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Top 5 Business Benefits of Cybersecurity Services
Businesses today are more digitalized and connected than ever. Transactions using computers are now preferred over papers and pens and emails are preferred over snail mails.
Businesses have increasingly relied on this digitalized and connected ecosystem – and so does threat actors. This digitalized and interconnected ecosystem has exposed businesses to vulnerabilities, making cybersecurity services – a combination of human expertise and cutting-edge technology – more important than ever.
Here are the top 5 business benefits of cybersecurity services:
1. Predict Cyber Threats
As businesses transition from papers and pens to computers, new security challenges have opened up for businesses. An effective and sound cybersecurity service has the insight or intelligence on the threats faced by businesses such as knowing that digital documents such as personally identifiable information and intellectual properties have become attractive targets of cybercriminals.
An effective cybersecurity officerhas the foresight to separate a business network that houses sensitive staff and customer data from the network that houses non-sensitive data, predicting that in the event of a comprise in the non-sensitive data network, the sensitive or critical network won’t be affected or accessed by attackers.
2. Block Cyber Threats
An effective cybersecurity service helps block cyber threats from ever getting through your organization’s IT systems. As businesses transition from snail mails to emails, attackers have weaponized the business emails to conduct fraud.
Spoofed emails of CEOs, emails that appear that they come from legitimate CEOs though, in fact, they come from attackers, have tricked a number of finance personnel worldwide in releasing corporate funds to scammers in a cybercrime called Business E-mail Compromise (BEC). The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)in June 2018 release a public alert warning businesses about BEC, which at the time of the alert already victimized over 78,000 businesses worldwide and resulted in the combined total loss of over $12 billion.
In a BEC attack, attackers may spoof email accounts, for instance, do slight variations on legitimate addresses such as from john.kelly@abc_company.com to email@example.com, fooling the email receiver into thinking that the email is authentic. An effective email filtering system can prevent this form of attack from happening by blocking emails with extensions that are similar to the company email. For example, legitimate email of abc_company.com would flag spoof email of abc-company.com.
3. Detect Cyber Threats & Respond
Predictive and blocking cybersecurity measures aren’t enough defenses as cybercriminals are getting more creative and effective each day. There’s always a possibility that no matter how hardy your organization’s predictive and blocking systems are, an anomaly may happen, allowing an attacker or attackers to get inside your organization’s network.
Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Reportfound that illegal remote point-of-sale (POS) intrusions often occur in the accommodation and food services industry and weren’t discovered for months in 96% of cases. Businesses only discovered about these intrusions after being informed by law enforcement or through Common Point of Purchase (CPP).
Even Tesla wasn’t spared when attackers used the tech giant’s computing resources to mine cryptocurrency. Tesla also knew about the illegal use of its computing resources for cryptocurrency mining when RedLockdiscovered the intrusion and informed Tesla about it.
In the case of the Tesla intrusion, an effective cybersecurity service could have detected the illegal cryptocurrency mining on Tesla’s resources by monitoring network traffic and correlating it with configuration data, RedLock found.
4. Cybersecurity Services Save Money
An effective cybersecurity service saves businesses an enormous amount of money. The 2018 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Overviewcommissioned by IBM and conducted by Ponemon Institute found that Canada has the highest data breach direct costs at $81 per compromised record. Direct costs in the study refer to the expense outlay to accomplish a given activity such as engaging forensic experts, hiring a law firm, or offering victims identity protection services.
The study also found that Canada has the highest data breach detection and escalation costs, referring to forensic and investigative activities, assessment and audit services, crisis team management, and communications to executive management and board of directors.
5. Enable Businesses to Gain Access to Cutting-Edge Tools and Top Security Talent
There are 3 types of managed cybersecurity services:
Traditional cybersecurity services refer to on-premise services, requiring in-house manpower and capitalization for cutting-edge hardware and software tools.
In a cloud solution, cybersecurity is managed through cloud-based console and tools, without the need for additional hardware.
In outsourced model, an external third-party cybersecurity service provider, also known as Managed Service Provider (MSP), takes care of everything. Each of these services has its own benefits and budgetary impacts.
In the case of traditional or on-premise cybersecurity services, budget isn’t limited to trained and skilled in-house cybersecurity staff, but also to the growing IT infrastructure complexity. The growing volume of devices, for instance, that need to be secured is a key challenge for businesses.
Cloud-based security service allows your organization to manage multiple endpoints, file servers and mobile devices remotely, from anywhere. In an outsourced or third-party cybersecurity service, your organization, regardless of its size, gains access to the best security talent with greater scalability and continuity.
Hiring and retaining top IT and cybersecurity talent puts a pressure on your organization. Get expert advice when you need it most.
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Study Reveals Canadian Companies View Cybersecurity as Top Priority
According to a recent study, effective cybersecurity is a top priorityfor most Canadian organizations.
This is no surprise, considering the rise of DDoS, ransomware and other online threats in 2018. In Canada and the United States, cybersecurity has continued to make headlines, leading to wider awareness of the risks among businesses.
For example, DraftKings has finally been granted the legal right to unmask the individuals behind a DDoS attackon the company. The fantasy / sports betting brand’s operations were disrupted by the assault on August 8, which caused the website to actually go offline for 26 minutes.
DraftKings managed to trace the DDoS attack and sought a subpoena to get the relevant ISPs to uncover the identities of those involved. Though DraftKings may not have suffered a huge amount of damage or loss of business, the company’s commitment to finding out exactly who initiated the attack could inspire more brands to essentially go on the offensive following an attack.
Businesses and organizations of all sizes must take steps to protect themselves and their clients from any cybersecurity risks, and it’s a pressing concern for most Canadian firms. The survey found more and more are extra vigilant, seeking effective safeguards against DDoS, ransomware and email threats.
Almost six out of 10 businesses questioned claimed email security was a key focus, while defenses against ransomware and intrusions came hot on its heels. Cloud-based storage and productivity / collaboration tools are now common fixtures for many businesses, and due caution when using these is critical.
The Repercussions of Security Breaches
Companies may find the prospect of protecting themselves from attacks daunting, especially as DDoS attackers have grown more bold. Attacks can have a serious impact on a business’s processes: i they can’t provide the services their clients expect, their income could be affected and their reputation may be damaged in the long term.
Why? Because existing and potential customers will wonder how seriously said business takes their security. They might also wonder if the company is taking due care of their own details too. If in doubt, there are sure to be other businesses offering the same services or products out there.
Basically, DDoS attacks involve launching a bombardment of traffic against a specific IP address and genuine users trying to access the targeted website will struggle to get through. This problematic traffic is created by multiple sources, which makes blocking DDoS assaults outright more difficult than malicious activities originating from a single source.
Earlier in the year, GitHub — a well-known code repository — was subject to a major DDoS attackthat made headlines. The site was taken offline due to a 1.3Tbps (terabits per second) assault, which was the most powerful to be recorded at the time.
GitHub became aware of an issue due to outages, and called for assistance from its DDoS mitigation specialists. All incoming traffic was channeled to scrubbing centers and malicious packets were blocked effectively. Fortunately for GitHub, the attackers ceased their malicious activities after eight minutes.
Before this, another company — Dyn — was targeted in a 1.2Tbps assault in 2016. This struck in multiple sessions. The first started first thing in the morning and lasted around two hours before being stopped, while the second came later on. A third assault was launched in the late afternoon.
During these waves of DDoS attacks, Dyn saw its internet directory servers disrupted by a powerful load of requests from millions of IP addresses. This was a serious incident that had been planned with great care for maximum impact.
Taking Steps to Maximize Safety
Cybercriminals are developing increasingly sophisticated ways to disrupt and attack targets, but having an effective cybersecurity plan in place can help you to stay protected.
Below, we look at just a few of the ways you can stop a DDoS attack and potentially minimize the damage it may cause.
Spot the attack ASAP
Being able to identify when your website is under attack can help you prevent a DDoS disaster.
Problems affecting your site are an obvious indication of impending issues, and its worth getting to know what your inbound traffic patterns tend to be at different times. For example, if you can be sure your traffic tends to spike on a Saturday afternoon and a Sunday morning, any rush of traffic on a weekday could be a warning sign.
Of course, you have to be able to eliminate any potential reasons for this before panicking. A sale, large discounts or an improved marketing strategy could all lead to unexpected increases in your traffic. It sounds obvious, but is well worth bearing in mind to avoid false alarms.
Invest in more bandwidth
Another effective step to protect your business from DDoS attacks is to increase your bandwidth. Having access to more than you think you’re likely to need for everyday operations can help you accommodate larger traffic surges and shifting traffic patterns.
While this may not be viable for smaller companies on a tight budget, it could be a worthwhile option even if the bandwidth is only adjusted a little.
Making changes to your working processes and set-up gradually can help to protect you with minimal disruption, but the increase in DDoS attacks in the past couple of years demonstrates just how vital proper defenses are. Companies have to to take effective steps to ensure they remain safeguarded as attackers continue to advance their methods.
Working with professional cybersecurity specialists with years of experience helping companies across various sectors can help you stay safe. Our Automated DDoS Mitigation service provides guaranteed DDoS attack protection, with no hardware or software to buy. This service is powered by our partner’s innovative technology and includes a high-powered CDN to increase your domain’s performance by as much as 50 percent.
Want to discuss how we can help protect your business from DDoS attacks? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team is here to answer any questions you may have.
DDoS Attacks: Dangers and Ways to Protect your Network
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks continue to make headlines. In the past week, one such act caused severe traffic issuesduring a key political debate in Mexico, affecting a website opposing presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Elections are set to take place on 1 July, and the target domain has been openly critical of his policies. During the attack, 185,000 visits took place in just 15 minutes; the majority originated in China and Russia.
This was a blatant attempt to crash the site, and the culprits have yet to be identified. Doing so can be incredibly difficult, as the traffic originates from compromised systems that disrupt sites involuntarily.
This isn’t the first time DDoS attacks have disrupted political websites, and countries are taking action to defend themselves. The US Election Assistance Commission has dedicated over $380m in funding for cybersecurity.
DDoS attacks defined
As discussed above, DDoS attacks involve flooding the target website with traffic from numerous origin points, possibly numbering in the thousands. As a result, stopping the DDoS attack in its tracks is basically impossible; there’s no single IP address causing the issue, and blocking all traffic will be restricting access for legitimate visitors.
They’re different to DoS attacks, which involve just a single computer and IP address working in conjunction to flood a vulnerable system.
There are a few common types of DDoS attack, including traffic-based ones.
Bandwidth attacks are another danger, which overload the system with overwhelming loads of ‘junk’ data, disrupting network bandwidth. This can cause a total denial of service.
Application DDoS attacks use data messages to reduce the application layer’s resources and make the system unable to function as it should.
When a website is unable to provide its customers or members with the services they expect, it can damage their reputation and disrupt their revenue. There’s a risk to security too, with consumers left wondering how safe their personal data may be.
This is a major concern for today’s more tech-savvy users, who are much more aware of the dangers lax security measures and cyber-attacks pose.
Taking action against DDoS attacks
How can you protect your network against DDoS attacks and ensure your business or organization is prepared to handle one if the worst happens?
Minimize the potential
Minimizing the surface area that would be vulnerable to attacks is key, as it essentially reduces the number of options available to would-be DDoS attacks.
To do this, consider guarding resources with Load Balancers or Content Distribution Networks. You can also place restrictions on traffic reaching vital parts of your system, such as your database servers, for further protection.
Create a plan of action
You need a plan for every major cybersecurity risk threatening your business and customers. With a DDoS plan, the key aspect is determining how you will keep delivering services if an attack manages to disrupt your system.
You should make sure everyone within your company is made aware of what a DDoS attack is, how it may manifest, and how their work would be affected.
The aim is to make sure your company as a whole would essentially be able to roll with the proverbial punches, to minimize the disruption and get back on track as soon as possible.
Get to know the signs
It’s best to learn the warning signs of an impending DDoS attack. While high-volume situations are common and can be damaging, low-volume ones may be triggered by troublemakers as a test of your network’s capabilities. These attacks allow cybercriminals / hackers to identify potential holes within your security.
Pay attention to your average traffic patterns. This may help you spot significant changes in geographic sources and volumes, enabling you to take preventative action before the attack is fully underway.
Capture the packet
When you start to notice a DDoS attack is in effect, you should try to spot the key characteristics in order to take action against it. DDoS attacks typically rely on forceful traffic volumes your system simply can’t handle, and while it may be impossible to sort the ‘good’ traffic from the ‘bad’, you can identify telltale similarities between sources.
Run a fast packet capture of the attack, and you should be able to find similarities fairly easily as the majority of traffic hitting your website will be part of the attack. Giveaway details might reveal themselves in the user agent or URI, but once you find a pattern you’ll be able to initiate a block via router ACL or firewall.
Routers and firewalls can stop specific IP addresses and filter unnecessary protocols, but they’re not a complete defense against high-volume attacks. Firewalls in particular should not be depended on to keep your entire network safe.
Again, having a plan in place and being prepared to shift gears is critical to minimize the disruption as much as possible.
DDoS attacks are, sadly, not going to go away any time soon. Your business or organization has to take steps necessary to stay as protected as possible and put a contingency plan in place to stop your infrastructure collapsing if an attack takes place.
Working with cybersecurity specialists and running a vulnerability assessment of your network can help you prepare. Want to know more about the options available to you?
Give our expert team a call!
Combating the Most Common Cyber Security Risks
Hard as it may be to believe, government agencies have been found to have some of the worst cyber-security systems in the United States.
Agencies at federal, state, and local agencies were all ranked below other industries (retail, transportation etc.) in a study on U.S. cyber-security. Even NASA, considered one of the most technologically-innovative institutions in the country (if not the world), was flagged for its high vulnerability.
The U.S. Department of State was another weak performer, struggling to protect their systems from outside threats with an unsuitable set-up.
The point? If one of the most powerful governments in the world is failing to keep sensitive data out of criminals’ hands, they are risking the security of countless people on a daily basis. They cannot afford to be so lax.
The same is true of your own business, albeit on a smaller scale: allowing your enterprise to be vulnerable in today’s world is dangerous for your employees and clients alike.
What cyber threats are you most susceptible to, and how can you protect against them?
What is it?
We’ve all heard of malware, but do we know what it actually is?
This applies to various incarnations of dangerous software that can cause all manner of chaos in your computer, delivered as a virus or ransomware (in which you are ordered to pay in order to regain access to your system).
The malware can actually take over your computer, monitor your activities without your awareness, or even transfer critical information to another user with the utmost discretion.
How can you prevent it?
Make sure you use unique passwords and educate your employees to do the same. Only share sensitive data on a site which is clearly secure, with ‘https’ in their URL.
You should never download any files sent by a sender you don’t trust or recognize, and make sure data is backed up to disconnected hardware on a regular basis. This enables you to restore vital information in the event of a malware attack, without needing to pay or sacrificing critical data.
What is it?
You know to never open an attachment in an email from an unknown sender, or to be wary of telltale bad grammar. These are sure signs of a phishing scam, but some cyber-criminals are more advanced.
They may pose as someone else – such as a friend, a bank etc. – and encourage you to follow a link or open an attachment. The email may look legitimate but will contain harmful malware that could pose a serious risk to your entire business.
How can you prevent it?
The most obvious technique: be sure before you click. If there is anything remotely suspicious or odd about the email, don’t follow a link or open an attachment.
If an email from a bank or other trusted organization asks for confidential information, contact them through another channel to confirm this (though they will generally never ask for sensitive data through email anyway).
Anti-phishing toolbars can be installed on your browser, which will notify you if you enter a known phishing website. Use desktop and network firewalls to protect your system from any malicious programs, and pay attention when your browser informs you that a site is ‘not secure’ (lacking the ‘https’ in its URL bar).
SQL Injection Attack
What is it?
SQL (Structured Query Language) is a language allowing for communication between databases, and countless servers use it to manage critical data. An SQL injection is an attack aimed at these types of servers, employing malicious coding to extract data from them which would otherwise remain private.
If the server under attack carries access information (usernames, passwords), financial details (credit cards etc.), or any other highly-sensitive data, the criminal responsible will be able to access some or all of it.
How can you prevent it?
All sensitive data contained within a database should be encrypted. Passwords, financial records, and anything else which could leave your business vulnerable must be protected.
Also, don’t store such sensitive information if you don’t need it currently, and are unlikely to in the future. Leaving data that carries real value to linger in your databases could lead to problems – all of which can be avoided simply by wiping useless information.
Implement Web Application Firewall as it will automatically block and prevent SQL injection attacks.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
What is it?
During an XSS attack, the cyber-criminal injects malicious code right into your website with an aim to go after your visitors through their browser.
These attacks can cause severe damage to your reputation, as your site would be responsible for endangering visitors’ sensitive data.
This is worsened if they are customers purchasing from you or providing their personal details. As a result, you might not even realize your site is infected until customers start tracing suspicious activity back to their activities on your domain.
How can you prevent it?
While web application firewall will block XSS attacks, you need to pay attention to the way in which your site accepts input data, to minimize malicious code passing through. This might mean using a number of filters in place, such as a web app firewall, that reduces the risk of an XSS attack significantly.
Another step, though somewhat more complex, is to use an alternative rendering format to raw HTML, to reject entries that might be malicious. Markdown or BBCode are alternatives to raw HTML that may help to protect against XSS attacks.
Cyber-security threats are constantly evolving, as criminals continue to find weaknesses in security protocols and exploit them. By keeping your security systems up to date and, staying abreast of the latest risks, you can maximize your business’s resistance to threats.
Never be complacent about your business’s cyber-security precautions: you should always be willing to explore new systems and processes for the good of your entire enterprise.
When you have questions concerning cybersecurity threats, get in touch with our team and we will be happy to help.
Dangers of Cyberattacks as a Result of Source Code Leak
This past week, someone posted the source code of Apple iPhone operating system iOS on GitHub – a repository of open source code.
There was confusion at first as to whether the code was real or not. Apple indirectly confirmed that the code was real by filing a DMCA legal notice demanding GitHub to remove the source code. DMCA, which stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, is a takedown request that empowers owners of copyrighted material who believe their rights under U.S. copyright law have been infringed.
The iPhone source code called “iBoot” published on GitHub, Apple said "is responsible for ensuring trusted boot operation of Apple's iOS software." The company added, “The ‘iBoot’ source code is proprietary and it includes Apple's copyright notice. It is not open-source.”
Jonathan Levin, the author of a series of books on iOS and Mac OSX internals, told Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai of Motherboard that the iBoot source code publication is the “biggest leak” in Apple's history.
A source code is a collection of computer instructions that’s written by a programmer when developing a software program. A software can either be open source or non-open source.
With an open source code, anyone can inspect or modify the code. With a non-open source code, the source code is hidden from the public and as such, only the software maker can make changes to the code.
Non-Open Source Code Leak
Apple and Microsoft are examples of companies that keep their products’ source code hidden from the public.
While most companies don’t allow outsiders to view and make modifications on their source code, they allow security researchers, also known as ethical hackers, to review their software, find security vulnerabilities and report this directly to the company to receive monetary reward, also called bounty.
Apple, through its bounty program, pays a maximum of $200,000 to someone who directly reports bugs or security vulnerabilities to the company.
Despite the takedown of the iPhone source code on GitHub, the source code has already made its way to dark web sites.
Access to non-open source code like the iBoot gives hackers a better chance of finding security vulnerabilities that could lead to cyberattacks.
EternalBlue Source Code Leak
On April 15, 2017, a hacker group calling itself the “Shadow Brokers” leaked the source of code of a number of hacking tools believed to be developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
The source code of EternalBlue is one of those leaked by the hacker group. EternalBlue could allow remote code execution if a cyberattacker sends specially crafted messages to a Microsoft Server Message Block 1.0 (SMBv1) server.
The EternalBlue source code leak spawned devastating cyberattacks, the most notable of which was the WannaCry cyberattack. In May 2016, hundreds of thousands of computers around the world were infected with WannaCry, a malware that encrypts computer files, prevents users from accessing files and asks for ransom payment in the form of Bitcoin for the release of the decryption key to unlock the affected computer.
Adylkuzz is another malware that uses the EternalBlue source code. The purpose of Adylkuzz malware is to mine the cryptocurrency Monero. Similar to cryptocurrency Bitcoin, a Monero coin needs to be mined – a process by which a transaction is verified, added to the public ledger, known as the blockchain, and a means before a coin is released.
While cryptocurrency mining of Bitcoin can only be done on powerful computers, mining Monero can be done on regular computers and even on smartphones.
The Adylkuzz malware installs the Monero cryptocurrency miner called “cpuminer” on infected computers. Once the cpuminer is installed in a compromised computer, Monero cryptocurrency mining is conducted without the knowledge of the user. Cryptocurrency mining operation, however, will exhaust your computer CPU, resulting in slow performance.
Open Source Code Leak
With an open source code, anyone can inspect or modify the code. An open source is also known as a collaborative code. There are benefits in allowing other programmers to inspect and modify a source code. It’s a known fact that there’s not one software with a perfect source code. Allowing programmers to inspect and modify a source code can enhance and improve the code in the long run.
Linux is an example of an open source software. It’s an operating system similar to Windows and iOS. The difference between Linux and other operating systems is that it’s open source. The Linux source code is free and available to the public to view and, for users with the necessary skills, to contribute to the enhancement of the code.
While the publication of an open source code, on one hand, can be beneficial to society similar to the positive contribution of Linux, publication of an open source code with malicious intent can be detrimental to society.
Mirai Source Code Leak
The publication of the Mirai source code is an example of how a publication of a malicious open source code can be detrimental to society.
On September 30, 2016, a HackForum user by the name of “Anna-senpai” posted the source code of the malicious software called “Mirai”. The Mirai was responsible for the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the website of cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs on September 20, 2016.
On December 13, 2017, Paras Jha pleaded guilty in creating the Mirai and for conducting a series of DDoS attacks on the networks of Rutgers University between November 2014 to September 2016, which resulted in shutting down Rutgers University’s central authentication server – a gateway portal through which students, staff and faculty deliver assignments and assessments.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, hundreds of thousands of IoT devices such as wireless cameras and routers were infected with the Mirai malware and were used "to conduct a number of powerful distributed denial-of-service, or ‘DDOS’ attacks, which occur when multiple computers, acting in unison, flood the Internet connection of a targeted computer or computers".
According to Imperva Incapsula, Mirai-infected IoT devices were spotted in 164 countries, appearing even in remote locations like Montenegro, Tajikistan and Somalia.
The publication of the Mirai spawned other DDoS attacks, the most notable of which was the attack on Dyn, a domain name service (DNS) provider which many websites rely upon. The DDoS attacks against Dyn resulted in temporarily shutting down popular websites like Amazon, Twitter, Netflix and even GitHub.
Dyn, in a statement, said, “We are able to confirm that a significant volume of attack traffic originated from Mirai-based botnets.” The company said that 100,000 IoT devices were infected with the Mirai malware to attack its DNS infrastructure.
In December 2017, the source code of the malware called “Satori”, a variant or new version of Mirai, was leaked on Pastebin. This Mirai variant particularly infects Huawei home router model HG532.
While the original Mirai malware infects IoT devices by using default usernames and passwords, Satori doesn’t need usernames and passwords. Security researchers at Qihoo 360 Netlab said, “The bot [Satori] itself now does NOT rely on loader/scanner mechanism to perform remote planting, instead, bot itself performs the scan activity. This worm-like behavior is quite significant.”
Security researchers at NewSky Security said that with the release of the full working code of the Mirai variant Satori, “we expect its usage in more cases by script kiddies and copy-paste botnet masters.”
Cybersecurity Best Practices
Here are some security best practices to protect your organization’s computers from the dangers of cyberattacks as a result of source code leak:
1. Use Supported Software
Supported software refers to a software whereby security updates are regularly issued by the software vendor.
Many fell victim to WannaCry for using Windows operating systems that Microsoft – the software vendor – no longer supports or no longer issues security updates.
A patch, also known as security update, is a piece of software code added to an existing source code that fixes security vulnerabilities.
WannaCry could have been prevented by simple patching or installing of the security update issued by Microsoft on March 14, 2017 – a month before the hacker group leaked the EternalBlue source code. Microsoft’s March 14, 2017 security update patches or fixes the security vulnerability exploited by EternalBlue. This security update was issued to supported Windows operating systems.
3. Use Latest Software Version
Many leaked source code are typically source code of older software version. Software vendors normally fix security vulnerabilities found in older software versions with the latest software version.
Interesting to note that Windows 10 proved to be resilient against Petya ransomware attack unleashed more than a month after the WannaCry attack. Similar to WannaCry, Petya exploited security vulnerabilities exploited by EternalBlue and EternalRomance – two hacking tools believed to be developed by the NSA and leaked by the hacker group Shadow Brokers.
4. Practice Network Segmentation
There are instances that security updates can’t be installed right away. One way to prevent or minimize the effects of a cyberattack is through network segmentation – a process of dividing computer network into subnetworks. With network segmentation, cyberattack on one subnetwork won’t affect the other subnetworks.
5. Have the Right DDoS Protection
Cybercriminals today don’t necessarily create their own attack tools. Some simply copy leaked source code. This is the case of DDoS-for-hire groups, a bunch of cybercriminals that offer DDoS service for a fee. There are available tools that effectively counter these DDoS attacks. Connect with us today and protect your business.
Huawei IoT Exploit Code Meant for DDoS Attack Released to the Public
Another malware code that’s meant to cause distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) has recently been made public on Pastebin website.
The publication of the code of a DDoS threat can’t be taken lightly. Whenever new cyberexploits become publicly available, cybercriminals are quick to add these to their attack arsenal.
When the Mirai malware code – another DDoS threat was made public – it unleashed unprecedented DDoS attacks.
The newly published malware code is a Mirai variant and particularly targets the vulnerability in Huawei home router model HG532. According to security researchers at NewSky Security, the newly published malware has already been used in cyberattacks, including the Satori DDoS attack.
With the release of the full working code of this Mirai variant, security researchers at NewSky Security said that “we expect its usage in more cases by script kiddies and copy-paste botnet masters.”
Considering that Huawei retains a significant share of the router market, exploitation of these IoT devices can have a significant effect. According to IDC, Huawei's total router market share increased from 18.9% in the 2nd quarter of 2016 to 25.2% in the 2nd quarter of 2017.
What is Satori?
Satori is an updated variant of the Mirai malware. It particularly exploits the vulnerability in Huawei home router model HG532. The vulnerability allows remote code execution, enabling attackers to access and make changes to Huawei home routers found in different parts of the world.
Unlike the Mirai malware which relies on default usernames and passwords to infect IoT devices, Satori doesn’t need usernames and passwords. Security researchers at Qihoo 360 Netlab said, “The bot [Satori] itself now does NOT rely on loader/scanner mechanism to perform remote planting, instead, bot itself performs the scan activity. This worm like behavior is quite significant.”
According to the security researchers at Qihoo 360 Netlab, in December 2017, the Satori malware was able to infect over 280,000 Huawei routers in just 12 hours.
In November 2017, security researchers at Check Point reported that hundreds of thousands of Satori exploits have already been found in the wild. Check Point discreetly informed Huawei about the security vulnerability and soon thereafter the company issued a security update.
“An authenticated attacker could send malicious packets to port 37215 to launch attacks,” Huawei said in acknowledging the Satori exploit. “Successful exploit could lead to the remote execution of arbitrary code.”
What is Mirai?
Satori’s code is based on Mirai malware code. In late September 2016, the hacker simply known as “Anna-senpai” made public the Mirai code.
What the original Mirai does was used the internet to search for IoT devices (including wireless cameras and routers) with weak security – particularly those with default usernames and passwords, control these devices and use them to attack targets such as other computers and websites. According to Anna-senpai, 380,000 IoT devices were infected with the Mirai malware to stage a DDoS attack against the Krebs on Security website.
Barely a month after the Mirai was published online, the DDoS attacks against Dyn happened. Dyn is a domain name service (DNS) provider which many websites rely upon. The DDoS attacks against Dyn resulted in temporarily shutting down popular websites like Amazon, Twitter and Netflix.
“We are able to confirm that a significant volume of attack traffic originated from Mirai-based botnets,” Dyn said in a statement. According to the company, 100,000 IoT devices were infected with the Mirai malware to attack its infrastructure.
In early December last year, three men, Paras Jha, Josiah White and Dalton Norman, pleaded guilty in creating and operating the Mirai malware in violation of the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
“In the summer and fall of 2016, White, Jha, and Norman created a powerful botnet – a collection of computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the knowledge or permission of the computers’ owners,” the US Department of Justice said in a statement.
The US Department of Justice added, “The defendants used the botnet to conduct a number of powerful distributed denial-of-service, or ‘DDOS’ attacks, which occur when multiple computers, acting in unison, flood the Internet connection of a targeted computer or computers.”
Jha, in particular, pleaded guilty in conducting a series of DDoS attacks against networks of Rutgers University from November 2014 to September 2016. The DDoS attack on Rutgers University, according to the Department of Defense, temporarily shut down the university’s central authentication server, which maintained the gateway portal through which students, faculty and staff deliver assignments and assessments.
According to the US Department of Justice, White, Jha and Norman’s involvement with the original Mirai ended in the fall of 2016, when Jha publicly released the source code of Mirai. The Justice Department said, “Since then, other criminal actors have used Mirai variants in a variety of other attacks.”
US Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan said that the Mirai is a powerful reminder that “as we continue on a path of a more interconnected world, we must guard against the threats posed by cybercriminals that can quickly weaponize technological developments to cause vast and varied types of harm.”
Since the release of the Mirai code, there has also been a noticeable increase in DDoS-for-hire – a group of cybercriminals that provides paying customers with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack service to anonymously attack any internet-connected target.
Imperva Incapsula reported that in the third quarter of 2017, majority or 90.2% of DDoS attacks were under 10 Mpps and were predominantly the result of DDoS-for-hire activity.
DDoS attacks are costly. They can make your organization’s website slow or inaccessible. They can disrupt business activities, prevent customers from accessing online accounts and bring about significant costs in remedying the DDoS effects.
Huawei recommends the following measures to circumvent or prevent your Huawei routers from being infected by Satori malware:
Contact us at The Driz Group if you want more information on how to protect your business from DDoS attacks in under an hour, with no hardware to buy, and no resources or ongoing maintenance.
Top 5 Cybersecurity Predictions in 2018
It’s the yearend. It’s the time of the year when we look back at the salient events that made a great impact in the cybersecurity world, and make predictions of what the new year will bring.
Here are the top 5 cybersecurity predictions for 2018:
1. Cryptocurrency Mining
The growth of cryptocurrency this year is unprecedented, with the total value of close to 500 billion US dollars as of December 24, 2017. While Bitcoin is the most dominant cryptocurrency in the market, other cryptocurrencies have soared as well. Cryptocurrency Monero, for instance, has a total market cap of $5.1 billion as of December 24, 2017, with one coin of Monero valued close to $335.
“Mining” is needed for many cryptocurrency coins like Bitcoin and Monero to be processed and released. In the past, Bitcoin could be mined using ordinary computers. Today, Bitcoin can only be mined using specific and high-powered computers, leaving the mining to big companies. Other cryptocurrencies, however, can be mined using ordinary computers. Monero, in particular, can be mined using ordinary computers and even using smartphones.
The people who mine cryptocurrencies called “miners” are given a fair share of the coin value for the computer use. Unscrupulous individuals who want to earn more money from cryptocurrency mining, meanwhile, are scouring the internet looking for vulnerable computers and smartphones to install malicious software (malware) capable of mining cryptocurrency like Monero.
Adylkuzz cryptocurrency malware, which was released into the wild in May 2017, infects computers using Microsoft operating system that fail to install Microsoft’s March 14, 2017 security update. Other cryptocurrency malware that proliferated this year includes Coinhive, Digmine and Loapi. Coinhive is distributed via compromised websites, Digmine via Facebook Messenger and Loapi via online advertising campaigns.
Cryptocurrency mining malware eats up most of the computing power of servers, desktops, laptops and smartphones. This results in the slow performance of computers. The Loapi malware, in particular, is so powerful that it can even melt an Android phone.
“Although attacks that attempt to embed crypto-mining malware are currently unsophisticated, we expect to see an increase in the sophistication of attacks as word gets out that this is a lucrative enterprise,” Imperva Incapsula said in the article "Top Five Trends IT Security Pros Need to Think About Going into 2018”. “We also expect these attacks to target higher-traffic websites, since the potential to profit increases greatly with higher numbers of concurrent site visitors.”
2. Business Disruption
In 2017, the world saw the devastation brought about by ransomware and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts user access to the infected computer until a ransom is paid to unlock it. Two of the notable ransomware this year, WannaCry and NotPetya, are essentially not ransomware in the sense that the code of these two malware were written in such a way that even the attackers themselves can’t unlock the infected computers. Whether this was intentional or not, only the attackers know. But in this sense, these two malware are considered as “wiper” – meant to bring business disruption.
“The WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware outbreaks foreshadow a trend of ransomware being applied in new ways, in pursuit of new objectives, becoming less about traditional ransomware extortion and more about outright system sabotage, disruption, and damage,” researchers at McAfee said.
Another malware that brought widespread business disruption in 2017 was the Mirai botnet, a malware that infected close to 100,000 IoT devices, turned them into robots and launched DDoS attack that brought down the managed DNS platform of Dyn, which in effect, temporarily brought down 80 widely used websites like Amazon, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Spotify and Netflix.
According to Imperva Incapsula, attackers in the upcoming year will probably adopt new business disruption techniques. Examples of these disruptive techniques include modifying computer configuration to cause software errors, system restarts, causing software crashes, disruption of corporate email or other infrastructure and shutting down an internal network (point-of-sale systems, web app to a database, communication between endpoints, etc.).
3. Breach by Insiders
The 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study (PDF) conducted by Ponemon and commissioned by IBM showed that 47% of data breaches were caused by malicious insiders and outsiders’ criminal attacks, 25% were due to negligent employees or contractors (human factor) and 28% were due to system glitches.
According to Imperva Incapsula, illegal cryptocurrency mining operations in corporate servers are on the rise, set up by insiders or “employees with high-level network privileges and the technical skills needed to turn their company’s computing infrastructure into a currency mint.”
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a Double-Edged Sword
In 2018, AI is expected to be used by cybercriminals as a means to speed up the process of finding security vulnerabilities in commercial products like operating systems and other widely used software. On the other hand, AI is expected to be used by cyberdefenders to improve cybersecurity.
“Unfortunately, machines will work for anyone, fueling an arms race in machine-supported actions from defenders and attackers,” researchers at McAfee said. “Human-machine teaming has tremendous potential to swing the advantage back to the defenders, and our job during the next few years is to make that happen. To do that, we will have to protect machine detection and correction models from disruption, while continuing to advance our defensive capabilities faster than our adversaries can ramp up their attacks.”
In 2018, one thing is for sure: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be enforced on May 25, 2018.
GDPR is a European Union (EU) law that has an “extra-territorial” reach. Businesses that process personal data or monitor the online behavior of EU residents are still covered under this law even if they aren’t based in any of EU countries. Salient features of the law include consent requirement, right to be forgotten, transparency requirement, cybersecurity measures and data breach notification.
“In the corporate world, McAfee predicts that the May 2018 implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could play an important role in setting ground rules on the handling of both consumer data and user-generated content in the years to come,” researchers at McAfee said.
Happy 2018, and Stay Safe!
Beware of DDoS-for-Hire
Distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have become a public menace.
DDoS was once a tool used by hactivists to further their social or political ends. In recent years, DDoS has become a toll for purely financial gain and for utter destruction. DDoS-for-hire services, also known as stressers or booters, have grown in recent years.
One DDoS-for-hire organization offers its DDoS service for a monthly fee of $7. A simple online search using the keyword “stressers” or “booters” will yield a number of organizations offering DDoS services for a fee. One DDoS mobile app even showed up on Google Play but this one was immediately pulled out.
Many of these DDoS-for-hire services openly advertise their services on the guise of offering a legitimate DDoS service. The reality is that it’s not illegal to conduct a DDoS attack or stress test on a website, for instance, to test the capacity of the site to receive high volume of traffic or to test how to deflect unwanted volume of traffic. The question of legitimacy comes on whether or not the owner of the website authorizes the stress test.
According to the FBI, the hiring of stresser or booter service to carry out a DDoS attack to take down a website is punishable under the US law called “Computer Fraud and Abuse Act” and this may result in any one or a combination of the following: seizure of computers and other electronic devices, arrest and criminal prosecution, significant prison sentence, penalty or fine.
“Booter and stresser services are a form of DDoS-for-hire – advertised in forum communications and available on Dark Web marketplaces – offering malicious actors the ability to anonymously attack any Internet-connected target,” the FBI said. “These services are obtained through a monetary transaction, usually in the form of online payment services and virtual currency.”
What Can a DDoS-for-Hire Service Actually Do?
The Gammel case is the first Minnesota case to address the DDoS-for-hire cybercrime. In April of this year, in a criminal complaint filed before the US District Court of Minnesota, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alleged that Gammel, a former employee of Washburn Computer Group – a Minnesota-based company – paid several DDoS-for-hire services to bring down 3 websites of Washburn in a more than one-year-long DDoS campaign.
According to the FBI, the first 2 websites of Washburn were knocked down several times as a result of the DDoS attacks paid by Gammel. The FBI also alleged that the 3rd website – the one that replaced the 2 other sites of Washburn – was knocked down several times as well a result of the DDoS orchestrated by Gammel. Washburn claimed that the DDoS attacks resulted in a minimum of $15,000 in loss.
In the criminal complaint, the FBI defined DDoS attack as "an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users, such as by temporarily or indefinitely interrupting or suspending services of a host connected to the Internet, usually by shutting down a website or websites connected to target of the DDoS attack.”
The DDoS attacks against Dyn – a domain name service (DNS) provider to which many websites rely on – was considered as one of the largest. Because of the DDoS attacks against Dyn, 80 widely used websites like Twitter, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, Spotify and Netflix were rendered temporarily inaccessible to the public.
“The [Dyn] attack used a booter service and was attributed to infected Internet of Things (IoT) devices like routers, digital video recorders, and Webcams/security cameras to execute the DDoS attack,” the FBI said.
According to the FBI source, the DNS provider lost approximately 8% of its customers following the DDoS attacks.
How a DDoS Attack Works?
In the Dyn case, the company itself confirmed that the Mirai botnet was the primary source of DDoS attacks although it won't comment about the motivation or the identity of the attackers.
According to Dyn, on October 21, 2016, it observed a high volume of traffic on 2 occasions in its Managed DNS platform in the Asia Pacific, South America, Eastern Europe and US-West regions. The company said that the 2 major DDoS attacks on its Managed DNS platform involved 100,000 compromised IoT devices originating from different parts of the globe that were infected by the Mirai botnet.
The Mirai botnet works by infecting IoT devices with weak security – those that use default usernames and passwords – and turned them into bots or robots that can be ordered around, in this case, to conduct DDoS attacks.
The effects of malicious and unauthorized DDoS attacks are immediate. They render targeted websites inaccessible or slow. As experienced by Washburn and Dyn, DDoS attacks proved to be costly and can cause businesses to lose customers.
Availability of DDoS Tools
The danger of DDoS attacks is the tools for this cybermenace aren’t just available from the DDoS-for-hire services themselves but from public sources. For instance, one can conduct a DDoS attack on his or her own using the Mirai botnet as the source code of this was made available in September of this year to the public by someone who calls himself or herself “Anna-senpai”.
DDoS tools are also evolving. Just days after the online publication of the Mirai source code, a new DDoS tool called “Reaper” emerged. This DDoS tool hasn’t attacked yet as it’s still in the process of infecting vulnerable IoT devices. The stark difference between the 2 DDoS tools is that while the Mirai infected 100,000 IoT devices, the Reaper has infected over half a million IoT devices. This means that this new botnet is much more powerful.
While it’s cheap to hire malicious cyberactors to conduct DDoS attacks, it’s equally affordable to hire professionals to prevent DDoS attacks. Contact us today if your company is currently burdened by this cybermenace or if your organization simply wants to be proactive in stopping DDoS attacks.
How to Prevent Account Takeover or Hijacking
A new study conducted by Google and University of California (UC) delved into the question which among these three cyberattacks – phishing, keylogging and third-party data breach – most likely results in account takeover or hijacking.
From March 2016 to March 2017, researchers at Google and UC examined 12.4 million potential victims of phishing kits, 788,000 potential victims of keyloggers and 1.9 billion usernames and passwords exposed via third-party data breaches traded on the black market.
The Google and UC study found that victims of phishing kits are more likely to have their account taken over by cybercriminals as these kits harvest the same information that Google uses in verifying every time a user logs into his or her email account. Details that are harvested by phishing kits include the victim's secret questions, geolocation, phone numbers and device identifiers.
The study found that accounts of victims of phishing are 400 times more likely to be successfully hijacked compared to a random Google user. The likelihood of account takeover is far lesser for keylogger victims (40 times likely to be hijacked) and third-party data breach victims (10 times). Researchers found 25,000 blackhat tools used for phishing and keylogging.
“We find that the risk of a full email takeover depends significantly on how attackers first acquire a victim’s (re-used) credentials,” the researchers wrote in their paper “Data Breaches, Phishing, or Malware? Understanding the Risks of Stolen Credentials”. “Using Google as a case study, we observe only 7% of victims in third party data breaches have their current Google password exposed, compared to 12% of keylogger victims and 25% of phishing victims.”
Once an account is taken over, the attacker can download all of the victim’s private data; remotely wipe the victim’s data and backups; impersonate the victim; reset the victim’s passwords and use this hijacked account as a stepping stone to access the victim’s other online accounts.
Third-Party Data Breach
Most of the 1.9 billion usernames and passwords exposed via third-party data breaches in the Google and UC study came from MySpace, Badoo, Adobe, LinkedIn, VK, Tumblr and Dropbox. The study revealed that the passwords listed below are the most commonly used passwords by victims of phishing, keylogging and third-party data breach:
These data leaks which date back to 2012–2014 appeared in public
blackhat forums, paste sites and sites like leakedsources.com, leakbase.pw and breachalarm.com – sites that charge those who would like to find out if their accounts are compromised. Victims of third-party data breach were mostly from the US (39%), India (8%) and Brazil (2.6%).
The importance of an account, in particular, an email address and its login details can’t be undermined. “As the digital footprint of Internet users expands to encompass social networks, financial records, and data stored in the cloud, often a single account underpins the security of this entire identity – an email address,” the researchers said.
The phishing kit referred to in the Google and UC study refers to prepackaged fake login page for a popular site like Gmail, Yahoo and online banking. Phishing kits are often uploaded to compromised websites and automatically harvest credentials of victims. Researchers found that phishing kit variants were uploaded to fake login pages of Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, Workspace Webmail, Dropbox, Google Drive, Docusign, ZoomInfo, Office 365 and AOL.
The study showed that the most popular phishing kit that utilized fake login pages for popular email providers – Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and Gmail – generated 1,448,890 stolen credentials. Based on the last sign-in to email accounts receiving stolen credentials, the top 3 phishing kit users are those from Nigeria (41%), United States (11%) and Morocco (7.6%). Victims of phishing were mostly from the US (50%), South Africa (4%) and Canada (3%).
Google in a blog post said, “By ranking the relative risk to users, we found that phishing posed the greatest threat, followed by keyloggers, and finally third-party breaches.”
Of the three forms of cyberattacks – phishing, keylogging and third-party data reach, phishing is the most destructive as this doesn’t only yield a password, but other sensitive data that Google itself may ask when verifying an account of a holder such as IP address, location, phone numbers and device model.
Keylogger is a malicious software that tracks and records every keystroke entry you make on your computer and often without your knowledge or permission. Attackers use keyloggers to capture sensitive data like financial information or passwords, which are then sent to third parties for criminal use. Keyloggers can steal your on-device passwords, harvest clipboard content, screenshot your online activities and monitor your keystrokes.
Based on the study, the top 10 keylogger families are the following: HawkEye, Cyborg Logger, Predator Pain, Limitless Stealer, iSpy Keylogger, Olympic Vision, Unknown Logger, Saint Andrew’s, Infinity Logger and Redpill Spy. HawkEye, in particular, sent over 400,000 snooping reports to 470 emails believed to be managed by attackers.
The top keylogger users based on the last sign-in to email accounts receiving stolen credentials came from Nigeria (11%), Brazil (7.8%) and Senegal (7.3%). Victims of keyloggers were mostly from Brazil (18%), India (10%) and US (8%).
Here are some of the ways to stop account takeover or hijacking:
Attackers have already known our “1234567” and “password” passwords. It’s time to use less obvious passwords. Cybersecurity, however, needs to move beyond strong passwords.
To ward off attackers, many online businesses today safeguard their accounts through two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is when you use something you know, for example a password, and also something you have, for example a smartphone, whereby after entering your password, you either received an SMS with an additional code, or will use an app to get the code to finalize the logon process. In addition, some online software providers and social networks already force a multi-step authentication. For instance, when Google detects that you logged in into your account from a different device or different location, it will ask additional information only you would know, before granting access.
As shown by the destructive nature of phishing, even a two-way factor authentication isn’t enough to ward off attackers as they can harvest sensitive information that Google itself may require when verifying an account.
Contact us today to learn more about how to protect your enterprise accounts from takeover or hijacking.
Hackers Use Google Search Results to Spread Malware
Cybercriminals are continually finding new ways to distribute their malicious software. This time, they took advantage of Google search results in spreading their malware.
Researchers at Cisco discovered that Google search results are being used by cybercriminals for spreading their malware. Cybercriminals took advantage of the links provided by Google search results in spreading the new version of the banking malware dubbed as “Zeus Panda”, also known as “Panda Banker”.
Google search is the digital world’s go-to place whenever we want to know something. Google answers our questions by providing links that it believes (based on its algorithm or criteria) are the best responses to our queries.
Billions of people around the world are using Google search. According to StatCounter, a Dublin-based web tracking service, as of October 2017, Google received the bulk of the search engine market share worldwide (91.47%), followed by Bing (2.75%), Yahoo (2.25%) and Baidu (1.8%).
Zeus Panda, the malware distributed by the threat actors via malicious links on Google search, is a malware that borrows some of the code of another malware called “Zeus” – a malware that first appeared in 2007. Cybercriminals have since earned hundreds of millions of dollars using the Zeus malware by stealing banking credentials and generating fraudulent banking transactions.
How Zeus Panda Spreads via Google Search ResultsIn order that these malicious links show up on the first page of Google search results, threat actors used the process called “SEO”, short for search engine optimization. Google, for its part, allows legitimate SEO – referred to as "whitehat" SEO. One of the legitimate SEO techniques used by the threat actors is the use of targeted banking related keywords to zero in their target victims.
“By targeting primarily financial-related keyword searches and ensuring that their malicious results are displayed, the attacker can attempt to maximize the conversion rate of their infections as they can be confident that infected users will be regularly using various financial platforms and thus will enable the attacker to quickly obtain credentials, banking and credit card information, etc.,” Cisco researchers said.
Threat actors, for instance, used the banking related keywords "al rajhi bank working hours during ramadan". The screencap below from Cisco researchers shows one of the top links in the Google search results for the above-mentioned keywords.
Below are the other keywords used by the threat actors:
"nordea sweden bank account number"
"how many digits in karur vysya bank account number"
"how to cancel a cheque commonwealth bank"
"salary slip format in excel with formula free download"
"bank of baroda account balance check"
"bank guarantee format mt760"
"sbi bank recurring deposit form"
"axis bank mobile banking download link"
As can be gleaned from the above-mentioned keywords, certain geographic regions appear to be directly targeted, with many of these keywords targeting users trying to search about financial institutions in India as well as the Middle East. The treat actors compromised business websites that have received high number of reviews and high ratings to appear legitimate to victims. Once a victim clicks on this compromised link, a multi-stage malware infection process is then initiated.
As shown below, the victim is redirected to a compromised site that shows a fake alert from Windows Defender that the Zeus virus is detected.
Once the victim clicks the “OK” button, the victim is once again redirected to another compromised site which hosts a malicious Word document as shown below.
Clicking on the "Enable Editing" and click "Enable Content" will initiate the downloading of the new version of Zeus Panda malware into the victim's computer.
This new version of Zeus Panda shares many characteristics of its predecessor Zeus Panda. Both borrowed the code of Zeus malware – the creator of which released the source code to the public in 2011. Both are designed to steal banking and other sensitive credentials and conduct fraudulent banking transactions.
Zeus Panda malware was first discovered by the researcher only known as “Fox IT” in February 2016. As reported by Proofpoint, this early version of Zeus Panda stole banking credentials of customers from European and Australian banks, UK online casinos and international online payment systems.
Unlike the new version of the malware which uses Google search results to spread the malware, the older version of Zeus Panda was spread using malicious email attachments, malicious email links and web injects.
In August 2016, Proofpoint found that millions of emails were sent to organizations involved in manufacturing, retail, insurance and related sector. The email messages masquerading as coming from legitimate banks contained malicious links leading to Microsoft Word documents. These documents contain macros which, if enabled, download Zeus Panda malware.
In October of this year, IBM reported that customers in North America were targeted by the Zeus Panda malware. For this October 2017 campaign, IBM said, the threat actors distributed the malware via malicious emails purporting to come from courier services like UPS. These fake emails, according to IBM, contain embedded links that lead the recipient to a site infected by Zeus Panda malware.
According to Proofpoint, the early version of Zeus Panda was also spread using web injects – a process by which cybercriminals intercept online banking traffic and modify banking sites on infected computers in order to carry out man-in-the-browser (MITB) attacks. In carrying out MITB attacks, threat actors infect a web browser to modify web pages of banks, online casinos and international online payment systems and modify the transaction content.
How to Prevent Zeus Panda Attacks
In order to prevent being a victim of the Zeus Panda malware, it’s important to think twice before clicking anything online and opening an email attachment. As shown by the new version of Zeus Panda, it’s important to remain discerning and vigilant in the results of a Google search.
Cisco researchers who discovered the new version of Zeus Panda said, “Having a sound, layered, defense-in-depth strategy in place will help ensure that organizations can respond to the constantly changing threat landscape.”
Steve E. Driz