Tag Archives: Hacker

Was Facebook Taken Down By 13 Year-Old Chinese Hacker?

Was Facebook Taken Down By 13 Year-Old Chinese Hacker?

Was Facebook taken down by a 13 year-old Chinese hacker?

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : Facebook Was Taken Down By 13 Year-Old Chinese Hacker!

On 4 October 2021, Facebook and ALL of its messaging and social media platforms went down for about six hours, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram!

Several websites, as well as people on Twitter and Facebook started claiming that Facebook was taken down by a 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Su / Sun Jiso / Sun Ji Soo.

There are quite a number of these claims, so just SKIP to the next section for the facts!

International media claimed that “China” was behind the suspension of social media services in the world.

According to Reuters, a Chinese hacker named “Sun Jisu” is responsible for stopping the services of “Facebook”, “WhatsApp” and Instagram, and added that the Chinese hackers are only 13 years old.

The Chinese hacker “Sun Ji Su” has topped the famous search engines and Twitter platforms during the past minutes, after disabling WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook today 2021 in all countries of the world, amid questions among activists about the details of this information.

 

Truth : Facebook Was Not Taken Down By 13 Year-Old Chinese Hacker!

The story of a 13 year-old Chinese hacker taking down Facebook is just fake news created by fake news / clickbait websites to go viral and get money through ads.

Here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : International Media Did Not Blame China

On one blamed China for the bizarre 6-hour downtime of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

The international media referred to cybersecurity specialists who pointed at DNS failure as the most likely cause, not a state actor like China.

Clickbait / fake news websites intentionally added that false claim to “trigger” Chinese netizens and Sinophiles to share their fake news.

Read more : US Refused WHO Investigation Of Fort Detrick For COVID-19?

Fact #2 : Reuters  + NYT Did Not Report On Any Chinese Hacker

Reuters did not report that a 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu was responsible for the bringing down Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Neither did the New York Times write about a 13 year old hacker attacking Facebook.

These are complete lies that are easily verified with a quick check on the Reuters and New York Times websites.

Fact #3 : 13 Year-Old Sun Jisu / Sun Jiso Does Not Exist

There is no 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Su / Sun Ji So / Sun Ji Soo. He does NOT exist.

In addition, that is a Korean name, not Chinese – a mistake that a non-Asian person would make.

Fact #4 : That Was An Old Picture Of Wang Zhengyang

The fake news websites used a picture of Chinese hacking prodigy, Wang Zhengyang, speaking at the 2014 Chinese Internet Security Conference.

Wang Zhengyang was 13 year-old at that time, and would be 20 years old this year – 2021. Here are two more pictures of him speaking at that event.

Wang Zhengyang at 2014 Chinese Internet Security Conference

Fact #5 : Facebook Services Were Brought Down By Configuration Changes

Facebook services were not brought down by a hacker, but configuration changes their own engineering team initiated internally.

Facebook’s Vice-President of Infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan, confirmed that “configuration changes” on their “backbone routers” caused the 6-hour long failure.

Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.

Read more : Why Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Went Down!

Fact #6 : Access Problems Were Caused By Same Servers

Facebook run their internal systems through the same servers, so they became inaccessible when those servers were taken offline.

This included security systems that controlled the fob door locks, with a New York Times reporter tweeting that Facebook staff were unable to gain access to an unspecified office using their keycards.

However, many Facebook staff are working from home due to COVID-19 precautions, so this was only a big problem for engineers trying to gain access to the Facebook data centre in Santa Clara, California.

At no time was this security issue caused by a hacker. It was due to the same servers that went offline.

Read more : Why Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Went Down!

Now that you know the truth, please SHARE this fact check with your family and friends!

Also, please STOP SHARING fake stories created by fake news / clickbait websites!

 

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Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did 13 Yr Sun Jisu Hack Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram?

Did the 13 year-old Chinese hacker, Sun Jisu, hack Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, causing them to fail for more than 6 hours?

Take a look at the new viral claim, and find out what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : 13 Year-Old Sun Jisu Hacked Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram!

On 4 October 2021, Facebook and ALL of its messaging and social media platforms went down for about six hours, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram!

Some websites and people on Twitter and Facebook started claiming that the failure was due to a 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Su / Sun Jiso / Sun Ji Soo.

There are quite a number of these claims, so just SKIP to the next section for the facts!

International media claimed that “China” was behind the suspension of social media services in the world.

According to Reuters, a Chinese hacker named “Sun Jisu” is responsible for stopping the services of “Facebook”, “WhatsApp” and Instagram, and added that the Chinese hackers are only 13 years old.

The Chinese hacker “Sun Ji Su” has topped the famous search engines and Twitter platforms during the past minutes, after disabling WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook today 2021 in all countries of the world, amid questions among activists about the details of this information.

 

Truth : Sun Jisu Doesn’t Exist, Did Not Hack Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram!

The truth is – this is just fake news created by fake news / clickbait websites to go viral and get money through ads.

Here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : International Media Did Not Blame China

No mainstream media blamed China for the bizarre 6-hour downtime of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Practically all of them referred to cybersecurity specialists who pointed at DNS failure as the most likely cause, not a state actor like China.

Clickbait / fake news websites intentionally added that false claim to “trigger” Chinese netizens and Sinophiles to share their fake news.

Read more : US Refused WHO Investigation Of Fort Detrick For COVID-19?

Fact #2 : Reuters  + NYT Did Not Report On Any Chinese Hacker

Reuters did not report that a 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu was responsible for the bringing down Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Neither did the New York Times write about a 13 year old hacker attacking Facebook.

These are complete lies that are easily verified with a quick check on the Reuters and New York Times websites.

Fact #3 : 13 Year-Old Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Soo Does Not Exist

There is no 13 year-old Chinese hacker called Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Su / Sun Ji So / Sun Ji Soo. He does NOT exist.

In addition, Sun Jisu / Sun Ji Soo is a Korean name, not Chinese. This is a mistake that a non-Asian person would make.

Fact #4 : That Was An Old Picture Of Wang Zhengyang

The fake news websites used a picture of Chinese hacking prodigy, Wang Zhengyang, speaking at the 2014 Chinese Internet Security Conference.

Wang Zhengyang was 13 year-old at that time, and would be 20 years old this year – 2021. Here are two more pictures of him speaking at that event.

Wang Zhengyang at 2014 Chinese Internet Security Conference

Fact #5 : Facebook Services Were Brought Down By Configuration Changes

Facebook services were not brought down by a hacker, but configuration changes their own engineering team initiated internally.

Facebook’s Vice-President of Infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan, confirmed that “configuration changes” on their “backbone routers” caused the 6-hour long failure.

Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.

He also asserted that it was a faulty configuration change, and no user data was compromised.

Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.

Read more : Why Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Went Down!

Fact #6 : Access Problems Were Caused By Same Servers

Facebook run their internal systems through the same servers, so they became inaccessible when those servers were taken offline.

This included security systems that controlled the fob door locks, with a New York Times reporter tweeting that Facebook staff were unable to gain access to an unspecified office using their keycards.

However, many Facebook staff are working from home due to COVID-19 precautions, so this was only a big problem for engineers trying to gain access to the Facebook data centre in Santa Clara, California.

At no time was this security issue caused by a hacker. It was due to the same servers that went offline.

Read more : Why Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Went Down!

Now that you know the truth, please SHARE this fact check with your family and friends!

Also, please STOP SHARING fake stories created by fake news / clickbait websites!

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
Credit Card / Paypal : https://paypal.me/techarp

Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Can Hackers Use Good Morning Messages To Hack You?

Can hackers use Good Morning videos, pictures and messages to hack your devices, and steal your data?

Find out what is happening, and what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : Hackers Are Using Good Morning Messages To Hack You!

This post about Chinese hackers using Good Morning videos, pictures and messages to hack your devices, has gone viral on social media and WhatsApp.

It’s a long message, so skip to the next section for the facts!

Dear friends, please delete all welcome photos and videos in Good Morning format and the like. Read below the article to the end, which will be clear why I ask about it. From now on I will only send personally prepared greetings.

Read it all !!! Send this message urgently to as many friends as you can to stop the invasion.

Olga Nikolaevna Lawyer: Caution:

ATTENTION

For those who like to send Good Morning pictures! Good day! Good evening!

Do not send these “good” messages.

Today, Shanghai China International News sent SOS to all subscribers (this is the third reminder) that experts recommend: please do not send good morning, good night, pictures and videos,.

Reports show that hackers in China designed the images, the video is so beautiful to hide the phishing codes inside them, when everyone sends these messages, the hackers use your devices to steal personal information, such as bank card information and data to crack the phone.

It has been reported that more than 500,000 victims of fraud have already been deceived.

 

Good Morning Message Hackers : Just Another Hoax!

Many of get spammed with Good Morning or Good Night messages every day from family and friends.

While they often clog up Facebook, Telegram and WhatsApp groups, they really do NOT allow hackers to hack your devices.

Here are the reasons why Good Morning messages are very irritating but harmless…

Fact #1 : Shanghai China International News Does Not Exist

The news organisation, Shanghai China International News, that was stated in the hoax does not exist.

Fact #2 : Hackers Do Not Design Good Morning Pictures + Videos

Hackers (from China or anywhere else) have better things to do than to create these Good Morning pictures and videos.

In fact, they are mostly created by websites and Facebook pages for people to share, and hopefully attract new followers.

Fact #3 : No Fraud Involving Good Morning Messages

There has been no fraud involving Good Morning or even Good Night messages, videos or pictures.

Certainly, half a million victims of such a scam would have made front page news. Yet there is not a single report on even one case.

Fact #4 : Image-Based Malware Is Possible, But…

Digital steganography is a method by which secret messages and other data can be hidden in digital files, like a photo or a video, or even a music file.

It is also possible to embed malicious code within a Good Morning photo, but it won’t be a full-fledged malware that can execute by itself. At most, it can be used to hide the malware payload from antivirus scanners.

In January 2019, cybercriminals created an online advertisement with a script. The script itself would appear innocuous and pass any check.

However, the image itself has an “almost white” rectangle that is recognised by the script, triggering it to redirect the user to the cybercriminals’ website.

Once there, the victim is tricked into installing a Trojan disguised as an Adobe Flash Player update.

Fact #5 : Malicious Code Executes Immediately

If you accidentally download and trigger malware, it will execute immediately. It won’t wait, as the hoax message claims.

Deleting Good Morning or Good Night photos or videos will free up storage space in your phone, but it won’t prevent any malware from executing.

Also, most malware require some sort of action to trigger their execution. Generally (but not always), just downloading a malware won’t trigger it.

 

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CD PROJEKT RED Hack : Source Codes + Docs Stolen!

CD PROJEKT RED just had their source codes and internal documents stolen in a MAJOR HACK, and they may all end up being leaked!

 

CD PROJEKT RED Hack : Source Codes Stolen, Servers Encrypted!

On 9 February 2021, CD PROJEKT RED announced that their data – including source codes and internal documents – were stolen in a hack, and could possibly be leaked.

Their servers were also encrypted in a secondary ransomware attack by the same hackers, but they had backups of the encrypted data.

CD PROJEKT RED publicly ruled out negotiating with the hackers, or giving in to their demands.

This would likely mean that their source codes and internal documents will eventually be released publicly by the hackers.

The only silver lining – CD PROJEKT RED noted that they do not have any evidence that the personal data of their employees were accessed or stolen.

 

CD PROJEKT RED Hack : The Hackers’ Threats

According to the ransom note left on their servers, the hackers stole :

  • FULL source codes for Cyberpunk 2077, Witcher 3, GWENT and the unreleased version of Witcher 3.
  • ALL of their internal documents on accounting, administration, legal, HR, investor relations and more

They also encrypted all of their CD PROJEKT RED’s servers, but acknowledged that they would most likely recover the data from their backups.

The hackers are giving the CD PROJEKT RED team 48 hours to contact them to negotiate.

If there is no agreement, they threaten to sell or leak the source codes, and release their internal documents to the media.

They claim that the internal documents will make CD PROJEKT RED look bad, causing their stock prices to fall and their investors will lose trust in them.

 

CD PROJEKT RED : Official Statement On Hack

This is the official statement by CD PROJEKT RED on the hack :

Yesterday we discovered that we have become a victim of a targeted cyber attack, due to which some of our internal systems have been compromised.

An unidentified actor gained unauthorized access to our internal network, collected certain data belonging to CD PROJEKT capital group, and left a ransom note the content of which we release to the public. Although some devices in our network have been encrypted, our backups remain intact. We have already secured our IT infrastructure and begun restoring the data.

We will not give in to the demands nor negotiate with the factor, being aware that this may eventually lead to the release of the compromised data. We are taking necessary steps to mitigate the consequences of such a release, in particular by approaching any parties that may be affected due to the breach.

We are still investigating the incident, however at this t time we can confirm that – to the best of our knowledge – the compromised systems did not contain any personal data of our players or users of our services.

We have already approached the relevant authorities, including law enforcement and the President of the Personal Data Protection Office, as well as IT forensic specialists, and we will closely cooperate with them in order to fully investigate the incident.

 

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Ministry of Education Website Uses Plain Text CAPTCHA!

It is unbelievable, but the Malaysia Ministry of Education’s website uses plain text CAPTCHA that can be copied and pasted!

Take a look at this incredulous security lapse, and find out why it could put your data at risk!

 

Ministry of Education Website Uses Plain Text CAPTCHA!

The recent threat by Anonymous Malaysia to attack government websites over their lack of security appears to be well-justified.

Qusyaire Ezwan spotted an incredulous security lapse in the official Malaysia Ministry of Education website – plain text CAPTCHA!

On top of that, the code can actually be copied and pasted!

 

Ministry of Education Plain Text CAPTCHA : A Serious Cybersecurity Risk!

The CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) test is something most of us are familiar with.

It is a test that helps to identify real humans, and weed out bots, before they are allowed to access a service. This prevents bot fraud and hacking attempts.

In the Ministry of Education website, the plain text CAPTCHA was used to “secure” the retrieval of forgotten passwords for their Student Management Module.

A real CAPTCHA uses distorted images to prevent a bot from “reading” the numbers or letters, thereby ensuring that only a real human being would be able to key in the correct code.

As this screenshot shows, the CAPTCHA used in the Ministry of Education website just uses random sequences of letters and numbers in PLAIN TEXT!

This means a bot can easily copy and paste the plain text code, and bypass the CAPTCHA test.

Frankly, this doesn’t even qualify as a CAPTCHA test, because it cannot differentiate between humans and bots.

Now, the password is still sent to the registered email accounts, not to the hackers or bots. So your data is not in immediate danger.

However, this is still a SERIOUS cybersecurity risk, because a hacker can pair this design flaw with compromised email accounts.

It would allow their bots to easily and quickly make password retrieval requests for compromised email accounts, and then retrieve your Ministry of Education password.

Having access to the Student Management Module would give hackers access to a ton of information on children and their parents :

  • child : name, date of birth, telephone number, home address
  • school : location, class name, teacher’s name,
  • parent : name, occupation, workplace address, contact number, declared salary

On top of that, many people reuse their passwords, so hackers will use the password retrieved from the Ministry of Education website on other websites and online services you may use.

If you use the same password for your banking account, for example, that would expose your banking account to the hacker.

That is why CAPTCHA is important. It doesn’t prevent hacking attempts, but it greatly slows it down by blocking bots from making mass requests.

The use of plain text CAPTCHA in an official government website is a fiasco. A basic cybersecurity checklist would have prevented software vendors from using plain text CAPTCHA in government websites.

The Malaysian government needs to take the security of official websites seriously. This is a disgrace.

 

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How Hackers Attack Healthcare During COVID-19 Pandemic!

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, hackers have been attacking the healthcare system already buckling under pressure.

Take a look at the first part of a newly-released documentary on how hackers are attacking the healthcare system, and what it means for us and the world!

 

How Hackers Attack Healthcare During COVID-19 Pandemic!

Cybercriminals and state-sponsored hackers do not care that almost a million people have died from COVID-19. In fact, they see the pandemic as an opportunity.

Over the last few months, the creators of this documentary spoke to hospitals, law enforcement agencies, health organisations and research centres across the world, to understand how they are coping with increased cyberattacks and malware.

This particular feature was directed by Didi Mae Hand, and produced by Max Peltz.

 

Hackers Increased Attacks On Healthcare During COVID-19 Pandemic

The documentary reveals a shocking surge in cyberattacks on healthcare systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organisation (WHO), for example, reported a 5X increase in cyberattacks on its systems since March 2020.

State-sponsored hackers are mainly looking for biodata, including research on COVID-19 vaccines. Meanwhile, cybercriminals are capitalising on the fact that hospitals may be more willing than usual to pay a ransom.

For example, the Brno University Hospital, which was responsible for running a big share of COVID-19 testing in the Czech Republic, was held to ransom and forced to shut down its IT network at a critical time.

Fortunately, the surge in cyberattacks was met with an incredible response by the cybersecurity community. Some 3000 cybersecurity volunteers created the CV19 group to provide hospitals and healthcare institutions with free support to protect their systems.

 

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AMD GPU Source Code Hack : What’s Going On?

In case you missed it, AMD suffered a massive cybersecurity breach, losing the source codes to their Navi 10, Navi 21 and Arden GPUs in a hack!

Here is a summary of how the hack went down, and what this could mean for AMD and their partners…

 

AMD GPU Source Code Hack : A Quick Summary

A hacker managed to get her hands on AMD source codes for current and future graphics products, and has apparently tried to blackmail AMD.

After that failed, she leaked some of the source codes on Github, and threatened to release everything if she does not find a buyer.

The hacker recently leaked some of the source codes on Github, which was quickly removed after AMD issued a DMCA notice.

She has treated to release all of the stolen source codes, if she does not find a buyer for them,.

 

AMD GPU Source Code Hack : The Timeline

November 2019

A hacker called Palesa hacked into an unprotected computer / server, where she found and downloaded AMD source codes, which were determined to be for :

  • the current Navi 10 GPU (based on RDNA)
  • the upcoming Navi 21 GPU (based on RDNA 2), as well as
  • the Arden SoC for the Microsoft Xbox Series X console.

The source code was unexpectedly achieved from an unprotected computer / server through some exploits.

I later found out about the files inside it. They weren’t even protected properly or even encrypted with anything which is just sad.

Palesa told TorrentFreak that she valued the source codes at $100 million, but did not reveal how she came to that mind-blowing valuation.

Credit : WCCFTech

December 2019

Palesa contacted AMD, allegedly to blackmail them into paying for the return of the source codes.

Mid-March 2020

Rumours started circulating that a hacker obtained the source codes for Navi 10, Navi 21 and Arden.

24 March 2020

AMD discovered that some of the source codes were uploaded to the new xxXsoullessXxx repository on Github, as the project called AMD-navi-GPU-HARDWARE-SOURCE.

They issued a DCMA notice, notifying Github that, “This repository contains intellectual property owned by and stolen from AMD.” and that “The original IP is held privately and was stolen from AMD.

Github took down that repository, as well as four other repositories that AMD later identified as forks :

25 March 2020

When contacted by TorrentFreak, Palesa said that she will leak all of the stolen source codes if she does not get a buyer for them :

If I get no buyer I will just leak everything.

AMD issued this statement on the theft of their graphics IP :

At AMD, data security and the protection of our intellectual property are a priority. In December 2019, we were contacted by someone who claimed to have test files related to a subset of our current and future graphics products, some of which were recently posted online, but have since been taken down.

While we are aware the perpetrator has additional files that have not been made public, we believe the stolen graphics IP is not core to the competitiveness or security of our graphics products. We are not aware of the perpetrator possessing any other AMD IP.

We are working closely with law enforcement officials and other experts as a part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

 

AMD GPU Source Code Hack : What Was Leaked So Far?

According to WCCFTech who spoke to people who have vast experience with Verilog, and viewed those source codes, this was what was leaked so far :

  • Partial Verilog files that are typically used in the construction of processors.
  • The Verilog files in question represent a single and isolated function(s) on the GPU – NOT the whole/actual GPU blueprint.
  • Based on the leaker’s screenshots, the files not yet leaked are more of the same and also nowhere close to being a complete “source code”.
  • These Verilog files are built on a proprietary schematic that is only compatible with AMD’s internal design language (in other words, these are going to be close to useless to a third party).

 

AMD GPU Source Code Hack : The Implications

From what those experts told WCCFTech, the leaked source codes :

  • cannot be used to design or reverse engineer any of the three GPUs.
  • cannot be used to easily determine product specifications
  • cannot be used to bypass security features on AMD GPUs, although they may reveal vulnerabilities that can be exploited
  • does not contain any “crown jewel” IP

That said, their opinions are based on what was leaked so far. It is possible that Palesa may have at lot more that she has not revealed.

But considering the fact that she took the step of leaking some source code, they are likely not useful or important enough to be worth the trouble, especially now that a criminal investigation is underway.

What this leak has likely achieved is put a target on Palesa’s back, cause some embarrassment to AMD, and force them to relook at their cybersecurity measures and protocols.

 

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Microsoft : Cybersecurity Trends + How To Stay Safe In 2020!

As part of Safer Internet Day (SID), Antony Cook from Microsoft shared the key cybersecurity trends in 2020, and how we can stay safe against those dangers.

Even if we are experienced techies, it is enlightening to find out what Microsoft believes are the cybersecurity threats that we should be looking out for in 2020.

 

Microsoft : Key Cybersecurity Trends In 2020!

Cybersecurity Trend #1 : Less Ransomware But More Attacks

Ransomware has declined in recent years, dropping more than 60% from its peak. But Microsoft sees a rise in other types of cyberattacks.

Attackers have learned that ransomware attracts too much attention from law enforcement, and organisations have gotten better at backing up their data.

So hackers are moving onto other activities like cryptocurrency malware and phishing, where they can more easily profit with less attention.

Cybersecurity Trend #2 : Mining Malware Will Be Big!

Attackers are often acting for financial benefit, so they will make big bets on cryptocurrency, especially in Bitcoin.

They will focus more on mining malware that lets them use your computer to mine cryptocurrency coins without being detected.

Coin mining software is easily available, and cybercriminals have put malware into many widely-shared and used software. They are also trying to inject these malware through websites illegally streaming copyrighted content like the latest movies.

Cybersecurity Trend #3 : Embedded Threats

Attackers are now more sophisticated, targeting legitimate and trusted software supply points to deliver malware. There have been many examples of this attack vector :

  • a routine update for a tax accounting application,
  • popular freeware tools which have backdoors forcibly installed,
  • a server management software package,
  • an internet browser extension or site plugin,
  • malicious images which active scripts when clicked,
  • peer-to-peer applications

In those cases, attackers were able to change the code of legitimate software that people trust and install without hesitation, allowing them to “hitch a ride”.

This attack vector is very dangerous and frustrating, because it takes advantage of the trust that consumers and IT departments already have for legitimate software.

Cybersecurity Trend #4 : Phishing Scams

Phishing continues to be one of the most effective ways to compromise systems, because it targets human decisions and judgment.

Microsoft noted that the percentage of inbound emails that were detected as phishing messages increased 250% throughout 2018, and they expect the final figures for 2019 to show the same trend.

 

Microsoft : How To Stay Safe In 2020!

Here is a summary of what Microsoft believes we should do to stay safe online against cybersecurity threats in 2020 :

Cybersecurity Tip #1 : Practice Good Security Hygiene

  1. Keep your operating system and software updated.
  2. Turn on email and browser protections.
  3. Apply the cybersecurity configurations that your hardware and software vendors recommend.
  4. Stay away from any unfamiliar software or websites.
  5. Use only legitimate software, and not just your key applications.

Cybersecurity Tip #2 : Implement More Access Controls

System administrators should implement more access controls, using Zero Trust or at least privilege models.

This will limit hackers that successfully break into your network from accessing more than a segment.

Cybersecurity Tip #3 : 3-2-1 Backup!

Make sure you create and keep backups, and the cloud is a great tool for this.

Microsoft recommends adhering to the 3-2-1 rule – keep three backups of your data on two different storage types, with at least one backup offsite.

Cybersecurity Tip #4 : Keep Vigilant!

Even if we implement strong cybersecurity measures, we must remain vigilant, and keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

Not just system administrators, but users as well. If you see anything suspicious – report it to your IT department immediately.

It can be anything from a sudden slowdown in your computer’s performance, to strange web pages and images appearing.

 

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Everything On The Meltdown + Spectre CPU Flaws! Rev. 3.0

The Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws that the Google Project Zero team discovered are arguably the worst we have ever known. These vulnerabilities were built into BILLIONS of CPUs that we have been using for the last decade or so.

Not just Intel CPUs, but also CPUs made by AMD, Apple and ARM. Even those that power our smartphones and other smart devices!

Let’s take a look at what we know so far about Meltdown and Spectre, how they affect you, and what we can do about them.

This story is still developing. We will update the article as and when new details emerge. Be sure to check back and refresh the page for the latest information!

 

Article Update History

Click here for the Article Update History

2018-02-17 : Updated the table of CPUs vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre. Updated four sections with new information.

2018-02-05 : Added a table of CPUs vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre. Updated three sections with new information.

2018-01-25 : Revamped the entire article. Added a new section on the difference between Meltdown and Spectre, and a new section on InSpectre. Updated the list of vulnerable processors, mitigation efforts by Microsoft and Apple, as well as the Intel spontaneous reboot issues with their Spectre 2 patches.

2018-01-16 : Updated the list of vulnerable processors, and added a new section on Intel CPUs spontaneously rebooting after applying Meltdown and Spectre patches. Also added cautionary advice on holding off these updates.

2018-01-12 : Updated the article with the AMD confirmation that their processors are vulnerable to both Spectre exploits. Also added details on the Google Retpoline mitigation technique against Spectre attacks.

2018-01-11 : Added new sections on the performance impact of the Meltdown and Spectre mitigation patches, and reports of those patches bricking some AMD PCs. Also expanded the list of affected CPUs, and corrected information on the Intel-SA-00086 Detection Tool.

Between 2018-01-09 and 2018-01-10 : Numerous updates including details of patches and affected CPUs.

Originally posted @ 2018-01-09

 

The Meltdown + Spectre Vulnerabilities

  • The Project Zero team identified these vulnerabilities in 2017, reporting it to Intel, AMD and ARM on 1 June 2017.
  • These vulnerabilities take advantage of the Speculative Execution and Branch Prediction features of the modern processor, that have been used for many years to improve performance.
  • Speculative Execution lets the CPU predict and pre-execute the next instruction, allowing it to “instantly” deliver the results if it’s correct.
  • Branch Prediction helps the CPU predict future execution paths that should be speculatively-executed for better performance.
  • There are THREE (3) variants of the speculative execution CPU bug :
    • Variant 1 : Bounds Check Bypass (CVE-2017-5753)
    • Variant 2 : Branch Target Injection (CVE-2017-5715)
    • Variant 3 : Rogue Data Cache Load (CVE-2017-5754)
  • The Spectre attack (whitepaper) exploits variants 1 and 2.
  • The Meltdown attack (whitepaper) exploits variant 3.
  • There is a Variant 3a, which appears to affect only certain ARM processors.

 

What’s The Difference Between Meltdown & Spectre?

  • Spectre tricks the CPU branch predictor into mis-predicting the wrong path, thereby speculatively executing code that would not otherwise be executed.
  • Meltdown takes advantage of the out-of-order execution capability of modern processors, tricking them into executing malicious code that would normally not be allowed.
  • The Spectre name is based on both the root cause – speculative execution, and the fact that it is not easy to fix, and will haunt us for a long time like a spectre (ghost).
  • The Meltdown name was chosen because the vulnerability “basically melts security boundaries which are normally enforced by the hardware“.

 

How Bad Are Meltdown & Spectre?

  • The Spectre exploits let an attacker access and copy information from the memory space used by other applications.
  • The Meltdown exploit lets an attacker copy the entire physical memory of the computer.
  • Unless patched, the affected processors are vulnerable to malware and cyberattacks that exploits this CPU bug to steal critical information from running apps (like login and credit card information, emails, photos, documents, etc.)
  • While the Meltdown exploit can be “fixed”, it is likely that the Spectre exploit cannot be fixed, only mitigated, without a redesign of the processors. That means we will have to live with the risks of a Spectre attack for many more years to come.

 

How Many Processors Are Affected? Updated!

For the complete list of affected AMD, Apple, ARM and Intel processors, please see this separate article – The Complete List Of CPUs Vulnerable To Meltdown / Spectre

Company Spectre 1 Spectre 2 Meltdown
AMD 295 Server CPUs
42 Workstation CPUs
396 Desktop CPUs
208 Mobile CPUs
295 Server CPUs
42 Workstation CPUs
396 Desktop CPUs
208 Mobile CPUs
None
Apple 13 Mobile SoCs 13 Mobile SoCs 13 Mobile SoCs
ARM 10 Mobile CPUs
3 Server SoCs
10 Mobile CPUs
3 Server SoCs
4 Mobile CPUs
3 Server SoCs
IBM 10 POWER CPUs 10 POWER CPUs 10 POWER CPUs
Intel 732 Server / Workstation CPUs
443 Desktop CPUs
583 Mobile CPUs
51 Mobile SoCs
732 Server / Workstation CPUs
443 Desktop CPUs
583 Mobile CPUs
51 Mobile SoCs
732 Server / Workstation CPUs
443 Desktop CPUs
583 Mobile CPUs
51 Mobile SoCs

Total

2786 CPUs 2786 CPUs 1839 CPUs

For the complete list of affected AMD, Apple, ARM and Intel processors, please see this separate article – The Complete List Of CPUs Vulnerable To Meltdown / Spectre

 

Intel Detection Tool?

The Intel-SA-00086 Detection Tool does NOT detect the processor’s susceptibility to these vulnerabilities. It only checks for different vulnerabilities affecting the Intel Management Engine.

 

InSpectre

Our reader Arthur shared that the Gibson Research Corporation has an aptly-named utility called InSpectre.

It checks for Meltdown and Spectre hardware and software vulnerabilities in a Windows system. It will help you check if your system is getting patched properly against these vulnerabilities.

 

What Is Being Done??? Updated!

Note : The terms “mitigate” and “mitigation” mean the possibility of a successfully attacked are reduced, not eliminated.

  • Intel has started issuing software and firmware updates for the processors introduced in the last 5 years. By the middle of January 2018, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90% of those CPUs. However, that does not address the other Intel processors sold between 2010 and 2012.
  • Microsoft and Linux have started to roll our the KPTI (Kernel Page Table Isolation) patch, also known as the KAISER (Kernel Address Isolation to have Side-channels Efficiently Removed) patch.
  • The KPTI or KAISER patch, however, will only protect against the Meltdown exploit. It has no effect on a Spectre attack.
  • Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 received the KB4056890 security update on 3 January 2018, to prevent a Meltdown attack.
  • Firefox 57 includes changes to mitigate against both attacks.
  • Google Chrome 64 will be released on 23 January 2018, with mitigations against Meltdown and Spectre attacks.
  • For Mac systems, Apple introduced mitigations against Spectre in macOS 10.13.2 (released on 8 January 2018), with more fixes coming in macOS 10.13.3.
  • For iOS devices, Apple introduced mitigations against Meltdown in iOS 11.2 and tvOS 11.2.
  • On 8 January 2018, Apple released iOS 11.2.2, which mitigates the risk of the two Spectre exploits in Safari and WebKit, for iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPod touch 6th generation or later.
  • ARM has made available the KPTI / KAISER kernel patches for Linux, while Google will provide them for Android.
  • Google patched Android against both exploits with the December 2017 and January 2018 patches.
  • Google shared details of their Return Rrampoline (Retpoline) binary modification technique that can be used to protect against Spectre attacks. It is a software construct that ensures that any associated speculative execution will “bounce” (as if on a trampoline) endlessly.
  • NVIDIA issued six driver and security updates for affected devices and software between 3-9 January 2018.
  • On 11 January 2018, AMD announced that the “majority of AMD systems” have received the mitigation patches against Spectre 1, albeit some older AMD systems got bricked by bad patches. They also announced that they will make “optional” microcode updates available for Ryzen and EPYC processors by the same week.
  • In the same 11 January 2018 disclosure, AMD also shared that Linux vendors have started to roll out OS patches for both Spectre exploits, and they’re working on the “return trampoline (Retpoline)” software mitigations as well.[adrotate group=”2″]
  • On 23 January 2018, Apple released Meltdown patches for macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan, but not macOS High Sierra.
  • On 23 January 2018, Microsoft finally revealed their Spectre and Meltdown patch schedule.
  • On 24 January 2018, AMD revealed their 11 software mitigations for both Spectre exploits.
  • The 24 January 2018 AMD whitepaper also revealed that the AMD K10 and K8 processors are vulnerable as well, adding an additional 663 CPU models to the list of vulnerable processors.
  • On 2 February 2018, Microsoft released KB4078130 to disable the Spectre 2 patches that were causing many Intel systems to randomly and spontaneously reboot.
  • On 8 February 2018, an Intel microcode update schedule revealed that their Penryn-based processors are also vulnerable, adding an additional 314 CPU models to the list of vulnerable processors.
  • On 14 February 2018, Intel revealed an expanded Bug Bounty Program, offering up to $250,000 in bounty awards.

 

Some AMD PCs Got Bricked

In the rush to mitigate against Meltdown and Spectre, Microsoft released Windows 10 patches that bricked some AMD PCs. They blamed the incorrect / incomplete documentation provided by AMD.

You can read more about this issue @ These Windows 10 Updates Are Bricking AMD PCs!

 

Buggy Intel Spectre 2 Patches Updated!

Intel’s rush to patch Meltdown and Spectre resulted in buggy microcode patches, causing several generations of their CPUs to randomly and spontaneously reboot.

So far, over 800 Intel CPU models have been identified to be affected by these spontaneous reboot issues. If you have one of the affected CPUs, please hold off BIOS / firmware updates!

Intel has identified the cause as the Spectre 2 patches in their microcode updates for some of these processors. They’re still investigating the cause of the other affected CPU models.

Fortunately for Windows users, Microsoft issued the KB4078130 emergency update to stop the reboots while Intel worked to fix the issue.

You can read more about this issue @ The Intel Spectre Reboot Issue, and the Microsoft solution @ KB4078130 : Emergency Windows Update To Disable Intel Spectre Patches!

 

What Should You Do? Updated!

First and foremost – DO NOT PANIC. There is no known threat or attack using these exploits.

Although we listed a number of important patches below, the buggy updates are worse than the potential threat they try to fix. So we advise HOLDING OFF these patches, and wait for properly-tested versions a few weeks down the line.

  • If you are using Windows, make sure you install the latest Microsoft Spectre and Meltdown updates.
  • If you are using a Mac system, get the latest Apple Spectre and Meltdown patches.
  • If you are using an iOS device, get updated to iOS 11.2 or tvOS 11.2.
  • If you are using Firefox, update to the latest Firefox 57.
  • If you are using Google Chrome, make sure you watch out for Chrome 64, which will be released on 23 January.
  • Download and install the latest software firmware updates from your PC, laptop, motherboard brands. In particular, install the latest driver for the Intel Management Engine (Intel ME), the Intel Trusted Execution Engine (Intel TXE), and the Intel Server Platform Services (SPS)
  • If you are running an ARM processor on Linux, grab the kernel patches.
  • IBM POWER system users can download and install these firmware updates.
  • Users of affected NVIDIA systems can download and install these driver and firmware updates.
  • If you are using an Intel system, hold off updating your firmware, unless you have already verified that your CPU is not affected by the buggy Intel patches, or Intel has already issued corrected patches.

 

The Performance Impact Of The Mitigation Patches

Many benchmarks have been released, showing performance impacts of between 5% to 30%, depending on the type of benchmark and workload. Microsoft has called those benchmark results into question, stating that they did not cover both operating system and silicon microcode patches.

They released an initial report on their findings, which we have summarised in our article – Pre-2016 Intel CPUs Hit Worst By Meltdown + Spectre Fix.

 

Meltdown + Spectre Reading Suggestions

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Kaspersky Lab Challenges DHS Ban Of Kaspersky Products

December 19, 2017 – Kaspersky Lab is challenging the DHS ban of the use of its products in federal agencies. In a statement issued today, Kaspersky Lab announced that it is seeking an appeal in federal court of U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision on Binding Operational Directive 17-01 banning the use of the company’s products in federal agencies.  

 

Kaspersky Lab Challenges DHS Ban Of Kaspersky Products

Kaspersky Lab has filed an appeal under the Administrative Procedure Act to enforce its constitutional due process rights and challenge the DHS ban on the use of the company’s products and solutions by U.S. government agencies.

The company asserts that the DHS’s decision is unconstitutional and relied on subjective, non-technical public sources such as uncorroborated and often anonymously sourced media reports, related claims, and rumours.

Furthermore, Kaspersky Lab claims that the DHS failed to provide the company adequate due process to rebut the unsubstantiated allegations underlying the Directive and has not provided any evidence of wrongdoing.

Kaspersky Lab reached out to DHS in mid-July, offering to provide any information or assistance concerning the company, its operations, or its products. In mid-August, DHS confirmed receipt of the company’s letter, appreciating the offer to provide information and expressing interest in future communications with Kaspersky Lab regarding the matter.

However, the next communication from DHS to Kaspersky Lab was notification regarding the issuance of Binding Operational Directive 17-01 on September 13, 2017.

The DHS ban on the use of Kaspersky products in federal agencies damaged Kaspersky Lab’s reputation and its sales in the U.S. In filing this appeal, Kaspersky Lab hopes to protect its due process rights under the U.S. Constitution and federal law and repair the harm caused to its commercial operations, its U.S.-based employees, and its U.S.-based business partners.

“Because Kaspersky Lab has not been provided a fair opportunity in regards to the allegations and no technical evidence has been produced to validate DHS’s actions, it is in the company’s interests to defend itself in this matter. Regardless of the DHS decision, we will continue to do what really matters: make the world safer from cybercrime,” said Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab.

 

The Kaspersky Global Transparency Initiative

On 23 October 2017, Kaspersky Lab launched its Global Transparency Initiative. This Initiative will include :

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  • an independent review of the company’s source code, software updates and threat detection rules;
  • an independent review of internal processes to verify the integrity of the company’s solutions and processes;
  • three transparency centers by 2020, in Asia, Europe and the U.S.; and
  • increased bug bounty rewards up to $100k per discovered vulnerability in Kaspersky Lab products.

You can read more about this initiative in our article – How Kaspersky Lab Plans To Counter Alleged Ties To Russian Intelligence.

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Kaspersky Lab Reveals Mokes Backdoor In NSA Leak

Kaspersky Lab just issued an update on their internal investigation into the alleged downloading of NSA hacking tools by Russian hackers, and their own team. Their update provides new insights into the hack, including their new findings on the Mokes backdoor used to gain access to the infected computer.

 

What’s Going On With Kaspersky Lab?

Kaspersky Lab can’t seem to get ahead of the bad publicity over the alleged downloading of NSA hacking tools from an NSA employee’s home computer. After the incident was first reported in the Wall Street Journal,  Kaspersky Lab launched an internal investigation.

They have also recently announced their Global Transparency Initiative to combat the perception that they are helping the Russian government attack Western interests.

Read : Eugene Kaspersky On The Cyberspace Survival Guide

 

Kaspersky Lab’s Initial Findings

Kaspersky Labs published these initial findings on 25 October :

  • On September 11, 2014, a Kaspersky Lab product installed on the computer of a U.S.-based user reported an infection of what appeared to be variants of malware used by the Equation APT group– a sophisticated cyber threat actor whose activity had already been under active investigation since March 2014.
  • Sometime after this, the user seems to have downloaded and installed pirated software on their machine, specifically a Microsoft Office ISO file and an illegal Microsoft Office 2013 activation tool (aka “keygen”).
  • To install the pirate copy of Office 2013, the user appears to have disabled the Kaspersky Lab product on their computer, because executing the illegal activator tool would not have been possible with the antivirus enabled.
  • The illegal activation tool contained within the Office ISO was infected with malware. The user was infected with this malware for an unspecified period while the Kaspersky Lab product was inactive. The malware consisted of a full-blown backdoor which could have allowed other third-parties to access the user’s machine.
  • When re-enabled, the Kaspersky Lab product detected the malware with the verdict Backdoor.Win32.Mokes.hvl and blocked this malware from calling out to a known command and control server. The first detection of the malicious setup program was on October 4, 2014.
  • In addition, the antivirus product also detected new and previously known variants of Equation APT malware.
  • One of the files detected by the product as new variants of Equation APT malware was a 7zip archive which was sent back, in accordance to the end-user and KSN license agreements, to the Kaspersky Virus Lab for further analysis.
  • Upon analysis, it was discovered that the archive contained a multitude of files, including known and unknown tools of Equation group, source code, as well as classified documents. The analyst reported the incident to the CEO. Following a request from the CEO, the archive itself, source code, and any apparently classified data were deleted within days from the company’s systems. However, files that are legitimate malware binaries currently remain in Kaspersky Lab storage. The archive was not shared with any third-parties.
  • The reason Kaspersky Lab deleted those files and will delete similar ones in the future is two-fold: first, it needs only malware binaries to improve protection and, secondly, it has concerns regarding the handling of potentially classified material.
  • Because of this incident, a new policy was created for all malware analysts: they are now required to delete any potentially classified material that has been accidentally collected during anti-malware research.
  • The investigation did not reveal any other similar incidents in 2015, 2016 or 2017.
  • To date, no other third-party intrusion aside from Duqu 2.0 has been detected in Kaspersky Lab’s networks.

 

The Mokes Backdoor & Other New Findings

Kaspersky Lab continued their investigation, issuing a new report that confirmed their initial findings above. It also provided additional insight into the analysis of the telemetry of suspicious activities registered on that NSA employee’s computer that was sent to their servers.

One of the major discoveries was the detection of the Mokes backdoor in that NSA employee’s computer. The Mokes backdoor is a malware that allows the hacker to remotely access the computer.

Curious Mokes backdoor background

It is publicly known that the Mokes backdoor (also known as “Smoke Bot” or “Smoke Loader”) appeared on Russian underground forums as it was made available for purchase in 2014. Kaspersky Lab research shows that, during the period of September to November 2014, the command and control servers of this malware were registered to presumably a Chinese entity going by the name “Zhou Lou”.

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Moreover, deeper analysis of Kaspersky Lab telemetry showed that the Mokes backdoor may not have been the only malware infecting the PC in question at the time of the incident as other illegal activation tools and keygens were detected on the same machine.

More non-Equation malware

Over a period of two months, the product reported alarms on 121 items of non-Equation malware: backdoors, exploits, Trojans and AdWare. All of these alerts, combined with the limited amount of available telemetry, means that while Kaspersky Lab can confirm that their product spotted the threats, it is impossible to determine if they were executing during the period the product was disabled.

 

Kaspersky Lab’s Conclusions

Their current investigations conclude thus far that :

  • The Kaspersky Lab software performed as expected and notified our analysts of alerts on signatures written to detect Equation APT group malware that was already under investigation for six months. All of this in accordance with the description of the declared product functionality, scenarios, and legal documents which the user agreed to prior to the installation of the software.
  • What is believed to be potentially classified information was pulled back because it was contained within an archive that fired on an Equation-specific APT malware signature.
  • Beside malware, the archive also contained what appeared to be source code for Equation APT malware and four Word documents bearing classification markings. Kaspersky Lab doesn’t possess information on the content of the documents as they were deleted within days.
  • Kaspersky Lab cannot assess whether the data was “handled appropriately” (according to U.S. Government norms) since our analysts have not been trained on handling U.S. classified information, nor are they under any legal obligation to do so. The information was not shared with any third party.
  • Contrary to multiple media publications, no evidence has been found that Kaspersky Lab researchers have ever tried to issue “silent” signatures aimed at searching for documents with words like “top secret” and “classified” and other similar words.
  • The Mokes backdoor infection and potential infections of other non-Equation malware point to the possibility that user data could have been leaked to an unknown number of third-parties as a result of remote access to the computer.

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How Kaspersky Lab Plans To Counter Alleged Ties To Russian Intelligence

Alleged Ties To Russian Intelligence

Kaspersky Lab can’t seem to get rid of the stigma of being a Russian company. Even after Eugene Kaspersky publicly declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not his friend, and offered to show his source codes to the US government, he can’t shake off the perception that he’s helping the Russian government attack Western interests.

It did not help that Israeli government hackers provided the US National Security Agency (NSA) with evidence that Russian hackers used Kaspersky Lab software to scan for American classified programs. They also found NSA hacking tools in the Kaspersky Lab network, the same tools that the NSA later confirmed were in Russian intelligence hands.

That was what led to the US General Services Administration directive to remove Kaspersky Lab from its list of approved vendors, and the US Senate to call for a government-wide ban.

There is no evidence that Kaspersky Lab itself was complicit in helping Russian intelligence scan for American classified programs, or obtain the NSA hacking tools. It is entirely possible that the Russian intelligence hackers merely exploited the same flaws in Kaspersky Lab software that the Israelis used to gain access to their network and software.

However, all these controversies have greatly undermined Kaspersky Lab’s credibility and sales worldwide.

 

The Kaspersky Lab Global Transparency Initiative

The Kaspersky Lab Global Transparency Initiative attempts to prove and assure their customers (and potential customers) that there are no backdoors in their software. Under this initiative, Kaspersky Lab will make their source codes, including software updates and threat detection rules, available for independent review and evaluation.

Their Global Transparency Initiative will kick off with these actions :

  1. Kaspersky Lab will offer their source codes for an independent review by Q1 2018, with similar independent reviews of their software updates and threat detection rules to follow.
  2. An independent assessment of the Kaspersky Lab development lifecycle processes, and its software and supply chain risk mitigation strategies, will begin by Q1 2018.
  3. Additional controls to govern Kaspersky Lab data processing practices, with verification by an independent party, will be developed by Q1 2018.
  4. Three Transparency Centers will be established in Asia, Europe and the US to address security issues with Kaspersky Lab partners, customers and government stakeholders. They will also serve as a facility for “trusted partners to access reviews on the company’s code, software updates and threat detection rules“. The first Transparency Center will open by 2018, with the rest by 2020.
  5. Kaspersky Lab will increase their bug bounty awards up to $100,000 for the most severe vulnerabilities found under their Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure program by the end of 2017.

Kaspersky Lab will later announce the next phase of the Global Transparency Initiative, after engaging with their stakeholders and the cybersecurity community.

 

What This Does Not Address

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The initial phase of the Kaspersky Lab Global Transparency Initiative will help verify, and assure their customers, that there are no backdoors in their software. However, it does not address a major concern for the US government – the fact that their data is routed through Russian Internet service providers that are subject to the Russian intelligence surveillance system called SORM (System of Operative-Investigative Measures).

Kaspersky Lab has said that customer data sent to their Russian servers are encrypted, and they do not decrypt it for the Russian government. But it would be impossible for them to prove it. Perhaps they will address this concern in the next phase of their Global Transparency Initiative.

Don’t forget to read our interview with Eugene Kaspersky on his alleged ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

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Trend Micro : How To Catch Hackers Through Subtle Mistakes

For all the benefits that it brings, new technology tends to open up a wealth of opportunities for malicious parties to compromise sensitive data. Even as businesses strive to protect themselves by employing advanced cyber security tools, hackers are keeping pace with developments of their own.

Many organizations focus on alerts of an attack, such as blaring notifications that something just isn’t right. However, a threat could easily be sleeping in their systems right now or attacks could be perpetrated right under their noses in the guise of normal transactions.

In fact, the quieter variety of cyber-attacks is particularly dangerous and underprepared for. Methods are becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect, but there are ways to catch hackers through their subtle mistakes.

How To Catch Hackers Through Subtle Mistakes

1. Look at the evidence

Hackers in movies and television shows have helped perpetuate the myth that cyber-attacks can only be detected when they are caught in the act. Data breach systems can detect when someone breaches and is inside your systems. This tool can help identify and mitigate attacks quickly, reducing potential risk and costs.

But sometimes hackers remain undetected, and that calls for some cyber forensics. While malicious parties can certainly cover their tracks, there is typically a breadcrumb trail left behind. In fact, Hexadite co-founder Barak Klinghofer told USA Today that cyber criminals always leave evidence behind. Organizations can analyze this information to identify how the attack was perpetrated and who did it.

InfoSec analysts take a deep look into attack vectors, the timing of the breach, what information was stolen and to whom the data might be useful. Evidence can create a substantial picture leading to the culprit and mitigating similar attacks in the future. No matter how subtle an attack may be when it happens, organizations still have an opportunity to rectify it afterward by utilizing advanced cyber forensic tools and plugging the gaps.

Cyber forensics can analyze evidence hackers leave behind.

2. Determine the number of actors

EyePyramid, an information-stealing malware, was active earlier this year, and attacks that utilized this malicious software resulted in the theft of 87GB of sensitive data. It also targeted more than 100 email domains and 18,000 email accounts in Italy, the U.S., Europe and Japan. Despite the extent of this attack, it was eventually attributed to a brother-sister team who were using the malware to profit from the stolen data. A Trend Micro report by Martin Roesler found that their identification was a result of operator error. Their habits, quirks and techniques were their ultimate downfall. Cyber security tools must be able to recognize trends within behavior, allowing breached organizations to track down an attack to the source.

“Hackers can make simple mistakes by revealing too much about themselves.”

3. Track social interactions

Hackers are no stranger to using forums and other means to sell their tools. However, even these individuals can make mistakes by simply posting too much online. In July 2014, when Limitless Logger was at its peak, cybercrinimals used it to disable security controls, record keystrokes and exfiltrate account passwords.

Trend Micro research started to dig into information about the original author by looking into them on Hackforums. From information within the posts, it was found that the culprit just completed the first semester in a university as well as contact details for Skype and PayPal accounts. Following the rabbit hole of these clues, public social network profiles were eventually found and Hackforum chat logs confirmed his true name. Hackers can make simple mistakes by revealing too much about themselves. A profile can be made from this data to narrow down the suspect pool and develop other leads to ultimately identify the culprit.

4. Watch for spelling errors

Hackers are human, and that means they make mistakes, especially when trying to phish for credentials. It’s common for employees to easily glance over spelling errors in URLs and messages automatically clicking links without second thought. But that’s not the way that spelling errors signal an attack.

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For example, in early 2016, Bangladesh Bank experienced this firsthand. Hackers breached the institution’s systems and stole payment transfer credentials. These authorizations were used to make nearly three dozen requests to move money from the bank to entities in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, Reuters reported. After the fifth request, a misspelling caught the eye of a routing bank, causing them to look into the transactions. While the error prevented a $1 billion heist, the hackers still managed to get away with $80 million for their efforts.

Organizations can be overwhelmed by the thought of cybercrime. However, there are a number of ways to spot a potential threat and stop it in its tracks. With capable cyber security tools, businesses can have peace of mind that their systems and data are secure.

 

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Mr. Robot Season 2 Exclusively On iflix

iflix just announced they acquired exclusive rights in Malaysia to the second season of the critically acclaimed, global phenomenon, Mr. Robot. Fast tracked from the U.S., new episodes will premiere every Thursday on iflix, within 24-hours of the initial U.S. broadcast.

In its first season, the drama series garnered numerous accolades and awards, including the Golden Globe for “Best TV Drama” and a Peabody Award. Mr. Robot follows Elliot Alderson (Golden Globe nominee Rami Malek), a young cyber-security engineer who becomes involved in the underground hacker group fsociety after being recruited by their mysterious leader (Golden Globe winner Christian Slater). Following the events of fsociety’s 5/9 hack on multi-national conglomerate Evil Corp, the second season explores the consequences of that attack as well as the illusion of control.

Mr. Robot Season 2 joins iflix’s growing library of first run exclusives including the show’s critically lauded first season, every season of award-winning crime drama Fargo, new breakout fantasy series The Magicians, Aquarius and many more.

To celebrate this, iflix Malaysia invited selected media for an exclusive advanced screening of the first episode of Mr. Robot Season 2. iflix Malaysia CEO, Azran Osman-Rani, even took time off his busy schedule to join us for popcorn and the screening.

iflix Group Chief Content Officer, James Bridges commented: “We are thrilled to bring this latest instalment of Mr. Robot, one of the world’s most exciting and compelling series, exclusively to our markets. The multi-award-winning first season was one of Malaysia’s most talked about shows of 2015. It is another example of our passion for seeking out and delivering the best content available to our subscribers across the region.”

Now available in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, iflix will continue to roll out its world-class service to key additional emerging markets in the coming months. Offering consumers a vast library of top Hollywood, Asian regional, and local TV shows and movies including many first run exclusives and award winning programs, each subscription allows users to access the service on up to five devices, including phones, laptops, tablets, and television sets, for viewing wherever, whenever.

iflix subscribers can also download TV shows and movies from iflix’s extensive catalogue for offline viewing. The service is priced at only RM 10 per month in Malaysia for unlimited access with no ads!

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Kaspersky Tips On Beating Hackers During Euro 2016

June 13, 2016 – On Friday, 10 June, thousands of companies across Europe and the rest of the world are likely to discover they have more remote workers than they did the day before, as the Euro 2016 football tournament gets underway. Fans trying to keep on top of work using mobile devices while surrounded by crowds of strangers, insecure public Wi-Fi networks and the distraction of a match will be immensely vulnerable to cyberthreats. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that they and their employers can take to stay safe.

The Euro 2016 football tournament, hosted by France, brings together 24 teams for 51 matches. Millions of fans will be watching the games in stadiums, bars and at public screenings. Employers have been urged to let staff work more flexibly or from home so they can watch key national games, but some employees may take matters into their own hands, working from mobile devices while watching a game with fellow supporters. The IT security risks of such behaviour are immense. Neither employers nor employees may be fully aware of or prepared for just how vulnerable they are about to become.

To help everyone keep important business data safe, regardless of where they are, Kaspersky Lab has drawn up a short essential guide:

 

10 Things Remote-Working Fans Can Learn From The Players On The Pitch

1. Take responsibility for your own performance

A recent Kaspersky Lab study into ransomware found that less than 4% of adults in the US[i] would mind if work documents on their device were lost through cybercrime, while 77% would panic if they lost financial info. Indifference doesn’t lead to secure behaviour. If you are planning to work on the move, you need to feel responsible for the safety of the business information you handle.

2. Everyone is watching you

Logging into a device where anyone can look over your shoulder and make a note of your passwordor the work you’re doing – so-called ‘visual hacking’ – makes it easy for others to break into your device or steal information. Keep your data to yourself.

3. Keep your eye on the ball

Phishing and ransomware emails look increasingly convincing and can even appear to come from a colleague. If the message is unexpected, contact the sender directly, and never click on an attachment or a link in an email from someone you don’t know.

4. Don’t reveal your game plan

Don’t transmit anything unless you know it’s encrypted. With WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage service now encrypting communications end-to-end as standard, email is rapidly becoming the most vulnerable form of business communications[ii]. Use the most secure channel you have access to.

5. Beware Man-in-the-Middle attacks

Using a free, public Wi-Fi network to stay in touch with work is extremely high-risk. An attacker can easily insert themselves into the network and spy on or intercept all your communications. They can do the same between an email and your business server[iii]. End-to-end encryption prevents this – so if you don’t have it, don’t email till you’re somewhere secure or use a VPN (virtual private network).

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6. Prepare for the worst

Employers unprepared for the sudden increase in remote working may not have the most appropriate security installed on work devices, let alone employees’ personal devices. If it’s too late to get this installed, then at the very least don’t leave home without the most up-to-date version of device software installed. Mobile devices are not immune to cyberattack: in 2015, Kaspersky Lab prevented nearly three million attempts to infect mobile devices[iv] with a Trojan.

7. The referee can make mistakes

Websites, network service providers, operating systems etc. do their best to provide protection or alerts: such as the new malware and phishing website warnings introduced by Bing[v]. However, the baddies are increasingly cunning and if there’s a point of weakness, they’ll find it. Confine your remote work to things that are not business critical or sensitive.

8. But don’t blame the referee for all mistakes

Sometimes things go wrong; devices get broken, lost or stolen, or affected by malware or ransomware. The best thing to do is to come clean and let your IT department know immediately so they can take appropriate steps, such as blocking or remote-wiping the device, or isolating the malware before the infection takes hold.

9. Don’t make victory easy for the other side

Cybercriminals generally prefer the path of least resistance. Solid security, security updates, a hard-to-crack password, the use of the latest software, a business VPN and encrypted communications all make it harder for an outsider to gain access to your device and business information.

10. But don’t expect to win without trying

Kaspersky Lab has found that only around half (53%) of consumers make use of the security features that come with their device[vi]. To stay ahead of the hackers, you need to get to grips with these security essentials. It’s about focus and commitment, supported by the right equipment. Just like football.

“Euro 2016 should be a celebration of football for fans the world over to enjoy. Sadly, occasions where people are more relaxed about device and data security can quickly become a happy hunting ground for hackers. Cybercriminals won’t hesitate to pounce on an under-protected football supporter trying to work remotely. A few basic precautions before, during and after the match will help employers and their workforce to stay safe – leaving them free to enjoy the glorious spectacle of sport,” said David Emm, Principal Security Researcher, Kaspersky Lab.

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Clock Share Bug In iOS Allows Access To Data

While proving the SoFlo iPhone unlocking hoax, we stumbled upon a security bug in iOS 9.2.1. This security bug can be used to bypass the iOS device’s passcode or Touch ID. But it has to be done in a very specific way.

 

How To Exploit This Bug In iOS

Here is how you can exploit the bug in iOS 9.2.1 to gain access to every photo, video and contact stored in the iOS device, whether it is an iPhone, an iPad or an iPod touch.

  1. Log into the iOS device using the passcode / Touch ID.
  2. Open the Clock app and go to World Clock, and add a new Clock.
  3. Type a random word in the Search bar.
  4. Select the random word and tap to Share as a Message.

  1. Once the New Message screen opens, turn off the iOS device.
  2. Call Siri (without logging in using Touch ID / passcode) and ask for the time
  3. Click on the Clock after Siri tells you the time.
  4. Siri will not open up the World Clock, but will take you straight into New Message.
  5. Now add a random word to “To:” bar, and press Return.
  6. Double tap on the random word (now green in colour). It will bring you to the Info screen.
  7. Tap on Create New Contact.
  8. Tap on Add Photo. This will allow you to access the Photos app and EVERY photo and video in the iOS device.
  9. You can also tap on Add to Existing Contact to access the entire Contact List.
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Don’t Worry… Too Much

As you can tell by now, this security bug is very hard for a hacker to exploit. It requires prior access to the iOS device to “set up” the exploit.

The hacker will have to trick the owner into granting access to the iOS device. Then the hacker can follow the steps above up to no. 5. This will allow the hacker to exploit the bug (at a later time) to gain access to the iOS device’s photos, videos and contacts.

While this is a remote possibility, we nevertheless reported the security bug to Apple :

We then tested to see if the exploit would work on iOS 9.3 beta, and discovered something interesting.

It appears that Apple finally decided that it was superfluous to offer a Share option in the Clock app. How is that functionality useful to the user? It’s practically useless. So they removed the Share option completely.

In other words, even if you are logged into the iOS device, you can no longer go to the Clock app, key in a random word and Share it. The option is gone. As far as we can tell, it was gone as early as iOS 9.3 beta 5. We confirmed this in iOS 9.3 beta 6 as well (naturally).

So don’t worry too much. The coming iOS 9.3 update will fix this security bug in iOS 9.2.1 once and for all. In the meantime, just be careful who you lend your iOS device to!

 

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