Cyware Weekly Threat Intelligence, June 17-21, 2019

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The Good

We’re back with the most interesting threat intel of the week. The past week witnessed several cybersecurity advancements, security incidents, as well as the emergence of new threats. Let’s first glance through all the positive developments that have emerged over the past week. Instagram is testing a new in-app account recovery process to help its users recover their hacked accounts. Google has announced the release of its open source multi-party computation (MPC) tool named ‘Private Join and Compute’. Meanwhile, CSIRO’s Data61 has developed a technique dubbed ‘Vaccination’ to protect artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms from adversarial attacks.

  • Instagram is testing a new in-app account recovery process to help its users recover their accounts which have been hacked by attackers. This recovery process method would help users recover their accounts even if the hacker has changed the user name and contact details.
  • Google has announced the release of its open source multi-party computation (MPC) tool named ‘Private Join and Compute’. This tool is designed to help organizations collaborate together with confidential data sets. The tool is a cryptographic protocol that helps two parties encrypt data before sharing any confidential data for research purposes.
  • The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CSIRO) Data61 has announced that its researchers have developed a technique dubbed ‘Vaccination’ to protect AI and machine learning algorithms from adversarial attacks. This technique is currently used to identify spam emails, diagnose diseases from X-rays, and predict crop yields.
  • MIT researchers have presented a paper about their cryptographic system that automatically generates optimized cryptography code. This system is widely used by Google and other tech firms. The paper demonstrates how automated methods can be implemented to prevent human-made errors in generating crypto code.

The Bad

Several data breaches and security incidents were witnessed in the past week. Canada’s largest credit union Desjardins suffered a data breach compromising the personal information of almost 2.9 million customers. An unprotected database belonging to a job searching platform ‘Talanton’ has exposed the personal information of almost 1.6 million employers and job seekers. Meanwhile, the city council for Riviera Beach in Florida has agreed to pay the attackers $ 603,000 in order to recover encrypted files.

  • Desjardins, one of the world’s largest banks suffered a security breach after a rogue employee stole the data of 2.9 million customers and disclosed to individuals outside Desjardins without authorization. The data leak has impacted almost 2.7 million home users and 173,000 business customers. The financial institution has fired the employee who was responsible for the data leak.
  • An unprotected MongoDB database has exposed the information on 391,649 prescriptions for a drug called Vascepa, and the personal details of over 78,000 patients who were prescribed Vascepa in the past. The exposed patient details include full names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. The exposed transaction details include the prescribing doctor, pharmacy ID, pharmacy name, pharmacy address, National Provider Identifier number,  member ID, and NABP E-Profile Number.
  • Online food ordering platform EatStreet has disclosed that it suffered a data breach last month after a hacker stole the customer data and partner details from the company’s database. A news website has confirmed that the hacker who breached the customer data from EatStreet was ‘Gnosticplayers’.
  • An unprotected database belonging to an ad agency ‘X Social Media’ has exposed almost 150,000 records of injury claims submitted by victims. The submissions included personal health information, sensitive medical information, details of procedures, or the consumption of certain medications. The database also contained a list of more than 300 law firms who paid X Social Media, with detailed records of how much each law firm paid the ad company.
  • An unprotected database belonging to a job searching platform ‘Talanton’ has exposed the personal information of almost 1.6 million employers and job seekers. The database included phone numbers and emails of CISOs, CEOs, and government officials including the CTO of the Australian government and the FBI Domestic Security Alliance Council member. The database also included encrypted passwords of over 50,000 user records.
  • The U.S Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found out that four government agencies including  the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), the US Postal Service (USPS), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are relying on the old CRA databases for online identity verification.
  • Estes Park Health (EPH) suffered a ransomware attack on June 02, 2019, that impacted their network, phone services, and email services. The healthcare center immediately shut down all its servers and notified its insurance company, the law enforcement authorities, and the FBI. The healthcare sector has paid the ransom amount and the encrypted files are being restored.
  • Mermaids UK disclosed that it had inadvertently published part of its email database on the internet between 2016 and 2017 that contained 1000 pages of confidential emails. The exposed emails included the private details of transgender children and young people.
  • Olean Medical Group suffered a ransomware attack impacting its computer systems. A similar incident has been witnessed in the Seneca Nation Health System with its computer systems being down due to a possible ransomware attack. OMG has requested its patients to bring in medications or a medication list, insurance cards and medical history while coming for consultations. On the other hand, SNHS has requested its patients who have appointments to contact and confirm with them.
  • The medical records and patient information belonging to Capitol Cardiology Associates (CCA) and Southern Maryland Medical Group (SMMG) have been impacted after a third-party vendor Meditab Software suffered a data breach. The data breach stemmed from an issue in the portal that allowed Meditab to view statistics for its Fax Cloud services. This incident has exposed CCA and SMMG patients’ personal information including names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, medical records, visit notes, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • The Oregon Department of Human Services has disclosed that almost 645,000 people have been impacted by the data breach that occurred in January 2019.  This number is significantly higher than the agency’s initial estimate in March which had indicated to be over 350,000.
  • ResiDex Software suffered a ransomware attack impacting its IT systems and server infrastructure. The software company immediately launched an investigation and found out that authorized access to ResiDex’s systems occurred on April 2, 2019, and the ransomware was launched on April 9, 2019. However, the investigation did not identify any personal information and/or protected health information being compromised.
  • A trucking company in Pennsylvania, A. Duie Pyle has been hit with a ransomware attack which paralyzed its network communication systems. The firm confirmed that its operating systems, backups and brokerage services systems are not been impacted. The firm also confirmed that no data has been extracted from the systems.
  • The city council for Riviera Beach in Florida which suffered a ransomware attack on May 29, 2019, has agreed to pay the attackers 65 bitcoins (USD 603,000) in order to recover encrypted files. The decision to pay the attackers was made after the City Council board voted unanimously to authorize the city insurer to pay the attacker.
  • Eyewear giant Specsavers suffered a data breach compromising Bundaberg clients’ medical details after a password-protected computer server went missing between May 25 and 26, 2019. The stolen computer server contained the personal information of clients including names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, clinical records of optometry tests, and Medicare details.

New Threats

The past week also witnessed the occurrence of several new malware strains and vulnerabilities. A new variant of Ryuk ransomware that blacklists IP addresses to avoid encrypting already infected computers has been spotted in the wild. A critical vulnerability has been uncovered in Outlook for Android app that impacts over 100 million users. Meanwhile, a free decryptor tool for the infamous GandCrab ransomware has been released.

  • Researchers spotted a new variant of Ryuk ransomware that blacklists IP addresses to avoid encrypting already infected computers. The partial IP address strings that are searched by the ransomware are 10.30.4, 10.30.5, 10.30.6, and 10.31.32. The new Ryuk variant also compares the computer name to the strings ‘SPB’, ‘spb’, ‘MSK’, ‘Msk’ and ‘msk’ to simplify its infection process.
  • A cybersecurity firm along with Europol, DIICOT, FBI and the Metropolitan Police has released a free decryptor tool for the infamous GandCrab ransomware. This decryption key has been released shortly after the developers of the ransomware announced their plan to retire. The key works for all the versions of ransomware, from v5.0 through v5.2.
  • A cybersecurity firm has published the details about two zero-day vulnerabilities impacting two Facebook WordPress plugins. The two vulnerabilities are cross-site request forgery (CSRF) flaws that impact ‘Messenger Customer Chat’ and ‘Facebook for WooCommerce’ WordPress plugins. These vulnerabilities could allow authenticated users to alter WordPress site options.
  • Researchers have uncovered a new variant of the Mirai botnet dubbed Echobot. This new variant uses a total of 26 exploits to target IoT devices. Its targets include network-attached storage devices (NAS), routers, network video recorders (NVR), IP cameras, IP phones, and wireless presentation systems.
  • Researchers have observed an external script redirecting visitors to several random sites. This script is widely used by various webmasters to provide easy Lightbox functionalities on their websites. The redirected sites include pages related to viral apps or just random tech articles.
  • A security researcher has uncovered a critical remote code execution vulnerability in the TP-Link WiFi extender that could an attacker to take complete control over the device. The vulnerability tracked as CVE-2019-7406 could allow a remote attacker to perform arbitrary command execution via specially crafted user agent fields in HTTP headers.
  • Researchers spotted a new malware dubbed ‘GolfSpy’ which is capable of stealing system information from an infected Android device. This malware is also capable of listing, deleting, and renaming files, taking screenshots, recording audio and video, and self-updation.
  • Multiple fake apps of well-known brands have been found distributing malware dubbed Android-FakeApp.174. When launched, the trojan loads a website in Google Chrome. The website asks the target to allow notifications under the guise of verifying that the user is not a bot. Once the targets have verified themselves, web push notifications are enabled in the background. This enables the spammers to spam a victim’s mobile with dozens of notifications.
  • A modular backdoor named Backdoor.Win32.Plurox has been identified spreading over a local network via an exploit. The malware is capable of installing miners and other malicious software on victims’ computers. The malware is written in C and compiled with Mingw GCC.
  • A botnet named GoldBrute has been spotted scanning the internet in search of vulnerable Windows machines with RDP connection enabled. The malware has compiled a list of over 1.5 million unique systems and has systematically tested access on them with brute-force or credential stuffing attacks.
  • A critical vulnerability in Outlook for Android app impacts more than 100 million users. The security flaw is a spoofing vulnerability that could allow attackers to conduct cross-site scripting(XSS) attacks on devices installed with the app. The flaw is the result of an issue with email parsing. This vulnerability has impacted older versions prior to 3.0.88 of Outlook for Android.
  • Researchers uncovered a new JavaScript-based trojan dubbed ‘MonsterInstall’ which is distributed in the form of game cheats via websites owned by the attackers. Its capabilities include stealing system information and sending back to its C&C server, and downloading cryptomining module. It will gain persistence by adding itself to the infected system’s autorun.
  • Researchers spotted a new variant of DanaBot that comes with a new ransomware module. On top of this, the updated variant also has new plugins, configuration files, string encryptions, file name generation algorithms as well as a different communication protocol.


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