The CyberWire

The CyberWire Daily The daily cybersecurity news and analysis industry leaders depend on. Published each weekday, the program also includes interviews with a wide spectrum of experts from industry, academia, and research organizations all over the world.

  • Ransomware: DarkSide, Avaddon, and Baduk. 5G threat vectors. Crytpojacking unpatched Exchange Servers. Bogus Chrome app. An espionage trial approaches sentencing.
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 11, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    Updates on the DarkSide ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline. Other ransomware strains, including Avaddon and Babuk are out, and dangerous. Guidelines on 5G threat vectors. Lemon Duck cryptojackers are looking for vulnerable Exchange Server instances. A bogus, malicious Chrome app is circulating by smishing. Ben Yelin examines an online facial recognition platform. Our guest is Mathieu Gorge of VigiTrust on the privacy risks of video and audio recordings. And an update on an espionage trial. For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • Ransomware disrupts pipeline operations in the Eastern US. Other ransomware attacks reported by US municipal and Tribal governments. UK-US advisory on SVR TTPs. SolarWinds update.
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 10, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    Colonial Pipeline shuts down some systems after a ransomware attack, disrupting refined petroleum product delivery in the Eastern US. We’ll check in with Sergio Caltagirone from Dragos for his analysis. Other ransomware attacks hit city and Tribal governments. Joint UK-US alert on SVR tactics issued, and the SVR may have changed its methods accordingly. SolarWinds revised downward its estimate of the number of customers affected by its compromise. Rick Howard previews his CSO Perspectives podcasts on risk metrics. Four guilty pleas in “bulletproof hosting” RICO case. For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • Street cred: increasing trust in passwordless authentication. [CyberWire-X]
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 9, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Good security gets out of the way of users while getting in the way of adversaries. Passwords fail on both accounts. Users feel the pain of adhering to complex password policies. Adversaries simply copy, break, or brute-force their way in. Why, then, have we spent decades with passwords as the primary factor for authentication?From the very first theft of cleartext passwords to the very latest bypass of a second-factor, time and again improvements in defenses are met with improved attacks. The industry needs to trust passwordless authentication.What holds us back from getting rid of passwords? Trust. In this episode of CyberWire-X, guests will discuss a framework of technical controls to ensure only trusted sessions authenticate, regardless of faults or failures in any one factor. We will share a path forward for increasing trust in passwordless authentication. Nikk Gilbert of CISO of Cherokee Nation Businesses and retired CSO Gary McAlum share their insights with Rick Howard, and Advisory CISO of Duo Security at Cisco Wolfgang Goerlich from sponsor Duo Security offers his thoughts with Dave Bittner.

  • Yatia (Tia) Hopkins: Grit and right place, right time. [Solutions Architecture] [Career Notes]
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 9, 2021 at 7:00 am

    VP of Global Solutions Architecture at eSentire Tia Hopkins shares her career journey and talks about its beginnings in engineering and pivots into cybersecurity leadership. Tia shares how she liked to take things apart when she was young, including the brand new computer her mother bought her and how she was fascinated by all the pieces of it spread all across her bedroom floor. As she started studying engineering, Tia learned she was more of a technologist than an engineer. Tia got her start in technology without completing her formal education by what she says is “grit and right place, right time.” Once she was in a management role, Tia wanted to validate her knowledge, experience, and ability and not only completed her bachelor’s degree, but also two master’s degrees. Tia recently started an organization to encourage and grow interest, confidence, and leaders of women of color in the field of cybersecurity. We thank Tia for sharing her story with us.

  • SUPERNOVA activity and its possible connection to SPIRAL threat group. [Research Saturday]
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 8, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Guest Mike McLellan from Secureworks joins us to share his team’s insights about SUPERNOVA and threat group attribution. Similarities between the SUPERNOVA activity and a previous compromise of the network suggest that SPIRAL was responsible for both intrusions and reveal information about the threat group. In late 2020, Secureworks® Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) researchers observed a threat actor exploiting an internet-facing SolarWinds server to deploy the SUPERNOVA web shell. Additional analysis revealed similarities to intrusion activity identified on the same network earlier in 2020, suggesting the two intrusions are linked. CTU™ researchers attribute the intrusions to the SPIRAL threat group. Characteristics of the activity suggest the group is based in China. The research can be found here: SUPERNOVA Web Shell Deployment Linked to SPIRAL Threat Group

  • CISA on FiveHands. Connections among cybergangs, Russian intelligence services? Software supply chain security. Scripps Health incident update. Home routers. Ryuk hits research institute.
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 7, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    CISA outlines the FiveHands ransomware campaign. Circumstantial evidence suggests that some cybergangs are either controlled by or are doing contract work for Russian intelligence services. US Federal agencies turn their attention to software supply chain security. Scripps Health continues its recovery from cyberattack. Insecure home routers in the UK. Daniel Prince from Lancaster University has thoughts on cybersecurity education. Our guest Rupesh Chokshi from AT&T has suggestions for organizations who want to get SASE, but don’t know where to begin. And Ryuk ransomware throws a wrench in research at a European biomedical institute. For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • Some possible insight into what a Chinese cyberespionage unit is up to. Hackathons, from Beijing to Washington. Panda Stealer is after crypto wallets. And Peloton deals with a leaky API.
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 6, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    Some possible insight into what a Chinese cyberespionage unit is up to. Hackathons, from Beijing to Washington (the one sponsored by Beijing developed an iPhone zero-day used against China’s Uyghurs). Panda Stealer is after crypto wallets. Microsoft’s Kevin Magee reflects on lessons learned in the last year. Our own Rick Howard speaks with Todd Neilson from World Wide Technology on Zero Trust. And Peloton deals with a leaky API. For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • DDoS interrupts Belgium’s parliament. New malware in the wild. Spies and crooks work around MFA, OAuth. COVID-19 scam site takedown. Online election fraud (in a homecoming queen election).
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 5, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    Belgium sustains a DDoS attack that knocks parliamentary sessions offline. New malware strains identified in phishing campaign. Threat actors look for ways of working around multi-factor authentication and open authentication. COVID-19 scams continue online, and attract law enforcement attention. Joe Carrigan describes a compromised password manager. Our guests are Linda Gray Martin & Britta Glade from RSA with a preview of this year’s RSAC conference. And how secure was your high school’s election for homecoming court. For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • VPN vulnerability exploited for cyberespionage closed. “IT security incident” at medical system. Android banking Trojans and cryptocurrency. Cyber threats to the Tokyo Olympics.
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 4, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    Pulse Secure patches its VPN, and CISA for one thinks you ought to apply those fixes. Apple has also patched two zero-days in its Webkit engine. Scripps Health recovers from what’s said to be a ransomware attack. Researchers describe Genesis, a criminal market for digital fingerprints. Ben Yelin described a grand jury subpoena for Signal user data. Our guest is Ryan Weeks from Datto on the need for cyber resilience in the MSP community. And Japan works on cybersecurity for this summer’s upcoming Olympic Games. For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • Data exposure reported in the Philippines. FISA targets down during the pandemic. Babuk changes its focus. New variant of the Buer loader in the wild. US Justice Department reviews its cyber strategy.
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 3, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    Possible data exposure at the Philippines’ Office of the Solicitor General. In the US, FISA surveillance targets dropped during 2020’s pandemic. The Babuk gang says it’s giving up encryption to concentrate on doxing. A new version of the Buer loader is out in the wild. Rick Howard looks at security in the energy sector. Betsy Carmelite from Booz Allen Hamilton on telemedicine security concerns. The US Justice Department undertakes a review of its cybersecurity policies and strategy. For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • Jim Zufoletti: Building your experience portfolio. [Entrepreneur] [Career Notes]
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 2, 2021 at 7:00 am

    CEO and co-founder of SafeGuard Cyber Jim Zufoletti shares his journey starting out as an intrepreneur and transformation into a serial entrepreneur in cybersecurity. Jim shares how he got his feet wet working for others as an intrepreneur and catching the entrepreneurial bug in the mid-90s. He has co-founded a number of companies starting with FreeMarkets, a B2B ecommerce company. After that went public and Jim moved on, he went to business school at the University of Virginia and crossed paths with his future co-founder of SafeGuard Cyber. At UVA, Jim was inspired by a professor who exposed him to the effectuation approach to entrepreneurship, Along those lines, Jim recommends those looking to start a business in cyber build their experience portfolio. Jim took what he learned to help build where he is today. His company helps protect the humans in this new digital world with the current work from home environment. And, we thank Jim for sharing his story with us.

  • A snapshot of the ransomware threat landscape. [Research Saturday}
    by CyberWire, Inc. on May 1, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Guest Jen Miller-Osborn from Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 joins Dave to discuss their 2021 Unit 42 Ransomware Threat Report, which highlights a surge in ransomware demands based on a global analysis of the threat landscape in 2020. To evaluate the current state of the ransomware threat landscape, the Unit 42 threat intelligence team and the Crypsis incident response team collaborated to analyze the ransomware threat landscape in 2020, with global data from Unit 42 as well as US, Canada, and Europe data from Crypsis. The report details the top ransomware variants, average ransomware payments, ransomware predictions, and actionable next steps to immediately reduce ransomware risk. The report can be found here: 2021 Unit 42 Ransomware Threat Report

  • Investigating VPN exploits, and the crooks and spies who use them. BadAlloc afflicts OT. Notes on cyberespionage. The criminal market for deepfakes.
    by CyberWire, Inc. on April 30, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    The US Government expands its investigation into Pulse Secure VPN compromises. Microsoft discloses its discovery of BadAlloc IoT and OT vulnerabilities. Someone’s distributing Purple Lambert spyware. Chinese intelligence services seem to be backdooring the Russian defense sector. Financially motivated criminals are exploiting SonicWall VPN vulnerabilities. A look at the emerging criminal market for deepfakes. Josh Ray from Accenture Security on Why Cybersecurity Community Service Matters. Our guest Manish Gupta of ShiftLeft looks at cyber attacks on the CI/CD pipeline. And the World Health Organization attracted impersonators early this month. Again. For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • Buggy APIs may expose credit scores. Dealing with ransomware. Iran-Israeli tensions are up. Russia says it will always see the Americans coming. Surge cyber capacity. NSA’s advice on OT security.
    by CyberWire, Inc. on April 29, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    An API bug may have exposed credit ratings. A study offers advice for the new anti-ransomware task forces emerging in the US and elsewhere. Israelis warned to keep their cyber-guard up on Quds Day next week. Russia says it would spot any US cyberattack before it hit. The US Congress considers establishing surge cyber response capacity. Dinah Davis from Arctic Wolf has tips on preventing RDP attacks. Rick Howard speaks with Rehan Jalil from Securiti on GDPR. NSA offers advice for security OT networks.  For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • More intelligence on Ghostwriter, and a convergence of hacking and influence operations. Naikon APT has a new backdoor. FluBot returns. MAPP reconsidered. Defense counsel on Cellebrite.
    by CyberWire, Inc. on April 28, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    Ghostwriter is back, and has moved its “chaos troops” against fresh targets in Poland and Germany. The Naikon APT has a new secondary backdoor. FluBot, temporarily inhibited by police raids, is back, and expanding its infection of Android devices across Europe. Microsoft is rethinking how much, and with whom, it wants to share vulnerability information. Joe Carrigan examines a phone scam targeting Amazon Prime customers. Our guest is Tzury Bar Yochay of Reblaze on open-source software and scalability. And Signal’s discovery of Cellebrite issues is finding its way into court. For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • The FBI and CISA take a look at the SVR, and offer advice for potential targets. Openness and information warfare. OPSEC and privacy. Babuk hits DC police. Social engineering notes.
    by CyberWire, Inc. on April 27, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    FBI, CISA, detail SVR cyber activities. Nine US Combatant Commands see declassification as an important tool in information warfare. A convergence of OPSEC and privacy? Apple fixes a significant Gatekeeper bypass flaw. Babuk ransomware hits DC police. A new twist in credential harvesting. Ben Yelin considers the FTCs stance on racially biased algorithms. Our guest Tony Howlett from SecureLink tracks the evolution of threat hunting. And that was no hack; it was just a careless tweet. For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • Prankers on Zoom, with convincing video. Emotet takedown. US response to SolarWinds reviewed. Cancer therapy disrupted by attack on cloud provider. Oscar phishing.
    by CyberWire, Inc. on April 26, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    Zoom prankers deceive European members of parliament with a deepfake video call. A password manager is compromised. Europol took a good whack at Emotet yesterday, removing the botnet’s malware from infected machines. US response to the Holiday Bear campaign receives cautious good reviews. A cyberattack interferes with cancer treatments. Caleb Barlow from CynergisTek on emergency notification systems. Rick Howard previews the latest CSO Perspectives podcast focused on the healthcare vertical. And movie-themed phishbait chummed the waters around yesterday’s Oscars. For links to all of today’s stories check out our CyberWire daily news brief:

  • Channeling the data avalanche. [CyberWire-X]
    by CyberWire, Inc. on April 25, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Proliferation of data continues to outstrip our ability to manage and secure data. The gap is growing and alarming,especially given the explosion of non-traditional smart devices generating, storing, and sharing information. As edge computing grows, more devices are generating and transmitting data than there are human beings walking the planet.  High-speed generation of data is here to stay. Are we equipped as people, as organizations, and as a global community to handle all this information? Current evidence suggests not. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicted in its study, Data Age 2025, that enterprises will need to rely on machine learning, automation and machine-to-machine technologies to stay ahead of the information tsunami, while efficiently determining and iterating on high-value data from the source in order to drive sound business decisions.  That sounds reasonable, but many well-known names in the industry are trying – and failing – to solve this problem. The struggle lies in the pivot from “big data,” to “fast data,” the ability to extract meaningful, actionable intelligence from a sea of information, and do it quickly. Most of the solutions available are either prohibitively expensive, not scalable, or both. In this episode of CyberWire-X, guests will discuss present and future threats posed by an unmanageable data avalanche, as well as emerging technologies that may lead public and private sector efforts through the developing crisis. Don Welch of Penn State University and Steve Winterfeld of Akamai share their insights with Rick Howard, and Egon Rinderer from sponsor Tanium offers his thoughts with Dave Bittner.

  • Marcelle Lee: Cyber sleuth detecting emerging threats. [Research] [Career Notes]
    by CyberWire, Inc. on April 25, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Senior security researcher from Secureworks Marcelle Lee shares her career journey into cybersecurity and how she helps solve hard problems in her daily work. Marcelle came into cybersecurity not through any traditional path. She describes her route from a different field and starting in cyber at her local community college through a grant program. Marcelle took full advantage of the opportunities she had and grew her career from there. She recommends finding your specialty, but continue to build other skills. As a woman in the field, she is a strong proponent of diversity and encouraging others to find what excites them. And, we thank Marcelle for sharing her story with us.

  • Bulletproof hosting (BPH) and how it powers cybercrime. [Research Saturday]
    by CyberWire, Inc. on April 24, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Guest Jason Passwaters of Intel 471 joins us to discuss his team’s research into bulletproof hosting (BPH). The research team at Intel 471 defined what a typical BPH service offers and how these services can be stopped in order to limit the damage they have on enterprises, businesses and digital society itself. They examined some popular malware families that actors host or leverage via BPH services. While much more goes into a cybercriminal’s full operation, it would be vastly more difficult to pull off without the ability to host malware and be free from impunity. Finally, they listed of some of the BPH providers that are firmly entrenched in the cybercrime underground and how they give support to other cybercriminal enterprises. By recognizing their behaviors, security teams can begin to take measures to figure out who the actors are, how they operate and what their infrastructure looks like. By doing so, organizations can begin to uncover ways to proactively counter maliciously-used infrastructure before criminals have a chance to launch their attacks.  The blog posts can be found here: Hiding in plain sight: Bulletproof Hosting’s dueling forms Bulletproof hosting: How cybercrime stays resilient Here’s who is powering the bulletproof hosting market

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