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Research Spotlight: Project FTR

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Intro

Historically, networks have always been at risk for new, undiscovered threats. The risk of state sponsored hackers or criminal organizations utilizing 0-day was a constant, and the best defense was simply to keep adding on technologies to maximize the odds of detecting the new threat – like adding more locks to the door if you will. Here at Cisco Talos we’re constantly pushing the envelope. Recently after some thinking juice we started brainstorming ways to better address the constant threat of attacker utilizing unknown 0-day. Today, we’re happy to inform our customer base about our new inspection technology code name project Faster Than Realtime, or FTR. Project FTR is the next generation of detection technology, that which will truly revolutionize the industry.

Project FTR

To mitigate the ever-growing threat of new and unknown attacks we simply decided to add a few options to our existing inspection infrastructure. Snort’s new Quantum Pre-Detection (QPD) leverages Predictive Attack Detection (PAD) by putting packets into an Ethereally-Buffered Capture (EBC) file.  Snort then reads the .ebc via PAD so that QPD can tell you that you are under attack before you’re even under attack.

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Threat Spotlight: Dyre/Dyreza: An Analysis to Discover the DGA

This post was authored by Alex Chiu & Angel Villegas.

Overview

Banking and sensitive financial information is a highly coveted target for attackers because of the high value and obvious financial implications.  In the past year, a large amount of attention has been centered on Point of Sale (PoS) malware due to its major role in the compromise of several retailers.  While PoS malware is a major concern, attackers have also realized that targeting individual end users is an effective method of harvesting other types of financial data.  As a result, banking malware has become a prevalent category of malware that poses a major threat to users and organizations of all sizes.  One of the more well known examples of banking malware is Zeus.

Table of Contents

Overview
Technical Analysis
Domain Generation Algorithm
Other Thoughts
Conclusion
Appendix

Banking malware typically operates by redirecting users to malicious phishing sites where victim’s input their banking credentials thinking they are logging into their bank’s website.  Banking malware can also operate more stealthily by hooking into a browser’s functionality, capturing the victim’s credentials as they are typed in, and exfiltrating them.  Once an attacker has a victim’s banking credentials, attackers can then sell it or use it to perform illicit transactions (such as transferring funds to another account on behalf of the victim). Read More »

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Announcing the First Cisco IOS Software and IOS XE Software Security Advisory Bundled Publication

Today, we released the first ever Cisco IOS Software and IOS XE Software Security Advisory Bundled Publication. As a reminder, Cisco discloses IOS vulnerabilities on a predictable schedule (on the fourth Wednesday of March and September each calendar year). In direct response to your feedback, we have also included a Cisco Security Advisory addressing vulnerabilities in Cisco IOS XE Software in this publication. We hope this timeline and additional “bundling” continues to allow your organization to plan and ensure resources are available to analyze, test, and remediate vulnerabilities in your environments.

Today’s edition of the Cisco IOS Software Security Advisory Bundled Publication includes seven advisories that affect the following technologies:
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Threat Spotlight: The Imperiosus Curse –A Tool of the Dark Arts

Authors: William Largent, Jaeson Schultz, Craig Williams. Special thanks to Richard Harman for his contributions to this post.

As consumers, we are constantly bombarded by advertising, especially on the World Wide Web. There is a lot of money to be made either pushing Internet traffic, or displaying ads to consumers. Total annual Internet advertising revenue from 2013 was over US $117bn, and will approach US $200bn by the year 2018. The online advertising industry field is already awash with many players, each clamoring for a piece of the Internet advertising pie. In fact, so many ad impressions are bought and sold daily, that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of who is buying and selling what. 

On one side of the online advertising spectrum are publishers. These are domains that receive Internet traffic and make money by displaying advertisements. On the other side of the spectrum we find advertisers who wish to sell products. And in the middle are ad-networks/ad-exchanges: marketplaces where publishers and advertisers can come together to wheel-and-deal on ad impressions. The astonishingly large number of online advertising industry middlemen between buyers and sellers creates terrific opportunities for bad actors to hide. The result is malware delivered through the online advertising ecosystem, A.K.A. “malvertising”.

How “bad guys” view the online ad industry.

How do malicious ads actually make it to end users? In our attempt to answer that question, Talos has uncovered a piece of Internet malvertising infrastructure that is both highly robust, and highly anonymized. It has been an Internet fixture for almost a sesquidecade, with redirection domains operating since early 2001. This infrastructure was designed specifically to focus Internet traffic towards advertising endpoints, unfortunately with little regard paid to legitimacy of the final destination. 
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Threat Spotlight: PoSeidon, A Deep Dive Into Point of Sale Malware

This post was authored by Andrea Allievi, Ben Baker, Nick Biasini, JJ Cummings, Douglas Goddard, William Largent, Angel Villegas, and Alain Zidouemba

 

Cisco’s Security Solutions (CSS) consists of information security experts with a unique blend of law enforcement, enterprise security and technology security backgrounds. The team works directly with Cisco’s Talos Security Intelligence & Research Group to identify known and unknown threats, quantify and prioritize risk, and minimize future risk.

When consumers make purchases from a retailer, the transaction is processed through Point-of-Sale (PoS) systems. When a credit or debit card is used, a PoS system is used to read the information stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of the credit card. Once this information gets stolen from a merchant, it can be encoded into a magnetic stripe and used with a new card. Criminal markets exist for this valuable information because the attackers are able to easily monetize stolen credit card data. Incidents involving PoS malware have been on the rise, affecting many large organizations as well as small mom-and-pop establishments and garnering a lot of media attention. The presence of large amounts of financial and personal information ensures that these companies and their retail PoS systems will remain attractive targets.

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Overview

There is a new malware family targeting PoS systems, infecting machines to scrape memory for credit card information and exfiltrate that data to servers, also primarily .ru TLD, for harvesting and likely resale. This new malware family, that we’ve nicknamed PoSeidon, has a few components to it, as illustrated by the diagram below:

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At a high level, it starts with a Loader binary that upon being executed will first try to maintain persistence on the target machine in order to survive a possible system reboot. The Loader then contacts a command and control server, retrieving a URL which contains another binary to download and execute. The downloaded binary, FindStr, installs a keylogger and scans the memory of the PoS device for number sequences that could be credit card numbers. Upon verifying that the numbers are in fact credit card numbers, keystrokes and credit card numbers are encoded and sent to an exfiltration server.

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