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Microsoft Exposes Evasive Chinese Tarrask Malware Attacking Windows Computers

Microsoft Exposes Evasive Chinese Tarrask Malware Attacking Windows Computers
April 13, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Chinese-backed Hafnium hacking group has been linked to a piece of a new malware that's used to maintain persistence on compromised Windows environments. The threat actor is said to have targeted entities in the telecommunication, internet service provider and data services sectors from August 2021 to February 2022, expanding from the initial victimology patterns observed during its attacks exploiting the then zero-day flaws in  Microsoft Exchange Servers  in March 2021. Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC), which dubbed the defense evasion malware " Tarrask ," characterized it as a tool that creates "hidden" scheduled tasks on the system. "Scheduled task abuse is a very common method of persistence and defense evasion — and an enticing one, at that," the researchers  said . Hafnium, while most notable for Exchange Server attacks, has since leveraged unpatched zero-day vulnerabilities as initial vectors to drop web shells and other mal

Google Warns of a New Way Hackers Can Make Malware Undetectable on Windows

Google Warns of a New Way Hackers Can Make Malware Undetectable on Windows
September 24, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed a novel technique adopted by a threat actor to deliberately evade detection with the help of malformed digital signatures of its malware payloads. "Attackers created malformed code signatures that are treated as valid by Windows but are not able to be decoded or checked by OpenSSL code — which is used in a number of security scanning products," Google Threat Analysis Group's Neel Mehta  said  in a write-up published on Thursday. The new mechanism was observed to be exploited by a notorious family of unwanted software known as  OpenSUpdater  that's used to download and install other suspicious programs on compromised systems. Most targets of the campaign are users located in the U.S. who are prone to downloading cracked versions of games and other grey-area software. The findings come from a set of OpenSUpdater  samples   uploaded  to VirusTotal at least since mid-August. While adversaries in the past have relied on illega

A New Bug in Microsoft Windows Could Let Hackers Easily Install a Rootkit

A New Bug in Microsoft Windows Could Let Hackers Easily Install a Rootkit
September 23, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Security researchers have disclosed an unpatched weakness in Microsoft Windows Platform Binary Table (WPBT) affecting all Windows-based devices since Windows 8 that could be potentially exploited to install a rootkit and compromise the integrity of devices. "These flaws make every Windows system vulnerable to easily-crafted attacks that install fraudulent vendor-specific tables," researchers from Eclypsium  said  in a report published on Monday. "These tables can be exploited by attackers with direct physical access, with remote access, or through manufacturer supply chains. More importantly, these motherboard-level flaws can obviate initiatives like  Secured-core  because of the ubiquitous usage of  ACPI  [Advanced Configuration and Power Interface] and WPBT." WPBT, introduced with Windows 8 in 2012, is a  feature  that enables "boot firmware to provide Windows with a platform binary that the operating system can execute."  In other words, it allows

FIN7 Hackers Using Windows 11 Themed Documents to Drop Javascript Backdoor

FIN7 Hackers Using Windows 11 Themed Documents to Drop Javascript Backdoor
September 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A recent wave of spear-phishing campaigns leveraged weaponized Windows 11 Alpha-themed Word documents with Visual Basic macros to drop malicious payloads, including a JavaScript implant, against a point-of-sale (PoS) service provider located in the U.S. The attacks, which are believed to have taken place between late June to late July 2021, have been attributed with "moderate confidence" to a financially motivated threat actor dubbed FIN7, according to researchers from cybersecurity firm Anomali. "The specified targeting of the Clearmind domain fits well with FIN7's preferred modus operandi," Anomali Threat Research  said  in a technical analysis published on September 2. "The group's goal appears to have been to deliver a variation of a JavaScript backdoor used by FIN7 since at least 2018." An Eastern European group active since at least mid-2015, FIN7 has a checkered history of targeting restaurant, gambling, and hospitality industries in th

Microsoft Warns of Another Unpatched Windows Print Spooler RCE Vulnerability

Microsoft Warns of Another Unpatched Windows Print Spooler RCE Vulnerability
August 11, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A day after releasing  Patch Tuesday updates , Microsoft acknowledged yet another remote code execution vulnerability in the Windows Print Spooler component, adding that it's working to remediate the issue in an upcoming security update. Tracked as  CVE-2021-36958  (CVSS score: 7.3), the unpatched flaw is the latest to join a  list  of  bugs  collectively known as  PrintNightmare  that have plagued the printer service and come to light in recent months. Victor Mata of FusionX, Accenture Security, who has been credited with reporting the flaw,  said  the issue was disclosed to Microsoft in December 2020. "A remote code execution vulnerability exists when the Windows Print Spooler service improperly performs privileged file operations," the company said in its out-of-band bulletin, echoing the vulnerability details for  CVE-2021-34481 . "An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code with SYSTEM privileges. An attacker could then

Researchers Leak PoC Exploit for a Critical Windows RCE Vulnerability

Researchers Leak PoC Exploit for a Critical Windows RCE Vulnerability
June 30, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit related to a remote code execution vulnerability affecting Windows Print Spooler and patched by Microsoft earlier this month was briefly published online before being taken down. Identified as  CVE-2021-1675 , the security issue could grant remote attackers full control of vulnerable systems.  Print Spooler  manages the printing process in Windows, including loading the appropriate printer drivers and scheduling the print job for printing, among others. Print Spooler flaws are concerning, not least because of the wide attack surface, but also owing to the fact that it runs at the highest privilege level and is capable of dynamically loading third-party binaries. The Windows maker addressed the vulnerability as part of its Patch Tuesday update on June 8, 2021. But almost two weeks later, Microsoft revised the flaw's impact from an elevation of privilege to remote code execution (RCE) as well as upgraded the severity level from Important to Crit

Microsoft Issues Security Patches for 89 Flaws — IE 0-Day Under Active Attacks

Microsoft Issues Security Patches for 89 Flaws — IE 0-Day Under Active Attacks
March 09, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft plugged as many as  89 security flaws  as part of its monthly Patch Tuesday updates released today, including fixes for an actively exploited zero-day in Internet Explorer that could permit an attacker to run arbitrary code on target machines. Of these flaws, 14 are listed as Critical, and 75 are listed as Important in severity, out of which two of the bugs are described as publicly known, while five others have been reported as under active attack at the time of release. Among those five security issues are a clutch of vulnerabilities known as  ProxyLogon  (CVE-2021-26855, CVE-2021-26857, CVE-2021-26858, and CVE-2021-27065) that allows adversaries to break into Microsoft Exchange Servers in target environments and subsequently allow the installation of unauthorized web-based backdoors to facilitate long-term access. But in the wake of Exchange servers coming under  indiscriminate assault  toward the end of February by multiple threat groups looking to exploit the vulner

Microsoft Releases Windows Update (Dec 2020) to Fix 58 Security Flaws

Microsoft Releases Windows Update (Dec 2020) to Fix 58 Security Flaws
December 08, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Tuesday released fixes for 58 newly discovered security flaws spanning as many as 11 products and services as part of its final  Patch Tuesday of 2020 , effectively bringing their CVE total to 1,250 for the year. Of these 58 patches, nine are rated as Critical, 46 are rated as Important, and three are rated Moderate in severity. The December security release addresses issues in Microsoft Windows, Edge browser, ChakraCore, Microsoft Office, Exchange Server, Azure DevOps, Microsoft Dynamics, Visual Studio, Azure SDK, and Azure Sphere. Fortunately, none of these flaws this month have been reported as publicly known or being actively exploited in the wild. The fixes for December concern a number of remote code execution (RCE) flaws in Microsoft Exchange (CVE-2020-17132), SharePoint (CVE-2020-17118 and CVE-2020-17121), Excel (CVE-2020-17123), and Hyper-V virtualization software (CVE-2020-17095), as well as a patch for a security feature bypass in Kerberos (CVE-2020-16996)

Are You Ready for Microsoft Windows 7 End of Support on 14th January 2020?

Are You Ready for Microsoft Windows 7 End of Support on 14th January 2020?
January 07, 2020The Hacker News
January 14, 2020, is a day cybersecurity stakeholders should pay attention to, as it marks the end of Microsoft support in Windows 7. From a security perspective, both the routine monthly security patches as well as hotfixes for attacks in the wild will not be available, effectively making any newly discovered vulnerability a Windows 7 zero-day. Cynet 360 autonomous breach protection is a good example of a multilayered advanced protection solution that can enable organizations who run Windows 7 to remain secure despite the end of support ( to learn more click here ). Let's dig a bit deeper to understand the risk. The reality is that all software contains bugs. Ideally, these bugs are discovered during the development process. In practice, many of them surface only following the product release in the course of their interactions with real users. Bugs that can be exploited for malicious purposes are called vulnerabilities. Microsoft conducts rigorous and ongoing research

Hacker Discloses New Windows Zero-Day Exploit On Twitter

Hacker Discloses New Windows Zero-Day Exploit On Twitter
October 24, 2018Swati Khandelwal
A security researcher with Twitter alias SandboxEscaper—who two months ago publicly dropped a zero-day exploit for Microsoft Windows Task Scheduler—has yesterday released another proof-of-concept exploit for a new Windows zero-day vulnerability. SandboxEscaper posted a link to a Github page hosting a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit for the vulnerability that appears to be a privilege escalation flaw residing in Microsoft Data Sharing (dssvc.dll). The Data Sharing Service is a local service that runs as LocalSystem account with extensive privileges and provides data brokering between applications. The flaw could allow a low-privileged attacker to elevate their privileges on a target system, though the PoC exploit code (deletebug.exe) released by the researcher only allows a low privileged user to delete critical system files—that otherwise would only be possible via admin level privileges. "Not the same bug I posted a while back, this doesn't write garbage to files

Microsoft October Patch Tuesday Fixes 12 Critical Vulnerabilities

Microsoft October Patch Tuesday Fixes 12 Critical Vulnerabilities
October 09, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Microsoft has just released its latest monthly Patch Tuesday updates for October 2018, fixing a total of 49 security vulnerabilities in its products. This month's security updates address security vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows, Edge Browser, Internet Explorer, MS Office, MS Office Services and Web Apps, ChakraCore, SQL Server Management Studio, and Exchange Server. Out of 49 flaws patched this month, 12 are rated as critical, 35 are rated as important, one moderate, and one is low in severity. Three of these vulnerabilities patched by the tech giant are listed as "publicly known" at the time of release, and one flaw is reported as being actively exploited in the wild. Windows Update Patches An Important Flaw Under Active Attack According to the Microsoft advisory , an undisclosed group of attackers is actively exploiting an important elevation of privilege vulnerability (CVE-2018-8453) in Microsoft Windows operating system to take full control over the targete

Critical Flaws Found in Windows NTLM Security Protocol – Patch Now

Critical Flaws Found in Windows NTLM Security Protocol – Patch Now
July 12, 2017Swati Khandelwal
As part of this month's Patch Tuesday , Microsoft has released security patches for a serious privilege escalation vulnerability which affect all versions of its Windows operating system for enterprises released since 2007. Researchers at behavioral firewall specialist Preempt discovered two zero-day vulnerabilities in Windows NTLM security protocols, both of which allow attackers to create a new domain administrator account and get control of the entire domain. NT LAN Manager (NTLM) is an old authentication protocol used on networks that include systems running the Windows operating system and stand-alone systems. Although NTLM was replaced by Kerberos in Windows 2000 that adds greater security to systems on a network, NTLM is still supported by Microsoft and continues to be used widely. The first vulnerability involves unprotected Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) from NTLM relay, and the second impact Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Restricted-Admin mode. L

Microsoft Brings Ubuntu, Suse, and Fedora Linux to Windows Store

Microsoft Brings Ubuntu, Suse, and Fedora Linux to Windows Store
May 12, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Microsoft has been expressing its love for Linux and Open Source for almost three years now, and this love is embracing as time passes. Just last year, Microsoft made headlines by building support for the Bash shell and Ubuntu Linux binaries into Windows 10, allowing users to run limited instances of Linux directly on top of the OS without installing any virtual machine, as well as developers to run command-line tools while building apps. Now, Microsoft has announced at its Build developer conference in Seattle that three different flavors of the free Linux operating system are coming to the company's app store, so its users can run Windows and Linux apps side-by-side. Yes, it's no joke. Three versions of Linux distributions – Ubuntu, Fedora, and SUSE – are coming to the Windows Store. Now, you'll soon be able to install these Linux operating systems on your Windows device just like any other app. While Ubuntu is already available on the Windows Store for a

Android Beats Windows to Become World's Most Popular Operating System

Android Beats Windows to Become World's Most Popular Operating System
April 03, 2017Wang Wei
It's an impressive milestone for Google — For the first time in decades, Android has been crowned as the world's most popular operating system in terms of Internet usage, knocking Microsoft Windows off the top spot. According to a new report from web traffic analytics firm StatCounter, Google's Android is the most popular operating system worldwide in terms of total internet usage across desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile combined. Looking at overall internet usage, Android represented 37.93 percent of the global OS Internet usage market share in March, while Windows accounted for 37.91 percent. Although Windows is still not far behind, Android taking the lead is being described by StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen as a "milestone in technology history." This achievement is due to the fact that mobile devices are used to connect to the Internet far more frequently than desktops and laptops, and people are spending more time on smartphones surfing the Inter

Google discloses Critical Windows Zero-Day that makes all Windows Users Vulnerable

Google discloses Critical Windows Zero-Day that makes all Windows Users Vulnerable
November 01, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Google has once again publicly disclosed a zero-day vulnerability in current versions of Windows operating system before Microsoft has a patch ready. Yes, the critical zero-day is unpatched and is being used by attackers in the wild. Google made the public disclosure of the vulnerability just 10 days after privately reporting the issue to Microsoft, giving the chocolate factory little time to patch issues and deploy a fix. According to a blog post by Google's Threat Analysis Group, the reason behind going public is that it has seen exploits for the vulnerability in the wild and according to its internal policy , companies should patch or publicly report such bugs after seven days. Windows Zero-Day is Actively being Exploited in the Wild The zero-day is a local privilege escalation vulnerability that exists in the Windows operating system kernel. If exploited, the flaw can be used to escape the sandbox protection and execute malicious code on the compromised system.

Microsoft Releases 9 Security Updates to Patch 34 Vulnerabilities

Microsoft Releases 9 Security Updates to Patch 34 Vulnerabilities
August 10, 2016Mohit Kumar
In Brief Microsoft's August Patch Tuesday offers nine security bulletins with five rated critical, resolving 34 security vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer (IE), Edge, and Office, as well as some serious high-profile security issues with Windows. A security bulletin, MS16-102 , patches a single vulnerability (CVE-2016-3319) that could allow an attacker to control your computer just by getting you to view specially-crafted PDF content in your web browser. Users of Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 systems are at a significant risk for remote code execution (RCE) attacks through a malicious PDF file. Web Page with PDF Can Hack Your Windows Computer Since Edge automatically renders PDF content when the browser is set as a default browser, this vulnerability only affects Windows 10 users with Microsoft Edge set as the default browser, as the exploit would execute by simply by viewing a PDF online. Web browsers for all other affected operating systems do not automatically

Windows 10 is the Last Version of Windows, Microsoft Confirmed

Windows 10 is the Last Version of Windows, Microsoft Confirmed
May 09, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Microsoft just announced in its Ignite 2015 conference in Chicago that Windows 10 is set to be " the last version of Windows. " "Right now [we are] releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, [we are] all still working on Windows 10," said Microsoft's developer evangelist Jerry Nixon while speaking at the conference this week. What exactly does it mean? Will Microsoft not launch Windows 11 next? Is Windows 10 actually the end of Microsoft's Windows operating system? These are some questions that were ongoing in the mind of the audience when Nixon gave this statement during his speech. The reaction from Microsoft was really alarming though you do not have to panic, as Windows OS is not dying. Windows 10 — Brand Name of Microsoft's OS For the moment, Microsoft will stick with Windows 10 and focus on smaller and faster updates to its Windows 10 platform, instead of launching new stand-alone ve

Microsoft: All Windows versions Vulnerable to FREAK Vulnerability

Microsoft: All Windows versions Vulnerable to FREAK Vulnerability
March 06, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Recently discovered FREAK  vulnerability that apparently went undetected for more than a decade is reportedly affecting all supported versions of Microsoft Windows, making the flaw more creepy than what we thought. FREAK vulnerability is a disastrous SSL/TLS flaw disclosed Monday that allows an attacker to force SSL clients, including OpenSSL, to downgrade to weaken ciphers that can be easily broken and then supposedly conduct Man-in-the-Middle attacks on encrypted HTTPS-protected traffic passing between vulnerable end-users and Millions of websites. Read our previous post to know more about FREAK vulnerability . FREAK IN MICROSOFT RESIDES IN SECURE CHANNEL Microsoft issued an advisory published Thursday warning Windows users that Secure Channel ( Schannel ) stack — the Windows implementation of SSL/TLS — is vulnerable to the FREAK encryption-downgrade attack , though it said it has not received any reports of public attacks. When the security glitch first discove

Microsoft Unveils Windows 10 — The Next Version Of Windows Operating system

Microsoft Unveils Windows 10 — The Next Version Of Windows Operating system
October 01, 2014Mohit Kumar
While the whole world was waiting for the next generation of Windows operating system , i.e. Windows 9, but skipping right over 9, Microsoft has announced the next version of its Windows is Windows 10 , disclosing its first details on Tuesday at an event in San Francisco. The latest version of Microsoft's flagship operating system, which will be available for everyone next year, brings back the popular Start Menu, which had been removed from Windows 8. Windows 10 will be Microsoft's single platform for developing apps across all devices, from Smartphones and tablets to desktop PCs. However, Windows 10 will not be a one-size-fits-all operating system and instead will vary a bit from device to device. " Windows 10 will run on the broadest amount of devices. A tailored experience for each device ," Microsoft's executive VP of operating systems, Terry Myerson said at a press event here Tuesday. " There will be one way to write a universal application, one

China Bans Microsoft Windows 8 for Government Computers

China Bans Microsoft Windows 8 for Government Computers
May 20, 2014Swati Khandelwal
While US government is always prohibiting the purchase of Huawei products due to suspected backdoors from the Chinese government, China also keep itself totally apart from the US productions. China is a bit famous for using its own operating systems, smartphone application services and lots more, rather than using the US developed Operating Systems, and now China has reportedly banned the installation of Microsoft Corporation's latest operating system, Windows 8 on any of its government computers. The Central Government Procurement Center issued a notice that was posted on its website last week prohibiting the use of Microsoft's latest operating system and the reason behind it is to support the use of energy-saving products, the report said. But the state news agency ' Xinhua ' pointed out a different reason for the ban saying the country wants to avoid any further losing of the support for an operating system like it did recently by pulling out its support from t
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