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Threat Research

  • Ransomware: Because OpSec Is Hard?

    - July 25, 2016 - 0 Comments

    This blog was authored by Edmund Brumaghin and Warren Mercer

    Summary

    Talos recently published research regarding a new variant of destructive ransomware, which we dubbed Ranscam. During further analysis of Ranscam samples, we discovered several indicators of compromise (IOCs) that piqued our curiosity as to which malware this threat actor might be involved in or responsible for besides Ranscam. We began to expand the scope of our research into other destructive “ranscamware” in an effort to determine if they had any shared characteristics that might indicate the same threat actor or group might be responsible for multiple variants. We found several interesting ties between known destructive ransomware variants such as Jigsaw and AnonPop which correlated with the threat actor we believe to be responsible for Ranscam.

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  • Vulnerability Spotlight: Oracle’s Outside In Technology, Turned Inside-Out

    - July 20, 2016 - 1 Comment

    Vulnerabilities discovered by Aleksandar Nikolic. Blog post authored by Jaeson Schultz and Aleksandar Nikolic.

    One of the most fundamental tasks performed by many software programs involves the reading, writing, and general processing of files. In today’s highly networked environments, files and the programs that process them can be found just about everywhere: FTP transfers, HTTP form uploads, email attachments, et cetera.

    Because computer users interact with files of so many different varieties on such a regular basis, Oracle Corporation has designed tools to assist programmers with writing software that will support these everyday tasks: Outside In Technology (OIT). From the OIT website: “Outside In Technology is a suite of software development kits (SDKs) that provides developers with a comprehensive solution to extract, normalize, scrub, convert and view the contents of 600 unstructured file formats.”

    In April, Talos blogged about one of the OIT-related arbitrary code execution bugs patched by Oracle. The impact of that vulnerability, plus these additional eighteen OIT bugs disclosed in this post, is severe because so many third-party products use Oracle’s OIT to parse and transform files. A review of an OIT-related CERT advisory from January 2016 reveals a large list of third-party products, especially security and messaging-related products, that are affected. The list of products that, according to CERT, rely on Oracle’s Outside In SDK includes:

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  • Vulnerability Spotlight: Apple Remote Code Execution With Image Files

    - July 19, 2016 - 0 Comments

    Vulnerabilities discovered by Tyler Bohan of Cisco Talos.

    Many of the wide variety of file formats are designed for specialized uses within specific industries. Apple offers APIs as interfaces to provide a definitive way to access image data for multiple image formats on the Apple OS X platform. Talos is disclosing the presence of five remote code execution vulnerabilities in Apple OS X related to processing image formats: TALOS-2016-0171, TALOS-2016-0180,TALOS-2016-0181, TALOS-2016-0183, TALOS-2016-186.

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  • Microsoft Patch Tuesday – July 2016

    - July 12, 2016 - 0 Comments

    This post was authored by William Largent

    Today, Microsoft has released their monthly set of security bulletins designed to address security vulnerabilities within their products. This month’s release is has 11 bulletins addressing 49 vulnerabilities. 6 of these bulletins are rated critical and address vulnerabilities in Edge, Internet Explorer, JScript/VBScript, Print Spooler, Office and Adobe Flash Player.  The remaining bulletins are rated important and address vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel, Office, Kernel-Mode Drivers, .NET Framework, and Secure Boot.

    Bulletins Rated Critical

    Microsoft bulletins MS16-084 through MS16-088, and MS16-093 are rated as critical in this month’s release.

    MS16-084 and MS16-085 are this month’s Internet Explorer and Edge security bulletins respectively.  The IE security bulletin addresses vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer versions 9, 10, & 11. The IE bulletin covers 15 vulnerabilities in total and resolves 9 memory corruption bugs, 1 security feature bypass bug, 3 information disclosure, and 2 spoofing bugs. The Edge bulletin addresses 13 vulnerabilities in total and resolves 7 memory corruption bugs, 1 security feature bypass, 3 information disclosure and 2 spoofing bugs. The IE bugs are rated critical on affected Windows clients but only Moderate on affected Windows Servers.

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  • When Paying Out Doesn’t Pay Off

    - July 11, 2016 - 0 Comments

    This blog post was authored by Edmund Brumaghin and Warren Mercer

    Summary

    Talos recently observed a new ransomware variant targeting users. This ransomware shows that new threat actors are continuing to enter the ransomware market at a rapid pace due to the lucrative nature of this business model. As a result, greater numbers of unique ransomware families are emerging at a faster rate. This sometimes results in complex variants emerging or in other cases, like this one, less sophisticated ones. In many cases these new ransomware threats share little resemblance to some of the more established operations in their approach to infecting systems, encrypting/removing files, or the way in which they attempt to coerce victims into complying with their ransom demands.

    Ranscam is one of these new ransomware variants. It lacks complexity and also tries to use various scare tactics to entice the user to paying, one such method used by Ranscam is to inform the user they will delete their files during every unverified payment click, which turns out to be a lie. There is no longer honor amongst thieves. Similar to threats like AnonPop, Ranscam simply delete victims’ files, and provides yet another example of why threat actors cannot always be trusted to recover a victim’s files, even if the victim complies with the ransomware author’s demands. With some organizations likely choosing to pay the ransomware author following an infection,  Ranscam further justifies the importance of ensuring that you have a sound, offline backup strategy in place rather than a sound ransom payout strategy. Not only does having a good backup strategy in place help ensure that systems can be restored, it also ensures that attackers are no longer able to collect revenue that they can then reinvest into the future development of their criminal enterprise.

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  • Vulnerability Spotlight: Local Code Execution via the Intel HD Graphics Windows Kernel Driver

    - July 11, 2016 - 0 Comments

    This vulnerability was discovered by Piotr Bania.

    Talos, in coordination with Intel, is disclosing the discovery of TALOS-2016-0087, a local arbitrary code execution vulnerability within the Intel HD Graphics Windows Kernel Driver. This vulnerability exists in the communication functionality of the driver and can be exploited if a specially crafted message is sent to the driver, resulting in a denial of service or arbitrary code execution. Note that exploitation of this vulnerability is only achievable in local contexts. This vulnerability has been responsibly disclosed to Intel in accordance with our Vulnerability Reporting and Disclosure guidelines.

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