Two years after the WannaCry ransomware outbreak shone a light on the computer security of the the UK’s National Health Service, and five years after Microsoft said it would no longer release patches for Windows XP, the NHS still has 2300 PCs running the outdated operating system.
Read more in my article on the Tripwire State of Security blog.
- 22-May-2019 New Zero-Day Exploit for Bug in Windows 10 Task Scheduler
- 14-May-2019 ZombieLoad: Researchers discover New Hardware Vulnerability in Modern Intel Processors
- 14-May-2019 Prevent a worm by updating Remote Desktop Services
- 13-May-2019 WhatsApp voice calls used to inject Israeli spyware on phones
- 13-May-2019 Cisco Secure Boot Hardware Tampering Vulnerability
- Department of Commerce Announces the Addition of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd to the Entity List
- Huawei's use of Android restricted by Google
- Google will work with Huawei for the next 90 days after US eases restrictions
- What happens to my Huawei smartphones and tablets now
- ARM memo tells staff to stop working with China’s tech giant
- China warns of investment blow to the UK over 5G ban
- Trump declares a national emergency over IT threats
- Trump says Huawei could be part of trade deal
- Huawei: Which countries are blocking its 5G technology?
- Huawei 'to go the extra mile' to reassure world on 5G spying
- Is Huawei in retreat?
- Huawei says billions of customers could be harmed by US sanctions
- Mike Pompeo warns the UK over Huawei 'security risks'
- Huawei's microchip vulnerability explained
- Vodafone Found Hidden Backdoors in Huawei Equipment
- Microsoft researchers find NSA-style backdoor in Huawei laptop
- Huawei the Company and the Security Risks Explained
- Theresa May has questions to answer over the Huawei scandal
- Sacked defence secretary denies security council leak on Huawei decision
- Vodafone denies Huawei Italy security risk
The WhatsApp security flaw by far received the most the attention of the media and was very much the leading frontpage news story for a day. The WhatsApp vulnerability (CVE-2019-3568) impacts both iPhone and Android versions of the mobile messaging app, allowing an attacker to install surveillance software, namely, spyware called Pegasus, which access can the smartphone's call logs, text messages, and can covertly enable and record the camera and microphone.
From a technical perspective, the vulnerability (CVE-2019-3568) can be exploited with a buffer overflow attack against WhatsApp's VOIP stack, this makes remote code execution possible by sending specially crafted SRTCP packets to the phone, a sophisticated exploit.
Should you be concerned?
WhatsApp said it believed only a "select number of users were targeted through this vulnerability by an advanced cyber actor." According to the FT, that threat actor was an Israeli company called ‘NSO Group’. NSO developed the exploit to sell on, NSO advertises it sells products to government agencies "for fighting terrorism and aiding law enforcement investigations". NSO products (aka "spyware") is known to be used by government agencies in UAE, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
So, if you are one of the 1.5 billion WhatsApp users, not a middle-east political activist or a Mexican criminal, you probably shouldn’t too worry about your smartphone being exploited in the past. If you were exploited, there would be signs, with unusual cliches and activity on your phone. Despite the low risk at present, all WhatsApp users should quickly update their WhatsApp app before criminals attempt to ‘copycat’ NSO Group exploitation.
How to Prevent
Update the WhatsApp app.
- Open the Apple AppStore App
- Search for WhatsApp Messenger
- Tap 'Update' and the latest version of WhatsApp will be installed
- App Version 2.19.51 and above fixes the vulnerability
- Open Google Play Store
- Tap the menu in the top left corner
- Go to “My Apps & Games”
- Tap ‘Update’ next to WhatsApp Messenger and the latest version of WhatsApp will be installed
- App Version 2.19.134 and above fixes the vulnerability
How to Prevent
Apply the latest Microsoft Windows Update. Microsoft has said anti-virus products will not provide any protection against the exploitation of this vulnerability, therefore applying the Microsoft May 2019 Security Update, as released on Tuesday 14th May 2019, is the only way to be certain of protecting against the exploitation of this critical vulnerability
Ensure automatic updates is always kept switched on. Windows by default should attempt to download and install the latest security updates, typically you will be prompted to apply the update and accept a reboot, do this without delay.
To double check, select the Start menu, followed by the gear cog icon on the left. Then, select Update & Security and Windows Update.
- New Meltdown: Researchers discover New Hardware Vulnerability in Modern Intel Processors
- Vulnerability CVEs
- Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sacked over Huawei leak
- Daily Telegraph publishes details of a meeting about using the Chinese telecoms firm to help build the UK's 5G network
- Huawei row: Inquiry to be held into National Security Council leak
- Is Huawei a Threat to UK National Security?
- What's the greater risk to UK 5G, Huawei backdoors or DDoS?
- Backdoors found in Huawei-supplied Vodafone equipment between 2011 and 2012
- Microsoft researchers find NSA-style backdoor in Huawei laptops
- 5G cyber-attack: What would be the effect on the UK?
- Huawei: Why UK is at odds with its cyber-allies
- NCSC: Huawei threat to national security
A survey by the NCSC concluded most UK users are still using weak passwords. Released just before CyberUK 2019 conference in Glasgow, which I was unable attend due work commitments, said the most common password on breached accounts was"123456", used by 23.2 million accounts worldwide. Next on the list was "123456789" and "qwerty", "password" and "1111111". Liverpool was the most common Premier League Football team used as a password, with Blink 182 the most common music act. The NCSC also published a separate analysis of the 100,000 most commonly re-occurring passwords that have been accessed by third parties in global cyber breaches. So password still remains the biggest Achilles' heel with our security.
The UK hacktivist threat came back to the fore this month, after the Anonymous Group took revenge on the UK government for arresting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, by attacking Yorkshire Councils. I am not sure what Yorkshire link with Assange actually is, but the website for Barnsley Council was taken down by a DDoS attack, a tweet from the group CyberGhost404 linked to the crashed Barnsley Council website and said "Free Assange or chaos is coming for you!". A tweet from an account called 'Anonymous Espana' with an image, suggested they had access to Bedale Council's confidential files, and were threatening to leak them.
Finally, but not lest, a great report by Recorded Future on the raise of the dark web business of credential stuffing, titled "The Economy of Credential Stuffing Attacks". The report explains how low-level criminals use automated 'checkers' tools to validate compromised credentials, before selling them on.
I am aware of school children getting sucked into this illicit world, typically starts with them seeking to take over better online game accounts after their own account is compromised, they quickly end up with more money than they can spend. Aside from keeping an eye on what your children are up to online as a parent, it goes to underline the importance of using unique complex passwords with every web account (use a password manager or vault to help you - see password security section on the Security Expert website). And always use Multi-Factor Authentication where available, and if you suspect or have are informed your account 'may' have compromised, change your password straight away.
- How Business can address the Security Concerns of Online Shoppers
- Third Party Security Risks to Consider and Manage
- Huawei to be given limited access to UK 5G Network
- The NCSC launches Cyber Security tool for UK Businesses and Authorities
- German Drug Manufacturer Beyer hit by Malware Attack originating from China
- Aebi Schmidt latest Manufacturer dealing with Ransomware Cyberattack
- 540M Facebook Member Records exposed by an Unsecure AWS S3 Bucket
- Microsoft will drop Password Expiration Policies in Windows 10 and in Windows Server
- 'Assange Supporters’ Claim to Hack Yorkshire Councils
- Hackers beat University Cyber-Defences in Two Hours
- App leaves over 2 Million WiFi Network Passwords Exposed on Open Database
- Two in Three Hotel Websites Leak Guest Booking Details and Allow Access to Personal Data
- Yahoo to pay £90M in latest settlement of Massive Breach
- Hackers nab emails and more in Microsoft Outlook, Hotmail, and MSN Compromise
- 4 in 5 IT Chiefs are delaying Security Patches to avoid Business Disruption
- A Public Database Exposed the Medical Records of 150,000 Rehab Patients
- Amnesty Intl. says Cyberattack on Hong Kong office appears linked to known APT group
- Cyber-Attacks ‘Damage’ National Infrastructure
- Microsoft Patches 75 Vulnerabilities, including 14 Critical for Windows, IE\Edge, Chakra and Adobe Flash
- Adobe Releases fixes 21 Vulnerabilities in Acrobat and Acrobat Reader
- Machines running popular AV software go unresponsive after Microsoft Windows update
- Apache Tomcat Vulnerability Results in Remote Code Execution
- Adobe’s Patch Tuesday includes Security Updates for Flash Player and AIR
- Attackers Exploit WordPress Zero Day following Disclosure
- WinRAR Exploit used by MuddyWater APT phishing gang
- ISC Patches Three Vulnerabilities in BIND
- Flawed P2P technology Threatens Millions of IoT Devices
- The Economy of Credential Stuffing Attacks
- ShadowHammer code Found in several Video Games
- Researchers uncover new ‘TajMahal’ APT framework, plus a new Gaza Cybergang malware campaign
- Baldr Stealer Malware Active in the Wild With ongoing Updates
- TA505 Targets Financial and Retail using 'Undetectable' Methods
- Lazarus Targets Mac Users With Malware
- Attackers Deploy New ICS Attack Framework “TRITON” and Cause Operational Disruption to Critical Infrastructure