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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Microsoft

Hackers Attempt to Exploit New SolarWinds Serv-U Bug in Log4Shell Attacks

Hackers Attempt to Exploit New SolarWinds Serv-U Bug in Log4Shell Attacks
January 19, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Wednesday disclosed details of a new security vulnerability in SolarWinds Serv-U software that it said was being weaponized by threat actors to propagate attacks leveraging the Log4j flaws to compromise targets. Tracked as  CVE-2021-35247  (CVSS score: 5.3), the issue is an "input validation vulnerability that could allow attackers to build a query given some input and send that query over the network without sanitation," Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC)  said . The flaw, which was discovered by security researcher Jonathan Bar Or, affects Serv-U versions 15.2.5 and prior, and has been addressed in Serv-U version 15.3. "The Serv-U web login screen to LDAP authentication was allowing characters that were not sufficiently sanitized," SolarWinds  said  in an advisory, adding it "updated the input mechanism to perform additional validation and sanitization." The IT management software maker also pointed out that "no downstre

First Patch Tuesday of 2022 Brings Fix for a Critical 'Wormable' Windows Vulnerability

First Patch Tuesday of 2022 Brings Fix for a Critical 'Wormable' Windows Vulnerability
January 11, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Tuesday kicked off its first set of updates for 2022 by  plugging 96 security holes  across its software ecosystem, while urging customers to prioritize patching for what it calls a critical "wormable" vulnerability. Of the 96 vulnerabilities, nine are rated Critical and 89 are rated Important in severity, with six zero-day publicly known at the time of the release. This is in addition to  29 issues  patched in Microsoft Edge on January 6, 2022. None of the disclosed bugs are listed as under attack. The patches cover a swath of the computing giant's portfolio, including Microsoft Windows and Windows Components, Exchange Server, Microsoft Office and Office Components, SharePoint Server, .NET Framework, Microsoft Dynamics, Open-Source Software, Windows Hyper-V, Windows Defender, and Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Chief among them is  CVE-2022-21907  (CVSS score: 9.8), a remote code execution vulnerability rooted in the HTTP Protocol Stack. "In

Microsoft Details macOS Bug That Could Let Attackers Gain Access to User Data

Microsoft Details macOS Bug That Could Let Attackers Gain Access to User Data
January 10, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Monday disclosed details of a recently patched security vulnerability in Apple's macOS operating system that could be weaponized by a threat actor to expose users' personal information. Tracked as CVE-2021-30970, the flaw concerns a logic issue in the Transparency, Consent and Control (TCC) security framework, which enables users to configure the privacy settings of their apps and provide access to protected files and app data. The  Security & Privacy pane  in the macOS System Preferences app serves as the front end of TCC. Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team, which reported the vulnerability to Apple on July 15, 2021, dubbed the flaw " powerdir ." Apple  addressed  the issue as part of macOS 11.6 and 12.1 updates released in December 2021 with improved state management. While Apple does enforce a policy that limits access to TCC to only apps with full disk access, it's possible to orchestrate an attack wherein a malicious application could

Microsoft Warns of Continued Attacks Exploiting Apache Log4j Vulnerabilities

Microsoft Warns of Continued Attacks Exploiting Apache Log4j Vulnerabilities
January 04, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft is warning of continuing attempts by nation-state adversaries and commodity attackers to take advantage of  security vulnerabilities  uncovered in the Log4j open-source logging framework to deploy malware on vulnerable systems. "Exploitation attempts and testing have remained high during the last weeks of December," Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC)  said  in revised guidance published earlier this week. "We have observed many existing attackers adding exploits of these vulnerabilities in their existing malware kits and tactics, from coin miners to hands-on-keyboard attacks." Publicly disclosed by the Apache Software Foundation on December 10, 2021, the remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in Apache Log4j 2, aka  Log4Shell , has emerged as a new attack vector for  widespread exploitation  by a variety of threat actors. In the subsequent weeks, four more weaknesses in the utility have come to light —  CVE-2021-45046 ,  CVE-2021-45105 , 

Microsoft Issues Fix for Exchange Y2K22 Bug That Crippled Email Delivery Service

Microsoft Issues Fix for Exchange Y2K22 Bug That Crippled Email Delivery Service
January 02, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft, over the weekend, rolled out a fix to address an issue that caused email messages to get stuck on its Exchange Server platforms due to what it blamed on a date validation error at around the turn of the year. "The problem relates to a date check failure with the change of the new year and it [is] not a failure of the [antivirus] engine itself," the company  said  in a blog post. "This is not an issue with malware scanning or the malware engine, and it is not a security-related issue. The version checking performed against the signature file is causing the malware engine to crash, resulting in messages being stuck in transport queues." The Windows maker said the issue impacted on-premises versions of Exchange Server 2016 and Exchange Server 2019 but didn't specify how widespread the impact was. The issue began to  gain   attention  as the year 2022 kicked in, causing the servers to no longer deliver email messages while throwing the following erro

4-Year-Old Bug in Azure App Service Exposed Hundreds of Source Code Repositories

4-Year-Old Bug in Azure App Service Exposed Hundreds of Source Code Repositories
December 22, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A security flaw has been unearthed in Microsoft's Azure App Service that resulted in the exposure of source code of customer applications written in Java, Node, PHP, Python, and Ruby for at least four years since September 2017. The vulnerability, codenamed " NotLegit ," was reported to the tech giant by Wiz researchers on October 7, 2021, following which mitigations have been undertaken to fix the information disclosure bug in November. Microsoft  said  a "limited subset of customers" are at risk, adding "Customers who deployed code to App Service Linux via Local Git after files were already created in the application were the only impacted customers." The  Azure App Service  (aka Azure Web Apps) is a cloud computing-based platform for building and hosting web applications. It allows users to deploy source code and artifacts to the service using a local  Git  repository, or via repositories hosted on GitHub and Bitbucket. The insecure default be

Active Directory Bugs Could Let hackers Take Over Windows Domain Controllers

Active Directory Bugs Could Let hackers Take Over Windows Domain Controllers
December 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft is urging customers to patch two security vulnerabilities in Active Directory domain controllers that it  addressed in November  following the availability of a proof-of-concept (PoC) tool on December 12. The two vulnerabilities — tracked as  CVE-2021-42278  and  CVE-2021-42287  — have a severity rating of 7.5 out of a maximum of 10 and concern a privilege escalation flaw affecting the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) component. Credited with discovering and reporting both the bugs is Andrew Bartlett of Catalyst IT. Active Directory is a  directory service  that runs on Microsoft Windows Server and is used for identity and access management. Although the tech giant marked the shortcomings as " exploitation Less Likely " in its assessment, the public disclosure of the PoC has prompted renewed calls for applying the fixes to mitigate any potential exploitation by threat actors. While CVE-2021-42278 enables an attacker to tamper with the SAM-Account-Name

Hackers Using Malicious IIS Server Module to Steal Microsoft Exchange Credentials

Hackers Using Malicious IIS Server Module to Steal Microsoft Exchange Credentials
December 15, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Malicious actors are deploying a previously undiscovered binary, an Internet Information Services ( IIS ) webserver module dubbed " Owowa ," on Microsoft Exchange Outlook Web Access servers with the goal of stealing credentials and enabling remote command execution. "Owowa is a C#-developed .NET v4.0 assembly that is intended to be loaded as a module within an IIS web server that also exposes Exchange's Outlook Web Access (OWA)," Kaspersky researchers Paul Rascagneres and Pierre Delcher  said . "When loaded this way, Owowa will steal credentials that are entered by any user in the OWA login page, and will allow a remote operator to run commands on the underlying server." The idea that a rogue IIS module can be fashioned as a backdoor is not new. In August 2021, an exhaustive study of the IIS threat landscape by Slovak cybersecurity company ESET revealed  as many as 14 malware families that were developed as native IIS modules in an attempt to interc

Microsoft Issues Windows Update to Patch 0-Day Used to Spread Emotet Malware

Microsoft Issues Windows Update to Patch 0-Day Used to Spread Emotet Malware
December 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft has rolled out  Patch Tuesday updates  to address multiple security vulnerabilities in Windows and other software, including one actively exploited flaw that's being abused to deliver Emotet, TrickBot, or Bazaloader malware payloads. The latest monthly release for December fixes a total of 67 flaws, bringing the total number of bugs patched by the company this year to 887, according to the  Zero Day Initiative . Seven of the 67 flaws are rated Critical and 60 are rated as Important in severity, with five of the issues publicly known at the time of release. It's worth noting that this is in addition to the  21 flaws  resolved in the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser. The most critical of the lot is  CVE-2021-43890  (CVSS score: 7.1), a Windows AppX installer spoofing vulnerability that Microsoft said could be exploited to achieve arbitrary code execution. The lower severity rating is indicative of the fact that code execution hinges on the logged-on user level,

Microsoft Details Building Blocks of Widely Active Qakbot Banking Trojan

Microsoft Details Building Blocks of Widely Active Qakbot Banking Trojan
December 13, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Infection chains associated with the multi-purpose Qakbot malware have been broken down into "distinct building blocks," an effort that Microsoft said will help to proactively detect and block the threat in an effective manner. The Microsoft 365 Defender Threat Intelligence Team  dubbed   Qakbot a "customizable chameleon that adapts to suit the needs of the multiple threat actor groups that utilize it." Qakbot  is believed to be the creation of a financially motivated cybercriminal threat group known as  Gold Lagoon . It is a prevalent information-stealing malware that, in recent years, has become a precursor to many critical and widespread ransomware attacks, offering a malware installation-as-a-service that enables many campaigns. First discovered in 2007, the modular malware — like  TrickBot  — has  evolved  from its early roots as a banking trojan to become a Swiss Army knife capable of data exfiltration and acting as a delivery mechanism for the second st

SolarWinds Hackers Targeting Government and Business Entities Worldwide

SolarWinds Hackers Targeting Government and Business Entities Worldwide
December 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Nobelium, the threat actor attributed to the massive SolarWinds supply chain compromise, has been once again linked to a series of attacks targeting multiple cloud solution providers, services, and reseller companies, as the hacking group continues to refine and retool its tactics at an alarming pace in response to public disclosures. The intrusions, which are being tracked by Mandiant under two different activity clusters UNC3004 and UNC2652, are both associated with UNC2452, an  uncategorized threat group  that has since been tied to the Russian intelligence service. UNC2652, in particular, has been observed targeting diplomatic entities with phishing emails containing HTML attachments with malicious JavaScript, ultimately dropping a Cobalt Strike Beacon onto the infected devices. "In most instances, post compromise activity included theft of data relevant to Russian interests," Mandiant researchers Luke Jenkins, Sarah Hawley, Parnian Najafi, and Doug Bienstock  said  in

Microsoft Seizes 42 Malicious Web Domains Used By Chinese Hackers

Microsoft Seizes 42 Malicious Web Domains Used By Chinese Hackers
December 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Monday announced the seizure of 42 domains used by a China-based cyber espionage group that set its sights on organizations in the U.S. and 28 other countries pursuant to a legal warrant issued by a federal court in the U.S. state of Virginia. The Redmond company attributed the malicious activities to a group it pursues as Nickel , and by the wider cybersecurity industry under the monikers APT15, Bronze Palace, Ke3Chang, Mirage, Playful Dragon, and Vixen Panda. The advanced persistent threat (APT) actor is believed to have been active since at least 2012. "Nickel has targeted organizations in both the private and public sectors, including diplomatic organizations and ministries of foreign affairs in North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa," Microsoft's Corporate Vice President for Customer Security and Trust, Tom Burt, said . "There is often a correlation between Nickel's targets and China's geopolitical int

Unpatched Unauthorized File Read Vulnerability Affects Microsoft Windows OS

Unpatched Unauthorized File Read Vulnerability Affects Microsoft Windows OS
November 30, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Unofficial patches have been issued to remediate an improperly patched Windows security vulnerability that could allow information disclosure and local privilege escalation (LPE) on vulnerable systems. Tracked as  CVE-2021-24084  (CVSS score: 5.5), the flaw concerns an information disclosure vulnerability in the Windows Mobile Device Management component that could enable an attacker to gain unauthorized file system access and read arbitrary files. Security researcher Abdelhamid Naceri was credited with discovering and reporting the bug in October 2020, prompting Microsoft to address the issue as part of its February 2021 Patch Tuesday updates. But as  observed  by Naceri in June 2021, not only could the patch be bypassed to achieve the same objective, the researcher this month found that the incompletely patched vulnerability could also be  exploited  to gain administrator privileges and run malicious code on Windows 10 machines running the  latest security updates . "Name

Hackers Using Microsoft MSHTML Flaw to Spy on Targeted PCs with Malware

Hackers Using Microsoft MSHTML Flaw to Spy on Targeted PCs with Malware
November 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A new Iranian threat actor has been discovered exploiting a now-addressed critical flaw in the Microsoft Windows MSHTML platform to target Farsi-speaking victims with a previously undocumented PowerShell-based information stealer designed to harvest extensive details from infected machines. "[T]he stealer is a PowerShell script, short with powerful collection capabilities — in only ~150 lines, it provides the adversary a lot of critical information including screen captures, Telegram files, document collection, and extensive data about the victim's environment," SafeBreach Labs researcher Tomer Bar  said  in a report published Wednesday. Nearly half of the targets are from the U.S., with the cybersecurity firm noting that the attacks are likely aimed at "Iranians who live abroad and might be seen as a threat to Iran's Islamic regime." The phishing campaign, which began in July 2021, involved the exploitation of CVE-2021-40444, a remote code execution fl

Warning — Hackers Exploiting New Windows Installer Zero-Day Exploit in the Wild

Warning — Hackers Exploiting New Windows Installer Zero-Day Exploit in the Wild
November 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Attackers are actively making efforts to exploit a new variant of a recently disclosed privilege escalation vulnerability to potentially execute arbitrary code on fully-patched systems, once again demonstrating how adversaries move quickly to weaponize a publicly available exploit. Cisco Talos  disclosed  that it "detected malware samples in the wild that are attempting to take advantage of this vulnerability." Tracked as  CVE-2021-41379  and discovered by security researcher Abdelhamid Naceri, the elevation of privilege flaw affecting the Windows Installer software component was originally resolved as part of Microsoft's  Patch Tuesday updates  for November 2021. However, in what's a case of an insufficient patch, Naceri found that it was not only possible to bypass the fix implemented by Microsoft but also  achieve  local privilege escalation via a newly discovered zero-day bug. The proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit, dubbed " InstallerFileTakeOver ," w

Microsoft Warns about 6 Iranian Hacking Groups Turning to Ransomware

Microsoft Warns about 6 Iranian Hacking Groups Turning to Ransomware
November 17, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Nation-state operators with nexus to Iran are increasingly turning to ransomware as a means of generating revenue and intentionally sabotaging their targets, while also engaging in patient and persistent social engineering campaigns and aggressive brute force attacks. No less than six threat actors affiliated with the West Asian country have been discovered deploying ransomware to achieve their strategic objectives, researchers from Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC)  revealed , adding "these ransomware deployments were launched in waves every six to eight weeks on average." Of note is a threat actor tracked as  Phosphorus  (aka Charming Kitten or APT35), which has been found scanning IP addresses on the internet for unpatched Fortinet FortiOS SSL VPN and on-premises Exchange Servers to gain initial access and persistence on vulnerable networks, before moving to deploy additional payloads that enable the actors to pivot to other machines and deploy ransomware.

New 'Shrootless' Bug Could Let Attackers Install Rootkit on macOS Systems

New 'Shrootless' Bug Could Let Attackers Install Rootkit on macOS Systems
October 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Thursday disclosed details of a new vulnerability that could allow an attacker to bypass security restrictions in macOS and take complete control of the device to perform arbitrary operations on the device without getting flagged by traditional security solutions. Dubbed " Shrootless " and tracked as  CVE-2021-30892 , the "vulnerability lies in how Apple-signed packages with post-install scripts are installed," Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team's Jonathan Bar Or  said  in a technical write-up. "A malicious actor could create a specially crafted file that would hijack the installation process." System Integrity Protection ( SIP ) aka "rootless" is a  security feature  introduced in OS X El Capitan that's designed to protect the macOS operating system by restricting a  root user  from executing unauthorized code or performing operations that may compromise system integrity. Specifically, SIP allows modification of prote

Microsoft Warns of Continued Supply-Chain Attacks by the Nobelium Hacker Group

Microsoft Warns of Continued Supply-Chain Attacks by the Nobelium Hacker Group
October 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Nobelium, the  threat actor  behind the SolarWinds compromise in December 2020, has been behind an ongoing wave of attacks that compromised 14 downstream customers of multiple cloud service providers (CSP), managed service providers (MSP), and other IT services organizations, illustrating the adversary's continuing interest in targeting the supply chain via the "compromise-one-to-compromise-many" approach. Microsoft, which disclosed details of the campaign on Monday, said it notified more than 140 resellers and technology service providers since May. Between July 1 and October 19, 2021, Nobelium is said to have singled out 609 customers, who were collectively attacked a grand total of 22,868 times. "This recent activity is another indicator that Russia is trying to gain long-term, systematic access to a variety of points in the technology supply chain and establish a mechanism for surveilling – now or in the future – targets of interest to the Russian government,
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