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WARNING: Hackers Exploit Unpatched Pulse Secure 0-Day to Breach Organizations

WARNING: Hackers Exploit Unpatched Pulse Secure 0-Day to Breach Organizations
April 20, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
If Pulse Connect Secure gateway is part of your organization network, you need to be aware of a newly discovered critical zero-day authentication bypass vulnerability (CVE-2021-22893) that is currently being exploited in the wild and for which there is no patch available yet. At least two threat actors have been behind a series of intrusions targeting defense, government, and financial organizations in the U.S. and elsewhere by leveraging critical vulnerabilities in Pulse Secure VPN devices to circumvent multi-factor authentication protections and breach enterprise networks. "A combination of prior vulnerabilities and a previously unknown vulnerability discovered in April 2021,  CVE-2021-22893 , are responsible for the initial infection vector," cybersecurity firm FireEye  said  on Tuesday, identifying 12 malware families associated with the exploitation of Pulse Secure VPN appliances. The company is also tracking the activity under two threat clusters UNC2630 and UNC271

Over 750,000 Users Downloaded New Billing Fraud Apps From Google Play Store

Over 750,000 Users Downloaded New Billing Fraud Apps From Google Play Store
April 20, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers have uncovered a new set of fraudulent Android apps in the Google Play store that were found to hijack SMS message notifications for carrying out billing fraud. The apps in question primarily targeted users in Southwest Asia and the Arabian Peninsula, attracting a total of 700,000 downloads before they were discovered and removed from the platform. The findings were reported independently by cybersecurity firms  Trend Micro  and  McAfee . "Posing as photo editors, wallpapers, puzzles, keyboard skins, and other camera-related apps, the malware embedded in these fraudulent apps hijack SMS message notifications and then make unauthorized purchases," researchers from McAfee said in a Monday write-up. The fraudulent apps belong to the so-called " Joker " (aka Bread) malware, which has been found to repeatedly sneak past Google Play defenses over the past four years, resulting in Google removing no fewer than 1,700 infected apps from the Play Store as of

Lazarus APT Hackers are now using BMP images to hide RAT malware

Lazarus APT Hackers are now using BMP images to hide RAT malware
April 19, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A spear-phishing attack operated by a North Korean threat actor targeting its southern counterpart has been found to conceal its malicious code within a bitmap (.BMP) image file to drop a remote access trojan (RAT) capable of stealing sensitive information. Attributing the attack to the  Lazarus Group  based on similarities to prior tactics adopted by the adversary, researchers from Malwarebytes said the phishing campaign started by distributing emails laced with a malicious document that it identified on April 13. "The actor has used a clever method to bypass security mechanisms in which it has embedded its malicious  HTA  file as a compressed  zlib  file within a PNG file that then has been decompressed during run time by converting itself to the BMP format," Malwarebytes researchers  said .  "The dropped payload was a loader that decoded and decrypted the second stage payload into memory. The second stage payload has the capability to receive and execute commands

Malware That Spreads Via Xcode Projects Now Targeting Apple's M1-based Macs

Malware That Spreads Via Xcode Projects Now Targeting Apple's M1-based Macs
April 19, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A Mac malware campaign targeting Xcode developers has been retooled to add support for Apple's new M1 chips and expand its features to steal confidential information from cryptocurrency apps. XCSSET came into the spotlight in  August 2020  after it was found to spread via modified Xcode IDE projects, which, upon the building, were configured to execute the payload. The malware repackages payload modules to imitate legitimate Mac apps, which are ultimately responsible for infecting local Xcode projects and injecting the main payload to execute when the compromised project builds. XCSSET modules come with the capabilities to steal credentials, capture screenshots, inject malicious JavaScript into websites, plunder user data from different apps, and even encrypt files for a ransom.  Then in March 2021, Kaspersky researchers  uncovered  XCSSET samples compiled for the new Apple M1 chips, suggesting that the malware campaign was not only ongoing but also that adversaries are  activ

1-Click Hack Found in Popular Desktop Apps — Check If You're Using Them

1-Click Hack Found in Popular Desktop Apps — Check If You're Using Them
April 15, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Multiple one-click vulnerabilities have been discovered across a variety of popular software applications, allowing an attacker to potentially execute arbitrary code on target systems. The issues were discovered by Positive Security researchers Fabian Bräunlein and Lukas Euler and affect apps like Telegram, Nextcloud, VLC, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Bitcoin/Dogecoin Wallets, Wireshark, and Mumble. "Desktop applications which pass user supplied URLs to be opened by the operating system are frequently vulnerable to code execution with user interaction," the researchers  said . "Code execution can be achieved either when a URL pointing to a malicious executable (.desktop, .jar, .exe, …) hosted on an internet accessible file share (nfs, webdav, smb, …) is opened, or an additional vulnerability in the opened application's URI handler is exploited." Put differently; the flaws stem from an insufficient validation of URL input that, when opened with the help of the u

New JavaScript Exploit Can Now Carry Out DDR4 Rowhammer Attacks

New JavaScript Exploit Can Now Carry Out DDR4 Rowhammer Attacks
April 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Academics from Vrije University in Amsterdam and ETH Zurich have published a new research paper describing yet another variation of the Rowhammer attack. Dubbed  SMASH  (Synchronized MAny-Sided Hammering), the technique can be used to successfully trigger the attack from JavaScript on modern DDR4 RAM cards, notwithstanding extensive mitigations that have been put in place by manufacturers over the last seven years. "Despite their in-DRAM Target Row Refresh (TRR) mitigations, some of the most recent DDR4 modules are still vulnerable to many-sided Rowhammer bit flips," the researchers said.  "SMASH exploits high-level knowledge of cache replacement policies to generate optimal access patterns for eviction-based many-sided Rowhammer. To bypass the in-DRAM TRR mitigations, SMASH carefully schedules cache hits and misses to successfully trigger synchronized many-sided Rowhammer bit flips." By synchronizing memory requests with DRAM refresh commands, the researchers

Hackers Using Website's Contact Forms to Deliver IcedID Malware

Hackers Using Website's Contact Forms to Deliver IcedID Malware
April 13, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft has warned organizations of a "unique" attack campaign that abuses contact forms published on websites to deliver malicious links to businesses via emails containing fake legal threats, in what's yet another instance of adversaries abusing legitimate infrastructure to mount evasive campaigns that bypass security protections. "The emails instruct recipients to click a link to review supposed evidence behind their allegations, but are instead led to the download of IcedID, an info-stealing malware," the company's threat intelligence team  said  in a write-up published last Friday. IceID  is a Windows-based banking trojan that's used for reconnaissance and exfiltration of banking credentials, alongside features that allow it to connect to a remote command-and-control (C2) server to deploy additional payloads such as ransomware and malware capable of performing hands-on-keyboard attacks, stealing credentials, and moving laterally across affecte

RCE Exploit Released for Unpatched Chrome, Opera, and Brave Browsers

RCE Exploit Released for Unpatched Chrome, Opera, and Brave Browsers
April 12, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An Indian security researcher has publicly published a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit code for a newly discovered flaw impacting Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers like Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Brave. Released by Rajvardhan Agarwal, the working  exploit  concerns a remote code execution vulnerability in the V8 JavaScript rendering engine that powers the web browsers. It is believed to be the same flaw demonstrated by Dataflow Security's Bruno Keith and Niklas Baumstark at  Pwn2Own 2021 hacking contest  last week. Keith and Baumstark were awarded $100,000 for leveraging the vulnerability to run malicious code inside Chrome and Edge. According to the screenshot shared by Agarwal, the PoC HTML file, and its associated JavaScript file, can be loaded in a Chromium-based browser to exploit the security flaw and launch the Windows calculator (calc.exe) app. But it's worth noting that the exploit needs to be chained with another flaw that can allow it to escape Chro

Windows, Ubuntu, Zoom, Safari, MS Exchange Hacked at Pwn2Own 2021

Windows, Ubuntu, Zoom, Safari, MS Exchange Hacked at Pwn2Own 2021
April 12, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The 2021 spring edition of  Pwn2Own  hacking contest concluded last week on April 8 with a three-way tie between Team Devcore, OV, and Computest researchers Daan Keuper and Thijs Alkemade. A total of $1.2 million was awarded for 16 high-profile exploits over the course of the three-day virtual event organized by the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI). Targets with successful attempts included Zoom, Apple Safari, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Teams, Parallels Desktop, Windows 10, and Ubuntu Desktop operating systems. Some of the major highlights are as follows — Using an authentication bypass and a local privilege escalation to completely take over a Microsoft Exchange server, for which the Devcore team netted $200,000 Chaining a pair of bugs to achieve code execution in Microsoft Teams, earning researcher OV $200,000 A zero-click exploit targeting Zoom that employed a three-bug chain to exploit the messenger app and gain code execution on the target system. ($200,000) The exploitation

Gigaset Android Update Server Hacked to Install Malware on Users' Devices

Gigaset Android Update Server Hacked to Install Malware on Users' Devices
April 09, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Gigaset has revealed a malware infection discovered in its Android devices was the result of a compromise of a server belonging to an external update service provider. Impacting older smartphone models — GS100, GS160, GS170, GS180, GS270 (plus), and GS370 (plus) series — the malware took the form of multiple  unwanted apps  that were downloaded and installed through a pre-installed system update app. The infections are said to have occurred starting  March 27 . The German manufacturer of telecommunications devices said it took steps to alert the update service provider of the issue, following which further infections were prevented on April 7. "Measures have been taken to automatically rid infected devices of the malware. In order for this to happen the devices must be connected to the internet (WLAN, WiFi or mobile data). We also recommend connecting the devices to their chargers. Affected devices should automatically be freed from the malware within 8 hours," the comp

Researchers uncover a new Iranian malware used in recent cyberattacks

Researchers uncover a new Iranian malware used in recent cyberattacks
April 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An Iranian threat actor has unleashed a new cyberespionage campaign against a possible Lebanese target with a backdoor capable of exfiltrating sensitive information from compromised systems. Cybersecurity firm Check Point attributed the operation to APT34, citing similarities with previous techniques used by the threat actor as well as based on its pattern of victimology. APT34  (aka OilRig) is known for its reconnaissance campaigns aligned with the strategic interests of Iran, primarily hitting financial, government, energy, chemical, and telecommunications industries in the Middle East. The group typically resorts to targeting individuals through the use of booby-trapped job offer documents, delivered directly to the victims via LinkedIn messages. Although the latest campaign bears some of the same hallmarks, the exact mode of delivery remains unclear as yet. The Word document analyzed by Check Point — which was  uploaded  to VirusTotal from Lebanon on January 10 — claims to of

Hackers Exploit Unpatched VPNs to Install Ransomware on Industrial Targets

Hackers Exploit Unpatched VPNs to Install Ransomware on Industrial Targets
April 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Unpatched Fortinet VPN devices are being targeted in a series of attacks against industrial enterprises in Europe to deploy a new strain of ransomware called "Cring" inside corporate networks. At least one of the hacking incidents led to the temporary shutdown of a production site, said cybersecurity firm Kaspersky in a report published on Wednesday, without publicly naming the victim. The attacks happened in the first quarter of 2021, between January and March. "Various details of the attack indicate that the attackers had carefully analyzed the infrastructure of the targeted organization and prepared their own infrastructure and toolset based on the information collected at the reconnaissance stage,"  said  Vyacheslav Kopeytsev, a security researcher at Kaspersky ICS CERT. The disclosure comes days after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)  warned  of advanced persistent threat (APT) actor

PHP Site's User Database Was Hacked In Recent Source Code Backdoor Attack

PHP Site's User Database Was Hacked In Recent Source Code Backdoor Attack
April 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The maintainers of the PHP programming language have issued an update regarding the security incident that came to light late last month, stating that the actors may have gotten hold of a user database containing their passwords to make unauthorized changes to the repository. "We no longer believe the git.php.net server has been compromised. However, it is possible that the master.php.net user database leaked," Nikita Popov  said  in a message posted on its mailing list on April 6. On March 28, unidentified actors used the names of Rasmus Lerdorf and Popov to  push malicious commits  to the "php-src" repository hosted on the git.php.net server that involved adding a backdoor to the PHP source code in an instance of a software supply chain attack. While this was initially treated as a compromise of the git.php.net server, further investigation into the incident has revealed that the commits were a result of pushing them using HTTPS and password-based authentica

Pre-Installed Malware Dropper Found On German Gigaset Android Phones

Pre-Installed Malware Dropper Found On German Gigaset Android Phones
April 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
In what appears to be a fresh twist in Android malware, users of Gigaset mobile devices are encountering unwanted apps that are being downloaded and installed through a pre-installed system update app. "The culprit installing these malware apps is the Update app, package name  com.redstone.ota.ui , which is a pre-installed system app," Malwarebytes researcher Nathan Collier  said . "This app is not only the mobile device's system updater, but also an auto installer known as Android/PUP.Riskware.Autoins.Redstone." The development was  first reported  by German author and blogger Günter Born last week. While the issue seems to be mainly affecting Gigaset phones, devices from a handful of other manufacturers appear to be impacted as well. The full list of devices that come with the pre-installed auto-installer includes Gigaset GS270, Gigaset GS160, Siemens GS270, Siemens GS160, Alps P40pro, and Alps S20pro+. According to Malwarebytes, the Update app installs

Experts uncover a new Banking Trojan targeting Latin American users

Experts uncover a new Banking Trojan targeting Latin American users
April 06, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers on Tuesday revealed details of a new banking trojan targeting corporate users in Brazil at least since 2019 across various sectors such as engineering, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, finance, transportation, and government. Dubbed " Janeleiro " by Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET, the malware aims to disguise its true intent via lookalike pop-up windows that are designed to resemble the websites of some of the biggest banks in the country, including Itaú Unibanco, Santander, Banco do Brasil, Caixa Econômica Federal, and Banco Bradesco. "These pop-ups contain fake forms, aiming to trick the malware's victims into entering their banking credentials and personal information that the malware captures and exfiltrates to its [command-and-control] servers," ESET researchers Facundo Muñoz and Matías Porolli said in a write-up. This modus operandi is not new to banking trojans. In August 2020, ESET uncovered a Latin American (LATAM) banking trojan call

Watch Out! Mission Critical SAP Applications Are Under Active Attack

Watch Out! Mission Critical SAP Applications Are Under Active Attack
April 06, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cyber attackers are actively setting their sights on unsecured SAP applications in an attempt to steal information and sabotage critical processes, according to new research. "Observed exploitation could lead in many cases to full control of the unsecured SAP application, bypassing common security and compliance controls, and enabling attackers to steal sensitive information, perform financial fraud or disrupt mission-critical business processes by deploying ransomware or stopping operations," cybersecurity firm Onapsis and SAP  said  in a joint report published today. The Boston-based company said it detected over 300 successful exploitations out of a total of 1,500 attempts targeting previously known vulnerabilities and insecure configurations specific to SAP systems between mid-2020 to March 2021, with multiple brute-force attempts made by adversaries aimed at high-privilege SAP accounts as well as chaining together several flaws to strike SAP applications. Applicatio

Hackers From China Target Vietnamese Military and Government

Hackers From China Target Vietnamese Military and Government
April 06, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A hacking group related to a Chinese-speaking threat actor has been linked to an advanced cyberespionage campaign targeting government and military organizations in Vietnam. The attacks have been attributed with low confidence to the advanced persistent threat (APT) called  Cycldek  (or Goblin Panda, Hellsing, APT 27, and Conimes), which is known for using spear-phishing techniques to compromise diplomatic targets in Southeast Asia, India, and the U.S. at least since 2013. According to researchers from Kaspersky, the offensive, which was observed between June 2020 and January 2021, leverages a method called DLL side-loading to execute shellcode that decrypts a final payload dubbed " FoundCore ." DLL side-loading  has been a tried-and-tested technique used by various threat actors as an obfuscation tactic to bypass antivirus defenses. By loading malicious DLLs into legitimate executables, the idea is to mask their malicious activity under a trusted system or software proc

Hackers Targeting professionals With 'more_eggs' Malware via LinkedIn Job Offers

Hackers Targeting professionals With 'more_eggs' Malware via LinkedIn Job Offers
April 06, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A new spear-phishing campaign is targeting professionals on LinkedIn with weaponized job offers in an attempt to infect targets with a sophisticated backdoor trojan called "more_eggs." To increase the odds of success, the phishing lures take advantage of malicious ZIP archive files that have the same name as that of the victims' job titles taken from their LinkedIn profiles. "For example, if the LinkedIn member's job is listed as Senior Account Executive—International Freight the malicious zip file would be titled Senior Account Executive—International Freight position (note the 'position' added to the end)," cybersecurity firm eSentire's Threat Response Unit (TRU)  said  in an analysis. "Upon opening the fake job offer, the victim unwittingly initiates the stealthy installation of the fileless backdoor, more_eggs." Campaigns delivering more_eggs using the  same modus operandi  have been spotted at least since 2018, with the backdo

Google limits which apps can access the list of installed apps on your device

Google limits which apps can access the list of installed apps on your device
April 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Apps on Android have been able to infer the presence of specific apps, or even collect the full list of installed apps on the device. What's more, an app can also set to be notified when a new app is installed. Apart from all the usual concerns about misuse of such a data grab, the information can be abused by a potentially harmful app to fingerprint other installed apps, check for the  presence of antivirus ,  affiliate fraud , and even for targeted ads.  In 2014, Twitter  began  tracking the list of apps installed on users' devices as part of its "app graph" initiative with an aim to deliver tailored content. Digital wallet company MobiKwik was also caught  collecting information  about installed apps in the wake of a data breach that came to light earlier this week. Indeed, a study undertaken by a group of Swiss researchers in 2019  found  that "free apps are more likely to query for such information and that third-party libraries (libs) are the main requ

Hackers Using a Windows OS Feature to Evade Firewall and Gain Persistence

Hackers Using a Windows OS Feature to Evade Firewall and Gain Persistence
April 01, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A novel technique adopted by attackers finds ways to use Microsoft's Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) so as to deploy malicious payloads on Windows machines stealthily. In 2020, hospitals, retirement communities, and medical centers bore the brunt of an  ever-shifting phishing campaign  that distributed custom backdoors such as KEGTAP, which ultimately paved the way for RYUK ransomware attacks. But new  research  by FireEye's Mandiant cyber forensics arm has now revealed a previously unknown persistence mechanism that shows the adversaries made use of BITS to launch the backdoor. Introduced in Windows XP,  BITS  is a component of Microsoft Windows, which makes use of idle network bandwidth to facilitate the asynchronous transfer of files between machines. This is achieved by creating a job — a container that includes the files to download or upload. BITS is commonly used to deliver operating system updates to clients as well as by Windows Defender antivirus
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