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ESET Research Discovers IIS Web Server Threats Eavesdropping on Governments

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ESET researchers have discovered a set of 10 previously undocumented malware families, implemented as malicious extensions for Internet Information Services (IIS) webserver software. Targeting both government mailboxes and e-commerce credit card transactions, as well as aiding in malware distribution, this diverse class of threats operates by eavesdropping on and tampering with the server’s communications.

At least five IIS backdoors have been spreading through server exploitation of Microsoft Exchange email servers in 2021, according to ESET telemetry and the results of additional internet-wide scans that ESET researchers performed to detect the presence of these backdoors. Among the victims are governments in Southeast Asia and dozens of companies belonging to various industries located mostly in Canada, Vietnam, and India, but also in the US, New Zealand, South Korea, and other countries.

ESET Research has published the white paper “Anatomy of native IIS malware” and launched a series of blog posts on the most notable of the newly discovered threats: IIStealer, IISpy and IISerpent. These will be published on WeLiveSecurity starting today and following through to August 11, 2021. The findings of ESET’s IIS malware research were first presented at Black Hat USA 2021 and will also be shared with the community at the Virus Bulletin 2021 conference on October 8, 2021.

IIS malware is a diverse class of threats used for cybercrime, cyberespionage and SEO fraud — but in all cases, its main purpose is to intercept HTTP requests incoming to the compromised IIS server and affect how the server responds to (some of) these requests. “Internet Information Services web servers have been targeted by various malicious actors, for cybercrime and cyberespionage alike. The software’s modular architecture, designed to provide extensibility for web developers, can be a useful tool for attackers,” says ESET researcher Zuzana Hromcová, author of the paper.

ESET has identified five main modes in which IIS malware operates:

  • IIS backdoors allow their operators to remotely control the compromised computer with IIS installed.
  • IIS infostealers allow their operators to intercept regular traffic between the compromised server and its legitimate visitors and steal information such as login credentials and payment information.
  • IIS injectors modify HTTP responses sent to legitimate visitors to serve malicious content.
  • IIS proxies turn the compromised server into an unwitting part of the command and control infrastructure for another malware family.
  • SEO fraud IIS malware modifies the content served to search engines to manipulate SERP algorithms and boost the ranking for other websites of interest to the attackers.

“It is still quite rare for security software to run on IIS servers, which makes it easy for attackers to operate unnoticed for long periods of time. This should be disturbing for all serious web portals that want to protect their visitors’ data, including authentication and payment information. Organizations that use Outlook on the web should also pay attention, as it depends on IIS and could be an interesting target for espionage,” explains Hromcová.

ESET Research offers several recommendations that can help mitigate IIS malware attacks. These include using unique, strong passwords and multifactor authentication for the administration of IIS servers; keeping the operating system up to date; using a web application firewall and endpoint security solution for the server, and regularly checking the IIS server configuration to verify that all installed extensions are legitimate.

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Tenable to Acquire Eureka Security

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Tenable Holdings has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Eureka Security, a provider of data security posture management (DSPM) for cloud environments. Eureka Security helps security teams gain a holistic view into an organization’s cloud data security footprint, fight policy drift and misconfigurations that put data at risk, and continuously improve their security posture over time. The acquisition is expected to close this month.

By adding DSPM capabilities to its CNAPP solution, Tenable will help customers identify key evidence related to cloud data risk, including where sensitive data resides in the cloud, who has access to that data and the severity of the risk posed by potential data compromise. This type of visibility is central to an organization’s ability to accurately assess its cloud security compliance. In the 2024 Tenable Cloud Security Outlook study, 95% of organizations polled had experienced cloud-related breaches in the previous 18 months. Among those, 92% reported exposure to sensitive data, and a majority acknowledged being harmed by the data exposure.

“Eureka Security’s technology will enable Tenable to provide even better prioritization of cloud risks and identify toxic combinations beyond vulnerabilities, misconfigurations and over-privileged access to include data at risk as well,” said Shai Morag, senior vice president and general manager of Cloud Security, Tenable. “This is another example of how we’re pushing the envelope in cloud security innovation for customers and leading the market forward by developing best-in-class capabilities.”

“Eureka Security’s data-centric approach provides the visibility, control and automation needed to navigate the dynamic cloud landscape while ensuring the highest level of security and compliance,” said Liat Hayun, co-founder and CEO, Eureka Security. “We’re excited to join Tenable. Integrating our capabilities into Tenable’s CNAPP offering creates a compelling capability for customers. Tenable also brings an expansive customer base and strong go-to-market capabilities. We couldn’t have found a better match to help us expand our mission to reduce cloud data risk globally.”

The integration of DSPM will round out the current Tenable Cloud Security solution that already includes such key capabilities as unified CNAPP, iron-clad CSPM protection, cloud workload protection and industry-leading CIEM, among others, which will give security teams the context and prioritization guidance to make efficient and accurate remediation decisions. The Eureka Security DSPM capabilities are expected to be natively integrated into Tenable Cloud Security and its leading CNAPP solution later this year.

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Expert Speak

Hidden Champions: Behind These Popular Applications Are Hard Drives

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Written by Rainer W. Kaese, Senior Manager of Business Development Storage Products at Toshiba Electronics Europe
(more…)

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Cyber Security

Netskope Joins Google Workspace Security Alliance

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Netskope has joined the Google Workspace Security Alliance to extend security and data protection for Workspace users. The Netskope One Platform provides a number of advanced security capabilities that protect data, defend against threats, and ensure users have fast and secure access to Google Workspace productivity and collaboration tools, including Gemini for Workspace.

As organizations increasingly adopt cloud technologies to drive innovation and efficiency, they are also challenged to secure sensitive data from a range of cyber risks, including:

  • Ongoing increases in the number of users uploading sensitive data to personal instances of cloud applications
  • New and evolving threat techniques such as abuse of certain applications for critical data access, back doors, and financial gain; compromise of credentials to access critical business data; insider threats; and more
  • Data exposure from the insecure use of both managed and unmanaged AI-based productivity tools

Netskope and Google Workspace empower organizations to embrace modern collaboration and productivity by enabling the secure use of AI-based productivity tools. Netskope provides advanced data loss prevention (DLP) techniques, delivering real-time visibility and control over users, data, and corporate vs. personal cloud instances. In addition, Netskope’s comprehensive threat protection through both API and inline controls detects threats in Google applications and monitors data movement and threat propagation between Google Workspace apps and third-party ecosystem applications.

“Netskope is proud to expand its partnership with Google Workspace by joining the Workspace Security Alliance. There are already thousands of customers using Netskope to safeguard their Google Workspace applications, and this new partnership further enhances the secure usage capabilities for application specific data protection policies,” said Andy Horwitz, VP, Global Partner Ecosystems, Netskope. “Together, Netskope and Google Workspace can help customers modernize their productivity stack. We look forward to helping customers safely optimize their employees’ daily productivity.”

The Netskope and Google Workspace partnership enables organizations to embrace collaboration and productivity while safeguarding critical data. Joint customers can now more effectively:

  1. Support best practice use of Gemini for Google Workspace: Leverage real-time user coaching to help enforce best practices in application usage. Organizations can gain visibility into data movement to minimize sensitive information sharing while achieving data compliance objectives.
  2. Protect sensitive data: Detect and manage access to sensitive data within Google Workspace applications, enforcing policies to prevent unauthorized data movement across platforms, including third-party services like Microsoft OneDrive, Box and Dropbox.
  3. Stop insider threats like data exfiltration: Prevent the download of sensitive data from Google Workspace business instances and then the upload to personal instances, which is one of today’s top reasons for data loss. Additionally, apply this control to unmanaged devices: allow unmanaged or personal device access to a specific cloud app for collaboration, however, do not allow downloading of sensitive data.
  4. Detect and stop elusive threats and malware: Protect against malware and phishing delivered from the cloud. Netskope’s multi-layered advanced threat protection (ATP) enhances security within Google Workspace and across cloud applications.
  5. Maintain compliance in Google Workspace: Ensure that organizations can adhere to regulations and meet compliance needs by enforcing security policies within Google Workspace.

“By partnering with Netskope, a leading SASE vendor, customers can confidently expand their Google Workspace adoption leveraging their existing IT infrastructure investments,” said Nikhil Sinha, Group Product Manager, Google Workspace. “Netskope instance awareness enables fine grained data governance policy differences to both corporate and personal Google Workspace accounts. We are excited to partner with Netskope to provide these advanced security capabilities to our customers.”

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