Thursday, March 29, 2018

IC3 Issues Alert on Tech Support Fraud

National Cyber Awareness System:

03/29/2018 01:00 PM EDT
Original release date: March 29, 2018
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has released an alert on tech support fraud.
Tech support fraud involves criminals claiming to provide technical support to fix problems
that don't exist. Their methods include placing calls, sending pop-ups, engaging misleading
 lock screens, and sending emails to entice users to accept fraudulent tech support services.
Users should not give control of their computers or mobile devices to any stranger offering
to fix problems. NCCIC/US-CERT encourages users and administrators to refer to the
 IC3 Alert and the NCCIC Tip on Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more
 information. If you believe you are a victim of a tech support scam, file a complaint with
the IC3 at

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Windows Server 2019 – now available in preview

This blog post was authored by Erin Chapple, Director of Program Management, Windows Server.

Today is a big day for Windows Server! On behalf of the entire Windows Server team, I am delighted to announce Windows Server 2019 will be generally available in the second half of calendar year 2018. Starting now, you can access the preview build through our Insiders program.

What’s new in Windows Server 2019

Windows Server 2019 is built on the strong foundation of Windows Server 2016 – which continues to see great momentum in customer adoption. Windows Server 2016 is the fastest adopted version of Windows Server, ever! We’ve been busy since its launch at Ignite 2016 drawing insights from your feedback and product telemetry to make this release even better.

We also spent a lot of time with customers to understand the future challenges and where the industry is going. Four themes were consistent – Hybrid, Security, Application Platform, and Hyper-converged infrastructure. We bring numerous innovations on these four themes in Windows Server 2019.

Hybrid cloud scenarios:

We know that the move to the cloud is a journey and often, a hybrid approach, one that combines on-premises and cloud environments working together, is what makes sense to our customers. Extending Active Directory, synchronizing file servers, and backup in the cloud are just a few examples of what customers are already doing today to extend their datacenters to the public cloud. In addition, a hybrid approach also allows for apps running on-premises to take advantage of innovation in the cloud such as Artificial Intelligence and IoT. Hybrid cloud enables a future-proof, long-term approach – which is exactly why we see it playing a central role in cloud strategies for the foreseeable future.
At Ignite in September 2017, we announced the Technical Preview of Project Honolulu – our reimagined experience for management of Windows and Windows Server. Project Honolulu is a flexible, lightweight browser-based locally-deployed platform and a solution for management scenarios. One of our goals with Project Honolulu is to make it simpler and easier to connect existing deployments of Windows Server to Azure services. With Windows Server 2019 and Project Honolulu, customers will be able to easily integrate Azure services such as Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, disaster recovery, and much more so they will be able to leverage these Azure services without disrupting their applications and infrastructure.

Security continues to be a top priority for our customers. The number of cyber-security incidents continue to grow, and the impact of these incidents is escalating quickly. A Microsoft study shows that attackers take, on average, just 24-48 hours to penetrate an environment after infecting the first machine. In addition, attackers can stay in the penetrated environment – without being noticed – for up to 99 days on average, according to a report by FireEye/Mandiant. We continue on our journey to help our customers improve their security posture by working on features that bring together learnings from running global-scale datacenters for Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and several other online services.

Our approach to security is three-fold – Protect, Detect and Respond. We bring security features in all three areas in Windows Server 2019.
On the Protect front, we introduced Shielded VMs in Windows Server 2016, which was enthusiastically received by our customers. Shielded VMs protect virtual machines (VM) from compromised or malicious administrators in the fabric so only VM admins can access it on known, healthy, and attested guarded fabric. In Windows Server 2019, Shielded VMs will now support Linux VMs. We are also extending VMConnect to improve troubleshooting of Shielded VMs for Windows Server and Linux. We are adding Encrypted Networks that will let admins encrypt network segments, with a flip of a switch to protect the network layer between servers.

On the Detect and Respond front, in Windows Server 2019, we are embedding Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) that provides preventative protection, detects attacks and zero-day exploits among other capabilities, into the operating system. This gives customers access to deep kernel and memory sensors, improving performance and anti-tampering, and enabling response actions on server machines.

Application Platform:
A key guiding principle for us on the Windows Server team is a relentless focus on the developer experience. Two key aspects to call out for the developer community are improvements to Windows Server containers and Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL).
Since the introduction of containers in Windows Server 2016, we have seen great momentum in its adoption. Tens of millions of container images have been downloaded from the Docker Hub. The team learned from feedback that a smaller container image size will significantly improve experience of developers and IT Pros who are modernizing their existing applications using containers. In Windows Server 2019, our goal is to reduce the Server Core base container image to a third of its current size of 5 GB. This will reduce download time of the image by 72%, further optimizing the development time and performance.
We are also continuing to improve the choices available when it comes to orchestrating Windows Server container deployments. Kubernetes support is currently in beta, and in Windows Server 2019, we are introducing significant improvements to compute, storage, and networking components of a Kubernetes cluster.
A feedback we constantly hear from developers is the complexity in navigating environments with Linux and Windows deployments. To address that, we previously extended Windows Subsystem on Linux (WSL) into insider builds for Windows Server, so that customers can run Linux containers side-by-side with Windows containers on a Windows Server. In Windows Server 2019, we are continuing on this journey to improve WSL, helping Linux users bring their scripts to Windows while using industry standards like OpenSSH, Curl & Tar.
Finally, Window Server customers using System Center will be excited to know that System Center 2019 is coming and will support Windows Server 2019.
We have much more to share between now and the launch later this year. We will bring more details on the goodness of Windows Server 2019 in a blog series that will cover the areas above.
Sign up for the Insiders program to access Windows Server 2019
We know you probably cannot wait to get your hands on the next release, and the good news is that the preview build is available today to Windows Insiders. Join the program to ensure you have access to the bits. For more details on this preview build, check out the Release Notes.
We love hearing from you, so don’t forget to provide feedback using the Windows Feedback Hub app, or the Windows Server space in the Tech community.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Breaking Botnets and Wrestling Ransomware Webcast

Microsoft has an event

Webcast: Microsoft Security Intelligence Report Volume 23—Breaking Botnets and Wrestling Ransomware

The security threat landscape is constantly evolving, and Microsoft has spent over a decade tracking and analyzing software vulnerabilities, exploits, malware, unwanted software, and attacker group methods and tactics via the Security Intelligence Report. As organizations move to the cloud and invest into modern technologies, Microsoft continues its commitment to analyzing and informing the security community with deep insights on the latest threats.
During this webinar, we will discuss learnings from the Security Intelligence Report Volume 23 that include analysis of the top security threat trends we saw in 2017, dive deep into insights on attack vectors, and actionable recommendations from a security industry veteran and a former CISO for your organization to protect and defend itself against these threats. Key takeaways from this webinar include:
  • Learn about the top security threat trends in 2017
  • Gain insight into attack vectors and attacker techniques
  • Hear recommendations and approaches on how to protect your organization from the latest threats

Webcast: Microsoft Security Intelligence Report Volume 23—Breaking Botnets and Wrestling Ransomware
April 10, 2018
1:00 PM ET / 10:00 AM PT


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

4G LTE Under Attack

Over the past few years, Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution or 4G LTE has become the standard for cellular communications. Security vulnerabilities affecting 4G LTE need to be taken seriously as any disruption to the network can have serious consequences to life in 2018 and beyond. Billions of people around the world depend on the integrity of 4G LTE for daily activities in both their personal and professional lives.
A recent study conducted by a group of researchers from Purdue and Iowa University has uncovered a bundle of vulnerabilities affecting 4G LTE cellular networks. These protocol level vulnerabilities can be exploited for malicious purposes in numerous ways. The researchers have proven that these flaws can allow an attacker to intercept calls and text messages, kick a device off of the network, and even track a user’s location. These may sound like far-fetched scenarios; however eight of the ten attacks discovered have been proven in a testing environment using devices with SIM cards from real US carriers.
The discovery of this set of vulnerabilities may sound like just another security story; however, the potential for abuse here is enormous. In addition to tracking an individual’s location, their location can also be spoofed or altered. This presents unique challenges for criminal investigations as criminals can use this to provide false alibis or even frame another person. The research also proves it possible for an attacker to generate and distribute fake emergency alerts. As seen in the recent case of the false alarm for a threat against Hawaii, this could be abused to create massive disruption.
All of these potential attack scenarios are made possible by authentication relay attacks. A successful authentication relay attack will allow an attacker to bypass network authentication defenses without any legitimate credentials and disguise their identity. Once authenticated an attacker has access to the network core where they can essentially block a target device from receiving notifications altogether.
The major cellular carriers have been notified of these flaws and are in the process of releasing fixes. The research team has agreed to not release their proof of concept code until the fixes have been applied. Perhaps the most troubling part of this story is that these types of attacks can be conducted for as little as $1,300, which is negligible to a well-organized criminal effort

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Re-purposing Lucrative Exploits

Last month Adobe released a Flash security update to remediate the zero-day Remote Code Execution (RCE) CVE-2018-4878 vulnerability that was most visibly being utilized by the North Koreans to spy upon the south. The South Korean CERT team noted that the exploit was being actively used by the North to target valuable information assets in the south as early as 31, January 2017. The vulnerability, scoring a 9.8 out of 10 base score from the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) was quickly acknowledged by Adobe who posted a bulletin (APSA18-01) with security advisory details for the critical vulnerability including mitigations. The 9.8 base score from the NVD was due to the flaw being exploitable over the internet, requiring low skill to execute the attack, without any privileges on the target machine, and no user interaction with the target. The exploit is realized by a malicious malformed flash object being embedded in Office documents. Once opened the embedded SWF flash file would execute, downloading an additional payload from the web, the Remote Access Trojan ROKRAT.

Adobe released a patch for the troubling zero-day on 6 of February to address CVE-2018- 4878 aiming to protect victims from the RCE vulnerability, but attackers found a new way to exploit CVE-2018-4878 as noted by TREND MICRO in their February 27, 2018 report stating "The campaign involves the use of malicious spam - specifically with a spam email that with an embedded link that directs the recipient to a Microsoft Word lure document (Detected by Trend Micro as TROJ_CVE20184878.A and SWF_CVE20184878.A) stored on the malicious website safe-storage[.]biz. After the file is downloaded and executed, it will prompt the user to enable editing mode to view what's inside the document. This document is what triggers the exploitation of CVE-2018-4878 - in particular, a cmd.exe window is opened that is remotely injected with a malicious shellcode."
 This reviving of CVE-2018-4878 illustrates not only the classic "cat and mouse" dance between attacker and defender but also the ability and keenness of attackers to adapt methods to keep exploiting lucrative vulnerabilities such as those with high NVD scores.

Sources: exploits/new-campaign-exploits-cve-2018-4878-anew-via-malicious-microsoft- word-documents

Thanks to Peraton CIP report for this information

Malware: The New DRM Solution

Software piracy has been an issue for about as long as there has been software to pirate. Companies are constantly developing new Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions to protect their products, while software pirates, known as crackers, are constantly finding new ways to bypass these technologies. However, FlightSimLabs (FSLabs) recently thought of a new DRM strategy: place malware within their installer.

FlightSimLabs develops add-ons for Microsoft’s Flight Simulator game. These add-ons allow customers to buy additional planes to fly, expanding the game experience. Some Reddit users noticed a strange file, test.exe, which was extracted into a temporary folder when the A320X add-on was installed. Upon further investigation, the executable turned out to be malware purposefully placed by FSLabs to steal usernames and passwords stored in Google Chrome when a pirated copy is installed.

The malware is designed to run only when a flagged serial number is detected. The application is actually the command-line tool Chrome Password Dump

created by SecurityXploded which retrieves and displays usernames and passwords from Chrome in an easy-to-read format. The .bin file provided with the FSLabs application calls the test.exe file and sends the output to a Log.txt file. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the text file is then encoded with Base64.exe and sent back to an FSLabs site, over an HTTP connection (not even

HTTPS). Security researchers at Fidus Information Security determined that the malware was not called when the application is run with a legitimate serial number.
The founder and owner of FSLabs, Lefteris Kalamaras, states "First of all – there are no tools used to reveal any sensitive information of any customer who has legitimately purchased our products." The malware was intended to collect information on people using pirated copies only. However, stealing credentials may still violate multiple sections of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Also, even though the malware is not activated by the add-on for legitimate users, it was still extracted and puts their systems at risk of someone else activating it. FSLabs has offered another version of the installer without the test.exe file.

Thanks to Peraton CIP report for this information



National Consumer Protection Week

Original release date: March 02, 2018

March 4–10 is National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), an event to encourage people and businesses to learn more about avoiding scams and understanding consumer rights. During NCPW, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its partners highlight free resources to help protect consumers.

NCCIC/US-CERT recommends consumers participate in the FTC/Facebook live chats and review the following NCCIC/US-CERT security tips: