Encryption

Trojanized, Info-Stealing PuTTY Version Lurking Online 215

Posted by timothy
from the at-your-command-prompt dept.
One of the best first steps in setting up a Windows machine is to install PuTTY on it, so you have a highly evolved secure shell at your command. An anonymous reader writes, though, with a note of caution if you're installing PuTTY from a source other than the project's own official page. A malicious version with information-stealing abilities has been found in the wild. According to the article: Compiled from source, this malicious version is apparently capable of stealing the credentials needed to connect to those servers. "Data that is sent through SSH connections may be sensitive and is often considered a gold mine for a malicious actor. Attackers can ultimately use this sensitive information to get the highest level of privileges on a computer or server, (known as 'root' access) which can give them complete control over the targeted system," the researchers explained. The Symantec report linked above also shows that (at least for this iteration) the malware version is easy to spot, by hitting the "About" information for the app.
Encryption

Online Voting Should Be Verifiable -- But It's a Hard Problem 258

Posted by timothy
from the you-did-or-didn't-vote dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a link to a pithy overview at The Conversation of recent uses of (and nagging difficulties with) online voting and asks Regular 'internet voting too risky' arguments don't take some approaches into account like verifiability of votes by voters, observers, and international media. Could we have end-to-end verifiable online voting systems in the future? What are the difficulties? Where is it being done already? From the linked article (which provides at least some answers to those questions), one interesting idea:Another challenge to designing verifiability in online voting is the possibility of malware infection of voters' computers. By some estimates between 30%-40% of all home computers are infected. It’s quite possible that determined attackers could produce and distribute malware specifically designed to thwart or alter the outcome of a national election – for example undetectably changing the way a user votes and then covering its tracks by faking how the vote appears to have been cast to the voter. Whatever verifability mechanisms there are could also be thwarted by the malware.

One way to try to prevent this kind of attack is to make voters use several computers during the voting process. Although this is hardly convenient, the idea is to make it more difficult for an attacker to launch a co-ordinated attack across several computers at once.
Crime

Anonymous Accused of Running a Botnet Using Thousands of Hacked Home Routers 52

Posted by timothy
from the nsa-run-false-flag-operation dept.
An anonymous reader writes: New research indicates that Anonymous hacktivists (among other groups) took advantage of lazy security to hijack thousands of routers using remote access and default login credentials. "'For perpetrators, this is like shooting fish in a barrel, which makes each of the scans that much more effective,' the report explains. 'Using this botnet also enables perpetrators to execute distributed scans, improving their chances against commonplace blacklisting, rate-limiting and reputation-based defense mechanisms.'"
Security

GPU Malware Can Also Affect Windows PCs, Possibly Macs 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
itwbennett writes: A team of anonymous developers who recently created a Linux rootkit that runs on graphics cards has released a new proof-of-concept malware program that does the same on Windows. A Mac OS X implementation is also in the works. The problem the developers are trying to highlight lies not with the operating systems, such as Windows or Linux, nor with the GPU (graphics processor unit) vendors, but rather with existing security tools, which aren't designed to scan the random access memory used by GPUs for malware code.
Security

Proof-of-Concept Linux Rootkit Leverages GPUs For Stealth 67

Posted by Soulskill
from the jellyfish-eating-penguins dept.
itwbennett writes: A team of developers has created a rootkit for Linux systems that uses the processing power and memory of graphics cards instead of CPUs in order to remain hidden. The rootkit, called Jellyfish, is a proof of concept designed to demonstrate that completely running malware on GPUs is a viable option. Such threats could be more sinister than traditional malware programs, according to the Jellyfish developers, in part because there are no tools to analyze GPU malware, they said.
Security

Self-Destructing Virus Kills Off PCs 107

Posted by samzenpus
from the worst-in-class dept.
mpicpp sends word about particularly bad virus making the rounds, with this snippet from the BBC: "A computer virus that tries to avoid detection by making the machine it infects unusable has been found. If Rombertik's evasion techniques are triggered, it deletes key files on a computer, making it constantly restart. Analysts said Rombertik was 'unique' among malware samples for resisting capture so aggressively. On Windows machines where it goes unnoticed, the malware steals login data and other confidential information. Rombertik typically infected a vulnerable machine after a booby-trapped attachment on a phishing message had been opened, security researchers Ben Baker and Alex Chiu, from Cisco, said in a blogpost. Some of the messages Rombertik travels with pose as business inquiry letters from Microsoft. The malware 'indiscriminately' stole data entered by victims on any website, the researchers said. And it got even nastier when it spotted someone was trying to understand how it worked. 'Rombertik is unique in that it actively attempts to destroy the computer if it detects certain attributes associated with malware analysis,' the researchers said."
Microsoft

Microsoft: No More 'Patch Tuesday' For Windows 10 Home Users 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-more-patchy-coverage dept.
citpyrc writes: According to the Register, Microsoft is making some changes to how it rolls out updates in Windows 10. Home users will receive updates as they come out, rather than queueing them all up on "patch Tuesday." Business users will have the option to set their own update cycle, so they can see if any of the patches accidentally break anything for home users before trying them out. There will also be an optional peer-to-peer updating mechanism for Windows 10. Microsoft announced a service called Advanced Threat Analytics, which employs various machine learning techniques to identify malware on a network. As a premium service, top-dollar customers can pay for Microsoft to monitor black-hat forums and alert the company if any of its employees' identities are stolen.
Security

CareerBuilder Cyberattack Delivers Malware Straight To Employers 48

Posted by timothy
from the where-it-hurts dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Security threat researchers Proofpoint have uncovered an email-based phishing attack which infected businesses with malware via the CareerBuilder online job search website. The attack involved the hacker browsing job adverts across the platform and uploading malicious files during the application process, titling the documents "resume.doc" and "cv.doc." Once the CV was submitted, an automatic email notification was sent to the business advertising the position, along with the uploaded document. In this case, Proofpoint found that as a business opens the automatic email from CareerBuilder to view the attached file the document plays on a known Word vulnerability to sneak a malicious code onto the victim's computer. According to the threat research group, the manual attack technique although time-consuming has a higher success rate than automated tools as the email attachments are more likely to be opened by the receiver.
Security

Unnoticed For Years, Malware Turned Linux Servers Into Spamming Machines 180

Posted by timothy
from the just-where-you-least-expect-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes: For over 5 years, and perhaps even longer, servers around the world running Linux and FreeBSD operating systems have been targeted by an individual or group that compromised them via a backdoor Trojan, then made them send out spam, ESET researchers have found. What's more, it seems that the spammers are connected with a software company called Yellsoft, which sells DirectMailer, a "system for automated e-mail distribution" that allows users to send out anonymous email in bulk. Here's the white paper in which the researchers explain the exploit.
Crime

TeslaCrypt Isn't All That Cryptic 52

Posted by timothy
from the nelson-laugh dept.
citpyrc writes: TeslaCrypt, the latest-and-greatest ransomware branch off of the CryptoWall family, claims to the unwitting user that his/her documents are encrypted with "a unique public key generated for this computer". This coudn't be farther from truth. In actuality, the developers of this malware appear to have been lazy and implemented encryption using symmetric AES256 with a decryption key generated on the user's machine. If any of your machines are afflicted, Talos has developed a tool that can be used to generate the user's machine's symmetric key and decrypt all of the ransomed files.
Windows

Buggy Win 95 Code Almost Wrecked Stuxnet Campaign 93

Posted by timothy
from the when-governments-attack dept.
mask.of.sanity writes: Super-worm Stuxnet could have blown its cover and failed its sabotage mission due to a bug that allowed it to spread to ancient Windows boxes, malware analysts say. Stuxnet was on the brink of failure thanks to buggy code allowing it to spread to PCs running older and unsupported versions of Windows, and probably causing them to crash as a result. Those blue screens of death would have raised suspicions at the Natanz nuclear lab.
Security

Researcher Discloses Methods For Bypassing All OS X Security Protections 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
Trailrunner7 writes: For years, Apple has enjoyed a pretty good reputation among users for the security of its products. That halo has been enhanced by the addition of new security features such as Gatekeeper and XProtect to OS X recently, but one researcher said that all of those protections are simple to bypass and gaining persistence on a Mac as an attacker isn't much of a challenge at all. Gatekeeper is one of the key technologies that Apple uses to prevent malware from running on OS X machines. It gives users the ability to restrict which applications can run on their machines by choosing to only allow apps from the Mac App Store. With that setting in play, only signed, legitimate apps should be able to run on the machine. But Patrick Wardle, director of research at Synack, said that getting around that restriction is trivial. "Gatekeeper doesn't verify an extra content in the apps. So if I can find an Apple-approved app and get it to load external content, when the user runs it, it will bypass Gatekeeper," Wardle said in a talk at the RSA Conference here Thursday. "It only verifies the app bundle. If Macs were totally secure, I wouldn't be here talking," Wardle said. "It's trivial for any attacker to bypass the security tools on Macs."
Windows

Microsoft Announces Device Guard For Windows 10 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the throwing-up-a-new-moat dept.
jones_supa writes: Microsoft has announced a new feature for Windows 10 called Device Guard, which aims to give administrators full control over what software can or cannot be installed on a device. "It provides better security against malware and zero days for Windows 10 by blocking anything other than trusted apps—which are apps that are signed by specific software vendors, the Windows Store, or even your own organization. ... To help protect users from malware, when an app is executed, Windows makes a determination on whether that app is trustworthy, and notifies the user if it is not. Device Guard can use hardware technology and virtualization to isolate that decision making function from the rest of the Windows operating system, which helps provide protection from attackers or malware that have managed to gain full system privilege." It's intended to be used in conjunction with traditional anti-virus, not as a replacement.
Government

'Aaron's Law' Introduced To Curb Overzealous Prosecutions For Computer Crimes 206

Posted by Soulskill
from the intimidation-is-not-justice dept.
SonicSpike writes: Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced bipartisan legislation today to better target serious criminals and curb overzealous prosecutions for non-malicious computer and Internet offenses.

The legislation, inspired by the late Internet innovator and activist Aaron Swartz, who faced up to 35 years in prison for an act of civil disobedience, would reform the quarter-century old Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to better reflect computer and internet activities in the digital age. Numerous and recent instances of heavy-handed prosecutions for non-malicious computer crimes have raised serious questions as to how the law treats violations of terms of service, employer agreements and website notices.

"Aaron’s Law would change the definition of 'access without authorization' in the CFAA so it more directly applies to malicious hacks such as sending fraudulent emails, injecting malware, installing viruses or overwhelming a website with traffic."
Security

Chinese Hacker Group Targets Air-Gapped Networks 71

Posted by samzenpus
from the minding-the-gap dept.
itwbennett writes An otherwise unremarkable hacking group likely aligned with China appears to be one of the first to have targeted so-called air-gapped networks that are not directly connected to the Internet, according to FireEye, which released a 69-page technical report on Sunday on the group. FireEye picked up on it after some of the malware used by the group was found to have infected defense-related clients in the U.S., said Jen Weedon, manager of strategic analysis with FireEye.
Google

Google Is Too Slow At Clearing Junkware From the Chrome Extension Store 45

Posted by timothy
from the imperfect-world dept.
Mark Wilson writes Malware is something computer users — and even mobile and tablet owners — are now more aware of than ever. That said, many people do not give a second thought to installing a browser extension to add new features to their most frequently used application. Despite the increased awareness, malware is not something a lot of web users think of in relation to extensions; but they should.

Since the beginning of 2015 — just over three months — Google has already received over 100,000 complaints from Chrome users about 'ad injectors' hidden in extensions. Security researchers have also discovered that a popular extension — Webpage Screenshot — includes code that could be used to send browsing history back to a remote server. Google is taking steps to clean up the extension store to try to prevent things like this happening, but security still needs to be tightened up.
Android

Google: Less Than One Percent of Android Devices Are Affected By Harmful Apps 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the two-nines-security dept.
jfruh writes: One of the selling points of iOS is that its more restrictive nature makes it more secure. But even though it's easier for users to accidentally install malicious apps on Android, data collected by Google (PDF) indicates that less than one percent of Android users have actually done so. Quoting: "During October 2014, the lowest level of device hygiene was 99.5% and the highest level was 99.65%, so less than 0.5% of devices had a Potentially Harmful Application (PHA) installed (excluding non-malicious Rooting apps). During that same time period, approximately 0.25% of devices had a non-malicious Rooting application installed. ... Worldwide, excluding non-malicious Rooting applications, PHAs are installed on less than 0.1% of devices that install applications only from Google Play. Non-rooting PHAs are installed on approximately 0.7% of devices that are configured to permit installation from outside of Google Play. Additionally, the second graph shows devices with any PHA (including Rooting applications). Rooting applications are installed on about 0.5% of devices that allow sideloading of applications from outside of Google Play."
Firefox

MP3 Backend of Firefox and Thunderbird Found Vulnerable 60

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
jones_supa writes A critical vulnerability has been found in the MPEG-1 Layer III playback backend of Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. Security researcher Aki Helin reported a use-after-free scenario when playing certain audio files on the web using the Fluendo MP3 plugin for GStreamer on Linux. This is due to a flaw in handling certain MP3 files by the plugin and its interaction with Mozilla code. A maliciously crafted MP3 file can lead to a potentially exploitable crash. Linux is the only affected platform, so Windows and OS X users are safe from this particular vulnerability.
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Questions US Government's Software Flaw Disclosure Policy 18

Posted by Soulskill
from the we'll-do-that-at-least-once-in-the-past-decade dept.
angry tapir writes: It's not clear if the U.S. government is living up to its promise to disclose serious software flaws to technology companies, a policy it put in place five years ago, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They write, "ODNI has now finished releasing documents in response to our suit, and the results are surprisingly meager. Among the handful of heavily redacted documents is a one-page list of VEP 'Highlights' from 2010. It briefly describes the history of the interagency working group that led to the development of the VEP and notes that the VEP established an office called the 'Executive Secretariat' within the NSA. The only other highlight left unredacted explains that the VEP 'creates a process for notification, decision-making, and appeals.' And that's it. This document, which is almost five years old, is the most recent one released. So where are the documents supporting the 'reinvigorated' VEP 2.0 described by the White House in 2014?"
Botnet

Ask Slashdot: Who's Going To Win the Malware Arms Race? 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-you-and-not-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes: We've been in a malware arms race since the 1990s. Malicious hackers keep building new viruses, worms, and trojan horses, while security vendors keep building better detection and removal algorithms to stop them. Botnets are becoming more powerful, and phishing techniques are always improving — but so are the mitigation strategies. There's been some back and forth, but it seems like the arms race has been pretty balanced, so far. My question: will the balance continue, or is one side likely to take the upper hand over the next decade or two? Which side is going to win? Do you imagine an internet, 20 years from now, where we don't have to worry about what links we click or what attachments we open? Or is it the other way around, with threats so hard to block and DDoS attacks so rampant that the internet of the future is not as useful as it is now?