Daily Archives: January 15, 2020

Embedding security, the right way

As organizations proceed to move their processes from the physical world into the digital, their risk profile changes, too – and this is not a time to take risks. By not including security into DevOps processes, organizations are exposing their business in new and surprising ways. DevOps DevOps has accelerated software development dramatically, but it has also created a great deal of pain for traditional security teams raised up on performing relatively slow testing. Moving … More

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Emotet remains the dark market leader for delivery-as-a-service

The vast majority of nationally sponsored cybersecurity incidents take the form of espionage through data exfiltration, with frequent employment of remote access tool Plug-X, according to the annual threat report by eSentire. Emotet is the leader The report found that Emotet accounted for almost 20% of confirmed malware incidents, reinforcing its role in the black market as the preferred delivery tool. Emotet was the most observed threat both on networks and on endpoints, achieving this … More

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Six trends attracting the attention of enterprise technology leaders

Organizations around the world will accelerate enterprise technology investment in 2020, leveraging digital improvements to make them more competitive, improve connections with consumers, and keep up with the increasing demands of privacy regulation and security needs. Hyland has identified six technology trends that will drive these improvements and demand the attention of CIOs CTOs in the coming year and beyond. Prioritize cloud control Organizations will opt for managed cloud services to increase security and efficiency. … More

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Global security services industry to experience spend growth of more than $80 billion

The global security services industry is poised to experience spend growth of more than $80 billion between 2019-2024 at a CAGR of over 8% during the forecast period, according to SpendEdge. Factors such as the increase in the instances of IP infringement, the frequency of economic and sporting events are exposing masses to significant security risks. This is creating a pressing requirement to engage security services across the domestic and business sectors across the globe … More

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What is Malware

Malware is software--a computer program--used to perform malicious actions. In fact, the term malware is a combination of the words malicious and software. Cyber criminals install malware on your computers or devices to gain control over them or gain access to what they contain. Once installed, these attackers can use malware to spy on your online activities, steal your passwords and files, or use your system to attack others.

Tripwire introduces new line of hardware appliances and joins ISA Global Security Alliance

Tripwire, a leading global provider of security and compliance solutions for enterprises and industrial organizations, has announced the launch of the Tripwire Industrial Appliance line of hardware for securing industrial environments. In addition, Tripwire has announced that it has joined the ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance as a founding member. As a Belden company, Tripwire continues to build on the significant growth in industrial cybersecurity achieved over the past year. Expanding industrial cybersecurity capabilities Tripwire’s Industrial … More

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Key Cloud Security Challenges and Strategies to Overcome Them

The cloud has changed how we use and consume IT services. Where data resides along with how it is transferred, stored and processed has fundamentally changed and with-it new risk management challenges. Let’s talk about some of those challenges. First and foremost, the cat is out of the bag. We’re not going back to the […]… Read More

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SS8 launches new virtualized end-to-end lawful intelligence platform for CSPs

SS8 Networks, the leader in Lawful Intercept and Monitoring Center platforms, is proud to announce the launch of its new virtualized end-to-end lawful intelligence platform to meet the demands of 5G data volumes and complex monitoring needs. SS8’s innovative cloud-based solution is designed to enhance both the speed and the reliability of network mediation capabilities. It has been tested in Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) environments and deployed in 4G/5G and Broadband networks and applications such … More

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ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance: Your Expertise is Needed

The ISA/IEC 62443 series of standards, developed by the ISA99 committee and adopted by the International Electrotechnical Commission, provides a flexible framework to address and mitigate current and future security vulnerabilities in industrial automation and control systems. These standards not only address configuration weaknesses to harden systems against vulnerabilities, but they also help address design […]… Read More

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Osano​ automates data privacy for businesses

Osano​, a company building the first platform for data privacy transparency, has automated the compliance process for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). A week into activation, the CCPA is already a notoriously contentious and dense set of laws. By automating data privacy for businesses, Osano relieves the cognitive overhead on businesses and sets them up for a productive decade ahead. Activated January 1, 2020, the CCPA enables California residents to demand the sharing or … More

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Cygilant updates its SecureVue Cloud Platform, enhancing security monitoring and visibility

Cygilant, leading Cybersecurity Agency and provider of Security-as-a-Service to mid-sized organizations, highlighted recent additions to its SecureVue Cloud Platform. SecureVue Cloud enables clients to quickly gain comprehensive visibility into their cloud-based operations, making it easier to identify potential problems and make needed changes. Most organizations today utilize a combination of traditional IT and cloud-based services. With a majority of data being used and stored outside of the office network perimeter, it has become more important … More

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Quanta Storage adopts SecureCircle’s DASB to eliminate insider threats

SecureCircle, the world’s first Data Access Security Broker (DASB), announced an agreement to eliminate insider threats such as accidental sharing and malicious users with Quanta Storage (QSI). QSI, a worldwide leader in OEM and ODM services to the world’s leading consumer electronics brands and based in Taoyuan City, Taiwan, is adopting SecureCircle’s DASB to eliminate insider threats. SecureCircle’s data-centric access control persistently protects customer data without impacting applications, workflow, or end-user experience. “SecureCircle was selected … More

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Dynatrace, Google and Microsoft collaborate to help make OpenTelemetry enterprise-grade

Software intelligence company, Dynatrace, announced it is collaborating with Google and Microsoft on the OpenTelemetry project to shape the future of open standards-based observability. To further advance the industry and extend the reach of its Software Intelligence Platform, Dynatrace is contributing transaction tracing knowhow and manpower to the project. OpenTelemetry is focused on providing standardized transaction-level observability through the generation, collection, and description of telemetry data for distributed cloud-native systems. As OpenTelemetry becomes more widely … More

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Evertech replaces its IP Address Management platform with FusionLayer Infinity

FusionLayer announced that Evertech has replaced its traditional IP Address Management (IPAM) platform with FusionLayer Infinity, the software-defined IPAM solution designed to simplify network automation for cloud-native service provider platforms utilizing containers. Evertech selected the FusionLayer solution to replace its traditional IPAM platform from FusionLayer it had been running for more than five years. Before finalizing the selection Evertech evaluated alternate solutions. Based on the investigations, the company concluded that FusionLayer Infinity was the only … More

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Wind River acquires Star Lab to broaden portfolio with cyber and anti-tamper security software for Linux

Wind River, a leader in delivering software for the intelligent edge, announced its acquisition of Star Lab, a leader in cybersecurity for embedded systems. The acquisition broadens the comprehensive Wind River software portfolio with a system protection and anti-tamper toolset for Linux, a secure open source–based hypervisor, and a secure boot solution. Star Lab is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Wind River. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Historically, embedded devices have functioned … More

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AttackIQ promotes Stacey Meyer to vice president of federal operations

AttackIQ, the leading independent vendor of breach and attack simulation solutions, announced the promotion of Stacey Meyer to vice president of federal operations. “Stacey has proven to be an invaluable member of the AttackIQ team,” said Carl Wright, chief commercial officer of AttackIQ. “She has established herself as a highly effective, results-driven leader, making her the perfect executive to spearhead AttackIQ’s federal development and strategy efforts. We believe her expertise will be an incredible asset … More

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Smashing Security #161: Love, lucky dips, and 23andMe

The man who hacked the UK National Lottery didn’t end up a winner, Japanese Love hotel booking tool suffers a data breach, and just what is 23andMe planning to do with your DNA?

All this and much more is discussed in the latest edition of the award-winning “Smashing Security” podcast by computer security veterans Graham Cluley and Carole Theriault, joined this week by Thom Langford.

James W. Sample joins Xcel Energy as vice president, Chief Security Officer

Xcel Energy announced that James W. Sample will join the company as Vice President, Chief Security Officer. Sample will lead the company’s security risk management program, overseeing all aspects of security including cybersecurity, physical security and the safety of personnel. He will also serve as the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) senior manager for Critical Infrastructure Protection. “Jamey brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Xcel Energy’s security operations,” said Brett Carter, Executive … More

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Software AG appoints Dr. Matthias Heiden as its new Chief Financial Officer

Software AG announced the appointment of Dr. Matthias Heiden as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Dr. Heiden will be taking over from Arnd Zinnhardt, who will step down after 18 years in the role. Dr. Heiden will join Software AG and assume the role of CFO and Member of the Executive Board officially after a transition period is completed. Dr. Heiden is a highly accomplished finance leader with an extensive background in the software … More

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iPipeline names Daphne Thomas as Chief Operating Officer

iPipeline – a leading provider of cloud-based software solutions for the life insurance and financial services industry – announced the appointment of Daphne Thomas to the role of Chief Operating Officer. The appointment comes several months after iPipeline was acquired by Roper, a diversified technology company. Roper operates businesses that design and develop software (both license and software-as-a-service) and engineered products and solutions for a variety of niche end markets. In this new role, Daphne … More

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Accenture announces $1.1 million grant to Acces Employment to develop AI bot for job seekers

Accenture this week announced a more than CA$1.1 million cash and in-kind services grant to the Canadian nonprofit organization Acces Employment to help it deliver more customized services to job seekers across the country through a new chatbot. 

Disk Image Deception

Cisco’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) detected a large and ongoing malspam campaign leveraging the .IMG file extension to bypass automated malware analysis tools and infect machines with a variety of Remote Access Trojans. During our investigation, we observed multiple tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that defenders can monitor for in their environments. Our incident response and security monitoring team’s analysis on a suspicious phishing attack uncovered some helpful improvements in our detection capabilities and timing.

In this case, none of our intelligence sources had identified this particular campaign yet. Instead, we detected this attack with one of our more exploratory plays looking for evidence of persistence in the Windows Autoruns data. This play was successful in detecting an attack against a handful of endpoints using email as the initial access vector and was able to evade our defenses at the time. Less than a week after the incident, we received alerts from our retrospective plays for this same campaign once our integrated threat intelligence sources delivered the indicators of compromise (IOC). This blog is a high level write-up of how we adapted to a potentially successful attack campaign and our tactical analysis to help prevent and detect future campaigns. 

(This blog was co-authored by Jeff Bollinger & William Sheldon)

Incident Response Techniques and Strategy

The Cisco Computer Security and Incident Response Team (CSIRT) monitors Cisco for threats and attacks against our systems, networks, and data. The team provides around the globe threat detection, incident response, and security investigations. Staying relevant as an IR team means continuously developing and adapting the best ways to defend the network, data, and infrastructure. We’re constantly experimenting with how to improve the efficiency of our data-centric playbook approach in the hope it will free up more time for threat hunting and more in-depth analysis and investigations. Part of our approach has been that as we discover new methods for detecting risky activity, we try to codify those methods and techniques into our incident response monitoring playbook to keep an eye on any potential future attacks.

Although some malware campaigns can slip past the defenses with updated techniques, we preventatively block the well-known, or historical indicators and leverage broad, exploratory analysis playbooks that spotlight more on how attackers operate and infiltrate. In other words, there is value in monitoring for the basic atomic indicators of compromised like IP addresses, domain names, file hashes, etc. but to go further you really have to look broadly at more generic attack techniques. These playbooks, or plays, help us find out about new attack campaigns that are possibly targeted and potentially more serious. While some might label this activity “threat hunting”, this data exploration process allows us to discover, track, and potentially share new indicators that get exposed during a deeper analysis. 

Defense in depth demands that we utilize additional data sources in case attackers successfully evade one or more of our defenses, or if they were able to obscure their malicious activities enough to avoid detection. Recently we discovered a malicious spam campaign that almost succeeded due to a missed early detection. In one of our exploratory plays, we use daily diffs for all the Microsoft Windows registry autorun key changes since the last boot. Known as “Autoruns“, this data source ultimately helped us discover an ongoing attack that was attempting to deliver a remote access trojan (RAT). Along with the more mundane Windows event logs, we pieced together the attack from the moment it arrived and made some interesting discoveries on the way — most notably how the malware seemingly slipped past our front line filters. Not only did we uncover many technical details about the campaign, but we also used it as an opportunity to refine our incident response detection techniques and some of our monitoring processes.

IMG File Format Analysis

.IMG files are traditionally used by disk image files to store raw dumps of either a magnetic disk or of an optical disc. Other disk image file formats include ISO and BIN. Previously, mounting disk image file files on Windows required the user to install third-party software. However Windows 8 and later automatically mount IMG files on open. Upon mounting, Windows File Explorer displays the data inside the .IMG file to the end user. Although disk image files are traditionally utilized for storing raw binary data, or bit-by-bit copies of a disk, any data could be stored inside them. Because of the newly added functionality to the Windows core operating system, attackers are abusing disk image formats to “smuggle” data past antivirus engines, network perimeter defenses, and other auto mitigation security tooling. Attackers have also used the capability to obscure malicious second stage files hidden within a filesystem by using ISO and DMG (to a lesser extent). Perhaps the IMG extension also fools victims into considering the attachment as an image instead of a binary pandora’s box.

Know Where You’re Coming From

As phishing as an attack vector continues to grow in popularity, we have recently focused on several of our email incident response plays around detecting malicious attachments, business email compromise techniques like header tampering or DNS typosquatting, and preventative controls with inline malware prevention and malicious URL rewriting.

Any security tool that has even temporarily outdated definitions of threats or IOCs will be unable to detect a very recent event or an event with a recent, and therefore unknown, indicator. To ensure that these missed detections are not overlooked, we take a retrospective look back to see if any newly observed indicators are present in any previously delivered email. So when a malicious attachment is delivered to a mailbox, if the email scanners and sandboxes do not catch it the first time, our retrospective plays look back to see if the updated indicators are triggered. Over time sandboxes update their detection abilities and previously “clean” files could change status. The goal is to detect this changing status and if we have any exposure, then we reach out and remediate the host.


This process flow shows our method for detecting and responding to updated verdicts from sandbox scanners. During this process we collect logs throughout to ensure we can match against hashes or any other indicator or metadata we collect: 

Retrospective Email Detection Incident Response

Figure 1: Flow chart for Retrospective alerting

This process in combination with several other threat hunting style plays helped lead us to this particular campaign. The IMG file isn’t unique by any means but was rare and stood out to our analysts immediately when combined with the file name as a fake delivery invoice – one of the more tantalizing and effective types of phishing lures.

Incident Response and Analysis

We needed to pull apart as much of the malicious components as possible to understand how this campaign worked and how it might have slipped our defenses temporarily. The process tree below shows how the executable file dropped from the original IMG file attachment after mounting led to a Nanocore installation:

Analysis Behavior Graph

Figure 2: Visualization of the malicious process tree.



As part of our daily incident response playbook operations, we recently detected a suspicious Autoruns event on an endpoint. This log (Figure 2) indicated that an unsigned binary with multiple detections on the malware analysis site, VirusTotal, had established persistence using the ‘Run’ registry key. Anytime the user logged in, the binary referenced in the “run key” would automatically execute – in this case the binary called itself “filename.exe” and dropped in the typical Windows “%SYSTEMROOT%\%USERNAME%\AppData\Roaming” directory:


    "enabled": "enabled",

    "entry": "startupname",

    "entryLocation": "HKCU\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Run",

    "file_size": "491008",

    "hostname": "[REDACTED]",

    "imagePath": "c:\\users\\[REDACTED]\\appdata\\roaming\\filename.exe",

    "launchString": "C:\\Users\\[REDACTED]\\AppData\\Roaming\\filename.exe",

    "md5": "667D890D3C84585E0DFE61FF02F5E83D",

    "peTime": "5/13/2019 12:48 PM",

    "sha256": "42CCA17BC868ADB03668AADA7CF54B128E44A596E910CFF8C13083269AE61FF1",

    "signer": "",

    "vt_link": "https://www.virustotal.com/file/42cca17bc868adb03668aada7cf54b128e44a596e910cff8c13083269ae61ff1/analysis/1561620694/",

    "vt_ratio": "46/73",

    "sourcetype": "autoruns",


Figure 3: Snippet of the event showing an unknown file attempting to persist on the victim host

Many of the anti-virus engines on VirusTotal detected the binary as the NanoCore Remote Access Trojan (RAT), a well known malware kit sold on underground markets which enables complete control of the infected computer: recording keystrokes, enabling the webcam, stealing files, and much more. Since this malware poses a huge risk and the fact that it was able to achieve persistence without getting blocked by our endpoint security, we prioritized investigating this alert further and initiated an incident. 

Once we identified this infected host using one of our exploratory Autoruns plays, the immediate concern was containing the threat to mitigate as much potential loss as possible. We download a copy of the dropper malware from the infected host and performed additional analysis. Initially we wanted to confirm if other online sandbox services agreed with the findings on VirusTotal. Other services including app.any.run also detected Nanocore based on a file called run.dat being written to the %APPDATA%\Roaming\{GUID} folder as shown in Figure 3: 

app.any.run analysis

Figure 4: app.any.run analysis showing Nanocore infection

The sandbox report also alerted us to an unusual outbound network connection from RegAsm.exe to over port 8166.

Now that we were confident this was not a false positive, we needed to find the root cause of this infection, to determine if any other users are at risk of being victims of this campaign. To begin answering this question, we pulled the Windows Security Event Logs from the host using our asset management tool to gain a better understanding of what occurred on the host at the time of the incident. Immediately, a suspicious event that was occurring every second  jumped out due to the unusual and unexpected activity of a file named “DHL_Label_Scan _ June 19 2019 at 2.21_06455210_PDF.exe” spawning the Windows Assembly Registration tool RegAsm.exe. 

Process Information:

 New Process ID:  0x4128

 New Process Name: C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\RegAsm.exe

 Token Elevation Type: %%1938

 Mandatory Label:  Mandatory Label\Medium Mandatory Level

 Creator Process ID: 0x2ba0

 Creator Process Name: \Device\CdRom0\DHL_Label_Scan _  June 19 2019 at 2.21_06455210_PDF.exe

 Process Command Line: "C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\RegAsm.exe"

 Figure 5: New process spawned from a ‘CdRom0’ device (the fake .img) calling the Windows Assembly Registration tool

This event stands out for several reasons.

  • The filename:
    1. Attempts to social engineer the user into thinking they are executing a PDF by appending “_PDF”
    2. “DHL_Label_Scan” Shipping services are commonly spoofed by adversaries in emails to spread malware.
  • The file path:
    1. \Device\CdRom0\ is a special directory associated with a CD-ROM that has been inserted into the disk drive.
    2. A fake DHL label is a strange thing to have on a CD-ROM and even stranger to insert it to a work machine and execute that file.
  • The process relationship:
    1. Adversaries abuse the Assembly Registration tool “RegAsm.exe” for bypassing process whitelisting and anti-malware protection.
    2. MITRE tracks this common technique as T1121 indicating, “Adversaries can use Regsvcs and Regasm to proxy execution of code through a trusted Windows utility. Both utilities may be used to bypass process whitelisting through use of attributes within the binary to specify code that should be run before registration or unregistration”
    3. We saw this technique in the app.any.run sandbox report.
  • The frequency of the event:
    1. The event was occurring every second, indicating some sort of command and control or heartbeat activity.


Mount Up and Drop Out


At this point in the investigation, we have now uncovered a previously unseen suspicious file: “DHL_Label_Scan _  June 19 2019 at 2.21_06455210_PDF.exe”, which is strangely located in the \Device\CdRom0\ directory, and the original “filename.exe” used to establish persistence.

The first event in this process chain shows explorer.exe spawning the malware from the D: drive.

Process Information:

 New Process ID:  0x2ba0

 New Process Name: \Device\CdRom0\DHL_Label_Scan _  June 19 2019 at 2.21_06455210_PDF.exe

 Token Elevation Type: %%1938

 Mandatory Label:  Mandatory Label\Medium Mandatory Level

 Creator Process ID: 0x28e8

 Creator Process Name: C:\Windows\explorer.exe

 Process Command Line: "D:\DHL_Label_Scan _  June 19 2019 at 2.21_06455210_PDF.exe"

Figure 6: Additional processes spawned by the fake PDF


The following event is the same one that originally caught our attention, which shows the malware spawning RegAsm.exe (eventually revealed to be Nanocore) to establish communication with the command and control server:


Process Information:

 New Process ID:  0x4128

 New Process Name: C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\RegAsm.exe

 Token Elevation Type: %%1938

 Mandatory Label:  Mandatory Label\Medium Mandatory Level

 Creator Process ID: 0x2ba0

 Creator Process Name: \Device\CdRom0\DHL_Label_Scan _  June 19 2019 at 2.21_06455210_PDF.exe

 Process Command Line: "C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\RegAsm.exe"

Figure 7: RegAsm reaching out to command and control servers


Finally, the malware spawns cmd.exe and deletes the original binary using the built-in choice command: 

Process Information:

 New Process ID:  0x2900

 New Process Name: C:\Windows\SysWOW64\cmd.exe

 Token Elevation Type: %%1938

 Mandatory Label:  Mandatory Label\Medium Mandatory Level

 Creator Process ID: 0x2ba0

 Creator Process Name: \Device\CdRom0\DHL_Label_Scan _  June 19 2019 at 2.21_06455210_PDF.exe

 Process Command Line: "C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe" /C choice /C Y /N /D Y /T 3 & Del "D:\DHL_Label_Scan _  June 19 2019 at 2.21_06455210_PDF.exe"


Figure 8: Evidence of deleting the original dropper.


At this point in the investigation of the original dropper and the subsequent suspicious files, we still could not answer how the malware ended up on this user’s computer in the first place. However with the filename of the original dropper to pivot with, a quick web search for the filename turned up a thread on Symantec.com from a user asking for assistance with the file in question. In this post, they write that they recognize the filename from a malspam email they received. Based on the Symantec thread and other clues, such as the use of the shipping service DHL in the filename, we now know the delivery method is likely via email.

Delivery Method Techniques

We used the following Splunk query to search our Email Security Appliance logs for the beginning of the filename we found executing RegAsm.exe in the Windows Event Logs.

index=esa earliest=-30d

[search index=esa "DHL*.img" earliest=-30d

| where isnotnull(cscoMID)

| fields + cscoMID,host

| format]

| transaction cscoMID,host

| eval wasdelivered=if(like(_raw, "%queued for delivery%"), "yes", "no")

| table esaTo, esaFrom, wasdelivered, esaSubject, esaAttachment, Size, cscoMID, esaICID, esaDCID, host

Figure 9: Splunk query looking for original DHL files.

As expected, the emails all came from the spoofed sender address noreply@dhl.com with some variation of the subject “Re: DHL Notification / DHL_AWB_0011179303/ ETD”. In total, CSIRT identified a total of 459 emails from this campaign sent to our users. Of those 459 emails, 396 were successfully delivered and contained 18 different Nanocore samples.

396 malicious emails making it past our well-tuned and automated email mitigation tools is no easy feat. While the lure the attacker used to social engineer their victims was common and unsophisticated, the technique they employed to evade defenses was successful – for a time.

Detecting the Techniques

During the lessons learned phase after this campaign, CSIRT developed numerous incident response detection rules to alert on newly observed techniques discovered while analyzing this incident. The first and most obvious being, detecting malicious disk image files successfully delivered to a user’s inbox. The false-positive rate for this specific type of attack is low in our environment, with a few exceptions here and there – easily tuned out based on the sender. This play could be tuned to look only for disk image files with a small file size if they are more prevalent in your environment.

Another valuable detection rule we developed after this incident is monitoring for suspicious usage (network connections) of the registry assembly executable on our endpoints, which is ultimately the process Nanocore injected itself into and was using to facilitate C2 communication. Also, it is pretty unlikely to ever see legitimate use of the choice command to create a self-destructing binary of sorts, so monitoring for execution of choice with the command-line arguments we saw in the Windows Event above should be a high fidelity alert.

Some additional, universal takeaways from this incident:

  1. Auto-mitigation tools should not be treated as a silver bullet – Effective security monitoring, rapid incident response, and defense in depth/layers is more important.
  2. Obvious solutions such as blocking extensions at email gateway are not always realistic in large, multifunction enterprises – .IMG files were legitimately being used by support engineers and could not be blocked.
  3. Malware campaigns can slip right past defenders on occasion, so a wide playbook that focuses on how attackers operate and infiltrate (TTPs) is key for finding new and unknown malware campaigns in large enterprises (as opposed to relying exclusively on indicators of compromise.)


Indicators Of Compromise (IOCS)



















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Iranian Cyberattacks: 10 Must-Have Defenses

Act Quickly and Prioritize the Basics, Experts Recommend
Protecting enterprise networks from attackers boils down to the same thing: Unless organizations get the basics right, they're sitting ducks. That's a top takeaway from experts warning that Iran will likely retaliate with cyberattacks after one of its senior military leaders was killed by a U.S. drone strike.

What Orwell’s ‘1984’ Missed: Free Social Media Apps

UAE Green Lights All-Access Social Messaging App, Blocks Rivals
Not even George Orwell could have predicted nation-state surveillance in the 21st century. Give us free instant messaging for our smartphones, and faster than you can say "viral kitten video," we're collectively part of a mass surveillance nightmare. Case in point: The ToTok social messaging app.

Why Penetration Tests Are So Essential

Avoiding the Massive Potential Costs of a Data Breach
Corporate network security breaches, which can prove costly to remediate and expose a company to lawsuits, are frequently the result of vulnerabilities that could have been fixed for a relatively low cost. A a brute force penetration test is a critical first step in finding those vulnerabilities.

5G Security in the Balance as Britain Navigates Brexit

PM Boris Johnson: US 'Must Tell Us What's the Alternative' to Chinese-Made Gear
The British government continues to delay deciding whether it will ban Chinese networking gear from its national 5G rollout, as the Trump administration demands. But with future trade deals on the line as the U.K. navigates its "Brexit" from the EU, Britain cannot afford to anger either Beijing or Washington.

Report: Russian Hackers Targeted Ukrainian Gas Firm Burisma

Employees Targeted With Phishing Campaign, Area 1 Security Researchers Say
Hackers with ties to the Russian government have targeted Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma with phishing attacks designed to steal credentials, according to researchers at Area 1 Security. The company is at the center of the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

NSA Uncovers ‘Severe’ Microsoft Windows Vulnerability

Microsoft Provides Patch for Cryptographic Flaw in Windows 10
The NSA took the unusual step Tuesday of announcing what it calls a "severe" vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows 10 operating systems ahead of Microsoft's Patch Tuesday security update. The flaw could allow attackers to execute man-in-the-middle attacks or decrypt confidential data within applications.

VMware addresses flaws in VMware Tools and Workspace ONE SDK

VMware has released security updates to address a local privilege escalation vulnerability in VMware Tools version 10 for Windows.

VMware has released VMware Tools 11.0.0 that addresses a local privilege escalation issue in Tools 10.x.y tracked as CVE-2020-3941. The issue, classified as a race condition flaw that could be exploited by an attacker to access the guest virtual machine to escalate privileges.

“A malicious actor on the guest VM might exploit the race condition and escalate their privileges on a Windows VM. This issue affects VMware Tools for Windows version 10.x.y as the affected functionality is not present in VMware Tools 11.” reads the advisory published by the company.

The vulnerability has been assigned an important severity rating and a CVSS score of 7.8. The company also suggests a workaround in case users cannot upgrade their version.

“However, if upgrading is not possible, exploitation of this issue can be prevented by correcting the ACLs on C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware CAF directory in the Windows guests running VMware Tools 10.x.y versions. In order to correct ACLs for this directory, remove all write access permissions for Standard User from the directory,” reads Workaround for VMware Tools for Windows security vulnerability (CVE-2020-3941) (76654).

Recently the virtualization giant also disclosed an information disclosure issue, tracked as CVE-2020-3940, that affects Workspace ONE SDK and dependent iOS and Android mobile applications.

Vulnerable applications do not properly handle certificate verification failures if SSL pinning is enabled in the UEM Console.

“A sensitive information disclosure vulnerability in the VMware Workspace ONE SDK was privately reported to VMware.” states the security advisory.

“A malicious actor with man-in-the-middle (MITM) network positioning between an affected mobile application and Workspace ONE UEM Device Services may be able to capture sensitive data in transit if SSL Pinning is enabled.” 

The vulnerability has been assigned an important severity rating and a CVSS score of 6.8.

The list of vulnerable applications and SDKs include Workspace ONE Boxer, Content, Intelligent Hub, Notebook, People, PIV-D, Web, and the SDK plugins for Apache Cordova and Xamarin.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – VM, hacking)

The post VMware addresses flaws in VMware Tools and Workspace ONE SDK appeared first on Security Affairs.

Baby App “Peekaboo” Leaks Photos, Videos and Personal Data

An unsecured database discovered online has leaked thousands of baby photos and videos. 

Bithouse, Inc. left unprotected and accessible online an Elasticsearch database containing nearly 100GB of information associated with its app Peekabo Moments. The leaked data includes photos, videos, and birthdates of babies, as well as 800,000 email addresses, location data as well as detailed device information. 

The leaked data was discovered by Dan Ehrlich of the security consulting firm Twelve Security.

“I’ve never seen a server so blatantly open,” Ehrlich said of the leak. 

The lack of protection of user security seemingly contradicts the company’s promises on the Google Play store.

“Data privacy and security come as our priority. Every Baby’s photos, audios & videos or diaries will be stored in secured space. Only families & friends can have access to baby’s moments at your control,” says the app’s description, which has been downloaded over a million times since 2012.

Bithouse has yet to comment on the leak or take the leaked data offline.


The post Baby App “Peekaboo” Leaks Photos, Videos and Personal Data appeared first on Adam Levin.

How to implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Another day, another data breach. If the regular drumbeat of leaked and phished accounts hasn’t persuaded you to switch to Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) already, maybe the usual January rush of ‘back to work’ password reset requests is making you reconsider. When such an effective option for protecting accounts is available, why wouldn’t you deploy it straight away?

The problem is that deploying MFA at scale is not always straightforward. There are technical issues that may hold you up, but the people side is where you have to start. The eventual goal of an MFA implementation is to enable it for all your users on all of your systems all of the time, but you won’t be able to do that on day one.

To successfully roll out MFA, start by being clear about what you’re going to protect, decide what MFA technology you’re going to use, and understand what the impact on employees is going to be. Otherwise, your MFA deployment might grind to a halt amid complaints from users who run into problems while trying to get their job done.

Before you start on the technical side, remember that delivering MFA across a business is a job for the entire organization, from the security team to business stakeholders to IT departments to HR and to corporate communications and beyond, because it has to support all the business applications, systems, networks and processes without affecting workflow.

Campaign and train

Treat the transition to MFA like a marketing campaign where you need to sell employees on the idea—as well as provide training opportunities along the way. It’s important for staff to understand that MFA is there to support them and protect their accounts and all the their data, because that may not be their first thought when met with changes to the way they sign in to the tools they use every day. If you run an effective internal communications campaign that makes it clear to users what they need to do and, more importantly, why they need to do it, you’ll avoid them seeing MFA as a nuisance or misunderstanding it as ‘big brother’ company tracking.

The key is focusing on awareness: in addition to sending emails—put up posters in the elevator, hang banner ads in your buildings, all explaining why you’re making the transition to MFA. Focus on informing your users, explaining why you’re making this change—making it very clear what they will need to do and where they can find instructions, documentation, and support.

Also, provide FAQs and training videos, along with optional training sessions or opportunities to opt in to an early pilot group (especially if you can offer them early access to a new software version that will give them features they need). Recognize that MFA is more work for them than just using a password, and that they will very likely be inconvenienced. Unless you are able to use biometrics on every device they will have to get used to carrying a security key or a device with an authenticator app with them all the time, so you need them to understand why MFA is so important.

It’s not surprising that users can be concerned about a move to MFA. After all, MFA has sometimes been done badly in the consumer space. They’ll have seen stories about social networks abusing phone numbers entered for security purposes for marketing or of users locked out of their accounts if they’re travelling and unable to get a text message. You’ll need to reassure users who have had bad experiences with consumer MFA and be open to feedback from employees about the impact of MFA policies. Like all tech rollouts, this is a process.

If you’re part of an international business you have more to do, as you need to account for global operations. That needs wider buy-in and a bigger budget, including language support if you must translate training and support documentation. If you don’t know where to start, Microsoft provides communication templates and user documentation you can customize for your organization.

Start with admin accounts

At a minimum, you want to use MFA for all your admins, so start with privileged users. Administrative accounts are your highest value targets and the most urgent to secure, but you can also treat them as a proof of concept for wider adoption. Review who these users are and what privileges they have—there are probably more accounts than you expect with far more privileges than are really needed.

At the same time, look at key business roles where losing access to email—or having unauthorized emails sent—will have a major security impact. Your CEO, CFO, and other senior leaders need to move to MFA to protect business communications.

Use what you’ve learned to roll out MFA to high value groups to plan a pilot deployment—which includes employees from across the business who require different levels of security access—so your final MFA deployment is optimized for mainstream employees without hampering the productivity of those working with more sensitive information, whether that’s the finance team handling payroll or developers with commit rights. Consider how you will cover contractors and partners who need access as well.

Plan for wider deployment

Start by looking at what systems you have that users need to sign in to that you can secure with MFA. Remember that includes on-premises systems—you can incorporate MFA into your existing remote access options, using Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS), or Network Policy Server and use Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Application Proxy to publish applications for cloud access.

Concentrate on finding any networks or systems where deploying MFA will take more work (for example, if SAML authentication is used) and especially on discovering vulnerable apps that don’t support anything except passwords because they use legacy or basic authentication. This includes older email systems using MAPI, EWS, IMAP4, POP3, SMTP, internal line of business applications, and elderly client applications. Upgrade or update these to support modern authentication and MFA where you can. Where this isn’t possible, you’ll need to restrict them to use on the corporate network until you can replace them, because critical systems that use legacy authentication will block your MFA deployment.

Be prepared to choose which applications to prioritize. As well as an inventory of applications and networks (including remote access options), look at processes like employee onboarding and approval of new applications. Test how applications work with MFA, even when you expect the impact to be minimal. Create a new user without admin access, use that account to sign in with MFA and go through the process of configuring and using the standard set of applications staff will use to see if there are issues. Look at how users will register for MFA and choose which methods and factors to use, and how you will track and audit registrations. You may be able to combine MFA registration with self-service password reset (SSPR) in a ‘one stop shop,’ but it’s important to get users to register quickly so that attackers can’t take over their account by registering for MFA, especially if it’s for a high-value application they don’t use frequently. For new employees, you should make MFA registration part of the onboarding process.

Make MFA easier on employees

MFA is always going to be an extra step, but you can choose MFA options with less friction, like using biometrics in devices or FIDO2 compliant factors such as Feitan or Yubico security keys. Avoid using SMS if possible. Phone-based authentication apps like the Microsoft Authenticator App are an option, and they don’t require a user to hand over control of their personal device. But if you have employees who travel to locations where they may not have connectivity, choose OATH verification codes, which are automatically generated rather than push notifications that are usually convenient but require the user to be online. You can even use automated voice calls: letting users press a button on the phone keypad is less intrusive than giving them a passcode to type in on screen.

Offer a choice of alternative factors so people can pick the one that best suits them. Biometrics are extremely convenient, but some employees may be uncomfortable using their fingerprint or face for corporate sign-ins and may prefer receiving an automated voice call.

Make sure that you include mobile devices in your MFA solution, managing them through Mobile Device Management (MDM), so you can use conditional and contextual factors for additional security.

Avoid making MFA onerous; choose when the extra authentication is needed to protect sensitive data and critical systems rather than applying it to every single interaction. Consider using conditional access policies and Azure AD Identity Protection, which allows for triggering two-step verification based on risk detections, as well as pass-through authentication and single-sign-on (SSO).

If MFA means that a user accessing a non-critical file share or calendar on the corporate network from a known device that has all the current OS and antimalware updates sees fewer challenges—and no longer faces the burden of 90-day password resets—then you can actually improve the user experience with MFA.

Have a support plan

Spend some time planning how you will handle failed sign-ins and account lockouts. Even with training, some failed sign-ins will be legitimate users getting it wrong and you need to make it easy for them to get help.

Similarly, have a plan for lost devices. If a security key is lost, the process for reporting that needs to be easy and blame free, so that employees will notify you immediately so you can expire their sessions and block the security key, and audit the behavior of their account (going back to before they notified you of the loss). Security keys that use biometrics may be a little more expensive, but if they’re lost or stolen, an attacker can’t use them. If possible, make it a simple, automated workflow, using your service desk tools.

You also need to quickly get them connected another way so they can get back to work. Automatically enrolling employees with a second factor can help. Make that second factor convenient enough to use that they’re not unable to do their job, but not so convenient that they keep using it and don’t report the loss: one easy option is allowing one-time bypasses. Similarly, make sure you’re set up to automatically deprovision entitlements and factors when employees change roles or leave the organization.

Measure and monitor

As you deploy MFA, monitor the rollout to see what impact it has on both security and productivity and be prepared to make changes to policies or invest in better hardware to make it successful. Track security metrics for failed login attempts, credential phishing that gets blocked and privilege escalations that are denied.

Your MFA marketing campaign also needs to continue during and after deployment, actively reaching out to staff and asking them to take back in polls or feedback sessions. Start that with the pilot group and continue it once everyone is using MFA.

Even when you ask for it, don’t rely on user feedback to tell you about problems. Check helpdesk tickets, logs, and audit options to see if it’s taking users longer to get into systems, or if they’re postponing key tasks because they’re finding MFA difficult, or if security devices are failing or breaking more than expected. New applications and new teams in the business will also mean that MFA deployment needs to be ongoing, and you’ll need to test software updates to see if they break MFA; you have to make it part of the regular IT process.

Continue to educate users about the importance of MFA, including running phishing training and phishing your own employees (with more training for those who are tricked into clicking through to fake links).

MFA isn’t a switch you flip; it’s part of a move to continuous security and assessment that will take time and commitment to implement. But if you approach it in the right way, it’s also the single most effective step you can take to improve security.

About the authors

Ann Johnson is the Corporate Vice President for Cybersecurity Solutions Group for Microsoft. She is a member of the board of advisors for FS-ISAC (The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center), an advisory board member for EWF (Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management & Privacy), and an advisory board member for HYPR Corp. Ann recently joined the board of advisors for Cybersecurity Ventures

Christina Morillo is a Senior Program Manager on the Azure Identity Engineering Product team at Microsoft. She is an information security and technology professional with a background in cloud technologies, enterprise security, and identity and access. Christina advocates and is passionate about making technology less scary and more approachable for the masses. When she is not at work, or spending time with her family, you can find her co-leading Women in Security and Privacy’s NYC chapter and supporting others as an advisor and mentor. She lives in New York City with her husband and children.

Learn more

To find out more about Microsoft’s Cybersecurity Solutions, visit the Microsoft Security site, or follow Microsoft Security on Twitter at Microsoft Security Twitter or Microsoft WDSecurity Twitter.

To learn more about Microsoft Azure Identity Management solutions, visit this Microsoft overview page and follow our Identity blog. You can also follow us @AzureAD on Twitter.

Bookmark the Security blog to keep up with our expert coverage on security matters. Also, follow us at @MSFTSecurity for the latest news and updates on cybersecurity.

The post How to implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) appeared first on Microsoft Security.

Dagenham Duo Jailed for Hacking Bank Accounts

Dagenham Duo Jailed for Hacking Bank Accounts

Two Dagenham residents have been put behind bars after compromising more than 700 bank accounts and cell phone accounts to commit fraud in a six-year crime spree.

Nigerian-born Oluwaseun Ajayi, aged 39, and 49-year-old Inga Irbe hacked into bank accounts then applied for loans, credit cards, and additional bank accounts in the names of their victims. 

An investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Central Specialist Crime—Cyber Crime Unit revealed that the duo also committed multiple incidences of phone upgrade fraud by gaining unauthorized access to strangers' cell phone accounts and ordering £12,000 worth of new devices. 

Police searches of the address shared by Irbe and Ajayi resulted in the seizure of numerous items, including multiple cell phones, SIM Cards, iPads, and a laptop. Correspondence and bank cards in other people’s names were also confiscated, along with £1,200 cash in £50 notes.

The pair, who both reside at Orchard Road, Dagenham, and who may be romantically involved, were found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation between February 1, 2012, and May 14, 2018. Ajayi was further found guilty of failing to comply with a Section 49 RIPA notice to disclose his phone's PIN number to police.

The guilty verdicts were reached by a jury at Croydon Crown Court on November 27. In the same court, on Friday, January 10, Ajayi was sentenced to five years and six months in prison, while Irbe was handed a community order of 12 months and ordered to complete 170 hours of unpaid work.

Detective Inspector Gary Myers said: "Ajayi and Irbe committed these offences in a manner that showed a lot of pre-planning and deception.

"However, they were not able to deceive officers, who carried out a thorough investigation which has brought these two criminals to justice.

"While cybercrime can often be complex and investigations take months, Met officers will not relent in pursuing those that hide behind their keyboards to steal other people's money and make their lives a misery."

Do security diligence but prepare for the worst, new report advises

With cybercriminals increasingly forming alliances, infosec leaders have to toughen their security strategies, but be ready for a worst-case scenario, says a Canadian managed security service provider.

That’s the conclusion of Cambridge, Ont.,-based eSentire in its Annual Threat Intelligence Report, which was released this morning.

“At the highest level, organizations need to develop a security strategy and have a plan which accounts for the harsh reality that—at some point—things will go wrong and threats will breakthrough,” says the report. “Regardless of what third-party security solutions and services are put in place, internal perspectives provide valuable enrichment and context; moreover, internal skills and knowledge often permit faster incident responses and more effective coordination with third-party experts.

“Do security diligence and hope for the best—but prepare for the worst.”

Among its predictions for 2020:

  • Threat groups will specialize in their skill sets to complement the whole cybercrime community. “Essentially, the cybercrime market will become increasingly efficient in an economic sense” by increasing co-operation
  • Threat actors will use cloud services — for example, using Azure and Google-based websites to host phishing lures and exploit kits — as an attack vector, even more, this year. Because these malicious websites use reputable hosts, there is a tendency for people and automated detection systems to implicitly trust them and to overlook the associated traffic. Plus, domain- and IP-based filtering solutions must leave these hosts accessible so businesses can access their data and services. “Defending against such attacks will require careful coordination between cloud providers and disciplined curation of cloud services by enterprise users”
  • More CISOs will use deception techniques such as make admin credentials and isolated systems to simplify detection and to complicate matters for attackers. Companies could deploy intermediary systems that respond to reconnaissance in a way that increases the workload for attackers, thereby changing the economics of the attack business model
  • With law enforcement and cybersecurity agencies getting more funding to expect more arrests
  • And because this is an election year in the U.S. expect more politically-motivated cyber-attacks.

In an interview lead report author Keegan Keplinger said one thing that struck him the most in preparing the paper was how many enterprises “have simple security in place — they’ve got almost nothing. And in some cases, they had threat actors [in their environment] that they weren’t even aware of.”

Mark Sangster, an eSentire security strategist, said what stuck out for him was the finding that those behind ransomware attacks are increasingly taking what the report calls a “hands-on-keyboard” targeted approach and not merely relying on an automated attack.

Asked why defenders are still struggling Sangster said Canadian firms “see a lot of these issues as technical to solve” and not as a cultural problem that also needs awareness training. And, he added, far too many organizations here still don’t believe they will be targeted. “They think in linear terms — ‘We’re not a bank, we don’t have money.’ I hear it all the time: ‘We’re a Canadian manufacturing firm, who’d want to come after us?’ Well, I know of one that lost millions of dollars in fraudulent email invoice attacks.”

Sangster also said industry associations in the U.S. are three to five years ahead of their Canadian counterparts in educating businesses about cyber risks and how to face them.

Using data from customers, the report found that Emotet accounted for almost 20 per cent of confirmed malware incidents, reinforcing its role in the black market as the preferred delivery tool. Emotet was the most observed threat both on networks and on endpoints, achieving this dominance despite a midyear hiatus when the command and control servers were dormant.

In the past Emotet was a banking Trojan with its own delivery system, but in 2019, it primarily functioned as a downloader. While it contains some minimal Trojan and worming functionality, its main function today is to download and install other malware (e.g., AZORult, IcedID, ZeuS Panda, TrickBot, Qbot and others).

Hidden Hotel Room Cameras Spark Investigation

Hidden Hotel Room Cameras Spark Investigation

An investigation has been launched by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and local police after hidden cameras were found in a downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, hotel room.

The creepy discovery was made by a group of high school students who were staying at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis hotel on 7th Street while on an overnight field trip with their school's business club. The trip took place over the first weekend of December last year. 

Police confirmed that students found multiple cameras in the room but have not disclosed exactly how many devices were involved in the incident. 

After East High School DECA students informed the school of the discovery, the Madison school district placed an unidentified staff member who had accompanied the students on the field trip on an administrative leave as a precautionary measure. 

DECA is an international organization that aims to educate youngsters about jobs in marketing, finance, and hospitality. The organization runs events and competitions to encourage student interest in the business world. 

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DoJ) agents and Minneapolis police are investigating the incident, along with previous trips run by East DECA. 

In an email sent to students' parents on December 16, interim principal of East High School Brendan Kearney wrote: "We are sorry to have to contact you in this way and can only imagine what you must be feeling. 

"We want you to know that East and (the Madison school district) will do whatever we can to protect and support both our current and former students."

Included in Kearney's missive was a message from DoJ agent Jesse Crowe, which confirmed that the agency’s Division of Criminal Investigation was leading an investigation into any events that occurred prior to the business club's December trip, including anything that occurred outside the state.

According to CBSN Minnesota, a search warrant was served on a home in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, on December 12 in connection with the incident, but no arrests were made. Police later asked a judge to seal the contents of the warrant.

Former DECA trip participants have been provided with an email address to which they were invited to submit any relevant information regarding former events and excursions. 

The Madison school district intends to carry out its own investigation into the incident after the investigation by law enforcement concludes.

Peekaboo Moments app left baby videos, photos, and 800,000 users’ email addresses exposed on the internet

The developer of a smartphone app has carelessly left a database accessible to anybody with an internet connection, leaving exposed a database of millions of records containing baby videos and photos, as well as the email addresses of users.

Read more in my article on the Hot for Security blog.

P&N Bank data breach may have impacted 100,000 West Australians

P&N Bank discloses data breach, customer account information, balances exposed

The Australian P&N Bank is notifying its customers a data breach that has exposed personally identifiable information (PII) and sensitive account data.

P&N Bank, a division of Police & Nurses Limited and operating in Western Australia, suffered a data breach and is reporting the incident to its customers, attackers have accessed personally identifiable information (PII) and sensitive account data.

According to The West Australian website, hackers have stolen personal information from 100,000 West Australians in the cyber attack.

P&N Bank confirmed that intruders accessed names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, customer numbers, ages, account numbers, and account balances. The bank pointed out that passwords, Social Security numbers, Tax file numbers, driver’s license or passport details, credit card numbers, and dates of birth have not been exposed. 

P&N Bank sent a data breach notification to its customers and reported the incident to law enforcement. The incident notice impacted the customer relationship management (CRM) platform, according to the bank “certain personal information […] appears to have been accessed as a result of online criminal activity.”

The cyber attack took place around December 12, when the financial institution was performing a server upgrade. Hackers likely targeted a third party company that the Bank hired to provide hosting services.

The bank announced to have locked out the attackers and solved the flaw exploited by attackers.

“Upon becoming aware of the attack, we immediately shut down the source of the vulnerability, and have since been working closely with WAPOL, other federal authorities, our third-party IT provider involved, regulators” continues the data breach notification.

The bank hired external experts to help it in investigating the incident.

P&N Bank highlighted that there is no evidence of customer accounts or funds being compromised.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, data breach)

The post P&N Bank data breach may have impacted 100,000 West Australians appeared first on Security Affairs.

Testing Servers for Vulnerability to HTTP Desync Request Smuggling Attacks

A widespread vulnerability is allowing attackers to steal credentials, route victims to malicious URLs, and preventing users from using the targeted websites. The attack tricks the back-end server into splicing the content of an attacker’s malicious request into the content of the victim’s request. This allows attackers to control part of a normal user’s requests. Several companies, including PayPal and Akamai, have paid tens of thousands of dollars in bug bounties to white hat hackers who identified this vulnerability in their systems.

UK Announces AI Warship Contracts

UK Announces AI Warship Contracts

Britain's Ministry of Defense today announced contracts to create "revolutionary" warships that use artificial intelligence (AI) to make quicker decisions.

The Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA), part of the Ministry of Defense (MoD), said that an initial funding wave of £4m had been allocated to the project.

"The funding aims to revolutionize the way warships make decisions and process thousands of strands of intelligence and data by using Artificial Intelligence," said DASA.

The contracts are part of DASA’s Intelligent Ship—The Next Generation competition, which seeks to uncover inventive approaches for Human–AI and AI–AI teaming across a variety of defense platforms, such as warships, aircraft, and land vehicles. 

The competition was set up to source tech-based solutions that will prove effective in 2040 and beyond, with the possibility to completely change the way warships are built and how they operate. 

DASA, on behalf of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), is looking at how future defense platforms can be designed and optimized to exploit current and future advances in automation, autonomy, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. 

Nine projects will share an initial £1m to develop technology and innovative solutions capable of overcoming the increasing information overload faced by Royal Navy crews. 

"Crews are already facing information overload with thousands of sources of data, intelligence, and information. By harnessing automation, autonomy, machine learning and artificial intelligence with the real-life skill and experience of our men and women, we can revolutionize the way future fleets are put together and operate to keep the UK safe," said Julia Tagg, technical lead from Dstl.

Despite being titled Intelligent Ship, a warship is just the prototype demonstrator for this competition. Effective technological solutions born from the project could be rolled out to the British Army and also the Royal Air Force.

"The astonishing pace at which global threats are evolving requires new approaches and fresh-thinking to the way we develop our ideas and technology. The funding will research pioneering projects into how A.I and automation can support our armed forces in their essential day-to-day work," said Defense Minister James Heappey.

STOP (Djvu) Ransomware: Ransom For Your Shady Habits!

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

With almost 200 extensions, STOP (djvu) ransomware can be said to be 2019’s most active and widespread ransomware. Although this ransomware was active a year before, it started its campaign aggressively in early 2019. To evade detection, it has been continuously changing its extensions and payloads. For earlier infections, data recovery was easier if the key was not online CnC generated. Once payload was received, decryption was easier as it used non-symmetric encryption algorithms and for offline systems, it used the same set of keys. There has been a change in its encryption strategy from mid-2019, which made the decryption of infected files difficult. By observing continuous improvement in infection vectors and payloads, one can consider STOP actors to be one of the most active malware authors of 2019.

Here, we will discuss in detail about its behavior and updated file encryption technique. We will also go through its parallel activities of downloading other malware and their behavior. The statistics would elaborate its prominence in the last few months.

Infection Vectors:

According to our telemetry, this ransomware is seen spreading through cracked applications, keygens, activators, fake application setup and fake windows updates. While taking a look at the infection vectors and the ransom demanded, we can say that these actors believed in quantity instead of quality like Ryuk did. According to our observations, cracked files or fake activators for different software like Tally, Autocad, Adobe Photoshop, Internet Download Manager, Microsoft Office, Opera browser, VMware Workstation, Quick Heal Total Security, etc. were seen spreading this ransomware.

Payload Behaviour:

Fig. 1: ProcessMap

The main payload of STOP (djvu) has lots of anti-emulation and anti-debugging techniques implemented by its common wrapper, which is believed to be used for most of the payloads. Few of the ransomware are seen avoiding encryption for a particular set of countries, depending on the region of their origin and strength of victims to pay the ransom. For that, we have observed the use of keyboard layouts to identify the country of the victim system. Here, STOP authors did not rely on legacy techniques as there might be a chance of error. The payload checks for the location of the system by visiting “https[:]//api.2ip.ua/geo.json” where in response we get information about the location and timezone of the system.

In response to this request, details of location including longitude, latitude, timezone along with country and city are received.

Fig. 2: IP Response

The retrieved country code is compared with a few other country codes. If it matches with any of the listed country codes, the payload does not execute further. The image below shows the country code comparison before encryption.

Fig. 3: Country Code Comparison

Once it confirms that the victim is not from one of the enlisted countries, it creates a folder with UUID or GUID used as its name at directory “%AppData%\Local\”. After that, payload creates self-copy at this location and access controls of this file are changed using ‘icals’ by the following command:

“icacls \”%AppData%\\Local\\{UuId}\” /deny *S-1-1-0:(OI)(CI)(DE,DC)”

Where OI: Object Inherit, CI: Container Inherit, DE: Delete, DC: Delete Child

Again after this, payload runs itself from its original location by elevating access rights as admin using

<Directory Path>\ewrewexcf.exe –Admin IsNotAutoStart IsNotTask 

Further, it terminates the parent process. Parameters confirm that the process is neither initiated by autostart programs nor it is a scheduled task and is running as admin. This newly executed process creates a task scheduler entry using TaskSchedulerCOM at:

C:\Windows\System32\Tasks\Time Trigger Task

Fig. 4: Time Trigger Task

Then it retrieves the MAC address of the system using GetAdaptersInfo(). An MD5 hash of this MAC address is then calculated using Windows Crypto APIs and is then used to uniquely identify the system. A request is sent to malicious CnC using this MD5 hash, which gets RSA-2048 public key and system encryption identifier i.e. personal ID as a response.

Request format:

http://ring2[.]ug/As73yhsyU34578hxxx/SDf565g/get.php?pid={Mac Address_MD5}&first=true

This response is stored in %AppData%\Local\bowsakkdestx.txt. This key is further used in file encryption, which we will discuss later. Also, the ID received along with the public key is stored in C:\SystemID\PersonalID.txt for future reference.

While receiving personal ID and public key, the ransomware payload also downloads a couple of other malware from the CnC server. It consists of infamous info-stealer i.e. Vidar and a trojan payload which is similar to previously seen Vilsel.

Fig. 5: File Download Requests

In Fig.5, ‘5.exe’ was downloaded and it is one of the Vidar payloads, while ‘updatewin1.exe’ was Vilsel. The lateral activity of these components will be discussed later.

For persistence, along with time trigger task, it also creates one RUN registry entry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run “SysHelper” = “%AppData%\Local\{UuId}\34efcdsax.exe” –AutoStart

It drops ransom note to the directories it has enumerated. Before start of encryption process, a mutex {1D6FC66E – D1F3 – 422C – 8A53 – C0BBCF3D900D} is created. This mutex is common throughout STOP-Djvu campaign.

It particularly checks for the presence of file I:\5d2860c89d774.jpg and if present, it encrypts this file.

File Encryption:

File encryption involves 2 types:

  • Encryption with Online Key
  • Encryption with Offline Key

In the first scenario, payload tries to establish a connection with CnC by sending a request for server-generated public key and ID using the associated MD5 hash of the system’s MAC address. The response is saved in bowsakkdestx.txt. For encryption, this key is used in the future.

In the latter type of encryption, if STOP ransomware is not able to get a response from the CnC, it checks for the existence of bowsakkdestx.txt at ‘%AppData%/Local’ directory. If the file found, it checks for the ‘Public Key’ keyword in the file. If the file does not contain a public key, payload deletes the file and again checks for the CnC response. On the other hand, if the file is not present then it uses public key and ID which are already present in the file. Most of the strings in the payload are present in encrypted form i.e. XORed with byte key 0x80. The recent payloads of stop have an offline ID which is appended by its extension name and “t1”.

ex: Z4aT0c1B4eHWZwaTg43eRzyM1gl3ZaaNVHrecot1

Few file types and directories are skipped from the encryption process based on path and file extensions.

Extensions excluded:

.sys .ini .dll .blf .bat .lnk .regtrans-ms

Along with above extensions, the extension used by payload to indicate encryption is also avoided.

Files Excluded:

ntuser.dat  ntuser.dat.LOG1  ntuser.dat.LOG2  ntuser.pol  _readme.txt

Folders in Windows directory and browser folders in the Program Files directory are excluded from encryption.

Before encryption, it also checks for file encryption marker i.e. “{36A698B9-D67C-4E07-BE82-0EC5B14B4DF5}” which is at the end of the file followed by encryption ID.

While encrypting a file, it keeps the first 5 bytes of the file as it is. The rest of the file data is encrypted with the Salsa20 algorithm. For the file data encryption, UUID is created and is used as a key for the Salsa20 algorithm. In this way, each file uses a new UUID and the unique key is used for encryption of each file. Given below is an example of one Salsa20 key.

Fig. 6: Salsa20 Key

After encryption of file data, the UUID used as Salsa20 key is also encrypted with the RSA-2048 public key which was received from the CnC server. In the case of offline encryption, this key is retrieved from the payload itself. The encrypted UUID is appended after encrypted file data. The personal ID which was again received from the server with RSA-2048 public key is appended to encrypted UUID. If files are encrypted offline, then this personal ID is also retrieved from file and is common for all offline infected victims. At the end of the file, encryption marker ‘{36A698B9-D67C-4E07-BE82-0EC5B14B4DF5}’ is written.

Fig. 7: File Encryption Structure


Lateral Activity:

     1. Vidar (5.exe)

Vidar is a known info-stealer trojan, which collects sensitive information from your system and then delivers it to its CnC. The information it may steal includes:

  • Browser Login Data, History, Cookies
  • Browser Cache
  • System Information
  • Messaging/Email software data
  • Two-factor authentication software data

It checks for the presence of various browsers and software including two-factor authentication tools.

Fig. 8: Vidar File Access

It stores stolen data in a randomly named folder in the ProgramData directory. In this directory, few ‘.zip’ files are created which contain files like information.txt which has details of user and machine, running processes and software installed in the system. The retrieved passwords/credentials from browsers and other software are stored in passwords.txt. The rest of the information is stored in directories/files with respective software names.

Fig. 9: Vidar File Write

There is one file additional named ID which contains data in the form of SQL database having tables like logins, meta, stats, sync_entities_metadata and sync_model_metadata. These tables mainly have browser-related data of the user. All of these data are then sent to CnC of Vidar which is hxxp://crarepo[.]com/ in this case. Changes in the CnC servers are observed over the period.

Fig. 10: Vidar HttpSendRequestA

     2. Updatewin1.exe:

This component is mainly used to hide ransomware’s existence or evade detection based on the behavior of malware. It shows similarity with the Vilsel Trojan family.

First of all, it executes itself with elevated privileges. This process with elevated privileges executes PowerShell with the following command line, to change execution policy from default restricted to RemoteSigned, which results in the execution of local policies without any digital signature.

powershell -Command Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope CurrentUser RemoteSigned

Fig. 11: Updatewin RegSetValue

The updatewin1.exe then drops script.ps1 having command ‘Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring $true’ at %temp% location. A new PowerShell instance is initiated with parameters:

 -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command “& {Start-Process PowerShell -ArgumentList ‘-NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -File %AppData%\Local\script.ps1″”‘ -Verb RunAs.

This runs PowerShell with admin privileges and bypasses all execution policies for the current instance of PowerShell. This executes script.ps1 resulting in disabling of Windows Realtime Protection. It also removes downloaded updates/signatures of windows defender using the command:

mpcmdrun.exe -removedefinitions -all

The task manager is also disabled by changing the registry and then updatewin1.exe deletes itself using a batch file.

     3. Updatewin.exe:

This component has no suspicious or malicious activity. It just displays windows update prompt so that any of the suspicious activities will be considered as windows update changes. There is no minimize or close option to this window, one has to kill the process to get rid of it.

Fig. 12: Fake Update Window


Ransom note:

Fig. 13: _readme.txt Ransom note

Over the campaign, the STOP ransom note has remained the same with few small changes. It asks for $980 of ransom and gives a 50% discount if payment is done within 3 days. The conversation with victims is carried over the mail. Ransom note contains the Personal Id of the user which is also stored in C:\SystemID\PersonalID.txt.


Fig. 14: Statistics

From the introduction of the new RSA 2048 variant, we have seen a noticeable increase in infections. As the chart above states, there was a gradual increase from August till November with hits crossing 120,000 mark. However, there’s been a decrease in hits in December, which seems to have continued in the month of January.


From the start of the STOP-djvu campaign, stop authors have focused on changing payloads and extensions within short intervals, making their presence among ransomware strong and sound. Initially, authors believed in symmetric cryptography, hoping for ransom from most of the cases with newer payloads and unique keys for each variant. The free decryptors for offline infections forced them to shift to asymmetric cryptography, which made the decryption of new infections harder. Also, propagating through multiple crack software, activators, keygen software and fake software/OS upgrades, has been an effective way of spreading for this ransomware.



















The post STOP (Djvu) Ransomware: Ransom For Your Shady Habits! appeared first on Seqrite Blog.

GDPR Checklist For Small Businesses

The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which came into effect in 2018 meant some big changes in the way businesses collect and handle personal data. The idea behind the new legislation is to give individuals better access and control over their own personal data. While this is great news for individuals, it requires a little extra work from businesses who must now provide legal grounds for collecting data and must only use it for the intended purpose. What’s more, they need to follow these regulations to the letter and remain GDPR compliant at all times.

This applies to companies of all sizes – even your small business. If you collect personal data in any form, such as emails, addresses, names or financial details, your business needs to be GDPR compliant. If it’s found that you’re not effectively managing and protecting your data you could face a big fine. Though regulators may be a bit more lenient with smaller businesses depending on how much data you hold, an unwanted fine is always bad news. That’s why we’ve put together this checklist to help ensure your small business is GDPR compliant. In this guide we’ll look at:

  • Understanding your data and responsibilities
  • Defining your data consent policy
  • Access requests and disposing of old data
  • Setting up a data storage and security policy
  • Training all staff on GDPR
  • Creating data processing notices

  1. Understanding your data and responsibilities

In order to be GDPR compliant it’s important that you understand what data you’re collecting and your responsibilities as a business. It’s therefore a good idea to get clued up on what is defined as ‘personal data’ and set out strict guidelines on how much information you need to collect. This is because a huge part of GDPR is ensuring that you only collect personal information you actually need and that it is only used for the intended purpose. The less you collect the easier it is to stay compliant.

You’ll also want to ensure anyone that is involved in the handling of data understands how to collect and store the data effectively, as well as how to process it in line with GDPR. As you collect data, it’s a good idea to keep a note of how consent is being obtained and what processes the data goes through once it has been collected.


  1. Setting out your data consent policy

Getting clear and explicit consent from individuals to collect and use their data is one of the most important aspects of GDPR. For this reason, you need to outline to customers or those using your services why you’re collecting their data and how you intend to use it in the future. Once they have actively agreed, you can then collect their data – this is usually done through sign-up forms or pop-ups. However, if they do not give you permission then under no circumstances should you record their personal information.

You must be able to show that they have obtained consent for all the data that you have collected. Otherwise, you run the risk of being fined. Another point worth noting is that you can no longer rely on underhand tactics such as pre-ticked boxes to gain consent. This is now illegal under GDPR and can land you in trouble. Finally, you must make it easy for individuals to opt-out of receiving your communications. The best way to do this is by adding an unsubscribe button at the bottom of all emails.


  1. Access requests and disposing of old data

If you haven’t already, GDPR states that you must get re-permission from customers whose information you held before the new guidelines were implemented in May 2018. If they do not give you their consent once again or they do not reply to your email at all, you must delete their data as soon as possible. An important part of your GDPR checklist should be getting auditing processes in place that determine how long you will store data. For example, if a customer has not engaged with your brand in 12 months it is no longer necessary to keep their information and it should therefore be deleted.

What’s more, as part of GDPR every EU individual has the right to access their data. Therefore you need a system in place to deal with access requests. You’ll have 30 days from receiving the request to provide them with an electronic copy of all the information you have on them. They can also request that this be deleted, so you need a system in place to get this done as quickly as possible.


  1. Setting up a data storage and security policy

GDPR is set out to protect the rights and personal information of individuals, therefore you need to make sure you’re taking care of the data you’re collecting. This means knowing where it is stored and ensuring you’ve got the security measures in place to keep it safe. Mapping out all the places where you store data, be that email, databases or cloud-based systems, makes it easier to find and deal with access or deletion requests. Your storage and security policy should outline where everything is stored, how it is protected and who has access to said data.

You also need to know how data is being transferred and the flow of information around your business. This stops information seemingly getting lost or falling into the wrong hands. It also pays to have a system in place just in case your hardware is accessed or lost, whilst containing sensitive information. For example, if a laptop full of information is misplaced, having the data encrypted means you’re less likely to fall victim to a breach or face a fine.


  1. Training all staff on GDPR

Most data breaches or security mistakes come as a result of human error. But unfortunately, in this case ignorance isn’t bliss, you cannot use ignorance as an excuse for mishandling data. For this reason, it’s important that all members of your team are clued up on GDPR, their personal responsibilities for looking after personal data, and how to recognise a breach. As part of GDPR, you must report any data breaches within 72 hours, this becomes much easier if everyone in your team is educated on what this looks like and who they need to report to.


  1. Creating data processing notices

Finally, data handling needs to be a clear and transparent process and therefore it’s a good idea to create a notice to explain how your business collects and processes data. This is often called a Fair Processing Notice and can be sent out to customers/users as well as being displayed somewhere on your website. It should outline how you capture, use and store data, as well as giving instructions on how an individual can make and access or deletion request. This helps them to understand how you are protecting their data and can be great for building your reputation as a legitimate and caring business.


The post GDPR Checklist For Small Businesses appeared first on CyberDB.

Have an iPhone? Use it to protect your Google Account with the Advanced Protection Program

Phishing—when an online attacker tries to trick you into giving them your username and password—is one of the most common causes of account compromises. We recently partnered with The Harris Poll to survey 500 high-risk users (politicians and their staff, journalists, business executives, activists, online influencers) living in the U.S. Seventy-four percent of them reported having been the target of a phishing attempt or compromised by a phishing attack.

Gmail automatically blocks more than 100 million phishing emails every day and warns people that are targeted by government-backed attackers, but you can further strengthen the security of your Google Account by enrolling in the Advanced Protection Program—our strongest security protections that automatically help defend against evolving methods attackers use to gain access to your personal and work Google Accounts and data.

Security keys are an important feature of the Advanced Protection Program, because they provide the strongest protection against phishing attacks. In the past, you had to separately purchase and carry physical security keys. Last year, we built security keys into Android phones—and starting today, you can activate a security key on your iPhone to help protect your Google Account.

Activating the security key on your iPhone with Google’s Smart Lock app

Security keys use public-key cryptography to verify your identity and URL of the login page, so that an attacker can’t access your account even if they have your username or password. Unlike other two-factor authentication (2FA) methods that try to verify your sign-in, security keys are built with FIDO standards that provide the strongest protection against automated bots, bulk phishing attacks, and targeted phishing attacks. You can learn more about security keys from our Cloud Next ‘19 presentation.

Approving the sign-in to a Google Account with Google’s SmartLock app on an iPhone

On your iPhone, the security key can be activated with Google’s Smart Lock app; on your Android phone, the functionality is built in. The security key in your phone uses Bluetooth to verify your sign-in on Chrome OS, iOS, macOS and Windows 10 devices without requiring you to pair your devices. This helps protect your Google Account on virtually any device with the convenience of your phone.

How to get started

Follow these simple steps to help protect your personal or work Google Account today:
  • Activate your phone’s security key (Android 7+ or iOS 10+)
  • Enroll in the Advanced Protection Program
  • When signing in to your Google Account, make sure Bluetooth is turned on on your phone and the device you’re signing in on.
We also highly recommend registering a backup security key to your account and keeping it in a safe place, so you can get into your account if you lose your phone. You can get a security key from a number of vendors, including Google, with our own Titan Security Key.

If you’re a Google Cloud customer, you can find out more about the Advanced Protection Program for the enterprise on our G Suite Updates blog.

Here’s to stronger account security—right in your pocket.

SECURITY ALERT: Microsoft releases critical security updates to fix major vulnerabilities

Microsoft released its regular patches on the second Tuesday of the month, and as always, they included fixes for multiple vulnerabilities. Namely, 49 security bugs have been now fixed, out of which eight are considered to be critical.

Rumors started to circulate before the patches were officially out and sources were saying that Microsoft was very likely to fix “an extraordinarily serious security vulnerability in a core cryptographic component present in all versions of Windows.” The same sources were indicating that Microsoft had quietly shipped a patch for the bug to branches of the U.S. military and to other highly valuable customers that manage key Internet infrastructure. Those organizations were allegedly asked to sign agreements that forbade them from disclosing details of the flaw prior to the January 2020 Patch Tuesday.

Microsoft declined to respond to these allegations, saying that they do not wish to discuss the details before the patches were officially released.

In short, there were some early signs that some serious flaws were going to be fixed, and the first Patch Tuesday of this year only confirmed the rumors.

So, keep on reading to find out what you should expect from Microsoft’s January 2020 updates.

CVE-2020-0601, the Windows CryptoAPI Spoofing Vulnerability

By far the most significant security bug that has been fixed (CVE-2020-0601) is indeed critical.

Here is what Microsoft has to say about it in its Security Update Guide:

A spoofing vulnerability exists in the way Windows CryptoAPI (Crypt32.dll) validates Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) certificates.

An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by using a spoofed code-signing certificate to sign a malicious executable, making it appear the file was from a trusted, legitimate source. The user would have no way of knowing the file was malicious because the digital signature would appear to be from a trusted provider.

A successful exploit could also allow the attacker to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks and decrypt confidential information on user connections to the affected software.

The security update addresses the vulnerability by ensuring that Windows CryptoAPI completely validates ECC certificates.

In other words, this vulnerability can allow spoofing and bypassing normal security mechanisms that validate the credibility of binary code, including ECC certificates and this can circumvent your endpoint protection.

The vulnerability impacts Windows 10, Windows Server 2019, and Windows Server 2016 OS versions. According to Microsoft and the NSA (which first reported the bug), no active attacks were spotted before this month’s patch was released. The Agency has published its own security guide, with details on mitigation and on how to detect exploitation.

CVE-2020-0609 and CVE-2020-0610, the vulnerabilities found in RDP

An additional relevant security update is related to the Windows Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway) that address the CVE-2020-0610 and CVE-2020-0609 vulnerabilities. The update applies to Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2019 and it’s crucial you apply this update as well in a timely manner.

Sending a specially crafted request to an accessible and vulnerable RD Gateway via RDP opens the risk of arbitrary code execution. These vulnerabilities can be seen before the RDP authentication process and require no user interaction. A malicious hacker who manages to exploit these vulnerabilities may be able to then install programs, view, change, and delete data and even create new accounts with full user rights, Microsoft said in their Security Update guide.

We recommend that you place RDP services internally, so that they can, for instance, be accessed via a VPN connection and never as a service available via WAN / Internet.

Other notable vulnerabilities covered in January’s Patch Tuesday

Some other products that received fixes this month, besides Windows, include Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Web Apps, Microsoft Dynamics, ASP.NET, the .NET Framework, and OneDrive for Android.

Patch, patch, and patch again

Here at Heimdal we always advise both organizations and individuals to never fall behind on their updates, since this practice alone will notably increase one’s defenses. Through our X-Ploit Resilience, which covers both Microsoft and 3rd party software, our corporate customers apply their patches four times faster than the global average. X-Ploit Resilience features all updates and patches within four hours since their launch, silently, in the background, with zero user interruption.


Even though Microsoft’s January 2020 Patch Tuesday is smaller compared to most of the other patches that were released seen in the past, it is, without doubt, still highly important. And the main lesson here is to always keep up with your patches!

The post SECURITY ALERT: Microsoft releases critical security updates to fix major vulnerabilities appeared first on Heimdal Security Blog.

Critical Windows Vulnerability Discovered by NSA

Yesterday's Microsoft Windows patches included a fix for a critical vulnerability in the system's crypto library.

A spoofing vulnerability exists in the way Windows CryptoAPI (Crypt32.dll) validates Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) certificates.

An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by using a spoofed code-signing certificate to sign a malicious executable, making it appear the file was from a trusted, legitimate source. The user would have no way of knowing the file was malicious, because the digital signature would appear to be from a trusted provider.

A successful exploit could also allow the attacker to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks and decrypt confidential information on user connections to the affected software.

That's really bad, and you should all patch your system right now, before you finish reading this blog post.

This is a zero-day vulnerability, meaning that it was not detected in the wild before the patch was released. It was discovered by security researchers. Interestingly, it was discovered by NSA security researchers, and the NSA security advisory gives a lot more information about it than the Microsoft advisory does.

Exploitation of the vulnerability allows attackers to defeat trusted network connections and deliver executable code while appearing as legitimately trusted entities. Examples where validation of trust may be impacted include:

  • HTTPS connections
  • Signed files and emails
  • Signed executable code launched as user-mode processes

The vulnerability places Windows endpoints at risk to a broad range of exploitation vectors. NSA assesses the vulnerability to be severe and that sophisticated cyber actors will understand the underlying flaw very quickly and, if exploited, would render the previously mentioned platforms as fundamentally vulnerable.The consequences of not patching the vulnerability are severe and widespread. Remote exploitation tools will likely be made quickly and widely available.Rapid adoption of the patch is the only known mitigation at this time and should be the primary focus for all network owners.

Early yesterday morning, NSA's Cybersecurity Directorate head Anne Neuberger hosted a media call where she talked about the vulnerability and -- to my shock -- took questions from the attendees. According to her, the NSA discovered this vulnerability as part of its security research. (If it found it in some other nation's cyberweapons stash -- my personal favorite theory -- she declined to say.) She did not answer when asked how long ago the NSA discovered the vulnerability. She said that this is not the first time the NSA sent Microsoft a vulnerability to fix, but it was the first time it has publicly taken credit for the discovery. The reason is that the NSA is trying to rebuild trust with the security community, and this disclosure is a result of its new initiative to share findings more quickly and more often.

Barring any other information, I would take the NSA at its word here. So, good for it.

And -- seriously -- patch your systems now: Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016/2019. Assume that this vulnerability has already been weaponized, probably by criminals and certainly by major governments. Even assume that the NSA is using this vulnerability -- why wouldn't it?

Ars Technica article. Wired article. CERT advisory.

EDITED TO ADD: Washington Post article.

EDITED TO ADD (1/16): The attack was demonstrated in less than 24 hours.

Brian Krebs blog post.

Emotet Used Phishing Emails to Target the United Nations

The Emotet trojan recently leveraged a phishing campaign to target email addresses associated with users at the United Nations. In an email provided by Cofense to Bleeping Computer, Emotet’s handlers pretended to be representatives of Norway to the United Nations (UN). They used this disguise to conduct a phishing campaign with “highly specific targeting.” In […]… Read More

The post Emotet Used Phishing Emails to Target the United Nations appeared first on The State of Security.

Hacker offers for sale 49 million user records from US data broker LimeLeads

49 million user records from US data broker LimeLeads were available for sale on a hacking forum.

49 million user records from US data broker LimeLeads were available for sale on a hacking forum, the data were exposed on an Elasticsearch server.

Exposed LimeLeads data contains full name, title, user email, employer/company name, company address, city, state, ZIP, phone number, website URL, company total revenue, and the company’s estimated number of employees.

The news was first reported by ZDNet, LimeLeads offers access to its database that contains business contacts that can be used for marketing activities.

ZDNet was alerted of availability online of the records two weeks ago, a hacker that goes online with the handle Omnichorus was selling LimeLeads’ data online.

“Sources in the threat intelligence community have told ZDNet that Omnichorus is a well-known individual on underground hacking forums, having built a reputation for sharing and selling hacked or stolen data — a so-called “data trader.”” reported ZDNet.

The company failed to configure its Elasticsearch server and accidentally exposed it online allowing anyone to access its content.

The popular data leak hunter Bob Diachenko confirmed to ZDNet exposed records were stored in an internal Elasticsearch server that was accidentally exposed online and indexed by the search engine Shodan since at least July 27, 2019.

Diachenko also added that he already reported the presence of the data online to LimeLeads on September 16, and that the company secured the Elasticsearch DB in just one day. This means that the database remained exposed online for more than a month and that likely someone has accessed its content and tried to monetize from the sale of the data.

Omnichorus started selling the data since October 2019, the availability of these data online pose a risk for companies and individuals whose data were included in the database.

A threat actor could launch a spear-phishing attack against them and perform a broad range of malicious activities.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – LimeLeads, hacking)

The post Hacker offers for sale 49 million user records from US data broker LimeLeads appeared first on Security Affairs.

UK Consultancies Leak Data on Thousands of Workers

UK Consultancies Leak Data on Thousands of Workers

Thousands of UK business professionals have had their personal details exposed online via a leaky Amazon Web Services bucket, after researchers discovered files belonging to multiple consulting firms.

The misconfigured S3 resource is thought to have been left publicly viewable with no authentication by a London-based company known as CHS Consulting, according to vpnMentor.

However, as the firm has no website the researchers have been unable to confirm ownership of the database, labelled “CHS.”

What they do know is that it contained files from the HR departments of multiple UK consulting firms including Eximius Consultants, Dynamic Partners and IQ Consulting. Most of the data is from 2014-15 although records go back to 2011.

It included passport scans, tax documents, criminal record information and background checks, HMRC-related paperwork, emails and private messages as well as a range of PII including names, email and home addresses, dates of birth and phone numbers.

“Had criminal hackers discovered this database, it would have been a goldmine for illicit activities and fraud, with potentially devastating results for those exposed,” argued vpnMentor.

“If you’re a UK-based consultant or consulting firm and are concerned about this breach, contact the CERT-UK to understand what steps are being taken to keep your data safe and ensure it has not been leaked.”

The researchers contacted the CERT-UK on December 10, a day after discovering the leak, and followed up with AWS a week later. The cloud giant took action a day later on December 19 to secure the database.

This is just the latest of several incidents in which large cloud databases containing highly sensitive personal information have been discovered by the research team.

Other companies found wanting include LightInTheBox, Yves Rocher and Autoclerk. In one incident, the names, phone numbers and financial information of approximately 20 million Ecuadoreans, virtually the entire population, were exposed online.

Mobile Apps Sharing Personal Data Illegally, Consumer Group Claims

Mobile Apps Sharing Personal Data Illegally, Consumer Group Claims

Several mobile apps such as Grindr, OKCupid and Tinder have been found to be leaking personal information to advertising tech companies in possible violation of European data privacy laws, an investigation by a Norwegian consumer group has discovered.

As stated in the Out of Control report, the Norwegian Consumer Council, a government-funded non-profit group, commissioned cybersecurity company Mnemonic to study 10 Android mobile apps. It said it found “serious privacy infringements” in its analysis of how online ad companies track and profile smartphone users, with the apps sending user data to at least 135 different third party services involved in advertising or behavioral profiling.

“As it stands, the situation is completely out of control, harming consumers, societies, and businesses,” the report said. Most of the adtech companies that Mnemonic observed receiving personal data have a “questionable legal basis” for harvesting and using consumer data, the report continued.

“If these companies do not have a legally valid basis for processing personal data, the backbone of much of the adtech system may be systemically in breach of the GDPR.”

The Norwegian Consumer Council therefore urged data protection authorities to enforce the GDPR, and for advertisers and publishers to look toward alternative digital advertising methods that respect fundamental rights.

“The digital marketing and adtech industry has to make comprehensive changes in order to comply with European regulation, and to ensure that they respect consumers’ fundamental rights and freedoms.”

Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET, said: “When you join a high profile site such as Grindr, you expect to have your data protected and dealt with sensitively. Sadly, data on people is a lucrative currency, and so it can be tempting to share when given the opportunity. I always recommend that people limit the amount of personal data shared on these sites due to the possibility that the data could be targeted with a cyber-attack.”

James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4, added that it is difficult in today’s society with social media apps for people to actually read the privacy or end user agreements and to understand what is happening with their name, address, pictures, contacts and GPS location once the data is entered into or collected by an app.

“On a lot of social media apps that are not charging users for their service, the users are undoubtedly the product,” he said. “Their information is collected and sold off to third party organizations for revenue for the social media app. Only in recent years are governments finally taking actions such as the GDPR in the UK and recently, the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA).”

Apple says no to unlocking shooter’s phone; AG and Trump lash back

Attorney General Barr and President Trump are demanding Apple unlock the mass shooter's iPhone. Apple replies: You can't break just 1 phone.

Russian Phishers Hit Firm at Center of Trump Impeachment

Russian Phishers Hit Firm at Center of Trump Impeachment

An infamous Kremlin-backed hacking group has launched a coordinated phishing campaign aimed at Ukrainian firm Burisma Holdings, in what looks like an attempt to find internal information which could benefit Donald Trump.

Security vendor Area 1 claimed the attacks were carried out by the GRU-linked Fancy Bear (APT28) group responsible for stealing and releasing emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) which many believe gave Trump an advantage ahead of the 2016 Presidential election.

It’s no coincidence that the son of current Democratic Presidential hopeful Joe Biden sat on the board of Burisma Holdings. It was Trump’s decision to improperly pressure the Ukrainian President to investigate dealings at the firm that led to his impeachment by the House on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“Our report is not noteworthy because we identify the GRU launching a phishing campaign, nor is the targeting of a Ukrainian company particularly novel. It is significant because Burisma Holdings is publically entangled in US foreign and domestic politics,” noted the report.

“The timing of the GRU’s campaign in relation to the 2020 US elections raises the specter that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyber-attacks undertaken during the 2016 US elections.”

Specifically, the group used a lookalike domain to spoof the legitimate Burisma Holdings webmail login portal to access employee accounts. With this access they could read sensitive corporate emails and use accounts to launch further attacks.

To increase the chances of success, the attackers focused on subsidiaries of the company such as KUB-Gas and CUB Energy, and set up email sender authentication records using SPF and DKIM, Area 1 said.

The attacks are thought to have been successful in tricking some Burisma employees to part with their logins.

Rosa Smothers, senior VP of cyber operations at KnowBe4, explained that phishing is the “go-to methodology” for Russian intelligence services seeking to infiltrate target networks.

“Like any fairly sophisticated and organised hacking campaign, they also ran multiple domains that were just similar enough to legitimate Burisma domains that they went unnoticed by users,” she added.

“At the end of the day, the story here is one of ongoing and escalating social engineering efforts by the Russians against their targets of interest — which is why we should expect and plan for such activities during our upcoming election cycle."

Kubernetes bug bounty program open to anyone, rewards up to $10,000

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation is inviting bug hunters to search for and report vulnerabilities affecting Kubernetes. Offered bug bounties range between $100 to $10,000. What is Kubernetes? Kubernetes is an open-source container-orchestration system for automating application deployment, scaling, and management. It was designed by Google but has been open sourced and handed over to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation to continue its maintenance and has become a community project. The Kubernetes bug bounty program … More

The post Kubernetes bug bounty program open to anyone, rewards up to $10,000 appeared first on Help Net Security.

Microsoft Patches Serious Crypto Flaw Found by NSA

Microsoft Patches Serious Crypto Flaw Found by NSA

Microsoft has kicked off the new decade with fixes for half a century of vulnerabilities, including one discovered by the NSA that could allow hackers to spoof digital certificates to bypass security measures.

This month’s Patch Tuesday focused around the CVE-2020-0601 flaw, which security experts praised the NSA for disclosing responsibly rather than trying to weaponize in attacks.

Affecting Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 and 2019, the bug exists in the way the CryptoAPI DLL validates Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) certificates.

“An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by using a spoofed code-signing certificate to sign a malicious executable, making it appear the file was from a trusted, legitimate source,” warned Microsoft. “The user would have no way of knowing the file was malicious, because the digital signature would appear to be from a trusted provider.”

If successful, an attacker could then conduct man-in-the-middle attacks and decrypt confidential information, or run malware even in environments using app whitelisting.

“Every Windows device relies on trust established by TLS and code signing certificates, which act as machine identities. If you break these identities, you won’t be able to tell the difference between malware and Microsoft software,” argued Kevin Bocek, VP of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi.

Todd Schell, senior product manager at Ivanti, urged admins to prioritize fixing the problem.

“The vulnerability is only rated as important, but there have been many examples of CVEs that were only rated as important being exploited in the wild,” he said. “Due to the nature of this vulnerability we would urge companies to treat this as a top priority this month and remediate quickly.”

A second flaw in Windows’ cryptographic services is rated with a lower CVSS score, but should also be prioritized, Schell claimed.

CVE-2020-0620 could allow attackers to overwrite or modify a protected file and elevate their privileges accordingly, although it first requires them to execute on a targeted system.

“Gaining execute rights on a system is a pretty low bar for most threat actors. Again, our guidance is to treat this as a priority 1 and address it in a timely manner,” said Schell.

This is the last Patch Tuesday that will include fixes for Windows 7 and Server 2008 systems, unless organizations have paid for extended support. If they have not, they will need to upgrade, or invest in virtual patching capabilities to mitigate the increased risk of attack.

“This will increase the risk assumed by those organizations that continue to run Windows 7 or 2008 and we expect attackers will begin actively looking for those operating systems as a ‘soft spot’ for a compromise,” warned Trustwave threat intelligence manager, Karl Sigler.

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Iranian Threat Actors: Preliminary Analysis

Nowadays Iran’s Cybersecurity capabilities are under the microscope, experts warn about a possible infiltration of the Iranian government.

Nowadays Iran’s Cybersecurity capabilities are under microscope, many news sites, gov. agencies and security experts warn about a possible cybersecurity infiltration from Iranian government and alert to increase cybersecurity defensive levels. Today I want to share a quick and short study based on cross correlation between MITRE ATT&CK and Malpedia about some of the main threat actors attributed to Iran. The Following sections describe the TTPs (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) used by some of the most influential Iranian APT groups. Each section comes with a main graph which is built by scripting and which comes without legend, so please keep in mind while reading that: the red circles represent the analyzed threat actors, the green circles represent threat actor’s used techniques, the blue circles represent the threat actor’s used Malware and the black circles represent the threat actor’s used tool sets.


According to Malpedia: “OilRig is an Iranian threat group operating primarily in the Middle East by targeting organizations in this region that are in a variety of different industries; however, this group has occasionally targeted organizations outside of the Middle East as well. It also appears OilRig carries out supply chain attacks, where the threat group leverages the trust relationship between organizations to attack their primary targets.” The threat actor uses opensource tools such as Mimikatz and laZagne, common sysadmin toolset available on Microsoft distribution or sysinternals such as: PsExec, CertUtil, Netstat, SystemInfo, ipconfig and tasklist. Bonupdater, Helminth, Quadangent and PowRuner are some of the most sophisticated Malware attributed to OilRig and analyzed over the past few years. Techniques (green) are mainly focused in the lateral movements and in getting persistence on the victim infrastructure; few of them involved exploiting or 0days initiatives.

OilRig TTP

Those observations would suggest a powerful group mostly focused on staying hidden rather than getting access through advanced techniques. Indeed no 0days or usage of advanced exploits is found over the target infrastructure. If so we are facing a state-sponsored group with high capabilities in developing persistence and hidden communication channels (for example over DNS) but without a deep interest in exploiting services. This topic would rise a question: OilRig does not need advanced exploiting capabilities because it is such a simple way to get into a victim infrastructure ? For example by using: user credential leaks, social engineering toolkits, targeted phishing, and so on and so forth or is more on there to be discovered ?


According to MITRE: “MuddyWater is an Iranian threat group that has primarily targeted Middle Eastern nations, and has also targeted European and North American nations. The group’s victims are mainly in the telecommunications, government (IT services), and oil sectors.” Currently we have few artifacts related to MuddyWater (‘Muddy’), indeed only Powerstats backdoor is actually attributed to it. Their attack are typically “hands driven”, which means they do not use automation lateral movement but they prefer to use opensource tools or sysinternal ones to deliberately move between target network rather than running massively exploits or scanners.

MuddyWater TTP

Once landed inside a victim machine Muddy looks for local credentials and then moves back and forward by using such a credentials directly on the network/domain controllers. According to MITRE techniques (green) MuddyWater to take an entire target-network might take few months but the accesses are quite silent and well obfuscated. Again it looks like we are facing a group which doesn’t need advanced exploitation activities but rather than advanced IT knowledge in order to move between network segments and eventual proxies/nat.


According to MITRE: “APT33 is a suspected Iranian threat group that has carried out operations since at least 2013. The group has targeted organizations across multiple industries in the United States, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea, with a particular interest in the aviation and energy sectors.” Analyzing the observed TTPs we might agree that this threat actor looks very close to MuddyWater. If you take a closer look to the Muddy Graph (in the previous dedicated section) and APT33 graph (following) you will see many similarities: many tools are shared, many techniques are shared and even artifacts Powerstats (Muddy) and Powertron (APT33) share functions and a small subset of code (even if they have different code bases and differ in functionalities). We have more information about APT33 if compared to MuddyWatter, but similarities on TTPs could induce an avid reader to think that we might consider APT33 as the main threat actor while MuddyWater a specific ‘operation’ of the APT33 actor.


But if you wonder why I decided to keep them separated on such personal and preliminary analysis you could find the answer in the reason in why they do attack. APT33 showed destruction intents by using Malware such as shamoon and stoneDrill, while Muddy mostly wants to “backdooring” the victims.


According to MITRE: “CopyKittens is an Iranian cyber espionage group that has been operating since at least 2013. It has targeted countries including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the U.S., Jordan, and Germany. The group is responsible for the campaign known as Operation Wilted Tulip.” CopyKittens threat actor actually differ from the previous ones. First of all we see the usage of CobaltStrike, which is an autonomous exploiting system (well actually is much more, but let me simplify it). Cobalt and Empire (a post exploitation framework) taken together would allow the attacker to automate lateral movement. Which is a damn different behavior respect to previous actors. CopyKittens would make much more noise inside an attacked network and would be easier to detect if using such automation tools, but on the other hand they would be much more quick in reaching their targets and run away.

CopyKittens TTP

One more characteristic is the “code signing”. While in OilRig, MuddyWater and APT33 we mostly observed “scripting” capabilities, in CopyKittens we are observing most advanced code capabilities. Indeed code signing is used on Microsoft Windows and IOS to guarantee that the software comes from known developer and that it has not been tampered with. While a script (node, python, AutoIt) could be attribute to IT guys as well as developers, developing more robust and complex software ( such as: java, .net, c++, etc) is a skill typically attributed to developers. This difference could be significant in suspecting a small set of different people working on CopyKittens.


According to MITRE: “Cleaver is a threat group that has been attributed to Iranian actors and is responsible for activity tracked as Operation Cleaver. [1] Strong circumstantial evidence suggests Cleaver is linked to Threat Group 2889 (TG-2889). ” We have a few information about this group, and as you might see there are few similarities. The usage of Mimikatz could be easily adopted for credential dumping, while TinyZBot is a quite interesting tool since it mostly implements spying capabilities without strong architectural design or code execution or data exfiltration.

Cleaver TTP

Just like Charming Kitten (which is not included into this report since it is a quite ongoing mistery even if a great report from Clear Sky is available), Cleaver is a threat group that is responsible of one of the first most advanced and silent cyber attack attributed to Iran known until now (OpCleaver, by Cylance). Cleaver attack capabilities are evolved over time very quickly and, according to Cylance, active since 2012. They look like to have infiltrated some of the world economic powers (ref: here) such as: Canada, China, England, France, Germany, India, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. In the very first page of the OpCleaver report, the author writes that Cleaver is one of the most advanced threat actors ever. Even if I might agree with Cylance, I personally do not have such evidences so far, so I personally cannot compare Cleaver threat actor to the previus ones.

Threat Actors Comparison

Here comes the fun ! How about taking all these graphs and compare them ? Common references would highlight similarities, scopes and common TTPs and fortunately we might appreciate them in the following unique network diagram. You might spend over 20 minutes to check details on the following graph and I might decide to write an essay over it, but I will not do it :D, I’d like focus on few but important thoughts.

The iper-connection between the analyzed groups (take a look to the following graph) could prove that those teams are really linked together. They share Techniques, Procedures, Tools and Infection Artifacts and everything we might observe looks like belonging with a unique meta-actor. We might agree that the meta-actor would be linked to the sponsorship nation and we might decide to consider some of those groups as operations. In other words we might consider an unique group of people that teams up depending of the ongoing operation adopting similar capabilities and tool sets.

Threat Actor Comparison

OilRig and APT33 are the most known groups attributed to Iran, they share many tools but they clearly have two different intent and two different code bases (writing about Malware). CopyKittens, for example, have been clustered more closed to APT33 while Muddywater looks like clustered straight at the middle of them. But if we closely analyze the purposes and the used Malware we might agree in aggregating Muddy close to APT33, actually the weight of shared code should be heavier compared to common tools or common techniques, but I did not represent such a detail into graphs.

However two different ‘code experience’ are observed. The first one mostly focused on scriptting (node, python, autoIT) which could underline a group of people evolving from IT department and later-on acquiring cyersecurity skills, while the second observed behavior is mostly oriented on deep development skills such as for example: Java, .NET and C++. On MuddyWater and APT33 side, the usage of scripting engines, the usage of powershell, and the usage of Empire framework tighten together, plus the lack of exploiting capabilities or the lack in developing sophisticated Malware could bring the analyst to think that those threat actors hit their target without the need of strong development capabilities. On the other hand OilRig, Cleaver and CopyKitten looks like to have more software developing skills and looks to be mostly focused on stealth operations.


In this post I wrote a preliminary and personal analysis of threat actors attributed by the community to Iran, comparing TTPs coming from MITRE and relations extracted from Malpedia. The outcome is a proposal to consider the numerous groups (OilRig, APT33, MuddyWater, Cleaver, etc..) as a primary meta-threat-actor and dividing them by operations rather real group.

Original Post published on Ramilli’s blog:

About the author: Marco Ramilli, Founder of Yoroi

I am a computer security scientist with an intensive hacking background. I do have a MD in computer engineering and a PhD on computer security from University of Bologna. During my PhD program I worked for US Government (@ National Institute of Standards and Technology, Security Division) where I did intensive researches in Malware evasion techniques and penetration testing of electronic voting systems.

I do have experience on security testing since I have been performing penetration testing on several US electronic voting systems. I’ve also been encharged of testing uVote voting system from the Italian Minister of homeland security. I met Palantir Technologies where I was introduced to the Intelligence Ecosystem. I decided to amplify my cybersecurity experiences by diving into SCADA security issues with some of the biggest industrial aglomerates in Italy. I finally decided to found Yoroi: an innovative Managed Cyber Security Service Provider developing some of the most amazing cybersecurity defence center I’ve ever experienced! Now I technically lead Yoroi defending our customers strongly believing in: Defence Belongs To Humans

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Iranian Threat Actor, hacking)

The post Iranian Threat Actors: Preliminary Analysis appeared first on Security Affairs.

Microsoft addresses CVE-2020-0601 flaw, the first issue ever reported by NSA

Microsoft has released a security update to address “a broad cryptographic vulnerability” that is impacting its Windows operating system.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday updates for January 2020 address a total of 49 vulnerabilities in various products, including a serious flaw, tracked as CVE-2020-0601, in the core cryptographic component of Windows 10, Server 2016 and 2019 editions.

The CVE-2020-0601 vulnerability is different from any other previously addressed flaws because it was reported by the NSA and this is the first time that the US intelligence agency has reported a bug to the tech giant.

The flaw, dubbed ‘NSACrypt’ and tracked as CVE-2020-0601, resides in the Crypt32.dll module that contains various ‘Certificate and Cryptographic Messaging functions’ used by the Windows Crypto API for data encryption.  

The flaw affects the way Crypt32.dll module validates Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) certificates.

In a press release published by the NSA, the agency explains “the certificate validation vulnerability allows an attacker to undermine how Windows verifies cryptographic trust and can enable remote code execution.”

“A spoofing vulnerability exists in the way Windows CryptoAPI (Crypt32.dll) validates Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) certificates.” reads the security advisory published by Microsoft.

“An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by using a spoofed code-signing certificate to sign a malicious executable, making it appear the file was from a trusted, legitimate source. The user would have no way of knowing the file was malicious, because the digital signature would appear to be from a trusted provider.”

An attacker could exploit the flaw to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks and decrypt confidential information on user connections to the affected software.

An attacker could also trigger the issue to spoof digital signatures on software tricking the system into believing that it is a legitimate application.

Microsoft addressed the issue by ensuring that Windows CryptoAPI completely validates ECC certificates.

Microsoft did not release technical details of the vulnerability to avoid its public exploitation.

Microsoft confirmed that it is not aware of attacks in the wild exploiting the CVE-2020-0601 flaw.

“This month we addressed the vulnerability CVE-2020-0601 in the usermode cryptographic library, CRYPT32.DLL, that affects Windows 10 systems. This vulnerability is classed Important and we have not seen it used in active attacks.” reads a blog post published by Microsoft.

“This vulnerability is one example of our partnership with the security research community where a vulnerability was privately disclosed and an update released to ensure customers were not put at risk.”

The NSA has also released a security advisory that includes mitigation information.

“NSA has discovered a critical vulnerability (CVE-2020-0601) affecting Microsoft Windows®1 cryptographic functionality. The certificate validation vulnerability allows an attacker to undermine how Windows verifies cryptographic trust and can enable remote code execution.” reads the NSA’s advisory.

“The consequences of not patching the vulnerability are severe and widespread. Remote exploitation tools will likely be made quickly and widely available”.

Microsoft also addresses 48 other vulnerabilities, 8 of which are rated as critical and remaining are rated as important.

None of the issues addressed this month by Microsoft were being exploited in the wild.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – CVE-2020-0601, hacking)

The post Microsoft addresses CVE-2020-0601 flaw, the first issue ever reported by NSA appeared first on Security Affairs.