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    Android malware steals user credentials using optical character recognition / ArsTechnica · Friday, 28 July - 20:31 · 1 minute

Android malware steals user credentials using optical character recognition

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Security researchers have unearthed a rare malware find: malicious Android apps that use optical character recognition to steal credentials displayed on phone screens.

The malware, dubbed CherryBlos by researchers from security firm Trend Micro, has been embedded into at least four Android apps available outside of Google Play, specifically on sites promoting money-making scams. One of the apps was available for close to a month on Google Play but didn’t contain the malicious CherryBlos payload. The researchers also discovered suspicious apps on Google Play that were created by the same developers, but they also didn’t contain the payload.

Advanced techniques

The apps took great care to conceal their malicious functionality. They used a paid version of commercial software known as Jiagubao to encrypt code and code strings to prevent analysis that can detect such functionality. They also featured techniques to ensure the app remained active on phones that had installed it. When users opened legitimate apps for Binance and other cryptocurrency services, CherryBlos overlaid windows that mimicked those of the legitimate apps. During withdrawals, CherryBlos replaced the wallet address the victim selected to receive the funds with an address controlled by the attacker.

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    Hackers exploit gaping Windows loophole to give their malware kernel access / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 11 July - 20:07

Hackers exploit gaping Windows loophole to give their malware kernel access

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Hackers are using open source software that’s popular with video game cheaters to allow their Windows-based malware to bypass restrictions Microsoft put in place to prevent such infections from occurring.

The software comes in the form of two software tools that are available on GitHub. Cheaters use them to digitally sign malicious system drivers so they can modify video games in ways that give the player an unfair advantage. The drivers clear the considerable hurdle required for the cheat code to run inside the Windows kernel, the fortified layer of the operating system reserved for the most critical and sensitive functions.

Researchers from Cisco’s Talos security team said Tuesday that multiple Chinese-speaking threat groups have repurposed the tools—one called HookSignTool and the other FuckCertVerifyTimeValidity. Instead of using the kernel access for cheating, the threat actors use it to give their malware capabilities it wouldn’t otherwise have.

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    FBI Disables Russian Malware / Schneier · Wednesday, 10 May - 15:26

Reuters is reporting that the FBI “had identified and disabled malware wielded by Russia’s FSB security service against an undisclosed number of American computers, a move they hoped would deal a death blow to one of Russia’s leading cyber spying programs.”

The headline says that the FBI “sabotaged” the malware, which seems to be wrong.

Presumably we will learn more soon.

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    PIPEDREAM Malware against Industrial Control Systems / Schneier · Tuesday, 9 May - 15:24

Another nation-state malware , Russian in origin:

In the early stages of the war in Ukraine in 2022, PIPEDREAM, a known malware was quietly on the brink of wiping out a handful of critical U.S. electric and liquid natural gas sites. PIPEDREAM is an attack toolkit with unmatched and unprecedented capabilities developed for use against industrial control systems (ICSs).

The malware was built to manipulate the network communication protocols used by programmable logic controllers (PLCs) leveraged by two critical producers of PLCs for ICSs within the critical infrastructure sector, Schneider Electric and OMRON.

CISA advisory . Wired article .

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    Malware infecting widely used security appliance survives firmware updates / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 9 March, 2023 - 23:20

Malware infecting widely used security appliance survives firmware updates

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Threat actors with a connection to the Chinese government are infecting a widely used security appliance from SonicWall with malware that remains active even after the device receives firmware updates, researchers said.

SonicWall’s Secure Mobile Access 100 is a secure remote access appliance that helps organizations securely deploy remote workforces. Customers use it to grant granular access controls to remote users, provide VPN connections to organization networks, and set unique profiles for each employee. The access the SMA 100 has to customer networks makes it an attractive target for threat actors.

In 2021, the device came under attack by sophisticated hackers who exploited what was then a zero-day vulnerability. Security appliances from Fortinet and Pulse Secure have come under similar attacks in recent years.

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    Unkillable UEFI malware bypassing Secure Boot enabled by unpatchable Windows flaw / ArsTechnica · Monday, 6 March, 2023 - 16:58 · 1 minute

Unkillable UEFI malware bypassing Secure Boot enabled by unpatchable Windows flaw

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Researchers on Wednesday announced a major cybersecurity find—the world’s first-known instance of real-world malware that can hijack a computer’s boot process even when Secure Boot and other advanced protections are enabled and running on fully updated versions of Windows.

Dubbed BlackLotus, the malware is what’s known as a UEFI bootkit. These sophisticated pieces of malware infect the UEFI—short for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface —the low-level and complex chain of firmware responsible for booting up virtually every modern computer. As the mechanism that bridges a PC’s device firmware with its operating system, the UEFI is an OS in its own right. It’s located in an SPI -connected flash storage chip soldered onto the computer motherboard, making it difficult to inspect or patch.

Because the UEFI is the first thing to run when a computer is turned on, it influences the OS, security apps, and all other software that follows. These traits make the UEFI the perfect place to run malware. When successful, UEFI bootkits disable OS security mechanisms and ensure that a computer remains infected with stealthy malware that runs at the kernel mode or user mode, even after the operating system is reinstalled or a hard drive is replaced.

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    ChatGPT-Written Malware / Schneier · Monday, 9 January, 2023 - 18:43 · 1 minute

I don’t know how much of a thing this will end up being, but we are seeing ChatGPT-written malware in the wild.

…within a few weeks of ChatGPT going live, participants in cybercrime forums—­some with little or no coding experience­—were using it to write software and emails that could be used for espionage, ransomware, malicious spam, and other malicious tasks.

“It’s still too early to decide whether or not ChatGPT capabilities will become the new favorite tool for participants in the Dark Web,” company researchers wrote. “However, the cybercriminal community has already shown significant interest and are jumping into this latest trend to generate malicious code.”

Last month, one forum participant posted what they claimed was the first script they had written and credited the AI chatbot with providing a “nice [helping] hand to finish the script with a nice scope.”

The Python code combined various cryptographic functions, including code signing, encryption, and decryption. One part of the script generated a key using elliptic curve cryptography and the curve ed25519 for signing files. Another part used a hard-coded password to encrypt system files using the Blowfish and Twofish algorithms. A third used RSA keys and digital signatures, message signing, and the blake2 hash function to compare various files.

Check Point Research report .

ChatGPT-generated code isn’t that good , but it’s a start. And the technology will only get better. Where it matters here is that it gives less skilled hackers—script kiddies—new capabilities.

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    Leaked Signing Keys Are Being Used to Sign Malware / Schneier · Tuesday, 6 December, 2022 - 20:14 · 1 minute

A bunch of Android OEM signing keys have been leaked or stolen, and they are actively being used to sign malware.

Łukasz Siewierski, a member of Google’s Android Security Team, has a post on the Android Partner Vulnerability Initiative (AVPI) issue tracker detailing leaked platform certificate keys that are actively being used to sign malware. The post is just a list of the keys, but running each one through APKMirror or Google’s VirusTotal site will put names to some of the compromised keys: Samsung , LG , and Mediatek are the heavy hitters on the list of leaked keys, along with some smaller OEMs like Revoview and Szroco, which makes Walmart’s Onn tablets .

This is a huge problem. The whole system of authentication rests on the assumption that signing keys are kept secret by the legitimate signers. Once that assumption is broken, all bets are off:

Samsung’s compromised key is used for everything: Samsung Pay, Bixby, Samsung Account, the phone app, and a million other things you can find on the 101 pages of results for that key. It would be possible to craft a malicious update for any one of these apps, and Android would be happy to install it overtop of the real app. Some of the updates are from today , indicating Samsung has still not changed the key.