Monthly Archives: March 2018

New Traffic Light Protocol (TLP) levels for 2018

The Traffic Light Protocol should be familiar to anyone working with sensitive data, with levels RED, AMBER, GREEN and WHITE being used to specify how far information can be shared. In recent years it has become clear that these four levels are not enough, so the United Nations International Committee on Responsible Naming (UN/ICoRN) has introduced nine new TLP levels for implementation from the

Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: MyFitnessPal Breach, Carbanak Leader Arrested

Under Armor announced this week that approximately 150 million users of the diet and fitness app MyFitnessPal had their personal information acquired by an unauthorized third party sometime in February 2018. As Reuters noted, it is the largest data breach of 2018 in terms of the number of records affected.

The breach was discovered on March 25, and the data compromised includes usernames, email addresses, and hashed passwords — the majority of which used bcrypt, the company said.

“The affected data did not include government-issued identifiers (such as Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers) because we don’t collect that information from users,” the company said in a statement. “Payment card data was not affected because it is collected and processed separately.”

MyFitnessPal also said that it would be requiring users to change their passwords and is urging users to do so immediately. The company is also urging users to review their accounts for suspicious activity as well as to change passwords on any other online accounts that used the same or a similar password to their now-breached MyFitnessPal credentials.

It is unclear how the unauthorized third party acquired the data, and the investigation is ongoing. Under Armour bought MyFitnessPal in February 2015 for $475 million.

2018-03-31_ITTGroups.png

Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:

  • Employee accounts targeted: The Retirement Advantage is notifying clients that their employees’ personal information may have been compromised due to unauthorized access to an employee email account at its Applied Plan Administrators division. Storemont in Northern Ireland is warning all staff of a cyber-attack targeting email accounts with numerous password attempts, and a number of accounts were compromised due to the attack. Shutterfly is notifying customers that their personal information may have been compromised due to an employee’s credentials being used without authorization to access its Workday test environment.
  • Payment card breaches: Manduka is notifying customers of a year-long payment card breach after discovering malware on its e-commerce web platform. Mintie Corporation is notifying customers of a ransomware attack that may have compromised customer payment card information. Fred Usinger said its hosting service provider notified the company of a breach involving personal information and stored payment information.
  • Other data breaches: A report from New York’s Attorney General said that 9.2 million New Yorkers had their data exposed in 2017, quadruple the number from 2016. Motherboard obtained thousands of user account details that are circulating on public image boards, and many of those accounts are related to a bestiality website. Mendes & Haney is notifying customers of unauthorized access to its network. Branton, de Jong and Associates is notifying customers that their tax information may have been compromised due to unauthorized access to its tax program. Researchers discovered a misconfigured database belonging to the New York internal medicine and cardiovascular health practice Cohen Bergman Klepper Romano Mds PC that exposed the patient information of 42,000 individuals.
  • Other notable events: Baltimore’s 911 dispatch system was temporarily shut down after a hack by an unknown actor led to “limited breach” of the system that supports the city’s 911 and 311 services. Kent NHS Trust is notifying patients that a staff member who had accessed their medical records “without a legitimate business reason” has been dismissed. The Malaysian central bank said it thwarted a cyber-attack that involved falsified wire-transfer requests over the SWIFT bank messaging network. Boeing said that a few machines were infected with the WannaCry malware.

SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of the top trending targets are shown in the chart below.

2018-03-31_ITT

Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week

2018-03-31_RiskScores

Law enforcement officials in Spain have arrested the alleged leader of the cybercriminal syndicate behind the Carbankak and Cobalt malware attacks, which have targeted more than 100 financial organizations around the world and caused cumulative losses of over €1 billion since 2013.

Europol’s press release did not name the alleged mastermind behind the group; however, Bloomberg reported that Spain’s Interior Ministry named the suspect as Denis K, a Ukrainian national who had accumulated about 15,000 bitcoins (worth approximately $120 million at the time of his arrest). Europol noted that numerous other coders, mule networks, and money launderers connected to the group were also the target of the international law enforcement operation.

The group first used the Anunak malware in 2013 to target financial transfers and ATM networks, and by the following year they had created a more sophisticated version of the malware known as Carbanak, which was used by the group used until 2016. At that point the group carried out an even more sophisticated wave of attacks using custom-made malware based on the Cobalt Strike penetration testing software, Europol said.

“The criminals would send out to bank employees spear phishing emails with a malicious attachment impersonating legitimate companies,” Europol wrote in a press release. “Once downloaded, the malicious software allowed the criminals to remotely control the victims’ infected machines, giving them access to the internal banking network and infecting the servers controlling the ATMs. This provided them with the knowledge they needed to cash out the money.”

Carlos Yuste, a Spanish police chief inspector who helped lead the operation, told Bloomberg that “the head has been cut off” of the high-profile group. Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, said that the arrest illustrates how law enforcement “is having a major impact on top level cybercriminality.”

Security Analyst Summit 2018 in Cancun – AI, ML, And The Sun

Another year, another Security Analytics Summit. This year Kaspersky gathered an amazing set of speakers in Cancun, Mexico. I presented on AI & ML in Cyber Security – Why Algorithms Are Dangerous. I was really pleased how well the talk was received and it was super fun to see the storm that emerged on Twitter where people started discussing AI and ML.

Here are a couple of tweets that attendees of my talk tweeted out (thanks everyone!):

The following are some more impressions from the conference:

And here are the slides:

CERTs, CSIRTs and SOCs after 10 years from definitions

Nowadays is hard to give strong definitions on what are the differences between Security Operation Centers (SOC), Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT) since they are widely used in many organisations accomplishing very closed and similar tasks. Robin Ruefle (2007) on her paper titled "Defining Computer Security Incident Response Teams" (Available here) gave us a nice idea. She also admits (at the end of the paper) there is not such a strong difference between those common terms: CSIRT, CERT, CSIRC, CIRT, IHT. Her conclusion made me thinking about how this topic has been evolving over the past 10 years.  

Despite her amazing work on defining (let me call) CSIRTs I would give you more details on how those teams have been evolving over the past decade based on my personal experiences directly to the field. Indeed after being involved on building several CERTs, organising CSIRTs and evaluating SOCs I started to spot strong and soft similarities between those teams. Today I'd like to share with you those strong and soft similarities without talking about "differences" since there are not evidence on differences at all.

Each team is asked for CyberSecurity incidents but each team holds specific aims and respond to cybersecurity incident in a specific way. Every team needs to understand what happened after a cybersecurity related incident and this is the very strong common point that every team takes care of: deeply understand what happened. Nobody is better then other or nobody is more addicted respect to other in understanding what really happened during an incident, every team have fully autonomy to figure out what happened through inspection and analytical skills.  The weak similarities come after the initial understanding (analysis) phase. CSIR Teams ad SOC Teams usually study the related incident looking for a response while CERT usually tries to forecast incidents. The definition of response highlight the "weak similarities" between CSIRT and SOC. 

CSIRT usually (but not necessary) look to the incident with a "business" perspective taking care of (but not limited to): communication countermeasures, policy creations, insurance calls, business impact analysis, technical skillset and off course taking care about technical mitigations. For example a CSIRT would evaluate according to the marketing area a communication strategy after a successful incident hit the company, or it could call insurances to evaluate if they will cover some damages or again it could interact to HR area to define missing skillsets in the organisation. Off course it is able to interact with defensive technologies but it's only one ste of its tasks.

A SOC usually (but not necessary) look to the incident with a more "technical" perspective taking care of (but not limited to): incident forensic, log analysis, vendor calls, patch distributions, vulnerability management and software/hardware tunings.  For example after an incident happened to an organisation its SOC would try to block it involving all its resources to block the threat by acting on peripheral devices or running commands directly on user's machines. The SOC deeply understands SIEM technology and it is able to improve it, it is also able to use and to interact through defensive teams and/or technology like sandboxes, proxy, WAF as well. The SOC team holds strong network oriented capabilities.

CER Teams usually take care about incidents following the community sharing procedures such as (but not limited to): feeds, bulletin, Index of Compromises and applying effective governance actions to local IT/SOC teams enabling them to mitigate the incident in the fastest way possibile. CERT team members work a lot with global incidents understanding new threats and tracking known threat movements. They usually work with Threat Intelligence Platforms and with high level dashboard to better understand the evolution of threats to forecast new attacks.

CERTs and SOCs are usually focused on prevention such as (but not limited to): what are the best rules to apply ? What are the procedures in case of incidents ? They are really focused on using threat intelligence in order to spot attack and to block incidents. On the other hand CERTs and CSIRTs are mostly focused on Guidelines and business impact analysis while SOCs and CSIRTs really need to follow incident response procedures in order to apply their high technical skills to mitigate the attack. The following image tries to highlight the main (but not the only) keywords that you would probably deal if you work on a SOC a CERT or in a CSIRT.




The main ideas (but not the only ones) behind the 3 teams could be summed up in the following terms: Mitigation (belongs to SOC), Response (belongs to CSIRT) and Alerting-Prevention (belongs to CERT). I'd like to point out that mitigation and response are quite different concepts. Indeed mitigation holds a technical view of the resolution, response holds a more business view of the resolution. While mitigating an incident means to "take it down" and so to restore the attacked system as it was before the incident, an incident response could include more sophisticated actions that could include the board of director in the decision process as well.
   
Similar teams but with strong attitudes need different professional profiles. Usually (but again not necessary) SOC Teams need more technical profiles which includes hard skills such as: vendor based certifications, network oriented attitudes and forensic attitudes. CSIRT teams needs a mixup profiles more oriented to technical skills but also with business view such as: risk evaluation, guideline buildings and communication skills. CERTs need to have a wide landscape vision about threats and for such a reason they need to know threat intelligence, they need to know prevention tools and to be part of strong IoC sharing communities. Developer skills are not mandatory on those teams but if "weak and dirty" scripting skills are in place, the entire team will benefit from them. Automation and integration are widely needed on such a teams and a scripting profile would create such an integrations.

As mentioned at the beginning of this "post" it is hard ...  almost impossible ... to give hard definitions about the evolution of "CSIRTs" but it's possible to observe strong and weak similarities in order to better understand what team is most suitable for every organisation.  If you belongs to a "CSIRT" or to a "SOC" or to a "CERT" and you feel like you are doing a little bit of each team according to my post, well, it is ok ! In ten years "things" have been changed a lot from the original definitions  and it's quite normal being involved in hybrid teams.

Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: Orbitz Breach, Facebook Privacy Fallout

One of the biggest data breach announcements of the past week belonged to Orbitz, which said on Tuesday that as many as 880,000 customers may have had their payment card and other personal information compromised due to unauthorized access to a legacy Orbitz travel booking platform.

“Orbitz determined on March 1, 2018 that there was evidence suggesting that, between October 1, 2017 and December 22, 2017, an attacker may have accessed certain personal information, stored on this consumer and business partner platform, that was submitted for certain purchases made between January 1, 2016 and June 22, 2016 (for Orbitz platform customers) and between January 1, 2016 and December 22, 2017 (for certain partners’ customers),” the company said in a statement.

Information potentially compromised includes payment card information, names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and gender.

As American Express noted in its statement about the breach, the affected Orbitz platform served as the underlying booking engine for many online travel websites, including Amextravel.com and travel booked through Amex Travel Representatives.

Expedia, which purchased Orbitz in 2015, did not say how many or which partner platforms were affected by the breach, USA Today reported. However, the company did say that the current Orbitz.com site was not affected.

2018-03-24_ITTGroups

Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:

  • State data breach notifications: Island Outdoor is notifying customers that payment card information may have been stolen due to the discovery of malware affecting several of its websites. Agemni is notifying customers about unauthorized charges after “a single authorized user of our software system used customer information to make improper charges for his personal benefit.” The Columbia Falls School District is notifying parents of a cyber-extortion threat involving their children’s personal information. Intuit is notifying TurboTax customers that their accounts may have been accessed by an actor leveraging previously leaked credentials. Taylor-Dunn Manufacturing Company is notifying customers that it discovered cryptocurrency mining malware on a server and that a file containing personal information of those registered for the Taylor-Dunn customer care or dealer center may have been accessed. Nampa School District is notifying a “limited number” of employees and Skamania Public Utility District is notifying customers that their personal information may have been compromised due to incidents involving unauthorized access to an employee email account.
  • Data exposed: A flaw in Telstra Health’s Argus software, which is used by more than 40,000 Australian health specialists, may have exposed the medical information of patients to hackers. Primary Healthcare is notifying patients of unauthorized access to four employee email accounts. More than 300,000 Pennsylvania school teachers may have had their personal information publicly released due to an employee error involving the Teacher Management Information System.
  • Notable ransomware attacks: The city of Atlanta said a ransomware attack disrupted internal and customer-facing applications, which made it difficult for citizens to pay bills and access court-related information. Atrium Hospitality is notifying 376 hotel guests that their personal information may have been compromised due to a ransomware infection at a workstation at the Holiday Inn Sacramento. Finger Lakes Health said it lost access to its computer system due to ransomware infection.
  • Other notable events: Frost Bank said that malicious actors comprised a third-party lockbox software program and were able to access images of checks that were stored in the database. National Lottery users are being advised to change their passwords after 150 accounts were affected by a “low-level” hack. A lawsuit against Internet provider CenturyLink and AT&T-owned DirecTV alleges that customer data was available through basic Internet searches.

SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of the top trending targets are shown in the chart below.

2018-03-24_ITT

Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week

2018-03-24_RiskScoresFacebook has faced a week of criticism, legal actions, and outcry from privacy advocates after it was revealed that the political consulting Cambridge Analytica had accessed the information of 50 million users and leveraged that information while working with the Donald Trump campaign in 2016.

“Cambridge Analytica obtained the data from a professor at the University of Cambridge who had collected the information by creating a personality-quiz app in 2013 that plugged into Facebook’s platform,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Before a policy change in 2015, Facebook gave app creators and academics access to a treasure trove of data, ranging from which pages users liked to details about their friends.”

It isn’t clear how many other developers might have retained information harvested from Facebook before the 2015 policy change, The Journal reported. However, Mark Zuckerberg said the company may spend “many millions of dollars” auditing tens of thousands of data collecting apps in order to get a better handle on the situation.

The privacy breach has already led to regulatory scrutiny and potential lawsuits around the globe. Bloomberg reported that the FTC is probing whether data handling violated terms of a 2011 consent decree. In addition, Facebook said it would conduct staff-level briefings with six congressional committees in the coming week. Some lawmakers have called for Zuckerberg to testify as well, and Zuckerberg told media outlets that he would be willing to do so if asked.

Facebook’s stock price has dropped from $185 to $159 over the past eight days amid the controversy, and several companies have suspended their advertising on Facebook or deleted their Facebook pages altogether due to the public backlash.

SANNY Malware Delivery Method Updated in Recently Observed Attacks

Introduction

In the third week of March 2018, through FireEye’s Dynamic Threat Intelligence, FireEye discovered malicious macro-based Microsoft Word documents distributing SANNY malware to multiple governments worldwide. Each malicious document lure was crafted in regard to relevant regional geopolitical issues. FireEye has tracked the SANNY malware family since 2012 and believes that it is unique to a group focused on Korean Peninsula issues. This group has consistently targeted diplomatic entities worldwide, primarily using lure documents written in English and Russian.

As part of these recently observed attacks, the threat actor has made significant changes to their usual malware delivery method. The attack is now carried out in multiple stages, with each stage being downloaded from the attacker’s server. Command line evasion techniques, the capability to infect systems running Windows 10, and use of recent User Account Control (UAC) bypass techniques have also been added.

Document Details

The following two documents, detailed below, have been observed in the latest round of attacks:

MD5 hash: c538b2b2628bba25d68ad601e00ad150
SHA256 hash: b0f30741a2449f4d8d5ffe4b029a6d3959775818bf2e85bab7fea29bd5acafa4
Original Filename: РГНФ 2018-2019.doc

The document shown in Figure 1 discusses Eurasian geopolitics as they relate to China, as well as Russia’s security.


Figure 1: Sample document written in Russian

MD5 hash: 7b0f14d8cd370625aeb8a6af66af28ac
SHA256 hash: e29fad201feba8bd9385893d3c3db42bba094483a51d17e0217ceb7d3a7c08f1
Original Filename: Copy of communication from Security Council Committee (1718).doc

The document shown in Figure 2 discusses sanctions on humanitarian operations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).


Figure 2: Sample document written in English

Macro Analysis

In both documents, an embedded macro stores the malicious command line to be executed in the TextBox property (TextBox1.Text) of the document. This TextBox property is first accessed by the macro to execute the command on the system and is then overwritten to delete evidence of the command line.

Stage 1: BAT File Download

In Stage 1, the macro leverages the legitimate Microsoft Windows certutil.exe utility to download an encoded Windows Batch (BAT) file from the following URL: http://more.1apps[.]com/1.txt. The macro then decodes the encoded file and drops it in the %temp% directory with the name: 1.bat.

There were a few interesting observations in the command line:

  1. The macro copies the Microsoft Windows certutil.exe utility to the %temp% directory with the name: ct.exe. One of the reasons for this is to evade detection by security products. Recently, FireEye has observed other threat actors using certutil.exe for malicious purposes. By renaming “certutil.exe” before execution, the malware authors are attempting to evade simple file-name based heuristic detections.
  2. The malicious BAT file is stored as the contents of a fake PEM encoded SSL certificate (with the BEGIN and END markers) on the Stage 1 URL, as shown in Figure 3.  The “certutil.exe” utility is then leveraged to both strip the BEGIN/END markers and decode the Base64 contents of the file. FireEye has not previously observed the malware authors use this technique in past campaigns.


Figure 3: Malicious BAT file stored as an encoded file to appear as an SSL certificate

BAT File Analysis

Once decoded and executed, the BAT file from Stage 1 will download an encoded CAB file from the base URL: hxxp://more.1apps[.]com/. The exact file name downloaded is based on the architecture of the operating system.

  • For a 32-bit operating system: hxxp://more.1apps[.]com/2.txt
  • For a 64-bit operating system: hxxp://more.1apps[.]com/3.txt

Similarly, based on Windows operating system version and architecture, the CAB file is installed using different techniques. For Windows 10, the BAT file uses rundll32 to invoke the appropriate function from update.dll (component inside setup.cab).

  • For a 32-bit operating system: rundll32 update.dll _EntryPoint@16
  • For a 64-bit operating system: rundll32 update.dll EntryPoint

For other versions of Windows, the CAB file is extracted using the legitimate Windows Update Standalone Installer (wusa.exe) directly into the system directory:

The BAT file also checks for the presence of Kaspersky Lab Antivirus software on the machine. If found, CAB installation is changed accordingly in an attempt to bypass detection:

Stage 2: CAB File Analysis

As described in the previous section, the BAT file will download the CAB file based on the architecture of the underlying operating system. The rest of the malicious activities are performed by the downloaded CAB file.

The CAB file contains the following components:

  • install.bat – BAT file used to deploy and execute the components.
  • ipnet.dll – Main component that we refer to as SANNY malware.
  • ipnet.ini – Config file used by SANNY malware.
  • NTWDBLIB.dll – Performs UAC bypass on Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit).
  • update.dll – Performs UAC bypass on Windows 10.

install.bat will perform the following essential activities:

  1. Checks the current execution directory of the BAT file. If it is not the Windows system directory, then it will first copy the necessary components (ipnet.dll and ipnet.ini) to the Windows system directory before continuing execution:



  2. Hijacks a legitimate Windows system service, COMSysApp (COM+ System Application) by first stopping this service, and then modifying the appropriate Windows service registry keys to ensure that the malicious ipnet.dll will be loaded when the COMSysApp service is started:



  3. After the hijacked COMSysApp service is started, it will delete all remaining components of the CAB file:

ipnet.dll is the main component inside the CAB file that is used for performing malicious activities. This DLL exports the following two functions:

  1. ServiceMain – Invoked when the hijacked system service, COMSysApp, is started.
  2. Post – Used to perform data exfiltration to the command and control (C2) server using FTP protocol.

The ServiceMain function first performs a check to see if it is being run in the context of svchost.exe or rundll32.exe. If it is being run in the context of svchost.exe, then it will first start the system service before proceeding with the malicious activities. If it is being run in the context of rundll32.exe, then it performs the following activities:

  1. Deletes the module NTWDBLIB.DLL from the disk using the following command:

    cmd /c taskkill /im cliconfg.exe /f /t && del /f /q NTWDBLIB.DLL

  2. Sets the code page on the system to 65001, which corresponds to UTF-8:

    cmd /c REG ADD HKCU\Console /v CodePage /t REG_DWORD /d 65001 /f

Command and Control (C2) Communication

SANNY malware uses the FTP protocol as the C2 communication channel.

FTP Config File

The FTP configuration information used by SANNY malware is encoded and stored inside ipnet.ini.

This file is Base64 encoded using the following custom character set: SbVIn=BU/dqNP2kWw0oCrm9xaJ3tZX6OpFc7Asi4lvuhf-TjMLRQ5GKeEHYgD1yz8

Upon decoding the file, the following credentials can be recovered:

  • FTP Server: ftp.capnix[.]com
  • Username: cnix_21072852
  • Password: vlasimir2017

It then continues to perform the connection to the FTP server decoded from the aforementioned config file, and sets the current directory on the FTP server as “htdocs” using the FtpSetCurrentDirectoryW function.

System Information Collection

For reconnaissance purposes, SANNY malware executes commands on the system to collect information, which is sent to the C2 server.

System information is gathered from the machine using the following command:

The list of running tasks on the system is gathered by executing the following command:

C2 Commands

After successful connection to the FTP server decoded from the configuration file, the malware searches for a file containing the substring “to everyone” in the “htdocs” directory. This file will contain C2 commands to be executed by the malware.

Upon discovery of the file with the “to everyone” substring, the malware will download the file and then performs actions based on the following command names:

  • chip command: This command deletes the existing ipnet.ini configuration file from the file system and creates a new ipnet.ini file with a specified configuration string. The chip commands allows the attacker to migrate malware to a new FTP C2 server. The command has the following syntax: 



  • pull command: This command is used for the purpose of data exfiltration. It has the ability to upload an arbitrary file from the local filesystem to the attacker’s FTP server. The command has the following syntax:

The uploaded file is compressed and encrypted using the routine described later in the Compression and Encoding Data section.

  • put command: This command is used to copy an existing file on the system to a new location and delete the file from the original location. The command has the following syntax:

  • default command: If the command begins with the substring “cmd /c”, but it is not followed by either of the previous commands (chip, pull, and put), then it directly executes the command on the machine using WinExec.
  • /user command: This command will execute a command on the system as the logged in user. The command duplicates the access token of “explorer.exe” and spawns a process using the following steps:

    1. Enumerates the running processes on the system to search for the explorer.exe process and obtain the process ID of explorer.exe.
    2. Obtains the access token for the explorer.exe process with the access flags set to 0x000F01FF.
    3. Starts the application (defined in the C2 command) on the system by calling the CreateProcessAsUser function and using the access token obtained in Step 2.

C2 Command

Purpose

chip

Update the FTP server config file

pull

Upload a file from the machine

put

Copy an existing file to a new destination

/user

Create a new process with explorer.exe access token

default command

Execute a program on the machine using WinExec()

Compression and Encoding Data

SANNY malware uses an interesting mechanism for compressing the contents of data collected from the system and encoding it before exfiltration. Instead of using an archiving utility, the malware leverages Shell.Application COM object and calls the CopyHere method of the IShellDispatch interface to perform compression as follows:

  1. Creates an empty ZIP file with the name: temp.zip in the %temp% directory.
  2. Writes the first 16 bytes of the PK header to the ZIP file.
  3. Calls the CopyHere method of IShellDispatch interface to compress the collected data and write to temp.zip.
  4. Reads the contents of temp.zip to memory.
  5. Deletes temp.zip from the disk.
  6. Creates an empty file, post.txt, in the %temp% directory.
  7. The temp.zip file contents are Base64 encoded (using the same custom character set mentioned in the previous FTP Config File section) and written to the file: %temp%\post.txt.
  8. Calls the FtpPutFileW function to write the contents of post.txt to the remote file with the format: “from <computer_name_timestamp>.txt”

Execution on Windows 7 and User Account Control (UAC) Bypass

NTWDBLIB.dll – This component from the CAB file will be extracted to the %windir%\system32 directory. After this, the cliconfg command is executed by the BAT file.

The purpose of this DLL module is to launch the install.bat file. The file cliconfg.exe is a legitimate Windows binary (SQL Client Configuration Utility), loads the library NTWDBLIB.dll upon execution. Placing a malicious copy of NTWDBLIB.dll in the same directory as cliconfg.exe is a technique known as DLL side-loading, and results in a UAC bypass.

Execution on Windows 10 and UAC Bypass

Update.dll – This component from the CAB file is used to perform UAC bypass on Windows 10. As described in the BAT File Analysis section, if the underlying operating system is Windows 10, then it uses update.dll to begin the execution of code instead of invoking the install.bat file directly.

The main actions performed by update.dll are as follows:

  1. Executes the following commands to setup the Windows registry for UAC bypass:



  2. Leverages a UAC bypass technique that uses the legitimate Windows binary, fodhelper.exe, to perform the UAC bypass on Windows 10 so that the install.bat file is executed with elevated privileges:



  3. Creates an additional BAT file, kill.bat, in the current directory to delete evidence of the UAC bypass. The BAT file kills the current process and deletes the components update.dll and kill.bat from the file system:

Conclusion

This activity shows us that the threat actors using SANNY malware are evolving their malware delivery methods, notably by incorporating UAC bypasses and endpoint evasion techniques. By using a multi-stage attack with a modular architecture, the malware authors increase the difficulty of reverse engineering and potentially evade security solutions.

Users can protect themselves from such attacks by disabling Office macros in their settings and practicing vigilance when enabling macros (especially when prompted) in documents, even if such documents are from seemingly trusted sources.

Indicators of Compromise

SHA256 Hash

Original Filename

b0f30741a2449f4d8d5ffe4b029a6d3959775818bf2e85bab7fea29bd5acafa4

РГНФ 2018-2019.doc

e29fad201feba8bd9385893d3c3db42bba094483a51d17e0217ceb7d3a7c08f1

 

Copy of communication from Security Council Committee (1718).doc

eb394523df31fc83aefa402f8015c4a46f534c0a1f224151c47e80513ceea46f

1.bat

a2e897c03f313a097dc0f3c5245071fbaeee316cfb3f07785932605046697170

Setup.cab (64-bit)

a3b2c4746f471b4eabc3d91e2d0547c6f3e7a10a92ce119d92fa70a6d7d3a113

Setup.cab (32-bit)

DOSfuscation: Exploring the Depths of Cmd.exe Obfuscation and Detection Techniques

Skilled attackers continually seek out new attack vectors, while employing evasion techniques to maintain the effectiveness of old vectors, in an ever-changing defensive landscape. Many of these threat actors employ obfuscation frameworks for common scripting languages such as JavaScript and PowerShell to thwart signature-based detections of common offensive tradecraft written in these languages.

However, as defenders' visibility into these popular scripting languages increases through better logging and defensive tooling, some stealthy attackers have shifted their tradecraft to languages that do not support this additional visibility. At a minimum, determined attackers are adding dashes of simple obfuscation to previously detected payloads and commands to break rigid detection rules.

In this DOSfuscation white paper, first presented at Black Hat Asia 2018, I showcase nine months of research into several facets of command line argument obfuscation that affect static and dynamic detection approaches. Beginning with cataloguing a half-dozen characters with significant obfuscation capabilities (only two of which I have identified being used in the wild), I then highlight the static detection evasion capabilities of environment variable substring encoding. Combining these techniques, I unveil four never-before-seen payload obfuscation approaches that are fully compatible with any input command on cmd.exe's command line. These obfuscation capabilities de-obfuscate in the current cmd.exe session for both interactive and noninteractive sessions, and avoid all command line logging. Finally, I discuss the building blocks required for these new encoding and obfuscation capabilities and outline several approaches that defenders can take to begin detecting this genre of obfuscation.

As a Senior Applied Security Researcher with FireEye's Advanced Practices Team, I am tasked with researching, developing and deploying new detection capabilities to FireEye's detection platform to stay ahead of advanced threat actors and their ever-changing tactics, techniques and procedures. FireEye customers have been benefiting from multiple layers of innovative obfuscation detection capabilities developed and deployed over the past nine months as a direct result of this research.

Download the DOSfuscation white paper today.

Daniel Bohannon (@danielhbohannon) is a Senior Applied Security Researcher on FireEye's Advanced Practices Team.

WiTopia personalVPN review: It’s all about choices

WiTopia personalVPN in brief:

  • P2P allowed: Yes
  • Business location: Reston, VA
  • Number of servers: 300+
  • Number of country locations: 45
  • Cost: $50 (Basic) / $70 (Pro)
  • VPN protocol: OpenVPN (default)
  • Data encryption: AES-128
  • Data authentication: SHA2
  • Handshake encryption: TLSv1.2

I’ve grown to expect certain things from a VPN service: a nice-looking and easy-to-use desktop program, and extra features like double VPNs, dedicated torrent servers, or sometimes Netflix compatibility. PersonalVPN from WiTopia confounds all those expectations a little, but is still a great option to consider.

To read this article in full, please click here

T.rex_scan v0.2 – Integrate Tools to Audit Web Sites

T.rex_scan only facilitates the visualization when auditing a web page. With this script you can optimize your time, reducing the time you audit a page web since T.rex_scan executes the task you indicate and filters the results. Combining different tools you can: Shows vulnerabilities of the audited page Launch a port scan Shows the CVEs [&hellip

Rootkit Umbreon / Umreon – x86, ARM samples



Pokémon-themed Umbreon Linux Rootkit Hits x86, ARM Systems
Research: Trend Micro


There are two packages
one is 'found in the wild' full and a set of hashes from Trend Micro (all but one file are already in the full package)






Download

Download Email me if you need the password  



File information

Part one (full package)

#File NameHash ValueFile Size (on Disk)Duplicate?
1.umbreon-ascii0B880E0F447CD5B6A8D295EFE40AFA376085 bytes (5.94 KiB)
2autoroot1C5FAEEC3D8C50FAC589CD0ADD0765C7281 bytes (281 bytes)
3CHANGELOGA1502129706BA19667F128B44D19DC3C11 bytes (11 bytes)
4cli.shC846143BDA087783B3DC6C244C2707DC5682 bytes (5.55 KiB)
5hideportsD41D8CD98F00B204E9800998ECF8427E0 bytes ( bytes)Yes, of file promptlog
6install.sh9DE30162E7A8F0279E19C2C30280FFF85634 bytes (5.5 KiB)
7Makefile0F5B1E70ADC867DD3A22CA62644007E5797 bytes (797 bytes)
8portchecker006D162A0D0AA294C85214963A3D3145113 bytes (113 bytes)
9promptlogD41D8CD98F00B204E9800998ECF8427E0 bytes ( bytes)
10readlink.c42FC7D7E2F9147AB3C18B0C4316AD3D81357 bytes (1.33 KiB)
11ReadMe.txtB7172B364BF5FB8B5C30FF528F6C51252244 bytes (2.19 KiB)
12setup694FFF4D2623CA7BB8270F5124493F37332 bytes (332 bytes)
13spytty.sh0AB776FA8A0FBED2EF26C9933C32E97C1011 bytes (1011 bytes)Yes, of file spytty.sh
14umbreon.c91706EF9717176DBB59A0F77FE95241C1007 bytes (1007 bytes)
15access.c7C0A86A27B322E63C3C29121788998B8713 bytes (713 bytes)
16audit.cA2B2812C80C93C9375BFB0D7BFCEFD5B1434 bytes (1.4 KiB)
17chown.cFF9B679C7AB3F57CFBBB852A13A350B22870 bytes (2.8 KiB)
18config.h980DEE60956A916AFC9D2997043D4887967 bytes (967 bytes)
19config.h.dist980DEE60956A916AFC9D2997043D4887967 bytes (967 bytes)Yes, of file config.h
20dirs.c46B20CC7DA2BDB9ECE65E36A4F987ABC3639 bytes (3.55 KiB)
21dlsym.c796DA079CC7E4BD7F6293136604DC07B4088 bytes (3.99 KiB)
22exec.c1935ED453FB83A0A538224AFAAC71B214033 bytes (3.94 KiB)
23getpath.h588603EF387EB617668B00EAFDAEA393183 bytes (183 bytes)
24getprocname.hF5781A9E267ED849FD4D2F5F3DFB8077805 bytes (805 bytes)
25includes.hF4797AE4B2D5B3B252E0456020F58E59629 bytes (629 bytes)
26kill.cC4BD132FC2FFBC84EA5103ABE6DC023D555 bytes (555 bytes)
27links.c898D73E1AC14DE657316F084AADA58A02274 bytes (2.22 KiB)
28local-door.c76FC3E9E2758BAF48E1E9B442DB98BF8501 bytes (501 bytes)
29lpcap.hEA6822B23FE02041BE506ED1A182E5CB1690 bytes (1.65 KiB)
30maps.c9BCD90BEA8D9F9F6270CF2017F9974E21100 bytes (1.07 KiB)
31misc.h1F9FCC5D84633931CDD77B32DB1D50D02728 bytes (2.66 KiB)
32netstat.c00CF3F7E7EA92E7A954282021DD72DC41113 bytes (1.09 KiB)
33open.cF7EE88A523AD2477FF8EC17C9DCD7C028594 bytes (8.39 KiB)
34pam.c7A947FDC0264947B2D293E1F4D69684A2010 bytes (1.96 KiB)
35pam_private.h2C60F925842CEB42FFD639E7C763C7B012480 bytes (12.19 KiB)
36pam_vprompt.c017FB0F736A0BC65431A25E1A9D393FE3826 bytes (3.74 KiB)
37passwd.cA0D183BBE86D05E3782B5B24E2C964132364 bytes (2.31 KiB)
38pcap.cFF911CA192B111BD0D9368AFACA03C461295 bytes (1.26 KiB)
39procstat.c7B14E97649CD767C256D4CD6E4F8D452398 bytes (398 bytes)
40procstatus.c72ED74C03F4FAB0C1B801687BE200F063303 bytes (3.23 KiB)
41readwrite.cC068ED372DEAF8E87D0133EAC0A274A82710 bytes (2.65 KiB)
42rename.cC36BE9C01FEADE2EF4D5EA03BD2B3C05535 bytes (535 bytes)
43setgid.c5C023259F2C244193BDA394E2C0B8313667 bytes (667 bytes)
44sha256.h003D805D919B4EC621B800C6C239BAE0545 bytes (545 bytes)
45socket.c348AEF06AFA259BFC4E943715DB5A00B579 bytes (579 bytes)
46stat.cE510EE1F78BD349E02F47A7EB001B0E37627 bytes (7.45 KiB)
47syslog.c7CD3273E09A6C08451DD598A0F18B5701497 bytes (1.46 KiB)
48umbreon.hF76CAC6D564DEACFC6319FA167375BA54316 bytes (4.21 KiB)
49unhide-funcs.c1A9F62B04319DA84EF71A1B091434C644729 bytes (4.62 KiB)
50cryptpass.py2EA92D6EC59D85474ED7A91C8518E7EC192 bytes (192 bytes)
51environment.sh70F467FE218E128258D7356B7CE328F11086 bytes (1.06 KiB)
52espeon-connect.shA574C885C450FCA048E79AD6937FED2E247 bytes (247 bytes)
53espeon-shell9EEF7E7E3C1BEE2F8591A088244BE0CB2167 bytes (2.12 KiB)
54espeon.c499FF5CF81C2624B0C3B0B7E9C6D980D14899 bytes (14.55 KiB)
55listen.sh69DA525AEA227BE9E4B8D59ACFF4D717209 bytes (209 bytes)
56spytty.sh0AB776FA8A0FBED2EF26C9933C32E97C1011 bytes (1011 bytes)
57ssh-hidden.shAE54F343FE974302F0D31776B72D0987127 bytes (127 bytes)
58unfuck.c457B6E90C7FA42A7C46D464FBF1D68E2384 bytes (384 bytes)
59unhide-self.pyB982597CEB7274617F286CA80864F499986 bytes (986 bytes)
60listen.shF5BD197F34E3D0BD8EA28B182CCE7270233 bytes (233 bytes)

part 2 (those listed in the Trend Micro article)
#File NameHash ValueFile Size (on Disk)
1015a84eb1d18beb310e7aeeceab8b84776078935c45924b3a10aa884a93e28acA47E38464754289C0F4A55ED7BB556489375 bytes (9.16 KiB)
20751cf716ea9bc18e78eb2a82cc9ea0cac73d70a7a74c91740c95312c8a9d53aF9BA2429EAE5471ACDE820102C5B81597512 bytes (7.34 KiB)
30a4d5ffb1407d409a55f1aed5c5286d4f31fe17bc99eabff64aa1498c5482a5f0AB776FA8A0FBED2EF26C9933C32E97C1011 bytes (1011 bytes)
40ce8c09bb6ce433fb8b388c369d7491953cf9bb5426a7bee752150118616d8ffB982597CEB7274617F286CA80864F499986 bytes (986 bytes)
5122417853c1eb1868e429cacc499ef75cfc018b87da87b1f61bff53e9b8e86709EEF7E7E3C1BEE2F8591A088244BE0CB2167 bytes (2.12 KiB)
6409c90ecd56e9abcb9f290063ec7783ecbe125c321af3f8ba5dcbde6e15ac64aB4746BB5E697F23A5842ABCAED36C9146149 bytes (6 KiB)
74fc4b5dab105e03f03ba3ec301bab9e2d37f17a431dee7f2e5a8dfadcca4c234D0D97899131C29B3EC9AE89A6D49A23E65160 bytes (63.63 KiB)
88752d16e32a611763eee97da6528734751153ac1699c4693c84b6e9e4fb08784E7E82D29DFB1FC484ED277C70218781855564 bytes (54.26 KiB)
9991179b6ba7d4aeabdf463118e4a2984276401368f4ab842ad8a5b8b730885222B1863ACDC0068ED5D50590CF792DF057664 bytes (7.48 KiB)
10a378b85f8f41de164832d27ebf7006370c1fb8eda23bb09a3586ed29b5dbdddfA977F68C59040E40A822C384D1CEDEB6176 bytes (176 bytes)
11aa24deb830a2b1aa694e580c5efb24f979d6c5d861b56354a6acb1ad0cf9809bDF320ED7EE6CCF9F979AEFE451877FFC26 bytes (26 bytes)
12acfb014304b6f2cff00c668a9a2a3a9cbb6f24db6d074a8914dd69b43afa452584D552B5D22E40BDA23E6587B1BC532D6852 bytes (6.69 KiB)
13c80d19f6f3372f4cc6e75ae1af54e8727b54b51aaf2794fedd3a1aa463140480087DD79515D37F7ADA78FF5793A42B7B11184 bytes (10.92 KiB)
14e9bce46584acbf59a779d1565687964991d7033d63c06bddabcfc4375c5f1853BBEB18C0C3E038747C78FCAB3E0444E371940 bytes (70.25 KiB)

Is your VPN secure? How to check for leaks

A trustworthy virtual private network (VPN) is a good way to keep your internet usage secure and private whether at home or on public Wi-Fi. But just how private is your activity over a VPN? In other words, how do you know if the VPN is doing its job or if you’re unwittingly leaking information to prying eyes?

To find out, you first need to know what your computer looks like to the internet without a VPN running. Start by searching for what is my IP on Google. At the top of the search results, Google will report back your current public Internet Protocol (IP) address. That’s a good place to start, but there is more to your internet connection and its potential for leaks.

To read this article in full, please click here

CertDB is a free SSL certificate search engine and analysis platform

CertDB is a free SSL certificate search engine and analysis platform

How many times have you stumbled on the SSL certificate, and the only things that you cared about were Common Name (CN), DNS Names, Dates (issue and expiry)? Do you know SSL certificate can speak so much about you/ your firm? It can tell stories and motives; you can gather a good intelligence from them - which companies are hosting new domains, sub-domains; did they just revoke the last certificate? Or, why some firm switched its vendors/ CA(s)? We all have read that SSL certificates have always been the talk of the town for their inherent strength but weak issuance process, i.e. the chain of command relying on the Certificate Authorities, (aka the business firms) but haven't played with them in real-time. There are search engines available but none of them as comprehensive, fast and free as CertDB

There have been quite a few attacks and hacks where Certificate Authorities were targeted[1] by hacking groups[2] or even involved[3] directly. Even though the vast initiatives by browsers and firms to regularly monitor SSL certificates[4], improve browser behaviours for awareness[5] and revoke the bad ones has been highly appreciated, the pentesters often don't find much during the comprehensive assessment. Recently, there has been an uproar on the business interests of CA(s) with the issuance, so much so that some are being tagged as bad and untrusted CA[6] for not doing job well. Companies are moving aggressively to HTTPS especially with the recent introduction of LetsEncrypt Wildcard Certificates. But we haven't seen the use of all this information on a common platform to further analyse the certificates and assess their digital SSL footprint and gather valuable intelligence.

This is where CertDB steps in. A great project maintained by smart people and FREE forever[7] for the public. I spent last few weeks accessing their services, and the platform and my short verdict says - It is great! It does have some quirks, but highly recommended!

The crt.sh and CertDB serve different objectives. while crt.sh gets the data from certificate transparency (CT) logging system where "legit" CA submit the certs in "real time"; CertDB is based on the scanning the IPv4 segment, domains and "finding & analyzing" certificates - good or bad.

CertDB can also find self-signed certificates, which crt.sh can not. Hence, CertDB can give a realistic view of HTTPS - which IP is using what certs, self-signed, invalid CA etc; while crt.sh shows the "good" law-abiding view, per say.

What is CertDB?

CertDB is an Internet search engine for SSL certificates. In simple terms, it parses the certificate and then makes different fields indexable for the user to execute search queries. It indexes the following common information,
CertDB is a free SSL certificate search engine and analysis platform

Fields Details
Subject Country, State, Category, Serial Number, Locality, Organization, Common Name
Issuer Country, State, Locality, Organization, Common Name
Others Public Key IP Address related to the domain, Validity Dates
Fingerprint SHA1, SHA256 and MD5
Extensions Usage, Subject Key ID, Authority Key ID, ALT Names, Certificate Policies

Now once you have extracted these fields, you can query and generate intelligence around it. You have these fields available with a logical query, and can be clubbed together to make complex queries. CertDB also provides raw certificates, public key and json formatted certificate information available for download. Recently they have integrated Alexa Ranking with the domains/ IP addresses and all of this information has been filtered and is available as lists - top domains, top organizations, top countries, top issuers etc.

One such exciting list is "expiring certificates" where you can find the list of Domains/ Organizations whose certificates are about to expire. This kind of information can be convenient while auditing or assessing the firm's digital footprint.

Real-time updates

While the documentation says the CertDB continuously scans every reachable web-server, on the Internet; the lab tests are not conclusive. I have asked the team to clarify and shall publish the response as part of the interview once I have a confirmed reply. But, it's appreciable that once their scanner detects the certificate, the information is available for the public to perform the required analysis in near real-time.

Use Cases

While we have all the information extracted from the digital certificates, we have to filter the results to get the required information via GUI or API. The GUI is open to all and can be used to do such queries with search-box, but to use the API one has to register an account.

You can register at https://certdb.com/signup, and an API key shall be allotted to you to perform 1000 queries a day with maximum 1000 results per query.

Field Value
URL https://certdb.net/api
Method GET, POST
api_key <get your key post registration>
q Any query (just like in search interface)
response_type 0 — JSON list of the dictionary with found certificates with all details
1 — JSON list of found certificates in base64
2 — JSON list of distinct organizations from found certificates
3 — JSON list of distinct domains from found certificates

It takes 30 seconds to register and receive the API Key. Here are few examples of querying the right information,

  1. Search for Issuer "Godaddy" issued certificate for an "Italian region" domain/company.
    issuer:"Godaddy.com" country:"Italy"
  2. Certificates issued to a subnet or IP range (example: Amazon Global IP Range: 13.32.0.0/15[8])
    cidr:"13.32.0.0/15" (example: replace , with newline and only list first 10 results tr , '\n' | head -10
    CertDB is a free SSL certificate search engine and analysis platform
  3. Expiring in next ten days.
    expiring:"10 days"
  4. Expiring certificates in next seven days for Netflix organization
    expiring:"7 days" organization:"Netflix"
    CertDB is a free SSL certificate search engine and analysis platform
  5. New Certificates in last five days for Safeway Insurance Company (via API)
    new:"5 days" organization:"Safeway Insurance Company"
    CertDB is a free SSL certificate search engine and analysis platform

There can be many such cases where you would like to know the certificates issued to a firm in the past; or if the firm recently got a new domain/ sub-domain and looking for a new business line. I could think of the following interesting cases if I am doing an assessment,

  1. Dork all the subdomains; site:example.com and then start negating in a loop as per the first result. site:example.com -www to site:example.com -www -test. Or, use a threat intel tool to gather the sub-domains and validate if they all have SSL certificates. Manually check, and report if some domains are not on HTTPS (Refer: Google will be hard on you if you are not on HTTPS!)
  2. If you are technically assessing a company, do check their domains names and Organization. q="organization:"Example Inc." and you will be surprised to see sometimes firms are not aware of the domains on their name, or certificate issued by them but not renewed on time.

Quirks

While the service is great, there are few issues as well which the team is working on,

  1. The errors are not customized. If the API queries are wrong; it dumps a lot of debug data which must be removed.
  2. The API key cannot be re-generated or revoked. You may have to contact CertDB support to revoke it.
  3. The API Key can be used in a GET request. It is not recommended as it can be cached at many hops (example: proxy)
  4. The documentation is not comprehensive, and probably more detailed information is needed when using API calls.
  5. The site doesn't provide an example of API interaction. In my opinion, CertDB should write a page with few examples using Python, CURL, Ruby, Perl and other common languages including json parsing of the results.

Conclusion

It's been few weeks since I am using this service, and my frank opinion is it has great potential and use. I am using this service while assessing AWS instances, and Fortune 500 firms. I have also found some expiring certificates for the clients and informed them in due course of time. I would highly recommend you to have a look and register an account. You can also set a cron job to check the dates/ digital SSL footprint of an organization.

Next Steps: I shall soon be publishing an interview with their team asking for more details on the roadmap, competition, and improvements.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Rubén Bagüés


  1. Comodo CA attack by Iranian hackers ↩︎

  2. Dutch DigiNotar attack by Iranian hackers ↩︎

  3. CEO Emails Private Keys ↩︎

  4. Certificate Transparency is important ↩︎

  5. A secure web by Google ↩︎

  6. Distrust of the Symantec PKI: Immediate action needed by site operators ↩︎

  7. In an exclusive interview with Cyber Sins, CERTDB confirms this "project" will always be free to use. ↩︎

  8. Amazon IP Range: https://ip-ranges.amazonaws.com/ip-ranges.json ↩︎

Three Hacking Groups You Definitely Need to Know About

Hacker groups began to flourish in the early 1980s with the emergence of computer. Hackers are like predators that can access your private data at any time by exploiting the vulnerabilities of your computer. Hackers usually cover up their tracks by leaving false clues or by leaving absolutely no evidence behind. In the light of

The post Three Hacking Groups You Definitely Need to Know About appeared first on Hacker News Bulletin | Find the Latest Hackers News.

Why the Cyber Criminals at Synack need $25 Million to Track Down Main Safety Faults

The enormous number of hacks in 2014 have propelled information safety into the front of the news and the brains of many companies. Cyber attacks on big enterprises like Target, Sony, and Home Depot lately caused President Obama to call for partnership amongst the two sectors (private and public) in order to share the information

The post Why the Cyber Criminals at Synack need $25 Million to Track Down Main Safety Faults appeared first on Hacker News Bulletin | Find the Latest Hackers News.

Want to have a VPN Server on Your Computer (Windows) Without setting up Any Software?

Windows has the added facility to work as a VPN server, even though this choice is undisclosed. This can work on both versions of Windows – Windows 8 and Windows 7. To enable this, the server makes use of the point-to-point tunneling protocol (PPTP.) This could be valuable for linking to your home system on

The post Want to have a VPN Server on Your Computer (Windows) Without setting up Any Software? appeared first on Hacker News Bulletin | Find the Latest Hackers News.

The Health insurance Company – Premera Blue Cross – of the United States of America was cyber criminally attacks and 11 million records were accessed

Pemera Blue Cross, a United States of America – based health insurance corporation, has confided in that its systems were infringed upon and their security and associability was breached when  cyber criminals hacked the company and made their way in 11 million of their customers’ records. It is the second cyber attack in a row

The post The Health insurance Company – Premera Blue Cross – of the United States of America was cyber criminally attacks and 11 million records were accessed appeared first on Hacker News Bulletin | Find the Latest Hackers News.

Political analysts caution air plane connections systems that are susceptible to cyber attacks

Marketable and even martial planes have an Achilles heel that could abscond them as susceptible to cyber criminals on the ground, who specialists say could possibly seize cockpits and generate disorder in the skies. At the present, radical groups are thought to be short of the complexity to bring down a plane vaguely, but it

The post Political analysts caution air plane connections systems that are susceptible to cyber attacks appeared first on Hacker News Bulletin | Find the Latest Hackers News.

Researcher makes $225,000, legally, by cyber attacking browsers

A single researcher who is actually a cyber criminal made $225,000 this week  – that too all by legal means! This cyber research hacker cyber criminally attacked browsers this past week. For the past two days, safety researchers have tumbled down on Vancouver for a Google – sponsored competition called Pwn – 2 – Own,

The post Researcher makes $225,000, legally, by cyber attacking browsers appeared first on Hacker News Bulletin | Find the Latest Hackers News.

Vanished in 60 seconds! – Chinese cyber criminals shut down Adobe Flash, Internet Explorer

Associates of two Chinese cyber crime teams have hollowed out the best prizes at a main yearly hacking competition held in Vancouver, Canada. Cyber attackers at Pwn2Own, commenced in 2007, were triumphant in violating the security of broadly -used software including Adobe Flash, Mozilla’s Firefox browser, Adobe PDF Reader and Microsoft’s freshly – discontinued Internet

The post Vanished in 60 seconds! – Chinese cyber criminals shut down Adobe Flash, Internet Explorer appeared first on Hacker News Bulletin | Find the Latest Hackers News.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Manager

Imagine having the access and control to your computer to any place in the world from your iPhone. That would be really futuristic, no? Actually, this is not because there are applications available that can let you tap into your computer from on your mobile. These remote control applications do more than simply allow you

The post Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Manager appeared first on Hacker News Bulletin | Find the Latest Hackers News.

Anonymous wants to further its engagement in the exploration of space – ‘Unite as Species’

The hack – tivist cyber criminal group Anonymous, more often than not related with cyber campaigns in opposition to fraudulent government administrations and terrorist organizations, has now set its sights on space. They posted a video on the group’s most important You Tube channel on the 18th of March, and called on to everyone through

The post Anonymous wants to further its engagement in the exploration of space – ‘Unite as Species’ appeared first on Hacker News Bulletin | Find the Latest Hackers News.

The Curious Case of the Bouncy Castle BKS Passwords

While investigating BKS files, the path I went down led me to an interesting discovery: BKS-V1 files will accept any number of passwords to reveal information about potentially sensitive contents!

In preparation for my BSidesSF talk, I've been looking at a lot of key files. One file type that caught my interest is the Bouncy Castle BKS (version 1) file format. Like password-protected PKCS12 and JKS keystore files, BKS keystore files protect their contents from those who do not know the password. That is, a BKS file may contain only public information, such as a certificate. Or it may contain one or more private keys. But you won't know until after you use the password to unlock it.

Update March 21, 2018:
We have updated this blog post based on feedback from Thomas Pornin, and confirmation from the Bouncy Castle author. Like JKS files, BKS files do not protect the metadata of their contents by default. The keystore-level password and associated key is only used for integrity checking. By default, private keys are encrypted with the same password as the keystore. These private keys are not affected by the keystore-level weakness outlined in this blog post. That is, even if an unexpected password is accepted by a keystore itself, that same password will not be accepted to decrypt the private key contained within a keystore. Original wording in this blog post that is now understood to be inaccurate has been marked in strikeout notation for transparency.

Cracking BKS Files

As I investigated the first BKS file in my list, I quickly realized assumed that I could not determine what was contained in it unless I had the password. Naively searching the web for things like "bks cracker" and stopping there, I concluded that I'd need to roll my own BKS bruteforce cracker.

Update March 21, 2018:
Tools used to inspect BKS files will refuse to list the contents of the keystore if a valid password is not provided. However, this is actually not because the metadata of the keystore contents are protected. Because the metadata of the keystore contents are not encrypted, this information can be viewed without needing to use a valid password.

Using the pyjks library, I wrote a trivial script:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import os
import sys
import jks

def trypw(bksfile, pw):
try:
keystore = jks.bks.BksKeyStore.load(bksfile, pw)
if keystore:
print('Password for %s found: "%s"' % (bksfile, pw))
sys.exit(0)
except jks.util.KeystoreSignatureException:
pass
except UnicodeDecodeError:
pass

with open(sys.argv[1]) as h:
pwlist = h.readlines()

for pw in pwlist:
trypw(sys.argv[2], pw.rstrip())
sys.exit(1)

Let's try this on the test BKS file that I have:

$ python crackbks.py strings.txt test.bks
Password for test.bks found: "Redefinir senha"

Cool. "Redefinir senha" seems like an unexpected password to me, but it's not terrible in strength. It has 15 characters, and uses mixed-case and a non-alphanumeric character (a space). Depending on the password-cracking technique used, it could hold up pretty well to bruteforce attacks.

The above proof-of-concept script is quite slow, since it will serially attempt passwords, one at a time. Taking advantage of multi-core systems in Python isn't as easy as it should be, due to the Python GIL. As a simple test, I tried using the ProcessPoolExecutor to see if I could increase my password-attempt throughput. ProcessPoolExecutor side-steps the GIL by spreading the work across multiple Python processes. Each Python process has its own GIL, but because multiple Python processes are being used, this approach should help better utilize my multiprocessor system.

Let's try this version of the brute-force cracking tool:

$ python crackbks.py strings.txt test.bks
Password for test.bks found: "Redefinir senha"
Password for test.bks found: "Activity started without extras"
Password for test.bks found: "query.is.any.user.logged.in"

Wait, what is going on here? How can a single BKS file accept multiple passwords? As it turns out, there are two things going on:

First, when I optimized my BKS bruteforce script with the use of ProcessPoolExecutor, I didn't factor in how the script would behave when it is distributed across multiple processes. In the single-threaded instance above, the script exits as soon as it finds the password. However, when it's distributed across multiple processes using ProcessPoolExecutor, things are different. I didn't have any code to explicitly terminate the parent Python process or any of the forked Python processes. The impact of this is that my multi-process BKS cracking script will continue to make attempts after it finds the password.

The other thing that is happening is related to the BKS file format, which I discuss below.

Hashes and Collisions

When a resource is password-protected with a single password, it is extremely unlikely that another password can also be used to unlock the resource. Consider the simple case where a collision-resistant hash function is used to verify the password: Is this password unique?

Applying a cryptographic hash function to the password results in the following hashes:
MD5 (128-bit): 18fcfa801383d10dd0a1fea051674469
SHA-1 (160-bit): c9e2ef80e5f2afb8aef0d058182cc7f59e93e025
SHA-256 (256-bit): 08a6c455079687616e997c7bfd626ae754ba1a71b229db1b3a515cfa45e9d4ea

The MD5 hash algorithm, which has a digest size of 128 bits, was shown in 1996 to be unsafe if a collision-resistant hash is required. By 2005, researchers produced a pair of PostScript documents and a pair of X.509 certificates where each pair shared the same MD5 hash. While it takes a bit of CPU processing power to find such collisions, it's feasible to do so with modern computing hardware.

The SHA-1 hash algorithm, which has a digest size of 160 bits, is more resistant to collisions than MD5. However by February 2017, the first known SHA-1 collision was produced. This attack required "the equivalent processing power as 6,500 years of single-CPU computations and 110 years of single-GPU computations."

The SHA-256 hash algorithm, which has a digest size of 256 bits, is even more resistant to collisions than SHA-1. To date, no collisions have been found using the SHA-256 hashing algorithm.

BKS-V1 Files and Accidental Collisions

My naive BKS bruteforcing script produced three different passwords for the same BKS file. Let's look at the code for handling BKS files in pyjks:

hmac_fn = hashlib.sha1
hmac_digest_size = hmac_fn().digest_size
hmac_key_size = hmac_digest_size*8 if version != 1 else hmac_digest_size
hmac_key = rfc7292.derive_key(hmac_fn, rfc7292.PURPOSE_MAC_MATERIAL, store_password, salt, iteration_count, hmac_key_size//8)

Here we can see that the HMAC function is SHA-1, which isn't bad. However, it turns out that it's the HMAC key (and its size) that is important, since that's what determines whether the correct password has been provided to unlock the BKS keystore file. If the file is a BKS version 1 file, the hmac_key_size value will be the same as hmac_digest_size.

In the case of hashlib.sha1, the digest_size is 20 bytes (160 bits). But where it gets interesting is the derivation of hmac_key. The size of hmac_key is determined by hmac_key_size//8 (integer division, dropping any remainder). In this case, it's 20//8, which is 2 bytes (16 bits). Why is there integer division by 8 at all? It's not clear, but perhaps the developer confused where bits are used and bytes are used in the code.

Let's add a debugging print() statement to the bks.py component of pyjks and test our three different passwords for the same BKS keystore:

$ python -c "import jks; keystore = jks.bks.BksKeyStore.load('test.bks', 'Redefinir senha')"                                                                                                                       hmac_key: c019
$ python -c "import jks; keystore = jks.bks.BksKeyStore.load('test.bks', 'Activity started without extras')" hmac_key: c019
$ python -c "import jks; keystore = jks.bks.BksKeyStore.load('test.bks', 'query.is.any.user.logged.in')" hmac_key: c019

Here we can see that the hmac_key value is c019 (hex) with each of the three different passwords that are provided. In each of the three cases, the BKS-V1 keystore is decrypted, despite the likelihood that not one of the three accepted passwords was the one chosen by the software developer.

Why was I accidentally able to find BKS-V1 password collisions due to my shoddy Python programming skills? The maximum entropy you get from any BKS-V1 password is only 16 bits. This is nowhere near enough bits to represent a password. When it comes to password strength, entropy can be used as a measure. If only bruteforce techniques are used, each case-sensitive Latin alphabet character adds 5.7 bits of entropy. So a randomly-chosen three-character,case-sensitive Latin alphabet password will have 17.1 bits of entropy, which already exceeds the complexity of what you can represent in 16 bits. In other words, while a developer can choose a reasonably-strong password to protect the contents integrity of a BKS-V1 file, the file format itself only supports complexity equivalent to just less than what is provided by a randomly-selected case-sensitive three-letter password.

Cracking BKS-V1 Files

What amount of integrity protection does a 16-bit hmac_key provide? Virtually nothing. 16 bits can only represent 65,536 different values. What this means is regardless of the password complexity the developer has chosen, a bruteforce password cracker needs to try at most 65,536 times. A high-end GPU these days can crunch through over 10 billion SHA-1 operations per second.

As it turns out John the Ripper does have BKS file support, despite what my earlier web searches turned up. While there isn't currently GPU support for cracking BKS files, a CPU is plenty fast enough. My limited testing has shown that any BKS-V1 file can be cracked in about 10 seconds or less using just a single CPU core on a modern system.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Without a doubt, BKS-V1 keystore files are insecure, due to insufficient HMAC key size. Although BKS files support password protection to protect their contents integrity, the protection supplied by version 1 of the file format is nearly zero. For these reasons, here are recommendations for developers who use Bouncy Castle:

  • Be sure to use Bouncy Castle version 1.47 or newer. This version, which was introduced on March 30, 2012, increases the default MAC of a BKS key store from 2 bytes to 20 bytes.

    This information has been in the release notes for Bouncy Castle for about six years, but it may have been overlooked because no CVE identifier was assigned to this weakness. Approximately 84% of the BKS files seen in Android applications are using the vulnerable version 1. We assigned CVE-2018-5382 to this issue to help ensure that it gets the attention it deserves.
  • On modern Bouncy Castle versions, do not use the "BKS-V1" format, which was added for legacy compatibility with Bouncy Castle version 1.46 and earlier.
  • If you have rely on password protection provided by BKS-V1 to protect private key material, these private keys should be considered compromised. Such keys should be regenerated and stored in a keystore that provides adequate protection against brute-force attacks, along with a sufficiently complex and long password. For BKS files that contain only public information, such as certificates, the weak password protection provided by version 1 of the format is not important.

For more details, please see CERT Vulnerability Note VU#306792.

Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: Russia Sanctions, Mossack Fonseca Shutdown, Equifax Insider Trading

On Thursday, the U.S. government imposed sanctions against five entities and 19 individuals for their role in “destabilizing activities” ranging from interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to carrying out destructive cyber-attacks such as NotPetya, an event that the Treasury department said is the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history.

“These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin in a press release. “Treasury intends to impose additional CAATSA [Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act] sanctions, informed by our intelligence community, to hold Russian government officials and oligarchs accountable for their destabilizing activities by severing their access to the U.S. financial system.”

Nine of the 24 entities and individuals named on Thursday had already received previous sanctions from either President Obama or President Trump for unrelated reasons, The New York Times reported.

In addition to the sanctions, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a joint alert warning that the Russian government is targeting government entities as well as organizations in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors.

According to the alert, Russian government cyber actors targeted small commercial facilities’ networks with a multi-stage intrusion campaign that staged malware, conducted spear phishing attacks, and gained remote access into energy sector networks. The actors then used their access to conduct network reconnaissance, move laterally, and collect information pertaining to Industrial Control Systems.

2018-03-17_ITTGroups.png

Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:

  • Sensitive data exposed: Researchers discovered a publicly accessible Amazon S3 bucket belonging to the Chicago-based jewelry company MBM Company Inc. that exposed the personal information of more than 1.3 million people. About 3,000 South Carolina recipients of the Palmetto Fellows scholarship had their personal information exposed online for over a year due to a glitch when switching programs. The Dutch Data Protection Authority accidentally leaked the names of some of its employees due to not removing metadata from more than 800 public documents.
  • State data breach notifications: ABM Industries is notifying clients of a phishing incident that may have compromised their personal information. Chopra Enterprises is notifying customers that payment cards used on its ecommerce site may have been compromised. Neil D. DiLorenzo CPA is notifying clients of unauthorized access to a system that contained files related to tax returns, and several clients have reported fraudulent activity related to their tax returns. NetCredit is warning a small percentage of customers that an unauthorized party used their credentials to access their accounts.
  • Other data breaches: A misconfiguration at Florida Virtual School led to the personal information of  368,000 students as well as thousands of former and current Leon County Schools employees being compromised. Okaloosa County Water and Sewer said that individuals may have had their payment card information stolen due to a breach involving external vendors that process credit and debit card payments.  The Nampa School District said that an email account compromise may have compromised the personal information of 3,983 current and past employees. A cyber-attack at the Port of Longview may have exposed the personal information of 370 current and former employees as well as 47 vendors.
  • Arrests and legal actions: A Maryland Man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in a multi-million dollar identity theft scheme that claimed fraudulent tax refunds over a seven-year period. The owner of Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ in Missouri has been charged with various counts related to the use of stolen credit cards. Svitzer said that 500 employees are impacted by the discovery of three employee email accounts in finance, payroll, and operations were auto-forwarding emails outside of the company for nearly 11 months without the company’s knowledge.
  • Other notable events: Up to 450 people who filed reports with Gwent Police over a two-year period had their data exposed due to security flaws in the online tool, and those people were never notified that their data may have been compromised. A security flaw on a Luxembourg public radio station may have exposed non-public information.

SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of the top trending targets are shown in the chart below.

2018-03-17_ITT

Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week

2018-03-17_RiskScoresTwo of the largest data breaches of recent memory were back in the news this week due to Mossack Fonseca announcing that it is shutting down following the fallout from the Panama Papers breach as well as a former Equifax employee being charged with insider trading related to its massive breach.

Documents stolen from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and leaked to the media in April 2016 were at the center of the scandal known as the Panama Papers, which largely revealed how rich individuals around the world were able to evade taxes in various countries.

“The reputational deterioration, the media campaign, the financial circus and the unusual actions by certain Panamanian authorities, have occasioned an irreversible damage that necessitates the obligatory ceasing of public operations at the end of the current month,” Mossack Fonseca wrote in a statement.

While Mossack Fonseca’s data breach appears to have finally led to the organization shutting down, Equifax’s massive breach announcement in September 2017 has since sparked a variety of regulatory questions, as well as criticism of the company’s leadership and allegations of insider trading.

Last week the SEC officially filed a complaint that alleges that Jun Ying, who was next in line to be the company’s global CIO, conducted insider trading by using confidential information entrusted to him by the company to conclude Equifax had suffered a serious breach, and Ying then exercised all of his vested Equifax stock options and sold the shares in the days before the breach was publicly disclosed.

“According to the complaint, by selling before public disclosure of the data breach, Ying avoided more than $117,000 in losses,” the SEC wrote in a press release.

Ying also faces criminal charges from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

Google’s new Gaming Venture: A New Player?

Google in Gaming – Facts and Speculation In January 2018, game industry veteran Phil Harrison announced that he was joining Google as a Vice President and GM. With Harrison’s long history of involvement with video game companies – having previously worked with Sony and Microsoft’s Xbox division – this immediately prompted speculation and rumours about […]

Marketing “Dirty Tinder” On Twitter

About a week ago, a Tweet I was mentioned in received a dozen or so “likes” over a very short time period (about two minutes). I happened to be on my computer at the time, and quickly took a look at the accounts that generated those likes. They all followed a similar pattern. Here’s an example of one of the accounts’ profiles:

This particular avatar was very commonly used as a profile picture in these accounts.

All of the accounts I checked contained similar phrases in their description fields. Here’s a list of common phrases I identified:

  • Check out
  • Check this
  • How do you like my site
  • How do you like me
  • You love it harshly
  • Do you like fast
  • Do you like it gently
  • Come to my site
  • Come in
  • Come on
  • Come to me
  • I want you
  • You want me
  • Your favorite
  • Waiting you
  • Waiting you at

All of the accounts also contained links to URLs in their description field that pointed to domains such as the following:

  • me2url.info
  • url4.pro
  • click2go.info
  • move2.pro
  • zen5go.pro
  • go9to.pro

It turns out these are all shortened URLs, and the service behind each of them has the exact same landing page:

“I will ban drugs, spam, porn, etc.” Yeah, right.

My colleague, Sean, checked a few of the links and found that they landed on “adult dating” sites. Using a VPN to change the browser’s exit node, he noticed that the landing pages varied slightly by region. In Finland, the links ended up on a site called “Dirty Tinder”.

Checking further, I noticed that some of the accounts either followed, or were being followed by other accounts with similar traits, so I decided to write a script to programmatically “crawl” this network, in order to see how large it is.

The script I wrote was rather simple. It was seeded with the dozen or so accounts that I originally witnessed, and was designed to iterate friends and followers for each user, looking for other accounts displaying similar traits. Whenever a new account was discovered, it was added to the query list, and the process continued. Of course, due to Twitter API rate limit restrictions, the whole crawler loop was throttled so as to not perform more queries than the API allowed for, and hence crawling the network took quite some time.

My script recorded a graph of which accounts were following/followed by which other accounts. After a few hours I checked the output and discovered an interesting pattern:

Graph of follower/following relationships between identified accounts after about a day of running the discovery script.

The discovered accounts seemed to be forming independent “clusters” (through follow/friend relationships). This is not what you’d expect from a normal social interaction graph.

After running for several days the script had queried about 3000 accounts, and discovered a little over 22,000 accounts with similar traits. I stopped it there. Here’s a graph of the resulting network.

Pretty much the same pattern I’d seen after one day of crawling still existed after one week. Just a few of the clusters weren’t “flower” shaped. Here’s a few zooms of the graph.

 

Since I’d originally noticed several of these accounts liking the same tweet over a short period of time, I decided to check if the accounts in these clusters had anything in common. I started by checking this one:

Oddly enough, there were absolutely no similarities between these accounts. They were all created at very different times and all Tweeted/liked different things at different times. I checked a few other clusters and obtained similar results.

One interesting thing I found was that the accounts were created over a very long time period. Some of the accounts discovered were over eight years old. Here’s a breakdown of the account ages:

As you can see, this group has less new accounts in it than older ones. That big spike in the middle of the chart represents accounts that are about six years old. One reason why there are fewer new accounts in this network is because Twitter’s automation seems to be able to flag behaviors or patterns in fresh accounts and automatically restrict or suspend them. In fact, while my crawler was running, many of the accounts on the graphs above were restricted or suspended.

Here are a few more breakdowns – Tweets published, likes, followers and following.

Here’s a collage of some of the profile pictures found. I modified a python script to generate this – far better than using one of those “free” collage making tools available on the Internets. 🙂

So what are these accounts doing? For the most part, it seems they’re simply trying to advertise the “adult dating” sites linked in the account profiles. They do this by liking, retweeting, and following random Twitter accounts at random times, fishing for clicks. I did find one that had been helping to sell stuff:

Individually the accounts probably don’t break any of Twitter’s terms of service. However, all of these accounts are likely controlled by a single entity. This network of accounts seems quite benign, but in theory, it could be quickly repurposed for other tasks including “Twitter marketing” (paid services to pad an account’s followers or engagement), or to amplify specific messages.

If you’re interested, I’ve saved a list of both screen_name and id_str for each discovered account here. You can also find the scraps of code I used while performing this research in that same github repo.

Suspected Chinese Cyber Espionage Group (TEMP.Periscope) Targeting U.S. Engineering and Maritime Industries

Intrusions Focus on the Engineering and Maritime Sector

Since early 2018, FireEye (including our FireEye as a Service (FaaS), Mandiant Consulting, and iSIGHT Intelligence teams) has been tracking an ongoing wave of intrusions targeting engineering and maritime entities, especially those connected to South China Sea issues. The campaign is linked to a group of suspected Chinese cyber espionage actors we have tracked since 2013, dubbed TEMP.Periscope. The group has also been reported as “Leviathan” by other security firms.

The current campaign is a sharp escalation of detected activity since summer 2017. Like multiple other Chinese cyber espionage actors, TEMP.Periscope has recently re-emerged and has been observed conducting operations with a revised toolkit. Known targets of this group have been involved in the maritime industry, as well as engineering-focused entities, and include research institutes, academic organizations, and private firms in the United States. FireEye products have robust detection for the malware used in this campaign.

TEMP.Periscope Background

Active since at least 2013, TEMP.Periscope has primarily focused on maritime-related targets across multiple verticals, including engineering firms, shipping and transportation, manufacturing, defense, government offices, and research universities. However, the group has also targeted professional/consulting services, high-tech industry, healthcare, and media/publishing. Identified victims were mostly found in the United States, although organizations in Europe and at least one in Hong Kong have also been affected. TEMP.Periscope overlaps in targeting, as well as tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), with TEMP.Jumper, a group that also overlaps significantly with public reporting on “NanHaiShu.”

TTPs and Malware Used

In their recent spike in activity, TEMP.Periscope has leveraged a relatively large library of malware shared with multiple other suspected Chinese groups. These tools include:

  • AIRBREAK: a JavaScript-based backdoor also reported as “Orz” that retrieves commands from hidden strings in compromised webpages and actor controlled profiles on legitimate services.
  • BADFLICK: a backdoor that is capable of modifying the file system, generating a reverse shell, and modifying its command and control (C2) configuration.
  • PHOTO: a DLL backdoor also reported publicly as “Derusbi”, capable of obtaining directory, file, and drive listing; creating a reverse shell; performing screen captures; recording video and audio; listing, terminating, and creating processes; enumerating, starting, and deleting registry keys and values; logging keystrokes, returning usernames and passwords from protected storage; and renaming, deleting, copying, moving, reading, and writing to files.
  • HOMEFRY: a 64-bit Windows password dumper/cracker that has previously been used in conjunction with AIRBREAK and BADFLICK backdoors. Some strings are obfuscated with XOR x56. The malware accepts up to two arguments at the command line: one to display cleartext credentials for each login session, and a second to display cleartext credentials, NTLM hashes, and malware version for each login session.
  • LUNCHMONEY: an uploader that can exfiltrate files to Dropbox.
  • MURKYTOP: a command-line reconnaissance tool. It can be used to execute files as a different user, move, and delete files locally, schedule remote AT jobs, perform host discovery on connected networks, scan for open ports on hosts in a connected network, and retrieve information about the OS, users, groups, and shares on remote hosts.
  • China Chopper: a simple code injection webshell that executes Microsoft .NET code within HTTP POST commands. This allows the shell to upload and download files, execute applications with web server account permissions, list directory contents, access Active Directory, access databases, and any other action allowed by the .NET runtime.

The following are tools that TEMP.Periscope has leveraged in past operations and could use again, though these have not been seen in the current wave of activity:

  • Beacon: a backdoor that is commercially available as part of the Cobalt Strike software platform, commonly used for pen-testing network environments. The malware supports several capabilities, such as injecting and executing arbitrary code, uploading and downloading files, and executing shell commands.
  • BLACKCOFFEE: a backdoor that obfuscates its communications as normal traffic to legitimate websites such as Github and Microsoft's Technet portal. Used by APT17 and other Chinese cyber espionage operators.

Additional identifying TTPs include:

  • Spear phishing, including the use of probably compromised email accounts.
  • Lure documents using CVE-2017-11882 to drop malware.
  • Stolen code signing certificates used to sign malware.
  • Use of bitsadmin.exe to download additional tools.
  • Use of PowerShell to download additional tools.
  • Using C:\Windows\Debug and C:\Perflogs as staging directories.
  • Leveraging Hyperhost VPS and Proton VPN exit nodes to access webshells on internet-facing systems.
  • Using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) for persistence.
  • Using Windows Shortcut files (.lnk) in the Startup folder that invoke the Windows Scripting Host (wscript.exe) to execute a Jscript backdoor for persistence.
  • Receiving C2 instructions from user profiles created by the adversary on legitimate websites/forums such as Github and Microsoft's TechNet portal.

Implications

The current wave of identified intrusions is consistent with TEMP.Periscope and likely reflects a concerted effort to target sectors that may yield information that could provide an economic advantage, research and development data, intellectual property, or an edge in commercial negotiations.

As we continue to investigate this activity, we may identify additional data leading to greater analytical confidence linking the operation to TEMP.Periscope or other known threat actors, as well as previously unknown campaigns.

Indicators

File

Hash

Description

x.js

3fefa55daeb167931975c22df3eca20a

HOMEFRY, a 64-bit Windows password dumper/cracker

mt.exe

40528e368d323db0ac5c3f5e1efe4889

MURKYTOP, a command-line reconnaissance tool 

com4.js

a68bf5fce22e7f1d6f999b7a580ae477

AIRBREAK, a JavaScript-based backdoor which retrieves commands from hidden strings in compromised webpages

Historical Indicators

File

Hash

Description

green.ddd

3eb6f85ac046a96204096ab65bbd3e7e

AIRBREAK, a JavaScript-based backdoor which retrieves commands from hidden strings in compromised webpages

BGij

6e843ef4856336fe3ef4ed27a4c792b1

Beacon, a commercially available backdoor

msresamn.ttf

a9e7539c1ebe857bae6efceefaa9dd16

PHOTO, also reported as Derusbi

1024-aa6a121f98330df2edee6c4391df21ff43a33604

bd9e4c82bf12c4e7a58221fc52fed705

BADFLICK, backdoor that is capable of modifying the file system, generating a reverse shell, and modifying its command-and-control configuration

Report Spam. Get Owned.

So, a couple weeks ago Matt Svensson (@TechNerdings) dropped me a DM in Twitter:

Random other thing that I am curious if you guys have seen anything on... I just got an email from the local eye clinic. I hit the "spam" button on Gmail to report spam and unsubscribe. What I didn't realize is that it actually opens the unsubscribe link in the browser. Good news, easy unsubscribe. Maybe.....if you properly craft the spam...you could use the unsubscribe button to open a malicious web page?

Um... yeah! I immediately thought of how great a CSRF-via-email attack vector this was. Think about it. Users are trained not to click links, but in the case of Gmail, they're taught to click the handy-dandy "Report Spam" button to report it to the spam filter. But wait a second. The handy-dandy "Report Spam" button will go the extra step and unsubscribe the user from future attacks as well if the user so desires... and they do.

Scenario

An attacker crafts a spam message with an embedded "unsubscribe" link containing the CSRF attack payload like so:

The attacker then sends the email to their victims. In the process of reporting suspicious links and unsubscribing from future messages, because it's the "safe" thing the victims were trained to do, Google clicks the link for the victims, and the CSRF attack payload is triggered from the victim's browser.

Further Study

Being a user of both Gmail and G Suite, I did some additional testing and noticed some other interesting behavior regarding the effectiveness of this attack across these platforms.

  • Gmail to G Suite worked as noted above.
  • G Suite to Gmail resulted in a different message that did not have the option to mark as spam and unsubscribe and warned of possible danger.
  • Gmail to Gmail worked as well.

Interesting. You'd think the stuff coming from Gmail would be the most suspicious because anyone could create a free Gmail account and use it for spam. But Google trusts the Gmail stuff where it warns of the G Suite stuff.

While in theory I love this idea, it wasn't nearly as awesome in practice. After a little bit of fooling around, I couldn't get it to trigger in any of my accounts anymore. Gmail learned something about my attempts to replicate the attack and stopped asking about the spam when clicking the "Report Spam" button. Even after going into the spam folder and marking the message as "Not Spam." I suspect when you report something as spam once, Gmail remembers and doesn't ask whether you want to unsubscribe or just filter the next time you click the "Report Spam" button. It just filters it.

Verifying Targets

Before this information is at all useful, an attacker must validate whether or not their target is using one of Google's email services. Detecting Gmail is easy. Just look for the @gmail.com domain in the email address. Detecting G Suite isn't much harder. Do a MX record lookup for the email addresses domain (hostname actually) via DNS and examine the mail server addresses. Below is an example of using dig to conduct such a lookup for the tim.tomes@practisec.com email address:

$ dig -t MX practisec.com +short
1 aspmx.l.google.com.
5 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.
5 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.
10 alt3.aspmx.l.google.com.
10 alt4.aspmx.l.google.com.

As you can see, it quickly becomes obvious who the target is using for a mail provider. Any domain other than gmail.com using Google's mail servers is a G Suite user.

Responsible Disclosure

With Matt's permission, I went ahead and submitted the issue to Google as a security issue, knowing full well that it was a long shot. I mean, technically, the onus is on the user to understand their technology, but Google definitely makes it easier to exploit users through their platform, albeit to attack someone else's vulnerability. Google's response?

Status: Won't Fix (Intended Behavior)

Thanks Google.

If the bug is ever made public, it will be available here.

Iranian Threat Group Updates Tactics, Techniques and Procedures in Spear Phishing Campaign

Introduction

From January 2018 to March 2018, through FireEye’s Dynamic Threat Intelligence, we observed attackers leveraging the latest code execution and persistence techniques to distribute malicious macro-based documents to individuals in Asia and the Middle East.

We attribute this activity to TEMP.Zagros (reported by Palo Alto Networks and Trend Micro as MuddyWater), an Iran-nexus actor that has been active since at least May 2017. This actor has engaged in prolific spear phishing of government and defense entities in Central and Southwest Asia. The spear phishing emails and attached malicious macro documents typically have geopolitical themes. When successfully executed, the malicious documents install a backdoor we track as POWERSTATS.

One of the more interesting observations during the analysis of these files was the re-use of the latest AppLocker bypass, and lateral movement techniques for the purpose of indirect code execution. The IP address in the lateral movement techniques was substituted with the local machine IP address to achieve code execution on the system.

Campaign Timeline

In this campaign, the threat actor’s tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) shifted after about a month, as did their targets. A brief timeline of this activity is shown in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Timeline of this recently observed spear phishing campaign

The first part of the campaign (From Jan. 23, 2018, to Feb. 26, 2018) used a macro-based document that dropped a VBS file and an INI file. The INI file contains the Base64 encoded PowerShell command, which will be decoded and executed by PowerShell using the command line generated by the VBS file on execution using WScript.exe. The process chain is shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2: Process chain for the first part of the campaign

Although the actual VBS script changed from sample to sample, with different levels of obfuscation and different ways of invoking the next stage of process tree, its final purpose remained same: invoking PowerShell to decode the Base64 encoded PowerShell command in the INI file that was dropped earlier by the macro, and executing it. One such example of the VBS invoking PowerShell via MSHTA is shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3: VBS invoking PowerShell via MSHTA

The second part of the campaign (from Feb. 27, 2018, to March 5, 2018) used a new variant of the macro that does not use VBS for PowerShell code execution. Instead, it uses one of the recently disclosed code execution techniques leveraging INF and SCT files, which we will go on to explain later in the blog.

Infection Vector

We believe the infection vector for all of the attacks involved in this campaign are macro-based documents sent as an email attachment. One such email that we were able to obtain was targeting users in Turkey, as shown in Figure 4:


Figure 4: Sample spear phishing email containing macro-based document attachment

The malicious Microsoft Office attachments that we observed appear to have been specially crafted for individuals in four countries: Turkey, Pakistan, Tajikistan and India. What follows is four examples, and a complete list is available in the Indicators of Compromise section at the end of the blog.

Figure 5 shows a document purporting to be from the National Assembly of Pakistan.


Figure 5: Document purporting to be from the National Assembly of Pakistan

A document purporting to be from the Turkish Armed Forces, with content written in the Turkish language, is shown in Figure 6.


Figure 6: Document purporting to be from the Turkish Armed Forces

A document purporting to be from the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (established by the Reserve Bank of India) is shown in Figure 7.


Figure 7: Document purporting to be from the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology

Figure 8 shows a document written in Tajik that purports to be from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan.


Figure 8: Document written in Tajik that purports to be from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan

Each of these macro-based documents used similar techniques for code execution, persistence and communication with the command and control (C2) server.

Indirect Code Execution Through INF and SCT

This scriptlet code execution technique leveraging INF and SCT files was recently discovered and documented in February 2018. The threat group in this recently observed campaign – TEMP.Zagros – weaponized their malware using the following techniques.

The macro in the Word document drops three files in a hard coded path: C:\programdata. Since the path is hard coded, the execution will only be observed in operating systems, Windows 7 and above. The following are the three files:

  • Defender.sct – The malicious JavaScript based scriptlet file.
  • DefenderService.inf – The INF file that is used to invoke the above scriptlet file.
  • WindowsDefender.ini – The Base64 encoded and obfuscated PowerShell script.

After dropping the three files, the macro will set the following registry key to achieve persistence:

\REGISTRY\USER\SID\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersio
   n\Run\"WindowsDefenderUpdater"
= cmstp.exe /s c:\programdata\DefenderService.inf

Upon system restart, cmstp.exe will be used to execute the SCT file indirectly through the INF file. This is possible because inside the INF file we have the following section:

[UnRegisterOCXSection]
%11%\scrobj.dll,NI,c:/programdata/Defender.sct

That section gets indirectly invoked through the DefaultInstall_SingleUser section of INF, as shown in Figure 9.


Figure 9: Indirectly invoking SCT through the DefaultInstall_SingleUser section of INF

This method of code execution is performed in an attempt to evade security products. FireEye MVX and HX Endpoint Security technology successfully detect this code execution technique.

SCT File Analysis

The code of the Defender.sct file is an obfuscated JavaScript. The main function performed by the SCT file is to Base64 decode the contents of WindowsDefender.ini file and execute the decoded PowerShell Script using the following command line:

powershell.exe -exec Bypass -c iex([System.Text.Encoding]::Unicode.GetString([System.Convert]::FromBase64String((get-content C:\\ProgramData\\WindowsDefender.ini)

The rest of the malicious activities are performed by the PowerShell Script.

PowerShell File Analysis

The PowerShell script employs several layers of obfuscation to hide its actual functionality. In addition to obfuscation techniques, it also has the ability to detect security tools on the analysis machine, and can also shut down the system if it detects the presence of such tools.

Some of the key obfuscation techniques used are:

  • Character Replacement: Several instances of character replacement and string reversing techniques (Figure 10) make analysis difficult.


Figure 10: Character replacement and string reversing techniques

  • PowerShell Environment Variables: Nowadays, malware authors commonly mask critical strings such as “IEX” using environment variables. Some of the instances used in this script are:
    • $eNv:puBLic[13]+$ENv:pUBLIc[5]+'x'
    • ($ENV:cOMsPEC[4,26,25]-jOin'')
  • XOR encoding: The biggest section of the PowerShell script is XOR encoded using a single byte key, as shown in Figure 11.


Figure 11: PowerShell script is XOR encoded using a single byte key

After deobfuscating the contents of the PowerShell Script, we can divide it into three sections.

Section 1

The first section of the PowerShell script is responsible for setting different key variables that are used by the remaining sections of the PowerShell script, especially the following variables:

  • TEMpPAtH = "C:\ProgramData\" (the path used for storing the temp files)
  • Get_vAlIdIP = https://api.ipify.org/ (used to get the public IP address of the machine)
  • FIlENAmePATHP = WindowsDefender.ini (file used to store Powershell code)
  • PRIVAtE = Private Key exponents
  • PUbLIc = Public Key exponents
  • Hklm = "HKLM:\Software\"
  • Hkcu = "HKCU:\Software\"
  • ValuE = "kaspersky"
  • SYSID
  • DrAGon_MidDLe = [array of proxy URLs]

Among those variables, there is one variable of particular interest, DrAGon_MidDLe, which stores the list of proxy URLs (detailed at the end of the blog in the Network Indicators portion of the Indicators of Compromise section) that will be used to interact with the C2 server, as shown in Figure 12.


Figure 12: DrAGon_MidDLe stores the list of proxy URLs used to interact with C2 server

Section 2

The second section of the PowerShell script has the ability to perform encryption and decryption of messages that are exchanged between the system and the C2 server. The algorithm used for encryption and decryption is RSA, which leverages the public and private key exponents included in Section 1 of the PowerShell script.

Section 3

The third section of the PowerShell script is the biggest section and has a wide variety of functionalities.

During analysis, we observed a code section where a message written in Chinese and hard coded in the script will be printed in the case of an error while connecting to the C2 server:

The English translation for this message is: “Cannot connect to website, please wait for dragon”.

Other functionalities provided by this section of the PowerShell Script are as follows:

  • Retrieves the following data from the system by leveraging Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) queries and environment variables:
    • IP Address from Network Adapter Configuration
    • OS Name
    • OS Architecture
    • Computer Name
    • Computer Domain Name
    • Username

All of this data is concatenated and formatted as shown in Figure 13:


Figure 13: Concatenated and formatted data retrieved by PowerShell script

  • Register the victim’s machine to the C2 server by sending the REGISTER command to the server. In response, if the status is OK, then a TOKEN is received from the C2 server that is used to synchronize the activities between the victim’s machine and the C2 server.

While sending to the C2 server, the data is formatted as follows:

@{SYSINFO  = $get.ToString(); ACTION = "REGISTER";}

  • Ability to take screenshots.
  • Checks for the presence of security tools (detailed in the Appendix) and if any of these security tools are discovered, then the system will be shut down, as shown in Figure 14.


Figure 14: System shut down upon discovery of security tools

  • Ability to receive PowerShell script from the C2 server and execute on the machine. Several techniques are employed for executing the PowerShell code:
    • If command starts with “excel”, then it leverages DDEInitiate Method of Excel.Appilcation to execute the code: 
    • If the command starts with “outlook”, then it leverages Outlook.Application and MSHTA to execute the code: 
    • If the command starts with “risk”, then execution is performed through DCOM object: 
  • File upload functionality.
  • Ability to disable Microsoft Office Protected View (as shown in Figure 15) by setting the following keys in the Windows Registry:
    • DisableAttachmentsInPV
    • DisableInternetFilesInPV
    • DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV


Figure 15: Disabling Microsoft Office Protected View

  • Ability to remotely reboot or shut down or clean the system based on the command received from the C2 server, as shown in Figure 16.


Figure 16: Reboot, shut down and clean commands

  • Ability to sleep for a given number of seconds.

The following table summarizes the main C2 commands supported by this PowerShell Script.

C2 Command

Purpose

reboot

Reboot the system using shutdown command

shutdown

Shut down the system using shutdown command

clean

Wipe the Drives, C:\, D:\, E:\, F:\

screenshot

Take a screenshot of the System

upload

Encrypt and upload the information from the system

excel

Leverage Excel.Application COM object for code execution

outlook

Leverage Outlook.Application COM object for code execution

risk

Leverage DCOM object for code execution

Conclusion

This activity shows us that TEMP.Zagros stays up-to-date with the latest code execution and persistence mechanism techniques, and that they can quickly leverage these techniques to update their malware. By combining multiple layers of obfuscation, they deter the process of reverse engineering and also attempt to evade security products.

Users can protect themselves from such attacks by disabling Office macros in their settings and also by being more vigilant when enabling macros (especially when prompted) in documents, even if such documents are from seemingly trusted sources.

Indicators of Compromise

Macro based Documents and Hashes

SHA256 Hash

Filename

Targeted Region

eff78c23790ee834f773569b52cddb01dc3c4dd9660f5a476af044ef6fe73894

na.doc

 

Pakistan

76e9988dad0278998861717c774227bf94112db548946ef617bfaa262cb5e338

Invest in Turkey.doc

Turkey

6edc067fc2301d7a972a654b3a07398d9c8cbe7bb38d1165b80ba4a13805e5ac

güvenlik yönergesi. .doc

Turkey

009cc0f34f60467552ef79c3892c501043c972be55fe936efb30584975d45ec0

idrbt.doc

 

India

18479a93fc2d5acd7d71d596f27a5834b2b236b44219bb08f6ca06cf760b74f6

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Kimlik Kartı.doc

Turkey

3da24cd3af9a383b731ce178b03c68a813ab30f4c7c8dfbc823a32816b9406fb

Turkish Armed Forces.doc

 

Turkey

9038ba1b7991ff38b802f28c0e006d12d466a8e374d2f2a83a039aabcbe76f5c

na.gov.pk.doc

 

Pakistan

3b1d8dcbc8072b1ec10f5300c3ea9bb20db71bd8fa443d97332790b74584a115

MVD-FORM-1800.doc

Tajikistan

cee801b7a901eb69cd166325ed3770daffcd9edd8113a961a94c8b9ddf318c88

KEGM-CyberAttack.doc

Turkey

1ee9649a2f9b2c8e0df318519e2f8b4641fd790a118445d7a0c0b3c02b1ba942

IL-1801.doc

Turkey

aa60c1fae6a0ef3b9863f710e46f0a7407cf0feffa240b9a4661a4e8884ac627

kiyiemniyeti.doc

Turkey

93745a6605a77f149471b41bd9027390c91373558f62058a7333eb72a26faf84

TCELL-S1-M.doc

Tajikistan

c87799cce6d65158da97aa31a5160a0a6b6dd5a89dea312604cc66ed5e976cc9

egm-1.doc

Turkey

2cea0b740f338c513a6390e7951ff3371f44c7c928abf14675b49358a03a5d13

Connectel .pk.doc

Pakistan

18cf5795c2208d330bd297c18445a9e25238dd7f28a1a6ef55e2a9239f5748cd

gßvenlik_yÜnergesi_.doc

Turkey

153117aa54492ca955b540ac0a8c21c1be98e9f7dd8636a36d73581ec1ddcf58

MIT.doc

Turkey

d07d4e71927cab4f251bcc216f560674c5fb783add9c9f956d3fc457153be025

Gvenlik Ynergesi.doc

Turkey

af5f102f0597db9f5e98068724e31d68b8f7c23baeea536790c50db587421102

Gvenlik Ynergesi.doc

Turkey

5550615affe077ddf66954edf132824e4f1fe16b3228e087942b0cad0721a6af

NA

Turkey

3d96811de7419a8c090a671d001a85f2b1875243e5b38e6f927d9877d0ff9b0c

Anadolu Güneydoğu Projesinde .doc

Turkey

Network Indicators

List of Proxy URLs

hxxp://alessandrofoglino[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://www.easy-home-sales[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://www.almaarefut[.]com/admin/db_template.php

hxxp://chinamall[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://amesoulcoaching[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://www.antigonisworld[.]com/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxps://anbinni.ba/wp-admin/db_template.php

hxxp://arctistrade[.]de/wp/db_template.php

hxxp://aianalytics[.]ie//db_template.php

hxxp://www.gilforsenate[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://mgamule[.]co.za/oldweb/db_template.php

hxxp://chrisdejager-attorneys[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://alfredocifuentes[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://alxcorp[.]com//db_template.php

hxxps://www.aircafe24[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://agencereferencement.be/wp-admin/db_template.php

hxxp://americanlegacies[.]org/webthed_ftw/db_template.php

hxxps://aloefly[.]net//db_template.php

hxxp://www.duotonedigital[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://architectsinc[.]net//db_template.php

hxxp://www.tanati[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://emware[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://breastfeedingbra[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://alhidayahfoundation[.]co[.]uk/category/db_template.php

hxxp://cashforyousa[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxps://www.airporttaxi-uk[.]co[.]uk/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://antjetaubert[.]de//db_template.php

hxxp://hesterwebber[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://fickstarelectrical[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://alex-frost[.]com/assets/db_template.php

hxxps://americanbrasil[.]com.br//db_template.php

hxxps://aileeshop[.]com//db_template.php

hxxps://annodle[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://goldeninstitute[.]co.za/contents/db_template.php

hxxp://ednpk[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://www.arabiccasinochoice[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://proeventsports[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://glenbridge[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://berped[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://best-digital-slr-cameras[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://antonhirvonen[.]com/pengalandet.se/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://www.alpacal[.]com//db_template.php

hxxps://www.alakml[.]com/wp-admin/db_template.php

hxxp://ar-rihla[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://appsvoice[.]info//db_template.php

hxxp://www.bashancorp[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://alexanderbecker[.]net/services/db_template.php

hxxp://visionclinic.co.ls/visionclinic/db_template.php

hxxps://www.angelesrevista[.]com//db_template.php

hxxps://www.antojoentucocina[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://apollonweb[.]com//db_template.php

hxxps://www.alphapixa[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://capitalradiopetition[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://www.generictoners[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxps://alnahdatraining[.]com//db_template.php

hxxps://albousala[.]com//db_template.php

hxxps://www.dopetroleum[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://bios-chip[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://www.crissamconsulting[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://capriflower[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://www.dingaanassociates[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://indiba-africa[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://verifiedseller[.]co.za/js/db_template.php

hxxps://www.buraqlubricant[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://aqarco[.]com/wp-admin/db_template.php

hxxp://allaboutblockchain[.]net//db_template.php

hxxp://www.amexcars[.]info/tpl/db_template.php

hxxp://clandecor[.]co.za/rvsUtf8Backup/db_template.php

hxxp://bakron[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://gsnconsulting[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://vumavaluations[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://heritagetravelmw[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://ampvita[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://ahero-resource-center[.]org/administrator/db_template.php

hxxps://arbulario[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://havilahglo[.]co.za/wpscripts/db_template.php

hxxp://www.bestdecorativemirrors[.]com/More-Mirrors/db_template.php

hxxp://delectronics[.]com[.]pk//db_template.php

hxxp://antucomp[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://advocatetn[.]com/font-awesome/fonts/db_template.php

hxxps://amooy[.]com/webservice/db_template.php

hxxp://www.harmonyguesthouse[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://alanrori[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://algarvesup[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://desirablehair[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://comsip[.]org.mw//db_template.php

hxxp://jdcorporate[.]co.za/catalog/db_template.php

hxxp://andrewfinnburhoe[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://anyeva[.]com/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://www.agenceuhd[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://host4unix[.]net/host24new/db_template.php

hxxp://www.altaica[.]ca/wordpress/db_template.php

hxxp://www.allbuyer[.]co[.]uk//db_template.php

hxxp://jvpsfunerals[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://immaculatepainters[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://tcpbereka[.]co.za/js/db_template.php

hxxp://clientcare.co.ls//db_template.php

hxxp://investaholdings[.]co.za/htc/db_template.php

hxxp://www.amjobs[.]co[.]uk//db_template.php

hxxp://www.agirlgonewine[.]com/store/db_template.php

hxxp://findinfo-more[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://asgen[.]org//db_template.php

hxxp://alphasalesrecruitment[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://irshadfoundation[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://analternatif[.]com/includes/db_template.php

hxxp://arbruisseau[.]com/profiles/db_template.php

hxxp://ladiescircle[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://all-reseller[.]com/zzz_backup/db_template.php

hxxp://alcatrazmoon[.]com/images/db_template.php

hxxp://www.alcalumni[.]com/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://aniljoseph[.]com/servermon/db_template.php

hxxp://alwake3press[.]com/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://www.hfhl[.]org.ls/habitat/db_template.php

hxxp://alcafricanos[.]com/slsmonographs/db_template.php

hxxps://agapeencounter[.]org//db_template.php

hxxp://apobiomedix[.]ca//db_template.php

hxxp://anythinglah[.]info//db_template.php

hxxp://aniroleplay[.]net//db_template.php

hxxp://www.allcopytoners[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://alphaobring[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://www.galwayprimary[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://alnuzha[.]org/en/db_template.php

hxxps://ancient-wisdoms[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://amazingenergysavings[.]net//db_template.php

hxxp://gvs[.]com[.]pk/font-awesome/db_template.php

hxxp://geetransfers[.]co.za/font-awesome/db_template.php

hxxp://carlagrobler[.]co.za/components/db_template.php

hxxp://amazingashwini[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://aminearserver[.]es//db_template.php

hxxp://lensofafrica[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://greenacrestf[.]co.za/video/db_template.php

hxxp://www.tonaro[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://alephit2[.]biz/kitzz/db_template.php

hxxp://lppaportal[.]org.ls//db_template.php

hxxp://alkousy[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://ambulatorioveterinariocalusco[.]com/img/common/db_template.php

hxxp://fragranceoil[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://www.eloquent[.]co.za/nweb2/db_template.php

hxxp://chrishanicdc[.]org/wpimages/db_template.php

hxxp://ahc.me[.]uk//db_template.php

hxxp://www.britishasia-equip[.]co[.]uk//db_template.php

hxxp://always-beauty[.]ch//db_template.php

hxxps://www.ancamamara[.]com/wp-admin/db_template.php

hxxp://entracorntrading[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://www.alexjeffersonconsulting[.]com/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://americabr[.]com.br//db_template.php

hxxp://andrew-snyder[.]net/bootstrap/db_template.php

hxxp://signsoftime[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://aperta-armis[.]org//db_template.php

hxxp://absfinancialplanning[.]co.za/images/db_template.php

hxxp://charispaarl[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://indlovusecurity[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://alcafricandatalab[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://amor-clubhotels[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://mokorotlocorporate[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://apppriori[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://luxconprojects[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://androidphonetips[.]com/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://angel-seeds[.]com.ua/catalog/db_template.php

hxxp://alissanicolai[.]com/assets/db_template.php

hxxps://www.amateurastronomy[.]org//db_template.php

hxxp://aiofotoevideo[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://www.amika.hr//db_template.php

hxxp://comfortex[.]co.za/php/db_template.php

hxxp://deepgraphics[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxps://agiledepot[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://almatours[.]gr//db_template.php

hxxp://analystcnwang[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://www.malboer[.]co.za/trendy1/db_template.php

hxxp://sefikengfarm.co.ls//db_template.php

hxxp://www.antirughenaturale[.]com/wp-admin/db_template.php

hxxp://passright[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://seismicfactory[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://alessandroalessandrini[.]it//db_template.php

hxxps://aquabsafe[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://amatikulutours[.]com/tmp/db_template.php

hxxp://ganitis[.]gr//db_template.php

hxxp://aleenasgiftbox[.]com/admin/db_template.php

hxxps://allusdoctors[.]com/themes/db_template.php

hxxp://alainsaffel[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://www.ariehandomri[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://aquaneeka[.]co[.]uk/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://itengineering[.]co.za/gatewaydiamond/db_template.php

hxxp://alldomains-crm[.]com/bubblegumpopcorn[.]com/wp-admin/db_template.php

hxxp://www.albertamechanical[.]ca//db_template.php

hxxp://alchamel[.]info//db_template.php

hxxps://almokan[.]net/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://jakobieducation[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxps://arc-sec[.]net//db_template.php

hxxp://ldams[.]org.ls/supplies/db_template.php

hxxp://menaboracks[.]co.za/tmp/db_template.php

hxxp://www.getcord[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://boardaffairs[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://capetownway[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://cloudhostdesign[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://hartenboswaterpark[.]co.za/templates/db_template.php

hxxp://fccorp[.]co.za/php/db_template.php

hxxp://angar68[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://www.dws-gov[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://alwahahweb[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://anuragcreatives[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://embali[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://albertaedmonton[.]com/widgetstyles/db_template.php

hxxp://altosdefontana[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://airfanhydro[.]net//db_template.php

hxxps://www.alexponcet[.]com/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://agropecuariavilarica[.]com.br//db_template.php

hxxps://www.amazingbuyrd[.]com/admin/db_template.php

hxxp://cdxtrading[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://interafricaconsulting[.]com/wpimages/db_template.php

hxxp://glgroup[.]co.za/images/db_template.php

hxxp://hisandherskennels[.]co.za/php/db_template.php

hxxp://alemaohost[.]com/lotosorg[.]com/db_template.php

hxxp://isibaniedu[.]co.za/admin/db_template.php

hxxp://dianakleyn[.]co.za/layouts/db_template.php

hxxp://themotoringcalendar[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://www.loansonhomes[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://edgesecurity[.]co.za/js/db_template.php

hxxp://highschoolsuperstar[.]co.za/files/db_template.php

hxxp://www.ambientproperty[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://animationshowreel[.]co.il//db_template.php

hxxp://cafawelding[.]co.za/font-awesome/db_template.php

hxxp://apalawyers.pt//db_template.php

hxxp://www.edesignz[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://centuryacademy[.]co.za/css/db_template.php

hxxps://ambyenta.hr//db_template.php

hxxp://ceramica[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://www.alfredoposada[.]com//db_template.php

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hxxp://al3abflash[.]biz//db_template.php

hxxp://www.fun4kidz[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://alsharhanstore[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://www[.]infratechconsulting[.]com//db_template.php

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hxxp://americanwestmedia[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://charliewestsecurity[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://beehiveholdingszar[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://analyticalfootball[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://apiiination[.]com/leadership/db_template.php

hxxps://ahelicoptermom[.]com/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://servicebox[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://globalelectricalandconstruction[.]co.za/wpscripts/db_template.php

hxxps://aquo[.]in//db_template.php

hxxps://www.alfransia[.]com/wp-admin/db_template.php

hxxp://www.icsswaziland[.]com//db_template.php

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hxxp://sullivanprimary[.]co.za//db_template.php

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hxxp://www.daleth[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://jwseshowe[.]co.za/assets/db_template.php

hxxp://winagainstebola[.]com//db_template.php

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hxxp://www.aprendiendoencasa[.]com/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://alorabrownies[.]com/wp-admin/db_template.php

hxxp://andrasadam[.]com/tothildiko/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://cazochem[.]co.za/cazochem/db_template.php

hxxp://debnoch[.]com/image/db_template.php

hxxp://hmholdings360[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://iinvest4u[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://burgercoetzeeattorneys[.]co.za//db_template.php

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hxxp://alchemistasonida[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://anahera[.]biz/admin/db_template.php

hxxp://h-u-i[.]co.za/heiren/db_template.php

hxxp://insta-art[.]co.za//db_template.php

hxxp://muallematsela[.]com//db_template.php

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hxxp://amruthavana[.]com/blog/db_template.php

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hxxp://beesrenovations[.]co.za/images/db_template.php

hxxps://www.apliety[.]co.il/wp-includes/db_template.php

hxxp://alchamelup[.]org/htdocs/db_template.php

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hxxps://al-mostakbl[.]com//db_template.php

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hxxp://www.algom-law[.]com//db_template.php

hxxp://ambiances-toiles[.]fr//db_template.php

Appendix

Security Tools Checked on the Machine

win32_remote

win64_remote64

ollydbg

ProcessHacker

tcpview

autoruns

autorunsc

filemon

procmon

regmon

procexp

idaq

idaq64

ImmunityDebugger

Wireshark

dumpcap

HookExplorer

ImportREC

PETools

LordPE

dumpcap

SysInspector

proc_analyzer

sysAnalyzer

sniff_hit

windbg

joeboxcontrol

joeboxserver

Measure Security Performance, Not Policy Compliance

I started my security (post-sysadmin) career heavily focused on security policy frameworks. It took me down many roads, but everything always came back to a few simple notions, such as that policies were a means of articulating security direction, that you had to prescriptively articulate desired behaviors, and that the more detail you could put into the guidance (such as in standards, baselines, and guidelines), the better off the organization would be. Except, of course, that in the real world nobody ever took time to read the more detailed documents, Ops and Dev teams really didn't like being told how to do their jobs, and, at the end of the day, I was frequently reminded that publishing a policy document didn't translate to implementation.

Subsequently, I've spent the past 10+ years thinking about better ways to tackle policies, eventually reaching the point where I believe "less is more" and that anything written and published in a place and format that isn't "work as usual" will rarely, if ever, get implemented without a lot of downward force applied. I've seen both good and bad policy frameworks within organizations. Often they cycle around between good and bad. Someone will build a nice policy framework, it'll get implemented in a number of key places, and then it will languish from neglect and inadequate upkeep until it's irrelevant and ignored. This is not a recipe for lasting success.

Thinking about it further this week, it occurred to me that part of the problem is thinking in the old "compliance" mindset. Policies are really to blame for driving us down the checkbox-compliance path. Sure, we can easily stand back and try to dictate rules, but without the adequate authority to enforce them, and without the resources needed to continually update them, they're doomed to obsolescence. Instead, we need to move to that "security as code" mentality and find ways to directly codify requirements in ways that are naturally adapted and maintained.

End Dusty Tomes and (most) Out-of-Band Guidance

The first daunting challenge of security policy framework reform is to throw away the old, broken approach with as much gusto and finality as possible. Yes, there will always be a need for certain formally documented policies, but overall an organization Does. Not. Need. large amounts of dusty tomes providing out-of-band guidance to a non-existent audience.

Now, note a couple things here. First, there is a time and a place for providing out-of-band guidance, such as via direct training programs. However, it should be the minority of guidance, and wherever possible you should seek to codify security requirements directly into systems, applications, and environments. For a significant subset of security practices, it turns out we do not need to repeatedly consider whether or not something should be done, but can instead make the decision once and then roll it out everywhere as necessary and appropriate.

Second, we have to realize and accept that traditional policy (and related) documents only serve a formal purpose, not a practical or pragmatic purpose. Essentially, the reason you put something into writing is because a) you're required to do so (such as by regulations), or b) you're driven to do so due to ongoing infractions or the inability to directly codify requirements (for example, requirements on human behavior). What this leaves you with are requirements that can be directly implemented and that are thus easily measurable.

KPIs as Policies (et al.)

If the old ways aren't working, then it's time to take a step back and think about why that might be and what might be better going forward. I'm convinced the answer to this query lies in stretching the "security as code" notion a step further by focusing on security performance metrics for everything and everyone instead of security policies. Specifically, if you think of policies as requirements, then you should be able to recast those as metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that are easily measured, and in turn are easily integrated into dashboards. Moreover, going down this path takes us into a much healthier sense of quantitative reasoning, which can pay dividends for improved information risk awareness, measurement, and management.

Applied, this approach scales very nicely across the organization. Businesses already operate on a KPI model, and converting security requirements (née policies) into specific measurables at various levels of the organization means ditching the ineffective, out-of-band approach previously favored for directly specifying, measuring, and achieving desired performance objectives. Simply put, we no longer have to go out of our way to argue for people to conform to policies, but instead simply start measuring their performance and incentivize them to improve to meet performance objectives. It's then a short step to integrating security KPIs into all roles, even going so far as to establish departmental, if not whole-business, security performance objectives that are then factored into overall performance evaluations.

Examples of security policies-become-KPIs might include metrics around vulnerability and patch management, code defect reduction and remediation, and possibly even phishing-related metrics that are rolled up to the department or enterprise level. When creating security KPIs, think about the policy requirements as they're written and take time to truly understand the objectives they're trying to achieve. Convert those objectives into measurable items, and there you are on the path to KPIs as policies. For more on thoughts on security metrics, I recommend checking out the CIS Benchmarks as a starting point.

Better Reporting and the Path to Accountability

Converting policies into KPIs means that nearly everything is natively built for reporting, which in turn enables executives to have better insight into the security and information risk of the organization. Moreover, shifting the focus to specific measurables means that we get away from the out-of-band dusty tomes, instead moving toward achieving actual results. We can now look at how different teams, projects, applications, platforms, etc., are performing and make better-informed decisions about where to focus investments for improvements.

This notion also potentially sparks an interesting future for current GRC-ish products. If policies go away (mostly), then we don't really need repositories for them. Instead, GRC products can shift to being true performance monitoring dashboards, allowing those products to broaden their scope while continuing to adapt other capabilities, such as those related to the so-called "SOAR" market (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response). If GRC products are to survive, I suspect it will be by either heading further down the information risk management path, pulling in security KPIs in lieu of traditional policies and compliance, or it will drive more toward SOAR+dashboards with a more tactical performance focus (or some combination of the two). Suffice to say, I think GRC as it was once known and defined is in its final days of usefulness.

There's one other potentially interesting tie-in here, and that's to overall data analytics, which I've noticed slowly creeping into organizations. A lot of the focus has been on using data lakes, mining, and analytics in lieu of traditional SIEM and log management, but I think there's also a potentially interesting confluence with security KPIs, too. In fact, thinking about pulling in SOAR capabilities and other monitoring and assessment capabilities and data, it's not unreasonable to think that KPIs become the tweakable dials CISOs (and up) use to balance out risk vs reward in helping provide strategic guidance for address information risk within the enterprise. At any rate, this is all very speculative and unclear right now, but something to nonetheless watch. But I have digressed...

---
The bottom line here is this: traditional policy frameworks have generally outlived their usefulness. We cannot afford to continue writing and publishing security requirements in a format that isn't easily accessible in a "work as usual" format. In an Agile/DevOps world, "security as code" is imperative, and that includes converting security requirements into KPIs.

Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: Payment Card Breaches, Encryption Debate, and Breach Notification Laws

This past week saw the announcement of several new payment card breaches, including a point-of-sale breach at Applebee’s restaurants that affected 167 locations across 15 states.

The malware, which was discovered on February 13, 2018, was “designed to capture payment card information and may have affected a limited number of purchases” made at Applebee’s locations owned by RMH Franchise Holdings, the company said in a statement.

News outlets reported many of the affected locations had their systems infected between early December 2017 and early January 2018. Applebee’s has close to 2,000 locations around the world and 167 of them were affected by the incident.

In addition to Applebees, MenuDrive issued a breach notification to merchants saying that its desktop ordering site was injected with malware designed to capture payment card information. The incident impacted certain transactions from November 5, 2017 to November 28, 2017.

“We have learned that the malware was contained to ONLY the Desktop ordering site of the version that you are using and certain payment gateways,” the company wrote. “Thus, this incident was contained to a part of our system and did NOT impact the Mobile ordering site or any other MenuDrive versions.”

Finally, there is yet another breach notification related to Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ SynXis Central Reservations System — this time affecting Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Sabre said that a unauthorized individual used compromised user credentials to view reservation information, including payment card information, for a subset of hotel reservations that Sabre processed on behalf of the company between June 2016 and November 2017.

2018-03-10_ITTGroups

Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:

  • Marijuana businesses targeted: MJ Freeway Business Solutions, which provides business management software to cannabis dispensaries, is notifying customers of unauthorized access to its systems that may have led to personal information being stolen. The Canadian medical marijuana delivery service JJ Meds said that it received an extortion threat demanding $1,000 in bitcoin in order to prevent a leak of customer information.
  • Healthcare breach notifications: The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services said that the personal information of 11,000 people was improperly emailed to local contractors by a now-fired employee. Front Range Dermatology Associates announced a breach related to a now-fired employee providing patient information to a former employee. Investigators said two Florida Hospital employees stole patient records, and local news reported that 9,000 individuals may have been impacted by the theft.
  • Notable data breaches: Ventiv Technology, which provides workers’ compensation claim management software solutions, is notifying customers of a compromise of employee email accounts that were hosted on Office365 and contained personal information. Catawba County services employees had their personal information compromised due to the payroll and human resources system being infected with malware. Flexible Benefit Service Corporation said that an employee email account was compromised and used to search for wire payment information. A flaw in Nike’s website allowed attackers to read server data and could have been leveraged to gain greater access to the company’s systems. A researcher claimed that airline Emirates is leaking customer data.
  • Other notable events: Cary E. Williams CPA is notifying employees, shareholders, trustees and partners of a ransomware attack that led to unauthorized access to its systems. The cryptocurrency exchange Binance said that its users were the target of “a large scale phishing and stealing attempt” and those compromised accounts were used to perform abnormal trading activity over a short period of time. The spyware company Retina-X Studios said that it “is immediately and indefinitely halting its PhoneSheriff, TeenShield, SniperSpy and Mobile Spy products” after being “the victim of sophisticated and repeated illegal hackings.”

SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of the top trending targets are shown in the chart below.

2018-03-10_ITT

Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week

2018-03-10_RiskScores

There were several regulatory stories that made headlines this week, including the FBI’s continued push for a stronger partnership with the private sector when it comes to encryption, allegations that Geek Squad techs act as FBI spies, and new data breach notification laws.

In a keynote address at Boston College’s cybersecurity summit, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that there were 7,775 devices that the FBI could not access due to encryption in fiscal 2017, despite having approval from a judge. According to Fry, that meant the FBI could not access more than half of the devices they tried to access during the period.

“Let me be clear: the FBI supports information security measures, including strong encryption,” Fry said. “Actually, the FBI is on the front line fighting cyber crime and economic espionage. But information security programs need to be thoughtfully designed so they don’t undermine the lawful tools we need to keep the American people safe.”

However, Ars Technica noted that a consensus of technical experts has said that what the FBI has asked for is impossible.

In addition, the Electronic Frontier Foundation obtained documents via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that revealed the FBI and Best Buy’s Geek Squad have been working together for decades. In some cases Geek Squad techs were paid as much as $1,000 to be informants, which the EFF argued was a violation of Fourth Amendment rights as the computer searches were not authorized by their owners.

Finally, the Alabama senate unanimously passed the Alabama Breach Notification Act, and the bill will now move to the house.

“Alabama is one of two states that doesn’t have a data breach notification law,” said state Senator Arthur Orr, who sponsored Alabama’s bill. “In the case of a breach, businesses and organizations, including state government, are under no obligation to tell a person their information may have been compromised.”

With both Alabama and South Dakota recently introducing data breach notification legislation, every resident of the U.S. may soon be protected by a state breach notification law.

Security is not a buzz-word business model, but our cumulative effort

Security is not a buzz-word business model, but our cumulative effort

This article conveys my personal opinion towards security and it's underlying revenue model; I would recommend to read it with a pinch of salt (+ tequila, while we are on it). I shall be covering either side of the coin, the heads where pentesters try to give you a heads-up on underlying issues, and tails where the businesses still think they can address security at the tail-end of their development.

A recent conversation with a friend who's in information security triggered me to address the white elephant in the room. He works in a security services firm that provides intelligence feeds and alerts to the clients. Now he shared a case where his firm didn't share the right feed at the right time even though the client was "vulnerable" because the subscription model is different. I understand business is essential, but on the contrary isn't security a collective argument? I mean tomorrow if when this client gets attacked, are you going just to turn a blind eye because it didn't pay you well? I understand the remediation always cost money (or more efforts) but holding the alert to a client on some attack you witnessed in the wild based on how much money are they paying you is hard to contend.

I don't dream about the utopian world where security is obvious but we surely can walk in that direction.

What is security to a business?

Is it a domain, a pillar or with the buzz these days, insurance? Information security and privacy while being the talk of the town are still come where the business requirements end. I understand there is a paradigm shift to the left, a movement towards the inception for your "bright idea" but still we are far from an ideal world, the utopian so to speak! I have experienced from either side of the table - the one where we put ourselves in the shoes of hackers and the contrary where we hold hands with the developers to understand their pain points & work together to build a secure ecosystem. I would say it's been very few times that business pays attention to "security" from day-zero (yeah, this tells the kind of clients I am dealing with and why are in business). Often business owners say - Develop this application, based on these requirements, discuss the revenue model, maintenance costs, and yeah! Check if we need these security add-ons or do we adhere to compliance checks as no one wants auditors knocking at the door for all the wrong reasons.

This troubles me. Why don't we understand information security as important a pillar as your whole revenue model?

Security is not a buzz-word business model, but our cumulative effort

How is security as a business?

I have many issues with how "security" is being tossed around as a buzz-word to earn dollars, but very few respect the gravity or the very objective of its existence. I mean whether it's information, financial, or life security - they all have very realistic and quantifiable effects on someone's physical well-being. Every month, I see tens (if not hundreds) of reports and advisories where quality is embarrassingly bad. When you tap to find the right reasons - either the "good" firms are costly, or someone has a comfort zone with existing firms, or worst that neither the business care nor do they pressure firms for better quality. I mean at the end, it's a just plain & straightforward business transaction or a compliance check to make auditor happy.

Have you ever asked yourself the questions,

  1. You did a pentest justifying the money paid for your quality; tomorrow that hospital gets hacked, or patients die. Would you say you didn't put your best consultants/efforts because they were expensive for the cause? You didn't walk the extra mile because the budgeted hours finished?
  2. Now, to you Mr Business, CEO - You want to cut costs on security because you would prefer a more prominent advertisement or a better car in your garage, but security expenditure is dubious to you. Next time check how much companies and business have lost after getting breached. I mean just because it's not an urgent problem, doesn't say it can't be. If it becomes a problem, chances are it's too late. These issues are like symptoms; if you see them, you already are in trouble! Security doesn't always have an immediate ROI, I understand, but don't make it an epitome of "out of sight, out of mind". That's a significant risk you are taking on your revenue, employees or customers.

Now, while I have touched both sides of the problem in this short article; I hope you got the message (fingers crossed). Please do take security seriously, and not only as your business transaction! Every time you do something that involves security on either sides, think - You invest your next big crypto-currency in an exchange/ market that gets hacked because of their lack of due-diligence? Or, your medical records became public because someone didn't perform a good pen-test. Or, you lose your savings because your bank didn't do a thorough "security" check of its infrastructure. If you think you are untouchable because of your home router security; you, my friend are living in an illusion. And, my final rant to the firms where there are good consultants but the reporting, or seriousness in delivering the message to the business is so fcuking messed up, that all their efforts go in vain. Take your deliverable seriously; it's the only window business has to peep into the issues (existing or foreseen), and plan the remediation in time.

That's all my friends. Stay safe and be responsible; security is a cumulative effort and everyone has to be vigilant because you never know where the next cyber-attack be.

From Russia(?) with Code

The Olympic Destroyer cyberattack is a very recent and notable attack by sophisticated threat actors against a globally renowned 2-week sporting event that takes place once every four years in a different part of the world. Successfully attacking the Winter Olympics requires motivation, planning, resources and time.

Cyberattack campaigns are often a reflection of real world tensions and provide insight into the possible suspects in the attack. Much has been written about the perpetrators behind Olympic Destroyer emanating from either North Korea or Russia. Both have motivations. North Korea would like to embarrass its sibling South Korea, the holders of the 23rd Winter Olympics. Russia could be seeking revenge for the IOC ban on their team. And Russia has precedence, having previously been blamed for attacks on other sporting organizations, such as the intrusion at the World Anti Doping Agency that was targeted via a stolen International Olympic Committee account.

There has been much said about attribution, with accusations of misleading false flags and anti-forensics built into the malware. As Talos points out in their report, attribution is hard.

But attribution is not just hard, it’s often a wilderness of mirrors and, more often than not, a bit anticlimactic.

The motivation of our following analysis is not to point the finger of blame about who did the attacking, but to utilize our expertise in analyzing malware code and understanding the behaviors it exhibits to highlight the heritage, evolution and commonalities we found in the code of the Olympic Destroyer malware.

Initial Samples of Code Reuse

Besides analyzing the behavior of a sample, our sandbox performs several levels of code analysis, eventually extracting all code components, regardless if they are run at run-time or not. As we described in a blog post a few years ago, this technique is essential if we are to detect any dormant functionality that might be present within the sample.

After decomposing the code components in normalized basic blocks, the sandbox computes smart code hashes that are stored and indexed in our threat intelligence knowledge base. Over the last 3 years we have been collecting code hashes for millions of files, so when we want to hunt for other samples related to the same actor, we are able to query our backend for any other binaries that have been reusing significant amounts of code.

The rationale being that actors usually build up their code base over time, and reuse it over and over again across different campaigns. Code surely might evolve, but some components are bound to remain the same. This is the intuition that drove our investigation on Olympic Destroyer further. The first results were obviously some variants of the Olympic Destroyer binaries which we have already mentioned in our previous post. However, it quickly got way more interesting.

A very specific code hash led us through this process: 7CE26E95118044757D3C7A97CF9D240A (Lastline customers can use it to query our Global Threat Intelligence Network). This rare code hash surprisingly linked 21ca710ed3bc536bd5394f0bff6d6140809156cf, a payload of the Olympic Destroyer campaign, with some other samples of a remote access trojan, “TVSpy.” Though the actual internal name of the threat is TVRAT, the malware is known and labelled in VirusTotal as Trojan.Pavica or Trojan.Mezzo, none of which were previously connected to the original Olympic Destroyer campaign.

Figure 1 shows the actual code referenced by the code hash: it is a function used to read a buffer, and subsequently parse PE header from it.

Figure 1: The code referenced by the code hash 7CE26E95118044757D3C7A97CF9D240A shared by both the Olympic Destroyer sample 21ca710ed3bc536bd5394f0bff6d6140809156cf sha1 and TVSpy sample a61b8258e080857adc2d7da3bd78871f88edec2c.

This is not where code re-usage ends, as the actual function referencing and invoking the following fragment (see Figure 2) also shares almost all of the same logic. This function is responsible for loading PE file from the memory buffer and executing an entry point.

Figure 2: Function responsible for loading PE file from memory reused in both Olympic Destroyer and TV Spy

A Deeper Dive Based on Unusual Code

We decided to further investigate this piece of code since loading PE from memory is not all that common. Its origin opened several questions:

  1. Why is that piece of code the only link between the two samples?
  2. Were there any other samples sharing the same code?

Our first discovery was a Remote Access trojan called TVSpy, mentioned above. This family has been the subject of a few previous research investigations, and a recent Benkow Lab blog post (from November 2017) even reported that the source code was available on github.

Unfortunately, all links to github are now dead. But that didn’t stop us from finding the actual source code (or at least evidence that it was indeed published at some point). Apparently it was sold for $US500 on an underground Russian forum in 2015. Even though the original post and links are gone, a Russian information security forum kept a copy of the source code package alongside a description of the original sale announcement (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: TVSpy code as sold in an underground forum (according to researchers from ru-sfera.org)

Not Enough – The Investigation Continued

Although interesting, this connection was eventually not enough to connect Olympic Destroyer to Russia or to TVSpy. So we kept digging. Further research finally identified the code in Figures 1 and 2 to be part of an open source project called LoadDLL (see Figure 4) and available on codeproject.com (first published back in March 2014).

Figure 4: Fragment of LoadDLL source code from LoadDLL project

However, a couple things still didn’t add up: why had we only managed to identify samples from 2017 even if the source code was released in 2014? What about older versions of TVSpy? How come our search didn’t return any of those samples? Were Olympic Destroyer and TVSpy samples from 2017 sharing more than just the LoadDLL code?

Apparently TVSpy went through a few transformations. Samples from 2015 did embed and use the LoadDLL code, but the compiler did some specific optimizations that made the code unique (see Figure 5). In particular the compiler optimized out both “flags” (not used in the function) and “read_proc” (statically link function) from the parameters of LoadDll, but it couldn’t optimize out a “if (read_proc)” check even though it is useless since “read_proc” is not passed as a parameter anymore.

Figure 5. Reconstructed source code of LoadDll from TVSpy dated back to 2015

The “read_proc” function itself is also identical to one from source code (see Figures 6 and 7) and as you can see in Figure 8, it also gets called exactly the same way as the original source code from codeproject.com.

Figure 6: read_proc function implementation

Figure 7: read_proc function implementation

The most interesting aspect for us is in fact the version of TVSpy that dates back to 2017-2018 and shares with Olympic Destroyer almost the exact binary code of LoadDLL. You can see LoadDll_LoadHeaders for those samples in Figure 9: as you might notice the function looks different then the one from the older version (see Figure 8).

Figure 8. Reconstructed source code of LoadDLL_LoadHeaders function from TVSpy dated back to 2015

First, we thought that the authors added new checks before calling read_proc function, making clear link between Olympic Destroyer and TVSpy (how, after all, could there be the same code modifications if the authors were not the same?). However, after further review we figured that read_proc didn’t exist anymore. Instead it was compiled inline resulting in a statically linked memcpy function.

Figure 9. Reconstructed LoadDLL_LoadHeaders from TVSpy and OlympicDestroyer samples, including additional check due to inlining of the read_proc function.

Also the meaningless check in LoadDll (“if (read_proc)”) we mentioned before has disappeared in the new version of the code (see Figure 10).

Figure 10. Reconstructed LoadDLL_LoadHeaders from TVSpy and Olympic Destroyer samples, including additional check due to inlining of the read_proc function.

The Bottom Line – Evidence is Inconclusive

In conclusion, we believe that this is not enough evidence to substantiate a claim that Olympic Destroyer and new versions of TVSpy using the same modified source code are built by the same author.

The more probable version for us is that the sample was built on a new compiler that further optimized the code. It would still mean that both new version of TVSpy and Olympic Destroyer are built using the same toolchain configured in the very same way (to enable full optimization and link C++ runtime statically). We actually went to the extent of compiling the LoadDLL on MS Visual Studio 2017 with C++ runtime statically linked, and we managed to get the very same code as the one included in both Olympic Destroyer and TVSpy.

Although we would have liked to finally solve the dilemma, and unveil which were the actors behind the Olympic Destroyer attack, we ended up with more questions than answers, but admittedly, that’s what research sometimes is about.

First, why would the authors of an allegedly state sponsored malware use an old LoadDLL project from an open source project from 2014? It is hard to believe that they could not come up with their own implementation or use much more advanced open-source projects for that, and definitely not relying on an educational prototype buried way beyond the first page of results in Google.

Or maybe the actors were not that much advanced as we would like to think, maybe seeing this as a one-time job, without enough resources to avoid using publicly available source code to quickly build their malware? Or maybe it’s just another red flag, and the real authors decided to use the TVSpy source code as released in 2015 to leave a “Russian fingerprint”?

Maybe all of the above?

At the beginning of this article we stated that attribution is not just hard, it’s often a wilderness of mirrors and more often than not, a bit anticlimactic. As a matter of fact, that was quite a precise prediction.

The post From Russia(?) with Code appeared first on Lastline.

"Faster payment" scam is not quite what it seems

I see a lot of "fake boss" fraud emails in my day job, but it's rare that I see them sent to my personal email address. These four emails all look like fake boss fraud emails, but there's something more going on here. From:    Ravi [Redacted] Reply-To:    Ravi [Redacted] To:    accounts@victimdomain.com Date:    23 February 2018 at 12:02

Insecure by design: What you need to know about defending critical infrastructure

Patching security vulnerabilities in industrial control systems (ICS) is useless in most cases and actively harmful in others, ICS security expert and former NSA analyst Robert M. Lee of Dragos told the US Senate in written testimony last Thursday. The "patch, patch, patch" mantra has become a blind tenet of faith in the IT security realm, but has little application to industrial control systems, where legacy equipment is often insecure by design.

To read this article in full, please click here