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Researchers Discover UEFI Bootkit Targeting Windows Computers Since 2012

Researchers Discover UEFI Bootkit Targeting Windows Computers Since 2012
October 05, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday revealed details of a previously undocumented  UEFI  (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) bootkit that has been put to use by threat actors to backdoor Windows systems as early as 2012 by modifying a legitimate Windows Boot Manager binary to achieve persistence, once again demonstrating how technology meant to secure the environment prior to loading the operating system is increasingly becoming a "tempting target." Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET codenamed the new malware "ESPecter" for its ability to persist on the EFI System Partition ( ESP ), in addition to circumventing Microsoft Windows Driver Signature Enforcement to load its own unsigned driver that can be used to facilitate espionage activities such as document theft, keylogging, and screen monitoring by periodically capturing screenshots. The intrusion route of the malware remains unknown as yet. "ESPecter shows that threat actors are relying not only on UEFI

New FinSpy Malware Variant Infects Windows Systems With UEFI Bootkit

New FinSpy Malware Variant Infects Windows Systems With UEFI Bootkit
September 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Commercially developed FinFisher surveillanceware has been upgraded to infect Windows devices using a  UEFI  (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) bootkit that leverages a trojanized Windows Boot Manager, marking a shift in infection vectors that allow it to elude discovery and analysis. Detected in the wild since 2011, FinFisher (aka FinSpy or Wingbird) is a spyware toolset for Windows, macOS, and Linux developed by Anglo-German firm Gamma International and supplied exclusively to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. But like with NSO Group's Pegasus, the software has also been used to  spy on Bahraini activists  in the past allegedly and delivered as part of  spear-phishing campaigns  in September 2017. FinFisher is equipped to harvest user credentials, file listings, sensitive documents, record keystrokes, siphon email messages from Thunderbird, Outlook, Apple Mail, and Icedove, intercept Skype contacts, chats, calls and transferred files, and capture audio and video

TrickBot Malware Gets UEFI/BIOS Bootkit Feature to Remain Undetected

TrickBot Malware Gets UEFI/BIOS Bootkit Feature to Remain Undetected
December 03, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
TrickBot , one of the most notorious and adaptable malware botnets in the world, is expanding its toolset to set its sights on firmware vulnerabilities to potentially deploy bootkits and take complete control of an infected system. The new functionality, dubbed " TrickBoot " by Advanced Intelligence (AdvIntel) and Eclypsium, makes use of readily available tools to check devices for well-known vulnerabilities that can allow attackers to inject malicious code in the UEFI/BIOS firmware of a device, granting the attackers an effective mechanism of persistent malware storage. "This marks a significant step in the evolution of TrickBot as UEFI level implants are the deepest, most powerful, and stealthy form of bootkits," the researchers said. "By adding the ability to canvas victim devices for specific UEFI/BIOS firmware vulnerabilities, TrickBot actors are able to target specific victims with firmware-level persistence that survives re-imaging or even device br

New 'MosaicRegressor' UEFI Bootkit Malware Found Active in the Wild

New 'MosaicRegressor' UEFI Bootkit Malware Found Active in the Wild
October 06, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have spotted a rare kind of potentially dangerous malware that targets a machine's booting process to drop persistent malware. The campaign involved the use of a compromised  UEFI  (or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) containing a malicious implant, making it the  second known public case  where a UEFI rootkit has been used in the wild. According to  Kaspersky , the rogue UEFI firmware images were modified to incorporate several malicious modules, which were then used to drop malware on victim machines in a series of targeted cyberattacks directed against diplomats and members of an NGO from Africa, Asia, and Europe. Calling the malware framework " MosaicRegressor ," Kaspersky researchers Mark Lechtik, Igor Kuznetsov, and Yury Parshin said a telemetry analysis revealed several dozen victims between 2017 and 2019, all of whom had some ties to North Korea. UEFI is a firmware interface and a replacement for BIOS that improves security, e

Flaw Affecting Millions of Cisco Devices Let Attackers Implant Persistent Backdoor

Flaw Affecting Millions of Cisco Devices Let Attackers Implant Persistent Backdoor
May 14, 2019Mohit Kumar
Researchers have discovered a severe vulnerability in Cisco products that could allow attackers to implant persistent backdoor on wide range devices used in enterprises and government networks, including routers, switches, and firewalls. Dubbed Thrangrycat or 😾😾😾, the vulnerability, discovered by researchers from the security firm Red Balloon and identified as CVE-2019-1649, affects multiple Cisco products that support Trust Anchor module (TAm). Trust Anchor module (TAm) is a hardware-based Secure Boot functionality implemented in almost all of Cisco enterprise devices since 2013 that ensures the firmware running on hardware platforms is authentic and unmodified. However, researchers found a series of hardware design flaws that could allow an authenticated attacker to make the persistent modification to the Trust Anchor module via FPGA bitstream modification and load the malicious bootloader. "An attacker with root privileges on the device can modify the contents of

Oops! Microsoft Accidentally Leaks Backdoor Keys to Bypass UEFI Secure Boot

Oops! Microsoft Accidentally Leaks Backdoor Keys to Bypass UEFI Secure Boot
August 10, 2016Swati Khandelwal
It's True  —  There is no such backdoor that only its creator can access. Microsoft has accidentally leaked the Secret keys that allow hackers to unlock devices protected by UEFI ( Unified Extensible Firmware Interface ) Secure Boot feature. What's even worse? It will be impossible for Microsoft to undo its leak. Secure Boot is a security feature that protects your device from certain types of malware, such as a rootkit, which can hijack your system bootloader, as well as, Secure Boot restricts you from running any non-Microsoft operating system on your device. In other words, when Secure Boot is enabled, you will only be able to boot Microsoft approved ( cryptographically signature checking ) operating systems. However, the Golden Keys disclosed by two security researchers, using alias MY123 and Slipstream , can be used to install non-Windows operating systems, say GNU/Linux or Android, on the devices protected by Secure Boot. Moreover, according to the blog pos

What is Strictly Enforced Verified Boot in Android 7.0 Nougat?

What is Strictly Enforced Verified Boot in Android 7.0 Nougat?
July 21, 2016Swati Khandelwal
As far as security is concerned, Google is going very strict with the newest version of its mobile operating system. Until now, Google has not done more than just alerting you of the potential threats when your Android device runs the check as part of the boot process. Android Marshmallow 6.0 does nothing more than just warning you that your device has been compromised, though it continues to let your device boot up. 1. Android Nougat 7.0 Getting Strictly Enforced 'Verified Boot' In Android Nougat , Google has taken the security of its Android operating system to the next level by strictly enforcing verified boot on devices. Among multiple layers of security protection, Android uses verified boot - since Android version 4.4 KitKat - that improves its device's security by using cryptographic integrity checking to detect if your device has been tampered with. Now, Android Nougat will strictly enforce the boot check, giving you far more than just a warning.

Nemesis Bootkit — A New Stealthy Payment Card Malware

Nemesis Bootkit β€” A New Stealthy Payment Card Malware
December 08, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Another day, another stunning Malware – this time targeting banks, payment card processors, and other financial services. Security researchers have uncovered a sophisticated payment card malware that executes before the operating system boots, making the malware very difficult to detect and much less remove. The malware in question is part of " Nemesis " – a malware suite that includes all software programs for capturing screens, transferring files, injecting processes, logging keystrokes, and carrying out other malicious activities on the infected computers. Nemesis malware family has been seen in the past, targeting banks, ATMs, financial transaction processing, credit unions, and financial business service companies. Nemesis Bootkit Malware – Reappears even after Re-installation of the OS The malware with bootkit functionality has been in operation since early this year and has the ability to modify the legitimate VBR ( Volume Boot Record ) that ma

Lenovo Caught Using Rootkit to Secretly Install Unremovable Software

Lenovo Caught Using Rootkit to Secretly Install Unremovable Software
August 13, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Two years ago Chinese firm Lenovo got banned from supplying equipment for networks of the intelligence and defense services various countries due to hacking and spying concerns. Earlier this year, Lenovo was caught red-handed for selling laptops pre-installed with Superfish malware . One of the most popular Chinese computer manufacturers 'Lenovo' has been caught once again using a hidden Windows feature to preinstall unwanted and unremovable rootkit software on certain Lenovo laptop and desktop systems it sells. The feature is known as " Lenovo Service Engine " (LSE) – a piece of code presents into the firmware on the computer's motherboard.  If Windows is installed, the LSE automatically downloads and installs Lenovo's own software during boot time before the Microsoft operating system is launched, overwriting Windows operating system files. More worrisome part of the feature is that it injects software that updates drivers, firmware, and oth

Apple Mac OSX Zero-Day Bug Allows Hackers to Install RootKit Malware

Apple Mac OSX Zero-Day Bug Allows Hackers to Install RootKit Malware
June 02, 2015Swati Khandelwal
A zero-day software vulnerability discovered deep in the firmware of many Apple computers could allows an attacker to modify the system's BIOS and install a rootkit , potentially gaining complete control of the victim's Mac. The critical vulnerability, discovered by well-known OS X security researcher Pedro Vilaca, affects Mac computers shipped before mid-2014 that are allowed to go into sleep mode. While studying Mac security, Vilaca found that it's possible to tamper with Apple computer's UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) code. UEFI is a low-level firmware designed to improve upon computer's BIOS, which links a computer's hardware and operating system at startup and is typically not accessible to users. But… Vilaca found that the machine's UEFI code can be unlocked after a computer is put to sleep and then brought back up. " And you ask, what the hell does this mean? " Vilaca wrote in a blog post published Friday. " It means th

Thunderstrike — Infecting Apple MacBooks with EFI Bootkit via Thunderbolt Ports

Thunderstrike β€” Infecting Apple MacBooks with EFI Bootkit via Thunderbolt Ports
January 05, 2015Swati Khandelwal
A security researcher has discovered an easy way to infect Apple's Macintosh computers with an unusual kind of malware using its own Thunderbolt port . The hack was presented by programming expert Trammell Hudson at the annual Chaos Computer Congress (30C3) in Hamburg Germany. He demonstrated that it is possible to rewrite the firmware of an Intel Thunderbolt Mac . The hack, dubbed Thunderstrike , actually takes advantage of a years-old vulnerability in the Thunderbolt Option ROM that was first disclosed in 2012 but is yet to be patched. Thunderstrike can infect the Apple Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) by allocating a malicious code into the boot ROM of an Apple computer through infected Thunderbolt devices. The hack is really dangerous as, according to the researcher, there is no means for the user to detect the hack, or remove it even by re-installation of the complete OS X, only because the malicious code actually is in the system's own separate ROM. "

Most Sophisticated Android Bootkit Malware ever Detected; Infected Millions of Devices

Most Sophisticated Android Bootkit Malware ever Detected; Infected Millions of Devices
April 03, 2014Mohit Kumar
Hardly two month ago we reported about the first widely spread Android Bootkit malware , dubbed as ' Oldboot.A ', which infected more than 500,000 Smartphone users worldwide with Android operating system in last eight months, especially in China. Oldboot is a piece of Android malware that's designed to re-infect Mobile devices even after a thorough cleanup. It resides in the memory of infected devices;  It modify the devices' boot partition and booting script file to launch system service and extract malicious application during the early stage of system's booting. Yet another alarming report about Oldboot malware has been released by the Chinese Security Researchers from ' 360 Mobile Security '. They have discovered a new variant of the Oldboot family, dubbed as ' Oldboot.B ', designed exactly as Oldboot.A, but new variant has advance stealth techniques. Especially, the defense against with antivirus software, malware analyzer, and automatic a

Adobe issues Emergency Flash Player update to patch critical zero-day threat

Adobe issues Emergency Flash Player update to patch critical zero-day threat
February 05, 2014Anonymous
Adobe is recommending that users update their Flash Players immediately. The company has published an emergency security bulletin today, that addresses vulnerabilities the Flash Player and released a patch to fix a vulnerability which is currently being exploited in a sophisticated cyber espionage campaign. " Adobe is aware of reports that an exploit for this vulnerability exists in the wild, and recommends users apply the updates referenced in the security bulletin. " The vulnerability ( CVE-2014-0497 ), allows an attacker to remotely take control of the targeted system hosting Flash. " These updates address a critical vulnerability that could potentially allow an attacker to remotely take control of the affected system " advisory said. The security hole affects the version 12.0.0.43 and earlier for both Windows and Mac OSs and Adobe Flash Player 11.2.202.335 and earlier versions for Linux. The vulnerability was discovered by two researchers

First widely distributed Android bootkit Malware infects more than 350,000 Devices

First widely distributed Android bootkit Malware infects more than 350,000 Devices
January 29, 2014Anonymous
In the last quarter of 2013, sale of a Smartphone with ANDROID operating system has increased and every second person you see is a DROID user. A Russian security firm ' Doctor Web' identified the first mass distributed Android bootkit malware called ' Android.Oldboot ', a piece of malware that's designed to re-infect devices after reboot, even if you delete all working components of it. The bootkit Android.Oldboot has infected more than 350,000 android users in China, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, Brazil, the USA and some Southeast Asian countries. China seems to a mass victim of this kind of malware having a 92 % share. A Bootkit is a rootkit malware variant which infects the device at start-up and may encrypt disk or steal data, remove the application, open connection for Command and controller. A very unique technique is being used to inject this Trojan into an Android system where an attacker places a component of it into the boot
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