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North Korean Hackers Targeting Defense Firms with ThreatNeedle Malware

North Korean Hackers Targeting Defense Firms with ThreatNeedle Malware

February 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A prolific North Korean state-sponsored hacking group has been tied to a new ongoing espionage campaign aimed at exfiltrating sensitive information from organizations in the defense industry. Attributing the attacks with high confidence to the  Lazarus Group , the new findings from Kaspersky signal an expansion of the APT actor's tactics by going beyond the usual gamut of financially-motivated crimes to fund the cash-strapped regime.  This broadening of its strategic interests happened in early 2020 by leveraging a tool called ThreatNeedle , researchers Vyacheslav Kopeytsev and Seongsu Park said in a Thursday write-up. At a high level, the campaign leverages a multi-step approach that begins with a carefully crafted spear-phishing attack leading eventually to the attackers gaining remote control over the devices. ThreatNeedle is delivered to targets via COVID-themed emails with malicious Microsoft Word attachments as initial infection vectors that, when opened, run a macro co
ALERT: Malicious Amazon Alexa Skills Can Easily Bypass Vetting Process

ALERT: Malicious Amazon Alexa Skills Can Easily Bypass Vetting Process

February 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers have uncovered gaps in Amazon's skill vetting process for the Alexa voice assistant ecosystem that could allow a malicious actor to publish a deceptive skill under any arbitrary developer name and even make backend code changes after approval to trick users into giving up sensitive information. The findings were presented on Wednesday at the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS) conference by a group of academics from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the North Carolina State University, who analyzed 90,194 skills available in seven countries, including the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, and France. Amazon Alexa allows third-party developers to create additional functionality for devices such as Echo smart speakers by configuring "skills" that run on top of the voice assistant, thereby making it easy for users to initiate a conversation with the skill and complete a specific task.  Chief among the findings is the concern that
Cisco Releases Security Patches for Critical Flaws Affecting its Products

Cisco Releases Security Patches for Critical Flaws Affecting its Products

February 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cisco has addressed a maximum severity vulnerability in its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Multi-Site Orchestrator (MSO) that could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to bypass authentication on vulnerable devices. "An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a crafted request to the affected API," the company  said  in an advisory published yesterday. "A successful exploit could allow the attacker to receive a token with administrator-level privileges that could be used to authenticate to the API on affected MSO and managed Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) devices." The bug, tracked as CVE-2021-1388, ranks 10 (out of 10) on the CVSS vulnerability scoring system and stems from an improper token validation in an API endpoint of Cisco ACI MSO installed the Application Services Engine. It affects ACI MSO versions running a 3.0 release of the software. The ACI Multi-Site Orchestrator lets customers monitor and m
Chinese Hackers Using Firefox Extension to Spy On Tibetan Organizations

Chinese Hackers Using Firefox Extension to Spy On Tibetan Organizations

February 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers today unwrapped a new campaign aimed at spying on vulnerable Tibetan communities globally by deploying a malicious Firefox extension on target systems. "Threat actors aligned with the Chinese Communist Party's state interests delivered a customized malicious Mozilla Firefox browser extension that facilitated access and control of users' Gmail accounts," Proofpoint said in an analysis. The Sunnyvale-based enterprise security company pinned the phishing operation on a Chinese advanced persistent threat (APT) it tracks as  TA413 , which has been previously attributed to attacks against the Tibetan diaspora by leveraging  COVID-themed lures  to deliver the Sepulcher malware with the strategic goal of espionage and civil dissident surveillance. The researchers said the attacks were detected in January and February 2021, a pattern that has continued since March 2020. The infection chain begins with a phishing email impersonating the "Tib
The Top Free Tools for Sysadmins in 2021

The Top Free Tools for Sysadmins in 2021

February 25, 2021The Hacker News
It's no secret that sysadmins have plenty on their plates. Managing, troubleshooting, and updating software or hardware is a tedious task. Additionally, admins must grapple with complex webs of permissions and security. This can quickly become overwhelming without the right tools. If you're a sysadmin seeking to simplify your workflows, you're in luck. We've gathered some excellent software picks to help tackle different duties more efficiently.  Thankfully, these free tools are also respectful of tight budgets—without sacrificing core functionality. Best for Permissions Management: SolarWinds Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory Whether you are part of an organization with many members or numerous resources, keeping track of permissions can be challenging. Changes in responsibilities, titles, or even employment statuses can influence one's access to proprietary data. Each user has unique privileges. We not only need to visualize these but manage them on
Russian Hackers Targeted Ukraine Authorities With Supply-Chain Malware Attack

Russian Hackers Targeted Ukraine Authorities With Supply-Chain Malware Attack

February 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Ukraine is formally pointing fingers at Russian hackers for hacking into one of its government systems and attempting to plant and distribute malicious documents that would install malware on target systems of public authorities. "The purpose of the attack was the mass contamination of information resources of public authorities, as this system is used for the circulation of documents in most public authorities," the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC)  said  in a statement published on Wednesday. The NSDC's National Coordination Center for Cybersecurity (NCCC) termed it a supply chain attack aimed at the System of Electronic Interaction of Executive Bodies (SEI EB), which is used to distribute documents to officials. Calling it a work of threat actors with ties to Russia, the NSDC said the decoy documents came embedded with a macro that, when opened, stealthily downloaded malicious code to control the compromised system remotely. "The metho
Online Trackers Increasingly Switching to Invasive CNAME Cloaking Technique

Online Trackers Increasingly Switching to Invasive CNAME Cloaking Technique

February 24, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
With browser makers steadily clamping down on third-party tracking, advertising technology companies are increasingly embracing a DNS technique to evade such defenses, thereby posing a threat to web security and privacy. Called  CNAME Cloaking , the practice of blurring the distinction between first-party and third-party cookies not only results in leaking sensitive private information without users' knowledge and consent but also "increases [the] web security threat surface," said a group of researchers Yana Dimova, Gunes Acar, Lukasz Olejnik, Wouter Joosen, and Tom Van Goethem in a new study. "This tracking scheme takes advantage of a CNAME record on a subdomain such that it is same-site to the including web site," the researchers  said  in the paper. "As such, defenses that block third-party cookies are rendered ineffective." The findings are expected to be presented in July at the 21st Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS 2021). Rise
Experts Warns of Notable Increase in QuickBooks Data Files Theft Attacks

Experts Warns of Notable Increase in QuickBooks Data Files Theft Attacks

February 24, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
New research has uncovered a significant increase in QuickBooks file data theft using social engineering tricks to deliver malware and exploit the accounting software. "A majority of the time, the attack involves basic malware that is often signed, making it hard to detect using antivirus or other threat detection software," researchers from ThreatLocker said in an analysis shared today with The Hacker News. QuickBooks is an accounting software package developed and marketed by Intuit. The spear-phishing attacks take the form of a PowerShell command that's capable of running inside of the email, the researchers said, adding, a second attack vector involves decoy documents sent via email messages that, when opened, runs a macro to download malicious code which uploads QuickBooks files to an attacker-controlled server. Alternatively, bad actors have also been spotted running a PowerShell command called  Invoke-WebRequests  on target systems to upload relevant data to
Everything You Need to Know About Evolving Threat of Ransomware

Everything You Need to Know About Evolving Threat of Ransomware

February 24, 2021The Hacker News
The cybersecurity world is constantly evolving to new forms of threats and vulnerabilities. But ransomware proves to be a different animal—most destructive, persistent, notoriously challenging to prevent, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Falling victim to a ransomware attack can cause significant data loss, data breach, operational downtime, costly recovery, legal consequences, and reputational damage. In this story, we have covered everything you need to know about ransomware and how it works. What is ransomware? Ransomware is a malicious program that gains control over the infected device, encrypts files, and blocks user access to the data or a system until a sum of money, or ransom, is paid. Crooks' scheme includes a ransom note—with amount and instructions on how to pay a ransom in return for the decryption key—or direct communication with the victim. While ransomware impacts businesses and institutions of every size and type, attackers often target healthcare, e
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