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Posts Tagged ‘Stuxnet’

Cyberwarfare and the Principle of Deterrence

May 27, 2012 1 comment

Cyberwarfare is generally considered asymmetric since, in theory, inside the cyber world “size does not matter” and a smaller and weaker state could declare a cyber war against an enemy, regardless of the size of the latter in the real world. Think for instance to the example of China and Philippines to quickly understand how this assertion can dramatically come true.

Because of this asymmetry and other factors such as the difficulty to trace cyber attacks, many consider quite likely that cyberwars might make wars easier according to the equation: “more cyberwarfare means more wars.”

A new and provocative article by Princeton’s Adam Liff in the “Journal of Strategic Studies” offers a completely new interpretation that may be summarized as: the advent of cyber-weapons may eventually promote world peace.

In his article the author debunks several myths about Cyberwarfare: first of all, cyberwarfare may seem asymmetrical but it’s a myth that advanced cyber-weapons are cheap and easily available; developing them requires a lot of resources, time, and operational secrecy. Think for instance to Stuxnet (and the effort needed to build it) that clearly demonstrates that building a targeted cyber weapon, capable of limiting collateral damages require a deep knowledge of the target and hence huge investment.

Moreover, would not be wise for weaker states to start a cyber war against an enemy nation without adequate capabilities to back up the same conflict in the real world, otherwise they might be wiped out by the conventional enemy response of the stronger state.

Last but not least, according to Liff, would not be easy for states engaged in cyberwarfare to fully understand the actual consequences of their own cyber-attacks. The risk of self-inflicted damage would be high while cyber-attacks might inadvertently affect some otherwise lucrative assets like an enemy’s banking infrastructure.

Instead, paradoxically, the availability of cyber-weapons, whatever their actual destructive potential, might in theory allow weaker states to get better bargains from their stronger adversaries, perhaps, even avoiding conflict.

The consequence is that, according to the author, the net effect of the proliferation of cyberwarfare capabilities on the frequency is relatively small. This effect is not be constant across all situations and in some cases the advent of cyberwarfare capabilities may decrease the likelihood of war.

In most cases, [cyberware] is unlikely to significantly increase the expected utility of war between actors that would otherwise not fight. Furthermore, a cyberwarfare capability may paradoxically be most useful as a deterrent against conventionally superior adversaries in certain circumstances, thus reducing the likelihood of war.

The article is not publicly available but you can find a nice summary by Evgeny Morozov (here an Italian version).

Make peace and cyberwar!

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being an APT

April 25, 2012 2 comments

Or better “The Unbearable Lightness of (Human) Beings and APTs”. Immediately after my post on Cyber Weapons, I was pointed out that APTs are not Cyber Weapons. On a more general perspective, APTs are not things but (groups of) human beings who have the capability and the intent to target specific entries with multi-factor attacks. Said in few words an APT is not a “what” but is a “who”. On the other hand, how many could afford to hire (and pay) a double agent capable of implanting a malware inside a nuclear complex through an infected USB thumb?

An Oxford dictionary for Information Security has not already been published, hence this term is commonly used to refer to cyber threats or long-term sophisticated hacking attacks. The latter is the interpretation closer to what I meant in compiling the chart.

Middle East Cyber War: Revenge Of The Drones

In the same hours in which I was publishing my post on Cyber Weapons, news agencies all around the world have begun to release (few) details about a new alleged Cyber Attack targeting the Iranian Oil Ministry, the National Iranian Oil Company and several other state-owned businesses.

The attack has been confirmed by a spokesman of the Iranian Oil Ministry, who also stressed that critical data have not been damaged or lost in the attack. Anyway, as a consequence of the Cyber Attack albeit as a precaution Internet access to several oil refineries has been cut off.

Of course Iran is not new to Cyber Attacks targeting Critical Infrastructures (do you remember Stuxnet and the possible hoax of Duqu Stars?), in any case it is too soon to draw any connection with Stuxnet or any other kind of State-Sponsored Attack, even because, according to the scant information available, only a server providing public information has been harmed.

Probably this malware has nothing to deal with cyber weapons but, just for fun, I cannot help but notice that this alleged Cyber Attack came in the same day in which, among many doubts, Iran has announced to have reverse-engineered the U.S. stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel drone captured by Iran in December 2011.

The revenge of the reverse-engineered drone?

What is a Cyber Weapon?

April 22, 2012 11 comments

What is a Cyber Weapon? At first glance this seems an immediate question to answer, but should anyone try to analyze the meaning of this term more deeply, probably he would be quite surprised and disappointed in discovering that the answer is not so immediate since an exact definition has not been given (at least so far).

A real paradox in the same days in which The Pentagon, following the Japanese Example, has unveiled its new strategy aimed to dramatically accelerate the development of new Cyber Weapons. And do not think these are isolated, fashion-driven examples (other nations are approaching the same strategy), but rather consider them real needs in the post-Stuxnet age, an age in which more and more government are moving their armies to the fifth domain of war [you will probably remember the (in)famous episode, when F-Secure was able to discover Chinese Government launching online attacks against unidentified U.S. Targets].

Recently Stefano Mele, a friend and a colleague of the Italian Security Professional Group, tried to give an answer to this question in his paper (so far only in Italian but it will be soon translated in English) where he analyzes Cyber Weapons from a legal and strategical perspective.

As he points out “Correctly defining the concept of Cyber Weapon, thus giving a definition also in law, is an urgent and unavoidable task, for being able to assess both the level of threat deriving from a cyber attack, and the consequent political and legal responsibilities attributable to those who performed it”. Maybe this phrase encloses the reason why a coherent definition has not been given so far: a cyber weapon is not only a technological concept, but rather hides behind it complex juridical implications.

Having this in mind, according to Stefano’s definition: a cyber weapon is:

A device or any set of computer instructions intended to unlawfully damage a system acting as a critical infrastructure, its information, the data or programs therein contained or thereto relevant, or even intended to facilitate the interruption, total or partial, or alteration of its operation.

The above definition implies that cyber weapons may span in theory a wide range of possibilities: from (D)DoS attacks (which typically have a low level of penetration since they target the “surface” of their targets), to “tailored” malware like Stuxnet, characterized by a high intrusiveness and a low rate of collateral damages.

One could probably argue whether a cyber weapon must necessarily generate physical damages or not, in which case, probably, Stuxnet, would be the one, so far, to encompass all the requirements. In any case, from my point of view, I believe the effects of a cyber weapon should be evaluated from its domain of relevance, the cyberspace, with the possibility to cross the virtual boundaries and extend to the real world (Stuxnet is a clear example of this, since it inflicted serious damages to Iranian Nuclear Plants, including large-scale accidents and loss of lifes).

With this idea in mind, I tried to build a model to classify the cyber weapons according to four parameters: Precision (that is the capability to target only the specific objective and reduce collateral damages), Intrusion (that is the level of penetration inside the target), Visibility (that is the capability to be undetected), and Easiness to Implement (a measure of the resource needed to develop the specific cyber weapon). The results, ranging from paintball pistols to smart bombs, are summarized in the above chart.

As you may notice, in these terms a DDoS attack is closer to a paintball pistol: the latter has a low level of penetration and the effects are more perceived than real (it shows the holder’s intention to harm the victim rather than constituting a real danger ), nevertheless it may be used to threaten someone, or worst to make a robbery. The same is true for a DDoS, it is often used to threaten the target, its action stops at the surface and usually the effects are more relevant in terms of reputation of the victims than in terms of damages done. Nevertheless, for the targets, it may lead to an interruption of service (albeit with no physical damages) and monetary losses.

On the opposite site there are specific “surgical” APTs: they have a high level of penetration with reduced collateral damages, they are able to go hidden for long time, but require huge investments to be developed, which ultimately make their adoption not so easy.

Of course, in between, there is a broad gray area, where the other Cyber Weapons reside depending on their positioning according to the four classification parameters identified… So, at the end what do you think? Do you agree with this classification?

Middle East Cyber War Timeline (Part 5)

February 19, 2012 1 comment

Click here for the Middle East Cyber War Master Index with the Complete Timeline.

This week of Cyber War on the Middle East front, has shown a slight change on the Cyber Conflict trend. For the first time since January, psyops have deserved a primary role, maybe on the wake of the video released by the Anonymous against Israel one week ago. Not only the Jerusalem Post calls the video into question, but also argues that it may have been forged by Iran, identifying a state sponsored impersonation behind the entry of Anonymous in this cyber war.

But this has not been the only psyops event as an alleged message from Mossad to the Anonymous has appeared on pastebin, whose beginning sounds like a dark warning: If you want to be a hero start with saving your own lives. Although there are many doubts on its truthfulness, it deserves a particular attention since outlines a new age on psyops, what I call “pastebin psyops”.

But a war is not made only of psyops, so this week has also seen more hostile actions, among which the most remarkable one has been the leak of 300,000 accounts from Israeli Ministry of Construction and Housing. This action had been preannounced by a wave of attacks on primary Israeli sites (which targeted also the PM site), and most of all, has been carried on by 0xOmar, the absolute initiator of this cyber conflict.

Palestine has been targeted as well, and it is really interesting to read under this perspective a statement by Ammar al-Ikir, the head of Paltel, the Palestinian telecommunications provider according to whom cyber attacks on Palestinian websites and internet servers have escalated since Palestine joined UNESCO.

On the Iranian front chronicle report of a failed cyber attacks againstPress TV, Iran’s English-language 24-hour news channel and most of all of a controversial statement by Gholam Reza Jalali, a senior Iranian military official in charge of head of the Iranian Cyber Intelligence, according to whom the country’s nuclear facilities have finally been made immune to cyber attacks. And it is not a coincidence that in this week Iran has kicked off the first national conference on Cyber Defense. A matter that deserves a special attention by Tehran because of the growing number of attacks on Iran’s cyber space by US and Israel. On the other hand, Israel did a similar move one month ago, at very early stage of the cyber conflict.

Read more…

Another Certification Authority Breached (the 12th!)

December 10, 2011 1 comment

2011 CA Attacks Timeline (Click To Enlarge)This year is nearly at the end but it looks like it is really endless, at least from an Information Security Perspective. As a matter of fact this 2011 will leave an heavy and embarassing heritage to Information Security: the Certification Authority authentication model, which has been continuously under siege in this troubled year; a siege that seems endless and which has shown its ultimate expression on the alleged compromise of yet another Dutch Certification Authority: Gemnet.

Gemnet, an affiliate of KPN, has suspended certificate signing operation after an intrusion on its publicly accessible instance of phpMyAdmin (a web interface for managing SQL Database) which was, against any acceptable best practice, exposed on the Internet and not protected by password. As in case of Diginotar, another Dutch Certification Authority which declared Bankrupt few days after being compromised by the infamous Comodo Hacker, Gamnet has  the Dutch government among its customers including the Ministry of Security and Justice, Bank of Dutch Municipalities and the police.

After the intrusion, the attacker claimed to have manipulated the databases, and to allegedly have been able to gain control over the system and all of the documents contained on it, although KPN, claims the documents contained on the server were all publicly available. Moreover the attacker claimed the attack was successful since he could obtain the password (braTica4) used for administrative tasks on the server. As a precaution, while further information is collected about the incident, Gemnet CSP, KPN’s certificate authority division, has also suspended access to their website.

The breach is very different, in purpose and motivations, from the one occurred to Diginotar, at the end of July, which led to the issuance of more than 500 bogus Certificates (on behalf of Google, Microsoft, and other companies). In case of Diginotar the certificates were used to intercept about 300,000 Iranians, as part of what was called “Operation Black Tulip“, a campaign aimed to eavesdrop and hijack dissidents’ emails. For the chronicles, the same author of the Diginotar hack, the Infamous Comodo Hacker, had already compromised another Certification Authority earlier this year, Comodo (which was at the origin of his nickname). In both cases, the hacks were performed for political reasons, respectively as a retaliation for the Massacre of Srebrenica (in which the Comodo Hacker claimed the Dutch UN Blue Helmets did not do enough to prevent it), and as a retaliation for Stuxnet, allegedly developed in a joint effort by Israel and US to delay Iranian Nuclear Program.

But although resounding, these are not the only examples of attacks or security incidents targeting Certification Authorities: after all, the attacks against CAs started virtually in 2010 with the infamous 21th century weapon Stuxnet, that could count among its records, the fact to be the first malware using a driver signed with a valid certificate belonging to Realtek Semiconductor Corps. A technique also used by Duqu, the so called Duqu’s son.

Since then, I counted 11 other breaches, perpetrated for different purposes: eavesdropping (as is the case of the Infamous Comodo Hacker), malware driver signatures, or “simple” compromised servers (with DDoS tools as in case of KPN).

At this point I wonder what else we could deploy to protect our identity, given that two factor authentication has been breached, CAs are under siege, and also SSL needs a substantial revision. Identity protection is getting more and more important, since our privacy is constantly under attack, but we are dangerously running out of ammunitions.

(Click below for references)

Read more…

October 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part II)

November 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Halloween has just gone and here it is Part II of the October 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline covering the second half (15-31) of this month.

From an Information Security Perspective, the 10th month of 2011 has been characterized by Duqu, the brand new Advanced Persistent Threat dubbed “The Sun Of Stuxnet”, whose echo is far from being silent (a brand new 0-day vulnerability targeting Windows Kernel has just been discovered in the Malware Installer). Duqu affected the timeline in two circumstances: not only the malware was discovered, but also an Indian Provider called Web Werks had some servers seized from a Data Center in Mumbai because they were discovered to be involved in the C&C communication of the infected endpoints.

Other noticeable events of the month involved:

  • The wave of alleged Cyber Attacks from China against Japan Parliament and Embassies and also against Canadian Finance and Treasury Board. These were not the only Cyber Events allegedly affecting China in October: even if occurred months before, news were reported that the attack against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries led to the theft of sensitive data, moreover other 760 organizations worldwide were attacked with the same methodology used for RSA Breach and originating from China as well.
  • A new tide of Hacktivism by Anonyomous and Antisec, encouraged from the OccupyWallStreet Movement, including a dramatic face-to-face of Anonymous Mexico against Las Zetas one of the most powerful Mexican Drug Cartel.

A particular rank in this month is deserved by Israel and Sweden, the first reported a huge data breach (affecting 9,000,000 users) occurred in 2006, while the latter suffered a Black October with a data leak involving nearly 200,000 users of the social platform bloggtoppen.se including Politicians and Journalists. At this point is clear that the cold Sweden won the Prize for the “Hottest Breach of The Month”.

Also Facebook was targeted with an alleged dump of 10,000 accounts, nothing if compared with the 600,000 compromised logins per day that the social network admitted to suffer).

According to my very personal estimate (based on the indications from the Ponemon’s insitute) the cost of the breaches for this months (in all those cases where enough information was available) is around $500 million, excluding the massive data breach in Israel reported today but occurred in 2006.

As usual, this Timeline was compiled with Useful Resources by:

And my inclusion criteria do not take into consideration “simple” defacement attacks (unless they are particularly resounding) or small data leaks.

Date

Author

Description

Organization

Attack

Oct 16

Fatal Error

UNESCO E-Platform Domain

The E-Platform domain of one of the Biggest Organizations: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) gets hacked and defaced by Fatal Error Crew hackers.

Defacement

Oct 17

10,000+ FaceBook accounts

A Hacking Crew From Nepal called TeamSwaStika hacks more than 10,000 facebook accounts. The hacking crew declares next target will be Nepal Government website and e-governance for Freedom. Estimated cost of the breach is $2,140,000.

Account Hacking (Phishing?)

Oct 17

?

Sesame Street’s Youtube Channel

Sesame Street had its YouTube channel hacked on Sunday, and its highly popular child-friendly videos of muppets like Kermit the frog and the Big Bird replaced with hard core porn movies.

Account Hacking

Oct 17

?

NHS Direct Twitter Account

NHS Direct, the UK helpline which provides expert health advice via the telephone and internet, has had its Twitter account taken over by spammers promoting an Acai Berry diet.

Account Hacking

Oct 18

TurkisH -RuleZ

proXPN

proXPN, one of the famous VPN client based on OpenVPN Service, is hacked by TurkisH-RuleZ.

Defacement

Oct 19

?

Gameloft

Gameloft, a Paris-based video game company that’s a leading mobile-game developer, acknowledges that a security breach has prompted it to pull the plug on one of its Web sites, the Order and Chaos online site.

SQLi?

Oct 19

?

Duqu

In a blog post, Symantec explains it came across the first samples of a new malware infecting some computer systems in Europe that appears to be very similar to Stuxnet. More analysis shows the malware is a “simple” keylogger using the same Stuxnet Technology

N/A

APT

Oct 19

?

Lord Of The Rings On Line

A FAQ on the official forum of the Lord Of The Rings Community On Line reveals that the site was breached although no financial data has been obtained by the attackers.

SQLi?

Oct 20

?

Phishing The Phisher

Finally someone decides to give a lesson to a phisherm by hacking the phishing website with a message educating the potential victims.

Phishing

Oct 21

Vikram Pandit (Citigroup CEO)

Mobile phone number and home address of Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup, have been placed on the web by hacking group CabinCr3w in retaliation for the cuffing of protesters at an Occupy Wall Street demo. In their online statement the hackers say that they had accessed the data – which also included family information and some financial figures – and uploaded it online in response to events during the recent anti-bank protests on Wall Street.

N/A

Oct 21

Law Enforcement Agencies

Anonymous and Antisec broke their apparent October silence and renewed the tradition of the Friday Dumps against law enforcement agencies releasing a 600MB data dump of confidential data belonging to Law enforcement agencies. A couple of days later an AntiSec hacker tells police in a phone call that boredom drove him to hack their website.

Defacement

Oct 22

40 Child Porn Websites

As part as what they call #OpDarknet, Anonymous takes down more than 40 darknet-based child porn websites over the last week. They also leak personal details of 1500 users. Detalils on “AnonMessage” and “BecomeAnonymous” YouTube channels.

40 child Porn Websites

SQLi

DDoS

Oct 23

?

Microsoft’s Official YouTube Channel

Hackers take control of Microsoft’s official YouTube Channel (24,000+ subscribers), remove the company’s videos and replace them with videos of their own. Neither Microsoft nor Google (which owns YouTube) have disclosed information on how the security breach was perpetrated.

N/A

Oct 23

One Hit Play

@DiabloElite dumps 1008 accounts from onehitplay.com, with no other reason beside to show the need of a stronger security. All the accounts have been stored as plain text. Estimated cost of the breach is around $214,000.

SQLi?

Oct 23

Xbox A new hackers’ crew @DestructiveSec dumps some Xbox Live accounts.

SQLi?

Oct 24

?

cheaptickets.nl

The database of CheapTickets.nl (containing 715,000 customers) is leaked. Stolen information include 1,200,000 tickets and 80,000 passport numbers. Total cost of the breach might exceed $153 million.

SQLi?

Oct 24

Intra Web Security Exploit Team

LG Australia Web Site

One of the Australian websites belonging to global electronics giant LG (lge.com.au) is hacked by a collective calling itself the Intra Web Security Exploit Team. The attackers replaced the site with some lightly-obfuscated JavaScript pretending to be conducting an injection attack.

Defacement,

Simulated SQli

Oct 24

Malicious Employee

Israely Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare

Employee with access to the Population Registry has been discovered to steal the details of over 9 million residents and then passed them to someone else. Estimated cost of the breach is nearly $2 billion.

Malicious Access

Oct 24

760 Organizations Worldwide

Brian Kerbs publishes in his blog a list of companies whose networks were shown to have been connecting to the same control infrastructure that was used in the attack on RSA. The first victims appear to have begun communicating with the attacker’s control networks as early as November 2010. According to the list 760 other organizations had networks compromised with some of the same resources used to hit RSA and almost 20 percent of the current Fortune 100 companies are on this list.

760 Organizations Worldwide

APT

Oct 25

?

bloggtoppen.se

The usernames and passwords of around 90,000 accounts at Bloggtoppen.se have been made public after a hacker attack against the website. Several journalists and politicians are among the bloggers whose log-in details have been published. On Oct 26, the Aftonbladet newspaper reported that a further 57 other websites had also been hacked, and the login details of up to 200,000 people are at risk. Estimated cost of the breach is around $42 million.

SQLi?

Oct 25

Chinese Hacker?

Japanese Parliament

According to local media reports, hackers were able to snoop upon emails and steal passwords from computers belonging to lawmakers at the Japanese parliament for over a month. PCs and servers were infected after a Trojan horse was emailed to a a Lower House member in July. The Trojan horse then downloaded malware from a server based in China – allowing remote hackers to secretly spy on email communications and steal usernames and passwords from lawmakers.

APT

Oct 25

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a high-tech military contractor, which suffered an attack from hackers earlier this year, is reported to have lost sensitive data related to defence equipment including fighter jet planes and nuclear power plant plans, according to The Ashai Shimbun. Once again suspects are directed to China.

APT

Oct 25

Inside Error

United States Department Of Education

Highly sensitive information (including SSN) belonging to around 5,000 students was exposed after a computer error causing a federal government student loan website to reveal the data: a glitch in the website allowed students who were logged in to freely view the data of other scholars. Fortunately, the site was compromised only for 7 minutes at most, but it is possible that some users were able to steal sensitive information. Estimated cost of the breach is around $ 1 million.

Inside Error

Oct 26

?

awurval.se

314 job seekers’ e-mail addresses and clear-text passwords acquired and dumped. Estimated Cost of the breach is around $67,000.

SQLi?

Oct 26

?

Mobile Tele Systems

MTS is a primary Mobile Operator in Russia with more than 70 million subscribers. Personal data of 1.6 million mobile phone users appeared online in the second such leak in three months. The database, posted on Zhiltsy.net, included the full names and phone numbers of MTS subscribers in St. Petersburg and Bashkortostan, as well as residential addresses and passport data for some of them. According to MTS the database goes back to 2006 and most numbers are no longer valid. Estimated cost of the breach could potentially achieve $300 million.

N/A

Oct 26

@_V4ND

nationmultimedia.com

@_V4ND dumps what they say is a teaser of accounts obtained from nationmultimedia.com in what appears to be another havij or similar SQLi vun tool based attack. The leak contains user emails and passwords in clear text.

SQLi

Oct 26

Robert Delgado

Massive Identity Theft

Robert Delgado, a 40 years old California man, was sentenced to eight years in prison for identity theft after federal police GPS-tracked his phone and discovered a hard drive with over 300,000 victim profiles during a raid of his home. Estimated Cost of the thiet (not including purchases made with stolen data) is around $65 million.

300,000 frauded users

Bank Fraud

Oct 26

Pakistani Hacker

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)

Another occurrence of the Cyberwar between Pakistan and India: A Pakistani hacker “KhantastiC haX0r” hacks into the official website of India’s leading telecom Company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

Defacement

Oct 27

Law Enforcement Authorities

@_f0rsaken a member of @TeaMp0isoN publishes a list of websites utilized by law enforcement authorities that are supposed to be vulnerable to MSAccess SQL injection attacks. A number of six sites that are listed are supposedly utilized by the police for their updates, the cybercriminals urging Occupy Wall Street supporters to take them down.

Law Enforcement Authorities

MSAccess SQLi

Oct 27

Oakland Police Department Web Site

Cyber activists associated with Anonymous target the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and other law enforcement agencies that participated in a controversial crackdown against OccupyOakland protestors with a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack against the department’s website. Moreover According to TG Daily, the infamous collective is offered a $1,000 reward for anyone who can provide information on an officer that allegedly injured a war veteran that was taking part in the protest.

DDoS

Oct 27

?

Clarinda Bank Iowa

In a letter dated Tuesday, Oct. 25, bank vice president Jon Baier notifies specific customers of a data breach. The letter states the bank was not provided details of the security compromise, but to protect the impacted debit card accounts, replacement cards with new numbers were ordered. The number of affected users is unknown.

N/A

Oct 27

Japanese Embassies

There are new reports that dozens of diplomatic computers Japanese embassies abroad were infected with malware this Summer. The news comes on the heels of recent news about malicious software attacks on Japanese defense contractors and the Japanese Parliament. A report in a local Japanese publication, The Daily Yomiuri, places the infected diplomatic computers in Canada, China, France, Myanmar, the Netherlands, South Korea, and the United States. Again China is suspected since a China Link is found on the malware.

APT

Oct 27

U.S. Government Satellites

Bloomberg reports that Computer hackers, possibly from the Chinese military, interfered with two U.S. government satellites four times in 2007 and 2008 through a ground station in Norway, according to a congressional commission.

N/A

Oct 28

Canadian Finance and Treasury Board

Ottawa Citizen reveals that, in Jan 2011, the Canadian Finance and Treasury Board’s networks were targeted by hackers in an attempt to steal sensitive information about the potash industry even though Finance and Treasury Board representatives denies it. It looks that the hackers were actually foreign, the first clues indicating that the attack originated from China.

APT

Oct 28

PayFail

PayPal Executives’ Contact Information

In what looks to be the first of a number of “name and shame” postings, an individual or individuals posting as “PAYFAIL” upload some personal information on dozens of former and current PayPal executives. The dumped data do not seem to be particularly sensivite, nevertheless, although deleted three times so far, the original statement keeps on appearing on pastebin.

N/A

Oct 28

?

Again on Duqu

Two workers at an Indian web-hosting company called Web Werks tell Reuters that last week officials from India’s Department of Information Technology seized several hard drives and other components from a server hosted on a Mumbai Data Center, that security firm Symantec Corp indicated as communicating with computers infected with Duqu.

APT

Oct 29

El Paso County Community College

@DestructiveSec hacks the El Paso Country Community College, defacing the web site and dumps some data.

SQLi?

Oct 29

Las Zetas (Mexican Drug Cartel)

Anonymous Mexico faces one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the World, the Las Zetas Mexican Drug Cartel. In a video they warn the Cartel to release one of their members kidnapped during a street protest, otherwise the hacker group will disclose (or dox) the identities of members of the cartel including corrupted politicians and policeman. Another example of an hacking action with huge real aftermaths in terms of possible deadly retaliations.

Mexican Droug Cartel

SQLi?

Oct 29

Dominican Republic Police

As part of their Spanish Solidarity Saturday Anonymous release a pastebin document containing a list of finds and vulnerabilities on the Dominican Republic Police system and some other sites too. They also left a website defaced.

Several Vulns,

Defacement

Oct 31

3xp1r3 cyber army

hi5ads.com

A hacker group going by the name of 3xp1r3 cyber army dumps two separate pastes with respectively 5,065 and 3,149 account details to www.hi5ads.com. The leaks contain emails and plain text passwords. Estimated cost of the breach is around $680,000.

SQLi

Oct 31

3xp1r3 cyber army

Bangla TV

The Same group hacks Bangla TV and releases 1,517 usernames and clear-text password. Estimated cost of the breach is around $320,000.

SQLi

Oct 31

ScreamDevz

Penguin Elite

A group or individual dubbed ScreamDevz hacks Club Penguin Elite Database and dumps nearly 400 usernames, emails and MD5 hashed passwords. Estimated cost of the breach is around $80,000.

SQLi

Oct 31

Chinese Government Web Site

@TehMaskz, a member of @ChaoticSec defaces a web site belonging to Chinese Government (at the time of writing http://www.wfaic.gov.cn/index.html is still defaced). In the same circumstance other 9 sites all over the World are defaced.

Defacement

Oct 31

One Hit Play

@ChaoticSec hacks One Hit Play (once again) and releases more than 1000 User information, including emails, passwords, and usernames. Estimated cost of the breach is around $214,000.

SQLi

Oct 31

comitet.ru

@DeleteSec attacks comitet.ru and dumps more than 2000 records with email and passwords. Estimated cost of the breach is around $420,000

SQLi

Oct 31

plusline.org

@DeleteSec attacks plusline.org and dumps more than 1000 records with email and passwords. Nearly in contemporary the same group dumps 700+ accounts from several sites. Estimated cost of the breach is around $420,000.

SQLi

Oct 31

Mr. DarkCoderz

Adult Site

Another occurrence of hackers dumping data from adult sites. Estimated cost of the breach is around $43,000.

Adult Site

SQLi?

Stuxnet, Duqu, Stars And Galaxies…

October 21, 2011 3 comments
NGC 6745 produces material densities sufficien...

In few circumstances I happen to deal with my old (and short) career of Astrophysical. Except when I enjoy to tell my friends the history of the Hubble Constant, and my delusion when I discovered that its value is greater than 50 (most precise determination is 72 ± 8 km/s/Mpc implying a forever expanding Universe which will likely  die of Entropy), the chances in which my current activity, information security, and my “would-have-been” career of Astrophysics overlap are really rare.

You may imagine how surprised I have been, when I came across this post by F-Secure concerning the Duqu malware and the images hidden inside the traffic generated by the malware and directed to the C&C Server.

Typically keyloggers try to hide the malicious traffic by resembling legitimate traffic, and of course the infamous Stuxnet-based keylogger is not an exception to this schema, by making the transfer look innocent in case somebody is watching network traffic.

Duqu connects to a server (206.183.111.97 a.k.a. canoyragomez.rapidns.com – which used to be in India) and sends an http request. The server will respond with a blank JPG image. After which Duqu sends back a 56kB JPG file called dsc00001.jpg and appends the stolen information (encrypted with AES) to the end of the image file.
Even if somebody is watching outbound traffic, this wouldn’t look too weird.

Nothing new except the fact that Duqu components contain different JPG files. One of them is an image of the Hubble Space Telescope: NGC 6745 also dubbed Bird’s Head (have a deep look to the image and you will discover why).

From Wikipedia:

NGC 6745 (also known as UGC 11391) is an irregular galaxy about 206 million light-years (63.5 mega-parsecs) away in the constellation Lyra. It is actually a triplet of galaxies in the process of colliding.

Why did they decide to insert an astronomical image? And why just an Image representing three galaxies colliding? A possible metaphorical reference to a cyber war between three nations? The curiosity has stimulated a funny contest by F-Secure even if no interpretation, so far, seems convincing (I also tried to brainstorm but unfortunately my residual notions of Astronomy are not enough, so at first Glance I was not able to find any correspondence.

From an information security perspective, I could not help but notice that this is not the only overlapping between Stuxnet and Astronomy. As a matter of fact the original version of Stuxnet is programmed to automatically switch off on June, 24th 2012: even if a remind to the alleged End of the World according to the Mayan Calendar is unavoidable, this date is also linked to the so-called Grand Cross, corresponding to the date that Pluto in Capricorn squares off against Uranus in Aries.

But there is also another funny aspect and coincidence: do you remember the alleged Stuxnet-like worm that Iran claimed to have detected on April 25 2011? Curiously it was called Stars, and although no evidences of the malware (and not even samples as far as I know) were collected, so that many Information Security experts stated Iran was crying wolf, again the malware was dubbed with a term recalling astronomy. At this point I inevitably (and joyfully) wonder if Stars derived its name from hidden stellar images as in case of Duqu.

Back to The Future of Stuxnet

October 19, 2011 4 comments

While the U.S. and U.K. are debating whether to use Cyberwarfare, someone, somewhere, has decided not to waste further time and has anticipated them, developing what appears to be a precursor of Stuxnet 2.0. In a blog post, Symantec explains how it came across the first samples of the malware thanks to a research lab with strong international connections, which, on October 14 2011, alerted the security firm to a sample that appeared to be very similar to Stuxnet.

The brand new threat has been dubbed “Duqu” [dyü-kyü] because it creates files with the file name prefix “~DQ”, and has been discovered in some computer systems located in the Old Continent. After receiving and analyzing the samples, Symantec has been able to confirm that parts of Duqu are nearly identical to Stuxnet, but with a completely different purpose.

Unlike its infamous predecessor Duqu does not target ICS but rather appears to be a RAT developed from the Stuxnet Source Code, whose main features may be summarized as follows (a detailed report is available here):

  • The executables [...] appear to have been developed since the last Stuxnet file was recovered.
  • The executables are designed to capture information such as keystrokes and system information.
  • Current analysis shows no code related to industrial control systems, exploits, or self-replication.
  • The executables have been found in a limited number of organizations, including those involved in the manufacturing of industrial control systems.
  • The exfiltrated data may be used to enable a future Stuxnet-like attack.
  • Two variants were recovered [...], the first recording of one of the binaries was on September 1, 2011. However, based on file compile times, attacks using these variants may have been conducted as early as December 2010.

Of course this event rises inevitably many security questions: although cyberwar is actually little more than a concept, cyber weapons are a consolidated reality, besides it is not clear if Duqu has been developed by the same authors of Stuxnet, or worst by someone else with access to the source code of the cyber biblical plague (and who knows how many other fingers in this moment will be coding new threats from the same source code).

Anyway one particular is really intriguing: only yesterday the DHS issued a Bulletin warning about Anonymous Threat to Industrial Control Systems (ICS), not event 24 hours after the statement a new (potential) threat for ICS appears in the wild… Only a coincidence?

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