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New Network Protocols Abused To Launch Large-Scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks


The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued an alert just the previous week cautioning about the discovery of new network protocols that have been exploited to launch large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. 

The alert records three network protocols and a web application as newfound DDoS attack vectors.  

The list incorporates CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol), WS-DD (Web Services Dynamic Discovery), ARMS (Apple Remote Management Service), and the Jenkins web-based automation software. 

Three of the four (CoAP, WS-DD, ARMS) have just been exploited in reality to launch monstrous DDoS attacks, the FBI said dependent on ZDNet's previous reporting. 


 COAP 

In December 2018, cyber actors began exploiting the multicast and command transmission features of the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) to lead DDoS reflection and amplification assaults, bringing about an enhancement factor of 34, as indicated by open-source reporting. 


WS-DD 

In May and August 2019, cyber actors abused the Web Services Dynamic Discovery (WS-DD) convention to launch more than 130 DDoS attacks, with some reaching sizes of more than 350 Gigabits for every second (Gbps), in two separate influxes of attack, as indicated by open-source reporting. 


ARMS 

In October 2019, cyber actors abused the Apple Remote Management Service (ARMS), a part of the Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) feature, to lead DDoS amplification attacks, according to open-source reporting. 


JENKINS 

In February 2020, UK security researchers identified a vulnerability in the inherent network discovery protocols of Jenkins servers-free, open-source, automation workers used to help the software development process that cyber actors could exploit to conduct DDoS amplification attacks - as indicated by open-source reporting. 

FBI officials believe that these new DDoS threats will keep on being exploited further to cause downtime and damages for the 'foreseeable future'. 

The reason for the alert is to warn US companies about the 'imminent danger', so they can put resources into DDoS mitigation systems and create partnerships with their internet service providers to quickly respond to any attacks utilizing these new vectors. 

As of now, these four new DDoS attack vectors have been utilized inconsistently, however, industry specialists anticipate that them to become widely abused by DDoS-for-hire services.

SMS System Now A Long-Gone Era; Google Brings Out A New Update



With the rise of encrypted alternatives of SMS messages, WhatsApp, iMessage, and Signal, the SMS system has become a 'throwback to a long-gone era'. 

But ironically, that same SMS system has additionally been on the rise as the default delivery mechanism for most two-factor authentication (2FA) codes. 

The issue is being viewed as a critical one in light of the fact that an SMS is delivered to a phone number with no user authentication—biometric or password security efforts secure our physical devices, not our numbers, they are separated. 

What's more, this explanation alone clears a path for SIM-swapping, social engineering scams to take those six-digit codes, to malware that catches and exfiltrates screenshots of the approaching messages. For each one of those reasons, and a couple of additional, the advice is currently to avoid SMS-based 2FA if feasible for the user. 

But still,  if the user can tie 2FA to the biometric or password security of a known device, at that point this is a huge improvement. Apple does this splendidly. And Google is quick on making this the default also. 

In a blog post on June 16, Google confirmed “Starting on July 7 we will make phone verification prompts the primary 2-Step Verification (2SV) method for all eligible users.” 

Their plan fundamentally is to switch Google account holders to this setting, forestalling the majority, essentially defaulting to an SMS message or voice call. 

Yet, there's a drawback with this too , in light of the fact that all devices a user is logged into will receive the prompt, and that will require some rejigging for families sharing devices. Furthermore, users who have security keys won't see a change.

Phone prompt 2FA


In the event that the phone prompt doesn't work for the user, they can get away to an SMS during the verification process—however, Google doesn't recommend this. 

Further explaining that this move is both progressively secure and simpler, “as it avoids requiring users to manually enter a code received on another device.” 

In taking the decision to make this the "primary technique" for 2FA, Google says “We hope to help [users] take advantage of the additional security without having to manually change settings—though they can still use other methods of 2-Step Verification if they prefer.” 

For an attacker to spoof this system they will require physical access to one of the user's already logged-on devices where they will see the prompt. Users will likewise have the option to audit and remove devices they no longer need to gain access to this security option. 

Also, on the grounds that the prompt hits all logged-on, authorized devices all at once—user will straight away know whether an attempt is being made to open their account without their knowledge. 

Nonetheles, with the increasing utilization of multi-device access to our various platforms, it is an extraordinary thought to utilize an authentication device to verify another logon and this step by Google has without a doubt emerged as an incredible one in the direction way which should be followed by others as well.

Attention! Fake Extensions on the Chrome Web Store Again!


Reportedly, Google was in the news about having removed 49 Chrome extensions from its browser’s store for robbing crypto-wallet credentials. What’s more, after that, there surfaced an additional set of password-swiping “extensions” aka “add-ons”, which are up for download even now.

Per sources, the allegedly corrupt add-ons exist on the browser store disguised as authentic crypto-wallet extensions. These absolutely uncertified add-ons invite people to fill in their credentials so as to make siphoning off them easy and the digital money accessible.

Reports mention that the security researchers have affirmative information as to 8 of the 11 fake add-ons impersonating legitimate crypto-wallet software being removed including "Jaxx Ledger, KeyKeep, and MetaMask." A list of “extension identifiers” which was reported to Google was also provided.

Per researchers, there was a lack of vigilance by the Google Web Store because it apparently sanctions phisher-made extensions without giving the issue the attention it demands. Another thing that is disturbing for the researchers is that these extensions had premium ad space and are the first thing a user sees while searching.

According to sources, much like the Google Play Store with malicious apps, the Google Web Store had been facing difficulty in guarding itself against mal-actors. There also hadn’t been much of a response from their team about the issue.

One solution that was most talked about was that Google should at the least put into effect mechanisms in the Chrome Web Store that automatically impose trademark restrictions for the store and the ad platforms in it.

Per sources, Google’s Chrome Web Store “developer agreement” bars developers from violating intellectual property rights and also clearly mentions “Google is not obligated to monitor the products or their content”. Reports mention that as per the ad policy of Google, it could review trademarks complaints from trademarks holders only when it has received a complaint.

Google heeding all the hue and cry about the extensions did herald more restrictions with the motive of wiping away traces of any fake extensions and spammers creating bad quality extensions that were causing people trouble.

The alterations in the policy will block the spammers and developers from swarming the store with similar extensions and elements with questionable behavior. Word has it that because of hateful comments the Chrome Web Store was “locked down” in January.

But, as promising as it may be, allegedly Google has been making such promises about the Chrome Web Store security strengthening for more than half a decade. So no one can blame researchers for their skepticism.

Double Extortion- A Ransomware Tactic That Leaves The Victims With No Choice!


In addition to all the reasons ransomware were already dangerous and compulsive, there’s another one that the recent operators are employing to scare the wits out of their targets.

Cyber-criminals now tend to be threatening their victims with publishing and compromising their stolen data if the ransom doesn’t get paid or any other conditions aren’t followed through with.

The tactic in question is referred to as “Double Extortion” and quite aptly so. Per sources, its usage emerged in the latter half of 2019 apparently in use, by the Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer and Clop ransomware families.

Double extortion is all about doubling the malicious impact a normal ransomware attack could create. So the cyber-criminals try and stack up all sorts of pressure on the victims in the form of leaked information on the dark web, etc.

They just want to make sure that the victims are left with no other option but to pay the ransom and meet all the conditions of the attack, no matter how outrageous they are.

The pattern of Double Extortion was tracked after a well-known security staffing company from America experienced the “Maze ransomware” attack and didn’t pay up the 300 Bitcoin which totaled up to $2.3 Million. Even after they were threatened that their stolen email data and domain name certificates would be used for impersonating the company!

Per sources, all of the threatening wasn’t without proof. The attackers released 700 MB of data which allegedly was only 10% of what they had wrested from the company! And what’s more, they HIKED the ransom demand by 50%!

According to sources, the Maze ransomware group has a website especially fabricated to release data of the disobliging organizations and parties that don’t accept their highly interesting “deals” in exchange for the data.

Reportedly, ranging from extra sensitive to averagely confidential data of dozens of companies and firms from all the industries has found its way to the Maze ransomware website.

Clearly impressed by it many other operators of similar intentions opened up their own versions of the above-mentioned website to carry forward their “business” of threatening companies for digital currency and whatnot! They sure seem to have a good sense of humor because per sources the blog names are the likes of “Happy Blog”.

Per reports, the Sodinokibi ransomware bullied to leak a complete database from the global currency exchange, Travelex. The company had to pay $2.3 Million worth Bitcoin to get the attackers to bring their company back online.


Per reports of the researchers, the attackers would always release some kind of proof that they have the extremely valuable data of the company, before publishing it, to give the company a fair chance at paying up the ransom demanded.

Usually, these attacks are a win-win for the attackers and a “lose-lose” for the victims because if they decide not to pay up they would be putting their company in a very dangerous situation with all the valuable data compromised online for anyone to exploit, they would have to report the breach and they would have to pay a considerably high fine to the data privacy regulator. And if they pay up, they would be losing a giant plop of money! And sadly the latter feels like a better option.

Hospitals happen to be the organizations that are the most vulnerable to these attacks because of all the sensitive health-related data their databases are jam-packed with on any other day and additionally due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The organizations could always follow the most widely adapted multi-layered security measures for keeping their data safe obviously including updating systems, keeping backups and keeping data protected in any way they possibly can.

The most conscientious gangs of the many ransomware families, per sources, have promised to not attack hospitals amidst this pandemic. But that doesn’t stop the other mal-actors from employing cyber-attacks.

The cyber-crime forecasters have mentioned that the year 2020 would be quite a difficult year for these organizations what with the lock-down and no easier (malicious) way to earn money, apparently? Food for thought!


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Names Used for Fake Celebrity Endorsement of Bitcoins?


While the Coronavirus pandemic has practically driven people to stay locked up in their homes and spend a lot more (in some cases almost all) of their time online, the possibilities for cyber-criminals have only flourished.

Cyber-security experts have realized this and made a note out of it that everyone knows the kind of danger is lurking in their cyber-world.

From elaborate scams to phishing attacks that target the victim’s personal information, there is a lot of people who need to be cautious about it.

The Cryptocurrency industry is going through a lot due to the current crisis the world is in. The 'crypto-partakers" are being particularly on the hit list with something as attention-grabbing as purportedly “celebrity endorsement”. The latest bait names for this attempt happen to be that of charming Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

Well-known personalities’ names like Bill Gates, Lord Sugar and even Richard Branson have been misused to lure people in as a part of similar scams. It is not necessary for the people mentioned to belong to a particular industry. They could be anyone famous for that matter.

The scams are so elaborate that once fooled the victims can’t even trace the mal-agent and. The latest scam, per sources, employs a fake report from the “BBC” mentioning how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle found themselves a “wealth loophole”.
Per sources, they also assure their targets that in a matter of three to four months they could convert them into millionaires. Further on, allegedly, it is also mentioned that the royals think of the Cryptocurrency auto-trading as the “Bitcoin Evolution”. It reportedly also includes a fake statement to have been made by Prince Harry.

The overconfident scammers also declare that there is no other application that performs the trading with the accuracy like theirs. Reportedly, on their website, there are banners with “countdowns” forcing people to think that there are limited period offers.

According to researchers this is one of the many schemes desperate cyber-criminals resort to. People not as used to the Cryptocurrency industry and the trading area, in particular, are more vulnerable to such highly bogus scams and tricks that the cyber-criminals usually have up their sleeves.

Critical Security Vulnerability Patched By VMware


VMware Inc. a publicly-traded software company recently fixed a critical security vulnerability that permitted the malicious attackers to access sensitive data.

The vulnerability as indicated by them resides in the VMware Directory Service (vmdir) which is a part of vCenter Server version 6.7 on Windows and virtual appliances. Known and tracked as CVE-2020-3952, it is evaluated as critical and gets a CVSSv3 score of 10.

In certain conditions, the vmdir doesn't actualize appropriate security controls, which permits attackers with network access to get to the sensitive data.

By utilizing the obtained information the attacker can compromise vCenter Server or various other services that rely upon vmdir for authentication.

In March VMware tended to high severity privilege escalation and DoS in the Workstation, Fusion, VMware Remote Console and Horizon Client and furthermore published KB article 78543 for additional details if a vCenter Server 6.7 deployment is influenced in any way.

 It is recommended for the user on the off chance that they are utilizing vCenter Server version 6.7, to update with 6.7u3f to fix the aforementioned critical vulnerability.


Here is the example log to check with influenced deployments.

2020-04-06T17:50:41.860526+00:00 data vmdird t@139910871058176: leg tendon MODE: Heritage  

VMware lastly mentioned that “Clean installations of vCenter Server 6.7 (embedded or external PSC) are not affected.”

BGP Hijacking Attacks Google, Amazon and Other Famous Networks' Traffic!


As per reports, a telecommunication provider that is owned by Russia rerouted traffic which was intended for the most imminent Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and cloud host providers of the globe.

The entire re-direction kept on for around an hour during which it affected over 8,500 traffic routes of the internet. The concerned organizations happen to be few of the most celebrated ones.

Per sources, the brands range across well-known names like Cloudflare, Digital Ocean, Linode, Google, Joyent, Facebook, LeaseWeb, Amazon, GoDaddy, and Hetzner.

Reportedly, all the signs of this attack indicate towards its being a case of hijacking the Border Gateway Protocol, also known as, BGP hijacking. It is the illegitimate takeover of IP prefixes by a hijacker to redirect traffic.

This gives a lot of power in the hands of the hijacker because they could at any time “publish an announcement” stating that the servers of a particular company are on their network. As a result of which all of e.g. Amazon’s traffic would end up on the hijacker’s servers.

In earlier times when Hypertext Transfer Protocol wasn’t as widely used to encrypt traffic, BGP hijacking was a lucrative way to carry Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks and catch and modify traffic.

But in recent times, analysis and decryption of traffic later in time has become easier because of BGP hijacking, as the encryption gets weaker with time.

This predicament isn’t of a new kind. It has been troubling the cyber-world for a couple of decades, mainly because they aim at boosting the BGP’s security. Despite working on several projects there hasn’t been much advancement in improving the protocol to face them.

Google’s network has been a victim of BGP hijacking by a Nigerian entity before. Researchers mention that it is not necessary for a BGP hijacking to be malicious.

Reportedly, “mistyping the ASN” (Autonomous System Number) is one of the other main reasons behind a BGP hijacking, as it is the code via which internet units are recognized and ends up accidentally redirecting traffic.

Per sources, China Telecom stands among the top entities that have committed BGP hijacking, not so “accidentally”. Another famous one on a similar front is “Rostelecom”.

The last time Rostelecom seized a lot of attention was when the most gigantic of financial players were victimized by BGP hijacking including HSBC, Visa, and MasterCard to name a few.

The last time, BGPMon didn’t have much to say however this time, Russian Telecom is in a questionable state, per sources. They also mention that it is possible for the hijack to have occurred following the accidental exposure of the wrong BGP network by an internal Rostelecom traffic shaping system.

Things took a steep turn when reportedly, Rostelecom’s upstream providers re-publicized the freshly declared BGP routes all across the web aggravating the hijack massively.

Per researchers, it is quite a difficult task to say for sure if a BGP hijacking was intentional of accidental. All that could be said is that the parties involved in the hijack make the situation suspicious.

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.

This COVID-19 Website By Google Tells You All You Need To Know About Coronavirus!


The first step anyone took after hearing the first of the Coronavirus was ‘Googling’ it. Google has been a solution, for as long as we can remember, to most of our queries. Yet again it upholds its
reputation.

Amid all the mass confusion and chaos this virus has caused for the human race, every single one of us has wanted a ‘go-to’ for a little clarity between all of this bewilderment related to COVID-19.

Be it asking about the first symptoms, vaccine information or prevention strategies, in the middle of this bewilderment people have continued to look up to search engines for answers.

Google stepped in at the right moment and launched a website that encompasses next to every single bit of information about the Coronavirus.

Per sources, by way of collaborating with the US government, Google was has developed a website fully committed to educating people about COVID-19 including the probable symptoms, ways of prevention, treatment and all the other related information.

Reportedly, in the last week of January, Google had launched an SOS “alert” packed with resources and safety details from the WHO, plus the latest news. The alert, as of now, has spread across many countries in 25 languages. Per sources, people in over 50 countries have access to localized public health guidance from authorities.

The website mostly centers on providing health-related information along with safety and preventive practices, helpful resources, updated data and insights, relief assistance, the most recent of news, the early symptoms of the disease and how it spreads.

The website strongly endorses the “Do the Five” campaign to further wakefulness about basic things people can do to control the spread of COVID-19, per the WHO. According to sources, the website also has a map of the affected areas via the WHO and links to national health authority websites.

The website is loaded with informative videos from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, depicting the importance of washing hands regularly, responsible behavior and fighting together.

It is a massively lucrative initiative towards putting all the misunderstandings and confusion of people regarding COVID-19, to rest. The website shall be regularly updated and improved with more details and resources.

The link to the website:
https://www.google.com/covid19/

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.

Three Botnets Abuse Zero-Day Vulnerabilities in LILIN's DVRs!


Not of late, LILIN recorders were found to be vulnerable. Reportedly, botnet operators were behind the zero-day vulnerabilities that were exploited in the Digital Video Recorders (DVRs ) that the vendor is well known for.

Sources mention that the exploitation of the zero-day vulnerabilities had been a continuous thing for almost half a year and the vendor was unaware. Nevertheless, they rolled out a patch in February 2020.

Digital Video Recorders are electronic devices that collect video feeds from local CCTV/IP cameras systems and store them on different mass storage devices like SD cards, USB flash drives, disk drives, etc.

DVRs are a huge deal today given they are a major element for the security cameras that are used almost everywhere in these times.

With CCTV cameras raging, attacks especially designed for them have also risen equally. Malware botnets and other hacker operations have been targeting these widely used DVRs for quite some time now.

Per sources, the non-revised and out of date firmware stands to be the reason for these devices being hacked. Especially, the DVRs with default credentials are exploited to kick off DDoS and other IoT attacks.
Sources mention that security researchers found LILIN’s DVRs too were being exploited for almost half a year, since August last year by three botnets.


The vulnerability in the “NTPUpdate”, sources mention, allows attackers to inject and control the system’s commands. Via one of the ‘hardcoded credentials’ (root/icatch99 & report/8Jg0SR8K50) the attacker stands a chance to retrieve and alter a DVR’s config file, and later control commands on the device after the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server configuration is regularly matched.

Per sources, the first botnet behind the zero-day vulnerability was the “Chalubo botnet” with a motive of exploiting the NTPUdate of the LILIN DVRs. The other two were employed by the “FBot botnet”

Reportedly, a couple of weeks after the previous attacks of the FBot, the Moobot botnet also tried its luck and succeeded on the second zero-day vulnerability.

There is no knowing as to what the exact motive was behind hacking the LILIN DVRs. Nevertheless, there has been a history of DDoS attacks, re-routing traffic, and proxy networks.

As it happens there are, per sources, over 5,000 LILIN DVRs that exist today thus making it quite a hefty task to update all of them immediately. But it’s a relief to know that the first step has been taken. There’s not much to worry about now given LILIN has released a firmware update along with solutions for mitigation.

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.



Beware of Stalkerware That Has Eyes On All of Your Social Media!


Dear social media mongers, amidst all the talk about the Coronavirus and keeping your body’s health in check, your digital safety needs kicking up a notch too.

Because, pretty recently, security researchers discovered, what is being called as a “Stalkerware”, which stalks your activities over various social platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, Gmail, Facebook, and others.

‘MonitorMinor’, per the sources, is definitely the most formidable one in its line.

Stalkerware are “monitoring software” or ‘Spyware’ that are employed either by people with serious trust issues or officials who need to spy for legitimate reasons.

Via this extremely creepy spyware kind, gathering information like the target’s ‘Geographical location’ and Messaging and call data is a cakewalk. Geo-fencing is another spent feature of it.

This particular stalkerware is hitting the headlines this hard because, MonitorMinor has the competence to spy on ‘Communication channels’, like most of our beloved messaging applications.

The discoverers of this stalkerware issued a report in which they mentioned that in a “clean” Android system, direct communication between applications is blocked by the “Sandbox” to kill the possibilities of the likes of this spyware gaining access to any social media platform’s data. This is because of the model called “Discretionary Access Control” (DAC).

Per sources, the author of the stalkerware in question manipulates the “SuperUser-type app” (SU utility) (if present) allowing them root-access to the system.

The presence of the SU utility makes all the difference for the worse. Because owing to it and its manipulation, MonitorMinor gains root access to the system.

The applications on the radar are BOTIM, Facebook, Gmail, Hangouts, Hike News & Content, Instagram, JusTalk, Kik, LINE, Skype, Snapchat, Viber, and Zalo-Video Call.

From lock patterns to passwords, MonitorMinor has the power to dig out files that exist in the system as ‘data’. And it obviously can use them to unlock devices. This happens to be the first stalkerware to be able to do so, mention sources.

Per reports, the procedure is such that the “persistence mechanism” as a result of the malware manipulates the root access. The stalkerware then reverts the system section to read/write from the initial read-only mode, copies itself on it, deletes itself from the user section, and conveniently goes back to read-only mode again.

Reports mention that even without the root access, MonitorMinor can do a consequential amount of harm to targets. It can control events in apps by manipulating the “Accessibility Services”. A “keylogger” is also effected via the API to permit forwarding of contents.
Unfortunately, victims can’t do much to eradicate the stalkerware form their systems, yet.

Other functions of the stalkerware include:
• Access to real-time videos from the device’s camera
• Access to the system log, contact lists, internal storage contents, browsing history of on Chrome, usage stats of particular apps
• Access to sound recordings from the device’s microphone
• Control over the device’s SMS commands.

The security researchers released a report by the contents of which, it was clear that the installation rate of it was the maximum in India, closely followed by Mexico and then Germany, Saudi Arabia, and the UK.

The researchers also per reports have reasons to believe that possibly the MonitorMinor might have been developed by an Indian because they allegedly found a ‘Gmail account with an Indian name’ in the body of MonitorMinor.

Tor Browser Bug Executes Uncalled for JavaScript Codes!


The well-known Tor is allegedly experiencing some kind of bug in its mechanism. It has hence warned the users to stay vigilant as regards to the “Tor Browser Bug”, which runs JavaScript codes on various unexpected sites.

Tor (originally Team Onion Router) is a free and open-source software which chiefly works on allowing anonymous communication to users.

Reportedly, the team has been working on a solution and would roll it out as soon as it is done, but there isn’t a particular time to expect it.

One of the most critical features for the security of the Tor Browser Bundle (TBB) happens to be the ability to block the code execution of the JavaScript, mention sources.

TBB is a browser that has a set of superior privacy features majorly for concealing real IP addresses to maintain the anonymity of online users and their devices’ locations.

Owing to these features, the browser has become a go-to for the working people, especially the journalists, citizens of repressive countries and people with political agendas because after all, it is a great instrument to dodge online censorship and firewalls.

People who are against the anonymity of the users and just can’t let things be, have in the past tried several times to expose Tor Browser users’ actual IP addresses via exploits that functioned on JavaScript code.

Sources cite that while few attempts of the better nature have been successfully employed to track down criminals, others were pretty strangely executed.

And then recently, a bug was discovered in the much appreciated TBB’s security mechanism. When the browser was set to allow the use of the most supreme security level and still permitted the execution of the JavaScript code when instead it should have barred it.

It is a relief that the team of Tor is well aware of the bug and is, with dedication working towards developing a patch for it. Per sources, they also mentioned that if a user requires to “Block JavaScript” they could always disable it entirely.

As per reports, the procedure for doing the above-mentioned is to open the “about config” and search for “javascript.enabled”. If here the “Value” column mentions “false” it means that the JavaScript is disabled and if it mentions “true” then right-click to select “Toggle” or double click on the row to disable it.

250,000+ Login/Passwords Leaked in The Trident Crypto Fund Data Breach


More than 260,000 customers’ data was compromised online in a gigantic data breach that went down pretty recently.

Trident Crypto Fund, per reports, experienced this data breach which gave rise to the leakage of thousands of customer records including usernames and passwords, online.

Per sources, Trident is a crypto-investment index fund that functions as an arm of the “Dragonara Business Center”, Italy. It also is reportedly the “first coin-based index fund”.

And like scattered sugar for ants, the leaked records were immediately devoured by the cyber-cons right after they were compromised.

Per sources, personal data of over 260,000 registered users of the Trident Crypto Fund was left bare for people to exploit as per they wished to.

Reports mention that the leaked data comprised of phone numbers, encrypted passwords, email addresses, and IP addresses.

The aforementioned data was discovered to be published on several “file-sharing” websites in the past month.

According to researchers, the hackers had evidently de-crypted the stolen files and published an array of over 120,000 passwords at the beginning of March. It was also found out that the password and login ID pairs were matchless with the ones previously leaked.

The details or even the mention of the data breach haven’t appeared on the website or on other communication platforms. But reportedly, a victim of the breach was contacted who confirmed the connection between the fund and the leaked data.

As mentioned on the fund’s website, the company “works hard” to protect its customers’ data and secure accounts. They allegedly are also investigating the “suspected breach”.

The Russians were the ones to get heavily affected by the above-mentioned data leak as the compromised data was a direct key to their accounts. Word has it that more than 10,000 Russian users were impacted by the Trident Crypto Fund data breach.

Even though it’s possible that Russian residents might have had their records leaked previously as well, there are no records of that happening.

Nevertheless, this data breach structured the history of data leakages for Russia as this happens to be one of the first major ‘Personal’ data breaches the country’s citizens have faced that has had such a major impact.

Attention! Malvertising Campaigns Using Exploit Kits On The Rise


Of all the things that online advertising could be used for, spreading malware is the one that throws you off the list by surpassing them all.

Not of late, researchers found out a recent ‘Malvertising’ campaign and sources say that it was done by way of the “Domen Social Engineering Toolkit”.
‘Malvertising’ (malicious advertising) could be defined as using online advertising means for spreading malware. Most typically it is done by inserting malware or malicious advertisements into legitimate advertising web pages or networks.

Per informed sources, this campaign was uncovered while trying to influence a VPN service as bait. It displayed a group of domains that gave Domen’s attack mechanism a fresh bend.

The construction of the campaign, as mentioned in reports, was such that ‘search-one[.]info’ was comprised in it as the ‘fake’ page, ‘mix-world[.]best’ as the download site and ‘panel-admin[.]best as the backend panel.

As revealed in reports, the campaign managed to redirect the users and bare them to ‘Smoke Loader’. This is conceivably a downloader that installs secondary payloads. And that’s what it did. They consisted of a ‘Vidar stealer’, ‘Buran ransomware’ and ‘IntelRapid cryptominer’.

Need not to mention, this campaign isn’t the first one to surface which was focused on payloads. Women's malvertising per source had commenced in September last year. The social engineering toolkit was employed to exploit the website and fool users into clicking on a fake ‘Adobe Flash Player’ update. The clicking would start a download of “download.hta”. Afterward, by way of employing PowerShell to connect to “xyxyxyxyxy[.]xyz”, only to download the 'NetSupport Remote Access Trojan' (RAT), later.

With amplification in the usage of the internet and online means, it becomes a top priority to build up a structured and strong defense mechanism to fight and prevent Malvertising.

Hiring security professionals is a safe pre-requisite and a building block towards creating the defense structure. Keeping abreast of the latest updates and patches must be a primary priority.

Word has it that in most cases the ‘exploit kits’ are employed to disseminate the malware payloads. Hence the organizations should have a clear account of all its obstruction points so that Malvertising campaign’s attack payloads could be detected and dealt with in time.

Alert! The Days of WhatsApp Are Gone? Stronger Competitor In The Market!


Joy all around for the social media fanatics who had gotten quite bored of WhatsApp being their only source of incessant chatting provisions. And to those as well who felt unsafe because of the recent spyware that hit the beloved social media chat application.

The word around is that a recently surfaced social media chat application could give strong competition to the Facebook-owned social media service.

The users were already quite disconcerted about the recent cyber threat that hit WhatsApp and were in desperate need of any substitute to satisfy their daily social cravings.

The celebrated application goes by the name of “Signal”. Its unique characteristic is its keen focus on the privacy of the users.

Per sources, Signal has planned out to move towards the big market and go “main-stream”, owing it to the substantial monetary support it received from WhatsApp’s co-founder.

The financial backing is to facilitate “Signal” in getting better features and attracting the attention of people who are sort of done with using WhatsApp and are in want of other options, for whatever reasons.

Reports mention that the launcher of ‘Signal’ had continually been working on getting everyone access to encrypted communications without much fuss.

Now it finally is time for Signal to enter the world it was originally created for in the first place. It is a revolutionized effort at forming a more secure cyber-space for the people.

With key agendas like privacy and cyber-security being the central constituents of Signal, the application is sure to win a lot of hearts.

In recent times WhatsApp has been all over the place because of the alleged cyber threats, like spyware, it has been leaving its users open to. Because of which people’s trust over it has been withering gradually.

Per valid sources, Signal is special because it is encrypted from end-to-end. Its servers do not store any sort of “conversation metadata” on them. This especially was quite a hefty task for the developers to work their way around. They also had to work on enabling “group administration” to let people add and remove members without the servers’ knowledge. But they did it.

Hence, at a time like this, Signal is a very welcome blessing for social media fanatics who have become so used to social applications that they can’t imagine their lives without them.

Apple Deliberately Restricts Old Versioned iPhones' Performance; Gets Fined!



Apple, the technology giant famously known for its partially eaten logo among other things, was recently fined by France’s authority that regulates competition in the country, mentioned sources.

This apparently isn’t the first time that Apple has been fined by governmental authorities but it hasn’t mattered to the multi-million organization much before because of its money replenishing power.

Per reports, the reason behind this charging happens to be Apple’s voluntarily keeping the fact from its users that the software updates it released in 2017 could limit the functioning of the older versions of iPhones.

According to sources, Apple never updated its users that the time-worn batteries of the older iPhones, namely, iPhone 7, iPhone 6, iPhone SE and such wouldn’t be able to manage the increased battery usages.

The Directorate-General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud (DGCCSF) is the aforementioned body that in one of its reports elaborated upon how Apple’s software updates hindered the proper performing of older models of iPhones and how the company never realized their duty to enlighten the users about it.

The updates in question basically curbed the performance levels of iPhones to thwart excessive energy consumption of older versions of the phones, eventually trying to ward off a total crashing down of the devices.

The users could go back to older software versions or replace the battery and their iPhones could have a chance at working like they formerly did. The issue is a good initiative and has a solution but how are the people to know about this and act accordingly, if they aren’t duly apprised by Apple?

And what’s more, Apple restricted the users from returning to their previous software types, meaning the users couldn’t do much about the situation anyway!

Sources mentioned that Apple agreed to pay the fine of around $27.4 million for purposely limiting the performance of older iPhones and not alerting the users about it.

There was quite a hullabaloo outside of France as well regarding the same issue including lawsuits that got Apple to publicly apologize and offer free battery exchanges for affected devices.

As per sources, an Italian agency too had fined Apple and Samsung for not conspicuously informing the users on how to replace batteries.

But, $27.4 is next to nothing for a gigantic tech name like Apple. It would, with no apparent trouble, stock back the amount of money in just 2roper to 3 hours!

120 Million Medical Records Leaked! Global Medical Report Sheds More Light.


Along with cyber-security within your phones and other devices, you must make sure the hospital you go to has enough cyber-protection as well!

The obnoxiousness of cyber-criminals is escalating by the hour. As if stealing data of organizations and loosely selling largely famous tech giants’ data online wasn’t enough, hackers have now thrown on the internet personal medical details of more than 120 million Indian patients, per sources.

With the leakage of these personal medical records, they have also been made available online for cyber-cons to exploit.

In a recent “Global Report” on “Medical Data Leak” it was acutely mentioned that in the enormous number of records that got leaked, the affected patients’ X-rays, MRIs and images of CT scans were the major components.

According to sources, the first such report was published by a German cyber-security firm in October 2019. According to the actions taken by several countries’ governments as a response to the publishing of the first report, the succeeding report segregated countries into the categories of “good”, “bad” and “ugly”.

It may or may not come as a shock to many, but India was a “proud winner” of the second position in the “Ugly” category right after the United States of America.


As stated by the succeeding report, the state of Maharashtra is positioned right at the top if we consider the number of “data troves” (308, 451 troves) that are available online providing access to more than 69 million images.

Per sources, the second position is Karnataka with 182, 865 data troves providing access to more than 13 million images!

Researchers found out that the number of data troves that are available online has risen exponentially especially speaking in terms of India.

What exactly induced the leakage isn’t as widely known as all that but the first report clearly insinuated that the leak was in a way prompted by the servers of the “Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS)” as the leaked information is mostly stored there.

The problem possibly was that the servers aren’t as secure as they should be and are connected to the public internet network which makes them easily susceptible.

This leakage is really disconcerting because you can’t simply get hold of who those patients are. They could be ANYONE, ranging from common men to big shots!
Apart from that, these medical records could pose threats like extortion, identity theft, and the list is unending.

Mobile Banking Malware On The Rise, 50% Hike In Attacks! WhatsApp a Dependable Medium?


According to studies, with an increase of 50% malware attacks have known no bounds in the past year. Most common of all happen to be malware that steals users’ financial data and bank funds.

The banking malware is on the rise in India. According to several sources, over 35% of organizations and institutions in India have been affected by such attacks in 2019 alone.

Among the most common types of malware that India often faces, that steal photographs and contact details from the phone, Adware is a big name as it generates ads on your phone to make money for some other party.

Another variant that isn’t all that trendy in India is a malware that kicks off surveillance on the target’s phone, tracks its GPS location and snips their personal data. What’s more, they could even control your microphone and other mobile phone operations.

What makes banking malware scary is its ability to steal data while the target’s on their phone making payments. Unaware of any malicious activity, the user would have let some cyber-con know all their bank credentials.

WhatsApp is becoming an accessory in the procedures of banking malware. Despite the hefty encryption that’s done on the chat app, hackers keep finding creative ways to exploit even the most minute of vulnerabilities.

In a recent zero-vulnerability case, the malware which was on the video-file message got transmitted as it is onto the receiver’s device.

To make sure that you don’t get malware installed on your device via WhatsApp, keep cleaning all the data and do not open any doubtful files and links.

Phishing attacks are among other common tactics of hackers to attack users and their devices. Suspicious emails, if opened could help the hackers kick off malware in the mailbox and then the attack goes in a way that takes the target to a website and asks them to fill in their personal information.

Downloading apps from third-party stores and straight from the internet is a strict no! Do not open any suspicious files and treat each link and file with equal distrust. If you’re not sure who the sender is, do not consider the file at all, be it on text message or on email.

Connecting to unauthorized or unknown Wi-Fi networks could also pose security issues. With the tag of free networks to lure you in, “man-in-the-middle” attacks could easily be launched.

Mobile phone security is as paramount as the security of your house or any other electronic device. There has got to be a set of security measures in place to work if anything goes south.