Crypto Locker Down, but NOT Out

So, the US govt and law enforcement claim to have managed the disruption of crypto locker. And officials are either touting it as a total victory or a more realistic slowdown of the criminals leveraging the malware and bot-nets.

Even as the govt was touting their takedown, threat intelligence companies around the world (including MSI), were already noticing that the attackers were mutating, adapting and re-building a new platform to continue their attacks. The attackers involved aren’t likely to stay down for long, especially given how lucrative the crypto locker malware has been. Many estimates exist for the number of infections, and the amount of payments received, but most of them are, in a word, staggering. With that much money on the line, you can expect a return of the nastiness and you can expect it rather quickly.

Takedowns are effective for short term management of specific threats, and they make great PR, but they do little, in most cases, to actually turn the tide. The criminals, who often escape prosecution or real penalties, usually just re-focus and rebuild. 

This is just another reminder that even older malware remains a profit center. Mutations, variants and enhancements can turn old problems like Zeus, back into new problems. Expect that with crypto locker and its ilk. This is not a problem that is likely to go away soon and not a problem that a simple takedown can solve.

Social Engineering Even Exists in the Animal World

OK, so we have all read about birds that social engineer other birds into raising their young, and maybe you’ve even seen the TV special about it. But, this picture brings to mind a lesson in social engineering, thanks to our friends in the animal world. It all comes down to confidence, doesn’t it? :)

I am pretty sure that one of these things is not like the other. Would your security team spot the difference? How about your users?

Credit: The first time I saw the pic, it was here, just in case you want to use it for awareness training. — Thanks to @robertjbennett for the pic!

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ATM Attacks are WEIRD

So this week, while doing some TigerTrax research for a client, I ran into something that was “new to me”, but apparently is old hat for the folks focused on ATM security. The attacks against ATMs run from the comical, like when would-be thieves leave behind cell phones, license plates or get knocked out by their own sledge hammers during their capers to the extremely violent – attacks with explosives, firearms and dangerous chemicals. But, this week, my attention caught on an attack called “Plofkraak”. 

In this attack, which is apparently spreading around the world from its birth in Eastern Europe, an ATM is injected with high levels of flammable gas. The attackers basically tape up all of the areas where the gas could easily leak out, and then fill the empty spaces inside the ATM with a common flammable gas. Once the injection is completed, the gas is fired by the attacker, causing an explosion that emanates from INSIDE the ATM.

The force of the explosion tears the ATM apart, and if the attackers are lucky, cracks open the safe that holds the money, allowing them to make off with the cash and deposits. Not all attackers are lucky though, and some get injured in the blast, fail to open the safe and even torch the money they were seeking. However, the attack is cheap, fast, and if the ATM doesn’t have adequate safeguards, effective.

The collateral damage from an attack of this type can be pretty dangerous. Fires, other explosions and structural damages have been linked to the attack. Here is an example of what one instance looked like upon discovery. 

Some ATM vendors have developed counter measures for the attack, including gas sensors/neutralizing chemical systems, additional controls to prevent injection into the core of the machine, hardening techniques for the safe against explosions and other tricks of the trade. However, given the age of ATM machines in the field and their widespread international deployment, it is obvious that a number of vulnerable systems are likely to be available for the criminals to exploit.

While this is a weird and interesting technique, it did give me some reminders about just how creative and ambitious criminals can be. Even extending that into Information Security, it never ceases to amaze me how creative people will get to steal. Spend some time today thinking about that. What areas of your organization might be vulnerable to novel attacks? Where are the areas that a single failure of a security control could cause immense harm? Make a note of those, and include them in your next risk assessment, pen-test or threat modeling exercise.

Don’t forget, that just like the inventors of Plofkraa”, attackers around the world are working on the odd, novel and unexpected attack vector. Vigilance is a necessary skill, and one we need more of, in infosec. As always, thanks for reading, and stay safe out there! 

TigerTrax Quick Dives Now Expanded with Data Lenses

Users of the TigerTrax™ Quick Dive service, our analytics and intelligence offering, have been very pleased with the new Data Lens features we have been offering to BETA clients thus far. The Quick Dive service offers short term monitoring of social media for specific forms of content and then canned analytics against the observed data. The Lens features offer several additional ways to slice & focus the analytics on specific areas of interest, such as:

  • Removal of specific terms or sentiment from the data set
  • Slicing of the data set to focus on specific terms or sentiment
  • Keyword analytics against the identified lists of URLs
  • “What if” visualizations to match scenarios

Enterprise license holders for TigerTrax will receive unlimited Lens work on their Quick Dive data sets at no additional charge. Customers purchasing ad-hoc Quick Dives may purchase Lens work against their data sets at a small additional charge per Lens. Please discuss your needs with your account executive for details.

The Lens program will continue to be expanded and we are also looking at adding the capabilities into our Deep Dive offering and our Ongoing Monitoring offering. More on that later, as we continue to work through testing the processes with those data formats. The Lens programs for those offerings will remain in BETA, while Quick Dive Lens offerings move to production as of today and we are proud to announce their immediate availability to all TigerTrax Quick Dive clients.

Want to learn more about TigerTrax or any of the offerings we offer? Click here for an overview, and talk to your account executive for more info.

HPSS Training Videos Now Available

We are proud to announce the immediate availability of HoneyPoint Security Server training videos. You can now learn more about installing and using the Console, Agents, the HPSS Proxy and soon Wasp, HoneyBees and Trojans.

Jim Klun (@pophop)  put the videos together and will continue to build the series over the coming months. Check them out and give Jim some feedback over Twitter. Also, let us know what other videos you would like to see.

You can get access to the videos using the credentials provided to you with your HoneyPoint license. The videos, along with a brand new User Guide, are now available from the distro web site.

Thanks to all HPSS users, and we promise to continue to evolve HPSS and make it even easier and more powerful over the coming year. As always, thanks for choosing MSI as your security partner. We appreciate it and greatly value your input! 

Co-Op & Municipal Utilities Get Discounts in July

Attention Co-Op & Municipal utilities — MSI is offering discounts to your organizations on professional services (policy/process, assessments, pen-testing, etc.), lab services (device & AMR/AMI assessments, threat assessments, etc.) and HoneyPoint Security Server for the month of July. Book the business before July 31’st and have the work/implementation completed before December 31st of 2014 and you receive a discount up to 30% off!

Do you need pen-testing against your business network? Need web app assessments on billing or payment systems? Have a call for risk assessments, smart grid device testing or fraud testing against your meters and field gear? All of this and more qualifies!

Check out our ICS/SCADA specific services by clicking here!

Give Allan Bergen a call today at 513-300-0194 to learn more about our program. We truly appreciate the hard work and dedication that Co-op and Municipal utility teams do, and we look forward to working with you! 

Spend Your First Hour Back the Right Way – Go Malware Hunting!

So, you’ve been out of the office for a quick holiday break or vacation. Now you face a mountain of emails and whole ton of back-logged tasks. Trust me, put them aside for one hour.

Instead of smashing through emails and working trouble tickets, spend an hour and take a look around your environment – go hunting – target malware, bots and backdoors. At a macro level, not a micro level. Were there an abnormal number of trouble tickets, outbound connections, AV alerts, IDS and log entries while you were gone? What does egress look like during that period? Were there any abnormal net flows, DNS anomalies or network issues that would indicate scans, probes or tampering on a larger scale?

Spend an hour and look for high level issues before you dig into the micro. Read some logs. See what might be getting lost in your return to work overwhelm. It is not all that uncommon for attackers to use holidays and vacations as windows of opportunity to do their nasty business.

Don’t fall victim to the expected overwhelm. Instead, use it as a lens to look for items or areas that correlate to deeper concerns. You might just find that hour invested to be the one that makes (or breaks) your career in infosec.

Good luck and happy hunting!

PS – Thanks to Lee C. for the quick edits on 7/4/14.

CMHSecLunch is July 14th @ Tuttle Mall

Just a quick reminder to save the date for CMHSecLunch this month. It is July 14th at 11:30am at the Tuttle Mall Food Court. We are usually pretty close to the giant germ ball fountain, and the Tuttle event is usually pretty well attended. 

Come out and beat the summer heat, hang out, meet old and new friends and have some food.

We hope to see you there! 

As always, you can RSVP if desired (not needed) or learn more by clicking here. 

Bring a friend, attendance is FREE and open to everyone!

Quick Poll on Social Media and Compliance

Our team is putting together some blog posts and other content on social media policies and compliance. Can you please help us with our research work by spending just 3 minutes to complete the following quick 3 question poll?

You can find the poll here.

Thanks, in advance, for your insights. We will be publishing the results of the poll, along with our other content in the coming weeks. Thanks again for your kindness!

Touchdown Task for June: Document Cleanup

With the beginning of a new fiscal year on the immediate horizon for many, it reminds us that it’s time to clean up our books and our filing. And by that we mean both our digital and physical files! If you don’t already have a written document retention policy, one needs to be drafted. It should be tailored to your business needs and meet the requirements identified in local, state or federal laws and regulations that apply to your particular industry. 

As a part of your document retention plan, you will establish a document retention schedule of what to keep and for how long. Once you have this identified, it’s time to dive into the files, both paper and electronic, to see what should be properly destructed. 

It is critical that paper documents are either incinerated or shredded. Electronic files must be properly sanitized and purged. Purging can be accomplished a variety of secure erasing tools. A quick Google will turn up several free or low cost solutions. Clearing electronic data is often accomplished by overwriting existing data using software that incorporates a fixed sequence of characters. 
Whatever the processes are that you elect to perform, it is imperative that you stick to the schedule and destroy your documents per your written guidelines in your document retention policy.

Thanks to Teresa West for this post.