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Signature-Check Bug Let Malware Bypass Several Mac Security Products

A years-old vulnerability has been discovered in the way several security products for Mac implement Apple’s code-signing API that could make it easier for malicious programs to bypass the security check, potentially leaving millions of Apple users vulnerable to hackers.

Josh Pitts, a researcher from security firm Okta, discovered that several third-party security products for Mac—including Little Snitch, F-Secure xFence, VirusTotal, Google Santa, and Facebook OSQuery—could be tricked into believing that an unsigned malicious code is signed by Apple.

Code-signing mechanism is a vital weapon in the fight against malware, which helps users identify who has signed the app and also provides reasonable proof that it has not been altered.

However, Pitts found that the mechanism used by most products to check digital signatures is trivial to bypass, allowing malicious files bundle with a legitimate Apple-signed code to effectively make the malware look like it has been signed by Apple.

It should be noted that this issue is not a vulnerability in MacOS itself but a flaw in how third-party security tools implemented Apple’s code-signing APIs when dealing with Mac’s executable files called Universal/Fat files.

The exploitation of the vulnerability requires an attacker to use Universal or Fat binary format, which contains several Mach-O files (executable, dyld, or bundle) written for different CPU architectures (i386, x86_64, or PPC).

“This vulnerability exists in the difference between how the Mach-O loader loads signed code vs. how improperly used Code Signing APIs check signed code and is exploited via a malformed Universal/Fat Binary,” Pitts explained.

Pitts also created several malformed PoC Fat/Universal files for developers to use in order to test their products against this vulnerability.

Successful attacks exploiting this technique could allow attackers to gain access to personal data, financial details and even sensitive insider information, in some cases, claimed researchers.

Here’s the list of affected vendors, alongside associated security products and CVEs:

  • VirusTotal (CVE-2018-10408)
  • Google—Santa, molcodesignchecker (CVE-2018-10405)
  • Facebook—OSQuery (CVE-2018-6336)
  • Objective Development—LittleSnitch (CVE-2018-10470)
  • F-Secure—xFence and LittleFlocker (CVE-2018-10403)
  • Objective-See—WhatsYourSign, ProcInfo, KnockKnock, LuLu, TaskExplorer and others (CVE-2018-10404)
  • Yelp—OSXCollector (CVE-2018-10406)
  • Carbon Black—Cb Response (CVE-2018-10407)

The researcher first notified Apple of the vulnerability in March, but Apple stated that did not see it as a security issue that they should directly address.

“Apple stated that documentation could be updated and new features could be pushed out, but ‘third-party developers will need to do additional work to verify that all of the identities in a universal binary are the same if they want to present a meaningful result’,” Pitts said.

So, after hearing from Apple, Okta contacted CERT/CC and then notified all known affected third-party developers, who are working on security patches that will likely be released soon.

If you are using one of the above-listed tools, you are advised to check for updates in the coming days and upgrade your software as soon as they are released to guard against attacks exploiting the vulnerability.

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Hackers Stole Over $20 Million in Ethereum from Insecurely Configured Clients

Security researchers have been warning about cybercriminals who have made over 20 million dollars in just past few months by hijacking insecurely configured Ethereum nodes exposed on the Internet.

Qihoo 360 Netlab in March tweeted about a group of cybercriminals who were scanning the Internet for port 8545 to find insecure geth clients running Ethereum nodes and, at that time, stole 3.96234 units of Ethereum cryptocurrency (Ether).

However, researchers now noticed that another cybercriminal group have managed to steal a total 38,642 Ether, worth more than $20,500,000 at the time of writing, in past few months by hijacking Ethereum wallets of users who had opened their JSON-RPC port 8545 to the outside world.

Geth is one of the most popular clients for running Ethereum node and enabling JSON-RPC interface on it allows users to remotely access the Ethereum blockchain and node functionalities, including the ability to send transactions from any account which has been unlocked before sending a transaction and will stay unlocked for the entire session.

10515152363

Here’s the attackers’ Ethereum account address, where all the stolen funds have been collected:

0x957cD4Ff9b3894FC78b5134A8DC72b032fFbC464

By simply searching this address on the Internet, we found dozens of forums and websites where users have posted details of similar incidents happened with them, describing about the same account address hackers used to stole their funds from the insecurely configured Ethereum nodes.

According to an advisory issued by Ethereum Project three years ago, leaving the JSON-RPC interface on an internet-accessible machine without a firewall policy opens up your cryptocurrency wallet to theft “by anybody who knows your [wallet] address in combination with your IP.”

NetLab researchers warned that not only the above-mentioned cybercriminal group but other attackers are also actively scanning the Internet for insecure JSON-RPC interface to steal funds from cryptocurrency wallets.

“If you have honeypot running on port 8545, you should be able to see the requests in the payload. Which has the wallet addresses. And there are quite a few ips scanning heavily on this port now,” 360 Netlab tweeted.

Users who have implemented Ethereum nodes are advised only to allow connections to the geth client originating from the local computer, or to implement user-authorization if remote RPC connections need to be enabled.

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What is cyber security? How to build a cyber security strategy.

Organizations face many threats to their information systems and data. Understanding all the basic elements to cyber security is the first step to meeting those threats.

Cyber security is the practice of ensuring the integrity, confidentiality and availability (ICA) of information. It represents the ability to defend against and recover from accidents like hard drive failures or power outages, and from attacks by adversaries. The latter includes everyone from script kiddies to hackers and criminal groups capable of executing advanced persistent threats (APTs), and they pose serious threats to the enterprise. Business continuity and disaster recovery planning are every bit as critical to cyber security as application and network security.

Security should be top of mind across the enterprise, and come with a mandate from senior management. The fragility of the information world we now live in also demands strong cyber security controls. Management should see that all systems are built to certain security standards and that employees are properly trained. All code, for example, has bugs, and some of those bugs are security flaws. Developers are only human, after all.

Security Training

The human is always the weakest element in any cyber security program. Training developers to code securely, training operations staff to prioritize a strong security posture, training end users to spot phishing emails and social engineering attacks — cyber security begins with awareness.

All companies will experience some kind of cyber attack, even if strong controls are in place. An attacker will always exploit the weakest link, and many attacks are easily preventable by performing basic security tasks, sometimes referred to as “cyber hygiene.” A surgeon would never enter an operating room without washing their hands first. Likewise, an enterprise has a duty to perform the basic elements of cyber security care such as maintaining strong authentication practices and not storing sensitive data where it is openly accessible.

A good cyber security strategy needs to go beyond these basics, though. Sophisticated hackers can circumvent most defenses, and the attack surface — the number of ways or “vectors” an attacker can gain entry to a system — is expanding for most companies. For example, the information and the physical world are merging, and criminals and nation-state spies now threaten the ICA of cyber-physical systems such as cars, power plants, medical devices, even your IoT fridge. Similarly, the trends toward cloud computing, bring your own device (BYOD) policies in the workplace, and the burgeoning internet of things (IoT) create new challenges. Defending these systems has never been more important.

Further complicating cyber security is the regulatory climate around consumer privacy. Compliance with stringent regulatory frameworks like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) also demands new kinds of roles to ensure that organizations meet the privacy and security mandates of the GDPR and other regulations.

As a result, growing demand for cyber security professionals has hiring managers struggling to fill positions with qualified candidates. That struggle requires organizations to have a sharp focus on areas of greatest risk.

Types of Cyber Security

The scope of cyber security is broad. The core areas are described below, and any good cyber security strategy should take them all into account.

Critical infrastructure

Critical infrastructure includes the cyber-physical systems that society relies on, including the electricity grid, water purification, traffic lights and hospitals. Plugging a power plant into the internet, for example, makes it vulnerable to cyber attacks. The solution for organizations responsible for critical infrastructure is to perform due diligence to protect understand the vulnerabilities and protect against them. Everyone else should evaluate how an attack on critical infrastructure they depend on might affect them and then develop a contingency plan.

Network Security

Network security guards against unauthorized intrusion as well as malicious insiders. Ensuring network security often requires trade-offs. For example, access controls such as extra logins might be necessary, but slow down productivity.

Tools used to monitor network security generate a lot of data — so much that valid alerts are often missed. To help better manage network security monitoring, security teams are increasingly using machine learning to flag abnormal traffic and alert to threats in real time.

Cloud Security

The enterprise’s move into the cloud creates new security challenges. For example, 2017 has seen almost weekly data breaches from poorly configured cloud instances. Cloud providers are creating new security tools to help enterprise users better secure their data, but the bottom line remains: Moving to the cloud is not a panacea for performing due diligence when it comes to cyber security.

Application Security

Application security (AppSec), especially web application security, has become the weakest technical point of attack, but few organizations adequately mitigate all the OWASP Top Ten web vulnerabilities. AppSec begins with secure coding practices, and should be augmented by fuzzing and penetration testing.

Rapid application development and deployment to the cloud has seen the advent of DevOps as a new discipline. DevOps teams typically prioritize business needs over security, a focus that will likely change given the proliferation of threats.

Internet of things (IoT) Security

IoT refers to a wide variety of critical and non-critical cyber physical systems, like appliances, sensors, printers and security cameras. IoT devices frequently ship in an insecure state and offer little to no security patching, posing threats to not only their users, but also to others on the internet, as these devices often find themselves part of a botnet. This poses unique security challenges for both home users and society.

Types of Cyber Threats

Common cyber threats fall under three general categories:

Attacks on confidentiality: Stealing, or rather copying, a target’s personal information is how many cyber attacks begin, including garden-variety criminal attacks like credit card fraud, identity theft, or stealing bitcoin wallets. Nation-state spies make confidentiality attacks a major portion of their work, seeking to acquire confidential information for political, military, or economic gain.

Attacks on integrity: Also known by its common name, sabotage, integrity attacks seek to corrupt, damage, or destroy information or systems, and the people who rely on them. Integrity attacks can be subtle — a typo here, a bit fiddled there — or a slash and burn campaign of sabotage against a target. Perpetrators can range from script kiddies to nation-state attackers.

Attacks on availability: Preventing a target from accessing their data is most frequently seen today in the form of ransomware and denial-of-service attacks. Ransomware encrypts a target’s data and demands a ransom to decrypt it. A denial-of-service attack, typically in the form of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, floods a network resource with requests, making it unavailable.

The following describes the means by which these attacks are carried out.

Social Engineering

Attackers aren’t going to hack a computer if they can hack a human instead. Socially engineered malware, often used to deliver ransomware, is the No. 1 method of attack (not a buffer overflow, misconfiguration, or advanced exploit). An end-user is tricked into running a Trojan horse program, often from a website they trust and visit often. Ongoing user education is the best countermeasure against this attack.

Phishing Attacks

Sometimes the best way to steal someone’s password is to trick them into revealing it This accounts for the spectacular success of phishing. Even smart users, well-trained in security, can fall for a phishing attack. That’s why the best defense is two-factor authentication (2FA) — a stolen password is worthless to an attacker without a second factor, such as hardware security token, or soft token authenticator app on the user’s phone.

Unpatched Software

It’s hard to blame your enterprise if an attacker deploys a zero-day exploit against you, but failure to patch looks a lot like failure to perform due diligence. If months and years pass after disclosure of a vulnerability, and your enterprise has not applied that security patch, you open yourself to accusations of negligence. Patch, patch, patch.

Social Media Threats

Catfishing isn’t just for the dating scene. Believable sock puppet accounts can worm their way through your LinkedIn network. If someone who knows 100 of your professional contacts strikes up a conversation about your work, are you going to think it strange? Loose lips sink ships. Expect social media espionage, of both the industrial and nation-state variety.

Advanced Persistent Threats

Speaking of nation-state adversaries, your enterprise has them. Don’t be surprised if multiple APTs are playing hide-and-go-seek on your corporate network. If you’re doing anything remotely interesting to someone, anywhere, you need to consider your security posture against sophisticated APTs. Nowhere is this more true than in the technology space, an industry rich with valuable intellectual property many criminals and nations will not scruple to steal.

Cybersecurity Careers

Executing a strong cyber security strategy requires you have the right people in place. The demand for professional cyber security folk has never been higher, from the C-suite down to the security engineers working on the front lines. Security leaders have elbowed their way into the C-suite and boardrooms, as protecting company data becomes mission critical for organizations. A chief security officer (CSO) or chief information security officer (CISO) is now a core management position that any serious organization must have.

Roles have also grown more specialized. The days of the generalist security analyst are fading fast. Today a penetration tester might focus on application security, or network security, or phishing users to test security awareness. Incident response may see you on call 24/7. The following roles are the foundation of any security team.

CISO/CSO

The CISO is a C-level management executive who oversees the operations of an organization’s IT security department and related staff. The CISO directs and manages strategy, operations, and the budget to protect an organization’s information assets.

Security Analyst

Also referred to as cyber security analyst, data security analyst, information systems security analyst, or IT security analyst, this role typically has these responsibilities:

  • Plan, implement and upgrade security measures and controls
  • Protect digital files and information systems against unauthorized access, modification or destruction
  • Maintain data and monitor security access
  • Conduct internal and external security audits
  • Manage network, intrusion detection and prevention systems
  • Analyze security breaches to determine their root cause
  • Define, implement and maintain corporate security policies
  • Coordinate security plans with outside vendors

Security Architect

A good information security architect straddles the business and technical worlds. While the role can vary in the details by industry, is that of a senior-level employee responsible to plan, analyze, design, configure, test, implement, maintain, and support an organization’s computer and network security infrastructure. This requires knowing the business with a comprehensive awareness of its technology and information needs.

Security Engineer

The security engineer is on the front line of protecting a company’s assets from threats. The job requires strong technical, organizational and communication skills. IT security engineer is a relatively new job title. Its focus is on quality control within the IT infrastructure. This includes designing, building, and defending scalable, secure, and robust systems; working on operational data center systems and networks; helping the organization understand advanced cyber threats; and helping to create strategies to protect those networks.

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All New Privacy and Security Features Coming in macOS 10.14 Mojave

At Worldwide Developer Conference 2018 on Monday, Apple announced the next version of its macOS operating system, and it’s called #Mojave.

Besides introducing new features and improvements of macOS 10.14 Mojave—like Dark Mode, Group FaceTime, Dynamic Desktop, and Finder—at WWDC, Apple also revealed a bunch of new security and privacy features coming with the next major macOS update.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the new features included in Mojave are “inspired by pro users, but designed for everyone,” helping you protect from various security threats.

Here’s a list of all macOS Mojave security and privacy features:

Safari’s Enhanced “Intelligent Tracking Prevention”

It’s no longer shocking that your online privacy is being invaded, and everything you search online is being tracked—thanks to third-party trackers present on the Internet in the form of social media like and sharing buttons that marketers and data brokers use to monitor web users as they browse.

But not anymore. With macOS Mojave, Safari has updated its “Intelligent Tracking Prevention”—a feature that limits the tracking ability of website using various ad-tracking and device fingerprinting techniques.

The all-new enhanced Intelligent Tracking Prevention will now automatically block all third-party trackers, including social media “Like” or “Share” buttons, as well as comment widgets from tracking users without their permission.

Safari will also help in defeating the “device fingerprinting” approach by exposing only generic configuration information of users’ device and default fonts.

End-to-End Encrypted Group FaceTime (Up to 32 People)

That’s really a huge security improvement, as at WWDC 2018, Apple has introduced group FaceTime feature that lets groups of 32 or fewer people do video calls at the same time, which have end-to-end encryption just like the already existing one-to-one audio and video calls and group audio calls.

End-to-encryption for group calls with the Facetime app means that there’s no way for Apple or anyone to decrypt the data when it’s in transit between devices.

macOS Mojave Will Alert When Your Camera & Mic Are Accessed

As we reported several times in past few years, cybercriminals have now been spreading new malware for macOS that targets built-in webcam and microphone to spy on users without detection.

To address this threat, macOS Mojave adds a new feature that monitors access to your macOS webcam/microphone and alerts you with new permission dialogues whenever an app tries to access the camera or microphone.

This new protection has primarily been designed to prevent malicious software from silently turning on these device features in order to spy on its users.

Excessive Data Access Request User Permissions

macOS Mojave also adds similar permission requirements for apps to access personal data like mail database, message history, file system and backups.

By default, the macOS Mojave will also protect your location information, contacts, photos, Safari data, mail database, message history, iTunes device backups, calendar, reminders, time machine backups, cookies, and more.

Secure (and Convenient) Password Management

We have long warned users to deploy a good password practice by keeping their passwords strong and unique for every website or service. Now, Apple has made it easier in macOS 10.14 Mojave and iOS 12.

While Safari in macOS has provided password suggestions for years when users are asked to create a login at a site, Apple has improved this feature in a way that Safari now automatically generates strong passwords, enters them into the web browser, and stores them in the iCloud keychain when users create new online accounts.

Previously, third-party password manager apps have done that much of tasks, and now Apple is integrating such functionalities directly into the next major versions of both macOS and iOS.

The company also announced a new feature that even flags reused passwords so that users can change them, a new interface that autofills one-time passwords provided by authentication apps, and a mechanism that shares passwords across all of a user’s nearby devices, including iOS devices, Macs, and Apple TVs.

macOS Mojave Moves Software Updates from App Store to System Preferences

With the new macOS Mojave, Apple has also redesigned its Mac App Store a little bit and moved the system update mechanism to the System Preferences from the Mac App Store.

Apple has reintroduced “Software Update” option in the System Preferences windows, allowing users to update their operating system and native software without opening the App Store.

Moreover, Apple has also confirmed that Mojave will be its last version of macOS to support legacy 32-bit apps.

Similar High Sierra, users will be shown a dialog box when opening 32-bit apps in macOS 10.14 Mojave (beta1) with a message telling them that “This app will not work with future versions of macOS.”

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Update Google Chrome Immediately to Patch a High Severity Vulnerability

We are strongly advising an immediate to your Google Chrome installation.

Security researcher Michał Bentkowski discovered and reported a high severity vulnerability in Google Chrome in late May, affecting the web browsing software for all major operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Without revealing any technical detail about the vulnerability, the Chrome security team described the issue as incorrect handling of CSP header (CVE-2018-6148) in a blog post published today.

“Access to bug details and links may be kept restricted until a majority of users are updated with a fix. We will also retain restrictions if the bug exists in a third party library that other projects similarly depend on, but haven’t yet fixed,” the Chrome security team notes.

Content Security Policy (CSP) header allows website administrators to add an extra layer of security on a given web page by allowing them to control resources the browser is allowed to load.

Mishandling of CSP headers by your web browser could re-enable attackers to perform cross-site scripting, clickjacking and other types of code injection attacks on any targeted web pages.

The patch for the vulnerability has already been rolled out to its users in a stable Chrome update 67.0.3396.79 for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating system, which users may have already receive or will receive over the coming days/weeks.

So, make sure your system is running the updated version of Chrome web browser. We’ll update the article, as soon as Google releases further update.

Firefox has also released its new version of the Firefox web browser, version 60.0.2, which includes security and bug fixes. So, users of the stable version of Firefox are also recommended to update their browser.

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MyHeritage Says Over 92 Million User Accounts Have Been Compromised

MyHeritage, the Israel-based DNA testing service designed to investigate family history, has disclosed that the company website was breached last year by unknown attackers, who stole login credentials of its more than 92 million customers.

The company learned about the breach on June 4, 2018, after an unnamed security researcher discovered a database file named “myheritage” on a private server located outside of the company, and shared it with MyHeritage team.

After analyzing the file, the company found that the database, which included the email addresses and hashed passwords of nearly 92.3 million users, are of those customers who signed up for the MyHeritage website before October 27, 2017.

While the MyHeritage security team is still investigating the data breach to identify any potential exploitation of its system, the company confirmed that no other data such as credit card details and family trees, genetic data were ever breached and are stored on a separate system.

“Credit card information is not stored on MyHeritage to begin with, but only on trusted third-party billing providers (e.g., BlueSnap, PayPal) utilized by MyHeritage,” MyHeritage wrote in a blog post published today.

“Other types of sensitive data such as family trees and DNA data are stored by MyHeritage on segregated systems, separate from those that store the email addresses, and they include added layers of security. We have no reason to believe those systems have been compromised.”

MyHeritage also confirmed that there was no evidence of account compromise.

The company also notes that it does not store its customer passwords in plaintext; instead, the affected website uses a hashing algorithm with a unique salt to protect users’ passwords, making them more resilient to cracking.

Therefore, your stolen passwords are probably safe, but the company still advised all of its users to change their passwords and keep a stronger and unique one, just to be on the safer side.

MyHeritage said it had hired an independent cybersecurity firm to conduct a forensic investigation of the data breach. The company also said it is adding two-factor authentication feature as an option for users.

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