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Showing posts with label NCSC. Show all posts

Flubot can Spy on Phones and can Gather Online Banking Details

 

Experts cautioned that a text message scam infecting Android phones is expanding across the UK. The message, which appears to be from a parcel delivery company and instructs users to download a tracking program, is actually a malicious piece of spyware. Flubot can seize over smartphones and spy on phones in order to collect sensitive data, such as online banking information. Vodafone, the network provider, said that millions of text messages had now been transmitted through all networks. 

Flubot is the name of malicious malware that attacks Android devices. Flubot is distributed by cybercriminals through SMS messages that include links to download websites for a bogus FedEx program (in at least three languages, including German, Polish, and Hungarian). These websites download a malicious APK file (Android Package File) that installs the banking malware Flubot. 

“We believe this current wave of Flubot malware SMS attacks will gain serious traction very quickly, and it's something that needs awareness to stop the spread," a spokesman said. Customers should "be extra cautious about this specific piece of malware,” he said, and avoid clicking on any links in text messages. 

Later, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) provided guidelines on the threat, with instructions on what to do if you accidentally accessed the attacker's program. "If users have clicked a malicious link it's important not to panic - there are actionable steps they can take to protect their devices and their accounts," the NCSC said in a statement. The ransomware may also send further text messages to the contacts of an infected person, aiding its propagation. 

"The seriousness of these malicious text messages is underlined by Vodafone making the decision to alert its customers," said Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight. "This has the potential to become a denial-of-service attack on mobile networks, given the clear risk that a rogue application can be installed on users' smartphones and start spewing out endless text messages. The broader risk for users is a loss of highly sensitive personal data from their phones," he added. 

Although text message scams pretending to be from a package delivery company are popular, they have mainly focused on phishing, which involves tricking the recipient into filling out a form with personal information such as bank account numbers.

NCSC Warns of Exploited VPN Servers: Here are the Safety Tips to Fix Your VPN

 

The UK’s Nationwide Cyber Safety Centre (NCSC) has published a new advisory warning that cybercriminals as well as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actors are actively searching for unpatched VPN servers and trying to exploit the CVE-2018-13379 susceptibility.

According to NCSC, a significant number of organizations in the UK have not fixed a Fortinet VPN vulnerability found in May 2019, resulting in the credentials of 50,000 vulnerable VPNs being stolen and revealed on a hacker forum. As such, the NCSC recommended organizations that are using such devices to assume they are now compromised and to start incident management procedures, where security updates have not been downloaded.

“The NCSC is advising organizations which are using Fortinet VPN devices where security updates have not been installed, to assume they are now compromised and to begin incident management procedures. Users of all Fortinet VPN devices should check whether the 2019 updates have been installed. If not, the NCSC recommends that as soon as possible, the affected device should be removed from service, returned to a factory default, reconfigured, and then returned to service,” NCSC stated.

Safety tips for users & organizations 

The first step is to check whether the 2019 update is installed on all Fortinet VPN devices or not. If not, the NCSC recommends installing it as soon as possible. Secondly, the corrupt devices should be removed from service, returned to a factory default, reconfigured, and then restored to service. 

While fixing the security loophole, organizations should examine all connected hosts and networks to detect any further attacker movement and activities. Anomalous connections in access logs for the SSL VPN service may also indicate the use of compromised credentials. Organizations should then make it a high priority to upgrade to the latest FortiOS versions to prevent reinfection. 

"The security of our customers is our first priority. For example, CVE-2018-13379 is an old vulnerability resolved in May 2019. Fortinet immediately issued a PSIRT advisory and communicated directly with customers and via corporate blog posts on multiple occasions in August 2019, July 2020, and again in April 2021 strongly recommending an upgrade," a Fortinet spokesperson told ZDNet.

Ransomware Attacks Targeting UK’s Education Sector Increased, says NCSC

 

According to the warning by GCHQ's cybersecurity arm, NCSC, there has been a substantial spike in the number of ransomware attacks targeting the education sector over the last month, just as schools were getting ready to resume in-person classes. 

Ransomware attacks on the UK education sector have been on the rise, according to a new report. This includes developments seen in August and September 2020, along with attacks that have occurred since February 2021. It also offers mitigation recommendations to help in the defense of this sector. 

According to the report, senior leaders must recognize the magnitude of the threat and the ability of the ransomware to cause serious harm to their organizations in terms of information exposure and access to important services. 

Ransomware encrypts servers and files, making it impossible for businesses to provide services. Cybercriminals are anticipating that the need for schools and colleges to provide instruction would lead to target organizations succumbing to extortion requests and paying a bitcoin ransom in return for the decryption key required to recover the network. More importantly, cybercriminals have begun to warn that if the ransom is not paid, they will disclose confidential data taken from the network during the attack. Many elevated cases have arisen in which cybercriminals have carried out their attacks by exposing confidential data to the public, mostly via the darknet's “name and shame” websites. 

"In recent incidents affecting the education sector, ransomware has led to the loss of student coursework, school financial records, as well as data relating to COVID-19 testing," the agency said. 

Ransomware attacks can be crippling to businesses, taking a considerable period for victims to recover and restore vital services. These activities can also be high-profile in nature, gaining a lot of attention from the public and the media. 

There are many ways for ransomware attackers to gain entry to a victim's network. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is one of the most commonly used protocols for remote desktop activities, according to the NCSC, allowing staff to access their office desktop computers or servers from a remote device over the internet. Ransomware attackers often use insecure RDP and virtual private networks (VPN) configurations to gain initial access to victims' computers. 

"This is a growing threat and we strongly encourage schools, colleges, and universities to act on our guidance and help ensure their students can continue their education uninterrupted", says NCSC. 

To protect against malware and ransomware threats, the NCSC suggests that businesses must adopt a "defense in depth" technique. Having an effective plan for vulnerability management and deploying security fixes, protecting remote web services with multi-factor encryption, and installing and activating anti-virus programs are all cybersecurity guidelines for schools, colleges, and universities to secure their networks from ransomware attacks. 

Chinese Firms Infiltrate into U.S. Healthcare Data

 

The gulf between the two most powerful nations has widened after the United States National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) revealed that Chinese firms have secured access to U.S. healthcare data by collaborating with universities, hospitals, and various other research organizations.

According to the reports of the agency the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has successfully managed to infiltrate the US healthcare data, including genomic data via a variety of sources both legal and illegal. The agency also claimed that by securing access to the U.S. healthcare data, China is expanding the growth of its Artificial Intelligence and precision medicine firms.

NCSC wrote in a fact sheet that “for years, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has collected large healthcare data sets from the U.S. and nations around the globe, through both legal and illegal means, for purposes only it can control. The PRC’s collection of healthcare data from America poses equally serious risks, not only to the privacy of Americans but also to the economic and national security of the U.S.”.

According to the agency, China’s access to the US healthcare and genomic data have raised serious concerns regarding the privacy and national security of the United States, there has been an escalation in the efforts of China during the Covid-19 pandemic with Chinese biotech firm offering Covid-19 testing kits to the majority of the nations and setting up 18 test labs in the past six months, allegedly as part of an attempt to secure health data. 

The agency wrote, “the PRC understands the collection and analysis of large genomic data sets from diverse populations helps foster new medical discoveries and cures that can have substantial commercial value and advance its precision medicine industries”.

The Chinese government is using health data and DNA as a weapon to suppress and control its own people, in the Xinjiang province of China the Uighur population had been forced to give fingerprints, blood groups, and other private data.

Prevalent Cyber threat group targets UK

As of late a well-known hacking group attempted is as yet trying to focus on the UK with an updated version of malware intended to install itself into the compromised systems and stealthily conduct surveillance. Within the most recent year, the group seems to have been especially centered on diplomatic targets, including consulates and embassies. 

Both the Neuron and Nautilus malware variations have already been credited to the Turla advanced persistent threat group, which is known to routinely carry out cyber-espionage against a range of targets, including government, military, technology, energy, and other business associations and commercial organisations. 

It basically targets Windows mail servers and web servers; the Turla group conveys uniquely made phishing emails to trade off targets in attacks that deploy Neuron and Nautilus in conjunction with the Snake rootkit. By utilizing a combination of these tools, Turla can increase diligent system access on compromised systems, giving secretive access to sensitive data or the capacity to utilize the system as an entryway for carrying out further attacks. 

However the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) - the cyber security arm of GCHQ - has issued a notice that Turla is conveying another variant of Neuron which has been altered to sidestep disclosure. 

Alterations to the dropper and loading mechanisms of Neuron have been composed in such a way so as to avoid the malware being detected, enabling its pernicious activities to proceed without being intruded. 

While the creators of Neuron have additionally attempted to change the encryption of the new version, now configuring various hardcoded keys as opposed to simply utilizing one. In the same way as other of alternate changes, it's probably that these have been carried out to make detection and decryption by network safeguards more troublesome. 

At all might be the situation it is believed that the National Cyber Security Centre doesn't point to work by Turla being related with a specific danger on-screen character - rather alluding to it as:
                                 "A predominant digital danger group focusing on the UK".