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

Everyone seems to want to create the next “Netflix” of something. Xbox’s Game Pass is the “Netflix of video games.” Rent the Runway is a “Netflix of fashion” where customers subscribe to a rotation of fancy clothes.

And now threat actors are looking to be the “Netflix of malware.” All categories of malware have some sort of "as-a-service" twist now. Some of the largest ransomware groups in the world operate “as a service,” allowing smaller groups to pay a fee in exchange for using the larger group’s tools.

Our latest report on information-stealers points out that “infostealers as-a-service" are growing in popularity, and our researchers also discovered a new “C2 as-a-service" platform where attackers can pay to have this third-party site act as their command and control. And like Netflix, this Dark Utilities site offers several other layers of tools and malware to choose from. This is a particularly scary trend to me because of how easy — relatively speaking — this makes things for anyone with a basic knowledge of computers to carry out a cyber attack. Netflix made it easy for people like my Grandma to find everything she needs in one place to watch anything from throwback shows like “Night Rider” to the live action of “Shrek: The Musical” and everything in between.

How much longer before anyone with access to the internet can log into a singular dark web site and surf for whatever they’re in the mood for that day? As someone who has spent zero time on the actual dark web, this may already exist and I don’t even know about it, but maybe a threat actor will one day be smart enough to make a website that looks as sleek as Netflix so you can scroll through suggestions and hand-pick the Redline information-stealer followed up by a relaxing evening of ransomware from Conti.

With everything going “as a service” it means I don’t necessarily have to have the coding skills to create my own bespoke malware. So long as I have the cash, I could conceivably buy an out-of-the-box tool online and deploy it against whoever I want.

This is not necessarily as easy as picking a show on Netflix. But it’s not a huge leap to look at the skills gap Netflix closes by allowing my Grandma to surf for any show she wants without having to scroll through cable channels or drive to the library to check out a DVD, and someone who knows how to use PowerShell being able to launch an “as-a-service" ransomware attack.

I have no idea what the easy solution is here aside from all the traditional forms of detection and prevention we preach. Outside of direct law enforcement intervention, there are few ways to take these “as a service” platforms offline. Maybe that just means we need to start working on the “Netflix of cybersecurity tools.”

The one big thing

Historically, cybercrime was considered white-collar criminal behavior perpetrated by those that were knowledgeable and turned bad. Now, technology has become such an integral part of our lives that anyone with a smartphone and desire can get started in cybercrime. The growth of cryptocurrencies and associated anonymity, whether legitimate or not, has garnered the attention of criminals that formerly operated in traditional criminal enterprises and have now shifted to cybercrime and identity theft. New research from Talos indicates that small-time criminals are increasingly taking part in online crime like phishing, credit card scams and more in favor of traditional “hands-on” crime.

Why do I care? 

Everyone panics when the local news shows a graph with “violent crime” increasing in our respective areas. So we should be just as worried about the increase in cybercrime over the past few years, and the potential for it to grow. As mentioned above, “as a service” malware offerings have made it easier for anyone with internet access to carry out a cyber attack and deploy ransomware or just try to scam someone out of a few thousand dollars.  

So now what? 

Law enforcement, especially at the local level, is going to need to evolve along with the criminals as they are tasked with protecting the general public. The future criminal is going to be aware of operational security and technologies like Tor to make their arrests increasingly difficult. This is just as good a time as any to remember to talk to your family about cybersecurity and internet safety. Remind family members about common types of scams like the classic “I’m in the hospital and need money.” 

Other news of note

Microsoft Patch Tuesday was headlined by another zero-day vulnerability in the Microsoft Support Diagnostics Tool (MSDT). CVE-2022-35743 and CVE-2022-34713 are remote code execution vulnerabilities in MSDT. However, only CVE-2022-34713 has been exploited in the wild and Microsoft considers it “more likely” to be exploited. MSDT was already the target of the so-called “Follina” zero-day vulnerability in June. In all, Microsoft patched more than 120 vulnerabilities across all its products. Adobe also released updates to fix 25 vulnerabilities on Tuesday, mainly in Adobe Acrobat Reader. One critical vulnerability could lead to arbitrary code execution and memory leak. (Talos blog, Krebs on Security, SecurityWeek)

Some of the U.K.’s 111 services were disrupted earlier this week after a suspected cyber attack against its managed service provider. The country’s National Health System warned residents that some emergency calls could be delayed and others could not schedule health appointments. Advance, the target of the attack, said it was investigating the potential theft of patient data. As of Thursday morning, at least nine NHS mental health trusts could face up to three weeks without access to vulnerable patients’ records, though the incident has been “contained.” (SC Magazine, Bloomberg, The Guardian)

An 18-year-old and her mother are facing charges in Nebraska over an alleged medicated abortion based on information obtained from Facebook messages. Court records indicate state law enforcement submitted a search warrant to Meta, the parent company of Facebook, demanding all private data, including messages, that the company had for the two people charged. The contents of those messages were then used as the basis of a second search warrant, in which additional computers and devices were confiscated. Although the investigation began before the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, the case highlights a renewed focus on digital privacy and data storage. (Vice, CNN)

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Most prevalent malware files from Talos telemetry over the past week

SHA 256: e4973db44081591e9bff5117946defbef6041397e56164f485cf8ec57b1d8934  
MD5: 93fefc3e88ffb78abb36365fa5cf857c  Typical Filename: Wextract  
Claimed Product: Internet Explorer  
Detection Name: PUA.Win.Trojan.Generic::85.lp.ret.sbx.tg

SHA 256: 125e12c8045689bb2a5dcad6fa2644847156dec8b533ee8a3653b432f8fd5645

MD5: 2c8ea737a232fd03ab80db672d50a17a

Typical Filename: LwssPlayer.scr

Claimed Product: 梦想之巅幻灯播放器

Detection Name: Auto.125E12.241442.in02

SHA 256: e12b6641d7e7e4da97a0ff8e1a0d4840c882569d47b8fab8fb187ac2b475636c

MD5: a087b2e6ec57b08c0d0750c60f96a74c

Typical Filename: AAct.exe  

Claimed Product: N/A

Detection Name: PUA.Win.Tool.Kmsauto::1201

SHA 256: c67b03c0a91eaefffd2f2c79b5c26a2648b8d3c19a22cadf35453455ff08ead0

MD5: 8c69830a50fb85d8a794fa46643493b2

Typical Filename: AAct.exe

Claimed Product: N/A

Detection Name: PUA.Win.Dropper.Generic::1201

SHA 256: 168e625c7eb51720f5ce1922aec6ad316b3aaca838bd864ee2bcdbd9b66171d0

MD5: 311d64e4892f75019ee257b8377c723e

Typical Filename: ultrasurf-21-32.exe

Claimed Product: N/A

Detection Name: W32.DFC.MalParent