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Google Releases Urgent Chrome Update to Patch Actively Exploited Zero-Day Flaw

Google Releases Urgent Chrome Update to Patch Actively Exploited Zero-Day Flaw

April 15, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Thursday shipped emergency patches to address two security issues in its Chrome web browser, one of which it says is being actively exploited in the wild. Tracked as  CVE-2022-1364 , the tech giant described the high-severity bug as a case of type confusion in the V8 JavaScript engine. Clément Lecigne of Google's Threat Analysis Group has been credited with reporting the flaw on April 13, 2022. As is typically the case with actively exploited zero-day flaws, the company acknowledged it's "aware that an exploit for CVE-2022-1364 exists in the wild." Additional details about the flaw and the identity of the threat actors have been withheld to prevent further abuse. With the latest fix, Google has patched a total of three zero-day vulnerabilities in Chrome since the start of the year. It's also the second type confusion-related bug in V8 to be squashed in less than a month - CVE-2022-0609  - Use-after-free in Animation CVE-2022-1096  - Type confusio
Google Sues Scammer for Running 'Puppy Fraud Scheme' Website

Google Sues Scammer for Running 'Puppy Fraud Scheme' Website

April 12, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Monday disclosed that it's taking legal action against a nefarious actor who has been spotted operating fraudulent websites to defraud unsuspecting people into buying non-existent puppies. "The actor used a network of fraudulent websites that claimed to sell basset hound puppies — with alluring photos and fake customer testimonials — in order to take advantage of people during the pandemic," Google's CyberCrime Investigation Group manager Albert Shin and senior counsel Mike Trinh  said . The fraudulent scheme involved Nche Noel Ntse of Cameroon using a network of rogue websites, Google Voice phone numbers, and Gmail accounts to trick people into paying thousands of dollars online for "adorable puppies" that never arrived. The purported culprit is also alleged to have run a Google Ads campaign to push the fraudulent websites on top of search results pages as part of what Google characterized as "multiple international non-delivery scams.&
Google Issues Urgent Chrome Update to Patch Actively Exploited Zero-Day Vulnerability

Google Issues Urgent Chrome Update to Patch Actively Exploited Zero-Day Vulnerability

March 26, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Friday shipped an out-of-band security update to address a high severity vulnerability in its Chrome browser that it said is being actively exploited in the wild. Tracked as  CVE-2022-1096 , the zero-day flaw relates to a type confusion vulnerability in the V8 JavaScript engine. An anonymous researcher has been credited with reporting the bug on March 23, 2022. Type confusion errors, which arise when a resource (e.g., a variable or an object) is accessed using a type that's incompatible to what was originally initialized, could have serious consequences in languages that are not  memory safe  like C and C++, enabling a malicious actor to perform out-of-bounds memory access. "When a memory buffer is accessed using the wrong type, it could read or write memory out of the bounds of the buffer, if the allocated buffer is smaller than the type that the code is attempting to access, leading to a crash and possibly code execution," MITRE's Common Weakness Enum
North Korean Hackers Exploited Chrome Zero-Day to Target Fintech, IT, and Media Firms

North Korean Hackers Exploited Chrome Zero-Day to Target Fintech, IT, and Media Firms

March 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) on Thursday disclosed that it acted to mitigate threats from two distinct government-backed attacker groups based in North Korea that exploited a recently-uncovered remote code execution flaw in the Chrome web browser. The campaigns, once again "reflective of the regime's immediate concerns and priorities," are said to have targeted U.S. based organizations spanning news media, IT, cryptocurrency, and fintech industries, with one set of the activities sharing direct infrastructure overlaps with previous attacks  aimed at security researchers  last year. The shortcoming in question is  CVE-2022-0609 , a use-after-free vulnerability in the browser's Animation component that Google addressed as part of updates (version 98.0.4758.102) issued on February 14, 2022. It's also the first zero-day flaw patched by the tech giant since the start of 2022. "The earliest evidence we have of this exploit kit being actively deploy
Google Uncovers 'Initial Access Broker' Working with Conti Ransomware Gang

Google Uncovers 'Initial Access Broker' Working with Conti Ransomware Gang

March 18, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) took the wraps off a new  initial access broker  that it said is closely affiliated to a Russian cyber crime gang notorious for its Conti and Diavol ransomware operations. Dubbed Exotic Lily, the financially motivated threat actor has been observed exploiting a now-patched critical flaw in the Microsoft Windows MSHTML platform ( CVE-2021-40444 ) as part of widespread phishing campaigns that involved sending no fewer than 5,000 business proposal-themed emails a day to 650 targeted organizations globally. "Initial access brokers are the opportunistic locksmiths of the security world, and it's a full-time job," TAG researchers Vlad Stolyarov and Benoit Sevens  said . "These groups specialize in breaching a target in order to open the doors — or the Windows — to the malicious actor with the highest bid." Exotic Lily, first spotted in September 2021, is said to have been involved in data exfiltration and deployment of the
Google Buys Cybersecurity Firm Mandiant for $5.4 Billion

Google Buys Cybersecurity Firm Mandiant for $5.4 Billion

March 08, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google is officially buying threat intelligence and incident response company Mandiant in an all-cash deal approximately valued at $5.4 billion, the two technology firms announced Tuesday. Mandiant is expected to be folded into Google Cloud upon the closure of the acquisition, which is slated to happen later this year, adding to the latter's growing portfolio of security offerings such as BeyondCorp Enterprise , VirusTotal , Chronicle , and the Cybersecurity Action Team . "Today, organizations are facing cybersecurity challenges that have accelerated in frequency, severity and diversity, creating a global security imperative," Google  said  in a statement. "To address these risks, enterprises need to be able to detect and respond to adversaries quickly; analyze and automate threat intelligence to scale threat detection across organizations; orchestrate and automate remediation; validate their protection against known threats; and visualize their IT environment i
Google Bringing Privacy Sandbox to Android to Limit Sharing of User Data

Google Bringing Privacy Sandbox to Android to Limit Sharing of User Data

February 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Wednesday announced plans to bring its Privacy Sandbox initiatives to Android in a bid to expand its privacy-focused, but also less disruptive, advertising technology beyond the desktop web. To that end, the internet giant said it will work towards building solutions that prevent cross-app tracking à la Apple's App Tracking Transparency ( ATT ) framework, effectively limiting sharing of user data with third-parties as well as eliminating identifiers such as advertising IDs on mobile devices. "The Privacy Sandbox on Android builds on our existing efforts on the web, providing a clear path forward to improve user privacy without putting access to free content and services at risk," Anthony Chavez, vice president of product management for Android security and privacy,  said . Privacy Sandbox , launched in 2019, is Google's umbrella term for a set of technologies that will phase out third-party cookies and curb covert tracking, like  fingerprinting , by redu
SolarMarker Malware Uses Novel Techniques to Persist on Hacked Systems

SolarMarker Malware Uses Novel Techniques to Persist on Hacked Systems

February 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
In a sign that threat actors continuously shift tactics and update their defensive measures, the operators of the SolarMarker information stealer and backdoor have been found leveraging stealthy Windows Registry tricks to establish long-term persistence on compromised systems. Cybersecurity firm Sophos, which spotted the new behavior, said that the remote access implants are still being detected on targeted networks despite the campaign witnessing a decline in November 2021. Boasting of information harvesting and backdoor capabilities, the .NET-based malware has been linked to at least three different attack waves in 2021. The first set,  reported in April , took advantage of search engine poisoning techniques to trick business professionals into visiting sketchy Google sites that installed SolarMarker on the victim's machines. Then in August, the malware was  observed  targeting healthcare and education sectors with the goal of gathering credentials and sensitive information.
Google Drops FLoC and Introduces Topics API to Replace Tracking Cookies for Ads

Google Drops FLoC and Introduces Topics API to Replace Tracking Cookies for Ads

January 26, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Tuesday announced that it is abandoning its controversial plans for replacing third-party cookies in favor of a new Privacy Sandbox proposal called  Topics , which categorizes users' browsing habits into approximately 350 topics. The new mechanism , which takes the place of  FLoC  (short for Federated Learning of Cohorts), slots users' browsing history for a given week into a handful of top pre-designated interests (i.e., topics), which are retained only on the device for a revolving period of three weeks. Subsequently, when a user visits a participating site, the Topics API selects three of the interests — one topic from each of the past three weeks — to share with the site and its advertising partners. To give more control over the framework, users can not only see the topics but also remove topics or disable it altogether. By labeling each website with a recognizable, high-level topic and sharing the most frequent topics associated with the browsing history,
Google Details Two Zero-Day Bugs Reported in Zoom Clients and MMR Servers

Google Details Two Zero-Day Bugs Reported in Zoom Clients and MMR Servers

January 20, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An exploration of zero-click attack surface for the popular video conferencing solution Zoom has yielded two previously undisclosed security vulnerabilities that could have been exploited to crash the service, execute malicious code, and even leak arbitrary areas of its memory. Natalie Silvanovich of Google Project Zero, who  discovered  and reported the  two   flaws  last year, said the issues impacted both Zoom clients and Multimedia Router (MMR) servers, which transmit audio and video content between clients in  on-premise deployments . The weaknesses have since been addressed by Zoom as part of  updates  shipped on November 24, 2021. The goal of a zero-click attack is to stealthily gain control over the victim's device without requiring any kind of interaction from the user, such as clicking on a link. While the specifics of the exploit will vary depending on the nature of vulnerability being exploited, a key trait of zero-click hacks is their ability not to leave behind
Chrome Limits Websites' Direct Access to Private Networks for Security Reasons

Chrome Limits Websites' Direct Access to Private Networks for Security Reasons

January 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google Chrome has announced plans to prohibit public websites from directly accessing endpoints located within private networks as part of an upcoming major security shakeup to prevent intrusions via the browser. The proposed change is set to be rolled out in two phases consisting of releases Chrome 98 and Chrome 101 scheduled in the coming months via a newly implemented W3C specification called private network access ( PNA ). "Chrome will start sending a  CORS  preflight request ahead of any private network request for a subresource, which asks for explicit permission from the target server," Titouan Rigoudy and Eiji Kitamura  said . "This preflight request will carry a new header, Access-Control-Request-Private-Network: true, and the response to it must carry a corresponding header, Access-Control-Allow-Private-Network: true." What this means is that starting with Chrome version 101, any website accessible via the internet will be made to seek explicit permi
France Fines Google, Facebook €210 Million Over Privacy Violating Tracking Cookies

France Fines Google, Facebook €210 Million Over Privacy Violating Tracking Cookies

January 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL), France's data protection watchdog, has slapped Facebook (now Meta Platforms) and Google with fines of €150 million ($170 million) and €60 million ($68 million) for violating E.U. privacy rules by failing to provide users with an easy option to reject cookie tracking technology. "The websites facebook.com, google.fr and youtube.com offer a button allowing the user to immediately accept cookies," the  authority   said . "However, they do not provide an equivalent solution (button or other) enabling the Internet user to easily refuse the deposit of these cookies." Facebook told  TechCrunch  that it was reviewing the ruling, while Google said it's working to change its practices in response to the CNIL fines. HTTP cookies are small pieces of data created while a user is browsing a website and placed on the user's computer or other device by the user's web browser to track online
Google Releases New Chrome Update to Patch Dozens of New Browser Vulnerabilities

Google Releases New Chrome Update to Patch Dozens of New Browser Vulnerabilities

January 06, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has rolled out the first round of updates to its Chrome web browser for 2022 to fix 37 security issues, one of which is rated Critical in severity and could be exploited to pass arbitrary code and gain control over a victim's system. Tracked as  CVE-2022-0096 , the flaw relates to a  use-after-free bug  in the Storage component, which could have devastating effects ranging from corruption of valid data to the execution of malicious code on a compromised machine. Security researcher Yangkang ( @dnpushme ) of Qihoo 360 ATA, who has previously disclosed  zero-day vulnerabilities  in Apple's WebKit, has been credited with discovering and reporting the flaw on November 30, 2021. It's also worth pointing out that 24 of the 37 uncovered flaws came from external researchers, including its Google Project Zero initiative, while the others were flagged as part of its ongoing internal security work. Of the 24 bugs, 10 are rated High, another 10 are rated Medium, and three
Google Disrupts Blockchain-based Glupteba Botnet; Sues Russian Hackers

Google Disrupts Blockchain-based Glupteba Botnet; Sues Russian Hackers

December 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Tuesday said it took steps to disrupt the operations of a sophisticated "multi-component" botnet called Glupteba that approximately infected more than one million Windows computers across the globe and stored its command-and-control server addresses on Bitcoin's blockchain as a resilience mechanism. As part of the efforts, Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) said it partnered with the CyberCrime Investigation Group over the past year to terminate around 63 million Google Docs that were observed to have distributed the malware, alongside 1,183 Google Accounts, 908 Cloud Projects, and 870 Google Ads accounts that were associated with its distribution. Google TAG further said it worked with internet infrastructure providers and hosting providers, such as CloudFlare, to dismantle the malware by taking down servers and placing interstitial warning pages in front of the malicious domains. In tandem, the internet giant also announced a lawsuit against two Russ
Critical Bug in Mozilla’s NSS Crypto Library Potentially Affects Several Other Software

Critical Bug in Mozilla's NSS Crypto Library Potentially Affects Several Other Software

December 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Mozilla has rolled out fixes to address a critical security weakness in its cross-platform Network Security Services ( NSS ) cryptographic library that could be potentially exploited by an adversary to crash a vulnerable application and even execute arbitrary code. Tracked as CVE-2021-43527, the flaw affects NSS versions prior to 3.73 or 3.68.1 ESR, and concerns a  heap overflow  vulnerability when verifying digital signatures such as  DSA  and  RSA-PSS  algorithms that are encoded using the  DER  binary format. Credited with reporting the issue is Tavis Ormandy of Google Project Zero, who codenamed it " BigSig ." "NSS (Network Security Services) versions prior to 3.73 or 3.68.1 ESR are vulnerable to a heap overflow when handling DER-encoded DSA or RSA-PSS signatures," Mozilla  said  in an advisory published Wednesday. "Applications using NSS for handling signatures encoded within CMS, S/MIME, PKCS #7, or PKCS #12 are likely to be impacted." NSS is a
Italy's Antitrust Regulator Fines Google and Apple for "Aggressive" Data Practices

Italy's Antitrust Regulator Fines Google and Apple for "Aggressive" Data Practices

November 27, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Italy's antitrust regulator has fined both Apple and Google €10 million each for what it calls are "aggressive" data practices and for not providing consumers with clear information on commercial uses of their personal data during the account creation phase. The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM)  said  "Google and Apple did not provide clear and immediate information on the acquisition and use of user data for commercial purposes," adding the tech companies chose to emphasize the data collection as only necessary to improve their own services and personalize user experience without offering any indication that the data could be transferred and used for other reasons. The concerns have to do with how the companies omit relevant information when creating an account and using their services, details which the authority said are critical to making an informed decision as to whether or not to give permission for utilizing their data for comme
Google Warns of New Android 0-Day Vulnerability Under Active Targeted Attacks

Google Warns of New Android 0-Day Vulnerability Under Active Targeted Attacks

November 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has rolled out its monthly security patches for Android with fixes for 39 flaws, including a zero-day vulnerability that it said is being actively exploited in the wild in limited, targeted attacks. Tracked as CVE-2021-1048 , the zero-day bug is described as a  use-after-free vulnerability  in the kernel that can be exploited for local privilege escalation. Use-after-free issues are dangerous as it could enable a threat actor to access or referencing memory after it has been freed, leading to a " write-what-where " condition that results in the execution of arbitrary code to gain control over a victim's system. "There are indications that CVE-2021-1048 may be under limited, targeted exploitation," the company  noted  in its November advisory without revealing technical details of the vulnerability, the nature of the intrusions, and the identities of the attackers that may have abused the flaw. Also remediated in the security patch are two critical re
Google to Pay Hackers $31,337 for Exploiting Patched Linux Kernel Flaws

Google to Pay Hackers $31,337 for Exploiting Patched Linux Kernel Flaws

November 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Monday announced that it will pay security researchers to find exploits using vulnerabilities, previously remediated or otherwise, over the next three months as part of a new bug bounty program to improve the security of the Linux kernel. To that end, the company is expected to issue rewards worth $31,337 (a reference to Leet ) for exploiting privilege escalation in a lab environment for each patched vulnerability, an amount that can climb up to $50,337 for working exploits that take advantage of zero-day flaws in the kernel and other undocumented attack techniques. Specifically, the program aims to uncover attacks that could be launched against Kubernetes-based infrastructure to defeat process isolation barriers (via NSJail) and break out of the sandbox to leak secret information. The program is expected to last until January 31, 2022. "It is important to note, that the easiest exploitation primitives are not available in our lab environment due to the hardening
Google Releases Urgent Chrome Update to Patch 2 Actively Exploited 0-Day Bugs

Google Releases Urgent Chrome Update to Patch 2 Actively Exploited 0-Day Bugs

October 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Thursday rolled out an emergency update for its Chrome web browser, including fixes for two zero-day vulnerabilities that it says are being actively exploited in the wild. Tracked as  CVE-2021-38000  and  CVE-2021-38003 , the weaknesses relate to insufficient validation of untrusted input in a feature called Intents as well as a case of inappropriate implementation in V8 JavaScript and WebAssembly engine. The internet giant's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) has been credited with discovering and reporting the two flaws on September 15, 2021, and October 26, 2021, respectively. "Google is aware that exploits for CVE-2021-38000 and CVE-2021-38003 exist in the wild," the company  noted  in an advisory without delving into technical specifics about how the two vulnerabilities were used in attacks or the threat actors that may have weaponized them. Also addressed as part of this stable channel update is a  use-after-free  vulnerability in the Web Transport component
Over 10 Million Android Users Targeted With Premium SMS Scam Apps

Over 10 Million Android Users Targeted With Premium SMS Scam Apps

October 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A global fraud campaign has been found leveraging 151 malicious Android apps with 10.5 million downloads to rope users into premium subscription services without their consent and knowledge. The  premium SMS scam  campaign — dubbed " UltimaSMS " — is believed to commenced in May 2021 and involved apps that cover a wide range of categories, including keyboards, QR code scanners, video and photo editors, spam call blockers, camera filters, and games, with most of the fraudulent apps downloaded by users in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the U.A.E., Turkey, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, the U.S., and Poland. Although a significant  chunk of the apps  in question has since been removed from the Google Play Store, 82 of them have continued to remain available in the online marketplace as of October 19, 2021. It all starts with the apps prompting users to enter their phone numbers and email addresses to gain access to the advertised features, only to subscribe the victims to premium SM
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