The international live-fire cyber defence exercise Locked Shields 2018 took place on April 23-26 in Tallinn, Estonia, and the figures behind this important competition are impressive., A total of 22 Blue Teams participated in the Locked Shields 2018 exercise, more than 1,000 experts from nearly 30 countries have tested their cyber capabilities-, Yes, I forgot to tell you that this year the winner is the team from NATO composed of 30 cyber experts, followed by France and the Czech Republic., “The winning team excelled in all categories of the exercise. It was the first time NATO participated with a team representing different NATO agencies,” said Aare Reintam, Project Manager of Technical Exercises at CCDCOE., The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) organizes the Locked Shields since 2010, the exercise aims to test the abilities of the team in responding to a major cyber attack., The exercise sees a fictional country named Berylia targeted by massive and coordinated cyber attacks that hit its critical infrastructure, including Internet services provider, power grids, military airbase, telecommunication networks., Locked Shields 2018 involved 4,000 virtualized systems and over 2,500 attacks that hit the target altogether., The Blue Teams were tasked to preserve the operations of more than 150 complex IT systems per team, reporting incidents, executing strategic decisions and solving forensic, legal and media challenges., “However, every single participating team deserves credit for handling the complex cyber challenges of Locked Shields. The exercise involved around 4000 virtualised systems and more than 2500 attacks altogether.” added Reintam. “In addition to keeping up more than 150 complex IT systems per team, the Blue Teams had to be efficient in reporting incidents, executing strategic decisions and solving forensic, legal and media challenges. Protection of critical infrastructure is essential for ensuring the efficient operation of both military and civilian organisations, it is the foundation of our modern digital lifestyle,” , More photos of Locked Shields 2018 (credits to CCDCOE, photographer Arno Mikkor), Once again, the exercise highlighted the importance of the information sharing when dealing cyber threats and the authority to make a decision and give guidelines, carefully evaluating the potential legal implications., “In 2018 the exercise highlighted the growing need to enhance dialogue between technical experts, civil and military participants and decision-making levels.” reads the press release published by the CCDCOE., “CCDCOE integrates the technical and strategic game, enabling participating nations to practice the entire chain of command in the event of a severe cyber incident involving both civilian and military players.”, Cyber drills like the Locked Shields 2018 are very important occasions for tasting cyber defense abilities and processes in place to mitigate massive attacks against critical infrastructure., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Locked Shields 2018, hacking), ,
The iBoot is the component loaded in the early stages of the boot sequence and it is tasked with loading the kernel, it is stored in a boot ROM chip., “This is the first step in the chain of trust where each step ensures that the next is signed by Apple.” states Apple describing the iBoot., The leaked code is related to iOS 9, but experts believe it could still present in the latest iOS 11., Apple promptly reacted to the data leak asking to remove the content for a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)., “This repository is currently disabled due to a DMCA takedown notice. We have disabled public access to the repository. The notice has been publicly posted.” reads the notice on the GitHub repository., “Reproduction of Apple’s “iBoot” source code, which is responsible for ensuring trusted boot operation of Apple’s iOS software. The “iBoot” source code is proprietary and it includes Apple’s copyright notice. It is not open-source.”, , The data leak is considered very dangerous because hackers and security experts can analyze the code searching for security vulnerabilities that could be triggered to compromise the iBoot., Even is the code cannot be modified, the exploit of a flaw could allow loading other components compromising the overall security of the architecture., The boot sequence is:, Bootrom → Low Level Bootloader → iBoot → Device tree → Kernel., The Jailbreak consists of compromising one of the above phases, typically the kernel one., Newer iPhones have an ARM-based coprocessor that enhances iOS security, so-called Secure Enclave Processor, it makes impossible the access to the code to conduct reverse engineering of the code., But now the iBoot code has been leaked online and experts can analyze it., The jailbreak could allow removing security restrictions making it possible to install third-party software and packages, also code that is not authorized by Apple and therefore not signed by the IT giant., Compromising the iBoot could theoretically allow loading any malicious code in the boot phase or a tainted kernel., Apple tried to downplay the issue saying that it implements a layered model of security, “Old source code from three years ago appears to have been leaked, but by design the security of our products doesn’t depend on the secrecy of our source code. There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products, and we always encourage customers to update to the newest software releases to benefit from the latest protection,” reads a statement issued by Apple., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – iBoot, Apple)
The Ukrainian Government is suffering a series of power outages in the Western region of the country likely caused by cyber attacks., The Ukrainian Government believes that the power outages are caused by operations conducted by Russian nation-state actors., “hacker attacks by Russian special services”., According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), experts have discovered a malware infecting critical infrastructure of the country, the malicious code targeted networks of some utilities., The malware infections were observed in concurrent with a “non-stop telephone flood at utility plants’ technical support departments.” According to the local media, the Ukraine is suffering information warfare attacks., “Experts detected virus software was found in some networks, SBU says. The virus attack was timed with nonstop telephone flood at utility plants’ technical support departments.”, The Security Service of Ukrainian also confirmed that its experts reportedly foiled other attacks conducted by Russian hackers. Russian agents attempted to infiltrate computer networks of a number of electricity utility companies., It is not the first time that the Ukrainian Government suffers attacks alleged launched by Russian hackers. The number of attacks during the dispute between the two countries on the control of the Crimea., Last Christmas Eve, infrastructure in the Ukraine suffered numerous power outages that were attributed to cyber attacks operated by Russian hackers., While the Government of Kiev is blaming Russian hackers, the Russian Government hasn’t replied to the accusation. There are also other possible explanations for the numerous power outages, including accidental failures caused by animals and weather conditions., There are anyway, if confirmed the news of the presence of a malware targeting the national infrastructure it is more likely the involvement of a foreign government, but as usually happen in this case the problem of attribution has no simple resolution., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Information Warfare, Russia, Ukraine, nation-state attacks)
Cryptocurrency malware continues to be a privileged choice for crooks and the number of victims is rapidly growing., Cryptocurrency miners are easy to detect due to the saturation of resources on the affected systems, but experts from Trend Micro spotted a new miner that leverages a rootkit component to hide its presence., Even if the malware slows down infected systems abusing of their resources, the administrators will not be able to detect what process is causing it., “We recently encountered a cryptocurrency-mining malware (detected by Trend Micro as Coinminer.Linux.KORKERDS.AB) affecting Linux systems,” reads the report published by TrendMicro. , “It is notable for being bundled with a rootkit component (Rootkit.Linux.KORKERDS.AA) that hides the malicious process’ presence from monitoring tools. This makes it difficult to detect, as infected systems will only indicate performance issues. The malware is also capable of updating and upgrading itself and its configuration file.”, The experts speculate that the infection vector could be an unofficial or compromised plugin such as a media-streaming software.,  ,  , Once installed the initial executable (Trojan.Linux.DLOADER.THAOOAAK) will download a file from Pastebin that is a shell script. The file is saved as /bin/httpdns and a scheduled task is created to run /bin/httpdns every hour. The shell script is executed. /bin/httpdns contains a shell script that connects and downloads another base64-encoded text file., The process will allow to download and execute a series of shell scripts that ultimately install the miner and then a rootkit to hide its presence., , Experts pointed out that when the rootkit is not installed, administrators can easily detect the malicious process utilizing 100% of the CPU., The following images show how the miner process is hidden by the rootkit., , , Once the rootkit is installed, though, the process causing the high CPU is not visible even though the total system utilization is still shown as 100%., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Linux cryptocurrency miner, hacking)
The New York time published the news that an FBI informant, Hector Xavier Monsegur, coordinated in 2012 a campaign of hundreds of cyberattacks on foreign websites. In many cases we discussed the possibility to exploit hacktivism to support military operations against a foreign government, the US intelligence was accused to have infiltrated popular collectives of hacktivists to coordinate attacks on foreign governments including Iran, Syria, Pakistan and Brazil., According declarations of participant to the attacks, the group of hackers exploited a vulnerability in a popular web hosting software to steal sensitive information from the government servers. All the information collected during the offensives were uploaded on a server monitored by the FBI according to court statements., “The details of the 2012 episode have, until now, been kept largely a secret in closed sessions of a federal court in New York and heavily redacted documents. While the documents do not indicate whether the F.B.I. directly ordered the attacks, they suggest that the government may have used hackers to gather intelligence overseas even as investigators were trying to dismantle hacking groups like Anonymous and send computer activists away for lengthy prison terms.” reported the New Youk Times., Hector Xavier Monsegur, aka Sabu, was one of the leaders of the popular group of hacktivists LulzSec that breached many high profile targets during in the last years, including Sony Pictures (2011). The group also claimed responsibility for taking down many other notorious targets such as  AT&T, Viacom, Disney, EMI, and NBC Universal, The Sun, PayPal, MasterCard, The Times and the CIA., Sabu once arrested decided to collaborate with law enforcement to track down other members of Anonymous. Various members of the popular group of hacktivists have been identified and arrested. , Thanks Monsegur, F.B.I. arrested another popular hacktivist, Jeremy Hammond that joined in the group of hackers known as Antisec. Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, he collaborated with Monsegur to conduct the attack on the private intelligence firm Stratfor., , During the process Hammond declared that FBI coordinated numerous attacks of Anonymous on foreign governments, after the Stratfor hack in fact Monsegur began supplying Hammond with lists of foreign vulnerable websites representing the targets of the offensives. The collective of hackers led by Mr. Hammond exploited a zero-day vulnerability in the web-hosting software Plesk to install a backdoor into thousands of websites and gaining their complete control., The attack pattern was quite similar, once installed the backdoor on the target, sensitive data like emails and databases were extracted and uploaded to a computer server controlled by Monsegur., “Mr. Hammond would not disclose the specific foreign government websites that he said Mr. Monsegur had asked him to attack, one of the terms of a protective order imposed by the judge. The names of the targeted countries are also redacted from court documents.”, The list included more than 2,000 Internet domains, Monsegur directed Mr. Hammond to hack government websites in Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey and Brazil and other government sites, including the Ministry of Electricity in Iraq., The sentencing statement confirmed the involvement of Mr. Monsegur in the attacks against Syrian government websites, including banks and ministries of the government of President Bashar al-Assad., “The F.B.I. took advantage of hackers who wanted to help support the Syrian people against the Assad regime, who instead unwittingly provided the U.S. government access to Syrian systems,” the statement said., According Hammond, Mr. Monsegur never carried out the hacks himself:, “Sabu wasn’t getting his hands dirty,” said Hammond., The exact role of the FBI is still unclear, the involvement of groups of hackers capable to hit any target on the Internet is a known and efficient strategy adopted by governments.  Characters like Mr. Monsegur can influence large masses of hacktivists that taking part to a cyber attack support a tactical operation of the US government., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  Hacktivist, Monsegur)
Mobile devices are reason of great concern for governments, they have a great computational capability, huge memories to store our personal data, GPS to follow our movements and are equipped with a camera and microphone to increase our experience in mobility. But all those features could be exploited by attackers for cyber espionage, the problem is well known to governments that are adopting necessary countermeasures especially following the recent revelations about the U.S. surveillance program., The UK Government has decided to ban iPads from the Cabinet over foreign eavesdropper fears,  it has been requested Ministers to leave mobile in lead-lined boxes to avoid foreign governments to spy on top level government meetings., The news is reported by the Mail on Sunday, after the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude made a presentation using his iPads last week (about how the Government Digital Service might save the UK £2bn a year) the Downing Street security staff has dismissed the mobile device to prevent eavesdropping of ongoing discussions., , The measure was adopted to avoid that foreign security services infecting mobile devices are able to capture audio and data from victims, it is known that hostile actors like China, Russia and Iran have the ability to use mobiles in powerful spy tools., Ministers belonging to sensitive government departments were recently issued with soundproof lead-lined boxes to guard and isolate their mobile devices during official meetings., The precautions have been taken due the high concern caused by news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal mobile has been spied by the NSA for years. My personal opinion it that it is not acceptable that the German Federal Intelligence Service has allowed everything, missing the adoption of appropriate protective measures like crypto mobile devices, protected landline and similar. Other governments already have approached the problem to adopt secure devices to prevent bugging and eavesdropping, the British foreign secretary William Hague confirmed his phone has been armored by GCHQ., Just a week ago it was published the news that delegates at the G20 summit in Russia received malicious computer memory sticks used to serve a malware to spy on the participants and steal sensitive information, let’s remember also that the information leaked on the NSA FoxAcid platform revealed the existence of spy tool kits RADON and DEWSPEEPER able to exploit victims via USB. , Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, ordered tests to be carried out on the memory sticks  and the results are shocking:, ‘The USB pen drives and the recharging cables were able to covertly capture computer and mobile phone data,’ a secret memo said., Overseas, the situation does not change, even the US fear that the use of the mobile devices can cause them problems,  The Department of Homeland Security and FBI warn public safety departments that their out-of-date Android devices are a security risk, but updating them is not always easy or simple., The alert cited unspecified “industry reporting” that, “44 percent of Android users are still using versions 2.3.3 through 2.3.7 (Gingerbread)  which were released in 2011 and have a number of security vulnerabilities that were fixed in later versions.”, Google’s own figures on its site for Android developers estimate that percentage at about a third less — 30.7 percent. But it also showed 21.7 percent using versions 4.0.3-4.0.4, called Ice Cream Sandwich, which is also out of date. Less than half – 45.1 percent – are using the latest OS, called Jelly Bean, and of that group, 36.6 percent are using 4.1, and only 8.5 percent are using 4.2, which is the latest OS., The DHS/FBI document address principal cyber threats to out-of-date Android mobile devices, including SMS Trojans, Rootkits and fake Google Play Domains., Despite the alert recommends regular updates, running an “Android security suite” and downloading apps only from the official Google Play Store, the update for Android devices can reveal several problems., “There is a wide variety of Android OEM versions rolled out to a huge number of different handsets, and not all carriers and handset OEMs will allow you to upgrade to the latest version,” “So, the Android versions that can run are restricted per device. Even now it is possible to buy Gingerbread devices that cannot be upgraded to Jelly Bean.” said Mario de Boer, research director, Security and Risk Management Strategies at Gartner for Technical Professionals., De Boer suggested that the only solution for now is to block the use of Android devices that are not running the latest OS., “Apply admission control,””If your Smartphones or tablet is running a vulnerable OS, you cannot get access to the specific service or data.” “this is hard to accomplish for voice and text, and easier for email and access to files.”, The principal problem related to the use of mobile devices in government environment is that almost every Smartphone is not designed following severe requirements in term of corporate or government security, let’s add that wrong user’s habits aggravate the situation., It needs a change or mobile devices should be excluded from sensitive contexts.,  , Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Mobile devices, BYOD)
Avid Life Media, the company that owns the Ashley Madison is offering a $500,000 reward for information that could allow law enforcement to identify and arrest the hackers behind the recent data breach it suffered., The company is hunting the resposibles, it has hired a number of investigators and forensic experts to identify them., Bryce Evans, the acting staff superintendent of the Toronto police, made the official announcement:, “Today I can confirm that Avid Life Media is offering a $500,000 reward to anyone providing information that leads to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the leak of the Ashley Madison database,” Evans said, reported the BBC., The consequence of such kind of data breach could be dramatic for the victims of the adultery website, the police confirmed to suicides caused by the hacks. The stolen data included some 36 million email addresses associated with accounts, the dump leaked online includes personal information of Ashley Madison users., , Evans also provided further details on the breach, he revealed that Ashley Madison workers first discovered the hack on July 12 when they logged into their computers and received a message from the hackers. Evans only added that the message was accompanied by the AC/DC’s song “Thunderstruck.”, This particular sounds familiar for my old readers, on July 2012 a scientist working at the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) declared that computer systems were hit by a cyber-attack., This attack appeared really singular because it forced computers to play AC/DC’s Thunderstruck at full volume in the middle of the night., The company F-Secure was the first security firm informed of the attack, it received an email from AEOI that stated:, “I am writing you to inform you that our nuclear program has once again been compromised and attacked by a new worm with exploits which have shut down our automation network at Natanz and another facility Fordo near Qom. According to the email our cyber experts sent to our teams, they believe a hacker tool Metasploit was used. The hackers had access to our VPN. The automation network and Siemens hardware were attacked and shut down. I only know very little about these cyber issues as I am scientist not a computer expert., There was also some music playing randomly on several of the workstations during the middle of the night with the volume maxed out. I believe it was playing ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC.”, It’s curious that the hackers behind the Ashley Madison hack have used the same music., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Ashley Madison, Data Breach)
A new Apple’s iOS bug was discovered in the community of mobile tech experts, it can be exploited to crash iPhone or iPad devices by just sending an Emoji text message., Several users are already reporting the issue and the popular YouTube EverythingApplePro published a video proof-of-concept for the bug. In the video is reported an example of the sequence of characters that temporarily freeze an iPhone causing the device restarting., The sequence is composed of a white Flag emoji, the digit “0” and a Rainbow emoji. The issue is linked to the way that iOS creates the rainbow flag emoji that is not an official emoji, Apple creates the rainbow flag Emoji by combining the code behind the two white flag and rainbow emoji. Apple iOS joins them by using a hidden character known as a VS16. The iPhone attempts to combine the two emoji, but is unable to because of the zero in the middle., Source There are also other ways to crash the Apple mobile device, another hack leverages the same characters used in a contact file that is sent to an iMessage contact via the iCloud’s sharing feature., “Both the methods mentioned above will crash and iPhone or iPad to varying degrees, although the simple text string sent via a standard iMessage appears to affect iPhones and iPads running iOS 10.1 or below.” reported The Hacker News. “However, the boobytrapped contact card affects all versions of iOS 10, including Apple’s latest iOS 10.2 operating system.”, Users have to upgrade their version to the last one in order to prevent such kind of attacks., , In November the EverythingApplePro reported that most of the Apple devices were crashing when the owners play a video. An iPhone-freezing video circulated online, when users played it in the Safari browser the iPhones slow down until they stop working altogether., The iPhone-freezing video was first discovered by EverythingApplePro, it is a short .mp4 clip of someone standing by a bed with the words “Honey” written across the screen., , Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – iPhone-freezing Emoji text message, hacking)
Mobile botnets are malicious infrastructures that are increasing with impressive trend especially the Android botnets, considering the capillary diffusion for the Google mobile OS. Android devices are in the hands of more than half mobile users and unfortunately bad habits and lack of awareness of cyber threats are creating the favorable conditions for the diffusion of malicious applications that could infect helpless mobile., Every day I meet dozens of persons that have made a jailbreak on their device, that have installed insecure application downloaded from third-party application stores in most of the cases for trivial reasons. For youngsters security is an unknown word, exactly such as malware despite they know that they desktop PC could be infected., But mobile devices are also in workspace, the promiscuous usage is very common that’s why concepts such as BYOD are becoming very familiar at least between company management., Cybercriminals are aware of this lack of awareness and the absence of proper defense mechanisms advantage their offensive., We are speaking of Android botnets, many malicious applications are downloaded directly from a Google Play app store, but the most common question that ordinary people do is:, How do cybercriminals upload malicious code on the official store managed by a company such as Google? It’s known that Google is very careful with the security of its customers and automatically scans every submission to the Google Play store so in our notional there is no possibility for the cybercriminals to exploit this channel for malware diffusion., Cybercriminals adopt commercial availability DIY Android application decompiler/injector developed to work exclusively with a publicly obtainable Android-based trojan horse, security expert Dancho Danchev explains how it is possible to manage Android botnets in a recent post, using commercially available tools it is possible to inject a pre-configured Android trojan client into any applications., The diffusion of malicious agents is possible in various ways depending on attackers, the botmaster could spread the malware using compromised Web servers or through DIY Google Dorks based hacking tools  “and instead of monetizing the traffic by serving client-side exploits, they can filter and redirect all the mobile device traffic to a fraudulent/malicious Android application.”, The offer is very attractive also due the cheap price, only $37 for this injector tool, in the following image a few screenshots of the application in action., , ,  ,  , Apparently the Android trojan has been designed by a group of four students for a university project and has all the feature for this category of malware. Fortunately the malware has an hardcoded reference to a centralized C&C infrastructure that make it easy to trace and bring down. The malware uses as Dynamic DNS services to address to its control infrastructure., It could be activated both via phone call or SMS and according the post it has the following features:, An interesting phenomenon observed by security researchers is the cybercriminal ecosystem is that criminals are also showing an increasing interest in buy verified Google Play accounts, exploiting their reputation in fact they could distribute Android bots to the users who trust/recommend a particular developer., Mobile malware black market is still not well developed for now, because cybercriminals mostly use to directly attack mobile platforms instead to sell exploit toolkits and mobile malware. Andrey Komarov from security firm Group-IB told me in a previous interview that the key properties of mobile malware for cybercrime are:, Security Expert are sure that we will assist to an explosion in the diffusion of mobile malicious infrastructures and in particular for Android botnets, we must be prapared., (Security Affairs – Android botnets, cybercrime)
“A total of 58 such attacks were reported by ten countries, up from 15 attacks during 2015.  ‘Black Box’ is the connection of an unauthorised device which sends dispense commands directly to the ATM cash dispenser in order to ‘cash-out’ the ATM.  Related losses were down 39%, from €0.74 million to €0.45 million.”, The technique is very effective, it has been estimated that crooks have stolen €45 million using it since 2016., The attack method was first reported by the notorious expert Barnaby Jack in 2010, the researcher coined the term jackpotting during the 2010 Black Hat conference., , The brute-force black box attack against an ATM starts by punching a hole into the machine’s casing, then the crooks connect a laptop to the exposed cables or ports and use it to issue commands to the ATM to dispense money., , The arrests were part of a still ongoing Europol operation conducted with law enforcement of numerous states in Europe. Below the details of the arrests:, “Our joint efforts to tackle this new criminal phenomenon resulted in significant arrests across Europe. However the arrest of offenders is only one part of stopping this form of criminality. Increasingly we need to work closely with the ATM industry to design out vulnerabilities at source and prevent the crime taking place,” said Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre., The crooks that were involved in the jackpotting ATM Black Box attacks are mainly from countries in Eastern Europe, such as Romania, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine., Let me suggest to read an interesting post that was written by the security expert Brian Krebs that is titled “Thieves Jackpot ATMs With ‘Black Box’ Attack” that describes this kind of attacks., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – ATM Black Box attacks, jackpotting)
In the last days, security experts discovered numerous attacks that have been leveraging the same EternalBlue exploit used by the notorious WannaCry ransomware., The Shadow Brokers hacker group revealed the exploit for the SMB vulnerability in April, but according to malware researchers, other threats used it such as the Adylkuzz botnet that is active since April 24., Security experts at Cyphort found evidence on a honeypot server that threat actors in the wild were already exploiting the SMB flaw in early May to deliver a stealth Remote Access Trojan (RAT) instead of ransomware., The RAT didn’t show worm network worm capabilities like the WannaCry ransomware., The malware is delivered from an IP ( located in China., “Once the exploitation is successful, the attacker will send an encrypted payload as a shellcode. The shellcode is encrypted via XOR with the key, “A9 CA 63 BA”. The shellcode has an embedded binary in it as shown below:” reads the analysis published by Cyphort. “The embedded DLL is basically a trojan which downloads additional malware and receives commands from its controller.”, Once infected a system, the malicious code closes the port 445 to prevent other malware from abusing the same SMB flaw., This aspect suggests the attacker was aware of the EternalBlue vulnerability., “This is yet another indication that the malware is probably aware of the Eternal Blue vulnerability and is closing it.” continues the analysis. “The threat actors probably did not want other threats mingling with their activity. We believe that the group behind this attack is the same group that spreads Mirai via Windows Kaspersky discovered in February.  We found similarities in terms of their IOCs.”, The RAT sets the following Registry Run entries to download and execute additional malware., The malicious code attempts to delete a number of users and terminate and/or delete various files or processes.  The experts also noticed that it is connected to a remote access tool hosted on a Chinese website, ForShare 8.28., The malware can be instructed by the C&C server to execute various commands, including the screen monitoring, capturing audio and video, monitoring keystrokes, transfer data, deleting files, terminating processes, downloading and executing files and many other operations., The report published by Cyphort included the Indicators of Compromise for this specific threat., The facts that multiple groups have been exploiting ETERNALBLUE weeks before WannaCry is also demonstrated by an analysis published by Secdo., Secdo claims to have found evidence of ransomware abusing EternalBlue flaw weeks before WannaCry emerged., “Secdo has uncovered a new evasive attack that leaves no trace and has been infecting organizations using NSA exploits since the mid-April.” reads the analysis published by Secdo. “The ransomware is the most apparent payload, yet under the surface a more sophisticated attack occurred that would have gone unnoticed.”, , The researchers also reported that threat actors in the wild were using an EternalBlue-based worm to infect all machines in a compromised network and exfiltrate login credentials., Recently experts at Heimdal discovered the UIWIX ransomware, a fileless malware exploiting the EternalBlue vulnerability., Like the WannaCry, UIWIX exploits the same vulnerability in Windows SMB protocol, but the new threat has the ability to run in the memory of the infected system after the exploiting of the EternalBlue., In late April, The experts at Secdo also discovered another attack exploiting the EthernalBlue vulnerability,  it was associated with a Chinese threat actor that used a botnet to distribute a backdoor., “It begins by spawning a thread inside of lsass.exe, similar to the credential theft attack, only instead of remaining purely in-memory, the initial payload connects back to a Chinese C2 server on port 998 (2.x.x.x) and downloads a known root-kit backdoor (based on Agony).” reads the analysis published by Secdo., “The file is dropped in %programdata% under the name 666.exe. Existing NG-AV vendors that were present were able to block 666.exe from running, but remained oblivious to the malicious thread running inside of lsass.exe.”, Summarizing, at least 3 different groups have been leveraging the NSA exploit weeks before the WannaCry, this means a significant portion of the security community failed to monitor the threat or that failed to share the information about the attacks they have observed., The success of EternalBlue attacks are the failure of our current model of cyber security., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – WannaCry, EternalBlue vulnerability)
“The flaw is in read_server_hello() / _gnutls_read_server_hello(), where session_id_len is checked to not exceed incoming packet size, but not checked to ensure it does not exceed maximum session id length.”, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  GnuTLS, encryption)
The security expert and bug hunter Craig Arendt (@craig_arendt) has discovered flaws in major eBook readers including the ones commercialized by Amazon, Apple, and Google., The expert discovered different XML external entity (XXE) vulnerabilities in the online epub ebook services that use leverages the ‘EpubCheck’ library.  The library is used for the operations of format conversions into the universal Epub book format., “Applying a familiar XXE pattern to exploit services & readers that consume the ePUB format. Exploiting vulnerabilities in EpubCheck <= 4.0.1 (ePub Validation Java Library & tool), Adobe Digital Editions <= 4.5.2 (book reader), Amazon KDP (Kindle Publishing Online Service), Apple Transporter, and Google Play Book uploads, etc.”, “ePub is a standard format for open books maintained by IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum). IDPF is a trade and standards association for the digital publishing industry, set up to establish a standard for ebook publishing. Their membership list:  reads a blog post published by Arendt., The researcher focused its tests the tool/Java library called EpubCheck (provided by IDPF) used to validate books in the ePub format. Publishers perform a validation step using the library to verify that the format is valid and Arendt discovered the XML external entity (XXE) issue., “The validator tool (EpubCheck) was vulnerable to XXE, so any application that relies on a vulnerable version to check the validity of a book would be susceptible to this type of attack.” continues the analysis., , Arendt explained that in the case of Amazon, the KDP Kindle file upload service used to help publishers upload their books was affected by an XXE flaw that could be exploited by attackers to steal books and data., A similar flaw affected the Apple Transporter service that ships books to the App Store., “Parsing maliciously crafted EPUB may lead to disclosure of user information, Description: An information disclosure issue existed in the parsing of EPUB. This issue was addressed through improved parsing. CVE-2016-7666: Craig Arendt of Stratum Security” state the advisory published by Apple., Arendt confirmed that during the test he accidentally grabbed the shadow password file for one of the epub services using the vulnerable EpubCheck library., The Google Play Books service was not affected by the XXE flaw, but the expert discovered the possibility to trigger an XML Entity expansion flaw that could be exploited to cause denial of service through an explosive growth of parsed data., “The software uses XML documents and allows their structure to be defined with a Document Type Definition (DTD), but it does not properly control the number of recursive definitions of entities.” states the advisory published by the, “If the DTD contains a large number of nested or recursive entities, this can lead to explosive growth of data when parsed, causing a denial of service.”, Similar problems affect other services that permit Java and Flash, Arendt will disclose further attacks once the vendors have fixed the vulnerabilities he reported., All the vendors above have already applied the necessary security patches to the vulnerable epub services., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – epub services, hacking)
Exactly on week ago a group of Iranian hackers named Cyber Warriors Team claimed to have compromised an SSL certificate issued to the Research and Education Support Services of NASA.  The press released by the Cyber Warriors Team said that hackers have written an HTTPS protocol scanner to find weaknesses in the NASA website.  A NASA spokesman hasn’t denied the hack declaring that the agency is currently investigating on the event., Why steal a certificate?, Last year I wrote an article on the main reasons behind the theft of a digital certificate, let’s remind the principal motivations:, Malware production – Installation for certain types of software could needs that its code is digitally signed with a trusted certificate. By stealing the certificate of a trusted vendor reduces the possibility that the malicious software being detected as quickly. That is exactly what happened for Stuxnet virus., Cyber warfare – Criminals or governments could use the stolen certificates to conduct “man-in-the-middle” attacks, tricking users into thinking they were at a legitimate site when in fact their communications were being secretly tampered and intercepted. That is for example what occurred in the DigiNotar case … companies like Facebook, Google and also agencies like CIA, MI6 were targeted in Dutch government certificate hack., Economic Frauds – digital signature give a warranty on who signed a document and you can decide if you trust the person or company who signed the file and if you trust the organization who issued the certificate. If a digital certificate is stolen we will suffer of an identity theft, let’s imagine which could be the implication., In the specific case the hackers have motivated the attack, in a message published on Pastebin, declaring that the certificate is necessary to perform a man-in-the-middle attack., Our main work and we target Is in use.Our target was not Internet sabotage , Our Target was Do “MAN IN THE MIDDLE” attack., ( with using Confirmation obtained ) and also Clear the track after each connection in the network For Hide and Disclosing my presence in Two-way communication between., But the problem still exists And its use isn’t Hard For We (CW.T) <<<<, we obtain User information for thousands of NASA researcher With Emails and Accounts of other users.Send For You soon Videos of Man in the middle attack and Stealing relationship ( Addressing security managers at NASA )., , Analyzing the screenshot published by the hackers the certificate was utilized on the site of NASA’s Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES). The hackers have exploited the authentication process obtaining the administrator’s credentials., ,  , In the message is reported that the hackers have exploited thousands of NASA researcher’s accounts, and they have promised that will release a video of the operation, anyway it’s clear the intent of cyber espionage of the group., What it is interesting to investigate is the real origin of the attack, is it an isolated operation made by a group of Iranian hackers or is it an act of cyber warfare?, To  hazard hypotheses let’s remind the content of significant report “The Iranian Cyber Threat to the U.S. Homeland” Statement before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies and Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. In the document are analyzed the growing Iranian capabilities, the country expanding exploitation of cyberspace can be attributed to two principal geopolitical drivers:, The report clarify the position of Teheran that is considering itself engaged in a cyber war with West, due this reason the Iranian regime is mobilizing in response launching an ambitious $1 billion governmental program to boost national cyber capabilities, acquiring new technologies, investing in cyber defense, and creating of a new army of cyber experts., Iranian Government is working on different fronts in my opinion, on one side it’s recruiting internal hackers in the name of religious motivations, on the other hand it is acquiring knowledge from mercenaries hackers coming from East Europe and also from Asia. It will no difficult for Iran to prepare its own cyber arsenal, and these cyber weapons could hit vulnerable western critical infrastructures., I personally think that the cyber attack is linked to the Iranian government., It’s not the first time that the NASA is hacked, in the beginning of the year several attacks revealed that the agency is unprepared for cyber attacks., The situation is worrying, we must consider the strategic importance of intellectual property exposed due to these accidents. We have repeatedly stressed the attention of foreign governments in strategic technology solutions in industries such as aerospace. In these areas it is extremely high the contribute in term of research and innovation made by new technologies that are introduced in later years in the traditional sectors. Be able to steal these information means bridging a gap of technology and research for decades with disastrous consequences in economic terms., NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin declared that in 2011 the agency was the target of 47 cyber attacks known as advanced persistent threats (APTs) surely made by group of expert hackers with deep knowledge of their target and of the information to search and steal, this is the proof that we are facing with cyber intelligence operations made by hostile governments. Martin admitted:, “the attackers had full functional control over these networks.”, Since the declaration of the official, a number of security experts claimed that some actions were done to improve security of the infrastructures of the agency, but the events seems demonstrate that they are not sufficient., Pierluigi Paganini,  
Do you have exposed your Industrial control system (ICS) on the Internet?, “If ICS is connected to the Internet, it comes with an almost 100% guarantee of its being hacked on the first day” E. Kaspersky, I used the reply of the Founder of security firm Kaspersky Lab to give you an idea of the concrete risks for the numerous ICS exposed on the Internet. Hackers, cyber criminals, state-sponsored hackers and other bad actors can hit any industrial system without specific knowledge., In 2013 ICS-CERT received 181 vulnerability reports from researchers and ICS vendors, 177 were true vulnerabilities, 87 percent were exploitable remotely while the other 13 percent required local access to exploit the flaws., , A search engine like Shodan, a specific exploit easily available on an underground forum and an anonymizing tool to avoid detection could be sufficient to compromise a system in a critical infrastructure., In many cases  control systems have to be accessible directly from the Internet, this means that they are exposed to risk of cyber attacks, probes, brute force attacks, attempts and unauthorized access and scanning are the events most frequent events., “Internet facing devices have become a serious concern over the past few years with  remote access demands giving way to insecure or vulnerable configurations. Tools, such as SHODAN, Google and other search engines, enable researchers and adversaries to easily discover and identify a variety of ICS devices that were not intended to be Internet facing.” reports the last ICS-CERT Monitor (Jan-Apr 2014), According ICS-CERT, in many cases devices are not adequately configured, adversary with increasing capabilities could benefit by poor security design of targeted architectures., “Most recently, ICS-CERT received reports of three new cyber incidents that resulted from weak network configuration and/or lack of perimeter security. Two of those incidents involved intrusions by unauthorized parties, and the other was identified as vulnerable by a researcher. In the majority of these cases, the system owners are unaware of the nonsecure configurations or the associated risk.” states the last ICS-CERT Monitor, The ICS-CERT reported that a public utility was recently compromised, a threat actor gained unauthorized access to its control system network, the investigation demonstrated that the system was exposed on the Internet without a strong authentication mechanism. After notification of the incident, forensics experts discovered that the system was already compromised in the past., The document proposes other cases, including a Sochi Arena HVAc system exposed to the Internet discovered by Billy Rios, a researcher at Qualys, which has provided information related to HVAC and Energy Management System (EMS) associated with the Olympics Games in Russia., This system was reported to lack authentication requirements to access the control system. The researcher worked with the system integrator to reconfigure the system prior to the Olympics and opening ceremonies., How to protect ICS?, ICS-CERT recommends adopting defensive action to secure ICSs by using defense-in-depth principles, below the principal suggestions to minimize the risk of exploitation:, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  ICS, critical infrastructure)
It’s not a secret, Israel military is one of the most advanced and active cyber army that is using cyber-warfare to attack its enemy in the cyber space. For years Israel conducts cyber espionage and cyber offensive operations that allow the state to operate undisturbed, away from media pressure always attentive to the controversial international policy of the government of the country., To Israel must recognized the great merit of having invested significantly in cyber warfare in advance respect other states,  pushing the mostly on internal resources and on forming their own militias to cyber offensive techniques., “The IDF has been engaged in cyber activity consistently and relentlessly, gathering intelligence and defending its own cyber space. Additionally if necessary the cyber space will be used to execute attacks and intelligence operations,”, This statement published on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) website, summarized the Israeli military approach to cyber warfare considering it in same way of conventional conflicts, admitting intelligence operations and cyber attacks against foreign governments., , According the information published on the IDF website the IDF Operations Department is the real core of IDF cyber warfare, giving the guidelines for the definition of cyber operations against the enemy of Israel., But what’s the meaning for “cyber operations”?, With the term cyber operation is referred the usage of technology to interfere and destroy enemy projects with cyber attacks and cyber espionage activities, this new area of military discipline is often associated to conventional interventions to increase their efficiency and force., “There are many, diverse, operational cyber warfare goals, including thwarting and disrupting enemy projects that attempt to limit operational freedom of both the IDF and the State of Israel, as well as incorporating cyber warfare activity in completing objectives at all fronts and in every kind of conflict,” according to declarations published., Reading the declaration it’s impossible to don’t think to the recent events of Flame malware detecting and the revelations on Stuxnet project and the US “Olympic Games” operation. Both cases represents good example of the destructive power of cyber weapon used against critical infrastructure of a country. Meanwhile it seems sure the involvement of Israeli in the attacks against Iran conducted in collaboration with US using Stuxnet malware, no verified information are available on the creators of Flame agent., According Israeli software companies, their country’s expertise with cyber weapons is very high supported by a strong government commitment that has created a pool of army-trained hacking talent., Let’s propose the case of the Gil Shwed, founder, CEO, and chairman of board of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd, who served in an elite intelligence unit and that, according his declarations, has recruited from the military cyber corps high skilled personnel for his company. The case is not isolated , Cyber-Ark Software Ltd., a firm specialized in cyber-defense drew on the same source to recruit specialists in the computer industry, has reported its Chief Executive Officer Udi Mokady said., Israel has transformed the hacking in an impressive business that today has a great impact on national security and also on the economy of the country., Its security sector is considered one of the most advanced all over the world, foreign governments and private companies refer it to protect their critical system, it has been estimated the official market amount is around $18 billion, but it is just the tip of the iceberg., The awareness on the efficiency of a cyber attack is shared in the high level of the Israeli government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:, “This is an era that we’re entering into where entire societies can be paralyzed by cyber attack, and Israel is no different,”  “We are committed to being one of the three leading cyber powers of the world.”, Government of Israel is massive investing on cyber security demonstrating a great attention to incoming cyber threats, it has announced that it will expend more than $13 million in the coming years to develop new technologies for cyber defense., Networks, critical infrastructures, military environments and private companies must be protected from foreign cyber attacks., Israeli networks are daily goal of thousands of cyber attacks conducted by hostile governments, hacktivist and independent hackers who want to compete with one of the most advanced nations, for obvious reasons are reported only in presence of substantial losses or sensational data breach., The National Cyber Committee, a department under direct control of the Prime Minister’s Office, will coordinate with the Science and Technology Ministry the project during at least three years,  reserving each year $525,000 for advanced cyber security projects sponsored by corporations, and $80,000 to generation with scholarships., The government of course has a great interest to improve security of its critical infrastructures, due this reason it will push the researchers to develop project that will cover there delicate areas such as banking, defense, government and smart grids in general., The same thought is shared by hostile countries that daily attack Israeli system stressing the critical infrastructure of the country., In January 2012 massive attacks against The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (ELAL) have blocked the operations leaving their websites down., , Israeli security services are engaging a security challenge with external hackers trying to put in place defense systems also able to trace back the origins of the attacks., Yitzhak Ben Israel responsible for the creation of the National Cyber Directorate declared:, “We’re in pretty good shape with current threats, but the threats next year and two years from now are just going to get higher and we need to keep up,”, “Our biggest worry is damage to our major life systems that are all controlled by computers.”, A so complex situation is stimulating the security market and its growth, to give an example let’s analyze the progress made by the Check Point’s Software Technologies, traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market, that has increase its quotation more over 70 percent in the past two years reducing market share of its direct competitors Cisco Systems Inc. and Juniper Network, both have fallen more than 30 percent in the same period., Other private companies are also investing on the creation of new solutions that could be proposed to te cyber security market, for example Elbit Systems Ltd., maybe the Israel’s biggest non-government defense contractor, will propose to the market a new cyber-security simulator, designed to train government and private companies to the proper response to cyber attacks., Israeli private companies are proofing the hacking methods proposing high level consulting to the businesses of the world, developing and studying the most sophisticated attacks technologies and creating powerful tools and systems for both cyber offense and defense., The reliability of Israeli companies is worldwide recognized, companies such as  Check Point have a 10.7 percent share of the world cyber security market by revenue in 2009, according to a November 2010 study by market researcher IDC., The proceeds from information technology products are around $4.2 billion in 2010, with more than half of that coming from security, stating to the declaration of Yafit Katz- Rubin, business development manager for the industry at the Israel Export Institute in Tel Aviv., Of course a so sustained market is attracting also external capital and investors, Goldman joined Jerusalem Venture Partners in a $40 million investment in Cyber- Ark, which has its research and development facilities in Petach Tikva, Israel., In my personal opinion the investments in cyber defense are really judicious and profitable but we must also consider drawbacks to a totally opening to the security markets. The same companies that propose defense systems could arm foreign state militia with serious consequences. The belief that these concerns are only present in spy story films is wrong, the business follow only the money reason and it is already happened in the past that security companies has violated the technological embargo decided for rogue states such as Syria and Iran., So let’s support the growth of the security industry, but beware the lure of the money god. Safety is everyone’s responsibility., Pierluigi Paganini
The best news of the week with Security Affairs., Once again thank you!, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Newsletter)
Is the popular messaging service Whatsapp affected by a backdoor? According to a blog post published by The Guardian, the application was affected by a vulnerability that could be exploited by attackers to intercept and read messages., The issue could not be considered as a backdoor either a vulnerability, it is an issue related to the implementation of the cryptography in the app, in the specific case of user’s encryption key changes., Even when a new key is generated, for example using a new device,  the user will be able to continue an old conversation without informing the sender of the change. Anyway, specific settings in Whatsapp can enable the notification that the sender transmitted message using a new Key., The security issue was discovered by Tobias Boelter, a cryptography and security researcher at the University of California, Berkeley., “If WhatsApp is asked by a government agency to disclose its messaging records, it can effectively grant access due to the change in keys.” Boelter told the Guardian, Resuming the issue is a serious threat to the users’ privacy, WhatsApp can read encrypted messages sent through the service., The researcher reported the flaw to WhatsApp in April, but the loophole is still present., Boelter highlights WhatsApp by default trusts the use of new key without any sender’s notification, he also remarked that the application notifies the sender of the change only after the message is sent even when that default is changed., On the other end, the application Signal, for example, requires a sender to manually verify keys, WhatsApp doesn’t., The notorious Moxie Marlinspike, who is considered the mind behind the encryption protocol behind both Signal and WhatsApp explained that the issue could not be considered as a backdoor., “The fact that WhatsApp handles key changes is not a ‘backdoor,'” reads a blog post published by Moxie. “It is how cryptography works. Any attempt to intercept messages in transmit by the server is detectable by the sender, just like with Signal, PGP, or any other end-to-end encrypted communication system.”, Moxie highlighted that WhatsApp takes strict precautions to prevent its servers from knowing which users have enabled security notifications. This means that it should be impossible for attackers to gather information about potential victims that turned off the notification., Boelter highlighted that an attacker can hack WhatApp servers and gain administrative control over them., The attacker could force a change of the encryption key for a targeted mobile device allowing the application to use his key to encrypt messages without ever warning the receiver., , The attacker then has to take the targeted phone temporarily unavailable (for a period of hours or days). All the messages that were sent during that time will be stored in a queue and once the phone became available again, the messages will be encrypted with the new attacker key., The attack anyway is very complex from the attacker perspective because:, Which is the WhatsApp reply?, “WhatsApp does not give governments a “backdoor” into its systems and would fight any government request to create a backdoor. The design decision referenced in the Guardian story prevents millions of messages from being lost, and WhatsApp offers people security notifications to alert them to potential security risks. WhatsApp published a technical white paper on its encryption design and has been transparent about the government requests it receives, publishing data about those requests in the Facebook Government Requests Report.” states WhatsApp, “Ultimately, there’s little evidence of a vulnerability and certainly none of a backdoor—which is usually defined as secret functionality for defeating security measures. WhatsApp users should strongly consider turning on security notifications by accessing Settings > Account > Security.”, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Backdoor, hacking)
The security community is threatened by a new botnet composed at least 162,000 WordPress-powered websites abused to run DDoS attacks. The technique of attack allows to flood a target with requests sent by WordPress servers that received a specifically crafted spoofed Web request. The requests sent to the WordPress servers appear to come from the target site, so the attackers are able to amplify they fire capability., The discovery was made by experts from security firm Sucuri that counted more than 162,000 legitimate WordPress sites targeting the web site of a company customer., “Can you see how powerful it can be?” “One attacker can use thousands of popular and clean WordPress sites to perform their DDoS attack, while being hidden in the shadows, and that all happens with a simple ping back request to the XML-RPC file.” states the blog post published by the company. , The attack targets the XML-RPC implemented by web sites running WordPress and many other Web applications that offer services such as pingbacks, trackbacks, and remote access to some users., A similar attack is considerable as an “application DDoS” conducted with ISO/OSI application layer requests, exactly like HTTP DDoS attack, despite its magnitude is significantly lower respect a DNS amplification DDoS attack or an NTP based DDoS., One attacker can use thousands of popular and clean WordPress sites to perform their DDOS attack, while being hidden in the shadows, and that all happens with a simple ping back request to the XML-RPC file:, To discover if your WordPress instance is abused to conduct DDoS attack it is possible to run an online scan with this tool proposed by Sucury firm, the post also provides instructions to improve security of the WordPress like adding the following code to a site theme:, add_filter( ‘xmlrpc_methods’, function( $methods ) { unset( $methods‘’ ); return $methods; } );, Be aware, because filter could have an impact on your website because the numerous functionalities based on XML-RPC protocol. We can conclude that DDoS attacks are becoming even more popular and attackers are adopting new and original techniques., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – WordPress, DDoS)
Turkish hackers have taken down the Vatican City official website for revenge against the recent statements by Pope Francesco on the Armenian genocide. The hacking group named Herakles (@THTHerakles) announced that he will continue the offensive against the Vatican City website until the Pope will not apologize officially for statements., “We want Pope to apologize for his words or we will make sure the website remains off-line” said one of the hacker at Hackread., The Pope’s statements on the Armenian genocide have aroused the indignation of the Turkish Government, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu defined “unacceptable” the attitude of the head of the Christian Church, confirming that his declaration are “out of touch with both historical facts and legal basis.”are “out of touch with both historical facts and legal basis.”, The Pope’s statement, which is out of touch with both historical facts and legal basis, is simply unacceptable. +++, — Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) 12 Aprile 2015, The site is actually online, but according to hacker the main server targeted by his group is still down., Below one of the tweets sent by the hackers about the attack on the Vatican City website:, ,  , The Vatican City website was redirected to another server in order to mitigate the attack., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  Vatican City, hacking)
The team of researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel composed of Mordechai Guri, Dima Bykhovsky‏, Yuval Elovici developed a PoC malware that leverages security cameras with Infrared capabilities to steal data., The security cameras are used as a covert channel for data exfiltration and to send commands to the malicious code., Modern surveillance and security cameras are equipped with infrared LEDs for night vision, experts decided to exploit them because infrared light is imperceptible to the human eye making impossible for users to discover the data transmission through led blinking., The same research team has devised numerous techniques to exfiltrate data from air-gapped networks across the years, including DiskFiltration, AirHopper, BitWhisper, LED-it-Go, SPEAKE(a)R, USBee, Fansmitter, xLED., The current research project dubbed aIR-Jumper, leverage on a malicious code that must be installed on the target computers which enables the attackers to control it with security surveillance cameras/software, or on a computer in the same network with the camera., “In this paper, we show how attackers can use surveillance cameras and infrared light to establish bi-directional covert communication between the internal networks of organizations and remote attackers. We present two scenarios: exfiltration (leaking data out of the network) and infiltration (sending data into the network). ” reads the paper published by the team and titled “aIR-Jumper: Covert Air-Gap Exfiltration/Infiltration via Security Cameras & Infrared (IR)“, The malicious code is able to steal data from an infected system and then convert it into a sequence of ones and zeros that is then transmitted by making the device’s infrared LEDs blinking., “By blinking the IR LEDs an attacker can leak sensitive data stored on the device, such as credentials and cryptographic keys, at a speed of 15 bit/sec. However, in their method the attacker must find a way to insert the compromised hardware into the organization. In contrast, our method uses the IR LEDs that already exist in surveillance and security cameras and doesn’t require special or malicious hardware.” continues the paper., On the other end, an attacker sitting in the range of the security camera’s infrared LED will be able to receive the blinking and use an application developed by the ream to reconstructs stream of data sent through the led blinking., The researchers also demonstrated that an attacker can use an infrared LED to send new commands to a security camera inside an infected network. The malicious code developed by the experts analyzes the camera’s video feed, detect infrared LED transmissions and convert the incoming blinks into new commands., The expert implemented a malware prototype and evaluated it with different models of cameras and discussed preventive and defensive countermeasures., “Our evaluation shows that an attacker can use IR and surveillance cameras to communicate over the air-gap to a distance of tens to hundreds of meters away. We demonstrate how data can be leaked from the network at a bit rate of 20 bit/sec (per camera) and be delivered to the network at bit rate of more than 100 bit/sec (per camera).” states the paper., The exfiltration speed obtained by the researchers is low compared to the one obtained with other techniques tested by the same group of researchers. In July, the team of experts led by the expert Mordechai Guri developed a specific firmware dubbed xLED that allowed them to control the LED while the router is working. The router LEDs were used to exfiltrate data from air-gapped networks with better performance compared with aIR-Jumper., The researchers explained that infrared signals are better than router LEDs because infrared signals bounce of nearby surfaces with a higher reflection rate, this means that attackers don’t necessarily need a line of sight to the camera., In the following table, the aIR-Jumper technique is compared with others devised by the research team, , In their research paper. the team proposes a series of software and hardware countermeasures, such as window shielding, IR LED activity monitoring, firmware controls for disabling IR support, irregular access to camera API functions, suspicious traffic detection (LED control), and also LEDs covering /disconnecting., I reached Mordechai Guri for a comment:, “This air-gap covert-channel is unique since it allow attackers to establish a bi-directional communication with a remote attacker, like a TCP/IP connection with IR signals and security cameras: you can send a request and receive a response. Almost all existing air-gap covert-channels allows only one way communication” , The experts published two videos PoC that show how they send commands to the aIR-Jumper malware via the security camera, and how they exfiltrate data from the affected network., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – aIR-Jumper, air-gapped network)
Security experts have observed during last months an increase in the use of AutoIt coding language To Spread Malware and Toolsets. AutoIt is a very flexible scripting language used since 1999 in Windows environments. The language was used to perform simple operations like text file editing but allows also the creation of more complex scripts that perform mass downloads with complex GUIs., AutoIt is an easy-to-learn language that allows for quick development,due this reason it was chosen by numerous malware author., In 2013 security firm have detected an alarming increase for infostealer malware and banking trojans, there were observed new variants of the popular ZeuS designed for 64bit systems and able to exploit Tor networks to hide C&C servers.  The new variant for 64 bit architecture includes a malicious AutoIt file and garbage files, it is spread via email message and the unpacked file it recognized as as TSPY_ZBOT.SMIG.  Exactly like other ZeuS malware version it drops a configuration file that contains a list of its targets (e.g. Banks, Financial organizations)., But malware is even more complex, new instances are also able to steal data from different FTP sites and personal certificates from the infected host., Malware analysts at Trend Micro spotted other malicious code with same packer, TSPY_CHISBURG.A and TSPY_EUPUDS.A, while the first one steals user names and passwords from Yahoo, Hotmail, Pidgin, FileZilla, and VPN/ISP credentials once is loaded in memory, the second one collect victim’s info (e.g. User ID, browser and version, OS version) and user’s credentials., Infostealers are privileged tools for cybercriminals to collect tools information to sell in the underground cybercrime, these info are used for fraud arrangement or to organize targeted attacks., Returning to AutoIt packer, a new code was found online to implement propagation mechanism via removable drives. The code is able to checks installed antivirus software on the system and it includes obfuscated  functions to make it harder the detection., Thanks to improved AutoIt packer also old malware could be effective as explained by TrendMicro experts., “With the incorporation of malware to a scripting language such as AutoIt, it makes analysis arduous especially if there is no decompiler that can aid in the analysis.  AutoIt is also used by normal applications, thus there is need for malware which are compressed to be unpacked so as to get only the malicious routines/behavior.”, Infostealers aren’t unique malware to menace user’s security, the 2013 was considere also the year of ransomware, Cryptolocker for example has infected about 250,000 PCs mainly from US, UK and Australia., ,  , Last variant of CryptoLocker detected by TrendMicro includes a new notable propagation feature, the instance WORM_CRILOCK.A has the capability to spread via removable drives., “Aside from its propagation technique, the new malware bears numerous differences from known CryptoLocker variants. Rather than relying on a downloader malware—often UPATRE— to infect systems, this malware pretends to be an activator for various software such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office in peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing sites. Uploading the malware in P2P sites allows bad guys to easily infect systems without the need to create (and send) spammed messages.” states TrendMicro post., The example provided show the continuous improvement of the cybercrime ecosystem to malicious tools like infostealer and ransomware, cybercrime menace is becoming even more insidious and sophisticated.,  , Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  malware, TrendMicro),  
According to the threat intelligence firm Recorded Future, a Russian-speaking black hat hacker, known as ‘Rasputin‘, hacked systems of more than 60 universities and U.S. Government agencies., , We met Rasputin in December 2016, when he was offering for sale stolen login credentials for a U.S. agency that tests and certifies voting equipment, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Rasputin uses to exploit SQL injection flaws to gain access to sensitive information that he can sell on cybercrime marketplaces., Rasputin uses SQL injection vulnerabilities to compromise target systems and steal sensitive information that he offers for sale cybercrime black markets., Record Future has been following Rasputin since 2015, according to the security firm he may also have tried to sell details about the SQL injection to a broker working on behalf of a Middle Eastern government., Based on Rasputin’s historical criminal forum activity, the experts exclude he is sponsored by a foreign government., Researchers at Recorded Future identified many of the Rasputins’ victims, including ten universities in the United Kingdom, over two dozen universities in the United States, and many US government agencies., The hacker breached the systems of government agencies includes local, state and federal organizations. The list of victims includes the Postal Regulatory Commission, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration., There are plenty of free tools that can be used to find and exploit SQL injection vulnerabilities, including Havij, Ashiyane SQL Scanner, SQL Exploiter Pro, SQLI Hunter, SQL Inject Me, SQLmap and SQLSentinel.Rasputin has been using a SQL injection tool that he developed himself., Rasputin doesn’t use free SQL injection scanners, he has been using a SQL injection tool that he developed himself instead., “Financial profits motivate actors like Rasputin, who have technical skills to create their own tools to outperform the competition in both identifying and exploiting vulnerable databases. ” reads the analysis published by Recorded Future., Experts from Recorded Future highlighted that while the level of awareness of SQL injection vulnerabilities is high, the organizations lack basic secure coding practices., Recorded Future pointed out that addressing these types of flaws can often be costly, for this reason companies use to postpone the fixing activities until the budget is available, but sometimes it is too late., “SQLi vulnerabilities are simple to prevent through coding best practices. Over 15 years of high-profile data breaches have done little to prevent poorly programmed web applications and/or third-party software from being used by government, enterprises, and academia.” continues the analysis. “Some of the most publicized data breaches were the result of SQLi including large corporations like Heartland Payment Systems, HBGary Federal, Yahoo!, Linkedin, etc.”, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Rasputin, hacking)
According to the security firm Check Point a vulnerability in the popular messaging service WhatsApp Web exposes up to 200 million of its users at risk of cyber attack., WhatsApp Web allows the users of the popular mobile app to access their messages from desktop machines., An attacker can exploit the flaw in WhatsApp Web, the web-based version of the mobile application, can be exploited by attackers to trick users into executing arbitrary code on their PC., The security researcher Kasif Dekel from Check Point explained that the vulnerability can be exploited by simply sending a vCard contact card containing malicious code to a WhatsApp user that opening it in the WhatsApp Web executes the code., An attacker can inject a command in the attribute “name” of the vCard using the ‘&’ character as a separator. Windows will automatically parse the various attributes composing the vCard trying to execute their content, including the injected command., “Check Point security researcher Kasif Dekel recently discovered significant vulnerabilities which exploit the WhatsApp Web logic and allow attackers to trick victims into executing arbitrary code on their machines in a new and sophisticated way. All an attacker needed to do to exploit the vulnerability was to send a user a seemingly innocent vCard containing malicious code. Once opened, the alleged contact is revealed to be an executable file, further compromising computers by distributing bots, ransomware, RATs, and other malwares.” states Check Point in a blog post., The exploitation of the flaw could allow crooks to serve various types of malware on the target machine, including RATs and ransomware. The flaw exploits the lack of validation of the contact card sent in the ‘vCard’ format., “By manually intercepting and crafting XMPP requests to the WhatsApp servers, it was possible to control the file extension of the contact card file,” Dekel added., The experts highlighted that the attacker just needs to create a contact and inject malicious code in the name attribute directly on the phone, then he needs to send it through the targeted WhatsApp client., Check Point added that attackers can also use an icon to exploit the flaw and serve malicious binaries., “But wait, there’s more! Clever attackers can exploit this in more devious scenarios, using the displayed icon to enrich the scam:, , This simple trick opened up a vast world of opportunity for cybercriminals and scammers, in effect allowing easy “WhatsApp Phishing”. Massive exploitation of this vulnerability could have affected millions of users, failing to realize the malicious nature of the attachment.”, Check Point reported the flaw to WhatsApp at the end of last month and the company promptly fixed it. WhatsApp Web v0.1.4481 and later include the fix for this vulnerability., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – WhatsApp Web, hacking)
According to security firm FireEye, a cyber espionage group linked to the Iranian Government, dubbed APT33, has been targeting aerospace and energy organizations in the United States, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea., The APT33 group has been around since at least 2013, since mid-2016, the group targeted the aviation industry and energy companies with connections to petrochemical production., “From mid-2016 through early 2017, APT33 compromised a U.S. organization in the aerospace sector and targeted a business conglomerate located in Saudi Arabia with aviation holdings.” reads a blog post published by FireEye., “During the same time period, APT33 also targeted a South Korean company involved in oil refining and petrochemicals. More recently, in May 2017, APT33 appeared to target a Saudi organization and a South Korean business conglomerate using a malicious file that attempted to entice victims with job vacancies for a Saudi Arabian petrochemical company.”, According to the experts, the APT33 group is gathering information on Saudi Arabia’s military aviation capabilities to gain insight into rivals in the MiddleEast., “We assess the targeting of multiple companies with aviation-related partnerships to Saudi Arabia indicates that APT33 may possibly be looking to gain insights on Saudi Arabia’s military aviation capabilities to enhance Iran’s domestic aviation capabilities or to support Iran’s military and strategic decision making vis a vis Saudi Arabia,” continues FireEye., “We believe the targeting of the Saudi organization may have been an attempt to gain insight into regional rivals, while the targeting of South Korean companies may be due to South Korea’s recent partnerships with Iran’s petrochemical industry as well as South Korea’s relationships with Saudi petrochemical companies,” , The cyberspies leverage spear phishing emails sent to employees whose jobs related to the aviation industry., , The recruitment themed messages contained links to malicious HTML application (.hta) files. The .hta files contained job descriptions and links to legitimate job postings on popular employment websites that would be of interest for the victims., The experts noticed APT33 used a built-in phishing module within the publicly available ALFA TEaM Shell (aka ALFASHELL) to send phishing messages to targeted individuals in 2016., The attackers set up several domains that appeared as belonging to Saudi aviation firms and other companies that work with them, including Alsalam Aircraft Company, Boeing and Northrop Grumman Aviation Arabia., The malware used by the APT33 group includes a dropper dubbed DROPSHOT that has been linked to the wiper malware SHAPESHIFT, tracked by Kaspersky as StoneDrill, used in targeted attacks against organizations in Saudi Arabia. The arsenal of the group also includes a backdoor called TURNEDUP., Kaspersky experts linked the StoneDrill malware to the Shamoon 2 and Charming Kitten (aka Newscaster and NewsBeef), a threat actor believed to be operating out of Iran., The researchers identified an actor using the handle “xman_1365_x” that has been involved in the development and use of the TURNEDUP backdoor., “Xman_1365_x was also a community manager in the Barnamenevis Iranian programming and software engineering forum, and registered accounts in the well-known Iranian Shabgard and Ashiyane forums, though we did not find evidence to suggest that this actor was ever a formal member of the Shabgard or Ashiyane hacktivist groups.” continues FireEye., FireEye cited open source reporting links the “xman_1365_x” actor to the “Nasr Institute,” which is the equivalent to Iran’s “cyber army” and directly controlled by the Iranian government., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Iran, APT33)
Early 2015, part of the source code for the 2.0 version of the RIG exploit kit was leaked online due to a dispute between the main developer and a reseller. According to the researchers at Trustwave, the developer has recently released a 3.0 version of the RIG exploit kit which includes some significant improvements to avoid the analysis of the source code., The developer of the version 3.0 RIG exploit kit has patched the vulnerabilities that allowed the reseller to steal the source code. The experts discovered that the new variant doesn’t allow unauthenticated users to access internal files hosted on the backend server., The RIG developer has chosen CloudFlare to protect the control panel of its architecture against DDoS attacks. The researchers also discovered that payloads are no longer stored in a folder on the server to prevent users from uploading backdoors., The researchers that investigated on the 3.0 version of the RIG exploit kit succeeded in access administration servers used by two RIG instances. The new variant of RIG exploit kit is responsible for more than 3.5 million infection attempts., , “The screenshots above, taken from the two RIG instances we observed, show the up-to-date state of RIG. It is evident from this overview that not only did RIG 3.0 manage to maintain the exploitation percentage of RIG 2.0, it also managed to vastly increase its number of hits- reaching the high volume of over 3.5 million hits recorded thus far in both instances combined. ” states the post published by Trustwave., According to the researchers over 1.3 million of these infections were successful, which corresponds to a 34 percent success rate. The majority of victims is located in Brazil (450,529 infections) and Vietnam (302,705). Other infections were observed in the US (45,000) , UK (10,000) , and Canada (4,000)., The number of new infections per day is 27,000 on average, the majority of victims is infected with the Tofsee spam bot, only one of the RIG 3.0 customers distributes Tofsee and experts have estimated that his revenues were between $60,000 and $100,000 per month., The experts highlighted that the RIG exploit kit were prevalently served through malvertising campaign, which used a number of websites ranked in Alexa’s top 3000., “Our investigation shows that 90% of the traffic flowing into the various campaigns of the RIG exploit kit were a result of malvertisement (malicious ads). Apparently, according to the referers, many large websites were abused by malvertising campaigns in order to redirect visitors to the RIG exploit kit, these include large news sites, investment consulting firms, IT solution provides, etc. – all of them ranked in Alexa’s top 3000.” continues the post., The experts speculate that the malvertising campaign exploited many vulnerabilities in the Adobe Flash Player recently disclosed, including the zero-days leaked following the Hacking Team breach., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – RIG Exploit Kit 3.0, cybercrime)
Which is the cost of cybercrime suffered by US companies? The fifth annual report published by the Ponemon Institute and titled “2014 Global Report on the Cost of Cyber Crime” reveals that cyber attacks against large US companies (the Ponemon Institute focused on companies having more that 1,000 employees) result in an average of $12.7 million in annual damages., , The report, sponsored this year by Hewlett Packard’s Enterprise Security division, confirmed an increase of 9.7 percent from the previous year, the research has discovered that the economic losses are mainly related to business disruption and data breaches information loss account for nearly three-quarters of the cost of cybercrime incidents., The sectors that suffers the higher cost of cybercrime according to the Ponemon Institute are energy and utility companies and the financial industry, the number of the attacks against both industries is increasing at a worrying trend., The security posture of companies is significant in the evaluation of the cost of cybercrime they suffer, as explained in the report organizations that invest in security result lower costs associated with security incidents. Analyzing the economic benefit for the adoption of an efficient security policy, the expert at the Ponemon Institute observed a reduction of cost of cybercrime by an average of $2.6 million., “Business disruption, information loss and the time it takes to detect a breach collectively represented the highest cost to organizations experiencing a breach,” Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, said in a statement., An alarming data published in the report is the average company took detect a cyber attack against its systems, 170 days to detect an attack and 31 days on average to apply necessary mitigation actions. The most dangerous attacks are related to the activity of insiders, these attacks are more difficult to be detected and took about two months to resolve., , As explained in the Ponemon Institute, the cost of cybercrime depends on the size of the victims, the largest firms had greater cost of cybercrime, meanwhile smaller firms had higher damages per employee ($1,601 per worker)., Web-based attacks are most expensive incidents for smaller companies, followed by malware based attacks and denial-of-service attacks, meanwhile large enterprises mainly suffers denial-of-service attacks., , I consider very difficult to evaluate the overall cost of cybercrime for a company, the data proposed could give us an idea of the trends on the topic, but in my opinion probably the real cost for companies is significantly higher., Anyway I suggest you the reading of this interesting report., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – cost of cybercrime, Ponemon Institute)
A new study confirms that dozens of iOS apps are affected by vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers to run man-in-the-middle (MitM) and intercept data from connections even if protected by TLS., The study was conducted by the developers at, a service that analyzes iOS apps searching for security issues. The experts analyzed applications in the Apple App Store and discovered hundreds of security issues that potentially expose mobile users to MITM attacks. All the applications have been tested on iPhone mobile devices running iOS 10 version and confirmed that 76 had been vulnerable., The impact is serious if we consider that the affected applications account for more than 18 million downloads. The vulnerability is considered high risk in the case of 19 of the 76 applications. The applications expose sensitive data, including financial or medical service credentials or session authentication tokens., “During the testing process, I was able to confirm 76 popular iOS applications allow a silent man-in-the-middle attack to be performed on connections which should be protected by TLS (HTTPS), allowing interception and/or manipulation of data in motion.” reads the blog post published by the researchers., “According to Apptopia estimates, there has been a combined total of more than 18,000,000 (Eighteen Million) downloads of app versions which are confirmed to be affected by this vulnerability.”, , Examining the key findings of the report we can see that:, “This sort of attack can be conducted by any party within Wi-Fi range of your device while it is in use. This can be anywhere in public, or even within your home if an attacker can get within close range,” continues the post. “Such an attack can be conducted using either custom hardware, or a slighly modified mobile phone, depending on the required range and capabilities. The best similar and well-understood form of attack to this would be the ability to read data from credit cards at a close range.”, The security issues discovered by the experts are the result of the lax of adoption of secure coding techniques. Waiting for a fix, the users of the affected iOS apps need to avoid using them on Wi-Fi networks., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – iOS apps, MITM)
A few weeks ago, CISCO issued an alert to warn enterprise customers about a spike in attacks in which hackers use valid admin credentials on IOS devices to install bogus ROMMON images, which is the bootstrap program that initializes the CISCO hardware and boot the software., Now security experts at Mandiant confirmed to have detected such “implants” in the wild, the researchers found the malicious ROMMON images dubbed “SYNful Knock,” on 14 Cisco routers located in Ukraine, Philippines, India and Mexico. The Cisco models 1841, 2811, 3825 are affected, it is important to highlight that they are no longer being on the market., Once loaded the bogus ROMMON, The attackers have unrestricted backdoor access to the CISCO router via the console and Telnet using a special password. Bad actors can load further malicious payloads by using specially crafted TCP packets sent to the device’s interface., The ROMMON implant is persistent meanwhile the 100 additional modules observed by Mandiant reside in volatile memory and for this reason they are removed after a reboot or reload of the router., As explained by CISCO the attackers exploit stolen credentials to gain control of the CISCO network device and install the bogus ROMMON images., The attacker somehow accessed valid administrative credentials to access the CISCO devices, they aren’t exploiting any vulnerability, but experts speculate they are harvesting admin credentials to run the attacks and install the malicious ROMMON images., “Cisco PSIRT has contacted customers to describe an evolution in attacks against Cisco IOS Classic platforms. Cisco has observed a limited number of cases where attackers, after gaining administrative or physical access to a Cisco IOS device, replaced the Cisco IOS ROMMON (IOS bootstrap) with a malicious ROMMON image,” states the advisory from Cisco., “In all cases seen by Cisco, attackers accessed the devices using valid administrative credentials and then used the ROMMON field upgrade process to install a malicious ROMMON. Once the malicious ROMMON was installed and the IOS device was rebooted, the attacker was able to manipulate device behavior. Utilizing a malicious ROMMON provides attackers an additional advantage because infection will persist through a reboot.,  No product vulnerability is leveraged in this attack, and the attacker requires valid administrative credentials or physical access to the system to be successful. The ability to install an upgraded ROMMON image on IOS devices is a standard, documented feature that administrators use to manage their networks. No CVE ID will be assigned., Researchers at Mandiant confirm the attackers have had access to admin credentials, or the compromised devices were poorly configured by using default credentials., , “ Each of the modules are enabled via the HTTP protocol (not HTTPS), using a specifically crafted TCP packets sent to the routers interface. The packets have a nonstandard sequence and corresponding acknowledgment numbers.  The modules can manifest themselves as independent executable code or hooks within the routers IOS that provide functionality similar to the backdoor password. The backdoor password provides access to the router through the console and Telnet.” states Mandiant in a blog post., , This kind of attacks is very insidious for enterprises, they are hard to discover and compromised routers could represent an entry point in the corporate network attackers an easy entry point, Cisco provided the following suggestions to detect and mitigate SYNful_Knock attacks:, These attacks are likely grow in popularity and could represent a serious threat to enterprises as confirmed by FireEye:, “We believe that the detection of SYNful Knock is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to attacks utilizing modified router images (regardless of vendor),” “As attackers focus their efforts on gaining persistent access, it is likely that other undetected variants of this implant are being deployed throughout the globe.”, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – CISCO, ROMMON),  
A database containing 5 million alleged Google login and password has been leaked online on a Russian cyber security internet forum. The news was spread by online media agencies, including The huge archive is in text file format and includes credentials for alleged compromised Google accounts, the database was published on Tuesday on the Bitcoin Security board, but in time I’m writing is is no more accessible.  The list is mainly composed of accounts belonging to Google users that could be used by threat actors for the entire family of services offered by Google, from the Gmail mail service to the G+ social network., According to RT the list includes 4.93 million entries, but for obvious reasons the forum administrators haven’t disclosed the passwords leaving only the logins in the purged list., The figure is impressive and the repercussions under the security perspective are serious, the user on the forum with nickname “tvskit“ who published the file claimed that 60 percent of the passwords are valid., “The forum user tvskit, who published the file, claimed that 60 percent of the passwords were valid, with some users confirming that they found their data in the base, reports CNews, a popular Russian IT news website.” reported the post from, Google Russia immediately started the investigation of the alleged data breach, and announced that in any case it will encourage its users to adopt strong passwords and enable the two-factor authentication process implemented by the company for its services., , The disclosure process is similar to other data leaks for compromised accounts belonging the Russian web services, unfortunately data breaches are becoming events very frequent worldwide. A few days ago the Russian web services Mail. Ru and Yandex suffered announced the leaks of user account credentials of 4.66 and 1.26 million accounts respectively., In the cases reported by Russian Internet Giants and Yandex, according to the experts, the majority of the accounts leaked were obsolete or no more active. The company confirmed that their databases were not compromised and claimed that the leaked data was collected over the time through other kind of attacks, like phishing attacks or malware based attack, against the end-users. A similar defense was recently sustained by Apple in the case of the leak of celebrities’ naked photos online, also in that case the company revealed that its iCloud architecture was not compromised and that the users were victim of other form of direct attacks., Stay tuned for further info., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  Google account credentials, data breach)
A mystery surrounds the recent hack of CoinPouch wallet app, users lost over $655,000 worth of Verge cryptocurrency., On Tuesday, the maintainers of the CoinPouch multi-currency wallet app  published a statement that disclosed a security breach that affected its users who stored Verge currency in their wallets., The project maintainers claimed the incident affected a Verge node set up with the help of Verge project maintainers to handle Verge transactions for Coin Pouch users., “Users who held XVG Verge in Coin Pouch which was routed through the affected Verge Specific Node. Please note that at this time it appears that only Verge XVG wallets were affected. We have no information or customer reports to suggest that any other coins in CoinPouch were affected by this hack.” reads the announcement., According to CoinPouch, a user reported having his Verge funds stolen on November 9. The results of the investigation  conducted by the company along with the maintainers at the Verge project excluded the incident was caused by a cyber attack., The Verge development team provided specific settings for CoinPouch’s Verge node that would improve its security, but evidently that modifications were not enough., Even if the developers applied the changes suggested by the Verge team, a few days later some of its users reported problems with the Verge wallets., “A few days later, we started getting additional reports from users stating their Verge wallets in Coinpouch were not working correctly. So, we contacted Justin again to investigate the issue.” continues the statement. “During that investigation, it was discovered that most Verge tokens on the Verge Specific Node had been transferred out which prompted us to immediately shut down the Verge Specific Node once we were able to confirm that it was a hack.”, CoinPouch publicly disclosed the hack and filed a complaint with law enforcement, it also hired a forensics lab to conduct further investigation., “Users who held XVG Verge in CoinPouch which was routed through the affected Verge Specific Node. Please note that at this time it appears that only Verge XVG wallets were affected.” reads the Verge statement.”, , The good news is that the Verge team has traced the wallet used by the hackers to hijack the funds that was containing over 126 million Verge coins., The maintainers at the Verge project took the distance from CoinPouch, claiming the company was never listed as a recommended wallet on its website and confirmed that it was removed from the site., To clarify situation and stop disinformation: It was 3rd party wallet @coinpouchapp that was hacked cos wasn't secured properly on their side. Not Verge blockchain. Independent forensic probe was ordered, as reported by #CoinPouch. Expect further status updates on their channels., — vergecurrency (@vergecurrency) November 23, 2017, , CoinPouch iOS wallet has been removed from our website.#xvg #verge #coinpouch #vergecurrency, — vergecurrency (@vergecurrency) November 22, 2017, , “This does not mean Verge was hacked nor does it mean Coinpouch was hacked. At this moment neither Coinpouch nor Justin, the founder and lead developer of Verge, are clear how the hack occurred.” said the Verge development., “At this moment neither Coinpouch nor Justin, the founder and lead developer of Verge, are clear how the hack occurred,” said the company in a statement., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Verge, cryptocurrency)
According to a report published by American Security Today, the DARPA High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program is designing technology for the creation of safe and secure cyber-physical systems., DARPA is currently developing a multifactor authentication system that aims to replace the current common access card (CAC) which leverages two-factor authentication., The solution will verify the identity of the person using biometrics and behavioral analysis., Behavioral analysis is based on the concept of “patterns of life,” an individual is identified by analyzing his actions and comparing them to a database of habits., “The new system will employ behavioral analysis and biometrics to ensure that the identity of the person using the network is verified. This probably would feature “patterns of life,” in which a person’s actions are compared to their established habits, Gen. Lynn relates.” states, , The Department of Defense (DoD) plans to adopt multi-factor authentication solutions including biometrics and other “patterns of life” technologies to replace access cards in the next months., In April, Alfred Rivera, Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) director at that time, confirmed that the agency was analyzing different solutions from several vendors and that was searching for innovative technologies., Lt. Gen. Alan R. Lynn, who lead DISA and Joint Force Headquarters, Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN), announced that both agencies are searching for any solutions that could help to stay ahead of cyber adversaries, “The cyber battlefield is growing, it’s unending and it’s 24/7, and we have to keep a constant eye on it, and any tools that industry can bring, we’re interested in,” said Gen. Alan R. Lynn., “If there is some technology that would allow us to provide more bandwidth, more capability, we’re interested in that as well.” , DISA representatives will discuss new cyber tools for the creation of safe and secure cyber-physical systems at the AFCEA International’s Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium, to be held June 13-15 at the Baltimore Convention Center., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – DARPA, authentication)
Yahoo is ready to confirm a massive data breach that affected its service that has exposed several hundred million user accounts., “Yahoo is poised to confirm a massive data breach of its service, according to several sources close to the situation, hacking that has exposed several hundred million user accounts.” reported the website, “While sources were unspecific about the extent of the incursion, since there is the likelihood of government investigations and legal action related to the breach, they noted that it is widespread and serious.”, In August, the notorious hacker Peace advertised 200 Million Yahoo accounts on Dark Web, and the company is aware of the sale., Peace offered for sale the 200 million of Yahoo account credentials (from “2012 most likely,”) on The Real Deal black marketplace. Yahoo was informed of the events and launched an internal investigation avoiding public comment on the case. The hacker was offering the data leak for 3 bitcoins (roughly $1,800 at the time of the disclosure)., , While the Yahoo security team was investigating the incident, the company suggested its customers to use strong passwords, one for each web service they use, and enable two-factor authentication when it is available., Security experts believe its question of hours before the Yahoo will publicly confirm the data breach that caused at least the exposure of 200 million of Yahoo account credentials., Of course, the news will have a significant impact on the company because the hackers attacked the core service of the IT giant. Analysts speculate a possible interference with the announced $4.8 billion sale of the company to Verizon., Stay Tuned!, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Data Breach, 200 Million Yahoo accounts)
A new data breach made the headlines, the victim is Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor stores. According to the parent company Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), the security breach exposed customer payment card data, customer payment card data at certain Saks Fifth Avenue, the discount store brand Saks Off 5TH and Lord & Taylor stores in North America are impacted., “We recently became aware of a data security issue involving customer payment card data at certain Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks OFF 5TH, and Lord & Taylor stores in North America. We identified the issue, took steps to contain it, and believe it no longer poses a risk to customers shopping at our stores.” reads the official statement issued by Lord & Taylor., “While the investigation is ongoing, there is no indication that this affects our e-commerce or other digital platforms,”, The hackers did not compromise the HBC’s e-commerce or other digital platforms, the company promptly informed authorities and hired security investigators to, “We are working rapidly with leading data security investigators to get our customers the information they need, and our investigation is ongoing. We also are coordinating with law enforcement authorities and the payment card companies,” continues the announcement., The HBC issued the following statement:, “HBC has identified the issue, and has taken steps to contain it,” the company said in a statement. “Once the Company has more clarity around the facts, it will notify customers quickly and will offer those impacted free identity protection services, including credit and web monitoring. HBC encourages customers to review their account statements and contact their card issuers immediately if they identify activity or transactions they do not recognize.”, The data breach was first reported by threat intelligence firm Gemini Advisory, which noticed the offer for sale of over five million stolen credit and debit cards on a cybercrime marketplace called JokerStash., , The researchers linked the security breach to the financially-motivated FIN7 APT group also known as Carbanak or Anunak., The group continuously changed attack techniques and implemented new malware obfuscation methods. The FIN7 group has been active since late 2015, it was highly active since the beginning of 2017., Fin7 was spotted early 2017 when it targeted personnel involved with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings at various organizations with a new PowerShell backdoor dubbed POWERSOURCE., “On March 28, 2018, a notorious hacking JokerStash syndicate, also known as Fin7 announced the latest breach of yet another major corporation, with more than five million stolen payment cards offered for sale on the dark web. Several large financial institutions have confirmed that all tested records had been used before at Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, a discounted offset brand of luxury Saks Fifth Avenue stores, as well as Lord & Taylor stores.” the company said in a post., “Several large financial institutions have confirmed that all tested records had been used before at Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, a discounted offset brand of luxury Saks Fifth Avenue stores, as well as Lord & Taylor stores,” , As of Sunday, only a small portion of compromised records have been offered for sale, crooks offered roughly 35,000 records for Saks Fifth Avenue and 90,000 records for Lord & Taylor., “As of this writing, approximately 125,000 records have been released for sale, although we expect the entire cache to become available in the following months.” added Gemini., At the time of writing HBC did not provide details on the extent of the security breach, it is still unclear how the hackers have stolen payment card data, experts believe hackers may have compromised point-of-sale systems., “Based on the analysis of records that are currently available, it appears that all Lord & Taylor and 83 US based Saks Fifth Avenue locations have been compromised. In addition, we identified three potentially compromised stores located in Ontario, Canada. However, the majority of stolen credit cards were obtained from New York and New Jersey locations.” concluded Gemini., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – HBC data breach, FIN7 APT), ,
It might seem far-fetched, it looks like the hacker Craig Smith was able to design a malicious code that could infect computers used in the mechanic’s workworkshop, and these machines can later start infecting other vehicles that are going for service., Craig Smith is the founder of the Open Garages, a Vehicle Research Labs (VRL) focused around understanding the increasingly complex vehicle systems.  He spends a lot of his time, warning car makers that there is a need to open up their software to owners, to allow them to modify their cars, he is also a member of the I Am The Calvary initiative., During 2015, Craig Smith presented the world a proof-of-concept code that allows an attacker to infect the car with a malware that could be used also to compromise the computers at the repair workshops. Smith continued to work on his own attack and now the malware used in his proof-of concept was improved in terms of machine learning capabilities. The expert claims that now an attacker without a deep knowledge could use the malware and launch successfully attacks., “These (mechanics) tool have the codes to read and write firmware and if it is compromised by a malicious car it can modify the firmware of other cars that come in afterwards,” Smith told Vulture South at the Nullcon security conference in Goa, India, as reported by El-Reg., “There are easier ways to compromise a car dealership – shoddy wifi, whatever – but this is the kind of thing that needs to be considered by anyone making these tools.”, , How does the malware work?, The malware uses a learning mode, to monitor traffic between the Workshop’s computer and the car, and finds out potential modules. Modules where the diagnosis tool was able to contact with success are in blue, and all the findings are saved to a .ini file, alongside with the captured packets., “It sorts through all the complex stuff for you and just highlights the packets and as a a researcher that is really useful.”, After the learning mode, the malware can switch to the attack mode, and starts fuzzing the information got in the learning mode,, “Everything is point and click up to this point so if there’s a crash you’re going to have to go and figure out what caused it,”., Even if many details are missing, we can understand that this proof-of-concept if applied to the real word, can be create a lot of damaged if in the wrong hands., Car makers need to do a bigger effort in allowing hackers to work with them towards understanding their software, and in my opinion maybe even allowing a restrict group of security professions to have full access to cars maker’s software to assess it and find security vulnerability before black hat do it., About the Author Elsio Pinto, Edited by Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – hacking mechanic’s workshop, car hacking)
A new strain of Point-of-Sale malware named “JackPOS” was discovered by IntelCrawler, a cyber intelligence firm from Los Angeles, confirming the growing trend of Point-of-Sales malware after the Target data breach. JackPOS was detected several days ago and it seemed based on code from “Alina”., “The bad actors are using similar tactics and methods by gathering and memory parsing of the of credit card data once inside the merchant’s system” reported the official post published by the company.,  , ,  , , The cybercriminals distributed via Drive-by attack several variants of malware masked as Java (TM) Platform SE binary which then replaced the legit Java Update Scheduler file having its embedded strings in the file description., “Some of detected samples use APC Injection from User Space using the API function QueueUserAPC to “svchost.exe”. The malware samples are pretty fresh and were created close to the beginning of February. The build path which was detected follows to “C:\Users\ziedpirate.ziedpirate-PC\Desktop\sop\sop\Release”, , , , , , , The cybercriminals have written the loaders with AutoIt coding language because it is a very flexible scripting language used since 1999 in Windows environments. The language was used to perform simple operations like text file editing, but allows also the creation of more complex scripts that perform mass downloads with complex GUIs. AutoIt is an easy-to-learn language that allows for quick development,due this reason it was chosen by numerous malware author., Malware authors used it to implement detection avoidance techniques, in particular, they have written the loader code to unpack additional binary malicious code and execute further instructions received from the C&C server.  IntelCrawler experts confirmed the existence of different attack vectors, crooks have used some sophisticated scanning, loading, and propagating techniques to get into merchants’ system thru external perimeters and then move to card processing areas, which were possibly not separated in compliance with PCI polices. , Which is the extent of the infection?, IntelCrawler  analysts have found compromised machines in numerous countries, including  Brazil, Canada, France, India, Spain, Korea, Argentina and the US. In same cases the machines were infected more than 17 days ago. The IntelCrawler’s threat intelligence team released a global map of Point-of-Sales infections based on data collected during the investigation on different malware., , adorate banner=”9″, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  JackPOS, malware), adorate banner=”12″, Credits: – Xylitol ( – MalwareMustDie! ( About IntelCrawler is a multi-tier intelligence aggregator, which gathers information and cyber prints from a starting big data pool of over 3, 000, 000, 000 IPv4 and over 200, 000, 000 domain names, which are scanned for analytics and dissemination to drill down to a desired result. This finite pool of cyber prints is then narrowed further by comparing it to various databases and forum intelligence gathered from the underground and networked security company contacts. The final result could be the location of a particular keyboard or a computer housing the threat.
In June, the security research firm CrowdStrike reported on a cyber breach of the Democratic National Committee (DNS).  CrowdStrike’s incident response time discovered not one, but two hacking groups that it considers “some of the best adversaries out of the all the numerous nation-state” groups the company encounters daily – COZY BEAR and FANCY BEAR.  According to the Washington Post, the Russian hackers managed to steal an entire database of opposition research on the presumptive Republican nominee for President Donald Trump., The breach of DNC servers is just one of many in a long list of attacks against government and political organization around the world.  In February of this year, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told congress that intelligence officials were already seeing targeting of the 2016 presidential campaigns.  Brian P. Hale, director of public affairs for the agency said, ““We’re aware that campaigns and related organizations and individuals are targeted by actors with a variety of motivations — from philosophical differences to espionage — and capabilities — from defacements to intrusions.” reported the Washington Post., Now new evidence collected by investigators suggests DNC hackers accessed more information than previously thought., The alleged state-sponsored hackers that breached a Democratic National Committee consultant’s personal Yahoo Mail account likely accessed private communications in the attempting to defeat Republican nominee Donald Trump., Yahoo news confirmed the story, reporting that the DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa received a notification warning from the Yahoo security experts that “strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors.”, , A few weeks after the DNC officials announced the security breach caused by Russian state-sponsored hackers more than 19,000 private DNC messages were leaked online by WikiLeaks. Some messages were sent by DNC officials to deride Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, their disclosure led to the resignation of Chair Debra Wasserman Schultz., But investigators believe hackers also compromised personal email account and stoled data from DNC officials’ smartphones., “But Chalupa’s message, which had not been previously reported, stands out: It is the first indication that the reach of the hackers who penetrated the DNC has extended beyond the official email accounts of committee officials to include their private email and potentially the content on their smartphones.”  reported Yahoo. “After Chalupa sent the email to Miranda (which mentions that she had invited this reporter to a meeting with Ukrainian journalists in Washington), it triggered high-level concerns within the DNC, given the sensitive nature of her work.” “That’s when we knew it was the Russians,” said a Democratic Party source who has knowledge of the internal probe into the hacked emails. In order to stem the damage, the source said, “we told her to stop her research.”, The investigation conducted by the security firm CrowdStrike suggests that Russian government was behind the espionage campaign., “Two sources familiar with the breach said that the hackers’ reach was far more widespread than initially thought and includes personal data about big party contributors and internal “vetting” evaluations that include embarrassing comments about their business dealings (as well as gossipy internal emails about the private affairs of DNC staffers).” continues the post published by Yahoo. “There are also signs that the hackers have penetrated the personal email of some Clinton campaign staffers—at least those who were in communication with senior DNC staff members.” , How Wikileaks obtained the information from the alleged Russian hackers?, Some media speculate that the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has in the past hosted a talk show on RT, which is the Russian television network., Whoever is behind the attack, the case demonstrates the potential influence of hackers on the politic of one of the most important governments of the world., But probably a better security posture of DNC politicians would have protected them from such kind of attacks., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – DNC, Russian hackers)
Siemens has fixed several flaws in SINUMERIK controllers, some of them have been classified as “critical.” The list of vulnerabilities includes DoS, privilege escalation and code execution flaws., Security experts at Kaspersky Lab discovered that SINUMERIK 808D, 828D and 840D controllers are affected by multiple vulnerabilities., “The latest updates for SINUMERIK controllers fix multiple security vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to cause Denial-of-Service conditions, escalate privileges, or to execute code from remote.” reads the security advisory published by Siemens., “Siemens has released updates for several affected products, is working on updates for the remaining affected products and recommends specific countermeasures until fixes are available. Siemens recommends to update affected devices as soon as possible.”, The most serious flaw, tracked as CVE-2018-11466 and ranked with CVSS score of 10, could be exploited by an unauthenticated attacker on the network to trigger a DoS condition on the integrated software firewall or execute arbitrary code in the context of the firewall by sending specially crafted packets to TCP port 102., “Specially crafted network packets sent to port 102/tcp (ISO-TSAP) could allow a remote attacker to either cause a Denial-of-Service condition of the integrated software firewall or allow to execute code in the context of the software firewall.” continues the advisory., “The security vulnerability could be exploited by an attacker with network access to the affected systems on port 102/tcp. Successful exploitation requires no user privileges and no user interaction. The vulnerability could allow an attacker to compromise confidentiality, integrity and availability of the system.”, Siemens also fixed the CVE-2018-11457 in the integrated web server, the flaw can be exploited by a network attacker with access to TCP port 4842 to execute code with elevated privileges by sending specially crafted packets., “The security vulnerability could be exploited by an attacker with network access to the affected devices on port 4842/tcp. Successful exploitation requires no privileges and no user interaction. The vulnerability could allow an attacker to compromise confidentiality, integrity and availability of the webserver.” continues the advisory., Another critical flaw tracked as CVE-2018-11462 could be exploited to elevate privileges, except to root. , The last critical vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2018-11458, affects the integrated VNC server, it could be exploited to execute arbitrary code with elevated privileges via specially crafted network packets on port 5900. , Siemens also fixed three high-severity flaws that allow local code execution, and three medium-severity privilege escalation and DoS bugs., The good news is that Siemens is not aware of attacks exploiting the above flaws. , Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Siemens, Sinumerik)
Bad news for Android users, according to the security Doctor Web firm dozens of game apps in the Google Play Store have been infected with the Android.Xiny.19.origin Trojan. The malware could allow attackers to control the victim’s mobile device, by installing and running any kind of software (apk files), it also allows to display annoying advertisements., “However, the main threat of Android.Xiny.19.origin lies in its capability to download and dynamically run arbitrary apk files upon cybercriminals’ command. However, the way it is carried out is rather unique.” states a blog post published by Doctor Web., The malware collects information from the infected device and sends them back to the command and control server, it gathers the IMEI identifier, the MAC address, version and language of the operating system and the mobile network operator’s name., Experts at Doctor Web discovered more than 60 games infected by the Android.Xiny distributed in the Official Android Google Play Store. The malicious app were apparently deployed by over 30 different that used different names, including Conexagon Studio, Fun Color Games and BILLAPPS., , “At first glance, these affected games look similar to numerous such-like applications; and they are games indeed, with just one difference—while a user is playing a game, the Trojan is performing its malicious activity.” states Doctor Web., Another interesting feature implemented by the authors of Android.Xiny is that the malware hides malicious program in specially created images by using steganography.  Android.Xiny receives malicious images from the server and then retrieves the apk they contain., The Android.Xiny malware is able to perform many other malicious operations without the user’s consent. The researchers noticed that despite it is not yet able to gain root privileges, it has the ability to download the proper exploit in order to gain root access to the device., “Android.Xiny.19.origin can perform other malicious functions, such as to download and prompt a user to install different software, or to install and delete applications without the user’s knowledge if root access is available on the device.” continues the post., “it can download a set of exploits from the server in order to gain root access to the device for covert installation or deletion of applications.”, Doctor Web has already reported the discovery to Google., Unfortunately, the fact that the malware author chose the Google Play to distribute the malware is not a novelty, in January Lookout firm discovered 13 Android apps infected with the Brain Test malware and available for download on the official Google Store., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Android, Android.Xiny, mobile)
Three security researchers have discovered security vulnerabilities in the telematics control unit (TCU) manufactured by Continental AG that is installed on various car models manufactured by BMW, Ford, Infiniti, and Nissan., The researchers are Mickey Shkatov, Jesse Michael, and Oleksandr Bazhaniuk (@jessemichael, @HackingThings, @ABazhaniuk) from the Advanced Threat Research Team at McAfee. The team has presented their discovery at the last DEF CON security conference., The TCUs are 2G modems that are used by modern vehicles to transfer data, they enable the communications between the car and remote management tools such as web panels and mobile apps., The two vulnerabilities found by the research team affect the TCUs that use the S-Gold 2 (PMB 8876) cellular baseband chipset, they are a stack-based buffer overflow in the TCU’s component that processes AT commands (CVE-2017-9647), and a vulnerability in the temporary mobile subscriber identity (TMSI) may could be exploited by attackers to access and control memory (CVE-2017-9633)., The first vulnerability could be exploited only by an attacker with a physical access to the car using the vulnerable TCU, while the second can be exploited by a remote attacker., Below the description provided in the alert:, “Stack-based buffer overflow CWE-121 – An attacker with a physical connection to the TCU may exploit a buffer overflow condition that exists in the processing of AT commands. This may allow arbitrary code execution on the baseband radio processor of the TCU., IMPROPER RESTRICTION OF OPERATIONS WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF A MEMORY BUFFER CWE-119 – A vulnerability in the temporary mobile subscriber identity (TMSI) may allow an attacker to access and control memory. This may allow remote code execution on the baseband radio processor of the TCU.”, , The ICS-CERT issued a specific alert for the vulnerabilities affecting the Continental AG Infineon S-Gold 2 (PMB 8876)., “Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code. This may allow an attacker to disable the infotainment system of the vehicle and affect functional features of the vehicle. According to affected auto manufacturers, these vulnerabilities do not directly affect the critical safety features of the vehicle.” states the alert issued by the ICS-CERT., The following vehicles use vulnerable TCUs:, According to affected car makers, the flaws could be exploited only to access the infotainment systems of the vehicles., Nissan announced it will disable the 2G modems (TCUs) for all affected customers for free in one of its services. Same thing for Infiniti cars, while BMW “will be offering a service measure to affected customers.”, Ford already started disabling all 2G modems in 2016., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – TCUs,car hacking)
Security experts at FireEye have discovered a new zero-day, a privilege escalation vulnerability in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003., Microsoft has issued a security advisory (2914486) informing the customers that Windows Kernel could allow elevation of privilege to attackers due the exploit of a bug in Windows XP’s NDPROXY.SYS driver., “We are aware of limited, targeted attacks that attempt to exploit this vulnerability. Our investigation of this vulnerability has verified that it does not affect customers who are using operating systems newer than Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.” reported Microsoft., , Hackers could exploit the flaw to execute arbitrary code in the system’s kernel running it from a standard user account, be aware the vulnerability cannot be used for remote code execution., “An attacker must have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally to exploit this vulnerability. The vulnerability could not be exploited remotely or by anonymous users” states the advisory., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  Microsoft, zero-day)
This week, Juniper Networks has patched dozens of serious security provided security patches for each of them, the security advisories are available on the company website., The most severe flaw is probably the  CVE-2018-0049, which could be exploited by an attacker to crash the Junos kernel by sending specially crafted MPLS packets., Juniper reported that a single specially crafted MPLS packet could trigger a DoS condition while sending more packets it is possible to crash the device., “A NULL Pointer Dereference vulnerability in Juniper Networks Junos OS allows an attacker to cause the Junos OS kernel to crash. A single packet received by the target victim will cause a Denial of Service condition.  Continued receipt of this specifically crafted malicious MPLS packet will cause a sustained Denial of Service condition.” reads the security advisory., As a possible workaround, the company suggests to Remove MPLS configuration stanza from interfaces at risk., At the time of the provisioning of the patch, there is no news about exploitation of the flaw in the wild, anyway, Juniper is aware of “possible malicious network probing which may have triggered this issue., Another severe flaw fixed by Juniper affecting the Juniper NFX series devices could be exploited by a remote attacker to gain access to the system by using accounts with blank passwords., The patched provided by the company no more allow empty passwords., Juniper also provided fixes for several vulnerabilities affecting the NTP daemon. The company addressed several flaws in RDP most of them could be exploited to cause a DoS condition., , Two issues can be exploited to crash the routing protocol daemon (RPD) and potentially allow remote code execution., Giving a look at the list of advisories we can find a fix a high-risk vulnerability in Junos Space Network Management Platform and a DoS flaw in the SIP application layer gateway (ALG) in Junos. This latter issue could be exploited by an attacker to crash several processes., Experts also fixed a high-risk flaw in the RSH service that could allow a remote and unauthenticated attacker to gain root access to affected devices., The company also fixed dozen of DoS and XSS flaws rated as “medium risk.”, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Junos, hacking)
Ripple (XRP) and Verge (XVG) are two cryptocurrencies that attracted many investors in the last months., Last week attackers hackers the Verge cryptocurrency system by exploiting a vulnerability in its software and forced its developers to hard-fork the currency., The bug in the cryptocurrency scheme allowed the attacker to mine blocks with bogus timestamps, it seems that attackers were able to generate new blocks at a rate of roughly one per second., The hacker reportedly making off with $1 million-worth of tokens, the news was later confirmed on Bitcoin Talk forum by the user with the handle “ocminer” of the Suprnova Mining Pools., “There’s currently a >51% attack going on on XVG which exploits a bug in retargeting in the XVG code.  Usually to successfully mine XVG blocks, every “next” block must be of a different algo.. so for example scrypt, then x17, then lyra etc.” wrote ocminer., “Due to several bugs in the XVG code, you can exploit this feature by mining blocks with a spoofed timestamp. When you submit a mined block (as a malicious miner or pool) you simply set a false timestamp to this block one hour ago and XVG will then “think” the last block mined on that algo was one hour ago. Your next block, the subsequent block will then have the correct time.., And since it’s already an hour ago (at least that is what the network thinks) it will allow this block to be added to the main chain as well.”, OCminer speculated it was a 51 per attack(aka majority attack), this means that hackers in somehow were able to control the majority of the network mining power (hashrate)., The Verge development team finally confirmed on Wednesday the attack that caused the XVG value to drop from $0.07 to $0.05., We had a small hash attack that lasted about 3 hours earlier this morning, it's been cleared up now. We will be implementing even more redundancy checks for things of this nature in the future! $XVG #vergefam, — vergecurrency (@vergecurrency) April 4, 2018, , “The XVG team erroneously forked their entire network to ‘undo’ the exploited blocks, but this resulted in the entire network being unable to sync,” noted cryptocurrency news site The Merkle., “When the team was made aware of their mistake, they were able to re-sync the network, but still have not completely defeated the issue.”, At the time of writing the Verge currency has recovered all its value., , Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Verge, hacking), ,
Sony Xperia Devices secretly send user data to servers in China, this is the last news that is shocking the mobile industry and that was published on several forums. The problem relates to Sony devices running the Android 4.4.2 or 4.4.4 KitKat version, it seems that the anomalous behavior is observable even if the users haven’t installed any application on the Smartphone., The news is disconcerting and it seems that some new Sony Xperia Smarphone contain the Baidu spyware. A few weeks ago a group of users belonging to an online community of Sony Xperia Smarphone owners, discovered the presence of a folder, named “Baidu” on their devices, that was created without the owner’s permission., Due to the presence of the folder it is very easy for the users to verify in the Baidu spyware has infected their device., Another worrying aspect is that users aren’t authorized to delete it from their Sony Xperia Smarphone, once they try to remove it, it instantly reappears. Users are not able to delete the Baidu folder even if the user tries the same procedure starting the phone in Safe Mode., “Just unpacked my Sony Z3 compact, haven’t installed a single app and its connecting to China. I am not so concerned about the folder itself but my phone now has a constant connection to an IP address in Beijing, which I am not too happy about.” is the comment of a  Sony Xperia Smarphone user published on a Reddit discussion on the topic., According the reports circulating online the new Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact are affected by the problem, but many other users detected the folder on their devices, not only Sony Smartphone. The owners of an HTC One M7, an HTC One X and a few users using the OnePlus One have discovered the presence of the Baidu malware., As reported by the colleagues at TheHackerNews, the mysterious Baidu folder appears to be created by Sony’s “my Xperia” service every time the handset establishes a connection and it is reported to be sending pings to China., , Many users reported they found that the Chinese government is able to control the spyware to gain access to the user’s device exactly in the same way any RAT does, in particular a users with the nickname Elbird has posted on different Sony Forums that the Baidu malware allows the Chinese Government to perform the following actions, The Sony Xperia case arrives a few days after the news that Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi was involved in a similar issue, experts sustain that the company is spying on personal user data. A few months ago, experts at F-Secure collected evidences that Xiaomi Smartphones were sending user data back to the servers based in China., Sony still hasn’t officially commented the case, despite it has  admitted the issue announcing the release of a fix., Below the instructions to remove the Baidu Spyware from the device., Pierluigi Paganini, Security Affairs –  (Sony Xperia Smartphones, mobile malware)
violation of the country’s data protection laws., On Thursday, a Moscow court has confirmed the decision to ban the professional social network LinkedIn in Russia. LinkedIn is violating the country’s data protection laws that ask foreign and Russian companies to store personal data of Russian users within the country’s borders since Sept. 2015., This summer a court ruled in favor of Roskomnadzor, the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, explaining that LinkedIn company didn’t comply with Russian law., LinkedIn it is not storing information about Russians on servers inside the country, and it is processing information about third parties who aren’t registered on the site and haven’t signed the company’s user agreement., The Russian Personal Data Law was implemented since September 1st, 2015, it requests foreign tech companies to store the personal data of Russian citizens within the country. The Law was designed for protecting Russian citizens from surveillance activities of foreign agencies such as the NSA., “On Aug. 4, Moscow’s Tagansky Court approved a request from Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor to add LinkedIn to a list of Internet sites that violated Russia’s personal data laws. ” reported the Moscow Times, “On Sept. 1 2015, amendments to the law “On Personal Data,” which requires the localization of personal data on the territory of Russia, came into effect. Any Russian or foreign company working with Russian users must ensure recording, systematization, accumulation, storage and clarification of personal data of Russians using databases on Russian territory.”, , LinkedIn is just the first firm that could be targeted by the Roskomnadzor which is now threatening other tech giants, including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter., ‘’The Russian court’s decision has the potential to deny access to LinkedIn for the millions of members we have in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses. We remain interested in a meeting with Roskomnadzor to discuss their data localization request.” “reads a statement from Linkedin., Some companies like Google and Apple have already moved some of their infrastructures to Russia this year, differently from Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter that decided not to comply with the Russian law., The ban could take effect today, with Russian internet service providers blocking access to LinkedIn. LinkedIn could still appeal the court’s decision to avoid being blocked across the country., Russia isn’t the unique country that is going to adopt a similar law, the Germany passed similar legislation that forces tech companies to store German users’ data on servers located in the country., “A number of American tech companies are investing billions of dollars combined to build data centers across Europe to comply with such rules.” reported the NYT., In Brazil, a judge also blocked WhatsApp, the internet messaging service, after the company, which is owned by Facebook, refused to hand over data to help in a criminal investigation., In May, a Brazilian judge ordered to block access to the WhatsApp messaging service for 72 hours, it was the second time in five months., Brazilian authorities ordered ISPs to block WhatsApp in a dispute over access to encrypted data. The order to block the messaging service for 72 hours has been issued by a judge from the Brazilian state of Sergipe,  the ISPs were obliged to comply the order to avoiding face fines., According to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo the ban impacted more than 100 million Brazilian users., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Russia, LinkedIn)
What is a DNS leaks?, In this context, with the term “DNS leak” we indicate an unencrypted DNS query sent by your system OUTSIDE the established VPN tunnel., Kaspersky VPN is one of the most trusted VPN which comes with 1,000,000+ tier downloads in the official Google Play Store, however, it was observed that when it connects to any random virtual server still leaks your actual DNS address., The expert Dhiraj Mishra that discovered the flaw reported it to Kaspersky via Hackerone., Mishra also published a step-by-step guide to reproduce the problem:, , The expert explained that the data leak could threaten the privacy of end-users that want to remain anonymous on the internet., “I believe this leaks the trace’s of an end user, who wants to remain anonymous on the internet. I reported this vulnerability on Apr 21st (4 months ago) via H1, and a fix was pushed for same but no bounty was awarded.” states Mishra., The expert reported this vulnerability to Kaspersky on Apr 21st via HackerOne, and a fix was pushed for the issue., Unfortunately, at the time, the researcher was awarded as expected under the company’s bug bounty., About the Author: Security Researcher Dhiraj Mishra, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Kaspersky VPN, privacy)
Early this week,  Microsoft issued the security advisory 3010060 to warn its customer of a new Zero-Day vulnerability that affects all supported versions of Windows OS except, Windows Server 2003., The OLE Packager is the component that is affected by the zero-day, which was discovered by researchers at McAfee and Google. Curiously the component was just patched this month in MS14-060, but Microsoft,  in response to this latest flaw, has released a Fix It package for PowerPoint, and encouraged the use of EMET 5.0., The most concerning things related to the Microsoft zero-day flaw is that it is already being exploited by threat actors in targeted attacks., “The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Microsoft Office file that contains an OLE object. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user,” the advisory explained.”At this time, we are aware of limited, targeted attacks that attempt to exploit the vulnerability through Microsoft PowerPoint.” confirming the voice that bad actors are already exploiting the zero-day in limited cases., The OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) is a proprietary technology developed by Microsoft that allows embedding and linking to documents and other objects. As explained by the experts at Microsoft, the vulnerability in Microsoft OLE, coded as CVE-2014-6352, could allow remote code execution, this is possible if a Microsoft user opens a specially crafted Microsoft Office file that contains an OLE object., , The file could be sent via email to the victims in a classic spear-phishing attack or the attacker could serve it through a compromised website in a classic watering hole attack., The security advisory reports the following mitigation factors:, The principal problem is that despite the exploit of the flaw trigger a warning, users often ignore them, the issue appears very serious in corporate environments, where executives and remote users are often granted administrative rights on their systems., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Microsoft zero-day, hacking, OLE )
The BBC reported that two major high street banks will adopt new security measures to protect their customers. The decision to modify the security procedures follows the scoop made by two journalists from BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme that broke into an account online and removed money., Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting bank customers with different techniques, one of them is known as ‘SIM swap fraud.’, A SIM swap fraud is a type of fraud that overwhelms the additional security measures introduced by banks to protect customer transactions. Basically cyber criminals are able to transfer cash from a victim’s account by accessing one-time pin codes and SMS notifications., Criminal organizations obtain a customer’s bank details by launching a phishing campaign, or by purchasing them in the underground market., At this point, the criminals open a parallel business account with the same victim’s bank, in the customer’s name. This is possible because the procedure involves fewer security checks when the victim is already a customer., The criminals use answers to security questions obtained from the analysis of the victim’s social media accounts, to contact the victim’s mobile phone provider, posing as the customer, to report that their mobile device is lost or damaged., They demonstrate their identity, answering basic security questions, this causes the cancellation of the old SIM and the activation of new one. From then the criminals can operate with the victim’s mobile account, intercepting or initiating calls, texts and authorizations that could allow them to transfer cash., The cybercriminals can also request that security settings are changed to lock out the victim from the account., Recently bank customers’ accounts have been successfully hacked with the SIM swap fraud technique, several victims reported the crimes to the You and Yours programme., “You and Yours has been contacted by dozens of people affected by the scam. All say they have never revealed their security details to anyone, and the that first they knew something was wrong was their mobile phone going dead.” reported the BBC., You and Yours producer Natalie Ms Donovan is a customer of the NatWest and decided to investigate on the SIM swap fraud cases., , She used her bank account as an experiment and her colleague Shari Vahl was able to break into her account without having specific information such as the banking customer number, PIN or any passwords., “I did not know her mother’s maiden name, her pet’s name or her first school, and yet I was still able to change her PIN and password to lock her out of her own account.” continues Shari Vahl , In the experiment, the attacker only transferred £1.50 to his bank account by controlling the of Natalie Donovan ‘s mobile phone., The journalists reported the issue to the NatWest, owned by Royal Bank of Scotland. Representatives from the Royal Bank of Scotland confirmed that that the systems for both banks would be changed as a direct result of the You and Yours investigation., “This is a cross-industry problem, particularly with us, and the telecom companies. We working with Financial Fraud Action UK to make sure we’re communicating with each other … to make sure mobile phone security is as strong as it possibly can be.” said Chris Popple, managing director of NatWest Digital., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – SIM swap fraud, banking)
An “unauthorized code” was discovered in the operating system for Juniper NetScreen firewalls. The company admitted the presence of the “unauthorized code” that could allow an attacker to decrypt VPN traffic., “unauthorized code” “could allow a knowledgeable attacker to gain administrative access to NetScreen devices and to decrypt VPN connections.”, According to The Register, the presence of the unauthorized code could date back to 2008, the experts referred a 2008 notice issued by Juniper’s about a security issued that impacts ScreenOS 6.2.0r15 through 6.2.0r18 and 6.3.0r12 through 6.3.0r20. ScreenOS 6.2 was released. The Screen OS 6.3 was presented in 2009., “During a recent internal code review, Juniper discovered unauthorized code in ScreenOS that could allow a knowledgeable attacker to gain administrative access to NetScreen devices and to decrypt VPN connections,” Juniper Chief Information officer Bob Worrall wrote. “Once we identified these vulnerabilities, we launched an investigation into the matter, and worked to develop and issue patched releases for the latest versions of ScreenOS.” states the advisory., The experts explained that there are several releases with numerous versions of the Juniper products and the unauthorized code was only found in some of them., , A separate advisory issued by the company confirm the presence of two separate vulnerabilities in its products, the first one allows unauthorized remote administrative access to an affected device over SSH or telnet, “The second issue may allow a knowledgeable attacker who can monitor VPN traffic to decrypt that traffic,” the advisory said. “It is independent of the first issue. There is no way to detect that this vulnerability was exploited.”, The presence of unauthorized code is disconcerting, one of the most important vendors of security appliances inserted an unauthorized code in a number of its products., Giving the nature of the code it is difficult to think that the code was accidentally “inserted” in the OS, it is likely that it was used to monitor customers’ confidential communications., Users urge to update their products, Juniper has issued an out-of-band patch to fix the issue., Stay Tuned …, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Juniper firewall, unauthorized code)
The German Government is preparing a law that will force hardware vendors to include a backdoor in their products. The law aims to allow law enforcement agencies to use backdoors to gather information during their investigations., The law would target devices in any industry, including telecommunications, automotive and IoT products., According to local news outlet RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND), German Officials are expected to submit their proposal for debate this week., “The acting Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière (CDU) wants to oblige the industry, German security authorities to open digital gateway for the spying on private cars, computers and smart TVs.” states the news outlet., “The application is overwritten with “Need for action on the legal obligation of third parties for measures of covert information gathering according to §§ 100c and 100f StPO”. De Maizière wants to drastically expand the so-called eavesdropping attack by “using technical means against individuals”. Above all, large corporations and producers of digital security systems should be required to provide information and notification.”, The proposal is strongly supported by the Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière who cites the difficulty investigations have had in the past especially when fighting against terrorist organizations., , The Interior Minister explained that modern technology is able to alert suspects for every suspicious activity conducted by law enforcement agencies., The Minister cited the cases of smart cars that alert an owner as soon as the car is shaken or any other anomalous activity is conducted by police officers., Well the presence of a backdoor could allow investigators to operate stopping any warning is sent to the suspect., De Maizière stressed out that companies have a “legal obligation” to introduce backdoors for the use of law enforcement agencies., The Minister aims to oblige hardware manufacturer to disclose their “programming protocols” for analysis of Government experts and consequently to force companies to disclose details about their encrypted communication practices., “Accordingly, eavesdropping would in future be possible wherever devices are connected to the Internet. The industry should give the state exclusive access rights, such as private tablets and computers, smart TVs or digitized kitchen appliances. A precondition for all measures of the extended wiretapping attack, however, would remain a judicial decision.” continues the news outlet., One of the most disturbing aspects of the new law is that it would give German officials powers to hack back any remote computer that is suspected to be involved in attacks against the country infrastructure., Something similar was discussed by the French Defense Minister Le Drian comments in January 2017 and by the US authorities, in both cases, the Government officials were referencing the cyber attacks conducted by the Russian intelligence., The Minister says this is important to “shut down private computers in the event of a crisis,” such as is the case with botnet takedowns., “De Maizière also wants an authorization for the security authorities to shut down private computers in the event of a crisis. An “Botnet takedown specialist concept” will allow security authorities to use private data to alert end users in good time if hackers want to misuse their computers for criminal purposes. In the event that online providers refuse to cooperate, far-reaching penalties are provided for.” continues the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland., Privacy advocates believe the German law could open the door to a mass surveillance programs, Government officials will have full powers of snooping everyone’s online communications., The German authorities refused such kind of accusations and highlighted that any access to data gathered under these surveillance programs would be allowed only after law enforcement have obtained a court order., The reality is that the presence of backdoor dramatically reduces the overall security of any system, the backdoors could be discovered and used by malicious actors such as a foreign government and a criminal syndicate with unpredictable consequences., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Germany, backdoors)
During the S4x14 Conference in Miami, Luigi Auriemma of ReVuln disclosed a serious vulnerability in HMI software. The team of researchers at ReVuln discovered a buffer overflow vulnerability in the company’s IntegraXor Web-based HMI software, a software designed by the Malaysian SCADA company Ecava., IntegraXor is a suite of management tools for HMIs, the application is mainly diffused in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Poland and Estonia, and in other dozens of countries., “The vulnerability is a classical stack based buffer-overflow. This SCADA product is a web server, so it opens a TCP port where it accepts HTTP requests,”  “Exploiting the attack is very trivial because it’s enough to send a long request.” Auriemma said., An HMI (human–machine interface) software is the component in a SCADA system that presents a visual representation of processed data, of industrial control and manufacturing processes, to a human operator.The HMI component, typically a Windows-based machine, communicates directly with programmable logic controllers and provide control for monitored processes., ReVuln team did not notify the vendor in advance of the presentation, Auriemma provided also a proof-of-concept code that allow an attacker to execute a denial of service attack to block the HMI, a circumstance that could leave the industrial process out of control., , Auriemma made an alarming revelation, he discovered, in fact, that the attacker, under certain conditions, could remotely execute malicious code., I contacted Luigi Auriemma to ask him why ReVuln has chosen the Ecava product, below his reply:, “The vulnerability has been disclosed publicly at the S4 conference in Miami during our (ReVuln) talk as a demonstration of an undisclosed 0-day affecting an HMI/SCADA system and how to fix or limit it without a patch from the vendor.The business model of our company is to not disclose vulnerabilities publicly or to report them to vendors. The uncoordinated disclosure of this issue is interesting moreover, because Ecava has a very controversial bug bounty program in which they pay researchers with points for the licenses of the product instead of money.” said Auriemma., The ICS-CERT in the same day of the disclosure issued an advisory, fortunately the SCADA company Ecava immediately released a patch to fix the zero-day vulnerability., Well,  if the flaw was immediately fixed, you can ask me why to publish the news and I can reply you that:, “By judging the vulnerabilities I disclosed in the past and those currently in the ReVuln portfolio, this type of security issues is still diffused,” “A difference with the past is that more products try to use the security features of the compilers (enabling DEP, ASLR, stack cookies and so on).”Auriemma said confirming my perception., Let me suggest you to read the slides proposed by ReVuln at the conference and titled “Securing ICS Applications When Vendors Refuse Or Are Slow To Produce a Security Patch”  , you will find a lot of interesting stuff, it’s a must reading for security experts., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  SCADA, ReVuln)
Private companies and governments agencies all around the word make huge investments for the automation of their processes and in the management of the electronic documentation., The main requirement in the management of digital documentation is its equivalence, from a legal perspective, to paperwork, affixing a signature on a digital document is the fundamental principle on which are based the main processes of authorization and validation, apart from the specific area of ​​application., Main benefits for the introduction of digital signing processes are cost reduction and complete automation of documental workflow, including authorization and validation phases., In essence, digital signatures allow you to replace the approval process on paper, slow and expensive, with a fully digital system, faster and cheaper.,  , Figura 1 – Digital document lifecycle,  , The digital signature is simply a procedure which guarantees the authenticity and integrity of messages and documents exchanged and stored with computer tools, just as in traditional handwritten signature for documents. Essentially The digital signature of an electronic document aims to fulfill the following requirements:, A typical digital signature scheme consists of three algorithms:, To generate a digital signature is necessary to use the digital asymmetric key pair, attributed unequivocally to a person, called holder of the key pair:, Once the document is signed with the private key, the signature can be verified successfully only with the corresponding public key. Security is guaranteed by the impossibility to reconstruct the private key (secret) from the public, even if the two keys are uniquely connected., A Digital signature is a one-way hash, of the original data, that has been encrypted with the signer’s private key. A digital signature process is composed by the following steps:, For the verification, The receiving software first uses the signer’s public key to decrypt the hash, then it uses the same hashing algorithm that generated the original hash to generate a  new one-way hash of the same data. The receiving software compares the new hash against the original hash. If the two hashes match, the data has not changed since it was signed., , Figura 2 – Digital Signature Process, The authenticity of a document can be verified by anyone decrypting the signature of the document with the sender’s public key, obtaining the fingerprint of the document, then comparing it with that obtained by applying the hash function (which is known) to the document received which was attached the signature. If the two fingerprints are equal, the authenticity and integrity of the document are demonstrated. The signing and verification operations may be delegated to a schedule issued by the certification. Thanks to the mechanism shown, the digital signature ensures non-repudiation: the signer of a document transmitted cannot deny having sent it and the receiver can deny to have received it. In other words means that the information cannot be ignored, as in the case of a conventional signature on a paper document in the presence of witnesses., The advantages of digital signatures The activation of a fully automated workflow, digital signatures, reduce time and costs associated with the signatures on paper, the latter in fact have an economic cost and create delays and inefficiencies. An estimate provided by ARX on the basis of current data sets that each of their clients handwritten signature on a paper document to determine the company at a cost of $ 30 U.S including costs associated with paper, printing costs, of signing, scanning, forwarding, storage and regeneration of lost or missing documents. According to the study of ARX, a person authorized to sign documents marking more than 500 documents a year., The digital signatures process is essential for the formal approval processes of every companies, a typical scenario require multiple authorization of multiple offices for each document., Thus digital signatures allow alternate approval processes, collaboration and delivery of paper (expensive and slow), with a digital system (faster, cheaper and more efficient).This results in a number of advantages:, Resuming, digital signatures can reliably automate the signatures of authorization allowing the elimination of paper, reducing costs and improving the speed of production processes. By virtue of all these advantages, the digital signature can be particularly useful for:, Pierluigi Paganini,  
Cyber defence industry is making money. In 2015, the market will reach 75 billion and in 2020 it will grow to around 170 billion. For some countries like the US, Israel, India and Europe, the cyber industry is vital to their economy., But, while the industry makes money, it doesn’t solve the problems. If you don’t believe me, try looking for a company that give you guarantee from cyber attacks. You can also look for cyber attacks statistics to see that the amount of attacks and their relative damage is on the rise., In one of my last interviews with an Israeli branch manager of a known cyber defence company, he told me that the statistics didn’t change for the last twenty years.  Yes, the solutions are more advanced and complicated, but the infection rate and the ability to identify a threat is the same., “it’s a Hamster Wheel”, he told me. “But it’s good money. So nobody care”. , The Emperor’s New Clothes, The question is what’s broken? Is it the solutions that aren’t good enough? The users that can’t change their behavior? The international community that can’t share information and cooperate? Maybe all of it is true. Perhaps the paradigm of cyber defense is fundamentally flawed., If one is looking from a birds eye, down at the cyber defence industry, he will notice it’s all about preventing information flow. In other words, the paradigm is that there are secrets, islands of private information, that should be hedged., But the truth is that the world changed, and this paradigm stayed. If one reads Alvin & Heidi Toffler books and a lot of other stuff on that subject, it becomes apparent that the information is the actual currency of our time. And as such, trying to prevent it from flowing is to go against economic and social evolution., It’s scary to think about an open digital world. The world without privacy that does not include secrets or private information. A system where sharing information is not mandatory, but a way of life. A culture of openness that most of the knowledge is common knowledge., In a way, we all are living in such a world. Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsUp, Wechat, Telegram and a lot of others – They are all information sharing platforms. And almost all of us are sharing our life experiences with them. All our secrets are already there, In the cyberspace. One only has to infect the information pieces to know them., , Under this perspective, the hackers and the NSA and every other intelligence organization understand something that the defense industry doesn’t – You can’t stop the information flowing., So if you can’t stop it, why try? And why sell dreams to the public? It’s not a technical failure that you can fix. It’s a mental failure you have to fix. Instead of thinking how to hide information, embrace the fact that everything is exposed and start to think what we can do with the information for the benefit of humanity or business., WAZE is one example. All the world already knows where I am, so why not use this information to make the traffic better. In Israel, the ministry of health is developing an app to balance the load in emergency rooms based on WAZE. It means that giving up my private information My location for public use, can save lives., In reality, the cyber defense paradigm is broken, and Companies are looking for cyber insurance and regulation as a sign of disbelief in the cyber defense products. If the past twenty years would have produced working solutions, there was no “cyber” problem today., The truth is that we are ahead of a future market dominated by mandatory behavior dictated by the government and insurance companies, rather than a market driven by positive thinking how to solve the problems., In a cyberspace where “most do” defense is the norm, hackers will always have the advantage. The defenders on the other side are like a hamster running on a wheel. To get off it, one should a make peace with the death of private information. To do so, we most change the paradigm of how we perceive the meaning of information in the digital world., Written by Ami Rojkes Dombe, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – cyber defense, cyber security)
Everywhere is possible to read rivers of words on the impressive diffusion of social networks and mobile devices, both technologies used in the last months as privileged channels of attacks due their large audience., We all know how much dangerous are botnets and how many malicious purposes could be achieved with their diffusion, today I desire to discuss about the first-known Android botnet composed by mobiles devices on all the major U.S. mobile networks., Its principal use is the SMS spamming according security researches of the two US security firms, Cloudmark and Lookout Mobile Security that discovered the malicious architecture in December., The method of infection is a consolidated process based on malware, the SpamSoldier trojan, and every victim is compromised when installs a malware masquerade as a game application., The trojan mobile exploits infected devices to spread spam and invitations for other users to download the infected apps. The malware send out SMSs inviting victims to download a free version of a popular Android game like “The Need for Speed Most Wanted “or “Angry Birds Star Wars” ., , During installation procedure the malware explicit requests to the user to grant permission to the app to perform many operations such as surfing the web and sending SMS messages, but unfortunately users never make attention to the messages proposed by apps to acquire further privileges., Once infected the victims communicate with command-and-control server, according a classic architecture, receiving instruction on the final destination for SMS spam. Typically the bot receives a list of 50 or more phone to send SMS, once sent the messages it get a new list from C&C server within 65 seconds., The Cloudmark researches discovered that the apps were downloaded from sites hosted on a server in Hong Kong that offers free copies of popular games. These URLs have been used for malware distribution:, Meanwhile these URLs have been used by the C&C server, Very smart the mechanism to preserve the malware from being discovered,  to neutralize alerting messages from mobile service providers it blocks any incoming and outgoing SMS from unknown numbers., Which is the monetization schema behind the botnet?, According researchers at Cloudmark the botmasters could works in various way such as a classic phishing schema or making money sending out message containing links to rogue e-commerce sites that request personal information and banking credentials for payments., Andrew Conway, a researcher at Cloudmark declared at SCmagazine:, “This botnet has “changed the economics” of spamming campaigns.” “The typical SMS spamming technique is that a spammer will go to the grocery store, buy some prepaid SIM subscriber identity module cards and use them to send out spam messages,” Conway said. “We think the spammers are getting less and less value for money out of that approach as the industry catches on to that.”, “the spammer no longer has to pay for the messages that are sent if he can use a botnet to cover his costs. Now that we know it can be done, we can expect to see more complex attacks that are harder to take down”, In the SpamSoldier campaign, the fraudsters make their victims shoulder the cost of spamming, Conway explained. While he described the botnet as “primitive” compared to those that fester among infected endpoints in the traditional PC environment, the tactic may demonstrate a future model to be taken up by attackers., So far, Cloudmark investigation has revealed more than 800 phone numbers, mainly  belonging to the US Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile,  sending out the spam messages. A raw estimation suggested a that the total number of compromised mobile devices is around 1,000., The dimension of the botnet is still considerable limited but wide diffusion of the mobile could  have a greater impact in the future, underestimate it is a great error., In reality Android is the mobile OS that most attracts cybercrime due its diffusion, early in 2012 experts from Kaspersky Labs have discovered the first IRC bot for Android, it used IRC channel to communicate with C&C servers. The IRC bots were used for various malicious purposes, also in the case the victims were convinced to install the malware masquerading it as a game application, the famous game Madden NFL 12., In July was detected a new spam botnet on Android devices, but its existence was promptly denied by Google that explained the spammers were using infected computers and a fake mobile signature to abuse a Yahoo Mail app for Android devices., Mobile botnets represent for security experts a nightmare, they are very effective and difficult to trace, the leak of awareness of mobile users, incorrect behavior such as mobile “jailbreaking” and the download from unsafe third party app store, and large diffusion of these platform make them ideal for hackers and cyber criminals., Mobile platform need an increasing level of security to protect unsuspecting users., Pierluigi Paganini
The authors of the TeslaCrypt ransomware have introduced a couple of significant improvements, the new variant Version 4.1 has been in circulation for about a week. According to the experts at Endgame Inc., VXers have invested heavily in obfuscation and evasion techniques, and the malicious code can also encrypt new file extensions (.7z; .apk; .asset; .avi; .bak; .bik; .bsa; .csv; .d3dbsp; .das; .forge; .iwi; .lbf; .litemod; .litesql; .ltx; .m4a; .mp4; .rar; .re4; .sav; .slm; .sql; .tiff; .upk; .wma; .wmv; and .wallet)., “As our latest research on TeslaCrypt demonstrates, ransomware not only is becoming more widespread, but it is also becoming more sophisticated and adaptable. TeslaCrypt 4.1A  is only a week old and contains an even greater variety of stealth and obfuscation techniques than its previous variants, the earliest of which is just over a year old.” states a report published by Endgame Inc., The ransomware also targets backup files by deleting the Volume Shadow Copy, the new strain uses AES 256 for file encryption., Like its predecessors, this new strain of Teslacrypt is spread as attachments of spam campaigns purporting to be shipping delivery notifications., When the victims open the malicious .zip file sent as the attachment, a JavaScript downloader using Wscript is executed in order to download the TeslaCrypt ransomware from, The Teslacrypt 4.1A ransomware also uses COM objects and deletes zone identifiers to evade the detection., , The ransomware also implements an anti-monitoring feature that terminates several Windows processes, including the Task Manager; Registry Editor; Command Shell, SysInternals Process Explorer and System Configuration., This variant of TeslaCrypt maintains the persistence by making a copy of itself to the disk and creating a registry entry that points to the copy., The ransomware attacks are the headlines in this first part of the year, and the situation is worsening., “Only four months into 2016, as our timeline demonstrates, this may very well be the year of the ransomware attack. These kinds of opportunistic attacks can be very lucrative and sophisticated, and should increasingly be on the radar of both high-value organizations as well as individuals. ” close the post, Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – cybercrime, Ransomware)
Kaspersky was a long accused to support Russian intelligence in cyber espionage activities and for this reason, its products have been banned by the US Government and EU Parliament., The company denied any involvement with operations conducted by the Russian intelligence and recently opened it Transparency Center in Zurich to assure the integrity and trustworthiness of its products., Now the position of the company seems completely changed., We have a long discussed the hack of the NSA-linked Equation Group Remember carried out by the “The Shadow Brokers” that attempted to sale the stolen hacking tools and exploits and leaked part of them online. , In August 2016, the FBI has arrested the former NSA contractor Harold Thomas Martin over a massive secret data theft. At the time of the arrest, Martin was working for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. , The US DoJ charged Harold Thomas Martin (51) with theft of secret documents and highly classified government material. According to a court complaint disclosed, the stolen data include source codes developed by the NSA to its hacking campaigns against foreign governments., According to the Politico website, sources informed of the events reported that Kaspersky learned about Martin after he sent strange Twitter messages to two researchers of the firm in 2016, minutes before The Shadow Brokers began leaking the NSA dump online., “The timing was remarkable — the two messages arrived just 30 minutes before an anonymous group known as Shadow Brokers began dumping classified NSA tools online and announced an auction to sell more of the agency’s stolen code for the price of $1 million Bitcoin. ” reported the Politico website., “The case unfolded after someone who U.S. prosecutors believe was Martin used an anonymous Twitter account with the name ‘HAL999999999’ to send five cryptic, private messages to two researchers at the Moscow-based security firm,” Politico reports., A first message sent on Aug. 13, 2016, asked one of the researchers to arrange a conversation with Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky., Kaspersky reported the events to the NSA that identified Martin and the FBI arrested him later., “According to the sources who spoke with POLITICO, Kaspersky gave the NSA all five Twitter messages as well as evidence of the sender’s real identity.” continues the Politico. “Then, according to the redacted court document, the FBI used the evidence to obtain search warrants for Martin’s Twitter account and Maryland home and property. The document doesn’t indicate how the FBI learned of the Twitter messages or Martin’s identity. “, Summarizing, Kaspersky Lab helped the NSA to catch an alleged NSA data thief, the security firm exposed a massive breach that U.S. authorities were not able to detect., Pierluigi Paganini, (SecurityAffairs – Kaspersky Lab, intelligence),
Electronic health record databases are becoming the most precious commodities in the cyber criminal underground., The healthcare sector has been the industry with the highest number of data breaches in 2015 when a total of 113.2 million healthcare-related records were stolen by hackers., Cybercriminals are exploiting the lax of security implemented for EHR systems., “Given the contents of an EHR and its capacity to hold financial and credit card records, healthcare organizations become targets of cybercriminals who aim to steal personal identifiable information (PII), as well as financial information.” reads the report titled “Cybercrime and Other Threats Faced by the Healthcare Industry” “But unlike other data breaches, cybercriminals have found more ways to use information from EHRs aside from selling the data in bulk in underground markets” , The researchers have analyzed the offer on the Deep Web in the attempt to profile the offer and understand pricing models used by the criminals focused on the sale of EHR data., Giving a look at EHR data, Medical insurance IDs with valid prescriptions go for $0.50 US, while complete profiles of US citizens including medical and health insurance data were selling for under $1., As we said EHR data are a profitable business for cyber criminals, fraudulent tax returns based on stolen medical records go for $13.50 and fake birth certificates based on data stolen from medical records were selling for $500., “In the last two years the number of cybercriminals committing tax fraud, through the use of stolen personal data found in EHRs, increased.19 As a result, Turbo Tax–a program used for filing taxes in the U.S.–had to temporarily suspend state tax filings to investigate the increasing number of fraud cases. ” continues the report., Identity theft is one of the main fraudulent activities conducted by cyber criminals that can use the EHR data to accredit ththemselves gainst multiple webservices., “In terms of resolving fraud issues, credit cards breaches have financial liability limited to US$50 per card. In the health industry, however, 65% of victims of medical identity theft had to pay an average of US$13,500 to resolve the crime–with costs covering the services of creditors and legal counsel.” reads the report.  “Credit cards can be easily canceled and replaced but health care data such as Social Security numbers, and birthdates, are permanent–which means the data will live forever and that cyber criminals may reuse such information for a variety of purposes”, Crooks can use data stolen from medical records to obtain and sell copies of real birth certificates. In the following figure is reported an advertisement for birth certificates published on AlphaBay starting at US$500 per person., , The situation is worrisome, healthcare organizations are failing to protec their key assets., It is quite easy for hackers to find EHR systems exposed online with a poor security, search engines like Shodan could provide detailed information on these systems, healthcare facilities, medical equipment., The TrendLabs report detailed research conducted through Shodan that demonstrated the existence of many systems managing EHR data that were left open to the Internet with poor security., Enjoy the report., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  EHR data,  healthcare)
The latest chaos in the digital world regarding Apple has stricken like a bullet, as the iPhone manufacturer announced to relocating the encryption key for users data in China; from the United States of America to some country in Asia!, Well, some security advocates argue that this is incorrect for the corporation itself as well as a privacy threat for users, but according to Apple Company; the codes are secure. According to the reports, the users of iCloud in China are confused that in what way Apple will manage the confidentiality of their essential data., Apple too fears that data protection employees have concerns about changing the privacy of iCloud users in China, as per two reports this week. The classified data such as online emails, photographs, and messages stay protected from hackers by encryption. And now, Apple will store encryption keys in China instead of the United States of America (Reuters and the Wall Street Journal reports)., It means that the Chinese authorities do not need to go to USA law agencies to force Apple to provide the rights to the data. This step in reaction to newly introduced laws in China, according to which iCloud services offered to the citizens, should secure data within premises of the country and can be used by Chinese organizations., By the end of the coming month, Apple is going to start transmitting coded information to China and will work closely with a Chinese government. Apple did not say when the encryption data keys would move abroad., Data protection advocates said, “The change can cause problems for political and other dissidents”. “Given that Apple is going to work in China, it is unlikely that government can get access to Apple’s data from the local community,” said the professor at the Toronto University, studying the actions of the Chinese government carefully., Apple says, however, that the data keys stored in a secure place, still Apple will control them. Besides, Apple also claimed that it would provide data only on demand to China’s current legislative requirements and did not create loopholes for access. Apple’s high-level officer said to news agencies that iCloud is a matter of concern for the recently introduced laws., , The spokeswoman also noted that Apple decision to break the service of iCloud in China would lead to reduced client’s interaction with Apple and would reduce the security and confidentiality of data for Chinese users. Big multinationals like Microsoft and Amazon also work with Chinese companies to provide cloud storage service and use the vast Chinese market. Two technological giants of USA refused to inform the magazine, where the encryption keys of the company’s data store. Apple informed the news agencies that they sent a warning about the transition to Chinese iCloud users, which will allow them to disable iCloud to avoid data storage in the country. Apple also told that no one will be touched before accepting new terms of use in China. Users whose configurations allow another nation like Macao and Hong Kong have not registered their data on servers in China., The Reuters also includes Taiwan in this list; the newspaper does not do this. Apple Company and Amazon did not respond to our request for additional comments yet. Microsoft also denied giving any further comments., Written by Ali Qamar, Founder/Chief Editor at, Author Bio: Ali Qamar is a privacy and cyber security enthusiast, his work has been featured in many major tech and security blogs including InfosecInstitute, Hackread, ValueWalk, Intego, and SecurityAffairs to name a few. He runs currently. Follow Ali on Twitter @AliQammar57,  ,  , Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Apple iCloud, China), ,
The Meltdown and Spectre attacks could be exploited by attackers to bypass memory isolation mechanisms and access target sensitive data., The Meltdown attack could allow attackers to read the entire physical memory of the target machines stealing credentials, personal information, and more., The Meltdown exploits the speculative execution to breach the isolation between user applications and the operating system, in this way any application can access all system memory., The Spectre attack allows user-mode applications to extract information from other processes running on the same system. It can also be exploited to extract information from its own process via code, for example, a malicious JavaScript can be used to extract login cookies for other sites from the browser’s memory., The Spectre attack breaks the isolation between different applications, allowing to leak information from the kernel to user programs, as well as from virtualization hypervisors to guest systems.,  , Meltdown attacks trigger the CVE-2017-5754 vulnerability, while Spectre attacks the CVE-2017-5753 (Variant 1) and CVE-2017-5715 (Variant 2). According to the experts, only Meltdown and Spectre Variant 1 can be addressed via software, while Spectre Variant 2 required an update of the microcode for the affected processors. Software mitigations include., Google addressed the Meltdown issue in Chrome OS with the release of the version 63 in December, tens of days before researchers at Google Project Zero disclosure the flaws., , Google rolled out the KPTI/KAISER patch to address the flaw in 70 Intel-based Chromebook models from various vendors, including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung., This week the company released Chrome OS 65 release that also includes the KPTI mitigation against Meltdown for a number of Intel-based systems that were not addressed in with version 3.14 of the kernel., According to Google, all older Chromebooks with Intel processors should get the KPTI mitigation for Meltdown with the release of Chrome OS 66 that is scheduled for release on April 24., “The Stable channel has been updated to 65.0.3325.167 (Platform version: 10323.58.0/1) for most Chrome OS devices. This build contains a number of bug fixes and security updates.” reads the Google announcement., “Intel devices on 3.14 kernels received the KPTI mitigation against Meltdown with Chrome OS 65., All Intel devices received the Retpoline mitigation against Spectre variant 2 with Chrome OS 65.”, Chrome OS 65 also includes the Retpoline mitigation for Spectre Variant 2 for all Intel-based devices. Google experts highlighted that for Spectre Variant 1 attack, hackers can abuse the eBPF feature in the Linux kernel, but Chrome OS disables eBPF., Chrome OS devices running on ARM-based systems are not affected by Meltdown. Google is working to cover also Spectre issues., “On ARM devices we’ve started integrating firmware and kernel patches supplied by ARM. Development is still ongoing so release timelines have not been finalized. ARM devices will receive updated firmware and kernels before they enable virtualization features.” concluded Google., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs – Chrome OS, Meltdown and Spectre)
For this study, Intel Security presented 10 emails where people were asked to identify which emails were phishing with the purpose of steal personal data, and which were legit, legal emails. The data for the study was collected from 144 countries and 19000 people were surveyed., “To help consumers spot these popular phishing attacks, we developed a quiz to help people learn how to properly identify phishing emails. We shared 10 real emails and you decided whether they were real, or real dangerous. We’ve been doing this for some time, and now that the tests have been turned in, scored and graded, it’s time to take a look at how everyone did.” states the official blog published by McAfee., The results were:, If 80% got at least one answer wrong, this means that  the attacker has found the “open door”, since he just needs us to get wrong one time to get his opportunity., Another interesting data emerged from the study is related to the email that more people got the wrong response … it is the legitimate email. The legit email, consisted in the user taking action and “claim their free ads. Normally people associate “free money” to phishing campaigns, and that was the main reason why some many people got the wrong answer here., “Phishing emails often look like they are from credible sites but are designed to trick you into sharing your personal information,” “Review your emails carefully and check for typical phishing clues including poor visuals and incorrect grammar, which may indicate that the email was sent by a scammer.” said Gary Davis, Chief Consumer Security Evangelist at Intel Security., , Using the advices provided by Gary Davis, you can follow the following tips to improve defense against phishing attacks:, Do:, Don’t:, Phishing is one of the most insidious cyber threats despite the high level of knowledge on the techniques implemented by criminals. Everyone can fall victim for phishing emails, even people working in IT, but the trick is to follow some steps like the ones provided to help us reduce our mistakes., Early in my career in IT phishing emails were a big deal, since they had many of spelling mistakes, but today I can’t say the same, because now I see a lots of phishing emails, perfectly writing, since the scammers hire people to do the spell checking for each country, being difficult to distinguish a phishing emails from a legit emails, and that’s why the numbers of this study are so alarming., About the Author Elsio Pinto, Edited by Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  phishing, cybercrime)
According to the experts at the security firm Wordfence tens of thousands, of home routers have been hacked and used to power cyber attacks on WordPress websites., The security firm observed a spike in the number of attacks originated from Algeria and that targeted customer websites. Further investigation revealed that the attacks were launched from more than 10,000 IP addresses, most of which were associated with state-owned telecoms company Telecom Algeria., “Last week, while creating the Wordfence monthly attack report, we noticed that Algeria had moved from position 60 in our “Top Attacking Countries” list to position 24. That was a big jump and we were curious why Algeria had climbed the attack rankings so rapidly.” reads the analysis published by Wordfence., “What we discovered on closer examination is that over 10,000 IP addresses in Algeria were attacking WordPress websites in March. Most IPs were only launching between 50 and 1000 attacks during the entire month.”, The hackers exploited vulnerabilities in the routers provided by Telecom Algeria to its customers, then compromised the devices to launch brute-force and other WordPress attacks., Wordfence identified compromised routers from 27 ISPs worldwide involved in the WordPress attacks. The routers of more than a dozen of these ISPs are listening on port 7547 that is used by the ISPs for remote management purposes, the experts noticed that all the flawed devices are running a vulnerable version of the AllegroSoft RomPager web server., All the RomPager versions prior to 4.34 are affected by a critical vulnerability tracked as CVE-2014-9222, also known as ‘Misfortune Cookie‘., , The flaw was reported in December 2014 by researchers at Check Point Software Technologies who discovered that more than 12 Million Home Routers were affected by the issue., The vulnerability could be exploited by an attacker to run a man-in-the-middle attack on traffic going to and from home routers from every manufacturer., Once an attacker compromise a router, it could target any other devices on a local network, such as a smart TV or a printer., The flaw can be exploited to hijack a large number of devices made by Huawei, Edimax, D-Link, TP-Link, ZTE, ZyXEL and other vendors., The routers provided by 14 of the 28 ISPs are vulnerable to Misfortune Cookie attacks., According Wordfence, in just three days, 6.7 percent of all attacks aimed at protected WordPress websites came from home routers that have port 7547 open., Last month, Wordfence observed more than 90,000 unique IP addresses from the 28 ISPs associated with compromised routers, most of them generate less than 1,000 attacks over the course of up to 48 hours, after which they stop., “In just the past month we have seen over 90,000 unique IP addresses at 28 ISPs that fit our compromised-router attack pattern. We monitor these attacks across our customer websites which is an attack surface of over 2 million websites.” states Wordfence. “We only see a sample of the attacks that all websites globally experience. If you extrapolate the numbers, it indicates that there is a very large number of compromised ISP routers out there performing attacks and acting in concert.”, WordFence has published a free online tool that can be used to check if a router has port 7547 open., Pierluigi Paganini, (Security Affairs –  Misfortune Cookie, WordPress attacks) exists but content is empty. Use the Edit dataset card button to edit it.
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