CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a statement that his agency too has "active and open investigations" and cited a similar case several years ago in Los Angeles involving a pair of officers.
"The allegations anger and disgust me," Farrow said. "We expect the highest levels of integrity and moral strength from everyone in the California Highway Patrol, and there is no place in our organization for such behavior."
Let's hope Commissioner Farrow, who began his tenure in 2008, truly means what he says.
Flash Player installers, so-called Android security updates, pirated games, and XXX-video players… there's almost never a shortage of suspicious Android apps. We have automation which analyzes such apps and takes screenshots in the process.
101 Bad Android Apps
Here's one particular example: Activate device administrator?
It's been already a week after the announcement of the CVE-2014-4114 vulnerability, and the tally of the exploiters have only increased.
There are even files where the metadata has remained the same, which clearly shows that they have been copied from the original as in the case of Mirtec and Cueisfry (a trojan linked to Japanese-related APT attacks). Authors behind these malware copied the PowerPoint Document originally used by BlackEnergy and just replaced the payload and the content with legitimate material found online.
Well, if another party's winning formula already worked, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Until a patch is pushed out, that is. Which brings us to Taleret, a malware family known to be behind certain Taiwanese APT attacks. After CVE-2014-4114 was patched, there was a need to improvise and as such, Taleret this time grabbed a clean PowerPoint and embedded its payload to get it executed via the CVE-2014-6352, a weakness left over from CVE-2014-4114.
Although Microsoft has released a patch for CVE-2014-4114, CVE-2014-6352 has yet to be patched.
It seems that most of the content used by the malicious PowerPoint documents have been harvested from educational institutions or R&D materials that are available in the Internet, thus making it quite challenging to tell them apart.
Here are some examples of both the clean documents and their malicious counterparts:
While, there isn't a patch for the other vulnerability yet, if you couldn't tell which one is clean and malicious, please verify the documents received from the source. Or, you can update your antivirus signatures to check if they are detected.
Hong Kong has been in the headlines lately thanks to the Occupy central campaign (#occupycentral, #OccupyHK) and the umbrella revolution (#umbrellarevolution, #UmbrellaMovement). DPHK, Democratic Party Hong Kong and Alliance for True Democracy (ATD) are central players in this movement. Recent development has turned this into more than a fight for democracy. The sites of these organizations were infected with malware, and that turned it into a fight for #digitalfreedom as well. Volexity has the story with all the technical details. It seems to be RATs (Remote Access Trojans) that could be used for a variety of purposes. And the purpose of this is really the interesting question. Who did it and why?
• Cybercrime of today is to a large extent social engineering aiming to lure victims to run malware and infecting their devices. It’s very common for cybercriminals to drive more users to infected sites or phishing pages by riding on shocking headlines. So infecting sites that are in the middle of global attention is attractive for any cybercriminal, even without any kind of political motivation.
• These organizations are involved in a political struggle against one of the world’s leading cyber-superpowers. So it sounds very plausible that China would be behind this malware attack out of political motives. A lot of the visitors on these sites are involved in the movement somehow, either as leaders or at grass root level. Their enemy could gain a lot of valuable information by planting RATs even in a small fraction of these peoples’ devices.
• The publicity around the issue will also scare people away from the sites. Twitter can be used efficiently to orchestrate the protests, so an infected site will probably have little practical impact. Blocking services like Twitter is possible but a very visible and dramatic action, and even that can be circumvented with VPNs like F-Secure Freedome. But the site is more important for spreading the protesters’ message to a global audience. The impact may be significant at this level. Here again, China would be the one who benefits.
The moral of the story is naturally that political activists are attractive targets for cyber-attacks. There’s no evidence that these cases have political motives. But you don’t have to be a genius to figure out that China is the prime suspect. And that makes this case noteworthy. Criminals usually target private people and states other states. But here we seem to have a state targeting ordinary people belonging to a political organization. This kind of attack is a very real threat for people running opposition movements. And the threat is not limited to less democratic countries. The police forces in many western countries already have both technology and legal support for using malware against suspects. And usually without proper transparency and control of its usage.
Frankly speaking, I would not be very surprised if a similar case was discovered here in Europe. We do currently not have democratic movements of the same magnitude as the Umbrella movement. But we do have a lot of organizations that are being watched by the authorities. Ultra-right groups is an obvious example.
Today we are pleased to see an important milestone reached in a coordinated campaign against a sophisticated and well-resourced cyber espionage group. We have recently been participating in a Coordinated Malware Eradication initiative led by Novetta, in cooperation with other security vendors particularly iSight, Cisco, Volexity, Tenable, ThreatConnect, ThreatTrack Security, Microsoft and Symantec, in the aims of disrupting the operations of this particular group. Today, we are jointly releasing an improved level of coverage against the threats utilized by the group.
This espionage group, which we believe to have a strong Chinese nexus, has been targeting several industry sectors from finance, education and government to policy groups and think tanks. They have been operational at least since 2010.
The attackers use several different tools to conduct their operations. One of the tools used by these criminals is Moudoor.
Moudoor is a derivative of the famous Gh0st RAT (remote access tool) that spawned many derivatives over time. In fact, its source code has been circulating across the internet at least since 2008.
Moudoor was named after the functions that were exported by the malware components.
Later versions of this malware have dropped such explicit strings, however, the name of the threat remains.
One of the things that allows us to distinguish between Moudoor from other many derivatives of Gh0st is the particular magic value that it uses to communicate with its C&C. This value has been consistently set to "HTTPS", and that is one of the key distinguishers that we have used to track this particular strain over time.
At its core, Moudoor is a powerful remote access tool. The chain of events that lead to Moudoor infections usually begins with the exploitation of 0-day vulnerabilities through watering hole attacks. For example, the attackers used CVE-2012-4792 before to eventually have Moudoor land on the victim machines.
Moudoor has an impressive list of capabilities, some of which are inherited from being a derivative of the Gh0st RAT. Gh0st features extensive file system manipulation functionalities, advanced spying, monitoring features and more.
Of course, Moudoor's authors have continued to customize their "fork" over time by adding new features and removing those which were not needed. For example, earlier variants of Moudoor kept Gh0st's ability to open a remote shell, but this capability has disappeared in the newer versions. On the other hand, the attackers have worked to tailor which information is extracted from the victim machines to their specific needs and interests.
Analysis of the code of Moudoor also gave us hints that the authors of this threat are of Chinese origin. During its execution, the malware builds a string containing the current time information; such string uses Chinese characters to represent the time in human-readable format.
You can read a more detailed summary of the whole operation here. Microsoft has also published information about this operation, which is available from this link.
We are detecting this family as Backdoor:W32/Moudoor. Our customers have received automatic updates to detect the tools known to be used by the attackers. You can also use our Online Scanner to check for signs of compromise. Our Online Scanner is a stand-alone tool that does not require installation, thus will allow you to quickly check for infections simply by downloading and running it.
The following is a true story. The names have been changed because the identity of those involved is none of your business.
Bob uses Linux. Alice uses Mac. Bob gave Alice a file via FAT32 formatted USB drive. Alice inserted the USB drive into her Mac, copied the file, and then gave the USB drive back to Bob. Later, Bob inserted the USB drive into his Linux computer and saw Mac files. Lots and lots of Mac files. And that's typical.
Anybody who has exchanged files with a Mac user knows that Mac OS X copies various "hidden" files to USB drives.
Here's the interesting part…
Bob was curious about the function of the files. (And why so many, what do they do?) Being a reverse engineer, Bob naturally examined the files with a hex editor. And that's when he discovered that a file called ".store.db" contained e-mail addresses, subject lines, and in a few cases, the opening sentence of Alice's messages.
Alarmed that such data/metadata was copied to his USB drive, Bob investigated further and found that the information couldn't be seen using a forensic tool designed specifically for viewing such .db files. From a conventional view, ".store.db" appeared to be identical to "store.db". Only a hex editor view revealed the leaked info embedded within .store.db — so it isn't at all obvious with standard forensic tools.
We have examined Bob's USB drive and can confirm that there is data in the .store.db file that really shouldn't be there. We have been unsuccessful in reproducing the issue with our own Mac computers. We don't have access to Alice or her computer, so we can only speculate. The data may have leaked due to an unknown configuration, it may have leaked due to third-party software, or it may have leaked due to malware.
Here's the concern…
Imagine you're a reporter. Do you want data about the e-mail to your sources leaking to somebody else's USB drive? Definitely not! In some countries, an OPSEC failure such as this could easily land people in jail.
We don't normally write about unknowns. But we do so in this particular case in the hope that somebody will be able to identify the source of the issue. And if somebody does — we'll update this post.
Nicholas Ptacek has pointed out that Mac users can prevent Spotlight from indexing via: System Preferences, Spotlight, Privacy.
Unfortunately, while disabling Spotlight indexing will prevent a leak of data to USB drives, the configuration will limit functionality on the Mac itself. Nicholas suggested that details found here may offer some additional workarounds.
Dr. Jimmy Wall recommended a tool called CleanMyDrive which includes a feature to automatically clean "junk" from your drives. The app is available from the Mac App Store.
Want to see what is hidden away in your Spotlight index?