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      ownCloud vulnerability with maximum 10 severity score comes under “mass” exploitation / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 29 November - 00:38 · 1 minute

    Photograph depicts a security scanner extracting virus from a string of binary code. Hand with the word "exploit"

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    Security researchers are tracking what they say is the “mass exploitation” of a security vulnerability that makes it possible to take full control of servers running ownCloud, a widely used open-source filesharing server app.

    The vulnerability, which carries the maximum severity rating of 10, makes it possible to obtain passwords and cryptographic keys allowing administrative control of a vulnerable server by sending a simple Web request to a static URL, ownCloud officials warned last week. Within four days of the November 21 disclosure, researchers at security firm Greynoise said , they began observing “mass exploitation” in their honeypot servers, which masqueraded as vulnerable ownCloud servers to track attempts to exploit the vulnerability. The number of IP addresses sending the web requests has slowly risen since then. At the time this post went live on Ars, it had reached 13.

    Spraying the Internet

    “We're seeing hits to the specific endpoint that exposes sensitive information, which would be considered exploitation,” Glenn Thorpe, senior director of security research & detection engineering at Greynoise, said in an interview on Mastodon. “At the moment, we've seen 13 IPs that are hitting our unadvertised sensors, which indicates that they are pretty much spraying it across the internet to see what hits.”

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      MOVEit app mass-exploited last month patches new critical vulnerability / ArsTechnica · Friday, 7 July, 2023 - 19:10 · 1 minute

    Stylized photo of desktop computer.

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    MOVEit, the file-transfer software exploited in recent weeks in one of the biggest cyberattacks ever , has received yet another security update that fixes a critical vulnerability that could be exploited to give hackers access to vast amounts of sensitive data.

    On Thursday, MOVEit maker Progress Software published a security bulletin that included fixes for three newly discovered vulnerabilities in the file-transfer application. The most serious of them, tracked as CVE-2023-36934, allows an unauthenticated attacker to gain unauthorized access to the application database. It stems from a security flaw that allows for SQL injection, one of the oldest and most common exploit classes.

    The vulnerability contains the same elements—and, likely, the same potentially devastating consequences—as one that came to light in late May when members of the Clop ransomware crime syndicate began mass-exploiting it on vulnerable networks around the world. To date, the Clop offensive has hit 229 organizations and spilled data affecting more than 17 million people, according to statistics tracked by Brett Callow, an analyst with security firm Emsisoft. Casualties include Louisiana and Oregon DMVs , the New York City Department of Education, and energy companies Schneider Electric and Siemens Electric.

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      Hackers exploit WordPress plugin flaw that gives full control of millions of sites / ArsTechnica · Friday, 31 March, 2023 - 22:40

    Hackers exploit WordPress plugin flaw that gives full control of millions of sites

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    Hackers are actively exploiting a critical vulnerability in a widely used WordPress plugin that gives them the ability to take complete control of millions of sites, researchers said.

    The vulnerability, which carries a severity rating of 8.8 out of a possible 10, is present in Elementor Pro, a premium plugin running on more than 12 million sites powered by the WordPress content management system. Elementor Pro allows users to create high-quality websites using a wide range of tools, one of which is WooCommerce, a separate WordPress plugin. When those conditions are met, anyone with an account on the site—say a subscriber or customer—can create new accounts that have full administrator privileges.

    The vulnerability was discovered by Jerome Bruandet, a researcher with security firm NinTechNet. Last week, Elementor, the developer of the Elementor Pro plugin, released version 3.11.7, which patched the flaw. In a post published on Tuesday, Bruandet wrote:

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      Ransomware crooks are exploiting IBM file exchange bug with a 9.8 severity / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 29 March, 2023 - 00:24 · 1 minute

    Ransomware crooks are exploiting IBM file exchange bug with a 9.8 severity

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    Threat actors are exploiting a critical vulnerability in an IBM file-exchange application in hacks that install ransomware on servers, security researchers have warned.

    The IBM Aspera Faspex is a centralized file-exchange application that large organizations use to transfer large files or large volumes of files at very high speeds. Rather than relying on TCP-based technologies such as FTP to move files, Aspera uses IBM’s proprietary FASP—short for Fast, Adaptive, and Secure Protocol—to better utilize available network bandwidth. The product also provides fine-grained management that makes it easy for users to send files to a list of recipients in distribution lists or shared inboxes or workgroups, giving transfers a workflow that’s similar to email.

    In late January, IBM warned of a critical vulnerability in Aspera versions 4.4.2 Patch Level 1 and earlier and urged users to install an update to patch the flaw. Tracked as CVE-2022-47986, the vulnerability makes it possible for unauthenticated threat actors to remotely execute malicious code by sending specially crafted calls to an outdated programming interface. The ease of exploiting the vulnerability and the damage that could result earned CVE-2022-47986 a severity rating of 9.8 out of a possible 10.

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      Federal agency hacked by 2 groups thanks to flaw that went unpatched for 4 years / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 16 March, 2023 - 20:24

    Federal agency hacked by 2 groups thanks to flaw that went unpatched for 4 years

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    Multiple threat actors—one working on behalf of a nation-state—gained access to the network of a US federal agency by exploiting a four-year-old vulnerability that remained unpatched, the US government warned.

    Exploit activities by one group likely began in August 2021 and last August by the other, according to an advisory jointly published by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI, and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. From last November to early January, the server exhibited signs of compromise.

    Vulnerability not detected for 4 years

    Both groups exploited a code-execution vulnerability tracked as CVE-2019-18935 in a developer tool known as the Telerik user interface (UI) for ASP.NET AJAX, which was located in the agency’s Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) web server. The advisory didn’t identify the agency other than to say it was a Federal Civilian Executive Branch Agency under the CISA authority.

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      Microsoft issues emergency patches for 4 exploited 0days in Exchange

      Dan Goodin · / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 2 March, 2021 - 22:00

    The word ZERO-DAY is hidden amidst a screen filled with ones and zeroes.

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    Microsoft is urging customers to install emergency patches as soon as possible to protect against highly skilled hackers who are actively exploiting four zeroday vulnerabilities in Exchange Server.

    The software maker said hackers working on behalf of the Chinese government have been using the previously unknown exploits to hack on-premises Exchange Server software that is fully patched. So far, Hafnium, as Microsoft is calling the hackers, is the only group it has seen exploiting the vulnerabilities, but the company said that could change.

    “Even though we’ve worked quickly to deploy an update for the Hafnium exploits, we know that many nation-state actors and criminal groups will move quickly to take advantage of any unpatched systems,” Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Customer Security & Trust Tom Burt wrote in a post published Tuesday afternoon . “Promptly applying today’s patches is the best protection against this attack.”

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      Chrome users have faced 3 security concerns over the past 24 hours

      Dan Goodin · / ArsTechnica · Friday, 5 February, 2021 - 21:21

    Chrome users have faced 3 security concerns over the past 24 hours

    (credit: Chrome )

    Users of Google’s Chrome browser have faced three security concerns over the past 24 hours in the form of a malicious extension with more than 2 million users, a just-fixed zero-day, and new information about how malware can abuse Chrome's sync feature to bypass firewalls. Let’s discuss them one by one.

    First up, the Great Suspender, an extension with more than 2 million downloads from the Chrome Web Store, has been pulled from Google servers and deleted from users’ computers. The extension has been an almost essential tool for users with small amounts of RAM on their devices. Since Chrome tabs are known to consume large amounts of memory, the Great Suspender temporarily suspends tabs that haven’t been opened recently. That allows Chrome to run smoothly on systems with modest resources.

    Characteristically terse

    Google's official reason for the removal is characteristically terse. Messages displayed on devices that had the extension installed say only, “This extension contains malware” along with an indication that it has been removed. A Google spokesman declined to elaborate.

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      SolarWinds patches vulnerabilities that could allow full system control

      Dan Goodin · / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 4 February, 2021 - 12:39

    SolarWinds patches vulnerabilities that could allow full system control

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    SolarWinds, the previously little-known company whose network-monitoring tool Orion was a primary vector for one of the most serious breaches in US history, has pushed out fixes for three severe vulnerabilities.

    Martin Rakhmanov, a researcher with Trustwave SpiderLabs, said in a blog post on Wednesday that he began analyzing SolarWinds products shortly after FireEye and Microsoft reported that hackers had taken control of SolarWinds’ software development system and used it to distribute backdoored updates to Orion customers . It didn’t take long for him to find three vulnerabilities, two in Orion and a third in a product known as the Serv-U FTP for Windows. There's no evidence any of the vulnerabilities have been exploited in the wild.

    The most serious flaw allows unprivileged users to remotely execute code that takes complete control of the underlying operating system. Tracked as CVE-2021-25274 the vulnerability stems from Orion’s use of the Microsoft Message Queue, a tool that has existed for more than 20 years but is no longer installed by default on Windows machines.

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      Sophisticated Watering Hole Attack

      Bruce Schneier · / Schneier · Tuesday, 19 January, 2021 - 21:05 · 1 minute

    Google’s Project Zero has exposed a sophisticated watering-hole attack targeting both Windows and Android:

    Some of the exploits were zero-days, meaning they targeted vulnerabilities that at the time were unknown to Google, Microsoft, and most outside researchers (both companies have since patched the security flaws). The hackers delivered the exploits through watering-hole attacks, which compromise sites frequented by the targets of interest and lace the sites with code that installs malware on visitors’ devices. The boobytrapped sites made use of two exploit servers, one for Windows users and the other for users of Android

    The use of zero-days and complex infrastructure isn’t in itself a sign of sophistication, but it does show above-average skill by a professional team of hackers. Combined with the robustness of the attack code — ­which chained together multiple exploits in an efficient manner — the campaign demonstrates it was carried out by a “highly sophisticated actor.”


    The modularity of the payloads, the interchangeable exploit chains, and the logging, targeting, and maturity of the operation also set the campaign apart, the researcher said.

    No attribution was made, but the list of countries likely to be behind this isn’t very large. If you were to ask me to guess based on available information, I would guess it was the US — specifically, the NSA. It shows a care and precision that it’s known for. But I have no actual evidence for that guess.

    All the vulnerabilities were fixed by last April.