Most Recent News from the Lab
 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

 
The Trusted Internet: Who governs who gets to buy spyware from surveillance software companies? Posted by FSLabs @ 02:31 GMT

When hackers get hacked, that's when secrets are uncovered. On July 5th, Italian-based surveillance technology company Hacking Team was hacked. The hackers released a 400GB torrent file with internal documents, source code, and emails to the public - including the company's client list of close to 60 customers.

The list included countries such as Sudan, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia - despite official company denials of doing business with oppressive regimes. The leaked documents strongly implied that in the South-East Asian region, government agencies from Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia had purchased their most advanced spyware, referred to as a Remote Control System (RCS).

According to security researchers Citizen Lab, this spyware is extraordinarily intrusive, with the ability to turn on microphone and cameras on mobile devices, intercept Skype and instant messages, and use an anonymizer network of proxy servers to prevent harvested information from being traced back to the command and control servers.

Based on images of the client list posted to pastebin the software was purchased in Malaysia by the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Malaysia Intelligence (MI) and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO):

hacking_team_client_list (86k image)

Additional images of leaked invoices posted to medium.com indicated the spyware was sold through a locally-based Malaysian company named Miliserv Technologies (M) Sdb Bhd (registered with the Ministry of Finance Malaysia), which specializes in providing digital forensics, intelligent gathering and public security services:

hacking_team_hack_1 (95k image)

hacking_team_hack_2 (72k image)

Why the Prime Minister's Office would need surveillance software remains puzzling. Mind you, professional grade spyware ain't cheap - a license upgrade could cost you MYR400, 000 and maintenance renewal will set you back about MYR160,000.

According to reports of the incident in Malaysian alternative media, Malaysian government agencies have probably been using the spyware even before discovery of the FinFisher malware that was detected in the run-up to the 2013 General Elections.

Coincidentally, Malaysia has also been the frequent host of the annual ISS World Asia tradeshow, where companies promote their arsenal of 'lawful' surveillance software to law enforcement agencies, telco service provider or government employees. During the 2014 event, the Hacking Team was present and the associate lead sponsor of the event.

MiliServ Technologies is currently involved in the upcoming 2015 ISS World Asia in Kuala Lumpur. The event is invitation-only though it may be interesting to see if Hacking Team will make it there this year.


Post by – Su Gim

 
 

 
 
Tuesday, June 9, 2015

 
Problematic Wassenaar Definitions Posted by Sean @ 13:25 GMT

The Wassenaar Arrangement, a multilateral export control regime, defines "intrusion software" as software specially designed or modified to avoid detection by monitoring tools, or to defeat protective countermeasures, of a computer or network capable device. Intrusion software is used to: extract data or information, or to modify system or user data; or to modify the standard execution path of a program or process in order to allow the execution of externally provided instructions.

Wassenaar states that monitoring tools are software or hardware devices that monitor system behaviours or processes running on a device. This includes antivirus (AV) products, end point security products, Personal Security Products (PSP), Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) or firewalls.

Wassenaar Arrangement definitions
(Source)


So… what we at F-Secure (and the rest of the antivirus industry) call "malware" appears to easily fit Wassenaar's definition of intrusion software.

Why is this interesting?

Well, the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), part of the US Department of Commerce, has proposed updating its rules to require a license for the export of intrusion software.

And according to the Dept of Commerce, "an export" is –any– item that is sent from the United States to a foreign destination. "Items" include among other things, software and technology.

The Paradox

So… if malware is intrusion software, and any item is an export, how exactly are US-based customers supposed to submit a malware sample to their European antivirus vendor? Seriously, customers send us zero-day using malware all the time. Not to mention the samples that we routinely exchange with other trusted AV vendors from around the globe.

Unintended Consequences

The text associated with the BIS proposal says the scope includes penetration testing products that use intrusion software in what looks like an attempt to limit "hacking" tools, but there is nothing about what is excluded from the scope. So the BIS might not intend to limit customers from uploading malware samples to their AV vendor, but that could be the effect if this new rule is adopted and arbitrarily enforced. Or else it could just force people to operate in a legal limbo. Is that what we want?

The BIS is taking comments until July 20th.

 
 

 
 
Monday, June 8, 2015

 
Found Item: UK Wi-Fi Law? Posted by Sean @ 13:27 GMT

I visited the UK last Thursday, found a coffee shop offering "free" Wi-Fi, and read this…

"UK Law states that we must know who is using our Wi-Fi at all times."

Now I'm not a lawyer — but that seems like quite the disingenuous claim.

_WalkinWiFi

Mobile number, post code, and date of birth??

I wonder how many people fall for this type of malarkey.

Post by — @Sean

 
 

 
 
Thursday, May 28, 2015

 
SMS Exploit Messages Posted by Sean @ 13:56 GMT

There's an iOS vulnerability affecting iPhone, iPad, and even Apple Watch that allows for a denial of service.

Crashing a phone with an SMS? That's so 2008.


S60 SMS Exploit Messages

Unlike 2008, this time kids are reportedly using the vulnerability to harass others.

Apple is working on a security update. But unfortunately… that update very likely won't be available for older iPhones.

Updated to add:

Here's the "Effective Power" exploit crashing an iPhone 6:


Effective Power Unicode iOS hack on iPhone 6

And this… is Effective Power crashing the iOS Twitter app:


Effective Power Unicode iOS hack vs Twitter

 
 

 
 
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

 
Ransomware Spam E-Mails Targeting Users in Italy and Spain Posted by FSLabs @ 03:17 GMT

In the past few days, we received some cases from our customers in Italy and Spain, regarding malicious spam e-mails that pointed to Cryptowall or Cryptolocker ransomware.

The spam e-mails pretended to come from a courier/postal service, regarding a parcel that was waiting to be collected. The e-mails offer a link to track that parcel online:

crypt_email (104k image)

When we did the initial investigation of the e-mails from our standard test system, the link redirected to Google:

crypt_email_redirect_italy (187k image)

So, no malicious behavior? Well, we noted that the first two URLs were PHP. Since PHP code is executed on the server side, not locally on the client, it is possible that the servers were 'deciding' whether to redirect the user to Google or to serve malicious content, based on some preset conditions.

Since this particular spam e-mail is written in Italian - perhaps only a customer based in Italy would be able to see the malicious payload? Fortunately, we have Freedome, so we can travel to Italy for a little while to experiment.

So we turned on Freedome, set the location to Milan and clicked the link in the e-mail again:

crypt_email_mal_italy (302k image)

Now we see the bad stuff. If the user is (or appears to be) located in Italy, the server will redirect them to a malicious file hosted on a cloud storage server.

The e-mail spam sent to Spanish users is similar, though in those cases, a CAPTCHA challenge is included to make the site seem more authentic. If the link in the e-mail is clicked by a user located outside Spain, again we end up in Google:

crypt_email_redirect_spain (74k image)

If the site is visited instead from an Spanish IP, we get to the CAPTCHA screen:

crypt_email_target_spain (57k image)

And then to the malware itself:

crypt_email_mal_spain (313k image)

This spam campaign doesn't use any exploits (so far), just old-fashioned social engineering; infection only occurs if the user manually downloads and executes the files offered on the malicious URLs. For our customers, the URLs are blocked and the files are detected.

(malware SHA1s: 483be8273333c83d904bfa30165ef396fde99bf2, 295042c167b278733b10b8f7ba1cb939bff3cb38)

Post by — Victor

 
 

 
 
Friday, May 15, 2015

 
Mac Hack Demonstration Posted by Sean @ 12:46 GMT

Securing your SSH password is very important. Otherwise, you might be pwned by a little girl with her Raspberry Pi.

Kids hack their Dad's computer on her Raspberry Pi

Don't worry, it's an authorized hack, she asked her mom for permission.

 
 

 
 
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

 
HackerStrip: Brain Posted by Sean @ 14:42 GMT

"Hackerstrip is a comics website that publishes comics about hackers and their real life stories."

Brain: Searching for the first PC virus in Pakistan

HackerStrip, Brain

Read the rest of the story at hackerstrip.com; watch the video it's based on here.