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COVID-19 used as a lure for Cyber Attacks: Report suggest massive increase in Phishing Trends


Since the starting of the year, 2020 has been a bearer of bad news and Covid seems like a bad punch line. With 14 Million cases, the pandemic has wreaked havoc not only on human life but other sectors of business and economy as well; especially impacting cybersecurity, giving a sweet opportunity for hackers and scammers to con people.


According to recent research by Positive Technologies, there has been a 25% increase in phishing attacks in quarter one (Q1)of this year as compared to Q4 of 2019 and 13% of these phishing attacks were related to COVID-19. One of the analysts at Position Technologies said, “Hackers were quick to use common concerns about coronavirus as lures in phishing emails. One out of every five emails was sent to government agencies.”

The researchers also noted that 23 of the tenacious and active APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) groups targeted financial and medical institutions, government agencies, and industries. Around 34% of the attacks on organizations were ransomware ( malware attackers demanding money ransom in order to decrypt files and to not reveal stolen data). One out of every 10 ransomware was targeted at an organization.

This year has seen ransomware evolving into much-feared threat with Maze ransomware collaborating with other ransomware groups and publishing the stolen data on their website. Another ransomware Snake released in the beginning of this year, even deletes backups and snapshots.

Many security analysts discourse that the report from the research isn't all that surprising as COVID-19 has been used as a lure and click-bait to trap users desperate for info on the pandemic.

Jamie Akhtar, CEO of CyberSmart says, “enormous spike in phishing campaigns, fake websites and social profiles that were deliberately impersonating COVID-19 and healthcare-related authorities as hackers exploited the unprepared public.”

 Adding, “Many of these phishing emails can be extremely convincing and are not likely to end soon.

“Businesses and their employees can protect themselves against these attacks in the future by using email filtering that will detect and flag suspicious email addresses and malicious links or attachments, but these often don't catch everything. Training employees on how to spot suspicious and phishing emails is the best way to prevent these kinds of attacks.”

SoPo Nonprofit Told, Unknown Number of Clients Affected by Data Breach


A South Australian company, PSL Services, also known as Peregrine Corporation involved in the operation of service stations, convenience retail outlets and tobacconists recently disclosed a data breach to Mainebiz.

The company administered from its head office in Kensington Park, South Australia told that personal data of its employees including their names, email accounts, some medical information along with other sensitive information may have been accessed illegally between December 16 and December 19, 2019. Other information accessed without authorization includes address, DOB, Driving License Number, Social Security Number and Identifying Numbers of clients for participation in Mainecare.

There have been no speculations made by the corporation as to who is behind the public breach of its confidential data, however, the officials told in an email that there are chances that the criminal behind the incident was trying to force the agency in sending funds electronically which they did not.

Post-incident, the company was subjected to back to back investigations and it refused to specify the number of employees being affected. PSL did not provide other details regarding the incident such as whether the individuals were clients, employees, family members or others. As per some news releases, PSL came to know about the breach on 17th December after some suspicious activity was observed in an employee's email account, it immediately reported the same to its information services department.

The corporation told that it had “notified the Office of Civil Rights at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine Attorney General, and prominent news media outlets throughout the state of Maine."

Referencing from the statements given by Lori Sanville, executive director, “The contents of a small number of email accounts were exposed,”

“The number is unknown until the data mining is completed. We will then contact anyone affected.”

In regard of the same incident, PSL also contracted with a cybersecurity vendor to further investigate the matter and come up with security measures, as per Sanville. In addition, she told Mainebiz, “We want our clients and the community to know that we take this matter very seriously and that we remain committed to assisting our clients first and foremost."

Hike in Banking Malware Attacks; Mobile Malware A Part of Cyber-Crime Too!



Banking malware is on a rise and the percentage of the wreckage it causes has risen up to 50%.

The viral banking malware usually is on the lookout for payment data, credentials and of course, cash.

Development kits for mobile malware code are easily available on underground portals and hence this issue is relevant.

The creators of mobile bankers henceforth allow the fabrication of new versions of malware that could be distributed on an enormous scale.

Ramnit (28%), Trickbot (21%) and Ursnif (10%) are apparently the most widely known types of the malware.

Mobile malware happens to be pretty difficult to identify and equally so to deal with as they use similar malicious techniques that are applied on computers.

The variants of the malware that were recurrently identified by the anti-virus solutions were Android-bound Triada (30%), Lotoor (11%) and Hidad (7%).

Turning the anti-malware off, using transparent icons with empty application labels, delayed execution to bypass sandboxes, and encrypting the malicious payload are a few of the evasion techniques being employed, per sources.

Microsoft Warns Users against BlueKeep RDP Flaw; Immediate Update Advised, Again!






Microsoft has beseeched its users all over again to get their systems updated because as it turns out hackers already have exploits of the BlueKeep RDP flaw, already.


The patch has been fabricated for the “wormable” BlueKeep Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) vulnerability; therwise the hackers could easily perform a “WannaCry” level attack.

The first warning was sent by Microsoft on May 14 when they’d released a patch for another serious Remote Code Execution vulnerability, CVE-2019-0708.

Successful exploitation of this vulnerability leads to the hacker executing an arbitrary code on the windows machine and installing programs.

 The term “Wormable” refers to the fact that any future malware exploits could contagiously spread from one system to another.

According to sources, this vulnerability is of pre-authentication type and needs no user interaction.

Any attacker who could easily exploit this vulnerability could install programs, edit, and view or delete data and even create new accounts with complete user rights.

Microsoft has a strong hunch that the cyber-cons already have fully developed plans for exploiting the aforementioned vulnerability.

More than a million PCs are susceptible to these wormable, BlueKeep RDP flaws.

A security researcher conducted RDP scan hunting for port 3389 used by Remote Desktop to find potentially and current vulnerable devices.

Major Anti-Virus brands such as Kaspersky, McAfee, Check Point and Malware Tech developed a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) that would use the CVE-2019-0708 to remotely execute the code on victim’s system.


So it happens, numerous corporate networks are under the threat and are still vulnerable more than individuals are as more systems are connected in a single network.

A single compromised system of a corporate network could put the entire organization and its systems in danger.

The compromised device could be used as a gateway and as it’s a “wormable” attack it could easily propagate across networks.

The most the users could do is keep their systems updated and their security as tight as possible as future malware could also try hacking back in.

Solutions
·      Update systems as soon as possible
·      Block Remote Desktop Services if they are not in use
·      Block TCP port 3389 at the Enterprise Perimeter Firewall
·      Apply the patch to the vulnerable systems and devices that have RDP enabled

Your Profile Up For Sale Somewhere On The Dreadful Dark Web For Rs. 140/day?





After hacking feats, cyber cons have stooped to selling hacked profiles on the dreadful dark web for a minimal cost of Rs. 140/day.


What’s even more unsettling is the fact that organizations, market researchers and people looking for business related data could also be behind this profile marketing.

The corner of the “dreadful dark web” where these profiles are available is not accessible via regular browsers.

By way of tools like “Tor” which is an open source software that aids anonymous communication and access to a whole new world of stolen passwords, data and profiles.

According to researchers, other than cyber attackers the people tracking the consumer behavior are after free access to video streaming sites that have already been paid for by the victim.

It’s super disconcerting the way rival companies are buying profiles to get "Intel" on their competitors consumer base, sensitive data and even tracking key executives.

These hacking goons are working in groups where one sells encrypted data and the other quite conveniently decrypts all for dear money.

Then there’s a third group which stores a list of the decrypted passwords into a central server which provides data sets from these breaches.

WARNING! If you happen to use a single password or even passwords that are a teensy bit different for more than one log in sites and multiple websites you are in serious trouble.

Reportedly, the hackers have collected over 8000 databases from small websites singly. It’s only up to the imagination what kind would have been from major sites.

On the dark sites, the data is being sold in packages ranging from a minimal Rs.140 ($2) to a staggering Rs.4900 ($70).

Payment methods of Crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, Ripple, Zcash and Ethereum are all available to the users’ comfort.

If several passwords are bought from the website a profile could be fabricated within minutes, because quite foolishly users have the same passwords for multiple sites.

This makes the user’s behaviour extremely predictable and it becomes easy for the buyers to track the victim’s activities all over the internet.

The people who spend more time on the internet are more susceptible to such hazards because they are easier to track.

A normal user’s passwords are available for as little as a rupee but then the hot shot public figures like politicians’ or actors’ passwords’ cost ranges from Rs.500- Rs.2500/password.

QUICK TIP!
·       Try not to use common, mainstream passwords that are only easily hack-able and guess-able.

·       Especially after a company experiences a breach or a hacking feat they should make their security stronger.

·       The systems should be made more accountable than ever.

No company has faced any adversities as of yet due to this profile marketing freak-show.





Legitimate Apps That Could Be Exploited To Bypass The Windows Defender: Microsoft’s List



Microsoft recently, published a conspicuous list of application that are legitimate and yet could be exploited by hackers to bypass the Windows defender.


These hackers try to slide into the organizations’ networks and infect them via bypassing the security imparted by the defender.

The hackers usually make use of off-the-land attack tactics where they use the victim’s operating system features or authentic network administration tools to compromise the networks.

The major motive of this project was to comprehend the binaries that were being misused by the attacker.

·       LOLBins- Living Off The Land Binaries
·       LOLScripts- Living Off The Land Scripts
·       LOLLibs- Living Off The Land Libraries
·       GTFOBins- Unix Platform Binaries

The only point of fusing the legitimate app is to stay undetected in order to bypass the security measures of the network.

The LOTL tools are just a way to be as stealthy as possible as be as malignant as possible without even being easily caught.

The following applications are in the list that Microsoft published and recommend to do away with if not in use:
·       addinprocess.exe
·       addinprocess32.exe
·       addinutil.exe
·       bash.exe
·       bginfo.exe[1]
·       cdb.exe
·       csi.exe
·       dbghost.exe
·       dbgsvc.exe
·       dnx.exe
·       fsi.exe
·       fsiAnyCpu.exe
·       kd.exe
·       ntkd.exe
·       lxssmanager.dll
·       msbuild.exe[2]
·       mshta.exe
·       ntsd.exe
·       rcsi.exe
·       system.management.automation.dll
·       windbg.exe
·       wmic.exe

Along with the published list Microsoft has also highly recommended the users to download latest security updates.

In addition it has also provided the “deny file rules” for all apps.

Lateral movement and defense evasion happen to be the mostly used ways to exploit the authentic applications.

Virginia Bank Loses $2.4 Million In A Digital Heist



A regional Virginia bank, the National Bank of Blacksburg, following a fruitful phishing attack that compromised the entire organization's interior networks has lost $2.4 million in a digital heist that affected the STAR ATM along with the debit network.

As per an April 2018 profit proclamation from the National Bankshares, the parent organization of the bank, National Bank's computer system experienced two digital interruptions, in the month of May in the year 2016 as well as in January of 2017.

In the two cases, the interlopers could infiltrate an inner workstation with a phishing exertion and a weaponized Microsoft Word document. From that point onwards, the attackers installed the malware, and pivoted to a machine on the network that had access to the bank's interface with the STAR network.

The hackers made withdrawals at several ATMs, recommending a profoundly organized exertion. National Bank employed Foregenix to examine the 2016 episode and Verizon to deal with the forensics for the 2017 break, as indicated by the claim. According to the reports, the two organizations followed the movement back to the IP addresses situated in Russia.

Leroy Terrelonge, director of intelligence and operations at Flashpoint, in an interview said that,
 “Actors who target banks are primarily financially motivated, they want a large return on their investment in gaining access to the bank and performing reconnaissance. When attackers are able to establish a presence on a network through deployment of malware or using stolen credentials, they can often remain in stealth for a period of weeks or months, and they use that time to observe the activity of normal users at the bank and perform reconnaissance of the systems, processes and procedures used. ”  

The bank is presently suing its insurance carrier for not covering the full extent of the damage. In the claim, it clarified that it had two sorts of coverage for the cyber issues: The Computer and Electronic Crime Rider, which covers a wide swath of odious action and misfortunes up to $8 million for every hack; and the Debit card Rider, which has a $500,000 cap for each incident.

With respect to the bank's inner endeavors at cyber security in the wake of the hacks, National Bankshares president and CEO Brad Denardo issued a short media explanation addressing the matter:

“I would like to reassure our shareholders and our customers that we take cyber security very seriously. We have taken the necessary steps to avoid cyber intrusions of the sort we experienced in 2016 and 2017, and we continually work to monitor and prevent future threats.”