Category Archives: Uncategorized

Krebs/Sager interview on supply chain security

Further to the Bloomberg reports previously mentioned here, here’s a fascinating article from Brian Krebs, featuring an interview with Tony Sager. Not at all Apple-specific, but essential reading, so also linked from the MacVirus blog.

Supply Chain Security 101: An Expert’s View

“Sager said he hadn’t heard anything about Supermicro specifically, but we chatted at length about the challenges of policing the technology supply chain.”

David Harley

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Another Bloomberg report, another supply-chain issue

In a story from 9th October, Bloomberg tells us of New Evidence of Hacked Supermicro Hardware Found in U.S. Telecom.

“A major U.S. telecommunications company discovered manipulated hardware from Super Micro Computer Inc. in its network and removed it in August, fresh evidence of tampering in China of critical technology components bound for the U.S., according to a security expert working for the telecom company.”

The tampering described differs from that in Bloomberg’s previous report. This one describes an ‘implant’ in a server’s Ethernet connector. The communications company has not been named, but the report is based on information from Yossi Appleboum, described as “co-chief executive officer of Sepio Systems”, who suggests that this approach to snooping has been seen in other equipment supplied by China, while Bloomberg compares it to manipulations used by the NSA.

Commentary from The Verge: Tampered Chinese Ethernet port used to hack ‘major US telecom,’ says Bloomberg report.

Whatever the truth is of this story, it seems to go far beyond Apple. Nevertheless, also published on the Mac Virus blog. as it develops a story previously published there.

David Harley

6th October 2018 updates

Updates to Anti-Social Media 

Lisa Vaas for Sophos: Facebook finds “no evidence” attackers accessed third-party apps – “Facebook said … Nevertheless, it’s building a tool to allow developers to manually identify which of their apps’ users may have been affected, so they can log them out.”

Updates to: Ransomware Resources

Updates to Chain Mail Check

Extortion & Breach Compilation archive; BEC as a service

Updates to Mac Virus

Supply chain hacking: bull in a China shop? [updated]

Android SMS Worm, plus setting up a Mac for kids

David Harley

Resources update: 3rd October

Updates to Anti-Social Media 

ESET: Facebook: No evidence attackers used stolen access tokens on third-party sites
“The social networking behemoth is expected to face a formal investigation by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission in what could be the “acid test” of GDPR since the law became effective in May”


Graham Cluley: Two reasons to reconsider your Facebook membership
“Not only was it revealed that millions of users had their accounts exposed by a vulnerability, but the site has been up to dirty tricks with mobile phone numbers you gave them to supposedly enhance your security.”


Joseph Cox for Motherboard: Hackers Are Holding High Profile Instagram Accounts Hostage
“Hackers have hijacked the accounts of at least four high profile Instagrammers recently, locking them out and demanding a bitcoin ransom.”

Updates to Cryptocurrency/Crypto-mining News and Resources

Lawrence Abrams for Bleeping Computer: Roaming Mantis Group Testing Coinhive Miner Redirects on iPhones
“Kaspersky has discovered that [Roaming Mantis Group] is testing a new monetization scheme by redirecting iOS users to pages that contain the Coinhive in-browser mining script rather than the normal Apple phishing page.”


John E. Dunn for Sophos: Monero fixes major ‘burning bug’ flaw, preventing mass devaluation
“…the developers realised that the apparent non-expert had just confirmed a major flaw in wallets used to transact the controversial and what is reportedly the world’s tenth most popular cryptocurrency.”

Updates to GDPR page

ESET: Facebook: No evidence attackers used stolen access tokens on third-party sites
“The social networking behemoth is expected to face a formal investigation by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission in what could be the “acid test” of GDPR since the law became effective in May”

Updates to Internet of (not necessarily necessary) Things

Gabrielle Ladouceur Despins for ESET: Top tips for protecting your Smart TV
“The final few months of 2018 will likely be a busy time of year for people and cybercriminals will be no different as they continue to look for weak spots in networks”

Updates to: Ransomware Resources

Joseph Cox for Motherboard: Hackers Are Holding High Profile Instagram Accounts Hostage
“Hackers have hijacked the accounts of at least four high profile Instagrammers recently, locking them out and demanding a bitcoin ransom.”

Updates to Mac Virus

News Update October 3rd


David Harley

September 19th 2018 Updates

Updates to Anti-Social Media 

Danny Bradbury for Sophos: Deepfake pics and videos set off Facebook’s fake news detector Centres on FB’s announcement that “To date, most of our fact-checking partners have focused on reviewing articles. However, we have also been actively working to build new technology and partnerships so that we can tackle other forms of misinformation. Today, we’re expanding fact-checking for photos and videos to all of our 27 partners in 17 countries around the world (and are regularly on-boarding new fact-checking partners). This will help us identify and take action against more types of misinformation, faster.”

The Register: Not so much changing their tune as enabling autotune: Facebook, Twitter bigwigs nod and smile to US senators – “Google slammed for no-show”


Graham Cluley: Twitter testing new feature that reveals when you’re online – “WHO OTHER THAN STALKERS ACTUALLY WANTS THIS?”


Lisa Vaas for Sophos: Review that! Fake TripAdvisor review peddler sent to jail

“The owner of a fake-review factory is going to get a chance to write a review about his trip to the inside of an Italian jail.

TripAdvisor announced (PDF) on Wednesday that, in one of the first cases of its kind, the criminal court of the Italian city of Lecce has ruled that writing fake reviews, under a fake identity, is criminal conduct.”


Michigan News (University of Michigan): Fake news detector algorithm works better than a human – “ANN ARBOR—An algorithm-based system that identifies telltale linguistic cues in fake news stories could provide news aggregator and social media sites like Google News with a new weapon in the fight against misinformation.

The University of Michigan researchers who developed the system have demonstrated that it’s comparable to and sometimes better than humans at correctly identifying fake news stories.”

Updates to Cryptocurrency/Crypto-mining News and Resources

Palo Alto: Xbash Combines Botnet, Ransomware, Coinmining in Worm that Targets Linux and Windows – “Unit 42 researchers have found a new malware family that is targeting Linux and Microsoft Windows servers that we have named XBash. We can tie this malware to the Iron Group, a threat actor group known for ransomware attacks in the past.”


Tomáš Foltýn for ESET: One in three UK orgs hit by cryptojacking in previous month, survey finds – “Conversely, only a little over one-third of IT executives believe that their systems have never been hijacked to surreptitiously mine digital currencies”


Trend Micro took a little time out from snarfing customer data to issue a report that tells us of “a noticeable shift away from highly visible ransomware to a more discreet detection: cryptocurrency mining. Unseen Threats, Imminent Losses Phil Muncaster notes, based on that report, that Cryptomining Malware Soars 956% in a Year and also cites a report from Checkpoint which “warned last month that the number of global organizations affected by cryptojacking rose from just under 21% in the second half of 2017 to 42% in 1H 2018, with cyber-criminals making an estimated $2.5bn over the past six months.”


Graham Cluley: Cryptominers killing cryptominers to squeeze more out of your CPU

“As security researcher Xavier Mertens describes, a newly-encountered malicious miner for the Monero cryptocurrency is working hard to kill any potential competitors it encounters for system resources, using an ever-expanding list.”


Kaspars Osis for ESET: Kodi add-ons launch cryptomining campaign – “ESET researchers have discovered several third-party add-ons for the popular open-source media player Kodi being used to distribute Linux and Windows cryptocurrency-mining malware”

Commentary from Bleeping Computer: Malicious Kodi Add-ons Install Windows & Linux Coin Mining Trojans – “Security researchers discovered a campaign that infects machines running Kodi via a legitimate add-on that has been altered by cybercriminals looking to mine the onero cryptocurrency with the resources of Kodi users.”


Danny Bradbury for Sophos: Blockchain hustler beats the house with smart contract hack – “A wily hacker has scored a thousand dollar cryptocurrency jackpot … by using their own code to tamper with a smart contract run by a betting company on the EOS blockchain …. Unlike Bitcoin, which uses a blockchain to record the transfer of digital currency, EOS and Ethereum both enable people to run computer programs. These programs are called smart contracts, and instead of running in one place they run on many computers connected to the blockchain.” Fascinating article.

Updates to GDPR page

Veronika Gallisova for ESET: 100 days of GDPR – “What impact has the new data protection directive had on businesses so far?”

Updates to Internet of (not necessarily necessary) Things

[Many of the Things that crop up on this page are indeed necessary. But that doesn’t mean that connecting them to the Internet of Things (or even the Internet of Everything) is necessary, or even desirable, given how often that connectivity widens the attack surface.]

John Leyden for The Register: 2-bit punks’ weak 40-bit crypto didn’t help Tesla keyless fobs one bit – “Eggheads demo how to clone gizmo, nick flash motor in seconds – flaw now patched”

“Researchers from the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography (COSIC) group – part of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Belgian university KU Leuven – were able to clone a key fob, open the doors, and drive away the electric sports car.”


The Register: Mikrotik routers pwned en masse, send network data to mysterious box – “Researchers uncover botnet malware pouncing on security holes”


The Register: Thousands of misconfigured 3D printers on interwebz run risk of sabotage

“Internet-connected 3D printers are at risk of being tampered with or even sabotaged because users fail to apply security controls, a researcher has warned.”


The Register: M-M-M-MONSTER KILL: Cisco’s bug-wranglers swat 29 in single week – “If you’re running the end-of-life RV110 Wireless-N VPN firewall or RV215W Wireless-N VPN router, bad news: some of their security vulnerabilities won’t be patched and there’s no workaround – so it is probably time to replace them.”


Tomáš Foltýn for ESET: Could home appliances knock down power grids? –  “The researchers tested the plausibility of the new type of attack on “state-of-the-art simulators on real-world power grid models”. The threat is described in a paper called “BlackIoT: IoT Botnet of High Wattage Devices Can Disrupt the Power Grid”, and the research was also presented at a recent USENIX security symposium.”

Updates to: Ransomware Resources

Mark Stockley for Sophos: The rise of targeted ransomware

“While cryptomining and cryptojacking have been sucking all the air out of the press room, a snowball that started rolling well before anyone had ever heard of WannaCry has been gathering pace and size.

The snowball is a trend for stealthier and more sophisticated ransomware attacks – attacks that are individually more lucrative, harder to stop and more devastating for their victims than attacks that rely on email or exploits to spread.”

Updates to Specific Ransomware Families and Types

John Leyden for The Register: Sextortion scum armed with leaked credentials are persistent pests – “If you’re going to batter 8,497 folk with over 60,000 threats, odds are someone will crack”

Bleeping Computer: Barack Obama’s Blackmail Virus Ransomware Only Encrypts .EXE Files – “It is unknown how this ransomware is distributed or if the developer will even provide a decryption key if paid. ”

Updates to Mac Virus

Dangers on Safari – The Safari Reaper attack, and URL spoofing

Android Issues – Android Malware-as-a-Service botnet, CVE-2018-9489, and open-source vulnerabilities in Android apps.

Smartphones that talk too much acoustic side-channel attacks

Flushing the Mac App Store  Ad-Doctor and three Trend apps removed

Apple to make life easier for law enforcement – portal to apply for access to information and training

Krebs: commentary on global authentication via your wireless carrier – what could go wrong?

David Harley

August 29th 2018 resources update

Updates to Anti-Social Media 

Lisa Vaas for Sophos: Tumblr outlaws creepshots and deepfake porn – “The blogging site wants to go back to a simpler time, where, it says, people were a lot nicer … and didn’t glorify gore and upskirting.”

Updates to GDPR page

Recorded Future: 90 Days of GDPR: Minimal Impact on Spam and Domain Registration – “While it has only been three months since the GDPR went into effect, based on our research, not only has there not been an increase in spam, but the volume of spam and new registrations in spam-heavy generic top-level domains (gTLDs) has been on the decline.”

Updates to Internet of (not necessarily necessary) Things

[Many of the Things that crop up on this page are indeed necessary. But that doesn’t mean that connecting them to the Internet of Things (or even the Internet of Everything) is necessary, or even desirable, given how often that connectivity widens the attack surface.]

The Register: Voting machine maker claims vote machine hack-fests a ‘green light’ for foreign hackers – “NSA code smacker says no, hackers perform a service” – ES&S criticized for reluctance to participate in DEF CON demo.

Updates to Mac Virus

Android/iOS malware detections down, but Fortnite flaw problematic

David Harley

Three mobile app issues and a Mac 0-Day

Updates to Mac Virus

John Leyden for The Register: Baddies of the internet: It’s all about dodgy mobile apps, they’re so hot right now  “Rogue mobile apps have become the most common fraud attack vector, according to the latest quarterly edition of RSA Security’s global fraud report.” If you don’t mind giving your contact information away, the report is available here.


For Sophos, Matt Boddy explains how to use AppMon to see which of your Android apps are paying more attention to your conversations than you’re comfortable with. Not for beginners, but interesting. Are your Android apps listening to you?


Also for Sophos, Paul Ducklin analyses Patrick Wardle’s 0-day Mac exploit, as discussed recently at Def Con. While there’s no fix as yet, Paul points out that “Fortunately, as zero-days hacks go, this one isn’t super-serious – a crook would have to infect your Mac with malware first in order to use Wardle’s approach, and it’s more a tweak to an anti-security trick that Wardle himself found and reported last year than a brand new attack.” Apple Mac “zero day” hack lets you sneakily click [OK]


Martin Beltov for Security Boulevard: Android Man-in-the-Disk Attack Can Expose Apps & User Data –  “Security experts discovered a new Android infection mechanism called the Man-in-the-Disk attack. It takes advantage of a design issue found to be with the operating system itself that takes advantage of the external storage access. Abuse of this possibility can expose sensitive data to the criminal operators.”

David Harley

July 23rd resources updates

[Updates that haven’t been flagged in my other AVIEN articles today]

Updates to Specific Ransomware Families and Types

Catalin Cimpanu for Bleeping Computer: Vaccine Available for GandCrab Ransomware v4.1.2 Cimpanu reckons that “The GandCrab ransomware has slowly become the most widespread ransomware strain in use today.” At the moment Ahnlab’s vaccine app only works with version 4.1.2 of GandCrab, but Cimpanu suggests that it might be backported. The app can be downloaded from here or here.

John Leyden for The Register: Will this biz be poutine up the cash? Hackers demand dosh to not leak stolen patient records – “Tens of thousands of Canadian medical files, healthcare worker details snatched” Not ransomware, but still extortion.

Updates to Chain Mail Check

HelpNet Security: Microsoft tops list of brands impersonated by phishers. Summarizes an article by Vade Secure’s Phishers’ Favorites Top 25 List. Trailing quite a long way behind are PayPal, Facebook, Netflix etc. Vade reckon that Microsoft is such a favourite because it can be so profitable to get into a Microsoft Office 365 account.

Updates to Mac Virus

  1. Following up this story: USB restricted mode: now you don’t see it, now you do…

Elcomsoft’s claims hinged on the assertion that “…iOS will reset the USB Restrictive Mode countdown timer even if one connects the iPhone to an untrusted USB accessory, one that has never been paired to the iPhone before…Most (if not all) USB accessories fit the purpose — for example, Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter from Apple.”

Andrew O’Hara, for AppleInsider, tells us that iOS 12 developer beta 4 requires device to be unlocked before connecting any USB accessories. “In the fourth developer beta of iOS 12, a passcode is required any time a computer or USB accessory is connected…Before the change, authorities or criminals would have an hour since last unlock to connect a cracking device, like the GreyKey box. Now, they don’t have that hour, making it that much more difficult to brute force a password attempt into a device.”

2. SecureList: Calisto Trojan for macOS – “The first member of the Proton malware family? … Conceptually, the Calisto backdoor resembles a member of the Backdoor.OSX.Proton family: … it masquerades as a well-known antivirus (a Backdoor.OSX.Proton was previously distributed under the guise of a Symantec antivirus product) … Like Backdoor.OSX.Proton, this Trojan is able to steal a great amount of personal data from the user system, including the contents of Keychain”

David Harley

22nd June 2018 resource updates

Updates to Cryptocurrency/Crypto-mining News and Resources

Carl Sigler (Trustwave) for Help Net Security: Why cybercriminals are turning to cryptojacking for easy money. While another article cites a Morphisec report: Banking Trojans and cryptojacking on the rise.

Trend Micro: Drupal Vulnerability (CVE-2018-7602) Exploited to Deliver Monero-Mining Malware

ESET: South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange hacked – “Bithumb has claimed that $31.5 million worth of virtual coins were stolen by hackers”

Updates to GDPR page

Threatpost: SNEAKY WEB TRACKING TECHNIQUE UNDER HEAVY SCRUTINY BY GDPR

Updates to Internet of (not necessarily necessary) Things

[Many of the Things that crop up on this page are indeed necessary. But that doesn’t mean that connecting them to the Internet of Things (or even the Internet of Everything) is necessary, or even desirable, given how often that connectivity widens the attack surface.]

SEC Consulting: TRUE STORY: THE CASE OF A HACKED BABY MONITOR (GWELLTIMES P2P CLOUD) – commentary by the Register: Don’t panic, but your baby monitor can be hacked into a spycam

The Register: Schneier warns of ‘perfect storm’: Tech is becoming autonomous, and security is garbage – “Schneier told El Reg after his speech: “Everybody understands what might happen if your pacemaker is hacked and it delivers a lethal charge, but what if I took over some inter-connected robot toy and tripped you in your house? It’s a little more subtle.”

The Register: Are your IoT gizmos, music boxes, smart home kit vulnerable to DNS rebinding attacks? Here’s how to check – “Fancy website, code emitted – Roku, Google, etc stuff at risk”

Updates to Specific Ransomware Families and Types

Paul Ducklin for Sophos: “WannaCrypt” ransomware scam demands payment in advance! – “The good news is that these particular crooks don’t actually have any malware to back up their threat.”

Updates to Tech support scams resource page

Sophos: Elderly victims conned out of millions by tech support scammer

Updates to Anti-Malware Testing

Updated anti-malware testing resources page

Updates to Mac Virus

David Harley

June 16th updates

Updates to Anti-Social Media 

Bloomberg: Apple Tries to Stop Developers From Sharing Data on Users’ Friends – “Apple Inc. changed its App Store rules last week to limit how developers use information about iPhone owners’ friends and other contacts, quietly closing a loophole that let app makers store and share data without many people’s consent.

Updates to GDPR page

  1. The Register: EU-US Privacy Shield not up to snuff, data tap should be turned off – MEPs –
    “Civil liberties committee votes: US has until Sept to comply”
    (In case you thought all those GDPR notifications had fixed everything.
  2. Help Net, citing Avecto: With the GDPR, companies face new era of compliance and transparency – “Just 56 percent of North American professionals and two-thirds of respondents from UK and Germany were aware that the GDPR impacts any company with European customers, employees and partners.”

Updates to Meltdown/Spectre and other chip-related resources

1.

Lawrence Abrams for Bleeping Computer: New Lazy FP State Restore Vulnerability Affects All Intel Core CPUs – ‘According to Intel this new vulnerability affects all Intel Intel Core-based microprocessors and is a bug in the actual CPU, so it does not matter what operating system the user is running. It could be Windows, Linux, BSD, or any other operating running an an Intel Core-based CPU and using “Lazy FPU context switching”.’

2.

The Register: Intel chip flaw: Math unit may spill crypto secrets to apps – modern Linux, Windows, BSDs immune – “Malware on Cores, Xeons may lift computations, mitigations in place or coming … In short, the security hole could be used to extract or guess at secret encryption keys within other programs, in certain circumstances, according to people familiar with the engineering mishap.”

3.

The Register: Boffins offer to make speculative execution great again with Spectre-Meltdown CPU fix – “Good thing too because Intel’s planned chip changes may break Google’s Retpoline”

“In a paper distributed this week through the ArXiv preprint server, “SafeSpec: Banishing the Spectre of a Meltdown with Leakage-Free Speculation,” computer scientists from University of California, Riverside, College of William and Mary and Binghamton University describe a way to isolate the artifacts produced by speculative execution so that they can’t be used to glean privileged data.”

Updates to Specific Ransomware Families and Types

Everbe: Pierluigi Paganini – Experts released a free decryptor for Everbe Ransomware

Bleeping Computer: New MysteryBot Android Malware Packs a Banking Trojan, Keylogger, and Ransomware

Updates to Chain Mail Check

Updates to Mac Virus

  1.  ADB.Miner and a continuing vulnerability

“Unfortunately, vendors have been shipping products with Android Debug Bridge enabled. It listens on port 5555, and enables anybody to connect over the internet to a device. It is also clear some people are insecurely rooting their devices, too.” He cites the following from Android’s developer portal:

“The adb command facilitates a variety of device actions, such as installing and debugging apps, and it provides access to a Unix shell that you can use to run a variety of commands on a device.”

“The ADB.Miner worm exploited the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) … used for troubleshooting faulty devices …  some vendors have been shipping Android-based devices where the ADB over WiFi feature has been left enabled in the production version…”

2.

The Register: Apple will throw forensics cops off the iPhone Lightning port every hour

“Initially, Restricted Mode required a passcode after one week. But Apple confirmed yesterday that a plugged-in iPhone will require a passcode every hour for the data transfers to continue. … Since cracking the six-digit passcode may take up to 22 hours (or longer for a passphrase), then brute-force methods used by the cracking tools are likely to cease to work.”

3.

Josh Pitts, for Okta, goes into extensive detail about a “vulnerability [that] exists in the difference between how the Mach-O loader loads signed code vs how improperly used Code Signing APIs check signed code and is exploited via a malformed Universal/Fat Binary.” I can be Apple, and so can you – A Public Disclosure of Issues Around Third Party Code Signing Checks

For Bleeping Computer, Lawrence Abrams summarizes: Mac Security Tool Bugs Allow Malware to Appear as Apple Software.

John Leyden for The Register: Hello, ‘Apple’ here, and this dodgy third-party code is A-OK with us – “Subtle attack thwarts macOS code-signing process”

4.

Lukas Stefanko for ESET: Android users: Beware these popularity-faking tricks on Google Play
– “Tricksters have been misleading users about the functionality of apps by displaying bogus download numbers … …since unknown developer names are no use for popularity-boosting purposes anyway, some app authors have been setting fictitious, high numbers of installs as their developer names, in an effort to look like established developers with vast userbases.”

5.

Bloomberg: Apple Tries to Stop Developers From Sharing Data on Users’ Friends – “Apple Inc. changed its App Store rules last week to limit how developers use information about iPhone owners’ friends and other contacts, quietly closing a loophole that let app makers store and share data without many people’s consent.

6.

Bleeping Computer: New MysteryBot Android Malware Packs a Banking Trojan, Keylogger, and Ransomware

David Harley