Tag Archives: Brian Krebs

AVIEN resource updates: 13th October 2018

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: It’s the real Heart Bleed: Medtronic locks out vulnerable pacemaker programmer kit – “The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising health professionals to keep an eye on some of the equipment they use to monitor pacemakers and other heart implants.”

Updates to Specific Ransomware Families and Types

David Bisson for Tripwire: New Sextortionist Scam Uses Email Spoofing Attack to Trick Users – “As reported by Bleeping Computer, an attack email belonging to this ploy attempts to lure in a user with the subject line “[email address] + 48 hours to pay,” where [email address] is their actual email address.”

In the Bleeping Computer article, Lawrence Abrams says: “In the past, the sextortion emails would just include a target’s password that the attackers found from a data breach dump in order to scare the victim into thinking that the threats were real. Now the scammers are also pretending to have access to the target’s email account by spoofing the sender of the scam email to be the same email as the victim.”

Updates to Mac Virus

Krebs/Sager interview on supply chain security (also published on this site).

David Harley

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Bitcoin ATMs, SIM swapping, and Twitter scam bots

Updates to Cryptocurrency/Crypto-mining News and Resources

Trend Micro’s article Malware Targeting Bitcoin ATMs Pops Up in the Underground not only talks about the very interesting ATM malware Trend has analysed, but gives some useful background about Bitcoin ATMs, indicating that criminals are extending their activities beyond cryptomining.


Brian Krebs: Hanging Up on Mobile in the Name of Security  – “An entrepreneur and virtual currency investor is suing AT&T for $224 million, claiming the wireless provider was negligent when it failed to prevent thieves from hijacking his mobile account and stealing millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies. Increasingly frequent, high-profile attacks like these are prompting some experts to say the surest way to safeguard one’s online accounts may be to disconnect them from the mobile providers entirely.” The reason being, in this case at least, that mobile providers are too often tricked by scammers into transferring a victims’ service to a new SIM card and mobile phone in the possession of the scammer, not the victim.


An interesting article by William Suberg for CoinTelegraph: Researchers Reveal Network of 15K Crypto-Related Scam Bots on TwitterNew research published today, Aug. 6, has shed light on the infamous phenomenon of cryptocurrency-related Twitter accounts advertising fake “giveaways,” revealing a network of at least 15,000 scam bots.”

David Harley

Sextortion & leaked passwords revisited

A rather different type of extortion, originally published on Chainmailcheck, but reproduced here with some additional commentary.

Here’s an interesting article by Brian Krebs: Sextortion Scam Uses Recipient’s Hacked Passwords

The scammer claims to have made a video of the intended victim watching porn, and threatens to send it to their friends unless payment is made. Not particularly novel: the twist with this one is that it “references a real password previously tied to the recipient’s email address.” Krebs suggests that the scammer is using a script to extract passwords and usernames from a known data breach from at least ten years ago.

The giveaway is that very few people are likely to be using the same password now – and it’s unlikely that there are that many people receiving the email who might think that such a video could have been made. Still, it seems that some people have actually paid up, and it’s possible that a more convincing attack might be made sending a more recent password to a given email address, and perhaps using a different type of leverage.

[Commentary from Sophos here.]

Additional commentary from me since the Chainmailcheck article:

In a related *thread on Reddit, one comment indicated that there have also been attempts to log on to accounts associated with the same user using the leaked password, which I’d say amounts to a good reason for:

(a) Not using the same password across multiple accounts in general (though some people use a ‘throwaway’ password on ‘throwaway’ accounts where a later breach wouldn’t actually matter).

(b) Checking other accounts where you might have duplicated a password. It’s perfectly possible in such a case that the password is no longer current on the email account where the extortion mail was received, but not on other accounts, perhaps used less often.

One slightly disturbing feature of that Reddit thread is that it was sparked by an extortionate email to an admin account where the password given by the scammer was still current. Fortunately, the company concerned seems to have taken appropriate actions on seeing the email, but it’s a salutary reminder that administrators are not always any better at routine security measures than the rest of us.

*Hat tip to ESET’s Aryeh Goretsky for bringing it to my attention.

David Harley

AVIEN resource updates: July 15th 2018

Updates to Anti-Social Media 

(1) ESET: Facebook fined over data privacy scandal

You’re probably already aware of the gentle tap on the wrist administered by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), but this does actually indicate why the penalty was so much less than you might have expected (in theory, up to 4% of the company’s total income).

(2) An article from The Next Web: Experts warn DeepFakes could influence 2020 US election – “Fake AI-generated videos featuring political figures could be all the rage during the next election cycle, and that’s bad news for democracy.”

(3) Graham Cluley: Facebook doesn’t want to eradicate fake news. If it did they’d kick out InfoWars – “Social networks giving sick conspiracy theorists a platform to spread hate.” Graham points out that InfoWars misinformation is also an issue on YouTube.

Updates to Meltdown/Spectre and other chip-related resources

John Leyden for The Register: Google’s ghost busters: We can scare off Spectre haunting Chrome tabs – “Site Isolation keeps pages fully separate on Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS … Rather than solely defending against cross-site scripting attacks, the technology is now positioned as a necessary defence against infamous data-leaking Spectre CPU vulnerabilities, as a blog post by Google explained this week…”

Updates to Chain Mail Check

Brian Krebs: Sextortion Scam Uses Recipient’s Hacked Passwords

The scammer claims to have made a video of the intended victim watching porn, and threatens to send it to their friends unless payment is made. Not particularly novel: the twist with this one is that it “references a real password previously tied to the recipient’s email address.” Krebs suggests that the scammer is using a script to extract passwords and usernames from a known data breach from at least ten years ago.

The giveaway is that very few people are likely to be using the same password now – and it’s unlikely that there are that many people receiving the email who might think that such a video could have been made. Still, it seems that some people have actually paid up, and it’s possible that a more convincing attack might be made sending a more recent password to a given email address, and perhaps using a different type of leverage.

Commentary from Sophos here.

David Harley

The FBI and VPNFilter

Updates to Internet of (not necessarily necessary) Things

The Register: FBI to World+Dog: Please, try turning it off and turning it back on – “Feds trying to catalogue VPNFilter infections”

FBI alert: Foreign cyber actors target home and office routers and networked devices worldwide

Sophos commentary: FBI issues VPNFilter malware warning, says “REBOOT NOW” [PODCAST]

Comprehensive article (of course!) from Brian Krebs: FBI: Kindly Reboot Your Router Now, Please

Updates to GDPR page

Sophos: Ghostery’s goofy GDPR gaffe – someone’s in trouble come Monday!

 

David Harley

IoT resource/news updates

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.]

(1) Brian Krebs talks about the asymmetry in cost and incentives when IoT devices are recruited for DDoS attacks like one conducted against his site: Study: Attack on KrebsOnSecurity Cost IoT Device Owners $323K.

He observes: “The attacker who wanted to clobber my site paid a few hundred dollars to rent a tiny portion of a much bigger Mirai crime machine. That attack would likely have cost millions of dollars to mitigate. The consumers in possession of the IoT devices that did the attacking probably realized a few dollars in losses each, if that. Perhaps forever unmeasured are the many Web sites and Internet users whose connection speeds are often collateral damage in DDoS attacks.”

Some of his conclusions are based on a paper from researchers at University of California, Berkeley School of Information: the very interesting report “rIoT: Quantifying Consumer Costs of Insecure Internet of Things Devices.

(2) Product test specialists AV-Test conducted research into the security of a number of fitness trackers (plus the multi-functional Apple watch: Fitness Trackers – 13 Wearables in a Security Test. On this occasion, the results are fairly encouraging.

(3) Bleeping Computer: 5,000 Routers With No Telnet Password. Nothing to See Here! Move Along! – “The researcher pointed us to one of the router’s manuals which suggests the devices come with a passwordless Telnet service by default, meaning users must configure one themselves.”

(4) Help Net Security: Hacking for fun and profit: How one researcher is making IoT device makers take security seriously  Based on research by Ken Munro and Pen Test Partners.

David Harley

Social media memes and secret questions

Back in 2012, Virus Bulletin published an article of mine called Living the Meme about how meme-ish things shared on social media might be an invitation to give away information that could be useful to an attacker.

If I can quote myself (of course I can!)

Secret answers to security questions posed by banking sites and the like as a supplement to passwords, or for people who forget their passwords, are pretty stereotyped. Names of relatives, names of pets, first school, childhood address and so on are highly characteristic, so some security commentators suggest inventing answers to such questions rather than using real data. That’s a logical alternative to inventing your own challenge/response – which is rarely an option – and I’m all in favour of it, as long as it doesn’t contravene some legal or quasi-legal restriction.

In a recent article Brian Krebs makes a similar point, but cites a number of up-to-date examples where ‘seemingly innocuous little quizzes, games and surveys’ ask for information similar to that used for online accounts as ‘secret questions’: Don’t Give Away Historic Details About Yourself.

David Harley

Resources updates, 26 March 2018

Updates to Anti-Social Media

Updates to Specific Ransomware Families and Types

Updates to Cryptocurrency/Crypto-mining News and Resources

David Harley

22nd March Resources Update

Cryptocurrency/Crypto-mining News and Resources

Anti-Social Media

Mac Virus

Scammers using Dell support data?

If support scammers are using Dell customer data, as seems to be the case, Dell could certainly be more proactive in warning its customers, despite its own concerns about being seen as vulnerable to external or internal data leakage. But at least they’re now trying to gather info on the issue.

See my article here: Support Scammers Targeting Dell Customers with links to related articles by Brian Krebs, Dan Goodin et al.

Excerpt:

… not everyone who is [a Dell customer] has the technical grasp that Krebs’s correspondents seem to have. So perhaps it’s time Dell at least made more effort to notify people using its products (and especially its support services) that scammers may have such data, and that possession of such data shouldn’t be taken as some sort of validation of the bona fides of a cold-caller.

 Added to resources page, of course.

David Harley