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Threat Research

  • Threat Roundup for August 3-10


    August 10, 2018 - 0 Comments

    Today, as we do every week, Talos is giving you a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we’ve observed this week — covering the dates between August 3 and 10. As with previous roundups, this post isn’t meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we’ve observed by highlighting key behavioral characteristics and indicators of compromise, and discussing how our customers are automatically protected from these threats.

    As a reminder, the information provided for the following threats in this post is not exhaustive and is current as of the date of publication. Detection and coverage for the following threats is subject to updates, pending additional threat or vulnerability analysis. For the most current information, please refer to your Firepower Management Center, Snort.org, or ClamAV.net.

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  • Playback: A TLS 1.3 Story


    August 8, 2018 - 0 Comments

    Secure communications are one of the most important topics in information security, and the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol is currently the most used protocol to provide secure communications on the internet. For example, when you are connecting to your online banking application, your favorite instant message application or social networks, all those communications are being transmitted using TLS. With TLS, the information sent by the browser and the service is secured and encrypted, meaning that the information cannot be modified or tampered with by an attacker. The communications are also verified to ensure that the browser is connected to the right endpoint (e.g. Wikipedia).

    This week at Black Hat and DEF CON, Cisco security consultants Alfonso Garcia Alguacil and Alejo Murillo Moya will deliver a presentation, called “Playback: A TLS 1.3 Story,” about some of the known security implications of using 0-RTT and will show proof of concepts of some attacks that have been seen in real-world environments. The intent is to raise awareness across the security community about that new feature. The presentation will be presented at Black Hat USA 18 and DEF CON 26. Attendees will learn about TLS 1.3 0-RTT, see some examples about how an attacker could take advantage of that new feature and get an understanding of the security implications of enabling the feature and how it could be used safely minimizing any potential security impacts.

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  • Exploitable or Not Exploitable? Using REVEN to Examine a NULL Pointer Dereference.


    August 2, 2018 - 0 Comments

    It can be very time-consuming to determine if a bug is exploitable or not. In this post, we’ll show how to decide if a vulnerability is exploitable by tracing back along the path of execution that led to a crash.

    Probing for software vulnerabilities through fuzzing tends to lead to the identification of many NULL-pointer dereference crashes. Fuzzing involves taking various permutations of data and feeding those permutations to a target program until one of those permutations reveals a vulnerability. The kinds of software bugs we reveal with fuzzing may be denial-of-service vulnerabilities that aren’t particularly critical and simply cause the software under test to crash. However, they could also be evidence of an arbitrary code execution vulnerability where the NULL pointer can be controlled, leading to the execution of code supplied by an attacker.

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  • Multiple Cobalt Personality Disorder


    July 31, 2018 - 1 Comment

    Despite the notion that modern cybersecurity protocols have stopped email-based attacks, email continues to be one of the primary attack vectors for malicious actors — both for widespread and targeted operations.

    Recently, Cisco Talos has observed numerous email-based attacks that are spreading malware to users at both a large and small scale. In this blog post, we analyze several of those campaigns and their tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs). These campaigns were all observed between mid-May and early July of this year, and can likely be attributed to one, or possibly two, groups. The attacks have become more sophisticated, and have evolved to evade detection on a continual basis.

    Other researchers have attributed these attacks to a group known as the Cobalt Gang, which has continued its activities even after the arrest of its alleged leader in Spain this year.

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  • Threat Roundup for July 20-27


    July 27, 2018 - 0 Comments

    Today, as we do every week, Talos is giving you a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we’ve observed this week — covering the dates between July 20 and 27. As with previous roundups, this post isn’t meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we’ve observed by highlighting key behavioral characteristics and indicators of compromise, and discussing how our customers are automatically protected from these threats.

    As a reminder, the information provided for the following threats in this post is not exhaustive and is current as of the date of publication. Detection and coverage for the following threats is subject to updates, pending additional threat or vulnerability analysis. For the most current information, please refer to your Firepower Management Center, Snort.org, or ClamAV.net.

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  • Vulnerability Spotlight: Multiple Vulnerabilities in Samsung SmartThings Hub


    July 26, 2018 - 0 Comments

    These vulnerabilities were discovered by Claudio Bozzato of Cisco Talos.

    Cisco Talos recently discovered several vulnerabilities present within the firmware of the Samsung SmartThings Hub. In accordance with our coordinated disclosure policy, Cisco Talos has worked with Samsung to ensure that these issues have been resolved and that a firmware update has been made available for affected customers. These vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to execute OS commands or other arbitrary code on affected devices.

    The SmartThings Hub is a central controller that monitors and manages various internet-of-things (IoT) devices such as smart plugs, LED light bulbs, thermostats, cameras, and more that would typically be deployed in a smart home. The SmartThings Hub functions as a centralized controller for these devices and allows users to remotely connect to and manage these devices using a smartphone. The firmware running on the SmartThings Hub is Linux-based and allows for communications with IoT devices using a variety of different technologies such as Ethernet, Zigbee, Z-Wave and Bluetooth.

    Given that these devices often gather sensitive information, the discovered vulnerabilities could be leveraged to give an attacker the ability to obtain access to this information, monitor and control devices within the home, or otherwise perform unauthorized activities. Some example scenarios are listed below:

    • Smart locks controlled by the SmartThings Hub could be unlocked, allowing for physical access to the home.
    • Cameras deployed within the home could be used to remotely monitor occupants.
    • The motion detectors used by the home alarm system could be disabled.
    • Smart plugs could be controlled to turn off or on different things that may be connected.
    • Thermostats could be controlled by unauthorized attackers.
    • Attackers could cause physical damage to appliances or other devices that may be connected to smart plugs deployed within the smart home.

    Given the wide range of possible deployments of these devices, this is not a complete list of different scenarios. Cisco Talos recommends ensuring that affected SmartThings Hubs are updated to the latest version of firmware to ensure that these vulnerabilities are addressed.

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  • Advanced Mobile Malware Campaign in India uses Malicious MDM – Part 2


    July 24, 2018 - 0 Comments

    This blog post is authored by Warren Mercer and Paul Rascagneres and Andrew Williams.

    Summary

    Since our initial post on malicious mobile device management (MDM) platforms, we have gathered more information about this actor that we believe shows it is part of a broader campaign targeting multiple platforms. These new targets include windows devices and additional backdoored iOS applications. We also believe we have associated this actor with a very similar campaign affecting android devices.

    With this additional information, we have been able to build a profile of how the MDM was working, as explained in the previous post, while also allowing us to identify new infrastructure. We feel that it is critical that users are aware of this attack method, as well-funded actors will continue to utilize MDMs to carry out their campaigns. To be infected by this kind of malware, a user needs to enroll their device, which means they should be on the lookout at all times to avoid accidental enrollment.

    In the new MDM we discovered, the actor changed some of their infrastructure in an attempt to improve the MDM’s security posture. We also found additional compromised devices, which were again located in India, with one even using the same phone number linking the MDM platforms, and one located in Qatar. We believe this newer version was used from January to March 2018. Similar to the previous MDM, we were able to identify the IPA files the attacker was using to compromise iOS devices. Additionally, we discovered that malicious apps such as WhatsApp had new malicious methods tacked onto them.

    During this ongoing analysis, we also looked into other potential indicators that would point us toward the actor. We discovered this Bellingcat article that potentially links this actor to one they dubbed “Bahamut,” an advanced actor who was previously targeting Android devices. Bahamut shared a domain name with one of the malicious iOS applications mentioned in our previous post. There was also a separate post from Amnesty International discussing a similar actor that used similar spear-phishing techniques to Bahamut. However, Cisco Talos did not find any spear phishing associated with this campaign. We will discuss some links and potential overlapping with these campaigns below.

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  • TalosIntelligence.com is rolling out a new dispute system


    July 23, 2018 - 3 Comments

    At Cisco Talos, we need customers to be able to provide feedback at all times, whether it be about false positives, false negatives, or missed categories. Because we deal with an abundance of data across our platforms — such as IPS alerts, AMP alerts and more — feedback helps us test the efficacy of those alerts and systems promptly.

    Today, there are several ways of doing this: calling Cisco Support (aka TAC), submitting a dispute through Talosintelligence.com, or securityhub.cisco.com, plus a myriad of other ways — each winding up in a different “system” for Talos to deal with on our side. The days of that confusion are numbered.

    We’ve been silently working on a streamlined experience, not only for the customers but for our workflow as well. We asked ourselves the question, “What is the easiest way we can enable a customer to get disputes to us, deal with it the fastest way possible, and get that information back to the customer in the most efficient manner?”

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  • Threat Roundup for July 13-20


    July 20, 2018 - 1 Comment

    Today, as we do every week, Talos is giving you a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we’ve observed this week — covering the dates between July 13 and 20. As with previous roundups, this post isn’t meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we’ve observed by highlighting key behavioral characteristics and indicators of compromise, and discussing how our customers are automatically protected from these threats.

    As a reminder, the information provided for the following threats in this post is not exhaustive and is current as of the date of publication. Detection and coverage for the following threats is subject to updates, pending additional threat or vulnerability analysis. For the most current information, please refer to your Firepower Management Center, Snort.org, or ClamAV.net.

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  • Vulnerability Spotlight: Multiple Vulnerabilities in Sony IPELA E Series Camera


    July 20, 2018 - 0 Comments

    Today, Cisco Talos is disclosing several vulnerabilities discovered with the Sony IPELA E Series Network Camera. Sony IPELA Cameras are network-facing cameras used for monitoring and surveillance.

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