Tech

Hallowed Bugtraq infosec list killed then resurrected over the weekend: We heard your feedback, says Accenture

In brief Last week ended with news that the venerable infosec mailing list Bugtraq was being shutdown at the end of the month.

From its first posts in November 1993, Bugtraq aimed to get details of vulnerabilities, as well as defence and exploitation techniques, onto netizens’ radar, and discussed among admins and security researchers. Posts to this once high-volume Symantec-owned list stopped on February 22 last year, and now we know why – a lack of funding and resources.

“Assets of Symantec were acquired by Broadcom in late 2019, and some of those assets were then acquired by Accenture in 2020,” an email from the list administrators read.

“At this time, resources for the Bugtraq mailing list have not been prioritized, and this will be the last message to the list. The archive will be shut down January 31st, 2021.”

Then on Sunday, Accenture had a change of heart. It’s now looking like Bugtraq could last a while longer.

“Bugtraq has been a valuable institution within the Cyber Security community for almost 30 years. Many of our own people entered the industry by subscribing to it and learning from it,” the Accenture team said. “So, based on the feedback we’ve received both from the community-at-large and internally, we’ve decided to keep the Bugtraq list running. We’ll be working in the coming weeks to ensure that it can remain a valuable asset to the community for years to come.”

If you’re using non-Chromium Edge on Windows, don’t. A bug-hunter known as Jonas L found that accessing a specially named folder path on NTFS will corrupt the file-system on Windows 10 1803 and later, requring a reboot and repair operation. Non-Chromium Edge browsers will try to open the path if it’s in a URL in a malicious webpage, triggering the flaw. There are other ways to get people to open the path, such as by hiding the folder in a zip file. It’s hoped Microsoft will fix this soon. We’re not going to share the folder name until then.

Mimecast cert hack: Enterprise security shop Mimecast revealed last week that one of its security certificates, used to link its products to Microsoft 365 deployments, was compromised, potentially allowing miscreants to, for instance, snoop on oragnizations’ data in transit between the affected Mimecast and Microsoft services. Mimecast wouldn’t comment further mid-investigation, though said in a statement:

COVID-19 data leaked: The EU Medicines Agency said some of the coronavirus vaccine approval documents stolen during a network intrusion it disclosed last month has been shared online.

“Some of the unlawfully accessed documents related to COVID-19 medicines and vaccines belonging to third parties have been leaked on the internet,” it said in a statement.

“Necessary action is being taken by the law enforcement authorities. The Agency continues to fully support the criminal investigation into the data breach and to notify any additional entities and individuals whose documents and personal data may have been subject to unauthorised access.”

The thieves abused a single vulnerable application to extract the info, EMA said in an earlier update.

How zero-days are exploited in the real world: Patch Tuesday is always a busy time as vendors emit scores of product fixes, which made it surprising that Google’s Project Zero hotshots used the day to publish a six-part detailed report into a fairly unusual incident involving four zero-day holes being abused in the wild to hijack people’s computers and devices.

The exploitation of the programming blunders was picked up early last year, and carried out by “a highly sophisticated” outfit, we’re told. The intruders were observed using two different servers, one going after Windows machines and the other Android, in so-called watering-hole attacks – which is where the snoops figure out the websites or services routinely used by their targets, and compromise said platforms to then infect the visitors.

One of the exploited Chrome zero-day holes was a faulty JIT compiler issue, and the intruder chained this with three zero-days flaws in Windows’ font handling and CSRSS to gain control of PCs. While the Android attack used exploits for known bugs in older builds of the OS, the Googlers said they think the attacker has zero-day exploits for the mobile operating system, too.

“These exploit chains are designed for efficiencya and flexibility through their modularity,” Project Zero said.

“They are well-engineered, complex code with a variety of novel exploitation methods, mature logging, sophisticated and calculated post-exploitation techniques, and high volumes of anti-analysis and targeting checks. We believe that teams of experts have designed and developed these exploit chains.”

Install an ad-blocker, says CISA: There were two alerts last week from the US government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), one warning of hackers succeeding in busting open several enterprise clouds and another [PDF] suggesting federal agencies use ad blockers.

“CISA is aware of several recent successful cyberattacks against various organizations’ cloud services,” agency said. “The cyber threat actors involved in these attacks used a variety of tactics and techniques – including phishing, brute force login attempts, and possibly a ‘pass-the-cookie’ attack – to attempt to exploit weaknesses in the victim organizations’ cloud security practices.”

The pass-the-cookie attack is noteworthy as it may have allowed one miscreant to bypass multifactor authentication and get into protected areas of a network. Curiously, financial information was targeted in many of the intrusions.

Elsewhere, in a newly released Capacity Enhancement Guide, the CISA recommends US federal agencies install ad blockers to avoid malicious ad injections; standardize on a single, secure browser deployment; use DNS to block access to malicious sites and services; and isolate the browser from other software where possible

NSA issues do’s and DoHn’ts: While we’re on the topic of American advice, the National Security Agency has issued guidance on the correct way to run DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) and claimed it isn’t all plain sailing.

“DoH is not a panacea,” the super-snoops’ report states [PDF]. “DoH is specifically designed to encrypt only the DNS transaction between the client and resolver, not any other traffic that happens after the query is satisfied.”

In addition, DoH’s encrypted traffic makes life harder for systems that examine traffic for suspicious activity, and can be a pain to configure correctly, the agency said. It recommends DoH is suitable for home and mobile workers, and care should be taken when deploying it on core enterprise systems. ®

Speaking of the NSA… Long-time government advisor Rob Joyce has been appointed director of the NSA’s Cybersecurity Directorate.




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