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Apache Struts Vulnerabilities and The Equifax Hack, What Happened?

In the wake of the Equifax breach, a lot of people are wondering how the theft of personal information occurred and how it could have been prevented. Equifax initially reported that a vulnerability in Apache Struts was used to infiltrate their public-facing web server. Apache Struts has faced its fair share of vulnerabilities with 21 having been discovered since the start of 2016. Which Apache Struts vulnerability was used in the Equifax hack? At DOSarrest we researched current and past Apache Strut vulnerabilities and determined that they likely were not hacked using the new CVE-2017-9805 but likely CVE-2017-5638. Equifax released additional details on Sept 13 th 2017 confirming that the vulnerability involved was CVE-2017-5638. The CVE-2017-5638 vulnerability dates back to March 2017, which is why people in the security industry are now questioning how they could be so far behind in patching this well-known exploit. The two vulnerabilities, CVE-2017-5638 and the recently revealed CVE-2017-9805 are very similar in nature and are both considered Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerabilities . How does a RCE vulnerability work and how can they be prevented? A RCE vulnerability is exploited when an attacker crafts a packet or request containing arbitrary code or commands. The attacker uses a method to bypass security that causes a vulnerable server to execute the code with either user or elevated privileges. Such vulnerabilities can be prevented with a two-fold approach to web application security: 1) New vulnerabilities will continually be discovered in any web application framework, and it is the duty of IT teams to keep the software patched. This requires regular audits and patches to vulnerable software. Even the most proactive IT teams will not be able to prevent a so-called zero-day attack by patching alone so more must be done to protect the web server from zero-day vulnerabilities. 2) Since there is always a delay between the time a vulnerability is discovered and when a patch is developed by the maintainer of that product, a means to protect your website from undiscovered zero-day vulnerabilities is needed. Web Application Firewall’s (WAF) that typically rely on signatures are unfortunately at a disadvantage because signatures for existing vulnerabilities in most cases do not match newer zero-day vulnerabilities. If I cannot rely on signature-based WAF options, what can I rely on to protect my business? At DOSarrest our WAF is different. The problem with relying on signatures is that it requires constant updates as new vulnerabilities become known. Instead our WAF looks for sets of characters (such as /}/,/“/, and /;/) or phrases (like “/bin/bash” or “cmd.exe”) that are known to be problematic for some web applications. What makes DOSarrest’s WAF even more appealing is that it is fast. Much faster than signature-based solutions that require high CPU use to match signatures–such matching could result in a measurable impact on latency. With DOSarrest’s WAF there is no increase in latency, and vulnerabilities not yet discovered will still be mitigated. Examples of how the Apache Strut vulnerabilities are performed: For the benefit of more technical users, some sample requests will be analyzed below. The first example represents a normal non-malicious request sent by millions of people everyday and the following two exploit RCE vulnerabilities in Apache Struts: We can note the following characteristics in the exploit of CVE-2017-5638: 1. The Content-Type Header starts with %{(, an incorrect format. 2. The payload contains a java function call, java.lang.ProcessBuilder, that is normally regarded as dangerous. 3. The payload contains both windows and Linux command line interpreters: “cmd.exe” (Windows Command Prompt) and “/bin/bash” (Linux Bash shell/terminal). The RCE vulnerability used to infiltrate Equifax, CVE-2017-5638 exploits a bug in the way Apache Struts processes the “Content-Type” HTTP header. This allows attackers to run an XML script with elevated user access, containing the java.lang.ProcessBuilder.Java.lang.ProcessBuilder is required to execute the commands the attacker has placed within the XML request. CVE 2017-9805, announced September 2017, is very similar to the previous RCE vulnerability. With CVE-2017-9805, we can note the following characteristics: 1. The Content-Type is application/xml with the actual content in the request body matching that of the Content-Type. 2) The payload also contains the java function call java.lang.ProcessBuilder. 3) The payload in this case is Linux specific and calls “/bin/bash -c touch ./CVE-2017-9805.txt” to confirm that the exploit works by creating a file, “CVE-2017-9805.txt”. Are the payloads shown the exact ones used by attackers to obtain data from Equifax? Although some of the commands may have been used together as part of the information gathering process, the actual commands used to obtain the data from Equifax may only be known by the attackers and possibly Equifax or an auditing security team directly involved in the case. The examples show how the vulnerability could be exploited in the wild and what methods might be used, e.g., setting Content-Type and sending an XML file with a payload. These examples do not represent the actual payload used to obtain the data from Equifax. Since the payload itself can be completely arbitrary, an attacker can run any commands desired on the victim’s server. Any action the web server software is capable of could be performed by an attacker, which could allow for theft of information or intellectual property if it is accessible from the hacked server. In the case of Equifax, there was likely an initial vulnerability scan that the attackers used to expose Equifax’s vulnerability to this particular attack. This would have been followed by an effort to determine what files were available or what actions could be performed from the Equifax public-facing web server.At some point the attackers came across a method for accessing personal credit details on millions of Americans and citizens from other countries who had credit checks performed on their identities within the United States. If Equifax had been using the DOSarrest WAF, they could have avoided a costly mistake. Don’t let your business suffer a damaging security breach that could result in you being out of business for good. Talk to us about our services. For more information on our services including our Web Application Firewall, see DOSarrest for more information on Security solutions . Source: https://www.dosarrest.com/ddos-blog/apache-struts-vulnerabilities-and-the-equifax-hack-what-happened/

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Apache Struts Vulnerabilities and The Equifax Hack, What Happened?

DDoS protection, mitigation and defense: 7 essential tips

Protecting your network from DDoS attacks starts with planning your response. Here, security experts offer their best advice for fighting back. DDoS attacks are bigger and more ferocious than ever and can strike anyone at any time. With that in mind we’ve assembled some essential advice for protecting against DDoS attacks. 1. Have your DDoS mitigation plan ready Organizations must try to anticipate the applications and network services adversaries will target and draft an emergency response plan to mitigate those attacks. [ Find out how DDoS attacks are evolving and bookmark CSO’s daily dashboard for the latest advisories and headlines. | Sign up for CSO newsletters. ] “Enterprises are paying more attention to these attacks and planning how they’ll respond. And they’re getting better at assembling their own internal attack information as well as the information their vendors are providing them to help fight these attacks,” says Tsantes. IBM’s Price agrees. “Organizations are getting better at response. They’re integrating their internal applications and networking teams, and they know when the attack response needs to be escalated so that they aren’t caught off guard. So as attackers are becoming much more sophisticated, so are the financial institutions,” she says. “A disaster recovery plan and tested procedures should also be in place in the event a business-impacting DDoS attack does occur, including good public messaging. Diversity of infrastructure both in type and geography can also help mitigate against DDoS as well as appropriate hybridization with public and private cloud,” says Day. “Any large enterprise should start with network level protection with multiple WAN entry points and agreements with the large traffic scrubbing providers (such as Akamai or F5) to mitigate and re-route attacks before they get to your edge.  No physical DDoS devices can keep up with WAN speed attacks, so they must be first scrubbed in the cloud.  Make sure that your operations staff has procedures in place to easily re-route traffic for scrubbing and also fail over network devices that get saturated,” says Scott Carlson, technical fellow at BeyondTrust. 2. Make real-time adjustments While it’s always been true that enterprises need to be able to adjust in real-time to DDoS attacks, it became increasingly so when a wave of attacks struck many in the financial services and banking industry in 2012 and 2013, including the likes of Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, PNC Bank and Wells Fargo. These attacks were both relentless and sophisticated. “Not only were these attacks multi-vector, but the tactics changed in real time,” says Gary Sockrider, solutions architect for the Americas at Arbor Networks. The attackers would watch how sites responded, and when the site came back online, the hackers would adjust with new attack methods. “They are resolute and they will hit you on some different port, protocol, or from a new source. Always changing tactics,” he says. “ Enterprises have to be ready to be as quick and flexible as their adversaries.” 3. Enlist DDoS protection and mitigation services John Nye, VP of cybersecurity strategy at CynergisTek explains that there are many things enterprises can do on their own to be ready to adjust for when these attacks hit, but enlisting a third-party DDoS protection service may be the most affordable route. “Monitoring can be done within the enterprise, typically in the SOC or NOC, to watch for excessive traffic and if it is sufficiently distinguishable from legitimate traffic, then it can be blocked at the web application firewalls (WAF) or with other technical solutions. While it is possible to build a more robust infrastructure that can deal with larger traffic loads, this solution is substantially costlier than using a third-party service,” Nye says. Chris Day, chief cybersecurity officer at data center services provider Cyxtera, agrees with Nye that enterprises should consider getting specialty help. “Enterprises should work with a DDoS mitigation company and/or their network service provider to have a mitigation capability in place or at least ready to rapidly deploy in the event of an attack.” “The number one most useful thing that an enterprise can do — if their web presence is  that  critical to their business — is to enlist a third-party DDoS protection service,” adds Nye. “I will not recommend any particular vendor in this case, as the best choice is circumstantial and if an enterprise is considering using such a service they should thoroughly investigate the options.” 4. Don’t rely only on perimeter defenses Everyone we interviewed when reporting on the DDoS attacks that struck financial services firms a few years ago found that their traditional on-premises security devices — firewalls, intrusion-prevention systems, load balancers —were unable to block the attacks. “We watched those devices failing. The lesson there is really simple: You have to have the ability to mitigate the DDoS attacks before it gets to those devices. They’re vulnerable. They’re just as vulnerable as the servers you are trying to protect,” says Sockrider, when speaking of the attacks on banks and financial services a few years ago. Part of the mitigation effort is going to have to rely on upstream network providers or managed security service providers that can interrupt attacks away from the network perimeter. It’s especially important to mitigate attacks further upstream when you’re facing high-volume attacks. “If your internet connection is 10GB and you receive a 100GB attack, trying to fight that at the 10GB mark is hopeless. You’ve already been slaughtered upstream,” says Sockrider. 5. Fight application-layer attacks in-line Attacks on specific applications are generally stealthy, much lower volume and more targeted. “They’re designed to fly under the radar so you need the protection on-premises or in the data center so that you can perform deep-packet inspection and see everything at the application layer. This is the best way to mitigate these kinds of attacks,” says Sockrider. “Organizations will need a web protection tool that can handle application layer DoS attacks,” adds Tyler Shields, VP of Strategy, Marketing & Partnerships at Signal Sciences. “Specifically, those that allow you to configure it to meet your business logic. Network based mitigations are no longer going to suffice,” he says. Amir Jerbi, co-founder and CTO is Aqua Security, a container security company, explains how one of the steps you can take to protect against DDoS attacks is to add redundancy to an application by deploying it on multiple public cloud providers. “This will ensure that if your application or infrastructure provider is being attacked then you can easily scale out to the next cloud deployment,” he says. 6. Collaborate The banking industry is collaborating a little when it comes to these attacks. Everything they reveal is carefully protected and shared strictly amongst themselves, but in a limited way, banks are doing a better job at collaborating than most industries . “They’re working among each other and with their telecommunication providers. And they’re working directly with their service providers. They have to. They can’t just work and succeed in isolation,” says Lynn Price, IBM security strategist for the financial sector. For example, when the financial services industry was targeted, they turned to the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center for support and to share information about threats. “In some of these information-sharing meetings, the [big] banks are very open when it comes to talking about the types of attacks underway and the solutions they put into place that proved effective. In that way, the large banks have at least been talking with each other,” says Rich Bolstridge, chief strategist of financial services at Akamai Technologies. The financial sector’s strategy is one that could and should be adopted elsewhere, regardless of industry. 7. Watch out for secondary attacks As costly as DDoS attacks can be, they may sometimes be little more than a distraction to provide cover for an even more nefarious attack. “DDoS can be a diversion tactic for more serious attacks coming in from another direction. Banks need to be aware that they have to not only be monitoring for and defending the DDoS attack, but they also have to have an eye on the notion that the DDoS may only be one aspect of a multifaceted attack, perhaps to steal account or other sensitive information,” Price says. 8. Stay vigilant Although many times DDoS attacks appear to only target high profile industries and companies, research shows that’s just not accurate. With today’s interconnected digital supply-chains (every enterprise is dependent on dozens if not hundreds of suppliers online), increased online activism expressed through attacks, state sponsored attacks on industries in other nations, and the ease of which DDoS attacks can be initiated, every organization must consider themselves a target. So be ready, and use the advice in this article as a launching point to build your organization’s own anti-DDoS strategy. Source: https://www.csoonline.com/article/2133613/network-security/malware-cybercrime-ddos-protection-mitigation-and-defense-7-essential-tips.html

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DDoS protection, mitigation and defense: 7 essential tips

Bigger Online Super Series Cancelled due to DDoS Attacks

The Winning Poker Network has cancelled the third leg of its OSS Cub3d series – the Bigger Online Super Series – due to the threat of further DDoS attacks. The Winning Poker Network´s Bigger Online Super Series (BOSS) was scheduled to be a superb finale to a hugely successful three-tiered OSS Cub3d tournament series. The series had started incredibly well, with events in the Mini Online Super Series beating their guarantees by an average of 67% and the “meat in the sandwich” – the Online Super Series – performing much better than had been expected . However, towards the end of last week, a series of DDoS attacks disrupted the series. Connection issues resulted in the cancellation of tournaments – not only the feature events in the Online Super Series, but also many qualifying satellites for the Million Dollar Sunday. Fortunately, the Million Dollar Sunday event was able to go ahead but, due to fears of further disruption, the Winning Poker Network has decided to cancel the remaining events in the OSS Cub3d schedule. New OSS Cub3d Series Scheduled for Later this Month Announcing the cancellation of the Bigger Online Super Series via the Americas Cardroom Twitch stream, the Winning Poker Network´s CEO – Phil Nagy – explained that the measures needed to be put in place to mitigate the threat of further DDoS would not be completed by Wednesday (the start date for the Bigger Online Super Series). He said rather than risk further frustration and disappointment , he was cancelling the series and rescheduling it for later in the month. Rather than just run the seventeen events cancelled from this week, the Winning Poker Network´s CEO announced a whole new OSS Cub3d series that will run from September 24th to October 22nd and feature two Million Dollar Sunday events – one with a half-price buy-in of just $265.00. Nagy said he would also honour the current finishing positions in the OSS Cub3d leaderboard promotion and give Punta Cana Poker Classic packages to the players occupying the top three positions. New Software and Updated Servers will Help Mitigate DDoS Threat Nagy is confident the rescheduled OSS Cub3d series will be able to go ahead without players suffering the disconnection issues that disrupted last weekend´s events. Within two weeks, new software will be released on updated servers that should be able to withstand DDoS attacks . The long-awaited WPN V2 poker client should also provide players with a more enjoyable online poker experience as many of the bugs that exist with the current version of the software have reportedly been fixed. Nagy also announced the Americas Cardroom mobile app is due to be released next week. First put into development in January, and expected to take between nine and twelve weeks, the app will support games of Jackpot Poker and Sit & Go 2.0 . It is not known whether the app will be available for all skins on the Winning Poker Network so, players wanting to play these games on the go may have to create an account with Americas Cardroom in order to access them. Bad Pelican Takes Million Dollar Sunday for $269,800 The fact that the Million Dollar Sunday event was able to go ahead last weekend was good news for “Bad Pelican”. The infrequent visitor to the Winning Poker Network topped a field of 2,698 to collect the $269,800 first prize after fourteen hours of play . The massive field ensured the million dollar guarantee was met and, in total, 405 players cashed in the event. The volume of players on the Winning Poker Network also ensured guarantee-busting prize pools for most of the weekend´s tournaments. Hopefully the next OSS Cub3d series should go without a hitch. As sites on the Winning Poker Network continue to add new features and player benefits, there will be huge expectations for the next OSS Cub3d series , and it will be a huge disappointment – not least for CEO Phil Nagy – if any of the tournaments have to be cancelled due to DDoS attacks or other connection issues. Source: http://www.pokernewsreport.com/bigger-online-super-series-cancelled-due-to-ddos-attacks-21870

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Bigger Online Super Series Cancelled due to DDoS Attacks

Hackers Use Thousands Of Infected Android Devices In DDoS Attacks

Hundreds of thousands of home routers, IP cameras and other internet-of-things devices have been infected with malware over the past year and have been used to launch some of the largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks ever recorded. Attackers are now doing the same with Android devices, with the help of malicious applications hosted on Google Play and other third-party app stores. A joint investigation by the security teams from Akamai, Cloudflare, Flashpoint, Google, RiskIQ and Team Cymru has led to the discovery of a large botnet made up of over 100,000 Android devices located in more than 100 countries. The investigation was launched in response to large DDoS attacks that have hit several content providers and content delivery networks over the past few weeks. The goal behind DDoS attacks is to flood servers with bogus traffic in order to use up their available internet bandwidth or their CPU and RAM resources so they can no longer serve requests from legitimate users. Servers are typically configured to handle a certain number of concurrent connections based on the estimated number of visitors that they’re expected to receive. Load balancers, firewalls and other anti-DDoS technologies are used to limit the negative impact of any sudden traffic spikes, but with enough firepower, attackers can disrupt even the most well-protected networks. This particular Android botnet, which has been dubbed WireX, was used to send tens of thousands of HTTP requests that were meant to resemble those coming from legitimate browsers. The researchers were able to establish a pattern to the User-Agent string reported by the rogue clients and traced them back to malicious Android applications. Some of the applications were available in third-party app stores that came pre-installed on devices, but around 300 of them were hosted on Google Play. “Many of the identified applications fell into the categories of media/video players, ringtones or tools such as storage managers and app stores with additional hidden features that were not readily apparent to the end users that were infected,” the researchers said in a report. Most of the rogue applications requested device administrator permissions during installation, which allowed them to launch a background service and participate in DDoS attacks even when the applications themselves were not actively used or when the devices were locked. Google has removed the malicious applications from Google Play and started to remotely remove them from affected devices as well. Furthermore, the Play Protect feature which runs locally on Android devices prevents these apps from being reinstalled, the researchers said. Some antivirus products detect the malicious applications as an “Android Clicker” Trojan which might suggest that the botnet’s original purpose was click fraud, a method of earning revenue from fraudulent clicks on advertisements. However, by the time it was discovered, the botnet had clearly been repurposed for DDoS and was receiving attack instructions from command-and-control servers hosted under the same domain name. This is not the first Android-based DDoS botnet ever found, but it is certainly the largest. At the peak of the attacks, the researchers observed malicious traffic coming from over 120,000 unique IP addresses per hour. Last year, security firm Imperva uncovered a similar botnet that was used to launch DDoS attacks from around 27,000 infected Android devices. While Google is making significant efforts to keep malware off Google Play and constantly scans the apps hosted on its platform, this is not the first time when malicious applications have made it past its defenses. Just last week, the company removed applications that were using an advertising toolkit with spying capabilities and in May the company removed around 40 apps that included click fraud functionality. Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lconstantin/2017/08/28/hackers-use-thousands-of-infected-android-devices-in-ddos-attacks/#67c498825228

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Hackers Use Thousands Of Infected Android Devices In DDoS Attacks

90% of Companies Get Attacked with Three-Year-Old Vulnerabilities

A Fortinet report released this week highlights the importance of keeping secure systems up to date, or at least a few cycles off the main release, albeit this is not recommended, but better than leaving systems unpatched for years. According to the Fortinet Q2 2017 Global Threat Landscape, 90% of organizations the company protects have experienced cyber-attacks during which intruders tried to exploit vulnerabilities that were three years or older. In addition, 60% of organizations were attacked with exploits ten years or older. Organizations that did a relatively good job at keeping systems patched would have been able to block the attacks. Nonetheless, it is always recommended that companies keep systems up to date at all times. This has been shown in the past year. First last year with a Joomla flaw that saw exploit attempts days after being disclosed, then again at the start of January when attackers started scanning for a recently disclosed WordPress flaw hours after the official announcement. The focus on older exploits is simple to explain. Not all hackers are on the same skill level of nation-state cyber-espionage units, and most rely on open-sourced exploits. The older the vulnerability, the better the chances of finding a working exploit on one of the many exploit-sharing sites currently available online. Weekend warriors Furthermore, the Fortinet includes an interesting chart that shows attackers launching attacks mostly over the weekend. There are a few simple explanations for these. First, there are no SIRT (Security Incident Response Team) responders at most businesses over the weekend. Second, most hackers have jobs as well, and the weekend is when most are free for “side activities.” Number of DDoS attacks grew after Mirai source code release Also this week, Akamai released the State of the Internet/Security Report for Q2 2017. The report contains statistics on a wide variety of web attacks that took place via the company’s infrastructure in April, May, and June. The report’s main finding is the rise in the number of DDoS attacks during the first half of 2017 after DDoS attacks went down during the second half of 2016. According to Akamai, the release of the Mirai DDoS malware source code in September 2016 helped breathe new life into a declining DDoS booter market. Since then, a large number of different botnets built on the Mirai source code have been spotted, many of which were offered as DDoS-for-hire services. In a separate research presented at the USENIX security conference last week, researchers from Cisco, Akamai, Google, and three US universities revealed that despite having a reputation of being able to take down some of the largest online companies around, most Mirai botnets were mainly used to target online gaming servers. Besides Mirai, another very active strain of DDoS-capable malware was the PBos trojan, also targeting Linux-based devices. Some of these attacks even reached the massive size of 75 Gbps. Source: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/90-percent-of-companies-get-attacked-with-three-year-old-vulnerabilities/

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90% of Companies Get Attacked with Three-Year-Old Vulnerabilities

Online Extortion Campaigns Target Users, Companies, Security Researchers

During the past week, there has been a sudden surge in online extortion campaigns, against regular users and security researchers alike. The most devious of these was a campaign detected by Forcepoint security researcher Roland Dela Paz, and which tried to trick users into thinking hackers had gotten their hands on sensitive or sexually explicit images. Attackers wanted payments of $320 to a Bitcoin address or they would have sent the compromising materials to the victim’s friends. Massive spam wave delivered fake threats This attempted blackmail message was the subject of a massive spam campaign that took place between August 11 and 18. Dela Paz says attackers sent out extortion emails to over 33,500 victims. Most of the targets were from Australia and France. The extortion campaign was particularly active in Australia, where it caught the eye of officials at the Australian National University, who issued a safety warning on the topic, alerting students of the emails. The extortion attempt was obviously fake, says Dela Paz. “The scale of this campaign suggests that the threat is ultimately empty,” the expert explained. “If the actors did indeed possess personal details of the recipients, it seems likely they would have included elements (e.g. name, address, or date of birth) in more targeted threat emails in order to increase their credibility.” Dela Paz warns that the campaign is still ongoing. Users can recognize the blackmail attempts by the following subject line formats: “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time ??n??rning ?ur yest?rday’s ??nv?rs?tion” “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time I hav? s?m?thing that can m??? y?ur lif? w?rse” “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time I would not li?e t? start our kn?winga?qu?int?n?? with this” “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time I’m not h?p?y with y?ur beh?vior lately” “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time Dont y?u thin? th?t your devi?? w?r?s w?ird?” “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time I think th?t it is not as funny for you as it is funny for m?” Hackers tried to blackmail Swiss security researcher In addition, during the past week, there were also extortion attempts sent to organizations. A hacker group calling itself ANX-Rans tried to extort a French company. Another group calling itself CyberTeam also tried to extract a ransom payment of 5 Bitcoin (~$20,000) from Abuse.ch, the website of a prominent Swiss security researcher. These DDoS threats in the hope of extracting Bitcoin payments are called DDoS-for-Bitcoin or RDoS (Ransom DDoS) attacks. RDoS attacks have been on the rise since mid-June after a South Korean hosting provider paid a ransom of nearly $1 million after web ransomware encrypted its customer servers. Ever since then, RDoS groups became extremely active hoping for a similar payday. We’ve already covered the active groups at the time in an article here. Group posing as Anonymous targeted US companies Since then, the most prominent RDoS campaign that took place was in mid-July when a group using the name of the Anonymous hacker collective tried to extort payments from US companies under the threat of DDoS attacks. At the time, Bleeping Computer obtained a copy of the ransom email from cyber-security firm Radware, who was investigating the threats. Radware said that despite posing as Anonymous hackers, this was the same group who tried to obtain ransoms of $315,000 from four South Korean banks (for these RDoS extortions the group posed as Armada Collective, another famous hacking crew). “This is not an isolated case. This is a coordinated large-scale RDoS spam campaign that appears to be shifting across regions of the world,” Radware security researcher Daniel Smith told Bleeping Computer via email at the time. “All ransom notes received have the same expiration date,” he added. “In RDoS spam campaigns like this one the actors threaten multiple victims with a 1Tbps attack on the same day.” Most RDoS extortion attempts are empty threats The group also claimed it was in control of a Mirai botnet made up of compromised IoT devices and was capable of launching DDoS attacks of 1 Tbps. No such attacks have been observed following the ransom demands on US companies. In research presented at the USENIX security conference last week, researchers from Cisco, Akamai, Google, and three US universities revealed that despite having a reputation of being able to take down some of the largest online companies around, the most variants of the Mirai botnet were mainly used to target online gaming servers. Most of these DDoS attacks on gaming servers were also relatively small as multiple botnets broke up IoT devices (DDoS resources) among them. In addition to the group posing as Anonymous, Radware also reported on multiple RDoS extortion attempts on gaming providers that also took place in July. “We suggest companies do not pay the ransom,” Smith said at the time, a recommendation still valid today, as this encourages more blackmailers to join in. Source: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/online-extortion-campaigns-target-users-companies-security-researchers/

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Online Extortion Campaigns Target Users, Companies, Security Researchers

Why DDoS attacks show no signs of slowing down

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks caused substantial damage to organisations across APAC and the world in the past year. According to Neustar’s recent ‘Worldwide DDoS Attacks and Cyber Insights Research Report’, 84 percent organisations surveyed globally were hit by a DDoS attack in the last 12 months, with 86 percent of those organisations were hit multiple times. The code used to cause these large outages was published openly, and soon after all sorts of attacks and variants of the original code were causing havoc around the world. Detection is too slow DDoS attacks are not only occurring more frequently but are also getting more difficult to detect. Within APAC, more than half of organisations on average are taking at least three hours to detect an attack and nearly as many took another three hours to respond once an attack was detected. Alarmingly, slow detection and response can lead to huge damages financially. Around half of all organisations stand to lose an average of $100,000 per hour of peak downtime during an attack. To exacerbate this, 40 percent of organisations hit were notified by their customers of the attacks. Investment is increasing The worrying figures above help explain why 90 percent of organisations are increasing their investments in DDoS defences, compared to the previous 12 months – up from 76 percent last year- despite the fact that 99 percent already have some form of protection in place. The threats faced today, and those anticipated in the future, are clearly forcing organisations to completely reconsider the ways they are currently protecting themselves. Mitigating against DDOS attacks Effectively mitigating DDoS attacks has become crucial for organisations that want to avoid damaging financial and reputational loss. In order to combat attacks, organisations need to adequately understand the threat, quantify the risk and then create a mitigation plan that corresponds to their needs. Whether it’s a large or small scale DDoS attack, to keep up with the growing threat, companies will need newer, adaptable, and scalable defences that include new technology and methodologies. Developing a mitigation plan Paying the cost for a DDoS mitigation that exceeds their requirements is like over insuring your car – you are paying a premium for a service that does not match your level of risk/potential loss. Similarly, implementing a DDoS mitigation that does not cover the risk will likely lead to additional costs, resulting from greater organisational impact and additional emergency response activities. Once the severity of the risk is understood, there are three key critical elements of producing a good mitigation plan that must be enacted: detection, response and rehearsal. Detecting an attack Fortunately, there are several technologies out there that can be used to monitor both the physical and cloud-based environment. An example is how organisations can use Netflow monitoring on border routers to detect a volumetric attack, or provide this data to a third-party for analysis and detection. They can also look at using appliances to conduct automatic detection and response, again managed internally or by a third-party. In a cloud environment, organisations can choose between a vast array of cloud monitoring tools that allow them to identify degradation and performance, CPU utilisation and latency, giving an indication as accurate as possible of when an attack occurs. Responding to an attack The response plan to the attack must be scaled to the organisation’s risk exposure and technology infrastructure. For instance, an organisation operating in the cloud with a moderate risk exposure might decide on a cloud based solution, pay-on-occurrence model. On the other hand, a financial services company that operates its own infrastructure will be exposed to more substantial financial and reputational risk. Such a company would ideally look for a hybrid solution that would provide the best time to mitigate, low latency and near immediate failover to cloud mitigation for large volumetric attacks. Rehearsal of your mitigation plan Regardless of the protection method being deployed, it’s good practice to rehearse it periodically. Periodic testing can not only eliminate gaps or issues in responding to a DDoS attack, but can also prepare the responsible owners to perform their required actions when an actual event occurs. In summary, DDoS attacks aren’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. The threats associated with DDoS attacks cannot be understated or underestimated. Moreover, by quantifying the risk to the organisation and implementing a right-sized mitigation solution, organisations can effectively and efficiently mitigate the risk of DDoS attacks. Source: https://securitybrief.com.au/story/why-ddos-attacks-show-no-signs-slowing-down/

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Why DDoS attacks show no signs of slowing down

Ukrainian Postal Service Knocked Offline By Repeated DDoS

Ukrposhta, the national postal service in Ukraine, was hit with a two-day DDoS attack that began on Monday, knocking some systems offline. According to the Interfax news agency, the computer systems targeted by the unknown assailants are used to track customer parcels and shipments. Ukrposhta is managed by the Infrastructure Ministry in Ukraine, and employs almost 12,000 postal officers across the country and 76,000 employees in all—meaning that disruptions could have far-reaching effects. The company gave DDoS updates via its Facebook page yesterday. The latest (in translation) reads: “During the first wave of the attack, which began yesterday in the morning, our IT services could normalize the situation, and after 5 p.m., all the services on the site worked properly. But today, hackers are at it again. Due to their actions, both the website and services are working, but slowly and with interruptions.” Igal Zeifman, director of marketing at Imperva for the Incapsula product line, said via email that it sounds like Ukrposhta is dealing with several repeat assaults, occurring in rapid succession. “Recently, such tactics had become more common due to their ability to disrupt some security measures and cause fatigue to the people in charge of the attack mitigation, forcing them to stay alert even in the quiet time between the attacks,” he said. “In the first quarter of the year, we saw the number of such repeat assaults reach an all-time-high, with over 74% of DDoS targets attacked at least twice in the span of that quarter.” This is not the first time that Ukraine’s postal service has faced significant attacks this year. The country was ground zero for the Petya/NotPetya ransomware attacks that proliferated around the globe in June, which affected not just the postal service but also banks and the state-owned power companies, Ukenergo and Kyivenergo. Source: https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/ukrainian-postal-service-repeated/

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Ukrainian Postal Service Knocked Offline By Repeated DDoS

The IoT Botnet Wars: How to Harden Linux Devices from DoS Attacks

While fighting botnets like Mirai and BrickerBot with another botnet, Hajime, may help prevent denial-of-service attacks on the IoT, the best defense is a basic system security-hardening plan. An ongoing battle being waged is leveraging insecure Linux-based Internet of Things (IoT) devices. BrickerBot (see “Beware BrickerBot, the IoT Killer”) is a recent malware strain attacking connected devices and causing them to “brick,” making an electronic device completely useless in a permanent denial-of-service (PDoS) attack. It may be a case of grey hat hacking and a direct response to the Mirai botnet distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that enslaved IoT devices. The Mirai botnet consisted of connected printers, IP cameras, residential gateways, and baby monitors that flooded DNS servers. Mirai was behind the largest DDoS attack of its kind ever in October 2016, with an estimated throughput of 1.2 terabits per second. It leveraged these enslaved devices to bring down large portions of the internet, including services such as Netflix, GitHub, HBO, Amazon, Reddit, Twitter, and DIRECTV. BrickerBot’s goal appears to counter Mirai’s: Bricking insecure Linux devices so that malware such as Mirai can’t subjugate these devices in another DDoS attack. An internet service provider in Southern California, Sierra Tel, experienced widespread outages due to this battle. Its Zyxel modems were victim to BrickerBot and another malware, possibly Mirai. It took nearly two weeks to replace all customers’ modems. This was the same modem model that Mirai infected and took out a German ISP’s network, an outage that affected a population size larger than San Francisco. Hajime is another Mirai-like worm that has been spreading during the past several months with similar goals as BrickerBot: Thwarting malware such as Mirai in exploiting poorly secured IoT devices to do their bidding. Hajime accesses devices by scanning the internet and trying a set of default credentials, and then injecting a malicious program. However, Hajime tries to harden the security of these devices by blocking four ports that Mirai is known to attack (23, 7547, 5555, 5358) to deflect further subjugation for DDoS attacks or even Bitcoin mining. Unfortunately, once the Hajime-infected device reboots, it returns to its vulnerable state with these ports open. Thus, Hajime is merely a temporary band-aid. The only real cure is to deploy a software update with new credentials. Leading computer-security expert Gene Spafford said “The only true secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete, and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards—and even then I have my doubts.” While this may be true, basic security hardening would have helped protect against many of the attacks from malware targeting Linux devices. We will cover some basic system-hardening concepts in the context of these attacks, including closing unused open network ports , intrusion detection systems , enforcing password complexity and policies , removing unnecessary services , and frequent software updates to fix bugs and patch security vulnerabilities. Basic Security Would Deflect Malicious Mirai Malware The Mirai malware caused major outages across the internet by attacking DNS provider Dyn’s servers. The malware infected vulnerable devices by using open Telnet ports to target ARM, MIPS, PPC, and x86 devices that run on Linux. It scanned the internet for the IP address of IoT devices and identified vulnerable ones by using a table of more than 60 common factory credentials. As the malware is stored in memory, the device remains infected until it’s rebooted. Even if the device is rebooted, it can be re-infected in minutes unless the login credentials are changed immediately. Once the device is infected by Mirai, it tries to remove any competing malware and sits idle long enough as a way to avoid detection from security tools. After an extended period, it contacts its Command and Control server for further instruction. Enforcing complex password policies instead of keeping published factory-default credentials would have helped prevent Mirai from enslaving these devices. The challenge of securing consumer-facing IoT is that manufacturers are relying on consumers to change the password from a factory-default login, which typically requires the process of logging into the admin panel and manually changing the password. Will Dormann, senior vulnerability analyst at the CERT Coordination Center, says “Instead of hard-coding credentials or setting default usernames and passwords that many users will never change, hardware makers should require users to pick a strong password when setting up the device.” The ability to deploy software updates is another mandatory capability to fix bugs and patch known security vulnerabilities. In the software-development book Code Complete , author Steve McConnell states that there are 1-25 bugs and vulnerabilities per 1,000 lines of code, where the variable is determined by the practices of the team. Consumer electronics, such as many of the devices listed on Krebs (see figure) , are at the high end of the scale due to the higher focus on features and time-to-market with little security oversight. Many of these devices are already running on thin margins, so having an over-the-air (OTA) update capability with minimal development effort by the manufacturer is an important consideration. These are the known infected devices by Mirai published on Krebs on Security. “When it comes to software updates, automatic updates are good,” says Dormann. “Simple updates that notify the user and require intervention are okay. Updates that require the user to dig around to find and install manually are next to worthless. Devices that don’t have updates at all are completely worthless.” The software update process itself is complex with many security considerations to take into account to protect against things like man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks. There is also the danger of a device bricking because it loses power mid-update or has intermittent network connectivity. For this reason, updates need to be atomic, meaning the update fully completes or not at all (no partial updates)—even in cases of power loss at any time during the update process. Manufacturers have open-source options available to deploy software updates to devices. SWUpdate is a well-known and flexible open-source Linux update agent, while Mender.io (disclaimer: the open-source project I am involved with) provides an end-to-end solution (both agent and management server) to deploy OTA updates fleet-wide. Software updates for IoT has become a hot topic, even getting the attention of the U.S. government and Congress. And Bill Woods from the Atlantic Council international think tank noted that two billion IoT devices currently out there have a 12-year-old secure-shell (SSH) flaw that enables them to be turned into a botnet. Vigilante Hacking In the early 2000s, the Blaster worm was spreading on computers running operating systems such as Windows XP and Windows 2000. DDoS attacks were launched in 2003, causing damages totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. The Welchia worm was a response to Blaster, which exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft’s remote procedure call (RPC) service much like Blaster. However, after infecting a system, it would instead delete Blaster if it existed there, and then tried to download and install security patches from Microsoft that would prevent further infection. Similar to Welchia, Hajime is going head-to-head with Mirai and its malicious variants to minimize the damage they can do. Hajime appears to be a much more advanced botnet, taking steps to camouflage its processes and files, making detection of it much more difficult. And it’s much more refined in cycling through credentials as it parses through information to identify the device manufacturer and uses their combinations by default. For example, when it attacked the MikroTik router, Hajime attempted to log in initially with the factory-default according to MikroTik documentation, and reduced the number of invalid passwords as it tried to reduce the chances of being blacklisted. Hajime closes known network ports that Mirai exploits to secure those devices—a strategy that device manufacturers should use: Closing unnecessary ports reduce their attack surface. Intrusion detection systems (IDS) are also helpful in monitoring unusual network activity. There are two types of network IDS: Signature detection and Anomaly detection. Many open-source solutions are available; Snort and Suricata are popular options. BrickerBot is the first malware of its kind whose goal is to cause a PDoS by bricking devices not fully secure, with the seeming goal of removing them as potential victims of malware that will enslave them for DDoS attacks. There have been multiple versions of BrickerBot, and the suspected author of it claims to have bricked over 2 million devices. BrickerBot 1 targets devices running Linux with BusyBox and an exposed Telnet service. They usually have an older version of Dropbear SSH, and most were identified as Ubiquiti network devices running outdated firmware. BrickerBot 2 targets Linux-based devices more widely using a similar tactic of leveraging an exposed Telnet service with a default or hard-coded password. The most secure software is one that is not installed. All services and applications running on your device should have a fundamental reason to be there. Adding unnecessary features increases the attack surface of your device and will, by definition, make it less secure. Applying Basic Security Principles Will Help Some fundamental system hardening can be the deciding factor on whether a device will be an actor in a DDoS attack or bricked. The results of vigilante hacking, like that of Hajime and BrickerBot, to combat the Mirai-driven DDoS attacks has generated much debate. There are arguments on both sides, with many insisting the amount of warnings on the lack of IoT security has fallen on deaf ears to manufacturers and consumers. And they argue that malware such as BrickerBot is a drastic but necessary measure to hit them where it hurts, and in the process, disable insecure devices from being a part of another DDoS attack. There have been discussions online about a scenario where a consumer would be under warranty from the manufacturer if their devices do get bricked. The cost to the manufacturer to replace it would be too high to ignore security, forcing them to take security much more seriously. A common counter-argument of vigilante hacking is “Why should the consumers be punished? Where is the line someone can cross to anonymously take the law into their own hands?” There is neither accountability nor certainty that the authors of BrickerBot or Hajime are completely well-meaning, or if there’s something nefarious the public has yet to discover. They also use the same techniques that black hats use, potentially leading to a proliferation of more malicious hackers. Another potential scenario is a vigilante malware can brick a device that may potentially kill someone despite it being far from the original intent. Something as simple as an IoT refrigerator can be hacked and bricked without the owner’s knowledge. Subsequently, a person could proceed to unknowingly eat spoiled food that may cause illness and even death. And we know there are much more health-sensitive devices than a refrigerator being connected, such as connected cars, insulin pumps, heart implant devices, and much more. In fact, the FDA recently became involved with Abbott Labs and its new acquisition, St. Jude Medical. St. Jude Medical devices had vulnerable software that allowed unauthorized external control, which could run down the battery or deliver a series of shocks at the wrong time (these devices included defibrillators and pacemakers). The latest correspondence indicates the FDA isn’t satisfied with parent company Abbott Labs’ response to the issue, despite St. Jude’s claims they had developed a software patch that could be applied to remove the vulnerability. While we briefly covered some basic security-hardening concepts, it’s not comprehensive. But these should be a start to conform to industry best practice for securing IoT systems. These steps would have helped to protect or at least mitigate the effects of the malware discussed. Although there’s no silver bullet and security can never be “perfect,” it’s clear that implementing existing solutions to cover basic security around credentials, open ports, and enabling automated software updates will have a massive impact. Source: http://www.electronicdesign.com/industrial-automation/iot-botnet-wars-how-harden-linux-devices-dos-attacks

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The IoT Botnet Wars: How to Harden Linux Devices from DoS Attacks

Second Quarter Reported DDoS Attacks Lasting Days, Not Minutes

What would you do if your company was hit with a DDoS attack that lasted 11 days? Perhaps a large organization could withstand that kind of outage, but it could be devastating to the SMB, especially if it relies on web traffic for business transactions. That 11-day – 277 hours to be more exact – attack did happen in the second quarter of 2017. Kaspersky Lab said it was longest attack of the year, and 131 percent longer than the longest attack in the first quarter. And unfortunately, the company’s latest DDoS intelligence report said we should expect to see these long attacks more frequently, as they are coming back into fashion. This is not the news businesses want to hear. Enduring DDoS attacks isn’t new. Igal Zeifman, senior manager at Imperva for the Incapsula product line, told me in an email comment that in 2016, the company tracked a network layer attack that lasted more than 29 days and an application layer assault that persisted for 69 days straight. However, Zeifman argued against the Kaspersky finding, saying that it doesn’t mesh with what his company has seen, despite those extended attacks from last year: For the past four quarters we continued to see a persistent decline in the average attack duration, driven by an increased number of short attack burst of 30 minutes or less. These bursts accounted for over 58 percent of all network layer attacks and more than 90 percent of all assault layer attacks in the first quarter of the year. Interesting to see such disparate results in the length of DDoS attacks . Whether days long or short bursts, one thing is certain – those initiating the attacks have very definite reasons for doing so. As the Kaspersky Lab report stated, financial extortion was a top reason for the attacks in the second quarter: This approach was dubbed “ransom DDoS”, or “RDoS”. Cybercriminals send a message to a victim company demanding a ransom of 5 to 200 bitcoins. In case of nonpayment, they promise to organize a DDoS attack on an essential web resource of the victim. Such messages are often accompanied by short-term attacks which serve as demonstration of the attacker’s power. The victim is chosen carefully. Usually, the victim is a company which would suffer substantial losses if their resources are unavailable. Political hacktivists are hard at work, too, going after news organizations, elections and, in the U.S., the FCC, likely in retaliation for wanting to abolish net neutrality. The FCC has acknowledged the attack, but reports are the agency is making its cybersecurity efforts secret . I’ll be following up more on that story later this week. Source: http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-security/second-quarter-reported-ddos-attacks-lasting-days-not-minutes.html

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Second Quarter Reported DDoS Attacks Lasting Days, Not Minutes