Tag Archives: Hacking

Are Hackers Using Good Morning Messages To Hack You?

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:


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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Hacknet is FREE for a Limited Time! Get It NOW!

Hacknet, a terminal-based hacking simulation game worth $9.99, is FREE for just 48 hours! Yes, it’s completely FREE, if you grab it before the offer expires, so head over to the Hacknet page now!

If you missed this deal, well, next time join the Tech ARP Facebook page to get these updates quickly!



Hacknet is an immersive, terminal-based hacking simulator. Dive down a rabbit hoIe as you follow the instructions of a recently deceased hacker, whose death may not have been the accident the media reports. Using old school command prompts and real hacking processes, you’ll solve the mystery with minimal hand-holding, and a rich world full of secrets to explore.

Bit, a hacker responsible for creating the most invasive security system on the planet, is dead. When he fails to reconnect to his system for 14 days, his failsafe kicks in, sending instructions in automated emails to a lone user. As that user, it’s up to you to unravel the mystery and ensure that Hacknet-OS doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Exploring the volatile nature of personal privacy, the prevalence of corporate greed, and the hidden powers of hackers on the internet, Hacknet delivers a true hacking simulation, while offering a support system that allows total beginners get a grasp of the real-world applications and commands found throughout the game.


Hacknet Features

  • Real hacking
    Based on actual UNIX commands, Hacknet focuses on real hacking, not the Hollywood-style version of it. This creates a truly immersive experience and puts players right in the thick of trying to break through the firewalls.[adrotate group=”2″]
  • Unlock the mystery of Bit
    A hacker is dead and the media reports don’t add up. When you are contacted by his “ghost” – an automated failsafe system – you’re drawn into the dark and murky world of underground hackers.
  • Full immersion
    You are thrust into a persistent virtual world with no “levels” or obvious game elements to break the illusion. Follow the guidance of the emails from Bit or just dive down the rabbit hole, chasing down clues and snippets of information you find as you explore different systems.
  • Accessible but uncompromising
    Whilst not holding your hand or dumbing down, the design of the game and the learning curve enables those with no prior terminal experience to enjoy it whilst delighting those in the know.
  • Killer tunes:
    Hack to the beat of a soundtrack featuring underground artists including Remi (Hotline Miami).
  • Hack your own adventures:
    Create your own campaigns, system networks, nodes, themes, music and story missions using the Hacknet Extensions mod tools. Share them with other players through Steam Workshop.

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Kaspersky Reveals Security Flaws In Hanwha Techwin Smart Cameras

Kaspersky Lab researchers discovered multiple security vulnerabilities in popular smart cameras made by Hanwha Techwin that are frequently used as baby monitors, or for internal home and office security surveillance.

According to their research, the uncovered flaws could allow attackers to obtain remote access to video and audio feeds from the cameras, remotely disable these devices, execute arbitrary malicious code on them and do many other things.


Security Holes In Hanwha Techwin Smart Cameras

Modern smart cameras contain an advanced number of functions, providing users with various opportunities: people can use them as advanced baby monitors or for surveillance systems which spot intruders while no one is home or in the office.

But, are these cameras secure enough by design and what if such a smart camera started watching you, instead of watching your home? Previous analysis conducted by many other security researchers has shown that smart cameras in general tend to contain security vulnerabilities at different levels of severity.

In their latest research, Kaspersky Lab experts uncovered something extraordinary: not just one, but a whole range of smart cameras was found to be vulnerable to a number of severe remote attacks. This was due to an insecurely designed cloud-backbone system that was initially created to enable the owners of these cameras to remotely access video from their devices.

By exploiting these vulnerabilities, malicious users could execute the following attacks:

  • Access video and audio feeds from any camera connected to the vulnerable cloud service;
  • Remotely gain root access to a camera and use it as an entry-point for further attacks on other devices on both local and external networks.
  • Remotely upload and execute arbitrary malicious code on the cameras;
  • Steal personal information such as users’ social network accounts and information which is used to send users notifications.
  • Remotely “brick” vulnerable cameras.

Following the discovery, Kaspersky Lab researchers contacted and reported the vulnerabilities to Hanwha Techwin, the manufacturer of the affected cameras. At the time of publication, some vulnerabilities had already been fixed, and the remaining vulnerabilities are set to be completely fixed soon, according to the manufacturer.


Thousands Of Hanwha Techwin Cameras Are Accessible Online

All these attacks were possible because experts found that the way the cameras interacted with the cloud service was insecure and open to relatively easy interference. They also found that the architecture of the cloud service itself was vulnerable to external interference.

\It is important to note that such attacks were only possible if attackers knew the serial number of the camera. However, the way in which serial numbers are generated is relatively easy to find out through simple brute-force attacks: the camera registering system didn’t have brute force protection.

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While doing their research, Kaspersky Lab experts were able to identify almost 2,000 vulnerable cameras working online, but these were only the cameras that had their own IP address, hence were directly available through the internet. The real number of vulnerable devices placed behind routers and firewalls could actually be several times higher.

In addition, researchers found an undocumented functionality, which could be used by the manufacturer for final production test purposes. However, at the same time criminals could use this hidden avenue to send wrong signals to any camera or change a command already sent to it.

Besides that, the feature itself was found to be vulnerable. It could be further exploited with a buffer overflow, potentially leading to the camera’s shutdown. The vendor has now fixed the issue and removed this feature.


Hanwha Techwin Official Statement

The security of our customers is the highest priority for us. We have already fixed the camera’s vulnerabilities, including the Remote Upload and Execution of arbitrary malicious code. We have released updated firmware available to all our users. Some vulnerabilities related to the cloud have been recognized and will be fixed soon.


Kaspersky Lab’s Recommendations 

In order to stay protected, Kaspersky Lab strongly advises users to do the following:

  • Always change the default password. Use a complex one instead and do not forget to update it regularly.
  • Pay close attention to security issues of connected devices before purchasing yet another smart device for homes or offices. Information on discovered and patched vulnerabilities is usually available online and is often easy to find.

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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
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
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


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.



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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Tracking The Spring Dragon Advanced Persistent Threat

In her role as a Senior Security Researcher in the Kaspersky Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT), Noushin Shabab is responsible for the investigations of targeted cyberattacks with a primary focus on Australia and New Zealand. At the Kaspersky Lab Palaeontology of Cybersecurity conference, she recounted how her team tracked the Spring Dragon APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) attacks across the South China Sea region.

Don’t forget to check out the other Kaspersky Palaeontology of Cybersecurity presentations!


The Spring Dragon Advanced Persistent Threat

In early 2017, Kaspersky Lab researchers noted increased activity by an APT called Spring Dragon (also known as Lotus Blossom). The attacks involved new and evolved tools and techniques and targeted countries around the South China Sea. Kaspersky Lab’s experts have published their analysis of the attackers’ toolset over time in order to help organizations better understand the nature of the threat and protect themselves.

Spring Dragon is a long-running threat actor that has been targeting high profile political, governmental and educations organisations in Asia since 2012. Kaspersky Lab has been tracking the APT for the last few years.

According to Kaspersky Lab telemetry, Taiwan had the largest number of attacks followed by Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Macau, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand. To help organizations better understand and protect against the threat, Kaspersky Lab’s researchers have undertaken a detailed review of 600 Spring Dragon malware samples.

Kaspersky Lab’s overview of Spring Dragon’s tools shows that:

  • The attackers’ toolset includes a unique customised set of links to command and control servers for each malware: the malware samples contained more than 200 unique IP addresses overall.
  • This toolset was accompanied by customised installation data for each attack to make detection difficult.
  • The arsenal includes various backdoor modules with different characteristics and functionalities – although they all have the capability to download additional files to the victim’s machine, upload files to its servers and execute any executable file or command on the victim’s machine. This allows the attackers to undertake a number of malicious activities on the victim’s machine – particularly cyberespionage.
  • The malware compilation timestamps suggest a time zone of GMT +8 – although the experts warn that does not represent a reliable indicator of attribution.

Noushin Shabab concludes, “We believe that Spring Dragon is going to continue resurfacing regularly in the Asian region and it’s important to be familiar with its tools and techniques. We encourage individuals and businesses to have good Yara rules and other detection mechanisms in place and strongly recommended they use – and regularly audit – a multi layered approach to security.” 


How Do You Protect Against Spring Dragon & Other APTs?

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In order to protect your personal or business data from cyberattacks, Kaspersky Lab advise the following:

  • Implement an advanced, multi-layered security solution that covers all networks, systems and endpoints.
  • Educate and train your personnel on social engineering as this method is often used to make a victim open a malicious document or click on an infected link.
  • Conduct regular security assessments of the organisations IT infrastructure.
  • Use Kaspersky’s Threat Intelligence that tracks cyberattacks, incident or threats and provides customers with up-to-date relevant information that they are unaware of. Find out more at intelreports@kaspersky.com.

Next Page > The Spring Dragon (Lotus Blossom) APT Presentation Slides


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The Spring Dragon (Lotus Blossom) APT Presentation Slides

Here is the complete set of slides from Noushin Shabab’s presentation on the Spring Dragon (Lotus Blossom) APT attacks.

Don’t forget to check out the other Kaspersky Palaeontology of Cybersecurity presentations!

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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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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!


Support Tech ARP!

If you like our work, you can help support our work by visiting our sponsors, participate in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donate to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!