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Cyware Weekly Cyber Threat Intelligence July 23 - July 27, 2018

Cyware Weekly Cyber Threat Intelligence July 23 - July 27, 2018

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The Good

Another week and security researchers are relentlessly striving to stay ahead of cybercriminals. Researchers at University of Geneva discovered Ytterbium that could change the face of quantum computing. A new method of detecting malicious emails was released. Initiative has been taken by Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Twitter to allow for data sharing across services.

  • In partnership with CNRS, France, researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland discovered a new material. The material contains Ytterbium, an element that can store and protect the fragile quantum information when operating at high frequencies. Ytterbium could change the face of quantum computing in the coming years.
  • A new initiative called Data Transfer Project (DTP) was undertaken by Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Twitter to simplify data sharing across services. This open-source effort is working towards building tools that enable users to share data directly from one service to another. Thus, users no longer have to download and re-upload information.
  • Google may have proved that security keys are more efficient than multi-factor authentication. Ever since the company’s employees started using physical keys, there hasn’t been a single case of account takeover via phishing.
  • A new method of detecting malicious emails has been released by a group of researchers from Ben-Gurion University. The researchers claim this method has the capability of outperforming 60 top-selling anti-virus programs. By leveraging machine learning algorithms, malicious emails can be detected when used in conjunction with features suggested by related work.

The Bad

This week also saw several breaches resulting in data loss of millions of customers. A healthcare group in Singapore was targeted by cybercriminals who stole information of over a million patients. Threat actors also attacked several law firms and manufacturing companies stealing $14 million and 157GB worth of corporate documents respectively.

  • A security vulnerability in LifeLock’s website might have exposed the email addresses of millions of customers. The vulnerability allowed users with a Web browser to index email addresses of the customers. Cyber criminals could also unsubscribe users from all communications from the company by leveraging this bug.
  • Singapore’s biggest healthcare group, SingHealth, was attacked by cybercriminals who stole non-medical personal information of over a million patients. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is among the list of victims. Stolen data includes NRIC (National Registration Identity Card) numbers, names, addresses, gender, date of birth and race.
  • Two separate cyber intrusions were recorded targeting a Virginia bank in a period of eight months. Both intrusions resulted in a total loss of $2.4 million. The first breach was recorded in May 2016 when an employee fell victim to a phishing email. The second breach happened in January 2017 after cybercriminals broke into the financial institution’s systems via a phishing email.
  • UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) - in a collaborative  effort with GCHQ’s cyber arm as well as UK’s legal sector and law enforcement agencies -  released reports saying cybercriminals have stolen more than $14 million from clients of law firms. The centre also reported that such attacks have skyrocketed by 200 percent in 2017.
  • Researchers at the Upguard Cyber Risk team discovered that sensitive data belonging to over 100 manufacturing companies including GM, Ford, Toyota, Tesla, Fiat Chrysler, TyssenKrupp and Volkswagen was exposed online. A repository containing 157GB worth of corporate documents was leaked. Exposed data also includes customers information, employees’ personal details and Level One corporate data.

New Threats

New malware, malware variants, and vulnerabilities have been discovered by security researchers. A new exploit kit was found delivering a cryptocurrency miner. A variant of Kronos was found targeting Germany, Poland and Japan, and a fileless threat is being used to execute malicious .NET assemblies. Several vulnerabilities were also discovered in AVTech devices and Apache OpenWhisk.

  • A new exploit kit named Underminer was discovered delivering a bootkit and a cryptocurrency-mining malware named Hidden Mellifera. Underminer has several advanced capabilities including transfering malware via an encrypted transmission control protocol (TCP) tunnel and packaging malicious files with a customized format similar to ROM file system format (romfs).
  • Security researchers at McAfee Labs identified a fileless threat, CactusTorch, used to load and execute malicious .NET assemblies straight from memory. CactusTorch uses the DotNetToJScript technique to carry out its operations. Since DotNetToJScript does not write any part of the malicious .NET assembly on a computer’s hard drive, it is difficult to detect the malware using traditional scanners.
  • Cybercriminals are rebranding the Kronos banking trojan as Osiris. The new variant was discovered by Proofpoint security researchers earlier in July. Osiris is currently being used to launch attacks against victims located in Germany, Poland and Japan.
  • Fourteen unpatched security vulnerabilities have been discovered in the firmware of several AVTech devices. By exploiting these vulnerabilities, a malware author going by the name EliteLands is reportedly building a new botnet dubbed “Death”. Affected AVTech devices include DVRs, NVRs, IP cameras and more.
  • Security bugs present in Apache OpenWhisk have been found to leak sensitive information. The vulnerabilities are tracked as CVE-2018-11756 and CVE-2018-11757. Exploiting these bugs could allow hackers to leak sensitive action data belonging to different end-users and launch attacks at the same time.
  • A new report has revealed that nearly 496 million IoT devices are vulnerable to DNS rebinding attacks, 10-year-old attack technique. The issue not only impact IoT devices but also connected devices including smart TVs, printer, digital assistants, IP phones and more.


apache openwhisk
university of geneva
data transfer project dtp
dns rebinding attacks

Posted on: July 27, 2018

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