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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: computer security

Why Is There A Surge In Ransomware Attacks?

Why Is There A Surge In Ransomware Attacks?
August 13, 2021The Hacker News
The U.S. is presently combating two pandemics--coronavirus and ransomware attacks. Both have partially shut down parts of the economy. However, in the case of cybersecurity, lax security measures allow hackers to have an easy way to rake in millions. It's pretty simple for hackers to gain financially, using malicious software to access and encrypt data and hold it hostage until the victim pays the ransom. Cyber attacks are more frequent now because it is effortless for hackers to execute them. Further, the payment methods are now friendlier to them. In addition, businesses are  willing to pay a ransom  because of the growing reliance on digital infrastructure, giving hackers more incentives to attempt more breaches.  Bolder cybercriminals A few years back, cybercriminals played psychological games before getting bank passwords and using their technical know-how to steal money from people's accounts. They are bolder now because it is easy for them to buy ransomware software

Hackers Exploit Microsoft Browser Bug to Deploy VBA Malware on Targeted PCs

Hackers Exploit Microsoft Browser Bug to Deploy VBA Malware on Targeted PCs
July 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An unidentified threat actor has been exploiting a now-patched zero-day flaw in Internet Explorer browser to deliver a fully-featured VBA-based remote access trojan (RAT) capable of accessing files stored in compromised Windows systems, and downloading and executing malicious payloads as part of an "unusual" campaign. The backdoor is distributed via a decoy document named "Manifest.docx" that loads the exploit code for the vulnerability from an embedded template, which, in turn, executes shellcode to deploy the RAT, according to cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes, which spotted the suspicious Word file on July 21, 2021.  The malware-laced document claims to be a "Manifesto of the inhabitants of Crimea" calling on the citizens to oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin and "create a unified platform called 'People's Resistance.'" The Internet Explorer flaw, tracked as CVE-2021-26411 , is notable for the fact that it was abused by the

Reduce End-User Password Change Frustrations

Reduce End-User Password Change Frustrations
July 22, 2021The Hacker News
Organizations today must give attention to their cybersecurity posture, including policies, procedures, and technical solutions for cybersecurity challenges.  This often results in a greater burden on the IT service desk staff as end-users encounter issues related to security software, policies, and password restrictions.  One of the most common areas where security may cause challenges for end-users is password policies and password changes. What are these issues? How can organizations reduce end-user password change frustration? First, let's consider the standard password policy, its role, and general settings affecting end-users. What are password policies? Most organizations today have a password policy in place. So, what is a password policy? Password policies define the types and content of passwords allowed or required of end-users in an identity and access management system. Various aspects of the password that businesses control may include the password's required

Trickbot Malware Returns with a new VNC Module to Spy on its Victims

Trickbot Malware Returns with a new VNC Module to Spy on its Victims
July 13, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have opened the lid on the continued resurgence of the insidious Trickbot malware , making it clear that the Russia-based transnational cybercrime group is working behind the scenes to revamp its attack infrastructure in response to recent counter efforts from law enforcement. "The new capabilities discovered are used to monitor and gather intelligence on victims, using a custom communication protocol to hide data transmissions between [command-and-control] servers and victims — making attacks difficult to spot," Bitdefender  said  in a technical write-up published Monday, suggesting an increase in sophistication of the group's tactics. "Trickbot shows no sign of slowing down," the researchers noted. Botnets are formed when hundreds or thousands of hacked devices are enlisted into a network run by criminal operators, which are often then used to launch denial-of-network attacks to pummel businesses and critical infrastructure with

BIOS Disconnect: New High-Severity Bugs Affect 128 Dell PC and Tablet Models

BIOS Disconnect: New High-Severity Bugs Affect 128 Dell PC and Tablet Models
June 24, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Thursday disclosed a chain of vulnerabilities affecting the BIOSConnect feature within Dell Client BIOS that could be abused by a privileged network adversary to gain arbitrary code execution at the BIOS/UEFI level of the affected device. "As the attacker has the ability to remotely execute code in the pre-boot environment, this can be used to subvert the operating system and undermine fundamental trust in the device," researchers from enterprise device security firm Eclypsium said . "The virtually unlimited control over a device that this attack can provide makes the fruit of the labor well worth it for the attacker." In all, the flaws affect 128 Dell models spanning across consumer and business laptops, desktops, and tablets, totalling an estimated 30 million individual devices. Worse, the weaknesses also impact computers that have  Secure Boot  enabled, a security feature designed to prevent  rootkits from being installed  at boot

Experts Warn About Ongoing AutoHotkey-Based Malware Attacks

Experts Warn About Ongoing AutoHotkey-Based Malware Attacks
May 17, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have uncovered an ongoing malware campaign that heavily relies on AutoHotkey (AHK) scripting language to deliver multiple remote access trojans (RAT) such as Revenge RAT, LimeRAT, AsyncRAT, Houdini, and Vjw0rm on target Windows systems. At least four different versions of the campaign have been spotted starting February 2021, according to researchers from Morphisec Labs. "The RAT delivery campaign starts from an AutoHotKey (AHK) compiled script," the researchers  noted . "This is a standalone executable that contains the following: the AHK interpreter, the AHK script, and any files it has incorporated via the  FileInstall  command. In this campaign, the attackers incorporate malicious scripts/executables alongside a legitimate application to disguise their intentions." AutoHotkey is an open-source custom scripting language for Microsoft Windows that's meant to provide easy hotkeys for macro-creation and software automation, enablin

Two Critical Flaws — CVSS Score 10 — Affect Dell Wyse Thin Client Devices

Two Critical Flaws — CVSS Score 10 — Affect Dell Wyse Thin Client Devices
December 21, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A team of researchers today unveiled two critical security vulnerabilities in Dell Wyse Thin clients that could have potentially allowed attackers to remotely execute malicious code and access arbitrary files on affected devices. The flaws, which were uncovered by healthcare cybersecurity provider CyberMDX and reported to Dell in June 2020, affects all devices running ThinOS versions 8.6 and below. Dell has addressed both the vulnerabilities in an  update  released today. The flaws also have a CVSS score of 10 out of 10, making them critical in severity. Thin clients are typically computers that run from resources stored on a central server instead of a localized hard drive. They work by establishing a remote connection to the server, which takes care of launching and running applications and storing relevant data. Tracked as CVE-2020-29491 and CVE-2020-29492 , the security shortcomings in Wyse's thin clients stem from the fact that the FTP sessions used to pull firmware upd

Quick Guide — How to Troubleshoot Active Directory Account Lockouts

Quick Guide — How to Troubleshoot Active Directory Account Lockouts
November 30, 2020The Hacker News
Active Directory account lockouts can be hugely problematic for organizations. There have been documented instances of attackers leveraging the account lockout feature in a type of denial of service attack. By intentionally entering numerous bad passwords, attackers can theoretically lock all of the users out of their accounts. But what do you do if you are experiencing problems with account lockouts? The Windows operating system is somewhat limited in its ability to troubleshoot account lockouts, but there are some things that you can do. For example, you can use Windows PowerShell to determine which accounts have been locked out. The command for doing so is: Search-ADAccount -LockedOut -UsersOnly | Select-Object Name, SamAccountName Incidentally, the UsersOnly parameter prevents computer objects from being included in the results, while the Select-Object command filters the results list to display only the user's name and their account name. If you find that accounts have been

A New Fileless P2P Botnet Malware Targeting SSH Servers Worldwide

A New Fileless P2P Botnet Malware Targeting SSH Servers Worldwide
August 19, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers today took the wraps off a sophisticated, multi-functional peer-to-peer (P2P) botnet written in Golang that has been actively targeting SSH servers since January 2020. Called " FritzFrog ," the modular, multi-threaded and file-less botnet has breached more than 500 servers to date, infecting well-known universities in the US and Europe, and a railway company, according to a report released by Guardicore Labs today. "With its decentralized infrastructure, it distributes control among all its nodes," Guardicore 's Ophir Harpaz said. "In this network with no single point-of-failure, peers constantly communicate with each other to keep the network alive, resilient and up-to-date." In addition to implementing a proprietary P2P protocol that's been written from scratch, the communications are done over an encrypted channel, with the malware capable of creating a backdoor on victim systems that grants continued access fo

4 Dangerous Brazilian Banking Trojans Now Trying to Rob Users Worldwide

4 Dangerous Brazilian Banking Trojans Now Trying to Rob Users Worldwide
July 15, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday detailed as many as four different families of Brazilian banking trojans that have targeted financial institutions in Brazil, Latin America, and Europe. Collectively called the "Tetrade" by Kaspersky researchers, the malware families — comprising Guildma, Javali, Melcoz, and Grandoreiro — have evolved their capabilities to function as a backdoor and adopt a variety of obfuscation techniques to hide its malicious activities from security software. "Guildma, Javali, Melcoz and Grandoreiro are examples of yet another Brazilian banking group/operation that has decided to expand its attacks abroad, targeting banks in other countries," Kaspersky said in an analysis . "They benefit from the fact that many banks operating in Brazil also have operations elsewhere in Latin America and Europe, making it easy to extend their attacks against customers of these financial institutions." A Multi-Stage Malware Deployment Process

Malicious USB Drives Infect 35,000 Computers With Crypto-Mining Botnet

Malicious USB Drives Infect 35,000 Computers With Crypto-Mining Botnet
April 24, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers from ESET on Thursday said they took down a portion of a malware botnet comprising at least 35,000 compromised Windows systems that attackers were secretly using to mine Monero cryptocurrency. The botnet, named "VictoryGate," has been active since May 2019, with infections mainly reported in Latin America, particularly Peru accounting for 90% of the compromised devices. "The main activity of the botnet is mining Monero cryptocurrency," ESET said . "The victims include organizations in both public and private sectors, including financial institutions." ESET said it worked with dynamic DNS provider No-IP to take down the malicious command-and-control (C2) servers and that it set up fake domains (aka sinkholes) to monitor the botnet's activity. The sinkhole data shows that between 2,000 and 3,500 infected computers connected to the C2 servers on a daily basis during February and March this year. According to ESET res

Unpatchable 'Starbleed' Bug in FPGA Chips Exposes Critical Devices to Hackers

Unpatchable 'Starbleed' Bug in FPGA Chips Exposes Critical Devices to Hackers
April 21, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A newly discovered unpatchable hardware vulnerability in Xilinx programmable logic products could allow an attacker to break bitstream encryption, and clone intellectual property, change the functionality, and even implant hardware Trojans. The details of the attacks against Xilinx 7-Series and Virtex-6 Field Programmable Gate Arrays ( FPGAs ) have been covered in a paper titled " The Unpatchable Silicon: A Full Break of the Bitstream Encryption of Xilinx 7-Series FPGAs " by a group of academics from the Horst Goertz Institute for IT Security and Max Planck Institute for Cyber Security and Privacy. "We exploit a design flaw which piecewise leaks the decrypted bitstream," the researchers said. "In the attack, the FPGA is used as a decryption oracle, while only access to a configuration interface is needed. The attack does not require any sophisticated tools and, depending on the target system, can potentially be launched remotely." The findings wil

Why SaaS opens the door to so many cyber threats (and how to make it safer)

Why SaaS opens the door to so many cyber threats (and how to make it safer)
April 17, 2020The Hacker News
Cloud services have become increasingly important to many companies' daily operations, and the rapid adoption of web apps has allowed businesses to continue operating with limited productivity hiccups, even as global coronavirus restrictions have forced much of the world to work from home. But at the same time, even major corporations have fallen prey to hackers. How can you maintain the integrity of your IT resources and data while still taking advantage of the benefits of software as a service (SaaS)? While cybersecurity is a broad and complicated topic, let's consider a hypothetical SaaS scenario and examine some of the risks. Imagine that one of your employees is writing a sensitive report. It could have financial or medical data in it. It could have information on a revolutionary new design. Whatever it is, the report needs to be kept confidential. What would happen if your employee writes the report in Google Docs? Let's assume that this decision wasn&

Zoom Caught in Cybersecurity Debate — Here's Everything You Need To Know

Zoom Caught in Cybersecurity Debate — Here's Everything You Need To Know
April 06, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Over the past few weeks, the use of Zoom video conferencing software has exploded ever since it emerged the platform of choice to host everything from cabinet meetings to yoga classes amidst the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and work from home became the new normal. The app has skyrocketed to 200 million daily users from an average of 10 million in December — along with a 535 percent increase in daily traffic to its download page in the last month — but it's also seen a massive uptick in Zoom's problems, all of which stem from sloppy design practices and security implementations. Zoom may never have designed its product beyond enterprise chat initially, but with the app now being used in a myriad number of ways and by regular consumers, the company's full scope of gaffes have come into sharp focus — something it was able to avoid all this time. But if this public scrutiny can make it a more secure product, it can only be a good thing in the long run. A Laundry
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