Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



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Submission + - Attackers Can Hijack Security Software via Microsoft Tool (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: Researchers have identified a new technique that can be used by attackers to take full control of popular security software products.

The attack involves the Microsoft Application Verifier, a runtime verification tool for unmanaged code that helps developers find subtle programming errors in their applications.

The attack, dubbed by the security firm Cybellum as “DoubleAgent,” allegedly affects the products of several vendors, including Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, Trend Micro, Comodo, ESET, F-Secure, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, McAfee, Panda, Quick Heal and Symantec (Norton). Only a few of the vendors have released patches.

The tool works by loading a so-called “verifier provider DLL” into the targeted application’s process for runtime testing, which allows a piece of malware executed by a privileged user to register a malicious DLL for a process associated with an antivirus or other endpoint security product, and hijack its agent.

Submission + - Senators Request Details on Trump's Smartphone Security (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: Two US senators have requested details on President Donald Trump's smartphone security, saying he could jeopardize national secrets if he is still using his old handset, as some reports say.

"Did Trump receive a secured, encrypted smartphone for his personal use on or before Jan. 20? If so, is he using it?," said a tweet Tuesday by Senator Tom Carper, who along with fellow Democrat Claire McCaskill released a letter to the administration requesting information on the president's device. The lawmakers said they were concerned by reports that Trump was still using an Android device that may be several years old for his frequent personal Twitter messages.

The New York Times reported last month that while Trump had received a new, secure device after his inauguration, he still relied on his older device despite protests from aides.

Submission + - Study Finds Many Android VPNs Introduce Security Risks

wiredmikey writes: Researchers have analyzed hundreds of virtual private network (VPN) applications for Android and determined that many of them introduce serious privacy and security risks. A group of researchers analyzed 283 Google Play apps that request the BIND_VPN_SERVICE permission, which provides native support for VPN clients. After running a series of passive and active tests, researchers determined that while 67% of the analyzed apps claim to enhance privacy and security, three-quarters of them include third-party tracking libraries and 82% of them request access to sensitive information, such as text messages and user accounts. A small number of Android VPN apps have even been found to intercept TLS traffic and even inject JavaScript code for advertising and tracking purposes.

Submission + - Yahoo Sale to Verizon Delayed After Hack Disclosures (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: Yahoo said Monday that the closing of a $4.8 billion deal to sell its core internet assets to US telecom titan Verizon has been delayed several months. A close originally set for this quarter has been pushed into next quarter, and has been thrown into doubt following disclosures of two huge data breaches.

Yahoo announced in September that hackers in 2014 stole personal data from more than 500 million of its user accounts. It admitted another cyberattack in December, this one dating from 2013, affecting over a billion users. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into whether Yahoo should have informed investors sooner about the two major data breaches.

Submission + - Quimitchin: The First Mac Malware of 2017 Arrives

wiredmikey writes: Security researchers have a uncovered a Mac OS based espionage malware they have named "Quimitchin". The malware is what they consider to be "the first Mac malware of 2017" which appears to be a classic espionage tool. While it has some old code and appears to have existed undetected for some time, it works.

It was discovered when an IT admin noticed unusual traffic coming from a particular Mac, and has been seen infecting Macs at biomedical facilities.

Submission + - Most Common Passwords Used in 2016 (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: Weak and commonly used passwords have long been one of the most used venues to compromise online accounts, yet people continue to utilize these incredibly weak password choices. What's scary, is that according to a new report compiled after the analysis of 10 million passwords leaked from data breaches, the top 25 most popular passwords are used to secure more than 50% of accounts. Sadly, this trend is not new, and continues to show how stupid people can be when it comes to passwords.

Specifically, the report (PDF) reveals that 123456, 123456789, qwerty, 12345678, and 111111 were the five most used passwords in 2016, as per analysis by security firm Keeper Security.

Submission + - Hamas 'Honey Trap' Dupes Israeli Soldiers (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: The smartphones of dozens of Israeli soldiers were hacked by Hamas militants pretending to be attractive young women online, an Israeli military official said Wednesday. Using fake profiles on Facebook with alluring photos, Hamas members contacted the soldiers via groups on the social network, luring them into long chats, the official told journalists on condition of anonymity.

Dozens of the predominantly lower-ranked soldiers were convinced enough by the honey trap to download fake applications which enabled Hamas to take control of their phones, according to the official.

Submission + - Destructive KillDisk Malware Turns Into Ransomware (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: A recently discovered variant of the KillDisk malware encrypts files and holds them for ransom instead of deleting them. Since KillDisk has been used in attacks aimed at industrial control systems (ICS), experts are concerned that threat actors may be bringing ransomware into the industrial domain.

CyberX VP of research David Atch told SecurityWeek that the KillDisk variant they have analyzed is a well-written piece of ransomware, and victims are instructed to pay 222 bitcoins ($210,000) to recover their files, which experts believe suggests that the attackers are targeting “organizations with deep pockets.”

Submission + - U.S. Election Assistance Commission Hacked

wiredmikey writes: Researchers have discovered that a Russian-speaking hacker broke into the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) systems, and has been trying to sell stolen access credentials — including admin-level — on the underground.

On December 1, researchers with Recorded Future discovered internet chatter that appeared to relate to an EAC breach. A hacker, called "Rasputin" by Recorded Future, was discussing the sale of more than 100 EAC access credentials to a middle-eastern government broker. The hacker claimed to have accessed the systems via an SQLi vulnerability, which Recorded Future was able to locate and report.

EAC said Thursday that was aware of the 'potential intrusion' and was investigating the incident.

Submission + - Thousands Lose Money in Tesco Bank Hack

wiredmikey writes: Tesco Bank, wholly owned by the UK's largest supermarket chain Tesco, said that some of its customers' had money withdrawn fraudulently as a result of "online criminal activity."

Benny Higgins, the bank's chief executive, said 40,000 of current accounts had experienced suspicious transactions and about half had money taken from their account. Customers are reporting on social media individual thefts of £600 and £700. One report quotes a customer complaint: "Spoke to Tesco after 1 hour 20 minutes on hold, like others, just waiting for a call back and no sign of my £2,400 today. I'm taking the day off work, I can't go in feeling as low as this."

Submission + - Clinton Had Uncleared Filipino Maid Print Emails, Handle Sensitive Documents (nypost.com) 13

An anonymous reader writes: The New York Post reveals that Hillary Clinton routinely had her emails forwarded so her immigrant Filipino maid who lacked a security clearance could print her emails from an iMac in Clinton's home, including ones that contained classified information. The maid also had access to the SCIF (sensitive compartmented information facility) built at Clinton's home so she could "securely" receive Top Secret information such as the presidential daily brief she received at times. The maid was expected to retrieve faxed information from the SCIF for Secretary Clinton. It appears that the maid was never interviewed by the FBI, nor was the computer seized or searched. One is left wondering, "Was email that hard to print in 2009?" Will the reinvigorated FBI investigation cover untrodden ground like this, or just serve as another white wash?

Submission + - U.S. Officially Accuses Russia of Election Hacks

wiredmikey writes: The U.S. government has officially accused Russia of being behind cyberattacks against American political organizations with the intent of interfering with the upcoming Presidential election in November.

“The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations,” a joint statement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said.

"We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities," the statement adds.

In August, researchers from two security firms uncovered evidence that they say linked a Russian threat actor to the cyberattack targeting the U.S. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

Submission + - Microsoft Teams with Bank of America on Blockchain

wiredmikey writes: Microsoft and Bank of America Merrill Lynch said they are working together to make financial transactions more efficient with blockchain technology — the foundation of bitcoin digital currency.

Blockchains are considered tamper-proof registers in which entries are time-stamped and linked to previous "blocks" in a data chain. As expected, the technology that drives the shadowy bitcoin cryptocurrency is drawing interest from the established banking industry, which sees a potential to revolutionize the sector.

The companies said they will build and test frameworks for blockchain-powered exchanges between businesses and their customers and banks. Microsoft plans to use its Azure cloud service platform to enable blockchain transactions between a major corporate treasury and a financial institution.

Submission + - Security Researchers Remotely Hack Tesla Model S

wiredmikey writes: Security researchers from China-based Tencent have identified a series of vulnerabilities that can be exploited to remotely hack an unmodified Tesla Model S while it’s parked or on the move. While the vehicle was parked, the experts could control the sunroof, turn signals, the position of the seats, all displays, and the door locking system. While the car was on the move, the hackers could activate the windshield wipers, fold the side view mirrors, and open the trunk. They also demonstrated that a remote hacker can activate the brakes from a long distance.

“As far as we know, this is the first case of remote attack which compromises CAN Bus to achieve remote controls on Tesla cars,” the researchers said. “We have verified the attack vector on multiple varieties of Tesla Model S. It is reasonable to assume that other Tesla models are affected.”

According to Keen Lab, Tesla has confirmed the flaws and is working on addressing them.

Submission + - Researcher Proves FBI Wrong With iPhone Passcode Hack (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: A researcher has demonstrated that a known hardware hacking technique known as NAND mirroring could have been used to bypass the passcode retry limitations on the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, despite the FBI’s claims that the technique would not work.

NAND mirroring involves removing the NAND flash memory chip from the device by desoldering it and creating backup copies or clones of the chip. By cloning the chip, the original memory is fully preserved while the copies can be used as many times as necessary to figure out the 4-digit passcode. Skorobogatov conducted a successful attack using off-the-shelf components bought from an electronics distributor for less than $100.

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