Thursday, May 12, 2022

Potential security vulnerabilities have been identified in the BIOS (UEFI Firmware) for certain HP PC products

Overview

A vulnerability has been discovered in certain HP PC BIOS, which could allow for local arbitrary code execution. The BIOS is a firmware which is used to provide runtime services for operating systems and programs and to perform hardware initialization during the booting process. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow for local arbitrary code execution with kernel level privileges. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cryptographic Module Validation Program Security Policy Requirements: Draft Revision of NIST Special Publication 800-140B

The initial public draft of NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-140Br1 (Revision 1), CMVP Security Policy Requirements: CMVP Validation Authority Updates to ISO/IEC 24759 and ISO/IEC 19790 Annex B, is now available for public comment. This draft introduces four significant changes to NIST SP 800-140B:

  1. Defines a more detailed structure and organization for the Security Policy
  2. Captures Security Policy requirements that are defined outside of ISO/IEC 19790 and ISO/IEC 24759
  3. Builds the Security Policy document as a combination of the subsection information
  4. Generates the approved algorithm table based on lab/vendor selections from the algorithm tests

The NIST SP 800-140x series supports Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) Publication 140-3, Security Requirements for Cryptographic Modules, and its associated validation testing program, the Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP). The series specifies modifications to ISO/IEC 19790 Annexes and ISO/IEC 24759 as permitted by the validation authority.

The public comment period for this initial public draft is open through July 12, 2022. See the publication details for instructions on submitting comments.

Read More

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

NIST Publishes Review of Digital Forensic Methods

 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published Digital Investigation Techniques: A NIST Scientific Foundation Review. This draft report, which will be open for public comment for 60 days, reviews the methods that digital forensic experts use to analyze evidence from computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices.

The purpose of NIST scientific foundation reviews is to document and evaluate the scientific basis for forensic methods. These reviews fill a need identified in a landmark 2009 studyby the National Academy of Sciences, which found that many forensic disciplines lack a solid foundation in scientific research.

To conduct their review, the authors examined peer-reviewed literature, documentation from software developers, test results on forensic tools, standards and best practices documents and other sources of information. They found that “digital evidence examination rests on a firm foundation based in computer science,” and that “the ap plication of these computer science techniques to digital investigations is sound.”

“Copying data, searching for text strings, finding timestamps on files, reading call logs on a phone. These are basic elements of a digital investigation,” said Barbara Guttman, leader of NIST’s digital forensics research program and an author of the study. “And they all rely on fundamental computer operations that are widely used and well understood.”

The report also discusses several challenges that digital forensic experts face, including the rapid pace of technological change. “Digital evidence techniques don’t work perfectly in all cases,” Guttman said. “If everyone starts using a new app, forensic tools won’t be able to read and understand the contents of that app until they are updated. This requires constant effort.”

To address this challenge, the report recommends better methods for information-sharing among experts and a more structured approach to testing forensic tools that would increase efficiency and reduce duplication of effort across labs.

The report also recommends increased sharing of high-quality forensic reference data that can be used for education, training, and developing and testing new forensic tools.

NIST’s Digital Forensics Research Program, which was launched in 1999, develops methods for testing digital forensics tools and provides access to high-quality reference datasets. NIST also maintains a vast archive of published software, the National Software Reference Library, that is a critical resource for investigating computer crimes.

NIST scientific foundation reviews help laboratories identify appropriate limitations on the use of forensic methods, identify priorities for future research, and suggest steps for moving the field forward. These reviews are conducted as part of NIST’s Forensic Science Program, which works to strengthen forensic practice through research and improved standards. In 2018 Congress directed NIST to conduct these scientific reviews and appropriated funding for them.

Readers can submit comments on the draft report through July 11, 2022. NIST will host a webinar about the draft report on June 1, 2022. Instructions for submitting comments and registration information for the webinar are available on the NIST website.

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Protecting Against Cyber Threats to Managed Service Providers and their Customers

The cybersecurity authorities of the United Kingdom (NCSCUK), Australia (ACSC), Canada (CCCS), New Zealand (NCSC-NZ), and the United States (CISA), (NSA), (FBI) are aware of recent reports that observe an increase in malicious cyber activity targeting managed service providers (MSPs) and expect this trend to continue.[1] This joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) provides actions MSPs and their customers can take to reduce their risk of falling victim to a cyber intrusion. This advisory describes cybersecurity best practices for information and communications technology (ICT) services and functions, focusing on guidance that enables transparent discussions between MSPs and their customers on securing sensitive data. 

Organizations should implement these guidelines as appropriate to their unique environments, in accordance with their specific security needs, and in compliance with applicable regulations. MSP customers should verify that the contractual arrangements with their provider include cybersecurity measures in line with their particular security requirements. 

The guidance provided in this advisory is specifically tailored for both MSPs and their customers and is the result of a collaborative effort from the United Kingdom National Cyber Security Centre (NCSUK), the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS), the New Zealand National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC-NZ), the United States' Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), National Security Agency (NSA), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with contributions from industry members of the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC). Organizations should read this advisory in conjunction with NCSC-UK guidance on actions to take when the cyber threat is heightened, CCCS guidance on Cyber Security Considerations for Consumers of Managed Services, and CISA guidance provided on the Shields Up and Shields Up Technical Guidance webpages.

To read the full details go HERE


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Mozilla Releases Security Updates for Firefox and Firefox ESR

 Mozilla has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in Firefox and Firefox ESR. An attacker could exploit some of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system. 

CISA encourages users and administrators to review the Mozilla Security Advisory for Firefox 100 and Firefox ESR 91.9 and apply the necessary updates. 

Blockchain and Related Technologies to Support Manufacturing Supply Chain Traceability: Needs and Industry Perspectives (NISTIR 8419)

The NIST National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) has published NIST Internal Report (NISTIR) 8419, Blockchain and Related Technologies to Support Manufacturing Supply Chain Traceability: Needs and Industry Perspectives

Abstract

Supply chains are increasingly complex, making the origins of products difficult to discern. Efforts are emerging to increase traceability of goods by exchanging traceability data records using blockchain and related technologies among relevant supply chain participants.

NISTIR 8419 explores the issues that surround traceability, the role that blockchain and related technologies may be able to play to improve traceability, and several industry case studies of efforts in use today. 

Scope

The publication covers:

  • existing factors that inhibit manufacturing supply chain traceability
  • analysis of emerging blockchain-enabled manufacturing supply chain traceability initiatives in progress
  • recommendations for future research topics to improve manufacturing supply chain traceability, enabled by blockchain and related technologies

If you have questions, or would like to join the NCCoE Blockchain Project Community of Interest, email: blockchain_nccoe@nist.gov

View the Document

 

Hardware-Enabled Security: Enabling a Layered Approach to Platform Security for Cloud and Edge Computing

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) announces the release of NIST Internal Report (NISTIR) 8320, Hardware-Enabled Security: Enabling a Layered Approach to Platform Security for Cloud and Edge Computing Use Cases.
NISTIR 8320 explains hardware-enabled security techniques and technologies that can improve platform security and data protection for cloud data centers and edge computing. NISTIR 8320 is the foundational document in a series of NISTIRs, including 8320A8320B, and 8320C.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

2021 Top Routinely Exploited Vulnerabilities

 CISA, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS), the New Zealand National Cyber Security Centre (NZ NCSC), and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC-UK)  have released a joint Cybersecurity Advisory that provides details on the top 15 Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) routinely exploited by malicious cyber actors in 2021, as well as other CVEs frequently exploited.

CISA encourages users and administrators to review joint Cybersecurity Advisory: 2021 Top Routinely Exploited Vulnerabilities  and apply the recommended mitigations to reduce the risk of compromise by malicious cyber actors. 

Microsoft has discovered several vulnerabilities, collectively referred to as Nimbuspwn, to gain root privileges on Linux systems

 Microsoft has discovered several vulnerabilities, collectively referred to as Nimbuspwn, that could allow an attacker to elevate privileges to root on many Linux desktop endpoints. The vulnerabilities can be chained together to gain root privileges on Linux systems, allowing attackers to deploy payloads, like a root backdoor, and perform other malicious actions via arbitrary root code execution. Moreover, the Nimbuspwn vulnerabilities could potentially be leveraged as a vector for root access by more sophisticated threats, such as malware or ransomware, to achieve greater impact on vulnerable devices.

We discovered the vulnerabilities by listening to messages on the System Bus while performing code reviews and dynamic analysis on services that run as root, noticing an odd pattern in a systemd unit called networkd-dispatcher. Reviewing the code flow for networkd-dispatcher revealed multiple security concerns, including directory traversal, symlink race, and time-of-check-time-of-use race condition issues, which could be leveraged to elevate privileges and deploy malware or carry out other malicious activities. We shared these vulnerabilities with the relevant maintainers through Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure (CVD) via Microsoft Security Vulnerability Research (MSVR). Fixes for these vulnerabilities, now identified as CVE-2022-29799 and CVE-2022-29800, have been successfully deployed by the maintainer of the networkd-dispatcher, Clayton Craft. We wish to thank Clayton for his professionalism and collaboration in resolving those issues. Users of networkd-dispatcher are encouraged to update their instances.

To read the full details go here

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

NCCoE Releases Preliminary Draft on 5G Cybersecurity

 The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) has released a new preliminary draft publication, Special Publication (SP) 1800-33 Volume B, 5G Cybersecurity: Approach, Architecture, and Security Characteristics. Commercial mobile network operators, potential private 5G network operators, and organizations using and managing 5G-enabled technology will find SP 1800-33 Volume B of particular interest.

About This Guide

As 5G rolls out more widely, we must safeguard the technology from cyberattacks as 5G development, deployment, and usage continuously evolves. The NCCoE is addressing these challenges by collaborating with industry to design and implement examples of practical solutions that operators and users of 5G networks can use to mitigate 5G cybersecurity risks.

Our solutions build upon the work of the NCCoE’s Trusted Cloud project, where hardware-enabled security serves as the foundation of cloud security. We are also using a combination of 5G standards-based security features and a secure cloud-based hosting infrastructure. The result will be a commercial-grade security reference architecture for 5G networks that bridges the gap between IT and telecommunications cybersecurity capabilities.

Other features of this volume include—

  • Why we are building the example solution to address 5G cybersecurity challenges, including a proposed risk analysis and the security capabilities that the example solution will enable and demonstrate
  • A high-level description of the reference system architecture
  • Details on the capabilities of numerous security components implemented in the lab.

We Want to Hear from You!

The NCCoE is making each SP 1800-33 volume available as a preliminary draft for public comment while work continues on the project. Review the preliminary draft and submit comments online on or before June 27, 2022. You can also email your comments to 5g-security@nist.gov.

We welcome your input and look forward to your comments. We invite you to join the 5G Community of Interest to receive news and updates about this project.  

Friday, April 22, 2022

Updated NICE Framework Knowledge and Skills Statements for Public Comment

 The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) is continuing to refine and clarify the Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity (NICE Framework) as a fundamental reference resource that is agile, flexible, modular, and interoperable. As such, a review of the NICE Framework data - Competency Areas, Work Roles, and Task, Knowledge, and Skill (TKS) statements - is in progress and we are pleased to announce that the initial review of Knowledge and Skill statements is ready for your feedback! 

Updated Knowledge and Skill statements are here! 
Draft updated Knowledge statements and Skill statements are available for public review and comment. Adjustments address: 

  • Alignment with TKS Authoring Guide principles
  • Unnecessary redundancies or duplicates
  • Inconsistent and unclear language

As a result of these adjustments, the TKS building blocks are more measurable, meaningful, and useful. Please note that this process will be an iterative one, and the NICE Program Office will conduct a full review of the updated Knowledge and Skill statements and the refactored Ability statements (previously released for comment) as a whole following comment adjudication.

We want to hear from you!
Comments on the updated Knowledge and Skill statements should be submitted by email to NICEFramework@nist.gov by 11:59pm ET on June 3, 2022.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

BlackCat/ALPHV Ransomware Indicators of Compromise

 This FLASH is part of a series of FBI reports to disseminate known indicators of compromise (IOCs) and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) associated with ransomware variants identified through FBI investigations. As of March 2022, BlackCat/ALPHV ransomware as a service (RaaS) had compromised at least 60 entities worldwide and is the first ransomware group to do so successfully using RUST, considered to be a more secure programming language that offers improved performance and reliable concurrent processing. BlackCat-affiliated threat actors typically request ransom payments of several million dollars in Bitcoin and Monero but have accepted ransom payments below the initial ransom demand amount. Many of the developers and money launderers for BlackCat/ALPHV are linked to Darkside/Blackmatter, indicating they have extensive networks and experience with ransomware operations.

Details 


to read the full details go here

The NCCoE Releases Three Publications on Trusted Cloud and Hardware-Enabled Security

 

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) announces the release of three related publications on trusted cloud and hardware-enabled security. The foundation of any data center or edge computing security strategy should be securing the platform on which data and workloads will be executed and accessed. The physical platform represents the first layer for any layered security approach and provides the initial protections to help ensure that higher-layer security controls can be trusted.

Trusted Cloud: Security Practice Guide for VMware Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Environments
(NIST SP 1800-19)

 

NIST Special Publication (SP) 1800-19 presents an example of a trusted hybrid cloud solution that demonstrates how trusted compute pools leveraging hardware roots of trust can provide the necessary security capabilities for cloud workloads in addition to protecting the virtualization and application layers. View the document.


Each of the reports below, NISTIR 8320B and NISTIR 8320C, are intended to be used as a blueprint or template that the general security community can use as example proof of concept implementations.

Hardware-Enabled Security: Policy-Based Governance in Trusted Container Platforms (NISTIR 8320B)

 

NISTIR 8320B explains an approach based on hardware-enabled security techniques and technologies for safeguarding container deployments in multi-tenant cloud environments. View the document.

Hardware-Enabled Security: Machine Identity Management and Protection (NISTIR 8320C)

 

Draft NISTIR 8320C presents an approach for overcoming security challenges associated with creating, managing, and protecting machine identities, such as cryptographic keys, throughout their lifecycle. View the document.

We Want to Hear from You!

Review the draft NISTIR 8320C and submit comments online on or before June 6, 2022. You can also contact us at hwsec@nist.gov. We value and welcome your input and look forward to your comments.

Russian State-Sponsored and Criminal Cyber Threats to Critical Infrastructure

 

The cybersecurity authorities of the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have released a joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) to warn organizations that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could expose organizations both within and beyond the region to increased malicious cyber activity from Russian state-sponsored cyber actors or Russian-aligned cybercrime groups.

Joint CSA: Russian State-Sponsored and Criminal Cyber Threats to Critical Infrastructure, drafted with contributions from industry members of the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative, provides an overview of Russian state-sponsored advanced persistent threat groups, Russian-aligned cyber threat groups, and Russian-aligned cybercrime groups to help the cybersecurity community protect against possible cyber threats.

U.S., Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and UK cybersecurity authorities urge critical infrastructure network defenders to prepare for and mitigate potential cyber threats by hardening their cyber defenses as recommended in the [joint CSA].

For more information on current and historical Russian-state-sponsored cyber activity and recommended mitigations, see the following CISA webpages: 

 

High‑impact UEFI vulnerabilities discovered in Lenovo consumer laptops

ESET researchers have discovered and analyzed three vulnerabilities affecting various Lenovo consumer laptop models. The first two of these vulnerabilities – CVE-2021-3971CVE-2021-3972 – affect UEFI firmware drivers originally meant to be used only during the manufacturing process of Lenovo consumer notebooks. Unfortunately, they were mistakenly included also in the production BIOS images without being properly deactivated. These affected firmware drivers can be activated by attacker to directly disable SPI flash protections (BIOS Control Register bits and Protected Range registers) or the UEFI Secure Boot feature from a privileged user-mode process during OS runtime. It means that exploitation of these vulnerabilities would allow attackers to deploy and successfully execute SPI flash or ESP implants, like LoJax or our latest UEFI malware discovery ESPecter, on the affected devices.

To understand how we were able to find these vulnerabilities, consider the firmware drivers affected by CVE‑2021-3971. These drivers immediately caught our attention by their very unfortunate (but surprisingly honest) names: SecureBackDoor and SecureBackDoorPeim. After some initial analysis, we discovered other Lenovo drivers sharing a few common characteristics with the SecureBackDoor* drivers: ChgBootDxeHook and ChgBootSmm. As it turned out, their functionality was even more interesting and could be abused to disable UEFI Secure Boot (CVE-2021-3972).

In addition, while investigating above mentioned vulnerable drivers, we discovered the third vulnerability: SMM memory corruption inside the SW SMI handler function (CVE-2021-3970). This vulnerability allows arbitrary read/write from/into SMRAM, which can lead to the execution of malicious code with SMM privileges and potentially lead to the deployment of an SPI flash implant.

We reported all discovered vulnerabilities to Lenovo on October 11th, 2021. Altogether, the list of affected devices contains more than one hundred different consumer laptop models with millions of users worldwide, from affordable models like Ideapad-3 to more advanced ones like Legion 5 Pro-16ACH6 H or Yoga Slim 9-14ITL05. The full list of affected models with active development support is published in the Lenovo Advisory.

In addition to the models listed in the advisory, several other devices we reported to Lenovo are also affected, but won’t be fixed due to them reaching End Of Development Support (EODS). This includes devices where we spotted reported vulnerabilities for the first time: Ideapad 330-15IGM and Ideapad 110-15IGR. The list of such EODS devices that we have been able to identify will be available in ESET’s vulnerability disclosures repository.

Lenovo confirmed the vulnerabilities on November 17th, 2021, and assigned them the following CVEs:

Read more here

Largest Mobile Chipset Manufacturers used Vulnerable Audio Decoder

Highlights:

·        Check Point Research discovered vulnerabilities in the ALAC format that could have led an attacker to remotely get access to its media and audio conversations

·        MediaTek and Qualcomm, the two largest mobile chipset manufacturers in the world, used the ALAC audio coding in their widely distributed mobile handsets, putting millions of Android users’ privacy at risk

·        Research, dubbed “ALHACK” finds Two thirds of all smartphones sold in 2021 are vulnerable

·        Qualcomm and MediaTek acknowledged the vulnerabilities flagged by CPR, putting patches and fixes in response

Background

The Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC), also known as Apple Lossless, is an audio coding format, developed by Apple Inc. and first introduced in 2004 for lossless data compression of digital music.

In late 2011 Apple made the codec open source. Since then, the ALAC format has been embedded in many non-Apple audio playback devices and programs, including Android-based smartphones, Linux and Windows media players and converters.

Since then Apple has been updating the proprietary version of the decoder several times, fixing and patching security issues, but the shared code has not been patched since 2011. Many third-party vendors use the Apple-supplied code as the basis for their own ALAC implementations, and it’s fair to assume that many of them do not maintain the external code.

Check Point Research has discovered that Qualcomm and MediaTek, two of the largest mobile chipset makers in the world, ported the vulnerable ALAC code into their audio decoders, which are used in more than half of all smartphones worldwide. According to IDC, 48.1% of all Android phones sold in the US are powered by MediaTek as of Q4 2021, while Qualcomm currently holds 47% of the market.

What did we find and what is the potential threat?

The ALAC issues our researchers found could be used by an attacker for remote code execution attack (RCE) on a mobile device through a malformed audio file. RCE attacks allow an attacker to remotely execute malicious code on a computer. The impact of an RCE vulnerability can range from malware execution to an attacker gaining control over a user’s multimedia data, including streaming from a compromised machine’s camera.

In addition, an unprivileged Android app could use these vulnerabilities to escalate its privileges and gain access to media data and user conversations.

Responsible disclosure

Check Point Research responsibly disclosed the information to MediaTek and Qualcomm and worked closely in collaboration with both vendors to make sure these vulnerabilities were fixed.

MediaTek assigned CVE-2021-0674 and CVE-2021-0675 to the ALAC issues. The vulnerabilities were already fixed and published in the December 2021 MediaTek Security Bulletin. Qualcomm released the patch for CVE-2021-30351 in the December 2021 Qualcomm Security Bulletin.

 Source of the article found here


Monday, April 18, 2022

TraderTraitor: North Korean State-Sponsored APT Targets Blockchain Companies

 Summary

Actions to take today to mitigate cyber threats to cryptocurrency:
• Patch all systems.
• Prioritize patching known exploited vulnerabilities.
• Train users to recognize and report phishing attempts.
• Use multifactor authentication.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the U.S. Treasury Department (Treasury) are issuing this joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) to highlight the cyber threat associated with cryptocurrency thefts and tactics used by a North Korean state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) group since at least 2020. This group is commonly tracked by the cybersecurity industry as Lazarus Group, APT38, BlueNoroff, and Stardust Chollima. For more information on North Korean state-sponsored malicious cyber activity, visit https://www.us-cert.cisa.gov/northkorea.

The U.S. government has observed North Korean cyber actors targeting a variety of organizations in the blockchain technology and cryptocurrency industry, including cryptocurrency exchanges, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, play-to-earn cryptocurrency video games, cryptocurrency trading companies, venture capital funds investing in cryptocurrency, and individual holders of large amounts of cryptocurrency or valuable non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The activity described in this advisory involves social engineering of victims using a variety of communication platforms to encourage individuals to download trojanized cryptocurrency applications on Windows or macOS operating systems. The cyber actors then use the applications to gain access to the victim’s computer, propagate malware across the victim’s network environment, and steal private keys or exploit other security gaps. These activities enable additional follow-on activities that initiate fraudulent blockchain transactions.

The U.S. government previously published an advisory about North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors using AppleJeus malware to steal cryptocurrency: AppleJeus: Analysis of North Korea’s Cryptocurrency Malware. The U.S. government has also previously published advisories about North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors stealing money from banks using custom malware:

This advisory provides information on tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and indicators of compromise (IOCs) to stakeholders in the blockchain technology and cryptocurrency industry to help them identify and mitigate cyber threats against cryptocurrency. 

Click here for a PDF version of this report.