabilities.

In our opinion this is the same exploit which Qihoo360 Core Security Team called “Double Kill” in their recent publication. While this exploit is not limited to browser exploitation, it was reported as an IE zero day, which caused certain confusion in the security community.

After finding this exploit we immediately shared the relevant information with Microsoft and they confirmed that it is in fact CVE-2018-8174.

This exploit was found in the wild and was used by an APT actor. More information about that APT actor and usage of the exploit is available to customers of Kaspersky Intelligence Reporting Service. Contact: intelreports@kaspersky.com

Kaspersky Lab products successfully detect and block all stages of the exploitation chain and payload with the following verdicts:

HEUR:Exploit.MSOffice.Generic – RTF document
PDM:Exploit.Win32.Generic – IE exploit – detection with Automatic Exploit Prevention technology
HEUR:Exploit.Script.Generic – IE exploit
HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic – Payload
b48ddad351dd16e4b24f3909c53c8901 – RTF document
15eafc24416cbf4cfe323e9c271e71e7 – Internet Explorer exploit (CVE-2018-8174)
1ce4a38b6ea440a6734f7c049f5c47e2 – Payload

Signal disappearing messages can be recovered by the macOS client
10.5.2018 securityaffairs  Apple

The macOS client for the Signal fails to properly delete disappearing messages from the recipient’s system, potentially exposing sensitive messages.
Signal is considered the most secure instant messaging app, searching for it on the Internet it is possible to read the Edward Snowden’ testimony:

“Use anything by Open Whisper Systems” Snowden says.

The Cryptographer and Professor at Johns Hopkins University Matt Green and the popular security expert Bruce Schneier are other two admirers of the Signal app

Signal was also approved by the U.S. Senate for official communications among staff members.

But even most complex and efficient software could be affected by severe bugs.

The macOS client for the Signal fails to properly delete disappearing messages from the recipient’s system, potentially exposing sensitive messages.

The disappearing messages in Signal are automatically deleted after a specific interval of time set up by the sender. The peculiarity of the feature is that there is no trace of the destroyed message on the receiver’s device or Signal servers, at least this is the expected behavior.

The security expert Alec Muffett discovered that the messages once disappeared can still be recovered from the recipient’s device.

Alec Muffett
#HEADSUP: #Security Issue in #Signal. If you are using the @signalapp desktop app for Mac, check your notifications bar; messages get copied there and they seem to persist — even if they are "disappearing" messages which have been deleted/expunged from the app.

8:14 PM - May 8, 2018
55 people are talking about this
Twitter Ads info and privacy
Former NSA hacker and security expert Patrick Wardle analyzed the issue and discovered that macOS client makes a copy (partial for long messages) of disappearing messages in a user-readable database of macOS’s Notification Center. This copy could be recovered anytime by researchers and hackers.

“While the application deletes the messages (once the ‘disappear’ time is hit) from the app’s UI – the message may still remain in macOS’s Notification Center.” wrote Wardle.

“This apparently occurs because:

Signal displays (posts) a message notification (with the content of the message) to the Notification Center (if the app is not in the foreground).
The OS automatically dismisses the notification ‘banner’ … but the notification (which contains the message contents) remain in the Notification Center.”
Signal, does not explicitly delete this notification when it deletes messages from the app UI.”
To discover where the disappearing messages are stored Wardle used the macOS’s built-in file monitoring utilty ‘fs_usage.’

“Looks like the ‘user notification daemon’ (usernoted) is accessing a file related to a database (specifically a SQLite write-ahead log).” added the expert.

“Running the ‘file’ command on the ‘db2/db’ file reveals (rather unsurprisingly) it’s an SQLite database, that is readable with user (i.e. non-root) permissions”

Wardle noticed the ‘record’ table that contains the notifications, including their contents.

Signal disappearing messages

Data is stored in ‘binary’ format so Wardle converted it from hex to ASCII, obtaining “bplist00”. It is a binary plist that can be easily decoded/parsed using the biplist module.

The decoded text included the text of all Signal messages, including the disappearing messages.

“Well Alec, hope this explains exactly why those ‘disappearing’ Signal messages still are hanging around. In short, anything that gets displayed as a notification (yes, including ‘disappearing’ Signal messages) in the macOS Notification Center, is recorded by the OS.” concluded Wardle.
“If the application wants the item to be removed from the Notification Center, it must ensure that the alert is dismissed by the user or programmatically! However, it is not clear that this also ‘expunges’ the notifications (and the their contents) from the notification database… i’m guessing not! If this is the case, Signal may have to avoid generating notifications (containing the message body) for disappearing messages…”

The good news is that the Signal’s iOS application is not affected at least the messages are removed from the iOS Notification Center once the user has viewed them.

SAP Patches Internet Graphics Server Flaws
9.5.2018 securityweek 

SAP this week released its May 2018 set of security patches to address more than a dozen vulnerabilities across its product portfolio, including four bugs in Internet Graphics Server.

The company released 9 new Security Notes as part of the SAP Security Patch Day, to which Support Package Notes and updates to previously released notes are added, for a total of 16 notes released since the previous Patch Day (the second Tuesday of the previous month).

Most of the security bugs addressed this month were rated Medium severity, with just one assessed with a Low severity rating.

Missing authorization checks and Denial of service issues were the most commonly encountered vulnerabilities, but SAP also addressed Cross-Site Scripting, code injection, information disclosure, open redirect, XML external entity, implementation flaw, and spoofing bugs.

SAP Internet Graphics Server (IGS), the engine used by SAP for generating visual components like graphics or charts, was the most affected product this month, accounting for four of the Security Notes.

The vulnerabilities addressed in it include CVE-2018-2420 – Unrestricted File Upload (allowing an attacker to upload any file (including script files) without proper file format validation), CVE-2018-2421 and CVE-2018-2422 – Denial of Service, and CVE-2018-2423 – Denial of Service in IGS HTTP and RFC listener.

By exploiting CVE-2018-2420, an attacker could “gain access to user’s session and learn business-critical information, in some cases it is possible to get control over this information. In addition, XSS can be used for unauthorized modifying of displayed site content,” ERPScan reveals.

CVE-2018-2420 and CVE-2018-2421 are addressed in security notes #2615635 and #2616599, both expected to be discussed at an upcoming security conference in June.

SAP has addressed numerous vulnerabilities in IGS over the past months, including Denial of Service, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), and Log Injection attacks, amongst others, Onapsis points out.

Two notes released in February (#2525222) and March (#2538829) addressed together more than 15 vulnerabilities, some very severe.

Another important vulnerability addressed this month is CVE-2018-2418, a Code Injection in SAP MaxDB ODBC Driver. The flaw allows an attacker to inject and run their own code, obtain additional sensitive information, modify or delete data, change the output of the system, create new users, control the behavior of the system, or escalate privileges and perform a DoS attack.

This month, SAP also re-released security note #2190621 (initially published two and a half years ago) with updated CVSS, prerequisite and solution information related to incorrect logging of IP addresses in the Security Audit Logging (SAL) function.

In some environments where the SAP system is behind a proxy or a NAT, the original client IP address is logged instead of the NAT-translated IP address. Not only can client IP addresses be easily manipulated, but the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could consider client IP addresses as personal data, Onapsis notes.

A couple of weeks ago, Onapsis revealed that 9 out of 10 SAP systems were found to be vulnerable to a SAP Netweaver bug that was first identified in 2005. The vulnerability provides an attacker with unrestricted access to the system, allowing them to read information, extract data, or shut the system down.

“The threat still exists within the default security settings of every Netweaver based SAP product such as SAP ERP, SAP CRM, S/4 HANA, SAP GRC Process and Access Control, SAP Process Integration/Exchange Infrastructure (PI/XI), SAP Solution Manager, SAP SCM, SAP SRM and others,” the firm explains.

Google Releases Additional Meltdown Mitigations for Android

9.5.2018 securityweek Android

As part of its May 2018 Android Security Bulletin, Google this week released additional mitigations for the Meltdown attack that impacts microprocessors from Intel, AMD, and other vendors.

The attack leverages CVE-2017-5754, a security vulnerability that allows applications to bypass memory isolation and read arbitrary kernel memory locations. Meltdown was made public in January 2018 alongside Spectre, an attack residing in speculative execution (leveraging CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715).

In January, Google released protections for both Meltdown and Spectre attacks, and this month delivered additional mitigations as part of the 2018-05-05 security patch level. Impacting Kernel components, the issue was addressed along with CVE-2017-16643, an information disclosure in USB driver.

“The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a local malicious application to bypass operating system protections that isolate application data from other applications,” Google notes in an advisory.

The May 2018 Android Security Bulletin is split into two parts, the first being the 2018-05-01 security patch level, which addresses 7 High severity vulnerabilities in Android runtime, Framework, Media framework, and System.

The bugs include Information Disclosure, Elevation of Privilege, and Denial of Service and impact Android 6.0, 6.0.1, 7.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, and 8.1 releases.

In addition to the Meltdown mitigations, the 2018-05-05 security patch level also includes patches for security flaws in NVIDIA and Qualcomm components.

Three vulnerabilities were addressed in NVIDIA components: an elevation of privilege rated Critical, along with an information disclosure and an elevation of privilege assessed as High risk. The most severe of the vulnerabilities could allow a malicious application to execute code within the context of the trusted execution environment (TEE).

A total of 11 vulnerabilities were addressed in Qualcomm components, including a Critical remote code execution bug that could be exploited by an attacker over WLAN. Rated High severity, the remaining bugs included 9 elevation of privilege flaws and one denial of service issue.

Also this week, Google released a new set of patches for the Pixel and Nexus devices to address a total of 34 security bugs. Impacting Framework, Media framework, System, and Kernel, NVIDIA and Qualcomm components, the vulnerabilities feature a Moderate severity rating (two are considered High risk on Android 6.0 and 6.0.1).

In addition to security patches, the Pixel / Nexus Security Bulletin—May 2018 includes a couple of functional updates to address issues not related to the security of these devices.

Misinterpretation of Intel Docs Leads to Flaw in Hypervisors, OSs
9.5.2018 securityweek

The developers of several major operating systems and hypervisors misinterpreted documentation from Intel and introduced a potentially serious vulnerability to their products.

According to an advisory published on Tuesday by CERT/CC, the flaw impacts the Linux kernel and software made by Apple, the DragonFly BSD Project, Red Hat, the FreeBSD Project, Microsoft, SUSE Linux, Canonical, VMware, and the Xen Project. CERT/CC also provides a long list of other companies whose products may be affected.

The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2018-8897, exists due to the way operating systems and hypervisors handle MOV/POP to SS instructions. Exploitation requires local access to the targeted system.

Impact varies depending on the affected software. In the case of Linux, it can lead to a crash of the kernel and a denial-of-service (DoS) condition. Microsoft says an attacker can exploit the security hole on Windows for privilege escalation. The Xen Project says a malicious PV guest can escalate privileges to the ones of the hypervisor, while CERT/CC warns that an attacker can “read sensitive data in memory or control low-level operating system functions.”

Patches have been released for the Linux kernel, Windows, Xen and various Linux distributions, but in most cases the issue has been classified only as “moderate” or “important.” Proof-of-concept (PoC) exploits have been created for both Windows and Linux.

The researchers who discovered the vulnerability, Nick Peterson of Everdox Tech and Nemanja Mulasmajic of triplefault.io, say it impacts both Intel and AMD hardware. A paper published by the experts provides technical details.

According to CERT/CC, the problem appears to exist due to developers misinterpreting existing documentation.

“The MOV SS and POP SS instructions inhibit interrupts (including NMIs), data breakpoints, and single step trap exceptions until the instruction boundary following the next instruction,” CERT/CC wrote in its advisory.

“If the instruction following the MOV to SS or POP to SS instruction is an instruction like SYSCALL, SYSENTER, INT 3, etc. that transfers control to the operating system at Current Privilege Level (CPL) < 3, a debug exception is delivered after the transfer to CPL < 3 is complete. Such deferred #DB exceptions by MOV SS and POP SS may result in unexpected behavior.

“Therefore, in certain circumstances after the use of certain Intel x86-64 architecture instructions, a debug exception pointing to data in a lower ring (for most operating systems, the kernel Ring 0 level) is made available to operating system components running in Ring 3. This may allow an attacker to utilize operating system APIs to gain access to sensitive memory information or control low-level operating system functions,” CERT/CC added.

Siemens Patches DoS Flaws in Medium Voltage Converters
9.5.2018 securityweek ICS

Siemens has released updates for many of its SINAMICS medium voltage converters to address two remotely exploitable denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerabilities.

According to advisories published by ICS-CERT and Siemens, the flaws impact SINAMICS GH150, GL150, GM150, SL150, SM120 and SM150 converters, which are used worldwide in the energy, chemical, critical manufacturing, water and wastewater, and food and agriculture sectors.Siemens patches two DoS vulnerabilities in SINAMICS medium voltage converters

The more serious of the flaws, identified as CVE-2017-12741 and classified “high severity,” can be exploited to cause a DoS condition by sending specially crafted packets to the device on UDP port 161.

The second weakness, tracked as CVE-2017-2680 and rated “medium,” can be exploited by sending specially crafted PROFINET DCP broadcast packets to the targeted device. This issue is less serious due to the fact that exploitation requires direct Layer 2 access to the impacted product. Siemens noted that PROFIBUS interfaces are not affected.

In both cases, manual intervention is required to restore the device after it has entered a DoS condition.

Siemens patches two DoS vulnerabilities in SINAMICS medium voltage converters

The vulnerabilities can be patched by updating the firmware to versions 4.7 SP5 HF7, 4.7 HF30 or 4.8 SP2. Siemens says attacks involving CVE-2017-12741 can also be mitigated by blocking network access to port 161.

While in general DoS vulnerabilities may not pose a major risk, these types of weaknesses can have a significant impact in industrial environments, where availability is often crucial.

Google Brings Android to Internet of Things
9.5.2018 securityweek IoT

Less than a month after Microsoft announced an operating system built for Internet of Things (IoT) security, Google is releasing its own platform for IoT: Android Things.

The managed operating system was designed to provide manufacturers with all the ingredients for a winning IoT recipe: certified hardware, rich developer APIs, and secure managed software updates via Google’s infrastructure.

The platform has been in developer preview until this week, and has already registered over 100,000 SDK downloads, Google says. More than 10,000 developers have provided feedback on Android Things, ultimately leading to the platform’s initial release.

Android Things 1.0 was released with support for new System-on-Modules (SoMs) based on the NXP i.MX8M, Qualcomm SDA212, Qualcomm SDA624, and MediaTek MT8516 hardware platforms. Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and NXP i.MX7D devices (but not NXP i.MX6UL) will continue to be supported for development purposes.

“These modules are certified for production use with guaranteed long-term support for three years, making it easier to bring prototypes to market. Development hardware and reference designs for these SoMs will be available in the coming months,” Google says.

More important, however, is Google’s aim to provide devices running Android Things with timely software updates over-the-air (OTA). All devices will have automatic updates on by default, and stability fixes and security patches will arrive on production hardware platforms.

Currently, Google is releasing patches for Android devices on a monthly basis, in an attempt to improve the overall security stance of the platform. The company started delivering these monthly updates in 2015, after the Stagefright flaw was said to impact nearly one billion devices.

Android Things developers looking to ship commercial products running the new platform are required to sign a distribution agreement with Google to be able to deliver software updates to all devices (currently only 100 active devices are supported in the Android Things Console).

“For each long-term support version, Google will offer free stability fixes and security patches for three years, with additional options for extended support. Even after the official support window ends, you will still be able to continue to push app updates to your devices,” the Internet giant explains.

The Android Things Console also provides developers with the possibility to configure hardware peripherals.

Google has already partnered with leading manufacturers for the release of Android Things devices. Thus, Smart Speakers from LG and iHome and Smart Displays from Lenovo, LG, and JBL are expected to arrive on shelves this summer.

Developers interested in building products running Android Things can apply for a special limited program to partner with the Android Things team for technical guidance and support.

May 2018 Android Security Bulletin includes additional Meltdown fix
9.5.2018 securityaffairs Android

Google releases additional Meltdown mitigations for Android as part of the May 2018 Android Security Bulletin. The tech giant also addresses flaws in NVIDIA and Qualcomm components.
Both Meltdown and Spectre attacks could be exploited by attackers to bypass memory isolation mechanisms and access target sensitive data.

The Meltdown attack (CVE-2017-5754 vulnerability) could allow attackers to read the entire physical memory of the target machines stealing credentials, personal information, and more.

The Meltdown exploits the speculative execution to breach the isolation between user applications and the operating system, in this way any application can access all system memory.

The good news is that Meltdown attacks are not easy to conduct and the risk of exploitation is considered low.

Early this year, Google released mitigations for both Meltdown and Spectre attacks, and not delivered additional mitigations. The Meltdown mitigation was addressed along with the information disclosure flaw in USB driver tracked as CVE-2017-16643.

“The most severe vulnerability in this section [Kernel components] could enable a local malicious application to bypass operating system protections that isolate application data from other applications,” reads the security advisory published by Google.

The May 2018 Android Security Bulletin is composed of two parts, the first one being the 2018-05-01 security patch level, that addresses seven High severity issues (CVE-2017-13309, CVE-2017-13310, CVE-2017-13311, CVE-2017-13312, CVE-2017-13313, CVE-2017-13314, CVE-2017-13315) in Android runtime, Framework, Media framework, and System.

The flaws addressed in the 2018-05-01 security patch level include Information Disclosure, Elevation of Privilege, and Denial of Service that affects Android 6.0, 6.0.1, 7.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, and 8.1 releases.

The second section is the “2018-05-05 security patch level vulnerability details” that includes details for each of the security vulnerabilities that apply to the 2018-05-05 patch level.

The 2018-05-05 security patch level includes patches for security vulnerabilities affecting NVIDIA and Qualcomm components.

Three vulnerabilities that were fixed in the NVIDIA components are CVE-2017-6289, CVE-2017-5715, CVE-2017-6293, respectively a critical elevation of privilege, an information disclosure and an elevation of privilege ranked as High risk.

“The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a local malicious application to execute arbitrary code within the context of the TEE.” continues the advisory.

Google addressed 11 vulnerabilities in Qualcomm components, including a Critical remote code execution flaw that could be exploited by an attacker over WLAN. The remaining issued are 9 elevation of privilege vulnerabilities and one denial of service issue.

Are you using Python module ‘SSH Decorator’? Newer versions include a backdoor
9.5.2018 securityaffairs Hacking

A backdoor was discovered in the Python module named SSH Decorator (ssh-decorate), that was developed by Israeli developer Uri Goren.
Are you using the Python module ‘SSH Decorator’? You need to check the version number, because newer versions include a backdoor.

The library was developed to handle SSH connections from Python code.

Early this week, a developer noticed that multiple backdoored versions of the SSH Decorate module, the malicious code included in the library allowed to collect users’ SSH credentials and sent the data to a remote server controlled by the attackers.

The remote server that received stolen data is accessible at the following address:

SSH Decorator Python SSH Backdoor 1

SSH Decorator Python SSH Backdoor 2

The following images were shared bleepingcomputer.com that first reported the news.

SSH Decorator Python SSH Backdoor 1 SSH Decorator Python SSH Backdoor 2

The Israeli developer Uri Goren, once notified to the problem, confirmed that backdoor was added by attackers.

Initially, the developer has updated the password for the PyPI Python central repo hub and published a sanitized version of the package.

“I have updated my PyPI password, and reposted the package under a new name ssh-decorator,” he said.

“I have also updated the readme of the repository, to make sure my users are also aware of this incident.”

“It has been brought to our attention, that previous versions of this module had been hijacked and uploaded to PyPi unlawfully. Make sure you look at the code of this package (or any other package that asks for your credentials) prior to using it.” reads the README file.

The presence of the backdoor in the SSH Decorator module alerted many users on Reddit, many of them accused Goren that for this reason decided to take down the package from both GitHub and PyPI — the Python central repo hub.

Developers that use the SH Decorator (ssh-decorate) module need to use the last safe version was 0.27, later version 0.28 through 0.31 were compromised.

WhatsApp Group Video Call and Instagram Video Chat Are Coming Soon
9.5.2018 thehackernews 

Facebook announced a whole lot of new features at its 2018 Facebook F8 developers conference, including Dating on Facebook, letting users clear their web browsing history, real-time language translation within Messenger, and many more.
Besides announcing exciting features for its social media platform, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also gave us a quick look at the features Facebook introduced for companies that it owns, like WhatsApp and Instagram.
During Facebook's F8 conference on Tuesday, Zuckerberg announced a long-awaited feature for WhatsApp—Group Video Calling. Yes, you heard that right. WhatsApp would soon be adding a group video calling feature to the popular end-to-end messaging app, making it possible for its over billion users to have face-to-face conversations with multiple people at once.
Although there are not many details about the WhatsApp group video calling feature at this moment, it is clear that WhatsApp will now allow four people to have one-on-one video chat in groups. The feature will only work with smartphones (not for WhatsApp Web).
Previously, video calling feature was only available for personal chats (involving two parties).
According to Zuckerberg, video calling is one of the most popular features on WhatsApp, and people have already spent about 2 billion minutes for video calling on WhatsApp alone.
Therefore, with the launch of WhatsApp group video calling, the company hopes that the messaging app will become more popular.
Besides group video calling, WhatsApp will also bring support for stickers in the months ahead, just like Messenger, Facebook revealed later.
This year's F8 has also brought a major update to Instagram. Facebook is also bringing the video chat feature to Instagram, giving Instagrammers a new way to spend time together, even when they can not be together.
To start a video chat one-on-one with someone or with a group of people, you simply need to tap the new camera icon at the top of a Direct message thread. You can even minimize the video window and continue the chat while doing other stuff on Instagram.
Besides video chat, Instagram will also be having a redesigned Explore feature to make it easier for Instagrammers to discover things they are interested in.
Both the new Explore and video chat features are currently in the testing phase and will roll out globally soon.
Facebook also introduced a new way for people to share from their favorite apps, like Spotify and GoPro, to Instagram Stories as well as Facebook Stories.
To know everything Facebook announced at 2018 F8 developer conference on Tuesday, you can simply head on the blog post published by the company.

Nintendo Switches Hacked to Run Linux—Unpatchable Exploit Released
9.5.2018 thehackernews  Hacking

Two separate teams of security researchers have published working proof-of-concept exploits for an unpatchable vulnerability in Nvidia's Tegra line of embedded processors that comes on all currently available Nintendo Switch consoles.
Dubbed Fusée Gelée and ShofEL2, the exploits lead to a coldboot execution hack that can be leveraged by device owners to install Linux, run unofficial games, custom firmware, and other unsigned code on Nintendo Switch consoles, which is typically not possible.
Both exploits take advantage of a buffer overflow vulnerability in the USB software stack of read-only boot instruction ROM (IROM/bootROM), allowing unauthenticated arbitrary code execution on the game console before any lock-out operations (that protect the chip's bootROM) take effect.
The buffer overflow vulnerability occurs when a device owner sends an "excessive length" argument to an incorrectly coded USB control procedure, which overflows a crucial direct memory access (DMA) buffer in the bootROM, eventually allowing data to be copied into the protected application stack and giving attackers the ability to execute code of their choice.

In other words, a user can overload a Direct Memory Access (DMA) buffer within the bootROM and then execute it to gain high-level access on the device before the security part of the boot process comes into play.
"This execution can then be used to exfiltrate secrets and to load arbitrary code onto the main CPU Complex (CCPLEX) application processors at the highest possible level of privilege (typically as the TrustZone Secure Monitor at PL3/EL3)," hardware hacker Katherine Temkin of ReSwitched, who released Fusée Gelée, said.
However, the exploitation requires users to have physical access to the hardware console to force the Switch into USB recovery mode (RCM), which can simply be done by pressing and shorting out certain pins on the right Joy-Con connector, without actually opening the system.

By the way, fail0verflow said a simple piece of wire from the hardware store could be used to bridge Pin 10 and Pin 7 on the console's right Joy-Con connector, while Temkin suggested that simply exposing and bending the pins in question would also work.
Once done, you can connect the Switch to your computer using a cable (USB A → USB C) and then run any of the available exploits.
Fusée Gelée, released by Temkin, allows device owners only to display device data on the screen, while she promised to release more scripts and full technical details about exploiting Fusée Gelée on June 15, 2018, unless someone else made them public.
She is also working on customized Nintendo Switch firmware called Atmosphère, which can be installed via Fusée Gelée.

On the other hand, ShofEL2 exploit released by famous fail0verflow team allows users to install Linux on Nintendo Switches.
"We already caused temporary damage to one LCD panel with bad power sequencing code. Seriously, do not complain if something goes wrong," fail0verflow team warns.
Meanwhile, another team of hardware hackers Team Xecutor is also preparing to sell an easy-to-use consumer version of the exploit, which the team claims, will "work on any Nintendo Switch console regardless of the currently installed firmware, and will be completely future proof."
Nintendo Can't Fix the Vulnerability Using Firmware Update
The vulnerability is not just limited to the Nintendo Switch and affects Nvidia's entire line of Tegra X1 processors, according to Temkin.
"Fusée Gelée was responsibly disclosed to NVIDIA earlier, and forwarded to several vendors (including Nintendo) as a courtesy," Temkin says.
Since the bootROM component comes integrated into Tegra devices to control the device boot-up routine and all happens in Read-Only memory, the vulnerability cannot be patched by Nintendo with a simple software or firmware update.
"Since this bug is in the Boot ROM, it cannot be patched without a hardware revision, meaning all Switch units in existence today are vulnerable, forever," fail0verflow says. "Nintendo can only patch Boot ROM bugs during the manufacturing process."
So, it is possible for the company to address this issue in the future using some hardware modifications, but do not expect any fix for the Switches that you already own.

Police Shut Down World's Biggest 'DDoS-for-Hire' Service–Admins Arrested
9.5.2018 thehackernews 

In a major hit against international cybercriminals, the Dutch police have taken down the world's biggest DDoS-for-hire service that helped cyber criminals launch over 4 million attacks and arrested its administrators.
An operation led by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Dutch Police, dubbed "Power Off," with the support of Europol and a dozen other law enforcement agencies, resulted in the arrest of 6 members of the group behind the "webstresser.org" website in Scotland, Croatia, Canada and Serbia on Tuesday.
With over 136,000 registered users, Webstresser website lets its customers rent the service for about £10 to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against their targets with little or no technical knowledge.
"With webstresser.org, any registered user could pay a nominal fee using online payment systems or cryptocurrencies to rent out the use of stressers and booters," Europol said.
The service was also responsible for cyber attacks against seven of the UK's biggest banks in November last year, as well as government institutions and gaming industry.

"It's a growing problem, and one we take very seriously. Criminals are very good at collaborating, victimizing millions of users in a moment from anywhere in the world," said Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).
The Webstresser site has now been shut down, and its infrastructure has been seized in the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States. The site has been replaced with a page announcing that law enforcement authorities had taken the service offline.
"As part of the operational activity, an address was identified and searched in Bradford and a number of items seized," NCA said.
Moreover, the authorities have also taken against the top users of this marketplace in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Croatia, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong, Europol announced.
The Dutch police said the Operation Power Off should send a clear warning to users of sites like webstresser.
"Don't do it," Gert Ras, head of the Dutch police's High Tech Crime unit, said. "By tracking down the DDoS service you use, we strip you of your anonymity, hand you a criminal record and put your victims in a position to claim back damages from you."
The police also reminded people that DDoSing is a crime, for which the "penalties can be severe." If you conduct a DDoS attack, or make, supply or obtain stresser or booter services, you could end up in prison, and fine or both.

Third Critical Drupal Flaw Discovered—Patch Your Sites Immediately
9.5.2018 thehackernews 
Damn! You have to update your Drupal websites.
Yes, of course once again—literally it’s the third time in last 30 days.
As notified in advance two days back, Drupal has now released new versions of its software to patch yet another critical remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability, affecting its Drupal 7 and 8 core.
Drupal is a popular open-source content management system software that powers millions of websites, and unfortunately, the CMS has been under active attacks since after the disclosure of a highly critical remote code execution vulnerability.
The new vulnerability was discovered while exploring the previously disclosed RCE vulnerability, dubbed Drupalgeddon2 (CVE-2018-7600) that was patched on March 28, forcing the Drupal team to release this follow-up patch update.
According to a new advisory released by the team, the new remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2018-7602) could also allow attackers to take over vulnerable websites completely.
How to Patch Drupal Vulnerability

Since the previously disclosed flaw derived much attention and motivated attackers to target websites running over Drupal, the company has urged all website administrators to install new security patches as soon as possible.
If you are running 7.x, upgrade to Drupal 7.59.
If you are running 8.5.x, upgrade to Drupal 8.5.3.
If you are running 8.4.x, which is no longer supported, you need first to update your site to 8.4.8 release and then install the latest 8.5.3 release as soon as possible.
It should also be noted that the new patches will only work if your site has already applied patches for Drupalgeddon2 flaw.
"We are not aware of any active exploits in the wild for the new vulnerability," a drupal spokesperson told The Hacker News. "Moreover, the new flaw is more complex to string together into an exploit."
Technical details of the flaw, can be named Drupalgeddon3, have not been released in the advisory, but that does not mean you can wait until next morning to update your website, believing it won't be attacked.
We have seen how attackers developed automated exploits leveraging Drupalgeddon2 vulnerability to inject cryptocurrency miners, backdoors, and other malware into websites, within few hours after it's detailed went public.
Besides these two flaws, the team also patched a moderately critical cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability last week, which could have allowed remote attackers to pull off advanced attacks including cookie theft, keylogging, phishing and identity theft.
Therefore, Drupal website admins are highly recommended to update their websites as soon as possible.

Release of PoC Exploit for New Drupal Flaw Once Again Puts Sites Under Attack
9.5.2018 thehackernews 

Only a few hours after the Drupal team releases latest updates to fix a new remote code execution flaw in its content management system software, hackers have already started exploiting the vulnerability in the wild.
Announced yesterday, the newly discovered vulnerability (CVE-2018-7602) affects Drupal 7 and 8 core and allows remote attackers to achieve exactly same what previously discovered Drupalgeddon2 (CVE-2018-7600) flaw allowed—complete take over of affected websites.
Although Drupal team has not released any technical details of the vulnerability to prevent immediate exploitation, two individual hackers have revealed some details, along with a proof-of-concept exploit just a few hours after the patch release.
If you have been actively reading every latest story on The Hacker News, you must be aware of how the release of Drupalgeddon2 PoC exploit derived much attention, which eventually allowed attackers actively hijack websites and spread cryptocurrency miners, backdoors, and other malware.
As expected, the Drupal team has warned that the new remote code execution flaw, let's refer it Drupalgeddon3, is now actively being exploited in the wild, again leaving millions of websites vulnerable to hackers.
In this article, I have briefed what this new flaw is all about and how attackers have been exploiting it to hack websites running unpatched versions of Drupal.

The exploitation process of Drupalgeddon3 flaw is somewhat similar to Drupalgeddon2, except it requires a slightly different payload to trick vulnerable websites into executing the malicious payload on the victim's server.
Drupalgeddon3 resides due to the improper input validation in Form API, also known as "renderable arrays," which renders metadata to output the structure of most of the UI (user interface) elements in Drupal. These renderable arrays are a key-value structure in which the property keys start with a hash sign (#).
A Twitter user with handle @_dreadlocked explains that the flaw in Form API can be triggered through the "destination" GET parameter of a URL that loads when a registered user initiates a request to delete a node; where, a "node" is any piece of individual content, such as a page, article, forum topic, or a post.
Since this "destination" GET query parameter also accepts another URL (as a value) with its own GET parameters, whose values were not sanitized, it allowed an authenticated attacker to trick websites into executing the code.
What I have understood from the PoC exploit released by another Twitter user, using handle @Blaklis_, is that the unsanitized values pass though stripDangerousValues() function that filters "#" character and can be abused by encoding the "#" character in the form of "%2523".
The function decodes "%2523" into "%23," which is the Unicode version for "#" and will be processed to run arbitrary code on the system, such as a whoami utility.
At first, Drupal developers were skeptical about the possibility of real attacks using the Drupalgeddon3 vulnerability, but after the reports of in-the-wild attacks emerged, Drupal raised the level of danger of the problem to "Highly critical."
Therefore, all Drupal website administrators are highly recommended to update their websites to the latest versions of the software as soon as possible.

Amazon Alexa Has Got Some Serious Skills—Spying On Users!
9.5.2018 thehackernews  CyberSpy

"Alexa, are you spying on me?" — aaaa.....mmmm.....hmmm.....maybe!!!
Security researchers have developed a new malicious 'skill' for Amazon's popular voice assistant Alexa that can turn your Amazon Echo into a full-fledged spying device.
Amazon Echo is an always-listening voice-activated smart home speaker that allows you to get things done by using your voice, like playing music, setting alarms, and answering questions.
However, the device doesn’t remain activated all the time; instead, it sleeps until the user says, "Alexa," and by default, it ends a session after some duration.

Amazon also allows developers to build custom 'skills,' applications for Alexa, which is the brain behind millions of voice-activated smart devices including Amazon Echo Show, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap.
However, security researchers at cybersecurity firm Checkmarx created a proof-of-concept voice-driven 'skill' for Alexa that forces device to indefinitely record surround voice to secretly eavesdrop on users’ conversations and then also sends the complete transcripts to a third-party website.


Disguised as a simple calculator for solving maths problems, the malicious skill, if installed, immediately gets activated in the background after a user says "Alexa, open calculator."
"The calculator skill is initialized, and the API\Lambda-function that's associated with the skill receives a launch request as an input," researchers said in its report.
In a video demonstration, researchers show that when a user opens up a session with the calculator app (in the background), it also creates a second session without verbally indicating the user that the microphone is still active.
By design, Alexa should either end a session or ask the user for another command to keep the session open. However, the hack could allow attackers to keep the second session active for spying on users while ending the first when user interaction get overs.
Luckily, you can still spot the spy red handed if you notice the blue light on your Echo device activated for a longer period, especially when you are not chit-chatting with it.
Checkmarx reported the issue to Amazon, and the company has already addressed the problem by regularly scanning for malicious skills that "silent prompts or that listen for unusual lengths of time" and kicking them out of their official store.
It's not the first Alexa hack demonstrated by the researchers. Last year, a separate group of researchers at MWR InfoSecurity showed how hackers could turn some models of Amazon Echo into the covert listening device.

Faulty Patch for Oracle WebLogic Flaw Opens Updated Servers to Hackers Again
9.5.2018 thehackernews 

Earlier this month, Oracle patched a highly critical Java deserialization remote code execution vulnerability in its WebLogic Server component of Fusion Middleware that could allow attackers to easily gain complete control of a vulnerable server.
However, a security researcher, who operates through the Twitter handle @pyn3rd and claims to be part of the Alibaba security team, has now found a way using which attackers can bypass the security patch and exploit the WebLogic vulnerability once again.
WebLogic Server acts as a middle layer between the front end user interface and the backend database of a multi-tier enterprise application. It provides a complete set of services for all components and handles details of the application behavior automatically.
Initially discovered in November last year by Liao Xinxi of NSFOCUS security team, the Oracle WebLogic Server flaw (CVE-2018-2628) can be exploited with network access over TCP port 7001.


If exploited successfully, the flaw could allow a remote attacker to completely take over a vulnerable Oracle WebLogic Server. The vulnerability affects versions,, and
Since a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit for the original Oracle WebLogic Server vulnerability has already been made public on Github and someone has just bypassed the patch as well, your up-to-date services are again at risk of being hacked.
Although @pyn3rd has only released a short GIF (video) as a proof-of-concept (PoC) instead of releasing full bypass code or any technical details, it would hardly take a few hours or days for skilled hackers to figure out a way to achieve same.
Currently, it is unclear when Oracle would release a new security update to address this issue that has re-opened CVE-2018-2628 flaw.
In order to be at least one-step safer, it is still advisable to install April patch update released by Oracle, if you haven't yet because attackers have already started scanning the Internet for vulnerable WebLogic servers

A New Cryptocurrency Mining Virus is Spreading Through Facebook
9.5.2018 thehackernews  Cryptocurrency

If you receive a link for a video, even if it looks exciting, sent by someone (or your friend) on Facebook messenger—just don't click on it without taking a second thought.
Cybersecurity researchers from Trend Micro are warning users of a malicious Chrome extension which is spreading through Facebook Messenger and targeting users of cryptocurrency trading platforms to steal their accounts’ credentials.
Dubbed FacexWorm, the attack technique used by the malicious extension first emerged in August last year, but researchers noticed the malware re-packed a few new malicious capabilities earlier this month.
New capabilities include stealing account credentials from websites, like Google and cryptocurrency sites, redirecting victims to cryptocurrency scams, injecting miners on the web page for mining cryptocurrency, and redirecting victims to the attacker's referral link for cryptocurrency-related referral programs.
It is not the first malware to abuse Facebook Messenger to spread itself like a worm.
Late last year, Trend Micro researchers discovered a Monero-cryptocurrency mining bot, dubbed Digmine, that spreads through Facebook messenger and targets Windows computers, as well as Google Chrome for cryptocurrency mining.

Just like Digmine, FacexWorm also works by sending socially engineered links over Facebook Messenger to the friends of an affected Facebook account to redirect victims to fake versions of popular video streaming websites, like, YouTube.
It should be noted that FacexWorm extension has only been designed to target Chrome users. If the malware detects any other web browser on the victim's computer, it redirects the user to an innocuous-looking advertisement.
How Does the FacexWorm Malware Work
If the malicious video link is opened using Chrome browser, FacexWorm redirects the victim to a fake YouTube page, where the user is encouraged to download a malicious Chrome extension as a codec extension to continue playing the video.
Once installed, FacexWorm Chrome extension downloads more modules from its command and control server to perform various malicious tasks.
"FacexWorm is a clone of a normal Chrome extension but injected with short code containing its main routine. It downloads additional JavaScript code from the C&C server when the browser is opened," the researchers said.
"Every time a victim opens a new webpage, FacexWorm will query its C&C server to find and retrieve another JavaScript code (hosted on a Github repository) and execute its behaviors on that webpage."
Since the extension takes all the extended permissions at the time of installation, the malware can access or modify data for any websites the user opens.
Here below I have listed a brief outline of what FacexWorm malware can perform:
To spread itself further like a worm, the malware requests OAuth access token for the Facebook account of the victim, using which it then automatically obtains the victim's friend list and sends that malicious, fake YouTube video link to them as well.
Steal the user's account credentials for Google, MyMonero, and Coinhive, when the malware detects that the victim has opened the target website’s login page.
FacexWorm also injects cryptocurrency miner to web pages opened by the victim, which utilizes the victim computer's CPU power to mine Cryptocurrency for attackers.
FacexWorm even hijacks the user's cryptocurrency-related transactions by locating the address keyed in by the victim and replacing it with the one provided by the attacker.
When the malware detects the user has accessed one of the 52 cryptocurrency trading platforms or typed keywords like "blockchain," "eth-," or "ethereum" in the URL, FacexWorm will redirect the victim to a cryptocurrency scam webpage to steal user's digital coins. The targeted platforms include Poloniex, HitBTC, Bitfinex, Ethfinex, and Binance, and the wallet Blockchain.info.
To avoid detection or removal, the FacexWorm extension immediately closes the opened tab when it detects that the user is opening the Chrome extension management page.
The attacker also gets a referral incentive every time a victim registers an account on Binance, DigitalOcean, FreeBitco.in, FreeDoge.co.in, or HashFlare.

So far, researchers at Trend Micro have found that FacexWorm has compromised at least one Bitcoin transaction (valued at $2.49) until April 19, but they do not know how much the attackers have earned from the malicious web mining.
Cryptocurrencies targeted by FacexWorm include Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Dash (DASH), ETH, Ethereum Classic (ETC), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), Zcash (ZEC), and Monero (XMR).
The FacexWorm malware has been found surfacing in Germany, Tunisia, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Spain. But since Facebook Messenger is used worldwide, there are more chances of the malware being spread globally.
Chrome Web Store had removed many of the malicious extensions before being notified by Trend Micro researchers, but the attackers keep uploading it back to the store.
Facebook Messenger can also detect the malicious, socially engineered links and regularly block the propagation behavior of the affected Facebook accounts, researchers said.
Since Facebook Spam campaigns are quite common, users are advised to be vigilant when clicking on links and files provided via the social media site platform.

Along with Dating, Here’s a List of New Features Coming to Facebook
9.5.2018 thehackernews 

Facebook announced a whole lot of new features at its 2018 Facebook F8 developers conference, along with the keynote by its CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressing concerns from app developers after Facebook paused 3rd-party app review in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Here are some big takeaways from Zuckerberg's keynote on Day 1 of Facebook F8, held for two days, May 1 and 2, at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California:
FaceDate—Facebook's New Tinder-Like 'Dating' Feature

Still Single? Don't worry because Facebook doesn't want you to remain single for long.
The social network giant is introducing a new dating feature that will allow you to build your profile that will only be visible to other Facebook users (non-friends) who have also opted into looking for love.
Dubbed FaceDate, the new feature will match your profile based on all its data with others to find potential suitors and messaging will happen in a dedicated inbox rather than its default Messenger application.
And worry not. Neither FaceDate will match your profile with your friends, nor your friends will not be able to see your dating profile.
FaceDate is "not just for hookups," said Zuckerberg said. Rather, the feature has been designed for "real long-term relationships."
Shortly after the announcement of FaceDate, the share price of Match Group, the parent company of Match.com, fell 22%, and IAC, the parent of both popular hookup app Tinder and Match Group, fell more than 16%.
Facebook Adds 'Clear History' Tool

Facebook had been embroiled in controversies over its data sharing practices after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, forcing people to think about how the social media handles user privacy, collects data and uses it.
Now to help users protect their privacy, Facebook introduced a new feature, dubbed "Clear History," that will let users clear their browsing history on Facebook.
Clear History will enable users to see the websites and apps that send Facebook information when users use them, delete this information from users' account, and turn off Facebook's ability to store the data "associated with your account" going forward.
Once you clear your history, Facebook will remove identifying information so a history of the sites and apps you have used will not be associated with your account.
It is unclear how Facebook defines 'associated with your account.'
However, Facebook will take a few months to build the Clear History feature, and work with "privacy advocates, academics, policymakers, and regulators to get their input on our approach," Facebook VP and chief privacy officer Erin Egan said in a blog post.
"After going through our systems, this is an example of the kind of control we think you should have," Zuckerberg said. "It's something privacy advocates have been asking for."
Facebook also warned users that by using the Clear History tool, they might be required to sign back in everytime they want to log into their account.
Facebook is also committed to preventing "fake news" and fake accounts from spreading on its platform, though Zuckerberg did not tell much about how Facebook plans to do it.
Facebook Re-Opens App Reviews On Its Platform
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook paused third-party app review, but now Zuckerberg announced that the company is re-opening app reviews for developers starting Tuesday.
The relationship between Facebook and app developers has gotten complicated since it was revealed how digital consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained and misused data on potentially 87 million Facebook users to reportedly help Donald Trump win the US presidency in 2016.
Facebook paused review of new apps after it was revealed that a third-party app developer named Aleksandr Kogan, who created personality quiz app and collected personal data on millions of users who took the quiz, handed over the data to Cambridge Analytica.
"I know it hasn’t been easy being a developer these past couple months, and that’s probably an understatement," Zuckerberg said.
Facebook has re-opened app review, but the process has changed a bit. The company will now "require business verification for apps that need access to specialized APIs or extended Login permissions."
"Apps that ask for basic public profile or additional permissions, such as a birthday or user friends, are not subject to business verification," a blog post published Tuesday reads.
Real Time Language Translations In Facebook Messenger

Facebook has introduced chat translation within Messenger through its M Suggestions assistant, which will translate conversations in real time, just like web browsers do.
However, the feature will be rolled out to users in the United States throughout this year and will only translate English-Spanish conversions.
In the coming weeks, all American Messenger users will get access to this feature, and over time the social media says it will "launch this functionality in additional languages and countries."
Launching in closed beta, businesses will now be able to integrate augmented reality (AR) camera effects for its customers to experience directly into Messenger.
Now when you interact with certain businesses on Messenger, you will be able to virtually try or customize merchandise by opening the app's camera and use a pre-populated brand-specific AR effect.
Facebook is also making simplifications to Messenger's interface. Since the app's quest to embrace businesses, bots, Stories and visual sharing have made it bloated, the company has re-designed Messenger by cutting out the games and camera tabs from the navigation bar.
Besides these features, Facebook has also introduced a new way for people to share from their favorite apps, like Spotify and GoPro, to both Facebook and Instagram Stories. The company has also made its first standalone VR headset Oculus Go available globally for anyone to purchase, starting at $199.
To know more about new launches and watch the full keynote, you can head on to this blog post.

No Evidence Russian Hackers Changed Votes in 2016 Election: Senators
9.5.2018 securityweek BigBrothers

Hackers backed by the Russian government attempted to undermine confidence in the voting process in the period leading up to the 2016 presidential election, but there is no evidence that they manipulated votes or modified voter registration data, according to a brief report published on Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

According to the Senate panel, threat actors had attempted to access numerous state election systems and in some cases voter registration databases.

Authorities are confident that Russian threat actors targeted election systems in at least 18 states, and there is some evidence that three other states may have also been hit. These numbers only cover local or state government organizations – attacks on political parties and NGOs are not included.

Several other states reported seeing malicious activity, but investigators have not been able to confidently attribute the incidents to Russia.

Nearly all the targeted states observed attempts to find vulnerabilities in their systems. These scans were often aimed at the website of the Secretary of State and voter registration infrastructure, the Senate panel said in its report.

In at least six states, Russian hackers attempted to breach voting-related websites, and in a small number of cases they were able to gain unauthorized access to election infrastructure components, and even obtained the access necessary for altering or deleting voter registration data. However, it does not appear that they could have manipulated individual votes or aggregate vote totals.

The Russian government is believed to have launched this campaign at least as early as 2014 with the goal of gathering information and discrediting the integrity of the United States’ voting process and election results, senators said.

The Senate panel has admitted that its assessment, as well as the assessments of the DHS and FBI, are based on information provided by the targeted states, and there may be some attacks or breaches that have not been detected.

“While the full scope of Russian activity against the states remains unclear because of collection gaps, the Committee found ample evidence to conclude that the Russian government was developing capabilities to undermine confidence in our election infrastructure, including voter processes,” senators wrote in their report.

“The Committee does not know whether the Russian government-affiliated actors intended to exploit vulnerabilities during the 2016 elections and decided against taking action, or whether they were merely gathering information and testing capabilities for a future attack. Regardless, the Committee believes the activity indicates an intent to go beyond traditional intelligence collection,” they added.

The Trump administration recently imposed sanctions against several Russian spy agencies and 19 individuals for trying to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Adobe fixed a Critical Code Execution issue in Flash Player
9.5.2018 securityaffairs

Adobe has released security updated to address several vulnerabilities in its products, including Flash Player, Creative Cloud and Connect products.
The security updates also address a Critical Code Execution vulnerability in Flash Player tracked as CVE-2018-4944. The flaw is a critical type confusion that could be exploited to execute arbitrary code, the good news is that Adobe has rated the flaw with a rating of “2” because the company considers not imminent the development of exploit code.

The vulnerability affects Flash Player and earlier versions and was addressed with the release of version for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS.

The flaw is a critical type confusion that allows arbitrary code execution (CVE-2018-4944), but Adobe has assigned it a severity rating of “2,” which indicates that exploits are not considered imminent and there is no rush to install the update.

“Adobe has released security updates for Adobe Flash Player for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Chrome OS. These updates address critical vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary code execution in the context of the current user.” reads the advisory published by Adobe.

Adobe also addressed three security vulnerabilities in the Creative Cloud desktop applications for Windows and macOS, the issues affect version and earlier of the apps.

“Adobe has released a security update for the Creative Cloud Desktop Application for Windows and MacOS.” reads the advisory.

“This update resolves a vulnerability in the validation of certificates used by Creative Cloud desktop applications (CVE-2018-4991), and an improper input validation vulnerability (CVE-2018-4992) that could lead to privilege escalation.”

The flaws affecting the Creative Cloud desktop applications are:

an improper input validation that can be exploited to escalate privilege (critical);
an improper certificate validation problem that can lead to a security bypass (important);
an unquoted search path that can be exploited for privilege escalation (important);
All of the vulnerabilities received a priority rating of “2.”

Adobe also addressed an authentication bypass vulnerability affecting Connect versions 9.7.5 and earlier. The flaw rated as “important” could lead the exposure of sensitive information.

“An important authentication bypass vulnerability (CVE-2018-4994) exists in Adobe Connect versions 9.7.5 and earlier. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could result in sensitive information disclosure.” reads the advisory.

May 2018 Patch Tuesday: Microsoft fixes 2 zero-day flaws reportedly exploited by APT group
9.5.2018 securityaffairs

Microsoft has released the May 2018 Patch Tuesday that addresses more than 60 vulnerabilities, including two Windows zero-day flaws that can be exploited for remote code execution and privilege escalation.
Microsoft May 2018 Patch Tuesday includes security patches for 67 vulnerabilities, including two zero-days that have already been exploited in the wild by threat actors.

The security updates address 21 vulnerabilities that are rated as critical, 42 rated important, and 4 rated as low severity. The flaws affect many products, including Microsoft Windows, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Outlook, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Exchange Server, .NET Framework, Microsoft Hyper-V, ChakraCore, Azure IoT SDK, and others.

The most severe issue is CVE-2018-8174 zero-day, dubbed Double Kill, a critical vulnerability that could be exploited by remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on all supported versions of Windows.

The vulnerability was first reported by experts at Qihoo 360, according to the experts is was exploited by a known advanced persistent threat (APT) group in targeted attacks that targeted Internet Explorer and leveraged specially crafted Office weaponized documents.

The Double Kill vulnerability is a use-after-free issue that resides in the way the VBScript Engine handles objects in computer memory. An attacker can exploit the flaw to execute code that runs with the same system privileges as of the logged-in user.

“A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the way that the VBScript engine handles objects in memory. The vulnerability could corrupt memory in such a way that an attacker could execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user.” reads the advisory published by Microsoft. ” If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could take control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.”

Security experts from Kaspersky confirmed the CVE-2018-8174 flaw was exploited in targeted attacks by an APT group, the hackers delivered weaponized documents to allow the download of a second-stage payload. Hackers tricked victims into visiting a malicious HTML page that contained the code to trigger the UAF and a shellcode that downloads the malicious payload.

“In a web-based attack scenario, an attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit the vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website. An attacker could also embed an ActiveX control marked ‘safe for initialization’ in an application or Microsoft Office document that hosts the IE rendering engine,” reads Microsoft’s explains in its advisory.

“The attacker could also take advantage of compromised websites and websites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements. These websites could contain specially crafted content that could exploit the vulnerability.”

The Microsoft May 2018 Patch Tuesday also addresses another zero-day vulnerability tracked as CVE-2018-8120, a privilege escalation that is related the way the Win32k component handles objects in memory. The flaw could be exploited by an authenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code in kernel mode.

“An elevation of privilege vulnerability exists in Windows when the Win32k component fails to properly handle objects in memory. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in kernel mode. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.” reads the advisory.

“To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would first have to log on to the system. An attacker could then run a specially crafted application that could exploit the vulnerability and take control of an affected system.”

The CVE-2018-8120 flaw only affects Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.

Microsoft May 2018 Patch Tuesday

The Microsoft May 2018 Patch Tuesday also fixed two Windows vulnerabilities rated as “important” whose details have been made public. The flaws are respectively a privilege escalation issue (CVE-2018-8170) and an information disclosure (CVE-2018-8141).

Lenovo Patches Secure Boot Vulnerability in Servers
9.5.2018 securityweek

Lenovo has released patches for a High severity vulnerability impacting the Secure Boot function on some System x servers.

Exploitation of this security vulnerability could result in unauthenticated code being booted. Discovered by the computer maker’s internal testing team and tracked as CVE-2017-3775, the issue impacts a dozen models, including Flex System x240 M5, x280 X6, x480 X6, x880, x3xxx series, and NeXtScale nx360 M5 devices.

“Lenovo internal testing discovered some System x server BIOS/UEFI versions that, when Secure Boot mode is enabled by a system administrator, do not properly authenticate signed code before booting it. As a result, an attacker with physical access to the system could boot unsigned code,” the manufacturer notes.

These systems ship with Secure Boot disabled by default, because signed code is relatively new in the data center environment, the company says, adding that standard operator configurations disable signature checking.

In its advisory, the computer maker published not only the complete list of affected models, but also links to the appropriate BIOS/UEFI update for each model. The company advises admins relying on Secure Boot to control physical access to systems prior to applying the updates.

Lenovo also released a patch for a buffer overflow in Lenovo System Update Drive Mapping Utility. Tracked as CVE-2018-9063, the vulnerability could result in undefined behaviors, such as execution of arbitrary code, the company notes.

Discovered by SaifAllah benMassaoud and assessed with a Medium severity rating, the vulnerability can be exploited by an attacker entering very large user ID or password in order to overrun the program’s buffer. An attacker could potentially execute code with the MapDrv’s privileges.

Lenovo System Update version 5.07.0072 or later addresses the vulnerability and users are advised to update the application to remain protected. To determine the currently installed version of Lenovo System Update, users should launch the application, click the green question mark in the top right corner and then select “About.”

Lenovo System Update automatically checks for newer version when executed, and users should simply launch the application and accept the update when prompted. Manual updates are also possible, by downloading the latest app version from Lenovo’s site.

Telegram Rivaling Tor as Home to Criminal 'Forums'

9.5.2018 securityweek Social

Telegram Channels Offer Great Anonymity and Are Being Increasingly Used by Cybercriminals

Serious criminals are abandoning the upper levels of the dark web. The reasons appear to be the relative ease with which such criminal forums are penetrated by law enforcement agents and security researchers -- and the recent shut-downs of major criminal forums Hansa Market and AlphaBay.

Last month, Cybereason tested this idea, and concluded that serious criminals have migrated to the deeper, closed forums of the dark web. Published yesterday, researchers from Check Point now postulate an alternative destination for these criminals; that is, not to deep, dark, Tor-hidden forums, but to Telegram.

Telegram is an encrypted instant messaging system first released in 2013. Like WhatsApp, it offers individual conversations and group chats -- but what sets it apart is its security strength and end-to-end encryption. "As a result, some of its hosted chat groups have become a useful alternative to the secretive forums on the Dark Web," say the Check Point security team.

Telegram groups are known as channels. It is these channels that are increasingly used by criminals. "Any threat actor with a shady offer or conversation to start, can enjoy private and end-to-end encrypted chats instead of the exposed threads that are seen in online forums." The advantages are obvious. They are easier to operate, easier to join, and offer even greater anonymity.

Check Point gives three examples of how Telegram is used. Three channels were found in Russia known as Dark Job, Dark Work and Black Markets. Dark Jobs recruits staff for illegal jobs. The jobs are graded white (for little danger), grey (for greater illegality and difficulty), and black (for dangerous with legal risks). Anyone with the Telegram app can join this channel and can both post advertisements and apply for jobs with complete anonymity. The same principle applies to other channels, and some already have thousands of subscribers.

The simplicity of this criminal method is particularly worrying.

"This is especially worrying," say the researchers, "considering the accessibility of the channels and the promises of high salaries made to those who might otherwise refrain or have no way to reach these markets." In other words, the migration of criminals to Telegram might easily increase the general level of criminality in society.

One area that particularly worries Check Point is the promotion of insider deals. It is easy to imagine a channel called 'Insiders'. This could attract any authorized employee with a grudge or need for additional finances to sell inside access to corporate networks anonymously via Telegram.

"Threat actors might take advantage of these employees in order to obtain insider information and sensitive data that is unavailable to the public," warn the researchers. "This inside information could then be used for personal purposes or sold, or to conduct a cyber-attack from the inside of the company. This would thus eliminate the efficiency of some security solutions. After all, having someone "on the inside" is a very powerful tool. Just like in the real world, in the world of cybercrime it can often be not what you know but who you know."

This is already happening on the Dark Job channel. One advertisement is looking for employees of Western Union or MoneyGram that have access to certain systems -- and offering payment of $1000 per day.

The Dark Work channel seems to be more geared towards criminal projects than employments. One example reads, "Wanted for a dark project: Cryptor running on all systems from Windows XP to 10. Bypassing the top AV especially Avast and Defender." The concern here is that a criminal entrepreneur could outsource an entire project without needing to know anything about technology, nor even his suppliers.

The Dark Market is simply that -- a marketplace for shady goods. Novice users, say the researchers, can find "messages promoting stealthy crypto-miners that will run without the victims' knowledge in exchange for 600 rubles, or even infostealers that collect documents, screenshots and passwords in exchange for 1000 rubles." This makes the Telegram channels very similar to the dark web marketplaces (such as the old Silk Road), but easier and more secure to use.

Government recognition of the increasing criminal use of Telegram is likely behind both the recent national bans, and the western demands for law enforcement encryption backdoors. In March, Russia's Supreme Court ordered that Telegram must provide decryption keys to the country's security services -- which Telegram declined. In mid-April, Russia began blocking Telegram.

Iran also banned Telegram on April 30, 2018, but is so far having little success. As of May 7, Iran's state-owned Telecommunications Infrastructure Company (TIC), which operates under President Hassan Rouhani's Telecommunications Ministry, has yet to comply with a prosecutor's order to block the Telegram messaging app. Radio Farda, a Persian language broadcaster at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, reported today that many Iranians will use filtering software to avoid the ban. Of 9,485 respondents to a question, 9,024 replied they would "stay on Telegram using filtering circumvention software". (This is not a scientific study and is biased towards Iranian citizens already listening to a foreign broadcaster.)

In western democracies, the growing use of Telegram amply illustrates law enforcement's concern that criminals are going dark; and that law enforcement requires encryption backdoors to counter the threat. "Through the use of such tools, access to malware has never been easier, personal documents and certificates can be spread to unknown destinations and companies can be threatened by their own employees," concludes Check Point.

Critical Code Execution Flaw Patched in Flash Player
9.5.2018 securityweek

Adobe has patched several vulnerabilities in its Flash Player, Creative Cloud and Connect products, but the company believes it’s unlikely that the flaws will be exploited in the wild any time soon.

Only one vulnerability has been patched in Flash Player with the release of version for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS. The issue, reported to Adobe by Jihui Lu of Tencent KeenLab, impacts Flash Player and earlier versions.

The flaw is a critical type confusion that allows arbitrary code execution (CVE-2018-4944), but Adobe has assigned it a severity rating of “2,” which indicates that exploits are not considered imminent and there is no rush to install the update.

A total of three security holes have been patched by Adobe in the Creative Cloud desktop applications for Windows and macOS. Researchers discovered that version and earlier of the apps are impacted by an improper input validation issue that can lead to privilege escalation, an improper certificate validation problem that can lead to a security bypass, and a flaw described as an “unquoted search path” that can be exploited for privilege escalation.

The certificate validation vulnerability has been classified “critical,” while the other two issues have been rated “important.” All of them have a priority rating of “2.”

Wei Wei of Tencent's Xuanwu Lab, Ryan Hileman of Talon Voice, Chi Chou, and Cyril Vallicari of HTTPCS – Ziwit have been credited for finding the flaws.

Finally, Adobe patched an “important” authentication bypass vulnerability affecting Connect versions 9.7.5 and earlier. Exploitation of the flaw can result in the exposure of sensitive information.

Microsoft Patches Two Windows Zero-Day Vulnerabilities
9.5.2018 securityweek

Microsoft has fixed more than 60 vulnerabilities with its May 2018 Patch Tuesday updates, including two Windows zero-day flaws that can be exploited for remote code execution and privilege escalation.

The more serious of the zero-day vulnerabilities is CVE-2018-8174, a critical issue that allows attackers to remotely execute arbitrary code on all supported versions of Windows.

The existence of the flaw was revealed last month by Chinese security firm Qihoo 360, which reported that a known advanced persistent threat (APT) actor had been exploiting the vulnerability via Internet Explorer and specially crafted Office documents.

Microsoft has credited Qihoo 360 and Kaspersky Lab for reporting this vulnerability. Both companies say the flaw has been exploited in targeted attacks, but no information is currently available on the threat group.

According to Microsoft, the security hole exists due to the way the VBScript engine handles objects in memory. The weakness can be exploited through Internet Explorer by getting the targeted user to visit a malicious website (including via malvertising) or by embedding an ActiveX control marked “safe for initialization” in an application or an Office document that hosts the Internet Explorer rendering engine.

Kaspersky has described it as a use-after-free (UAF) bug. In the attacks observed by the company, the attackers delivered malicious documents set up to download a second-stage payload, specifically a malicious HTML page. The code in this web page triggers the UAF and a shellcode that downloads a malicious payload is executed.

“This technique, until fixed, allowed criminals to force Internet Explorer to load, no matter which browser one normally used – further increasing an already huge attack surface,” explained Anton Ivanov, the Kaspersky Lab researcher credited by Microsoft for reporting this flaw. “Fortunately, proactive discovery of the threat has led to the timely release of the security patch by Microsoft. We urge organizations and private users to install recent patches immediately, as it won't be long before exploits to this vulnerability make it to popular exploit kits and will be used not only by sophisticated threat actors, but also by standard cybercriminals.”

Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) pointed out that CVE-2018-8174 is very similar to CVE-2018-1004, a vulnerability patched by Microsoft in April after it was reported to the company via ZDI.

The second zero-day vulnerability patched on Tuesday by Microsoft is CVE-2018-8120, a privilege escalation weakness in Windows. The flaw, related to how the Win32k component handles objects in memory, allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code in kernel mode, but exploitation requires authentication.

Microsoft says the vulnerability only affects Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 – newer versions of the operating system do not appear to be impacted. An ESET researcher has been credited for reporting this flaw to Microsoft, but the antivirus firm has yet to share any details about the attacks involving CVE-2018-8120.

The May 2018 updates also resolve two Windows vulnerabilities whose details have been made public. The flaws have been rated “important” and they can lead to privilege escalation (CVE-2018-8170) and information disclosure (CVE-2018-8141).

Nearly 20 other issues addressed this month have been rated “critical.” They include memory corruptions in the Edge and Internet Explorer scripting engines and remote code execution flaws in Hyper-V.

Adobe has also released Patch Tuesday updates, but it has only addressed five security bugs in Flash Player, Creative Cloud and Connect.

Hide 'N Seek IoT Botnet Can Survive Device Reboots
8.5.2018 securityweek BotNet

The Internet of Things (IoT) botnet known as Hide 'N Seek that first emerged in January can now achieve persistence on infected devices, Bitdefender reports.

Discovered toward the end of April, the latest version of the malware also includes code that allows it to target more vulnerabilities and new types of devices, the security firm discovered, adding that it targets 10 different architectures and a broad range of models.

The botnet has so far infected 90,000 unique devices starting in January, and could become a major threat if weaponized.

When first observed in January, the botnet didn’t have a persistence module, meaning it was not able to survive a device reboot. This, however, changed in the last version: if it manages to successfully compromise a device via Telnet, the malware copies itself to /etc/init.d/ and adds itself to startup, so it is executed when the operating system launches.

The malware also abuses web based vulnerabilities to target specific devices like IPTV cameras, but persistence is only achieved if the infection took place via Telnet, because root privileges are required to copy the binary to the init.d directory, Bitdefender Senior E-Threat Analyst Bogdan Botezatu explains.

The malware targets a broad range of devices via the Telnet service. According to Bitdefender, the bot has 10 different binaries compiled for x86, x64, ARM (Little Endian and Big Endian), SuperH, PPC and other platforms.

The latest Hide 'N Seek version can compromise more IPTV camera models by targeting vulnerabilities in Wansview NCS601W IP camera (a cloud-only device) and AVTECH IP Camera, NVR and DVR (the maker’s products have been targeted by other IoT malware as well).

Responding to a SecurityWeek inquiry, Botezatu revealed that the Hide 'N Seek malware targets a long list of weak or default credentials frequently found in IoT devices.

“The list is extremely long and features several camera models, but the hardcoded credentials also target several router models. In addition to specific models, the bot also attempts these credentials against Telnet for all sorts of devices. The fact that it has binaries compiled for 10 platforms and architectures shows that the attacker is aiming at enrolling as many devices, regardless of type, maker, and model,” Botezatu said.

“We've notified vendors about this,” he added.

Over the past three months, Hide 'N Seek has been growing steadily although some devices left the botnet, while others joined it. Most likely, the botnet lost those devices “that could not be exploited in a way to offer persistence,” Botezatu said.

From February to May, however, Bitdefender’s security researchers identified almost 65,000 infected devices.

Botezatu told SecurityWeek that five versions of the botnet have been observed thus far. However, there haven’t been major changes in the list of supported commands compared to the earlier versions, and no support for distributed denial of service (DDoS), the most commonly encountered purpose of IoT botnets, has been added to Hide 'N Seek either.

“Based on the evidence at hand, we presume that this botnet is in the growth phase, as operators are trying to seize as many devices as possible before adding weaponized features to the binary,” Botezatu revealed.

As for the current geographic distribution of the bots, most of them are located in China, with Russia, Brazil, the United States, and Italy rounding up top five, followed by India, Poland, Bulgaria, France, and Republic of Korea.

Romanian Who Attacked Warcraft Gets Year in Prison
8.5.2018 securityweek Crime

A Romanian man who launched a cyber attack on the California-based servers of the hugely popular online fantasy game World of Warcraft over a squabble with other players was sentenced on Monday to one year in prison.

Calin Mateias, 38, of Bucharest, was extradited to the United States to face felony charges over the 2010 attack that saw him flood World of Warcraft servers with a massive amount of traffic and requests, thus making the game inaccessible for thousands of players.

"Angered by a player he regularly competed against, the defendant determined to defeat his WoW opponents by interrupting the game's server so they could not access the game," prosecutors said in court documents.

"His actions were motivated by a juvenile desire to win the game, and for others to lose it."

In February, Mateias pleaded guilty to one count of causing damage to a protected computer and last month paid $30,000 to Blizzard Entertainment, which created the role-playing game.

Following his plea, US authorities dropped charges against him in a separate hacking case in Pennsylvania.

SafeBreach Raises $15 Million in Series B Funding
8.5.2018 securityweek IT

Attack simulation platform provider SafeBreach on Tuesday announced that it raised $15 million in a Series B funding round, bringing the total raised by the company to date to $34 million.

The latest funding round was led by Draper Nexus with participation from PayPal and existing investors Sequoia Capital, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, and HPE Pathfinder.

SafeBreach told SecurityWeek that the funding will be used for continued product innovation, further expansion of marketing and sales, and to support the company’s growing global customer base.SafeBreach raises $15 million

The firm has announced record growth, claiming that bookings increased over 470 percent year-over-year with expanded traction in the Fortune 100 sector.

SafeBreach’s Breach and Attack Simulation platform allows organizations to test their defenses against more than 3,400 breach methods.

Along with the new funding, SafeBreach announced on Tuesday a series of new capabilities for its platform. These include the addition of simulations based on US-CERT alerts and the MITRE ATT&CK framework, and integration with Visa Threat Intelligence for creating breach methods specific to the payment industry.

Organizations using SafeBreach’s platform now enable their security teams to prioritize and drill down into simulation results.

“Organizations can use the Risk Trends, Kill Chain Explorer and simulation analysis dashboards available on the platform, integrate with existing security operations workflows via SafeBreach partnership with industry leading SIEM providers such as Splunk and Arcsight, or utilize existing Business Intelligence tools such as Tableau and Kibana to target critical areas of focus and vastly reduce alert fatigue,” SafeBreach said.

Another new capability added to the SafeBreach platform is designed to accelerate remediation efforts through integration with various third-party solutions, including the Jira and ServiceNow ticketing systems, and the Phantom and Demisto automation and orchestration platforms.

Unofficial Patch Released for Zero-Days Affecting Dasan Routers
8.5.2018 securityweek

An unofficial patch has been released for the zero-day vulnerabilities affecting a large number of routers made by South Korea-based Dasan Networks.

vpnMentor last week disclosed the details of two vulnerabilities impacting Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network (GPON) routers made by Dasan. The affected devices are typically provided by ISPs that offer fiber-optic Internet.

There are roughly one million of these GPON home routers exposed to the Internet, a majority located in Mexico, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam.

One of the flaws discovered by vpnMentor (CVE-2018-10561) allows a remote attacker to bypass a router’s authentication mechanism, while the second vulnerability (CVE-2018-10562) can be exploited by an authenticated attacker to inject arbitrary commands. The security holes can be combined to take complete control of vulnerable devices.

Shortly after the vulnerabilities were disclosed, researchers started seeing attempts to exploit the flaws. Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 has observed three campaigns, including ones involving the Mirai and Muhstik botnets. It’s worth noting that the Muhstik botnet was recently spotted exploiting a critical Drupal vulnerability dubbed Drupalgeddon2.

Since it might take a while until Dasan releases an official firmware update for its products, vpnMentor has decided to create its own patch.

Users simply have to enter their router’s local IP address and click the “Run Patch” button. The tool runs a script in the browser that disables the web server so that attackers can no longer gain access to it.

Since this is not an official patch, vpnMentor does not offer any guarantees and the company warns that re-enabling the web server is not an easy process. It does highlight the fact that none of the data entered by users is stored on its systems, which can be verified in the tool’s source code.

The tool and usage instructions are available on vpnMentor’s website.

Routers made by Dasan have been known to be targeted by botnets. Researchers revealed in February that the Satori botnet had ensnared thousands of devices by exploiting a remote code execution vulnerability disclosed in December 2017 by Beyond Security, which claimed the vendor had ignored repeated attempts to report the issue.

UPDATE. Dasan has provided the following statement to SecurityWeek:

DASAN Zhone Solutions, Inc. has investigated recent media reports that certain DZS GPON Network Interface Devices (NIDs), more commonly known as routers, could be vulnerable to an authentication bypass exploit.

DZS has determined that the ZNID-GPON-25xx series and certain H640series GPON ONTs, when operating on specific software releases, are affected by this vulnerability. No service impacts from this vulnerability have been reported to DZS to date. After an internal investigation, we have determined the potential impact is much more limited in scope than previously reported in the media. According to DZS sales records, combined with field data gathered to date, we have estimated that the number of GPON ONT units that may be potentially impacted to be less than 240,000. In addition, given the relative maturity of the products in their lifecycle, we think the impact is limited to even fewer devices.

Product History

The DZS ZNID-GPON-25xx and certain H640-series ONTs, including the software that introduced this vulnerability, were developed by an OEM supplier and resold by DZS. While designed and released more than 9 years ago, most of these products are now well past their sustainable service life. Because software support contracts are no longer offered for most of these products, we do not have direct insight to the total number of units that are still actively used in the field.


DZS has informed all the customers who purchased these models of the vulnerability. We are working with each customer to help them assess methods to address the issue for units that may still be installed in the field. It will be up to the discretion of each customer to decide how to address the condition for their deployed equipment.

Secret Conversation – Twitter is testing End-to-End Encryption for direct messages
8.5.2018 securityaffairs

A security researcher found evidence that Twitter is testing a new feature, dubbed ‘Secret Conversation,’ to enable end-to-end encryption for its Direct Messages,
Twitter plans to adopt end-to-end encryption for its Direct Messages, the company is currently testing its new service dubbed ‘Secret Conversation’.

The discovery was made by the computer science student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Jane Manchun Wong that noticed the Secret Conversation feature in the latest version of Android application package (APK) for Twitter.

Jane Manchun Wong
Twitter is working on End-to-End Encrypted Secret DM!

6:50 AM - May 4, 2018
155 people are talking about this
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We have a long debate about the End-to-end encryption that allows secure communications between interlocutors preventing eavesdropping, many companies already implement it for its services, including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Skype.

The Secret Conversation is currently available only to a small number of users for testing purpose.

Secret Conversation Twitter

Unlike other platforms, like WhatsApp, the conversations on Twitter Direct Message will not use the end-to-end encryption by default.

Users have to choose to start an encrypted chat, the principle is similar the Secret Conversations on Facebook Messenger.

Below the steps to start using the new feature on Twitter:

Open the Twitter app on your Android device.
Open an existing conversation or start a new DM conversation.
Tap on the information icon in the upper right corner of your phone.
Select ‘Start a secret text message,’
According to the expert, end-to-end encryption Secret Conversation feature would not be available for desktop/web version of Twitter.

Phishers Use New Method to Bypass Office 365 Safe Links
8.5.2018 securityweek 

Cybercriminals have been using a new method to ensure that the URLs included in their phishing emails bypass the Safe Links security feature in Office 365, cloud security company Avanan revealed on Tuesday.

Safe Links, offered as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) solution, is designed to protect organizations against malicious links delivered through emails and documents. Safe Links checks the original URL to see if it has been blacklisted (by Microsoft or the ATP customer) or if it points to malware. If a malicious element is detected, the original link is replaced and users are alerted when they click on it.

Avanan says cybercriminals have found a simple way to bypass this security feature by using a <base> tag in the HTML header – basically splitting the malicious URL. Using this method, Safe Links only checks the base domain and ignores the rest – the link is not replaced and the user is allowed to access the phishing site.

Base tag phishing - Safe Links bypass

“At one time, email clients did not support the <base> tag, so every link need to be an absolute URL. Support for relative URLs in email is a recent development and the behavior is client dependent. Older email clients will ignore the <base> tag, but web-based email clients, recent desktop clients and most mobile apps will now handle the <base> tag and recombine the URL into a clickable link,” Avanan explained.

The attack method, which Avanan has dubbed “baseStriker,” works against the Outlook clients, including the web-based, mobile and desktop applications, which support the <base> header tag. Gmail is not impacted and some security solutions, such as the one provided by Mimecast, protect users against these attacks.

While Avanan has only seen this method being exploited in phishing attacks, they believe it can also be leveraged to deliver ransomware and other types of malware.

Avanan discovered the use of this attack method after seeing that some phishing emails made it past filters included in Microsoft and Proofpoint products. An investigation revealed that the malicious messages that bypassed these filters had been using the <base> tag.

“What made this attack interesting was that the URLs that were making it through were already known by the major blacklist databases that Microsoft subscribes to,” Yoav Nathaniel, Avanan research engineer, told SecurityWeek.

According to Nathaniel, a majority of the phishing messages observed by Avanan purport to be DocuSign or Office 365 links and they lead to a fake login page.

“The FROM address is customized on a per-email basis to look like the email is an internal one. The FROM: takes the form of ‘targetcompany.com <name@realdomain.com>’ so the user will see ‘targetcompany.com’ as the name, often fooling the user into thinking it is an internal email address. The email is coming from a real email account so the sender passes SPF and DKIM,” Nathaniel said.

“The SUBJECT is customized on a per-email basis to seem like the message is an internal one. The SUBJECT is of the form ‘realemailaddress@targetcompany.com has sent you a document’,” he added. “The email includes the one or more logos including Office365 or DocuSign or other document sharing service as well as the standard boilerplate text that would be expected at the bottom of such an email. The emails are well-crafted with few or no spelling mistakes.”

Microsoft has been made aware of these attacks and the company has launched an investigation.

“Microsoft has a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues and provide resolution as soon as possible,” a Microsoft spokesperson told SecurityWeek. “We encourage customers to practice safe computing habits by avoiding opening links in emails from senders they don’t recognize.”

This is not the first time researchers have found a way to bypass Safe Links. Both Avanan and others have disclosed several methods in recent months.

Reading the 2017 Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) report
8.5.2018 securityaffairs CyberCrime

The FBI’s Internal Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released the FBI 2017 Internet Crime Report, a document that outlines cybercrime trends over the past year.
Here we are to analyze the annual FBI 2017 Internet Crime Report, one of the most interesting documents on the crime trends in the last 12 months.

The first figure that captures our attention show the decrease of ransomware infections reported by Internet users to the US authorities.

During 2017, the FBI received 1,783 complaints regarding ransomware infections, a figure smaller than previous years (2,673 complaints in 2016, 2,453 complaints received in 2015).

“Victims are encouraged and often directed by law enforcement to file a complaint online at www.ic3.gov. Complainants are asked to document accurate and complete information related to the Internet crime, as well as any other relevant information necessary to support the complaint.” reads the report.

This data is very strange considering that almost any security firm reported a dramatic increase in the number of ransomware infections, a possible explanation it that victims did not report the crime to the authorities.

Ransomware is ranked at 24th for most reported cyber-crime in the US based on the number of complaints received by the authorities. According to the FBI’s 2017 Internet Crime Report, ransomware caused total damages of $2,344,365.

What these numbers show is that victims are (still) not reporting ransomware infections to law enforcement officials, opting in most cases to pay ransoms, restore from backups, or reinstall PCs without filing a complaint.

“In all cases the FBI encourages organizations to contact a local FBI field office immediately to report a ransomware event and request assistance.” states the report.
“In 2017, the IC3 received 1,783 complaints identified as ransomware with adjusted losses of over $2.3 million.”

The top 2017 Crime Types for the number of complaints are Non-Payment/Non-Delivery (84,079), Personal Data Breach (30,904) Corporate Data Breach, and Phishing/Vishing/Smishing/Pharming (25,344)

FBI 2017 Internet Crime Report

The analysis of losses caused by crimes received that BEC/EAC ($676,151,185) is prominent, followed by Confidence Fraud/Romance ($211,382,989), and
Non-Payment/Non-Delivery ($141,110,441).

“BEC is a sophisticated scam targeting businesses that often work with foreign suppliers and/or businesses and regularly perform wire transfer payments. The Email Account Compromise (EAC) variation of BEC targets individuals who regularly perform wire transfer payments.” continues the report.

“It should be noted while most BEC and EAC victims reported using wire transfers as their regular method of transferring business funds, some victims reported using checks.”

Top 20 Foreign Countries by victim sees Canada (3,164) in the first position, followed by India (2,819), and the UK (1,383).

Let me suggest reading the FBI 2017 Internet Crime Report for further data con the criminal activities reported in 2017.

UPDATED – Critical RCE vulnerability found in over a million GPON Home Routers
8.5.2018 securityaffairs

Security researchers at VPNMentor conducted a comprehensive assessment on of a number of GPON home routers and discovered a Critical remote code vulnerability that could be exploited to gain full control over them.
The researchers have found a way to bypass the authentication to access the GPON home routers (CVE-2018-10561). The experts chained this authentication bypass flaw with another command injection vulnerability (CVE-2018-10562) and were able to execute commands on the device.

GPON Home Routers hack

Analyzing the firmware of the GPON home routers, the experts found two different critical vulnerabilities (CVE-2018-10561 & CVE-2018-10562) that could be chained to allow complete control of the vulnerable device and therefore the network. The first vulnerability exploits the authentication mechanism of the device, it could be exploited by an attacker to bypass all authentication.

The vulnerability effects the build in HTTP servers, which check for specific paths when authenticating. This allows the attacker to bypass authentication on any endpoint using a simple trick.

By appending

?images/ to the URL

the attacker can bypass the endpoint.

This works on both HTML pages and GponForm/

For instance, by inserting



the experts were able to control the GPON Home Routers.

While looking through the device functionalities, the experts noticed the diagnostic endpoint contained the ping and traceroute commands. It didn’t take much to figure out that the commands can be injected using the host parameter.

“Since the router saves ping results in /tmp and transmits it to the user when the user revisits /diag.html, it’s quite simple to execute commands and retrieve their output with the authentication bypass vulnerability.” reads the analysis published by VPNMentor.

The experts included the following bash version of the exploit code:


echo "[+] Sending the Command... "

“We send the commands with two modes backtick (`) and semicolon (;) because different models trigger on different devices” continues the post:

curl -k -d "XWebPageName=diag&diag_action=ping&wan_conlist=0&dest_host=\`$2\`;$2&ipv=0" $1/GponForm/diag_Form?images/ 2>/dev/null 1>/dev/null
echo "[+] Waiting...."
sleep 3
echo "[+] Retrieving the ouput...."
curl -k $1/diag.html?images/ 2>/dev/null | grep 'diag_result = ' | sed -e 's/\\n/\n/g'

GPON is a very popular passive optical network device that uses fiber-optics, these devices are provided by ISPs. In the video, you can see that over one million people use this type of network system router.

Below a video PoC published by the researchers:

“We tested this vulnerability on many random GPON routers, and the vulnerability was found on all of them. Because so many people use these types of routers, this vulnerability can result in an entire network compromise.” concluded the experts.

Check if your router uses the GPON network.
Be aware that GPON routers can be hacked and exploited.
Talk to your ISP to see what they can do to fix the bug.
Warn your friends on Facebook (click here to share) and Twitter (click here to tweet).
Update May 08, 2018
The Italian security expert Federico Valentini (@f3d_0x0), ICT Security researcher at Cefriel, published a Python exploit for Remote Code Execution on GPON home routers (CVE-2018-10562).

The PoC code is available on GitHub:


Hackers continue to hack Drupal installs to install backdoors and inject cryptocurrency malware
8.5.2018 securityaffairs Cryptocurrency

Recently security experts discovered two critical vulnerabilities in the Drupal CMS (CVE-2018-7600 and CVE-2018-7602), and cybercriminals promptly attempted to exploit them in the wild.
The hackers started using the exploits for the above vulnerabilities to compromise drupal installs, mostly cryptocurrency mining.

It has been estimated that potentially over one million Drupal websites are vulnerable to cyber attacks exploiting the two flaws if the security patches are not installed.

A week after the release of the security update for the CVE-2018-7600 flaw, a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit was publicly disclosed.

The experts at security firm Check Point along with Drupal experts at Dofinity analyzed the CMS to analyzed the Drupalgeddon2 vulnerability and published a technical report on the flaw.

After the publication of the report. the expert Vitalii Rudnykh shared a working Proof-Of-Concept for Drupalgeddon2 on GitHub for “educational or information purposes.”

Immediately after the disclosure of the PoC, security experts started observing bad actors attempting to exploit the flaw to install crypto miners and backdoors.

Now, a growing number of malware campaigns is targeting Drupal installs, one of them was recently discovered by the security researcher Troy Mursch.

“Yesterday, I was alerted to a cryptojacking campaign affecting the websites of the San Diego Zoo and the government of Chihuahua, Mexico.” wrote Mursch.

“While these two sites have no relation to each other, they shared a common denominator — they both are using an outdated and vulnerable version of the Drupal content management system.”

Bad Packets Report
#Coinhive found on the website of the San Diego Zoo (@sandiegozoo) in the latest high-profile case of #cryptojacking.

12:16 AM - May 5, 2018
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Bad Packets Report
5 May
The #cryptojacking campaign targeting the @sandiegozoo website is also affecting the website of the government of Chihuahua.
(@SFP_Chihuahua)http://chihuahua.gob.mx/ https://twitter.com/jcgarciagamero/status/992549470846976001 …

Bad Packets Report
Similar story here -- #Coinhive injected via the same #JavaScript library (jquery.once.js?v=1.2) pointing to http://vuuwd[.]com/t.js

Also an outdated #Drupal installation. pic.twitter.com/fXv2sBsIVB

2:04 AM - May 5, 2018

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The researcher discovered that hundreds of websites were compromised with a Coinhive script via the same method. The malicious code was contained in the “/misc/jquery.once.js?v=1.2” JavaScript library and even if the payloads were different, all the infected websites pointed to the same domain using the same Coinhive site key.

Mursch published a list of compromised website that includes the National Labor Relations Board and the Turkish Revenue Administration.

Security researchers from Imperva also found a malware campaign targeting Drupal websites tracked as “Kitty” campaign.

“As expected, since then we’ve been picking up various attack variants piggybacking on the Drupalgeddon 2.0 exploit, including remote scanners and backdoor attempts.” reads the analysis published by Imperva.

” During the inspection of the attacks blocked by our systems, we came across the “Kitty” malware, an advanced Monero cryptocurrency miner, utilizing a “webminerpool”, an open source mining software for browsers”

The attackers used an in-browser cryptocurrency miner inside a file named “me0w.js,” the code was provided by legitimate Monero mining pool service webminerpool.com.

Cybercriminals also installed a PHP-based backdoor on compromised.

According to Imperva, the Monero address used in the Kitty campaign is the same used in other attacks on servers running vBulletin 4.2.x forums that occurred in April.

“The Monero address used in “Kitty” was also spotted at the start of April 2018, in attacks targeting web servers that run the vBulletin 4.2.X CMS. The attacker uploaded the malware to the infected vBulletin web servers, turning them into distribution centers and making it much harder to track the attacker.” continues the analysis.

“The first generation of the ‘Kitty malware’ we discovered was version 1.5, and the latest version is 1.6. This type of behavior can be an indication of an organized attacker, developing their malware like a software product, fixing bugs and releasing new features in cycles.”

No doubts, the attackers will continue to attempt the exploitation of both Drupal flaws in the next weeks, for this reason, it is essential to apply the necessary updates.

SynAck targeted ransomware uses the Doppelgänging technique
8.5.2018 Kaspersky 
The Process Doppelgänging technique was first presented in December 2017 at the BlackHat conference. Since the presentation several threat actors have started using this sophisticated technique in an attempt to bypass modern security solutions.

In April 2018, we spotted the first ransomware employing this bypass technique – SynAck ransomware. It should be noted that SynAck is not new – it has been known since at least September 2017 – but a recently discovered sample caught our attention after it was found to be using Process Doppelgänging. Here we present the results of our investigation of this new SynAck variant.

Anti-analysis and anti-detection techniques
Process Doppelgänging
SynAck ransomware uses this technique in an attempt to bypass modern security solutions. The main purpose of the technique is to use NTFS transactions to launch a malicious process from the transacted file so that the malicious process looks like a legitimate one.

Part of the procedure that implements Process Doppelgänging

Binary obfuscation
To complicate the malware analysts’ task, malware developers often use custom PE packers to protect the original code of the Trojan executable. Most packers of this type, however, are effortlessly unpacked to reveal the original unchanged Trojan PE file that’s suitable for analysis.

This, however, is not the case with SynAck. The Trojan executable is not packed; instead, it is thoroughly obfuscated prior to compilation. As a result, the task of reverse engineering is considerably more complicated with SynAck than it is with other recent ransomware strains.

The control flow of the Trojan executable is convoluted. Most of the CALLs are indirect, and the destination address is calculated by arithmetic operation from two DWORD constants.

All of the WinAPI function addresses are imported dynamically by parsing the exports of system DLLs and calculating a CRC32-based hash of the function name. This in itself is neither new nor particularly difficult to analyze. However, the developers of SynAck further complicated this approach by obscuring both the address of the procedure that retrieves the API function address, and the target hash value.

Let’s illustrate in detail how SynAck calls WinAPI functions. Consider the following piece of disassembly:

This code takes the DWORD located at 403b13, subtracts the constant 78f5ec4d, with the result 403ad0, and calls the procedure at this address.

This procedure pushes two constants (N1 = ffffffff877bbca1 and N2 = 2f399204) onto the stack and passes the execution to the procedure at 403680 which will calculate the result of N1 xor N2 = a8422ea5.

This value is the hash of the API function name that SynAck wants to call. The procedure 403680 will then find the address of this function by parsing the export tables of system DLLs, calculating the hash of each function name and comparing it to the value a8422ea5. When this API function address is found, SynAck will pass the execution to this address.

Notice that instead of a simple CALL in the image above it uses the instructions PUSH + RET which is another attempt to complicate analysis. The developers of SynAck use different instruction combinations instead of CALL when calling WinAPI functions:

push reg
jmp reg
mov [rsp-var], reg
jmp qword ptr [rsp-var]
To counter these attempts by the malware developers, we created an IDAPython script that automatically parses the code, extracts the addresses of all intermediate procedures, extracts the constants and calculates the hashes of the WinAPI functions that the malware wants to import.

We then calculated the hash values of the functions exported from Windows system DLLs and matched them against the values required by SynAck. The result was a list showing which hash value corresponds to which API function.

Part of the list of API functions imported by SynAck and their hashes

Our script then uses this list to save comments in the IDA database to indicate which API is going to be called by the Trojan. Here is the code from the example above after deobfuscation.

Disassembly screen – note the comment with the target API function name

Hex-Rays decompilation screen – again, the API function names are recognized

Language check
At an early stage of execution the Trojan performs a check to find out whether it has been launched on a PC from a certain list of countries. To do this, it lists all the keyboard layouts installed on the victim’s PC and checks against a list hardcoded into the malware body. If it finds a match, SynAck sleeps for 300 seconds and then just calls ExitProcess to prevent encryption of files belonging to a victim from these countries.

Part of the procedure that stops the Trojan if the language check is not passed

Part of the procedure that checks the keyboard layouts on the infected PC

Directory name validation
Shortly after the language check, which can be considered fairly common among modern ransomware, SynAck performs a check on the directory where its executable is started from. If there’s an attempt to launch it from an ‘incorrect’ directory, the Trojan won’t proceed and will just exit instead. This measure has been added by the malware developers to counter automatic sandbox analysis.

As with API imports, the Trojan doesn’t store the strings it wants to check; instead it stores their hashes – a tactic that hinders efforts to find the original strings.

SynAck contains nine hashes; we have been able to brute-force two of them:

0x05f9053d == hash("output")
0x2cd2f8e2 == hash("plugins")
In the process we found a lot of collisions (gibberish strings that give the same hash value as the meaningful ones).

Cryptographic scheme
Like other ransomware, SynAck uses a combination of symmetric and asymmetric encryption algorithms. At the core of the SynAck algorithm lies the hybrid ECIES scheme. It is composed of ‘building blocks’ which interact with each other: ENC (symmetric encryption algorithm), KDF (key derivation function), and MAC (message authentication code). The ECIES scheme can be implemented using different building blocks. To calculate a key for the symmetric algorithm ENC, this scheme employs the ECDH protocol (Diffie-Hellman over a chosen elliptic curve).

The developers of this Trojan chose the following implementation:


KDF: PBKDF2-SHA1 with one iteration


ECDH curve: standard NIST elliptic curve secp192r1

This is the function that implements the ECIES scheme in the SynAck sample.

Input: plaintext, input_public_key

Output: ciphertext, ecies_public_key, MAC

The Trojan generates a pair of asymmetric keys: ecies_private_key and ecies_public_key;
Using the generated ecies_private_key and input_public_key the Trojan calculates the shared secret according to the Diffie-Hellman protocol on an elliptic curve:
ecies_shared_secret = ECDH(ecies_private_key, input_public_key)
Using the PBKDF2-SHA1 function with one iteration, the Trojan derives two byte arrays, key_enc and key_mac, from ecies_shared_secret. The size of key_enc is equal to the size of the plaintext;
The plaintext is XORed byte to byte with the key_enc;
The Trojan calculates the MAC (message authentication code) of the obtained ciphertext using the algorithm HMAC-SHA1 with key_mac as the key.
At the first step the Trojan generates a pair of private and public keys: the private key (session_private_key) is a 192-bit random number and the public key (session_public_key) is a point on the standard NIST elliptic curve secp192r1.

Then the Trojan gathers some unique information such as computer and user names, OS version info, unique infection ID, session private key and some random data and encrypts it using a randomly generated 256-bit AES key. The encrypted data is saved as the encrypted_unique_data buffer.

To encrypt the AES key, the Trojan uses the ECIES-XOR-HMAC-SHA1 function (see description above; hereafter referred to as the ECIES function). SynAck passes the AES key as the plaintext parameter and the hardcoded cybercriminal’s master_public_key as input_public_key. The field encrypted_aes_key contains the ciphertext returned by the function, public_key_n is the ECIES public key and message_authentication_code is the MAC.

At the next step the Trojan forms the structure cipher_info.

struct cipher_info
uint8_t encrypted_unique_data[240];
uint8_t public_key_n[49];
uint8_t encrypted_aes_key[44];
uint8_t message_authentication_code[20];
It is shown in the image below.

Encrypted initialization information

This data is then encoded in base64 and written into the ransom note.

Ransom note

As we can see, the criminals ask the victim to include this encoded text in their message.

File encryption
The content of each file is encrypted by the AES-256-ECB algorithm with a randomly generated key. After encryption, the Trojan forms a structure containing information such as the encryption label 0xA4EF5C91, the used AES key, encrypted chunk size and the original file name. This information can be represented as a structure:

struct encryption_info
uint32_t label = 0xA4EF5C91;
uint8_t aes_key[32];
uint32_t encrypted_chunk_size;
uint32_t reserved;
uint8_t original_name_buffer[522];
The Trojan then calls the ECIES function and passes the encryption_info structure as the plaintext and the previously generated session_public_key as the input_public_key. The result returned by this function is saved into a structure which we dubbed file_service_structure. The field encrypted_file_info contains the ciphertext returned by the function, ecc_file_key_public is the ECIES public key and message_authentication_code is the MAC.

struct file_service_structure
uint8_t ecc_file_key_public[49];
encryption_info encrypted_file_info;
uint8_t message_authentication_code[20];
This structure is written to the end of the encrypted file. This results in an encrypted file having the following structure:

struct encrypted_file
uint8_t encrypted_data[file_size - file_size % AES_BLOCK_SIZE];
uint8_t original_trailer[file_size % AES_BLOCK_SIZE];
uint64_t encryption_label = 0x65CE3D204A93A12F;
uint32_t infection_id;
uint32_t service_structure_size;
file_service_structure service_info;
The encrypted file structure is shown in the image below.

Encrypted file structure

After encryption the files will have randomly generated extensions.

Directory after encryption

Other features
Termination of processes and services
Prior to file encryption, SynAck enumerates all running processes and all services and checks the hashes of their names against two lists of hardcoded hash values (several hundred combined). If it finds a match, the Trojan will attempt to kill the process (using the TerminateProcess API function) or to stop the service (using ControlService with the parameter SERVICE_CONTROL_STOP).

To find out which processes it wants to terminate and which services to stop, we brute-forced the hashes from the Trojan body. Below are some of the results.

Processes Services
Hash Name Hash Name
0x9a130164 dns.exe 0x11216a38 vss
0xf79b0775 lua.exe 0xe3f1f130 mysql
0x6475ad3c mmc.exe 0xc82cea8d qbvss
0xe107acf0 php.exe 0xebcd4079 sesvc
0xf7f811c4 vds.exe 0xf3d0e358 vmvss
0xcf96a066 lync.exe 0x31c3fbb6 wmsvc
0x167f833f nssm.exe 0x716f1a42 w3svc
0x255c7041 ssms.exe 0xa6332453 memtas
0xbdcc75a9 w3wp.exe 0x82953a7a mepocs
0x410de6a4 excel.exe
0x9197b633 httpd.exe
0x83ddb55a ilsvc.exe
0xb27761ed javaw.exe
0xfd8b9308 melsc.exe
0xa105f60b memis.exe
0x10e94bcc memta.exe
0xb8de9e34 mepoc.exe
0xeaa98593 monad.exe
0x67181e9b mqsvc.exe
0xd6863409 msoia.exe
0x5fcab0fe named.exe
0x7d171368 qbw32.exe
0x7216db84 skype.exe
0xd2f6ce06 steam.exe
0x68906b65 store.exe
0x6d6daa28 vksts.exe
0x33cc148e vssvc.exe
0x26731ae9 conime.exe
0x76384ffe fdhost.exe
0x8cc08bd7 mepopc.exe
0x2e883bd5 metray.exe
0xd1b5c8df mysqld.exe
0xd2831c37 python.exe
0xf7dc2e4e srvany.exe
0x8a37ebfa tabtip.exe
As we can see, SynAck seeks to stop programs related to virtual machines, office applications, script interpreters, database applications, backup systems, gaming applications and so on. It might be doing this to grant itself access to valuable files that could have been otherwise used by the running processes.

Clearing the event logs
To impede possible forensic analysis of an infected machine, SynAck clears the event logs stored by the system. To do so, it uses two approaches. For Windows versions prior to Vista, it enumerates the registry key SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\EventLog and uses OpenEventLog/ClearEventLog API functions. For more modern Windows versions, it uses the functions from EvtOpenChannelEnum/EvtNextChannelPath/EvtClearLog and from Wevtapi.dll.

Ransom note on logon screen
SynAck is also capable of adding a custom text to the Windows logon screen. It does this by modifying the LegalNoticeCaption and LegalNoticeText keys in the registry. As a result, before the user signs in to their account, Windows shows a message from the cybercriminals.

Windows logon screen with ransom text

Attack statistics
We have currently only observed several attacks in the USA, Kuwait, Germany, and Iran. This leads us to believe that this is targeted ransomware.

Detection verdicts


SynAck Ransomware Uses Process Doppelgänging for Evasion
7.5.2018 securityweek

SynAck has become the first ransomware family to leverage the Process Doppelgänging technique in an attempt to bypass security products, Kaspersky Lab reports.

Discovered in September 2017, SynAck isn’t new malware, but started using the evasion method last month, Kaspersky's security researchers warn. The technique isn’t new either, as it was first detailed in December 2017 by enSilo.

Similar to process hollowing, Process Doppelgänging abuses the Windows loader to execute code without writing it to disk, making detection more difficult. The malicious code is correctly mapped to a file on the disk, just as it would be in the case of a legitimate process.

As expected, SynAck leverages Process Doppelgänging to bypass modern security solutions (which would flag any unmapped code).

“The main purpose of the technique is to use NTFS transactions to launch a malicious process from the transacted file so that the malicious process looks like a legitimate one,” Kaspersky notes.

The technique was previously demonstrated to bypass security products from Microsoft, AVG, Bitdefender, ESET, Symantec, McAfee, Kaspersky, Panda Security and Avast. It would work on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 machines.

Not only does SynAck evade detection, but it also makes analysis more difficult, due to heavy use of obfuscation (although it doesn’t use a packer).

“The control flow of the Trojan executable is convoluted. Most of the CALLs are indirect, and the destination address is calculated by arithmetic operation from two DWORD constants. All of the WinAPI function addresses are imported dynamically by parsing the exports of system DLLs and calculating a CRC32-based hash of the function name,” Kaspersky notes.

While the method has been used before, SynAck’s authors complicated it further by obscuring the address of the procedure that retrieves the API function address and the target hash value.

During execution, the malware checks the language of the system to verify whether it runs on a PC from a certain list of countries. SynAck also checks the directory where its executable is started from and exits if it is launched from an ‘incorrect’ directory.

The security researchers also discovered that the Trojan doesn’t store the strings it wants to check, but only their hashes, an effort to hinder attempts to find the original strings. SynAck uses a combination of symmetric and asymmetric encryption algorithms, Kaspersky notes.

The ransonmware encrypts the content of each file using the AES-256-ECB algorithm with a randomly generated key and adds a random extension to the encrypted files.

Before encrypting user’s files, the malware enumerates all running processes and services and checks the hashes of their names against hardcoded values. If it finds a match, SynAck attempts to kill the process or to stop the service.

The ransomware targets programs related to virtual machines, office applications, script interpreters, database applications, backup systems, gaming applications, and more. Kaspersky suggests the malware kills these processes to grant itself access to the files they might be using.

SynAck also clears the event logs stored by the system and can add a custom text to the Windows logon screen by modifying the LegalNoticeCaption and LegalNoticeText keys in the registry. This results in the user seeing a message from the cybercriminals before logging into their account.

“We have currently only observed several attacks in the USA, Kuwait, Germany, and Iran. This leads us to believe that this is targeted ransomware,” Kaspersky concludes.

Facebook's Growing Privacy Concern
7.5.2018 securityweek

Facebook's Web Traffic Monitoring is Second Only to Google

With GDPR imminent (25 May), Facebook's problems in Europe are mounting. In April, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by Congress on the Cambridge Analytica affair. He declined to face British lawmakers, sending CTO Mike Schroepfer in his place. Now Damian Collins, head of the UK parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, has said, "We hope that [Zuckerberg] will respond positively to our request, but if not the Committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the UK."

It's not just the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems has been pursuing Facebook for years. An earlier case against Facebook led to a European Court of Justice ruling on October 6, 2015 declaring the Safe Harbor agreement between the EU and U.S. to be unconstitutional and invalid. This is often described as the Schrems Ruling, and is now part of EU case law.

Safe Harbor was replaced by Privacy Shield; and Max Schrems has pursued a largely similar course of action -- claiming that his rights as an EU citizen are violated by Facebook transferring his PII to the U.S. where they are easily available to third parties. Once again the case was heard in Ireland (EU home to Facebook); and once again, it has been referred to the Court of Justice of the EU for a decision.

The Schrems Ruling will undoubtedly figure in the court's deliberations; as will the new U.S. CLOUD Act that makes it easier for U.S. government agencies to access any data held by U.S. companies anywhere in the world.

At the end of April 2018, Facebook attempted to prevent the Irish court's latest referral by appeal -- but this was rejected by the Irish High Court on Wednesday, May 02. Facebook had argued that its rights would be prejudiced if a stay was not granted; but the judge declared there would be very real prejudice to the rights of millions of users if the referral was delayed.

There is now the possibility (many privacy activists believe probability) that the European Court of Justice will reject Privacy Shield in the same way and for the same basic reasons that it rejected Safe Harbor. The danger here, if this were to happen, is European regulators might not offer the big tech companies the same period of grace they did after the collapse of Safe Harbor. Facebook may be the catalyst, but the effect could impact a large number of U.S. companies trading with or in Europe.

GDPR is a further privacy complication. In April, Facebook's Erin Egan, VP and chief privacy officer, policy, and Ashlie Beringer, VP and deputy general counsel published, "Complying With New Privacy Laws and Offering New Privacy Protections to Everyone". Everyone, they wrote, "will be asked to review important information about how Facebook uses data and make choices about their privacy on Facebook. We’ll begin by rolling these choices out in Europe this week."

European privacy activists are not impressed. Cliqz (a German firm linked to Ghostery) published on Friday an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg commenting on his appearance before Congress last month, and stating, "you just plainly lied to the world public."

Cliqz's specific concern is over Zuckerberg's claimed lack of knowledge over 'shadow profiles'. Zuckerberg claimed he did not know about shadow profiles. Cliqz explains, "Shadow profiles are the data that Facebook uses to track and collect those Internet users who have never been on Facebook or deliberately left the network."

A December 2017 study by Cliqz and Ghostery found that Facebook monitors nearly one-third of global internet traffic regardless of whether the user is a member of Facebook or not. "The evaluation of 'only' one-third of all the websites we visit is completely sufficient to know more about us than our closest relatives: whether we are in debt, suffering from a serious illness, cheating our partner, looking for a new job, which political attitudes and sexual preferences we have -- our Internet history reveals it."

It is these shadow profiles that Cliqz believes may bring Facebook into non-compliance with GDPR. "The collection of data about non-users in a way that leads to shadow profiles is Facebook’s weak spot when it comes to GDPR compliance," explains Jean-Paul Schmetz, Cliqz's CEO.

Schmetz believes the firm is making a decent effort to comply with GDPR for its users. But, "What about non-users?" he asks. "Non-members or those who deleted their account are still being tracked and can’t do anything to prevent Facebook from building shadow profiles about them. They still won't have any means to opt-out or have their data deleted or get insights into the data Facebook has about them. We think that if Facebook continues to neglect the problem of shadow profiles, the company risks high penalties from the EU for GDPR violation."

For fair comparison, Facebook's traffic monitoring is second only to Google -- which the same Cliqz/Ghostery study found to monitor 60.3% of internet traffic. For the moment, however, it is Facebook that is coming under closer European scrutiny.

A Thomson Reuters/Ipsos survey (PDF) published this weekend found that the Cambridge Analytica affair has not deterred Facebook users in the U.S.

The poll, conducted April 26-30, found that about half of Facebook’s American users said they had not recently changed the amount that they used the site, and another quarter said they were using it more. Only a quarter of American Facebook users said they are using it less frequently or have deleted their account.

Logitech Patches Several Flaws in Harmony Hub
7.5.2018 securityweek

FireEye researchers have discovered several vulnerabilities in the Logitech Harmony Hub home control system. The vendor has released a firmware update that patches the flaws.

Logitech Harmony Hub allows users to control home entertainment and various other smart devices from an Android or iOS phone or tablet. Once initial pairing is done over Bluetooth, the Harmony app communicates with the Harmony hub using an HTTP-based API.

Researchers at FireEye have discovered several types of vulnerabilities that can be exploited by an attacker with access to the local network to take control of devices linked to the Hub and compromise other devices on the network.Logitech Harmony Hub vulnerabilities

The security firm believes the flaws could pose a serious risk considering that the Harmony Hub is used by some people to control smart locks and thermostats.

Logitech Harmony Hub vulnerabilities

Experts discovered four types of vulnerabilities that can be combined to gain root access to a device via SSH.

One of the security holes is related to the presence of debugging details in the production firmware image. Another flaw is related to improper SSL certificate validation during firmware updates. The firmware update process itself has also been found to be insecure, allowing an attacker to deliver a malicious update to the device.

Since no root password has been configured on the hub, an attacker could gain root access via SSH if they can somehow manage to enable the Dropbear SSH server. Enabling the server is possible by uploading specially crafted firmware using the previously described weakness.

Logitech was informed about the vulnerabilities in late January and patched them on April 10 with the release of firmware version 4.15.96. The vendor has advised customers to install the update and provided complete instructions on how to do so.

The company noted that the flaws affect its Harmony Hub-based products, which include Harmony Elite, Home Hub, Ultimate Hub, Home Control, Pro, Smart Control, Companion, Smart Keyboard, Ultimate, Ultimate Home, and harmony Hub.

“As technology becomes further embedded into our daily lives, the trust we place in various devices unknowingly increases exponentially. Due to the fact that the Harmony Hub, like many IoT devices, uses a common processor architecture, malicious tools could easily be added to a compromised Harmony Hub, increasing the overall impact of a targeted attack,” FireEye researchers explained.

Russia-linked Hackers Exploit Lojack Recovery Tool in Attacks
7.5.2018 securityweek APT 
Exploit  CyberSpy

Recently discovered “Lojack” agents containing malicious command and control (C&C) servers point to the Russian cyber-espionage group Sofacy, according to NETSCOUT Arbor.

Previously known as Computrace, Lojack is a legitimate laptop recovery solution used by companies looking to protect assets should they be lost or stolen. It can be used to locate and lock devices remotely, as well as to delete files.

Lojack represents a great double-agent because it is usually considered legitimate software but also allows for remote code execution, NETSCOUT Arbor's Security Engineering and Research Team (ASERT) points out. Moreover, the tool can survive hard drive replacements and operating system re-imaging.

Many of the anti-virus vendors in VirusTotal don’t flag the Lojack executable as malicious, but rather consider it as “not-a-virus” or “Risk Tool.” Additionally, with binary modification of the “small agent” considered trivial, it’s clear that attackers would consider the tool a viable target.

“With low AV detection, the attacker now has an executable hiding in plain sight, a double-agent. The attacker simply needs to stand up a rogue C&C server that simulates the Lojack communication protocols. Finally, Lojack’s ‘small agent’ allows for memory reads and writes which grant it remote backdoor functionality when coupled with a rogue C&C server,” ASERT notes.

The ASERT security researchers observed five Lojack agents that were pointing to four different suspected domains, three of which have been tied to Sofacy.

Also known as APT28, Fancy Bear, Pawn Storm, Sednit and Strontium, the threat actor is believed to have targeted the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as Ukraine and NATO countries. In fact, the group heavily targeted NATO in early 2017, including with zero-day exploits. The group was also observed shifting focus towards the Middle East and Central Asia last year.

In March 2018, a security researcher revealed that Sofacy attacks overlap with other state-sponsored operations, after the group’s Zerbrocy malware was found on machines compromised by Mosquito, a backdoor associated with the Turla threat actor.

“ASERT assesses with moderate confidence that the rogue Lojack agents are attributed to Fancy Bear based on shared infrastructure with previous operations,” the security researchers say.

Only the presence of a rogue C&C makes the samples malicious, as attackers are merely hijacking the communication used by Lojack, the researchers say. Several of the domains extracted from the rogue agents trace back to Sofacy operations: elaxo[.]org, ikmtrust[.]com, and lxwo[.]org (tied to the group last year), and sysanalyticweb[.]com (spotted only recently).

Although the hijack of the software for malicious purposes is a publicly known tactic, similarities in the binary comparisons and infrastructure analysis increase the possibility that the same actor was behind them.

The domains are associated with the same Lojack agent utilizing the same compile time, contain nonsensical Registrant information (the same information found in multiple fields), a similar nonsensical word used in the Registrant Name field is also used for the Registrant Organization (the field is often skipped, but this actor regularly utilizes both fields).

“Hijacking legitimate software is a common enough tactic for malicious actors. What makes this activity so devious is the binaries hijacked being labeled as legitimate or simple ‘Risk Tool’, rather than malware. As a result, rogue Lojack samples fly under the radar and give attackers a stealthy backdoor into victim systems,” ASERT concludes.

Unpatched Flaws Expose Lantech Industrial Device Servers to Attacks
7.5.2018 securityweek ICS

Two critical vulnerabilities have been discovered by a researcher in industrial device servers from Taiwan-based industrial networking solutions provider Lantech. The flaws can be exploited remotely even by an attacker with a low skill level, but the vendor has not released any patches.

According to Lantech, IDS 2102 is a device server designed to convert one RS232/422/485 serial port to two 10/100 Ethernet connections. The device, used worldwide in the critical manufacturing sector, can be managed and configured remotely over the Internet.

The vendor claims the device has several security features, including for protecting the network connection and keeping attackers out. However, researcher Florian Adamsky discovered a couple of critical flaws that can be exploited remotely to execute arbitrary code and compromise the system. Lantech IDS 2102 vulnerabilities

The vulnerabilities have been described as an improper input validation issue (CVE-2018-8869) and a stack-based buffer overflow (CVE-2018-8865) – both with CVSS scores of 9.8.

Improper input validation issues can typically be exploited for cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, SQL injection and command injection. In the case of Lantech IDS 2102 devices, nearly all the input fields in the web interface lack validation.

According to Adamsky, both vulnerabilities can be exploited remotely by an attacker who can gain access to the web interface, which by default has no password set.

Exploiting CVE-2018-8869 allows an attacker to write arbitrary data to the device’s main configuration file located at /etc/com2net.conf.

“The program ser2net reads the configuration file and interprets it. One function called del_ip_proceeded_0 tries to ensure that the input is a valid IP address. However, they use strcpy to copy the string and here you have a classical stack-based buffer overflow,” Adamsky told SecurityWeek.

 Lantech IDS 2102 vulnerabilities

The researcher says an attacker can leverage the first vulnerability to write exploit code to the configuration file and the code gets executed when the file is read by the Ser2net component.

Adamsky says it’s difficult to tell how many devices are exposed to remote attacks from the Internet due to the fact that Lantech uses Linux with default services.

The vulnerabilities affect Lantech IDS 2102 running version 2.0 and prior of the firmware. According to an advisory published by ICS-CERT last week, Lantech has not responded to attempts by the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to report the security holes.

SecurityWeek has reached out to the vendor for comment and will update this article if the company responds.

Vulnerabilities in industrial serial-to-ethernet converters

Adamsky and Thomas Engel of the University of Luxembourg’s SECAN-Lab have been analyzing industrial serial-to-ethernet converters, which are often used in critical infrastructure, including power plants, water treatment facilities, and chemical plants. In the 2015 attack on Ukraine’s power grid, which resulted in significant blackouts, hackers targeted these types of devices in an effort to make them inoperable.

In November 2017, ICS-CERT published an advisory describing several high severity vulnerabilities found by the researchers as part of this project in Moxa NPort serial device servers. Unlike Lantech, however, Moxa released firmware updates to patch the flaws.

“So far, we have investigated three common serial-to-ethernet converters and found serious security vulnerabilities in each of them,” Adamsky told SecurityWeek. “These devices are normally not cheap (nearly all of them cost > $100) but there is nearly no software quality.”

“At least Moxa fixed the security vulnerabilities. In case of Lantech, they are not interested in fixing these bugs at all. This is very dangerous, especially for providers of critical infrastructure,” he added.

LookingGlass Acquires Threat Intelligence Platform From Goldman Sachs
7.5.2018 securityweek IT

Goldman Sachs Becomes a Strategic Investor in LookingGlass Cyber Solutions

Threat intelligence solutions firm LookingGlass Cyber Solutions has acquired a threat intelligence platform developed by investment banking giant Goldman Sachs.

Called Sentinel, the platform was built by Goldman Sachs engineers and served as the firm’s in-house Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) to manage cyber threat intelligence.

Goldman Sachs has previously only been using Sentinel internally, but will now be further developed and sold by LookingGlass to the broader financial services industry and others.
Per the terms of the deal, Goldman Sachs is receiving equity in LookingGlass and a revenue share for Sentinel Product sales, a LookingGlass spokesperson told SecurityWeek.

LookingGlass, which has raised more than $100 million in funding, said it will incorporate the platform into its portfolio of threat intelligence-focused solutions.

“The financial services industry has traditionally led other sectors in building or buying cybersecurity tools to safeguard the corporate and customer information within their networks,” said Chris Coleman, CEO at LookingGlass. “The Sentinel platform is a leading example of a financial services company building an elegant solution to meet its unique needs and developing it into an industry-leading technology. As we worked with Goldman Sachs in discussing threats and intelligence-powered security operations, it quickly became apparent that acquiring Sentinel was a natural way to meaningfully advance the state of technology and help protect the wider financial services industry as well as other sectors facing greater cyber risk stakes.”

“Our engineers built Sentinel with the goal of developing a platform that spans the entire threat lifecycle and we have seen great success in its application and adoption by our threat intelligence, incident response, and security operations teams at Goldman Sachs,” Andy Ozment, Goldman Sachs’ Chief Information Security Officer and an overseer on the LookingGlass board of directors, said in a statement.

As part of the transaction, Rana Yared, Managing Director in the Principal Strategic Investments (PSI) group at Goldman Sachs, will be joining LookingGlass’ board of directors.

The Sentinel product acquisition is not the first by Arlington, VA-based LookingGlass.

In December 2015, LookingGlass acquired open-source threat intelligence firm Cyveillance for $35 million in cash. The company acquired botnet monitoring firm Kleissner and Associates in July 2015, and Deep Packet Processing (DPP) platform provide CloudShield in February 2015.

Romanians Charged With Vishing, Smishing Extradited to U.S.
7.5.2018 securityweek CyberCrime

Two Romanian nationals indicted for their role in a vishing and smishing scheme were extradited from Romania, the United States Department of Justice announced on Friday.

The accused hackers, Teodor Laurentiu Costea and Robert Codrut Dumitrescu, were charged last year with wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, computer fraud and abuse, and aggravated identity theft. A third individual, Cosmin Draghici, is in custody in Romania awaiting extradition.

All three defendants are from Ploiesti, Romania, and have been charged with launching vishing (voice phishing) and smishing (SMS phishing) attacks from Romania. The scheme involves delivering messages supposedly coming from a legitimate source, in this case a bank, through a voice recording or a text message.

According to the indictment, Costea and Dumitrescu were looking for vulnerable computers in the U.S. and were installing interactive voice response software capable of automatically interacting with call recipients.

The indictment also claims the individuals used computers in the Atlanta area to install software to initiate fraudulent, automated telephone calls and text messages to victims in the United States. Allegedly from a financial institution, the messages purported there was a problem with the victim’s financial account and instructed victims to call a telephone number.

When the victims called the number, however, the interactive voice response software asked them to enter their bank account numbers, PINs, and full or partial Social Security numbers. Stored on the compromised computers, the stolen information was then allegedly sold by Costea and Dumitrescu, or used with assistance from Draghici.

When arrested in Romania, Costea possessed 36,051 fraudulently obtained financial account numbers, DoJ says. The scheme resulted in estimated financial losses of more than $18 million.

“While in Romania, the defendants allegedly targeted victims throughout the U.S., including in the Northern District of Georgia, stealing personal information and possibly causing millions of dollars in losses. These extraditions send a strong warning to cybercriminals and fraudsters worldwide, that we, along with our law enforcement partners, will work tirelessly to bring you to justice,” U. S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said.

SynAck ransomware Employs Many Novel Techniques to Avoid Detection
7.5.2018 securityaffairs

The latest variant of the SynAck ransomware now includes a number of novel and complex anti-detection techniques, including one that was only made published by security researchers in December 2017.
When it originally appeared on the scene, SynAck ransomware didn’t seem unique or outstanding. It was marginally effective, but it wasn’t going to force enterprises to radically change their existing anti-malware capabilities. However the developers have been busy, and the latest SynAck variant now includes a number of novel and complex anti-detection techniques, including one that was only made published by security researchers in December 2017.

SynAck ransomware

From the very beginning, malware has been engaged in a battle of evolution. Every time a new attack technique is deployed, new defensive techniques are developed and the bad actors need to come up with new techniques. To get more longevity for their exploits, malware developers often add defensive techniques to identify when they are being scrutinized by anti-malware tools or obfuscate the true purpose of the code to encourage anti-malware tools to assume it is benign or target the attack to avoid police action in their home country. The SynAck ransomware deploys all of these “common” techniques and adds Process Doppelgänging for a new twist.

SynAck ransomware

Process Doppelgänging was introduced to the world by enSilo security researchers, @Tal_Liberman and Eugene Kogan at Black Hat Europe 2017. The technique leverages a Microsoft Windows mechanism called NTFS Transactions which is standard on all versions of Windows. It is a big advantage to the malware authors when they can rely on processes already on the target system instead of having to bake it into their code. Even more so in this case, since the technique leverages a default Windows capability making it unlikely to be patched. The author’s description of process doppelgänging:

“In order to achieve this goal we leverage NTFS transactions. We overwrite a legitimate file in the context of a transaction. We then create a section from the modified file (in the context of the transaction) and create a process out of it. It appears that scanning the file while it’s in transaction is not possible by the vendors we checked so far (some even hang) and since we rollback the transaction, our activity leaves no trace behind.”

The key piece is that most anti-malware tools are watching for unexpected changes to the filesystem, or unexpected code running in memory that didn’t come from a program on the file system. By leveraging NTFS transactions SynAck ransomware is able to run in memory under the guise of a legitimate program stored on the disk without making changes to the file which would set off all the alarms. NTFS transactions are normal Windows events so everything appears normal to the system.

In addition to the Process Doppelgänging, SynAck ransomware employs some other interesting techniques to avoid detection. The fundamental anti-malware technique is to look at a file and identify malicious characteristics. To bypass this inspection, malware authors often obfuscate their compiled code to make it difficult to assess what it is going to do. Anti-malware defenses are good at identifying the common code obfuscation techniques that are applied to already compiled code, but the SynAck ransomware developers went a step further and obfuscated the before it has been compiled. (Securelist) Even this technique can be overcome, but it adds a lot of effort to the detection stage and that results in longer diagnosis times, and no one is in favor of slower security software.

In addition to the novel techniques identified above, SynAck ransomware also employs the relatively common technique of identifying the directory it is being run from. If it is being executed from an unexpected directory, the malware assumes it is running inside a sandbox under the scrutiny of anti-malware tools and it doesn’t run. This might fool the anti-malware software into thinking the code is benign and letting it pass.

SynAck ransomware also tests the keyboard language setting of the target system. The ransomware will not execute on a system with the default language set to Cyrillic.

The primary attack vector for SynAck ransomware is via Windows Remote Desktop Protocol(RDP.) If you don’t need it, you should definitely turn it off. Beyond that, the normal protections against ransomware still apply. There have been no flaws found in the ransomware encryption so don’t count on the good guys providing the decryption keys for free on this one.

A new report sheds the lights on state-sponsored Chinese APTs under Winnti umbrella
7.5.2018 securityaffairs APT

Security experts at 401TRG, the threat research and analysis team at ProtectWise, have discovered links between several Chinese APT groups under the Winnti umbrella.
The experts analyzed several campaigns conducted by the cyber espionage groups over the last years and associated their activities with the Chinese Government, in one case the nation-state actor was working from the Xicheng District of Beijing.

According to the report published by ProtectWise, various threat groups previously attributed to Chinese-speaking actors are all linked to Chinese Intelligence and are referenced as ‘Winnti umbrella.’

“These operations and the groups that perform them are all linked to the Winnti umbrella and operate under the Chinese state intelligence apparatus.” reads the report.

“The Chinese intelligence apparatus has been reported on under many names, including Winnti, PassCV, APT17, Axiom, LEAD, BARIUM, Wicked Panda, and GREF.”

The experts believe that under the Winnti umbrella there are several APT groups, including Winnti, Gref, PlayfullDragon, APT17, DeputyDog, Axiom, BARIUM, LEAD, PassCV, Wicked Panda, and ShadowPad. The groups show similar tactics, techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) and in some cases shared portions of the same hacking infrastructure.

“We assess with medium to high confidence that the various operations described in this report are the work of individual teams, including contractors external to the Chinese government, with varying levels of expertise, cooperating on a specific agenda.” continues the report.

The APT groups have been active since at least 2009 and initially targeted organizations in the gaming sector and high-tech firms in the United States, Japan, South Korea and China. The main targets of the Winnti umbrella are political, such as Uyghur and Tibetan activists, Tibetan and Chinese journalists, the government of Thailand and major international tech companies.

“The primary goal of these attacks was likely to find code-signing certificates for signing future malware. The secondary goals of the attackers depended on the type of victim organization, but were often financial.” reads the report.

The Winnti umbrella attackers are very active, one of the most recent phishing campaigns, uncovered in March, targeted at Office 365 and Gmail accounts instead delivering a malware.

Winnti Umbrella

In general, hackers aim to obtain credentials to a victim’s cloud storage that could be used for attacks later in presence of valueless cloud storage.

According to the report, the attribution of the attack was possible thanks to some opsec mistakes.

“However, we have observed a few cases of the attackers mistakenly accessing victim machines without a proxy, potentially identifying the true location of the individual running the session. In all of these cases, the net block was, the China Unicom Beijing Network, Xicheng District.”

“the Winnti umbrella and its associated entities remain an advanced and potent threat. We hope that the information contained within this report will help defenders thwart this group in the future.” concluded the report.

Chrome freezes PC running Windows OS after Windows 10 April update
7.5.2018 securityaffairs

Some Chrome users are reporting freezes and timeouts after the installation of the Windows 10 April Update, let’s see what has happened
After the installation of Windows 10 April Update I observed continuous freezes while using the Chrome browser with one of my PCs, in some cases, I was not able to reach the websites I wanted to visit, apparently for connection problems.

I was reading some posts when I found a post written by Lawrence Abrams on Bleeping Computer that claims some Chrome users are reporting freezes and timeouts after the installation of the Windows 10 April Update.

“When these freezes occur, it turns the screen black and Windows becomes completely unresponsive until the user reboots the computer or restarts their graphic driver.” wrote Abrams.

The same problem was reported by many users that shared their experience in a Reddit post, some users have tried to update the video drivers or using differed Chrome versions without success.

Personally, I forced the sleep mode by pressing the power button on my laptop, then turning on again.

Lawrence explained that according to two tickets opened at Google, there are two distinct problems associated with the April 2018 Update (build 1803) and Chrome.

The freezing problems are the result of the crash of video driver and the problem may be related to a site that needs hardware acceleration. According to a bug ticket the issue affects Chrome version 66.0.3359.139 running on Windows 10, disabling hardware acceleration would fix the problem.

A second issue is associated with connections to SSL websites, according to a second ticket the problem could be a Registry permission problem with the Windows Cryptographic services (CryptoSvc).

Windows 10 April update

Microsoft has published a post to provide a temporary fix to the freezing problems.

˗ˏˋ Emanuel ˊˎ˗
Upgraded my work laptop to Windows 10 1803 and, guess what? Totally unusable, just like my personal laptop. Desktop kept freezing randomly when closing/switching UWP apps. Tired of trying to raise awareness for this. To hell with it. #WindowsInsiders

11:04 AM - May 3, 2018
See ˗ˏˋ Emanuel ˊˎ˗'s other Tweets
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“This Answers post advises users that they can use the Windows logo key + Ctrl + Shift + B keyboard combination to resolve the issue when their computer freezes. This keyboard combination causes the video driver to restart, which will cause the normal Windows screen to appear again.” added Abrams.
“Unfortunately, this just resolves the issue of the driver crashing, but does not actually resolve the problem and users will continue to see these black screens when the video driver crashes again.”
In my case, uninstalling the video driver and installing it again apparently solved the issue.

Researchers Link Several State-Sponsored Chinese Spy Groups
7.5.2018 securityweek APT  BigBrothers

Researchers have discovered links between several cyber espionage groups believed to be sponsored by the Chinese government and found that at least some of them may be working from the Xicheng District of Beijing.

A report published last week by 401TRG, the threat research and analysis team at ProtectWise, revealed links between several campaigns conducted over the past decade. Researchers claim that various threat groups previously attributed to Chinese-speaking actors are all connected to China’s state intelligence apparatus under what they call the “Winnti umbrella.”

Threat actors such as Winnti, Gref, PlayfullDragon, APT17, DeputyDog, Axiom, BARIUM, LEAD, PassCV, Wicked Panda, and ShadowPad are all believed to be part of the Winnti umbrella based on the use of similar tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), and overlaps in infrastructure and operations. Experts believe they are “the work of individual teams, including contractors external to the Chinese government, with varying levels of expertise, cooperating on a specific agenda.”

These hacker groups have been active since at least 2009 – possibly as early as 2007 – and their initial targets are often gaming studios and high-tech companies located in countries such as the United States, Japan, South Korea and China. The main goal appears to be harvesting code-signing certificates and manipulating software, with a secondary objective of financial gain.

Researchers said the Winnti umbrella’s main targets appear to be political, such as Uyghur and Tibetan activists, Tibetan and Chinese journalists, the government of Thailand (e.g. Bookworm), and major international tech companies.

These groups continue to launch campaigns, with operations seen as recently as late March. In the attacks observed this year, the hackers have focused on phishing – particularly targeted at Office 365 and Gmail accounts – rather than malware and exploits.

The cyberspies often target cloud storage accounts from which they hope to obtain code-signing certificates. In some cases, they also seek files and documents that could help them escalate privileges and move laterally within the victim’s network.

While the attackers have taken steps to hide their identity, they have made some mistakes, providing investigators important clues about their possible location.

“In the attackers’ ideal situation, all remote access occurs through their own C2 infrastructure, which acts as a proxy and obscures their true location,” 401TRG said in its report. “However, we have observed a few cases of the attackers mistakenly accessing victim machines without a proxy, potentially identifying the true location of the individual running the session. In all of these cases, the net block was, the China Unicom Beijing Network, Xicheng District.”

Banks Don't Want to be Weakest Link in Blockchain Revolution
5.5.2018 securityweek  Cryptocurrency

Blockchain, the cutting-edge technology behind virtual currencies like bitcoin, has the potential to play a disruptive role in the global finance sector, experts say, as banking behemoths seek to connect with its opportunities.

While banks could reduce their costs, the gains could eventually shift to consumers who could benefit from quicker and cheaper services.

"Any disruptive shock -- be it technology, economic or political -- tends to result in winners and losers, and blockchain is no different," Colin Ellis, managing director for credit strategy at Moody's, told AFP.

"It could reduce costs for banks but at the same time could foster more competition that would put downward pressure on fees."

A shared, encrypted "ledger" that cannot be manipulated, blockchains offer the promise of secure transactions that allow anyone to get an accurate accounting of money, property or other assets.

Much like it underpins trading in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain or so-called distributed ledger technology could also support trading of other assets, thus posing a risk to banks who earn hefty fees helping their clients trade currencies and other assets.

Key areas of financial services where blockchain could have an impact are the settlement and clearing of transactions.

But a recent report by Moody's found that while blockchain technology could slash cross-border transaction costs for financial institutions, it would likely ramp up competition among banks.

Anish Mohammed, a cryptography expert and academic at Berlin University, told AFP that the losers would be those who failed to adapt to the latest technological trend.

"There will be winners and losers, the losers will be those who do not make any changes."

The world's biggest financial institutions are already experimenting with blockchain, although recent data indicates that they risk lagging behind other sectors in its use.

'Cheaper and quicker'

Two months ago, Dutch bank ING and its Swiss peer Credit Suisse successfully traded securities through a blockchain-style network.

The pair transmitted 25 million euros of bonds almost instantaneously. The deal would normally have taken one day or more.

Ellis believes that international transactions are an area where banks could cut their costs by using blockchain technology. Currently international bank transfers often take several days as several banks are often needed to act as intermediaries.

But a blockchain could eliminate the need for those intermediaries, thus speeding service and reducing costs.

Santander last month began using a blockchain to allow its retail customers in Spain, Britain, Brazil and Poland to complete international transfers the same or following day.

"One Pay FX uses blockchain-based technology to provide a fast, simple and secure way to transfer money internationally -- offering value, transparency, and the trust and service customers expect from a bank like Santander," the bank's chief executive Ana Botin said at the launch of the service.

One Pay FX uses a blockchain service for banks developed by Ripple, a start up firm with offers a cryptocurrency with the same name.

Around $2.1 billion (1.8 billion euros) will be invested via blockchain globally in 2018, according to US-based consultancy IDC.

One third of that will represent the financial services industry, IDC said.

Other notable sectors using blockchain include distribution and services, retail and professional services, and manufacturing and resources.

"The technology is still at a relatively early stage" so "it is too soon to know what the final impact will be," said Ellis. "But it could ultimately make banking cheaper and quicker for consumers," he concluded.

Google announces the open-source Asylo framework for confidential computing
5.5.2018 securityaffairs IT

Last week, Google announced the release of an open-source framework and an SDK dubbed ‘Asylo’ that allows developers to build applications targeting trusted execution environments.
The Asylo framework makes it easy to protect the confidentiality and integrity of applications and data in an isolated, confidential computing environment.

The framework leverages trusted execution environments (TEEs) that implements specialized execution environments, so-called “enclaves,” to mitigate the risk of compromise by a malicious insider or an unauthorized third-party

“While cloud infrastructures offer numerous security controls, some enterprises want additional verifiable isolation for their most sensitive workloads—capabilities which have become known as confidential computing.” reads the announcement published by Google.

“Today we’re excited to announce Asylo (Greek for “safe place”), a new open-source framework that makes it easier to protect the confidentiality and integrity of applications and data in a confidential computing environment.”

The Asylo framework allows developers to verify the integrity of code running in enclaves and to protect sensitive communications through the encryption.

Previously, the development and the execution of applications in a trusted execution environment required specialized skills and tools, in some cases, the implementations required specific hardware. Asylo aims to overwhelm these limitations.

“Asylo makes TEEs much more broadly accessible to the developer community, across a range of hardware—both on-premises and in the cloud.” continues Google.

The Asylo framework allows developers to create portable applications that can run on various software and hardware.

Asylo framework

Google also implements a Docker image via Google Container Registry that includes all of the dependencies needed to run a container anywhere.

This flexibility of the Asylo framework allows developers to take advantage of various hardware architectures with TEE support without modifying your source code making the porting of applications very quickly.

Google believes Asylo will soon also allow developers to run existing applications in trusted execution environments (TEEs) that implements specialized execution environments. Google images that the process will be very easy, developers would simply need to copy their apps into the Asylo container, choose the backend and rebuild them.

To start using Asylo, developers need to download the sources and pre-built container image from Google Container Registry.

“Be sure to check out the samples in the container, expand on them, or use them as a guide when building your own Asylo apps from scratch.” suggests Google.

“Check out our quick-start guide, read the documentation, and join our mailing list to take part in the discussion. We look forward to hearing from you on GitHub!”

New ZooPark APT targets Android users in Middle East since 2015
5.5.2018 securityaffairs APT

Security researchers from Kaspersky Lab have uncovered a new cyber-espionage APT group tracked ZooPark that targeted entities in the Middle East during the past three years.
ZooPark APT has been active at least since 2015 and has shown a growing level of sophistication across the years.

“ZooPark is a cyberespionage operation that has been focusing on Middle Eastern targets since at least June 2015. The threat actors behind ZooPark infect Android devices using several generations of malware we label from v1-v4, with v4 being the most recent version deployed in 2017.” reads the report published by Kaspersky

Hackers mainly used waterhole attacks as infection vector, the experts discovered several news websites that have been compromised to redirect visitors to a downloading site that delivered the final malware.

Most of the victims were located in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, and Iran.

ZooPark infographic

“Some of the malicious ZooPark apps are being distributed from news and political websites popular in specific parts of the Middle East. They are disguised as legitimate apps with names like ‘TelegramGroups’ and ‘Alnaharegypt news’, among others, recognized in and relevant to some Middle Eastern countries” reads the press release published by Kaspersky.

Experts identified 4 different phases in the activity of the group:

2015 – pretty simple malware
ZooPark hackers distributed a very simple variant of the Android malware that was only able to steal accounts details registered on the victim device and contacts from the address book. The malicious app was disguised as the official Telegram application.

2016 – lightweight spyware
ZooPark implemented new features for its malware focused on cyber espionage.

“This new version is similar to the previous. The main difference is the inclusion of new
spying features such as exfiltrate GPS location, SMS messages, call logs and some extra general information” continues the report.

2016 – commercial fork
The APT fork a version of the Spymaster Pro commercial spyware app, experts noticed several similarities between the commercial malware and the APT Android malware.

The main difference is the usage of their own C&C server.

2017 – modern spyware
ZooPark developers dropped the 2016 version resulting from the commercial fork and added major changes and improvements to the 2016 lightweight spyware.

“This malware variant represents a significant improvement on version 2.0, which seems to indicate that version 3.0 was some kind of fork.” added Kaspersky.

“This last step is especially interesting, showing a big leap from straightforward code functionality to highly sophisticated malware,”

Kaspersky speculates the latest version was improved with the code bought from firms offering surveillance software.

“This suggests the latest version may have been bought from vendors of specialist surveillance tools. That wouldn’t be surprising, as the market for these espionage tools is growing, becoming popular among governments, with several known cases in the Middle East.” concluded the report.

European Central Bank announced a framework for cyber attack simulation on financial firms
5.5.2018 securityaffairs BigBrothers

Last week, the European Central Bank has published the European framework for testing financial sector resilience to cyber attacks.
The framework aims to simulate the effects of cyber attacks on critical systems in the banking industry in the European Union.

The move is the response to the numerous cyberheists that hit the financial industry in the past years, like the attacks against the SWIFT system and the assault against online and mobile services at the Netherlands’ three top banks.

European Central Bank framework

The framework also includes the involvement of “red teams” for vulnerability assessments and penetration tests of systems used by companies in the financial sector.

“The European Central Bank (ECB) today publishes the European Framework for Threat Intelligence-based Ethical Red Teaming (TIBER-EU), which is the first Europe-wide framework for controlled and bespoke tests against cyber attacks in the financial market.” reads the announcement published by the ECB.

“The TIBER-EU framework facilitates a harmonised European approach towards intelligence-led tests which mimic the tactics, techniques and procedures of real hackers who can be a genuine threat. TIBER-EU based tests simulate a cyber attack on an entity’s critical functions and underlying systems, such as its people, processes and technologies. This helps the entity to assess its protection, detection and response capabilities against potential cyber attacks.”

The main goal for the Framework is to facilitate testing for cross-border entities under oversight of several authorities.

TIBER-EU aims to help organizations measure their ability in detecting and responding cyber attacks.

The Threat Intelligence-based Ethical Red Teaming (TIBER-EU) framework will provide a guideline for operators in the sector to carry out any security tests.

“It is up to the relevant authorities and the entities themselves to determine if and when TIBER-EU based tests are performed,” the ECB said.

“Tests will be tailor-made and will not result in a pass or fail – rather they will provide the tested entity with insight into its strengths and weaknesses, and enable it to learn and evolve to a higher level of cyber maturity,” continues the announcement.

Initially, the adoption of the framework will not be mandatory, the tests will be tailor-made and “will not result in a pass or fail – rather they will provide the tested entity with insight into its strengths and weaknesses, and enable it to learn and evolve to a higher level of cyber maturity.”

The instructions on how to “How to implement the European framework for Threat
Intelligence-based Ethical Red Teaming” are available here.

The Pentagon bans Huawei and ZTE phones from stores on military bases
5.5.2018 securityaffairs BigBrothers

The Pentagon is ordering retail outlets on US military bases to stop selling Huawei and ZTE products due to unacceptable security risk they pose.
Smartphones manufactured by Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are banned by US Military, the decision was taken by the Pentagon.

The Pentagon is ordering retail outlets on US military bases to stop selling Huawei and ZTE products.

The Pentagon considers the security risk posed by the adoption of the devices manufactured by the Chinese firms unacceptable, US officials believe the smartphones could be used to spy on military personnel.

“Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to the department’s personnel, information and mission,” Pentagon spokesman Major Dave Eastburn said on Friday.

“In light of this information, it was not prudent for the department’s exchanges to continue selling them.”

Eastburn confirmed that the decision to ban the Huawei phones and related products was taken on April 25.

“Given security concerns about ZTE cell phones and related products, the (Pentagon’s) exchange services also removed ZTE products from their stores,” he added.

ZTE did not immediately comment the ban, while Huawei promptly replied by highlighting high quality of its products and their reliability in term of security.

“We remain committed to openness and transparency in everything we do and want to be clear that no government has ever asked us to compromise the security or integrity of any of our networks or devices,” said Huawei spokesman Charles Zinkowski in a statement.

The Federal Communications Commission also ban federal funds from being spent on wireless equipment made by companies that pose a security risk to the US infrastructure. The FCC’s proposal in a section detailing the federal government’s concerns with foreign tech providers explicitly refers both ZTE and Huawei.

In February, Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, along with several other top intel officials, invited Americans to avoid buying Huawei and ZTE products.

“Chinese cyber espionage and cyber attack capabilities will continue to support China’s national security and economic priorities,” Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Huawei and ZTE ban

In April, the UK GCHQ intelligence agency warned UK telcos firms of the risks of using ZTE equipment and services for their infrastructure.

The alert was issued by the National Cyber Security Centre that said the Chinese firm “would present risk to UK national security that could not be mitigated effectively or practicably”.

ZTE is a state-owned enterprise and many experts highlighted the risks of using its products.

The problems for ZTE are not ended, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced that Chinese firm has been banned from purchasing goods from US companies. This root cause is that ZTE was discovered violating Iran and North Korean sanctions.

Phishing campaign aimed at Airbnb users leverages GDPR as a bait
5.5.2018 securityaffairs

Cybercriminals are targeting Airbnb users with phishing emails that urge the compliance with the new privacy regulation General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy laws threaten with severe penalties to demand personal information from Airbnb users. The interest on the subject is very high among professionals and companies operating in various industries, it’s normal that crooks will try to take advantage of this situation.

Airbnb, like many other companies, is sending emails to inform users of changes in the privacy law according to the upcoming GDPR.

Cybercriminals are targeting Airbnb users demanding personal information and financial data referencing the GDPR.

Experts from Redscan are monitoring a spam campaign targeting Airbnb users with spam messages like the following one:

“This update is mandatory because of the new changes in the EU Digital privacy legislation that acts upon United States-based companies, like Airbnb in order to protect European citizens and companies,” reads the spam message according to the Redscan.

airbnb gdpr phishing

The extent of the campaign is still unclear, crooks are targeting businesses’ email addresses taken online.

The phishing messages pretend to be a GDPR information request sent by Airbnb to hosts of the service.

“The irony won’t be lost on anyone that cybercriminals are exploiting the arrival of new data protection regulations to steal people’s data,” Skynews cited Redscan Director of Cybersecurity Mark Nicholls Nicholls as saying.

The phishing emails use a simple as effective social engineering trick, the message informs hosts they can’t accept new bookings or contact potential guests until they accept their organizations are not compliance to the GDPR.

Malicious email uses a domain that could appear as legitimate, according to Redscan, in this campaign, hackers rather than the legitimate @airbnb.com domain used the @mail.airbnb.work domain.

If the victims click the malicious link embedded in the email, they redirected to phishing page designed to request victims both personal and financial information.

“Modern phishing campaigns are becoming increasingly difficult to spot and people need to be extra vigilant when opening emails and clicking links, since it’s important to ensure they originate from a trusted source.” said Mark Nicholls, Redscan’s director of cybersecurity.

It is important to highlight, that GDPR notifications sent by companies to its customers don’t ask for users’ credentials, so be careful and stay vigilant.

Spectre-NG – Researchers revealed 8 new varieties of the Spectre flaws
5.5.2018 securityaffairs

A group of security researchers has reportedly discovered 8 new varieties of the Spectre vulnerabilities, dubbed Spectre-Next Generation or Spectre-NG, that affect Intel CPUs.
A German security website reported that an unnamed team of researchers has discovered the new flaws that exploit the new issues reported in the original Spectre and Meltdown attacks.

The new eight Spectre-NG vulnerabilities in Intel CPUs also affect some ARM processors, at the time of writing the researchers only disclosed to the German computer magazine Heise the partial details of the vulnerabilities.

Intel has already acknowledged the Spectre-NG vulnerabilities and classified four of them as “high risk” and four as “medium.”

“Intel is already working on its own patches for Spectre-NG and developing others in cooperation with the operating system manufacturers. According to our information, Intel is planning two waves of patches. The first is scheduled to start in May; a second is currently planned for August.” reported the German computer magazine Heise.

“Knowing that Google Project Zero discovered one of the Spectre-NG flaws gives us an idea of when to expect the first patch.”

One of the flaws could be exploited by attackers with access to a virtual machine (VM) to take over the host system.

“One of the Spectre-NG flaws simplifies attacks across system boundaries to such an extent that we estimate the threat potential to be significantly higher than with Spectre. Specifically, an attacker could launch exploit code in a virtual machine (VM) and attack the host system from there – the server of a cloud hoster, for example.” continues the report.

“Alternatively, it could attack the VMs of other customers running on the same server. Passwords and secret keys for secure data transmission are highly sought-after targets on cloud systems and are acutely endangered by this gap.”

The original Spectre attack allows user-mode applications to extract information from other processes running on the same system. It can also be exploited to extract information from its own process via code, for example, a malicious JavaScript can be used to extract login cookies for other sites from the browser’s memory.

The Spectre attack breaks the isolation between different applications, allowing to leak information from the kernel to user programs, as well as from virtualization hypervisors to guest systems.

Spectre attacks trigger the CVE-2017-5753 (Variant 1) and CVE-2017-5715 (Variant 2) flaw, while Meltdown and Spectre Variant 1 can be addressed via software, the Spectre Variant 2 required an update of the microcode for the affected processors.

According to the German magazine, one of the Spectre-NG vulnerabilities was discovered by a white hat hacker at Google’s Project Zero that reported it to Intel 88 days ago.

If the vulnerability will be not fixed in a 90-day period according to the Google disclosure policy, the Project Zero team would possibly publicly share technical details of at least one flaw on May 7th (1 day before the Windows Patch Tuesday).

According to the magazine, there are signs that Microsoft is also preparing for CPU patches to release in the upcoming months.

The real problem is that this new wave of patches could have similar effects of the original ones in terms of performance and stability, we can only sit and wait for them.

U.S. Military Bans Huawei, ZTE Phones

4.5.2018 securityweek  BigBrothers

Personnel on US military bases can no longer buy phones and other gear manufactured by Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE, after the Pentagon said the devices pose an "unacceptable" security risk.

Concerns have heightened at the Pentagon about consumer electronics being used to snoop on or track service members.

"Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to (military) personnel, information and mission," Pentagon spokesman Major Dave Eastburn said on Friday.

"In light of this information, it was not prudent for the Department's exchanges to continue selling them," he added, referring to the military-run shops on US bases around the world.

Eastburn said the order to pull Huawei devices was given on April 25.

"Given security concerns about ZTE cell phones and related products, the (Pentagon's) exchange services also removed ZTE products from their stores," he said.

Eastburn could not discuss the technical aspects of the potential threats, but The Wall Street Journal said the Pentagon fears the Chinese government could track soldiers using Huawei or ZTE devices.

Huawei spokesman Charles Zinkowski said the firm's devices meet the highest standards of security, privacy and engineering in every country it operates in, including the US.

"We remain committed to openness and transparency in everything we do and want to be clear that no government has ever asked us to compromise the security or integrity of any of our networks or devices," Zinkowski said in a statement.

ZTE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In January, the Pentagon said it was reviewing its policy on fitness apps and wearable fitness trackers after exercise-logging company Strava published a map compiling its users' activity.

In Iraq and Syria, viewers could easily spot beacons of activity in remote places where military bases are located, presumably indicating favorite jogging or walking routes.

In February, Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, along with several other top intel officials, said Americans should not buy Huawei or ZTE products.

"Chinese cyber espionage and cyber attack capabilities will continue to support China's national security and economic priorities," Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Hackers Target Flaws Affecting a Million Internet-Exposed Routers
4.5.2018 securityweek 

Just a few days after they were disclosed, malicious actors started targeting a couple of flaws affecting routers made by South Korea-based Dasan Networks. There are roughly one million potentially vulnerable devices accessible directly from the Internet.

vpnMentor on Monday disclosed the details of two vulnerabilities in Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network (GPON) routers made by Dasan and distributed to users by ISPs that provide fiber-optic Internet.

One of the flaws (CVE-2018-10561) allows a remote attacker to bypass a router’s authentication mechanism simply by appending the string “?images/” to a URL in the device’s web interface. The second vulnerability (CVE-2018-10562) can be exploited by an authenticated attacker to inject arbitrary commands.

Researchers warned that cybercriminals could combine the two security holes to remotely take control of vulnerable devices and possibly the victim’s entire network.

A Shodan search shows that there are roughly one million GPON home routers exposed to the Internet, a majority located in Mexico, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam.

The Network Security Research Lab at Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 reported on Thursday that it had already started seeing attempts to exploit CVE-2018-10561 and CVE-2018-10562. The company has promised to provide more details soon.

Hackers target Dasan router vulnerabilities

The fact that cybercriminals have started exploiting these vulnerabilities is not surprising considering that devices made by Dasan have been known to be targeted by botnets.

Researchers revealed in February that the Satori botnet had ensnared thousands of Dasan routers by exploiting a remote code execution vulnerability disclosed in December 2017 by Beyond Security, which claimed the vendor had ignored repeated attempts to report the issue.

vpnMentor said its attempts to report CVE-2018-10561 and CVE-2018-10562 to Dasan were also unsuccessful before its disclosure, but a representative of the manufacturer did reach out to the company after details of the security holes were made public.

A bug in GandCrab ransomware V3 accidentally locks systems running Windows 7
4.5.2018 securityaffairs

The latest variant of the dreaded GandCrab ransomware,version 3, locks the infected systems running on Windows 7.
A few days ago, experts from security firm Fortinet uncovered a new spam campaign delivering a new version of the GandCrab ransomware, the version v3.

Like other ransomware, such as Locky and Sage, the GandCrab ransomware v3 also changes the wallpapers of the infected systems. However, the researchers at FortiGuard Labs that analyzed this new feature discovered a bug that can accidentally lock systems running Windows 7 OS.

The feature correctly works for both Windows 10 and Windows 8 systems.

The attack vector continues to be spam mail messages and leverages Visual Basic Scripts as droppers instead of Java Scripts.

“After this malware has encrypted the victim’s files, it forces the system to reboot. On our tests with Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 systems, the malware was able to change the wallpaper and the systems were able to start up normally, as expected. ” reads the analysis published by Fortinet.

“On Windows 7 however, for some reason booting does not finish but instead gets stuck at a point before the Windows Shell is completely loaded. That means an infected user would not have the Windows interface to interact with, rendering the entire machine seemingly unusable – reminiscent of the old lock screen ransomware behaviour. Only the ransom note wallpaper and TOR Browser download site can be seen by the user.”

GandCrab ransomware

The flaw wasn’t intentional because the instructions on the ransom note tell the victim to read a copy of one of the“CRAB-DECRYPT.txt” ransom notes left on the infected system for payment instructions. Windows interface, users cannot do it and will not pay the ransom.

Victims can force the reboot to proceed by launching the Task Manager using the CTRL+SHIFT+DEL keys combination, then killing process associated with the malware and reboot the system. However, this might not solve the problem either because of the persistence mechanism implemented by the malware.

The only way the victims have to prevent the “lock screen” from appearing in subsequent reboots is to delete the malware executable from APPDATA%\Microsoft\<random chars>.exe once killed the process using Task Manager. Victims should also delete the autorun registry associated with the ransomware.

“Seeing a ransom note and realizing that all of your files are gone is frustrating on so many levels. And it’s even more frustrating (if that’s even possible) when on top of that you also lose your access to the machine. Malware flaws with unintended consequences are really quite common, which is another reason why being extra cautious with unsolicited emails is very important.” concludes Fortinet. “As a general rule, any unexpected emails with attachments (an executable or a document) must be scanned and verified first before opening. And as always, create isolated backups for your important files.”

Backdoored Module Removed from npm Registry
4.5.2018 securityweek 

A malicious package masquerading as a cookie parsing library but delivering a backdoor instead was unpublished from the npm Registry along with three other packages.

npm is a highly popular package manager for JavaScript, allowing users to discover packages of reusable code and assemble them in new ways. Claiming to be the world’s largest software registry, npm helps users install, share, and distribute code, as well as manage dependencies in their projects and receive feedback from others.

The npm Registry represents a public collection of packages of open-source code for Node.js, front-end web apps, mobile apps, robots, routers, and more.

The malicious module that made its way to the npm Registry was named getcookies. On May 2, npm was informed on the package containing a potential backdoor, on the express-cookies and http-fetch-cookies modules depending upon the malicious package, and on the popular mailparser package depending upon http-fetch-cookies.

After receiving the report, npm’s security team started investigating the module to determine whether it indeed contained malicious code and how it might impact the community.

The team discovered that the backdoor was indeed there. It “worked by parsing the user-supplied HTTP request.headers, looking for specifically formatted data that provides three different commands to the backdoor,” npm says.

Control code flaws in the package allowed for an attacker to input arbitrary code into a running server and execute it.

The investigation also revealed that the profile image of the user who published getcookies was a stock photo and that the GitHub account linked from the packages was created in March.

Furthermore, download counts for getcookies, express-cookies, and http-fetch-cookies spiked a few weeks back, supposedly after a version of mailparser that depended upon http-fetch-cookie was published. Although deprecated, mailparser receives around 64,000 weekly downloads.

“We determined the published versions of mailparser that depended on http-fetch-cookies did not use the module in any way, eliminating any risk the backdoor posed. We speculate that mailparser’s requiring http-fetch-cookies was to execute an attack in the future or to inflate download counts of express-cookies to add to its legitimacy,” npm notes.

Less than two hours after receiving the initial report, the security team unpublished the getcookies, express-cookies, and http-fetch-cookies packages and also removed the dustin87 user.

Furthermore, they removed three versions of mailparser (2.2.3, 2.2.2, and 2.2.1) that depended on the http-fetch-cookies module and also reset npm tokens for the author of mailparser to prevent further unauthorized publishing.

Because mailparser didn’t use the malicious module in any way, its users weren’t impacted. Those who directly required and used the express-cookies and getcookies packages were affected.

Microsoft Makes Hyper-V Debugging Symbols Public
4.5.2018 securityweek  IT

Microsoft  Logo

In an attempt to improve Hyper-V technology, which Microsoft considers central to the security of its cloud services, the software giant has released Hyper-V debugging symbols to the public.

Microsoft is now offering access to most Hyper-V-related symbols through the public symbol servers, starting with symbols for Windows Server 2016 with an installed April 2018 cumulative update.

“We would like to share with the security community that we have now released debugging symbols for many of the core components in Hyper-V, with some exceptions such as the hypervisor where we would like to avoid our customers taking a dependency on undocumented hypercalls for instance,” Microsoft announced.

This move, the company says, should prove handy for partners building solutions leveraging Hyper-V, for developers attempting to debug specific issues, and to security researchers to better analyze Hyper-V’s implementation and report any vulnerabilities as part of the Microsoft Hyper-V Bounty Program.

Microsoft is offering consistent rewards for vulnerabilities discovered in the Hyper-V client running on Windows 10 (latest builds of Windows Insider Preview slow) and Windows Server 2016 (latest available version).

The highest payouts reach $250,000 for eligible Critical Remote Code Execution bugs in Hypervisor and Host Kernel. Microsoft is also willing to pay up to $20,000 for issues discovered in Remotefx, Legacy Network Adapter (Generation 1) and Fibre Channel Adapter.

At this year’s Pwn2Own hacking competition, Microsoft was willing to pay up to $150,000 for vulnerabilities in the Hyper-V client, the highest rewards offered at the event.

Developers and security researchers interested in learning more on Microsoft’s Hyper-V Bounty Program should head to this TechNet article.

The list of components that now have debugging symbols made public was published by the Microsoft Virtualization team in a blog post last week.

The set is likely to be updated as the company decides to make more symbols public: “With newer releases, we are evaluating whether we can make even more symbols available,” Microsoft’s Lars Iwer notes.

A limited set of virtualization-related symbols that haven’t been released as of now includes storvsp.pdb, vhdparser.pdb, passthroughparser.pdb, hvax64.pdb, hvix64.pdb, and hvloader.pdb.

GandCrab Ransomware Breaks Windows 7 Systems
4.5.2018 securityweek 

The latest variant of the GandCrab ransomware breaks infected Windows 7 systems, Fortinet warns.

Discovered at the end of last month, version 3 of the ransomware forces a system reboot, attempting to change the PC’s desktop wallpaper. Because of a coding bug, however, only Windows 10 and Windows 8 systems would fully load, while Windows 7 machines would hang at a point before the Windows Shell is completely loaded.

GandCrab spreads via spam emails, and Fortinet last week observed an uptick in messages distributing the ransomware. The emails carried version 2.1 of the malware and most of them (75%) targeted users in the United States, with those in the United Kingdom, Canada, Romania, and South Africa also impacted.

Over the past several days, the GandCrab operators switched to a new malware iteration, but kept most of the functionality intact. The main difference between the two versions is the attempt to change the desktop wallpaper, which only works on Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 systems.

“On Windows 7 however, for some reason, booting does not finish but instead gets stuck at a point before the Windows Shell is completely loaded. That means an infected user would not have the Windows interface to interact with, rendering the entire machine seemingly unusable,” Fortinet explains.

Reminiscent of the old lock screen ransomware behavior, the user sees only the ransom note wallpaper and TOR browser download site, the security researchers note.

This behavior, however, wasn’t intentional, it seems. The ransom note instructs the victim to read a copy of one of the “CRAB-DECRYPT.txt” ransom notes the malware has placed in various folders for instructions on how to recover the encrypted files. Without the Windows interface, the average user won’t be able to do that.

Users should launch Task Manager using the CTRL+SHIFT+DEL keys combination, terminate the malware process (which could also prove difficult to spot on the list of running processes) and reboot the system. However, this might not solve the issue either, given that the malware has a persistence mechanism that ensures it is executed upon reboot.

To prevent the “lock screen” from appearing in subsequent reboots, the victim should also delete the malware executable from APPDATA%\Microsoft\<random chars>.exe after terminating the malware process using Task Manager. Victims should also delete the ransomware’s autorun registry.

“Seeing a ransom note and realizing that all of your files are gone is frustrating on so many levels. And it’s even more frustrating (if that’s even possible) when on top of that you also lose your access to the machine. Malware flaws with unintended consequences are really quite common, which is another reason why being extra cautious with unsolicited emails is very important,” Fortinet notes.

Users are advised to always scan and verify unexpected emails with attachments before opening them. They should also create isolated backups of their important files, to ensure they can recover those in the event of an infection.

Although the new feature in GandCrab does not work well on all targeted systems, it is being actively deployed, which makes the malware campaign even more dangerous.

Intel Working on Patches for 8 New Spectre-Like Flaws: Report
4.5.2018 securityweek 

Researchers have discovered a total of eight new Spectre-like vulnerabilities, including flaws that may be more serious and easier to exploit, according to German magazine c’t.

The flaws were reportedly identified by several research teams, including Google Project Zero, whose employees were among those who initially discovered the Meltdown and Spectre attack methods. C’t, which is owned by Heise, claims it has obtained the information exclusively and confirms the existence of the vulnerabilities and their severity.

The new vulnerabilities, dubbed “Spectre Next Generation” or “Spectre-NG,” are said to affect processors from Intel and at least some ARM chips. AMD processors are currently being analyzed to determine if they are impacted as well.

Intel has confirmed that it’s working on patching some vulnerabilities, but it has not provided any details. C’t reports that Intel will release updates in two waves – the first expected in May and the second in August.

There are currently two main versions of the Spectre vulnerability: variant 1 and variant 2. Variant 1 attacks can be mitigated using software updates, but variant 2 requires microcode updates as well. C’t says Microsoft is also working on mitigations, which indicates that the Spectre-NG flaws require both software and firmware updates.

Of the eight Spectre-NG flaws, four have been classified as high severity and four as medium severity, with CVE identifiers being prepared for each issue.

While the risk and attack scenarios are similar to the original Spectre, c’t says there is one exception. One of the flaws can be exploited to execute arbitrary code in virtual machines and compromise the host system, and the attack is relatively easy to conduct, especially compared to the original Spectre. Cloud service providers such as Cloudflare and Amazon are reportedly affected the most.

On the other hand, c’t reports that the Spectre-NG flaws are unlikely to be exploited at scale against personal and corporate computers.

“Assuming they prove to be legitimate, the group of vulnerabilities coined as ‘Spectre-NG’ may pose significantly higher risks to cloud operators and multi-tenant environments than the original variants of Spectre. The information provided to the German technology site Heise seems to imply that a few of the eight new vulnerabilities facilitate VM-escape mechanisms, allowing a threat actor to compromise the hypervisor and/or other tenants from their own VM, apparently with little-to-no effort,” Craig Dods, Chief Security Architect at Juniper Networks, told SecurityWeek.

“As a point of reference, Spectre v1/v2 were quite difficult to use for the purposes of VM-escape within cloud environments. The details that are available for ‘Spectre-NG’ hint that it’s incredibly easy to use, but we won’t know for sure until we can see what the actual problems are,” Dods added.

Satya Gupta, CTO and co-founder of Virsec, is not surprised that new variants of the Spectre attack have emerged.

“Now that the core vulnerabilities of speculative execution have been publicized, many well-funded hacking groups globally are racing to find new ways to exploit them. These are advanced attacks exploiting small, but repeatable flaws that skip important security controls in literally billions of processors,” Gupta said via email. “While not all applications will be vulnerable and some compensating controls will be effective, the attackers are relentless and will continuously search for cracks in other defenses that allow Spectre to be exploited.”

Several other side-channel attack methods have been identified since the disclosure of Spectre and Meltdown, including ones dubbed BranchScope, SgxPectre, and MeltdownPrime and SpectrePrime.

Google Launches "Asylo" Framework for Confidential Computing
4.5.2018 securityweek  IT

Google this week announced the release of an open-source framework and software development kit (SDK) that allows developers to build applications targeting trusted execution environments.

Dubbed Asylo (Greek for “safe place”), the new framework should make it easier to protect the confidentiality and integrity of applications and data in isolated, confidential computing environments.

Aimed at defending against attacks targeting underlying layers of the stack (operating system, hypervisor, drivers, and firmware), trusted execution environments (TEEs) offer specialized execution environments called “enclaves” and can mitigate the risk of compromise by an unauthorized third-party.

The newly announced Asylo framework “includes features and services for encrypting sensitive communications and verifying the integrity of code running in enclaves, which help protect data and applications,” Google says.

Until now, specialized knowledge and tools were required for creating and running applications in a TEE, and implementations have been tied to specific hardware environments. With Asylo, TEEs become more broadly accessible to the developer community, allowing for the creation of applications that target various on-premises and in the cloud hardware.

With the Asylo framework, developers can easily build applications and make them portable, thus ensuring they can be deployed on various software and hardware backends. Google also provides a Docker image via Google Container Registry, offering all of the dependencies needed to run a container anywhere.

Because of this increased flexibility, developers can leverage hardware architectures with TEE support without having to modify their source code. Developers can quickly port their applications across different enclave backends (laptop, workstation, a virtual machine in an on-premises server, or an instance in the cloud).

“We are exploring future backends based on AMD Secure Encryption Virtualization (SEV) technology, Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX), and other industry-leading hardware technologies that could support the same rebuild-and-run portability,” Google says.

Asylo also provides increased ease-of-use, enabling apps to leverage the security properties of TEEs without requiring developers to learn a completely new programming model.

On top of that, the framework is open-source, meaning that it makes confidential computing technology available to everyone.

Now offering an SDK and tools to help developers build portable enclave applications, Asylo will soon also allow them to run existing applications in an enclave. For that, developers would simply need to copy their apps into the Asylo container, specify the backend and rebuild them.

To get started with Asylo, developers just need to download the sources and pre-built container image from Google Container Registry. The container includes samples that developers can analyze to start building their code. A quick-start guide and documentation were also published. Asylo is also available on GitHub.

Indegy Launches Industrial Security Risk Assessment Service
4.5.2018 securityweek  ICS

Industrial cybersecurity firm Indegy on Thursday announced the launch of a risk assessment service designed to help organizations evaluate exposures in their operational technology (OT) environments.

Indegy says its new service provides visibility and control into the security posture of industrial control systems (ICS) and the networks housing them.

The Indegy Risk Assessment Service is designed to identify risks and map them to their origin, assigning severity scores for each identified issue.

Indegy launches risk assessment service for ICS

According to Indegy, the service combines network traffic monitoring and analysis with device integrity assessment capabilities to identify account-related issues, insider threats, known vulnerabilities, open network ports, and control device configuration problems.

Once the assessment has been completed, organizations are provided a detailed report that includes a risk score for each asset and the network in general.

The Risk Assessment Service is available immediately and it can provide useful information for executives, managers, IT personnel, security analysts, and automation engineers, Indegy said.

“Most industrial organizations are now realizing that their OT environment is at risk more than ever before and they need to implement new security controls. Their biggest challenge is knowing where to start,” says Mille Gandelsman, CTO of Indegy.

“Our Risk Assessment Service provides facilities operators with clear and documented visibility into all the risks, vulnerabilities and exposures in their OT networks. More importantly it delivers an actionable blueprint for closing security gaps that can and have taken down mission critical operations,” Gandelsman added.

GLitch attack, Rowhammer attack against Android smartphones now leverages GPU
4.5.2018 securityaffairs Android

A team of experts has devised the GLitch attack technique that leverages graphics processing units (GPUs) to launch a remote Rowhammer attack against Android smartphones.
A team of experts has demonstrated how to leverage graphics processing units (GPUs) to launch a remote Rowhammer attack against Android smartphones.

By exploiting the Rowhammer attackers hackers can obtain higher kernel privileges on the target device. Rowhammer is classified as a problem affecting some recent DRAM devices in which repeatedly accessing a row of memory can cause bit flips in adjacent rows, this means that theoretically, an attacker can change any value of the bit in the memory.

The issue has been known at least since 2012, the first attack was demonstrated in 2015 by white hat hackers at Google Project Zero team.

In October 2016, a team of researchers in the VUSec Lab at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam devised a new method of attack based on Rowhammer, dubbed DRAMMER attack, that could be exploited to gain ‘root’ access to millions of Android smartphones and take control of affected devices. The greatest limitation of the Drammer attack was the necessity to have a malicious application being installed on the target device.

Now for the first time ever, the same team of experts has devised a technique dubbed GLitch to conduct the Rowhammer attack against an Android phone remotely.

The GLitch technique leverages embedded graphics processing units (GPUs) to launch the attack

“We demonstrate that GPUs, already widely employed to accelerate a variety of benign applications such as image rendering, can also be used to “accelerate” microarchitectural attacks (i.e., making them more effective) on commodity platforms.” reads the research paper.

“In particular, we show that an attacker can build all the necessary primitives for performing effective GPU-based microarchitectural attacks and that these primitives are all exposed to the web through standardized browser extensions, allowing side-channel and Rowhammer attacks from JavaScript”

The name GLitch comes from a widely used browser-based graphics code library known as WebGL for rendering graphics to trigger a known glitch in DDR memories.

The experts published a GLitch proof-of-concept attack that can exploit the Rowhammer attack technique by tricking victims into visiting a website hosting a malicious JavaScript code to remotely hack an Android smartphone in just 2 minutes.

The malicious script runs only within the privileges of the web browser, which means that it can the attack could allow to spy on user’s browsing activity or steal users’ credentials.

Experts highlighted that the attack could not allow threat actors to gain the full control over the victim’s device.

GLitch rather than leverage the CPU like other implementation for the Rowhammer technique uses the graphics processing units (GPU).

The researchers have chosen to leveraged the GPU because its cache can be more easily controlled, allowing them to hammer targeted rows without any interference.

“While powerful, these GPU primitives are not easy to implement due to undocumented hardware features. We describe novel reverse engineering techniques for peeking into the previously unknown cache architecture and replacement policy of the Adreno 330, an integrated GPU found in many common mobile platforms” continues the paper.

Affected smartphones run the Snapdragon 800 and 801 system on a chip, this implies that the GLitch attack only works only on older Android devices, including LG Nexus 5, HTC One M8, or LG G2.

GLitch attack

The PoC code works against both Firefox and Chrome, the video demo researchers demonstrate the GLitch attack on a Nexus 5 running over Mozilla’s Firefox browser.

The bad news for Android users is that no software patch can mitigate the GLitch attack because it leverages hardware bugs.

Experts warn of potential effects of Rowhammer attacks on a large scale, they are currently helping Google to mitigate the attack.

If you’re interested in more details about the exploit or other technical details I suggest you read the technical walkthrough.

Meltdown patch made the headlines again, it can be bypassed in Windows 10
4.5.2018 securityaffairs

The problems with the mitigations for the Meltdown flaw continue a security researcher has demonstrated that the Meltdown patch in Windows 10 can be bypassed.
The Windows Internals expert Alex Ionescu discovered that a Meltdown patch issued for Windows 10 is affected by a severe vulnerability that could be exploited to bypass it.

“Calling NtCallEnclave returned back to user space with the full kernel page table directory, completely undermining the mitigation,” reads a tweet wrote on Twitter.

Alex Ionescu
Welp, it turns out the #Meltdown patches for Windows 10 had a fatal flaw: calling NtCallEnclave returned back to user space with the full kernel page table directory, completely undermining the mitigation. This is now patched on RS4 but not earlier builds -- no backport??

3:47 PM - May 2, 2018
338 people are talking about this
Twitter Ads info and privacy
Ionescu explained that Microsoft addressed the flaw with the release of the Windows 10 version 1803, also known as April 2018 Update.

Microsoft acknowledged the issue reported by the expert and is currently working to provide a fix to include in the Windows 10 version 1790 (Fall Creators Update) thta is the only version affected.

The Meltdown and Spectre attacks could be exploited by attackers to bypass memory isolation mechanisms and access target sensitive data.

The Meltdown attack (CVE-2017-5754 vulnerability) could allow attackers to read the entire physical memory of the target machines stealing credentials, personal information, and more.

The Meltdown exploits the speculative execution to breach the isolation between user applications and the operating system, in this way any application can access all system memory.

The good news is that Meltdown attacks are not easy to conduct and the risk of exploitation is considered low.

Meltdown patch

Unfortunately, the timeline for Meltdown patch is full of problems, the first release was promptly suspended by Microsoft in January due to instability issues observed for AMD processors

A week ago, the security researcher Ulf Frisk reported that some of Meltdown and Spectre security updated Windows introduces severe flaws.

He noticed that Meltdown and Spectre security updates released by Microsoft in January and February for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 patch Meltdown are affected by a vulnerability that could be exploited by attackers to easily read from and write to memory.

According to the expert, an attacker can exfliltrate gigabytes of data per second by exploiting the vulnerability.

Who’s who in the Zoo

4.5.2018 Kaspersky APT  CyberSpy
Cyberespionage operation targets Android users in the Middle East
ZooPark is a cyberespionage operation that has been focusing on Middle Eastern targets since at least June 2015. The threat actors behind the operation infect Android devices using several generations of malware, with the attackers including new features in each iteration. We label them from v1-v4, with v4 being the most recent version deployed in 2017. From the technical point of view, the evolution of ZooPark has shown notable progress: from the very basic first and second versions, the commercial spyware fork in its third version and then to the complex spyware that is version 4. This last step is especially interesting, showing a big leap from straightforward code functionality to highly sophisticated malware.

Evolution of ZooPark malware features

We have observed two main distribution vectors for ZooPark – Telegram channels and watering holes. The second one was the preferred vector: we found several news websites that have been hacked by the attackers to redirect visitors to a downloading site that serves malicious APKs. Some of the themes observed in campaign include “Kurdistan referendum”, “TelegramGroups” and “Alnaharegypt news”, among others.

Target profile has evolved during the last years of campaign, focusing on victims in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon and Iran.


Meltdown Patch in Windows 10 Can Be Bypassed
4.5.2018 securityweek 

A researcher has discovered that a mitigation implemented by Microsoft in Windows 10 for the Meltdown vulnerability can be bypassed. The tech giant says it’s working on an update.

According to Windows internals expert Alex Ionescu, a Meltdown mitigation in Windows 10 has what he describes as “a fatal flaw.”

“Calling NtCallEnclave returned back to user space with the full kernel page table directory, completely undermining the mitigation,” Ionescu wrote on Twitter.

Meltdown mitigation in Windows 10 bypassed

The researcher said Microsoft included a patch for this issue in the recently released Windows 10 version 1803, also known as April 2018 Update, Redstone 4 and RS4.

Microsoft told SecurityWeek that the company is working on providing an update for Windows 10 version 1790, also known as the Fall Creators Update, which appears to be the only version affected.

While the Meltdown mitigation bypass is interesting from a research perspective, exploitation requires local code execution privileges and the risk of malicious attacks is low.

The patches released by Microsoft for the Meltdown vulnerability have caused problems from day one. Shortly after the Meltdown and Spectre flaws were disclosed in early January, users started complaining that Microsoft’s updates had been causing Windows to break down on computers with AMD processors.

More recently, a researcher discovered that Meltdown mitigations for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 introduced a serious privilege escalation vulnerability that may be worse than Meltdown.

Industrial Networks Easy to Hack From Corporate Systems: Study
4.5.2018 securityweek  ICS

Hackers could in many organizations easily gain access to industrial environments from the corporate network, according to an analysis conducted by Positive Technologies.

The study, based on data from nearly a dozen companies around the world in the oil and gas, metallurgy, and energy sectors, found that the corporate network perimeter can be penetrated in 73% of cases, often due to misconfigurations.

All of the tested companies had SSH, Telnet, RDP and other administration interfaces exposed, and 91% relied on dictionary passwords for privileged users. Other types of security holes on the corporate network perimeter included exposed DBMS interfaces (82%), vulnerable software (64%), use of insecure protocols (64%), arbitrary file upload flaws (45%), remote command execution vulnerabilities (36%), and excessive software and user privileges (36%). The difficulty of exploiting these flaws was in nearly 80% of cases described as “low” or “trivial.”

Within the corporate network, researchers found a wide range of weaknesses that could have allowed malicious actors to escalate privileges and move laterally. Weak passwords, vulnerable software and operating systems, and flaws in network segmentation and traffic filtering were the most commonly found issues.

Once inside the corporate network, attackers could have moved to industrial environments in 82% of cases. In nearly two-thirds of the analyzed companies, hackers could have gained access to the industrial network using special control channels that bypass the demilitarized zone (DMZ). In 45% of cases, investigators found poor traffic filtering between the networks, and in other organizations there was either no DMZ between the networks (18%) or no network segmentation (18%).

“These flaws are of high severity because if the attack is successful, critical servers are compromised. It might seem that having a dedicated channel for remote control of gateway servers is less risky, because an attacker would need to obtain access to specific workstations in the corporate information system. But it is an illusion that such a solution is secure. This method of penetrating the industrial network was successfully demonstrated in most test cases,” Positive Technologies said in its report.

Moving from the enterprise to the industrial network

Even if network segmentation has been properly implemented, an attacker can often still gain access to industrial systems, the study shows. This involves accessing the firewall with admin privileges and reconfiguring it to allow a connection from a malicious or compromised device.

Researchers found that obtaining the needed credentials is in many cases easy, again due to weak or poorly protected passwords. Attackers can obtain credentials from corporate IT systems where they are often stored in clear text, through brute-force attacks aimed directly at the firewall, or by obtaining encrypted passwords and cracking them.

Android Phones Vulnerable to Remote Rowhammer Attack via GPU
4.5.2018 securityweek  Android

A team of researchers has shown how malicious actors could leverage graphics processing units (GPUs) to launch Rowhammer attacks remotely against Android smartphones.

Rowhammer attacks involve repeatedly accessing a row of memory and causing bit flips in adjacent rows. The issue has been known since at least 2012, but its security implications were first discussed only in 2014, and the first attack was demonstrated in 2015 when Google researchers showed that it could be exploited for privilege escalation.

Other experts later discovered that Rowhammer was remotely exploitable via JavaScript and even demonstrated attacks on mobile platforms, specifically for rooting Android phones. A new variation of the attack presented last year bypassed mitigations proposed up to that point.

Researchers from the VU University in Amsterdam have now shown that the GPU integrated in most mobile processors can also be abused for Rowhammer and other microarchitectural attacks.

Experts demonstrated that JavaScript-based attacks can be launched remotely against web browsers such as Firefox and Chrome on older LG Nexus 5, HTC One M8 and LG G2 smartphones running Android. These devices use the GPU integrated into the Snapdragon 800/801 mobile chips.

The researchers claim their technique, which they have dubbed GLitch, is an improvement to existing CPU attacks, and it can bypass “state-of-the-art” mitigations. Their experiments have shown that the GPU-based Rowhammer attack is reliable and it can be used to compromise a mobile browser in less than two minutes.

“In comparison, even on PCs, all previous Rowhammer attacks from JavaScript require non default configurations (such as reduced DRAM refresh rates or huge pages) and often take such a long time that some researchers have questioned their practicality,” the researchers said in their paper.

“Our GLitch exploit shows that browser-based Rowhammer attacks are entirely practical even on (more challenging) ARM platforms. One important implication is that it is not sufficient to limit protection to the kernel to deter practical attacks, as hypothesized in previous work,” they added.

Ars Technica reported that Chrome 65 and Firefox 59 include mitigations for these types of attacks, and further protections will be rolled out by Google and Mozilla in the upcoming period.

The discovery of the GLitch method is important as it helps software and hardware vendors make their future products more secure, but these types of attacks require significant knowledge and resources and are unlikely to be seen in the wild any time soon.

Australia's Biggest Bank Loses 20 Million Customer Records
4.5.2018 securityweek  Incindent

Australia's troubled Commonwealth Bank admitted Thursday it had lost financial records for almost 20 million customers in a major security blunder -- but insisted there was no need to worry.

The nation's biggest company said it could not find two magnetic data tapes that stored names, addresses, account numbers and transaction details from 2000 to 2016.

National broadcaster ABC said the records were supposed to have been destroyed by a sub-contractor after the decommissioning of a data centre, but the bank never received documentation to confirm this happened.

The lender assured customers there was no need to worry as the tapes did not contain passwords, PINs or other data that could be used for fraudulent purposes.

It said in a statement after the incident was exposed by Australian media that an independent forensic investigation in 2016 "determined the most likely scenario was the tapes had been disposed of".

It said the issue was not cyber-related and there was no compromise of its technology platforms, systems, services, apps or websites and no evidence of customer harm.

But ongoing monitoring of the 19.8 million customer accounts involved is continuing, just in case.

"We take the protection of customer data very seriously and incidents like this are not acceptable," said Angus Sullivan, acting group executive for the lender's retail banking services.

"I want to assure our customers that we have taken the steps necessary to protect their information and we apologise for any concern this incident may cause."

He added customers had a 100 percent security guarantee against fraud where it was not their fault.

"The relevant regulators were notified in 2016 and we undertook a thorough forensic investigation, providing further updates to our regulators after its completion," Sullivan added.

"We also put in place heightened monitoring of customer accounts to ensure no data compromise had occurred.

"We concluded, given the results of the investigation, that we would not alert customers."

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called it "an extraordinary blunder" and said people should have been told.

"It's hard to imagine how so much data could be lost in this way," he said.

"Maintaining data security is of vital importance for everybody, whether it's the private sector or governments and if there is a serious data breach or loss, the people affected should be advised so they can take steps to protect themselves," he said.

The latest revelations cap a troublesome few months for Commonwealth Bank.

On Tuesday, a report by the country's financial services regulator slammed it for a complacent culture and ineffective board after a series of scandals.

The banking giant has been embroiled in claims it broke anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws and is also facing court over alleged rigging of the benchmark interest rate, which is used to set the price of domestic financial products.

Alongside Australia's three other major lenders -- National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ -- it is also under scrutiny in a royal commission looking into misconduct in the finance industry.

MassMiner Attacks Web Servers With Multiple Exploits
4.5.2018 securityweek 
Exploit  Vulnerebility

A recently discovered crypto-currency mining malware family is using multiple exploits in an attempt to increase its chances of successfully compromising web servers, AlienVault has discovered.

Dubbed MassMiner, the malware includes a fork of internet scanning tool MassScan, which in this case passes a list of private and public IP ranges to scan during execution. After compromising a target, the malware first attempts to spread to other hosts on the local network, and then attempts propagation over the Internet.

AlienVault observed multiple versions of MassMiner and says the malware continues to spread. The security firm identified compromised systems in Asia, Latin America, and Europe, but hasn’t established yet the full extent of the infection.

After leveraging MassScan for reconnaissance, the malware attempts to exploit vulnerable systems using the CVE-2017-10271 WebServer Exploit, the CVE-2017-0143 NSA-linked SMB Exploit (EternalBlue, used to install DoublePulsar), and the CVE-2017-5638 Apache Struts Exploit. It also attempts to brute force Microsoft SQL Servers using SQLck.

Once a Microsoft SQL server has been compromised, a script that installs MassMiner is executed, followed by a 1000+ line SQL script that disables important security features on the server, such as anti-virus protections.

On the Weblogic servers, the MassMiner malware is downloaded using a PowerShell script, and a VisualBasic script deploys the malware onto Apache Struts servers.

After being deployed, the malware achieves persistence, schedules tasks to execute its components, modifies access control list (ACL) to grant full access to certain files in the system, and kills the Windows Firewall.

MassMiner downloads a configuration file from a remote server. This file contains information on the server to download updates from, the executable to infect other machines with, and the Monero wallet and mining pool to send mined currency to.

“However, if the http request for the config file is never responded, the malware is capable of successfully running the Miner with its default configuration,” Alien Vault notes.

In addition to the crypto-miner, the malware also attempts to install the classic Gh0st backdoor onto the infected machines. This suggests that the malware operators might be setting up for further attacks, the same as the recently detailed PyRoMine malware did.

AlienVault has identified two Monero wallets belonging to the MassMiner operators.

Ex-NSA Director's IronNet Raises $78 Million
4.5.2018 securityweek  IT

IronNet Cybersecurity, a company founded by former NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $78 million in a Series B funding round.

The latest funding round, which brings the total amount of money secured by the firm to over $110 million, was led by new investor C5 Capital, with participation from existing investors ForgePoint Capital and Kleiner Perkins.

IronNet plans on using the newly obtained funds to accelerate its efforts to advance the adoption of its products in the financial and healthcare sectors, and expand internationally in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The company announced that its IronDome collective defense system is currently used by nearly half-dozen energy sector providers covering operating subsidiaries across over two dozen states. The product provides automated and real-time sharing of threat data and analysis between participating energy companies.

IronNet’s IronDefense platform offers behavioral threat detection, visibility, and risk prioritization capabilities. The company says this product is currently used by organizations in the financial and energy sectors, including a major custodian bank, a prominent hedge fund, and various energy companies.

“This investment represents a clear endorsement of our core technology and strategy for defending nations and industries around the world,” said Gen. Alexander, who was also the founding commander of the U.S. Cyber Command. “We look forward working closely with our new investors joining us in this funding round to continue to rapidly innovate and expand our efforts in this critically important national security arena.”

Amazon Introduces AWS Security Specialty Certification Exam
4.5.2018 securityweek  Security

Security professionals looking to demonstrate and validate their knowledge of how to secure the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform can now do so by taking the new AWS Certified Security – Specialty exam.

Intended for individuals who hold either an Associate or Cloud Practitioner certification, the security exam covers a broad range of areas, including incident response, logging and monitoring, infrastructure security, identity and access management, and data protection.

Individuals interested in taking the exam should have at least five years of IT security experience designing and implementing security solutions, Amazon says. At least two years of hands-on experience securing AWS workloads is also recommended.

By taking the exam, candidates validate their ability to demonstrate and understand specialized data classifications and AWS data protection mechanisms, as well as data encryption methods and secure Internet protocols, along with AWS mechanisms to implement them.

The exam also allows candidates to demonstrate working knowledge of AWS security services and features of services to provide a secure production environment, and competency gained from two or more years of production deployment experience using AWS security services and features.

The candidates would also show an ability to make tradeoff decisions with regard to cost, security, and deployment complexity given a set of application requirements, and would demonstrate an understanding of security operations and risk.

In addition to announcing the AWS Certified Security – Specialty exam, Amazon also published training and other resources that would help candidates prepare for the exam (focused on AWS fundamentals, architecture, security operations, and security services).

There are also a couple of AWS whitepapers candidates are encouraged to glance over (Security and Compliance documentation and Compliance resources), as well as exam preparation resource guides they can take advantage of.

The Speciality exam includes 65 questions, should take around 170 minutes to complete, and is in English. Candidates are required to pay a $300 fee to participate.

Commodity Ransomware Declines as Corporate Attacks Increase
4.5.2018 securityweek 

2017 was a landmark year for ransomware, with WannaCry and NotPetya grabbing headlines around the world. Ransomware attacks grew by more than 400% over the year, while the number unique families and variants increased by 62%. These statistics, however, disguise an apparent change in the ransomware industry following the summer of 2017.

The figures and analysis come from F-Secure's upstream telemetry and are published in a new report: The Changing State of Ransomware (PDF). It is the sheer size of the WannaCry outbreak that started in May 2017 that distorts the figures. "While the initial wave of infections was quickly rendered inert with the discovery of an apparent 'kill switch'," notes F-Secure, "it did not actually stop the malware from spreading."

WannaCry spreads like a worm via vulnerable SMB ports, and it will continue to seek to spread unless every single infection is eradicated. In this it is like Conficker, which is still being found in the wild nearly ten years after it was first encountered. Although the WannaCry vulnerability was patched by Microsoft, the malware's continued incidence around the world shows there is no shortage of vulnerable machines.

By the end of 2017, WannaCry accounted for 9 out of every 10 F-Secure detection reports. Most of these are in Asia and South America, but recent reports of infections in Connecticut and North Carolina show that it can still occur anywhere.

Beneath the dominance of WannaCry, closer inspection of the figures shows that in the latter half of 2017, other ransomware detections declined. Apart from two spikes (Mole in September, and Locky in October), the general trend in new detections is downward.

F-Secure believes there are several reasons for this decline. One is the huge increase in the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. While bitcoin initially fueled the rise of ransomware through its relative anonymity, it is often a labor-intensive method of collecting revenue -- with some criminals even providing 'help desks' for their victims.

The huge rise in the value of bitcoin towards the end of last year persuaded criminals to change tactics -- instead of extorting cryptocurrencies they are now distributing crypto mining malware to steal users' CPU cycles to 'earn' cryptocurrencies. "This scheme draws considerably less attention than ransomware," says the report, "and can prove lucrative if cryptocurrencies increase in value."

But there is another trend hidden by the figures -- a move away from mass-distributed spam-delivered ransomware (more likely to affect home computers than corporate computers) towards more targeted attacks against business. WannaCry might again be partly to blame. Firstly, it raised awareness of ransomware among the general public who are now more likely to take better precautions and maintain backups.

But secondly, the propagation method via SMB ports meant the WannaCry outbreak focused primarily on businesses. It demonstrated, suggests F-Secure, that criminals could focus on the quality rather than quantity of targets in the hopes of getting a better payday.

"After the summer, there was a noticeable shift away from the kind of ransomware activity that we've seen in the last year or two," comments F-Secure security advisor Sean Sullivan. "The last couple of years saw cyber criminals developing lots of new kinds of ransomware, but that activity tapered off after last summer. So, it looks like the ransomware gold rush mentality is over, but we already see hard core extortionists continuing to use ransomware, particularly against organizations because WannaCry showed everyone how vulnerable companies are."

Ransomware is not going away, but it is getting targeted on business. The massive spam delivery campaigns are being replaced by targeted attacks, sometimes using lesser-known ransomwares. "For example," says F-Secure, "in June 2017 a South Korean web hosting company paid a one-million-dollar ransom to cyber criminals after falling victim to a Linux variant of the Erebus ransomware."

Average payouts are far less than this, typically ranging between $150 for Jigsaw and $1900 for Cryptomix. This, however, is per decryption. A home user would consequently be extorted, say $400 for decrypting a PC infected with Shade, while a small business with 100 workstations that need decryption would be charged $40,000.

SamSam is a good example of the changing state of ransomware. The SamSam group will typically breach a company network prior to delivering the ransomware and encrypting files. This gives the criminals time to understand the environment, learn what to encrypt for maximum effect, and potentially disrupt any backup and restore capabilities. This seems to have happened this year at Hancock Health.

Hancock Health decided to pay the SamSam ransom even though it could, it thought, have restored its files from backup. "Several days later," admitted CEO Steve Long, "it was learned that, though the electronic medical record backup files had not been touched, the core components of the backup files from all other systems had been purposefully and permanently corrupted by the hackers."

The City of Atlanta was also hit by SamSam. This is still current. It appears that the city decided not to pay the ransom demand (a little over $51,000); but has so far been forced to spend around $3 million in recovery costs.

Cybercriminals quickly adapt to new conditions and opportunities; but will always go where they can gain maximum income from minimum effort. The two primary themes that came out of the last few months of 2017 are a criminal migration from commodity ransomware to crypto mining, together with the emergence of more targeted ransomware against business.

"The price of bitcoin is probably the biggest factor," suggests Sullivan, "as that's made crypto mining a lot more attractive and arguably less risky for cyber criminals. I also think revenues are probably falling as awareness of the threat has encouraged people to keep reliable backups, as has skepticism about how reliable criminals are on delivering their promises of decrypting data. But cyber criminals will always try to pick low hanging fruit, and they'll return to ransomware if the conditions are right."

Twitter Urges Password Changes After Exposing 'Unmasked' Credentials
4.5.2018 securityweek 

Twitter on Thursday warned its users that an internal software bug unintentionally exposed "unmasked" passwords by storing them in an internal log.

Twitter CTO, Parag Agrawal, explained that Twitter hashes passwords using the popular bcrypt function, which replaces an actual password with a random set of numbers and letters, allowing Twitter's systems to validate credentials without revealing passwords, while also masking them so Twitter employees can't see them.

"Due to a bug, passwords were written to an internal log before completing the hashing process. We found this error ourselves, removed the passwords, and are implementing plans to prevent this bug from happening again," Agrawal wrote in a blog post.

Agrawal said the bug has been fixed and an investigation shows no indication of breach or misuse by anyone, but urged users to change their passwords.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we ask that you consider changing your password on all services where you’ve used this password," Agrawal noted.

He also suggested that users enable two factor authentication, calling it "the single best action you can take to increase your account security."

Twitter urges its 330 million users to change passwords after bug exposed them in plain text
4.5.2018 securityaffairs

Twitter is urging all of its more than 330 million users to change their passwords after a bug exposed them in plain text on internal systems.
Twitter is urging its users to immediately change their passwords after a glitch caused some of them to be stored in plain text.

Parag Agrawal
We are sharing this information to help people make an informed decision about their account security. We didn’t have to, but believe it’s the right thing to do. https://twitter.com/twittersupport/status/992132808192634881 …

10:13 PM - May 3, 2018
441 people are talking about this
Twitter Ads info and privacy
The company did not reveal the number of affected accounts, according to the Reuters a person familiar with the company’s response said the number was “substantial.”

The bad news is that passwords may have been exposed for “several months.”

More than 330 million users have been impacted, according to the company data were stored in plain text only on an internal system.

“We recently identified a bug that stored passwords unmasked in an internal log. We have fixed the bug, and our investigation shows no indication of breach or misuse by anyone.” reads the security advisory published by the company.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we ask that you consider changing your password on all services where you’ve used this password.”

Twitter announced it had fixed the security glitch and started an internal investigation to verify if users’ data may have been abused by insiders.

The company discovered the flaw a few weeks ago and already reported the issue to some regulators, the bug caused the passwords to be written in plain text on an internal computer log before the hashing process was completed.

“Due to a bug, passwords were written to an internal log before completing the hashing process. We found this error ourselves, removed the passwords, and are implementing plans to prevent this bug from happening again.” continues the advisory.

Just after the announcement of the incident, Twitter’s share price drop 1 percent in extended trade at $30.35, after gaining 0.4 percent during the session.
Twitter apologizes its users and asks its users to change passwords and enable two-factor authentication service. Of course change passwords for all the sites where you have used the same Twitter credentials.

This is the last blatant disclosure of a security breach a few weeks before the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, a couple of days ago, GitHub announced to have suffered a similar incident.

Schneider Electric Development Tools InduSoft Web Studio and InTouch Machine Edition are affected by a critical buffer flaw
4.5.2018 securityaffairs ICS

Researchers at Tenable have disclosed technical details and a PoC code for a critical remote code execution vulnerability affecting Schneider Electric InduSoft Web Studio and InTouch Machine Edition products.
Experts at security firm Tenable have discovered a critical remote code execution vulnerability affecting Schneider Electric InduSoft Web Studio and InTouch Machine Edition products.

The InduSoft Web Studio is a development tool for human-machine interfaces (HMIs), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and embedded instrumentation solutions, while the InTouch Machine Edition is an HMI/SCADA development tool.

Boot products are widely adopted in almost any industry, from energy to building automation.

Researchers at Tenable discovered a stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability in the tools that can be exploited by a remote unauthenticated attacker to trigger a DoS condition or to execute arbitrary code execution with elevated privileges.

Tenable disclosed technical details and the following proof-of-concept (PoC) code for the vulnerability:

cat <(echo -ne '\x02\x57\x03\x02\x32'`python -c 'print "A"*0x500'`'\x09\x0a\x03') - | nc <target_host> 1234
Schneider Electric InduSoft Web Studio

According to the researchers, the buffer overflow issue could be exploited to fully compromise the vulnerable system and use it as an entry point in the target network.

An attacker can exploit the flaw by sending specially crafted packets and use HMI clients to read and write tags, and monitor alarms and events, he only needs to remotely connect to port 1234 on the targeted machine.

“Tenable Research found a new stack-based buffer overflow in InduSoft Web Studio and InTouch Machine Edition. A threat actor could send a crafted packet to exploit the buffer overflow vulnerability using a tag, alarm, event, read or write action to execute code.” reads the analysis published by Tenable.

“The vulnerability can be remotely exploited without authentication and targets the IWS Runtime Data Server service, by default on TCP port 1234. The software implements a custom protocol that uses various “commands.” This vulnerability is triggered through command 50, and is caused by the incorrect usage of a string conversion function.”

The flaw affects InduSoft Web Studio v8.1 and prior, and InTouch Machine Edition 2017 v8.1 and prior.

Schneider Electric addressed the vulnerability with the release of v8.1 SP1 for both products, security patches were made available on April 6.

“Customers using InduSoft Web Studio v8.1 or prior versions are affected and should upgrade and apply InduSoft Web Studio v8.1 SP1 as soon as possible.” reads the advisory published by Schneider Electric.

“Customers using InTouch Machine Edition 2017 v8.1 or prior versions are affected and should upgrade and apply InTouch Machine Edition 2017 v8.1 SP1 as soon as possible.”

CVE-2018-2879 – Vulnerability in Oracle Access Manager can let attackers impersonate any user account
4.5.2018 securityaffairs

Security researchers have discovered a security vulnerability in Oracle Access Manager that can be exploited by a remote attacker to bypass the authentication and take over the account of any user.
Security researcher Wolfgang Ettlinger from SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab has discovered a security vulnerability in Oracle Access Manager that can be exploited by a remote attacker to bypass the authentication and take over the account of any user or administrator on affected systems.

Oracle Access Management provides Web SSO with MFA, coarse-grained authorization and session management, and standard SAML Federation and OAuth capabilities to enable secure access to mobile applications and external cloud.

The flaw, tracked as CVE-2018-2879, relates a flawed cryptographic format used by the Oracle Access Manager.

“The Oracle Access Manager is the component of the Oracle Fusion Middleware that handles authentication for all sorts of web applications,” SEC Consult researcher Wolfgang Ettlinger explained.

“we will demonstrate how minor peculiarities of the cryptographic implementation had a real-life impact on the security of the product. By exploiting this vulnerability we were able to fabricate arbitrary authentication tokens, allowing us to impersonate any user and effectively break the main functionality of OAM.”

Ettlinger explained that an attacker can exploit a vulnerability in the way OAM handles encrypted messages to trick the software into accidentally disclosing information that can be used to log in impersonating other users.

The attacker can power a padding oracle attack to disclose an account’s authorization cookie, he can create a script that generates valid login keys for any desired user, including administrators.

“During a research project, we found that a cryptographic format used by the OAM exhibits a serious flaw. By exploiting this vulnerability, we were able to craft a session token. When a WebGate is presented with this token, it would accept it as a legitimate form of authentication and allow us to access protected resources.” explained the expert.

“What’s more, the session cookie crafting process lets us create a session cookie for an arbitrary username, thus allowing us to impersonate any user known to the OAM.”

The following video PoC shows that an attacker can impersonate arbitrary users by triggering the flaw.

Oracle Access Management 11g and 12c versions were both affected by the vulnerability. The experts used a simple Google Dork to find about 11.800 OAM installs, some of them belonging to high-profile organizations (including Oracle). We have to consider the there are many other installations that are not reachable from the Internet.

Oracle Access Manager

The experts responsibly disclosed this flaw to Oracle in November 2017. the IT giant addressed it with the latest Critical Patch Update (CPU) in April 2018.

“As this patch was provided in Oracle’s regular update schedule, we expect OAM administrators to have applied the patch by now. If this is not the case for your organization, it’s high time to do so now” continues the advisory.

Technical details about the CVE-2018-2879 are included in the security advisory published by the SEC Consult Cryptography Competence Center.

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank lost 20 Million customer records
4.5.2018 securityaffairs Incindent

Australia’s biggest bank, the Commonwealth Bank, disclosed a major security incident that exposed financial records for almost 20 million customers.
According to the Commonwealth Bank representatives, two magnetic data tapes were lost, both stored customers’ records, including names, addresses, account numbers and transaction details from 2000 to 2016.

According to the broadcaster ABC, the data were supposed to have been destroyed when a sub-contractor after the dismantled a data centre. The sub-contractor did not provide the bank the documentation to confirm this the disruption of the magnetic data tapes, anyway the bank tried to downplay the situation confirming that the records don’t include passwords, PINs or other financial or sensitive information.

Commonwealth Bank

According to an independent forensic investigation conducted in 2016 “the most likely scenario was the tapes had been disposed of,” anyway it was not a data breach and banking systems were not compromised by attackers.

“We take the protection of customer data very seriously and incidents like this are not acceptable,” announced Angus Sullivan, acting group executive for the lender’s retail banking services.

“I want to assure our customers that we have taken the steps necessary to protect their information and we apologise for any concern this incident may cause.”

The Commonwealth Bank is continuing to monitor the accounts of the affected customers providing them full coverage against frauds and other fraudulent activities.

“The relevant regulators were notified in 2016 and we undertook a thorough forensic investigation, providing further updates to our regulators after its completion,” said Sullivan.

“We also put in place heightened monitoring of customer accounts to ensure no data compromise had occurred.

“We concluded, given the results of the investigation, that we would not alert customers.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull defined the case “an extraordinary blunder.”

“It’s hard to imagine how so much data could be lost in this way,” he said.

“Maintaining data security is of vital importance for everybody, whether it’s the private sector or governments and if there is a serious data breach or loss, the people affected should be advised so they can take steps to protect themselves,” he said.

The case is the last of a string of adverse events that affected the Commonwealth Bank. the banking giant “has been embroiled in claims it broke anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws and is also facing court over alleged rigging of the benchmark interest rate, which is used to set the price of domestic financial products.”

Microsoft Patches Critical Flaw in Open Source Container Library
4.5.2018 securityweek 

Microsoft informed users on Wednesday that an update for the Windows Host Compute Service Shim library patches a critical remote code execution vulnerability.

Introduced in January 2017, the Windows Host Compute Service (HCS) is a low level container management API for Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor. The tech giant has made available two open source wrappers that allow users to call the HCS from higher level programming languages instead of the C API directly.

One of these wrappers is the Windows Host Compute Service Shim (hcsshim), which supports launching Windows Server containers from the Go language. Hcsshim is mainly used in the Docker Engine project, but Microsoft says it can be freely used by others as well.

Swiss developer and security researcher Michael Hanselmann discovered that hcsshim fails to properly validate input when importing a container image, allowing a malicious actor to remotely execute arbitrary code on the host operating system.

“To exploit the vulnerability, an attacker would place malicious code in a specially crafted container image which, if an authenticated administrator imported (pulled), could cause a container management service utilizing the Host Compute Service Shim library to execute malicious code on the Windows host,” Microsoft said in its advisory.

The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2018-8115, has been classified as critical, but Microsoft believes it is unlikely to be exploited for malicious purposes. Technical details of the issue have not been made public.

The flaw has been fixed with the release of hcsshim 0.6.10, which can be obtained from GitHub. US-CERT has also released an alert advising users to apply the update.

This is not the only out-of-band update released by Microsoft recently. Last month, the company updated its Malware Protection Engine to patch a vulnerability that can be exploited to take control of a system by placing a malicious file in a location where it would be scanned.

UPDATE. Hanselmann says he reported the vulnerability to both Microsoft and Docker in February. The researcher will release technical details and a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit on May 9.

Over a Million Dasan Routers Vulnerable to Remote Hacking
4.5.2018 securityweek 

Researchers have disclosed the details of two unpatched vulnerabilities that expose more than one million home routers made by South Korea-based Dasan Networks to remote hacker attacks.

In a blog post published on Monday, vpnMentor revealed that many Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network (GPON) routers, which are used to provide fiber-optic Internet, are affected by critical vulnerabilities. The company told SecurityWeek that the impacted devices are made by Dasan Networks.

One of the flaws, tracked as CVE-2018-10561, allows a remote attacker to bypass a router’s authentication mechanism simply by appending the string “?images/” to a URL in the device’s web interface.

The second vulnerability, identified as CVE-2018-10562, allows an authenticated attacker to inject arbitrary commands.

By combining the two security holes, a remote and unauthenticated attacker can take complete control of a vulnerable device and possibly the entire network, vpnMentor said. The company has published a video showing how the attack works:

A Shodan search shows that there are more than one million GPON home routers exposed to the Internet, a majority located in Mexico (480,000), Kazakhstan (390,000), and Vietnam (145,000).

“Depending on what the attacker wants to achieve, he can be spying on the user and any connected device (TV, phones, PC and even speakers like Amazon Echo). Also he can inject malware into the browser which means even when you leave your home network your device would be hacked now,” Ariel Hochstadt, co-founder of vpnMentor, told SecurityWeek. “If the hacker is resourceful (government etc) he can enable advanced spear phishing attacks, and even route criminal activities through exploited routers (Imagine the FBI knocks on your door telling you they saw someone in your house using your IP address and selling stolen credit card numbers on the dark web).”

vpnMentor said it did try to report its findings to Dasan before making any information public, but it did not receive a response. Dasan representatives, specifically a PR agency, reached out to vpnMentor on LinkedIn after its blog post was published.

While in some cases Dasan has shown interest in working with researchers who discovered vulnerabilities in its products, there are some advisories online describing potentially critical issues that the vendor has apparently ignored.

Malicious actors have been known to target Dasan devices. Researchers reported recently that the Satori botnet had ensnared thousands of Dasan routers by exploiting a remote code execution vulnerability. The flaw in question was disclosed in December 2017 by Beyond Security, which claimed the vendor had ignored repeated attempts to report the issue.

This is not the first time vpnMentor reports finding vulnerabilities in network devices. Last month, the company disclosed the details of an unpatched command injection vulnerability that can be exploited to take control of network-attached storage (NAS) devices from LG.

Schneider Electric Development Tools Affected by Critical Flaw
4.5.2018 securityweek  ICS

Security firm Tenable has disclosed the details of a critical remote code execution vulnerability affecting Schneider Electric’s InduSoft Web Studio and InTouch Machine Edition products.

InduSoft Web Studio is a toolset designed for developing human-machine interfaces (HMIs), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and embedded instrumentation solutions, and InTouch Machine Edition is an HMI/SCADA development tool that can be used for both advanced applications and small-footprint embedded devices. The products are used worldwide in the manufacturing, oil and gas, water and wastewater, automotive, building automation, and renewable energy sectors.

The tools are impacted by a stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability that can be exploited without authentication for denial-of-service (DoS) attacks and arbitrary code execution with elevated privileges.

Tenable, whose employees discovered the flaw, reports that a malicious actor could exploit the weakness to gain complete control of the affected system and use it as a pivot point for lateral movement within the network. The company has released technical details and proof-of-concept (PoC) code.

The security hole is related to InduSoft Web Studio and InTouch Machine Edition functionality that allows HMI clients to read and write tags, and monitor alarms and events.

“The vulnerability is similar to CVE-2017-14024 in that it involves calling mbstowcs() in TCPServer.dll. However, this new vulnerability leverages command 50 instead of command 49. The vulnerability can be remotely exploited without authentication and targets the IWS Runtime Data Server service, by default on TCP port 1234,” Tenable explained.

The company says an attacker can exploit the vulnerability remotely if they are able to connect to port 1234 on the targeted machine.

„This means that if the machine is on a private network, the attacker would need to be on the same network. If, however, the machine and the service/port have been opened to the internet, then an attacker can exploit it via the internet,” Tenable Research told SecurityWeek.

The vulnerability impacts InduSoft Web Studio v8.1 and prior, and InTouch Machine Edition 2017 v8.1 and prior. Schneider Electric patched the flaw with the release of v8.1 SP1 for both products. The vendor acknowledged the issue on January 28 and released patches on April 6. The security firm has confirmed that the patch works.

The similar vulnerability referenced by Tenable, CVE-2017-14024, was patched by Schneider in September 2017. It also impacted InduSoft Web Studio and InTouch Machine Edition, and allowed remote code execution.

Industry CMO on the Downstream Risks of "Logo Disclosures"
4.5.2018 securityweek  Security

Cybersecurity Marketing Teams Would Benefit From an Ethics Desk

Jennifer Leggio, chief marketing officer at Flashpoint, is an executive with more than a decade's experience in managing corporate cyber security marketing at the highest levels -- much of the time seeking and advocating a greater ethical stance in marketing. At last month's Hack in the Box Conference in Amsterdam, she delivered a keynote presentation entitled, 'A Risk Assessment of Logo Disclosures'.

The basic premise is that failures in the coordinated approach to vulnerability disclosures can seem attractive from an initial marketing perspective, but are damaging to both the industry and its users. The ultimate problem comes from the different missions between security product development and sales teams: the first is purposed to reduce harm, while the latter is purposed to sell product.

In between these teams sit the researchers, whose function is to find weaknesses in security products so that they can be strengthened, and their users better protected. Researchers wish to have their expertise acknowledged, while developers wish to fix their products securely. Between them they have evolved the process known as coordinated disclosure: researchers report their findings to the developer who fixes the faults, and both coordinate simultaneous disclosure of the vulnerability and its fix.

Logos for VulnerabilitiesIt's a process -- when it works -- that ensures the developer fixes the product as rapidly as possible, while the vulnerability does not become a zero-day exploit for use by cybercriminals, overseen by a CERT 'referee'. The problem comes from undue pressure from marketers, possibly supported by the firm's business leaders. This is the subject of Leggio's keynote presentation: the violation of disclosure process to try to diminish competitors, sell more product, or unethically highlight research prowess.

It's a complex issue because it cuts both ways. Research firms, probably at the behest of marketing, can disclose vulnerabilities ahead of coordination to maximize the publicity of their discovery (and therefore, their visible expertise). Similarly, developers can usurp the agreed coordination date to get fixes out before there is any indication that there was a vulnerability, thereby minimizing any perceived product weakness and negative criticism.

Both have possibly happened in recent months. On March 13, a virtually unknown Israeli firm announced the existence of 13 flaws in AMD chips, after giving AMD just 24 hours to fix them. "It very much felt like a marketing stunt," Leggio told SecurityWeek.

Two days later, Trail of Bits blogged that they had earlier been retained by CTS to confirm the existence of the AMD flaws -- which they did -- but commented, "Our recommendation to CTS was to disclose the vulnerabilities through a CERT." CTS did not follow this advice. This allowed the controversial company Viceroy Research to publish a statement on the same day as CTS disclosed the vulnerabilities:

"These findings demonstrate that AMD’s key products, and it basis for profitability and growth, the EPYC and Ryzen processors, contain severe and pervasive security flaws that put users and organizations at an unacceptable and damaging risk."

This statement bears all the hallmarks of an attempt to short AMD stock. In January, Moneyweb had described Viceroy Research as a "three-man firm... headed by a previous social worker and two Australian youngsters." It concluded, "there are doubts as to whether Viceroy conducts its own research or if it is merely a front for other investors that seek to avoid the limelight but profit from it."

It is possible, then, that unknown investors immediately attempted to profit from the uncoordinated disclosure -- a perfect example of the downstream risks highlighted by Leggio.

But it's not just the researchers that sometimes break the process. Also in March 2018, Core Security released details of a vulnerability in router manufacturer MikroTik's RouterOS. Core and MikroTik agreed on coordinated disclosure, but just before the agreed date, MikroTik quietly fixed the flaw in an OS update. Whether by design or accident, this allowed the manufacturer to avoid making any disclosure or public recognition of the pre-existing vulnerability.

The risk here is to the end user. Without ever hearing about potential problems, the user can easily assume that there are no problems. It's a false sense of security that is patently dangerous since compromised MikroTik routers are an important part of IoT botnets. According to one firm, compromised MikroTik routers comprised 80% of a botnet (probably Reaper) that was used in a DDoS attack against Dutch financials in January 2018.

It is such downstream risks of upfront marketing-led breaches of the coordinated disclosure process that Leggio discussed in her keynote presentation. Key to her proposal is the introduction of an ethics or 'standards desk' overseeing marketing decisions just as some newspapers have a standards desk overseeing the more contentious news stories.

Marketing teams pushing for external disclosure, she told SecurityWeek, "should have it go through an ethical evaluation to ensure that it's not compromising any bigger picture -- like an LEA investigation -- and/or is not tipping-off a cybercriminal that there might be an exploit in their malware that could help law enforcement. You're basically using coordinated disclosure to help cyber criminals harden their own stuff -- needs to be some review there."

It requires, she added, "a shift in culture and a shift in mindset, making sure that business leaders understand that their sales teams, their marketing teams, their finance teams, their legal teams and so on, are all responsible for making sure that there is an ethical delivery in the message."

Leggio's talk is available in the video below:


Regulus Cyber Aims to Secure Cars, Robots With $6.3 Million Funding
4.5.2018 securityweek  IT

Regulus Cyber emerged from stealth mode this week with $6.3 million in funding and a solution designed to protect sensors, communications and data in autonomous cars and trucks, robots and drones.

Israel-based Regulus raised $1.2 million in seed funding and $5.1 million in Series A funding from Sierra Ventures, Canaan Partners Israel, Technion and F2 Capital.

The company, led by CEO Yonatan Zur and CTO Yoav Zangvil, offers a solution, named Pyramid, that aims to provide security and mission reliability for the various sensors used by autonomous vehicles, drones and robots, including GPS, cameras, lidar and radar.

Malicious or accidental interference with these sensors can have serious consequences – in the case of drones, for instance, hackers can make them fly off course and obtain the potentially sensitive data they collect.

Regulus’ solutions include both software and hardware designed to protect these sensors. The hardware provided by the firm typically weighs less than 2 ounces (50 grams).Regulus Pyramid CSM device

For example, Pyramid CSM is a hardware module that can be connected to flight and robot controllers in order to protect command and control communications and mission data.

Regulus Pyramid CSM device

The Pyramid GPS SP device is designed to protect ships, cars and drones against GPS spoofing attacks.

Another module of the Pyramid suite is Pyramid RFM, which allows drones and robots to map radio frequencies (RF) in a certain area, helping their operators get a better understanding of their ability to operate in that location.

Finally, the Pyramid SVS (Sensor Validation System) should help protect the sensors in cars, robots and drones against smart physical hacks, which can be conducted more easily compared to remote attacks. Pyramid SVS combines external, independent sensors in an effort to identify and mitigate threats.

Pyramid SVS is expected to become available only next year, but the other modules should be released sometime in 2018, Regulus says on its website.

The company says it has already partnered with OEMs, tier 1 vendors, high-tech companies and government agencies in the automotive, aviation and telecoms sectors.

Mobile Phone Maker Settles With FTC Over Data Collection
4.5.2018 securityweek  IT

Mobile phone maker BLU Products this week reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over allegations that software in its devices collected users’ personal information.

In November 2016, security firm Kryptowire revealed that a backdoor in various Android phone models sold in the United States, including BLU devices, sent personally identifiable information (PII) to third-party servers without informing users on the practice or asking for their consent.

The backdoor activities were performed via Shanghai ADUPS Technology Co. Ltd’s Firmware Over-The-Air (FOTA) update software system. Collected sensitive data included text messages, contact lists, call history (including full telephone numbers), the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI), and the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI).

In July 2017, during a Black Hat presentation, Kryptowire revealed that the pre‐installed system apps from ADUPS could be used to target only “specific users and text messages matching remotely-defined keywords.”

Soon after, Amazon suspended sales of BLU phones citing security and privacy concerns. The retailer, however, resumed the sales only one week later.

At the time, BLU issued an official statement saying it hadn’t been aware of ADUPS’ practices and that it decided to replace the OTA application on future devices with Google's GOTA. Older devices, however, remained stuck with the ADUPS software.

Now, the FTC says a settlement was reached over allegations that BLU Products allowed ADUPS to “collect detailed personal information about consumers, such as text message contents and real-time location information, without their knowledge or consent despite promises by the company that it would keep such information secure and private.”

In its complaint (PDF), the FTC claims that BLU and its co-owner and President Samuel Ohev-Zion misled consumers by falsely saying that the third-party collection of data from BLU devices was limited to information needed to perform requested services. Furthermore, the Commission alleges that BLU falsely claimed it implemented the appropriate procedures to protect the personal information of users.

“As part of the settlement, BLU must implement a comprehensive data security program to help prevent unauthorized access of consumers’ personal information and address security risks related to BLU phones,” the FTC says.

The FTC complaint also alleges that the phone maker failed to implement the necessary mechanisms to oversee the security practices of their service providers. The company also failed to “perform appropriate due diligence of service providers,” failed to come up with written data security procedures regarding service providers, and failed to assess the privacy and security risks of third-party software installed on BLU devices.

This is what led to ADUPS collecting sensitive user data via BLU devices without consumers’ knowledge and consent, although the company didn’t need to perform the data collection as part of the contracted services. Moreover, the FTC claims, the ADUPS software preinstalled on BLU devices included common security vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to take over the smartphones.

“After reports about the unexpected collection and sharing by ADUPS became public in November 2016, BLU issued a statement informing consumers that ADUPS had updated its software and had stopped its unexpected data collection practices. Despite this, the FTC alleges that BLU continued to allow ADUPS to operate on its older devices without adequate oversight,” the Commission says.

Under the proposed settlement, BLU and Ohev-Zion are “prohibited from misrepresenting the extent to which they protect the privacy and security of personal information and must implement and maintain a comprehensive security program that addresses security risks associated with new and existing mobile devices and protects consumer information.”

Furthermore, BLU’s security program will be assessed by a third-party every two years for 20 years. The mobile phone manufacturer will also be subject to record keeping and compliance monitoring requirements.

Chrome Browser Now Enforces Certificate Transparency
4.5.2018 securityweek  Safety

Effective May 1, Google’s Chrome browser will display a warning when encountering certificates that are not compliant with the Chromium Certificate Transparency (CT) Policy.

The Google-backed CT attempts to tackle the issue of fraudulently issued certificates by requiring Certificate Authorities (CAs) to log all newly issued certificates. Once the certificate has been reported to the log server, the CA receives a signed certificate timestamp (SCT), which is proof of the submission.

In early 2016, Google announced the addition of a new CT log for CAs removed from trusted root certificate programs and for the ones in the process of being included. In November 2016, the company announced plans to make the CT policy in Chrome mandatory.

Initially planned for October 2017, the enforcement became reality this week: all publicly-trusted certificates (DV, OV, and EV) issued after April 30 need to be CT-compliant. Certificates that fail to comply with the policy won’t be considered trusted (this doesn’t apply to certificates issued from locally-trusted or enterprise CAs that are added by users or administrators).

“Chrome will start enforcing that all TLS certificates issued after April 2018 comply with the Chromium CT Policy in order to be trusted,” Google engineer Devon O'Brien notes in a post on Google Groups.

When encountering a TLS server certificate issued after April 30, 2018 that is not compliant, Chrome will display a full page interstitial indicating the connection is not CT-compliant. Sub-resources served over not CT-compliant HTTPS connections will fail to load and will show an error in Chrome DevTools.

The changes will first roll out to the desktop browser iterations, meaning that macOS, Windows, Linux, and ChromeOS users will be the first to notice the warning.

“CAs are strongly encouraged to work with their customers to ensure their TLS certificates are ready to comply with the Chromium CT Policy via any of the three means specified in RFC 6962 Section 3.3,” O'Brien continued.

Enterprises can, however, disable CT enforcement on managed devices and for managed users that have signed-in to Chrome on their personal devices. Chrome will also add a policy to allow them to disable CT enforcement for CAs that only issue certificates to that organization.

“CAs issuing TLS certificates with embedded SCTs should ensure they are compliant with the requirements of Qualifying Certificates in the Chromium CT Policy in order to maintain functionality in Chrome. Enforcement of CT compliance will only apply to certificates issued after April 2018; certificates issued before this date are unaffected,” O'Brien explains.

Many CAs are already logging certificates in public CT logs and are sharing data with each other, meaning that the new policy enforcement should have only a small impact on users.

North Korea Denies it Hacked UN Sanctions Committee Database
4.5.2018 securityweek  BigBrothers

North Korea on Wednesday denied hacking the database of a UN committee tasked with monitoring sanctions against Pyongyang, and called on Washington to focus on peace efforts ahead of a planned summit between the countries' leaders.

In a statement, the North Korean mission at the UN said Pyongyang "has never recognized the illegal and unlawful Security Council's 'sanctions resolutions'" and "is not interested in what the Sanctions Committee does," adding the idea that it had carried out a hacking operation was "nonsense."

"The US and hostile forces should squarely recognize the trend of the times and make efforts to do the work helpful to detente and (the) peace process on the Korean peninsula rather than manipulating plots with that hacking incident," the statement concluded.

The mission added the US had made the hacking accusations during a closed-door Sanctions Committee meeting.

But the US mission denied having made such a claim. "These quotes and comments attributed to the US delegation are entirely false," a spokesman said.

US pressure saw the UN impose three sets of economic sanctions against North Korea last year over its nuclear weapons programs, notably affecting sectors such as coal, iron, fishing, textiles and oil.

The latest exchange comes as ties between the US and North Korea have rapidly warmed, with a historic summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un set to be held within a matter of weeks.

It comes on the heels of a summit between Kim and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, spurring hope for a final settlement to end a decades-long conflict.

Microsoft addressed critical flaw in Windows Host Compute Service Shim library
3.5.2018 securityaffairs

Microsoft released an out of band update to address a critical remote code execution vulnerability in the Windows Host Compute Service Shim library (hcsshim).
Microsoft announced that it has issued a security update to address a critical remote code execution vulnerability in the Windows Host Compute Service Shim library (hcsshim).

The Windows Host Compute Service (HCS) is a low-level container management API in Hyper-V, Microsoft implemented two open source wrappers to invoke HCS functions using higher level programming languages.

The Windows Host Compute Service Shim wrapper, introduced in January 2017, allows the launch of Windows Server containers from the Go language.

“We’ve released two wrappers thus far. One is written in Go (and used by Docker), and the other is written in C#.” reads a blog post published by Microsoft.

“You can find the wrappers here:

The security expert Michael Hanselmann discovered that hcsshim fails to properly validate input when importing a container image, the vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2018-8115, could be exploited by a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the host operating system.

“A remote code execution vulnerability exists when the Windows Host Compute Service Shim (hcsshim) library fails to properly validate input while importing a container image.” reads the security advisory published by Microsoft.

“To exploit the vulnerability, an attacker would place malicious code in a specially crafted container image which, if an authenticated administrator imported (pulled), could cause a container management service utilizing the Host Compute Service Shim library to execute malicious code on the Windows host.”

Windows Host Compute Service Shim library

While US-CERT has released an alert urging to update the library, Microsoft tried to downplay the problem explaining that it is unlikely that the flaw could be exploited in attacks in the wild.

Microsoft addressed the vulnerability with the out-of-band update hcsshim 0.6.10 that is available on GitHub.

GitHub urged some users to reset their passwords after accidental recorded them
3.5.2018 securityaffairs Security

GitHub, world’s leading software development platform, forced password reset for some users after the discovery of a problem that caused internal logs to record passwords in plain text.
GitHub urged some users to reset their passwords after a problem caused internal logs to record passwords in plain text.

Some users published on Twitter the communication received via email by the company, the incident was discovered during a regular internal audit.


The company immediately clarified that its systems were not hacked and that users’ data are not at risk.

According to GitHub, only a “small number” of users are affected, the company forced them a password reset for their accounts and confirmed to have fixed the problem.

The mail provides details on the problems and explained that user passwords were stored in a secure way.

“GitHub stores user passwords with secure cryptographic hashes (bcrypt). However, this recently introduced bug resulted in our secure internal logs recording plaintext user passwords when users initiated a password reset,” GitHub said.

The company added that the plaintext passwords were only accessible through internal log files accessible to a small portion of its IT staff, they were not publicly available.

github social coding

Back in June 2016, the company adopted a similar measure forcing password reset for its customers after it became aware of unauthorized attempts to access a large number of its accounts.

GitHub accounts could represent a mine of information for attackers, in March 2017 threat actors targeted developers having repositories with a data-stealing malware called Dimnie. The malicious code includes keylogging features and modules that capture screenshots, the attackers were searching something of interest among the huge number of projects hosted on the platform.

Mysterious findings emerged from the analysis of the SiliVaccine North Korea’s antivirus software
3.5.2018 securityaffairs Safety

Security experts at Check Point that analyzed North Korea’s antivirus software SiliVaccine discovered it is based on a 10-year-old anti-malware engine developed by Trend Micro.
Check Point received the very rare sample of North Korea’s SiliVaccine antivirus software from the freelance journalist Martyn Williams.

The researchers discovered the SiliVaccine application contained “large chunks of 10+-year-old antivirus engine code belonging to Trend Micro,” a circumstance confirmed by Trend Micro.

“In an exclusive piece of research, Check Point Researchers have carried out a revealing investigation into North Korea’s home-grown anti-virus software, SiliVaccine. One of several interesting factors is that a key component of SiliVaccine’s code is a 10-year-old copy of one of Trend Micro’s, a Japanese company, software components.” reads the analysis published by CheckPoint.

ATTACHMENT DETAILS SiliVaccine-North-Korea-antivirus

On July 8th 2014 Mr. Williams received a mail containing a link to the software, the message was sent by someone going by the name of ‘Kang Yong Hak’, whose mailbox has since been rendered unreachable.

Kang Yong Hak is believed to be a Japanese engineer, the email contained a link to a Dropbox-hosted zip file that held a copy of the SiliVaccine software, a readme file in Korean language explaining how to use the software and a suspicious looking file posing as a patch for SiliVaccine.

The analysis revealed an interesting feature, the North Korea’s antivirus software whitelisted mystery malware, its signature, in fact, was detected by the legitimate Trend Micro’s solution.

According to the experts, the whitelisted mystery malware may be nation-state malware that North Korea wants to use for surveillance purposes.

“During our research we discovered that the authors of SiliVaccine have chosen to white-list a single very specific malware signature, and effectively ignore any detection of files matching that specific signature. The white-listed signature is Trend Micro’s ‘MAL_NUCRP-5’, described by Trend Micro as:

“…the Trend Micro detection for suspicious files that manifest behavior and characteristics similar to known NUWAR, TIBS, and ZHELAT variants.” continues the analysis.

“This signature doesn’t seem to be related to any one specific malware, but rather seems to detect specific packing related characteristics common in some malware.”

Check Point discovered other singularities, for example, the use of the Themida and Unopix packers commonly used to make malware analysis very hard.

As SiliVaccine is the unique antivirus software in North Korea, the use of the packers could be motivated with the intent of the author to make hard its analysis by foreign actors.

CheckPoint also discovered that the antivirus solution used a custom encryption protocol to encrypt pattern files, it is modified SHA1 hashing algorithm.

Experts discovered the SiliVaccine uses 3 driver components:

sys – Kernel-mode process information collection module.
sys – File system filter driver used for real-time and AV files protection.
sys – Network Transport Driver Interface (TDI) Driver.
“This revealing exploration into SiliVaccine may well raise suspicions of authenticity and motives of the IT security products and operations of this Hermit Kingdom.” concludes Check Point.

“While attribution is always a difficult task in cyber security, there are many questions raised by our findings. What is clear, however, are the shady practices and questionable goals of SiliVaccine’s creators and backers.”

Cambridge Analytica is shutting down after Facebook privacy scandal, is it true?
3.5.2018 securityaffairs

Cambridge Analytica, the commercial data analytics company at the centre of the Facebook privacy scandal, is ceasing all operations.

The commercial data analytics company Cambridge Analytica that was the protagonist of the biggest privacy scandal of the last years has announced it is “ceasing all operations” following the Facebook data breach.

An official statement released by the company states it had been “the subject of numerous unfounded accusations” and was “vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas.”

The firm has used data harvested by Facebook to target US voters in the 2016 Presidential election.

The data were collected by a group of academics that then shared it with the firm Cambridge Analytica, a news that was later confirmed by Facebook. The researchers used an app developed by the University of Cambridge psychology lecturer, Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, to collect user data.

Cambridge Analytica always denied any involvement with Trump’s campaign has declared that it never use collected data to influence the Presidential election.

Early April, Facebook revealed that 87 million users have been affected by the Cambridge Analytica case, much more than 50 million users initially thought.

In the wake of the scandal, Facebook decided to tighten its privacy restrictions.

“Over the past several months, Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations and, despite the company’s efforts to correct the record, has been vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas,” said Clarence Mitchell, a spokesman for Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook- Cambridge Analytica
“Despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully, which view is now fully supported by Mr Malins’ report (independent investigator Julian Malins), the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers.” continued the announcement issued today by the data analytics company.

“As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business, which left Cambridge Analytica with no realistic alternative to placing the company into administration.”

While Cambridge Analytica declared it would have helped the UK authorities in investigating into the Facebook scandal, last month, the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham declared that the company failed to meet a deadline to produce the information requested by the authorities.

According to the official statement published by Cambridge Analytica on its website, its parent company SCL Elections was also commencing bankruptcy proceedings.

Journalists and experts are skeptical about the decision of the companies to shut down.

Carole Cadwalladr

Remember. SCL & Cambridge Analytica are disinformation specialists. What exactly are they shutting down & why? https://twitter.com/damiancollins/status/991757217895534597 …

9:31 PM - May 2, 2018
1,591 people are talking about this
Twitter Ads info and privacy
“The chair of a UK parliament committee investigating the firm’s activities also raised concerns about Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections’ move.” reported the BBC.

Damian Collins

Cambridge Analytica and SCL group cannot be allowed to delete their data history by closing. The investigations into their work are vital

9:12 PM - May 2, 2018
1,973 people are talking about this
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“They are party to very serious investigations and those investigations cannot be impeded by the closure of these companies,” said Damian Collins MP.

“I think it’s absolutely vital that the closure of these companies is not used as an excuse to try and limit or restrict the ability of the authorities to investigate what they were doing.”

Is this the end of the story?

No, of course, let me close with this statement published by The Guardian about the future projects of Alexander Nix and his collaborators.

“Although Cambridge Analytica might be dead, the team behind it has already set up a mysterious new company called Emerdata. According to Companies House data, Alexander Nix is listed as a director along with other executives from SCL Group. The daughters of the billionaire Robert Mercer are also listed as directors.” reads The Guardian.

Fancy Bear abuses LoJack security software in targeted attacks
3.5.2018 securityaffairs APT

Recently, several LoJack agents were found to be connecting to servers that are believed to be controlled by the notorious Russia-linked Fancy Bear APT group.
LoJack for laptops is a security software designed to catch computer thieves, but it could be theoretically abused to spy on legitimate owners of the device.

LoJack could be used to locate a stolen laptop, lock it or wipe its content, it is a precious application for enterprises that want to implement an additional protection of their assets.

What about an intelligence agency or nation-state actors are able to hack into such kind of software?

According to experts at Netscout Arbor Networks, recently, several LoJack agents (rpcnetp.exe) were found to be connecting to servers that are believed to be controlled by the notorious Russia-linked Fancy Bear APT group.

“ASERT recently discovered Lojack agents containing malicious C2s. These hijacked agents pointed to suspected Fancy Bear (a.k.a. APT28, Pawn Storm) domains.” reads the report published by Netscout.

“ASERT has identified five Lojack agents (rpcnetp.exe) pointing to 4 different suspected domains. Fancy Bear has been tied to three of the domains in the past.”

Five LoJack agents discovered by the experts were pointing to four C&C servers, three of which have been associated with past campaigns conducted by the Fancy Bear APT group.


This circumstance leads the experts into believing that nation-state hackers have installed a backdoor in certain copies of LoJack to use it as a surveillance tool, likely as a part of a cyber espionage campaign.

According to the experts, the analysis of the samples revealed that attackers haven’t added additional functionality into the binary. Researchers published yara rule to help administrators in identifying Lojack samples abused by hackers.

“The LoJack agent protects the hardcoded [command-and-control] URL using a single byte XOR key; however, according to researchers it blindly trusts the configuration content,” the report says. “Once an attacker properly modifies this value then the double-agent is ready to go.” continues the analysis.

The abuse of such kind of software for cyber espionage is very dangerous and insidious, common anti-malware products and security applications whitelist them.

“Hijacking legitimate software is a common enough tactic for malicious actors. What makes this activity so devious is the binaries hijacked being labeled as legitimate or simple “Risk Tool”, rather than malware. As a result, rogue Lojack samples fly under the radar and give attackers a stealthy backdoor into victim systems.” concluded the experts.

At the time of writing, the initial attack vector is still unclear.

GitHub Exposed Passwords of Some Users

2.5.2018 securityweek Security

GitHub has instructed some users to reset their passwords after a bug caused internal logs to record passwords in plain text.

Several users posted screenshots on Twitter of the security-related email they received from GitHub on Tuesday. The company told impacted customers that the incident was discovered during a regular audit.

GitHub claims only a “small number” of users are affected and the issue has been resolved, but impacted individuals will only regain access to their accounts after they reset their password.

“GitHub stores user passwords with secure cryptographic hashes (bcrypt). However, this recently introduced bug resulted in our secure internal logs recording plaintext user passwords when users initiated a password reset,” GitHub said.

The company has assured users that the plaintext passwords were never accessible to the public, other GitHub users, and a majority of GitHub staff. While some staff members could have accessed the logs containing the plaintext passwords, GitHub believes it’s “very unlikely” to have happened.

GitHub has highlighted that its systems have not been hacked or compromised in any way.

This is not the first time the Git repository hosting service has asked users to reset their passwords. Back in mid-2016, the company locked some users out of their accounts after malicious actors had started abusing credentials leaked from other online services to log in to GitHub accounts.

The company announced recently that it paid out a total of $166,495 to security researchers who reported vulnerabilities through its bug bounty program last year.

Privilege Escalation Bug Lurked in Linux Kernel for 8 Years
2.5.2018 securityweek

A security vulnerability in a driver leading to local privilege escalation in the latest Linux Kernel version was introduced 8 years ago, Check Point reveals.

The security flaw provides a local user with access to a vulnerable privileged driver with the possibility to read from and write to sensitive kernel memory. Tracked as CVE 2018-8781, the vulnerability could be exploited to escalate local privileges, Check Point's researchers say.

The bug impacts the internal mmap() function defined in the fb_helper file operations of the “udl” driver of “DisplayLink” and was discovered using a simple search.

Because drivers commonly implement their own version of file operation functions, they are prone to implementation errors, and the discovery of this vulnerability is proof of that.

In fact, there are various common vulnerabilities impacting drivers where the mmap() handler is used, such as lack of input validations and Integer-Overflows.

A classic driver, the researchers explain, holds an internal buffer representing the shared memory region with the peripheral device, and should only let the user access memory ranges inside this buffer.

The prototype of the mmap() function includes numerous fields that an attacker can control and developers should perform a series of checks and to avoid possible Integer-Overflows to eliminate issues.

According to Check Point, there are three checks that should be performed: Region start: 0 <= offset < buffer’s end; Region end: buffer’s start <= offset + length <= buffer’s end; and Region start <= Region End.

“In actual fact, the last check can be spared since the Linux kernel will sanitize the supplied length, making it practically impossible to pass the first two checks while still passing the third check,” Check Point says.

The researchers discovered the security flaw while taking a closer look at remap_pfn_range(), a function of high importance, because it maps physical memory pages to the user.

“The video/drm module in the kernel defines a default mmap() wrapper that calls that real mmap() handler defined by the specific driver,” the security researchers note.

The bug is a classic example for an Integer-Overflow: there’s an unsigned offset, thus the first check is skipped, and the calculation “offset + size,” however, can bypass the second check while still using an illegal “offset” value.

As there are only 48 bits of accessible memory on 64-bit machines, the use of a huge “offset” to bypass the check requires making sure that “info->fix.smem_start + offset” will wrap-around to a valid mappable physical address, Check Point also notes.

The vulnerability was verified on an Ubuntu 64-bit virtual machine where a simulated vulnerable driver was uploaded. The driver’s mmap() handler included the implementation to check in each test.

Two consecutive calls to mmap() on the vulnerable driver were made by user-mode code, namely a sanity check and a vulnerability check.

Setting the buffer’s address at the page-aligned physical address of the kernel’s /dev/urandom implementation results in the output providing the correct physical page and the previous physical page, respectively.

Additional checks revealed that it is possible for the user to read and write from/to the mapped pages. Thus, an attacker could eventually trigger code execution in kernel space, the researchers explain.

“While the vulnerability was found using a simple search, it was introduced to the kernel eight years ago. This fact can teach us that even on a popular open source project as the Linux Kernel, you could always hope to find vulnerabilities if you know where to search,” Check Point concludes.

The vulnerability was disclosed to the Linux Kernel on March 18 and a patch was issued the same day. After the patch was verified, the official Linux patch was issued for CVE 2018-8781 on March 21 and was integrated to the Linux Kernel the same day.

Man who hacked computer system of Washtenaw County Jail to alter inmate records gets 7-Years in prison
2.5.2018 securityaffairs Crime

Konrads Voits, the man who hacked into the computer system of Washtenaw County Jail to alter inmate records and gain early release for his friend, gets 7-Years in prison.
In March 2017, Konrads Voits (27), hacked into the computer system of Washtenaw County Jail to alter inmate records and gain early release for his friend.

Konrads Voits’s hack was discovered by an IT employee that noticed an anomaly in the release date of the inmate and promptly alerted the FBI, who identified and arrested Voits a month later.

According to prosecutors, Voits used phone calls to prison personnel pretending to be a manager at the County Jail’s IT department and tricking them into downloading and executing a malicious code that was delivered by visiting the website “ewashtenavv.org,” (a rogue version of the legitimate Washtenaw site that is available at the “ewashtenaw.org.”)

According to the US Justice Department announced, the infection compromised personal information of around 1,600 employees of the jail,

Konrads Voits pleaded guilty in federal court for hacking into the Washtenaw County computer system the attempt to get his friend released early from the federal prison.

Last week, Voits has been sentenced to seven years and three months in jail for the above crimes. Voits has also been condemned to pay $235,488 in fine to Washtenaw County for the cost accrued in investigating the intrusion and cleaning up the infected system.

“An Ypsilanti resident was sentenced today to 87 months in prison for damaging a protected computer, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider announced.” states the DoJ.

Voits also surrendered his equipment used for the hack, a laptop, four mobile phones, $385.49 worth of Bitcoin, and one “Green Integrated Circuit Component.

“The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Robert H. Cleland who also ordered restitution in the amount of $238,517 to be paid to Washtenaw County and a 3-year term of supervised release. As part of the sentencing, Voits forfeited all interests he had in some bitcoins, and in various electronic devices, including a laptop, an integrated circuit component, and several cellular phones.” continues the DoJ.

CVE 2018-8781 Privilege Escalation flaw was introduced in Linux Kernel 8 years ago
2.5.2018 securityaffairs

Researchers from security firm Check Point discovered a security vulnerability in a driver in the Linux kernel, tracked as CVE 2018-8781, that leads to local privilege escalation.
The CVE 2018-8781 flaw, introduced 8 years ago, could be exploited by a local user with access to a vulnerable privileged driver to escalate local privileges and read from and write to sensitive kernel memory.

Experts explained that it is common for drivers to implement their own version of file operation functions, this is visible by analyzing the file_operations struct of a driver.

Such kind of implementations could introduce flaws such as Integer-Overflows and the lack of input validations.

TheCVE 2018-8781 flaw revealed by CheckPoint affects the internal mmap() function defined in the fb_helper file operations of the “udl” driver of “DisplayLink.”

” A classic driver should probably look like this:

The driver will hold an internal buffer that represents the shared memory region with the peripheral device.
The driver should only let the user access memory ranges that fall inside this buffer.” states the analysis published by CheckPoint.
The prototype of the mmap() function from user-space confirms the presence of numerous fields that could be used by the attacker to potentially trigger the vulnerabilities.

According to the experts, developers should perform at least the following checks to avoid possible Integer-Overflows:

Region start: 0 <= offset < buffer’s end
Region end: buffer’s start <= offset + length <= buffer’s end
Region start <= Region End
“In actual fact, the last check can be spared since the Linux kernel will sanitize the supplied length, making it practically impossible to pass the first two checks while still passing the third check,” continues Check Point.

The experts discovered the CVE 2018-8781 vulnerability while analyzing a function that maps physical memory pages to the user, the remap_pfn_range().

The experts searched for all the modules using the remap_pfn_range function (GREP for “remap_pfn_range) and contained 158 results, then filtering for drivers the list was restricted to six possible candidates.

“The video/drm module in the kernel defines a default mmap() wrapper that calls that real mmap()handler defined by the specific driver. In our case the vulnerability is in the internal mmap() defined in the fb_helper file operations of the “udl” driver of “DisplayLink”.” discovered the researchers.

In this way, the researchers spotted an Integer-Overflow in the driver.

“This is a classic example for an Integer-Overflow. Since offset is unsigned the programmer skipped check #1 and went directly to check #2. However, the calculation “offset + size” could wrap-around to a low value, allowing us to bypass the check while still using an illegal “offset” value.” continues

“on 64 bit machines there are only 48 bits of accessible memory, meaning that if we use a huge “offset” to bypass this check we will also have to make sure that “info->fix.smem_start + offset” will wrap-around to a valid mapable physical address.”

The experts verified the flaw on an Ubuntu 64-bit virtual machine using a simulated vulnerable driver. The driver’s mmap() handler contained the implementation to check in each test performed by the researchers.

The user-mode code preformed 2 consecutive calls to mmap() on the vulnerable driver:

length = 0x1000, offset = 0x0 -> sanity check
length = 0x1000, offset = 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF – 0x1000 + 1 -> vulnerability check
Setting the buffer’s address at the page-aligned physical address of the kernel’s /dev/urandom implementation results were the expected ones.

Additional checks revealed that it is possible for the user to read and write from/to the mapped pages. Thus, an attacker could eventually trigger code execution in kernel space, the researchers explain.

“While the vulnerability was found using a simple search, it was introduced to the kernel eight years ago. This fact can teach us that even on a popular open source project as the Linux Kernel, you could always hope to find vulnerabilities if you know where to search.” concluded CheckPoint.

Amazon Boosts Domain Protections in CloudFront
1.5.2018 securityweek Security

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has unveiled a series of enhancements for the domain protections available in CloudFront, meant to ensure that all requests handled by the service come from legitimate domain owners.

Integrated with AWS, the CloudFront global content delivery network service provides both network and application level protection, scales globally, negotiates TLS connections with high security ciphers, and includes distributed denial of service protections.

As per the AWS Terms of Service, CloudFront customers aren’t allowed to receive traffic for a domain they are not authorized to use, and Amazon disables abusive accounts when it becomes aware of this type of activity. Now, the company is also integrating checks directly into the CloudFront API and Content Distribution service to prevent abusive behavior.

One of the newly announced enhancements affects protections against “dangling” DNS entries, where a customer deletes their CloudFront distribution but leave the DNS still pointing at the service. Such situations are very rare, but some customers do leave their old domains dormant, the company says.

In some of these situations, an abuser could exploit a subdomain. If the customers no longer users the subdomain (although the domain is in use) and it points to a deleted CloudFront distribution, an abuser could register the subdomain and claim traffic that they aren’t entitled to.

“This also means that cookies may be set and intercepted for HTTP traffic potentially including the parent domain. HTTPS traffic remains protected if you’ve removed the certificate associated with the original CloudFront distribution,” Amazon explains.

The best fix is to ensure there are no dangling DNS entries in the first place, and Amazon is already reminding users moving to an alternate domain to delete any DNS entries that may still be pointing at CloudFront. Furthermore, checks in the CloudFront API ensure this kind of domain claiming can’t occur when using wildcard domains.

Courtesy of new enhanced domain protection, CloudFront now also checks the DNS whenever the customer removes an alternate domain. Thus, if the service determines that the domain is still pointing at a CloudFront distribution, the API call will fails and other accounts can’t claim the traffic.

Amazon is also planning improved protections against domain fronting, a technique where “a non-standard client makes a TLS/SSL connection to a certain name, but then makes a HTTPS request for an unrelated name.” It basically means routing application traffic to mask its destination.

While such behavior is normal and expected in some circumstances – browsers re-use persistent connections for domain listed in the same SSL certificate –, some use the method to evade restrictions and block imposed at the TLS/SSL layer. However, the technique can’t be used to impersonate domains and the clients are non-standard and working around the usual TLS/SSL checks.

“Although these cases are also already handled as a breach of our AWS Terms of Service, in the coming weeks we will be checking that the account that owns the certificate we serve for a particular connection always matches the account that owns the request we handle on that connection. As ever, the security of our customers is our top priority, and we will continue to provide enhanced protection against misconfigurations and abuse from unrelated parties,” Amazon says.

Threat actors have been observed using domain fronting to hide malicious traffic, the same as legitimate communication services looking to bypass censorship.

Several weeks ago, news broke that Google is making changes to its infrastructure to no longer support domain fronting (which was never officially supported, it seems). According to Access Now, many human rights-enabling technologies relying on Google’s commitment to protecting human rights could be affected by the change.

All Chrome OS Devices Now Protected Against Meltdown
1.5.2018 securityweek Safety

The latest version of Chrome OS now keeps all devices protected from Meltdown, Google says.

Available as Chrome OS 66.0.3359.137 (Platform version: 10452.74.0), the new Chrome OS release includes additional patches for the critical processor vulnerability, in addition to various new features and bug fixes.

The Meltdown attack was disclosed in the beginning of 2018 alongside another critical CPU bug, Spectre. The two attacks are possible because design flaws in Intel, AMD, ARM and other processors allow malicious programs to bypass memory isolation and access sensitive data.

Google started rolling out Meltdown mitigations in mid-December – before the attacks became public knowledge –, pushing a kernel page-table isolation (KPTI/KAISER) patch to roughly 70 Intel-based Chromebook models from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and others.

Last month, the company released Chrome OS 65 to make the KPTI mitigation against Meltdown available for additional Intel devices with version 3.14 of the kernel.

“Intel devices on 3.8 kernels received the KPTI mitigation against Meltdown with Chrome OS 66. All Chrome OS devices are now protected against Meltdown,” Josafat Garcia, Google Chrome, explains in a blog post.

The updated platform iteration is already rolling out to users and should arrive on all devices within days.

Late last week, Google also released an update for the Chrome browser to patch a critical security vulnerability in it, less than two weeks after Chrome 66 landed in the stable channel.

Tracked as CVE-2018-6118, the critical issue was reported by security researcher Ned Williamson on April 12. The vulnerability, a use-after-free in Media Cache, can be exploited by a malicious actor to cause denial of service and possibly execute arbitrary code.

Unfortunately, Google hasn’t provided specific details on the vulnerability itself, nor on its CVSS rating, but it did reveal that the researcher received a $10,500 reward for the discovery.

Released as version 66.0.3359.139 and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users, the updated browser iteration patches a total of three security flaws.

The remaining two vulnerabilities were found internally and Google hasn’t released details on them either.

Slack Releases Open Source Secure Development Lifecycle Tool
1.5.2018 securityweek IT

Team collaboration solutions provider Slack last week announced that one of the secure development lifecycle (SDL) tools used internally by the company has been released as open source.

The tool, named goSDL, is a PHP-based web application designed to provide developers and project managers a list of questions and checklists that should help them improve the security of new software and features. It is meant to be used at the middle or near the end of a project.

After providing some general information about their project, developers using goSDL are instructed to answer some questions for an initial risk assessment. Among other things, developers are asked if they believe the involvement of the security team is necessary, and if their code adds new authentication features or changes existing security controls.

Once the initial assessment has been completed, goSDL requires developers to provide information about the components they are using, including web technologies, programming languages, and parsers. New components can be easily added to the questionnaire via JSON plugins.

Based on the responses provided in the previous phases, goSDL then generates security checklists that are relevant to the project. For tracking purposes, two JIRA tickets are created – one for the developer and one for the security team, allowing it to track its own review.

“The tool tailors the checklist to the developers’ specific needs, without providing unnecessary unrelated security requirements. Security experts can establish custom security guidance and requirements as checklist items for all developers,” Slack said. “This checklist is used as a guide and reference for building secure software. This encourages a security mindset among developers when working on a project and can be used to easily track the completion of security goals for that project.”

goSDL can be used with Atlassian’s Jira Enterprise issue tracker and the Trello project management application. The goSDL source code, along with usage instructions, can be found on GitHub.

“By open-sourcing goSDL, we hope to enable other growing organizations to scale their security. We also hope to learn from their experience; we welcome contributions to the tool, its modules, and its checklists, and are excited to see what pull requests will come in!” said Max Feldman of the Slack Product Security team.

Microsoft Brings Application Guard to Windows 10 Pro
1.5.2018 securityweek Safety

Microsoft of Monday made Windows 10 April 2018 Update available to users, which brings new features, enhancements and security updates, along with improvements to Windows Defender Security Center.

One of the main changes in the update is the availability of Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG), which allows users to browse the Internet while being protected from sophisticated browser attacks.

First detailed in January last year, Windows Defender Security Center is receiving various enhancements to provide increased ease-of-use. The Center was designed to simplify the manner in which users view and control the security protections the platform, as well as to help people better understand and leverage the security features protecting them.

With the release of Windows 10 April 2018 Update, the Security Center offers quick access from the context menu when right-clicking on the Windows Defender Security Center icon in the notification area. This menu allows users run a quick scan, update Windows Defender Antivirus definitions, change the notifications, and open the Security Center.

Now, users can also take advantage of the Account Protection pillar in Windows Defender Security Center, which makes it easier for them to protect their identity when signing into Windows. The feature encourages local account users to connect a Microsoft Account (MSA) and password users to set up Windows Hello Face, Fingerprint or PIN for faster and more secure sign in.

Additionally, Dynamic lock now leverages the alerting system in Windows Defender Security Center to inform users when it has stopped working because the Bluetooth on their phone or device is off, Microsoft announced.

A Device Security pillar in the Security Center now delivers greater insight into the security features integrated in Windows devices. There, users can access status reporting, can manage security features built into their devices, and can also toggle features on for enhanced protections.

The update also brings along additional options for how notifications are delivered. Users can now customize the type of notifications they receive from Windows Defender Security Center, can disable or enable notifications about recent, automatic scans or about threats or files that have been blocked.

With the April 2018 update, Microsoft is also enabling Windows 10 in S mode on both Windows 10 Home and Pro PCs. In addition to flexibility and increased performance, Windows 10 in S mode also delivers more protections, as all applications are verified by Microsoft for security and performance.

The update also brings OneDrive Files Restore integration in Windows Defender, which should provide users with expanded ransomware protection. With the new feature, users can save their files to OneDrive and keep files safe from malware.

“If a ransomware threat is found on a device, Windows Defender will notify you of the threat, help you remove the ransomware from your device, and give you the option to use OneDrive Files Restore so you can recover your OneDrive files to the state they were in before the attack occurred,” Microsoft explains.

Office 365 Home subscribers, Office 365 Personal subscribers, and OneDrive for Business users can currently benefit from Files Restore, which allows them to restore their OneDrive to a previous point in time within the last 30 days.

Windows 10 April 2018 Update brings along a new Single Sign-On experience too. Now, users can sign into one Microsoft app or service on a device to be signed into all of them. Users can sign with a Microsoft account into Office 365 and use that account across a full range of Microsoft apps and services.

All Office 365 subscribers will benefit from this feature by June, Microsoft says. All they require is the April 2018 update installed and the latest version of Office. Users will be able to select which Microsoft apps they sign into.

“While all new accounts added will be able to opt into this by default, it can be extended to accounts you have already added as well. Just head to the Settings app, click ‘Accounts’ followed by ‘Email & app accounts’. Choose the account you added previously and select “Microsoft apps can sign me in” from the drop-down,” Microsoft explains.

The April 2018 Update also makes it easier for Microsoft account users to set up Windows Hello on their compatible devices, the company says. Previously, users had to dive deep into Settings to find Windows Hello, but the option to set up Windows Hello Face, Fingerprint or PIN is now accessible directly from the lock screen (by clicking the Windows Hello tile under Sign-in options).

Trend Micro Scan Engine Used by North Korea's SiliVaccine Antivirus
1.5.2018 securityweek BigBrothers

Researchers have analyzed an older version of North Korea’s SiliVaccine antivirus and discovered that it uses an outdated scanning engine from Japanese security solutions provider Trend Micro.

Obtaining SiliVaccine is not an easy task, but a copy of the software was sent back in 2014 to Martyn Williams, a journalist specializing in North Korean technology. Williams published a review of the antivirus in September 2014.

The journalist recently provided a copy of the software to researchers at Check Point, who made a series of interesting discoveries.

Williams received a copy of SiliVaccine via email from an individual claiming to be a Japanese engineer named Kang Yong Hak, who provided the antivirus to the journalist along with what appeared to be a patch.


Check Point’s analysis of SiliVaccine revealed that the antivirus – apparently a version from 2013 – relied on a scanning engine developed by Trend Micro. The Japanese security firm’s own analysis showed that the version used in SiliVaccine was more than 10 years old and it had been used in a variety of its products.

“Trend Micro has never done business in or with North Korea. We are confident that any such usage of the module is entirely unlicensed and illegal, and we have seen no evidence that source code was involved,” Trend Micro said. “The scan engine version at issue is quite old and has been widely incorporated in commercial products from Trend Micro and third party security products through various OEM deals over the years, so the specific means by which it may have been obtained by the creators of SiliVaccine is unknown.”

Trend Micro has found evidence suggesting that its scan engine has been used in multiple versions of SiliVaccine. The company says it typically takes a strong stance against piracy, but initiating legal action would not help in this particular case, and it believes the use of its engine does not pose any risk to customers.

Check Point’s analysis revealed that SiliVaccine uses Trend Micro’s scan engine and the company’s pattern files to load malware signatures. However, the pattern files used by the North Korean antivirus are encrypted using a custom protocol and there are some differences in the engine itself, including the use of compiler optimization not present in the original software.

Another major difference is related to the fact that the SiliVaccine engine has been configured to not detect a particular signature. Researchers have not been able to find the file associated with that signature, but noted that the original Trend Micro scan engine does detect the threat.

According to experts, SiliVaccine was developed by a couple of organizations named PGI (Pyonyang Gwangmyong Information Technology) and STS Tech-Service, which appears to be linked to Japan through a couple of other companies. It’s worth noting that relations between Japan and North Korea are, as described by Wikipedia, “severely strained and marked by tension and hostility.”

Researchers also analyzed the patch file received by Williams in 2014 and determined that it delivers a first-stage dropper of the Jaku malware. A 2016 report on Jaku revealed that the malware had infected roughly 19,000 systems around the world. Experts discovered links to the Dark Hotel campaign, which, similar to Jaku, has been tied to North Korea.

Microsoft Unveils New Solution for Securing Critical Infrastructure
1.5.2018 securityweek IoT

Microsoft last week unveiled Trusted Cyber Physical Systems (TCPS), a new solution designed to help protect critical infrastructure against modern cyber threats.

Microsoft provided the recent Triton and NotPetya attacks as examples of significant threats hitting critical infrastructure. Triton was used in a highly targeted campaign aimed at an organization in the Middle East, while NotPetya disrupted the operations of several major companies, with many reporting losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Microsoft’s TCPS project aims to address these types of threats by providing end-to-end security through hardware, software and trust mechanisms that should help organizations ensure they don’t lose control over critical systems.

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are referred to as Internet-of-Things (IoT) in an industrial context. TCPS is based on four main principles: separating critical from non-critical operations through hardware isolation; ensuring that the code responsible for critical operations can be audited; the ability of each component to process data only from trustworthy sources and each component being able to attest its trustworthiness to other components; and reducing the attack surface by reducing the number of trusted entities.

One crucial component in providing end-to-end security involves trusted execution environments (TEE), Microsoft said. TEE includes Secure Elements (e.g. chip on a credit card), Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX), ARM TrustZone, and Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) and DICE-capable microcontrollers from the Trusted Computing Group.

TEE offers several advantages from a security viewpoint, including the fact that code running in a TEE is small and thus has a minimal attack surface, the code is considered trusted, all the data is encrypted, and the TEE hardware ensures that software running outside the trusted environment cannot break in.

Microsoft has pointed out that organizations can acquire low-cost devices with TEE and deploy them without making major changes to existing systems.

The tech giant’s TCPS solution leverages TEE to protect a wide range of components, including cloud services, human interaction devices, and edge computing devices. For instance, in the case of public and private clouds, a TEE that is protected from hosting providers and OS vendors can be used for various critical operations, including key and certificate management, provisioning, patch management, and logging.

In the case of physical security controls – for example, preventing unauthorized users or malware from tampering with electronically-controlled actuators or sensors – Microsoft says the connection to the system needs to be accessible only from the TEE. In order to avoid replacing existing and potentially expensive equipment, a TEE gateway can be deployed in front of the device.

As for human interfaces, the company points out that there is the risk of a compromised user device or SCADA system sending legitimate-looking arbitrary commands. Microsoft says this can be addressed by using a secure confirmation terminal, a device that displays a message and asks for confirmation if an unusual operation is detected. The TEE can help in this case by ensuring that the display and the input system on the secure confirmation terminal are only accessible from the trusted environment and out of malware’s reach.

Microsoft unveils Trusted Cyber Physical Systems (TCPS)

As an example, Microsoft has described a customer scenario where a utility company in charge of several water plants uses TCPS to ensure that any operation on cyber-physical systems is authorized by the operations center, which has the ability to securely delegate tasks to trusted third-parties. The solution also allows the firm to ensure that all operations are recorded as auditable events stored in tamperproof logs.

Additional information on Microsoft TCPS is available in a whitepaper (PDF) published by the company.

FacexWorm targets cryptocurrency users and spreads through Facebook Messenger
1.5.2018 securityaffairs Cryptocurrency

Social networks could be a privileged attack vector to rapidly spread a malware to a huge audience, FacexWorm targets cryptocurrency users by spreading through Facebook Messenger.
Social networks could be a privileged attack vector to rapidly spread a malware to a huge audience.

In the last hours, a new threat is spreading through leveraging an apparently harmful link for a video sent by a friend on Facebook messenger.

Security researchers from Trend Micro have spotted a malicious Chrome extension, dubbed FacexWorm, which is spreading through Facebook Messenger and targeting users of cryptocurrency trading platforms to steal their accounts’ credentials and run cryptocurrency mining scripts.

“Our Cyber Safety Solutions team identified a malicious Chrome extension we named FacexWorm, which uses a miscellany of techniques to target cryptocurrency trading platforms accessed on an affected browser and propagates via Facebook Messenger.” reads the report published by Trend Micro.

According to the experts, FacexWorm was first detected in late April and appears to be linked to two other Facebook Messenger spam campaigns, one that occurred in August 2017 and a second one that was launched in December 2017 to spread the Digmine cryptocurrency miner.

Experts recently observed a spike in FacexWorm activity, the malicious code was detected in several countries, including Germany, Tunisia, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Spain.

FacexWorm implements several features, including stealing account credentials from websites, like Google and cryptocurrency sites, redirecting victims to rogue cryptocurrency sites, injecting cryptocurrency miners, and redirecting victims to the attacker’s referral link for cryptocurrency-related referral programs.

The following image shows the FacexWorm’s infection chain:


FacexWorm propagates by links over Facebook Messenger to the friends of an affected Facebook account to redirect users to fake versions of popular video streaming websites, including YouTube. The user is encouraged to download a malicious Chrome extension as a codec extension to continue playing the video and to grant all extended permissions to complete the installation, with this trick malware can have full control for any websites the user visits.

Currently the malicious extension only Chrome users, when the malware detects a different browser it redirects the user to an innocuous-looking advertisement.

“FacexWorm is delivered through socially engineered links sent to Facebook Messenger. The links redirect to a fake YouTube page that will ask unwitting users to agree and install a codec extension (FacexWorm) in order to play the video on the page. It will then request privilege to access and change data on the opened website.” continues the report.


Once FacexWorm Chrome extension is installed on the victim’s PC, it downloads more modules from its command and control server to perform other malicious activities.

“FacexWorm is a clone of a normal Chrome extension but injected with short code containing its main routine. It downloads additional JavaScript code from the C&C server when the browser is opened,” continues the report.

“Every time a victim opens a new webpage, FacexWorm will query its C&C server to find and retrieve another JavaScript code (hosted on a Github repository) and execute its behaviors on that webpage.”

Trend Micro detailed the malicious behaviors of the malware that include:

Steal the user’s account credentials for Google, MyMonero, and Coinhive.
Push a cryptocurrency scam.
Conduct malicious web cryptocurrency mining.
Hijack cryptocurrency-related transactions.
Earn from cryptocurrency-related referral programs.

Critical RCE vulnerability found in over a million GPON Home Routers
1.5.2018 securityaffairs

Security researchers at VPNMentor conducted a comprehensive assessment on of a number of GPON home routers and discovered a Critical remote code vulnerability that could be exploited to gain full control over them.
The researchers have found a way to bypass the authentication to access the GPON home routers (CVE-2018-10561). The experts chained this authentication bypass flaw with another command injection vulnerability (CVE-2018-10562) and were able to execute commands on the device.

GPON Home Routers hack

Analyzing the firmware of the GPON home routers, the experts found two different critical vulnerabilities (CVE-2018-10561 & CVE-2018-10562) that could be chained to allow complete control of the vulnerable device and therefore the network. The first vulnerability exploits the authentication mechanism of the device, it could be exploited by an attacker to bypass all authentication.

The vulnerability effects the build in HTTP servers, which check for specific paths when authenticating. This allows the attacker to bypass authentication on any endpoint using a simple trick.

By appending

?images/ to the URL

the attacker can bypass the endpoint.

This works on both HTML pages and GponForm/

For instance, by inserting



the experts were able to control the GPON Home Routers.

While looking through the device functionalities, the experts noticed the diagnostic endpoint contained the ping and traceroute commands. It didn’t take much to figure out that the commands can be injected using the host parameter.

“Since the router saves ping results in /tmp and transmits it to the user when the user revisits /diag.html, it’s quite simple to execute commands and retrieve their output with the authentication bypass vulnerability.” reads the analysis published by VPNMentor.

The experts included the following bash version of the exploit code:


echo "[+] Sending the Command... "

“We send the commands with two modes backtick (`) and semicolon (;) because different models trigger on different devices” continues the post:

curl -k -d "XWebPageName=diag&diag_action=ping&wan_conlist=0&dest_host=\`$2\`;$2&ipv=0" $1/GponForm/diag_Form?images/ 2>/dev/null 1>/dev/null
echo "[+] Waiting...."
sleep 3
echo "[+] Retrieving the ouput...."
curl -k $1/diag.html?images/ 2>/dev/null | grep 'diag_result = ' | sed -e 's/\\n/\n/g'

GPON is a very popular passive optical network device that uses fiber-optics, these devices are provided by ISPs. In the video, you can see that over one million people use this type of network system router.

Below a video PoC published by the researchers:

“We tested this vulnerability on many random GPON routers, and the vulnerability was found on all of them. Because so many people use these types of routers, this vulnerability can result in an entire network compromise.” concluded the experts.

Check if your router uses the GPON network.
Be aware that GPON routers can be hacked and exploited.
Talk to your ISP to see what they can do to fix the bug.
Warn your friends on Facebook (click here to share) and Twitter (click here to tweet).

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum to leave Facebook amid privacy concerns
1.5.2018 securityaffairs

Jan Koum, one of the WhatsApp founders, reportedly plans to leave the company in the wake of increasing concerns about Facebook’s approach to users’ privacy.
Jan Koum, the co-founder of WhatsApp, reportedly plans to leave the company in the wake of increasing concerns about Facebook’s privacy policy.

“It is time for me to move on . . . I’m taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee,” WhatsApp co-founder, CEO and Facebook board member Jan Koum wrote in a Facebook post.

Koum, who sold WhatsApp to Facebook for more than $19 billion in 2014, plans to leave the Facebook’s board of directors too.

Koum did not provide further details on his decision or a timeline for his departures.

Jan Koum to leave Facebook

According to The Washington Post, this is one of the effects of the Cambridge Analytica case, clearly, Koum disagrees the way Facebook managed users’ data.

“The billionaire chief executive of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, is planning to leave the company after clashing with its parent, Facebook, over the popular messaging service’s strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption, according to people familiar with internal discussions.” reported the The Washington Post.

“The independence and protection of its users’ data is a core tenet of WhatsApp that Koum and his co-founder, Brian Acton, promised to preserve when they sold their tiny start-up to Facebook. It doubled down on its pledge by adding encryption in 2016. The clash over data took on additional significance in the wake of revelations in March that Facebook had allowed third parties to mishandle its users’ personal information.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replied to Koum’s decision by crediting him with teaching him “about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”

According to The Washington Post Koum disappointed also the Facebook executives approach to the end-to-end encryption introduced since 2016 and the possibility to weaken it to facilitate law enforcement agencies’ investigations and business use of the instant messaging app, the WhatsApp For Business program.

According to The Washington Post, other WhatsApp employees are not happy of the situation at the company and plan to leave in November, four years and a month after the Facebook acquisition, when they are allowed to exercise all their stock options under the terms of the Facebook deal.

NATO Exercise Tests Skills of National Cyber Defenders
30.4.2018 securityweek BigBrothers

More than 1,000 experts from nearly 30 countries have tested their ability to protect IT systems and critical infrastructure networks at NATO’s Locked Shields 2018 live-fire cyber defense exercise.

A total of 22 Blue Teams took part in the exercise, including representatives of NATO, the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, France, the Czech Republic, and South Korea.

Locked Shields, organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) since 2010, took place on April 23-26 in Tallinn, Estonia, and it was won by a 30-member team representing NATO. Teams from France and the Czech Republic finished in second and third place, respectively.NATO Locked Shields 2018

The exercise tested not only the technical abilities of national cyber defense teams when faced with a severe attack, but also their decision-making skills, including cooperation with other teams.

The drill was based on a scenario involving a fictional country named Berylia, which got hit by a number of hostile events and coordinated cyberattacks targeting a civilian Internet services provider and a military airbase. The attacks disrupted the power grid, drones, 4G public safety networks, and other critical infrastructure.

Locked Shields involved 4,000 virtualized systems and over 2,500 attacks. Participants were tasked with maintaining complex IT systems while completing a wide range of tasks, including reporting incidents, making strategic decisions, and conducting forensic investigations.

“The exercise serves as a valuable platform for senior decision-makers to practice the coordination required to address complex cyber incidents, both internally and internationally. In the strategic game of Locked Shields Blue Teams had to determine at what level the information should be shared, who has the authority to make a decision and give guidelines, what are the potential legal implications,” said Cdr. Michael Widmann, chief of the NATO CCDCOE Strategy Branch.

“Overall the exercise was a success. Teams coordinated in a complex and dynamic environment and addressed key issues necessary to endure intense cyber attack,” Widmann added.

Uber Updates Bug Bounty Program
30.4.2018 securityweek Security

Uber updates bug bounty program

Uber last week updated the legal terms of its bug bounty program and provided guidance for good faith vulnerability research. The changes come just months after the ride-sharing giant admitted paying a couple of individuals as part of an effort to cover up a massive security incident.

Uber says it has addressed nearly 200 flaws for which it has awarded more than $290,000 since August 2017, bringing the total paid out by the company since the launch of its bug bounty program to over $1.4 million.

The new terms provide more specific guidance on what is and what is not acceptable conduct in terms of vulnerability research. Bug bounty hunters are now also provided clearer instructions on what to do if they come across user data during their investigations.

Researchers acting in good faith are informed that Uber will not initiate or recommend legal action against them. Furthermore, if a third party files a lawsuit, the company has promised to let them know that the activities were conducted in compliance with its program.

These changes are similar to ones announced recently by Dropbox, which has promised “to not initiate legal action for security research conducted pursuant to the policy, including good faith, accidental violations.”

These updates come just months after Uber admitted suffering a data breach that resulted in the information of 57 million riders and drivers, including 25 million individuals located in the United States, being taken from the company’s systems in 2016.

Uber’s security team was contacted in November 2016 by an individual who claimed to have accessed Uber data and demanding a six-figure payment. This individual and an accomplice had found the data in an Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 bucket used for backup purposes.

After confirming the claims, the ride-sharing firm decided to pay the hackers $100,000 through its HackerOne-based bug bounty program to have them destroy the data.

Uber CISO John Flynn admitted during a Senate hearing in February that it was wrong not to disclose the breach earlier, and admitted that the company should not have used its bug bounty program to deal with extortionists.

On its HackerOne page, Uber now tells researchers, “Don’t extort us. You should never illegally or in bad faith leverage the existence of a vulnerability or access to sensitive or confidential information, such as making extortionate demands or ransom requests or trying to shake us down. In other words, if you find a vulnerability, report it to us with no conditions attached.”

A code of conduct added by HackerOne to its disclosure guidelines shortly after news broke that Uber used the platform to pay off hackers includes an entry on extortion and blackmail, prohibiting “any attempt to obtain bounties, money or services by coercion.” It’s unclear if the code of conduct came in response to the Uber incident, but the timing suggested that it may have been.

Uber typically pays between $500 and $10,000 for vulnerabilities found in resources covered by its bug bounty program, but the company has paid out up to $20,000 for serious issues.

Uber has informed white hat hackers that they can now earn an additional $500 if their vulnerability report includes a “fully scripted” proof-of-concept (PoC).

The company also announced the launch of a pilot program in which bounties donated to a charity through HackerOne will be matched. Donations will initially be matched up to a total of $100,000, but the program may be expanded once that milestone is reached.

EU, US Police Cripple Islamic State Media Mouthpieces
30.4.2018 securityweek BigBrothers

European and US police forces have struck at the heart of Islamic State's propaganda machine, seizing servers and "punching a hole" in its ability to spread its radical jihadist message online.

The transatlantic takedown was spread over eight countries and was coordinated by the EU's police agency in "a major operation over a two-year period", the head of Europol, Rob Wainwright, told AFP on Friday.

Wednesday and Thursday's operation was the latest in a campaign targeting in particular the Amaq news agency used by IS to broadcast claims of attacks and spread its message of jihad.

"With this takedown action, targeting major IS-branded media outlets like Amaq, but also al-Bayan radio, Halumu and Nasher news, IS's capability to broadcast and publicise terrorist material has been compromised," Europol said in a statement.

The "simultaneous multinational takedown" was coordinated by Europol from its headquarters in The Hague, and led by the Belgian federal prosecutor.

"Dozens and dozens" of police fanned out in their countries, seizing servers in the Netherlands, Canada and the United States as well as in Bulgaria, France and Romania.

'Technically challenging'

The goal was "to destabilise this apparatus by seizing and dismantling servers used to diffuse IS propaganda and to identify and arrest its administrators," the Belgian prosecutor said in a statement.

"With this groundbreaking operation we have punched a big hole in the capability of IS to spread propaganda online and radicalise young people in Europe," Wainwright said.

Britain's Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit was also involved in identifying "top-level domain registrars abused by IS", and the Bulgarian interior ministry confirmed "access was blocked to four servers, used for disseminating information" by Amaq in its country.

"It was so technically challenging that we were only really able to do it because of our experience in major cybercrime takedowns," Wainwright told AFP.

"We basically ran the cyber playbook against IS," he said, adding police forces around the world had spent years gathering intelligence to locate the servers being used by the jihadists.

'Squeezed' in battle and online

While a US-led international coalition has been combatting IS on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria taking back territory it had seized in 2014, nations have also warned that a multi-pronged effort was needed, including choking off funding and its online access.

"They've been squeezed on the battlefield, and now they've been really badly squeezed, badly hit, on the online platform as well," said Wainwright.

IS used Amaq to claim "every major attack since 2015 in Europe", he said, including the deadly assaults in Paris, Brussels, Barcelona and Berlin.

"The technical infrastructure which allows it to put these terrible propaganda videos and messages out has been knocked offline," Wainwright told AFP, speaking on his last day as Europol chief.

But Europol's investigation is still ongoing, and arrests could follow.

At its height, the IS media portfolio included smartphone apps for children, websites, and a glossy magazine, full of post-apocalyptic prophesies and articles declaring the "caliphate" was the only legitimate and viable home for Muslims.

But as IS's structure has crumbled, its media empire has waned too. Al-Bayan radio, which once broadcast on frequency mode and offered a wide range of statements, news and talks in several languages, had long moved online and reduced its activities.

On Friday, however, Nasher news -- the main Telegram account on which Amaq statements are posted in the region -- remained active, claiming jihadist fighters had damaged three Syrian army vehicles in fighting in southern Damascus.

"We are realistic in recognising that there still might be a retained possibility of re-establishing the network," Wainwright said, highlighting that this week's action was the third in a series of such takedowns.

"But we're getting stronger every time, and narrowing the space for them to re-create their online presence."

PyRoMine Crypto-Miner Spreads via NSA-Linked Exploit
30.4.2018 securityweek

A remote code execution exploit supposedly stolen from the National Security Agency-linked Equation Group is currently being used by a new crypto-currency miner to spread to vulnerable Windows machines.

Dubbed PyRoMine, this Python-based program is mining for the Monero (XMR) crypto-currency, the same as many malware families out there do. Unlike most of them, however, it uses the NSA-linked EternalRomance exploit for propagation purposes, Fortinet’s Jasper Manuel says.

EternalRomance is one of the exploits the ShadowBrokers made public in April last year, one month after Microsoft released patches for them. Late last year, the exploit was leveraged in the global Bad Rabbit ransomware attack.

Earlier this year, EternalRomance and two other similar exploits (namely EternalSynergy and EternalChampion) were ported to the Metasploit Framework, meaning they could all be used to target all Windows versions since Windows 2000.

PyRoMine, which is distributed as a ZIP file containing an executable compiled with PyInstaller (a tool that packages Python programs into stand-alone executables), uses a modified version of the EternalRomance implementation found on the exploit database website.

“Once executed, the malware gets the local IP addresses to find the local subnet(s), then iterates through all the IPs of these subnets to execute the payload,” Manuel reveals.

The exploit requires authentication, but it can offer system privileges even for a Guest account. In this implementation, it checks if the type is not “Anonymous” and attempts to login using the hardcoded credentials Default/P@ssw0rdf0rme to execute the payload.

“If unsuccessful, it then just tries to login as anonymous with an empty username and password. Since ‘internal’ is not ‘Anonymous’, it attempts to log-in with the said hardcoded credential, and then with empty username and password if not successful,” the researcher explains.

The malware also includes a list of credentials, but they remain unused in the analyzed version. The use of the Default/P@ssw0rdf0rme login pair decreases chances of successful compromise, as they aren’t normally used. However, chances are that the malware is setting up the stage for re-infection or other future attacks, Manuel points out.

After compromise, the exploit payload downloads a VBScript responsible for fetching and executing the miner on the system. The VBS uses the aforementioned username/password pair to add an admin account to the system, enables Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), and adds a firewall rule to allow traffic on RDP port 3389.

The VBScript file also stops the Windows Update Service, starts the Remote Access Connection Manager, and configures Windows Remote Management Service for basic authentication and for the transfer of unencrypted data, thus opening the machine for possible future attacks.

The VBS also downloads the miner file (the XMRig application that is registered as a service named SmbAgentService by the file svchost.exe) and several other files designed to act as watchdogs or to stop/disable/delete services, kill processes, and delete users and files.

First observed this month, the malware appears to have already produced at least 2.4 Monero (around $650) for the attackers, based on the wallet in the analyzed sample. The researchers, however, can’t say for sure how much profit the threat actor may have made overall.

PyRoMine is not the first crypto-miner to use the NSA exploits to spread (WannaMine did the same), but it clearly represents a real threat, considering the manner in which it opens the infected systems to further compromise. All unpatched Windows systems remain vulnerable to this and similar attacks.

“I think is going to be something that we see MUCH more of in the future as the tools that are being deployed are multi-faceted. In this case, it’s not only mining and disabling security services. It’s also adding itself into several account types, opening up RDP (3389) and basically laying the welcome mat out for future attacks,” Chris Roberts, chief security architect at Acalvio, told SecurityWeek.

“Several of the latest tool sets are coming armed with various payloads that simply have functionality to deploy attacks, harvest for data and also take advantage of lax security and processing time. And, this all comes in a nice, neat package using the simple issue that we (the human) haven’t patched or don’t pay attention to what we are downloading/clicking. Once again, we are the attack vector and the computer suffers,” Roberts added.

The NSA exploits have been abused in previous campaigns as well, including NotPetya and WannaCry ransomware, along with the Adylkuzz crypto-miner and the Retefe banking Trojan. What the Smominru botnet, WannaMine, and now PyRoMine reveal is a trend toward crypto-mining.

“It was expected that attackers would replace ransomware with crypto mining as the most popular form of opportunistic attack. We can see that many people simply are not paying ransoms, like in the recent case of the Atlanta state government,” Chris Morales, head of security analytics at San Jose, California-based Vectra, told SecurityWeek in an emailed commentary.

Security Pros Not Confident in Endpoint Defense: Survey
30.4.2018 securityweek Safety

Endpoint Protection is Barely Keeping Pace With Endpoint Attacks

The difference between anti-malware test results and real-life experience is highlighted in a new survey. While independent test results continue to suggest endpoint protection can detect and/or block close on 100% of malware, one-third of security professionals in the field believe their own endpoint protection controls will stop no more than 50% of malware infections.

Less than one-quarter of 600 security professional respondents to a new survey (PDF) conducted by Minerva Labs believe their current defenses provide a 70-100% prevention rate. The implication is clear: despite the new technology of artificial intelligence enhanced behavioral detection, defenders are not yet winning the battle against malware attacks.

This is confirmed with 75% of the professionals believing the rate of infection has been constant -- or has worsened -- over the last year. Furthermore, two-thirds of the respondents do not have confidence that their current defenses will be able to prevent 'a significant' malware attack in the future.

The most interesting response here, however, is that about 6% of respondents are 'not at all concerned' about a significant attack -- and the unanswered question is, why not? Are 6% of security professionals totally apathetic -- or do they all use a particular endpoint protection system that instills almost total confidence? If all 6% use one particular, or a small subset of, so-called next-gen machine learning endpoint detection systems, then any conclusions drawn from this response would be very different. This is the problem and danger in all broad-brush surveys -- detailed and accurate analysis of the results is impossible.

Nevertheless, it remains clear that, overall, industry's use of malware detection is not currently making any serious inroads against malware infections. In fact, 30% of the respondents have experienced a higher number of infections over the last 12 months than in previous years. Only one-in-five security professionals have seen fewer infections -- but again, the unasked and unanswered question is: what have you done differently in the last 12 months?

One of the most confusing questions in this survey is: "Of the following malware evasion techniques, which concern you the most?" The options are fileless, sandbox evasion, malicious documents, and ransomware. The first two are valid. In fact, there has been a dramatic rise in the use of fileless attacks capable of avoiding basic detection over the last year.

The inclusion of 'malicious documents' as an evasion technique is difficult to understand: do those documents contain scripts that become a fileless attack; just contain malicious links that automatically detonate; seek to invoke a watering hole attack; include steganographic images; or something else. The document itself is not an evasion technique, although what it contains might seek to evade detection. And ransomware as an evasion technique is just plain wrong.

The lack of detail in the survey shows itself repeatedly. Asked how long it takes to restore a compromised endpoint to its normal state, 17% of the respondents replied 'within minutes', while 14% replied 'within weeks'. Once again, the valuable information would be, what are the 17% doing differently to the 14% that the latter could learn from? Are those who can recover within minutes using a modern endpoint detection and response (EDR) system, not used by the other respondents -- or do they have a particularly effective back-up and recovery regime, or perhaps a virtual desktop, or one of the emerging isolation technologies?

One question and response that is unequivocally useful -- to product marketers, if not product users -- concerns how security professionals would improve their defenses if not currently happy with them. Less than 30% of the respondents indicated a willingness to entirely replace the existing controls. As many as 17% would carry on regardless, "and would not consider replacing or augmenting it".

More than 50%, however, replied, "I would prefer to add additional layers to cover the protection gap to avoid the risks and costs associated with replacing the exiting solution." Security professionals are quite simply more interested in improving than replacing their existing defenses. Minerva Labs suggests this is likely "due to their desire to avoid the risks and costs associated with replacing the existing solution. After all, the 'rip and replace' project is likely to involve a lengthy rollout, intense regression testing, and require reengineering of many IT processes."

Despite the lack of detail in this survey, the overall picture is clear: endpoint defense is barely keeping pace with endpoint attacks. "The results from our survey," said Eddy Bobritsky, co-founder & CEO of Minerva Labs, "indicate that while malware threats are still growing, endpoints remain highly vulnerable to a cyber-attack,"

He continued, "We continue to see more complex and sophisticated threats, where traditional blocking and prevention mechanisms, such as antivirus, are no longer enough to keep endpoints safe. Beyond merely relying on baseline anti-malware solutions to protect endpoints, companies should strengthen their endpoint security architecture to get ahead of adversaries, such as blocking off attempts to get around existing security tools."

Minerva Labs' own solution is an anti-evasion and deception platform that deceives malware into misfiring. It is not a replacement for existing endpoint defenses -- with which it happily coexists --- but a supplement designed to detect and neutralize malware that would get through existing anti-malware systems.

PDF Files Can Silently Leak NTLM Credentials
30.4.2018 securityweek Hacking

NTML credentials can be stolen via malicious Portable Document Format (PDF) files without any user interaction, Check Point security researchers warn.

Attackers looking to steal the credentials for the NT LAN Manager (NTLM) authentication protocol (which consist of a domain name, a user name, and a one-way hash of the user's password) can do so by abusing a feature where remote documents and files can be embedded inside PDF files.

PDF files, the security researchers explain, consist primarily of objects, together with Document structure, File structure, and content streams. There are eight basic types of objects, including dictionaries, and a malicious actor can abuse these to steal NTLM credentials.

A dictionary object represents a table containing pairs of objects, called entries, where the first element is the key (a name) and the second element is the value (may be any kind of object). Represented by dictionary objects, the pages of a document are called page objects and consist of required and optional entries.

One of the optional entries is the /AA entry, defining actions performed when a page is opened (/O entry) or closed (/C entry). An action dictionary is held within /O (/C) and consists of 3 required entries: /S, /F, and /D, describing the type of action to be performed – GoToR (Go To Remote) and GoToE (Go To Embedded) –, the location location of the other PDF, and the location to go to within the document.

“By injecting a malicious entry (using the fields described above together with his SMB server details via the ‘/F’ key), an attacker can entice arbitrary targets to open the crafted PDF file which then automatically leaks their NTLM hash, challenge, user, host name and domain details,” Check Point explains.

The security researchers, who also published a proof-of-concept, explain that the victim has no way of noticing the abnormal behavior. There is no evidence of the action being performed, nor a security alert.

Once the PDF file has been executed, the NTLM details are sent to the attacker’s server to be used for various SMB relay attacks.

According to Check Point, the issue likely impacts all PDF-viewers for Windows, as all of them will reveal the NTLM credentials.

The security researchers informed Adobe on the vulnerability, but the company said a fix won’t be released, because Microsoft is already offering users the possibility to prevent such attacks from happening in the first place.

In October 2017, the software giant made some optional Windows NTLM Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication changes to prevent “authentication with resources that are not marked as internal by the Windows Firewall.”

“Microsoft is releasing this new functionality as a mitigation to NTLM dictionary attacks. Microsoft continues to recommend that customers move to public key authentication methods for applications which do not support modern authentication, and use negotiate with Kerberos authentication whenever possible,” the company explained in an advisory.

Hackers Target Poorly Patched Oracle WebLogic Flaw
By Eduard Kovacs on April 30, 2018

Hackers have been scanning the Internet for Oracle WebLogic Server installations that can be taken over using a recently addressed vulnerability. While patched systems should be protected against attacks, experts claim the fix implemented by Oracle can be bypassed.

One of the 254 issues resolved by Oracle with its April 2018 CPU is CVE-2018-2628, a critical remote command execution flaw affecting versions,, and of the Oracle WebLogic Server (Fusion Middleware) Java EE application server. Oracle has credited Liao Xinxi of the NSFOCUS Security Team and an individual who uses the online moniker loopx9 for reporting this security hole to the company.

Unauthenticated attackers can exploit this vulnerability remotely via the T3 transport protocol on TCP port 7001 and the task is made easy by the fact that proof-of-concept (PoC) code has already been made available.

One of the first people to disclose details of the vulnerability was Liao Xinxi himself. Developer Davide Tampellini used that information along with PoC code released by others to create a weaponized exploit that can be used to spawn a remote shell.

GreyNoise Intelligence reported seeing a “large spike” in devices scanning the Web for port 7001 shortly after the first PoCs surfaced. GreyNoise’s reports are backed by data from other companies, including SANS and Qihoo 360.

While there have not been any reports of servers actually being hacked using CVE-2018-2628, Oracle WebLogic Server has been known to be targeted by malicious actors. For instance, FireEye revealed in February that cybercriminals had been exploiting CVE-2017-10271, a WebLogic Server flaw patched by Oracle in October 2017, to deliver cryptocurrency miners. A possibly related threat group was also spotted recently exploiting the Drupal vulnerability known as Drupalgeddon2.

While users should in theory be protected against attacks exploiting CVE-2018-2628 if they have applied Oracle’s patch, a China-based security researcher who uses the online moniker Pyn3rd claims the fix can be easily bypassed.

Researcher Kevin Beaumont confirmed that bypassing the patch is possible and advised users to block port 7001 to mitigate attacks.

Oracle WebLogic flaw exploited in the wild

SecurityWeek has reached out to Oracle for comment and will update this article if the company responds.

NCSC Joins Secure Chorus to Promote End-to-End Secure Communications
30.4.2018 securityweek BigBrothers

The UK's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has become the first government agency to join Secure Chorus, a not-for-profit private company limited by guarantee, whose ownership rests with its members. The purpose of Secure Chorus is to develop a secure interoperable cross-platform multimedia communications ecosystem suitable for government and industry use.

Members of Secure Chorus include major global telecommunication operators, system integrators, defense prime contractors, technology companies, academic institutions and trade bodies including Vodafone, O2, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, Leonardo, Sepura, Serbus, Cryptify, Armour Communications, SQR Systems, ISARA Corporation, Secoti, Surevine, Galaxkey, Cyber Synopsis, CSIT, UCL and techUK.

Like the NCSC itself, Secure Chorus has spun out of GCHQ (specifically, CESG). It was originally formed in 2012 as an industry-led working-group focused on supporting the UK government’s requirement for protecting OFFICIAL and OFFICIAL SENSITIVE communications, with the aim of ensuring that any multimedia communication in UK government is protected. Secure Chorus became a limited company in 2016, led by its current chairperson Elisabetta Zaccaria.

As an independent company, the Secure Chorus remit has grown, now describing itself as "serving as a platform for public-private collaboration and development of common standards and capabilities for secure communication for the global digital economy." The NCSC is a strong advocate for its use within UK government.

A CESG document written in November 2015 and published by the NCSC in August 2016 reported, "CESG is committed to growing the Secure Chorus ecosystem to support more vendors and service providers. 4G Voice (VoLTE) will provide the perfect opportunity for service providers to offer end-to-end-security to government and enterprise customers by adopting the Secure Chorus standard."

"Secure Chorus’ interoperability standards are based on an open cryptography standard," Zaccaria told SecurityWeek. "Our cryptography standard of choice has achieved international adoption and is used by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project), a global initiative, providing system specifications for cellular telecommunications network technologies, which has adopted the cryptography standard for use in Mission-Critical applications, such as emergency services communications."

In the 1990s, during what is now known as 'the First Crypto War", key escrow was a major proposal for UK government access to crypto keys. Many security professionals believe we have now entered the Second Crypto War with government demands on both sides of the Atlantic for government backdoors into end-to-end encryption products. However, Zaccaria insists that government involvement with Secure Chorus from inception, and now the NCSC's membership, is not a subtle re-emergence of the key escrow policy.

"Many systems rely upon centralized key management solutions to provide much-needed enterprise control and management features," she said. "Secure Chorus’ chosen cryptography standard is one of several major protocols that use a key management server. It is often a misconception that the legitimate key management server is a 'backdoor', when for many regulated and enterprise environments it is critical to enable the recovery of data, especially in light of the soon to be implemented EU GDPR regulation -- which is sector agnostic and requires any enterprise to comply with 'data subjects'' right of access to his/her 'personal data', among other key requirements."

Despite the necessity for key management, any key management server becomes a target for cybercriminals, and does provide a 'backdoor' into encrypted content for any person or organization that has access to the server and the stored keys. In both cases, the greater the centralization of keys within a single server, the greater the threat.

Zaccaria told SecurityWeek this is not an issue for Secure Chorus. "An enterprise can run its own KMS for its own users, maintaining full control over its own security system. In addition, thanks to the properties of the chosen cryptography standard, communication between two enterprise user groups managed by different KMS can then also be easily enabled."

She added, "This means each enterprise can enable communication with selected external user groups without bringing these user groups into their own security perimeter."

"One of the key objectives of the National Cyber Security Centre," said Dr Ian Levy, technical director at the NCSC, "is to enable a safe digital economy and we see easy, secure communication for enterprises as key to that.

"Secure Chorus will play a role in convening a much-needed forum to bring together global industry, governments and academia to promote the development of an ecosystem of secure and interoperable products based on open standards."

SamSam operators switch tactic and are more focused on targeted organizations
30.4.2018 securityaffairs

SamSam ransomware made the headlines again, crooks now spreading thousands of copies of the ransomware at once into individual targeted organizations.
Ransomware continues to be one of the most dangerous cyber threat and incident like the one suffered by the city of Atlanta demonstrates that their economic impact on victims could be severe.

SamSam ransomware made the headlines, according to malware researchers at Sophos, its operators are now spreading thousands of copies of the ransomware at once into individual organizations. The experts warn of targeted attacks, this means that the organizations are carefully selected by the crooks.

“Unlike most of the well-known ransomware families, which attack randomly, SamSam is used against specific organizations, those most likely to pay to get their data back, like hospitals or schools.” reads the analysis published by Sophos.

“Instead of spam campaigns, the cybercriminals behind SamSam use vulnerabilities
to gain access to the victims’ network or use brute-force tactics against the weak
passwords of the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).”

The operators behind the recently discovered SamSam campaign attempt to exploit known vulnerability to compromise networks of targeted organizations. The hackers have been seen using brute-force tactics against Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) passwords.

Once compromised a system inside the targeted organization, the SamSam search for other machine to infect while stealing credentials.

When operators discover a potential target they manually deploy SamSam using tools like PSEXEC and batch scripts.

The following diagram shows the different steps of the latest SamSam variant for which the initial infection vector is still unclear.

SamSam new variant

Once infected the largest number of systems in the targeted organization, SamSam operators attempt to offer a complete clean up of the infected systems for a special price.

“Instead of blasting out one copy of the malware out to thousands of potential victims over a day or two, the crooks blast thousands of copies of the malware onto computers inside a single organisation, pretty much all at once…” reads a blog post published by Sophos. “…and then, almost casually, they offer a “volume discount” to fix the entire company in one fell swoop.”

At the equivalent of $7200 per PC, but crooks “just” request a $45,000 ransom to decrypt your whole company.

The Bitcoin ransom seems to be adjusted, based on the BTC-to-US$ exchange rate at the time of the infection of the organization.

“We don’t know why the price is $45,000. For all we know, that number was picked because it’s below certain reporting threholds, or because the crooks want to pick the highest value they dare without getting into corporate board-level approval territory. All we can say is that $45,000 is a lot of money.” continues the post.

Rather than pay the entire ransom, companies can pay to restore only select machines by sending the specific hostnames to the operators.

System administrators must install security updates for any software installed on the organization, run a security software, and always back up their data.

Op GhostSecret – ThaiCERT seized a server used by North Korea Hidden Cobra APT group in the Sony Picture hack
30.4.2018 securityaffairs APT

The Thai authorities with the support of the ThaiCERT and security first McAfee have seized a server used by North Korean Hidden Cobra APT as part of the Op GhostSecret campaign.
The Thai authorities with the support of the ThaiCERT have seized a server used by North Korean hackers in the attack against Sony Picture.

The server was located in a Thai university and allegedly used as part of a North Korean hacking campaign conducted by the Hidden Cobra APT group.

According to the authorities, the server was used by the Hidden Cobra APT group as command and control in the GhostSecret campaign.

The identification of the server was the result of the investigation conducted by experts at McAfee that analyzed the Operation GhostSecret searching for infrastructures involved worldwide.

“Our investigation into this campaign reveals that the actor used multiple malware implants, including an unknown implant with capabilities similar to Bankshot. From March 18 to 26 we observed the malware operating in multiple areas of the world. This new variant resembles parts of the Destover malware, which was used in the 2014 Sony Pictures attack.” reads the report published by McAfee.

“Further investigation into the control server infrastructure reveals the SSL certificate d0cb9b2d4809575e1bc1f4657e0eb56f307c7a76, which is tied to the control server 203[.]131[.]222[.]83, used by the February 2018 implant. This server resides at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand. The same entity hosted the control server for the Sony Pictures implants. This SSL certificate has been used in Hidden Cobra operations since the Sony Pictures attack.”

Op GhostSecret North Korea Hidden Cobra APT

According to a security advisory published by the ThaiCERT, the operation GhostSecret kicked off in February 2018. McAfee identified three IP addresses (,, and belonging to Thammasat University that are associated with the Thai activity.

Researchers at McAfee reported the IP addresses of the command and control servers involved in the GhostSecret.

GhostSecret operation first targeted the Turkish financial sector in February 2018, during the period from 14 to 18 March 2018 it targeted entities in more than 17 countries, including Thailand and according to the experts it is still active.

According to McAfee, the Operation GhostSecret is a global data reconnaissance campaign targeting critical infrastructure, entertainment, finance, healthcare, and telecommunications worldwide. The hackers behind Operation GhostSecret leverage multiple implants, tools, and malware variants associated with the state-sponsored cyber group Hidden Cobra.

McAfee has also discovered a new Destover malware implant variant with capabilities similar to the Bankshot malware and that resembles parts of the Destover malware.

Furthermore, the experts at the Advanced Threat Research team have discovered an undocumented implant tracked as Proxysvc that operated undetected since mid-2017.

ThaiCERT along with local authorities and McAfee researchers are currently analyzing the content of the seized server.

Oracle botches CVE-2018-2628 patch and hackers promptly start scanning for vulnerable WebLogic installs
30.4.2018 securityaffairs

According to a security expert, Oracle appears to have botched the CVE-2018-2628 fix, this means that attackers could bypass it to take over WebLogic servers.
Earlier April, Oracle patched the critical CVE-2018-2628 vulnerability in Oracle WebLogic server, but an Alibaba security researcher @pyn3rd discovered that the proposed fix could be bypassed.

#CVE-2018-2628 Weblogic Server Deserialization Remote Command Execution. Unfortunately the Critical Patch Update of 2018.4 can be bypassed easily.

8:24 AM - Apr 28, 2018
249 people are talking about this
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The CVE-2018-2628 flaw was addressed in Oracle’s Critical Patch Update (CPU) security advisory, a remote attacker can easily exploit the vulnerability to completely take over an Oracle WebLogic server.

“Vulnerability in the Oracle WebLogic Server component of Oracle Fusion Middleware (subcomponent: WLS Core Components). Supported versions that are affected are,, and” reads the description provided by Mitre. “Easily exploitable vulnerability allows unauthenticated attacker with network access via T3 to compromise Oracle WebLogic Server. Successful attacks of this vulnerability can result in takeover of Oracle WebLogic Server. CVSS 3.0 Base Score 9.8 (Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability impacts).”
@pyn3rd added that it is quite easy to bypass the patch:

29 Apr
Replying to @pyn3rd
How to bypass??

there is the difference, just use <java.rmi.activation.Activator> replace <java.rmi.registry.Registry> pic.twitter.com/xeH0Ck86G3

7:30 AM - Apr 29, 2018

See pyn3rd's other Tweets
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The popular cyber security expert Kevin Beaumont explained that the mitigation implemented by Oracle seems to only blacklist commands.

Kevin Beaumont

29 Apr
Oh dear. There’s a zero day in Oracle WebLogic because the April patch didn’t fix the issue properly. Mitigation: make sure port 7001 TCP is blocked inbound to your Fusion stack boxes. https://twitter.com/pyn3rd/status/990114565219344384 …

Kevin Beaumont

This is going to keep being an evergreen tweet. It looks like Oracle isn’t even fixing the issues here, they’re just blacklisting commands. In this case they missed the very next command. https://twitter.com/gossithedog/status/987448846887411712?s=21 …

6:01 PM - Apr 29, 2018
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Such kind of errors could have serious consequences on the end users, since April 17, (just after Oracle published the quarterly Critical Patch Update (CPU) advisory). experts are observing threat actors started scanning the Internet, searching for Oracle WebLogic servers.

After Oracle published the Critical Patch Updates, the researchers Xinxi published the technical details of the CVE-2018-2628 vulnerability and later a user with moniker ‘Brianwrf’ shared proof-of-concept (PoC) code on GitHub.

The availability of the PoC code caused a spike in scans for port 7001 that runs the vulnerable WebLogic T3 service.

In the following graph from SANS Institute shows the spike in Internet scans for port 7001:

CVE-2018-2628 scans

New Bezop Cryptocurrency (BEZ) leaks Personal details for 25k users
30.4.2018 securityaffairs Cryptocurrency

Security experts at Kromtech discovered a MongoDB exposed personal details of 25,000 users tied to the Bezop cryptocurrency.
Security researchers at cybersecurity firm Kromtech have discovered a MongoDB database containing the personal details of over 25,000 Bezop (BEZ) cryptocurrency users.

Bob Diachenko
There are 1384 cryptocurrencies as of Jan 2018. One of them had a database of 25K active users with passwords and login details to the accounts/wallets, and also links to scanned documents like passports, driving licenses etc.

8:12 PM - Apr 10, 2018
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John Mcafee, who is Bezop advisor, described Bezop as “a distributed version of Amazon.com,” but it also implements cryptocurrency based on Ethereum,

John McAfee

ICO of the week: BEZOP.IO. Bezop is a distributed version of http://Amazon.com . it allows simple and secure creation of e-commerce sites - searchable in the same manner as Amazon - but with no Amazon as middle man. This could be as huge as it gets in the blockchain world.

3:57 AM - Jan 2, 2018
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The database contained personal details information such as full names, home addresses, email addresses, encrypted passwords, wallet information, and scanned passports, driver’s licenses, or IDs.

Further analysis revealed that the database contained information relative a “bounty programme” launched by the Bezop development team launched early 2018.

One of the tables in the MongoDB database left exposed online was named “Bounty”, so the archive contained the information for the people who invested and participated in this part of the program.

Bezop team gave Tokens in exchange for promoting Bezop via online social media sites and forums or by writing blog posts about the cryptocurrency.

“On Mar 30, researchers at Kromtech Security identified a database open to the public containing full names, addresses, email addresses, encrypted passwords, wallet information, along with links to scanned passports, driver’s licenses, and other IDs for over 25,000 investors of the newly created Bezop.” reads the blog post published by Kromtech.

“Around the time of their ICO, which finished January 10, 2018. Bezop launched their first bounty program, in which people would earn Bezop Tokens in exchange for promoting Bezop via online social media sites like Facebook, posting to forums while using an approved Bezop signature on sites such as bitcointalk, moderation of forums, or by writing articles about Bezop.”

Bezop team confirmed the data leak and explained that the data were exposed while the dev team faced a DDoS attack on January 8.

“Bezop sent out a notice back on Jan. 8 during the ICO (initial coin offering), reporting both a DDoS attack and security holes exposing that data,” Deryck Jones, who is listed as Bezop.io’s CTO online, told Threatpost. “The Bezop notice went to all investors including me. It was an unfortunate incident and very disappointing.”

According to a Bezop spokesperson, the database contained details on around 6,500 ICO investors, while the remaining records were related to users who participated in the public bounty program.

The MongoDB was left exposed online without authentication until March 30, when Kromtech found it.

Bezop Cryptocurrency data leak

The MongoDB was promptly taken offline after Kromtech reported the discovery to the Bezop team.

Ops … Why is Facebook interested in my culinary tastes on Faasos portal?
29.4.2018 securityaffairs

During checkout from faasos, I observed that there are several requests going to Facebook, which carries your Faasos details without user’s consent.
I reported the issue to Facebook that closed my report saying:

“Unfortunately what you have described is not currently covered by this program, We will follow up with you regarding any questions we may have.” (Data Abuse BBP).

So, let’s start from the beginning of the story, you will be aware with the “Cambridge Analytica” case, after its public disclosure Facebook launched “Data Abuse Bounty Program” – 9th April 2018.

Well, we all are aware that we have been tracked for years! Whatever we search on the Internet no matter what object it is, in a day or hours it will be on your suggestion or an advertisement banner.

This is the most recent example: Google is always listening: Live Test

I really love eating veg warps from faasos and it was a normal day when I did a checkout and ordered few of them, however, I have a very bad habit of capturing packets.

What I observed was, there were few `GET` & `POST` request of Facebook as well in between checkout of Faasos at that time I didn’t pay much attention to it. On the same day, I created a test account on Faasos to dig more and clicked on some random wraps, went till checkout and guess what I was still able to see those Facebook request.

I cleared all my history, cookies etc. for the entire day, and thought of doing again, All the request start from login to Faasos, and browsing your items in it.

Goes only to `*faasos.io` based asset but as soon as you press checkout a `GET` request goes to Facebook which carries my juicy information of Faasos which also include my ordering details. (Strange) Apart from that, I start getting suggestions on my Facebook wall regarding Faasos.

Faasos Facebook Cookie

Okay, then I thought of reporting it to Facebook under Data Abuse Bounty Program and we had a long discussion about this, they (Facebook Security Team) also told me to connect with Faasos Security team and I did the same.

However, Faasos security team are not much active, they finally replied me after 4-5 days saying:

“Hey Dhiraj, This tool helps us understand the customer better and show them more appropriate adverts.”

I asked them specifically about tool and where it is been deployed and what all it collects – No reply yet, that’s bad I “personally” feel Faasos been a data-broker over here.

While collecting such info Faasos don’t even take user’s consent. I have seen many application’s which take users consent for such things.

Source https://konqueror.org/features/browser.php

And they also offer you to Opt-out of not been tracking. Pheewww! Now, I understand how all these things work!
I would suggest you all watching this:

That gives lot more understanding of my bug as well, or specifically look the above video from 3.47.25 to 3.51.40 Mins.

On safer side, I would suggest you to enable “Do Not Track Me” on your browser.
Video PoC of my Bug: Facebook Tracking PoC via Faasos. I hope you like the read. Tweet me your views @mishradhiraj_

Researchers discovered the control console of a ski lift in Austria open online
29.4.2018 securityaffairs BigBrothers

Two security experts discovered that the control panel of a Ski lift in Austria was exposed online without any protection.
The control panel of a Ski lift in Austria was exposed online, the disconcerting discovery was made on March 16 by the security experts Tim Philipp Schäfers and Sebastian Neef with security organization InternetWache.org.

The ski lift is Patscherkofelbahn, a sky facility that connects the village of Igls with the Patscherkofel resort.

The two researchers promptly reported the discovery to the Austrian Computer Emergency and Response Team (CERT).

“We have also done in this case: we received the message on a Friday afternoon, we passed it on later in the evening to our contact in Innsbruck.” reported the CERT in a blog post.

Officials from the city of Innsbruck have shut down the ski lift after the security duo has reported their findings.

“The control of the Patscherkofelbahn was accessible via a web interface unencrypted and without the need for authentication via the Internet. In addition, the corresponding control software was not up to date, but pointed to one of us found and reported to the manufacturer vulnerability, “says Schäfers in an interview with the Futurezone.

The experts discovered the Human Machine Interface used to control the ski lift was exposed online without authentication.

ski lift Human Machine Interface

An attacker with access to the Human Machine Interface is in the position to control several settings for the sky facility, including the speed, the distance between cable cars, and the cable tension.

Ski lift parameter 2

The two researchers promptly reported the discovery to the Austrian Computer Emergency and Response Team (CERT) that passed their contact to the authorities at the city of Innsbruck.

As a precautionary measure, the authorities shut down the Patscherkofelbahn ski lift and started a security audit, at the time of writing the facility is still offline.

While the experts were reporting their discovery to Innsbruck officials, the NBC media outlet shared a footage of a malfunctioning ski lift in the ski resort of Gudauri, Georgia.

Even if the Gudauri accident is not linked to any other event occurred at Patscherkofelbahn. media noticed that the ski lifts in both facilities are manufactured by the Austrian firm Doppelmayr.

The CERT Austria confirmed that the problem has been solved and Innsbruck officials are plans to deploy a secure system before the summer season opens.

Firefox 60 supports Same-Site Cookies to prevent CSRF attacks
29.4.2018 securityaffairs Safety

This week Mozilla announced that the upcoming Firefox 60 version will implement a new Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) protection by introducing support for the same-site cookie attribute.
An attacker can launch a CSRF attack to perform unauthorized activities on a website on behalf of authenticated users, this is possible by tricking victims into visiting a specially crafted webpage.

“Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) is an attack that forces an end user to execute unwanted actions on a web application in which they’re currently authenticated. ” reads the OWASP.

“Firefox 60 will introduce support for the same-site cookie attribute, which allows developers to gain more control over cookies. Since browsers will include cookies with every request to a website, most sites rely on this mechanism to determine whether users are logged in.” reads the announcement published by Mozilla.

These types of attacks leverage the fact that every request to a website includes cookies and many sites rely on these cookies for authentication purposes.

According to Mozilla there currently there is no way to reliably determine if a request has been initiated by the legitimate user or if it comes from a third-party script.

“Unfortunately current web architecture does not allow web applications to reliably distinguish between actions initiated by the user and those that are initiated by any of the third-party gadgets or scripts that they rely on.” continues the announcement.

“To compensate, the same-site cookie attribute allows a web application to advise the browser that cookies should only be sent if the request originates from the website the cookie came from. Requests triggered from a URL different than the one that appears in the URL bar will not include any of the cookies tagged with this new attribute.”

Mozilla plans to release Firefox 60 on May 9, the experts will introduce same-site attributes to prevent such kind of attacks.

The attributes can have only two values:

In ‘strict‘ mode, when a user clicks on an inbound link from external sites to the application, he will initially be treated as ‘not being logged in even if they have an active session with the site.

The ‘lax‘ mode, is implemented for applications that may be incompatible with the strict mode. In the lax mode same-site cookies will be withheld on cross-domain subrequests (e.g. images or frames) but will be sent whenever a user navigates from an external site, for example by following a link.

90% of the SAP customers exposed to hack due to 13 Year-Old configuration flaw
29.4.2018 securityaffairs

Many companies using SAP systems ignore to be impacted by a 13-year-old security configuration that could expose their architecture to cyber attacks.
According to the security firm Onapsis, 90 percent SAP systems were impacted by the vulnerability that affects SAP Netweaver and that can be exploited by a remote unauthenticated attacker who has network access to the system.

Because SAP Netweaver technology is the pillar for SAP solutions, including the SAP ERP and S/4 HANA, at least 378,000 users worldwide are affected.

“How critical is this vulnerability? SAP Netweaver installations, if not properly secured, could be compromised by a remote unauthenticated attacker having only network access to the system.” reads the report published by Onapsis says

“Attackers can obtain unrestricted access to SAP systems, enabling them to compromise the platform along with all of its information, modify or extract this information or shut the system down. It affects all SAP Netweaver versions and still exists within the default security settings on every Netweaver-based SAP product such as the SAP ERP, including the latest versions such as S/4HANA.”

The configuration relates to how components of the SAP infrastructure communicate, with a specific focus on Application Servers, SAP Message Servers, and the SAP Central Instance.

SAP configuration issue

Every time a new app is created, the sysadmin must register the new app (Application Server) with the SAP Message Server, the registration is performed via internal port 39<xx> (3900 by default).

The SAP Message Servers implements an access control list (ACL) mechanism for the access to the registration port.

“The SAP Message Server implements a protection mechanism, also known as ACL or access control list, to check which IP addresses can register an application server and which ones cannot.” continues the report.

“This ACL is controlled by the profile parameter “ms/acl_info”. This parameter should contain a path to a file with the following format:

HOST=[*| ip-adr | hostname | Subnet-mask | Domin ] [, …]”

SAP published details on how to properly configure this access file in 2005 through SAP Security Note #8218752 ‘security settings in the message server.’

“Nevertheless, this parameter is set with default configuration, as well as the ACL contents open, allowing any host with network access to the SAP Message Server to register an application server in the SAP system.” continues the Onapsis’s report.

An attacker can exploit improper configuration of a secure Message Server ACL to register a fake Application Server that could be abused to gain full control of the SAP install.

The experts highlighted that the issue could be mitigated by properly configuring the SAP Message Server ACL.

Below the Step by step remediation provided by Onapsis:

Properly configure SAP Message Server ACL. SAP published instructions for this more than ten years ago, which confirms the need for more investment and education in SAP cybersecurity if this vulnerability is still present in your systems.
Implement continuous monitoring and compliance checks to validate that security-relevant configurations such as the Message Server ACL files do not change the security posture of the entire system.
Implement an SAP cybersecurity program that helps bridge the gap between teams: Align IT Security, Internal Audit, BASIS and SAP Security teams towards the unified goal of running secure SAP applications.

DDoS attacks in Q1 2018
29.4.2018 Kaspersky 

News overview
In early January, it was reported that an amateur hacker had come close to pulling off a botnet attack using “improvised” materials. Armed with information gleaned from hacker forums, the DIYer created a Trojan using a zero-day exploit in Huawei routers and released it online. The attack was soon nipped in the bud, but the wannabe cybercriminal could not be traced.

Other slightly weightier news: first, experts reported growth in the Reaper (or IoTroop) botnet (not to be confused with North Korean hacker group The Reaper), first discovered last quarter; second, IT security resources hinted at the emergence of new “strains” of Mirai and Satori (the latter, known as Okiru, is intended for ARC processors), but so far without details. Moreover, in early February a platform selling JenX botnet services was detected and neutralized. JenX was found to be using a fan server for the video game GTA: San Andreas as its C&C. In terms of power, JenX was nothing to write home about, but the originality of its creators deserves a mention. On the topic of original botnets, another worth noting is DoubleDoor: the first known piece of “wild” malware to bundle two IoT vulnerabilities together.

As for new methods and vulnerabilities, besides the multiget hole in Memcached, last quarter news broke of a vulnerability in WordPress that makes it easy to down a web server. Fortunately, no in-the-wild attacks were observed.

The attack targets for this new weaponry remained largely the same. Profit is still the main motive behind DDoS attacks (the number of attacks on business in Russia alone doubled in 2017), although high-profile “commercial” attacks in the last three months were not so numerous. Within the space of three days in early February, players of Final Fantasy encountered problems signing into certain services. At roughly the same time, BusinessWire experienced similar difficulties lasting more than a week, during which period neither editors nor readers could access the news portal. There was no reported ransom demand, so the motive behind the attack can be assumed to be competition-related.

It would be amiss not to mention a series of attacks that hit GitHub and an unknown service provider in early March, which produced record volumes of garbage traffic — over 1 TB/s. This capacity was achieved by leveraging Memcached, a popular caching service for Linux servers. Interestingly, in some of these attacks the garbage traffic itself contained ransom demands in Monero.

Political motives are less common, but often more visible due to their topicality. The most headlining incident of late was, of course, the threat to sabotage the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in early February, most likely through a DDoS offensive. Even before that, in late January, the US Department of Defense repelled an influx of spam, and in late March their Russian counterparts had to survive a DDOS attack. In addition, experts reported that North Korean group The Reaper was extending its reach. Despite not showing any DDoS activity, it could soon start moving in that direction.

Another hard-hitting DDoS attack on major financial institutions in the Netherlands was initially thought to be political, but on closer inspection turned out to be pure hooliganism: Dutch police arrested a teen suspect for causing week-long mayhem at several banks simply to prove that it was possible.

DDoS is also becoming more popular as a means of personal revenge. California, for instance, witnessed the case of David Goodyear, who was found guilty of trying to launch a DDoS attack against an amateur astronomy forum when it blacklisted him for using bad language. True, he can’t be accused of not trying other methods before turning his hand to cybercrime: Goodyear repeatedly registered on the forum under different chat names, but each time earned himself a ban for boorish behavior.

Quarter trends
Due to its capacity and relative accessibility, Memcached was the springboard for last quarter’s most sensational attacks. However, it could prove to be a short-lived trend, and here’s why.

In late February, Kaspersky DDoS Protection support was contacted by a company reporting an unusually high load on its communications channel in what it suspected to be a DDoS attack.

At first glance, the picture did indeed resemble a typical DDoS attack: the channel was clogged up, and users couldn’t access the company’s services. However, our investigation revealed that a CentOS Linux server with a vulnerable Memcached service was installed on one of the client servers. This service, used by the cybercriminals during the attack, generated large amounts of outgoing traffic, overloading the channel. In other words, the client was not the target, but an unwitting accomplice in the DDoS attack: the attackers used its server as an amplifier. After Kaspersky Lab’s recommendations were implemented, the malicious parasitic traffic stopped.

This situation is typical for Memcached attacks: owners of vulnerable servers hijacked during attacks notice the load increase and rush to patch any vulnerabilities not to suffer even more downtime losses. As a result, the number of vulnerable servers that can be utilized for this type of attack is rapidly declining, for which reason Memcached attacks will likely dry up soon.

Still, the picture in Q1 shows that “amplified” attacks, which were on the wane, have again picked up momentum. NTP and DNS-based boosting has practically disappeared, since most vulnerable services have already been patched. Cybercriminals will likely seek out other non-standard amplification methods besides Memcached. Last quarter, for instance, we registered a quite rare (yet effective) type of amplification attack, in which the LDAP service was used as an amplifier. Alongside Memcached, NTP, and DNS, this service has one of the biggest amplification factors. Despite the relatively small number of LDAP servers available, this type of attack could be a hit on the shadow Internet in the coming months.

Statistics for botnet-assisted DDoS attacks
Kaspersky Lab has extensive experience of combating cyber threats, including DDoS attacks of various complexity types and ranges. Company experts track the actions of botnets by using the DDoS Intelligence system.

As part of the Kaspersky DDoS Protection solution, the DDoS Intelligence system intercepts and analyzes commands sent to bots from C&C servers; it does not require any user devices to be infected or cybercriminals to execute any actual commands.

This report contains DDoS Intelligence statistics for Q1 2018.

In the context of this report, it is assumed that an incident is a separate (single) DDoS-attack if the interval between botnet activity periods does not exceed 24 hours. For example, if one particular web resource was attacked by the same botnet in two waves with an interval of 24 hours or more, the incident is considered as two attacks. Bot requests originating from different botnets but directed at one resource also count as separate attacks.

The geographical locations of DDoS-attack victims and C&C servers used to send commands are determined by their respective IP addresses. The number of unique targets of DDoS attacks in this report is counted by the number of unique IP addresses in the quarterly statistics.

DDoS Intelligence statistics are limited to botnets detected and analyzed by Kaspersky Lab. Note that botnets are just one of the tools for performing DDoS attacks, and that the data presented in this report do not cover every single DDoS attack that occurred during the period under review.

Quarter results
In Q1 2018, DDoS attacks were registered against targets in 79 countries (84 in the previous quarter). As ever, the vast majority (95.14%) occurred in the top ten countries.
As for attack targets, as usual about half were located in China (47.53%), although the share was somewhat lower against the previous quarter.
The number of attacks and targets rose significantly, as did the number of long-duration attacks. The most sustained DDoS attack lasted 297 hours (more than 12 days), making it one of the longest in recent years.
The share of Linux botnets fell slightly to 66% against the previous quarter’s 71%.
Significant peaks in the number and power of cyberattacks were observed in mid-January and early March, while the mid-quarter period was relatively calm.
Geography of attacks
China easily retained pole position by number of attacks: its share remained almost unchanged, up from 59.18% to 59.42%. The US share (17.83%), the second largest, increased by a more noticeable 1.83%. South Korea again took bronze, but its share fell by more than 2%, from 10.21% to 8%.

Britain (1.30%) moved from fourth to fifth. Tenth place in Q1 2018 went to Russia, whose share decreased from 1.25% to 0.76%. The Netherlands and Vietnam dropped out of the top ten, but Hong Kong (with a solid 3.67% against 0.67% in Q4 2017) and Japan (1.16%) reappeared.

Distribution of DDoS attacks by country, Q1 2018 and Q4 2017

As regards the distribution of attack targets, top spot again belongs to China, although its share declined from 51.84% to 47.53%. Meanwhile, the still second-place US saw its share increase from 19.32% to 24.10%. Third position was taken by South Korea (9.62%). France’s ranking changed significantly: shedding just 0.65% this quarter, it dropped from fifth to ninth place.

The list of top ten most attacked countries said goodbye to Russia and the Netherlands, but welcomed Hong Kong (4.76%) straight into fourth place, and Japan (1.6%) into sixth. Overall this quarter, the total share of top ten countries increased slightly to 94.17% against 92.9% at the end of 2017.

Distribution of unique DDoS-attack targets by country, Q4 2017 and Q1 2018

Dynamics of the number of DDoS attacks
Most Q1 activity occurred in the first and last third. The number of attacks peaked on January 19 (666) and March 7 (687 attacks). This is probably linked to the end of the New Year holidays (the number of attacks began to rise around the second week of January) and the March sales (in connection with International Women’s Day). The quietest days were observed at roughly the same time: January 16 and March 11. The mid-quarter period passed relatively smoothly without significant peaks or noticeable declines.

The calmest day of the week in the latest quarter was Sunday, accounting for just 11.35% of all attacks.

Distribution of DDoS attacks by day of the week, Q4 2017 and Q1 2018

Types and duration of DDoS attacks
The share of SYN-DDOS attacks increased slightly (from 55.63% to 57.3%), but there was no repeat of the situation seen in previous quarters. The share of ICMP attacks almost doubled, from 3.4% to 6.1%. Accordingly, UDP, TCP and HTTP floods were forced to cede some ground: their shares dropped by 1-2% against the previous quarter.

Distribution of DDoS attacks by type, Q1 2018

After some respite at the end of 2017, we saw a return of sustained attacks: the longest lasted 297 hours (12.4 days). And although that falls short of the world record, the magnitude is still considerable. We have to go back to late 2015 for a longer attack.

The share of all other sustained attacks (50 hours or more) increased by more than six times, from 0.10% to 0.63%. At the other end of the spectrum, the share of the shortest attacks (9 hours or less) also grew: if last quarter they accounted for 85.5% of all attacks, now the figure stands at 91.47%. Meanwhile, the number of attacks lasting between 10 hours and three days in the latest quarter almost halved from 14.85% to 7.76%.

Distribution of DDoS attacks by duration (hours), Q4 2017 and Q1 2018

The top ten countries by number of C&C servers last quarter underwent a major reshuffle: Canada, Turkey, Lithuania, and Denmark dropped out, while Italy, Hong Kong, Germany, and Britain climbed upwards. The top three remained practically unchanged: South Korea (30.92%), the US (29.32%), China (8.03%). Only Russia (2.01%), having shared bronze with China in late 2017, slid down to ninth place.

The US share almost doubled, bringing it within touching distance of this ranking’s perennial leader South Korea. In addition, the shares of Italy (6.83%), which last quarter did not even make the top ten, the Netherlands (5.62%), and France (3.61%) increased significantly. This jump was due to a sharp rise in the number of C&C accounts for Darkai (in the US, Italy, the Netherlands, and France) and AESDDoS (in China) bots.

Distribution of botnet C&C servers by country, Q1 2018

The share of Linux botnets last quarter fell slightly compared to the end of 2017, down to 66% from 71%. Accordingly, the share of Windows-based botnets climbed from 29% to 34%.

Correlation between Windows- and Linux-based botnet attacks, Q1 2018

In Q1 2018, we observed a significant increase in both the total number and duration of DDoS attacks against Q4 2017. The new Linux-based botnets Darkai (a Mirai clone) and AESDDoS are largely responsible for this hike. The number of now familiar Xor attacks also rose. Neither did Windows-based botnets remain idle, making some headway against Linux in the total number of attacks. The old Yoyo botnet was particularly lively, almost five times as active.

The number of mixed attacks involving several botnet families also increased. This is a clear continuation of the trend that we spoke about at the end of last year: to optimize outlays, attackers utilize unused parts of botnets to generate garbage traffic, redeploying them across targets.

Amplified attacks returned to the cyber arena, particularly through the Memcached service. However, we expect that server owners will quickly spot the abundance of garbage traffic and patch up the vulnerabilities, which will dent the popularity of attacks of this type. That being the case, DDoS masterminds will likely seek out other amplification methods, one of which could be LDAP services.

Researchers Dissect Tool Used by Infamous Russian Hacker Group
28.4.2018 securityweek  APT

Sofacy’s First-Stage Malware Zebrocy Analyzed

ESET security researchers have taken a deep dive into one of the tools heavily used by the Russian threat actor Sofacy over the past couple of years.

Dubbed Zebrocy, the tool serves as a first-stage malware in attacks and is comprised of a Delphi downloader, an AutoIt downloader and a Delphi backdoor. Used in multiple attacks, the malicious program often acts as a downloader for the actor’s main backdoor, Xagent.

Also referred to as APT28, Fancy Bear, Pawn Storm, Sednit, and Strontium, and active since around 2007, the group is focused on cyber espionage and has hit government, military, and defense organizations worldwide.

Supposedly the actor behind attacks targeting the 2016 presidential election in the United States, Sofacy has been known to target Ukraine and NATO countries, and has recently switched focus to targets in Asia.

Coexisting with another Sofacy first-stage tool, Seduploader, the Zebrocy malware has been used in attacks against victims in Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay and Zimbabwe, ESET reveals.

Zebrocy is usually delivered via emails carrying malicious attachments and users are lured into opening them. These are either Microsoft Office documents that deliver the payload via VBA macros, exploits, or Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE), or archives containing executables with an icon and a document-like filename.

Once the malicious attachment is executed, the first stage of the Zebrocy family is delivered: a Delphi downloader (in some attacks the AutoIt stage was used directly). The downloader is usually masked using document or Windows library icons and some samples are packed with UPX.

When launched, the malware displays a splash window with a bogus error message to distract the user. In the background, however, the malware drops a file under %TEMP% and adds a Windows registry to achieve persistence. It also gathers information on the compromised system and sends it to the command and control (C&C) server via a HTTP POST request.

If the target is considered of interest, the C&C responds with the next stage, the AutoIt downloader, which acts as another layer of the reconnaissance phase. Packing all of the functionality of the Delphi downloader and even more, the AutoIt downloader is sometimes used as the first stage instead.

The tool can detect sandbox and virtual environments and retrieve system information such as: a list of installed software, Windows version (32-bit or 64-bit), process list, hard drive information, and screenshots, along with various details about the computer, gathered using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) objects.

The Delphi backdoor, which is the last stage of the Zebrocy chain of components, has an internal versioning number, unrelated to the campaign it is used in. It embeds configuration data such as: AES keys for C&C communication, URLs, malware version, persistence windows registry key/value, path to store temporary files, and the names of hidden directories to be created to store temporary files.

Once set up, the malware executes callback functions via the Windows API function SetTimer, allowing the attackers to handle features and commands: take a screenshot of the desktop, capture keystrokes, list drives/network resources, read/write into Windows registry, copy/move/delete a file system object, and execute files or create scheduled tasks.

The backdoor supports around 30 commands, which differ from one version to another. For communication purposes, the malware stores the report of these functions on a temp file, then reds the file content and sends it to the C&C.

Zebrocy might be the successor of another malware components written in Delphi that Sofacy is known have used, namely Downdelph. The tool was last seen in September 2015, two months before Zebrocy emerged and both malware families also use a similar deployment method, the researchers note.

“We have seen Zebrocy being heavily used by the Sednit group over the last two years. Our analysis of the many new variants that appeared on a regular basis since 2017 clearly indicates that Zebrocy is being actively maintained and improved by its author(s). We can consider it as one of the stable, mature tools in Sednit’s arsenal, a tool that deserves to be monitored closely,” ESET concludes.

Amazon Alexa Can Be Used for Snooping, Researchers Say
28.4.2018 securityweek  Privacy

Amazon's Alexa cloud-based virtual assistant for Amazon Echo can be abused to eavesdrop on users, Checkmarx security researchers have discovered.

Present on more than 31 million devices around the world, Alexa enables user interaction after a wake-up word (specifically, “Alexa”) activates it. Next, the Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPA) launches the requested capability or application – called skill, it either comes built-in or is installed from the Alexa Skills Store.

Checkmarx researchers built a malicious skill application capable of recording user’s speech in the background and then exfiltrating the recording, all without alerting the user.

Because of the required wake-up word, the recording would have to be performed after the activation. However, the listening session would normally end after a response is delivered to the user, to protect privacy, yet the researchers found a way to keep the session alive and to hide that from the user.

A shouldEndSession flag allows a session to stay alive for another cycle, after reading back the service’s text as a response. However, reading back the text would reveal to the user that the device is still listening.

To overcome this issue, the researchers used a re-prompt feature, which works in a similar manner, but accepts “empty re-prompts.” Thus, they could start a new listening cycle without alerting the user on the matter.

Finally, the researchers also focused on being able to accurately transcribe the voice received by the skill application. For that, they added a new slot-type to capture any single word, not limited to a defined list of words. They also built a formatted string for each possible length.

Of course, users would still be alerted on a device listening to them because the blue light on Amazon Echo lights-up when a session is alive. However, some Alexa Voice Services (AVS) vendors would embed Alexa capabilities into their devices without providing the visual indicator, and it’s also highly likely that users would not pay attention to that light.

“While the shining blue light discloses that Alexa is still listening, much of the point of an IPA device is that, unlike a smartphone or tablet, you do not have to look at it to operate it. In fact, these IPAs are made to be placed in a corner where users simply speak to a device without actively looking in its direction,” the researchers say.

As long as speech is recognized and words picked up, the malicious skill can continue to eavesdrop in the background, without the user noticing it. In case of silence, Alexa closes the session after 8 seconds, but a silence re-prompt (defined with an empty output-speech that the user cannot hear) can double the grace period to 16 seconds, the security researchers say.

Checkmarx informed Amazon on their findings and worked with the company to mitigate the risks. Specific criteria to identify (and reject) eavesdropping skills during certification were put in place, along with measures to detect both empty-reprompts and longer-than-usual sessions, and take appropriate actions in both cases.

The security researchers also published a video demonstration of how the attack works.

Expert shows how to trigger blue-screen-of-death on Windows by triggering NTFS flaw
28.4.2018 securityaffairs

Bitdefender researcher Marius Tivadar has developed a dodgy NTFS file system image that could trigger a blue-screen-of-death when a mount is attempted on Windows 7 and 10 systems.
The Bitdefender expert Marius Tivadar has discovered a vulnerability tied the way Microsoft handles of NTFS filesystem images, he also published a proof-of-concept code on GitHub that could be used to cause Blue Screen of Death within seconds on most Windows computers.

“One can generate blue-screen-of-death using a handcrafted NTFS image. This Denial of Service type of attack, can be driven from user mode, limited user account or Administrator. It can even crash the system if it is in locked state.” wrote Tivadar.

The PoC code includes a malformed NTFS image can be stored on a USB thumb drive. Once the user will insert the USB thumb drive in a Windows PC it will crash the system within a few seconds causing a Blue Screen of Death.

Tivadar highlighted that auto-play is activated by default and even disabling it the system will crash when the NTFS image is accessed.
The expert noticed that some security tools like Windows Defender scans the USB stick triggering the flaw.
NTFS hack
Tivadar reported the NTFS issue to Microsoft in July 2017, but the tech giant did not recognize it as a security bug so the expert opted to disclose the flaw.

Microsoft pointed out that the exploitation of the issue requires either physical access, but Tivadar explained that an attacker could use a malware to exploit the PoC code.

Tivadar noticed that the NTFS bug also works while the PC is locked, this is an anomaly because there is no need to mount a USB stick/volume when the system is locked.

“Generally speaking, no driver should be loaded, no code should get executed when the system is locked and external peripherals are inserted into the machine.” the researcher explained.

Tivadar published two PoC videos on his personal Google Photos account and on his Google Drive account.

Necurs Spam Botnet operators adopt a new technique to avoid detection
28.4.2018 securityaffairs BotNet

Operators behind the Necurs botnet, the world’s largest spam botnet, are currently using a new evasion technique attempting to surprise the unprepared defenses.
Necurs is the world’s largest spam botnet, it is composed of millions of infected computers worldwide.

Necurs was not active for a long period at the beginning of 2017 and resumed its activity in April 2017. The Necurs botnet was used in the past months to push some malware, including Locky, Jaff, GlobeImposter, Dridex , Scarab and the Trickbot.

In February security experts observed the Necurs botnet was used to send out an amazing number of messages offering companionship waiting for Valentine’s day.

According to the IBM X-Force team, the campaign started in mid-January, it leveraged the overall Necurs botnet that has been estimated as composed of 6 million bots.

Now the botnet made the headlines again, the author implemented a new evasion technique. Crooks are sending out an email to a potential victim containing an archive file that once unzipped will present a file with the extension of .URL.

The .URL extension is associated with Windows shortcut file that opens an URL into a browser, in the campaign observed by the experts it points to a remote script file that downloads and executes a final payload.

In this last campaign, Necurs is delivering the Quant Loader to the victims to download another malware.

“As security vendors are wise to Necurs’s traditional infection chain (a script, a macro, or archives containing certain file formats), the malware has started using an internet shortcut or .URL file to bypass detection.” reads the analysis published by Trend Micro.

“Previously, Necurs’s JavaScript downloader downloads the final payload. But in its latest iteration, the remote script downloads QUANTLOADER (detected by Trend Micro as TROJ_QUANT) – a different downloader – which then downloads the final payload. This is another layer added to Necurs’s infection chain.”

The abuse of .URL files is a novelty for Necurs operators. according to the researchers, this technique implements a simplified infection chain compared to spam techniques used in the past.

“Last year, we also saw how Necurs pushed double-zipped attachments that either contained JavaScript, Visual Basic scripts, or macro files with the capability to download its final payload.” continues the analysis.

“In an attempt to evade spam detection through its attachments, Necurs used archives that included .ZIP files to disguise the script downloader, which was later enclosed in another .ZIP to hide itself.”

necurs spam

This simple infection chain allows avoiding anti-malware solutions that scan emails, looking for malicious links, boobytrapped attachments or other malicious patterns associated with an attack.

Of course, once uncovered the new campaign, the security firms will update existing detection rules to rapidly discovers attacks and neutralize the spam campaign.

Malware researchers added that crooks are using the standard folder icon to hide .URL files to deceive victims on their malicious nature.

Once the victim has clicked on the archive it extracts a file that appears to the victims as a new folder on their PC. When the victims click on the folder to explore its content they will start the infection chain.

“Notice that aside from the icons disguised as folders, the filenames were also crafted to resemble typical folder names such as IMG-20180404-9AC4DD, SCN-20180404-268CC1, and PIC-20180404-ADEEEE shown in Figure 2, to name a few.” states Trend Micro.

Nercus botnet

Now that you know this new technique … open the eyes and remain vigilant.

European and US police hit the Islamic State propaganda machine
28.4.2018 securityaffairs BigBrothers

A coordinated effort of law enforcement agencies (law enforcement authorities of the European Union Member States, Canada, and the USA) hit the Islamic State propaganda machine.
European law enforcement agencies coordinated by Europol conducted an unprecedented multinational cyber operation against the Islamic State’propaganda machine.

Authorities have “punched a big hole” in Islamic State’s propaganda machine, they targeted news agencies and radio stations in a two-day takedown operation.

“On 25 April 2018 law enforcement authorities of the European Union Member States, Canada and the USA launched a joint action against the so-called Islamic State (IS) propaganda machine in order to severely disrupt their propaganda flow.” read the press release published by Europol.

“The takedown operation was coordinated by the European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) within the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) at the Europol headquarters.”

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter


#BREAKING: Takedown of Islamic State propaganda machine in international operation coordinated by Europol. Amaq – the main mouthpiece of the terrorist organisation – among those knocked down offline https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/islamic-state-propaganda-machine-hit-law-enforcement-in-coordinated-takedown-action … #IS #terrorism

10:02 AM - Apr 27, 2018
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The operation hit Islamic State media outlets, including the Amaq and Nashir news agencies and al-Bayan radio.

The authorities seized the servers and are analyzing data to identify the administrators behind principal media outlets.

“With this groundbreaking operation we have punched a big hole in the capability of IS [Isis] to spread propaganda online and radicalise young people in Europe.” said Rob Wainwright, executive director of Europol.

Europol hit Islamic State

This isn’t the first time Europol and other agencies target Islamic State propaganda machine since 2015 they have conducted numerous operations to shut down the infrastructure used by the terrorists.

In August 2016, an international joint operation conducted by the police hit the Amaq’s mobile application and web infrastructure, another operation was conducted in June 2017 and led to the identification of radicalised individuals in more than 100 countries.

Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Today’s international take-down action, with the support of Europol, shows our global strength and our unwavering resolve to fight against terrorist content online. Daesh is no longer just losing territory on the ground – but also online. We will not stop until their propaganda is entirely eradicated from the Internet.”

“This shows that by working together we can stamp out the poisonous propaganda Daesh [Isis] has used to fuel many of the recent terror attacks in Europe. For too long the internet has been open to terrorists and those who seek to do us harm. Those days are coming to an end thanks to this type of co-ordinated global work.” said the EU security commissioner, Julian King.

How to use weaponized PDF documents to steal Windows credentials
28.4.2018 securityaffairs Hacking

Weaponized documents are the main ingredient for almost any spam and spear-phishing campaign, let’s see how to steal windows credentials with specially crafted PDF files.
Weaponized documents are the main ingredient for almost any spam and spear-phishing campaign.

Weaponized PDF files can be used by threat actors to steal Windows credentials, precisely the associated NTLM hashes, without any user interaction.

According to a research published by Assaf Baharav, a security expert at Check Point, the attackers just need to trick victims into opening a file.

According to Check Point researchers, rather than exploiting the vulnerability in Microsoft Word files or Outlook’s handling of RTF files, attackers take advantage of a feature that allows embedding remote documents and files inside a PDF file.

Baharav explained that attackers could take advantage of features natively found in the PDF standard to steal NTLM hashes, rather than exploiting a flaw in Microsoft Word files or RTF files.

“The attacker can then use this to inject malicious content into a PDF and so when that PDF is opened, the target automatically leaks credentials in the form of NTLM hashes.” wrote Baharav.

The researcher used a specially crafted PDF document for his proof-of-concept.

When a victim would open the PDF document it would automatically contact a remote SMB server controlled by the attacker, but don’t forget that SMB requests include the NTLM hash for the authentication process.

“The NTLM details are leaked through the SMB traffic and sent to the attacker’s server which can be further used to cause various SMB relay attacks.” continues the expert.

weaponized PDF SMB attack NTLM hash

Using this trick the attacker can obtain the NTLM hash and use tools available online to recover the original password.

Such kind of attack is stealth, it is impossible for the victims to notice any abnormal behavior.

Similar techniques leveraging SMB requests were used in the past by several threat actors, but with other types of documents or OS features (i.e. Office documents, shared folders authentication, Outlook)

According to Check Point, almost any Windows PDF-viewer is affected by this security flaw and will reveal the NTLM credentials.

Baharav successfully tested the attack on Adobe Acrobat and FoxIT Reader.

The experts followed a 90 days disclosure policy by notifying both Adobe and Foxit the vulnerability.

Adobe replied that will not fix the issue because it considers the flaw linked to the OS, meanwhile FoxIT still has not responded.

Adobe experts are referring to Microsoft Security Advisory ADV170014, released in October 2017 that implements a mechanism and provides instructions on how users could disable NTLM SSO authentication on Windows operating systems.

Below the reply from Adobe:

“Thank you for checking in on this case. Microsoft issued an optional security enhancement [0] late last year that provides customers with the ability to disable NTLM SSO authentication as a method for public resources. With this mitigation available to customers, we are not planning to make changes in Acrobat.“

Mozilla Adding New CSRF Protection to Firefox
27.4.2018 securityweek  Safety

Mozilla announced this week that the upcoming Firefox 60 will introduce support for the same-site cookie attribute in an effort to protect users against cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attacks.

CSRF attacks allow malicious actors to perform unauthorized activities on a website on behalf of authenticated users by getting them to visit a specially crafted webpage. These types of attacks leverage the fact that every request to a website includes cookies and many sites rely on these cookies for authentication purposes.

Mozilla has pointed out that the current web architecture does not allow websites to reliably determine if a request has been initiated legitimately by the user or if it comes from a third-party script.

“To compensate, the same-site cookie attribute allows a web application to advise the browser that cookies should only be sent if the request originates from the website the cookie came from,” members of the Mozilla Security Team explained in a blog post. “Requests triggered from a URL different than the one that appears in the URL bar will not include any of the cookies tagged with this new attribute.”

Firefox 60, currently scheduled for release on May 9, will attempt to protect users against CSRF attacks with same-site attributes that can have one of two values: strict or lax.

In strict mode, when users click on an inbound link from an external site, they will be treated as unauthenticated even if they have an active session as cookies will not be sent.

In lax mode, cookies will be sent when users navigate safely from an external website (e.g. by following a link), but they will not be sent on cross-domain subrequests, such as the ones made for images or frames. The lax mode is designed for applications that may be incompatible with the strict mode.

Microsoft Releases More Microcode Patches for Spectre Flaw
27.4.2018 securityweek 

Microsoft this week released another round of software and microcode updates designed to address the CPU vulnerability known as Spectre Variant 2.

Microsoft has been releasing software mitigations for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities since January, shortly after researchers disclosed the flaws.

A new standalone security update (4078407) enables by default the mitigations against Spectre Variant 2 in all supported versions of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016. Alternatively, advanced users can manually enable these mitigations through registry settings.

The company announced in early March that microcode updates from Intel will be delivered to Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 users through the Microsoft Update Catalog. The first round of updates covered devices with Intel Skylake processors and the list was later expanded to include Coffee Lake and Kaby Lake CPUs.

Broadwell and Haswell processors have now also been added to the list, which currently includes tens of Intel CPUs across roughly 30 microarchitecture categories. Intel announced the availability of microcode updates for Broadwell and Haswell CPUs in late February.

Meltdown and Spectre allow malicious applications to bypass memory isolation and access sensitive data. Meltdown attacks are possible due to CVE-2017-5754, while Spectre attacks are possible due to CVE-2017-5753 (Variant 1) and CVE-2017-5715 (Variant 2). Meltdown and Spectre Variant 1 can be resolved with software updates, but Spectre Variant 2 requires microcode patches as well.

Last month, Microsoft released out-of-band updates for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to address a serious privilege escalation vulnerability introduced by the Meltdown mitigations.

Dutch Police Shut Notorious 'Revenge Porn' Site, Three Arrested
27.4.2018 securityweek  Crime

Dutch police said Thursday they have arrested three men for stealing explicit pictures of girls and young women from their cloud data, and shut down a globally notorious "revenge porn" site.

After a year-long complex cyber-crime investigation following a complaint by a woman in March 2017, the police and prosecution service said they had found "enormous amounts of women's personal data and images" on the three men's phones and computers.

"With the confiscation of a server, the police have taken a hackers forum offline," they said in a statement identifying the forum as Anon-IB.

The hackers were mainly interested "in nude photographs and videos of girls and young women, which they stole from the clouds of their victims and shared with one another in other, more hidden locations on the internet," it added.

Those arrested are aged 28 to 35 and come from the Dutch cities of Heerlen, Culemborg and Groningen. Data from two other suspects has also been seized, but the other two men have not yet been arrested.

They had all been "able to access email boxes, social media accounts and repositories, such as clouds, belonging to hundreds of women" which had not been properly secured, the Dutch police said in a statement.

They procured "sexual images of a few hundred women without the victims noticing," they added.

The suspects had all got to know each other through using Anon-IB, where they "asked for help in obtaining images of specific girls," the police said in a statement.

Once the images were found, they retreated to smaller groups "in hidden places in the web to share the stolen footage."

Police spokesman Joep Patijn told the NOS broadcaster that the crime "involves a lot of women who have been hacked, hundreds or even thousands."

Women from other countries such as Belgium and New Zealand may also be involved, and police will now seek to inform all those whose data may have been stolen if they can identify them.

Anon-IB is notorious for being an image board where tens thousands of exploitative images are shared often anonymously and without the owners' consent.

It had been implicated in the 2014 "Celebgate" scandal when nude photos of actresses including Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton were posted on line.

13 Year-Old Configuration Flaw Impacts Most SAP Deployments
27.4.2018 securityweek 

Most SAP implementations continue to be impacted by a security configuration flaw initially documented in 2005, Onapsis warns.

Neglected security configurations and unintentional configuration drifts of previously secured systems render SAP implementations vulnerable despite the release of several Security Notes designed to address the issues. According to Onapsis, a firm that specializes in securing SAP and Oracle applications, 9 out of 10 SAP systems were found vulnerable to the bug.

The security bug impacts SAP Netweaver and can be exploited by a remote unauthenticated attacker who has network access to the system. By targeting the bug, an attacker could gain unrestricted access to the system, thus being able to compromise the platform and all of the information on it, extract data, or shut the system down.

The vulnerability impacts all SAP Netweaver versions. Because SAP Netweaver is the foundation of all SAP deployments, 378,000 customers worldwide are affected, Onapsis says. The vulnerability exists within the default security settings on every Netweaver-based SAP product. Even the next generation digital business suite S/4HANA is impacted.

In a report detailing the vulnerability, Onapsis explains that a protection scheme through ACL (access control list) ensures that SAP Application Servers are registered within the SAP Message Server to work. Registration is performed using internal port 39<xx> (3900 by default), and SAP explained in a Security Note in 2010 that the port should be secured and only accessible by trusted application IP addresses.

The Message Server ACL, designed to check “which IP addresses can register an application server and which ones cannot,” is controlled by a profile parameter (ms/acl_info) that should contain a path to a file with a specific format. SAP published details on how to properly configure this access file in a Security Note in 2015.

“Nevertheless, this parameter is set with default configuration, as well as the ACL contents open, allowing any host with network access to the SAP Message Server to register an application server in the SAP system,” Onapsis explains.

By exploiting the lack of a secure Message Server ACL configuration on a SAP System, an attacker can register a fake Application Server, which could then be abused to achieve full system compromise through more complex attacks.

For a successful attack, however, an actor needs to take advantage of this misconfiguration: access to the Message Server internal port with a default configuration in the ACL. This means that proper configuration of SAP Message Server ACL should mitigate the risks associated with the attack.

Organizations are also advised to implement continuous monitoring and compliance checks to ensure relevant configurations don’t affect the security posture of the system, as well as to implement a SAP cybersecurity program that helps bridge the gap between teams.

“While much attention this year will go to new vulnerabilities, such as IoT, Meltdown and Spectre, there is a more silent threat lurking behind the scenes that may be as serious and certainly as broad. Many SAP landscapes are so interconnected and complex that taking a system offline to implement a secure configuration can be very disruptive to the organization. That being said, it is critical that organizations ensure that they make the time to implement the configuration. These upgrades must be planned out and timed to have the lowest impact on the organization,” said JP Perez-Etchegoyen, CTO at Onapsis.

Western Digital Cloud Storage Device Exposes Files to All LAN Users
27.4.2018 securityweek  Security

The default configuration on the new Western Digital My Cloud EX2 storage device allows any users on the network to retrieve files via HTTP requests, Trustwave has discovered.

WD’s My Cloud represents a highly popular storage/backup device option, allowing users to easily backup important data (including documents, photos, and media files) and store it on removable media.

The new drive, however, exposes data to any unauthenticated local network user, because of a Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) media server that the device automatically starts when powered on.

By default, it allows any users capable of sending HTTP requests to the drive to grab any files from the device. Thus, any permissions or restrictions set by the owner or administrator are completely bypassed, Trustwave’s security researchers warn.

“It is possible to access files on the storage even when Public shares are disabled. Specifically, anyone can issue HTTP requests to TMSContentDirectory/Control on port 9000 passing various actions. The Browse action returns XML with URLs to individual files on the device,” the security firm explains in an advisory.

The researchers also published a proof-of-concept, explaining that an attacker needs to include XML with Browse action in the HTTP request to port 9000 asking for the TMSContentDirectory/Control resource. This will result in the UPnP server responding with a list of files on the device.

Next, the attacker can use HTTP requests to fetch the actual files from the device, given that they are already in the possession of the URLs leading to those files (from the response collected at the previous step).

Unfortunately, there is no official fix to address the vulnerability. WD was informed on the issue in January, but the company said they wouldn’t release a patch.

The My Cloud content can be accessed from the local network when Twonky DLNA Media Server is enabled because the server does not support authentication and is broadcast to any DLNA client without any authentication mechanism.

To ensure their data remains protected, users should keep sensitive data in a Password protected My Cloud Share. They are also advised to disable Twonky DLNA Media Server for the entire My Cloud or to disable Media Serving for Shares containing sensitive data.

Instructions on how to disable Twonky DLNA Media Server are available in this knowledge base article.

Dutch Police shut down the Anon-IB revenge porn forum
27.4.2018 securityweek  Crime

The Dutch National Police shut down the anonymous revenge-porn sharing site Anon-IB, an aggregator website for revenge and child pornography.
Dutch Police shut down a Notorious ‘Revenge Porn’ Site Anon-IB, the authorities have arrested three men for stealing explicit pictures of girls and young women from their cloud data.

The men are aged 28 to 35 and live in the Netherlands, in the cities of Heerlen, Culemborg, and Groningen.

Anon-IB has first appeared in the criminal underground in 2014, it had more than 2,000 registered users and hosted links to tens of thousands of images and videos.

The operation lasted at least one year, the investigation started with a complaint by a woman in March 2017.

Unfortunately, the number of the victims is high, the police had found “enormous amounts of women’s personal data and images” on the smartphones and computers of the suspects. The police also seized data from two other suspects that have not yet been arrested, a 19-year-old from Terneuzen, and a 26-year-old from Geleen.

“With the confiscation of a server, the police have taken a hackers forum offline,” reads a statement shared by the police.

The crooks targeted the women searching for nude pictures and video on their cloud storage and shared them on the Anon-IB site and on hidden forums on the web.

[Crooks were interested] “in nude photographs and videos of girls and young women, which they stole from the clouds of their victims and shared with one another in other, more hidden locations on the internet,” continues the statement.

They obtained “sexual images of a few hundred women without the victims noticing,”

Those arrested are aged 28 to 35 and come from the Dutch cities of Heerlen, Culemborg, and Groningen.

The hackers exploited the lack of proper security hygiene of the victims to access their email accounts, social media accounts, and cloud storages.

“The suspects were able to access the e-mail accounts, social media profiles and cloud storage services of many hundreds of women. The suspects met these women on the street, tried to get their name out and then hack them, the police told RTL Nieuws.” reported the RTL Nieuws.

According to the Dutch police, suspects had all been “able to access email boxes, social media accounts, and repositories, such as clouds, belonging to hundreds of women” which had not been properly protected by the victims.

RTL Nieuws reported Anon-IB users would talk about extorting hacked victims.

According to the law enforcement, the suspects were all Anon-IB users, in some cases, they “asked for help in obtaining images of specific girls,” then shared them within smaller groups “in hidden places in the web to share the stolen footage.”

Anon-IB revenge forum
Source RTL Nieuws

The crime “involves a lot of women who have been hacked, hundreds or even thousands,” Police spokesman Joep Patijn told the NOS broadcaster.

According to the police, women from other countries may also be involved, and authorities are working to identify the victims.

CVE-2018-7602 – Drupal addressed a new vulnerability associated with Drupalgeddon2 flaw
27.4.2018 securityweek 

The new flaw tracked as CVE-2018-7602, is a highly critical remote code execution issue, Drupal team fixed it with the release of versions 7.59, 8.4.8 and 8.5.3.
Drupal team has released updates for versions 7 and 8 of the popular content management system (CMS) to address the recently disclosed CVE-2018-7600 Drupalgeddon2 flaw.

The new flaw tracked as CVE-2018-7602, is a highly critical remote code execution issue, Drupal team fixed it with the release of versions 7.59, 8.4.8 and 8.5.3.

“A remote code execution vulnerability exists within multiple subsystems of Drupal 7.x and 8.x. This potentially allows attackers to exploit multiple attack vectors on a Drupal site, which could result in the site being compromised. This vulnerability is related to Drupal core – Highly critical – Remote Code Execution – SA-CORE-2018-002. Both SA-CORE-2018-002 and this vulnerability are being exploited in the wild.“reads the security advisory published by Drupal.

Administrators of websites running the Drupal CMS who cannot immediately update their version can apply a patch, but it only works if the fix for the original Drupalgeddon2 flaw is present. If the previous patch was not installed, the website may already be compromised, Drupal developers warned.

Both CVE-2018-7600 and CVE-2018-7602 have been exploited in the wild.

A week after the release of the security update for the CVE-2018-7600 flaw, a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit was publicly disclosed.

The experts at security firm Check Point along with Drupal experts at Dofinity analyzed the CMS to analyzed the Drupalgeddon2 vulnerability and published a technical report on the flaw.

“In brief, Drupal had insufficient input sanitation on Form API (FAPI) AJAX requests. As a result, this enabled an attacker to potentially inject a malicious payload into the internal form structure. This would have caused Drupal to execute it without user authentication.” reads the analysis.

“By exploiting this vulnerability an attacker would have been able to carry out a full site takeover of any Drupal customer.”

After the publication of the report. the expert Vitalii Rudnykh shared a working Proof-Of-Concept for Drupalgeddon2 on GitHub for “educational or information purposes.”

Immediately after the disclosure of the PoC, security experts started observing bad actors attempting to exploit the flaw.

The new CVE-2018-7602 vulnerability was discovered while members of the Drupal Security Team with the help of the Drupal developer Jasper Mattsson were analyzing the original Drupalgeddon2 flaw.

Security experts speculate the vulnerability may have been exploited to launch the ransomware-based attack on the website of the Ukrainian energy ministry.


Unfortunately, several threat actors are exploiting the Drupalgeddon2 flaw in the wild, security experts observed crooks using the exploit to deliver cryptocurrency miners such as XMRig and CGMiner.

According to the analysis published by experts at security firm Volexity, threat actors are exploiting the Drupalgeddon2 flaw to deliver malicious scripts cryptocurrency miners and backdoors.

The experts associated one of the observed campaigns aimed to deliver XMRig with a cybercriminal gang that exploited the vulnerability (CVE-2017-10271) in Oracle WebLogic servers to deliver cryptocurrency miners in late 2017.

According to security experts at Imperva, 90% of the Drupalgeddon2 attacks are scanning activities, 3% are backdoor infection attempts, and 2% are attempting to run drop cryptocurrency miners on the vulnerable systems.

F-Secure experts devised a Master Key that unlocks millions of hotel rooms
27.4.2018 securityaffairs Hacking

A security duo has built a master key that could be used to unlock doors of hotel rooms using the Vision by VingCard digital lock technology.
Do you travel often? Probably you don’t know that hackers can unlock your room door without using the master key due to a critical design vulnerability in a popular and widely used electronic lock system.

The affected locking system is the Vision by VingCard manufactured by Assa Abloy, the flaw can be exploited to unlock hotel rooms worldwide.

The Vision by VingCard locking system is currently deployed in more than 42,000 facilities in 166 different countries.

The vulnerability was discovered by Tomi Tuominen and Timo Hirvonen, security researchers at F-Secure researchers. The security duo has built a master key that could be used to unlock doors of the hotel rooms using the Vision by VingCard digital lock technology.

“You can imagine what a malicious person could do with the power to enter any hotel room, with a master key created basically out of thin air,” says Tomi Tuominen, Practice Leader at F-Secure Cyber Security Services.

“He worked side by side with F-Secure’s Timo Hirvonen, Senior Security Consultant, to devise a way to exploit the software system, known as Vision by VingCard.”

Let’s see how hackers have built their ‘Master Key,’ step by step. First, the attacker needs to get access to an electronic keycard used in the target facility, no matter it is currently active, experts noticed that even an expired key from a stay five years ago will work.

“An attacker will read the key and use a small hardware device to derive more keys to the facility. These derived keys can be tested against any lock in the same building. Within minutes the device is able to generate a master key to the facility.” continues the post published by F-Secure.

“The device can then be used instead of a key to bypass any lock in the facility, or alternatively, to overwrite an existing key with the newly created master key.”

The attacker can read the electronic key (RFID or magstripe) remotely by standing close to a hotel guest or employee having a keycard in his pocket. Another option consists of booking a room and then use that card as the source.

At this point, the attacker would need to write the electronic key and to do it he can use a portable programmer. Such kind of device is very cheap, it can be bought online for a few hundred dollars.

Tomi and Timo developed a custom software that allows creating a master key within minutes. The experts devised a custom-tailored device (actually an RFID reader/writer) that they held close to the VingCard locking system, it then tries different keys in less than one minute and finds the master key to unlock the door.

“An attacker will read the key and use a small hardware device to derive more keys to the facility. These derived keys can be tested against any lock in the same building. Within minutes the device is able to generate a master key to the facility. The device can then be used instead of a key to bypass any lock in the facility, or alternatively, to overwrite an existing key with the newly created master key.” continues the post published by F-Secure.

“The needed hardware is available online for a few hundred euros. However, it is the custom software developed by Tomi and Timo that makes the attack possible.”

The researchers notified Assa Abloy of their discovery in April 2017, since then the experts helped the manufacturer in fixing the issue.

Assa Abloy has recently issued a security update to address the vulnerability.

hotel rooms hack

The experts will not publish the technical details of the attack nor will they make any the custom-hardware available.

The good news is that to date, the experts are not aware of any attacks in the wild exploiting the flaw they discovered.

Below a video PoC of the hack.

In addition, the two experts also discovered that the Vision software could be exploited within the same network to get access to sensitive customer data.


Hacking the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant to spy on unaware users
27.4.2018 securityaffairs Security

Checkmarx experts created a proof-of-concept Amazon Echo Skill for Alexa that instructs the device to eavesdrop on users’ conversations and then sends the transcripts to a website controlled by the attackers.
The Alexa virtual assistant could be abused by attackers to spy on consumers with smart devices.

Researchers at security firm Checkmarx created a proof-of-concept Amazon Echo Skill for Alexa that instructs the device to indefinitely record surround voice to secretly eavesdrop on users’ conversations and then sends the transcripts to a website controlled by the attackers.

Amazon allows developers to build custom Skills that can control voice-activated smart devices such as Amazon Echo Show, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap.

The rogue Echo Skill for Alexa is disguised as a simple math calculator, once installed it will be activated in the background after a user says “Alexa, open calculator.”

“The Echo is continuously listening for the user’s voice. So when the user says “Alexa, open calculator”, the calculator skill is initialized and the API\Lambda-function that’s associated with the skill receives a launch request as an input.” reads the report published by Checkmarx.

Alexa amazon hack

The experts at Checkmarx were able to build a feature that kept the Alexa session up so Alexa would continue listening and customers were not able to detect Alexa’s activity.

The experts manipulated the code used in a built-in JavaScript library (ShouldEndSession) that is used to halt the device from listening if it doesn’t receive voice commands.

“The combination of a session that is still open (shouldEndSession=false) and an un-noticeable (empty) reprompt with a record intent as described above is that even after the user ends the regular functionality of the skill (math calculation within the calculator), the skill will continue to record, will capture the spoken words and send them to a log.” continues the report.

“As long as it will recognize speech and will pick up words, the eavesdropping will continue. Even the default 8-second grace of Alexa prior to closing the skill (in case of silence) will be doubled to 16 seconds due to a silence re-prompt.”

Checkmarx published a video proof-of-concept to show that Alexa can spy on users once they have opened up a session with the calculator app. A second session is created without prompting the user that the microphone is still active.

Any recorded audio is transcribed and transcripts are then sent to the attackers. Checkmarx reported his findings to Amazon that addressed the problem on April 10.

In November 2017, researchers at security firm Armis reported that millions of AI-based voice-activated personal assistants, including Google Home and Amazon Echo, were affected by the Blueborne vulnerabilities.

Virtual assistants are powerful technologies by dramatically enlarge our surface of attack, for this reason, it is essential to develop them with a security-by-design approach.

Microsoft releases new software and microcode updates to address Spectre flaw (Variant 2).
27.4.2018 securityaffairs

Microsoft has released a new batch of software and microcode updates to address the Spectre flaw (Variant 2).
The IT giant has rolled out a new batch of software and microcode security updates to address the Spectre flaw (Variant 2).

The Spectre Variant 2, aka CVE-2017-5715, is a branch target injection vulnerability, while the Meltdown and Variant 1 of the Spectre attacks can be mitigated efficiently with software updates, the Spectre Variant 2 requires microcode updates to be fully addressed.

Microsoft is one of the companies that first released security patched to address the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in Intel chips, has been releasing software mitigations for the Spectre and Meltdown flaws since January.

Now Microsoft issued the security update 4078407 that enables by default the mitigations against Spectre Variant 2 for all Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 versions.

Microsoft anyway allows advanced users to manually enable the mitigations through registry settings.

“Applying this update will enable the Spectre Variant 2 mitigation CVE-2017-5715 – “Branch target injection vulnerability.”” reads the security advisory published by Microsoft.
Advanced users can also manually enable mitigation against Spectre, Variant 2 through the registry settings documented in the following articles:

Windows Client Guidance for IT Pros to protect against speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities
Windows Server Guidance to protect against speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities“

In March, Microsoft released the first set of security updates for Windows systems running on Intel Skylake processors and later the tech giant also covered Coffee Lake and Kaby Lake CPUs.

Microsoft also provided updates for Broadwell and Haswell processors.

In April, Microsoft released out-of-band updates for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to fix a severe privilege escalation flaw introduced by the Meltdown security patches.

Rubella Macro Builder Crimeware Kit gains popularity on cybercrime underground
27.4.2018 securityaffairs CyberCrime

A new crimeware kit dubbed the Rubella Macro Builder is rapidly gaining popularity in the cybercriminal underground, experts already spotted its malware in the wild.
A new crimeware kit dubbed the Rubella Macro Builder is rapidly gaining popularity in the cybercriminal underground. The Rubella Macro Builder allows crooks to generate a malicious payload for social-engineering spam campaigns, crooks are offering it as a service for a three-month license of $120.

“While newer versions of the builder are significantly cheaper—as of April, a three-month license is $120 USD—they also come with enhanced features including various encryption algorithm choices ( XOR and Base64), download methods (PowerShell, Bitsadmin, Microsoft.XMLHTTP, MSXML2.XMLHTTP, custom PowerShell payload), payload execution methods (executable, JavaScript, Visual Basic Script), and the ability to easily deploy social engineering decoy themes with an Enable Content feature turned on to run the macro.” reads the analysis published by Flashpoint.

According to Flashpoint researches, Rubella is not particularly sophisticated, the builder is used to create Microsoft Word or Excel weaponized documents to use in spam email. The Rubella-generated malware acts as a first-stage loader for other malware.

The Rubella Macro Builder is cheap, fast and easy to use, the malware it generated can evade antivirus detection.

Rubella Macro Builder

According to Flashpoint experts, also popular criminal gangs are using Rubella malware in their campaign, for example, the criminal crews behind the Panda and Gootkit banking malware.

“The macro junk and substitution method appears to be relatively primitive, relying on basic string substitutions. Additionally, its copy/paste implementation of the Base64 algorithm is displayed in Visual Basic Script (VBS) code implementation. The code is obfuscated through general Chr ASCII values.” continues the analysis.

Crooks continues to use weaponized documents for their campaigns, builders for Microsoft Office-based loader malware are a precious commodity in the underground.

Flashpoint also published the indicators of compromise (IOCs) for the Rubella macro builder here.

Western Digital MY CLOUD EX2 storage devices leak files
26.4.2018 securityaffairs

Researchers at Trustwave have discovered that Western Digital My Cloud EX2 storage devices leak files.
Security experts at Trustwave have discovered that Western Digital My Cloud EX2 storage devices leak files on a local network by default. The situation gets worse if users configure the device for remote access and expose them online, in this scenario the My Cloud EX2 storage devices also leak files via an HTTP request on port 9000.

“unfortunately the default configuration of a new My Cloud EX2 drive allows any unauthenticated local network user to grab any files from the device using HTTP requests,” states Trustwave.

According to the experts, the problem tied the embedded UPnP media server that is automatically started when the device is powered on.

“By default, unauthenticated users can grab any files from the device completely bypassing any permissions or restrictions set by the owner or administrator,” continues Trustwave.

Trustwave revealed they found the vulnerability on January 26.

Trustwave reported the vulnerabilities to Western Digital that initially downplayed them, and only recommended users to disable the DLNA.

Trustwave published a Proof-of-Concept code for the vulnerabilities, the attack scenario sees the attackers issuing an HTTP request to port 9000 asking for the “TMSContentDirectory/Control” resource, the UPnP server, in turn, will respond with a list of files on the storage. Then the attacker uses subsequent HTTP requests to fetch files from the storage using URLs from the response collected.

“It doesn’t matter that you can set permissions and credentials on the My Cloud EX2 to make sure that your children’s photos are locked down and only available to somebody that’s actually authenticated with the device. By knowing how the traffic works with the My Cloud (EX2) appliance, you can actually get it to feed you any file on the device, regardless of the permissions. That is something new specific to this device.” continues Trustwave.

In February, researchers at Trustwave disclosed other two vulnerabilities in Western Digital My Cloud network storage devices could be exploited by a local attacker to gain root access to the NAS devices.

Police shut down the biggest DDoS-for-hire service (webstresser.org) and arrested its administrators
26.4.2018 securityaffairs BigBrothers

The European police have shut down webstresser.org, the world’s biggest DDoS-for-hire service, that allowed crooks to launch over 4 million attacks.
An international operation dubbed conducted by the European law enforcement agencies led by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Dutch Police, with the help of Europol, has taken down the world’s biggest DDoS-for-hire service.

The operation dubbed Power Off allowed to shut down the biggest DDoS-for-hire service (webstresser.org) and arrest its administrators, according to the investigators the platform was involved in over 4 million attacks and arrested its administrators.

The police arrested 6 members of the crime group behind the ‘webstresser.org‘ website in Scotland, Croatia, Canada, and Serbia on Tuesday.

The Europol confirmed that Webstresser.org had 136,000 registered users and was used to target online services from banks, government institutions, police forces and the gaming world.

“The administrators of the DDoS marketplace webstresser.org were arrested on 24 April 2018 as a result of Operation Power Off, a complex investigation led by the Dutch Police and the UK’s National Crime Agency with the support of Europol and a dozen law enforcement agencies from around the world.” reads the press release published by the Europol.

“Webstresser.org was considered the world’s biggest marketplace to hire Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) services, with over 136 000 registered users and 4 million attacks measured by April 2018.”

DDoS-for-hire service allows criminals without specific technical skills to launch powerful cyber attacks by renting their service.

DDoS-for-hire service

“Stressed websites make powerful weapons in the hands of cybercriminals,” said Jaap van Oss, Dutch chairman of the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce.

“International law enforcement will not tolerate these illegal services and will continue to pursue its admins and users,”

The service was shuttered and the police seized the hacking platform, the Europol announced “further measures” were also taken against the top users in the above four countries, as well as in Italy, Australia, Hong Kong and Spain.

Registered user on Webstresser.org could access the DDoS-for-hire service an entry fee of €15 per month.

“We have a trend where the sophistication of certain professional hackers to provide resources is allowing individuals – and not just experienced ones – to conduct DDoS attacks and other kind of malicious activities online”, said Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). “It’s a growing problem, and one we take very seriously. Criminals are very good at collaborating, victimising millions of users in a moment form anywhere in the world. We need to collaborate as good as them with our international partners to turn the table on these criminals and shut down their malicious cyberattacks.”

Abusing legitimate booter services or using a DDoS-for-hire service is a crime, the Europol remarked that penalties can be severe.

“DDoS attacks are illegal. Many IT enthusiasts get involved in seemingly low-level fringe cybercrime activities, unaware of the consequences that such crimes carry. The penalties can be severe: if you conduct a DDoS attack, or make, supply or obtain stresser or booter services, you could receive a prison sentence, a fine or both.” concluded the Europol.

Do Not Disturb app will protect your device from evil maid attacks
26.4.2018 securityaffairs Hacking

Former NSA expert and white hat hacker Patrick Wardle has released an app named Do Not Disturb app that can be used to detect attacks powered by attackers with physical access to the device (so-called “evil maid” attacks).
Patrick Wardle app Version 1.0.0 was built explicitly to protect unattended laptops continually monitors the system for events that may indicate a precursor of “evil maid” attack. According to Wardle, the Not Disturb app watches for ‘lid open’ events, the expert credited @thegrugq for the idea.

“If you’ve shut your laptop (and thus triggered sleep mode), the majority of physical access attacks may require the lid to be opened in order for the attack to succeed.” wrote Wardle.

“Such attacks could include:

Logging in locally as root, by exploiting a bug such as ‘#iamroot’
Locally logging in via credentials captured by a hidden camera
Inserting a malicious device into a USB or Thunderbolt port.
Again, most of these attacks require a closed laptop to be opened…either to awake it (i.e. to process a malicious device) or for the attacker to interact with the laptop!”

Once the Do Not Disturb app has detected a lid open event, it will take a series of actions. The app is able to display a local alert, send an alert to a remote Apple device (iPhone or iPad), log the attacker’s actions (creation of new processes, USB insertions, etc.), run custom scripts that could wipe sensitive data, disable the USB interfaces, or automatically re-lock the device every few seconds.

Wardle’s company Digita Security, has also released an iOS companion app for Do Not Disturb (available on the Apple Store) that allows users to associate their devices with the Do Not Disturb app, an operation that is necessary to receive alerts and notifications in case of attack.

“While the iOS companion application is free, after the first week of remote alerts/tasking, one will have to subscribe to a monthly ($0.99) or yearly ($9.99) to maintain this functionality. The Mac application, is and will always be 100% free 🙂 ” added Wardle.
“The iOS companion application is completely optional, and only required if one is interested in receiving remote DND alerts.”

Wardle plans to introduce new features in the future versions of the Do Not Disturb app that will include the management of more “lid open” events.

Drupal Patches New Flaw Related to Drupalgeddon2

26.4.2018 securityweek Vulnerebility

Drupal developers have released updates for versions 7 and 8 of the content management system (CMS) to address a new vulnerability related to the recently patched flaw known as Drupalgeddon2.

The new vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2018-7602, has been described as a highly critical issue that can be exploited for remote code execution. The flaw has been patched with the release of versions 7.59, 8.4.8 and 8.5.3.

Drupal website administrators who cannot immediately install the updates can apply a patch, but the patch only works if the fix for the original Drupalgeddon2 vulnerability (CVE-2018-7600) is present. If the previous patch was not installed, the website may already be compromised, Drupal developers warned.

CVE-2018-7602 was discovered by members of the Drupal Security Team, which consists of 34 volunteers from around the world, along with Finland-based Drupal developer Jasper Mattsson, who also reported the original vulnerability. The new flaw was identified during an investigation into CVE-2018-7600.New variant found for Drupalgeddon2 Drupal vulnerability

Drupal developers warn that similar to CVE-2018-7600, CVE-2018-7602 has also been exploited in the wild.

Drupalgeddon2 was patched in late March and the first attacks were seen roughly two weeks later, shortly after technical details and a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit were made public.

While many of the exploitation attempts are designed to identify vulnerable systems, some cybercriminals have leveraged the flaw to deliver cryptocurrency miners, backdoors and other types of malware.

Some experts believe the security hole may have been exploited to deliver ransomware to the website of the Ukrainian energy ministry.

There are several groups exploiting Drupalgeddon2, including one that leverages a relatively large botnet named Muhstik, which is related to the old Tsunami botnet.

The botnet has helped cybercriminals make a profit by delivering cryptocurrency miners such as XMRig and CGMiner, and by launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Two security firms have independently confirmed that one of the Drupalgeddon2 campaigns delivering a Monero cryptocurrency miner is linked to a cybercriminal group that last year exploited a vulnerability in Oracle WebLogic Server (CVE-2017-10271) to infect systems with cryptocurrency malware.

Drupal powers more than one million websites, including nine percent of the top 10,000 most popular websites running a known CMS, making it a tempting target for malicious actors.

Apple Patches macOS, iOS, Safari
26.4.2018 securityweek Apple

Apple this week released patches to address a handful of security vulnerabilities in macOS, iOS, and Safari.

Available for macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, Security Update 2018-001 addresses two vulnerabilities impacting Crash Reporter and LinkPresentation, respectively.

The first is a memory corruption issue that could allow an application to gain elevated privileges. Tracked as CVE-2018-4206, the security flaw was reported by Ian Beer of Google Project Zero. Apple addressed the bug with improved error handling.

The tech company also resolved a spoofing issue in the handling of URLs, which could result in UI spoofing when processing a maliciously crafted text message. Tracked as CVE-2018-4187 and reported by Zhiyang Zeng, of Tencent Security Platform Department, and Roman Mueller, the issue was addressed with improved input validation.

In a blog post in March, Mueller explained that the vulnerability was introduced when Apple added QR code reading capabilities to the camera app and that it resides in the application being unable to correctly detect the hostname in a URL.

Thus, a malicious actor could craft a QR code that, when read with the camera app, would display a different hostname in the notification shown to the user compared to the domain Safari would actually access.

Both of these issues were resolved in iOS 11.3.1 as well, which is now available for iPhone 5s and later, iPad Air and later, and iPod touch 6th generation. Additionally, the iOS update patches two bugs in WebKit.

Both of these bugs are memory corruption issues that could lead to arbitrary code execution when processing maliciously crafted web content. To resolve these vulnerabilities, Apple improved state management and memory handling, respectively.

The first of these bugs is tracked as CVE-2018-4200 and was found by Ivan Fratric of Google Project Zero. Tracked as CVE-2018-4204, the second issue was reported by Richard Zhu, working with Trend Micro's Zero Day Initiative.

Now available for OS X El Capitan 10.11.6, macOS Sierra 10.12.6, and macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, the newly released Safari 11.1 includes patches for both WebKit vulnerabilities.

Hotel Rooms Around the World Susceptible to Silent Breach
26.4.2018 securityweek Hacking

Vision by VingCard

In 2003, researchers from F-Secure were attending a security conference in Berlin -- specifically, the ph-neutral hacker conference -- when a laptop was stolen from a locked hotel room. They reported the theft to the hotel staff, but felt they weren't taken too seriously because, dressed in typical hacker gear, "We kinda looked like a bunch of hippies."

More to the point, however, there was no sign of the door being forced, nor any indication from the electronic locking system's logs that anyone had entered the room in their absence.

The locking system was Assa Abloy's Vision by VingCard -- a state-of-the-art system from one of the world's most trusted and widely-used facilities security firms. In short, the laptop was stolen by a ghost that could pass through locked doors and leave no trace.

Vision by VingCard is deployed in 166 different countries, 40,000 facilities, and millions of doors.

F-Secure researchers told SecurityWeek, "Our guy was working on some really interesting and specific stuff; and, yes, it would absolutely have been of interest to any 3, 4 or 5 letter agency in many different nation-states." Without naming their victim researcher, they added, "This was not some Joe-average researcher, and we have always been 100% sure that the laptop was stolen."

With this background it is not surprising that the researchers started to investigate the locking system. Specifically, they were looking for a Vision by VingCard vulnerability that could be exploited without trace -- and eventually they found one. It took thousands of hours work over the last 15 years examining the system and looking for the tiniest errors of logic.

"We wanted to find out if it's possible to bypass the electronic lock without leaving a trace," said Timo Hirvonen, senior security consultant at F-Secure. "Building a secure access control system is very difficult because there are so many things you need to get right. Only after we thoroughly understood how it was designed were we able to identify seemingly innocuous shortcomings. We creatively combined these shortcomings to come up with a method for creating master keys."

In summary, with any existing, old or expired keycard to any room on the system, it is possible to generate a master key that can be used to gain entry to any of the hotel rooms without leaving a trace on the system. An attacker could book a room and then use that keycard as the source; or could even read the data remotely by standing close to someone who has a card in a pocket -- in a hotel elevator, for example.

"You can imagine what a malicious person could do with the power to enter any hotel room, with a master key created basically out of thin air," commented Tomi Tuominen, practice leader at F-Secure Cyber Security Services. Property, such as F-Secure's laptop, could be physically removed; or an evil maid attack on any discovered laptop could deliver malware or perhaps prepare the device for remote control by usurping the Intel Management Engine BIOS Extension (MEBx).

Hirvonen explained the process of developing a master card to access a room. The first requirement is to obtain any keycard, current or expired, to any door in the target facility. A custom-tailored device (actually a Proxmark RFID token reader/writer) is then held close to the target lock. The device tries different keys, and in an average of less than one minute, locates the master key and unlocks the door. "The final step is that you either use the device as the master key, or you write the master key back to your keycard. This only has to be done once. You have found the master key and you can access any room in the hotel."

The basic Proxmark can be bought online for around 300 euros; but, added Hirvonen, "It is our custom software that does the work. It emulates different keys, and one of those will be the master key." He explained further. "On paper, it looks as if the keyspace is too big to crack so quickly using brute force. But we were able to combine small technical design flaws with a process vulnerability that allowed us to reduce the keyspace from a gazillion to something that could be brute forced in an average of 20 tries."

The capacity of the card is 64 bytes; and of those some 48 bytes are usable. It includes multiple different data fields on the card. "Once we identified the eleven different data fields," continued Hirvonen, "we realized that what remained could feasibly be attacked."

F-Secure reported its findings to Assa Abloy in April 2017, and for the last year the two firms have worked on a solution. At first, Assa Abloy thought the solution would simply be to increase the keyspace on the cards -- a theoretical solution that F-Secure repeatedly demonstrated didn't work in practice. The real solution has included effective randomization of the whole keyspace; and Assa Abloy has now released an update for its systems.

"Because of Assa Abloy's diligence and willingness to address the problems identified by our research," says Tuominen in an associated blog published today, "the hospitality world is now a safer place. We urge any establishment using this software to apply the update as soon as possible."

Full technical details of the attack will not be released by F-Secure, and Tuominen and Hirvonen have stressed that they are unaware of this exploit ever being used in the wild. But then, how would you detect the phantom use of a forged master keycard that leaves no trace on the system logs?

New Advanced Phishing Kit Targets eCommerce
26.4.2018 securityweek

A new advanced phishing kit has surfaced, which provides miscreants with more than the usual one or two pages used to collect personal and financial data from victims, Check Point warns.

The phishing kit is currently being advertised on the Dark Web at $100-$300 and has been designed to target online users looking to shop at popular retailers, in an attempt to steal their personal details and credit card information.

Advertised by a certain [A]pache, the kit doesn’t only display a login page with a prompt for personal and financial information. Instead, it incorporates entire replicas of retail sites, Check Point's security researchers have discovered.

Through the kit’s backend interface, cybercriminals can create convincing fake retail product pages, in addition to being able to manage their entire phishing campaign. The [A]pache Next Generation Advanced Phishing Kit is mainly targeting users in Brazil with convincing replicas of Walmart, Americanas, Ponto Frio, Casas Bahia, Submarino, Shoptime and Extra.

“By preparing a site with discounted products that appear to be sold by a legitimate retailer, the threat actor can then lure victims into making a ‘purchase’, at which point they surrender their personal and financial information,” Check Point notes.

Miscreants downloading [A]pache’s multi-functioning phishing kit don’t need advanced technical abilities to get started with their own cyber-attacks. The kit comes with installation instructions that allows any actor to launch a campaign fast.

Packing a full suite of tools to carry out an attack, the kit seems aimed at those with a good knowledge of Portuguese, but the security researchers discovered that some U.S. brands were targeted as well.

To trick victims, the attackers use domain names similar to those of the legitimate sites. Once the fake domains have been registered, the miscreants deploy the kit to a PHP and MySQL supported web host, and then log in to the admin panel to configure the campaign.

Actors can select an email address to receive notifications; to enter the URL of the phishing site; to choose to disable ‘Boleto Bancário’ (and force victims to enter their credit card data); to insert legitimate product URLs from the retailer’s website for automatic import; and to manage the phished victim information.

“[A]pache has made a simple user interface within the admin panel where the threat actor can paste the product URL of the legitimate retailer and the kit will automatically import the product information into the phishing page. They can then view their ‘products’ and change their original prices,” Check Point explains.

The phishing sites also claim to be offering competitive prices, in an attempt to motivate potential ‘customers’ into clicking on items and proceeding to checkout. However, prices aren’t reduced by much, as that would raise suspicions. Highly valued and desired items are listed first, to entice potential victims.

Not only does the fake website look exactly like the target site, but an automated post-code look-up function for added conviction is also included in the phishing kit. Thus, unsuspecting victims would easily reveal their payment details, including the card’s CVV, and the attacker can view the stolen details in the admin panel.

The victim is instead notified that the payment process has failed, so as to avoid arising suspicion when the purchased fake products do not arrive. The attackers would often take down the fake sites after successful attacks, to avoid being caught.

In one case, the researchers found a custom built ‘error 404’ site in use, which makes reference to a non-existent ‘Blue World Electronicos’ company. An English version of the page was found being used online on a few domains serving PayPal phishing scams.

Thus, the researchers discovered that the author of the Brazilian phishing kit appears to be behind kits targeting US victims as well. After finding the handle ‘Douglas Zedn’ in the control panel of the Walmart phishing site, the researchers managed to link it to the individual’s Steam account and then to their Twitter account.

“With some reports claiming that 91% of cyberattacks and data breaches begin with a phishing email, phishing remains a constant threat for stealing financial information, intellectual property, and even interfering with elections. For this reason, consumers and businesses alike must ensure they have the latest protections for safeguarding against such threats,” Check Point concludes.

Ransomware Hits Ukrainian Energy Ministry Website
26.4.2018 securityweek

Hackers managed to compromise the Ukrainian energy ministry website, encrypt files, and post a ransom demand.

Although Ukraine has been heavily hit by global malware outbreaks over the last year, including WannaCry, NotPetya, and Bad Rabbit, the recent incident appears isolated and by no means the work of state-sponsored actors, security experts say.

In fact, the assault is believed to have been orchestrated by amateur hackers, who possibly didn’t even know what website they compromised.

“It appears that this attack was from someone (or a group) who uses automation to mass scan and then compromise vulnerable websites with ransomware. It is likely that the operators of this did not know that they were going to compromise this website going into it,” James Lerud, head of the Behavioural Research Team at Verodin, told SecurityWeek in an emailed comment.

After gaining access to the website, the attackers encrypted resources and posted a message demanding a 0.1 Bitcoin (around $930 at today's exchange rate) payment to decrypt the files.

Matt Walmsley, EMEA Director at Vectra, pointed out to SecurityWeek that there’s no evidence that the ministry’s internal systems or data has been breached. Only the web-facing service has been compromised in what appears to have been cyber-vandalism or low-level cybercrime unlikely to generate any significant monetary gain, Walmsley said.

According to Chris Doman, security researcher at AlienVault, who provided SecurityWeek with a screenshot of the compromised website, multiple miscreants appear to have hit the domain as part of the attack.

“What has probably happened here is that a hacktivist has hacked the site for fun, then the criminal ransomware attacker has used their backdoor (which you can see at the bottom of the page) to try and make some money. They appear to have done the same with a Russian website,” Doman said.

The payment address included in the ransom note has already received some payments, supposedly from the owners of previously compromised sites in 2017. However, it appears that the attackers only made a bit over $100 for their efforts.

Joseph Carson, chief security scientist at Thycotic, suggests that the attackers might be currently testing their abilities, likely in preparation for a larger campaign.

“It’s very likely that the cybercriminals behind this recent cyberattack against the Ukrainian Energy Ministry are testing their new skills in order to improve for a bigger cyberattack later or to get acceptance into a new underground cyber group that requires showing a display of skills and ability,” he said.

The security experts agree that the attack wasn’t the work of sophisticated actors, but the manner in which the website was compromised in the first place remains a mystery.

The website was using Drupal 7 and Lerud suggests that the site admins didn’t take the necessary precautions to lock down the site.

“Drupal 7 also had a massive vulnerability known as ‘Drupalgeddon 2’ which was announced March 28th; if the website owners did not patch it is entirely possible this is how the ransomware got in,” Lerud said.

Google Ramps Up Gmail Privacy Controls in Major Update
26.4.2018 securityweek IT

Google on Wednesday ramped up privacy controls in a Gmail overhaul, aiming first at businesses that use its suite of workplace tools hosted in the internet cloud.

The "all new" Gmail is available to the more than four million businesses that pay for G Suite services.

People who use the email service personally for free can opt in by making the choice in settings, vice president of product management David Thacker said in a blog post.

Revamped Gmail has "a brand new look on the web, advanced security features, new applications of Google's artificial intelligence and even more integrations with other G Suite apps," according to Thacker.

A confidential mode added to Gmail promises to let people sending messages set expiration dates and block them from being forwarded, copied, downloaded or printed.

Messages can be revoked after being sent, Thacker said.

Senders of mail can also require that a code delivered by text message be entered before an email can be viewed, in an added layer of security.

"Because you can require additional authentication via text message to view an email, it's also possible to protect data even if a recipient's email account has been hijacked while the message is active," Thacker said.

Confidential mode will begin to roll out to personal Gmail users and a limited number of G Suite customers in coming weeks, according to Google.

Artificial intelligence is being put to work in new Gmail features including "nudging" people to tend to neglected messages and automated reply suggestions along the lines of those added to a mobile version of the email service last year.

"Gmail can also recommend when to unsubscribe from mailing lists," Thacker said.

"Using intelligence, unsubscribe suggestions appear based on cues like how many emails you get from a sender and how many of them you actually read."

Google and rival technology titans such as Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have followed people into the internet cloud with services, digital content, and software hosted online at data centers but accessed from the gamut of devices.

Authorities Take Down Largest DDoS Services Marketplace
26.4.2018 securityweek

The world’s largest marketplace for selling Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, was taken down this week following a complex joint operation, authorities announced.

The site, Webstresser.org, offered DDoS for hire services for as little as $14.99 per month, and had over 136,000 egistered users and 4 million attacks measured as of April 2018. The service was available to any wannabe criminal, and didn’t require technical knowledge to launch crippling DDoS attacks across the world.

Critical online services of banks, government institutions, and police forces, as well as gaming organizations fell victim to attacks, Europol said.

Such for-hire services rely on botnets – networks of malware-infected systems under the attacker’s control – to launch high volumes of Internet traffic at the target machines to paralyze them. By depleting the resources of a targeted server, they can either slow it down or completely knock it offline.

Published earlier this year, Arbor Networks’ 13th Annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report (WISR) revealed that over half of enterprise, government and education (EGE) organizations faced a crippling DDoS attack in 2017. The security firm observed 7.5 million assaults last year.

On April 24, as part of an investigation called Operation Power Off, the Dutch Police and the UK’s National Crime Agency, with support from Europol and law enforcement agencies worldwide, targeted six administrators of Webstresser.org in the United Kingdom, Croatia, Canada and Serbia.

Today, the Dutch police, with assistance from Germany and the United States, seized infrastructure and effectively took down the webstresser.org website.

Furthermore, the authorities took measures against the top users of the marketplace, in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Croatia, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong.

In the UK, NCA officers searched an address in Bradford, supposedly linked to an individual who used the DDoS service to target seven of the UK’s biggest banks in attacks in November 2017, forcing them to shut down entire systems.

“We have a trend where the sophistication of certain professional hackers to provide resources is allowing individuals – and not just experienced ones – to conduct DDoS attacks and other kind of malicious activities online. It’s a growing problem, and one we take very seriously,” Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), said.

DDoS attacks are illegal, Europol underlines. Anyone who gets involved could face severe penalties: conducting a DDoS attack or creating (supplying or obtaining) stresser or booter services could result in a prison sentence, a fine or both.

“Stresser websites make powerful weapons in the hands of cybercriminals. International law enforcement will not tolerate these illegal services and will continue to pursue its admins and users,” Jaap van Oss, Dutch Chairman of the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT), said.

According to Europol, many IT enthusiasts become involved in low-level fringe cybercrime activities, unaware of consequences. IT-related skills – either coding, gaming, computer programming, or cyber security – are in high demand and could be put to a positive use instead.

Internet Exposure, Flaws Put Industrial Safety Controllers at Risk of Attacks
26.4.2018 securityweek ICS

Applied Risk details safety controller flaws at ICS Cyber Security Conference Singapore

SINGAPORE — SECURITYWEEK 2018 ICS CYBER SECURITY CONFERENCE | SINGAPORE — Researchers have discovered a potentially serious vulnerability in industrial safety controllers and a significant number of the impacted devices are directly exposed to the Internet, making it easy for malicious actors to launch attacks and possibly cause damage.

Safety systems are designed to prevent incidents in industrial environments by restoring processes to a safe state or shut them down if parameters indicate a potentially hazardous situation. While these devices play an important role in ensuring physical safety, they can and have been targeted by malicious hackers. The best example is the Triton/Trisis/Hatman attack, which leveraged a zero-day vulnerability in Schneider Electric’s Triconex Safety Instrumented System (SIS) controllers.

Researchers at industrial cybersecurity firm Applied Risk have analyzed safety controllers from several major vendors, including Siemens, ABB, Rockwell Automation’s Allen Bradley, Pilz, and Phoenix Contact.

The research is ongoing, but they have identified a denial-of-service (DoS) flaw that may affect several products. Details of the vulnerability were disclosed on Wednesday at SecurityWeek’s ICS Cyber Security Conference in Singapore by Gjoko Krstic, senior ICS security researcher at Applied Risk.

The vulnerability allows a remote attacker to cause a safety controller to reboot and enter faulted mode. Manual intervention is required to restore the device, Krstic told SecurityWeek in an interview.

The security hole can be leveraged to cause the device to enter a DoS condition by sending it a specially crafted TCP packet. Specifically, the attack relies on EtherNet/IP, one of the most widely used industrial network protocols.

Applied Risk researchers discovered that an attacker can cause safety controllers to fail by sending them a TCP packet that starts with the No Operation (NOP) option. Experts determined that, for some reason, safety controllers cannot handle incorrect TCP options.

Krstic says there is no other requirement for the attack to work. An attacker with access to the targeted controller, either from the Internet or the local network, can cause the device to become inoperable simply by sending it a packet.

An exploit has been tested by Applied Risk on Rockwell Automation’s Allen Bradley 1769 Compact GuardLogix 5370 controllers, but since the underlying issue is related to Ethernet/IP, researchers believe products from other vendors are likely affected as well.

All impacted vendors have been informed. Rockwell Automation, which has assigned CVE-2017-9312 to this vulnerability, is expected to release a patch and an advisory sometime in May.

Applied Risk has identified nearly a dozen Allen Bradley 1769 Compact GuardLogix 5370 controllers exposed directly to the Internet. However, the total number of safety controllers accessible from the Web is much higher. A Shodan search for the popular Siemens Simatic S7 devices, which include safety controllers, reveals nearly 900 results.

Given the significant role of safety controllers in industrial environments, causing a device to enter a DoS condition could have serious consequences, including physical damage to equipment and physical harm to people.

As the Triton/Trisis attack on Schneider Electric devices showed, writing malicious programs to a controller requires that the device’s key switch is set to “Program” mode. As part of its research into safety controllers, Applied Risk has been trying to find a way to remotely bypass the key switch and, while they have yet to succeed, experts are optimistic based on their progress so far.

Over 20 Million Users Installed Malicious Ad Blockers From Chrome Store

25.4.2018 thehackernews  Virus

If you have installed any of the below-mentioned Ad blocker extension in your Chrome browser, you could have been hacked.
A security researcher has spotted five malicious ad blockers extension in the Google Chrome Store that had already been installed by at least 20 million users.
Unfortunately, malicious browser extensions are nothing new. They often have access to everything you do online and could allow its creators to steal any information victims enter into any website they visit, including passwords, web browsing history and credit card details.
Discovered by Andrey Meshkov, co-founder of Adguard, these five malicious extensions are copycat versions of some legitimate, well-known Ad Blockers.
Creators of these extensions also used popular keywords in their names and descriptions to rank top in the search results, increasing the possibility of getting more users to download them.
"All the extensions I've highlighted are simple rip-offs with a few lines of code and some analytics code added by the authors," Meshkov says.

After Meshkov reported his findings to Google on Tuesday, the tech giant immediately removed all of the following mentioned malicious ad blockers extension from its Chrome Store:
AdRemover for Google Chrome™ (10 million+ users)
uBlock Plus (8 million+ users)
[Fake] Adblock Pro (2 million+ users)
HD for YouTube™ (400,000+ users)
Webutation (30,000+ users)
Meshkov downloaded the ‘AdRemover’ extension for Chrome, and after analyzing it, he discovered that malicious code hidden inside the modified version of jQuery, a well-known JavaScript library, sends information about some websites a user visits back to a remote server.
Also Read: Someone Hijacks A Popular Chrome Extension to Push Malware
The malicious extension then receives commands from the remote server, which are executed in the extension 'background page' and can change your browser's behavior in any way.
To avoid detection, these commands send by the remote server are hidden inside a harmless-looking image.
"These commands are scripts which are then executed in the privileged context (extension's background page) and can change your browser behavior in any way," Meshkov says.
"Basically, this is a botnet composed of browsers infected with the fake Adblock extensions," Meshkov says. "The browser will do whatever the command center server owner orders it to do."
The researcher also analyzed other extensions on the Chrome Store and found four more extensions using similar tactics.
Also Read: Malicious Chrome Extension Hijacks CryptoCurrencies and Wallets
Since browser extension takes permission to access to all the web pages you visit, it can do practically anything.
So, you are advised to install as few extensions as possible and only from companies you trust.

Facebook Plans to Build Its Own Chips For Hardware Devices
25.4.2018 thehackernews 

A new job opening post on Facebook suggests that the social network is forming a team to build its own hardware chips, joining other tech titans like Google, Apple, and Amazon in becoming more self-reliant.
According to the post, Facebook is looking for an expert in ASIC and FPGA—two custom silicon designs to help it evaluate, develop and drive next-generation technologies within Facebook—particularly in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The social media company is seeking to hire an expert who can "an end-to-end SoC/ASIC, firmware and driver development organization, including all aspects of front-end and back-end standard cell ASIC development," reads the job listing on Facebook's corporate website.
SoC (system-on-a-chip) is a processor typically used in mobile devices with all the components required to power a device, while ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) is a customized piece of silicon designed for a narrow purpose that companies can gear toward something specific, like mining cryptocurrency.
FPGA (field programmable gate array) is an adaptable chip designed to be a more flexible and modular design that can be tuned to speed up specific jobs by running a particular piece of software.
First reported by Bloomberg, building its own processors would help the social media giant reduce dependency on companies such as Qualcomm and Intel, who hold the lion's share of the processor market.
Reportedly Apple, who already makes its own A-series custom chips for iPhones, iPads and other iThings, has planned to use its custom-designed ARM chips in Mac computers starting as early as 2020, replacing the Intel processors running on its desktop and laptop hardware.
Google has also developed its own artificial intelligence chip, and Amazon is reportedly designing its custom hardware to improve Alexa-equipped devices.
The plan to invest in building its own processors could help Facebook to power its artificial intelligence software, servers in its data centers, as well as its future hardware devices, like Oculus virtual reality headsets and smart speakers (similar to Amazon Echo and Google Home).
Using its custom chips would also allow the social media company to gain more control over its own hardware roadmap better and eventual feature set to offer better performance to its users.
Facebook has not commented on the news yet, so at this time, it is hard to say where the company will deploy its in-house chips.

'iTunes Wi-Fi Sync' Feature Could Let Attackers Hijack Your iPhone, iPad Remotely
25.4.2018 thehackernews  Apple

Be careful while plugging your iPhone into a friend's laptop for a quick charge or sharing selected files.
Researchers at Symantec have issued a security warning for iPhone and iPad users about a new attack, which they named "TrustJacking," that could allow someone you trust to remotely take persistent control of, and extract data from your Apple device.
Apple provides an iTunes Wi-Fi sync feature in iOS that allows users to sync their iPhones to a computer wirelessly. To enable this feature, users have to grant one-time permission to a trusted computer (with iTunes) over a USB cable.
Once enabled, the feature allows the computer owner to secretly spy on your iPhone over the Wi-Fi network without requiring any authentication, even when your phone is no longer physically connected to that computer.
"Reading the text, the user is led to believe that this is only relevant while the device is physically connected to the computer, so assumes that disconnecting it will prevent any access to his private data," Symantec said.
Since there is no noticeable indication on the victim's device, Symantec believes the feature could exploit the "relation of trust the victim has between his iOS device and a computer."

Researchers suggest following scenarios where TrustJacking attack can be successfully performed, especially when you trust a wrong computer:
Connecting your phone to a free charger at an airport, and mistakenly approving the pop-up permission message to trust the connected station.
A remote attacker, not in the same Wi-Fi network can also access iPhone data if the device owner's own "trusted" PC or Mac has been compromised by malware.
Moreover, iTunes Wi-Fi sync feature could also be used to remotely install malware apps on your iPhone, as well as to download a backup and steal all your photos, SMS / iMessage chats history, and application data.
"An attacker can also use this access to the device to install malicious apps, and even replace existing apps with a modified wrapped version that looks exactly like the original app, but is able to spy on the user while using the app and even leverage private APIs to spy on other activities all the time," Symantec said.
The TrustJacking attack could also allow trusted computers to watch your device's screen in real-time by repeatedly taking remote screenshots, observing and recording your every action.

Apple has now introduced another security layer in iOS 11, asking users to enter their iPhone's passcode while pairing their iPhone with a computer, after getting notified by the Symantec researchers.
However, Symantec says the loophole remains open, as the patch does not address the primary concern, i.e., the absence of noticeable indication or mandatory re-authentication between the user's device and the trusted computer after a given interval of time.
"While we appreciate the mitigation that Apple has taken, we’d like to highlight that it does not address Trustjacking in a holistic manner," Symantec's Roy Iarchy said. "Once the user has chosen to trust the compromised computer, the rest of the exploit continues to work as described above."
The best and simple way to protect yourself is to ensure that no unwanted computers are being trusted by your iOS device. For this, you can remove the trusted computers list by going to Settings → General → Reset → Reset Location & Privacy.
Also, most important, always deny the access when asked to trust the computer while charging your iOS device. Your device would still charge using the computer, without exposing your data.

Another Critical Flaw Found In Drupal Core—Patch Your Sites Immediately
25.4.2018 thehackernews 

It's time to update your Drupal websites, once again.
For the second time within a month, Drupal has been found vulnerable to another critical vulnerability that could allow remote attackers to pull off advanced attacks including cookie theft, keylogging, phishing and identity theft.
Discovered by the Drupal security team, the open source content management framework is vulnerable to cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability that resides in a third-party plugin CKEditor which comes pre-integrated in Drupal core to help site administrators and users create interactive content.
CKEditor is a popular JavaScript-based WYSIWYG rich text editor which is being used by many websites, as well as comes pre-installed with some popular web projects.
According to a security advisory released by CKEditor, the XSS vulnerability stems from the improper validation of "img" tag in Enhanced Image plugin for CKEditor 4.5.11 and later versions.

This could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary HTML and JavaScript code in the victim's browser and gain access to sensitive information.
Enhanced Image plugin was introduced in CKEditor 4.3 and supports an advanced way of inserting images into the content using an editor.
"The vulnerability stemmed from the fact that it was possible to execute XSS inside CKEditor when using the image2 plugin (which Drupal 8 core also uses)," the Drupal security team said.
CKEditor has patched the vulnerability with the release of CKEditor version 4.9.2, which has also been patched in the CMS by the Drupal security team with the release of Drupal version 8.5.2 and Drupal 8.4.7.
Since CKEditor plugin in Drupal 7.x is configured to load from the CDN servers, it is not affected by the flaw.
However, if you have installed the CKEditor plugin manually, you are advised to download and upgrade your plugin to the latest version from its official website.
Drupal recently patched another critical vulnerability, dubbed Drupalgeddon2, a remote code execution bug that allows an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute malicious code on default or common Drupal installations under the privileges of the user, affecting all versions of Drupal from 6 to 8.
However, due to people's laziness of patching their systems and websites timely, the Drupalgeddon2 vulnerability has been found exploiting in the wild by hackers to deliver cryptocurrency miners, backdoors, and other malware.
Therefore, users are highly recommended always to take security advisories seriously and keep their systems and software up-to-date in order to avoid become victims of any cyber attack.

Cybercriminals Hijack Router DNS to Distribute Android Banking Trojan
25.4.2018 thehackernews  Android

Security researchers have been warning about an ongoing malware campaign hijacking Internet routers to distribute Android banking malware that steals users' sensitive information, login credentials and the secret code for two-factor authentication.
In order to trick victims into installing the Android malware, dubbed Roaming Mantis, hackers have been hijacking DNS settings on vulnerable and poorly secured routers.
DNS hijacking attack allows hackers to intercept traffic, inject rogue ads on web-pages and redirect users to phishing pages designed to trick them into sharing their sensitive information like login credentials, bank account details, and more.
Hijacking routers' DNS for a malicious purpose is not new. Previously we reported about widespread DNSChanger and Switcher—both the malware worked by changing the DNS settings of the wireless routers to redirect traffic to malicious websites controlled by attackers.
Discovered by security researchers at Kaspersky Lab, the new malware campaign has primarily been targeting users in Asian countries, including South Korea, China Bangladesh, and Japan, since February this year.
Once modified, the rogue DNS settings configured by hackers redirect victims to fake versions of legitimate websites they try to visit and displays a pop-up warning message, which says—"To better experience the browsing, update to the latest chrome version."

It then downloads the Roaming Mantis malware app masquerading as Chrome browser app for Android, which takes permission to collect device’ account information, manage SMS/MMS and making calls, record audio, control external storage, check packages, work with file systems, draw overlay windows and so on.
"The redirection led to the installation of Trojanized applications named facebook.apk and chrome.apk that contained Android Trojan-Banker."
If installed, the malicious app overlays all other windows immediately to show a fake warning message (in broken English), which reads, "Account No.exists risks, use after certification."
Roaming Mantis then starts a local web server on the device and launches the web browser to open a fake version of Google website, asking users to fill up their names and date of births.

To convince users into believing that they are handing over this information to Google itself, the fake page displays users' Gmail email ID configured on their infected Android device, as shown in the screenshots.
"After the user enters their name and date of birth, the browser is redirected to a blank page at${random_port}/submit," researchers said. "Just like the distribution page, the malware supports four locales: Korean, Traditional Chinese, Japanese and English."
Since Roaming Mantis malware app has already gained permission to read and write SMS on the device, it allows attackers to steal the secret verification code for the two-factor authentication for victims' accounts.
While analysing the malware code, Researchers found reference to popular South Korean mobile banking and gaming applications, as well as a function that tries to detect if the infected device is rooted.
"For attackers, this may indicate that a device is owned by an advanced Android user (a signal to stop messing with the device) or, alternatively, a chance to leverage root access to gain access to the whole system," the researchers said.
What's interesting about this malware is that it uses one of the leading Chinese social media websites (my.tv.sohu.com) as its command-and-control server and sends commands to infected devices just via updating the attacker-controlled user profiles.

According to Kaspersky's Telemetry data, the Roaming Mantis malware was detected more than 6,000 times, though the reports came from just 150 unique users.
You are advised to ensure your router is running the latest version of the firmware and protected with a strong password.
You should also disable router's remote administration feature and hardcode a trusted DNS server into the operating system network settings.

Microsoft built its own custom Linux OS to secure IoT devices
25.4.2018 thehackernews  IoT

Finally, it's happening.
Microsoft has built its own custom Linux kernel to power "Azure Sphere," a newly launched technology that aims to better secure billions of "Internet of things" devices by combining the custom Linux kernel with new chip design, and its cloud security service.
Project Azure Sphere focuses on protecting microcontroller-based IoT devices, including smart appliances, connected toys, and other smart gadgets, Microsoft announced during the security-focused RSA Conference in San Francisco Monday.
It is basically a security package consists of three main components:
Azure Sphere-certified microcontrollers (MCUs)
Azure Sphere OS
Azure Sphere Security Service
"Azure Sphere provides security that starts in the hardware and extends to the cloud, delivering holistic security that protects, detects, and responds to threats—so they're always prepared," Microsoft said.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are 'ridiculously' vulnerable to remote hacking, because they are not originally manufactured keeping security in mind.
One innocent looking insecure IoT device connected to your 'secured network' would be enough to cause security nightmares. In the past, we have seen how lack of security by design led to massive DDoS attacks powered by Mirai IoT botnet.
To address such issues, Azure Sphere offers a full-fledged solution that provides the best-in-class security and a trustworthy environment for future IoT devices, and at the same time makes the life of IoT device manufactures a lot easier.
Azure Sphere Certified Microcontrollers (MCUs)

Designed by Microsoft Research, the Azure Sphere Certified Microcontrollers is a new cross-over class of fixed-functional microcontroller chips that will be licensed to manufacturing partners for free, which comes with built-in connectivity, networking and Pluton security subsystems to ensure the security of future IoT devices.
These MCUs "combines both real-time and application processors with built-in Microsoft security technology and connectivity," Microsoft explains.
"The Pluton Security Subsystem creates a hardware root of trust, stores private keys, and executes complex cryptographic operations," Microsoft said. "A new crossover MCU combines the versatility and power of a Cortex-A processor with the low overhead and real-time guarantees of a Cortex-M class processor."
"Each chip includes custom silicon security technology from Microsoft, inspired by 15 years of experience and learnings from Xbox, to secure this new class of MCUs and the devices they power," the company adds.
According to Microsoft president Brad Smith, the first Azure Sphere chip, called the "MT3620," will be made by Taiwan-based MediaTek and to be available in stores worldwide by the end of the year.
The Azure Sphere chips will also be compatible with other cloud services like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Oracle Cloud.
Azure Sphere OS (Linux-based)

The second component of the solution, called Azure Sphere OS, is a "defense-in-depth" operating system that comes with a security monitor and Microsoft's custom Linux kernel to offer multiple layers of security.
"Each Azure Sphere chip will include our Microsoft Pluton security subsystem, run the Azure Sphere OS, and connect to the Azure Sphere Security Service for simple and secure updates, failure reporting, and authentication," Microsoft says.
It is the first time when Microsoft created hardware that is designed to run only Linux, rather than its Windows operating system.
"We are a Windows company, but what we recognized is that the best solution for a computer of this size in a toy is not a full-blown version of Windows," Smith said. "It is a custom Linux Kernel, and it is an important step for us and the industry."
Azure Sphere Security Service (Cloud-based)

On top of everything, Azure Sphere Security Service is a cloud-based service that handles security and management of microcontroller chips.
The service offers device-to-device and device-to-cloud communication through certificate-based authentication to guards every Azure Sphere device.
It detects emerging security threats across the entire Azure Sphere ecosystem and also takes care of software updates.
Azure Sphere is now available in private preview, and the company will distribute software development kits to everyone interested in hacking Azure Sphere by the middle of this year. To find more details about Azure Sphere, you can head on to Microsoft Azure Sphere's blog.

Intel Processors Now Allows Antivirus to Use Built-in GPUs for Malware Scanning
25.4.2018 thehackernews  Safety

Global chip-maker Intel on Tuesday announced two new technologies—Threat Detection Technology (TDT) and Security Essentials—that not only offer hardware-based built-in security features across Intel processors but also improve threat detection without compromising system performance.
Intel's Threat Detection Technology (TDT) offers a new set of features that leverage hardware-level telemetry to help security products detect new classes of threats and exploits.
It includes two main capabilities—Accelerated Memory Scanning and Advanced Platform Telemetry.
Accelerated Memory Scanning allows antivirus programs to use Intel's integrated GPU to scan and detect memory-based malware attacks while reducing the impact on performance and power consumption.
"Current scanning technologies can detect system memory-based cyber-attacks, but at the cost of CPU performance," says Rick Echevarria, Intel security division Vice President.
"With Accelerated Memory Scanning, the scanning is handled by Intel's integrated graphics processor, enabling more scanning, while reducing the impact on performance and power consumption."
According to Intel, early tests using the new GPU-accelerated scanning technique suggest that CPU utilization for malware threat scans "dropped from 20 percent to as little as 2 percent"—that's obviously a massive increase in efficiency.


The other TDT feature is Intel Advanced Platform Telemetry that incorporates cloud-based machine learning and endpoint data collection to better identify potential security threats, "while reducing false positives and minimizing performance impact."
Intel's new Thread Detection Technology solution will be available for computers with 6th, 7th, and 8th generation Intel processors, though it's up to third-party antivirus vendors to actually utilize the feature.
Microsoft and Cisco are the first ones to make use of Intel's Threat Detection Technology (TDT), with the Intel TDT coming to Windows Defender Advanced Protection Threat (ATP) this month.

The second security solution launched by the chip maker is Intel Security Essentials—a built-in toolkit which includes a bunch of different hardware-based security features available across Intel Core, Xeon, and Atom processors.
Intel Security Essentials has following properties that offer a chain of trust to protect against a wide range of attacks:
Hardware Root of Trust—Cryptographic keys protected by hardware
Small Trusted Computing Base—Protecting keys, IDs, and data using hardware trusted platform module (TPM)
Defence in Depth—Hardware and software protection
Compartmentalization—Hardware-enforced barriers between software components
Direct Anonymous Authentication—Cryptographic schemes to offer anonymous authentication of a device for privacy (especially for IoT devices)
HW Security escalation—Enabling hardware acceleration of cryptographic calculation, antivirus scanning, and key generation
The announcement comes after serious security vulnerabilities—Meltdown and Spectre—badly hit Intel CPUs and chips from other companies earlier this year, and the security patches rolled out by the companies increased load for the CPU, affecting device performance.

CCleaner Attack Timeline—Here's How Hackers Infected 2.3 Million PCs
25.4.2018 thehackernews 

Last year, the popular system cleanup software CCleaner suffered a massive supply-chain malware attack of all times, wherein hackers compromised the company's servers for more than a month and replaced the original version of the software with the malicious one.
The malware attack infected over 2.3 million users who downloaded or updated their CCleaner app between August and September last year from the official website with the backdoored version of the software.
Now, it turns out that the hackers managed to infiltrate the company's network almost five months before they first replaced the official CCleaner build with the backdoored version, revealed Avast executive VP and CTO Ondrej Vlcek at the RSA security conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.
6-Months Timeline of CCleaner Supply Chain Attack
Vlcek shared a brief timeline of the last year's incident that came out to be the worst nightmare for the company, detailing how and when unknown hackers breached Piriform, the company that created CCleaner and was acquired by Avast in July 2017.
March 11, 2017 (5 AM local time)—Attackers first accessed an unattended workstation of one of the CCleaner developers, which was connected to Piriform network, using remote support software TeamViewer.

The company believes attackers reused the developer's credentials obtained from previous data breaches to access the TeamViewer account and managed to install malware using VBScript on the third attempt.
March 12, 2017 (4 AM local time)—Using the first machine, attackers penetrated into the second unattended computer connected to the same network and opened a backdoor through Windows RDP (Remote Desktop Service) protocol.

Using RDP access, the attackers dropped a binary and a malicious payload—a second stage malware (older version) that was later delivered to 40 CCleaner users—on the target computer's registry.
March 14, 2017—Attackers infected the first computer with the older version of the second stage malware as well.
April 4, 2017—Attackers compiled a customised version of ShadowPad, an infamous backdoor that allows attackers to download further malicious modules or steal data, and this payload the company believes was the third stage of the CCleaner attack.
April 12, 2017—A few days later, attackers installed the 3rd stage payload on four computers in the Piriform network (as a mscoree.dll library) and a build server (as a .NET runtime library).
Between mid-April and July—During this period, the attackers prepared the malicious version of CCleaner, and tried to infiltrate other computers in the internal network by installing a keylogger on already compromised systems to steal credentials, and logging in with administrative privileges through RDP.
July 18, 2017—Security company Avast acquired Piriform, the UK-based software development company behind CCleaner with more than 2 billion downloads.
August 2, 2017—Attackers replaced the original version of CCleaner software from its official website with their backdoored version of CCleaner, which was distributed to millions of users.
September 13, 2017—Researchers at Cisco Talos detected the malicious version of the software, which was being distributed through the company's official website for more than a month, and notified Avast immediately.
The malicious version of CCleaner had a multi-stage malware payload designed to steal data from infected computers and send it back to an attacker-controlled command-and-control server.
Although Avast, with the help of the FBI, was able to shut down the attackers' command-and-control server within three days of being notified of the incident, the malicious CCleaner software had already been downloaded by 2.27 million users.
Moreover, it was found that the attackers were then able to install a second-stage payload on 40 selected computers operated by major international technology companies, including Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, Samsung, Sony, HTC, Linksys, D-Link, Akamai and VMware.
However, the company has no proofs if the third stage payload with ShadowPad was distributed to any of these targets.
"Our investigation revealed that ShadowPad had been previously used in South Korea, and in Russia, where attackers intruded a computer, observing a money transfer." Avast said.
"The oldest malicious executable used in the Russian attack was built in 2014, which means the group behind it might have been spying for years."
Based on their analysis of the ShadowPad executable from the Piriform network, Avast believes that the malicious attackers behind the malware have been active for a long time, spying on institutions and organizations so thoroughly.