Wannacry, Code Red, and „Cyber“ Warfare

René Pfeiffer/ May 14, 2017/ High Entropy, Security

Society and businesses increasingly rely on networked infrastructure. This is not news. Worms that used networks to spread to new hosts in order to infect them is also not news. Code Red did this back in 2001. There is a new worm going around. Its name is Wannacry, and it is allegedly based on published attack code developed by the NSA. The malicious software is delivered by email. After successful installation it infects the host and propagates to other systems by using probes to port 139/TCP, 445/TCP and 3389/TCP. It belongs to the class of ransomware, encrypting files and demanding ransom. Thousands of infected systems are still active. The attack is still ongoing. If you are in doubt if you have compromised systems within your network, we recommend taking a look at how to

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Scanning for TR-069 is neither Cyber nor War

René Pfeiffer/ November 30, 2016/ Discussion, High Entropy, Internet

The Deutsche Telekom was in the news. The reason was a major malfunction of routers at the end of the last mile. Or something like that. As always theories and wild assumptions are the first wave. Apparently a modified Mirai botnet tried to gain access to routers in order to install malicious software. The attacks lasted from Sunday to Monday and affected over 900,000 customers. These routers often are the first point of contact when it comes to a leased line. Firewalls and other security equipment usually comes after the first contact with the router. There are even management ports available, provided the ISP has no filters in place. The TR-069 (Technical Report 069) specification is one management interface, and it has its security risks. Now that the dust has settled the Deutsche Telekom

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DeepSec 2016 Talk: Obfuscated Financial Fraud Android Malware: Detection And Behavior Tracking – Inseung Yang

Sanna/ November 9, 2016/ Conference, Development, Internet, Report, Security

In Korea in particular, hackers have distributed sophisticated and complex financial fraud android malware through various means of distribution, such as SMS phishing, Google play, compromised web servers and home routers (IoT). In some cases, both smartphone and PC users are targeted simultaneously. Inseung Yang and his team collect mobile android malware via an automated analysis system, detect obfuscations and malicious packer apps. In his presentation Inseung Yang will describe trends of malicious android apps and obfuscated mobile malware in Korea. He’ll explain the policy methods for Korean mobile banking and the attack methods used by hackers, f.ex. the stealing of certifications, fake banking apps that require the  security numbers issued to users when they open their accounts, Automatic Response Service(ARS) phishing attacks in conjunction with Call Forwarding, and the requesting of the One Time Password(OTP) number. But

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DeepSec2016 Talk: AMSI: How Windows 10 Plans To Stop Script Based Attacks and How Good It Does That – Nikhil Mittal

Sanna/ October 20, 2016/ Conference, Development, Security

In his talk Nikhil Mittal will focus on AMSI: In Windows 10, Microsoft introduced the AntiMalware Scan Interface (AMSI), which is designed to target script based attacks and malware. Script based attacks have been lethal for enterprise security and with the advent of PowerShell, such attacks have become increasingly common. AMSI targets malicious scripts written in PowerShell, VBScript, JScript, etc. It drastically improves detection and the blocking rate of malicious scripts. When a piece of code is submitted for execution to the scripting host, AMSI steps in and scans the code for malicious content. What makes AMSI effective is that no matter how obfuscated the code is, it needs to be presented to the script host in clear text and unobfuscated. Moreover, since the code is submitted to AMSI just before execution, it doesn’t

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Thoughts on Lawful Malicious Software and its Impact on IT Infrastructure

Sanna/ April 14, 2016/ Interview, Press, Security

During the premiere of „A Good American“ we had a chat with journalists. Markus Sulzbacher of Der Standard wanted to know what the implication of the so-called Bundestrojaner (litterally federal trojan, the colloquial German term for the concept of inserting government malware in order to extract information from a suspect’s computer and telephone devices). The idea is to infect a computer system with malicious software that sits in the background and to siphon off the hard-to-get data connected to communication (i.e. messengers, Skype, emails, etc.). We have translated the interview from German to English for you. You can find the original on Der Standard web site. Der Standard 12.04.2016 “The federal Trojan is governmental malware” Police praise the software as a “wonder weapon against terror”. But for IT expert René Pfeiffer the planned introduction

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FBI, NSA, DoD and CDC join forces to combat Cyber Pathogens

René Pfeiffer/ April 1, 2016/ Discussion, High Entropy

The world economy is threatened by a new strain of microorganisms. These so-called cyber pathogens spread via networks and the touch of digital devices. They can also lie dormant for days and months, only to spring to life when the victim’s immune system is at its weakest point. It is widely believed that cyber pathogens can infect the population of a whole country and wipe it completely off the grid of the Earth. Current antidotes can only treat the symptoms. The best way to get rid off the pathogens is to resort to physical means and destroy every surface it can cling to. Amputation of infected tissue also works. Unless security researchers will find a suitable vaccination soon, every single one of us is at risk. The cyber pathogen threat is the reason for

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DeepSec Video: Building a Better Honeypot Network

René Pfeiffer/ February 3, 2016/ Conference, Security

„It’s a trap!“ is a well-known quote from a very well-known piece of science fiction. In information security you can use bait to attract malicious minds. The bait is called honeypot or honeynet (if you have a lot of honeypots tied together with network protocols). A honeypot allows you to study what your adversaries do with an exposed system. The idea has been around for over a decade. There’s even a guide on how to start. Josh Pyorre has some ideas how you can extend your basic honeypot in order to boost the knowledge gain. At DeepSec 2015 he showed the audience how to process attack-related data, to automate analysis and create actionable intelligence. Why else would you run a honeypot? So go forth and multiply the output of your honeynet!

DeepSec Video: Deactivating Endpoint Protection Software in an Unauthorized Manner

René Pfeiffer/ January 26, 2016/ Conference, Security

The information technology world is full of fancy words that re-invent well-known and well-understood terms. Everyone is talking about the endpoint these days. Endpoint is the trusty old client in disguise. Plus the end in endpoint doesn’t means that something ends there. From the information security point of view all your troubles actually start there. So the client is the start of all your endpoint problems. Why? Because attacks start at the endpoint, regardless how you call it. At DeepSec 2015 Matthias Deeg held a presentation on how malicious software (a.k.a. malware, the good old virus/trojan horse/worm) can deactivate endpoint protection software (a.k.a. anti-virus software) in order to turn your endpoint into a startpoint. Enjoy!

DeepSec 2015 Talk: Bridging the Air-Gap: Data Exfiltration from Air-Gap Networks – Mordechai Guri & Yisroel Mirsky

Sanna/ November 4, 2015/ Conference, Internet, Security

Air does not conduct electricity, usually. Using air gaps between parts transporting electric power by high voltages is a standard method in electrical engineering. Similar strategies are used in information security. Compartmentalisation can be done by network components, logical/physical separation, solid walls, and space filled with air. The only threat you have to worry about are wireless transmissions. Since mobile phone networks permeate our private and business life, access to wireless networks is everywhere. Unless you live in a cave, literally. Mordechai Guri and Yisroel Mirsky have found a way to use cellular frequencies as a carrier in order to transport data out of an air-gapped environment. They will present their results at DeepSec 2015. Air-gapped networks are isolated, separated both logically and physically from public networks. Although the feasibility of invading such systems

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DeepSec 2014 Talk: Why Anti-Virus Software fails

René Pfeiffer/ September 17, 2014/ Conference

Filtering inbound and outbound data is most certainly a part of your information security infrastructure. A prominent component are anti-virus content filters. Your desktop clients probably have one. Your emails will be first read by these filters. While techniques like this have been around for a long time, they regularly draw criticism. According to some opinions the concept of anti-virus is dead. Nevertheless it’s still a major building block of security architecture. The choice can be hard, though. DeepSec 2014 features a talk by Daniel Sauder, giving you an idea why anti-virus software can  fail. Someone who is starting to think about anti-virus evasion will see, that this can be reached easy (see for example last year’s DeepSec talk by Attila Marosi). If an attacker wants to hide a binary executable file with a

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DeepSec 2013 Video: Europe In The Carna Botnet

René Pfeiffer/ February 25, 2014/ Conference, Security

Botnets serve a variety of purposes. Usually they are used to send unsolicited e-mail messages (a.k.a. spam), attack targets by sending crafted data packets, or to perform similar activities. The Carna Botnet was created by an anonymous researcher to scan the IPv4 Internet. The creator called the botnet the Internet Census of 2012. The nodes of the botnet consist of virtually unsecured IPv4 devices – modems and other network equipment. Point of entry where mostly Telnet management interfaces exposed to the Internet. Analysing the devices that were part of the Carna Botnet is well worth the effort. This is why we invited Parth Shukla (Australian Computer Emergency Response Team, AusCERT) to present his findings about the Carna Botnet at DeepSec 2013. „A complete list of compromised devices that formed part of the Carna Botnet

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DeepSec 2013 Video: Malware Datamining And Attribution

René Pfeiffer/ February 7, 2014/ Conference, Security

Popular culture totally loves forensics (judging by the number of TV shows revolving around the topic). When it comes to software a detailed analysis can be very insightful. Most malicious software isn’t written from scratch. Some components are being reused, some are slightly modified (to get past the pesky anti-virus filters). This means that (your) malware has distinct features which can be used for attribution and further analysis. In his talk at DeepSec 2013 Michael Boman explained what you do with malicious software in order to extract information about its origins. Use the traces of its authors to attribute malware to a a individual or a group of individuals. It gives you an idea about the threats you are exposed to and is a good supplement to your risk assessment.

DeepSec 2013 Talk: Malware Datamining And Attribution

René Pfeiffer/ November 13, 2013/ Conference, Security

The production of code leaves traces in the final binary. There can be debugging symbols present, which give you a lot of information. Maybe the binary has some commonly used libraries or functions. A lot of fingerprinting can be done with software. Why is this of interest? Well, there is the attribution problem of attacks and malicious software. Identifying where malware comes from can be crucial for the assessment of risks and the impact of compromised systems. Michael Boman has researched this topic and will present his findings in his talk titled Malware Datamining And Attribution at DeepSec 2013. Stuxnet and related malware is a prime example where the source of the code is of fundamental interest. Even for more „mundane“ code malware authors use leaves traces in their work which can be used

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DeepSec 2013 Talk: My Name Is Hunter, Ponmocup Hunter

René Pfeiffer/ November 12, 2013/ Conference, Security

Defending one’s own resources against malicious software is daily business for information security professionals. Usually you deploy a range of measures and try to minimise the risk. It may or may not work, depending if you have to fear the mysterious Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). APTs are highly targeted, very stealthy and can greatly impact your security in terms of damage and level of compromise. Their stealth aspect makes them hard to detect and hard to counter. Tom Ueltschi from the Swiss Post has gained experience with these kind of attacks. This is why he will share his insights at DeepSec 2013. His talk is titled My Name Is Hunter, Ponmocup Hunter. Ponmocup is a strain of malicious software which forms its own botnet. It is known by a couple of names, depending on

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DeepSec 2013 Talk: Easy Ways To Bypass Anti-Virus Systems

René Pfeiffer/ October 31, 2013/ Conference, Security, Stories

The Joys of Detecting Malicious Software Malicious software is all around us. It permeates the Internet by riding on data transmissions. Once you communicate, you risk getting in touch with malware (another name for malicious software). This is why every single one of us, be it individual, company or organisation, runs anti-virus software. The idea is to have specialised software detect malware, so all the bad things are kept out of your network and away from your end-points. So much for the theory. In practice any self-respecting attacker can evade anti-virus filters by a variety of means, depending on their skills and resources. Security researchers know about this fact. Stuxnet and Flame were a proof for sceptics (and a failure of the whole anti-virus industry). How can this be? Well, Attila Marosi (GovCERT Hungary)

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