A quick Saturday digest of cybersecurity news articles from other sources.
3 ways the CI/CD approach to software has made work better for developers
The software industry has gotten much better at breaking big projects down into smaller chunks, according to one CTO. (CISSP Domain 8)
When cryptography attacks – how TLS helps malware hide in plain sight
No IT technology feels quite as much of a double-edged sword as encryption. (CISSP Domain 3)
(Note: I predicted that exploitation of software development environments and software update systems will be seen to be much more widespread than just SolarWinds and MS Exchange. The following report alert is about the compromise of a popular VPN software. (CISSP Domain 8))
CISA Issues Emergency Directive on Pulse Connect Secure
Original release date: April 20, 2021
CISA has issued Emergency Directive (ED) 21-03, as well as Alert AA21-110A, to address the exploitation of vulnerabilities affecting Pulse Connect Secure (PCS) software. An attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities to gain persistent system access and take control of the enterprise network operating the vulnerable PCS device. These vulnerabilities are being exploited in the wild.
Specifically, ED 21-03 directs federal departments and agencies to run the Pulse Connect Secure Integrity Tool on all instances of PCS virtual and hardware appliances to determine whether any PCS files have been maliciously modified or added.
Although ED 21-03 applies to Federal Civilian Executive Branch departments and agencies, CISA strongly recommends state and local governments, the private sector, and others to run the Pulse Connect Secure Integrity Tool and review ED 21-03: Mitigate Pulse Connect Secure Product Vulnerabilities for additional mitigation recommendations.
And another software development supply chain hack!
Accellion Supply Chain Hack
A vulnerability in the Accellion file-transfer program is being used by criminal groups to hack networks worldwide.
There’s much in the article about when Accellion knew about the vulnerability, when it alerted its customers, and when it patched its software.
The governor of New Zealand’s central bank, Adrian Orr, says Accellion failed to warn it after first learning in mid-December that the nearly 20-year-old FTA application — using antiquated technology and set for retirement — had been breached.
Despite having a patch available on Dec. 20, Accellion did not notify the bank in time to prevent its appliance from being breached five days later, the bank said.
EDITED TO ADD (4/14): It appears spy plane details were leaked after the vendor didn’t pay the ransom.
Sanctioned Russian IT firm was partner with Microsoft, IBM
The Treasury Department on Thursday slapped six Russian technology companies with sanctions for supporting Kremlin intelligence agencies engaged in “dangerous and disruptive cyber attacks.”
But only one of them stands out for its international footprint and partnerships with such IT heavyweights as Microsoft and IBM. More…
Details of a Computer Banking Scam
his is a longish video that describes a profitable computer banking scam that’s run out of call centers in places like India. There’s a lot of fluff about glitterbombs and the like, but the details are interesting. The scammers convince the victims to give them remote access to their computers, and then that they’ve mistyped a dollar amount and have received a large refund that they didn’t deserve. Then they convince the victims to send cash to a drop site, where a money mule retrieves it and forwards it to the scammers.
I found it interesting for several reasons. One, it illustrates the complex business nature of the scam: there are a lot of people doing specialized jobs in order for it to work. Two, it clearly shows the psychological manipulation involved, and how it preys on the unsophisticated and vulnerable. And three, it’s an evolving tactic that gets around banks increasingly flagging blocking suspicious electronic transfers.
System Update: New Android Malware
Researchers have discovered a new Android app called “System Update” that is a sophisticated Remote-Access Trojan (RAT). From a news article:
The broad range of data that this sneaky little bastard is capable of stealing is pretty horrifying. It includes: instant messenger messages and database files; call logs and phone contacts; Whatsapp messages and databases; pictures and videos; all of your text messages; and information on pretty much everything else that is on your phone (it will inventory the rest of the apps on your phone, for instance).
The app can also monitor your GPS location (so it knows exactly where you are), hijack your phone’s camera to take pictures, review your browser’s search history and bookmarks, and turn on the phone mic to record audio.
The app’s spying capabilities are triggered whenever the device receives new information. Researchers write that the RAT is constantly on the lookout for “any activity of interest, such as a phone call, to immediately record the conversation, collect the updated call log, and then upload the contents to the C&C server as an encrypted ZIP file.” After thieving your data, the app will subsequently erase evidence of its own activity, hiding what it has been doing.
This is a sophisticated piece of malware. It feels like the product of a national intelligence agency or — and I think more likely — one of the cyberweapons arms manufacturers that sells this kind of capability to governments around the world.
About the Author:I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com