Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bangladesh Bank Heist

Bangladesh Bank hack is one of the biggest bank heists in global financial history. There have been larger scams and scandals, but cyber heists from a single bank, this takes the cake.
The heist of over $80 million sent shock-waves through the global financial system and security experts scrambled to find out how it had happened. Political and administrative authorities played the blame game, as was expected of them. Resignations were offered and statements were issued. It was a complete chaos.
But now, the storm is over and the dust seems to be settling. But as the bigger picture comes into focus, it is becoming clearer as to what exactly went wrong. 

How it happened

It all began on one fateful Friday with a printer failure. On 5 February 2016, Jubair Bin Huda, the bank’s joint director for accounts, discovered the printer failure which left him unable to collect the previous day’s transactions, Financial Times reports. The printer failure was just a tip of the iceberg though. Three days later, the bank discovered that the printer was not the only thing that had failed. The magnitude of the theft suggested that the bank’s cyber security system did not fare much better.
The hackers managed to break into the bank’s security system and transferred more than $80 million from the New York Federal Reserve account to multiple bank accounts located in Sri Lanka and Philippines. A significant number of transfer requests, 30 out of 35, were blocked by the Federal Reserve, saving the bank a loss of $850 million. But the five requests that managed to pass through, amounting to more than a 80 million dollars, were devastating enough in their consequences.
Security analysts suggest that they did it by installing a malware on one of bank’s computers which enabled them to spy on the bank’s monetary activities for weeks to observe how money transfers took place.
However, investigators believe that the heist involved hackers utilizing a Remote Access Trojan (RAT). Through this, they were able to secure remote control to the bank’s computers to initiate funds transfer. It may have taken the hackers almost a year of planning and preparations which involved opening multiple accounts in various banks of Philippines and Sri Lanka through fake documentation. It is ironic, though, that despite all the meticulous planning, a typo in a transfer request turned out to be the Achilles heel, and helped uncover the entire operation.
According to BBC, the bank didn't have a firewall and used cheap $10 internet routers. This just made the malicious actors job very easy. Good prevention and detection controls would at least have helped detect the whole operations much sooner.

SWIFT software security

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the whole episode was that the hackers managed to hack into the SWIFT software. SWIFT, lies at the heart of the global financial system and is a network which connects majority of the world’s financial institutions and enables them to send and receive financial information about financial transactions.
However, It was the bank's systems or controls that were compromised, not the software, according to an independent security consultant, William Murray. "The SWIFT software behaved as it was intended to, but was not operated by the intended person or process. This is a bank problem, not a SWIFT problem." 
The major take-away from this is that financial institutions must pay extra attention to ensure the protection of the computers with the SWIFT software installed.


Cyber Security is not an IT problem

It is a business problem. Businesses should view cyber risk on par with operation, regulatory and financial risk. Unfortunately, most organization boards fail to recognize this.
Lutfus Sayeed, an Information Systems professor at California State University, believes that cyber security must be incorporated into any organization’s central business strategy. IT Security must have a seat at the boardroom, at the executive table. It must not be viewed as a specialized function that is detached from the core business processes.

Cyber Security is not a checklist

Security should not be a compliance checklist, regulatory or otherwise. You will never be secure by being compliant. You will always be compliant by practicing good security processes. A learned friend, who was involved with ensuring a major card compliance program is implemented at banks worldwide, reveals, many banks in the east, would just write-off compliance fines and pay them, rather than comply. They consider it more cost-effective.
Bangladesh bank heist, has hopefully driven the point, that cybersecurity cannot be an afterthought. The business impact of poor cybersecurity practices are harsh and real.

Cyber Security needs attention

Cyber Security is a critical business function that needs attention. Organizations that do not have resources to manage cybersecurity should look at Managed Security Service Providers for assistance. 

The business impact of poor cybersecurity practices are harsh and real. Don't let your businesses fall victim to cyber threats.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sudo Make me a sandwich

Android 4.0 + Security in the face of Custom ROMs

Max will give an overview of Android’s device protection mechanisms in 4.0+ and how they can be circumvented or unintentionally undermined by device manufacturers, 'cause each device manufacturer or carrier can add or modify code from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). This can include access to device memory, exploitable processes which run as the root user, initialization scripts which perform privileged actions without proper validation, or APKs which leak access to otherwise-protected information sources. The talk will also detail /boot and /recovery differences between OEMs, how signature checks are performed, and demonstrate some of our tools to examine new devices and find potential security flaws.

Adobe breached, compromised source code

In a blog post on Thursday, Adobe said that during a security audit sometime around September 17, the company discovered that attackers had accessed Adobe customer IDs, as well as encrypted passwords. In addition to IDs and passwords, Adobe Chief Security Officer, Brad Arkin, said that the attackers also accessed customer names, encrypted credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates and "other information."

"At this time, we do not believe the attackers removed decrypted credit or debit card numbers from our systems". Question, why is that information not encrypted in the first place. What is the need to store them unencrypted.

In all, Adobe says that the breach impacts some 2.9 million customers worldwide, and that they're in the process of sending out notifications to those who had credit or debit card details compromised. Further, Adobe has alerted the banks processing customer payments, in order for them to help protect accounts upstream.

Adobe admitted that source code was breached during the incident. It wouldn't comment which product lines were breached. Adobe is the most commonly used product in almost every system out there. In theory this could mean, that their software could have more 0-days than what we are aware of. It could also mean that the current versions may have been altered, and backdoored already.

The earliest known date of discovery is September 17, but Adobe hasn't said how long the attackers have had possession of the stolen source code, nor can they comment on how far it's spread online. Last week, reporter Brian Krebs, found 40 GB worth of Adobe's proprietary data on a server used by criminals, but by the time he found it, Adobe was already investigating its theft.

In an advisory to customers, Adobe confirmed that the source code theft impacted Adobe Acrobat, ColdFusion, ColdFusion Builder and "other Adobe products." As to what those other products are, Adobe didn't say. And why would they !!!!

Adobe recommends that customers update to the latest supported software versions, and that they download the newest releases when they're made available on October 8.

WHMCS - 0day

Hong Kong-based PureVPN faced problems this weekend, after someone used a Zero-Day vulnerability in WHMCS to send the networking firm's customers an alarming message. The rogue email stated that the VPN service was going to shutdown due to legal issues, and that customer information was handed over to the authorities.

Addressed simply as "Dear Customer" the letter said that due to an incident, PureVPN would be closing accounts and were no longer able to run an anonymization service. In addition, it said the company "had to handover all [customer] information to the authorities."

The letter was signed by Uzair Gadit, the co-Founder of PureVPN, who took to his company's blog and Twitter on Saturday to dispute the claims it made. According to a second email delivered to customers, the cause for the letter was a vulnerability in WHMCS — a platform used by many service providers like PureVPN, to manage user registrations and accounts, as well as billing and support.

"Preliminary reports suggest that we are hit with a zero day exploit, found in [WHMCS]...We are able to confirm that the breach is limited to a subset of registered users Email IDs and names," a blog post by PureVPN explained.

The WHMCS vulnerability was disclosed last week in versions 5.2.7 and 5.1.9. Moreover, proof-of-concept code for launching an SQL Injection attack spread to a few different exploitation-based forums and places like Pastebin. The flaw itself resides in dbfunctions.php (update_query), and requires that the attacker have an account on the system; something that is easily done considering the nature of WHMCS.

At issue is the fact that the script trusts any SQL update that has a value starting with AES_ENCRYPT. As it was explained to CSO, this was a case of missing input validation checks, a common (yet risky) coding error.

It's unclear if there are any other websites targeted by those responsible for the PureVPN compromise. CSO asked PureVPN, since given the nature of the vulnerability itself, if it can be disproved that the entire email database was accessed, but the company didn't respond to questions.

XP not dead yet

A recent series of customer studies by mobile management firm Fiberlink shows a pattern of risky behavior, and widespread usage of a soon to be dead operating system

Examining data from one million devices, Fiberlink, a mobile management firm, examined the often forgotten part of mobility in the workforce — laptops. While IT and security vendors focus on Google's Android, Apple's iOS, tablets, and smartphones, Lenovo's ThinkPad and Dell's Latitude chug along, remaining a stable fixture in the workplace. According to Fiberlink, almost 50 percent of the laptops observed in their study are running Windows XP.
Not counting extended support contracts, in April 2014, IT and security managers will be forced to face the fact that Windows XP has reached end of life. As is the case with other operating systems, XP will remain as a legacy installation and cause its own share of risk in some cases. However, the explosion of mobile in the work force, which includes laptops procured years ago that now live their life in a constant state of rotation between staff, means that organizations will have some choices to make.
"Looking at the laptops we manage, we see close to 50 percent of customer devices that need to upgrade or be replaced by that time. When speaking with our customers, they are typically not enthused with migrating to Windows 8, which leaves them in a situation where many are going to upgrade to Windows 7 instead or are waiting to see what Windows 8.1 is going to bring to the table," Fiberlink explained in an email to CSO.
Organizations have had some time to prepare for the change from XP, but that doesn't mean that such deployments are finished. However, CSO was curious about the mindset of many IT managers when it came to OS changes and security, particularly management. When considering the two, IT has been looking at platforms that enable them to manage employee-owned and corporate-assigned devices from one instance, and lucky for them — there are plenty of vendors that claim to do this in the MDM market. (No, seriouslythere's plenty of options.
"We were surprised to see that almost half of our laptop customers are still running XP. That number continues to shrink every day, but it's still unclear what many CIO's and IT executives will choose as their next move," Chuck Brown, director of product management at Fiberlink, told CSO.
"We're seeing businesses consider many different options as Windows XP gets closer to the end of its support in April 2014. Potentials options include upgrading employees to Windows 7, waiting to see what Windows 8.1 feels like, and even moving straight to the Windows Surface Pro 2."
Employee-owned laptops (much like employee-owned tables and phones) are a growing trend and a source of risk. IT doesn't want full control over these devices, but if they're being used to access sensitive data or communications, there needs to be some sort of visibility and management, such as pushing patches or enforcing VPN usage.
Speaking to CSO, Brown, said that the enterprise is certainly not abandoning the laptop. In fact, it's quite the opposite as CIO's and IT executives are just as concerned about managing laptops as they are about phones and tablets. All of these devices have the same concerns related to compliance, protecting corporate data and applications. But laptops are just one part of the BYOD profile.

Prior to examining laptop usage, Fiberlink looked at other security metrics, including the use of passcodes on mobile devices. According to a random sampling of 1,000 customers, a majority of the passcodes allowed by IT are simple PINs (93 percent). Of those devices with PINs, 73 percent require a length of 4-5 characters, while 27 percent require greater than five characters.
Further, in July, Fiberlink looked at data risk, and discovered that of those employees who use either a personally owned mobile device, or one issued by their employer, 25 percent of them saved work-related documents into a third-party application (e.g., Dropbox, Quick Office, or Evernote); 20 percent said they've copied work-related documents into personal email; and 18 percent noted that they've used mobile devices to bypass IT's Web filtering policies.
Again, laptops with a soon to be expired OS are just one part of the problem, as this data clearly shows. Long after employees are migrated away from XP, the little things such as weak PINs and risky data handling will still pose the most risk to the business. This is why mobile device usage is such a hot topic, and just like laptops were mid-90s, something that will require planning and time before IT can get a solid handle on it.
Today's workforce is a mash-up of personal and professional gadgets, platforms, services, and applications. IT can no longer sacrifice personal usage over professional, so they're looking for ways to make them work together securely, but making that solution look as good in reality as it does on paper, is easier said than done.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Enterprises warned against first true Google phone, Moto X - CSO Online - Security and Risk

The security nightmare corporations face with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend just got worse with the release of Google's new Moto X. With the Android smartphone unveiled Thursday, Google is hoping to lure customers with a personal digital assistant that's easy to use and can guess what information or services people want by reading emails and schedules and tracking search queries. While all this data collection may make the device invaluable, it also should make corporations very nervous. "It's engineers gone wild," said Roger Entner, principal analyst for Recon Analytics. "The engineers are [saying], 'Oh, wouldn't this be a really cool idea,' but don't think through the repercussions." The ease-of-use features in the Moto X, designed and built by Google-owned Motorola, are likely to tickle consumers while haunting IT security pros. First is the always-on microphone, which a person can use to activate the device using trigger words, such as "OK Google Now," to make phone calls or access services and features. The feature is possible through a special, low-power chip developed by Motorola that keeps the microphone on without draining the battery. The always-ready microphone, coupled with the massive amount of data collection, makes the Moto X a valuable target for cybercriminals and cyberspies, who are already heavily focused on developing malware to take control of Android devices. Security researchers say tools for building and distributing Android malware are getting progressively better in the criminal underground. In 2012, the number of Android malware rose more than 2,500% and accounted for 95% of mobile threats on the Internet, according to Cisco's 2013 Annual Security Report. Malware exists today that can take control of an Android device, if a user can be tricked into installing in infected app from an online store or clicking a malicious link on a text message. "Once that happens, all bets are off, and all these lovely sensors become a continuous sound and video information-gathering tool on your designated target," said Kurt Stammberger, vice president of market development for mobile security vendor Mocana. [Also see: Next iPhone's possible fingerprint reader unlikely to excite buyers | Pentagon nod shows Android can be as secure as Blackberry] Motorola will also provide hands-free authentication with the Moto X, through a plastic token that can be clipped onto clothing that will communicate via near-field communication (NFC). As long as the token is a few feet away, a password won't be necessary to unlock the device. The token will be sold separately, reports said. "I'm sure someone at Black Hat or Defcon will figure out a workaround," William Stofega, analyst for IDC, said, referrring to the two security conferences now under way in Las Vegas. The Moto X is not the first Android phone to have these security-troubling features. The Motorola Droid that debuted last week also has them, industry observers say. However, Google has already proclaimed the Moto X its flagship smartphone and Motorola Mobility is reported to be set to spend as much as $500 million in marketing. Such a push gives the phone a better chance of becoming a success. Google's strategy of making its smartphones as useful as possible is what's needed to drive sales in the consumer market. A phone that can automatically notify the user about traffic conditions before heading to a meeting is certain to please many people. But the data collection necessary to provide such services, as well as the microphone, camera and NFC needed for ease of use, are making it increasingly difficult for companies to have a liberal BYOD policy. "Bring-your-own-device is a security nightmare in general," Entner said. Whether an employee can use their own device to access the corporate network should depend on their job, Stofega said. A chief research officer may not want his location known or to communicate with staff and bosses without strict security controls. "At some point [companies] have to have control at some level of the person and also the intellectual capital that's invested in that person," Stofega said. In the meantime, companies are better offer steering away from the Moto X for now, experts say. "I would not recommend the Moto X to corporate clients until we have a really good understanding and assurances from Google and Motorola on how to combat potential mischief being done with these capabilities," Entner said.