Requires physical access, but works on OS X, Windows, Linux
A new USB microcontroller -- roughly the size of a small thumb drive -- has been demonstrated as a proof-of-concept device that leverages a serious and unfixable vulnerability in USB easily take over and install malware on any unlocked computer. Though it requires physical access or tricking the user into inserting the controller into a USB port, the device has worrying implications for any computer left unattended for more than a minute -- the time it takes for the device to gain admin access, change network settings, install a backdoor and remove any obvious sign of intrusion.
Un-jailbroken iOS devices safe from attack; Android, Windows smartphones at most risk
Beginning in Russia and spreading quickly to other countries, a new variation on the formerly-dormant Red October malware has been detected by security firms such as Blue Coat and Kaspersky this week. The new version -- which is notably targeting smartphones of diplomats, military leaders and business executives -- contains a level of sophistication in the function and code that suggests a rogue state, which would have the resources to assemble the talent, is backing the attack.
Malware gave 'unauthorized person' access to plaintext information for at least 39 days
In a statement, electronic payment gateway provider Charge Anywhere announced that it had discovered "malware that had not been previously detected by any anti-virus program" in their system. The discovery was made after an unnamed party requested the company investigate some unauthorized transactions that appeared to be made legitimately.
FBI gives guidance to major US corporations, including who to notify during attack
While not specifically naming any names, the FBI has warned that a major cyberattack has taken place against US businesses in the last two weeks. The advisory, likely given in the wake of the enormous Sony breach, gives some details about the tools used in the assault, and provides advice to the businesses on how to respond to the package, which includes informing the FBI.
Company achieves revenue growth after breach fallout, full impact still unknown
Home improvement retailer Home Depot is still locked into a battle over the security breach it reported in September that put 56 million credit cards at risk. However, the fight is no longer against cyber criminals, but rather consumers affected by the breach and government agencies. To date, the retailer is involved in "at least 44 civil lawsuits" in the US and Canada.
Encourages customers to download from trusted sources, notes software warnings
Rebutting advice from the Department of Homeland Security and other sources that have sought to sow fear in users with regards to the "Masque" malware attack, Apple late on Thursday issued a statement saying it is unaware of any actual cases of the malware attacking iOS users. The statement comes on the heels of fast action by the iPhone maker to stop a similar attack dubbed "Wirelurker," in which a now-revoked Enterprise Provisioning certificate was being used to spread potential malware. Apple has not specified if it has fixed the flaw the Masque malware exploits.
Can affect non-jailbroken iOS devices; currently distributed through unofficial Chinese store
A new malware threat to iOS has been discovered that can invade the normally well-protected mobile system through a flaw in OS X and USB that allows packages to be installed through enterprise provisioning. Called "WireLurker," the malicious OS X application (once installed) will monitor for new iOS package installs, and then exploits a weakness in USB to install malware into the target iOS device. Once it is installed, the iOS malware tries to harvest personal data like contacts.
DoD, other secure networks unaffected, claims White House official
Late Tuesday, the White House information technology department detected what it calls "unusual activity" on an unclassified network used by employees. While administration officials claim that there were no indications that classified networks had been penetrated, Electronista has learned that the entire IT suite for the Executive Office of the President (EOP), classified and not, is being swept and examined for malware suspected to be from a foreign source.
CryptoWall 2.0 ransomware discovered being pushed by malicious advertisements
A new ransomware attack has been taking place, infecting victims by spreading malware via advertising networks on major sites, a report claims. Appearing on a number of high-profile websites, the malicious advertising pushed the CryptoWall 2.0 ransomware using Flash exploits, encrypting the victim's local storage and demanding a fee to decrypt it before a payment deadline elapses.
Kmart offering identity theft protection, credit monitoring
Sears-owned retailer Kmart has declared that it has suffered a massive data breach. The company said late Friday that a malware attack that began harvesting data from it its point-of-sale computer systems in early September was "new form of malware" and "similar to a computer virus." Few details have been released by Kmart, but the company warns that it could include every shopper between September 1 and Thursday, October 9. Online shoppers were not impacted by the breach.
Malware entry vector not yet identified; may capitalize on jailbreak compromise
In an almost unheard-of claim, Lacoon Mobile Security has said that it has discovered a new spyware attack that targets both iOS and Android devices and which appears to be aimed specifically at Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters. Lacoon says it made the discovery while investigating the Android version, but did not clarify how the malware might be installed, or overcome the security built into iOS that has, thus far, kept it largely immune to serious malware or viruses.
Assault detected July 30, all stores purged by September 5.
Sandwich chain Jimmy John's has reported a security breach, exposing information from customers of 216 locations. According to the chain, the company discovered at the end of July that an unknown assailant stole credentials from a vendor, and accessed the point-of-sale system. This action installed data-collecting malware at some locations between June 16 and September 5 of this year, with most infestations cleared out before the middle of August. The company reports that the security problem has been addressed, and it is once again safe to use credit cards at all stores.
Security steps, including terminal removal, outlined, malware evaded detection
More information on the breach of home improvement retailer Home Depot was announced today. While the company still says that only stores in North America are affected by the breach, it now adds that the information from 56 million unique payment cards was at risk. The company provided further insight into the steps taken since the breach, including adding stronger encryption, after the malware from terminals was completely removed.
Malware injected by raffle link sells items in Steam inventory, trades to specific account
Security firm F-Secure was recently alerted to a wave of malware targeting the Twitch game streaming audience as a way to turn a quick buck. The target of the Windows-based malware infection isn't aimed at stealing credit card information or joining into an click-through advertising botnet, but rather selling items of value that are associated with a Steam account.
Breach confirmed for April forward as investigation continues, no evidence of PIN theft
An initial investigation by Home Depot into an intrusion of its payment data systems has revealed that its systems were indeed breached. The home improvement retailer began looking into the breach of its systems after it noticed irregular activity and subsequent sale of its customer data last week. Home Depot was apparently hit by the same malware responsible for the breach of Target's systems.
Security firms says malvertising hit sites such as Java, DeviantArt and Photobucket
A "malvertising" campaign made the rounds last week hitting at least eight high-profile websites according to security firm Fox-IT. The firma noticed that the sites were redirecting their visits to other places, allowing it to discover that sites were using vulnerabilities in software like Java and Flash to inject malicious programs. The purpose of the "malvertising" was to infect machines with botnet malware involved in boosting advertisement clicks.
Stores in 24 states affected by breach, spanned up to seven months in some cases
The UPS Store chain of delivery and packaging facilities has reported that a number of its stores have been the target of a "broad-based malware intrusion," adding that customer data could have been accessed. The United Parcel Service (UPS) subsidiary became aware of the breach on July 31, the same day that the Department of Homeland Security sent out notices regarding a malware called "Backoff," according to the New York Times.
Malware strikes un-updated Synology NAS units
Synology product users affected by the SynoLocker attack may have lost their files to the cryptoware. Representatives from Synology have informed Electronista that at this time, they are unable to provide assistance recovering data that has been forcibly encrypted by the malware.
Evolving malicious tool adopts service model, grows increasingly complex
The market for malware tools is expanding, including the purchase of pre-made tools for a hefty fee from underground developers. One such tool aimed at Android, iBanking, promises to conduct a number of malicious actions including intercepting text messages, stealing phone information, pulling geolocation data and constructing botnets with infected devices. All it would cost to obtain the program is $5,000, even after its source code leaked earlier in the year.
Facebook introduces free downloads of anti-malware software
Facebook has announced that it has added downloadable anti-malware software to its abuse detection and prevention systems. Provided in conjunction with F-Secure and Trend Micro, Facebook's new service is aimed at Windows users with infected devices. A pop-up notification appears upon signing into Facebook on an infected device; the app sends scan notifications within Facebook, and when the scanning is completed, the software uninstalls.
Verify Apps updated to check for Android malware regularly after installation
Google is attempting to improve the security of Android, by changing the way it monitors apps on mobile devices. The Verify Apps service, which protects smartphones and tablets by checking the apps for malware at the time of installation and warning over potentially harmful software, will be updated to provide constant on-device monitoring of apps after the installation.
Media attention succeeds where developer reports failed
Thanks to media attention, Apple has now pulled an adware- and malware-laced fake "Tor browser" app from the App Store, months after it was first reported to be a fraud. The Tor project team has repeatedly complained about the fake app since December, as it was neither submitted by the team nor in any way official, but only when iOS news sites like this one picked up on the story did Apple take action.
Malware identified before it sent any customer data outside Target
Reports are circulating that Target knew of its "Black Friday" data breach much earlier than it said it did. Allegedly, the company was alerted by security firm FireEye that there was a potential problem as early as November 30, but no action was taken. Additionally, auditors discovered that Target had disabled features of its security suite that could have removed the infection, prior to it purloining millions of sets of customer's payment method data.
NSA shifting from personal hack to 'industrial scale' widespread attacks
Recently-examined Snowden-leaked documents have shown that the NSA is looking at significantly growing its ability to install malware on a large scale, using automated systems and falsified websites. The documents detail efforts to fake a Facebook server, with the targeted population infected upon visitation of the spoof site.
Remote access tool Dendroid injects malware code into APK files
A HTTP new remote access toolkit (RAT) that is cause for concern has surfaced, according to anti-virus/anti-malware program maker Symantec, which makes turning legitimate Android apps into malware easier than before. The program, Dendroid (tagged as Android.Dendoroid by the security company), offers an easy-to-use commercial solution to inject malicious code for trojan access into APK files for placement on Android marketplaces, bypassing security checks.
Now being spread through Bitcoin programs found on download.com
The newly-detected OS X malware dubbed "OSX/CoinThief.A," a "trojan horse" that disguises itself as a copy of a legitimate app, has spread to other Bitcoin applications. SecureMac, an anti-virus software seller, discovered the original implementation of the malware disguised as a pre-compiled version of an open-source Bitcoin tool. It has now been seen pretending to be other Bitcoin apps, some of which are available on Download.com.
Trojan horse Flashback botnet returns, Intego VirusBarrier includes protection
The Flashback botnet -- a malware attack which first appeared in 2011 -- has been noted as being still a threat in 2014, according to Intego. Beginning January 2, Intego studied command and control domains, and its sinkhole servers recorded all connections from Macs where Flashback is still active, trying to contact the command and control servers. This research, as of Tuesday, counted 14,248 unique identifiers of Flashback variants.
Claims 'real-world' security testing by users makes it better
In the face of security studies that show that more than 90 percent of new mobile malware is found on the Android platform, Google's Chairman Eric Schmidt raised eyebrows and drew laughter at a Gartner symposium and IT expo by refuting a presenter's statement that the platform has serious security and fragmentation issues, claiming both that Android is "more secure than the iPhone," and that access to Google Play eliminates the issue of Android fragmentation.
More uniform cross-platform interface, offers iOS, Android security
Webroot has launched the latest versions of its SecureAnywhere range of home computer security suites. The new Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus, Internet Security Plus, and Internet Security Complete adds new detection technology for protecting against new malware and phishing attacks, along with a redesigned interface for easier monitoring.
Apple's iOS seen to have 0.7 percent of threats targeting it
A memo written by the US Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security last year found that around 79 percent of mobile malware is designed to attack vulnerabilities in Android, with another 19 percent exploiting flaws in the discontinued but still widespread Symbian. Apple's iOS was seen to be threatened by 0.7 percent, while system such as Windows Mobile and BlackBerry drew only 0.3 percent of threats.
More questions raised about Apple app approval process
The security of Apple’s App Store approval process has had its credibility challenged following revelations that it approved an app that was submitted by researchers with remotely assembled malware hidden in its code. According to Technology Review, the team from Georgia Tech monitored the app throughout the approval process and found that Apple only ran the app for a few seconds before approving it. This did give Apple the time to detect the malicious code which subsequently assembled into malware that could steal personal information, device IDs, photos as well as send texts and emails.
Exploits, malware, tools purchased by FBI for remote surveillance hacks
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is able to listen into and record conversations through microphones connected to computers, as well as through Android smartphones, according to a report. The bureau is said to have used hacking tools, including spyware and other malware, that it has purchased from individuals and hacker collectives to gain access to mobile devices, in order to eavesdrop.
Already in iOS 7 beta; hack demonstrated earlier today
Apple says it has already fixed an obscure security flaw that could have allowed hackers to access data on an iOS device through the use of a specially-designed custom USB device that looks like a charger but in fact contains a tiny Linux-powered computer designed to insert malware. The fix is already present in the most recent iOS 7 beta and will be incorporated into the OS when it is released to the public this fall, the company says, and involves notifying users whenever they connect to another computer, even through the power adapter.
Until XProtect updated, only cure is to reset browser
US Government-sponsored report claims China biggest offender
The US Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property has released a report, calling for the use of malware and root kits to enforce US corporate-owned copyrights and media. As proposed, the report calls for the infringing file to be "rendered inaccessible and the unauthorized user’s computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account."
App dumps screenshots into a folder, command and control servers inactive
A new semi-functional malware has been found for OSX. Discovered on a computer at the Oslo Freedom Forum by researcher Jacob Appelbaum, the OSX/KitM.A is a backdoor application which launches on boot and captures screenshots on a regular basis, which are then dumped in a folder.
Trojan horse points to non-functional webpage, part of sound file
A bit of malware -- a Trojan horse file that tries to redirect to a website -- has been found inside an iOS app, but the code has turned out to be harmless. The app in question is called Simply Find It ($2) and comes from a legitimate developer that has produced a number of legitimate games -- suggesting that the malware was probably inserted into the app accidentally. The bigger issue (since there is no direct threat posed by the bad code) is how Apple's testing procedure missed it -- and how two well-known anti-malware scanners couldn't pick up on it either.
BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Mobile have fewest and most innocuous threats
(Updated with Phil Schiller Twitter post) For years, Mac owners have gently rebuffed the myth that the Mac is so resistant to viruses because of "security through obscurity." No, they'd say, it's because the OS is better hardened against threats. Now the malware discussion has moved on to mobile, and that case is being debated anew: the most popular and one of the fastest-fading current cellphone OSes are responsible for a whopping 89 percent of all mobile device malware, while three of the most well-known smartphone platforms -- iOS, Blackberry and Windows Mobile -- have the fewest issues.
Exploits affect both platforms, one targets the Mac specifically
Adobe has issued a patch to update Flash on both the Mac and Windows platform in order to fix two new vulnerabilities already being exploited "in the wild" to spread malware. One of the targeted attacks using the exploit works equally well against Mac users as it does against Windows users. Visitors are tricked into downloading and opening MS Word files that contain malicious Flash content, while the other vulnerability users a similar technique but only affects Windows users.
Users of infected machines warned about malware
Microsoft and Symantec have shut down the Bamital botnet, after obtaining a court order to seize the network's controlling servers. The network, dedicated to redirecting users of computers infected with malware to incorrect search results and online advertisements, is estimated to have earned around $1 million per year for it's operators.
Security program manager challenges test results
Security Essentials, the anti-virus and anti-malware software supplied by Microsoft has failed in anti-virus certification tests. Out of 25 consumer antivirus programs tested by independent laboratory AV-Test in late 2012, only three failed to pass muster, with Microsoft Security Essentials 4.1 being joined by PC Tools Internet Security 2012 and AhnLab Internet Security 8.0.
Vulnerability found in Java 7 Update 10
A previously unknown vulnerability in Java is being used online by hackers, according to security researchers. The 0-day exploit has also reportedly been included in two malware toolkits used by hackers, with the best form of protection currently being to turn off the Java plug-in for all browsers until the hole is patched.
Uses 'SMS activation' to hide subscription charge on cell bill
A Russian security firm with a mixed track record is warning about a new malware threat for the Mac, which masquerades as an installer for various types of software. Doctor Web, who claimed to have discovered the malware, says it is widely available on various sites -- though at present it is targeting Russian Mac users. The Trojan is apparently a Mac variation on a widespread Windows and Android trickware ruse that asks users for their cell number in order to send an activation code by SMS.
Authentication server penetrated; code signed as Adobe-authentic
Adobe warned today that an internal digital code signing server was hacked by "sophisticated threat actors" focusing on Adobe. The early-July hack led to the compilation of a minimum of two malicious files that were digitally signed and authenticated as Adobe genuine software. The hack gave the attackers the means to build malware that the operating system views as legitimate Adobe-created software, making it that much harder for security packages to detect and eliminate the threat.
Stops infected email, files from passing on Mac or Windows malware
Although iOS is widely considered to be all but completely malware-free, Mac security company Intego has created an iOS version of its malware scanner VirusBarrier that works with all iOS 4.0 and higher devices. The program is mainly used to scan email attachments for potential Windows viruses, but can also detect any Mac or UNIX malware, adware, keyloggers and Trojan Horse-type programs. The program can also scan ZIP archives and files stored in some cloud locations such as Dropbox, FTP and websites or WebDAV disks.
Hundreds of strains of malware hosted on 70,000 domains
Microsoft announced Thursday that it was granted permission by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to wrest control of the "Nitol" botnet. In the filing, Microsoft described how it purchased computers from several districts in China, and approximately 20 percent of them came pre-infected with the malware. Titled "Operation B70" by Microsoft, the seizure of the botnet hubs is the latest attack that the manufacturer has undertaken in an attempt to derail large-scale internet crime operations based off of its operating system.
Energy production not affected, no estimated time of recovery
Another Mideast energy firm has been infected by malware, the second in as many weeks, with energy firm RasGas forced to disconnect itself from the Internet as a precautionary measure after an "unknown virus" overcame countermeasures. Natural gas production has thus far not been affected. Both attacks have been intended for data destruction rather than theft, and spread around internal networks by lurking on shared hard drives.
Possibly infected MacBook Pro and more
This week in the MacNN forums one forum member is trying to see if it's possible to install and run Mac OS X on a computer that previously ran Windows, click here to give advice. One disgruntled forum goer is concerned about a MacBook Pro possibly infected with malware, and seeks help to solve the problem.
Code auto-uninstalls using newly-sent command
The originators of the accidentally-discovered Flame malware may have sent commands to the controlled machines to delete and overwrite itself. Interestingly, rather than use a pre-existing command in the code, aptly titled SUICIDE, the controllers sent a whole new directive file that assisted in the auto-uninstallation.
Complex data vacuum likely government-backed
Russian security firm Kaspersky has uncovered a massive malware attack, referred to as Flame, that is believed to have gathered sensitive data from a wide array of countries, including Israel and Iran. The malware is said to be modular and expandable in a manner reminiscent of a smartphone app library. The BBC reports that the complexity of the malware has led experts to believe that it could only have been developed with the assistance of a government entity.