Thursday, June 30, 2022

Threat Source newsletter (June 30, 2022) — AI voice cloning is somehow more scary than deepfake videos

By Jon Munshaw. 

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Threat Source newsletter. 

We took a week off for summer vacation but are back in the thick of security things now. 

My first exposure to deepfake videos was when Jordan Peele worked with BuzzFeed News to produce this video of former President Barack Obama appearing to use a few not-safe-for-work words. Since then, headlines have been popping up everywhere about the dangers of deepfake videos, with people even going as far as making deepfake pornographic videos which are incredibly problematic in so many ways. 

And now, we must start worrying about deepfake voices, which somehow is even scarier to me. At least with deepfake videos, it is (so far) fairly easy to spot a fake if you spend a lot of time on the internet, and social media companies have improved their flagging systems for this type of content.  

But with fake AI voices — built off machine learning and archives of the person in question speaking — there is nothing to see. And the technology is already pretty convincing.  

An AI voice company worked on the recent “Top Gun: Maverick” movie to recreate the voice of actor Val Kilmer, who lost his natural voice due to throat cancer and uses an electric voice box in his everyday life. I’ve not seen this movie, but I would imagine the average moviegoer had no idea this was the case. 

Something I have seen is “Obi-Wan Kenobi” on Disney+, which also used the assistance of AI voice cloning technology to support the dialogue of a yet-to-be-named character in the show (my guess is Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker because I just don’t think Hayden Christensen has the Vader voice in him).  

And in the most terrifying potential application of this technology, Amazon unveiled the potential that its Alexa voice assistant could read part of a book in a boy’s deceased grandmother’s voice. Hard stop there. I miss my late grandparents as much as anything and would give anything for another phone call with them. That doesn’t mean I’d settle for a robotic recreation of their voice

Vulnerability Spotlight: Command injection vulnerabilities in Robustel cellular router

Lilith >_> of Cisco Talos discovered these vulnerabilities. Blog by Jon Munshaw. 

Cisco Talos recently discovered four vulnerabilities in the Robustel R1510 industrial cellular router. 

The R1510 is a portable router that shares 2G, 3G and 4G wireless internet access. It comes with several advanced software features for users like the ability to connect to a VPN, cloud data management and smart reboot.

There are three command injection vulnerabilities that exist in this device, as well as a data removal vulnerability that could allow an attacker to arbitrarily remove files from the device.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

De-anonymizing ransomware domains on the dark web



By Paul Eubanks.

  • We have developed three techniques to identify ransomware operators' dark websites hosted on public IP addresses, allowing us to uncover previously unknown infrastructure for the DarkAngels, Snatch, Quantum and Nokoyawa ransomware groups.
  • The methods we used to identify the public internet IPs involved matching threat actors’ TLS certificate serial numbers and page elements with those indexed on the public internet, as well as taking advantage of ransomware operators’ security failures.
  • In de-anonymizing the dark web infrastructure used by ransomware actors, we can enable hosting providers to reduce illegal activity on their networks, enhance threat actor tracking, assist in possible law enforcement investigations, and/or slow ransomware operations as they make operational changes.

Ransomware infrastructure landscape


Ransomware operators typically constrain their activities to the dark web to conceal their illegal activities. Their public leak sites and victim communication portals are accessible only on The Onion Router (TOR) network via a specific URL that is only available via direct disclosure. This limits access to fellow operators, victims and security researchers who track and discover such sites. The TOR network provides a reasonable cloak of anonymity when used properly, but when a threat actor makes configuration mistakes, their activity becomes public and can attract the attention of security researchers or law enforcement agencies. Ransomware operators seek to avoid this sort of attention at all costs and will go to great lengths to ensure their operations remain anonymous. 

In several cases, we identified public IP addresses hosting the same threat actor infrastructure as those on the dark web, making their leak sites and other infrastructure components accessible for any user on the public internet. By removing the anonymity network that TOR provides, hosting providers can take action against these potentially illegal activities occurring on their networks, and we can observe changes in threat actor behavior upon their discovery.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Threat Roundup for June 17 to June 24


Today, Talos is publishing a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we've observed between June 17 and June 24. As with previous roundups, this post isn't meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we've observed by highlighting key behavioral characteristics, indicators of compromise, and discussing how our customers are automatically protected from these threats.

As a reminder, the information provided for the following threats in this post is non-exhaustive and current as of the date of publication. Additionally, please keep in mind that IOC searching is only one part of threat hunting. Spotting a single IOC does not necessarily indicate maliciousness. Detection and coverage for the following threats is subject to updates, pending additional threat or vulnerability analysis. For the most current information, please refer to your Firepower Management Center, Snort.org, or ClamAV.net.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Avos ransomware group expands with new attack arsenal



By Flavio Costa, Chris Neal and Guilherme Venere.

  • In a recent customer engagement, we observed a month-long AvosLocker campaign.
  • The attackers utilized several different tools, including Cobalt Strike, Sliver and multiple commercial network scanners.
  • The initial ingress point in this incident was a pair of VMWare Horizon Unified Access Gateways that were vulnerable to Log4Shell. While Cisco products were deployed on the network, the appliances were never configured, allowing the attacker to gain access to internal servers and maintain a foothold.
  • During the time the attacker was active in the network, several security events were detected by the security products but were not reviewed by the security team, which could have prevented the ransomware activity.


Threat Actor Profile: Avos


Avos is a ransomware group first identified in 2021 initially targeting Windows machines. More recently, a new ransomware variant of AvosLocker, named after the group, is also targeting Linux environments. Well-funded and financially motivated, Avos has been active since June 2021 and follows the ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) model, an affiliate program to recruit potential partners. The announcement of the program includes information about the features of the ransomware and lets affiliates know that AvosLocker operators will handle negotiation and extortion practices. The user "Avos" has also been observed trying to recruit individuals on the Russian forum XSS.


Friday, June 17, 2022

Threat Roundup for June 10 to June 17


Today, Talos is publishing a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we've observed between June 10 and June 17. As with previous roundups, this post isn't meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we've observed by highlighting key behavioral characteristics, indicators of compromise, and discussing how our customers are automatically protected from these threats.

As a reminder, the information provided for the following threats in this post is non-exhaustive and current as of the date of publication. Additionally, please keep in mind that IOC searching is only one part of threat hunting. Spotting a single IOC does not necessarily indicate maliciousness. Detection and coverage for the following threats is subject to updates, pending additional threat or vulnerability analysis. For the most current information, please refer to your Firepower Management Center, Snort.org, or ClamAV.net.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Threat Source newsletter (June 16, 2022) — Three top takeaways from Cisco Live

By Jon Munshaw. 

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Threat Source newsletter. 

I’m still decompressing from Cisco Live and the most human interaction I’ve had in a year and a half.  

But after spending a few days on the show floor and interacting with everyone, there are a few things that stand out to me about the state of security and what people are interested in at Cisco Live. So, I wanted to take some time to highlight a few things that stood out to me at this year’s Cisco Live. Editor's note: The Threat Source newsletter will be on a summer break next week, so no new edition! 

Don’t think about the worst 


A lot of our lightning talks at the Cisco Secure Pub this week centered around some crazy days, many of which left us scrambling — the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, Log4J, Kaseya, you name it. The problem is no one wants to think about how awful these days are. 

During these talks, I saw a lot of heads in the audience nodding around how we need to be prepared for the worst, but no one wants to talk about that. Who wants to be the one to predict the next Log4J? Unfortunately, it’s going to happen, we just don’t know when. That’s why things like Incident Response plans and playbooks are so important. 

You may not want to talk about the toughest day of your professional career, but it’s going to come, so we may as well embrace it and be ready. 


A wink and a nod 


Speaking of these major incidents, it seems like a ton of major security events have happened since the last Cisco Live in person. While they were happening, it was all anyone could talk about. But in person, words like “SolarWinds” and “Kaseya” were all spoken in hush tones or were just vaguely referenced to in-person like “back then” or “the dark times.”  

If we are going to truly learn from these events, I feel like we need to speak about them openly and honestly. I try to have a judgment-free security zone because eventually, a breach is going to happen to everyone. So the point is not to shame someone when it happens, we should be discussing the lessons learned openly so we can do better next time, rather than trying to brush it under the rug. 

During these stretches, we were all busy and stressed and it made for some late nights. That’s OK, and it should be OK to talk about that, even if you’re within earshot of someone who was involved.


We can’t replicate everything over the internet 


The future is hybrid work, there’s no doubt about it. And I’d be the first person to tell you I prefer working from home versus commuting to the office today. But I must admit — it’s tough to replicate the connections at conferences and shows over Webex. 

Meetings and 1:1 check-ins work great for virtual meeting platforms, but there’s something about just making a personal connection in-person to a stranger. I was working at the Talos booth this week and struck up a conversation with someone who worked in network operations for an NFL team. Being a huge NFL fan, I had all sorts of questions to ask about the ins and outs of his job and the organization, especially given Cisco Talos Incident Response’s recent work at the Super Bowl and NFL draft. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t something we’ve been able to capture virtually. That operations person and I exchanged information on what we’re seeing in the field, what pain points exist and even got to talking about the NFL offseason. My wife, boss and parents would be shocked to hear me say this — but I actually missed talking to people in person.    

  

The one big thing 


Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday for this month included 40 high-severity vulnerabilities, including one critical issue. The most serious issue is CVE-2022-30136, a remote code execution vulnerability in the Windows Network File System (NFS) service, version NFSv4.1, with a severity score of near-maximum 9.8. An attacker can exploit the vulnerability over the network by making an unauthenticated, specially crafted call to an NFS service to execute remote code. To mitigate this vulnerability, users are advised to disable the vulnerable version NFSV4.1 and restart the NFS server or reboot the machine. 

Why do I care? 

This month’s round of updates also includes a fix for the high-profile Follina vulnerability disclosed a few weeks ago. Attackers are actively exploiting this in the wild to deliver malware, so this is especially important to patch for immediately. Also, this release marks the official end of Internet Explorer, the Microsoft browser that’s been around for more than 25 years. As of Tuesday, Microsoft stopped officially supporting most versions of Explorer and disabled the IE desktop application. All Explorer users are encouraged to switch over to Microsoft Edge (or another web browser). 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Vulnerability Spotlight: Vulnerabilities in Anker Eufy Homebase could lead to code execution, authentication bypass



Lilith >_> of Cisco Talos discovered these vulnerabilities. Blog by Jon Munshaw. 

Cisco Talos recently discovered three vulnerabilities in the Anker Eufy Homebase 2. 

The Eufy Homebase 2 is the video storage and networking gateway that works with Anker’s Eufy Smarthome ecosystem. All Eufy devices connect to this cloud-connected device and allow users to adjust the settings on other Eufy Smarthome devices.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Microsoft Patch Tuesday for June 2022 — Snort rules and prominent vulnerabilities


By Chetan Raghuprasad.

Microsoft released its monthly security update Tuesday, disclosing 55 vulnerabilities in the company’s firmware and software. One of these vulnerabilities is considered critical, 40 are listed as high severity, and the remainder is considered "moderate." 

The most serious issue is CVE-2022-30136, a remote code execution vulnerability in the Windows Network File System (NFS) service, version NFSv4.1, with a severity score of near-maximum 9.8. An attacker can exploit the vulnerability over the network by making an unauthenticated, specially crafted call to a Network File System (NFS) service to execute remote code. To mitigate this vulnerability, users are advised to disable the vulnerable version NFSV4.1 and restart the NFS server or reboot the machine.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Threat Source newsletter (June 9, 2022) — Get ready for Cisco Live

By Jon Munshaw. 

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Threat Source newsletter. 

Another week, another conference. We’re heading a few miles southeast from San Francisco to Las Vegas for Cisco Live. I hope everyone had a safe, healthy and enjoyable RSA, but the fun isn’t over just yet. 

We’ve got another week chock full of talks, meet-and-greets, podcasts and much more at Cisco Live this week. Come find us at the center of the Cisco Secure booth where we have something awesome planned (it’s a surprise!). I’ve also got a few other highlights from Talos at Cisco Live to know about this week.  

I’ll personally be giving my first-ever talk at the Cisco Secure Pub on Wednesday, so come by and say hi and tell me how much you love the newsletter.  

Cisco Secure Pub 

The best place to find us is at the Cisco Secure Pub on the show floor. The Pub will be serving coffee in the morning and alcoholic drinks in the afternoon. Every day, we’ll be represented in lightning talks at the booth on a wide variety of topics, including Talos’ work in Ukraine, securing industrial control systems and a look back at Log4j. 

And since this is my newsletter, I’m also going to plug my talk on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. local time when I’ll be discussing disinformation and propaganda campaigns in the age of social media, especially as it relates to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Talos Insights: The State of Cybersecurity 

This is our annual overview of the threat landscape, this year delivered by Nick Biasini from our Outreach team. In this talk on the 15th, Nick will talk about the threats and trends Talos has uncovered in the past 12 months and provide the technical details on how they operate. Use the Cisco Live Session Catalog for more details on location. 

Interactive sessions 

Talos and Cisco Talos Incident Responses are hosting several interactive sessions throughout the conference where attendees will get a chance to work face-to-face with our researchers and work hands-on with Cisco Secure products. 

I’ve created a personal filter here in the Session Catalog so you can easily find all our interactive sessions throughout the week.    
  

The one big thing 


Attackers are actively exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Atlassian Confluence Data Center and Server to execute remote code on targeted machines. The attacks delivered several payloads, including the in-memory BEHINDER implant as well as web shells, including China Chopper. In addition to the initial attacks outlined in the report, researchers confirmed additional, continued exploitation is ongoing. There is now a Proof of Concept (PoC) available so exploitation could increase in the near term.  

Why do I care? 

If an attacker exploited this vulnerability, they could completely take over the targeted host and execute remote code on the targeted machine. And although a patch is available for this vulnerability, many instances remain unpatched, and reports continue to pour in that attackers are using exploit code available in the wild. This is all a bad recipe for a vulnerability that I relatively easy for attackers to exploit and we know they’re scanning for. Attackers are also exploiting this issue to spread China Chopper, a longstanding malware that can act as a backdoor on targeted machines and essentially be a backup plan for threat actors to retain access.  

Talos EMEA monthly update: Business email compromise

The latest edition of the Talos EMEA Monthly Update is available now on Cisco.com and Cisco's YouTube page. You can also view the episode in its entirety above.

For June, Hazel and Martin got together to discuss business email compromise. BEC has quickly become the most lucrative attack vector for threat actors, even surpassing ransomware. This episode provides a quick explainer of what BEC is and how organizations can be prepared for when, not if, this type of spam campaign comes for them. 

Friday, June 3, 2022

Threat Advisory: Atlassian Confluence zero-day vulnerability under active exploitation


Cisco Talos is monitoring reports of an actively exploited zero-day vulnerability in Confluence Data Center and Server. Confluence is a Java-based corporate Wiki employed by numerous enterprises. At this time, it is confirmed that all supported versions of Confluence are affected by this vulnerability.

Vulnerability Details

The vulnerability, CVE-2022-26134, is reportedly associated with command injection. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to execute remote code and, per reports, is being actively exploited in the wild. The attacks delivered several payloads, including the in-memory BEHINDER implant as well as webshells, including China Chopper. In addition to the initial attacks outlined in the report, researchers confirmed additional, continued exploitation is ongoing. There is now a Proof of Concept (PoC) available so exploitation could increase in the near term.

The vulnerability itself appears to be an OGNL injection vulnerability specifically impacting the web server and can be exploited via an HTTP request. It appears that all HTTP methods are vulnerable as well. The exploitation appears to be relatively straightforward and should be resolved immediately either through patching or other mitigations.

Threat Roundup for May 27 to June 3


Today, Talos is publishing a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we've observed between May 27 and June 3. As with previous roundups, this post isn't meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we've observed by highlighting key behavioral characteristics, indicators of compromise, and discussing how our customers are automatically protected from these threats.

As a reminder, the information provided for the following threats in this post is non-exhaustive and current as of the date of publication. Additionally, please keep in mind that IOC searching is only one part of threat hunting. Spotting a single IOC does not necessarily indicate maliciousness. Detection and coverage for the following threats is subject to updates, pending additional threat or vulnerability analysis. For the most current information, please refer to your Firepower Management Center, Snort.org, or ClamAV.net.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Threat Source newsletter (June 2, 2022) — An RSA Conference primer

By Jon Munshaw. 

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Threat Source newsletter. 

Many of you readers may be gearing up for a West Coast swing over the next few weeks through San Francisco and Las Vegas for RSA and Cisco Live, respectively. And we’re right behind you!  

Talos will have plenty of representation at both conferences, including giving lightning talks at the Cisco Secure booth, several features talks and spots, live podcast recordings, and more. To get you ready for RSA, I wanted to highlight a few special things we’re doing at the conference you should know about before you go.  

As always, you can keep posted on our latest plans and talk schedule by following us on Twitter. 

Main booth 

Stop by the main Talos and Cisco Secure booth at Moscone North Hall to say hi, ask questions and get the latest information on what we’re up to. 

At the booth, we’ll be premiering a new video series and giving out some of our newest stickers created in the image of our favorite malware “mascots.” Everyone will be jealous if you have one of these on your laptop. 

Evolving Your Defense: Making Heads or Tails of Threat Actor Trends 

Nick Biasini and Pierre Cadieux are hosting our sponsored session on June 7 at 9:40 a.m. PT. In this talk, they’ll be breaking down the latest threat actor tactics, techniques and procedures and telling you which ones you should be worried about and what can be ignored. 

Beers with Talos/Security Stories 

We’re hosting two live podcasts back-to-back at the Marriott Marquis: Sierra C ballroom from 2 – 5 p.m. PT on June 7. Security Stories and Beers with Talos are getting together to play a game of “Would I lie to you?”  

Talos’ vice president, Matt Watchinski, will be on hand for both episodes, along with other special guests.  

The Beers with Talos episode will cover Talos’ work in Ukraine, and we’ll hear from the audience about their hottest security takes.  
  

The one big thing 


A recently discovered zero-day vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT) made headlines over the past few days. CVE-2022-30190, also known under the name "Follina," exists when MSDT is called using the URL protocol from an application, such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word or via an RTF file. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to gain the ability to run arbitrary code on the targeted system. 

Why do I care? 

If an attacker were to successfully exploit this vulnerability, they could execute remote code on the targeted machine. Needless to say, that’s bad. This is just the latest in a string of Microsoft vulnerabilities to make headlines over the past 12 months, including PrintNightmare and multiple Exchange Server issues. If those cases have taught us anything, it’s that attackers aren’t afraid to look for vulnerable Microsoft products to try and gain a foothold on a targeted network or machine.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Threat Advisory: Zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft diagnostic tool MSDT could lead to code execution



A recently discovered zero-day vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT) made headlines over the past few days. CVE-2022-30190, also known under the name "Follina," exists when MSDT is called using the URL protocol from an application, such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word or via an RTF file. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to gain the ability to run arbitrary code on the targeted system.

Although a patch hasn't been released yet, Microsoft has provided workarounds and Windows Defender protections for the CVE and malware exploiting this vulnerability. Cisco Talos has also released coverage to protect against this vulnerability, the full details of which are available below.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Researcher Spotlight: Martin Lee, EMEAR lead, Talos Strategic Communications

Who knew you could connect Moses to threat intelligence?

 
By Jon Munshaw. 

When the security community usually thinks about the origins of cybersecurity and threat intelligence, the conversation may quickly center around the codebreakers in World War II or the Creeper software developed in the 1970s. 

Martin Lee likes to go all the way back to Biblical times and Moses. 

“The Book of Numbers is the first account of threat intelligence,” Lee, Talos’ Strategic Communications EMEAR lead, said in a recent interview.  

The Book of Numbers, one of the books of the Old Testament, tells the story of Moses sending scouts out to spy for potential dangers that await the group he’s leading. In this story, Moses is trying to collect as much information as possible to learn about what threats, and opportunities, his group will face along their travels. 

Lee also likes to reference Julius Caesar, who wrote his personal correspondence in cipher. Even the most powerful man on Earth feared the interception of his messages by enemies. It's remarkable how little has changed in 2,000 years, he says.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Threat Roundup for May 20 to May 27


Today, Talos is publishing a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we've observed between May 20 and May 27. As with previous roundups, this post isn't meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we've observed by highlighting key behavioral characteristics, indicators of compromise, and discussing how our customers are automatically protected from these threats.

As a reminder, the information provided for the following threats in this post is non-exhaustive and current as of the date of publication. Additionally, please keep in mind that IOC searching is only one part of threat hunting. Spotting a single IOC does not necessarily indicate maliciousness. Detection and coverage for the following threats is subject to updates, pending additional threat or vulnerability analysis. For the most current information, please refer to your Firepower Management Center, Snort.org, or ClamAV.net.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Threat Source newsletter (May 26, 2022) — BlackByte adds itself to the grocery list of big game hunters

By Jon Munshaw. 

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Threat Source newsletter. 

Given the recent tragedies in the U.S., I don’t feel it’s appropriate to open by being nostalgic or trying to be witty — let’s just stick to some security news this week.  
  

The one big thing 


The BlackByte ransomware group uses its software for its own goals and as a ransomware-as-a-service offering to other criminals. This actor and its affiliates have infected victims all over the world, from North America to Colombia, the Netherlands, China, Mexico and Vietnam. BlackByte updated its leak site with a new design and new victims and is still actively exploiting victims worldwide.   

Why do I care? 

Talos has been monitoring BlackByte for several months and we can confirm they are still active after the FBI released a joint cybersecurity advisory in February 2022. Additionally, BlackByte is considered part of the big game ransomware groups, which are targeting large, high-profile targets, looking to exfiltrate internal data and threatening to publicly release it. Like similar groups, they have their own leaks site on the darknet. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Vulnerability Spotlight: Vulnerabilities in Open Automation Software Platform could lead to information disclosure, denial of service



Jared Rittle of Cisco Talos discovered these vulnerabilities. Blog by Jon Munshaw. 

Cisco Talos recently discovered eight vulnerabilities in the Open Automation Software Platform that could allow an adversary to carry out a variety of malicious actions, including improperly authenticating into the targeted device and causing a denial of service. 

The OAS Platform facilitates the simplified data transfer between various proprietary devices and applications, including software and hardware. 

The most serious of these issues is TALOS-2022-1493 (CVE-2022-26082), which an attacker could exploit to gain the ability to execute arbitrary code on the targeted machine. This issue has a severity score of 9.1 out of a possible 10. Another vulnerability, TALOS-2022-1513 (CVE-2022-26833) has a 9.4 severity score and could lead to the unauthenticated use of the REST API. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Threat Roundup for May 13 to May 20

Today, Talos is publishing a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we've observed between May 13 and May 20. As with previous roundups, this post isn't meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we've observed by highlighting key behavioral characteristics, indicators of compromise, and discussing how our customers are automatically protected from these threats.

As a reminder, the information provided for the following threats in this post is non-exhaustive and current as of the date of publication. Additionally, please keep in mind that IOC searching is only one part of threat hunting. Spotting a single IOC does not necessarily indicate maliciousness. Detection and coverage for the following threats is subject to updates, pending additional threat or vulnerability analysis. For the most current information, please refer to your Firepower Management Center, Snort.org, or ClamAV.net.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Threat Source newsletter (May 19, 2022) — Why I'm missing the days of iPods and LimeWire

By Jon Munshaw. 

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Threat Source newsletter. 

I will openly admit that I still own a “classic” iPod — the giant brick that weighed down my skinny jeans in high school and did nothing except play music. There are dozens of hours of music on there that I always tell myself I’m going to back up somewhere and never do. The iPod doesn’t have any charge at the moment, and I still need to hop on eBay to buy one of those flat chargers for it to even start the backup process. So no, I’m sure I’ll never get around to backing it up and recycling the device. 

But that doesn’t make it any less painful to hear that Apple is going to stop making iPods altogether. I’m a longtime iPod user and have owned everything from the original “stick of gum” iPod shuffle, to the tiny, square iPod nano that clipped to my backpack and made me think I was really cool, along with pretty much every other iteration of the nano. 

The news of the iPod’s end got me thinking about how far the threat landscape has come. We all have a supped-up iPod in our pockets now that connects to the internet at a moment’s notice and is one risky click away from someone stealing your banking app password. It used to be that when I wanted new music, I would have to plug the iPod into my parents’ Mac at home and connect to the internet, and then pray that whatever perilous download I was grabbing from uTorrent or LimeWire wasn’t going to download a virus. Most of the time, I thankfully landed on a somewhat legitimate version of a Slayer album. 

Nowadays, attackers have even come up with ways to install malware on your iPhone even when it’s powered down — that was never an issue in the heyday of the iPod! 

Though in my walk down memory lane, I did learn that some classic iPods shipped in 2006 contained Windows malware known as “RavMonE.exe,” an early example of why everyone should have at least a base anti-virus enabled.  

I’ll miss the days of the iPod, when I didn’t have to worry about malware following me in my backpack or briefcase. But I don’t miss having to illegitimately listen to Slayer, I’ll gladly pay the $10 a month for Spotify to avoid having to hope a file from “xX_metalhead420Xx_” doesn’t have malware in it.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The BlackByte ransomware group is striking users all over the globe



News summary

  • Cisco Talos has been monitoring the BlackByte Ransomware Group for several months, infecting victims all over the world, from North America to Colombia, Netherlands, China, Mexico and Vietnam.
  • The FBI released a joint cybersecurity advisory in February 2022 warning about this group, stating that the group has targeted at least three critical infrastructure sectors in the U.S.
  • Talos has monitored ongoing BlackByte attacks dating back to March.
  • BlackByte updated its leak site with a new design and new victims and is still actively exploiting victims worldwide. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Vulnerability Spotlight: Multiple memory corruption vulnerabilities in NVIDIA GPU driver



Piotr Bania of Cisco Talos discovered these vulnerabilities. Blog by Jon Munshaw. 

Cisco Talos recently discovered four vulnerabilities in the NVIDIA D3D10 driver for graphics cards that could allow an attacker to corrupt memory and write arbitrary memory on the card. 

NVIDIA graphics drivers are software for NVIDIA Graphics GPU cards that are installed on PCs. The D3D10 driver communicates between the operating system and the GPU. It's required in most cases for the PC to function properly. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Ransomware: How executives should prepare given the current threat landscape












By Nate Pors.

Top executives are increasingly dreading the phone call from their fellow employees notifying them that their company has been hit by a cyber attack. Nearly every week in 2021 and early 2022, a prominent organization has been in the media spotlight as their public relations team struggles to explain how they were attacked and how they can regain consumer confidence. A recent survey showed that 37 percent of organizations surveyed had been affected by ransomware attacks in the last year.

Worse, the days when executive leadership teams could fully delegate responsibility to a CISO are over. Regardless of reality, surveys have shown that about 40 percent of the public perception of fault for a ransomware attack land squarely on the CEO’s shoulders, and that 36 percent of attacks result in the loss of C-level talent. While executive involvement in the security program does not guarantee a successful defense, it does give the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) a degree of ownership of the final product, as well as the ability to speak confidently and knowledgeably to the public. 

Cisco Talos Incident Response (CTIR) has assisted hundreds of organizations through recent ransomware incidents and executive tabletop exercises and compiled the following observations for how top executives can best prepare and evaluate their teams.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Threat Roundup for May 6 to May 13


Today, Talos is publishing a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we've observed between May 6 and May 13. As with previous roundups, this post isn't meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we've observed by highlighting key behavioral characteristics, indicators of compromise, and discussing how our customers are automatically protected from these threats.

As a reminder, the information provided for the following threats in this post is non-exhaustive and current as of the date of publication. Additionally, please keep in mind that IOC searching is only one part of threat hunting. Spotting a single IOC does not necessarily indicate maliciousness. Detection and coverage for the following threats is subject to updates, pending additional threat or vulnerability analysis. For the most current information, please refer to your Firepower Management Center, Snort.org, or ClamAV.net.

EMEAR Monthly Talos Update: Wiper malware

Cisco Talos and Cisco Secure are launching a new video series to fill you in on the latest cybersecurity trends. We’re thrilled to launch our first video in the new Talos Threat Update series, which you can watch above or over at this link, where Martin Lee and Hazel Burton talk about wiper malware  — what is it, why is it important and how you can prepare your organization against it. 

While this series is primarily focused on the European region, the advice and topics covered each month apply to users everywhere.  

In each video, Hazel Burton dives into important security topics with Cisco Secure researchers, asking the tough questions and giving straight answers. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Threat Source newsletter (May 12, 2022) — Mandatory MFA adoption is great, but is it too late?



By Jon Munshaw. 

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Threat Source newsletter. 

Mandatory multi-factor authentication is all the rage nowadays. GitHub just announced that all contributors would have to enroll in MFA by 2023 to log into their accounts. And Google announced as part of World Password Day that it would soon be making MFA compulsory for all users.  

But is it too little, too late? 

Don’t get me wrong, MFA is one of the best first lines of defense for preventing a cyber attack or any other type of network intrusion. It comes up in pretty much every Talos blog post and Talos Takes episode I record.  

However, if we keep pushing off the deadline for making this step mandatory, it only gives attackers more time to catch up to us. Adversaries have already figured out ways to intercept MFA codes that are sent via SMS message, as. I talked about with Wendy Nather last year

And on the latest Beers with Talos episode, Nate Pors from Talos Incident Response talked about “prompt bombing” users, essentially annoying them to the point that they click “yes” on an MFA prompt and let a bad guy in.  

By the time MFA becomes mandatory on major sites and for some of our most important accounts on the internet, what other types of attacks will threat actors come up with to get around it. Already, one-time codes are starting to become out-of-fashion in favor of FIDO or certificate-based PKI authentication. Rather than adopting what should have been standard practice several years ago, is it time to start thinking about what the future of MFA is? 

It might be best for us to all look forward to zero-trust as our security future. It’s something the federal government is already looking at, but it goes without saying that things don’t happen quickly within the government at any level.  

In the meantime, everyone should work toward making MFA mandatory as quickly as possible. Yes, it can be a pain, but it will save many future headaches. If you do have MFA already, rely on app push notifications rather than SMS-based authentication. And, as always, user education is important. It should go without saying but tell users that unless they know they initiated an MFA push, they should never click on it. Even if it’s 3 a.m. 

Vulnerability Spotlight: How an attacker could chain several vulnerabilities in an industrial wireless router to gain root access



Francesco Benvenuto of Cisco Talos discovered these vulnerabilities. Blog by Francesco Benvenuto and Jon Munshaw. 

Cisco Talos recently discovered several vulnerabilities in InHand Networks’ InRouter302 that could allow an attacker to escalate their privileges on the targeted device from a non-privileged user to a privileged one. There are also multiple vulnerabilities that could allow an adversary to reach unconstrained root privileges. The router has one privileged user and several non-privileged ones. 

The InRouter is an industrial LTE router that includes remote management functionalities and several security protection mechanisms, such as VPN connections and a firewall. 

The router can be managed mainly in two ways: through the web interface, and through a router console accessible by telnet or, if enabled, SSH. The router does not provide access in any way to the Linux system beneath the router functionalities. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Bitter APT adds Bangladesh to their targets


  • Cisco Talos has observed an ongoing malicious campaign since August 2021 from the Bitter APT group that appears to target users in Bangladesh, a change from the attackers' usual victims.
  • As part of this, there's a new trojan based on Apost Talos is calling "ZxxZ," that, among other features, includes remote file execution capability.
  • Based on the similarities between the C2 server in this campaign with that of Bitter's previous campaign, we assess with moderate confidence that this campaign is operated by the Bitter APT group.

Executive Summary

Cisco Talos discovered an ongoing campaign operated by what we believe is the Bitter APT group since August 2021. This campaign is a typical example of the actor targeting South Asian government entities.

This campaign targets an elite unit of the Bangladesh's government with a themed lure document alleging to relate to the regular operational tasks in the victim's organization. The lure document is a spear-phishing email sent to high-ranking officers of the Rapid Action Battalion Unit of the Bangladesh police (RAB). The emails contain either a malicious RTF document or a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet weaponized to exploit known vulnerabilities. Once the victim opens the maldoc, the Equation Editor application is automatically launched to run the embedded objects containing the shellcode to exploit known vulnerabilities described by CVE-2017-11882, CVE-2018-0798 and CVE-2018-0802 — all in Microsoft Office — then downloads the trojan from the hosting server and runs it on the victim's machine. The trojan masquerades as a Windows Security update service and allows the malicious actor to perform remote code execution, opening the door to other activities by installing other tools. In this campaign, the trojan runs itself but the actor has other RATs and downloaders in their arsenal.

Such surveillance campaigns could allow the threat actors to access the organization's confidential information and give their handlers an advantage over their competitors, regardless of whether they're state-sponsored.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Threat Advisory: Critical F5 BIG-IP Vulnerability



Summary


A recently disclosed vulnerability in F5 Networks' BIG-IP could allow an unauthenticated attacker to access the BIG-IP system to execute arbitrary system commands, create and delete files, disable services and could lead to additional malicious activity.

This vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2022-1388 is an authentication bypass vulnerability in F5's BIG-IP modules affecting the iControl REST component. BIG-IP is F5's line of appliances that organizations use as load balancers, firewalls, and for inspection and encryption of data passing in to and out of networks. The vulnerability has a CVSS score of 9.8 out of a possible 10 and is considered critical.

F5 discovered the vulnerability on May 4, 2022 and has subsequently released a security advisory and patches, along with a subsequent advisory from the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Cisco Talos is closely monitoring the recent reports of exploitation attempts against CVE-2022-1388 and strongly recommends users issue patches to affected systems as soon as possible.


Microsoft Patch Tuesday for May 2022 — Snort rules and prominent vulnerabilities



By Jon Munshaw, with contributions from Jaeson Schultz. 

Microsoft returned to its normal monthly patching volume in May, disclosing and fixing 74 vulnerabilities as part of the company’s latest security update. This month’s Patch Tuesday includes seven critical vulnerabilities after Microsoft disclosed more than 140 security issues in April

The point-to-point tunneling feature in Windows contains two of the most serious vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to execute remote code on a targeted RAS server machine. While CVE-2022-21972 and CVE-2022-23270 are rated “critical,” Microsoft stated the attack complexity is high since an adversary needs to win a race condition, making it less likely an attacker could exploit these issues.  

CVE-2022-26931 and CVE-2022-26923 are elevation of privilege vulnerabilities in Windows Kerberos and Windows Active Directory, respectively. They both are considered critical, though CVE-2022-26931 is considered less likely to be exploited because it has a higher attack complexity. 

The Windows Network File System contains the highest-rated vulnerability of the month: CVE-2022-26937, which has a severity score of 9.8 out of a possible 10. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by making an unauthenticated, specially crafted call to an NFS service to eventually gain the ability to execute remote code. 

May’s Patch Tuesday also features a vulnerability in the Magnitude Simba Amazon Redshift ODBC Driver that affects the Windows self-hosted integration runtime service. An attacker could exploit CVE-2022-29972 to execute remote code, though they would need to first have the same level of privilege as a Synapse Administrator, Synapse Contributor or Synapse Computer Operator. 

Talos would also like to highlight six important vulnerabilities that Microsoft considers to be “more likely” to be exploited: 

A complete list of all the vulnerabilities Microsoft disclosed this month is available on its update page. 

In response to these vulnerability disclosures, Talos is releasing a new SNORTⓇ rule set that detects attempts to exploit some of them. Please note that additional rules may be released at a future date and current rules are subject to change pending additional information. Cisco Secure Firewall customers should use the latest update to their ruleset by updating their SRU. Open-source Snort Subscriber Rule Set customers can stay up to date by downloading the latest rule pack available for purchase on Snort.org. 

The rules included in this release that protect against the exploitation of many of these vulnerabilities are 59726 - 59728, 59730, 59731, 59733, 59734, 59737 and 59738. For Snort 3, the following rules are also available to protect against these vulnerabilities: 300125, 300126, 300128, 300129, 300130, 300133 and 300134 - 300137.

Vulnerability Spotlight: Vulnerability in Alyac antivirus program could stop virus scanning, cause denial of service


Jaewon Min of Cisco Talos discovered these vulnerabilities. Blog by Jon Munshaw. 

Cisco Talos recently discovered an out-of-bounds read vulnerability in the ESTsecurity Corp.’s Alyac antivirus software that could cause a denial-of-service condition.  

If successful, an attacker could trigger this vulnerability to stop the program from scanning for malware, which would be crucial in a potential attack scenario. Alyac is an antivirus software developed for Microsoft Windows machines. 

Talos Incident Response added to German BSI Advanced Persistent Threat response list



Cisco Talos Incident Response is now listed as an approved vendor on the Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI) Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) response service providers list. Talos Incident Response successfully demonstrated to the BSI, through a review of our processes and a technical panel interview, that we can respond to cybersecurity incidents involving APT actors throughout Germany. Additionally, Cisco was recognized as a Leader by IDC MarketScape for our Worldwide Incident Readiness services. We look forward to continuing to provide our wide range of market-leading, globally delivered incident response services to Cisco’s German Federal, Public and Private business customers.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Threat Roundup for April 29 to May 6


Today, Talos is publishing a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we've observed between April 29 and May 6. As with previous roundups, this post isn't meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we've observed by highlighting key behavioral characteristics, indicators of compromise, and discussing how our customers are automatically protected from these threats.

As a reminder, the information provided for the following threats in this post is non-exhaustive and current as of the date of publication. Additionally, please keep in mind that IOC searching is only one part of threat hunting. Spotting a single IOC does not necessarily indicate maliciousness. Detection and coverage for the following threats is subject to updates, pending additional threat or vulnerability analysis. For the most current information, please refer to your Firepower Management Center, Snort.org, or ClamAV.net.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Threat Source newsletter (May 5, 2022) — Emotet is using up all of its nine lives

By Jon Munshaw. 

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Threat Source newsletter. 

Emotet made headlines last week for being “back” after a major international law enforcement takedown last year. But I’m here to argue that Emotet never left, and honestly, I’m not sure it ever will.  

As Nick Biasini and I covered in a December episode of Talos Takes, these takedowns are always incredibly helpful and a show of strength among the international community. But it doesn’t mean they’re a final nail in the coffin.  

Nick pointed out to me in that Talos Takes that there weren’t any arrests associated with the takedown, so the operators were always still out there ready to come back. And we started seeing Emotet send spam again as soon as nine-ish months after the takedown announcement.  

“In this particular case, we saw a botnet disruption, more than anything else,” Nick said. 

So it really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Emotet is re-loading again. It’s known to go on months-long breaks, usually picking up around major holidays or international events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

I admittedly don’t know enough about the ins and outs of taking down a botnet to say if something like this could ever be permanent or if there ever really is a way to truly end it for good. But if Emotet goes quiet for another few months and then magically pops up again in September, no one should be surprised. 

Take Silk Road, an infamous dark website for drug trade, needed three international takedown efforts over two years to truly shut down the site and stop any predecessors from popping up, even after its initial founder was arrested. 

As all these threats have shown us, as defenders, we can never let our guard down that a threat is ever truly gone no matter how impressive a press release sounds.  

Mustang Panda deploys a new wave of malware targeting Europe



By Jung soo An, Asheer Malhotra and Justin Thattil, with contributions from Aliza Berk and Kendall McKay.

  • In February 2022, corresponding roughly with the start of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, Cisco Talos began observing the China-based threat actor Mustang Panda conducting phishing campaigns against European entities, including Russian organizations. Some phishing messages contain malicious lures masquerading as official European Union reports on the conflict in Ukraine and its effects on NATO countries. Other phishing emails deliver fake "official" Ukrainian government reports, both of which download malware onto compromised machines.
  • Mustang Panda has been known to use themed lures relating to various current-day events and issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, international summits and various political topics.
  • While the Ukraine-related Mustang Panda developments have been reported by at least one other security firm, we identified additional samples that have not been cited in open-source reporting.
  • Apart from targeting European countries, Mustang Panda has also targeted organizations in the U.S. and Asia.
  • In these campaigns, we've observed the deployment of Mustang Panda's PlugX implant, custom stagers and reverse shells and meterpreter-based shellcode, all used to establish long-term persistence on infected endpoints with the intention of conducting espionage.


Threat actor profile


MustangPanda, also known as "RedDelta" or "Bronze President," is a China-based threat actor that has targeted entities all over the world since at least 2012, including American and European entities such as government organizations, think tanks, NGOs, and even Catholic organizations at the Vatican.

We've also observed extensive targeting of Asian countries as well, such as the Taiwanese government, activists in Hong Kong, NGOs in Mongolia and Tibet, Myanmar and even Afghan and Indian telecommunication firms.

The threat actor heavily relies on sending lures via phishing emails to achieve initial infection. These lures often masquerade as legitimate documents of national and organizational interest to the targets. These infection vectors deploy malware predominantly consisting of the PlugX remote access trojan (RAT) with custom stagers, reverse shells, meterpreter and Cobalt Strike, which act as another mechanism for achieving long term access into their targets. One thing remains consistent across all these campaigns — Mustang Panda is clearly looking to conduct espionage campaigns.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Conti and Hive ransomware operations: What we learned from these groups' victim chats


As part of Cisco Talos’ continuous efforts to learn more about the current ransomware landscape, we recently examined a trove of chat logs between the Conti and Hive ransomware gangs and their victims.

Ransomware-as-a-service groups have exploded in popularity over the past few years, with these groups continually adding new affiliates and tools. In the past, we’ve learned more about these groups by speaking directly with operators and examining these groups’ changing tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs).  

Talos researchers recently spent weeks combing through chat logs and other information we obtained from Hive and Conti operators' conversations with victims. These conversations had not previously been made public. The research paper we’re releasing today contains new insights into how Conti and Hive choose their targets, negotiate with victims,  operate internally, and much more.