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Cyber Security

Attackers Are Using the Log4Shell Vulnerability to Deliver Backdoors to Virtual Servers

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Sophos has released findings on how attackers are using the Log4Shell vulnerability to deliver backdoors and profiling scripts to unpatched VMware Horizon servers, paving the way for persistent access and future ransomware attacks. A new technical paper, “Horde of Miner Bots and Backdoors Leveraged Log4J to Attack VMware Horizon Servers,” details the tools and techniques used to compromise the servers and deliver three different backdoors and four crypto miners. The backdoors are possibly delivered by Initial Access Brokers.

Log4Shell is a remote code execution vulnerability in the Java logging component, Apache Log4J, which is embedded in hundreds of software products. It was reported and patched in December 2021. “Widely used applications such as VMware Horizon that are exposed to the internet and need to be manually updated, are particularly vulnerable to exploitation at scale,” said Sean Gallagher, a senior security researcher at Sophos. “Sophos detections reveal waves of attacks targeting Horizon servers, starting in January, and delivering a range of backdoors and crypto miners to unpatched servers, as well as scripts to collect some device information. Sophos believes that some of the backdoors may be delivered by Initial Access Brokers looking to secure persistent remote access to a high-value target that they can sell on to other attackers, such as ransomware operators.”

The multiple attack payloads Sophos detected using Log4Shell to target vulnerable Horizon servers include:

  • Two legitimate remote monitoring and management tools, Atera agent and Splashtop Streamer, likely intended for malicious use as backdoors
  • The malicious Sliver backdoor
  • The cryptominers z0Miner, JavaX miner, Jin and Mimu
  • Several PowerShell-based reverse shells that collect device and backup information

Sophos’ analysis revealed that Sliver is sometimes delivered together with Atera and PowerShell profiling scripts and is used to deliver the Jin and Mimu variants of the XMrig Monero miner botnet. According to Sophos, the attackers are using several different approaches to infect targets. While some of the earlier attacks used Cobalt Strike to stage and execute the crypto miner payloads, the largest wave of attacks that began in mid-January 2022, executed the crypto miner installer script directly from the Apache Tomcat component of the VMware Horizon server. This wave of attacks is ongoing.

“Sophos’ findings suggest that multiple adversaries are implementing these attacks, so the most important protective step is to upgrade all devices and applications that include Log4J with the patched version of the software. This includes patched versions of VMware Horizon if organizations use the application in their network,” said Gallagher. “Log4J is installed in hundreds of software products and many organizations may be unaware of the vulnerability lurking within their infrastructure, particularly in commercial, open-source, or custom software that doesn’t have regular security support. And while patching is vital, it won’t be enough if attackers have already been able to install a web shell or backdoor in the network. Defense-in-depth and acting upon any detection of miners and other anomalous activity is critical to avoid falling victim to such attacks.”

Cyber Security

Group-IB Unveils Unified Risk Platform

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Group-IB has today unveiled the Unified Risk Platform, an ecosystem of solutions that understands each organization’s threat profile and tailors defenses against them in real-time. Every product and service in Group-IB’s now consolidated security suite is enriched with information from a Single Data Lake, which contains 60 types of sources of adversary intelligence. The Unified Risk Platform automatically configures your Group-IB defenses with the precise insights needed to provide the best possible defense against targeted attacks on the infrastructure and endpoints, breaches, fraud, brand, and IP abuse.

“At the heart of the Unified Risk Platform is a Single Data Lake that has the most complete and detailed insight into threat actors. Group-IB has collected the industry’s broadest range of adversary intelligence, with 60 types of sources across 15 categories,” the company said in a statement.

The data is gathered by and exclusive to Group-IB, providing customers with unprecedented visibility of threat actors’ operations. The raw data is enriched with context, converted into actionable intelligence, and added to Group-IB’s Single Data Lake. The patented technology is continuously refined by state-of-the-art research, science, and modeling conducted by Group-IB’s dedicated analyst teams spanning 11 cybersecurity disciplines.

The modular architecture of the Unified Risk Platform allows additional capabilities to be easily activated, providing increased protection from cybercrime without friction. A range of out-of-the-box integrations and flexible APIs enable the Unified Risk Platform to easily enhance any existing security ecosystem. When organisations need specialist support, Group-IB’s comprehensive suite of services is available for any purpose, from one-off red teaming exercises or incident response to in-life managed detection and response.

In addition to the services, every Group-IB product is powered by the platform to provide complete coverage of the Cyber Response Chain:

  • Group-IB Threat Intelligence provides deep insight into adversary behaviors. Threat Intelligence was independently evaluated as creating a 10% increase in team efficiency over alternative vendors and in a case study generated a 339% return on investment.
  • Group-IB Managed XDR enables organizations to respond 20% faster to threats according to an analyst study.
  • Group-IB Digital Risk Protection allows organizations to reduce the risk of brand abuse, piracy, data leaks, and more with best-in-breed protection. Group-IB has been benchmarked as detecting pirated content in 30 min on average and taking down 80% of the content within 7 days.
  • Fraud Protection was calculated by consultants to reduce the rate of false-positive fraud cases by 20% and enable 10% to 20% more fraud attempts to be detected and prevented. Furthermore, Group-IB identified 30% more one-time password fraud.
  • Attack Surface Management continuously discovers external assets to identify shadow IT, forgotten infrastructure, misconfigurations, and other hidden risks. As part of the Unified Risk Platform, the solution provides a threat actor’s view of the attack surface so that weak spots can be quickly and proactively strengthened.
  • Business Email Protection defends corporate email from sophisticated attacks. The solution monitors for indicators of compromise identifies malicious behavioral markers and extracts artifacts to identify risky emails before they reach their destination.
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Cyber Security

Genetec Announces Availability of its Synergis Cloud Link PoE-Enabled IoT Gateway

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Genetec has announced the immediate availability of a new generation of its Synergis Cloud Link PoE-enabled IoT gateway for access control. Manufactured in North America to mitigate supply chain delays, Synergis Cloud Link addresses the increasing demand for non-proprietary access control solutions and provides a safe and secure gateway to a cloud or hybrid deployment.

“When modernizing an existing security system, Synergis Cloud Link’s open architecture allows organizations to leverage their current access control infrastructure and easily upgrade to a secure IP-based solution. Synergis Cloud Link provides a more efficient approach to multi-site deployments and replaces the need for servers, reducing the cost of ownership.  The Synergis Cloud Link IoT gateway has embedded functionalities that keep an organization’s access control running even when the connection to the server is down,” the company said in a statement.

“The new generation of Synergis Cloud Link provides more features, enhanced cybersecurity, and helps future-proof security installations. Synergis Cloud Link features enhanced cybersecurity such as encrypted user data, Secure Boot, and an EAL6+ industry gold standard Secure Element that stores cryptographic elements,” the company added.

“The need for non-proprietary access control solutions has never been greater,” said Thibault Louvet, Access Control Product Group Director, Genetec Inc. “Our new generation Synergis Cloud Link enables us to provide organizations with a powerful, secure, and intelligent gateway to the latest technology while allowing them to easily connect to hybrid or cloud access control environments and keep their existing security investment including hardware, wiring, and infrastructure.”

The device is compatible with non-proprietary access control modules from the industry’s most established manufacturers including HID Global, Axis Communications, ASSA ABLOY, Mercury Security, Allegion, SimonsVoss, STid, and others. A single Synergis Cloud Link device can support up to 256 readers and electronic locks, 600,000 cardholders, 150,000 offline events, as well as monitor hundreds of zones and alarms.

Synergis Cloud Link features a new firmware design, improving reliability and lifecycle management, and updates management. It also opens the door to containerized approach for operating software on the device, expanding its future capabilities.

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Cyber Security

Surge in Ransomware Attacks Has Made Effective Cyber Security and Defence a Top Priority

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Emad Fahmy, the Systems Engineering Manager for Middle East at NETSCOUT, speaks about the evolving threat landscape in the region

How has the security threat landscape evolved in recent months?
According to a 2021 survey by PwC, cybersecurity is a growing concern for organizations, with approximately 43% of Middle East CEOs planning to increase investments in cybersecurity and data privacy by 10% or more over the next three years. Moreover, 41% of these leaders think that their organization should be doing more to measure cybersecurity. The ever-evolving threat environment has made it increasingly necessary to be vigilant.

Cybercrimes continue to grow in terms of both complexity and frequency. Among the businesses that identify breaches or attacks, 21% lose money, data, or other assets, and 35% report being negatively impacted in other ways and suffering from wider business disruption. As such, it’s vital for enterprises to ensure the security of data, applications, networks, and critical business processes to stay competitive and thwart attackers. Depending on traditional security solutions and methodologies isn’t enough to combat the sophisticated attacks that target businesses today.

Is ransomware still an issue?
It is, unfortunately. The unprecedented surge in ransomware attacks has made effective cyber security and defence a top priority in today’s world. Every day, new ransomware attacks are reported by businesses and government authorities alike, not to mention the attacks that go unreported, and it seems like no one is immune.

Threat intelligence is vital to combat ransomware attacks. Threat intelligence is the study of the bad actors who perpetrate these attacks, along with the tactics and tools they use. This involves unveiling the bad actor’s attack methodologies and why they are targeting those victims. This knowledge is then turned into actionable insight that enterprises can access and comprehend. Empowered with this knowledge, enterprises can learn about their network’s vulnerabilities to actively defend against ransomware.

Companies have been trying to protect the endpoint for years. How can companies make sure endpoints are protected and monitored for attacks and mitigation?
As service providers increasingly focus on cloud services, edge computing, end-users, and endpoint devices, the traditional approach of utilizing distributed detection solutions in concert with centralized mitigation centres within the network is no longer enough. However, mitigation measures that are distributed out to the network edge necessitate both infrastructure and intelligent defence capabilities that are capable of working hand in hand across locations and platforms.

A more modern threat mitigation strategy involves distributing both detection and mitigation functions throughout the network to intercept threats nearer to the source. In this way, network operators can stop attacks upstream, instead of having to incur the cost of peering and transit link traffic that is only going to be discarded once it reaches a centralized scrubbing centre. By conducting the scrubbing as close as possible to the threat source, service providers can reduce any potential impact on traffic, helping to ensure high-quality service.

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