The motto “be prepared” can easily apply to your organization’s ability to respond to cyber threats. Not only does its response impact brand image, but if not done properly, the impact can be quite costly. In the 2014 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis, by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost to a company in 2014 was $3.5 million, 15 percent more than what it cost in 2013.
The media has reported that several companies in the past year have suffered significant security breaches, as a result of hackers compromising companies’ third party vendors. Instead of going after large organizations directly, some threat actors are opting to target smaller, third party vendors who do business with the larger companies. The criminals are hoping these third party vendors will have fewer security protections in place. If the hackers are able to break into one of these vendors, get their hands on the credentials the vendor uses to access the larger company’s network and successfully use those credentials, then the criminals have just gained their initial foothold into the target company— all under the guise of a trusted partner. From there, the hackers might go after valuable trade secrets and Intellectual Property, customer credit and debit card data, or Personal Identifiable Information for Employees and Customers (names, addresses, social security numbers, email addresses and phone numbers).
Many high profile security breaches occur when hackers target an organization’s weakest link: its people. Lack of basic information security awareness among employees has resulted in stolen organizational materials, intellectual property, and money.
Hackers don’t need to attack your organization directly – they can access vulnerabilities through partner groups as well because the weakness is the same – a lack of information security awareness among its employees. The impact to an organization’s finances, reputation, and operations cannot be ignored. Targeting the human element is a trend that Dell SecureWorks researchers and incident responders have observed increasing in popularity by hackers world-wide, from sophisticated state-sponsored groups to novice hackers.
On September 24, 2014, the Bash command injection vulnerability described by CVE-2014-6271 was publicly disclosed. The Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) research team released a set of countermeasures to its iSensor devices (Dell SecureWorks’ proprietary Intrusion Protection/Detection systems) to address this vulnerability, as well as related vulnerabilities that were identified in the following days. As of Monday, September 29, 2014, Dell SecureWorks iSensor devices repelled more than 140,000 scanning and exploit attempts.
Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) analysts were recently engaged with a client thought to have been compromised by a threat group CTU researchers have named Threat Group-0416 (TG-0416) . Various artifacts from the initial phases of the incident provided strong indications of the existence of this particular threat group within the client’s infrastructure. TG-0416 is a stealthy and extremely successful Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) group known to target a broad range of verticals since at least 2009, including technology, industrial, manufacturing, human rights groups, government, pharmaceutical, and medical technology.
Since the beginning of 2013, the popular press has documented many major information security intrusions and attacks. These stories have included veiled hints that the amount of sophistication suggests the intrusions are perpetrated by “advanced persistent” adversaries who must be sponsored by nation-states. Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) researchers have drawn a different conclusion based on evidence left behind from recent persistent intrusions in well-secured organizations.
Since the evening of July 21, 2014, Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) researchers have observed a threat group the CTU research team refers to as Threat Group-0110 (TG-0110)[i] phishing many organizations in the manufacturing and financial verticals. TG-0110 is known for using the Pirpi backdoor to access endpoints. Pirpi can search for and exfiltrate files, run other executable files, and execute commands. It also has reverse shell capabilities.
Dell SecureWorks CTU(TM) researchers have observed the distribution of a modified version of the Gameover Zeus malware. The global Gameover Zeus infrastructure was disrupted in late May 2014 by law enforcement and private industry partners during Operation Tovar. The infrastructure, including its peer-to-peer (P2P) network, remains under the control of those organizations and is not available to the threat actors who originally operated it. The new version observed in distribution on July 10, 2014 has jettisoned the P2P component in favor of a centralized command and control (C2) infrastructure that is based on a domain generation algorithm (DGA).
Dell SecureWorks will be attending the 2014 Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit as a Premier Sponsor June 23-26 in National Harbor, Maryland. If you are attending the conference, be sure to check out some of the exciting activities we have planned for the week around endpoint security, incident response planning, social engineering and much more.
As early as February 8th of this year, computer users began to notice their Synology Network Attached Storage (NAS) boxes were performing sluggishly and had a very high CPU usage. As a result, investigations ensued and eventually a Facebook post, directed at Synology, was made. Ultimately, it was discovered that the cause of the excessive resource consumption was due to illegitimate software that had infected the systems, which ironically, was stored in a folder labeled “PWNED.”