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GitHub Breach: Hackers Stole Code-Signing Certificates for GitHub Desktop and Atom

GitHub Breach: Hackers Stole Code-Signing Certificates for GitHub Desktop and Atom

Jan 31, 2023 Security Incident / Encryption
GitHub on Monday disclosed that unknown threat actors managed to exfiltrate encrypted code signing certificates pertaining to some versions of GitHub Desktop for Mac and Atom apps. As a result, the company is  taking the step  of revoking the exposed certificates out of abundance of caution. The following versions of GitHub Desktop for Mac have been invalidated: 3.0.2, 3.0.3, 3.0.4, 3.0.5, 3.0.6, 3.0.7, 3.0.8, 3.1.0, 3.1.1, and 3.1.2. Versions 1.63.0 and 1.63.1 of 1.63.0 of Atom are also expected to stop working as of February 2, 2023, requiring that users downgrade to a  previous version  (1.60.0) of the source code editor. Atom was officially discontinued in December 2022. GitHub Desktop for Windows is not affected. The Microsoft-owned subsidiary said it detected unauthorized access to a set of repositories, including those from deprecated GitHub-owned organizations, used in the planning and development of GitHub Desktop and Atom on December 7, 2022. The repositories are said
Hive Ransomware Infrastructure Seized in Joint International Law Enforcement Effort

Hive Ransomware Infrastructure Seized in Joint International Law Enforcement Effort

Jan 26, 2023 Encryption / Ransomware
In what's a case of hacking the hackers, the darknet infrastructure associated with the Hive ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operation has been seized as part of a coordinated law enforcement effort involving 13 countries. "Law enforcement identified the decryption keys and shared them with many of the victims, helping them regain access to their data without paying the cybercriminals," Europol  said  in a statement. The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ)  said  the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) covertly infiltrated the Hive database servers in July 2022 and captured 336 decryption keys that were then handed over to companies compromised by the gang, effectively saving $130 million in ransom payments. The FBI also distributed more than 1,000 additional decryption keys to previous Hive victims, the DoJ noted, stating the agency gained access to two dedicated servers and one virtual private server at a hosting provider in California that were leased using three em
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Researchers Release PoC Exploit for Windows CryptoAPI Bug Discovered by NSA

Researchers Release PoC Exploit for Windows CryptoAPI Bug Discovered by NSA

Jan 26, 2023 Encryption / Windows Security
Proof-of-concept (Poc) code has been released for a now-patched high-severity security flaw in the Windows CryptoAPI that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.K. National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reported to Microsoft last year. Tracked as  CVE-2022-34689  (CVSS score: 7.5), the spoofing vulnerability was addressed by the tech giant as part of Patch Tuesday updates released in August 2022, but was only publicly disclosed two months later on October 11, 2022. "An attacker could manipulate an existing public  x.509 certificate  to spoof their identity and perform actions such as authentication or code signing as the targeted certificate," Microsoft  said  in an advisory released at the time. The  Windows CryptoAPI  offers an interface for developers to add cryptographic services such as encryption/decryption of data and authentication using digital certificates to their applications. Web security company Akamai, which  released  the PoC,  said  CVE-2022-
Facebook Introduces New Features for End-to-End Encrypted Messenger App

Facebook Introduces New Features for End-to-End Encrypted Messenger App

Jan 24, 2023 Encryption / Privacy
Meta Platforms on Monday announced that it has started to expand global testing of end-to-end encryption ( E2EE ) in Messenger chats by default. "Over the next few months, more people will continue to see some of their chats gradually being upgraded with an extra layer of protection provided by end-to-end encryption," Meta's Melissa Miranda  said . The social media behemoth said it intends to notify users in select individual chat threads as the security feature is enabled, while emphasizing that the process of choosing and upgrading the conversations to support E2EE is random. "It's designed to be random so that there isn't a negative impact on our infrastructure and people's chat experience," Miranda further explained. Along with flipping the switch on E2EE, Meta has also added more features into its encrypted chat experience, including support for themes, custom emojis and reactions, group profile photos, link previews, and active status. T
Expert Analysis Reveals Cryptographic Weaknesses in Threema Messaging App

Expert Analysis Reveals Cryptographic Weaknesses in Threema Messaging App

Jan 10, 2023 Privacy / Encryption
A comprehensive analysis of the cryptographic protocols used in the Swiss encrypted messaging application Threema has revealed a number of loopholes that could be exploited to break authentication protections and even recover users' private keys. The seven attacks span three different threat models,  according  to ETH Zurich researchers Kenneth G. Paterson, Matteo Scarlata, and Kien Tuong Truong, who reported the issues to Threema on October 3, 2022. The weaknesses have since been addressed as part of  updates  released by the company on November 29, 2022. Threema is an encrypted messaging app that's used by more than 11 million users as of October 2022. "Security and privacy are deeply ingrained in Threema's DNA," the company  claims  on its website. Officially used by the Swiss Government and the Swiss Army, it's also advertised as a secure alternative alongside other services such as Signal, Meta-owned WhatsApp, and Telegram. While Threema has been sub
Cybersecurity Experts Uncover Inner Workings of Destructive Azov Ransomware

Cybersecurity Experts Uncover Inner Workings of Destructive Azov Ransomware

Dec 13, 2022 Data Security / Endpoint Security
Cybersecurity researchers have published the inner workings of a new wiper called  Azov Ransomware  that's deliberately designed to corrupt data and "inflict impeccable damage" to compromised systems. Distributed through another malware loader known as  SmokeLoader , the malware has been  described  as an "effective, fast, and unfortunately unrecoverable data wiper," by Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point. Its origins have yet to be determined. The wiper routine is set to overwrite a file's contents in alternating 666-byte chunks with random noise, a technique referred to as  intermittent encryption  that's being increasingly leveraged by ransomware operators to evade detection and encrypt victims' files faster. "One thing that sets Azov apart from your garden-variety ransomware is its modification of certain 64-bit executables to execute its own code," threat researcher Jiří Vinopal said. "The modification of executables is
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
Researchers Say Microsoft Office 365 Uses Broken Email Encryption to Secure Messages

Researchers Say Microsoft Office 365 Uses Broken Email Encryption to Secure Messages

Oct 17, 2022
New research has disclosed what's being called a security vulnerability in Microsoft 365 that could be exploited to infer message contents due to the use of a broken cryptographic algorithm. "The [Office 365 Message Encryption] messages are encrypted in insecure Electronic Codebook ( ECB ) mode of operation," Finnish cybersecurity company WithSecure  said  in a report published last week. Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) is a security mechanism used to send and receive encrypted email messages between users inside and outside an organization without revealing anything about the communications themselves. A consequence of the newly disclosed issue is that rogue third-parties gaining access to the encrypted email messages may be able to decipher the messages, effectively breaking confidentiality protections. Electronic Codebook is one of the simplest modes of encryption wherein each message block is encoded separately by a key, meaning identical plaintext blocks wi
Facebook Testing Default End-to-End Encryption and Encrypted Backups in Messenger

Facebook Testing Default End-to-End Encryption and Encrypted Backups in Messenger

Aug 12, 2022
Social media company Meta said it will begin testing end-to-end encryption (E2EE) on its Messenger platform this week for select users as the default option, as the company continues to slowly add security layers to its various chat services. "If you're in the test group, some of your most frequent chats may be automatically end-to-end encrypted, which means you won't have to opt in to the feature," Sara Su, product management director of Messenger Trust,  said . The incremental development comes a year after it  turned on E2EE  for audio and video calls on the messaging service as well as for one-on-one chats in Instagram, and enabled  encrypted chat backups  for WhatsApp on Android and iOS. E2EE is a secure communication mechanism that scrambles data in transit and prevents third-parties from unauthorizedly accessing information sent from one endpoint to another, including Meta. "This is because with end-to-end encryption, your messages are secured with a
Single-Core CPU Cracked Post-Quantum Encryption Candidate Algorithm in Just an Hour

Single-Core CPU Cracked Post-Quantum Encryption Candidate Algorithm in Just an Hour

Aug 03, 2022
A late-stage candidate encryption algorithm that was meant to withstand decryption by powerful quantum computers in the future has been trivially cracked by using a computer running Intel Xeon CPU in an hour's time. The algorithm in question is SIKE — short for Supersingular Isogeny Key Encapsulation — which made it to the  fourth round  of the Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) standardization process initiated by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Ran on a single core, the appended  Magma   code  breaks the Microsoft  SIKE challenges  $IKEp182 and $IKEp217 in about 4 minutes and 6 minutes, respectively," KU Leuven researchers Wouter Castryck and Thomas Decru  said  in a new paper. "A run on the SIKEp434 parameters, previously believed to meet NIST's quantum security level 1, took about 62 minutes, again on a single core." The code was executed on an Intel  Xeon CPU E5-2630v2  at 2.60GHz, which w
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
New XLoader Botnet Version Using Probability Theory to Hide its C&C Servers

New XLoader Botnet Version Using Probability Theory to Hide its C&C Servers

Jun 01, 2022
An enhanced version of the XLoader malware has been spotted adopting a probability-based approach to camouflage its command-and-control (C&C) infrastructure, according to the latest research. "Now it is significantly harder to separate the wheat from the chaff and discover the real C&C servers among thousands of legitimate domains used by Xloader as a smokescreen," Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point  said . First spotted in the wild in October 2020, XLoader is a successor to Formbook and a  cross-platform information stealer  that's capable of plundering credentials from web browsers, capturing keystrokes and screenshots, and executing arbitrary commands and payloads. More recently, the  ongoing geopolitical conflict  between Russia and Ukraine has proved to be a lucrative fodder for  distributing XLoader  by means of  phishing emails  aimed at high-ranking government officials in Ukraine. The latest findings from Check Point build on a previous repor
New "B1txor20" Linux Botnet Uses DNS Tunnel and Exploits Log4J Flaw

New "B1txor20" Linux Botnet Uses DNS Tunnel and Exploits Log4J Flaw

Mar 16, 2022
A previously undocumented backdoor has been observed targeting Linux systems with the goal of corralling the machines into a botnet and acting as a conduit for downloading and installing rootkits. Qihoo 360's Netlab security team called it  B1txor20  "based on its propagation using the file name 'b1t,' the XOR encryption algorithm, and the RC4 algorithm key length of 20 bytes." First observed propagating through the  Log4j vulnerability  on February 9, 2022, the malware leverages a technique called DNS tunneling to build communication channels with command-and-control (C2) servers by encoding data in DNS queries and responses. B1txor20, while also buggy in some ways, currently supports the ability to obtain a shell, execute arbitrary commands, install a rootkit, open a  SOCKS5 proxy , and functions to upload sensitive information back to the C2 server. Once a machine is successfully compromised, the malware utilizes the DNS tunnel to retrieve and execute co
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
Patching the CentOS 8 Encryption Bug is Urgent – What Are Your Plans?

Patching the CentOS 8 Encryption Bug is Urgent – What Are Your Plans?

Jan 27, 2022
There are three things you can be sure of in life: death, taxes – and new CVEs. For organizations that rely on CentOS 8, the inevitable has now happened, and it didn't take long. Just two weeks after reaching the official end of life, something broke spectacularly, leaving  CentOS 8  users at major risk of a severe attack – and with no support from CentOS. You'd think that this issue no longer affects a significant number of organizations because by now, companies would have migrated away from CentOS 8 to an OS that is actively supported by vendors. After all, vendor support is critical for security and compliance. But as it always is with these things, you can count on the fact that a big chunk of CentOS 8 users are soldiering on with an unsupported OS, despite being aware of the risks. With that risk now crystallizing we're using this article to examine  CVE-2021-4122 , the newly discovered vulnerability in LUKS encryption, and to discuss your options for mitigating it. Wait, wha
Critical Bug in Mozilla’s NSS Crypto Library Potentially Affects Several Other Software

Critical Bug in Mozilla's NSS Crypto Library Potentially Affects Several Other Software

Dec 02, 2021
Mozilla has rolled out fixes to address a critical security weakness in its cross-platform Network Security Services ( NSS ) cryptographic library that could be potentially exploited by an adversary to crash a vulnerable application and even execute arbitrary code. Tracked as CVE-2021-43527, the flaw affects NSS versions prior to 3.73 or 3.68.1 ESR, and concerns a  heap overflow  vulnerability when verifying digital signatures such as  DSA  and  RSA-PSS  algorithms that are encoded using the  DER  binary format. Credited with reporting the issue is Tavis Ormandy of Google Project Zero, who codenamed it " BigSig ." "NSS (Network Security Services) versions prior to 3.73 or 3.68.1 ESR are vulnerable to a heap overflow when handling DER-encoded DSA or RSA-PSS signatures," Mozilla  said  in an advisory published Wednesday. "Applications using NSS for handling signatures encoded within CMS, S/MIME, PKCS #7, or PKCS #12 are likely to be impacted." NSS is a
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