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Winja (VirusTotal Uploader)- The Malware Detector!


Cyber-security is an important concern for everyone working from these days, amid the lock-down due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. There are several security measures one can employ to stay on top of all the cyber-hazards that hackers could be brewing.

Winja is one such free application and passive analysis tool that is designed for Microsoft Windows that helps the user find any potential malware on their system. By way of using the scanning engine of the anti-virus products, the application gives forth very specific details as to which file is hazardous in which way.

Whenever we download something from the internet our first step is to ensure that it’s safe for our device. With Winja, all you have to do is to drag the file in question on the mal window and Voila! The results apparently will show on the desktop.

In case you have a sneaking suspicion about your device being infected, you could scan all services and processes for malware and the application will help you.

Reportedly, Winja initially uses the “VirusTotal” public API to insert the fingerprint of a file. If the fingerprint is present, Winja sends the current analysis report and if it is not then Winja sends the “unknown file” to the VirusTotal servers for scanning. You can also analyze files any time you want to enhance the chances of detection.

As has been recognized by researchers over these years, hackers tend to have their places of choice in their victim’s devices to first sneak in and then hide the malware. With Winja it becomes extremely easy to locate any suspicious files in those places. Per sources, Services, Task Scheduler, Active Processes, Applications beginning with Windows and Actions that require network resources and internet are few to be mentioned.

All you need to do to scan any file that you have a suspicion on is to drag it and drop in onto the main window of the Winja application.

Plus, you can make use of an extension for the Windows Explorer that would aid you to request a scan by means of a right-click on any file of your choice from the file browser.

Per sources, all the subsequent versions after the sixth one are available in French making it a huge hit in the French-versed population. VirusTotal, which is an arm of Google, strongly suggests Winja as a substitute for their Windows desktop application.

This application goes hand in hand with the anti-virus software that you love to use for your devices. It is not a substitute for anti-virus software but it fits with them like a puzzle piece and does not intend to endanger their publicity in any way.

Hackers use Bill Gates themed video to sell off Ponzi Crypto Scheme


Recently, tens of YouTube accounts were hacked to broadcast a Ponzi cryptocurrency scheme by renaming the hacked YouTube accounts as Microsoft accounts bearing the message from the company's former CEO Bill Gates to invest in crypto.


This is not the only attack of it's kind, various other attacks like this have become frequent on YouTube where the hacker hijacks a popular account and broadcast a message from the account- a "crypto giveaway", where the user is offered that if they give some cryptocurrency they'll get it back doubled. And of course, this is a scam and the victim does not get any returns.

These frauds first made their appearance on Twitter but moved on to YouTube as Twitter started weeding these posers out.

These hackers very efficiently gave their scheme an air of legitimacy by live streaming (on 30+ accounts) one of Bill Gates talk given to an audience at Village Global in June 2019 and adding a pop of messages of the Ponzi Scheme. This Ponzi scheme was live streaming on these accounts on YouTube- Microsoft US, Microsoft Europe, Microsoft News, and others.

Though both YouTube and Microsoft denied that any official accounts were hacked some users did report that they found the stream on Microsoft's nonverified accounts.

Most of the scam videos were streaming from hacked accounts with high subscriber numbers, that were renamed as Microsoft US, Microsoft Europe and such to seem more official. The viewed number of the videos was in tens and thousands, also the Bitcoin address in the scheme received thousands of US dollars thus successfully scamming some users.

 Various other organizations have been used by such hackers like Chaos Computer Club, a famous Germany-based hacking community, had their accounts hacked and broadcasted with a similar cryptocurrency scheme.
The most recent and popular case was when the YouTube account of YouTube's founder was hacked back in January. So, these sorts of fraudulent schemes have now become a common affair and it's at the hands of the users not to pay heed to these. Always check the legitimacy of these accounts and it's good to remember to think twice before giving in to an offer that's too good to be real.

Windows 10 Users Beware! Astaroth Malware Campaign is Back and More Malicious!


A malware group that goes by the name of ‘Astaroth’ has re-emerged stronger and stealthier than before. This group has been known for exploiting Microsoft Windows tools to further the attack.

Microsoft had gotten aware of these methods and exposed the malware group and its “living-off-the-land” tactics. But the malware resurfaced with a hike in activity and better techniques.

Reportedly, the Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC) is the built-in tool that got used the last time as was spotted by the Windows Defender ATP.

Per sources, the analysis done by Microsoft led to the discovery of a spam operation that spread emails with links to websites hosting a “.LNK” shortcut file which would instruct the WMIC and other Windows tools to run “fileless” malware in the memory well out of the reach of the anti-malware.

Sources indicate that having learnt from mistakes, Astaroth now entirely dodges the use of the WMIC. January and February showed a rise in activity.

According to sources, the new styled campaign still commences with a spam email comprising of a malicious website hosting link, LNK file but it the new version it employs a file attribute, “Alternate Data Streams” (ADS), that lets the attacker clip data to a file that already exists so that hiding malicious payloads gets easier.

Per source reports, the first step of the campaign which is a spam email reads, “Please find in the link below the STATEMENT #56704/2019 AND LEGAL DECISION, for due purposes”. The link is an archive file marked as, “Arquivo_PDF_.zip”.

It manipulates the ExtExport.exe to load the payload which per researchers is a valid process and an extremely unusual attack mechanism.

Once the victim clicks on the LNK file with the .zip file in it, the malware runs an obfuscated BAT command line, which releases a JavaScript file into the ‘Pictures’ folder and commands the explorer.exe that helps run the file.

Researchers mention and sources confirm that using the ADS permits the stream data to stay unidentifiable in the File Explorer, in this version Astaroth reads and decrypts plugins from ADS streams in desktop.ini that let Astaroth to rob email and browser passwords. It also unarms security software.

Per sources, the plugins are the “NirSoft WebBrowserPassView” tool is for regaining passwords and browsers and the “NirSoft MailPassView” tool is for getting back the email client passwords.

This is not the only legitimate tool Astaroth exploits. A command-line tool that goes by the name of “BITSAdmin” which aids admins to create download and upload jobs with tracking their progress is exploited to download encrypted payloads.

Reportedly, Astaroth has previously wreaked havoc on continents like Asia, North America, and Europe.

HACKED- Windows 10, macOS, Adobe, VMware, Apple and Oracle at The Pwn2Own 2020!


Pwn2Own is a well-known computer hacking contest which is held once every year at the CanSecWest security conference. In this contest, the contestants are tested on how well they could exploit commonly used software and mobile devices with formerly unheard of vulnerabilities.

An issue as grave as the Coronavirus pandemic has clearly not affected the spirits of the Pwn2Own 2020 hacking competition which got done with its first two days.

On Day 1, security researchers and participants bagged a handsome amount of over $180,000 for exploiting the Windows 10, Ubuntu Desktop and macOS, mention sources.

Reportedly, a “team from the Georgia Tech Systems Software and Security Lab succeeded in exploiting a kernel privilege escalation to execute code on macOS” by way of Safari. The attack mechanism that ended up winning for the team $70,000 was comprised of 6 vulnerabilities.

Per the event page (thezdi.com), Georgia Tech employed a “6 bug chain to pop calc and escalate to root”.

The team that has won several preceding editions of the hacking contest, Team Fluoroacetate, won themselves a victorious $40,000 after they employed a “local privilege escalation exploit” meant for the Windows 10.

Reports mention that one of the two members of the aforementioned team also won himself a smashing amount of $40,000 for yet another privilege escalation exploit pursuing Windows 10.

As per sources, the RedRocket CTF team got themselves a win, owing to it to one of their members, Mafred Paul, who bagged an attractive amount of $30,000 for a local privilege escalation exploit focused on Ubuntu Desktop. The hack was about the manipulation of the ‘Input validation bug’.

On Day 2, The Fluoroacetate successfully targeted the Adobe Reader with a local privilege escalation by employing a pair of UAFs, mentioned sources and grabbed an amount of $50,000.

Per reports, the Synacktiv team targeted the VMware Workstation but unfortunately to no avail in the given duration of time. There also were special demonstrations of the Zero Day Initiative against the Oracle VirtualBox.

This was the very first time the organizers allowed “conditional remote participation” in the Pwn2Own hacking contest, understandably because of the increased concerns of people about traveling due to the Coronavirus outbreak.



Microsoft shuts down the infamous Necurs Botnet!

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that in collaboration with its industry parents, it has successfully shut down the famous botnet Necurs- responsible for distribution of most spam mails and malwares till date.


Microsoft in a blog post wrote that it has "significantly disrupted" the botnet by taking legal actions against it, after the struggle of eight long years of planning and tracking.

On March 5, with the United States court order, Microsoft was able to control the U. S network and infrastructure used by the botnet and stop it from distribution.

According to Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust, this action by Microsoft with the corporation of public-private partnership globally will be a big setback to hackers and cyber criminals and will prevent them from launching future attacks.

"This was accomplished by analyzing a technique used by Necurs to systematically generate new domains through an algorithm. We were then able to accurately predict over six million unique domains that would be created in the next 25 months,” Burt explained.

"Microsoft reported these domains to their respective registries in countries around the world so the websites can be blocked and thus prevented from becoming part of the Necurs infrastructure. By taking control of existing websites and inhibiting the ability to register new ones, we have significantly disrupted the botnet.”

The Necurs botnet was discovered in 2012 and it rose from there to the largest distributor of spam mails and malware. It is the largest spam bot till date affecting 9 million computers. It is used by criminals and hackers worldwide in launching attacks through mails and was responsible for spreading infamous attacks like GameOver Zeus trojan as well as the Dridex malware deployed by Evil Corp.

One Necurs infected computer could send 3.8 million spam emails to 40.6 million machines or individuals in just 58 days.

Microsoft is also working with various Internet service providers (ISPs) to clear the victims computers of any malware or strain linked to Necurs Botnet to completely eradicate the bottom and prevent any comebacks.

“This remediation effort is global in scale and involves collaboration with partners in industry, government and law enforcement via the Microsoft Cyber Threat Intelligence Program (CTIP),” added the post. “Through CTIP, Microsoft provides law enforcement, government Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), ISPs and government agencies responsible for the enforcement of cyber laws and the protection of critical infrastructure with better insights into criminal cyber infrastructure located within their jurisdiction, as well as a view of compromised computers and victims impacted by such criminal infrastructure.”

Microsoft shuts down World's Largest Botnet Army


According to Microsoft, the company was part of a team that took down the global network of zombie bots. Necurs is one of the largest botnets globally and is also responsible for attacking more than 9 million computers. It is infamous for multiple criminal cyberattacks that include sending phishing emails like fake pharmaceuticals e-mail and stealing personal user data. The hackers use Botnets for taking over remote access of internet-connected systems to install malware and dangerous software. The hackers then use the installed malicious software to steal personal user data like user activity on the computer, send spams and fake e-mails, modify or delete user information without the knowledge of the owner.


The taking down of the Necurs happened after 8 years of consistent hard work and patience along with co-ordinated planning with 35 counties across the world, says Tom Burt, VP of customer security and trust, Microsoft. According to Tom, now that the botnet network is down, hackers will no longer be able to execute cyberattacks with the help of the botnet network.

About Botnet

Botnets are systems of the web-connected computers that run on self-automated commands. Hackers use this network of systems to send malware (malicious software) that allows them remote access to a computer. If the malware is installed or starts affecting the computer, hackers steal personal user information or use the infected device as a host to launch more cyberattacks by sending spams and malware. When the device is infected through malware, it's called Zombie.

Origin of Botnet Network

The news of the 1st Necurs attack appeared in 2012. According to experts, Necurs is said to have affected more than 9 million computers. Necurs used domain generation algorithms to grow its network. It turned arbitrary domain names into websites and used them to send spams or malware to the attacked computers. Fortunately, Microsoft and the team deciphered the algorithm pattern and predicted the next domain name that Necurs would have used to launch another cyberattack, and prevented the attack from happening.

Signs your computer might be affected

  • Systems run slow and programs load slowly 
  • Computer crashes frequently 
  • Suspicious filling up of storage 
  • Your account sends spam emails to your contacts

Government based hacking groups are attacking Microsoft Exchange Servers


Various government-backed hacking groups and APTs are targeting and exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange email servers. The vulnerability was patched last month February 2020.


Volexity, a UK cyber security firm was the first to discover these exploitation attempts on Friday. But neither did they share the names of the hacking groups nor did they comment further on the matter. It is rumoured that the hacking groups are "the big players" but nothing has been confirmed yet. The vulnerability is identified as CVE-2020-0688.

Microsoft released fixes for this on Feb 11 and asked system admins to install the fixes as soon as possible to ward of attacks. After the release of the patch, things remained calm only to escalate after two weeks when Zero-Day Initiative reported the bug to Microsoft and published a detailed report on the vulnerability and how it worked. Security researchers used this report to craft proof-of-concept exploits to test their own servers and create detection rules.

And as soon as all this info became public, hackers started playing attention and when all this information was easily available they took advantage of the vulnerability.

"On February 26, a day after the Zero-Day Initiative report went live, hacker groups began scanning the internet for Exchange servers, compiling lists of vulnerable servers they could target at a later date. First scans of this type were detected by threat intel firm Bad Packets." reports Zdnet.

Volexity said, these scans turned into actual attacks.

APTs - "advanced persistent threats," were the first to exploit this bug to attack. APTs are state sponsored hacking groups. Security Researchers say, this vulnerability could become quite popular among ransomware attackers.

It is not easy to exploit CVE-2020-0688 vulnerability. Only expert hackers can abuse this bug as they need the credentials for an email account on the Exchange server- but it will not stop ransom gangs and APTs as these are well versed in phishing mail campaigns and gain credentials through the same.

Companies and organizations which have had previous phishing and malware attacks, are adviced to update their Exchange email servers with the bug fix as soon as possible.

Windows 10 Users Beware! TrickBots' Prevalence And Conveyance Escalates in Devices



Reports mention that recently attackers were found exploiting the latest version of the “Remote Desktop ActiveX” which was developed for Windows 10.

Sources say that similar to what many others are doing, the exploitation could cause the automatic execution of the “OSTAP” JavaScript downloaded on the ta
rget’s systems.

Per analyses of researchers, the ActiveX is employed to automatically execute a mal macro right after the target enables a document. The majority of the documents contained images to encourage people to enable the content.

Per reports, the catch was that the image contained a hidden ActiveX control below it; the OSTAP downloader was disguised in white text to make it seemingly invisible to eyes and readable for machines.

Trickbot attackers misuse people’s tendencies of not updating their software with the latest updates to protect the systems.

Trickbots happen to be among the most advanced versions of the malware structures. The number is increasing and so is the threat to systems with Windows 10. Not of late, researchers dug out more documents that execute the OSTAP JavaScript downloader.

It was also found out that the groups of tricksters that were exploiting the ActiveX control were not the only ones. Other groups were also into misusing them along with a few others.

According to sources, the victim documents had the following nomenclature-“i<7-9 arbitrary="" digits="">.doc”. Almost every document had in it an image that would convince the enablers to open it. What the opener wouldn’t know is that below the image is a hidden ActiveX control. The OSTAP JavaScript downloader would be disguised as white text which only the machines could read.

Per sources, the analysis of the ActiveX code exposed the use of the “MsRdpClient10NotSafeForScripting” class. The script is crafted in a way that the server field is left empty to cause an error which would aid the attackers further on.

According to researchers, the technique that kicks the ‘macro’ on is, “_OnDisconnected”. This will execute the main function, first. It doesn’t get executed instantly for it takes time to resolve the DNS to an empty string only to return an error.

The OSTAP’s execution would depend on the “error number matches” exactly to “disconnectReasonDNSLookupFailed”. The OSTAP wscript directive is relative to the error number computation.

The execution of the wscript would work with its very content. This trick is quite an old one in the book. Microsoft’s BAT would ignore the ‘comments’, along with the content and everything that comes with the syntax, while the execution’s happening.

Once the JavaScript is edited per the attackers’ needs, the obfuscation scheme gets repeated. Updating systems doesn’t work every time but it’s a pre-requisite anyway.

A defense mechanism is paramount in cases of OSTAP and the likes of it. With the technology that’s prospering with every passing minute, so is the number of attack mechanisms and attackers. Hence keep systems updates and a tight security structure in place.


Windows Devices in Hospitals Vulnerable to Potential Exploits


Windows Devices in Hospitals Vulnerable to Potential Exploits According to recent reports, hackers can exploit the vulnerabilities present in health devices, and it can prove dangerous to the health of the patients at the hospital. But, the problem could be avoided by following some simple steps. The health devices have a more likable chance to the Bluekeep exploit than any other devices connected in the hospitals. Health devices can be exploited up to 2 times, using the Bluekeep exploit. This puts both the patients and the hospital staff in danger as witnessing the current scenario, the health sector has recently been one of the primary targets of the hackers.


Therefore, the issue of cybersecurity among the health sector is one of the main concerns of the digital age. Bluekeep was first discovered in 2019, and it is a vulnerability in Microsoft RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol). The vulnerability affects Windows7, Windows8, Windows Server2008, and Windows Server2008 R2. When the news of Bluekeep vulnerability surfaced, Microsoft immediately released a security patch to resolve the issue. Various intelligence agencies, including the US NSA (National Security Advisory) and Britain's NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre), immediately informed Microsoft to fix all the security patches related to the vulnerability.

The matter of concern was that Bluekeep could be used as malware to do the same damage that EternalBlue had caused, the exploit that triggered Wannacry. In this incident, various high profile organizations were taken the victim, but the greatest attack happened on the National Health Service of UK, in which the entire networks of the hospitals were shut down. But despite various warnings, health devices that run on Windows are still vulnerable to a potential Bluekeep exploit.

According to researchers at CyberMDX, a healthcare cybersecurity company, a newly made report's data suggests that more than 20% of healthcare devices (that run on Windows) in hospitals are vulnerable to the blue keep exploit, as they have still not configured to the latest security patches. The healthcare devices include x-ray machines, anesthesia machines, ultrasound devices, and radiology equipment. If these devices are not fixed to the latest security patch, chances are that hackers could exploit them using the blue keep vulnerability. This can risk the lives of the patients and the healthcare staff.

Apple Doubles Microsoft by 2:1 in Cybersecurity Threats


According to a fresh report on malware that further sinks deep into the debate of cyberattacks, research company Malwarebytes has used data from various fields to analyze the cybersecurity attacks that effected either the consumers or the business in 2019. But the most surprising thing is the platforms on which these attacks happened: Apple vs Microsoft. Surprisingly, the report tells us that the cybersecurity threats had a larger effect on Apple than that of Microsoft.


An insight into State of Malware Reports- 

The 2020 Malwarebytes research looked into the following fields for the potential cybersecurity threats: macOS and Windows, iOS and Android users, attacks based on web browsers, and attacks that happened on Windows or Mac PCs. After calculating the cybersecurity threats and analyzing the data, the 'State of Malwares' report revealed that cybersecurity threats against Apple increased by 400% in the year 2019. It also concludes that Apple outnumbers Microsoft by 2:1 in terms of cybersecurity threats.

The ratio shouldn't be ignored as Malwarebyte's Apple has a larger user base than Microsoft. Further, the report reveals that Mac files tend to have more malicious behavior (front and center) throughout the years, allowing more space for hackers to deploy evading techniques to escape iOS discovery. As the malware signs of progress keep affecting the iOS, users should rethink if they should install antivirus in their phones or not, as it opens up the space for cyber attacks.

Does it raise concern over Mac Security- 

If you look back in the past media coverage on cybersecurity, the reports would suggest that there were more attacks to Microsoft or Windows users than to Apple or iOS. But simply having fewer reports than Microsoft doesn't mean that Apple has better cybersecurity. There have been a few prominent incidents that raised suspicion over Apple's commitment to security. For instance, the iPhone specific threats, or the Siri feature that left encrypted emails encrypted, or the apps that could tell if "your iPhone was hacked," or to ensure the security of the Apple Smartwatch 5. The Malwarebytes report suggests that one shouldn't ignore this while moving into 2020, as 2019 showed it was a bad year for Apple.

Can you find a bug in Xbox Live? Microsoft will pay you, if you do!

Think you're an expert at Xbox? Think you can find a bug in Xbox Live? Well, Microsoft might pay you some bucks.

Microsoft has launched an official bug bounty hunt for the Xbox Live network in order to improve the program and services. The bug hunters will be paid up to 20,000 dollars but the payment will depend on the severity of the security issue and the minimum amount will start from 500 dollars.



Microsoft in their bug bounty program is looking for serious security and other vulnerability issues like accessing unauthorized codes and not connection problems. The bounty program covers a wide range of vulnerabilities but with strict restrictions, for example, they will not cover issues such as DDoS issues and URL Redirects and disqualify anyone who tries to phish or social engineer Xbox users and engineers and moves within (laterally inside) Xbox network while searching for bugs.

Usually, security researchers are the ones who gain most from bug bounty programs but Microsoft has announced that anyone can submit bug issues regardless of their background.

 Program manager at the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), Chloé Brown, said in the blog post announcing the bug bounty program, that submissions will need to give proof of concept (POC). “The Xbox bounty program invites gamers, security researchers, and technologists around the world to help identify security vulnerabilities in the Xbox network and services, and share them with the Microsoft Xbox team through Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure (CVD). Eligible submissions with a clear and concise proof of concept (POC) are eligible for awards up to US$20,000.”


This is not Microsoft's first bounty program, they have earlier launched similar programs for Microsoft Edge browser, their “Windows Insider” preview builds, Office 365 and many others with rewards up to 15,000 dollars. But their biggest one remains for serious vulnerabilities found in the company's Azure cloud computing service where security researchers can earn up to 300,000 dollars for a super-specific bug.

Sophisticated Hackers Infiltrate Dozens of U.N. Servers


An internal confidential document from the United Nations, leaked to The New Humanitarian and seen by The Associated Press, says many servers were undermined including at the U.N. human rights office, which gathers rather sensitive information all year round.

 According to a U.N. official, the hack seemed very "sophisticated" and the degree of the damage stays vague, particularly regarding personal, secret or compromising information that may have been 'stolen'.

The official, who talked openly about the scene, basically on the condition of appearing anonymous, said frameworks have since been strengthened. “It’s as if someone were walking in the sand, and swept up their tracks with a broom afterward. There’s not even a trace of a clean-up,” says the authority said.

Jake Williams, CEO of the cybersecurity firm Rendition Infosec and a former U.S. government hacker says, “The intrusion definitely looks like espionage,” referring to the incident which occurred just the previous year where the 'sophisticated hackers' had invaded U.N. offices in Geneva and Vienna in an apparent espionage operation, and their identity and the degree of the information they acquired is obscure.

 “The attackers have a goal in mind and are deploying malware to machines that they believe serve some purpose for them and any number of intelligence agencies from around the globe are likely interested in infiltrating the U.N,” Williams added further.

U.N. representative Stephane Dujarric said the attack “resulted in a compromise of core infrastructure components” and was “determined to be serious.” The 'earliest' activity was identified with the intrusion that happened in July and it was detected in August, he said in light of emailed questions.

He said the world body needs more data to figure out who may have been behind the incursion; however included "the methods and tools used in the attack indicate a high level of resource, capability, and determination."

The report says that the hackers exploited a flaw in Microsoft's SharePoint software to penetrate the systems however that the type of malware utilized was unknown, nor had professionals recognized the command and control servers on the web used to exfiltrate data.

Nor was it comprehended what component and mechanism were utilized by the hackers to keep up their presence on the invaded systems. The inner document from the U.N. Office of Information and Technology said 42 servers were "compromised" and another 25 were regarded "suspicious," about all at the sprawling Geneva and Vienna offices.

Three of the "compromised" servers are believed to belong to the Human Rights office, which is situated across town from the primary U.N. office in Geneva, and two were utilized by the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe.

Nonetheless, this hack comes in the midst of rising concerns about computer or cell phone vulnerabilities, both for huge associations like governments and the U.N. just as for individuals and businesses.

Internet Explorer Targeted by North Korean Hackers: How to Stay Safe?



In a recent cybersecurity issue, some hackers from North Korea are attacking Internet Explorer by exploiting a vulnerability, which is said to be a zero-day flaw. The company Microsoft has not yet spoken on the issue and is still silent. 



Users should immediately stop using Internet Explorer for a while to stay safe from the hackers, suggest cybersecurity experts. If the users still prefer to use Microsoft software, they can download the latest Edge Browser by Microsoft. The Edge browser is safe from the attack as well as offers a better user experience while browsing than Internet Explorer. Other secured browsers include Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

But if the users still want to use the traditional software, cybersecurity experts at Tom's Guide suggest downloading a limited time user account that is safe for any software modification.

Microsoft has scheduled to release its next security patch, not until the 11th of February, therefore, its a long wait before the latest update is issued.

Microsoft reveals the Flaw-

In an online advisory published on 17th January, Microsoft explained the vulnerability, saying the flaw allows the hacker to corrupt the memory and perform arbitrary coding. If achieved successfully, the hacker has full access to the system, the same as the genuine user.

"Let us imagine a scenario where the hacker hosts a website on the web, which is specially made to exploit the vulnerability via Internet Explorer, in this case, the hacker can lure the user to visit the website by sending him emails," says Microsoft.

Once the hacker has access to the admin user rights, the user system is hacked and the hacker has command over the system. He can modify the programs, install or delete any existing software or worse, delete important data.

The hackers are likely to be from North Korea-

One should not ignore this vulnerability because it has ties to hackers from North Korea. The attack on Internet Explorer seems to be similar to the one that affected the Mozilla firefox. Researchers at Qihoo 360 discovered the attack and accused Darkhotel, a group of hackers from North Korea, for carrying out this activity.

Russian banks to face risk due to a cancellation of support for Windows 7


Termination of technical support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 operating systems (OS) can become a serious problem for Russian banks. According to the architect of the Microsoft technology center in Russia, Ivan Budylin, now, banks are required to quickly switch to Windows 10, since working without technical support is contrary to information security requirements. He added that the lack of updates can lead to significant risks of data loss.

At the same time, according to the survey, credit institutions are not yet ready to completely abandon the old OS.

Some banks reported that they had signed an agreement with Microsoft for paid additional support for Windows 7 (EAS). However, the expert noted that paid support is not an alternative to updating the operating system, but a temporary measure.

A similar situation was already with the Windows XP operating system, which was not supported in 2017 but continued to be used. During WannaCry ransomware virus epidemic, some XP users faced a situation where the malware appeared on the computer, was blocked and deleted by the antivirus.
However, then the virus repeatedly tried to get into the computer again and was blocked again. This caused a huge load on the network, processor, and disk. The devices started working so slowly that it was almost impossible to do anything on them.

Therefore, experts recommended updating Windows 7 as soon as possible, even though antiviruses can protect an already unsupported system.

Yuri Brisov, a member of the Commission on legal support of the digital economy, said that by denying the ability to regularly and timely update systems, banks put their customers at risk, which is unacceptable.

According to Boris Yedidin, a lawyer and co-founder of Moscow Digital School, for using outdated programs and operating systems, banks can bring to administrative responsibility under the article “Violation of information protection rules”.

Recall that Microsoft has refused to support the Windows 7 operating system since January 14. The computer will work with the old OS, but the company does not provide technical support for any software updates, as well as security updates and fixes.

An Ex-Operating System Hit by an Exploit Found In Audio Files



A crypto-mining exploit attack, has as of late been discovered in Windows 7 , the ex-operating system which ceased to exist only a couple of days back as per the official announcement by Microsoft, hidden away in sound WAV records.

Ophir Harpaz and Daniel Goldberg, two security analysts at Guardicore Labs, have uncovered how a medium-sized medical tech sector business was attacked by cryptominers utilizing WAV audio files to muddle the malware.

While trying to exploit the EternalBlue vulnerability the attackers focused on the organization's system, running Windows 7 machines in December 2019. The EternalBlue exploit has been around for quite a few years now and was even behind the scandalous WannaCry attacks that hit the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) in 2017.

The Guardicore research journey started in October 2019, when a number of blue screens of death began coming up on Windows machines in the target network. Further investigations unveiled that over half of the system, some 800 endpoints, were getting to suspicious data in a registry key.

And soon enough the Guardicore researchers found a Monero crypto-mining module, utilizing steganography to hide within the audio WAV files.

Daniel Goldberg, a senior cybersecurity researcher at Guardicore Labs and one of the report authors, when asked to comment on the risk-level for those still running Windows 7 replied that, "The risks are crazy high to organizations facing this WAV-based attack if they are running a Windows 7 system after EoL. Before the quarter is over, there will be other vulnerabilities discovered in Windows 7 too that will not be fixed by Microsoft and will also be easy to exploit."

Further going on to describe the WAV-based attack threat to Windows 7 as being "like a hot knife through butter." 

Apart from updating to Windows 7 , whether there exists any other way for those who will not or cannot make a move away from Windows 7, Goldberg points out, "Segment machines you can't support away from the internet and the rest of your network, your old windows 7 machine running this critical but obsolete application should not be accessible from the internet, or most of the machines in your networks."

Additionally arguing that the best offense is a good defense, Terry Ray, senior vice-president and fellow at Imperva, a cyber-security software and services company, says, "Businesses must be responsible, and act in favor of their customers, who trust them with their information, by updating their systems, if not, they will face severe consequences which will come at a huge cost to the customer, and the future of the business. Simply put, don’t fall victim and instead, upgrade to up to date systems which generate regular security updates and have the right systems in place to deter attacks."

Malware Against Crypto-Currency Businesses; Microsoft and Apple are Targets Alike


“AppleJeus” operation was the first time “macOS” users were made victims by Lazarus. Herein, a manipulated application was used to target potential victims. Apparently, Lazarus used customized malware, especially for macOS users.

Per leading sources, the malware had been so fabricated that it released the current and the next-stage payload automatically without any manual actions required. For attacking Windows users a multi-stage infection procedure was fabricated.

Reportedly, compromising “crypto-currency” related business was the major objective of “AppleJeus” and Lazarus at large. The macOS malware employed the source course only to structure “macOS” installers. Allegedly, “QtBitcoinTrader” was used.

However, the hackers at Lazarus altered the macOS malware. For starters, it no more has an encryption/decryption network communication routine as per reports.

In another case, the .NET malware was disguised as Wallet updaters like “wfcwallet.com” and “www.chainfun365.com”. Herein, the multi-stage infection took place but in a different way.

Later on files of the likes of “rasext,dll” and “msctfp.dat” are uploaded onto the target’s system. Allegedly, the Remote Access Connection Manager was also into play.

Per sources, there was another case where a highly altered form of the macOS malware was at work. Similar to other cases, the fake website and application were being called by the attacker. The apparent differences as per reports in the attack are as follows:
o The malicious application was hosted via “GitHub”.
o The post-installation script of the macOS malware was different as well.
o This version used “ADVobfuscator” to hide its code.
o The author of this modified macOS malware utilized “Object-C” and not QT framework.


In a different attack, the post-install script was the same as the previous attack; the author here had used “SWIFT” for the development of the malware. The method of data collection was changed and then the conduct authentication began. According to sources, the “auth_signature and auth_timestamp” parameters were used to deliver the second payload. The current system time of the device is acquired by the malware and then it’s combined with the “12GWAPCT1F011S14” hard-coded string and an “MD5 hash” is created. The hash is used as the “auth_signature” parameter and the time is used as the value of the “auth_timestamp” parameter. These values can be reproduced as well and finally, the second payload is uploaded.

Apart from all the macOS cases, there was a Windows incident as well. Per sources, a version of the “UnionCryptoTrader” was found. Allegedly, the “Telegram messenger” was at play. The infection procedure was pretty much the same as one of the previous cases with an add-on. A final backdoor payload was done. This version showed numerous exchange rates for crypto-currency.

Reportedly, the Windows malware uploads the encrypted “msctfp.dat file” and loads all the configuration values. Later an extra command is executed as per the contents of the file. Finally, the malware communicates with the C2 server, a post request is sent.

Several parameters are sent and according to the response code from the C2 server, the “POST” request is sent through along with the encrypted data and a random value that could be used to identify individual victims.

Innumerable fake websites were found still in action. The fake websites were crypto-currency oriented but could easily be identified as fake if looked at with a keen eye.

Part 2 of the “AppleJeus” had its victims spread across, Poland, China, Russia, and the US with most of them related to businesses involving crypto-currency.

Lazarus group has been quite a matter of talk for a very long time. It especially continues to be a matter of concern for the cyber-world.

The AppleJeus and other malware that exist and would exist in the future are evolving by the hour. Crypto-currency associated businesses are the key and foremost objects of Lazarus and other threat actors and hence need to be more vigilant than ever.


Cyber Attack Alert! Microsoft Gives Inside Revelations About RDP Brute Force Attacks


Microsoft conducted a long-term study, which majorly focused on RDP brute-force attacks, their success and the duration they last for.

Per sources, according to the reports of the study, over 0.8% of the RDP brute force attacks on an average last for about “2-3 days”. The study also revolved around the effect of such attacks on various business organizations.

Data from over 45,000 devices and workstations that ran “Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection” (commercial version of the free Defender anti-virus app) was acquired in terms of RDP login related acts.

According to reports, both failed and successful attempts at RDP login was part of the data collected for the detailed study that spread across numerous months of dedication.

Reportedly, the aforementioned successful and failed events include Windows events with ID 4264 and 4265, correspondingly. The usernames that the attackers or users may have used were also collected.


Per sources, RDP, Remote Desktop Protocol happens to be a feature of the Windows operating system that enables the users to log into a “remote computer” or device by way of an interface that looks much like a desktop, by means of the computer’s public IP address and port 3389.

Businesses and organizations usually make use of RDP and its provisions to manage servers, workstations and other connected devices in remote areas. It’s easier for the administrators and employees alike to work that way.

Brute force attacks have been pretty common on Windows devices especially via open RDP ports. Automated tools that the hackers use help them to create various combinations of passwords and usernames to figure out the target computer’s RDP login details.

Simple and basic combinations stand at the top of the hit list. The password and usernames combinations that have previously been leaked on the dark web are also used the most.

Where on an average these brute force attacks last for 2 to 3 days, in 90% of the cases, as the reports have found out, the attacks last for around a week.

According to the study reports the attacks spread across days because the hackers were trying out selected combos per hour rather than blindly shooting combos.

This clearly helped the attackers dodge the chances of their attack Internet Protocols getting banned by the firewalls.

Microsoft, according to sources, also mentioned that “0.8% of the devices that were attacked by the brute-force attacks were compromised. Also, that on an average a machine was expected to have a high probability of being compromised leading to an RDP brute force attack every 3-4 days”.

Per sources it’s imperative to look for the following things in a sign-in attempt:
 Event ID 4625 login type
 number of other devices with RDP inbound connections from one or more of the same IP
 number of failed sign-ins
 Event ID 4625 failure reason
 The number count of a username and the times it failed to log in
 number of RDP inbound external IP
 an hour and the day of the failed sign-in
 RDP connections
 Timing of successful sign-in attempts

To secure your device from such attacks, it’s supremely essential to monitor unknown connections and failed sign-in attempts.


Microsoft Enters 2020 with Two New Products


Microsoft plans to come up with two products with the advent of the New Year, Windows 10X-powered Surface Neo and Android-powered Surface Duo and this could be an indication of 2020 being the year of foldable and dual-screen devices from smartphone and PC creators.

Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 10 X, is set to power the main rush a.k.a the first wave of foldable and dual-screen equipment scheduled for holiday 2020 and Surface Neo is said to have been the primary equipment to be dispatched with Windows 10 X, however, the Redmond giant is additionally preparing the OS for dual-screen PCs from accomplices.

Windows 10 X is additionally expected to power the dual-screen PCs created by Microsoft OEM accomplices like HP, Dell, and Lenovo. A leak as of late affirmed that Windows 10 X will be coming to workstations and other customary PC form factors in the future, however apparently the operating system is as yet 'immature'.


Anyway because of the moderate-paced advancement of the operating system and inadequate adaptable panel supply as per another report, Intel probably won't promote foldable notebooks in the future.

Despite the fact that Intel's dual-screen model highlights a 17-inch display and it would run Windows 10 X, the company will postpone the unveiling which was initially planned for CES 2020 because of issues with “immature OS support”.

The report refers to 'upstream supply chain' as the source of the talk likewise including that Intel won't promote foldable notebooks until mid-2020.

Windows 10 X was announced at the October 2019 occasion and Microsoft has ever since protected it under much 'secrecy' and still hasn't uncovered when it intends to launch Windows 10 X, yet the operating system is reputed to finalize at some point in 2020, a couple of months or weeks before the launch of Surface Neo and other much-awaited foldable devices.

A cyber- security provider discovers Microsoft, LinkedIn and many others becoming the most preferred targets for phishing


Akamai Technologies, Inc. an American content delivery network as of late discovered various issues, like the DDoS attacks, credential stuffing, and phishing and in its State of the internet/security (SOTI) report, it featured the research done by the organization over the last 12 months.

According to Akamai's discoveries over 50% of every unique organization that was 'impersonated' by tracked phishing domains was from the financial services and among the favored targets for phishing, companies like Microsoft, PayPal, DHL, DocuSign, and LinkedIn were among the top targets.

As per Akamai the attack aimed at gathering the personal information of users and duping them by later claiming to be a 'trustworthy' source, just like an organization or a bank, it assumes a vital job in 32% all breaches and 78% of all cyber-attacks.

In its report it has featured that among the phishing kits observed by it for almost 262 days, 60% of kits were active for 20 days or less, more than 2 billion unique domains that seemed malignant and 89% of the domains utilized for phishing had a 'life expectancy' of under 24 hours while 94% had a life expectancy of under three days.

While the measures embraced against such phishing attacks have been developing throughout the years, the shifty and cautious strategies utilized by phishing kits have been transforming too.

Akamai’s report basically highlights some of the content-based evasion techniques used by phishing kits. The crucial evasion techniques incorporate the CSS font evasion, arbitrarily generated URLs, sub-domain and HTTP user-agent filtering.

Here are some of the steps to be taken by users to better protect themselves from such attacks:

  1. Check the email or message for spelling mistakes, unusual phrases, and discrepancies in the domain name.                                                                                                                                        
  2. If the email contains unnecessary attachments or links, avoid clicking on them.                                 
  3. Do not click on shortened links, especially on social media.                                                                    
  4. At all costs avoid emails from suspicious senders that contain urgent deadlines and ask you to click on a link or visit a website urgently.                                                                                                   
  5. Do not enter personal information in pop-up screens as companies generally do not use pop-up screens to ask for user information.


Alert! A Method that Allows Hackers to make Ransomware in your Windows Unseen.


Cyber-Security company Nyotron has caught a new way that lets hackers modify Microsoft files in a unique style that subsisting anti-ransomware are unable to identify.

Ransomware is one of the most common cyber-security menaces. "It is said to be the top 2 widely used technique used by hackers, as in the case of hijacking 28 computers appeared," confirms Verizon's data breach inquiry report. Unfortunately, for the present time, it is proving quite hard to be identified. The ransomware can permit attackers to avoid the present computer securities by depending on a data system, which is the ‘rename’ selection in the Windows operating system. This detour can be performed in just two rows of the cipher. That is how simple it is for hackers.



What is Ransomware? 

Ransomware is a sort of harmful virus, intended to reject entrance to a network system or information. For access to the data, the malware demands a ransom to be paid. It normally grows through fraud e-mails or by hitting an affected website that is unfamiliar. Ransomware is disastrous to a person or an institution.

"The firm has obeyed declaration disciplines and urged all safety businesspeople to discuss the issue. Moreover, to examine if the system is infected or not, the company has provided users a fresh new tool," says Nir Gaist, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Nyotron. Gaist further adds, "The unusual style of file alteration 'RIPlace' suggests that while technology might not ‘cover’ the virus, let's say, it helps adjust data on a computer stealthily. Therefore, from the warning player outlook, it is our only hope for identifying 'Ransomware.' The firm has also explained how the RIPlace technique allows ransomware to dodge the detection and infect computers despite Symantec Endpoint Protection and Windows Defender Antivirus software being installed.

"Recently, there was a vulnerability discovered in Canon cameras which allowed the hackers to perform ransomware attacks," say the experts from Check Point, a cyber-security company. The company examined if the DSLR's image transference custom could be misused to let an attacker hack the DSLR and affect it with the virus. However, the attacker, in this case, was obliged to be close to the camera to affect it. The issue sparked caution, as it could be used to exploit different kinds of devices.