Thursday, February 22, 2018

Winter Olympics Cyberattack

The Olympic Games have always been a symbol of global unity and cooperation, mixed in with friendly competition of course. However, this can also mark the games as a target for groups that don’t share that worldview. This year, the Winter Olympics opening ceremony was targeted by a cyberattack focused on disruption and destruction of systems. The attack resulted in the official website being offline for roughly 12 hours, preventing attendees from accessing tickets and information, as well as disrupting the Wi-Fi at the stadium and various news coverage feeds.

Security researchers at Cisco’s Talos group analyzed the malware and have dubbed it Olympic Destroyer. While it is still unclear how the systems became initially infected, Talos has disclosed some details of how the malware operates. The malware is contained within a binary file which is responsible for propagation across the network. It checks the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) table on the system to discover additional targets, as well as using the Windows Management Instrumentation Query Language (WQL) to run the request "SELECT ds_cn FROM ds_computer" to find other systems. These are carried out using legitimate administrative tools included with Windows, PsExec and WMI. The other function of the binary file is to drop 2 modules, the credential stealers.
The stealer modules focus on different types of credentials: a web browser module and a system module. The web browser stealer parses the SQLite file in the registry to access stored credentials for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. The system module gathers credentials from the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS), a Windows process that enforces security policy for the system. Once credentials have been gathered, the binary file is updated to include the credentials hardcoded in, to be used on newly infected systems for further access.
After reconnaissance, the malware begins a destruction phase to disable the system. Using the Windows command line (cmd.exe), various tasks are carried out to prevent recovery of the system: deletion of all shadow copies on the system, deletion of the wbadmin catalog, using bcdedit to change the boot configuration and disable Windows recovery, and deleting the System and Security Windows Event logs. Finally, the malware stops and disables all Windows services and shuts down the system, preventing it from being restarted in a usable state.

Olympic Destroyer used well-known Sysinternal tools included with Windows, implying the attacker knew the targets were Windows-based. Talos also suggested the attacker knew a “lot of technical details of the Olympic Game infrastructure such as username, domain name, server name, and
obviously password.”

Sources: yeongchang-2018-winter-olympics.html

and The CIP from Peraton

Final Public Draft of Special Publication (SP) 800-171A, Assessing Security Requirements for Controlled Unclassified Information

NIST Computer Security Division Releases the Final Public Draft of Special Publication (SP) 800-171A, Assessing Security Requirements for Controlled Unclassified Information

NIST Computer Security Division releases the Final Public Draft of Special Publication (SP) 800-171A, Assessing Security Requirements for Controlled Unclassified Information is now available for public comment.  See below for further details.

Learn about the updates to the Final Draft SP 800-171A on the NIST CSRC website at:

Below is the link to the Draft SP 800-171A publication record where links to the document, the comment template and other supplemental information is available:

Deadline to submit comments to draft SP 800-171A: March 23, 2017

Email comments or questions about this draft document to:

Monday, February 12, 2018

Tips for Tax Time

A 2017 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research revealed that nearly one in three consumers notified that their data has been breached become victims of identity fraud. With the recent Equifax cyberattack still fresh in our minds, more than 145 million Americans’ names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers and other sensitive information may be at risk. Cybercriminals are crafty and continuously looking for ways to steal your personal information. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) indicates that phishing schemes continue to lead its “dirty dozen” list of 2017 tax scams. So what is the average American to do? The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) have once again joined forces to help consumers keep safe during tax season with tips for identifying cyber scams, actionable online safety steps and what to do if you fall victim to tax identity theft.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The ten immutable laws of security administration revisited and updated

Law #1: If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it’s not solely your computer anymore.

Phishing scams, link bait, hacked software, hacks for software, keygens, screensavers, games, codecs, media files… the list goes on and on. Search for anything online you might wish to download, and odds are extremely good that you will find the majority of the links on the first page of your search results will go to downloads that are for anything other than what you really want to download. Check out torrent sites or other sources for what includes binaries of questionable origin, and I guarantee you that most of those downloads are crawling with badness. Everyone wants something for nothing, and the bad guys are happy to use that to their advantage. Set aside the morality and the legality of downloading copyrighted content without paying for it… is it really worth the risk that your computer won’t be yours anymore?

Law #2: If a bad guy can alter the operating system on your computer, it’s not your computer anymore.

Consider how many “fixes” are “documented” online to correct this behavior or to patch that bug. How many posts consist of “download this file from my site to fix that error” and how many of those sites have nothing at all to do with the vendor of your operating system? This is NOT just a problem for Windows users, so don’t think that all repos can be trusted. When you are considering patching, upgrading, or recompiling your operating system, whether it’s a binary or new source you want to compile from scratch… if you cannot read and understand the code yourself, and it’s not coming from the maker directly, don’t trust it. If it is coming from the vendor, make sure that either the digital signatures or the checksums of the downloads check out okay or abandon the file(s) as bad.

Law #3: If a bad guy has unrestricted physical access to your computer, it’s not your computer anymore.

If they can touch it, they can own it. Any system a bad guy has direct physical access to is his or hers to do with as they please. Don’t leave your computer unlocked when you are away from it. Don’t leave it out in the open in a hotel room when you travel. Ensure your workplace provides adequate physical security for all systems. You know that PC the receptionist uses that is sitting in the elevator lobby which anyone can walk up to? Yeah, if your building is not locked down so you need a badge to even get onto your floor, then that PC needs to be locked away every day at the end of the shift.

Law #4: If you allow a bad guy to run active content on your website, it’s not your website any more.

Limit what can and cannot be uploaded to your website or forums. Quarantine and scan any files that are uploaded by users. Regularly and frequently run security scans of your website and all content, and ensure it cannot be exploited by injection or cross-site scripting. One of the most common ways end users’ machines are infected is by visiting a trusted site that is unaware it is hosting bad things.

 Law #5: Weak passwords trump strong security.

There is no variant of P@ssw0rd or p@$$word or Password1 or even b70w$$@q that hasn’t been used by someone enough times that it won’t be in the first 10,000 passwords tried by a brute force attack. And since it will take less than .007 seconds to go through those 10,000 passwords using even the underpowered processing capabilities of a discount tablet, you really want better. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. All passwords are weak. There is no such thing as a strong password, at least when you measure it up against the strength of a dedicated adversary determined to crack it.
The best thing you can do is use multifactor authentication, period. Whether you use a smart card, or a token, or an app on your mobile phone, even if someone does guess a user’s password (or tricks them into giving it away) without that second factor of authentication, it’s of no use to them. You can even go with biometrics if you have the budget for it, but 2FA using a mobile device can be used from any system, and doesn’t have the SciFi creep factor associated with it!

Law #6: A computer is only as secure as the administrator is trustworthy.

Reference checks, employment checks, credit checks, criminal record checks, background investigations… how far does your HR team take their responsibility of looking into new hires? You may not need to do a full scope background investigation on the receptionist or the delivery driver, but IT sysadmins have access to everything that is on the network. They can read the CEO’s emails, pull the payroll history for anyone in the company, learn just what the secret recipe of the Colonel’s chicken is that makes you crave it fortnightly! Ensure that anyone with privileges to any system is fully checked out before hiring.

Law #7: Encrypted data is only as secure as its decryption key.

Which means if the key exchange is weak, or the key itself is, then your encryption is at risk. The only thing worse than an insecure key is using a proprietary algorithm. Stick with commercially recognized encryption protocols, and if you must use and exchange a pre-shared key, do so out of band to the data exchange. In other words, don’t email someone the password to decrypt the file you just emailed them! Call them, text them, send them smoke signals, anything but sending the password using the same method as you sent the data.

Law #8: An out-of-date antimalware scanner is only marginally better than no scanner at all.

I always go one further than this and say it’s worse. If I am on a machine that has no antimalware, I won’t download or install anything that I am not absolutely sure of. I’d say most others would feel the same way. But if antimalware is on the machine, I may not be as circumspect, opting instead to count on the antimalware to keep me safe. Of course, if it is out of date, it’s useless, but that won’t stop me from being stupid!

Law #9: Absolute anonymity isn’t practically achievable, online or offline.

Sure, you can live in a cave and bounce your signal off a neighbor’s insecure Wi-Fi, routing it through three different TOR networks and an open web proxy, then through a Ukrainian satellite before you reach your goal… but wait, this isn’t a Hollywood spy thriller so that isn’t practical or even realistic. There is always a log somewhere, and anything you do online you should assume will stay online forever, and eventually be seen by your grandmother. Don’t be stupid, don’t be rude, and don’t do something your meemaw would be ashamed of!

Law #10: Technology is not a panacea.

There is no firewall that cannot be bypassed. There is no hardening procedure that is bulletproof. There does not exist encryption that cannot be broken given enough CPU cycles, nor is there code written without vulnerabilities. Technology is not a panacea and there is no one solution that can make you 100% guaranteed secure. Work on the human aspect, minimize the opportunities for attackers to find something to exploit, keep up to date on patching and malware definitions, and use a layered defense to do the best you can.

Learn them. Live them. Love them. Make them a part of who you are, and help instill in your users, your friends, and your family an awareness of the same. These ten laws are not just for sysadmins, they are for anyone using technology. But stay tuned!

In future post in this series, we are going to take a look at a related set of laws laid down by Microsoft Director  Scott Culp – The 10 Immutable Laws of Security Administration.

BlueHat IL 2018 - David Weston - Windows: Hardening with Hardware Video

The security features of modern PC hardware are enabling new trust boundaries and attack resistance capabilities unparalleled in software alone. These hardware capabilities help to improve resistance to a wide range of attacks including physical attacks against DMA and disk encryption, kernel and remote code exploits, and even application isolation through virtualization. In this talk, we will review the metamorphosis and fundamental re-architecture of Windows to take advantage of emerging hardware security capabilities. We will also examine in-depth the hardware security features provided by vendors such as Intel, AMD, ARM and others, and explain how Windows takes advantage of these features to create new and powerful security boundaries and exploit mitigations. Finally, we will discuss the new attack surface that hardware provides and review exploit case studies, lessons learned, and mitigations for attacks that target PC hardware and firmware.

Link to Video

Detecting Lateral Movement through Tracking Event Logs

Many recent cyberattacks have been confirmed in which malware infects a host and in turn spreads to other hosts and internal servers, resulting in the whole organization becoming compromised. In such cases, many points need to be investigated. Accordingly, an approach for quickly and thoroughly investigating such critical events, ascertaining the overall picture of the damage as accurately as possible, and collecting facts necessary for devising remedial measures is required.

While the configuration of the network that is targeted by an attack varies depending on the organization, there are some common patterns in the attack methods. First, an attacker that has infiltrated a network collects information of the host it has infected using "ipconfig", "systeminfo", and other tools installed on Windows by default. Then, they examine information of other hosts connected to the network, domain information, account information, and other information using "net" and other tools. After choosing a host to infect next based on the examined information, the attacker obtains the credential information of the user using "mimikatz", "pwdump", or other password dump tools. Then, by fully utilizing "net", "at", or other tools, the attacker infects other hosts and collects confidential information.

For such conventional attack methods, limited set of tools are used in many different incidents. The many points that need to be investigated can be dealt with quickly and systematically by understanding typical tools often used by such attackers, and what kind of and where evidence is left.

For such use of tools, the Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (JPCERT/CC) extracted tools used by many attackers by investigating recently confirmed cases of targeted attacks. Then, a research was conducted to investigate what kind of logs were left on the server and clients by using such tools, and what settings need to be configured to obtain logs that contain sufficient evidential information. This report is a summary of the results of this research.
The details of traces (event logs and forensic architecture) generated upon execution of the tools are compiled in "Tool Analysis Result Sheet" and published on GitHub.

Tool Analysis Result Sheet

This repository summarizes the results of examining logs recorded in Windows upon execution of the 49 tools which are likely to be used by the attacker that has infiltrated a network.
Tool Analysis Result Sheet is created in HTML and can be checked from the following URL.

A report that outlines and usage of this research is published below. When using Tool Analysis Result Sheet, we recommend you to check the report.

We hope this document is useful in incident investigation.
Article was copied from the Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center

Friday, February 2, 2018

Cisco VPN Danger

Earlier this week Cisco revealed a major vulnerability affecting devices configured with their WebVPN clientless VPN software. This VPN software is featured in the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) of numerous Cisco hardware devices. Companies around the world use WebVPN so that their employees can connect to the corporate intranet from the outside. The successful exploitation of this vulnerability could have potentially devastating consequences for an organization.
When WebVPN functionality is enabled, devices are vulnerable to a flaw that allows hackers to "double-free" memory on the system. To accomplish this, an attacker submits custom crafted XML messages to the WebVPN interface of the target device. The messages instruct the system to free a specific memory address multiple times, which may lead to memory leakage, giving an attacker the power to write malicious commands to memory. With this power an attacker has the ability to execute arbitrary code, monitor traffic, and corrupt memory. This flaw can even be exploited for the purposes of a DDoS attack by forcing the system to continuously reboot itself.

Figure 1: Affected Cisco Devices


The vulnerability has been labeled CVE-2018-0101 and has been given a 10/10, or critical rating, on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) scale. WebVPN is often enabled on edge firewalls, meaning that is possible for an attacker to exploit this from the outside over the Internet. Although this vulnerability seems simple to exploit, successfully crafting the necessary XML messages would require a deep understanding of the system memory layout of an affected device. Patches for the vulnerability have been released; however it is the responsibility of the company to make sure they are applied. We have yet to observe any exploits built to take advantage of this flaw, but this warning should not be taken lightly as successful exploitation would likely lead to massive consequences.

• vulnerability-alert-for-vpn-devices/
• vulnerability-patched-against-remote-attacks

Source CIP report

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Changes to Office and Windows servicing and support

This is a summary of a blog post on Microsoft site the full article can be found here.

Servicing extensions for Windows 10

Windows 10 is being adopted rapidly by organizations of all sizes, and as customers deploy the product they are implementing a modern servicing methodology we refer to as Windows as a service.
Many customers – including MARS, Independence Blue Cross, and Accenture – have made significant progress in moving to Windows as a Service, but some have requested an extension to the standard 18 months of support for Windows 10 releases.  To help these customers, we are announcing an additional six months of servicing for the Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 10, versions 1607, 1703, and 1709. (Additional servicing for Windows 10, version 1511 was announced in November.)  This extension will be offered via normal channels.  The chart below outlines the impact of these extensions for each of the last four Windows 10 releases.
Release date
End of support
End of additional servicing for Enterprise, Education
Windows 10, version 1511
November 10, 2015
October 10, 2017
April 10, 2018
Windows 10, version 1607
August 2, 2016
April 10, 2018
October 9, 2018
Windows 10, version 1703
April 5, 2017
October 9, 2018
April 9, 2019
Windows 10, version 1709
October 17, 2017
April 9, 2019
October 8, 2019
We will also offer additional paid servicing options for Windows 10 Enterprise and Education releases starting with Windows 10 version 1607. For more information, contact your Microsoft account team.
Office 2019
Last year at Ignite, we announced Office 2019 – the next perpetual version of Office that includes apps (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, and Skype for Business) and servers (including Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business). Today we’re pleased to share the following updates:
  • Office 2019 will ship in H2 of 2018. Previews of the new apps and servers will start shipping in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Office 2019 apps will be supported on:
    • Any supported Windows 10 SAC release
    • Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2018
    • The next LTSC release of Windows Server
  • The Office 2019 client apps will be released with Click-to-Run installation technology only. We will not provide MSI as a deployment methodology for Office 2019 clients. We will continue to provide MSI for Office Server products.
Office 2019 will provide 5 years of mainstream support and approximately 2 years of extended support. This is an exception to our Fixed Lifecycle Policy to align with the support period for Office 2016. Extended support will end 10/14/2025