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Security/Integrity/Proprietary: Microsoft, SWIFT, SymTCP, Emotet and CIA Leaks

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Security
  • Microsoft Patch Tuesday, February 2020 Edition

    A dozen of the vulnerabilities Microsoft patched today are rated “critical,” meaning malware or miscreants could exploit them remotely to gain complete control over an affected system with little to no help from the user.

    Last month, Microsoft released an advisory warning that attackers were exploiting a previously unknown flaw in IE. That vulnerability, assigned as CVE-2020-0674, has been patched with this month’s release. It could be used to install malware just by getting a user to browse to a malicious or hacked Web site.

    Microsoft once again fixed a critical flaw in the way Windows handles shortcut (.lnk) files (CVE-2020-0729) that affects Windows 8 and 10 systems, as well as Windows Server 2008-2012. Allan Liska, intelligence analyst at Recorded Future, says Microsoft considers exploitation of the vulnerability unlikely, but that a similar vulnerability discovered last year, CVE-2019-1280, was being actively exploited by the Astaroth trojan as recently as September.

  • Forging SWIFT MT Payment Messages for fun and pr... research!

    TLDR: With a bit of research and support we were able to demonstrate a proof of concept for introducing a fraudulent payment message to move £0.5M from one account to another, by manually forging a raw SWIFT MT103 message, and leveraging specific system trust relationships to do the hard work for us!

  • SymTCP – a new tool for circumventing deep packet inspections

    In a paper (PDF) entitled ‘SymTCP: Eluding Stateful Deep Packet Inspection with Automated Discrepancy Discovery’, academics from the University of California’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering demonstrate how to bypass DPI mechanisms, regardless of their application.

    According to the team, DPI systems often use simplified machine states of network stacks that are not exact implementation copies of end hosts. Discrepancies can then be exploited through packet fragmentation or manipulation.

    SymTCP first runs ‘symbolic execution’ on a server’s TCP implementation, and the resulting scan collects execution paths labeled as either ‘accept’ or ‘drop’ for packet inspection.

    The DPI system is then checked with generated packet sequences to ascertain which, if any, are processed in the same way by the DPI and the server.

    If discrepancies in handling are detected, the open source tool is able to create packets that can reach core elements in the code responsible for accepting or dropping requests, thereby potentially avoiding DPI middlebox checks.

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  • Emotet can spread to poorly secured Wi-Fi networks and computers on them

                         

                           

    After the malware infects a computer that has Wi-Fi capability, it uses the wlanAPI interface to discover any Wi-Fi networks in the area: a neighbor’s Wi-Fi network, a free Wi-Fi network at a café, or a Wi-Fi network of a nearby business.

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  • Emotet can now hack Wi-Fi networks

                         

                           

    This new strain utilizes wlanAPI.dll calls to discover wireless networks around a computer that is already infected with Emotet. By using the compromised machine's Wi-Fi connection, the malware tries to brute-force its way in to other password protected networks nearby.

                           

    After the compromised device has been successfully connected to another wireless network, the Emotet Trojan begins looking for other Windows devices with non-hidden shares. The malware then scans for all accounts on these devices and once again brute-forces the password for the Administrator account and all other users on the system.

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  • “What is the Root User?” Joshua Schulte Set Up the Shared “root” Password He’ll Use in his Defense

                         

                           

    In a full day of testimony yesterday, one of Joshua Schulte’s former colleagues, testifying under the name Jeremy Weber (which may be a pseudonym of a pseudonym under the protective order imposed for the trial) introduced a ton of detail about how the engineering group he and Schulte worked in was set up bureaucratically, how the servers were set up, and how relations between Schulte and the rest of the group started to go south in the months and weeks leading up to the date when, the government alleges, he stole CIA’s [cracking] tools. He also described how devastating the leak was for the CIA.

                           

    In that testimony, the government began to lay out their theory of the case: When Schulte lost SysAdmin access to the servers hosting the malware they were working on — and the same day the unit announced they’d soon be moving the last server to which Schulte had administrator privileges under the official SysAdmin group — Schulte went back to the back-up file of the server from the day the fight started blowing up, March 3, 2016, and made a copy of it.

                           

    But the government also started previewing what will likely be Schulte’s defense: that some of these servers were available via a shared root password accessible to anyone in their group.

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  • State officials press Congress for more resources to fight cyberattacks [iophk: Windows TCO]

                         

                           

    Tuesday's hearing follows months of escalating attacks against government entities across the nation, with most involving ransomware, which attackers use to lock down a system and demand payment to give the user access again.

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  • Trump administration wants private sector to do more to counter foreign intelligence efforts

                                 

                                   

    The Trump administration’s counterintelligence strategy, released Monday, aims for stronger collaboration between the intelligence community and the private sector on detecting and stopping foreign intelligence threats to U.S. entities.

                                   

    The plan, which President Donald Trump approved in early January, emphasizes a longstanding government argument that the private sector must do more to prevent foreign espionage. As state-sponsored hackers target more U.S. companies, corporate America should prioritize preparations to stifle similar attacks in the future, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Bill Evanina, told reporters at a briefing Monday.

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Regressions in GNU/Linux Evolution

  • When "progress" is backwards

    Lately I see many developments in the linux FOSS world that sell themselves as progress, but are actually hugely annoying and counter-productive. Counter-productive to a point where they actually cause major regressions, costs, and as in the case of GTK+3 ruin user experience and the possibility that we'll ever enjoy "The year of the Linux desktop". [...] We live in an era where in the FOSS world one constantly has to relearn things, switch to new, supposedly "better", but more bloated solutions, and is generally left with the impression that someone is pulling the rug from below one's feet. Many of the key changes in this area have been rammed through by a small set of decision makers, often closely related to Red Hat/Gnome/freedesktop.org. We're buying this "progress" at a high cost, and one can't avoid asking oneself whether there's more to the story than meets the eye. Never forget, Red Hat and Microsoft (TM) are partners and might even have the same shareholders.

  • When "progress" is backwards

Graphics: Vulkan, Intel and AMD

  • NVIDIA Ships Vulkan Driver Beta With Fragment Shading Rate Control - Phoronix

    This week's Vulkan 1.2.158 spec release brought the fragment shading rate extension to control the rate at which fragments are shaded on a per-draw, per-primitive, or per-region basis. This can be useful similar to OpenGL and Direct3D support for helping to allow different, less important areas of the screen be shaded less than areas requiring greater detail/focus. NVIDIA on Tuesday released the 455.26.02 Linux driver (and 457.00 version for Windows) that adds this fragment shading rate extension.

  • Intel Begins Adding Alder Lake Graphics Support To Their Linux Driver - Phoronix

    Intel has begun adding support for Alderlake-S to their open-source Linux kernel graphics driver. An initial set of 18 patches amounting to just around 300 lines of new kernel code was sent out today for beginning the hardware enablement work on Alderlake-S from the graphics side. Yes, it's only a few hundred lines of new driver code due to Alder Lake leveraging the existing Gen12/Tigerlake support. The Alder Lake driver patches similarly re-use some of the same workarounds and changes as set for the 14nm Rocket Lake processors with Gen12 graphics coming out in Q1.

  • AMD Linux Driver Preparing For A Navi "Blockchain" Graphics Card - Phoronix

    While all eyes are on the AMD Radeon RX 6000 "Big Navi" graphics cards set to be announced next week, it also looks like AMD is preparing for a Navi 1x "Blockchain" graphics card offering given the latest work in their open-source Linux driver. Patches posted today provide support for a new Navi graphics card referred to as the "navi10 blockchain SKU." The Navi 10 part has a device ID of 0x731E. From the AMDGPU Linux kernel driver perspective, the only difference from the existing Navi 10 GPU support is these patches disable the Display Core Next (DCN) and Video Core Next (VCN) support with this new SKU not having any display support.