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Zoom Adopts NIST-Approved Post-Quantum End-to-End Encryption for Meetings

Zoom Adopts NIST-Approved Post-Quantum End-to-End Encryption for Meetings

May 22, 2024 Encryption / Quantum Computing
Popular enterprise services provider Zoom has announced the rollout of post-quantum end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for Zoom Meetings, with support for Zoom Phone and Zoom Rooms coming in the future. "As adversarial threats become more sophisticated, so does the need to safeguard user data," the company  said  in a statement. "With the launch of post-quantum E2EE, we are doubling down on security and providing leading-edge features for users to help protect their data." Zoom's post-quantum E2EE uses  Kyber-768 , which aims at security roughly equivalent to AES-192. Kyber was  chosen  by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in July 2022 as the quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithm for general encryption. However, for post-quantum E2EE to be enabled by default, it  requires  all meeting participants to be on Zoom desktop or mobile app version 6.0.10 or higher. In the event some of the participants don
New Spectre-Style 'Pathfinder' Attack Targets Intel CPU, Leak Encryption Keys and Data

New Spectre-Style 'Pathfinder' Attack Targets Intel CPU, Leak Encryption Keys and Data

May 08, 2024 Data Encryption / Hardware Security
Researchers have discovered two novel attack methods targeting high-performance Intel CPUs that could be exploited to stage a key recovery attack against the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm. The techniques have been collectively dubbed  Pathfinder  by a group of academics from the University of California San Diego, Purdue University, UNC Chapel Hill, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Google. "Pathfinder allows attackers to read and manipulate key components of the branch predictor, enabling two main types of attacks: reconstructing program control flow history and launching high-resolution Spectre attacks," Hosein Yavarzadeh, the lead author of the  paper , said in a statement shared with The Hacker News. "This includes extracting secret images from libraries like libjpeg and recovering encryption keys from AES through intermediate value extraction." Spectre is the name given to a  class of side-channel attacks  that exploit  branch prediction
Widely-Used PuTTY SSH Client Found Vulnerable to Key Recovery Attack

Widely-Used PuTTY SSH Client Found Vulnerable to Key Recovery Attack

Apr 16, 2024 Encryption / Network Security
The maintainers of the  PuTTY Secure Shell (SSH) and Telnet client  are alerting users of a critical vulnerability impacting versions from 0.68 through 0.80 that could be exploited to achieve full recovery of NIST P-521 (ecdsa-sha2-nistp521) private keys. The flaw has been assigned the CVE identifier  CVE-2024-31497 , with the discovery credited to researchers Fabian Bäumer and Marcus Brinkmann from the Ruhr University Bochum. "The effect of the vulnerability is to compromise the private key," the PuTTY project  said  in an advisory. "An attacker in possession of a few dozen signed messages and the public key has enough information to recover the private key, and then forge signatures as if they were from you, allowing them to (for instance) log in to any servers you use that key for." However, in order to obtain the signatures, an attacker will have to compromise the server for which the key is used to authenticate to. In a message posted on the Open Source
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What's the Right EDR for You?

What's the Right EDR for You?

May 10, 2024Endpoint Security / Threat Detection
A guide to finding the right endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution for your business' unique needs. Cybersecurity has become an ongoing battle between hackers and small- and mid-sized businesses. Though perimeter security measures like antivirus and firewalls have traditionally served as the frontlines of defense, the battleground has shifted to endpoints. This is why endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions now serve as critical weapons in the fight, empowering you and your organization to detect known and unknown threats, respond to them quickly, and extend the cybersecurity fight across all phases of an attack.  With the growing need to defend your devices from today's cyber threats, however, choosing the right EDR solution can be a daunting task. There are so many options and features to choose from, and not all EDR solutions are made with everyday businesses and IT teams in mind. So how do you pick the best solution for your needs? Why EDR Is a Must Because of
New "GoFetch" Vulnerability in Apple M-Series Chips Leaks Secret Encryption Keys

New "GoFetch" Vulnerability in Apple M-Series Chips Leaks Secret Encryption Keys

Mar 25, 2024 Hardware Security / Data Protection
A new security shortcoming discovered in Apple M-series chips could be exploited to extract secret keys used during cryptographic operations. Dubbed  GoFetch , the vulnerability relates to a microarchitectural side-channel attack that takes advantage of a feature known as data memory-dependent prefetcher (DMP) to target constant-time cryptographic implementations and capture sensitive data from the CPU cache. Apple was made aware of the findings in December 2023. Prefetchers are a hardware optimization technique that predicts what memory addresses a currently running program will access in the near future and retrieve the data into the cache accordingly from the main memory. The goal of this approach is to reduce the program's memory access latency. DMP is a type of prefetcher that takes into account the contents of memory based on previously observed access patterns when determining what to prefetch. This behavior makes it ripe for cache-based attacks that trick the prefetche
Apple Unveils PQ3 Protocol - Post-Quantum Encryption for iMessage

Apple Unveils PQ3 Protocol - Post-Quantum Encryption for iMessage

Feb 22, 2024 Quantum Computing / Encryption
Apple has announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol called  PQ3  that it said will be integrated into iMessage to secure the messaging platform against future attacks arising from the threat of a practical quantum computer. "With compromise-resilient encryption and extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks, PQ3 is the first messaging protocol to reach what we call Level 3 security — providing protocol protections that surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," Apple  said . The iPhone maker described the protocol as "groundbreaking," "state-of-the-art," and as having the "strongest security properties" of any cryptographic convention deployed at scale. PQ3 is the latest security guardrail erected by Apple in iMessage after it switched from  RSA  to Elliptic Curve cryptography ( ECC ), and by protecting encryption keys on devices with the Secure Enclave in 2019. While the current algorith
LummaC2 Malware Deploys New Trigonometry-Based Anti-Sandbox Technique

LummaC2 Malware Deploys New Trigonometry-Based Anti-Sandbox Technique

Nov 20, 2023 Malware / Cyber Attack
The stealer malware known as  LummaC2  (aka Lumma Stealer) now features a new anti-sandbox technique that leverages the mathematical principle of trigonometry to evade detection and exfiltrate valuable information from infected hosts. The method is designed to "delay detonation of the sample until human mouse activity is detected," Outpost24 security researcher Alberto Marín  said  in a technical report shared with The Hacker News. Written in the C programming language, LummaC2 has been sold in underground forums since December 2022. The malware has since  received   iterative updates  that make it harder to analyze via control flow flattening and even allow it to deliver additional payloads. The current version of LummaC2 (v4.0) also requires its customers to use a  crypter  as an added concealing mechanism, not to mention prevent it from being leaked in its raw form. Another noteworthy update is the reliance on trigonometry to detect human behavior on the infiltrated
Post-Quantum Cryptography: Finally Real in Consumer Apps?

Post-Quantum Cryptography: Finally Real in Consumer Apps?

Sep 29, 2023 Quantum Computing / Network Security
Most people are barely thinking about basic cybersecurity, let alone post-quantum cryptography. But the impact of a post-quantum world is coming for them regardless of whether or not it's keeping them up tonight.  Today, many rely on encryption in their daily lives to protect their fundamental digital privacy and security, whether for messaging friends and family, storing files and photos, or simply browsing the web. The question experts have been asking for a long time, with their eye on the advances in quantum computing, is, "How long before these defenses fail?"  The ticking clock of quantum computing One set of researchers is already sounding the alarms,  claiming  that they've found a way to break 2048-bit RSA encryption with a quantum computer. While the claims may be premature, they hint toward a scary future that is perhaps closer than we once thought. Breaking RSA encryption would represent a massive privacy and security vulnerability for virtually every
Gmail and Google Calendar Now Support Client-Side Encryption (CSE) to Boost Data Privacy

Gmail and Google Calendar Now Support Client-Side Encryption (CSE) to Boost Data Privacy

Mar 01, 2023 Encryption / Email Security
Google has announced the general availability of client-side encryption (CSE) for Gmail and Calendar, months after  piloting the feature  in late 2022. The data privacy controls enable "even more organizations to become arbiters of their own data and the sole party deciding who has access to it," Google's Ganesh Chilakapati and Andy Wen  said . To that end, users can send and receive emails or create meeting events within their organizations or to other external parties in a manner that's encrypted "before it reaches Google servers." The company is also making available a decrypter utility in beta for Windows to decrypt client-side encrypted files and emails exported via its Data Export tool or Google Vault. macOS and Linux versions of the decrypter are expected to be released in the future. The development follows the  rollout of CSE  to other products such as Google Drive, Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Meet. The solution, the tech behemoth said, is aim
NIST Standardizes Ascon Cryptographic Algorithm for IoT and Other Lightweight Devices

NIST Standardizes Ascon Cryptographic Algorithm for IoT and Other Lightweight Devices

Feb 08, 2023 Encryption / IoT Security
The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced that a family of authenticated encryption and hashing algorithms known as Ascon will be standardized for  lightweight cryptography  applications. "The chosen algorithms are designed to protect information created and transmitted by the Internet of Things (IoT), including its myriad tiny sensors and actuators," NIST  said . "They are also designed for other miniature technologies such as implanted medical devices, stress detectors inside roads and bridges, and keyless entry fobs for vehicles." Put differently, the idea is to adopt security protections via lightweight cryptography in devices that have a "limited amount of electronic resources." That said, NIST still recommends the Advanced Encryption Standard ( AES ) and SHA-256 for general use. Ascon is  credited  to a team of cryptographers from the Graz University of Technology, Infineon Technologies, Lamarr Security Researc
Goodbye SHA-1: NIST Retires 27-Year-Old Widely Used Cryptographic Algorithm

Goodbye SHA-1: NIST Retires 27-Year-Old Widely Used Cryptographic Algorithm

Dec 16, 2022 Encryption / Data Security
The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency within the Department of Commerce,  announced  Thursday that it's formally retiring the SHA-1 cryptographic algorithm. SHA-1 , short for Secure Hash Algorithm 1, is a 27-year-old  hash function  used in cryptography and has since been  deemed   broken  owing to the risk of  collision attacks . While hashes are designed to be irreversible – meaning it should be impossible to reconstruct the original message from the fixed-length enciphered text – the lack of collision resistance in SHA-1 made it possible to generate the same hash value for two different inputs. In February 2017, a group of researchers from CWI Amsterdam and Google  disclosed  the first practical technique for producing collisions on SHA-1, effectively undermining the security of the algorithm. "For example, by crafting the two colliding PDF files as two rental agreements with different rent, it is possible to trick someone to create
Royal Ransomware Threat Takes Aim at U.S. Healthcare System

Royal Ransomware Threat Takes Aim at U.S. Healthcare System

Dec 12, 2022 Healthcare IT / Ransomware
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has cautioned of ongoing Royal ransomware attacks targeting healthcare entities in the country. "While most of the known ransomware operators have performed Ransomware-as-a-Service, Royal appears to be a private group without any affiliates while maintaining financial motivation as their goal," the agency's Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3)  said  [PDF]. "The group does claim to steal data for double-extortion attacks, where they will also exfiltrate sensitive data." Royal ransomware, per  Fortinet FortiGuard Labs , is said to be active since at least the start of 2022. The malware is a 64-bit Windows executable written in C++ and is launched via the command line, indicating that it involves a human operator to trigger the infection after obtaining access to a targeted environment. Besides deleting volume shadow copies on the system, Royal utilizes the OpenSSL cryptographic library
Open Source Ransomware Toolkit Cryptonite Turns Into Accidental Wiper Malware

Open Source Ransomware Toolkit Cryptonite Turns Into Accidental Wiper Malware

Dec 06, 2022 Endpoint Security / Data Security
A version of an open source ransomware toolkit called  Cryptonite  has been observed in the wild with wiper capabilities due to its "weak architecture and programming." Cryptonite , unlike other ransomware strains, is not available for sale on the cybercriminal underground, and was instead offered for free by an actor named CYBERDEVILZ until recently through a GitHub repository. The source code and its forks have since been taken down. Written in Python, the malware employs the  Fernet module  of the cryptography package to encrypt files with a ".cryptn8" extension. But a  new sample  analyzed by Fortinet FortiGuard Labs has been found to lock files with no option to decrypt them back, essentially acting as a destructive data wiper. But this change isn't a deliberate act on part of the threat actor, but rather stems from a lack of quality assurance that causes the program to crash when attempting to display the ransom note after completing the encryption p
CISA Warns of Multiple Critical Vulnerabilities Affecting Mitsubishi Electric PLCs

CISA Warns of Multiple Critical Vulnerabilities Affecting Mitsubishi Electric PLCs

Dec 02, 2022 ICS Security / Encryption
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) this week released an Industrial Control Systems (ICS) advisory warning of multiple vulnerabilities in Mitsubishi Electric GX Works3 engineering software. "Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities could allow unauthorized users to gain access to the MELSEC iQ-R/F/L series CPU modules and the MELSEC iQ-R series OPC UA server module or to view and execute programs," the agency  said . GX Works3  is an  engineering workstation  software used in ICS environments, acting as a mechanism for uploading and downloading programs from/to the controller, troubleshooting software and hardware issues, and performing maintenance operations. The wide range of functions also makes the platform an attractive target for threat actors looking to compromise such systems to commandeer the  managed PLCs . Three of the 10 shortcomings relate to cleartext storage of sensitive data, four relate to the use of a hard-coded cr
Dell, HP, and Lenovo Devices Found Using Outdated OpenSSL Versions

Dell, HP, and Lenovo Devices Found Using Outdated OpenSSL Versions

Nov 25, 2022
An analysis of firmware images across devices from Dell, HP, and Lenovo has revealed the presence of outdated versions of the  OpenSSL  cryptographic library, underscoring a supply chain risk. EFI Development Kit, aka  EDK , is an open source implementation of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface ( UEFI ), which functions as an interface between the operating system and the firmware embedded in the device's hardware. The firmware development environment, which is in its second iteration (EDK II), comes with its own cryptographic package called  CryptoPkg  that, in turn, makes use of services from the OpenSSL project. Per firmware security company Binarly, the firmware image associated with Lenovo Thinkpad enterprise devices was found to use three different versions of OpenSSL: 0.9.8zb, 1.0.0a, and 1.0.2j, the last of which was released in 2018. What's more, one of the firmware modules named InfineonTpmUpdateDxe relied on OpenSSL version 0.9.8zb that was shipped on Au
NIST Announces First Four Quantum-Resistant Cryptographic Algorithms

NIST Announces First Four Quantum-Resistant Cryptographic Algorithms

Jul 06, 2022
The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has  chosen  the first set of quantum-resistant encryption algorithms that are designed to "withstand the assault of a future quantum computer." The post-quantum cryptography ( PQC ) technologies include the  CRYSTALS-Kyber  algorithm for general encryption, and  CRYSTALS-Dilithium ,  FALCON , and  SPHINCS+  for digital signatures. "Three of the selected algorithms are based on a family of math problems called structured lattices, while SPHINCS+ uses hash functions," NIST, which kicked off the standardization process in January 2017,  said  in a statement. Cryptography, which underpins the security of information in modern computer networks, derives its strength from the difficulty of solving mathematical problems — e.g., factoring large composite integers — using traditional computers. Quantum computers, should they mature enough, pose a  huge impact  on the current pu
Researchers Uncover Ways to Break the Encryption of 'MEGA' Cloud Storage Service

Researchers Uncover Ways to Break the Encryption of 'MEGA' Cloud Storage Service

Jun 22, 2022
A new piece of research from academics at ETH Zurich has identified a number of critical security issues in the MEGA cloud storage service that could be leveraged to break the confidentiality and integrity of user data. In a paper titled " MEGA: Malleable Encryption Goes Awry ," the researchers point out how MEGA's system does not protect its users against a malicious server, thereby enabling a rogue actor to fully compromise the privacy of the uploaded files. "Additionally, the integrity of user data is damaged to the extent that an attacker can insert malicious files of their choice which pass all authenticity checks of the client," ETH Zurich's Matilda Backendal, Miro Haller, and Kenneth G. Paterson said in an analysis of the service's cryptographic architecture. MEGA, which  advertises  itself as the "privacy company" and claims to provide user-controlled end-to-end encrypted cloud storage, has more than 10 million daily active users, w
Microsoft Warns of "Cryware" Info-Stealing Malware Targeting Crypto Wallets

Microsoft Warns of "Cryware" Info-Stealing Malware Targeting Crypto Wallets

May 18, 2022
Microsoft is warning of an emerging threat targeting internet-connected cryptocurrency wallets, signaling a departure in the use of digital coins in cyberattacks. The tech giant dubbed the new threat "cryware," with the attacks resulting in the irreversible theft of virtual currencies by means of fraudulent transfers to an adversary-controlled wallet. "Cryware are information stealers that collect and exfiltrate data directly from non-custodial cryptocurrency wallets, also known as  hot wallets ," Berman Enconado and Laurie Kirk of the Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team  said  in a new report.  "Because hot wallets, unlike custodial wallets, are stored locally on a device and provide easier access to cryptographic keys needed to perform transactions, more and more threats are targeting them." Attacks of this kind are not theoretical. Earlier this year, Kaspersky  disclosed  a financially-motivated campaign staged by the North Korea-based Lazarus Gr
QNAP Warns of OpenSSL Infinite Loop Vulnerability Affecting NAS Devices

QNAP Warns of OpenSSL Infinite Loop Vulnerability Affecting NAS Devices

Mar 31, 2022
Taiwanese company QNAP this week revealed that a selected number of its network-attached storage (NAS) appliances are affected by a recently-disclosed bug in the open-source OpenSSL cryptographic library. "An infinite loop vulnerability in OpenSSL has been reported to affect certain QNAP NAS," the company  said  in an advisory published on March 29, 2022. "If exploited, the vulnerability allows attackers to conduct denial-of-service attacks." Tracked as  CVE-2022-0778  (CVSS score: 7.5), the issue relates to a bug that arises when parsing security certificates to trigger a denial-of-service condition and remotely crash unpatched devices. QNAP, which is currently investigating its line-up, said it affects the following operating system versions – QTS 5.0.x and later QTS 4.5.4 and later QTS 4.3.6 and later QTS 4.3.4 and later QTS 4.3.3 and later QTS 4.2.6 and later QuTS hero h5.0.x and later QuTS hero h4.5.4 and later, and QuTScloud c5.0.x To date, t
Researchers Demonstrate New Side-Channel Attack on Homomorphic Encryption

Researchers Demonstrate New Side-Channel Attack on Homomorphic Encryption

Mar 03, 2022
A group of academics from the North Carolina State University and Dokuz Eylul University have demonstrated what they say is the "first side-channel attack" on homomorphic encryption that could be exploited to leak data as the encryption process is underway. "Basically, by monitoring power consumption in a device that is encoding data for homomorphic encryption, we are able to read the data as it is being encrypted," Aydin Aysu, one of the authors of the study,  said . "This demonstrates that even next generation encryption technologies need protection against side-channel attacks." Homomorphic Encryption is a  form of encryption  that allows certain types of computation to be performed directly on encrypted data without having to decrypt it in the first place. It's also meant to be privacy-preserving in that it allows sharing of sensitive data with other third-party services, such as data analytics firms, for further processing while the underlyin
100 Million Samsung Galaxy Phones Affected with Flawed Hardware Encryption Feature

100 Million Samsung Galaxy Phones Affected with Flawed Hardware Encryption Feature

Feb 28, 2022
A group of academics from Tel Aviv University have disclosed details of now-patched "severe" design flaws affecting about 100 million Android-based Samsung smartphones that could have resulted in the extraction of secret cryptographic keys. The shortcomings are the result of an analysis of the cryptographic design and implementation of Android's hardware-backed Keystore in Samsung's Galaxy S8, S9, S10, S20, and S21 flagship devices, researchers Alon Shakevsky, Eyal Ronen, and Avishai Wool  said . Trusted Execution Environments ( TEEs ) are a secure zone that provide an isolated environment for the execution of Trusted Applications (TAs) to carry out security critical tasks to ensure confidentiality and integrity. On Android, the hardware-backed  Keystore  is a system that facilitates the creation and storage of cryptographic keys within the TEE, making them more difficult to be extracted from the device in a manner that prevents the underlying operating system fr
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