Researchers at IBM's Almaden Research Centre in San Jose, California think they can determine a person's presumptive personality from just 50 Tweets:
"In a test of the new system, Dr Haber analysed three months' worth of data from 90m users of Twitter. His software was able to parse someone's presumptive personality reasonably well from just 50 tweets, and very well indeed from 200."
So… marketers will finally be able to determine truly effective ways to target consumers?
Twitter's initial implementation of two-factor authentication (2FA) relies on SMS.
But… Twitter also uses SMS as a way to send and receive Tweets (making use of SMS for double-duty: social and security). It's possible to "STOP" incoming Tweets via SMS, and that makes sense, because people sometimes end up roaming unexpectedly — and there needs to be a way to stop the SMS feature. Otherwise it could generate a costly bill.
Unfortunately, an attacker could use SMS spoofing to disable 2FA if he knows the target's phone number.
We've done some testing.
The STOP command removes the phone number from the account — and that in turn disables Twitter's 2FA.
But there's an even worse possibility at the moment.
If you don't yet have 2FA enabled, an attacker who gains access to your account via spear phishing could enable it for himself!
All that's required is random phone number and SMS spoofing the word "GO".
Then the attacker can enable the account's 2FA.
Then send a message. (The message doesn't contain a confirmation code, so it isn't really needed.)
And then click "Yes".
No confirmation code is needed to add a number. (Confirmation is required to change the account's associated e-mail address.)
This is what the victim will see — even if they reset the account's password.
The victim will be locked out, and cannot recover the account without Twitter's support.
So… perhaps you should enable your account's 2FA — before somebody else does it for you.
Fortunately, the majority of Twitter users aren't big targets. Unfortunately, accounts such as @AP are. And Twitter's SMS-based 2FA could be more harm than help when the use case is a dedicated attacker.
Twitter's blog post says "this feature has cleared the way for us to deliver more account security enhancements in the future."
So it shouldn't be possible to issue the "STOP" command to your phone, if your operator supports Twitter's short code. However, it is still quite possible for an attacker to add his phone to your account if it's compromised via phishing.
Twitter's 2FA doesn't require multi-factor confirmation to enable. Anybody with the password can easily add a phone number.
If so, you may be the target of a spear phishing campaign designed to install a spyware on your Mac.
Here's a list of binaries signed by Apple Developer "Rajinder Kumar".
Detected as Trojan-Spy:OSX/HackBack.B:
• 1eedde872cc14492b2e6570229c0f9bc54b3f258 • 6737d668487000207ce6522ea2b32c7e0bd0b7cb • a2b8e636eb4930e4bdd3a6c05348da3205b5e8e0 • 505e2e25909710a96739ba16b99201cc60521af9 • 45a4b01ef316fa79c638cb8c28d288996fd9b95a • 290898b23a85bcd7747589d6f072a844e11eec65 — mentioned in yesterday's post.
Detected as Backdoor:OSX/KitM.A (includes screenshot feature):
Though the spear phishing payloads are not particularly "sophisticated", the campaign's use of German localization and the target's name (removed in the example above) does indicate the attackers have done some homework.
There's another case of Backdoor:OSX/KitM.A in the wild.
A German-based investigator reached out to us yesterday regarding OSX/KitM. (We wrote about it last week.) KitM stands for "Kumar in the Mac", which is our designation for spyware — related to OSX/Filesteal a.k.a. OSX/HackBack — that is signed using an Apple Developer ID in the name of Rajinder Kumar. The Developer ID has since been revoked by Apple.
This latest version of OSX/KitM used a Romanian C&C server called liveapple.eu during the period of attack, December 2012 to early February 2013. The spear phishing used an attachment called Christmas_Card.app.zip. (Remember, the attack started in December.)
So, that brings us to this bit of advice for those of you who might be targets.
This is the default "Gatekeeper" security setting:
Mac App Store and identified developers
This is the setting that you want, unless you're actively installing software:
Mac App Store
This is the prompt that results when OSX/KitM attempts to install with the stricter setting:
If you're running OS X Mountain Lion or Lion v10.7.5 — adjust your settings as an extra layer of precaution.
LulzSec – the rockband of hacker groups – had three of their six members sentenced today in London.
LulzSec made headlines during their "50 days of Lulz" in May-June 2011, during which they attacked Fox, PBS, Sony, Nintendo, Sega, Minecraft, Infragard, NHS, US Senate, SOCA and CIA. They also recorded and published a conference call between US and European law enforcement officials, discussing police tactics against LulzSec.
LulzSec was different from most other attackers, as they weren't doing their attacks to make money or to protest. They did it for Teh Lulz. Also, they had no sense of self-preservation, which led to taking them down.
The Oslo Freedom Forum is an annual event "exploring how best to challenge authoritarianism and promote free and open societies." This year's conference (which took place May 13-15) had a workshop for freedom of speech activists on how to secure their devices against government monitoring. During the workshop, Jacob Appelbaum actually discovered a new and previously unknown backdoor on an African activist's Mac.
Our Mac analyst (Brod) is currently investigating the sample.
That's the problem with "social" usernames — they're meant to be known.
Another problem, Twitter appears to validate e-mail addresses:
Looks like nobody's home at firstname.lastname@example.org:
Twitter's settings include an option to require "personal" infomation such as an e-mail or phone number:
But that's less than useless if Twitter won't actually let you add your number:
And just how "personal" is a phone number anyway?
But Twitter should first stop validating e-mail addresses.
And then maybe it could add an option to disallow logins via the publicly known username.
Edited to add: On second thought…
How about this?
Twitter should stop validating e-mailing addresses in its password reset form.
And then, discriminate between using e-mail and username. If an account is accessed with the username — don't provide access to the account settings! The e-mail address (alias) could then be used only by account "adminstrators".
Example: regular @AP staff could login with "AP" — no settings for them! They could Tweet, but would be restricted from making changes to the account. But the @AP "admin", some guy in the IT department, that person could login using the "secret" e-mail address and would be able to change account settings (and lockdown the account in case of a breach).
Discriminating between e-mail and username — a way to distinguish between "admins" and "users".
Malaysia's 2013 general elections are scheduled for Sunday, May 5, 2013. Political news coverage is currently inundating all news outlets, including social networking sites, as the country's political parties go into high gear in the final run-up to polling day.
The huge media interest creates an opportunity for malware writers to gain new victims using established social engineering techniques — and sure enough, this week Citizen Lab released a report indicating that a sample of the sophisticated FinFisher (a.k.a. FinSpy) surveillance malware was discovered in a document crafted specifically for this event.
The malware was distributed in a booby-trapped Malay-language Microsoft Word document named "SENARAI CADANGAN CALON PRU KE-13 MENGIKUT NEGERI.doc" (In English: "List of proposed candidates for 13th General Elections according to states").
The report speculates that the attack document is targeting Malaysians looking for more information related to one of the most closely contested elections in the country's history. F-Secure detects the document in question as Trojan:W32/FinSpy.D.
Finfisher is produced by an European company called the Gamma Group. As we mentioned in a previous post, the company was present at the ISS World 2011 gathering hosted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The ISS event serves as a trade fair for surveillance software (attendance is by "invitation" or if you are a "telco service provider, government employees or law enforcement officer").
Additionally, there have been reports alleging that multiple news and social media sites, including YouTube, Facebook, and Malaysiakini (a popular Malaysian online news site) have been subjected to various forms of disruption, including defacements, denial of service attacks, and filtering.
F-Secure Labs is observing the situation. We saw a rise in malware detections during April 2013 in Malaysia. However, we don't really know if the increase was due to election-related activity or something else.