Oil and gas companies within the Middle East and Russia have once again been targeted and attacked by various strains of malware. One of the strains appears to be the third version of the Shamoon worm that ran rampant in 2016, and the other one is known as Seedworm, named after the cyber espionage group that created it.
Shamoon was built as a master boot record eraser that infected Windows® based machines so that once exploited they could not reboot once turned off. Back in 2016, Shamoon spread by using a list of hostnames taken directly from the Active Directory of a compromised host. Version 3 has discarded this method of infection and follows in the footsteps of WannaCry and NotPetya, propagating over compromised networks using the Server Message Block protocol within Windows. 300 servers and 100 personal computers out of a total of 4000 machines have been crippled in the attack against Italian oil and gas contractor Saipem. Luckily no data was lost due to the company backing up their systems, proving the importance of having proper disaster recovery policies in place.
Seedworm has infiltrated more than 30 organizations already, with most of the targets within the Middle East and Russia. Telecommunications and IT services were the main targets due to the fact that agencies could provide the hackers with additional targets to attack, but the second target were businesses in the oil and gas industry. Seedworm uses a tool called Powermud, a custom made script that allows the threat actors to evade detection in systems that Seedworm compromises. Once compromised, Seedworm executes a payload that scans through web browsers and email to steal credentials, giving researchers the opinion that gaining access to victim personal information is the hacker group’s primary goal. Seedworm, also known as MuddWater or Zagos, is well known for constantly changing tactics. By relying on public tools available on repositories such as GitHub allows the group to quickly update and alter operations through only applying small changes to the code.
The security of the gas and oil industries is essential to maintain stability in the nation’s critical infrastructure. As more and more malware strains become increasingly sophisticated in their execution, so should the enforcement of the policies and procedures to defend against them. With the digitization of the industry, over 50 percent of the managers responsible for the protection of the industry have said they are more vulnerable to cyber attacks then ever before.
Three months ago, security researcher Travis Ormandy from Google Project Zero detailed a significant flaw of which Logitech has finally released a patch. In his September 18th meeting the engineers at Logitech gave the impression that they understood the problem and had a fix in mind and were ready to roll out a patch immediately.
The flaw in the Logitech Options application resides in the users ability to customize the behavior or buttons on their mice and keyboards. This feature is enabled by an app that leaves a WebSocket server on the system that the app is installed upon. That server supports several intrusive commands, auto-starts due to a registry entry, and has a very flimsy authentication method.
Travis details in his report: “The only ‘authentication’ is that you have to provide a Process ID (PID) of a process owned by your user, but you get unlimited guesses so you can brute force it in microseconds.” Once a malicious actor puts in the microseconds of work needed to gain access they can send commands, change options or even send keystrokes. This suggests that the app could be a fantastically powerful attack platform locally or even remotely through the use of keystroke injection attacks.
Injection attacks can give an actor the ability to create other attack vectors within an organization. They can farm information from infected systems like email and contact information, install additional malware like keyloggers or botnets, or even perform a total system take over. An exploit like this can very easily be used to gain additional access to other systems or servers within an organization. In turn, that can easily turn into a massive data breach and/or loss of customer data. Alternatively it can be used to gain banking information or even direct access, turning your keyboard or mouse into a platform to exploit a less security-conscious home user’s banking or credit card information, access medical records or log passwords, or even add them to a botnet.
Ormandy details that the issue was not resolved in the October 1st release of the Options app. After giving Logitech three months to fix the issue, he decided to go public with his bug report. It seems that the bug report had some traction on twitter by Dec 11th pointing out that the problem exists on the Mac versions as well. The patch was released Thursday Dec 13th. Ormandy continues to show skepticism that Logitech will act promptly without the threat of bad publicity.
If you every attended any of my security talks i talk about the risks of surfacing the web or installing software you not sure of… Well Microsoft gave us a gift this week on the windows 10 Beta Build 18305 they have introduced an great new feature Windows Sandbox !
Windows Sandbox is a new lightweight desktop environment tailored for safely running applications in isolation.
How many times have you downloaded an executable file, but were
afraid to run it? Have you ever been in a situation which required a
clean installation of Windows, but didn’t want to set up a virtual
At Microsoft, we regularly encounter these situations, so we
developed Windows Sandbox: an isolated desktop environment where you can
run untrusted software without the fear of lasting impact to your
device. Any software installed in Windows Sandbox stays only in the
sandbox and cannot affect your host. Once Windows Sandbox is closed, all
the software with all of its files and state are permanently deleted.
Windows Sandbox has the following properties:
- Part of Windows – everything required for this feature ships with Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise. No need to download a VHD!
- Pristine – every time Windows Sandbox runs, it’s as clean as a brand-new installation of Windows
- Disposable – nothing persists on the device; everything is discarded after you close the application
- Secure – uses hardware-based virtualization for
kernel isolation, which relies on the Microsoft Hypervisor to run a
separate kernel which isolates Windows Sandbox from the host
- Efficient – uses integrated kernel scheduler, smart memory management, and virtual GPU
To install Windows Sandbox, go to Settings > Apps > Apps & Features > Programs and Features > Turn Windows Features on or off, and then select Enable Windows Sandbox.
To start Windows Sandbox, open the Start menu, enter Windows Sandbox and then select it.
For more info and details go here
Dropbox recently revealed three critical security vulnerabilities in MacOS that would allow execution of arbitrary programs on a target machine triggered just by visiting a webpage. The vulnerabilities were found by the cybersecurity firm Syndis, who were hired for red team exercises on Dropbox’s infrastructure. The three vulnerabilities by themselves were of minimal actual security impact on their own but when chained together could be used to compromise a target machine by simply getting them to visit a webpage.
The first vulnerability found (CVE-201713890) allowed a malicious webpage to force the target machine to mount an arbitrary disk image. This was due to a content identifier conflict in the Safari web browser. When known filetypes are handled in the Safari browser actions are taken to handle the media automatically. Usually this results in things like a media player opening to handle a download or a PDF client opening a document. But due to the same identifier being defined in multiple locations the wrong action was taken when downloading a .smi file.
The second vulnerability (CVE-20184176) starts the execution path of the arbitrary files in the disk image downloaded by the first vulnerability. During creation of a disk image the creator is able to use the bless utility to set specific options. One of those is —openfolder which allows Finder to open an arbitrary folder upon mounting a disk image. By pointing to a bundle file instead of a folder it will be executed when the image is mounted. Being able to launch the application isn’t quite enough though because the Gatekeeper utility prevents unsigned code from actually launching until it is whitelisted.
The third vulnerability (CVE-2018-4175) allows launch of an arbitrary program from the malicious disk image without any security checks. The first step is to include a legitimate signed binary in the image, like the Terminal app. At this point the researchers tried launching a malicious script through the Terminal app but it was still blocked due to the quarantine flag being set. This is set when applications are downloaded from the internet and is cleared when the user explicitly says that the application is safe. By modifying the Info.plist for the bundle they were able to associate a new filetype with the Terminal app. When launching the newly associated filetype the quarantine flag was not checked and code execution was achieved.
This vulnerability chain highlights how a string of seemingly not serious vulnerabilities can often be strung together to achieve a compromise. The vulnerabilities were reported to Apple in February and patched in their March security update.