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  1. Introduction Black markets deployed on anonymizing networks such as Tor and I2P offer all kinds of illegal products, including drugs and weapons. They represent a pillar of the criminal ecosystem, as these black markets are the privileged places to acquire illegal goods and services by preserving the anonymity of both sellers and buyers and making it difficult to track payment transactions operated through virtual currencies like Bitcoin. The majority of people ignore that one of the most attractive goods in the underground market are zero-day exploits, malicious codes that could be used by hackers to exploit unknown vulnerabilities in any kind of software. The availability of zero-day exploits is a key element for a successful attack. The majority of state-sponsored attacks that go undetected for years rely on the exploitation of an unknown flaw in popular products on the market and SCADA systems. Zero-day exploits: A precious commodity Security experts have debated on several occasions the importance of the zero-day exploitation to design dangerous software that could target any kind of application. Zero-day exploits are among the most important components of any cyber weapons, and for this reason they are always present in the cyber arsenals of governments. Zero-day exploits could be used by threat actors for sabotage or for cyber espionage purposes, or they could be used to hit a specific category of software (i.e. mobile OSs for surveillance, SCADA application within a critical infrastructure). In some cases, security experts have discovered large scale operations infecting thousands of machines by exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities in common applications (e.g. Java platform, Adobe software). A few days ago, for example, security experts at FireEye detected a new highly targeted attack run by the APT28 hacking crew exploiting two zero-day flaws to compromise an “international government entity.” In this case, the APT28 took advantage of zero-day vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash software (CVE-2015-3043) and a Windows operating system (CVE-2015-1701). Zero-day exploits are commodities in the underground economy. Governments are the primary buyers in the growing zero-day market. Governments aren’t the only buyers however, exploit kits including zero-day are also acquired by non-government actors. In 2013 it was estimated that the market was able to provide 85 exploits per day, a concerning number for the security industry, and the situation today could be worse. It has been estimated that every year, zero-day hunters develop a combined 100 exploits, resulting in 85 privately known exploits, and this estimation does not include the data related to independent groups of hackers, whose activities are little known. Zero-day hunters are independent hackers or security firms that analyze every kind of software searching for a vulnerability. Then this knowledge is offered in black marketplaces to the highest bidder, no matter if it is a private company that will use it against a competitor or a government that wants to use it to target the critical infrastructure of an adversary. A study conducted by the experts at NSS Labs in 2013 titled “The Known Unknowns” reported that every day during a period of observation lasting three years, high-paying buyers had access to at least 60 vulnerabilities targeting common software produced by Adobe, Apple, Microsoft and Oracle. “NSS Labs has analyzed ten years of data from two major vulnerability purchase programs, and the results reveal that on any given day over the past three years, privileged groups have had access to at least 58 vulnerabilities targeting Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, or Adobe. Further, it has been found that these vulnerabilities remain private for an average of 151 days. These numbers are considered a minimum estimate of the ‘known unknowns’, as it is unlikely that cyber criminals, brokers, or government agencies will ever share data about their operations. Specialized companies are offering zero-day vulnerabilities for subscription fees that are well within the budget of. A determined attacker (for example, 25 zero-days per year for USD $2.5 million); this has broken the monopoly that nation states historically have held regarding ownership of the latest cyber weapon technology. Jointly, half a dozen boutique exploit providers have the capacity to offer more than 100 exploits per year.” On the black market, a zero-day exploit for a Windows OS sells for up to $250,000 according to BusinessWeek, a good incentive for hackers to focus their efforts in the discovery of this category of vulnerabilities. The price could increase in a significant way if the bugs affect critical systems and the buyer is a government that intends to use it for Information Warfare. What is very concerning is that in many cases, the professionals who discover a zero-day, in order to maximize gains, offer their knowledge to hostile governments who use it also to persecute dissidents or to attack adversary states. The zero-day market follows its own rules, the commodities are highly perishable, the transactions are instantaneous, and the agreement between buyers and sellers is critical. “According to a recent article in The New York Times, firms such as VUPEN (France), ReVuln (Malta), Netragard, Endgame Systems, and Exodus Intelligence (US) advertise that they sell knowledge of security vulnerabilities for cyber espionage. The average price lies between USD $40,000 and USD $160,000. Although some firms restrict their clientele, either based on country of origin or on decisions to sell to specific governments only, the ability to bypass this restriction through proxies seems entirely possible for determinedcyber criminals. Based on service brochures and public reports, these providers can deliver at least 100 exclusive exploits per year,” states the report. In particular, the US contractor Endgame Systems reportedly offers customers 25 exploits a year for $2.5 million. The uncontrolled and unregulated market of zero-day exploits pose a real threat for any industry. For this reason, security experts and government agencies constantly monitor its evolution. The zero-day market in the Deep Web: “TheRealDeal” marketplace Zero-day exploits have been available in several underground Deep Web marketplaces for a long time, and it is not difficult to find malicious codes and exploit kits in different black markets or hacking forums. Recently a new black market dubbed TheRealDeal has appeared in the Deep Web. The platform was designed to provide both sellers and buyers a privileged environment for the commercialization of precious goods. Figure – TheRealDeal Marketplace TheRealDeal (http://trdealmgn4uvm42g.onion) service appeared last month and it is focused on the commercialization of zero-day exploits. The singular marketplace is hosted on the popular Tor network to protect the anonymity of the actors involved in the sale of the precious commodity. The market offers zero-day exploits related to still unknown flaws and one-day exploits that have been already published, but are modified to be undetectable by defensive software. Figure – One-day private exploits The operators also offer one-day private exploits with known CVEs, but for which the code was never released. They also anticipated that a seller specialized in exploits for the GSM platform will soon offer a listing for some very interesting hardware. Who is behind TheRealDeal? The ‘deepdotweb’ website published an interview with one of the administrators of the black market who explained that the project is operated by four cyber experts with significant experience dealing in the “clearnet when it comes to zero-day exploit code, databases and so on.” The administrator explained that the greatest risk in commercializing zero-day exploits is that in the majority of cases, the code does not work or simply the sellers are scammers. Another factor that convicted the administrators to launch the TheRealDeal zero-day marketplace is the consideration that the places where it is possible to find the precious goods are not always easy to reach. There are some IRC servers that are not easy to find or that request an invitation. Differently, TheRealDeal wants to be an ‘open-market’ focused on zero-days. The four experts decided to launch the hidden service to create a marketplace where people can trade zero-day exploits without becoming a victim of fraud and while staying in total anonymity. “We started off by using BitWasp, fully aware of its history and flaws, but since we have years of hands-on experience in the security industry and not much in web-design we decided it would be a good platform since we can make our own security assessments and patches while the whole multi-sig seems to work perfect. We also wanted to avoid involving other people in the project for obvious reasons and that was another reason why not to hire a web designer etc… although we might hire one off the darknet soon, just to improve the UI a little,” said one of the administrators. Below is the list of products available on the TheRealDeal marketplace: 0-Day exploits (4) FUD Exploits (4) 1Day Private Exploits (1) Information (5) Money (36) Source Code (4) Spam (3) Accounts (7) Cards Other Tools (3) RATs (1) Hardware (2) Drugs Misc (6) Pharmacy (12) Cannabis (5) LSD (1) Shrooms (2) MDMA (6) Speed (5) Services (8) Weapons Hot (1) Cold (6) CNC Analyzing the product listing of TheRealDeal Market, it is possible to note the availability of zero-day exploits, which are source codes that could be used by hackers in cyber attacks, and of course any kind of hacking tool. The list is still short because the market is still in an embryonic stage, but the policy of its directors is clear. “Welcome…We originally opened this market in order to be a ‘code market’ — where rare information and code can be obtained,” a message from the website’s anonymous administrator reads. “Completely avoid the scam/scum and enjoy the real code, real information and real products.” Among the products there is a new method of hacking Apple iCloud accounts and exploit kits that could be used to compromise WordPress-based websites and both mobile and desktop OSs (i.e. Android and Windows). The price tag for the iCloud hack is $17,000, and as explained by the seller, it is possible to compromise any account. The buyer could pay in Bitcoin to make their identification difficult. “Any account can be accessed with a malicious request from a proxy account,” reads the description of the hack available on TheRealDeal marketplace. “Please arrange a demonstration using my service listing to hack an account of your choice.” Figure – Zero-day exploits The listing also includes an Internet Explorer attack that is offered for $8,000 in Bitcoin, as reported by Wired in a blog post: “Others include a technique to hack WordPress’ multisite configuration, an exploit against Android’s Webview stock browser, and an Internet Explorer attack that claims to work on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, available for around $8,000 in bitcoin … Found 2 months ago by fuzzing,” the seller writes, referring to an automated method of testing a program against random samples of junk data to see when it crashes. “0day but might be exposed, can’t really tell without risking a lot of money,” the seller adds. “Willing to show a demo via the usual ways, message me but don’t waste my time!” The list of products has been recently updated. It also includes an exploit for the MS15-034 Microsoft IIS Remote Code Execution vulnerability, a flaw that is being actively exploited in the wild against Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, and 2012 R2. TheRealDeal market also offers other products very common in the criminal ecosystem, including drugs, weapons, and Remote Access Trojan (RAT). The operators also created a specific “services” category with the intent to attract high-profile black hats offering their hacking services (i.e. Email account takeover, DDoS services, data theft, hacking campaign). The Information category was created for sellers that offer any kind of information, documents, databases, secret keys, and similar products. TheRealDeal doesn’t implement a real escrow model; instead it adopts a multi-signature model to make any financial transaction effective. Basically, the buyer, the seller and the administrators control the amount of Bitcoin to transfer together, and any transaction needs the signature of two out of the three parties before funds are transferred. The administrators decided to implement multisig transactions because their marketplace is very young and without reputation. This means that people has no incentive to deposit a sum of money for something that they are not able to verify. It is curious to note that the marketplace also offers drugs due to high demand, but according to the administrators they might consider removing them in the future. There is also a “services” category – anything can go there, but we are hoping for some high quality blackhats to come forward and offer their services, anything from obtaining access to an email and getting a certain document and up to long term campaigns. The hardware category is for toys like fake cellular base stations and other physical ‘hacking’ tools. The information category is for any kind of information, documents, databases, secret keys, etc. In the following table are the principal product categories offered in the market and their prices. 0-Day exploits Apple id / iCloud remote exploit USD 17025,52 Internet Explorer <= 11 USD 7840,70 Android WebView 0day RCE USD 8176,73 WordPress MU RCE USD 1008,09 Category: FUD Exploits FUD .js download and execute USD 291,23 Adobe Flash < 16.0.0.296 (CVE-2015-0313) USD 560,05 Adobe Flash < 16.0.0.287 (CVE-2015-0311) USD 560,05 Category: 1Day Private Exploits MS15-034 Microsoft IIS Remote USD 42313,18 Category: Hardware A5/1 Encryption Rainbow Tables USD 67,21 Category: Source Code Banking malware source code USD 2,11 Alina POS malware full source code USD 0,92 Exploit Kits Source Code USD 1,82 “Start your own maket” code and server USD 7959,43 I’ll keep you updated on the evolution of the TheRealDeal marketplace in the next weeks. References http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/36098/cyber-crime/therealdeal-black-marketplace-exploits.html http://www.wired.com/2015/04/therealdeal-zero-day-exploits/ http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/14561/malware/zero-day-market-governments-main-buyers.html https://www.nsslabs.com/reports/known-unknowns-0 http://www.deepdotweb.com/2015/04/08/therealdeal-dark-net-market-for-code-0days-exploits/ Source
  2. AROUND THE SAME time the US and Israel were already developing and unleashing Stuxnet on computers in Iran, using five zero-day exploits to get the digital weapon onto machines there, the government realized it needed a policy for how it should handle zero-day vulnerabilities, according to a new document obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The document, found among a handful of heavily redacted pages released after the civil liberties group sued the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to obtain them, sheds light on the backstory behind the development of the government’s zero-day policy and offers some insight into the motivations for establishing it. What the documents don’t do, however, is provide support for the government’s assertions that it discloses the “vast majority” of zero-day vulnerabilities it discovers instead of keeping them secret and exploiting them. “The level of transparency we have now is not enough,” says Andrew Crocker a legal fellow at EFF. “It doesn’t answer a lot of questions about how often the intelligence community is disclosing, whether they’re really following this process, and who is involved in making these decisions in the executive branch. More transparency is needed.” The timeframe around the development of the policy does make clear, however, that the government was deploying zero-days to attack systems long before it had established a formal policy for their use. Task Force Launched in 2008 Titled “Vulnerability Equities Process Highlights,” (.pdf) the document appears to have been created July 8, 2010, based on a date in its file name. Vulnerability equities process in the title refers to the process whereby the government assesses zero-day software security holes that it either finds or buys from contractors in order to determine whether they should be disclosed to the software vendor to be patched or kept secret so intelligence agencies can use them to hack into systems as they please. The government’s use of zero-day vulnerabilities is controversial, not least because when it withholds information about software vulnerabilities to exploit them in targeted systems, it leaves every other system that use the same software also vulnerable to being hacked, including U.S. government computers and critical infrastructure systems. According to the document, the equities process grew out of a task force the government formed in 2008 to develop a plan for improving its ability “to use the full spectrum of offensive capabilities to better defend U.S. information systems.” Source
  3. Hackers are using a zero-day vulnerability in Adobe Flash to infect systems with a dangerous BEDEP malware variant. Trend Micro research engineer Alvin Bacani reported uncovering the campaign in a threat advisory, proving that hackers began targeting the zero-day less than a week after its discovery. "Continuing our analysis of the recent Adobe zero-day exploit, we find that the infection chain does not end with the Flash exploit, detected as SWF_EXPLOIT.MJST. Rather, the exploit downloads and executes malware belonging to the BEDEP family," read the advisory. Trend Micro reported uncovering the Flash flaw on 2 February, warning that attackers could target victims with malvertising attacks. The flaw is originally believed to have been targeted by hackers using the Angler Exploit Kit to send malicious automatic pop-up adverts. Bacani explained that BEDEP employs the same malvertising infection tactic, but uses the Hanjuan exploit kit to connect victim machines to a criminal botnet. "Based on our analysis, the infection chain begins with a site that hosts malvertisements. As the name implies, these are infected online advertisements," read the advisory. "Our recent findings also show that the malware's main purpose is to turn infected systems into botnets for other malicious intentions. "Additionally, BEDEP is known for carrying out advertising fraud routines and downloading additional malware." The full scale of the campaign remains unknown and the nature of the BEDEP malware makes tracking the attacks difficult. "The fact that the payloads are encoded can be seen as one way of evading detection. An encoded payload will be difficult to identify when passing through the network layer, or when scanned in any layer in an encoded state," noted Bacani. "BEDEP initially came undetected and unnoticed due to its heavy encryption and use of Microsoft file properties for its disguise as well as the use of seemingly legitimate export functions." The flaw is one of three recently discovered Flash zero-day vulnerabilities. The first two were uncovered by Adobe in January and are known to have been actively targeted by hackers. Source
  4. Adobe Systems has made a patch available for a zero-day vulnerability in Flash Player that came under attack in recent days. The vulnerability, CVE-2015-0313, affects Adobe Flash Player 16.0.0.296 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, as well as Flash Player 13.0.0.264 and earlier 13.x versions. The vulnerability can be exploited to cause a crash and possibly take control of a vulnerable systems. So far, the vulnerability is known to have been used to target systems running Internet Explorer and Firefox on Windows 8.1 and below. The bug has been linked to malvertising attacks. In the days since news broke of the vulnerability, security researchers have determined that the zero-day was being leveraged by a lesser known exploit called 'HanJuan' – not the Angler kit as some had previously thought. "Exploit kits are made of different parts that can be updated as time goes on," Malwarebyes Senior Security Researcher Jerome Segura blogged recently. "That is one critical part as most software programs evolve and new vulnerabilities are discovered. Since there is a high demand to have the most effective exploitation tools, there is a lot of money that goes into making the exploit kits better." The malvertising attack detected by Trend Micro impacted visitors to dailymotion.com, who were directed to a series of sites that ultimately led to the exploit kit. Malvertisements are an old style of malware delivery, but they remain incredibly notorious because websites have no choice but to load ads and trust whatever content is served by third parties, blogged Trend Micro Threats Analyst Brooks Li. Users, on the other hand, have no choice but to accept ads as a part of their everyday browsing experience as well, Li added. According to Adobe, users who have enabled auto-update for the Flash Player desktop runtime will be receiving version 16.0.0.305 beginning today to fix CVE-2015-0313. "Adobe expects to have an update available for manual download on February 5, and we are working with our distribution partners to make the update available in Google Chrome and Internet Explorer 10 and 11," according to Adobe. This vulnerability is the third Flash Player zero-day discovered in the past month that came under attack. In January, Adobe patched CVE-2015-0310, which could be used to circumvent memory randomization mitigations on Windows, as well as CVE-2015-0311, which could be leveraged to cause a crash or hijack a vulnerable system. Source: securityweek.com
  5. Security researcher Kafeine has discovered a Zero-Day in Adobe Flash Player distributed through the Angler Exploit Kit. Flash has been plagued with critical vulnerabilities in the past few months and surpassed the no longer popular Java as the most exploited plugin. We immediately got our hands on this new Zero-Day (thanks Kafeine) and were able to replay it as well with the goal of testing our Anti-Exploit product: Security researcher Kafeine has discovered a Zero-Day in Adobe Flash Player distributed through the Angler Exploit Kit. Flash has been plagued with critical vulnerabilities in the past few months and surpassed the no longer popular Java as the most exploited plugin. We immediately got our hands on this new Zero-Day (thanks Kafeine) and were able to replay it as well with the goal of testing our Anti-Exploit product: MarcinZeroDay With the latest version of Internet Explorer and latest version of Flash, the exploit was successfully blocked by Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit. On unprotected machines, the Angler Exploit Kit will install Bedep, a distribution botnet that can load multiple payloads on the infected host. As this is a breaking story, we are still analyzing the exploit and will update this post later accordingly. Update: 01/21/15: Some details about the malware payload. The payload in this particular instance was ad fraud. Upon infection, explorer.exe (not to be confused with iexplore.exe) is injected and performs the ad fraud calls. The following Fiddler capture shows how a zombie PC is gaming the ad networks with bogus requests without the victim’s knowledge: sursa:Malwarebytes team
  6. Va recomand sa cititi stirea de mai jos chiar daca e lunga. How do companies prepare for the worst? By exposing workers to lifelike crises. Early on Halloween morning, members of Facebook's Computer Emergency Response Team received an urgent e-mail from an FBI special agent who regularly briefs them on security matters. The e-mail contained a Facebook link to a PHP script that appeared to give anyone who knew its location unfettered access to the site's front-end system. It also referenced a suspicious IP address that suggested criminal hackers in Beijing were involved. "Sorry for the early e-mail but I am at the airport about to fly home," the e-mail started. It was 7:01am. "Based on what I know of the group it could be ugly. Not sure if you can see it anywhere or if it's even yours." Facebook employees immediately dug into the mysterious code. What they found only heightened suspicions that something was terribly wrong. Facebook procedures require all code posted to the site to be handled by two members of its development team, and yet this script somehow evaded those measures. At 10:45am, the incident received a classification known as "unbreak now," the Facebook equivalent of the US military's emergency DEFCON 1 rating. At 11:04am, after identifying the account used to publish the code, the team learned the engineer the account belonged to knew nothing about the script. One minute later, they issued a takedown to remove the code from their servers. With the initial threat contained, members of various Facebook security teams turned their attention to how it got there in the first place. A snippet of an online chat captures some of the confusion and panic: Facebook Product Security: question now is where did this come from Facebook Security Infrastructure Menlo Park: what's [IP ADDRESS REDACTED] Facebook Security Infrastructure Menlo Park: registered to someone in beijing… Facebook Security Infrastructure London: yeah this is complete sketchtown Facebook Product Security: somethings fishy Facebook Site Integrity: which means that whoever discovered this is looking at our code If the attackers were able to post code on Facebook's site, it stood to reason, they probably still had that capability. Further, they may have left multiple backdoors on the network to ensure they would still have access even if any one of them was closed. More importantly, it wasn't clear how the attackers posted the code in the first place. During the next 24 hours, a couple dozen employees from eight internal Facebook teams scoured server logs, the engineers' laptop, and other crime-scene evidence until they had their answer: the engineer's fully patched laptop had been targeted by a zero-day exploit that allowed attackers to seize control of it. This is only a test The FBI e-mail, zero-day exploit, and backdoor code, it turns out, were part of an elaborate drill Facebook executives devised to test the company's defenses and incident responders. The goal: to create a realistic security disaster to see how well employees fared at unraveling and repelling it. While the attack was simulated, it contained as many real elements as possible. The engineer's computer was compromised using a real zero-day exploit targeting an undisclosed piece of software. (Facebook promptly reported it to the developer.) It allowed a "red team" composed of current and former Facebook employees to access the company's code production environment. (The affected software developer was notified before the drill was disclosed to the rest of the Facebook employees). The PHP code on the Facebook site contained a real backdoor. (It was neutralized by adding comment characters in front of the operative functions.) Facebook even recruited one of its former developers to work on the team to maximize what could be done with the access. The FBI e-mail came at the request of Facebook employees in an attempt to see how quickly and effectively various employee teams could work together to discover and solve the problems. "Internet security is so flawed," Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan told Ars. "I hate to say it, but it seems everyone is in this constant losing battle if you read the headlines. We don't want to be part of those bad headlines." The most recent dire security-related headlines came last week, when The New York Times reported China-based hackers had been rooting through the publisher's corporate network for four months. They installed 45 separate pieces of custom-developed malware, almost all of which remained undetected. The massive hack, the NYT said, was pursued with the goal of identifying sources used to report a story series related to the family of China’s prime minister. Among other things, the attackers were able to retrieve password data for every single NYT employee and access the personal computers of 53 workers, some of which were directly inside the publisher's newsroom. As thorough and persistent as the NYT breach was, the style of attack is hardly new. In 2010, hackers penetrated the defenses of Google, Adobe Systems, and at least 32 other companies in the IT and pharmaceutical industries. Operation Aurora, as the hacking campaign came to be dubbed, exploited zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser and possibly other widely used programs. Once attackers gained a foothold on employee computers, they used that access to breach other, more sensitive, parts of the companies' networks. The hacks allowed the attackers to make off with valuable Google intellectual property and information about dissidents who used the company's services. It also helped coin the term "advanced persistent threat," or APT, used to describe hacks that will last weeks or months targeting a specific organization that possesses assets the attackers covet. Since then, reports of APTs have become a regular occurrence. In 2011, for instance, attackers breached the servers of RSA and stole information that could be used to compromise the security of two-factor authentication tokens sold by the division of EMC. A few months later, defense contractor Lockheed Martin said an attack on its network was aided by the theft of the confidential RSA data relating to its SecurID tokens, which some 40 million employees use to access sensitive corporate and government computer systems. "That was the inspiration around all this stuff," Facebook Security Director Ryan "Magoo" McGeehan said of the company's drills. "You don't want the first time you deal with that to be real. You want something that you've done before in your back pocket." Even after employees learned this particular hack was only for practice—about a half hour after the pseudo backdoor was closed—they still weren't told of the infection on the engineer's laptop or the zero-day vulnerability that was used to foist the malware. They spent the next 24 hours doing forensics on the computer and analyzing server logs to unravel that mystery. "Operation Loopback," as the drill was known internally, is notable for the pains it took to simulate a real breach on Facebook's network. "They're doing penetration testing as it's supposed to be done," said Rob Havelt, director of penetration testing at security firm Trustwave. "A real pen test is supposed to have an end goal and model a threat. It's kind of cool to hear organizations do this." He said the use of zero-day attacks is rare but by no means unheard of in "engagements," as specific drills are known in pen-testing parlance. He recalled an engagement from a few years ago of a "huge multinational company" that had its network and desktop computers fully patched and configured in a way that made them hard to penetrate. As his team probed the client's systems, members discovered 20 Internet-connected, high-definition surveillance cameras. Although the default administrator passwords had been changed, the Trustwave team soon discovered two undocumented backdoors built into the surveillance cameras' authentication system. Havelt's team exploited the backdoors to remotely take control of the cameras. With the ability to view their output, change their direction, and zoom in and out, the Trustwave employees trained them on computer keyboards as employees in the unidentified company entered passwords. With the help of the cameras' 10x zoom, the pen testers were able to grab a "ton" of credentials and use them to log in to the company's network. From there, the employees escalated privileges to gain administrative control of the network. (The employees later reported the vulnerability to the camera manufacturer, resulting in the eventual release of this security advisory.) We "ended up with domain admin on the internal network just because [the client] left these cameras on the Internet," Havelt said during a talk at last year's RSA conference. Havelt recalled a separate engagement in the last 12 months that involved a different client. After his team gained access to a system that was on the company's internal network, the hired hackers injected malicious code into webpages regularly accessed by the company's developers. The malicious Java applet exploited a recently discovered vulnerability in the Java software framework that Oracle had yet to patch. With full access to one of the developer's machines, the payload installed a new set of cryptographic keys that was authorized to access the company's servers using the SSH, or secure shell protocol. With that significant toehold established, the pen testers were able to escalate their control over the client's network. Adriel Desautels, CEO of pen testing firm Netragard, is also no stranger to the use of zero-day exploits, although he said he's often able to infect his clients using less sophisticated methods. During a recent engagement for a sensitive governmental agency located in the US, for instance, his team used social engineering to trick an agency employee into clicking on a link. The link, unbeknownst to the employee, installed "Radon," which is the name of pseudo-malware designed by Netragard to allow employees the same kind of sophisticated access many state-sponsored hackers behind espionage campaigns have. With the employee's desktop computer infected, Radon rummaged through the agency's network and added malicious commands to the "batch file" every computer ran when it logged in. The modified file caused each computer to also become infected with Radon. Seizing control of hundreds of independent machines gave the Netragard hackers a higher likelihood of maintaining persistence over the network, even in the event that the initial infection was discovered and cleaned up. "Eventually, it was game over," Desautels told Ars. "We had more control over their network than they did. That's how you do it. You don't just infect one system and stick it in their network and then try to infect the company. That doesn't guarantee you're going to be successful." Desautels praised the architects of Operation Loopback because Facebook "did more than most other companies in this industry will do." But he went on to say that the engagement was significantly more limited than most attacks waged by well-funded and experienced hackers who are intent on penetrating a Fortune 500 company. "If this were a real attack, they probably would have gone after multiple employees, especially with a zero day," he explained. "Why target one user when you have potentially hundreds of users you can target and get hundreds of points of entry?" Facebook, he continued, "probably got some good insight. But [the engagement] is not nearly as realistic as it would be if it was a nation-state attack just because [Operation Loopback] was very singular." Stress testing Facebook's incident response To be fair, the drill Facebook executives devised wasn't intended to replicate every characteristic of a real-world attack. Instead, the executives wanted to develop employees' ability to work together to respond to an attack that could have a catastrophic effect on the site's security. Sullivan, Facebook's CSO, calls it a "stress test" of his incident response team. "The team had grown substantially in the prior year, and we wanted to see if everyone is going to start screaming at each other or blaming each other because 'your logging system broke,' or 'your automated alerting should have triggered over here.' That was the human side of the test." Operation Loopback also wasn't the first drill to test employees' ability to respond effectively in times of crisis. Six months earlier, McGeehan, the company's security director, installed a host of powerful hacking tools on a laptop computer, connected it to the Facebook internal wireless network, and stashed it behind a supply cabinet in a public hallway. A few days later, employees with the company's physical security team reported the discovery of the mysterious laptop to the security team, touching off another tense response. Over the following day, employees scouring server logs found the computer's MAC, or media access control, address had accessed key parts of Facebook's network. "The first thing is: 'Oh my God. Panic,'" McGeehan said as he recalled his team's response to the incident. For almost 24 hours, the situation gave most employees every indication of being real. "As we're dealing with this, we realize that our network has been intruded on by some bad guy. Everyone in this room [is] thinking about 'how are we going to tear down our entire network? How are we going to basically deal with the worse-case scenario as a security incident?" To ratchet up the stress even further, the drill organizers sent an e-mail to members of Facebook's security team a few hours after the laptop was disconnected from the Facebook network. The e-mail purported to come from members of what's known as the Koobface Gang, whose members last year were identified as the perpetrators of virulent malware that spread over the social networking site. It made a series of demands of Facebook and promised serious reprisals if they weren't met. With Project Vampire, as the drill was dubbed, the employees worked a full 24 hours before they learned it wasn't a real hack. "We felt it was a necessary thing to have a great security team to put them through this kind of stuff," Sullivan explained. The organizers made an exception, however, when early in the drill, an employee said the magnitude of the intrusion he was investigating would require him to cancel a vacation that was scheduled to begin the following week. McGeehan pulled the employee aside and explained it was only a drill and then instructed him to keep that information private. Drills that use real zero-day vulnerabilities, require outside penetration testing firms, and suck up hundreds or thousands of man hours on non-production activities are expensive to carry out. But in a post-Operation Aurora world, where companies as security-savvy as Google and RSA are hacked and ransacked of valuable data, it is becoming increasingly necessary. "These things used to be unheard of when back when, except for governmental type organizations," Trustwave's Havelt said. "Now, you're seeing this more in the private sector. It's good to see. If it were any other industry and it was any other critical function of a product not doing this you'd have people screaming that [the companies] were negligent and wanting to sue them left and right." Sursa: At Facebook, zero-day exploits, backdoor code bring war games drill to life | Ars Technica Via: Digg - What the Internet is talking about right now
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