Cyware Weekly Threat Intelligence, September 30 - October 04, 2019

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The Good

With the weekend right around the corner, let’s take a look at all that happened in cyberspace this week. We’ll start with the positive advancements witnessed this week. The United States NSA has launched a new Cybersecurity Directorate to improve the country’s cyberdefenses. A joint research project by CSCRC, Data 61, and Penten has been launched to focus on creating realistic cyber traps. Meanwhile, researchers have designed a CPU memory named ‘SAPM memory’ to offer protection against speculative execution side-channel attacks that leak secret from cache or memory.

  • The United States National Security Agency (NSA) has announced the launch of a new Cybersecurity Directorate. This new organization will improve the country’s cyberdefenses by bringing NSA’s threat detection operations, technologies, and cybersecurity personnel together. Initially, the directorate’s focus will be on the defense industrial base and weapon security.
  • Researchers from Intel have designed a new type of CPU memory dubbed ‘SAPM memory’ that offers protection against speculative execution side-channel attacks. SAPM offers the flexibility of storing only sensitive data in dedicated memory regions. This memory type will implement hardware-level protection and works with physical and virtual memory addresses.
  • A joint research project by the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC), CSIRO's Data61, and cybersecurity startup Penten has been announced. The project will focus on creating realistic cyber traps using AI. The solution will learn activity patterns and content from surrounding computers and data to tailor itself according to the customer environment.
  • The United States has confirmed the revival of the aircraft cybersecurity program to protect citizens. The program is led by the Department of Homeland Security and involves the Pentagon and Transportation Department. The focus of this move will be on protecting the electronic systems of airliners against cyberattacks by testing them for vulnerabilities.
  • The Irish government has introduced cybersecurity measures for providers of essential services such as health, energy, and transport. Around 70 agencies responsible for critical services must implement these regulations and report security incidents. The regulations mandate that any security compromise that impacts the company’s network of information must be reported to the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT).
  • Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency (CSA) has introduced an Operational Technology (OT) Cybersecurity Masterplan. It is primarily for the owners of Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) who operate OT systems. The masterplan aims to enhance the security of Singapore’s essential service sectors, mitigate OT threats, and boost industry partnerships.

The Bad

Various security compromises were reported this week. The database of the word game ‘Words With Friends’ was compromised by the infamous hacker Gnosticplayers, impacting the data of more than 218 million users. On the other hand, a new malvertising campaign has been launched by the eGobbler threat group infecting more than 1.16 million ad impressions. In another instance, ten hospitals including three in Alabama and seven in Australia suffered from ransomware attacks.

  • Notorious hacker Gnosticplayers has compromised the database of ‘Words With Friends’, a popular word game developed by mobile social game company Zynga Inc. The unauthorized access of this database compromised the data of more than 218 million users. The stolen information includes names, login IDs, email addresses, Zynga account IDs, and hashed passwords, among others.
  • The eGobbler threat group launched a new malvertising campaign between August 1 and September 23 that has infected more than 1.16 million ad impressions. The campaign has been observed to abuse obscure browser bugs that impact WebKit based browsers. Researchers have reported that the campaign targeted web applications with text areas and search forms to improve the chances of hijacking keypresses.
  • Ten hospitals, three in Alabama, and seven in Australia have fallen victim to a ransomware attack. The attack has forced the hospitals to shut down IT infrastructure and limit patient intake. Emergency procedures were implemented in several hospitals to ensure safe operations.
  • Comodo Forums suffered a data breach impacting over 170,000 users. The breach leveraged a vulnerability in the vBulletin software that is used to power the forum. The compromised data that includes usernames, passwords, and email addresses, is being reportedly traded online.
  • Security researchers discovered an unsecured database with more than 20 million Russian tax records. The compromised records contain names, addresses, passport numbers, residency statuses, Tax ID numbers, phone numbers, employer names, and tax amounts. The records that have been taken offline now are said to have been indexed by search engines since May 2018.
  • The City of Pocatello notified its utility billing customers who may have been victims of the City’s online portal data breach. The City recently received information about potential unauthorized access to credit card information related to the portal. Cybersecurity and law enforcement experts are conducting investigations regarding this.
  • Rheinmetall AG, one of the world’s largest defense contractor and Defence Construction Canada (DCC) were hit by cyber-attacks. Automotive plants of Rheinmetall in Brazil, Mexico, and the U.S. were impacted by malware attacks. On the other hand, DCC’s IT systems were affected by a cyber incident.
  • Tomo Drug Testing announced a data breach incident after an unauthorized actor gained remote access to the system. The hacker is said to have downloaded and removed certain information from Tomo’s customer database. The company could not confirm if any individual’s personal information was compromised.
  • American Express Company has disclosed a data breach following the possible unauthorized access of personal information of cardholder members by an employee. Names, current or previous American Express Card account number, physical address, date of birth, and Social Security Number, are among the compromised data. The company is sending data breach notices to the affected users.
  • A database reportedly containing the personal data of 92 million Brazilian citizens is being auctioned on underground forums. The records contain names, dates of birth, phone numbers, and taxpayers IDs among other details, according to the seller. The seller also advertised a search service to get details about an individual with minimum data.
  • Four U.S. restaurant chains, namely McAlister's Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s, and Hy-Vee have disclosed that their point-of-sale systems were infected with malware. This has resulted in the compromise of card information used in person in certain locations.

New Threats

This week saw the occurrence of a number of malware and vulnerabilities. The Emotet Trojan was observed spreading via fake Microsoft Office Activation Wizard documents. A new variant of the Adwind RAT was found targeting the United States petroleum industry. Meanwhile, a new SIM card attack dubbed WIBattack, similar to the Simjacker attack has been reported.

  • The Emotet Trojan is being spread by fake Microsoft Office Activation Wizard documents. The spam emails trick potential victims to enable macros in the document. Once the macros are enabled, a script is executed to download and install the Emotet Trojan.
  • A new variant of the infamous Adwind RAT is targeting the United States petroleum industry. The malware is distributed through malspam campaigns that spread malicious URLs or attachments. Researchers observed that the malware functionality has remained the same as previous versions, but it’s obfuscation technique has changed.
  • WIBattack is a new sim card attack that has been observed by researchers. Similar to the Simjacker attack, it allows the tracking of user devices by abusing the Wireless Internet Browser (WIB) apps that run on SIM cards. The attack allows threat actors to send SMS to any number, make calls, and eavesdrop on conversations on the compromised sim card.
  • A new malware dubbed Nodersok that abuses legitimate tools has been observed by researchers. The campaign that spanned across the last few weeks has been primarily targeting consumers in Europe and the United States. Nodersok’s infection is a multi-stage process that downloads various components to the infected system.
  • A vulnerability was discovered in Whatsapp for Android that allows remote attackers to potentially execute arbitrary code on vulnerable devices. The flaw resides in the library used to create GIF file preview when a user opens the Gallery view in Whatsapp to send media files.
  • A research team uncovered a vulnerability in video conferencing platforms, Cisco Webex and Zoom, that potentially grants the attacker access to view unprotected active meetings. If proper security measures aren’t followed, the attacker would be able to view or listen to active meetings. If a personal meeting ID has been configured by the user, attackers can store it for snooping activities in the future.
  • The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about cybersecurity threats in medical devices. Researchers have identified 11 vulnerabilities in medical devices that could allow hackers to take remote control and change their functionality causing a denial of service condition. The agency has requested manufacturers to evaluate the flaws and report their findings.
  • A malware named GhostCat-3PC was involved in 13 attacks against hundreds of popular publishers. This malware campaign involved an ad that used advanced patterns to evade detection by adblockers. After checking if the user was on the list of targeted domains, a pop-up add would be displayed. The ad, when clicked, redirected the user to malicious content.
  • A new IoT botnet dubbed ‘Gucci’ targeting Europe has been uncovered. Researchers discovered that it was designed with support for different types of DDoS attacks. This botnet has been found capable of launching broad and targeted attacks.
  • A new spyware that uses the messaging platform Telegram to communicate with threat actors, has been reported. Known as the ‘Masad Stealer’, the malware is available for sale on the black market. This spyware uses the Telegram infrastructure and does not affect the accounts of Telegram users.
  • Arcane Stealer V, an information-stealing malware, has been discovered to be inexpensive and easy to buy from the dark web. The malware’s author has provided a dashboard that shows hackers who buy the malware their potential earnings. Experts have analyzed that Arcane Stealer V can be used against any target, irrespective of their geographical location.
  • A new malware dubbed ‘Reductor’ that compromises TLS traffic has been detected. It manipulates TLS certificates to present other malware installers as legitimate software. Researchers have observed code similarities between Reductor and the COMPfun Trojan.


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