Daily Archives: October 6, 2020

Lessons From Teaching Cybersecurity: Week 2

As I had mentioned previously, this year, I’m going back to school. Not to take classes but to teach a course at my alma mater, Fanshawe College. I did this about a decade ago and thought it was interesting, so I was excited to give it another go. Additionally, after a friend mentioned that their […]… Read More

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Welcoming the Canadian Government to Have I Been Pwned

Welcoming the Canadian Government to Have I Been Pwned

Following in the footsteps of many other national governments before them, I'm very happy to welcome the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security to Have I Been Pwned. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security now has full and free access to query all Canadian federal government domains across both past and future breaches.

Canada's inclusion in the service brings the total to 11 federal governments across North America, Europe and Australia. I hope to include more parts of the world in the coming months.

Celebrating multi-national cultures this Hispanic Heritage Month

Do you know the difference between Hispanic and Latino? What about the traditions that are important parts of the Hispanic culture? Or beloved Spanish or Portuguese phrases that don’t come across in English?

McAfee’s team spans 45 countries, making us a team rich in cultural diversity. We are always learning more about each other and celebrate Latin culture year-round. To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 – October 15, we’ve asked members of our McAfee Latino Community for their unique perspective on what being Latino means to them and to share more of the distinctive elements of their country of origin and traditions.

Check out some of the wonderful responses we received:

What Being Latino Means to Me:

Favorite Things About Being Latino:

We couldn’t be more proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by elevating the voices of our team members and celebrating the diverse backgrounds and cultures that make up McAfee.

Simply put, a welcoming work culture where every team member feels accepted and celebrated is part of our DNA. We value all voices which make up McAfee and appreciate how they further enrich our culture.

Interested in joining a company that supports inclusion and belonging? Search our jobs. Subscribe to job alerts. 

 

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New Flaws in Top Antivirus Software Could Make Computers More Vulnerable

Cybersecurity researchers today disclosed details of security vulnerabilities found in popular antivirus solutions that could enable attackers to elevate their privileges, thereby helping malware sustain its foothold on the compromised systems. According to a report published by CyberArk researcher Eran Shimony today and shared with The Hacker News, the high privileges often associated with

90 days, 16 bugs, and an Azure Sphere Challenge

Talos Vuln Spotlight

Cisco Talos reports 16 vulnerabilities in Microsoft Azure Sphere’s sponsored research challenge.

By Claudio Bozzato and Lilith [-_-]; and Dave McDaniel.

 

On May 15, 2020, Microsoft kicked off the Azure Sphere Security Research Challenge, a three-month initiative aimed at finding bugs in Azure Sphere. Among the teams and individuals selected, Cisco Talos conducted a three-month sprint of research into the platform and reported 16 vulnerabilities of various severity, including a privilege escalation bug chain to acquire Azure Sphere Capabilities, the most valuable Linux normal-world permissions in the Azure Sphere context.

 

The Azure Sphere platform is a cloud-connected and custom SoC platform designed specifically for IoT application security. Internally, the SoC is made up of a set of several ARM cores that have different roles (e.g. running different types of applications, enforcing security, and managing encryption). Externally, the Azure Sphere platform is supported by Microsoft’s Azure Cloud, which handles secure updates, app deployment, and periodic verification of device integrity to determine if Azure Cloud access should be allowed or not. Note however, that while the Azure Sphere is updated and deploys through the Azure Cloud, customers can still interact with their own servers independently.

The post 90 days, 16 bugs, and an Azure Sphere Challenge appeared first on Cisco Blogs.

Our Experiences Participating in Microsoft’s Azure Sphere Bounty Program

From June to August, part of the McAfee Advanced Threat Research (ATR) team participated in Microsoft’s Azure Sphere Research Challenge.  Our research resulted in reporting multiple vulnerabilities classified by Microsoft as “important” or “critical” in the platform that, to date, have qualified for over $160,000 USD in bounty awards scheduled to be contributed to the ACLU ($100,000), St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital ($50,000) and PDX Hackerspace (approximately $20,000). With these contributions, we hope to support and give back both to our local hacker community that has really stepped up to help during the COVID crisis, and also recognize, at a larger scale, the importance to protect and further civil liberties and the wellbeing of those most in need.  

This blog post is a highlevel overview of the program, why we choose to take part in it, and a brief description of our findings. A detailed technical walkthrough of our findings can be found here 

Additionally, Microsoft has released two summary blogs detailing the Azure Sphere Bounty Program as a whole, including McAfee’s efforts and findings. They can be found here:

MSRC Blog

Azure Sphere Core Team Blog

What is Azure Sphere and the Azure Sphere Research Challenge? 

In late May Microsoft started a new bug bounty program for its Azure Sphere platform. Azure Sphere is a hardened IoT device with a secure communication link to the cloud that has been in development for the last few years and reached general availability in early 2020. Microsoft designed and built it from scratch to ensure every aspect of it is as secure as possibleper their security model. To put the theory to test, Microsoft invited a few select partners and hackers to try their best to defeat its security measures.  

The Azure sphere team came up with multiple scenarios that would test the security model of the device and qualify for an increased payout from the regular Azure Bug Bounty program. These scenarios range from the ability to bypascertain security measures, to executing code in the hardware enabled secure core of the device.  

Research scenarios specific to the Azure Sphere Research Challenge 

Why did ATR get involved with the program? 

There are multiple reasons why we were keen to participate in this program. First, as security researchers, the Azure Sphere platform is an exciting new research target that has been built from the ground up with security in mind. It showcases what might become of the IoT space in the next few years as legacy platforms are slowly phased out. Being at the forefront of what is being done in the IoT space ensures our research remains current and we are ready to tackle future new challenges. Second, by finding critical bugs in this new platform we help make it more secure and offer our support to make the IoT space increasingly resistant to cyber threats. Finally, as this is a bug bounty program, we decided from the start that we would donate any award we received to charity, thus using our skills to contribute to the social good of our local communities and support causes that transcend the technology sector.   

Findings 

We’ve reported multiple bugs to Microsoft as a result of our research that were rated Important or Critical: 

  • Important – Security Feature bypass ($3,300): The inclusion of symlink in application package allows for referencing files outside of the application package mount point. 
  • Critical – RCE ($48,000): The inclusion of character device in an application package allows for direct interaction with a part of the flash memory, eventually leading to the modification of critical system files and further exploitation. 
  • Important – EoP ($11,000): Multiple bugs in how uid_map files are processed, allowing for elevation of privilege to the sys user.  
  • Important – Eop ($11,000): A user with sys privileges can trick Application Manager into unmounting “azcore” and mount a rogue binary in its stead. Triggering a core dump of a running process will then execute the rogue binary with full capabilities & root privileges due to improper handling of permissions in the LSM. 
  • Critical – EoP ($48,000): Further problems in the privilege dropping of azcore leads to the complete bypass of Azure Sphere capability restrictions 
  • Critical – EoP ($48,000): Due to improper certificate management, it is possible to re-claim a device on the Azure Sphere pre-prod server and obtain a valid capability file that works in the prod environment. This capability file can be used to re-enable application development mode on a finalized device (claimed by a third party). The deployment of the capability file requires physical access to a device.  

Conclusion 

This research was an exciting opportunity to look at new platform with very little prior research, while still being in the familiar territory of an ARM device running a hardened Linux operating-system 

Through the bugs we found we were able to get a full chain exploit from a locked device to having root access. However, the Azure Sphere platform has many more security features such as remote attestation, and a hardware enabled secure core that is still holding strong.  

Finally, we want to thank Microsoft for the opportunity of participating in this exciting program, and the bounty awards 

The post Our Experiences Participating in Microsoft’s Azure Sphere Bounty Program appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Why we invite security researchers to hack Azure Sphere

Fighting the security battle so our customers don’t have to

IoT devices are becoming more prevalent in almost every aspect of our lives—we will rely on them in our homes, our businesses, as well as our infrastructure. In February, Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure Sphere, an integrated security solution for IoT devices and equipment. General availability means that we are ready to provide OEMs and organizations with quick and cost-effective device security at scale. However, securing those devices does not stop once we put them into the hands of our customers. It is only the start of a continual battle between the attackers and the defenders.

Building a solution that customers can trust requires investments before and after deployment by complementing up-front technical measures with ongoing practices to find and mitigate risks. In April, we highlighted Azure Sphere’s approach to risk management and why securing IoT is not a one-and-done. Products improve over time, but so do hackers, as well as their skills and tools. New security threats continue to evolve, and hackers invent new ways to attack devices. So, what does it take to stay ahead?

As a Microsoft security product team, we believe in finding and fixing vulnerabilities before the bad guys do. While Azure Sphere continuously invests in code improvements, fuzzing, and other processes of quality control, it often requires the creative mindset of an attacker to expose a potential weakness that otherwise might be missed. Better than trying to think like a hacker is working with them. This is why we operate an ongoing program of red team exercises with security researchers and the hacker community: to benefit from their unique expertise and skill set. That includes being able to test our security promise not just against yesterday’s and today’s, but against even tomorrow’s attacks on IoT devices before they become known more broadly. Our recent Azure Sphere Security Research Challenge, which concluded on August 31, is a reflection of this commitment.

Partnering with MSRC to design a unique challenge

Our goal with the three-month Azure Sphere Security Research Challenge was twofold: to drive new high-impact security research, and to validate Azure Sphere’s security promise against the best challengers in their field. To do so, we partnered with the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) and invited some of the world’s best researchers and security vendors to try to break our device by using the same kinds of attacks as any malicious actor might. To make sure participants had everything they needed to be successful, we provided each researcher with a dev kit, a direct line to our OS Security Engineering Team, access to weekly office hours, and email support in addition to our publicly available operating system kernel source code.

Our goal was to focus the research on the highest impact on customer security, which is why we provided six research scenarios with additional rewards of up to 20 percent on top of the Azure Bounty (up to $40,000), as well as $100,000 for two high-priority scenarios proving the ability to execute code in Microsoft Pluton or in Secure World. We received more than 3,500 applications, which is a testament to the strong interest of the research community in securing IoT. More information on the design of the challenge and our collaboration with MSRC can be found here on their blog post.

Researchers identify high impact vulnerabilities before hackers

The quality of submissions from participants in the challenge far exceeded our expectations. Several participants helped us find multiple potentially high impact vulnerabilities in Azure Sphere. The quality is a testament to the expertise, determination, and the diligence of the participants. Over the course of the challenge, we received a total of 40 submissions, of which 30 led to improvements in our product. Sixteen were bounty-eligible; adding up to a total of $374,300 in bounties awarded. The other 10 submissions identified known areas where potential risk is specifically mitigated in another part of the system—something often referred to in the field as “by design.” The high ratio of valid submissions to total submissions speaks to the extremely high quality of the research demonstrated by the participants.

Graph showing the submission breakdown and the total amount of money eligible to be received through the bounty system.

Jewell Seay, Azure Sphere Operating System Platform Security Lead, has shared detailed information of many of the cases in three recent blog posts describing the security improvements delivered in our 20.07, 20.08, and 20.09 releases. Cisco Talos and McAfee Advanced Threat Research (ATR), in particular, found several important vulnerabilities, and one particular attack chain is highlighted in Jewell’s 20.07 blog.

While the described attack required physical access to a device and could not be executed remotely, it exposed potential weaknesses spanning both cloud and device components of our product. The attack included a potential zero-day exploit in the Linux kernel to escape root privileges. The vulnerability was reported to the Linux kernel security team, leading to a fix for the larger open source community which was shared with the Linux community. If you would like to learn more and get an inside view of the challenge from two of our research partners, we highly recommend McAfee ATR’s blog post and whitepaper, or Cisco Talos’ blog post.

What it takes to provide renewable and improving security

With Azure Sphere, we provide our customers with a robust defense based on the Seven Properties of Highly Secured Devices. One of the properties, renewable security, ensures that a device can update to a more secure state—even if it has been compromised. While this is essential, it is not sufficient on its own. An organization must be equipped with the resources, people, and processes that allow for a quick resolution before vulnerabilities impact customers. Azure Sphere customers know that they have the strong commitment of our Azure Sphere Engineering team—that our team is searching for and addressing potential vulnerabilities, even from the most recently invented attack techniques.

We take this commitment to heart, as evidenced by all the fixes that went into our 20.07, 20.08, and 20.09 releases. In less than 30 days of McAfee reporting the attack chain to us, we shipped a fix to all of our customers, without the need for them to take any action due to how Azure Sphere manages updates. Although we received a high number of submissions throughout multiple release cycles, we prioritized analyzing every single report as soon as we received it. The success of our challenge should not just be measured by the number and quality of the reports, but also by how quickly reported vulnerabilities were fixed in the product. When it came to fixing the found vulnerabilities, there was no distinction made between the ones that were proven to be exploited or the ones that were only theoretical. Attackers get creative, and hope is not part of our risk assessment or our commitment to our customers.

Our engagement with the security research community

On behalf of the entire team and our customers, we would like to thank all participants for their help in making Azure Sphere more secure! We were genuinely impressed by the quality and number of high impact vulnerabilities that they found. In addition, we would also like to thank the MSRC team for partnering with us on this challenge.

Our goal is to continue to engage with this community on behalf of our customers going forward, and we will continue to review every potential vulnerability report for Azure Sphere for eligibility under the Azure Bounty Program awards.

Our team learned a lot throughout this challenge, and we will explore and announce additional opportunities to collaborate with the security research community in the future. Protecting our platform and the devices our customers build and deploy on it is a key priority for us. Working with the best security researchers in the field, we will continue to invest in finding potential vulnerabilities before the bad guys do—so you don’t have to!

If you are interested in learning more about how Azure Sphere can help you securely unlock your next IoT innovation:

The post Why we invite security researchers to hack Azure Sphere appeared first on Microsoft Security.

New Password Protections (and more!) in Chrome

Passwords are often the first line of defense for our digital lives. Today, we’re improving password security on both Android and iOS devices by telling you if the passwords you’ve asked Chrome to remember have been compromised, and if so, how to fix them.

To check whether you have any compromised passwords, Chrome sends a copy of your usernames and passwords to Google using a special form of encryption. This lets Google check them against lists of credentials known to be compromised, but Google cannot derive your username or password from this encrypted copy.

We notify you when you have compromised passwords on websites, but it can be time-consuming to go find the relevant form to change your password. To help, we’re adding support for ".well-known/change-password" URLs that let Chrome take users directly to the right “change password” form after they’ve been alerted that their password has been compromised.

Along with these improvements, Chrome is also bringing Safety Check to mobile. In our next release, we will launch Safety Check on iOS and Android, which includes checking for compromised passwords, telling you if Safe Browsing is enabled, and whether the version of Chrome you are running is updated with the latest security protections. You will also be able to use Chrome on iOS to autofill saved login details into other apps or browsers.

In Chrome 86 we’ll also be launching a number of additional features to improve user security, including:

Enhanced Safe Browsing for Android

Earlier this year, we launched Enhanced Safe Browsing for desktop, which gives Chrome users the option of more advanced security protections.

When you turn on Enhanced Safe Browsing, Chrome can proactively protect you against phishing, malware, and other dangerous sites by sharing real-time data with Google’s Safe Browsing service. Among our users who have enabled checking websites and downloads in real time, our predictive phishing protections see a roughly 20% drop in users typing their passwords into phishing sites.

Improvements to password filling on iOS

We recently launched Touch-to-fill for passwords on Android to prevent phishing attacks. To improve security on iOS too, we’re introducing a biometric authentication step before autofilling passwords. On iOS, you’ll now be able to authenticate using Face ID, Touch ID, or your phone passcode. Additionally, Chrome Password Manager allows you to autofill saved passwords into iOS apps or browsers if you enable Chrome autofill in Settings.


Mixed form warnings and download blocking

Update (10/07/2020): Mixed form warnings were originally scheduled for Chrome 86, but will be delayed until Chrome 87

Secure HTTPS pages may sometimes still have non-secure features. Earlier this year, Chrome began securing and blocking what’s known as “mixed content”, when secure pages incorporate insecure content. But there are still other ways that HTTPS pages can create security risks for users, such as offering downloads over non-secure links, or using forms that don’t submit data securely.

To better protect users from these threats, Chrome 86 is introducing mixed form warnings on desktop and Android to alert and warn users before submitting a non-secure form that’s embedded in an HTTPS page.

Additionally, Chrome 86 will block or warn on some insecure downloads initiated by secure pages. Currently, this change affects commonly abused file types, but eventually secure pages will only be able to initiate secure downloads of any type. For more details, see Chrome’s plan to gradually block mixed downloads altogether

We encourage developers to update their forms and downloads to use secure connections for the safety and privacy of their users.

New Attack Abused Windows Error Reporting Service to Evade Detection

Security researchers came across a new attack that abused the Windows Error Reporting (WER) service in order to evade detection. Malwarebytes observed that the attack began with a .ZIP file containing “Compensation manual.doc.” The security firm reasoned that those responsible for this attack had likely used spear-phishing emails to distribute the document, a file which […]… Read More

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It’s Time to Talk Seriously About Deepfakes and Misinformation

Reading Time: ~ 4 min.

Like many of the technologies we discuss on this blog—think phishing scams or chatbots—deepfakes aren’t necessarily new. They’re just getting a whole lot better. And that has scary implications for both private citizens and businesses alike.

The term “deepfakes,” coined by a Reddit user in 2017, was initially most often associated with pornography. A once highly trafficked and now banned subreddit was largely responsible for developing deepfakes into easily created and highly believable adult videos.

“This is no longer rocket science,” an AI researcher told Vice’s Motherboard in an early story on the problem of AI-assisted deepfakes being used to splice celebrities into pornographic videos.

The increasing ease with which deepfakes can be created also troubles Kelvin Murray, a senior threat researcher at Webroot.

“The advancements in getting machines to recognize and mimic faces, voices, accents, speech patterns and even music are accelerating at an alarming rate,” he says. “Deepfakes started out as a subreddit, but now there are tools that allow you to manipulate faces available right there on your smartphone.”

While creating deepfakes used to require good hardware and a sophisticated skillset, app stores are now overflowing with options creating them. In terms of technology, they’re simply a specific application of machine learning technology, says Murray.

“The basics of any AI system is that if you throw enough information at it, itcan pick it up. It can mimic it. So, if you give it enough video, it can mimic a person’s face. If you give it enough recordings of a person, it can mimic that person’s voice.”

There are several ways deepfakes threaten to redefine the way we live and conduct business online.

Deepfakes as a threat to privacy

A stolen credit card can be cancelled. A stolen identity, especially when it’s a mimicked personal attribute, is much more difficult to recover. The hack of a firm dedicated to developing facial recognition technology, for instance, could be a devastating source of deepfakes.

“So many apps, sites and platforms host so many videos and recordings today. What happens when they get hacked? Will the breach of a social media platform allow a hacker to impersonate you,” asks Murray.

Businesses must be especially careful about the data they collect from customers or users, asking both if it’s necessary to collect and if it can be stored safely afterwards. If personal data must be collected, security must be a top priority, and not only for ethical reasons. Governments are starting to enact some strict regulations and doling out some stiff fines for data breaches.

Ultimately, Murray thinks those governments may need to weigh in more heavily on the threat of deepfakes as they become even more indistinguishable from reality.

“We’re not going to stop this technology. It’s here. But people need to have the discussion about where we’re heading. In the same way GDPR was created to protect people’s data, we’re going to need to have a similar conversation about deepfakes leading to a different kind of identity theft.”

Deepfakes as a cybersecurity threat to businesses

It’s important to note the ways in which deepfakes can be used to target businesses, not just to spoof individuals.

“These business-related instances aren’t too common yet,” says Murray. “But we’re at the beginning of a wave right now in terms of AI-enabled threats against businesses.

A late 2019 attack against a U.K. energy firm could be a sign of scary things to come. Rather than video, this attack took advantage of voice-spoofing technology to pose as an executive’s manager, insisting he wire nearly $250 thousand to a “supplier” immediately. In the aftermath of the scam, the victim reported being convinced by both the accent and the rhythm of the fake speech pattern.

To safeguard against what could be a rising attack method, Murray recommends businesses understand what deepfakes are capable of and follow best practices for avoiding fraud, no matter the technology.

“Have well-defined protocol for changing account details and signing off on any invoices,” he advises “Train financial and accounting teams especially rigorously on these protocols and encourage them to pick up the phone and double-check when anything seems strange or off. In these days of increased working from home it’s also tougher for financial staff to walk up to other finance or sales colleagues and make informal double checks.”

Deepfakes and misinformation campaigns

Soon after deepfakes went mainstream, implications for politics and the weaponization of misinformation became clear, prompting the U.S. Senate to address the issue in 2018.

While initially used to humiliate or extort people, mostly women, malicious actors began to see them as a way to sway public opinion or sow chaos. Deeptrace, a company dedicated to uncovering deepfakes, has noted instances where manipulated video was used to promote social discord and scandal across the globe.

“Deepfakes further undermine our ability to believe what we read, and now even watch, on the internet,” says Murray. This leads to widespread distrust, especially on issues where understanding is crucial, like the coronavirus pandemic, where misinformation is bountiful.

To combat misinformation, Murray advises to keep in mind how much of it is out there. Always consider the source of the information you’ve received before acting on it, especially if it makes you angry or elicits some other strong emotional response.

Deepfakes will likely make the internet even more difficult to rely on as a source of information in the years to come. But reducing their impact starts with understanding how far they’ve come and what they’re capable of.

To learn more on Deepfakes and misinformation, listen to the podcast.

The post It’s Time to Talk Seriously About Deepfakes and Misinformation appeared first on Webroot Blog.

Swiss-Swedish Diplomatic Row Over Crypto AG

Previously I have written about the Swedish-owned Swiss-based cryptographic hardware company: Crypto AG. It was a CIA-owned Cold War operation for decades. Today it is called Crypto International, still based in Switzerland but owned by a Swedish company.

It’s back in the news:

Late last week, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said she had canceled a meeting with her Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis slated for this month after Switzerland placed an export ban on Crypto International, a Swiss-based and Swedish-owned cybersecurity company.

The ban was imposed while Swiss authorities examine long-running and explosive claims that a previous incarnation of Crypto International, Crypto AG, was little more than a front for U.S. intelligence-gathering during the Cold War.

Linde said the Swiss ban was stopping “goods” — which experts suggest could include cybersecurity upgrades or other IT support needed by Swedish state agencies — from reaching Sweden.

She told public broadcaster SVT that the meeting with Cassis was “not appropriate right now until we have fully understood the Swiss actions.”

EDITED TO ADD (10/13): Lots of information on Crypto AG.

New ‘MosaicRegressor’ UEFI Bootkit Malware Found Active in the Wild

Cybersecurity researchers have spotted a rare kind of potentially dangerous malware that targets a machine's booting process to drop persistent malware. The campaign involved the use of a compromised UEFI (or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) containing a malicious implant, making it the second known public case where a UEFI rootkit has been used in the wild. According to Kaspersky, the