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
 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

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

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

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.

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.


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


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


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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

Responsible disclosure

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.

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

TraderTraitor: North Korean State-Sponsored APT Targets Blockchain Companies


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.