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Ransomware That Strikes Posing As Windows Update

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Fantom, a new ransomware discovered recently, strikes disguised as a legitimate Microsoft Windows update. Thus it tricks users into downloading it, thereby paving the way for data breach…
Malware researcher Jakub Kroustek of security firm AVG has discovered this rather sophisticated malware.

Ransomware, as we know, refers to the malware that helps hackers block systems and encrypt users’ files in such a way that they cannot be opened or used. Ransomware also stops apps from running. Thus the person who is affected will have to pay a ransom to the hacker(s) to get his system back on track or to open and use files and apps. Ransomware attacks are increasing in number these days; many are the organizations that have fallen prey to ransomware attacks in recent months.

How Fantom Works…

Fantom, which is a ransomware based on the open-source EDA2 ransomware project, appears displaying a fake Windows Update Screen. This update screen leads you into believing that Windows is installing a new critical update. Even the file properties for the ransomware would make you believe that, stating that it’s from Microsoft and will have the file description as ‘Critical Update’.

Led into believing that it’s a genuine Windows update, you might execute it. This will make the ransomware extract and execute another embedded program called WindowsUpdate.exe and then a fake Windows Update screen will be displayed. This screen will overlay all active Windows and you won’t be able to switch to any other open application. You’d see on this update screen a percentage that leads you into believing that the Windows update is taking place while in reality your files are being encrypted as the percentage increases. Though Ctrl+F4 key combination could help you close this screen if you want, the file encryption would carry on in the background.

Fantom, like other EDA2-based ransomware, will generate a random AES-128 key and encrypt it using RSA. Then it will be uploaded into the Command & Control server of the malware developers. Then it scans local drives for files that contain targeted file extensions. These files are encrypted using AES-128 encryption, to each encrypted file will be added the extension .fantom. In folders wherein Fantom encrypts files, a ransom note DECRYPT_YOUR_FILES.HTML will also be created. When the encryption is done, Fantom will create two batch files that are executed; these will delete the shadow volume copies and the fake update screen which you had got earlier.

Then finally comes the ransom note called DECRYPT_YOUR_FILES.HTML. This will have the mention that restoring your data would be possible only by buying passwords from them. There will be the instructions to email fantomd12@yandex.ru or fantom12@techemail.com so that you could receive payment instructions. You’re also warned not to try to restore files saying that it could destroy your data completely.

Though hackers use different tactics to strike with ransomware, the strategy used in the case of Fantom is a clever one. The attackers mimic a screen that most users, including business users, recognize and even trust; it’s comparatively easy to lead people into believing that they are getting a legitimate Windows update and thus lead them to download Fantom. This could be a pointer to a rather dangerous trend as regards malware in general and ransomware in particular.

TEST YOUR EMAIL SECURITY GET YOUR INSTANT SECURITY SCORECARD FOR FREE Source: https://blog.comodo.com/pc-security/ransomware-strikes-posing-windows-update/

Cyber Security

USCYBERCOM Released New Malware Samples

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New malware samples associated with the operations of Russian threat actors Turla and Zebrocy have been released this week by the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM).

Turla was most recently observed attacking a European government agency with numerous backdoors, connected to malicious activities dating back two decades and often referred to as Rat, Waterbug, Venomous Bear, Belugasturgeon, and KRYPTON.

USCYBERCOM posted new samples of the ComRAT Trojan on VirusTotal on Thursday, which is suspected to be one of the oldest malware families employed by Russia-linked threat actors.

The FBI is extremely optimistic that ComRAT malware is being used by Russian-sponsored APT actor Turla, an intelligence organisation operating for at least a decade, to hack victim networks. A malware intelligence study from the Cybersecurity and Information Protection Agency (CISA) reports that the group is well known for its customised software and tailored operations.

The report shares knowledge about a PowerShell script that is used to mount another script that loads the ComRAT version 4 DLL in turn. CISA clarifies that the malware contains DLLs used as contact modules that are inserted into the default browser and that use a called pipe to communicate with the ComRATv4 code. In order to accept commands and exfiltrate files, a Gmail web interface is used.

A total of five ComRAT files and two samples identified with the Russian threat actor Zebrocy were posted by USCYBERCOM on VirusTotal.

The Russian hacker community, initially detailed in 2018, is considered part of the notorious Sofacy APT (also referred to as APT28, Fancy Bear, Pawn Storm, Sednit, and Strontium) by some security firms, while others see it as a distinct organisation.

New Zebrocy attacks were discovered in September 2020, demonstrating persistent targeting of countries connected to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO).

Windows executables are the two examples that USCYBERCOM shared on VirusTotal that are suspected to be a new version of the Zebrocy backdoor. The malware gives remote access to a compromised device to attackers and facilitates multiple operations, CISA says.

CISA advises that security best practises be implemented by users and administrators to ensure that their devices stay safe from recently shared samples of ransomware or other risks.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/uscybercom-released-new-malware-samples/

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Cyber Security

The WordPress Core Team has Released an Emergency Release of WordPress 5.5.3

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An emergency update of WordPress 5.5.3 has been released by the WordPress core team, just one day after version 5.5.2 was released. This emergency update was made to fix a problem implemented in WordPress 5.5.2, making it difficult to run WordPress without a database link installed on a brand new website. A second problem caused a number of pages to be erroneously upgraded to version 5.5.3-alpha while planning for this emergency upgrade.

According to the release notes, the WordPress auto-update framework upgraded some pages from version 5.5.2 to 5.5.3-alpha between about 15:30 and 16:00 UTC on October 30th. This happened because, in an effort to discourage new users from using this update, the WordPress Core team blocked the 5.5.2 release download. By deleting the 5.5.2 download, the wordpress.org API returned the 5.5.3-alpha-49449 alpha version as the version that WordPress can migrate to.

An overview of the release 5.5.3-alpha-49449 showed no distinction between the release 5.5.2 of WordPress and 5.5.3-alpha-49449 of WordPress, since much of the key features is the same. Owing to the mistake, no recorded site functionality was disabled. However, along with the Akismet plugin, a number of additional Twenty- themes were built with that autoupdate.

To fix both concerns, download 5.5.2 was originally re-enabled by the Core team to discourage sites from upgrading to the alpha version, followed by the WordPress 5.5.3 emergency release to resolve the issue that stopped new install.

What Should I Have Done?

If your WordPress 5.5.3-alpha site has been upgraded, you can have additional themes built on your site. You may have Akismet mounted as well. When installed as part of the pre-release kit, these themes and plugins were not allowed. Check the themes and installation of plugins. There will be no other plugins installed or deleted.

Upgrade the pages to WordPress 5.5.3 normally, just as you will on every other update to WordPress. If you want your site to auto-update, you will already have version 5.5.3 enabled.

If you haven’t upgraded to 5.5.2 for WordPress yet, upgrading to 5.5.3 is exactly the same version with a slight patch. It is secure to upgrade your site.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/the-wordpress-core-team-has-released-an-emergency-release-of-wordpress-5-5-3/

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Cyber Security

Hackers Continue to Target Zerologon Vulnerability

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This week, Microsoft announced that it continues to obtain complaints of attacks targeting the Zerologon vulnerability from customers.

Patched on August 11, the Microsoft Windows Netlogon Remote Protocol (MS-NRPC) found the security vulnerability. Tracked as CVE-2020-1472, to compromise Active Directory domain controllers and obtain domain administrator rights, the problem can be exploited.

After the DHS directed federal departments to quickly submit available fixes, the flaw came into the spotlight, with both Microsoft and CISA releasing reports on the attackers actively exploiting the bug.

Microsoft released a guide at the end of September to provide companies with all the required information to fix the problem inside their Active Directory implementations, but it seems that certain customers are already vulnerable.

“The vulnerability could cause an attacker to fake a domain controller account that could be used to capture domain credentials and take over the domain, if the original advice is not implemented,” Microsoft now says.

The technology giant also reiterates that downloading the available patches on each domain controller is the first step in fixing the vulnerability.

Responsive Directory domain controller and trust accounts will be secured alongside Windows domain-joined system accounts until they have been fully deployed. The business states that we highly urge everyone who has not adopted the upgrade to take this measure now.

Customers can use the upgrade to follow the previously released advice from Microsoft to ensure that they are completely covered. In that guide, for more clarification, the organisation has already revised the FAQs.

Following the upgrade, to ensure that CVE-2020-1472 is actually handled in their system, consumers are recommended to locate any devices that might still be vulnerable, fix them, and then allow compliance mode.

CISA issued a warning on Thursday to warn of continuing misuse of Zerologon and to encourage administrators to instal the patches available as soon as possible.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/hackers-continue-to-target-zerologon-vulnerability/

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