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Enterprises Improving Their Response to Cybersecurity Incidents, Yet Contributing To Reduce the Effectiveness of Defense


IBM recently released the results of a global survey, which recommended that while investment and planning are on the uptake, adequacy isn't on a similar 'incline', with reaction endeavors hindered by complexity brought about by divided toolsets.

Conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the research highlighted reactions from more than 3,400 security and IT staff across the world.

This research was IBM's fifth annual Cyber Resilient Organization Report, which says that while organizations are improving in cyberattack planning, identification, and response, their capacity to contain a functioning threat has declined by 13%.

By and large, enterprises send 45 cybersecurity-related tools on their networks yet the widespread utilization of an excessive number of tools may add to an inability not only to distinguish, yet additionally to shield from dynamic attacks.

While it creates the impression that the enterprise cybersecurity scene is achieving another degree of development, in any case, with 26% of respondents saying that their organizations have now embraced formal, all-inclusive Cyber Security Incident Response Plans (CSIRPs), there's been an expansion from 18% five years ago.

In total, nonetheless, 74% of respondents said their cybersecurity planning posture despite everything fails to be desired, without any plans, especially ad-hoc plans, or irregularity still a thistle in its IT staff.

Furthermore, among the individuals who have adopted a reaction plan, just a third has made a playbook for basic attack types to keep an eye out for during daily tasks.

"Since different breeds of attack require unique response techniques, having pre-defined playbooks provides organizations with consistent and repeatable action plans for the most common attacks they are likely to face," the report notes.

As indicated by IBM, an absence of planning and response testing can prompt a damages bill up to $1.2 million higher than a cyberattack would have in any case cost a victim company and the expense can be high as far as disruption is concerned.

Thus IBM responded that "With business operations changing rapidly due to an increasingly remote workforce, and new attack techniques constantly being introduced, this data suggests that many businesses are relying on out-dated response plans which don't reflect the current threat and business landscape."

This is all considering the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid and sudden changes a large number of us have encountered in our workplaces, CSIRP arrangements should be inspected, and if need be, changed to adjust to the working from home environment.

Indians to use VPN as a way to evade ban on Chinese Apps


It seems like people have found a way to circumvent government's ban on 59 Chinese Apps including favorites like TikTok, Share it, Shien, Clash of Kings, and many more and have moved on to use VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access these apps.


Right after the ban announcement by government companies like SatoshiVPNS put an advert on their social media stating, Ann investment in a VPN is an investment that always pays for itself — many times over.” There have been articles on blabberpost and others recommending how and which VPN to use to access the banned applications.

And it's not the first time Indians have turned to VPN to dodge regulations, in fact, we are quite notorious when it comes to VPN. After Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea - the largest telecom providers in the country- took down porn websites from their network, India fell only three steps from 12 to 15 in terms of visitors to Pornhub. A 2019 report from Pornhub revealed that 91% of Indian users access the site via mobile phone.

 Since February, India has seen a growth of 15% in VPN usage, according to a report by ExpressVPN; the global average stands at 21%. 

By the books, using VPN is not illegal in India for as much as it's not used for any illegal activity. The most common use of a VPN in the country is either to watch pornography or to access torrents and both of these do not summon legal actions.

Since the suspension of Internet service from August 2019 till March 2020 in the Kashmir Valley and the aftermath of weak 2g and 3g networks, many citizens turned to VPN in order to reach blocked content Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. The government even arrested some for using VPN to promote unlawful activities.
after the ban, Google and Apple App Store removed TikTok and Helo for Indian users but other banned apps like Browsers, Club Factory, Shein, ShareIT, and Clash of Kings are still listed on both the stores.

Hackers abusing .slk files to attack Microsoft 365 users


Avanan’s Security Analysts have recently discovered a threat bypassing Microsoft 365 security, the attack uses .slk files to avoid detection.


The attack groups send emails containing .slk file as an attachment with macro (MSI exec script) to download and install the trojan. Although this attack is limited to Microsoft 365, bypassing both of its default security (EOP) and advanced security (ATP), it does put around 200 million-plus users in jeopardy.

 By far Gmail users are safe from this threat as Google blocks .slk files and does not allow to be sent as an attachment.

The attack

“Symbolic Link” (SLK) file is an older human-readable text-based spreadsheet format last updated in 1986. Back when XLS files were private, .slk were open-format alternative for XLS but then XLSX was introduced in 2007 and there was no longer the need of .slk. Now, to the user, these .slk files look similar to an Excellent document and let the attacker move through Microsoft 365 security.

This latest discovery by Avanan’s Security Analysts reveals that these files when installed run a command on the Windows machine. It drives Windows Installer to install any MSI package quietly. This particular attack installs a hacked version of the off-the-shelf NetSupport remote control application giving the attacker full control of the desktop.

Where did the mails come from? 

The majority of the malicious emails were sent from a disposable email address like, “randomwords1982@hotmail.com”.

These mails were sent from Hotmail and for a good reason, "While most of the well-known anonymous email sending engines deserve their poor spam and phishing reputations, Hotmail users benefit from Microsoft’s own reputation. Since the service was merged with its own Outlook application, Microsoft seems to grant them a higher level of trust than external senders", reports Informationsecuritybuzz.com.

 The peculiar thing about these emails is that they are manually created and targeted personally. No two mails are alike, each one with a different subject and body especially crafted for the receiver with the subject and matter that concerns them.

How to prevent the attack?

The best method to avoid this attack is to simply configure your Office 365 to reject files with .slk extension at least till Microsoft fixes the issue.

Bharti Airtel on cyber high alert - upgrades security measures


New Delhi: Bharti Airtel, India's major telecom service provider has upgraded it's cyber security to a higher threat level for the next week in the aftermath of various cyber attacks.


They have increased their SOC (System On Chip) to withstand upcoming attacks and are working on eliminating any vulnerability that could welcome an attack.

  "We have come across media reports on the potential surge in cyber-attacks such as DDoS, Malware attacks, and defacement of websites. We have also witnessed an increase in such Cyber activity during our security operations. These attacks threaten to not only disrupt critical business operations but also impact your brand’s reputation," Airtel said in communication with their many enterprises.

  Airtel that associates and work with half a million small-medium enterprises and 2000 large enterprises has communicated the security concern and requested them to take preventive measures as well.

And Airtel is not wrong in estimating the risk; CERT-In, cybersecurity agency warned of probable large scale phishing attacks.

  The odds are against Airtel as the current vista is not looking very hopeful against a massive cyber attack. Most of the employees are still working from home, lack of security training and a plethora of attacks has forced the organization into strengthening its cybersecurity.

  "Airtel has urged its customers to take proactive measures such as continuous monitoring of network traffic for all channels, which include email, the internet, and others. It has also asked enterprise customers to enable geo-location monitoring for traffic coming from neighboring countries", reports Cisco, Economic Times.
The company has put an advisory to its costumers and enterprises to upgrade all softwares and patches available and strengthen server and application infrastructure. The telecom operator has advised employees to install proper security measures like anti-virus and update patches as well as to be careful of phishing attacks.

Know ways to avoid credit or debit card frauds


Since 2016, when India decided to go cashless the growth of online payments increased exponentially but not without risks. Online payments seem quick and easy but it's not hard for your financial data to be stolen. With every transaction and swipe you're putting your credit to risk.


In 2019, India faced a banking hazard as 32 lakh debit cards from 19 banks, including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Axis Bank, were compromised with a loss of 1.3 crores. The cyber-world is littered with examples like this, people often think it's inevitable that they will be duped at least once, that even if they are careful their credit cards will be compromised at some point. But it doesn't have to be so, with the following measures we can reduce the risk of debit and credit frauds to a great extent.

Register for alerts

The best way to prevent a bogus transaction is to set up email or SMS alerts, as they will at least give you a warning as to when a transaction is made or tried. And if the said transaction is not by you then you can take action immediately.

Don't save your card information on websites

It's not foolproof but it would certainly clog some loopholes. It's better to limit the sites where you save your card details and know all the sites you have them saved on. Best to save them on trustable sites.

Be careful

The Internet is full of baits so be prudent while clicking on any too-good-to-be-true deals. Especially the ones that ask for your card details. Be paranoid of fishy email links and consider them as red flags.

Log out

Its cautious to log out of sites and apps made for e-commerce and never save any passwords on your phone.

Check Statements Regularly

Check your bank statements for any suspicious activity, so you can catch one early on. Sometimes, the fraudsters might use the card multiple times so as soon as you find something suspicious report it and cancel the card via the bank.

Use Online Wallets and UPI

As online wallets and UPI doesn't disclose your account details or card details, it's better to use them instead of credit or debit cards for e-commerce.

 It goes without saying that always air on the side of caution and never disclose your financial details to anyone. With a few careful steps you can reduce the risk of falling into a debit fraud and even if you do many banks offer insurance for such cases, so go through the bank's policies thoroughly; they may save you a dime a dozen.

Expert: the image of a "Russian hacker" has become a means of information warfare with the Russian Federation


Experts commented on the release of the report of independent public organizations "Information fight against Russia: constructing the image of the enemy".

The director of the Center for Political Information, Alexei Mukhin, noted that the report analyzed how the image of the "Russian hacker" works. According to him, this image is replicated much less through the media than through social networks.

The image of a "Russian hacker", as Mukhin said, is mainly distributed via Twitter using similar hashtags, such as #Russianhacker. This is done to attract attention, to redirect the user to materials that demonstrate "horror and lawlessness".

This forms a "public opinion", with which not only politicians but also the military are already working. This is bad, because, in their hands, the information struggle turns into a hybrid war.

In different years, according to this scheme, Russia was accused of various outrages. In 2014, in the participation in the war in the Donbass, in 2016, in interference in the American elections.

It is characteristic that as soon as Russia requires to show evidence, it turns out that they are not.
Anna Shafran, a TV and radio host, believes that an open information war has already begun. 

According to her, recently, YouTube blocked without warning or explanation three popular Russian resources, including the TV company "Crimea-24". The Russian Foreign Ministry, of course, protested and rightly qualified the incident as an attack on Russian-language resources from the American Internet platform.

Sergei Sudakov, a Professor at the Military Academy of Sciences, said that the meme "Russian mafia" was created in the interests of the United States in the 1990s. It is outdated, replaced by a new meme "Russian hacker". It is fashionable to present Russia as an international information terrorist.
It is worth noting that in the Russian sector of the Internet, the meme “Russian hackers” is perceived approximately as “British scientists”. At the same time, in the foreign segment, the concept of "Russian hackers" is linked to such concepts as danger, interference, and more recently, incitement to riot.

The First Ransomware Attack and the Ripples It Sent Forward In Time


What was once a simple piece of malware discovered just 20 years ago this month exhibited its capacity which transformed the entire universe of cyber-security that we know of today?

Initially expected to just harvest the passwords of a couple of local internet providers, the malware, dubbed as 'LoveBug' spread far and wide, infecting more than 45 million devices to turn into the first piece of malware to truly take businesses offline.

LoveBug was the shift of malware from a constrained exposure to mass demolition. 45 million compromised devices daily could rise to 45 million daily payments.

Be that as it may, eleven years before anybody had known about LoveBug, the IT industry saw the first-ever main case of ransomware, as AIDS Trojan. AIDS Trojan which spread through infected floppy disks sent to HIV specialists as a feature of a knowledge-sharing activity.

The 'lovechild' of LoveBug and AIDS Trojan was the ransomware that followed, with GPCoder and Archievus hitting organizations around the globe through which the hackers additionally bridled ecommerce sites to discover better ways to receive payments.

The protection industry responded by taking necessary steps with 'good actors' cooperating to decipher the encryption code on which Archievus depended, and sharing it broadly to assist victim with abstaining from paying any ransom.

From that point forward the 'cat and mouse' game has proceeded with viruses like CryptoLocker, CryptoDefense, and CryptoLocker2.0 constructing new attack strategies, and the protection industry executing new defenses. Presently ransomware has become increasingly sophisticated and progressively prevalent as targets today are more averse to be individuals since large businesses can pay enormous sums of cash.

And yet, data protection has become progressively sophisticated as well, with certain four areas that should now be a part of each business' ransomware strategy: protect, detect, respond, and recover. Social engineering and phishing are also presently becoming progressively central to the success of a ransomware attack.

The LoveBug was effective in a scattergun fashion, yet at the same time depended on social engineering.

Had individuals been less disposed to open an email with the subject line ‘I love you', the spread of the malware would have been 'far more limited'.

Nevertheless, the users presently ought to be more alert of the increasingly diverse threats in light of the fact that inexorably, hackers are expanding their threats data exfiltration or public exposure on the off chance that they feel that leaking data may be progressively 'persuasive' for their targets.

Thus so as to react to the issue, it's essential to have backup copies of data and to comprehend the nature and estimation of the information that may have been undermined in any way.

A Series Of Cyber Essentials Toolkits Released To Address Cyber-Security Risks


As a major starting point for small businesses and government agencies to comprehend and address cybersecurity risk as they indulge with other risks, Cyber Essentials, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released the first in a series of six Cyber Essential Toolkits following its own November 2019 release.

CISA's toolkits will give greater detail, insight, and assets on every one of the Cyber Essential' six "Essential Elements" of a Culture of Cyber Readiness.

The launch of the introductory "Essential Element: Yourself, The Leader" will be followed every month by another toolkit to compare with every one of the six "Essential Elements." Toolkit 1 targets on the role of leadership in fashioning a culture of cyber readiness in their organization with an accentuation on methodology and investment.

CISA Director Christopher Krebs says “We thank all of our partners in government and the private sector who played an essential role in the development of CISA’s Cyber Essentials Toolkit. We hope this toolkit and the ones we are developing, fills gaps, and provides executives the tools they need to raise the cybersecurity baseline of their teams and the organizations they lead.”

Cyber Essential created in collaboration with small businesses and state and local governments, plans to prepare smaller organizations that generally have not been a part of the national dialogue on cybersecurity with basic steps and assets to improve their cybersecurity.

The CISA incorporates two sections, the core values for leaders to build up a culture of security, and explicit activities for them and their IT experts to put that culture into action. Every one of the six Cyber Essential incorporates a list of noteworthy items anybody can take to bring down cyber risks.

These are:

  •  Drive cybersecurity strategy, investment, and culture; 
  •  Develop a heightened level of security awareness and vigilance;
  •  Protect critical assets and applications; 
  •  Ensure only those who belong on your digital workplace have access; 
  •  Make backups and avoid loss of info critical to operations; 
  • Limit damage and restore normal operations quickly.

Several Vulnerabilities Identified In Emerson OpenEnterprise


Recently four vulnerabilities were found in Emerson OpenEnterprise and were accounted for to the vendor in December 2019 with the patches released a couple of months later.

Roman Lozko, a researcher at Kaspersky's ICS CERT unit, was responsible for the identification of the flaws, and the security holes found by him have been depicted as 'heap-based cushion buffer, missing authentication, improper ownership management, and weak encryption issues.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Kaspersky published advisories for three of the vulnerabilities a week ago. The rest of the vulnerability was described by Kaspersky in a previous advisory.

As indicated by Emerson, OpenEnterprise is explicitly intended to address the prerequisites of associations focusing on oil and gas production, transmission, and distribution.

The initial two followed as CVE-2020-6970 and CVE-2020-10640 are depicted as critical, as they can allow an attacker to remotely execute discretionary code with 'elevated privileges' on devices running OpenEnterprise.

Vladimir Dashchenko, a security expert at Kaspersky, says an attacker could misuse these vulnerabilities either from the system or directly from the internet. Notwithstanding, there don't give off an impression of being any occurrences of the affected product exposed to the internet.

“The most critical vulnerabilities allow remote attackers to execute any command on a computer with OpenEnterprise on it with system privileges, so this might lead to any possible consequences,”

 “Based on Shodan statistics, currently there are no directly exposed OpenEnterprise SCADA systems available,” Dashchenko explained. “It means that asset owners with installed OpenEnterprise are definitely following the basic security principles for industrial control systems.”

The rest of the vulnerabilities can be exploited to 'escalate privileges' and to acquire passwords for OpenEnterprise user accounts, yet exploitation in the two cases requires local access to the targeted system.

Maze Ransomware Operators Leaked 2GB of Financial Data from Bank of Costa Rica (BCR)


Bank of Costa Rica (BCR) has been receiving threats from the threat actors behind Maze ransomware who have stolen credit card details from the bank, the ransomware gang started publishing the encrypted financial details this week.

The Banco de Costa Rica is one of the strongest state-owned commercial banks operated in Costa Rica, starting from humble origins of mainly being a private commercial bank, it expanded to become a currency issuer and one of the most renowned baking firms in Central America contributing largely in the financial development of the nation.

The hacker group behind the data leak have demanded a ransom from Banco de Costa Rica at various occasions, however, to their dismay they observed a lack of seriousness in the way the bank dealt with these previous leaks and it served as a primary reason that motivated the latest data leak, according to an interview with Maze ransomware operators.

As per the claims made by the attackers, Banco de Costa Rica's network remained insecure till February 2020; it was in August 2019 when they first compromised the bank's network and the second attempt was made in the month of February 2020 to see how the security has been improvised – if at all so.

The 2GB of data published by the Maze ransomware attackers on their leak site contains the details of at least 50 Mastercards and Visa credit cards or debit cards, a few being listed more than once.

As per the statements given by Brett Callow, a threat analyst with Emsisoft to ISMG, "Like other groups, Maze now weaponizes the data it steals,"

"The information is no longer simply published online; it's used to harm companies' reputations and attack their business partners and customers."

"The Maze group is a for-profit criminal enterprise who are out to make a buck," Callow says. "The credit card information has been posted for one of two reasons: Either to pressure BCR into paying and/or to demonstrate the consequences of non-compliance to their future victims," Callow further told.

Russian experts assessed the level of protection of corporate data from hacker attacks


Even a low-skilled hacker can hack the internal network of global companies. An experienced attacker will not need more than half an hour to penetrate the local network. Such conclusions were made by experts from Positive Technologies in their research.

"It took an average of four days to penetrate the local network, and at least 30 minutes. In most cases, the complexity of the attack was estimated as low, that is, a low-skilled hacker who possesses only basic skills could also carry it out," said experts.

Positive Technologies experts analyzed information dated 2019 on the protection of corporate information systems of 28 companies from external intruders and pentest (the penetration test). As part of external pentests, specialists managed to penetrate the local networks of 93% of organizations. In some cases, there were several ways to overcome network protection.

According to experts, every sixth company showed signs of hacker attacks, malicious links on official sites or valid accounts in public leak databases. Based on this, the researchers concluded that the company's IT infrastructure could be controlled by hackers.

Specialists advise companies for protection, first, to follow the General principles of information security: regularly check their information resources available for external connection, as well as develop strict rules for corporate password policy and monitor their implementation. In addition, they recommend regularly updating the security settings for operating systems and installing the latest versions of software products.

Recall that, according to Kaspersky Lab, in April, the number of attacks on the infrastructure of Russian organizations whose employees work remotely exceeded 18 million, which is five times more than in February. Positive Technologies found that up to 48% of the passwords of employees of organizations is made up of a combination of a word indicating the time of the year or month and four digits indicating the year.

China and Digital Currency : multifaceted advantages or a surveillance and tracking juncture?


People’s Bank of China (PBoC), China's central bank issued a public notice on April 29, 2020, “In order to implement the FinTech Development Plan (2019-2021), the People’s Bank of China has explored approaches to designing an inclusive, prudent and flexible trial-and-error mechanism. In December 2019, a pilot programme was launched in Beijing. To intensively advance the trial work of fintech innovation regulation, the PBoC supports the expansion of the pilot program to cover the cities of Shanghai, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Suzhou, as well as Xiong’an New Area of Hebei, by guiding licensed financial institutions and tech companies to apply for an innovation test.”

After five years in making China's digital yuan is ready to be made public. While the world is battling Corona and settling the blame over China, the republic pushes out China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), Christened Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) will be made available via mobile wallets. This new digital cash values the  same as yuan and if this experiment succeeds than China will be the first sovereign that uses crypto.

Cryptocurrency has been received skeptically by the whole world but the case is quite the opposite in China. After 2015-16, Chinese investors became intrigued by ether,and Bitcoin became a popular alternative asset.

"China has emerged as the capital of the crypto ecosystem, accounting for nearly 90% of trading volumes and hosting" The Hindu reports.

Outside China, people are dwelling if the digital yuan will takeover the dollar, as this stroke by the  People’s Republic will forever change the trading way.

Advantage or Surveillance? 

Beijing gives a mundane explanation for circulating digital yuan as a way to control shadow banking and other risks.
Digital Currency will pave multifaceted advantages like combating tax evasions and money laundering. Also, paper currency consumes around 2% of the GDP. It will also help in financial inclusions and direct benefit transfer especially in emergencies. Overall, the digital currency will speed up transactions and also ease international trade.

But, this crypto retail system would not be cryptic and the anonymity of cash will disappear. Authorities can very well look into transactions for illegal and unwanted activities. The rising state of surveillance has questioned citizen privacy as physical contact tracing and now financial tracing becomes the new normal.

TV Equipment Used To Eavesdrop On Sensitive Satellite Communications


With just £270 ($300) of home television equipment an Oxford University-based security researcher caught terabytes of real-world satellite traffic including sensitive information from “some of the world’s largest organizations.”

The news comes as the number of satellites in the orbit is said to have an increment from around 2,000 today to more than 15,000 by 2030. James Pavur, a Rhodes Scholar and DPhil student at Oxford will detail the attack in a session at the Black Hat security conference toward the beginning of August.

Alongside it Pavur will demonstrate that, "under the right conditions" attackers can easily hijack active meetings by means of the satellite link, a session overview revealed.

While full details of the attack won't be uncovered until the Black Hat conference, a 2019 conference paper published by Pavur gives a 'sneak peek' into a small part of the challenges of security in the satellite communications space.

It seems to all come down into the absence of encryption-in-transit for satellite-based broadband communications.

The May 2019 paper (“Secrets in the Sky: On Privacy and Infrastructure Security in DVB-S Satellite Broadband“) notes: “Satellite transmissions cover vast distances and are subject to speed-of-light latency effects and packet loss which can impair the function of encryption schemes designed for high-reliability terrestrial environments (e.g. by requiring re-transmission of corrupted key materials). Moreover, satellites themselves are limited in terms of computing capabilities, and any on-board cryptographic operation risks trading off with other mission functionality.”

It additionally uncovers how a small portion of the eavesdropping in was led utilizing a “75 cm, flat-panel satellite receiver dish and a TBS-6983 DVB-S receiver….configured to receive Ku-band transmissions between 10,700 MHz and 12,750 MHz”

Pavur grabbed sensitive communications using tools costing less than $300, including a Selfsat H30D Satellite Dish, a TBS 6983 Satellite PCI-E, and a three-meter coaxial cable.

Pavur even focuses on the Digital Video Broadcasting-Satellite (DVB-S) and DVB-S rendition 2 protocols, which transmit information in MPEG-TS format. The paper includes: "A collection of Python utilities… was used to analyze each of these transponders for signs of DVB-based internet transmissions.”

The 2018 experiment takes note of that through manual review of the intercepted traffic, the security researchers distinguished "[traffic] flows associated with electrical power generation facilities”

“Vulnerable systems administration pages and FTP servers were publicly routable from the open internet. This means that an attacker could sniff a session token from a satellite connection, open a web browser, and log in to the plant’s control panel…”

Alongside further details on the attack, Pavur will at Black Hat present an “open-source tool which individual customers can use to encrypt their traffic without requiring ISP involvement.”


Microsoft rolls out a new threat intelligence against COVID-19 attacks


COVID-19 has become a hotspot of cyber attacks and spams as the majority of employees are working from home. These growing numbers of attacks have made security firms and tech industries quite concerned. But Microsoft has come to the rescue, rolling out a new COVID-19 threat intelligence.


Microsoft announced on its blog a new move that will improve security and can be availed easily. The company has introduced a COVID-19 threat intelligence made available from May 14, sharing feeds for Azure Sentinel customers and publicly available for everyone on GitHub. So, even if you are not a Microsoft customer worry not, you can still protect yourself from these COVID-19 based attacks. This data is only available for a limited period only until the pandemic threat looms over our heads.

“Microsoft processes trillions of signals each day across identities, endpoints, cloud, applications, and email, which provides visibility into a broad range of COVID-19-themed attacks, allowing us to detect, protect, and respond to them across our entire security stack,” Microsoft stated in their blog. “Today, we take our COVID-19 threat intelligence sharing a step further by making some of our own indicators available publicly for those that are not already protected by our solutions.”

Users with Microsoft Threat Protection need not go through this, they are already protected with Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) and email with Office 365 ATP.

These COVID-19 threat intelligence indicators are available on the Azure Sentinel GitHub via Microsoft Graph Security API.

Best Protection from COVID-19 Threats 

Hackers and Cybercriminals have been using an array of malicious ways from malware to phishing emails for their own gain. This move by Microsoft will shift the balance and go a long way to protect and defend from such threats.

Security researcher Sean Wright says, "Microsoft certainly deserves credit for this. It will be especially useful for those who are struggling at the moment and don’t necessarily have the funds to afford services that organizations would normally have to pay for.”

“This information is going to be very useful to enable many volunteers in the community to help organizations and others. It is the correlation of data—especially threat intelligence—that will go a long way to help stop the threat actors out there who are actively targeting organizations and individuals.”

Some are critical of this announcement by the tech giant pointing out that it is "too little, too late".

 “I’m not saying it’s not welcome but where was this support nine weeks ago?” says Ian Thornton-Trump. 

Ian Thornton-Trump, CISO at Cyjax points out “It’s clever marketing and has some value—although most, if not all, those indicators of compromise (IOCs) will be available from a multitude of cyber threat intelligence sources, feeds and vendors already.”

The lifespan of Phishing Attacks Recorded a Tremendous Growth in H2 2019


Phishing attacks recorded a remarkable surge in H2 2019, the growth has been alarming with the number of phishing websites blockages soaring by 230 percent per year. Earlier, phishers would terminate the fraudulent campaign once their webpages were blocked, however, now they are immediately mobilizing the phishing attack onto other brands. It serves as the main reason as to why the number grew so rampantly.

As the lifespan of phishing attacks increased tremendously, attackers became specific about their target pool and have increasingly targeted online services and cloud storage providers, the primary reason being the huge chunks of sensitive data stored in them that can be downloaded by the attackers to later threaten the victims for a ransom.

Turning towards a diligent attacking method, phishers have improved upon the ways they choose their campaigns and targets – preferring quantity over quality. Client software, e-commerce, online streaming, and delivery services were some online services that contributed to 29.3 percent of the phishers' targets, cloud storages amounted to 25.4 percent while financial organizations made for a total of 17.6 percent, as per the statistics for the last year.

While spotting and preventing the distribution of threats online, a total of 8,506 phishing web resources were blocked by Group-IB's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-GIB).

While providing insights on the matter to Help Net Security, Yaroslav Kargalev, CERT-GIB deputy head said, “Several years ago, creators of phishing pages were likely to have some technical background, they created phishing pages, putting much effort into the launch of their campaigns, preventing them from being detected and relentlessly supporting their sustainability....”

“This industry has changed its face — those pioneers no longer create phishing pages, they create tools for operators of web phishing campaigns who do not necessarily have any programming skills, and last year became the culmination of this trend. Since this new generation of phishers is not that experienced in maintaining the web resources viable, the phishing community’s focus has shifted toward the number of scam resources,” he added.

Banking Trojans and cryptocurrency projects have seen a steep decline in their preference amongst cybercriminals. As the functionality of backdoors has continued to expand, spyware and backdoors have stolen the show to reach the number one spot in the popularity rankings with a whopping 35 percent share.

Security Flaws Impacting Oracle’s iPlanet Web Server Discovered By Researchers



Cyber Security Experts discover two security defects affecting Oracle's iPlanet Web Server that could cause sensitive data exposure and limited injection attacks. 

Tracked as CVE-2020-9315 and CVE-2020-9314, discovered by experts at Nightwatch Cybersecurity on January 19, 2020, the two flaws are said to reside in the web administration console of the enterprise server management server. 

The first issue, known as CVE-2020-9315, could permit unauthenticated remote attackers to secure the read-only access to any page inside the administration console, without validation, by essentially replacing an admin GUI URL for the target page. 

The vulnerability could bring about the leak of sensitive information, including configuration information and encryption keys. 

While the second tracked as CVE-2020-9314, could be exploited to infuse external images which can be utilized for phishing and social engineering attacks. It lives in the "productNameSrc" parameter of the console. 

An inadequate fix for CVE-2012-0516 XSS validation defect considered this parameter to be abused related to "productNameHeight" and "productNameWidth" parameters for the injection of images into a domain. 

The two vulnerabilities affect Oracle iPlanet Web Server 7.0.x, that is no longer supported. 

At the time it isn't clear if the earlier versions of the application are likewise influenced. As indicated by the experts, the most recent variants of Oracle Glassfish and Eclipse Glassfish share common code with iPlanet, yet they don't appear to be vulnerable. 

“Since Oracle no longer supports Oracle iPlanet Web Server 7.0.x, the policy is that there is no coordinated disclosure involving Oracle,” concludes the report published by Nightwatch Cybersecurity. ”Reporters who discover security vulnerabilities in products that Oracle no longer supports are free to disclose vulnerability details without Oracle participation.” 

Following is the timeline for the issues: 
2020-01-19: Initial discovery 
2020-01-24: Initial disclosure sent to the vendor; rejected since the product is not supported 
2020-01-24: Clarification questions sent to the vendor 
2020-01-27: Report again rejected by vendor; referred to MITRE for CVE assignment 
2020-01-29: CVEs requested from MITRE 
2020-02-07: Initial report sent to CERT/CC 
2020-02-17: CVE request rejected by MITRE, resubmitted with more data 
2020-02-18: Response received from CERT/CC 
2020-02-20: CVE assignments received from MITRE 
2020-02-20: CVEs and disclosure plans communicated to the vendor 
2020-05-10: Public disclosure

IoT (Internet of Things) : taking the world by storm

IoT or Internet of things refers to billions of devices and machines in the world connected to the internet, sharing and collecting data.


Now, with the advancement in computing and wireless technology even something as small as a pill or as big as an aeroplane can become a part of IoT. Any device or machine that can be transformed into an IoT device is connected to the internet to communicate and transfer data and perform  functions without human involvement.

According to Gartner, a research and advisory company around 21 billion "connected things" right at this moment are working collecting data and performing tasks. They predict that by the end of 2020, the IoT market will grow 21% with 5.8 billion endpoints.

"Electricity smart metering, both residential and commercial will boost the adoption of IoT among utilities,” said Peter Middleton, senior research director at Gartner. “Physical security, where building intruder detection and indoor surveillance use cases will drive volume, will be the second-largest user of IoT endpoints in 2020.”

 Be it consumer devices, smart devices, the medical sector, government, industrial sector like automobiles, productions nearly every enterprise use IoT devices in some form.

 he utility of IoT devices is realized in this COVID-19 era where the ability to remote control devices and perform works is a great help. These millions of IoT endpoints are bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds.

Mobilizing the World

The best example of IoT's value is the 'Medical Sector' like Kinsa's connected thermometer which sends the data to the company who uses it to flag possible COVID-19 outbreaks.

 79 percent of healthcare providers with over $100 million revenue put IoT devices in production. Gartner also predicts a 13-percent rise in medical IoT spending for the next fiscal year.

 As great are the benefits of Iot, the risks are ever-increasing. There are security risks as connecting to internet invites attack vendors that offline machines never face. Installing IoT devices are a great feat in itself with proper procurement, deployment, security, and monitoring.

But the rewards of IoT surpass the risk, they increase efficiency, provides a cutting edge technology, and most importantly the invaluable data. Ofcourse, one needs the right analytics tools and strategy that imputes building a whole analytics team and department. Experts do say, you would definitely fail in your first attempt but learn from the mistakes and get it right the next time

French Cyber security Analyst Claims He Could Access Details Of Corona-Infected Persons Via The Government-Mandated Aarogya Setu App


A French cybersecurity analyst by the pseudonym 'Elliot Alderson' on Twitter claims he could access details of Corona infected people via the government-mandated Aarogya Setu app.

Robert Baptiste wrote on Twitter that it was feasible for a remote attacker to know “who is infected, unwell, make a self-assessment in the area of his (attacker’s) choice.” He was able to see “if someone was sick at the PMO office or the Indian Parliament" even with the most recent variant of the Covid-19 contact tracing application.

The creators of Aarogya Setu albeit even issued a statement accordingly in response to dismissing Baptiste's prior claims.

The French cybersecurity analyst asserted that he could gain access to the details of positive cases at a location of his choice. He didn't present any confirmation in this regard however guaranteed a point by point report about the alleged security flaws.

The official statement released by Aarogya Setu said “no personal information of any user has been proven to be at risk by the French ethical hacker”.

The statement earlier gave by the creators of the application said it was feasible for a user to get information for various places by changing the latitude/longitude, which is, at any rate, an accessible data.

The creators, notwithstanding, demanded that mass assortment of this information was unrealistic as “the API call is behind a Web Application Firewall”.

However all this has given rise to a raging debate on the utilization of contact tracing applications by governments, Eivor Oborn, Professor of Healthcare Management at Warwick Business School, UK, says “I think a real breach is made if the professionals are forced to use the app and then are not allowed to discontinue the monitoring after the threshold of the pandemic is over; this to me is a greater concern.”

He included that in a democratic nation like India, citizens ought to have transparency with respect to what, when, and how the information is being utilized. “I think it is good for the governments concerned to tangibly show benefits that accrue from data use,” Prof Oborn stressed.

Nonetheless, the government's chief scientific advisor, Prof K VijayRaghavan, says that the source code of the application will be made open very soon, “India is the only democracy which has made the use of contact tracing app mandatory, so steps should be taken to make the codebase of the app open source, and users should be given the option to delete their data, even from the servers.”


"CursedChrome", a chrome extension used by hackers to make your browser into a proxy


Security researchers have found a Chrome extension that turns Chrome browsers in proxy bots that enables the hacker to browse chrome using an infected identity.
This tool was created by Matthew Bryan, a security researcher, he named it "Cursed Chrome" and released it on GitHub as an open-source project.

 The software works on two fronts and has two parts -

  • a client-side component (this is the chrome extension) 
  • a server-side counterpart ( this is where all CursedChrome server report) 
Once this extension is installed, it can be used to log into the CursedChrome control panel, and through it, the hacker can use any infected browser. Thus, the hacker can navigate and browse the net using that identity and can even access logged in sessions and credentials.

This extension is the icing on the cake for hackers and has been received with skepticism. Many at the cybersecurity community have raised their eyebrows at the public release of such software saying it's nothing short of handing a gun to a killer to do the killing. 

Created for Pen-testing

The creator, Matthew Bryant says that his intentions were quite innocent. "I open-sourced the code because I want other professional red teamers and pen-testers to be able to accurately simulate the 'malicious browser-extension' scenario," says Bryant in a statement.

He opens sourced the code so that it would help security companies to test their walls and keep the miscreants out. "Open-sourcing tooling is important for red teams (security companies) for the same reasons as any other job: it saves time for the teams at different companies from having to rewrite everything whenever they do a red team or pentest. It's actually doubly important for us because pen-testers and red teamers work on extremely tight timelines," Bryant said.

Bryant says that it's very easy to built an extension like CursedChrome for a hacker and his only intention was to bring awareness that extensions like these that we very easily install in our system can be equal to paving way for hackers.

 "It's [...] important to raise awareness of just what level of access you're granting when you install a random extension for your browser," Bryant said in a mail to ZDnet.

He hopes that security companies can show the dangers of Chrome extensions through CursedChrome and build a stronger security system.

Bryant also gives a solution that blocks all extensions that could harm the user's security. He released a second project, named Chrome Galvanizer on GitHub (this too, open-source).

All you need to know about the new threat "Fleeceware" and how to protect yourself!


SophosLabs, a cybersecurity firm has discovered a range of apps on Google Play Store and Apple's iOS App Store whose sole purpose is to charge huge subscriptions and other fees to clients for the features and services they could avail for free.

These apps though tricks the user they however neither steal your data nor do they run any malicious code hence fundamentally they are not malwares. Sophos calls them fleecewear, malicious apps hiding in sheep's clothing. "Because these apps exist in a categorical grey area that isn’t overtly malware, and isn’t a potentially unwanted app (PUA), we’ve coined the term fleeceware, because their defining characteristic is that they overcharge users for functionality that’s widely available in free or low-cost apps." writes Sophos Labs.

They found 25 such Android apps on Google Play store in January and 30 apps on the iOS App Store that could be fleeceware.

 "In our capitalistic society, you can look at fleeceware apps and say if somebody wants to waste $500 per year on a flashlight app that’s up to them," says John Shier, Sophos senior security adviser. "But it’s just the exorbitant price that you’re being charged, and it's not done aboveboard. That, to me, is not ethical." 

You have to be careful while paying for in-app purchases and especially subscription. These apps will offer a trial period but will demand payment the first time you open the app. Or they could ask high payment for simple basic features like photo filter for 9$ per week or 30$ per month.

Fleeceware apps exploit the marketing model of play store and App Store, finding loopholes to charge their skyrocketing prices. But Google is tightening the leash. It announced last week that developers will be required to make details of subscriptions, free trials, and introductory offers more precise and clear by June 16.

 "Part of improving the subscription user experience comes from fostering a trustworthy platform for subscribers; making sure they feel fully informed when they purchase in-app subscriptions," Angela Ying, Google product manager wrote in a blog. 

 How to avoid fleeceware? 

Through some simple steps you can avoid falling into the traps set by this fleeceware:


  1.  Install apps developed by prominent developers. Big companies and their apps offer features like emojis, selfie filters, and QR code scanners for free. 
  2.  If you found something exclusive that the app is providing, it's better to compare prices by doing a quick search. 
  3.  If you think, you're subscriptions are getting a bit out of hand and want to check which apps you have subscribed to and the ones you'd like to cancel - Play Store and iOS App Store both offer the option where you can see all your subscriptions. 


"On iOS, open Settings, tap your name, and then Subscriptions to view and manage everything. Or you can open the App Store, insert your initials in the upper right corner, and tap Subscriptions. On Android, open the Play Store, tap the hamburger menu icon in the upper right, and choose Subscriptions to view and manage your signups."