Petnya Post-Mortem: Wiper, not Ransom

This wasn’t just another ransomware attack. It marks a pivot. Because these are the games nationstates play. With collateral damage and no impunity because attribution is hard. We left brick and mortar behind some time ago, when the battlefield moved to cyberspace, where there are no boundaries. Moreover, whatever previous rules of battle we followed do not apply.

There was a one-two punch, with the events out of the Ukraine Thursday morning.  Absolutely things were connected and we need to remember that going forward. Bigger picture. Because a lot is at play right now. From my vantage point, as a Poli Sci grad, cyber security is intrinsically tied to whatever is going on in the larger arena. National security. Global security. The whims of the powers that be dictate their machinations of technology, which has become their new and shiny arsenal. They’ve been at it for a while now, but unlike conventional physical battlefields, we don’t witness what plays out until we’re impacted.

What’s critical to me is that this attack was presented as ransomware to throw us off. As described by The Grugq:

This is definitely not designed to make money. This is designed to spread fast and cause damage, with a plausibly deniable cover of “ransomware.”

This was actually a targeted attack against Ukraine, using malware that was highly destructive. This attack was never about making money. It was all about taking down systems and taking away access to essential service, as per this illustration from the blog post by The Grugq :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think CIA – confidentiality, integrity, accessibility. Ransomware and wiperware go after accessibility. And in our world, downtime can equal death, figuratively as well as literally (think hospitals and critical infrastructure).  As Leslie Carhart says:

Blood is in the Water -Not only have criminals found that ransomware is a great money-making scheme, but nation states and terrorist organizations have realized pseudo-ransomware makes a misleading and effective weapon. A weapon that can cause collateral damage, globally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There have been some excellent reviews of what this attack was about, and how the Eternal Blue exploit released via ShadowBrokers was yet again leveraged against unpatched systems. Key takeaways were:

  • Unpatched systems will continue to be our undoing and exploited. We’re more at risk now because of that cache of exploits being lobbed at us monthly via the ShadowBrokers.
  • Lateral movement within networks works for attackers and infection spread. Segment. Segregate. Flat networks are an attacker’s dream.
  • Multiple infection vectors. There were as many as 4 ways for the target to be compromised.
  • Backup and test how those restore. Don’t assume anything. And keep backups off the main network
  • Windows.  Everyone uses it. Powershell. Sysinternals. AD. PSExec. Let’s keep learning about these because the attackers sure as heck know what they can do with them.

We know what er are not doing well. It’s catching up with us. Let me end with these words of wisdom by Leslie:

Defense in depth, including human threat hunting and effective detection and prevention at many points, is key. This will involve policy and financial buy-in from many lagging organizations at a new level.

And this sums it up:

 

 

 

 

 

 

These blog posts say everything I could ever want you to know, only better. Please read them:

The Grugq: Pnetya: Yet Another Ransomware Outbreak  .

Leslie Carhart @hacksforpancakes:  Why NotPetya Kep Me Awake (And You Should Worry Too)

Cisco Talos Blog: New Ransomware Variant Netnya Compromises Systems Worldwide

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Ransomware Updates

We’ve got some new stuff out there. First, for those who torrent, be careful. If you torrent on a Mac, be very careful.  For the second time, ransomware has been designed for the Mac OS.In this case, “Patcher” is poor quality, shoddy code, to the extent that if the victim pays the ransom, they don’t get their files back because that code doesn’t work. It’s getting dropped via fake Adobe Premier Pro and Microsoft Office for Mac.

Second, if Google is telling you “Hoefler test not found”, don’t think you need to install that font. It’s a ploy on certain compromised websites to drop Spora ransomware. And very few AV or anti-malware programs can detect this one.

spora.JPG But, if you play it safe and do as Google says, click Discard and don’t download.  You’ll avoid ransomware.

If you want to know more, I’ve got a Ransomware page.

And saved the best for last. This amazing map from F-Secure shows the timeline of ransomware.  You can see the explosion that took place in 2016.

ransomware-tube-map

https://www.f-secure.com/documents/996508/1030743/cyber-security-report-2017

 

Catch of the Day

Here’s my catch of the day for you: Wednesday Jan 25 2017

Microsoft Closes Security Hole in Mac OS X Remote Desktop App : Microsoft has fixed a serious vulnerability affecting users on Mac OS X.  As reported “The Microsoft remote desktop client for Mac OSx allowed a malicious terminal server to read and write any file in the home directory of the connecting user”. Essentially an attacker could trick users into opening a malicious rdp URL, and then access the user’s home directory. The clincher is that Mac OS X apps eg Safari, Mail, Messages, open clicked rdp URLs by default. No questions asked. And we really, really need that “Mother may I?” here. That means phishing attacks are far more successful. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/24/microsoft_fixes_remote_desktop_app_mac_hack/

Lloyd’s Bank hit by DDoS Attack:  On January 11th, the venerable Lloyd’s Bank of London was struck by a DDoS attack that lasted until Friday January 13th.  Attackers tried to crash the Lloyd’s site, causing issues for customers and impacting some access to online banking.  The bank did not lose money, nor data, nor was the impact significant.  Law enforcement is investigating.  We know there are more to come. Banks & DDoS hmmm
http://news.softpedia.com/news/lloyds-bank-hit-with-ddos-attack-for-three-days-straight-reasons-yet-unknown-512114.shtml

What’s New Yahoo?:  From our “This should come as no surprise” department.  Yahoo has announced its forthcoming sale will be delayed – awww – and completed in the second quarter of this year, not the first.  After the two mega breaches which were reported in the last half of 2016, public confidence dropped. While that is as it should be, it is interesting that although search revenue fell slightly, revenue in other sectors grew and the company reported a $162 million profit.   http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38725812

Benevolent Hackers Warns Users of Cassandra Databases: If you are following the crazy number of ransomware attacks on databases, then you know it ain’t just Mongo. Cassandra users are being alerted via an empty table named “your_db_is_not_secure“. And if you ask Shodan, over 2600 of these databases are open and unsecured.  Some good folks are hard at work tracking and reporting details, like @0xDUDE and @DunningKrugerEffect.

victor3

The Future of Ransomware

ransom

Ransomware is like like a nasty game of tag: you can try to avoid it but once you’re hit, you’re out. For all we know about doing defence right, following the best practices advocated by NIST and SANS, this particularly malevolent threat has been on an upward trajectory out of the gate since 2016, after trending through 2015.  It’s gone way beyond just phishing for targets and locking down individual files.  Current strains are evasive: like tag, they figure out what anti-virus and security is running on the target system that might detect it and stay hidden. They now go after websites. They lock down entire servers. And they don’t care who the victims are – not even hospitals.

Samsam-ransomware-attack-chain-768x391

If you’ve been reading along with me on Twitter, or happen to be up at 2:00 a.m. like I am, you know that ransomware is what keeps me up at night. Along with some other brilliant minds in our security community who are dedicated to tracking and shutting down this ever-growing threat. These guys really know what they’re doing. Countless hours of research, investigation and analysis have produced this paper:  Ransomware: Past, Present, and Future.   There are definitive pieces that give the lay of the land and map out the course ahead. That is what this piece does. Sincere appreciation for the efforts of  @da_667 @munin @ImmortanJo3 @wvualphasoldier (and others) who put this together. They understand just how widespread the risk is, and time is not a luxury we have. This is essential reading for anyone in tech, security, business, critical infrastructure. Essentially, anyone who needs to safeguard the data and networks their daily business relies on.

From the Talos blog: A fictional Adversary’s workflow of compromise and takeover

dadiagram

Right now, here is what I would advise anyone.  Back you stuff up, frequently, and separately from the network.  Check your patch management situation. Where are your exposures?  How are you handling security awareness, especially around phishing? Do you monitor your systems regularly, so that you have a baseline to compare events against?

And finally, take the time now and please read this: Ransomware: Past, Present and Future by Talos. Because the more people who know about ransomware and where it’s headed, the better we can all work together to secure things.

Thank you for stopping by!

My Layman’s Terms: The Java Deserialization Vulnerability in Current Ransomware

There has been a recent wave of ransomware attacks against hospitals, highly publicized and for good reason. Who the hell attacks hospitals with malicious code that locks up access to critical care systems, and puts our most vulnerable at further risk? Well, there’s more to this story than I can reveal here but I’ve been following the trend for months, and here’s what you need to know.

tweet ransom

FIRST: This was never about the hospitals. They weren’t the specific target. Law enforcement also relies on constant access to critical systems and they are being hit. But this goes so much wider, and we’re missing the bigger picture here. Therein lies the danger.   Samsa/Samsam has been a cash grab for the attackers, with no costs, no penalties. Don’t expect them to stop looking for more revenue streams to hit.

SECOND: This ransomware is not the same old ransomware. We can’t rely on our standard approaches to detect and defend against future attacks. This one goes after servers, so it can bring down entire networks, and doesn’t rely on the social engineering tactics to gain access.  It’s so bad US-CERT has issued this recent advisory.

I’ve laid out what’s been made available on just how this new strain of ransomware works. And I’ve done it in terms to help anybody take a closer look at the middleware running in their systems currently. Because a little knowledge could be dangerous thing used to our advantage this time.

tweetsamsa

WHAT: Extremely dangerous and wholly underated class of vulns

Attackers can gain complete remote control of an app server. Steal or corrupt data accessible from the server. Steal app code. Change the app. Use the server as launching oint for further attacks.

  • No working public exploits against apps til now
  • Remotely executable exploits against major middleware products
  • Powerful functionality that should not be exposed to untrusted users in the ability to hijack deserialization process.

IMPACT: Millions of app servers open to compromise

  • Not easily mitigated
  • Potential for millions of apps to be susceptible
  • Many enterprise apps vulnerable

AFFECTS: All apps that accept serialized Java objects

Remotely executable exploits against major middleware products:

  • WebSphere
  • WebLogic
  • JBoss
  • Jenkins
  • OpenNMS

HOW: Vulnerability is found in how many JAVA apps handle process of object deserialization.

Serialization is how programming languages transfer complex data structures over the network and between computers. Disassembly is the process of breaking an object down into a sequence of bits.

Deserialization is reassembly of those bits. (unserialization)

A Java object is broken down into series of bytes for easier transport.

Then is reassembled back at other end. Think the fly or tranporter

PROBLEM:  many applications that accept serialized objects do NOT validate or check UNTRUSTED input before deserialization or putting things back together. So yes, this is the perfect point to sneak the bad stuff in.

Attackers can INSERT malicious object into data stream and it can execute on the app server

Attack method:  special objects are serialized to cause the standard Java deserialization engine to instead run code the Attacker chooses.

Each of the 5 middleware applications listed above has a Java library called  “commons-collections.” This has a method that can lead to remote code execution when data is deserialized. Because no code should execute during this process.

NEEDS TO HAPPEN:

Enterprises must find all the places they use deserialized or untrusted data. Searching code alone will not be enough. Frameworks and libraries can also be exposed.

Need to harden it against the threat.

Removing commons collections from app servers will not be enough.   Other libraries can be affected.

Contrast Sec has a free tool for addressing issue.  Runtime Applicaton Self-Protection RASP.  Adds code to deserialization engine to prevent exploitation.

Sources:

Why the Java Deserialization Bug is a Big Deal Dark Reading by Jai Vijayan

What Do WebLogic, WebSphere, JBoss, Jenkins, OpenNMS, and Your Application Have in Common? This Vulnerability

Paypal is the latest victim of Java Deserialization Bugs in WebApps