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Shifting the focus from reactive to proactive, with human-led secure coding

Shifting the focus from reactive to proactive, with human-led secure coding

June 07, 2021The Hacker News
The same 10 software vulnerabilities have caused more security breaches in the last 20+ years than any others. And yet, many businesses still opt for post-breach, post-event remediation, muddling through the human and business ramifications of it all. But now,  a new research study  points to a new, human-led direction. ‍ The following discusses insights derived from a study conducted by Secure Code Warrior with Evans Data Corp titled 'Shifting from reaction to prevention: The changing face of application security' (2021) exploring developers attitudes towards secure coding, secure code practices, and security operations.  Read the report. ‍‍In the study, developers and development managers were asked about their common secure coding practices. The top three methods highlighted were: Scanning applications for irregularities or vulnerabilities after they are deployed Scrutinizing write code to inspect for irregularities or vulnerabilities The reuse of pre-approved code t
Latvian Woman Charged for Her Role in Creating Trickbot Banking Malware

Latvian Woman Charged for Her Role in Creating Trickbot Banking Malware

June 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) on Friday charged a Latvian woman for her alleged role as a programmer in a cybercrime gang that helped develop TrickBot malware. The woman in question, Alla Witte , aka Max, 55, who resided in Paramaribo, Suriname, was arrested in Miami, Florida on February 6. Witte has been charged with 19 counts, including conspiracy to commit computer fraud and aggravated identity theft, wire and bank fraud affecting a financial institution, and money laundering. According to heavily redacted court documents released by the DoJ, Witte and 16 other unnamed cohorts have been accused of running a transnational criminal organization to develop and deploy a digital suite of malware tools with an aim to target businesses and individuals worldwide for theft and ransom. Since its origin as a banking Trojan in late 2015,  TrickBot  has evolved into a " crimeware-as-a-service " capable of pilfering valuable personal and financial information and even droppi
GitHub Updates Policy to Remove Exploit Code When Used in Active Attacks

GitHub Updates Policy to Remove Exploit Code When Used in Active Attacks

June 05, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Code-hosting platform GitHub Friday officially announced a series of updates to the  site's policies  that delve into how the company deals with malware and exploit code uploaded to its service. "We explicitly permit dual-use security technologies and content related to research into vulnerabilities, malware, and exploits," the Microsoft-owned company  said . "We understand that many security research projects on GitHub are dual-use and broadly beneficial to the security community. We assume positive intention and use of these projects to promote and drive improvements across the ecosystem." Stating that it will not allow the use of GitHub in direct support of unlawful attacks or malware campaigns that cause technical harm, the company said it may take steps to disrupt ongoing attacks that leverage the platform as an exploit or a malware content delivery network (CDN). To that end, users are refrained from uploading, posting, hosting, or transmitting any co
ALERT: Critical RCE Bug in VMware vCenter Server Under Active Attack

ALERT: Critical RCE Bug in VMware vCenter Server Under Active Attack

June 05, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Malicious actors are actively mass scanning the internet for vulnerable VMware vCenter servers that are unpatched against a critical remote code execution flaw, which the company addressed late last month. The ongoing activity was detected by Bad Packets on June 3 and corroborated  yesterday  by security researcher Kevin Beaumont. "Mass scanning activity detected from 104.40.252.159 checking for VMware vSphere hosts vulnerable to remote code execution,"  tweeted  Troy Mursch, chief research officer at Bad Packets. The development follows the publication of a proof-of-concept (PoC) RCE exploit code targeting the VMware vCenter bug. Tracked as  CVE-2021-21985  (CVSS score 9.8), the issue is a consequence of a lack of input validation in the Virtual SAN (vSAN) Health Check plug-in, which could be abused by an attacker to execute commands with unrestricted privileges on the underlying operating system that hosts the vCenter Server. Although the flaw was rectified by VMwar
Google Chrome to Help Users Identify Untrusted Extensions Before Installation

Google Chrome to Help Users Identify Untrusted Extensions Before Installation

June 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Thursday said it's rolling out new security features to Chrome browser aimed at detecting suspicious downloads and extensions via its Enhanced Safe Browsing feature, which it launched a year ago. To this end, the search giant said it will now offer additional protections when users attempt to install a new extension from the Chrome Web Store, notifying if it can be considered "trusted." Currently, 75% of all add-ons on the platform are compliant, the company pointed out, adding "any extensions built by a developer who follows the Chrome Web Store Developer Program Policies , will be considered trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing." Enhanced Safe Browsing involves sharing real-time data with Google Safe Browsing to proactively safeguard users against dangerous sites. The company also noted that its integration with Safe Browsing's blocklist API helped improve privacy and security, with the number of malicious extensions disabled by the browser j
The Vulnerabilities of the Past Are the Vulnerabilities of the Future

The Vulnerabilities of the Past Are the Vulnerabilities of the Future

June 03, 2021The Hacker News
Major software vulnerabilities are a fact of life, as illustrated by the fact that Microsoft has patched between 55 and 110 vulnerabilities each month this year – with 7% to 17% of those vulnerabilities being critical. May had the fewest vulnerabilities, with a total of 55 and only four considered critical. The problem is that the critical vulnerabilities are things we have seen for many years, like remote code execution and privilege escalation. Microsoft isn't the only big name regularly patching major vulnerabilities: We see monthly security updates coming from Apple, Adobe, Google, Cisco, and others. Everything old is new again With major vulnerabilities in so many applications, is there any hope for a secure future? The answer is, of course, yes, but that does not mean there won't be challenges getting there. The vulnerabilities being seen may not be new to those of us who have been defending against attackers for years or even decades, but the adversaries continual
Experts Uncover Yet Another Chinese Spying Campaign Aimed at Southeast Asia

Experts Uncover Yet Another Chinese Spying Campaign Aimed at Southeast Asia

June 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An ongoing cyber-espionage operation with suspected ties to China has been found targeting a Southeast Asian government to deploy spyware on Windows systems while staying under the radar for more than three years. "In this campaign, the attackers utilized the set of Microsoft Office exploits and loaders with anti-analysis and anti-debugging techniques to install a previously unknown backdoor on victim's machines," researchers from Check Point Research said in a report published today. The infection chain works by sending decoy documents, impersonating other entities within the government, to multiple members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which, when opened, retrieves a next-stage payload from the attacker's server that contains an encrypted downloader. The downloader, in turn, gathers and exfiltrates system information to a remote server that subsequently responds back with a shellcode loader. The use of weaponized copies of legitimate-looking official doc
Researchers Uncover Hacking Operations Targeting Government Entities in South Korea

Researchers Uncover Hacking Operations Targeting Government Entities in South Korea

June 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A North Korean threat actor active since 2012 has been behind a new espionage campaign targeting high-profile government officials associated with its southern counterpart to install an Android and Windows backdoor for collecting sensitive information. Cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes attributed the activity to a threat actor tracked as Kimsuky, with the targeted entities comprising of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador of the Embassy of Sri Lanka to the State, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Nuclear Security Officer, and the Deputy Consul General at Korean Consulate General in Hong Kong. The attacks also involved collecting information about other organizations and universities in the country, including the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA), Seoul National University, and Daishin Securities. Malwarebytes, however, noted that there is no evidence of active targeting or compromise by the adversary. The development is only the latest in a series of surveil
US Seizes Domains Used by SolarWinds Hackers in Cyber Espionage Attacks

US Seizes Domains Used by SolarWinds Hackers in Cyber Espionage Attacks

June 01, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Days after  Microsoft ,  Secureworks , and  Volexity  shed light on a new spear-phishing activity unleashed by the Russian hackers who breached SolarWinds IT management software, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) Tuesday said it intervened to take control of two command-and-control (C2) and malware distribution domains used in the campaign. The court-authorized domain seizure took place on May 28, the DoJ said, adding the action was aimed at disrupting the threat actors' follow-on exploitation of victims as well as block their ability to compromise new systems. The department, however, cautioned that the adversary might have deployed additional backdoor accesses in the interim period between when the initial compromises occurred, and the seizures took place last week. "[The] action is a continued demonstration of the Department's commitment to proactively disrupt hacking activity prior to the conclusion of a criminal investigation,"  said  Assistant Attorney Ge
A New Bug in Siemens PLCs Could Let Hackers Run Malicious Code Remotely

A New Bug in Siemens PLCs Could Let Hackers Run Malicious Code Remotely

May 31, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Siemens on Friday shipped firmware updates to address a severe vulnerability in SIMATIC S7-1200 and S7-1500 programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that could be exploited by a malicious actor to remotely gain access to protected areas of the memory and achieve unrestricted and undetected code execution, in what the researchers describe as an attacker's "holy grail." The memory protection bypass vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-15782 (CVSS score: 8.1), was discovered by operational technology security company Claroty by reverse-engineering the MC7 / MC7+ bytecode language used to execute PLC programs in the microprocessor. There's no evidence that the weakness was abused in the wild. In an  advisory  issued by Siemens, the German industrial automation firm said an unauthenticated, remote attacker with network access to TCP port 102 could potentially write arbitrary data and code to protected memory areas or read sensitive data to launch further attacks. "Ach
Researchers Warn of Facefish Backdoor Spreading Linux Rootkits

Researchers Warn of Facefish Backdoor Spreading Linux Rootkits

May 28, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed a new backdoor program capable of stealing user login credentials, device information and executing arbitrary commands on Linux systems. The malware dropper has been dubbed " Facefish " by Qihoo 360 NETLAB team owing its capabilities to deliver different rootkits at different times and the use of  Blowfish  cipher to encrypt communications to the attacker-controlled server. "Facefish consists of 2 parts, Dropper and Rootkit, and its main function is determined by the Rootkit module, which works at the  Ring 3  layer and is loaded using the  LD_PRELOAD  feature to steal user login credentials by hooking ssh/sshd program related functions, and it also supports some backdoor functions," the researchers  said . The NETLAB research builds on a previous analysis  published  by Juniper Networks on April 26, which documented an attack chain targeting Control Web Panel (CWP, formerly CentOS Web Panel) to inject an SSH implant wit
SolarWinds Hackers Target Think Tanks With New 'NativeZone' Backdoor

SolarWinds Hackers Target Think Tanks With New 'NativeZone' Backdoor

May 28, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Thursday disclosed that the threat actor behind the  SolarWinds supply chain hack  returned to the threat landscape to target government agencies, think tanks, consultants, and non-governmental organizations located across 24 countries, including the U.S. Some of the entities that were singled out include the U.S. Atlantic Council, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Action Center (ANTAC), the EU DisinfoLab, and the Government of Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs. "This wave of attacks targeted approximately 3,000 email accounts at more than 150 different organizations," Tom Burt, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President for Customer Security and Trust,  said . "At least a quarter of the targeted organizations were involved in international development, humanitarian, and human rights work." Microsoft attributed the ongoing intrusions to the Russian threat actor it tracks as Nobeliu
Chinese Cyber Espionage Hackers Continue to Target Pulse Secure VPN Devices

Chinese Cyber Espionage Hackers Continue to Target Pulse Secure VPN Devices

May 28, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers from FireEye unmasked additional tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) adopted by Chinese threat actors who were recently found abusing Pulse Secure VPN devices to drop malicious web shells and exfiltrate sensitive information from enterprise networks. FireEye's Mandiant threat intelligence team, which is tracking the cyber espionage activity under two activity clusters UNC2630 and UNC2717,  said  the intrusions line up with key Chinese government priorities, adding "many compromised organizations operate in verticals and industries aligned with Beijing's strategic objectives outlined in China's recent  14th Five Year Plan ." On April 20, the cybersecurity firm  disclosed  12 different malware families, including STEADYPULSE and LOCKPICK, that have been designed with the express intent to infect Pulse Secure VPN appliances and put to use by at least two cyber espionage groups believed to be affiliated with the Chinese government.
Malvertising Campaign On Google Distributed Trojanized AnyDesk Installer

Malvertising Campaign On Google Distributed Trojanized AnyDesk Installer

May 27, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Wednesday publicized the disruption of a "clever" malvertising network targeting AnyDesk that delivered a weaponized installer of the remote desktop software via rogue Google ads that appeared in the search engine results pages. The campaign, which is believed to have begun as early as April 21, 2021, involves a malicious file that masquerades as a setup executable for AnyDesk (AnyDeskSetup.exe), which, upon execution, downloads a PowerShell implant to amass and exfiltrate system information. "The script had some obfuscation and multiple functions that resembled an implant as well as a hardcoded domain (zoomstatistic[.]com) to 'POST' reconnaissance information such as user name, hostname, operating system, IP address and the current process name," researchers from Crowdstrike  said  in an analysis. AnyDesk's remote desktop access solution has been  downloaded  by more than 300 million users worldwide, according to the co
Newly Discovered Bugs in VSCode Extensions Could Lead to Supply Chain Attacks

Newly Discovered Bugs in VSCode Extensions Could Lead to Supply Chain Attacks

May 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Severe security flaws uncovered in popular Visual Studio Code extensions could enable attackers to compromise local machines as well as build and deployment systems through a developer's integrated development environment (IDE). The vulnerable extensions could be exploited to run arbitrary code on a developer's system remotely, in what could ultimately pave the way for supply chain attacks. Some of the extensions in question are "LaTeX Workshop," "Rainbow Fart," "Open in Default Browser," and "Instant Markdown," all of which have cumulatively racked up about two million installations between them. "Developer machines usually hold significant credentials, allowing them (directly or indirectly) to interact with many parts of the product," researchers from open-source security platform Snyk  said  in a deep-dive published on May 26. "Leaking a developer's private key can allow a malicious stakeholder to clone important
Data Wiper Malware Disguised As Ransomware Targets Israeli Entities

Data Wiper Malware Disguised As Ransomware Targets Israeli Entities

May 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers on Tuesday disclosed a new espionage campaign that resorts to destructive data-wiping attacks targeting Israeli entities at least since December 2020 that camouflage the malicious activity as ransomware extortions. Cybersecurity firm SentinelOne attributed the attacks to a nation-state actor affiliated with Iran it tracks under the moniker "Agrius." "An analysis of what at first sight appeared to be a ransomware attack revealed new variants of wipers that were deployed in a set of destructive attacks against Israeli targets," the researchers  said . "The operators behind the attacks intentionally masked their activity as ransomware attacks, an uncommon behavior for financially motivated groups." The group's modus operandi involves deploying a custom .NET malware called Apostle that has evolved to become a fully functional ransomware, supplanting its prior wiper capabilities, while some of the attacks have been carried out using a secon
WhatsApp Sues Indian Government Over New Internet Regulations

WhatsApp Sues Indian Government Over New Internet Regulations

May 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
WhatsApp on Wednesday fired a legal salvo against the Indian government to block new regulations that would require messaging apps to trace the "first originator" of messages shared on the platform, thus effectively breaking encryption protections. "Requiring messaging apps to 'trace' chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people's right to privacy," a WhatsApp spokesperson told The Hacker News via email. "We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users." With over 530 million active users, India is WhatsApp's biggest market by users.  The lawsuit, filed by the Facebook-owned messaging service in the Delhi High Court, seeks to bar new internet rules that come into force effective May 26. Called the Intermediary Guide
New High-Severity Vulnerability Reported in Pulse Connect Secure VPN

New High-Severity Vulnerability Reported in Pulse Connect Secure VPN

May 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Ivanti, the company behind Pulse Secure VPN appliances, has published a security advisory for a high severity vulnerability that may allow an authenticated remote attacker to execute arbitrary code with elevated privileges. "Buffer Overflow in Windows File Resource Profiles in 9.X allows a remote authenticated user with privileges to browse SMB shares to execute arbitrary code as the root user," the company  said  in an alert published on May 14. "As of version 9.1R3, this permission is not enabled by default." The flaw, identified as CVE-2021-22908, has a CVSS score of 8.5 out of a maximum of 10 and impacts Pulse Connect Secure versions 9.0Rx and 9.1Rx. In a report detailing the vulnerability, the CERT Coordination Center said the issue stems from the gateway's ability to connect to Windows file shares through a number of CGI endpoints that could be leveraged to carry out the attack. "When specifying a long server name for some SMB operations, the 
New Bluetooth Flaws Let Attackers Impersonate Legitimate Devices

New Bluetooth Flaws Let Attackers Impersonate Legitimate Devices

May 24, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Adversaries could exploit newly discovered security weaknesses in Bluetooth Core and Mesh Profile Specifications to masquerade as legitimate devices and carry out man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks. "Devices supporting the Bluetooth  Core  and  Mesh Specifications  are vulnerable to impersonation attacks and AuthValue disclosure that could allow an attacker to impersonate a legitimate device during pairing," the Carnegie Mellon CERT Coordination Center  said  in an advisory published Monday. The two Bluetooth specifications define the standard that allows for many-to-many communication over the short-range wireless technology to facilitate data transfer between devices in an ad-hoc network. The Bluetooth Impersonation AttackS, aka BIAS , enable a malicious actor to establish a secure connection with a victim, without having to know and authenticate the long-term key shared between the victims, thus effectively bypassing Bluetooth's authentication mechanism. "The
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