Hackers Can Infect Over 100 Lenovo Models With Unremovable Malware

Lenovo has released security updates for more than 100 laptop models to fix critical vulnerabilities that make it possible for advanced hackers to surreptitiously install malicious firmware that can be next to impossible to remove or, in some cases, to detect. Ars Technica reports: Three vulnerabilities affecting more than 1 million laptops can give hackers the ability to modify a computer’s UEFI. Short for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, the UEFI is the software that bridges a computer’s device firmware with its operating system. As the first piece of software to run when virtually any modern machine is turned on, it’s the initial link in the security chain. Because the UEFI resides in a flash chip on the motherboard, infections are difficult to detect and even harder to remove.

Two of the vulnerabilities — tracked as CVE-2021-3971 and CVE-2021-3972 — reside in UEFI firmware drivers intended for use only during the manufacturing process of Lenovo consumer notebooks. Lenovo engineers inadvertently included the drivers in the production BIOS images without being properly deactivated. Hackers can exploit these buggy drivers to disable protections, including UEFI secure boot, BIOS control register bits, and protected range register, which are baked into the serial peripheral interface (SPI) and designed to prevent unauthorized changes to the firmware it runs. After discovering and analyzing the vulnerabilities, researchers from security firm ESET found a third vulnerability, CVE-2021-3970. It allows hackers to run malicious firmware when a machine is put into system management mode, a high-privilege operating mode typically used by hardware manufacturers for low-level system management. “All three of the Lenovo vulnerabilities discovered by ESET require local access, meaning that the attacker must already have control over the vulnerable machine with unfettered privileges,” notes Ars Technica’s Dan Goodin. “The bar for that kind of access is high and would likely require exploiting one or more critical other vulnerabilities elsewhere that would already put a user at considerable risk.”

Still, it’s worth looking to see if you have an affected model and, if so, patch your computer as soon as possible.

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GitHub Issues Security Alert After Spotting Misuse of Tokens Stolen from OAuth Integrators

GitHub issued a security alert Friday.
GitHub’s chief security officer wrote that on Tuesday, “GitHub Security began an investigation that uncovered evidence that an attacker abused stolen OAuth user tokens issued to two third-party OAuth integrators, Heroku and Travis-CI, to download data from dozens of organizations, including npm…”

We do not believe the attacker obtained these tokens via a compromise of GitHub or its systems, because the tokens in question are not stored by GitHub in their original, usable formats. Following immediate investigation, we disclosed our findings to Heroku and Travis-CI on April 13 and 14…

Looking across the entire GitHub platform, we have high confidence that compromised OAuth user tokens from Heroku and Travis-CI-maintained OAuth applications were stolen and abused to download private repositories belonging to dozens of victim organizations that were using these apps. Our analysis of other behavior by the threat actor suggests that the actors may be mining the downloaded private repository contents, to which the stolen OAuth token had access, for secrets that could be used to pivot into other infrastructure.

We are sharing this today as we believe the attacks may be ongoing and action is required for customers to protect themselves.

The initial detection related to this campaign occurred on April 12 when GitHub Security identified unauthorized access to our npm production infrastructure using a compromised AWS API key. Based on subsequent analysis, we believe this API key was obtained by the attacker when they downloaded a set of private npm repositories using a stolen OAuth token from one of the two affected third-party OAuth applications described above. Upon discovering the broader theft of third-party OAuth tokens not stored by GitHub or npm on the evening of April 13, we immediately took action to protect GitHub and npm by revoking tokens associated with GitHub and npm’s internal use of these compromised applications.

We believe that the two impacts to npm are unauthorized access to, and downloading of, the private repositories in the npm organization on GitHub.com and potential access to the npm packages as they exist in AWS S3 storage.

At this point, we assess that the attacker did not modify any packages or gain access to any user account data or credentials. We are still working to understand whether the attacker viewed or downloaded private packages.

npm uses completely separate infrastructure from GitHub.com; GitHub was not affected in this original attack. Though investigation continues, we have found no evidence that other GitHub-owned private repos were cloned by the attacker using stolen third-party OAuth tokens.

Once GitHub identified stolen third-party OAuth tokens affecting GitHub users, GitHub took immediate steps to respond and protect users. GitHub contacted Heroku and Travis-CI to request that they initiate their own security investigations, revoke all OAuth user tokens associated with the affected applications, and begin work to notify their own users…. GitHub is currently working to identify and notify all of the known-affected victim users and organizations that we discovered through our analysis across GitHub.com. These customers will receive a notification email from GitHub with additional details and next steps to assist in their own response within the next 72 hours.
If you do not receive a notification, you and/or your organization have not been identified as affected.

You should, however, periodically review what OAuth applications you’ve authorized or are authorized to access your organization and prune anything that’s no longer needed.
You can also review your organization audit logs and user account security logs for unexpected or anomalous activity….

The security and trustworthiness of GitHub, npm, and the broader developer ecosystem is our highest priority. Our investigation is ongoing, and we will update this blog, and our communications with affected customers, as we learn more.

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Browser-in-the-Browser Attack Can Trick Even Savvy Users

apoc.famine shares a report from Ars Technica: Hundreds of thousands of sites use the OAuth protocol to let visitors login using their existing accounts with companies like Google, Facebook, or Apple. Instead of having to create an account on the new site, visitors can use an account that they already have — and the magic of OAuth does the rest. The Browser-in-the-Browser (BitB) technique capitalizes on this scheme. Instead of opening a genuine second browser window that’s connected to the site facilitating the login or payment, BitB uses a series of HTML and cascading style sheets (CSS) tricks to convincingly spoof the second window. The URL that appears there can show a valid address, complete with a padlock and HTTPS prefix. The layout and behavior of the window appear identical to the real thing.

While the method is convincing, it has a few weaknesses that should give savvy visitors a foolproof way to detect that something is amiss. Genuine OAuth or payment windows are in fact separate browser instances that are distinct from the primary page. That means a user can resize them and move them anywhere on the monitor, including outside the primary window. BitB windows, by contrast, aren’t a separate browser instance at all. Instead, they’re images rendered by custom HTML and CSS and contained in the primary window. That means the fake pages can’t be resized, fully maximized or dragged outside the primary window. All users should protect their accounts with two-factor authentication. One other thing more experienced users can do is right click on the popup page and choose “inspect.” If the window is a BitB spawn, its URL will be hardcoded into the HTML.

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Nasty Linux Netfilter Firewall Security Hole Found

Sophos threat researcher Nick Gregory discovered a hole in Linux’s netfilter firewall program that’s “exploitable to achieve kernel code execution (via ROP [return-oriented programming]), giving full local privilege escalation, container escape, whatever you want.” ZDNet reports: Behind almost all Linux firewalls tools such as iptables; its newer version, nftables; firewalld; and ufw, is netfilter, which controls access to and from Linux’s network stack. It’s an essential Linux security program, so when a security hole is found in it, it’s a big deal. […] This problem exists because netfilter doesn’t handle its hardware offload feature correctly. A local, unprivileged attacker can use this to cause a denial-of-service (DoS), execute arbitrary code, and cause general mayhem. Adding insult to injury, this works even if the hardware being attacked doesn’t have offload functionality! That’s because, as Gregory wrote to a security list, “Despite being in code dealing with hardware offload, this is reachable when targeting network devices that don’t have offload functionality (e.g. lo) as the bug is triggered before the rule creation fails.”

This vulnerability is present in the Linux kernel versions 5.4 through 5.6.10. It’s listed as Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE-2022-25636), and with a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score of 7.8), this is a real badie. How bad? In its advisory, Red Hat said, “This flaw allows a local attacker with a user account on the system to gain access to out-of-bounds memory, leading to a system crash or a privilege escalation threat.” So, yes, this is bad. Worse still, it affects recent major distribution releases such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.x; Debian Bullseye; Ubuntu Linux, and SUSE Linux Enterprise 15.3. While the Linux kernel netfilter patch has been made, the patch isn’t available yet in all distribution releases.

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New CaddyWiper Data Wiping Malware Hits Ukrainian Networks

Newly discovered data-destroying malware was observed earlier today in attacks targeting Ukrainian organizations and deleting data across systems on compromised networks. BleepingComputer reports: “This new malware erases user data and partition information from attached drives,” ESET Research Labs explained. “ESET telemetry shows that it was seen on a few dozen systems in a limited number of organizations.” While designed to wipe data across Windows domains it’s deployed on, CaddyWiper will use the DsRoleGetPrimaryDomainInformation() function to check if a device is a domain controller. If so, the data on the domain controller will not be deleted. This is likely a tactic used by the attackers to maintain access inside the compromised networks of organizations they hit while still heavily disturbing operations by wiping other critical devices.

While analyzing the PE header of a malware sample discovered on the network of an undisclosed Ukrainian organization, it was also discovered that the malware was deployed in attacks the same day it was compiled. “CaddyWiper does not share any significant code similarity with HermeticWiper, IsaacWiper, or any other malware known to us. The sample we analyzed was not digitally signed,” ESET added. “Similarly to HermeticWiper deployments, we observed CaddyWiper being deployed via GPO, indicating the attackers had prior control of the target’s network beforehand.”

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Malware Campaign Impersonates VC Firm Looking To Buy Sites

BleepingComputer was recently contacted by an alleged “venture capitalist” firm that wanted to invest or purchase our site. However, as we later discovered, this was a malicious campaign designed to install malware that provides remote access to our devices. Lawrence Abrams from BleepingComputer writes: Last week, BleepingComputer received an email to our contact form from an IP address belonging to a United Kingdom virtual server company. Writing about cybersecurity for so long, I am paranoid regarding email, messaging, and visiting unknown websites. So, I immediately grew suspicious of the email, fired up a virtual machine and VPN, and did a search for Vuxner. Google showed only a few results for ‘Vuxner,’ with one being for a well-designed and legitimate-looking vuxner[.]com, a site promoting “Vuxner Chat — Next level of privacy with free instant messaging.” As this appeared to be the “Vuxner chat” the threat actors referenced in their email, BleepingComputer attempted to download it and run it on a virtual machine.

BleepingComputer found that the VuxnerChat.exe download [VirusTotal] actually installs the “Trillian” messaging app and then downloads further malware onto the computer after Trillian finishes installing. As this type of campaign looked similar to other campaigns that have pushed remote access and password-stealing trojans in the past, BleepingComputer reached out to cybersecurity firm Cluster25 who has previously helped BleepingComputer diagnose similar malware attacks in the past. Cluster25 researchers explain in a report coordinated with BleepingComputer that the Vuxner[.]com is hosted behind Cloudflare, however they could still determine hosting server’s actual address at 86.104.15[.]123.

The researchers state that the Vuxner Chat program is being used as a decoy for installing a remote desktop software known as RuRAT, which is used as a remote access trojan. Once a user installs the Vuxner Trillian client and exits the installer, it will download and execute a Setup.exe executable [VirusTotal] from https://vuxner[.]com/setup.exe. When done, the victim will be left with a C:swrbldin folder filled with a variety of batch files, VBS scripts, and other files used to install RuRAT on the device. Cluster25 told BleepingComputer that the threat actors are using this attack to gain initial access to a device and then take control over the host. Once they control the host, they can search for credentials and sensitive data or use the device as a launchpad to spread laterally in a network.

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Microsoft Defender Will Soon Block Windows Password Theft

Microsoft is enabling a Microsoft Defender ‘Attack Surface Reduction’ security rule by default to block hackers’ attempts to steal Windows credentials from the LSASS process. BleepingComputer reports: When threat actors compromise a network, they attempt to spread laterally to other devices by stealing credentials or using exploits. One of the most common methods to steal Windows credentials is to gain admin privileges on a compromised device and then dump the memory of the Local Security Authority Server Service (LSASS) process running in Windows. This memory dump contains NTLM hashes of Windows credentials of users who had logged into the computer that can be brute-forced for clear-text passwords or used in Pass-the-Hash attacks to login into other devices. While Microsoft Defender block programs like Mimikatz, a LSASS memory dump can still be transferred to a remote computer to dump credentials without fear of being blocked.

To prevent threat actors from abusing LSASS memory dumps, Microsoft has introduced security features that prevent access to the LSASS process. One of these security features is Credential Guard, which isolates the LSASS process in a virtualized container that prevents other processes from accessing it. However, this feature can lead to conflicts with drivers or applications, causing some organizations not to enable it. As a way to mitigate Windows credential theft without causing the conflicts introduced by Credential Guard, Microsoft will soon be enabling a Microsoft Defender Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rule by default. The rule, ‘ Block credential stealing from the Windows local security authority subsystem,’ prevents processes from opening the LSASS process and dumping its memory, even if it has administrative privileges.

While enabling the ASR rule by default will significantly impact the stealing of Windows credentials, it is not a silver bullet by any means. This is because the full Attack Surface Reduction feature is only supported on Windows Enterprise licenses running Microsoft Defender as the primary antivirus. However, BleepingComputer’s tests show that the LSASS ASR rule also works on Windows 10 and Windows 11 Pro clients. Unfortunately, once another antivirus solution is installed, ASR is immediately disabled on the device. Furthermore, security researchers have discovered built-in Microsoft Defender exclusion paths allowing threat actors to run their tools from those filenames/directories to bypass the ASR rules and continue to dump the LSASS process. Mimikatz developer Benjamin Delpy told BleepingComputer that Microsoft probably added these built-in exclusions for another rule, but as exclusions affect ALL rules, it bypasses the LSASS restriction.

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America’s Cybersecurity Agency is Now Urging ‘Heightened Posture’ Against Russian Cyberattacks

America’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) “says that American companies should be extra wary about potential hacking attempts from Russia as tensions with the country rise,” reports PC Magazine:

Even if Russia doesn’t invade Ukraine, it has often targeted the country with what Wired has characterized as “many of the most costly cyberattacks in history.” Those attacks might not always be confined to Ukraine, however, which is where CISA’s new Shields Up campaign comes in…. CISA says that it “recommends all organizations — regardless of size — adopt a heightened posture when it comes to cybersecurity and protecting their most critical assets.” It also says that it’s collaborated with its “critical infrastructure partners” to raise awareness of these risks.
The agency wants everyone to “reduce the likelihood of a damaging cyber intrusion,” “take steps to quickly detect a potential intrusion,” “ensure that the organization is prepared to respond if an intrusion occurs,” and “maximize the organization’s resilience to a destructive cyber incident.” CISA offers advice related to each of those focus areas on its website.

Earlier this week CISA also added 15 “known exploited” vulnerabilities to its catalog, ZDNet reports, in products from Apache, Apple, Jenkins, and Microsoft:

The list includes a Microsoft Windows SAM local privilege escalation vulnerability with a remediation date set for February 24. Vulcan Cyber engineer Mike Parkin said the vulnerability — CVE-2021-36934 — was patched in August 2021 shortly after it was disclosed. “It is a local vulnerability, which reduces the risk of attack and gives more time to deploy the patch. CISA set the due date for Federal organizations who take direction from them, and that date is based on their own risk criteria,” Parkin said. “With Microsoft releasing the fix 5 months ago, and given the relative threat, it is reasonable for them to set late February as the deadline.”

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DHS Warns of Russian Cyberattack On US If It Responds To Ukraine Invasion

As tensions rise in the standoff over Ukraine, the Department of Homeland Security has warned that the U.S. response to a possible Russian invasion could result in a cyberattack launched against the U.S. by the Russian government or its proxies. ABC News reports: “We assess that Russia would consider initiating a cyber attack against the Homeland if it perceived a US or NATO response to a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine threatened its long-term national security,” a DHS Intelligence and Analysis bulletin sent to law enforcement agencies around the country and obtained by ABC News said. The bulletin was dated Jan. 23, 2022.

Russia, DHS said, has a “range of offensive cyber tools that it could employ against US networks,” and the attacks could range from a low level denial of service attack, to “destructive” attacks targeting critical infrastructure. “We assess that Russia’s threshold for conducting disruptive or destructive cyber attacks in the Homeland probably remains very high and we have not observed Moscow directly employ these types of cyber attacks against US critical infrastructure — notwithstanding cyber espionage and potential prepositioning operations in the past,” the bulletin said. Last year, Russian cybercriminals launched a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, shutting down operations and causing widespread outages across the country. Meat supplier JBS also had its operations shutdown due to Russian based hackers.

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