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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: windows security

Microsoft Mitigates RCE Vulnerability Affecting Azure Synapse and Data Factory

Microsoft Mitigates RCE Vulnerability Affecting Azure Synapse and Data Factory

May 10, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Monday disclosed that it mitigated a security flaw affecting Azure Synapse and Azure Data Factory that, if successfully exploited, could result in remote code execution. The vulnerability, tracked as  CVE-2022-29972 , has been codenamed " SynLapse " by researchers from Orca Security, who reported the flaw to Microsoft in January 2022. "The vulnerability was specific to the third-party Open Database Connectivity ( ODBC ) driver used to connect to Amazon Redshift in Azure Synapse pipelines and Azure Data Factory Integration Runtime ( IR ) and did not impact Azure Synapse as a whole," the company  said . "The vulnerability could have allowed an attacker to perform remote command execution across IR infrastructure not limited to a single tenant." In other words, a malicious actor can weaponize the bug to acquire the Azure Data Factory service certificate and access another tenant's Integration Runtimes to gain access to sensitive informa
This New Fileless Malware Hides Shellcode in Windows Event Logs

This New Fileless Malware Hides Shellcode in Windows Event Logs

May 06, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A new malicious campaign has been spotted taking advantage of Windows event logs to stash chunks of shellcode for the first time in the wild. "It allows the 'fileless' last stage trojan to be hidden from plain sight in the file system," Kaspersky researcher Denis Legezo  said  in a technical write-up published this week. The stealthy infection process, not attributed to a known actor, is believed to have commenced in September 2021 when the intended targets were lured into downloading compressed .RAR files containing Cobalt Strike and  Silent Break . "The spreading of the Cobalt Strike module was achieved by persuading the target to download the link to the .RAR on the legitimate site file.io, and run it themselves," Legezo explained. The adversary simulation software modules are then used as a launchpad to inject code into Windows system processes or trusted applications. Also notable is the use of anti-detection wrappers as part of the toolset, sugg
Researchers Warn of 'Raspberry Robin' Malware Spreading via External Drives

Researchers Warn of 'Raspberry Robin' Malware Spreading via External Drives

May 06, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a new Windows malware with worm-like capabilities and is propagated by means of removable USB devices. Attributing the malware to a cluster named " Raspberry Robin ," Red Canary researchers  noted  that the worm "leverages Windows Installer to reach out to QNAP-associated domains and download a malicious DLL." The earliest signs of the activity are said to date back to September 2021, with infections observed in organizations with ties to technology and manufacturing sectors. Attack chains pertaining to Raspberry Robin start with connecting an infected USB drive to a Windows machine. Present within the device is the worm payload, which appears as a .LNK shortcut file to a legitimate folder. The worm then takes care of spawning a new process using cmd.exe to read and execute a malicious file stored on the external drive. This is followed by launching explorer.exe and msiexec.exe, the latter of which is used for extern
Microsoft Exposes Evasive Chinese Tarrask Malware Attacking Windows Computers

Microsoft Exposes Evasive Chinese Tarrask Malware Attacking Windows Computers

April 13, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Chinese-backed Hafnium hacking group has been linked to a piece of a new malware that's used to maintain persistence on compromised Windows environments. The threat actor is said to have targeted entities in the telecommunication, internet service provider and data services sectors from August 2021 to February 2022, expanding from the initial victimology patterns observed during its attacks exploiting the then zero-day flaws in  Microsoft Exchange Servers  in March 2021. Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC), which dubbed the defense evasion malware " Tarrask ," characterized it as a tool that creates "hidden" scheduled tasks on the system. "Scheduled task abuse is a very common method of persistence and defense evasion — and an enticing one, at that," the researchers  said . Hafnium, while most notable for Exchange Server attacks, has since leveraged unpatched zero-day vulnerabilities as initial vectors to drop web shells and other mal
'Roaming Mantis' Android Malware Targeting Europeans via Smishing Campaigns

'Roaming Mantis' Android Malware Targeting Europeans via Smishing Campaigns

February 08, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A financially motivated campaign that targets Android devices and spreads mobile malware via SMS phishing techniques since at least 2018 has spread its tentacles to strike victims located in France and  Germany  for the first time. Dubbed  Roaming Mantis , the latest spate of activities observed in 2021 involve sending fake shipping-related texts containing a URL to a landing page from where Android users are infected with a banking trojan known as Wroba whereas iPhone users are redirected to a phishing page that masquerades as the official Apple website. The top affected countries, based on telemetry data gathered by Kaspersky between July 2021 and January 2022, are France, Japan, India, China, Germany, and Korea. Also tracked under the names  MoqHao  and XLoader (not to be confused with the info-stealer malware of the same name  targeting Windows and macOS ), the group's activity has continued to expand geographically even as the operators broadened their attack methods to m
Microsoft Disables Internet Macros in Office Apps by Default to Block Malware Attacks

Microsoft Disables Internet Macros in Office Apps by Default to Block Malware Attacks

February 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Monday said it's taking steps to disable Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros by default across its products, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Visio, for documents downloaded from the web in an attempt to eliminate an entire class of attack vector. "Bad actors send macros in Office files to end users who unknowingly enable them, malicious payloads are delivered, and the impact can be severe including malware, compromised identity, data loss, and remote access," Kellie Eickmeyer  said  in a post announcing the move. While the company does warn users about permitting macros in Office files, unsuspecting victims — e.g., recipients of phishing emails — can still be lured into enabling the feature, effectively granting the attackers the ability to gain an initial foothold into the system. As part of the new change, when a user opens an attachment or downloads from the internet an untrusted Office file containing macros, the app displays a
Microsoft Temporarily Disables MSIX App Installers to Prevent Malware Abuse

Microsoft Temporarily Disables MSIX App Installers to Prevent Malware Abuse

February 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft last week announced that it's temporarily disabling the MSIX ms-appinstaller protocol handler in Windows following evidence that a security vulnerability in the installer component was exploited by threat actors to deliver malware such as Emotet, TrickBot, and Bazaloader. MSIX , based on a combination of .msi, .appx, App-V and ClickOnce installation technologies, is a universal Windows app package format that allows developers to distribute their applications for the desktop operating system and  other platforms . ms-appinstaller, specifically, is designed to help users  install a Windows app  by simply clicking a link on a website. But a spoofing vulnerability uncovered in Windows App Installer ( CVE-2021-43890 , CVSS score: 7.1) meant that it could be tricked into installing a rogue app that was never intended to be installed by the user via a malicious attachment used in phishing campaigns. Although Microsoft released initial patches to address this flaw as part
CISA Orders Federal Agencies to Patch Actively Exploited Windows Vulnerability

CISA Orders Federal Agencies to Patch Actively Exploited Windows Vulnerability

February 06, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is urging federal agencies to secure their systems against an actively exploited security vulnerability in Windows that could be abused to gain elevated permissions on affected hosts. To that end, the agency has added  CVE-2022-21882  (CVSS score: 7.0) to the  Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog , necessitating that Federal Civilian Executive Branch (FCEB) agencies patch all systems against this vulnerability by February 18, 2022. "These types of vulnerabilities are a frequent attack vector for malicious cyber actors of all types and pose significant risk to the federal enterprise," CISA  said  in an advisory published last week. CVE-2022-21882 , which has been tagged with an "Exploitation More Likely" exploitability index assessment, concerns a case of elevation of privilege vulnerability affecting the Win32k component. The bug was addressed by Microsoft as part of its January 2022  Patch Tu
Researchers Decrypted Qakbot Banking Trojan’s Encrypted Registry Keys

Researchers Decrypted Qakbot Banking Trojan's Encrypted Registry Keys

January 13, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have decoded the mechanism by which the versatile Qakbot banking trojan handles the insertion of encrypted configuration data into the  Windows Registry . Qakbot, also known as QBot, QuackBot and Pinkslipbot, has been  observed   in the wild  since 2007. Although mainly fashioned as an information-stealing malware, Qakbot has since shifted its goals and acquired new functionality to deliver post-compromise attack platforms such as Cobalt Strike Beacon, with the final objective of loading ransomware on infected machines. "It has been continually developed, with new capabilities introduced such as lateral movement, the ability to exfiltrate email and browser data, and to install additional malware," Trustwave researchers Lloyd Macrohon and Rodel Mendrez said in a report shared with The Hacker News. In recent months, phishing campaigns have culminated in the distribution of a  new loader  called  SQUIRRELWAFFLE , which acts as a channel to retrieve
Researchers Discover UEFI Bootkit Targeting Windows Computers Since 2012

Researchers Discover UEFI Bootkit Targeting Windows Computers Since 2012

October 05, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday revealed details of a previously undocumented  UEFI  (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) bootkit that has been put to use by threat actors to backdoor Windows systems as early as 2012 by modifying a legitimate Windows Boot Manager binary to achieve persistence, once again demonstrating how technology meant to secure the environment prior to loading the operating system is increasingly becoming a "tempting target." Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET codenamed the new malware "ESPecter" for its ability to persist on the EFI System Partition ( ESP ), in addition to circumventing Microsoft Windows Driver Signature Enforcement to load its own unsigned driver that can be used to facilitate espionage activities such as document theft, keylogging, and screen monitoring by periodically capturing screenshots. The intrusion route of the malware remains unknown as yet. "ESPecter shows that threat actors are relying not only on UEFI
Ransomware Gangs Exploiting Windows Print Spooler Vulnerabilities

Ransomware Gangs Exploiting Windows Print Spooler Vulnerabilities

August 13, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Ransomware operators such as Magniber and Vice Society are actively exploiting vulnerabilities in Windows Print Spooler to compromise victims and spread laterally across a victim's network to deploy file-encrypting payloads on targeted systems. "Multiple, distinct threat actors view this vulnerability as attractive to use during their attacks and may indicate that this vulnerability will continue to see more widespread adoption and incorporation by various adversaries moving forward," Cisco Talos  said  in a report published Thursday, corroborating an  independent analysis  from CrowdStrike, which observed instances of Magniber ransomware infections targeting entities in South Korea. While Magniber ransomware was first spotted in late 2017 singling out victims in South Korea through malvertising campaigns, Vice Society is a new entrant that emerged on the ransomware landscape in mid-2021, primarily targeting public school districts and other educational institutions.
Microsoft Warns of Another Unpatched Windows Print Spooler RCE Vulnerability

Microsoft Warns of Another Unpatched Windows Print Spooler RCE Vulnerability

August 11, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A day after releasing  Patch Tuesday updates , Microsoft acknowledged yet another remote code execution vulnerability in the Windows Print Spooler component, adding that it's working to remediate the issue in an upcoming security update. Tracked as  CVE-2021-36958  (CVSS score: 7.3), the unpatched flaw is the latest to join a  list  of  bugs  collectively known as  PrintNightmare  that have plagued the printer service and come to light in recent months. Victor Mata of FusionX, Accenture Security, who has been credited with reporting the flaw,  said  the issue was disclosed to Microsoft in December 2020. "A remote code execution vulnerability exists when the Windows Print Spooler service improperly performs privileged file operations," the company said in its out-of-band bulletin, echoing the vulnerability details for  CVE-2021-34481 . "An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code with SYSTEM privileges. An attacker could then
New PetitPotam NTLM Relay Attack Lets Hackers Take Over Windows Domains

New PetitPotam NTLM Relay Attack Lets Hackers Take Over Windows Domains

July 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A newly uncovered security flaw in the Windows operating system can be exploited to coerce remote Windows servers, including Domain Controllers, to authenticate with a malicious destination, thereby allowing an adversary to stage an  NTLM relay attack  and completely take over a Windows domain. The issue, dubbed " PetitPotam ," was discovered by security researcher Gilles Lionel, who shared technical details and proof-of-concept (PoC) code last week, noting that the flaw works by forcing "Windows hosts to authenticate to other machines via MS-EFSRPC EfsRpcOpenFileRaw function." MS-EFSRPC  is Microsoft's Encrypting File System Remote Protocol that's used to perform "maintenance and management operations on encrypted data that is stored remotely and accessed over a network." Specifically, the attack enables a domain controller to authenticate against a remote NTLM under a bad actor's control using the MS-EFSRPC interface and share its authen
This New Malware Hides Itself Among Windows Defender Exclusions to Evade Detection

This New Malware Hides Itself Among Windows Defender Exclusions to Evade Detection

July 20, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday lifted the lid on a previously undocumented malware strain dubbed " MosaicLoader " that singles out individuals searching for cracked software as part of a global campaign. "The attackers behind MosaicLoader created a piece of malware that can deliver any payload on the system, making it potentially profitable as a delivery service," Bitdefender researchers said in a  report  shared with The Hacker News. "The malware arrives on target systems by posing as cracked installers. It downloads a malware sprayer that obtains a list of URLs from the C2 server and downloads the payloads from the received links." The malware has been so named because of its sophisticated internal structure that's orchestrated to prevent reverse-engineering and evade analysis. Attacks involving MosaicLoader rely on a well-established tactic for malware delivery called search engine optimization (SEO) poisoning, wherein cybercriminals purc
LodaRAT Windows Malware Now Also Targets Android Devices

LodaRAT Windows Malware Now Also Targets Android Devices

February 10, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A previously known Windows remote access Trojan (RAT) with credential-stealing capabilities has now expanded its scope to set its sights on users of Android devices to further the attacker's espionage motives. "The developers of  LodaRAT  have added Android as a targeted platform," Cisco Talos researchers  said  in a Tuesday analysis. "A new iteration of LodaRAT for Windows has been identified with improved sound recording capabilities." Kasablanca, the group behind the malware, is said to have deployed the new RAT in an ongoing hybrid campaign targeting Bangladeshi users, the researchers noted. The reason why Bangladesh-based organizations have been specifically singled out for this campaign remains unclear, as is the identity of the threat actor. First documented in May 2017 by  Proofpoint , Loda is an AutoIt malware typically delivered via phishing lures that's equipped to run a wide range of commands designed to record audio, video, and capture oth
Microsoft Issues Patches for Defender Zero-Day and 82 Other Windows Flaws

Microsoft Issues Patches for Defender Zero-Day and 82 Other Windows Flaws

January 12, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
For the first patch Tuesday of 2021, Microsoft released  security updates  addressing a total of 83 flaws spanning as many as 11 products and services, including an actively exploited zero-day vulnerability. The latest security patches cover Microsoft Windows, Edge browser, ChakraCore, Office and Microsoft Office Services, and Web Apps, Visual Studio, Microsoft Malware Protection Engine, .NET Core, ASP .NET, and Azure. Of these 83 bugs, 10 are listed as Critical, and 73 are listed as Important in severity. The most severe of the issues is a remote code execution (RCE) flaw in Microsoft Defender ( CVE-2021-1647 ) that could allow attackers to infect targeted systems with arbitrary code. Microsoft Malware Protection Engine (mpengine.dll) provides the scanning, detection, and cleaning capabilities for Microsoft Defender antivirus and antispyware software. The last version of the software affected by the flaw is 1.1.17600.5, before it was addressed in version 1.1.17700.4. The bug is
Google Discloses Poorly-Patched, Now Unpatched, Windows 0-Day Bug

Google Discloses Poorly-Patched, Now Unpatched, Windows 0-Day Bug

December 24, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Google's Project Zero team has made public details of an improperly patched zero-day security vulnerability in Windows print spooler API that could be leveraged by a bad actor to execute arbitrary code. Details of the unpatched flaw were revealed publicly after Microsoft failed to rectify it within 90 days of responsible disclosure on September 24. Originally tracked as  CVE-2020-0986 , the flaw concerns an elevation of privilege exploit in the GDI Print /  Print Spooler  API ("splwow64.exe") that was reported to Microsoft by an anonymous user working with Trend Micro's Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) back in late December 2019. But with no patch in sight for about six months, ZDI ended up posting a public  advisory  as a zero-day on May 19 earlier this year, after which it was  exploited  in the wild in a campaign dubbed " Operation PowerFall " against an unnamed South Korean company. "splwow64.exe" is a Windows core system binary that allows 32-b
WARNING: Google Discloses Windows Zero-Day Bug Exploited in the Wild

WARNING: Google Discloses Windows Zero-Day Bug Exploited in the Wild

November 02, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has disclosed details of a new zero-day privilege escalation flaw in the Windows operating system that's being actively exploited in the wild. The elevation of privileges (EoP) vulnerability, tracked as  CVE-2020-17087 , concerns a buffer overflow present since at least Windows 7 in the Windows Kernel Cryptography Driver ("cng.sys") that can be exploited for a sandbox escape. "The bug resides in the cng!CfgAdtpFormatPropertyBlock function and is caused by a 16-bit integer truncation issue," Google's Project Zero researchers Mateusz Jurczyk and Sergei Glazunov noted in their technical write-up. The security team made the details public following a seven-day disclosure deadline because of evidence that it's under active exploit. Project Zero has shared a proof-of-concept exploit (PoC) that can be used to corrupt kernel data and crash vulnerable Windows devices even under default system configurations. What's notable is that the exploit ch
Detecting and Preventing Critical ZeroLogon Windows Server Vulnerability

Detecting and Preventing Critical ZeroLogon Windows Server Vulnerability

September 23, 2020Wang Wei
If you're administrating Windows Server, make sure it's up to date with all recent patches issued by Microsoft, especially the one that fixes a recently patched critical vulnerability that could allow unauthenticated attackers to compromise the domain controller. Dubbed 'Zerologon' (CVE-2020-1472) and discovered by Tom Tervoort of  Secura , the privilege escalation vulnerability exists due to the insecure usage of AES-CFB8 encryption for Netlogon sessions, allowing remote attackers to establish a connection to the targeted domain controller over Netlogon Remote Protocol (MS-NRPC). "The attack utilizes flaws in an authentication protocol that validates the authenticity and identity of a domain-joined computer to the Domain Controller. Due to the incorrect use of an AES mode of operation, it is possible to spoof the identity of any computer account (including that of the DC itself) and set an empty password for that account in the domain," researchers at cyber
17-Year-Old Critical 'Wormable' RCE Vulnerability Impacts Windows DNS Servers

17-Year-Old Critical 'Wormable' RCE Vulnerability Impacts Windows DNS Servers

July 14, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers today disclosed a new highly critical "wormable" vulnerability—carrying a severity score of 10 out of 10 on the CVSS scale—affecting Windows Server versions 2003 to 2019. The 17-year-old remote code execution flaw ( CVE-2020-1350 ), dubbed ' SigRed ' by Check Point, could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to gain domain administrator privileges over targeted servers and seize complete control of an organization's IT infrastructure. A threat actor can exploit SigRed vulnerability by sending crafted malicious DNS queries to a Windows DNS server and achieve arbitrary code execution, enabling the hacker to intercept and manipulate users' emails and network traffic, make services unavailable, harvest users' credentials and much more. In a detailed report shared with The Hacker News, Check Point researcher Sagi Tzadik confirmed that the flaw is wormable in nature, allowing attackers to launch an attack that can spread
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