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Cyber News Rundown: Botnet Targets Brazil’s Banks

Brazilian Bank Traffic Rerouted by Massive Botnet A botnet containing more than 100,000 routers and other devices was recently spotted hijacking traffic destined for several Brazilian banks. The hijacking victims are then sent to one of at least 50 confirmed phishing...

Unsecure RDP Connections are a Widespread Security Failure

While ransomware, last year’s dominant threat, has taken a backseat to cryptomining attacks in 2018, it has by no means disappeared. Instead, ransomware has become a more targeted business model for cybercriminals, with unsecured remote desktop protocol (RDP)...

EICAR – The Most Common False Positive in the World

If you saw a file called eicar.com on your computer, you might think it was malware. But, you would be wrong. Readers, if you haven’t yet met the EICAR test file, allow me to introduce you to it. If you have used the EICAR test file, let’s get a bit cozier with it. If...

Crime and Crypto: An Evolution in Cyber Threats

Cybercriminals are constantly experimenting with new ways to take money from their victims. Their tactics evolve quickly to maximize returns and minimize risk. The emergence of cryptocurrency has opened up new opportunities to do just that. To better understand...

3 Cyber Threats IT Providers Should Protect Against

With cybercrime damages set to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, a new bar has been set for cybersecurity teams across industries to defend their assets. This rings especially true for IT service providers, who are entrusted to keep their clients’ systems...

Cyber News Rundown: Facebook Reveals “Clear History” Feature

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The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.

Cyberattack Shuts Down Mexico Central Bank

Within the past week, several payment systems associated with Mexico’s central bank were compromised for an unspecified amount of time. The impacted systems led to delays with money transfers and processing of transactions for central bank customers, but officials claim no funds or data were stolen. It is still unclear how the attackers accessed the systems, though the issue has heightened awareness of possible security flaws.

Facebook Implementing History Removal Tool

In the wake of the data mishandling scandal that tarnished Facebook’s privacy standards, the company announced it’s working on a new tool that will allow users to clear browsing history and cookies from within Facebook, along with opting out of allowing Facebook to gather future browsing data. While this tool is still being created, Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook hopes to give more privacy controls back to the users who trust the site.

Fitbit Adopts Google Healthcare API

Recently, Fitbit announced they will be integrating their current systems to incorporate the Cloud Healthcare API from Google in order to give healthcare providers better access to important data. Fitbit has been working towards this for some time by constantly improving their data analysis and providing better feedback to users and their health professionals. The partnership with Google’s API allows them to use an industry-compliant system, without the trouble of creating one from the ground up.

Northeast School District Pays Hefty Ransom

Following the April 14 cyberattack that encrypted much of a Massachusetts school district’s computer systems, local police recommended the district pay the $10,000 ransom to restore the system. While it paying ransoms is normally suggested only as a last resort, it would appear that the district wasn’t capable to restoring the systems on their own. In the end, it opted to pay the requested amount in hopes the criminals stay true to their word.

DVRs Being Compromised

A researcher recently released a tool that would allow anyone access to several brands of DVRs and illicitly obtain both device credentials and live video recordings. Using Shodan, the researcher was able to identify nearly 55,000 unique, accessible DVR devices that could be exploited with his tool using a previously discovered flaw for DVR devices.

DNS Protection Gets Major Updates

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Our most recent release of the DNS Protection agent provided customers with added features and enhancements designed to improve the overall product experience and its capabilities delivered to end users. We revamped the network detection functionality to improve accuracy and speed for roaming and off-site clients who frequently change networks.

We also addressed a variety of small bug fixes and performance improvements, such as SSL certification installation on Firefox Quantum and improvements to the agent update process.

VPN & TCP support

The Webroot DNS Protection agent now supports Juno Pulse Secure v 3.5 and Private Internet Access (client version 7.5) VPN types. This new feature enables roaming clients to access intranet assets and ensure clients benefit from DNS Protection while using a VPN.

Additionally, we added TCP Traffic support filtering. While the majority of DNS traffic is handled via UDP, certain domains and applications only use TCP. This update allows the agent to filter both UDP and TCP traffic.

Policy Configuration

We have also enhanced policy configuration with more granular policy control.  Custom policy configurations can now be applied to groups, sites, individual devices or network IP.  We’re also working to improve internet usage visibility, and are excited to make our Top Active Report available for .csv export so it can be easily integrated into other reporting tools in use.

Finally, we’re updating the GSM console to give users the availability to initiate trials and/or purchase products directly within the console.

‘Smishing’: An Emerging Trend of Phishing Scams via Text Messages

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Text messages are now a common way for people to engage with brands and services, with many now preferring texts over email. But today’s scammers have taken a liking to text messages or smishing, too, and are now targeting victims with text message scams sent via shortcodes instead of traditional email-based phishing attacks.

What do we mean by shortcodes

Businesses typically use shortcodes to send and receive text messages with customers. You’ve probably used them before—for instance, you may have received shipping information from FedEx via the shortcode ‘46339’. Other shortcode uses include airline flight confirmations, identity verification, and routine account alerts. Shortcodes are typically four to six digits in the United States, but different countries have different formats and number designations.

The benefits of shortcodes are fairly obvious. Texts can be more immediate and convenient, making it easier for customers to access links and interact with their favorite brands and services. One major drawback, however, is the potential to be scammed by a SMS-based phishing attack, or ‘Smishing’ attack. (Not surprisingly given the cybersecurity field’s fondness for combining words, smishing is a combination of SMS and phishing.)

All the Dangers of Phishing Attacks, Little of the Awareness

The most obvious example of a smishing attack is a text message containing a link to mobile malware. Mistakenly clicking on this type of link can lead to a malicious app being installed on your smartphone. Once installed, mobile malware can be used to log your keystrokes, steal your identity, or hold your valuable files for ransom. Many of the traditional dangers in opening emails and attachments from unknown senders are the same in smishing attacks, but many people are far less familiar with this type of attack and therefore less likely to be on guard against it.

Text messages from shortcodes can contain links to malware and other dangers.

Smishing for Aid Dollars

Another possible risk in shortcodes is that sending a one-word response can trigger a transaction, allowing a charge to appear on your mobile carrier’s bill. When a natural disaster strikes, it is common for charities to use shortcodes to make it incredibly easy to donate money to support relief efforts. For instance, if you text “PREVENT” to the shortcode 90999, you will donate $10 USD to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

But this also makes it incredibly easy for a scammer to tell you to text “MONSOON” to a shortcode number while posing as a legitimate organization. These types of smishing scams can lead to costly fraudulent charges on your phone bill, not to mention erode aid agencies ability to solicit legitimate donations from a wary public. A good resource for determining the authenticity of a shortcode in the United States is the U.S. Short Code Directory. This site allows you to look up brands and the shortcodes they use, or vice versa.

Protect yourself from Smishing Attacks

While a trusted mobile security app can help you stay protected from a variety of mobile threats, avoiding smishing attacks demands a healthy dose of cyber awareness. Be skeptical of any text messages you receive from unknown senders and assume messages are risky until you are sure you know the sender or are expecting the message. Context is also very important. If a contact’s phone is lost or stolen, that contact can be impersonated. Make sure the message makes sense coming from that contact.

RSAC 2018: “Clearing A Path for More Conversation and Context”

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Two big trends stood out at RSAC 2018. Many organizations that once thought all threat intelligence was created equal have gained appreciation for quality data feeds that deliver real-time information vs. crowdsourced or static lists. Endless alerts and flashy numbers are no longer enough. Companies want to know the “why?” and “what actions they can take?”

“What this tells me is that Webroot is in the right place at the right time with the best solution, and that is a great place to be,” said Michael Neiswender, vice president, embedded security sales.

The subtle messages of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) and managed service providers (MSPs) demanding a certain focus didn’t fall on deaf ears. The question asked over and over was “how do you get into the SMB space?” There was a clear understanding that it’s a hot market, hard to penetrate, and has specific needs. SMBs require solutions architected from the ground up for multitenancy, high efficiency, and ease of use—customer experience cannot be neglected.

David Dufour, vice president, engineering said, “MSPs are a big business. A lot of people are aware of it, but they don’t know how to attract that market. We’re in a really good position as a company because we understand them.”

Big Conversations

As Webroot spoke with industry peers during the four-day cybersecurity conference, the conversations led to a few more themes.

Real Threat Intelligence is King

Security professionals have a desire for real-time, quality threat intelligence. They are looking for insights that draw from multi-geo, -device, and -businesses. How the updates are delivered to the customer is also of importance. The reality is the scale of threats and the associated risks facing organizations is increasing at a rate companies are finding difficult to manage.

Security is Everyone’s Responsibility

The idea of inherent security will become more mainstream. All companies will have to start thinking and acting like security companies, putting user education first. Loosely handling personal data is no longer an option. GDPR will make sure of that. Simple: your weakest link can be your strongest defense if properly trained.

Getting Back to Basics

Fundamental concepts of cybersecurity are as relevant as ever. The basics at their core address security as a requirement for businesses today in our connected environment. To be effective using cybersecurity start by following the basic fundamental concepts of protect, detect, respond, recover, and user training.

Into the Future

Threat intelligence will continue to offer a powerful position for those who choose to listen to the industry. As Webroot prepares for greater growth in the coming months and years, we are uniquely positioned for the future. You can expect more threat intelligence insights via our Annual Threat Report and Quarterly Threat Trends; continued investigation into our partners’ needs; and solutions that will meet partners where they are.

More companies will realize their customers want them to look at them in a new light. They will also begin to ask the right questions to provide solutions that uniquely address the concerns security professionals have when building their own internal security programs.

“There were companies that I could tell had methodically built out platforms to address specific threats,” said Gary Hayslip, chief information security officer. “These vendors differed from their competitors, because they knew what issues to solve and their technologies were uniquely focused on providing value by integrating with broader platforms to manage risk.”

Cyber News Rundown: Amazon DNS Service Hijacked

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The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.

Amazon IPs Rerouted for Several Hours

Early Tuesday morning attackers compromised an ISP that allowed them to reroute 1,300 IP addresses belonging to Amazon’s Route 53 DNS service. Amazon quickly released a statement on the issue and clarified that it was a specific vendor’s domain that was sharing the traffic across multiple peer networks. In doing so, the attackers were able to masquerade as MyEtherWallet.com, which netted them over $150,000 in cryptocurrency.

Middle East Ride-Hailing App Compromised

In an announcement at the beginning of this week, the ride-hailing app Careem addressed a data breach that occurred in mid-January. The breach could affect nearly 14 million customers, though officials have stated that no payment information was amongst the compromised data, as it is stored off-site. Fortunately, the breach shouldn’t affect anyone who signed up for the app after January 14.

Complaints of Tech Support Scams on the Rise

Over the course of 2017, Microsoft saw a 24% rise in the number of complaints regarding tech support scams their customers fell victim to. This increase is similar to the findings of the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, which saw an 86% change from the previous year. While the tactics used have not varied much, the number of scam calls have gone up significantly and have branched out to include both Mac and Linux users.

City of Atlanta Closing in on $3 Million Mark for Ransomware Recovery

It was recently revealed the City of Atlanta has spent close to $3 million to recover from a ransomware attack nearly a month ago. Though the original ransom was set at $51,000, paying it would not guarantee a swift resolution. Even now, Atlanta is still working on returning its systems to full working order. The delay may have been lengthened by the unknown amount of time the hackers had access to its system.

Malicious Crypto-miner Disables System Security

The newly dubbed PyRoMine, a cryptocurrency miner, which uses the EternalRomance NSA exploit to propagate, has been spotted in the wild over the past month. By disabling any security services it encounters, as well as Windows Updates, the malicious VBScript is able to compromise RDP to allow consistent traffic through port 3389. Even though it hasn’t spread widely, the number of unpatched machines still accessible to malware authors is a goldmine just waiting to be found.

The STEM Pipeline: What Can You Do?

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Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day is today, and while your initial reaction may be to make a note to call in sick that day (heck, that was my gut instinct), resist the urge.

It’s one day that is a great reminder for the entire year. We all need to do more to fill the pipeline for STEM careers. That’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

You may be asking, what do you mean by “do more”? You may not work in tech yourself or perhaps your kids aren’t interested in science, or maybe you don’t even have kids.

That’s no excuse.

According to the Pew Research Center, employment in STEM occupations has grown 79 percent since 1990, from 9.7 million to 17.3 million, outpacing overall U.S. job growth. And companies are feeling the pinch. ESG Research conducted a study that found 51 percent of respondents were dealing with a skills shortage. They simply can’t find the talent to fill the roles.

That’s where it gets concerning for everyone, whether they are a parent, a business owner, or a techie. We need bodies to fill the technical roles of today, let alone the future.

Now that I have your attention, here is some advice for what you can do to help create the STEM leaders of tomorrow.

  1. Realize not everyone is going to want to be an engineer. And that’s okay. You need marketing people, communicators, project managers that like working in the field and can bridge the gap with their soft skills between the true data heads and the rest of the world.
  2. I’m not pushing for a PhD. There are many paths to a technical career that don’t start with a four-year college degree. But they all do start with curiosity. I know many cybersecurity professionals who came to the field with a networking certification or other technical program background and even more that were self-taught. They watched a lot of YouTube videos, read a lot of blogs, and took apart their computers. There also is a lot of opportunity for those in the military who were trained to handle various programming tasks. Encourage people from all walks of life and backgrounds to tap into STEM fields.
  3. Take your kids (or the neighbor’s kids) to work with you. Really. Even if you don’t work in tech, try to show the kids what you do every day, then ask if someone in your IT department can chat with them too.
  4. You didn’t think I’d get through this without mentioning LEGOS, did you? LEGOS are the ultimate toy for sparking interest in STEM fields. Once kids graduate from basic blocks, there are many options like the BOOST line. They have a robot you can build and control via a mobile app. Enough said.
  5. Snap Circuits. Another awesome toy that makes building electronics fun.
  6. Programming can be for all ages. Prime younger kids to program with fun tools, like Scratch, Blockly, and Alice. You might even learn something!

This is a small list of ideas. I know there are many more out there. But I challenge everyone to think about what they can do to help create the next generation of STEM professionals. I know Webroot is participating in Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day this year and I look forward to chatting with the participants about what I do each day to make the internet a little bit safer.

After the Hack: Tips for Damage Control

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According to the Identity Theft Research Center, in 2017 alone, nearly 158 million social security numbers were stolen as a result of 1579 data breaches. Once a cybercriminal has access to your personal info, they can open credit cards, take out loans that quickly ruin your credit, or leave you with a giant bill. But that’s not all. Many people don’t realize that, depending on how much information a hacker gets and what their intentions are, you could lose a lot more than money. From sending malware to your contacts from your account to spamming your coworkers with phishing attacks to compromise your employer’s network, the damage a hacker can wreak on your personal and professional life can extend far beyond the monetary bounds.

Additionally, according to Dave Dufour, VP of Engineering and Cybersecurity at Webroot, we’re seeing more evolution in cybercriminal tactics that take advantage of internet users and their trust:

“What’s happening lately is that people are hacking social media accounts. Why would anyone want your social media information? One reason is that, if I have access to one of your social media accounts, I can spread malware to all your followers who trust you. Pretending to be you, I can send out a link, your followers click it, and my malware is now on all of their devices.”

So, what do you do if you’ve been hit with malware, ransomware, phishing, or a social media attack? First, don’t panic. Second, follow these steps to deal with the fallout.

You’ve been hacked. Now what?

Change your passwords
The first step is one you’ve probably already heard: change all your passwords. Yes, all of them. Don’t forget make them strong by using at least 12 characters, changing out at least two or three of the characters to uppercase, using numbers or symbols (e.g., replacing an A with a @ or an S with a 5), avoid using places you’ve lived, acquaintances names, your pets, birthdays, or addresses—and don’t even think about using ABC or 123. If you have trouble keeping track of your passwords, we recommend you use to a secure password manager application that saves your credentials in an encrypted database and automatically fills them in when you log into a site.

Turn on two-factor authentication
Most accounts that house your personal information, such as email or banking, offer two-factor authentication. This provides an additional layer of security that goes beyond your username and password by asking you to confirm your login with an extra step, such as a short-term security code sent via text message or phone call. You can turn on two-factor authentication from the login screen of the account.

Check for updates
One of the best ways to keep your devices protected is to update your operating system regularly and ensure that any applications you use are patched and up to date. If you have questions, you can always call your device provider’s helpline. To make things even easier, most systems and software allow you to set up Automatic Updates, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to check for them manually.

Install antivirus protection and run a scan
Antivirus software is an extremely beneficial tool that doesn’t just help detect and remove malicious software that could be lurking on your computer, it can also stop threats before they infect your device in the first place. But be careful: avoid the temptation to download a free antivirus program, as these often come bundled with malware or potentially unwanted applications. Instead, invest in a reputable option. Once installed, be sure to run a scan and turn on automatic scans and updates.

Delete sensitive data from the compromised account
As soon as you realize you’ve been hacked, go to the compromised account and delete any sensitive data you can. For example, if you know you’ve stored your credit card information, bank statements, social security number etc. in your email or on any retail site, immediately delete them from those locations. This also goes for any personal photos or information you wouldn’t want released. And don’t forget to clear out your folders on any cloud services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive™ or iCloud®.

Monitor bank statements and account activity
One of the top motivations of a cyberattack is to steal your money or identity to go on a shopping spree or use your financial accounts in some way. Be vigilant about monitoring your accounts for recent activity and check to make sure no new shipping addresses, payment methods, or accounts have been added. Also, call your bank and let them know about the incident so they can have their fraud department monitor your accounts.=

Deauthorize apps on Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
To protect your accounts and remove malicious individuals, check which apps are connected to your social media accounts and deactivate all of them. Did you sign into a site using your Facebook so you could see which historical figure you look like? That’s an example of something you should deactivate. You can find directions on how to do this for each account in its help or settings section or by contacting the associated customer service line.

Tell friends you’ve been hacked, so they don’t become victims, too
Another important step to take after you’ve been hacked is to alert your contacts. Many social media and email attackers will send messages from your account that contain malicious links, attachments, or urgent requests for money. Letting contacts know right away that your account has been compromised, and what to watch out for, can save them from the same fate.

Because technology continues to advance and the number of connected devices is growing exponentially, being the target of a cyberattack or identity theft is becoming more commonplace. But we’re here to help. Learn more about protecting yourself and your family online, and what you can do to stay safe from modern cybercrime.

Cyber News Rundown: Russia Bans Telegram

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The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.

Russia Blocks Millions of IPs to Halt Use of Telegram

Recently, Russia has been putting pressure on Telegram, an end-to-end encrypted messaging service, to release a master key that would allow Russian officials to monitor suspected terrorist communications. Many of the blocked IPs belong to Amazon and Google, which have prompted Telegram users to switch to VPN services to continue using the app.

Facebook Accounts Breached by Stress Relief App

Within the last week, nearly 40,000 Facebook accounts have been compromised after users installed a stress relief painting program that silently steals available browser data. Likely being spread through spam emails, the malware itself runs a fully functional painting program that closely imitates the recently defunct Microsoft Paint and continues to gather data anytime its host computer restarts.

New Cryptominer Bypasses Open Browser Requirement

A recently discovered cryptominer functions like most previous miners, though its XMRig has been updated to no longer require an open internet browser session to begin its This change is significant, as it means the malware itself has been changed from being internet-reliant to endpoint-based, which allows it to function on the infected device without user interaction. While XMRig is still not the most prolific cryptominer currently operating, it’s believed to have spread to over 15 million unique endpoints around the world.

Tax Season is Open Season for Cyber Criminals

As the 2018 tax season wraps up, officials are working hard to determine if high volumes of tax returns being sent from individual computers are from tax professionals or criminals. While the IRS does have methods for stopping massive quantities of returns from being issued from a single device, tax professionals regularly file up to hundreds of returns per year. So how do they determine if they are legitimate or not? Now, cybercriminals have also recognized this loophole and have begun targeting pros, rather than individuals, to stay undetected while submitting fraudulent tax returns.

Microsoft Engineer Charged for Ransomware Money Laundering

A Microsoft employee was charged this week with laundering money accrued from a Reveton ransomware variant that was used as a prominent screen-locker several years ago. The engineer is accused of transferring over 100,000 USD to a partner in the UK that had been extorted as ransom for restoring the system to its normal functionality.

Cyber News Rundown: Hacktivists Strike YouTube Music Videos

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The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.

Music-Oriented YouTube Channels Hacked

Within the last week, hackers have defaced multiple YouTube music videos, focusing largely on Vevo channels with high view counts. Most of the videos were quickly taken down after suspicious upload activity was found on several accounts, leaving some videos with the statement “Free Palestine” in the description. Vevo worked quickly to resolve the defacement and is in the process of returning the affected videos to viewable status.

Pen Test Reveals Security Risks for Radar

Researchers have recently been working to determine if radar is truly secure, as industry professionals have claimed, since it doesn’t interact with the Internet. Unfortunately, after a bit of effort, these same researchers were able to successfully breach the core systems for radar on a Navy vessel and modify it enough to set the ship off course without raising alarms. The system, had it been maliciously compromised, could have easily run the ship aground or sent off on a dangerous interception course. In addition to taking control of the vessel, the researchers were also able to remove all radar detections and leave the ship effectively blind in the water.

Majority of Android Users Denied Consent to Facebook over Data Collection

In a recent survey, nearly 90% of the 1,300 users had refused consent to Facebook for collecting SMS and call data. Unsurprisingly, Facebook has replied that the choice was an opt-in rather than out and users should have been asked, though many agree that no choice had ever been presented to them. Some users have even reported seeing over two years worth of call and SMS data saved within their Facebook account’s data.

Facebook Announces Permissions Change

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, Facebook has made multiple changes to its policy on app permissions that collect user data. Any app that hasn’t been accessed within the last 90 days will require the user to go through the Facebook login page and re-consent to any data collection that may take place. These changes will not be immediate, but instead rolled out over a two-week period, giving users time to decide which apps they want to use and letting expired data tokens be deleted.

Department of the Interior Faces Malware Infection

Nearly three years after the data breach within the Office of Personnel Management, the Interior Department is still having issues with properly securing their systems. The latest internal threat stems from a US Geological Survey employee who was found to be watching pornography and saving the videos to an external hard drive, which led to their computer hosting Russian malware. This likely ties back to the department relying on automated security systems, rather than having trained personnel actively monitoring for malicious activity.

Cyber News Rundown: Breaking Panera Bread

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The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.

Panera Ignores Security Flaw for Months

This week it was revealed that Panera failed to disclose or resolve a data breach affecting nearly 37 million customers for more than eight months. When researchers initially reached out to the company in August of last year, Panera officials believed the e-mail to be spam and ignored it until the researcher followed up about the leak. While a resolution has finally been put forth by Panera, their attempts to downplay the leak to the media and extreme delay in taking action are unacceptable for an organization of that size.

Indian Utility Company Facing Ransom

A regional power utilities system in India was recently breached and now finds their billing data held hostage for nearly 20 Bitcoins. While officials are the cause of the attack, the billing systems are already back to normal, as there were several methods for backing up the data. The affected site was one of two that monitor many districts’ electricity billing throughout the region.

Under Armour Fitness Tracking App Breached

Under Armour announced this past week that their MyFitnessPal app had been subject to a data breach potentially affecting nearly 150 million users. Fortunately, the breach seems to contain only usernames, email addresses, and passwords for the app. Customers’ more sensitive information is stored beneath another layer of encryption. Under Armour has since released a full FAQ site along with a public statement in less than a week from the initial discovery.

Employee Info Leaking from Live Chat Widgets

Several live chat widgets have been found to expose a considerable number of personal details for employee conducting the chats. What’s more worrisome, the offending widgets can be found on hundreds of the largest websites, though the data being leaked varies based on company data policies. At least one of the notified widget creators has acknowledged the issue and will hopefully resolve it quickly.

High-end Retailers Have Payment Data Stolen

At least three separate high-end retailers recently disclosed a payment system breach that could impact millions of recent customers. A few hundred thousand cards have already been released, with the hacker group known as JokerStash promising to release more than 5 million in total, likely split amongst the stored data of the three retailers.

 

Re-Thinking ‘Patch and Pray’

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When WannaCry ransomware spread throughout the world last year by exploiting vulnerabilities for which there were patches, we security “pundits” stepped up the call to patch, as we always do. In a post on LinkedIn Greg Thompson, Vice President of Global Operational Risk & Governance at Scotiabank expressed his frustration with the status quo.

Greg isn’t wrong. Deploying patches in an enterprise department requires extensive testing prior to roll out. However, most of us can patch pretty quickly after an announced patch is made available. And we should do it!

There is a much larger issue here, though. A vulnerability can be known to attackers but not to the general public. Managing and controlling vulnerabilities means that we need to prevent the successful exploitation of a vulnerability from doing serious harm. We also need to prevent exploits from arriving at a victim’s machine as a layer of defense. We need a layered approach that does not include a single point of failure–patching.

A Layered Approach

First off, implementing a security awareness training program can help prevent successful phishing attacks from occurring in the first place. The 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report indicated that 66% of data breaches started with a malicious attachment in an email—i.e. phishing. Properly trained employees are far less likely to open attachments or click on links from phishing email. I like to say that the most effective antimalware product is the one used by the best educated employees.

In order to help prevent malware from getting to the users to begin with, we use reputation systems. If almost everything coming from http://www.yyy.zzz is malicious, we can block the entire domain. If much of everything coming from an IP address in a legitimate domain is bad, then we can block the IP address. URLs can be blocked based upon a number of attributes, including the actual structure of the URL. Some malware will make it past any reputation system, and past users. This is where controlling and managing vulnerabilities comes into play.

The vulnerability itself does no damage. The exploit does no damage. It is the payload that causes all of the harm. If we can contain the effects of the payload then we are rethinking how we control and manage vulnerabilities. We no longer have to allow patches (still essential) to be a single point of failure.

Outside of offering detection and blocking of malicious files, it is important to stop execution of malware at runtime by monitoring what it’s trying to do. We also log each action the malware performs. When a piece of malware does get past runtime blocking, we can roll back all of the systems changes. This is important. Simply removing malware can result in system instability. Precision rollback can be the difference between business continuity and costly downtime.

Some malware will nevertheless make it onto a system and successfully execute. It’s at this point we observe what the payload is about to do. For example, malware that tries to steal usernames and passwords is identified by the Webroot ID shield. There are behaviors that virtually all keyloggers use, and Webroot ID Shield is able to intercept the request for credentials and returns no data at all. Webroot needn’t have seen the file previously to be able to protect against it. Even when the user is tricked into entering their credentials, the trojan will not receive them.

There is one essential final step. You need to have offline data backups. The damage ransomware does is no different than the damage done by a hard drive crash. Typically, cloud storage is the easiest way to automate and maintain secure backups of your data.

Greg is right. We can no longer allow patches to be a single point of failure. But patching is still a critical part of your defensive strategy. New technology augments patching, it does not replace it and will not for the foreseeable future.

What do you think about patch and pray? Join our discussion in the Webroot Community or in the comments below!

Cyber News Rundown: Atlanta Ransomware Attack

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The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.

City of Atlanta Faces Ransomware Roadblock

In the past week, the city of Atlanta has been dealing with the aftermath of a ransomware attack that effectively halted the police department’s Special Operations Section, which monitors non-emergency city functions. In a surprising twist, however, the ransomware author’s contact portal was leaked through several media outlets, prompting the author to remove the portal entirely and leaving the city with no means of paying the ransom. While the city was able to quickly return to normal operations for most employees, the recovery process will likely be ongoing for some time.

Facebook’s Data Collection Larger Than First Thought

Over the past week or so, researchers have been taking a deeper look into the data being collected by Facebook, with or without users’ permission. It was revealed that, due to lax API permissions for the Facebook installation on older versions of Android, Facebook was allowed to gather both call and SMS logs without user opt-ins. For some, extensive details of calls made by users were meticulously stored for up to several years. Details included call duration, recipient, and the date and time of the call. While Facebook claims any stored data is deleted if the user chooses to revoke permissions, users have been able to download their own data after removing the app, as the opt-in feature is the default setting when installing Facebook for the first time.

UK Anti-Doping Agency Hit By Cyber Attack

Recently, the UK’s anti-doping agency was targeted by an attack attempting to access drug testing and medical records for athletes. A Russian hacking group is believed to be responsible, as the attack comes not long after a doping scandal that affected several Russian athletes. Fortunately, the anti-doping agency has confirmed that no data was compromised in the attack and a simple reboot of their servers was all the remediation necessary.

Facebook Boosting Bounty Hunter Program After Data Handling Debacle

Following the latest scandal regarding the misuse of user data by third-party apps, Facebook has begun a complete overhaul of their bug bounty hunter program. In addition, they are reworking the company’s app review system to better determine permissions needed by apps that request access to a user’s friends list. Finally, any apps running on the Facebook platform that have been found to misuse customer data will be permanently blocked from accessing the development platform.

Sanny Malware Receives Multi-Step Delivery System

While Sanny has been well known and documented for several years, a new update has completely changed the delivery method of the malware. By portioning out the steps in the attack, rather than deploying everything in one drop, Sanny is capable of bypassing any UAC prompts and making multiple checks for the operating system version. Once the malicious macro is launched from within the email attachment, it checks for the specific OS and begins downloading additional files to bypass any OS security checks and executes its final payload.

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