News wrap on trending cyber-attacks; Mirai Linux, Ticketbleed, Apple App Store

February 9, 2017

Cyber crime is only likely to increase, despite the best efforts of government agencies and cyber security experts. Its growth is being driven by the expanding number of services available online and the increasing sophistication of cyber criminals who are engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with security experts. With the right level of preparation and specialist external assistance, it is possible to control damages, and recover from a cyber breach and its consequences.

Security researchers have stumbled upon a Windows Trojan that hackers are using to help with the distribution of the infamous Mirai Linux malware, used to infect IoT devices and carry out massive DDoS attacks. The Mirai malware was initially developed in late 2015 and early 2016, and only became a massive threat in the summer and autumn of 2016, when it spread to hundreds of thousands of routers and DVRs (deployed with smart cameras and CCTV systems).

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There’s a new branded bug in town, but thankfully it only hurts kit made by F5 Networks. “Ticketbleed” (so named for a similarity to the notorious 2014 Heartbleed) is specific to F5’s Big-IP appliances and can strike when virtual servers running on those boxes are configured with a Client SSL profile that has the non-default Session Tickets option.

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Seventy-six popular apps in the Apple App Store are vulnerable to silent interception of TLS-protected data due to a poor implementation of the cryptographic protocol. According to researcher Will Strafach, who wrote on Medium, the apps are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. Data that is normally protected by Transport Layer Security can now be read or manipulated before it is forwarded to the company’s servers.

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A hacker has reportedly leaked 1.3 million accounts from staffing platform Elance onto an underground hacking forum. The leaked database also allegedly contains hundreds of thousands of Yahoo and Gmail accounts. According to Yogev Mizrahi of data breach notification website Hacked-DB, the hack in which information of over 1 million registered users was stolen happened in 2009. However, the data has surfaced only now, 8 years after the data breach, HackRead reported.

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Cybersecurity tips to keep your computer safe from trojan

A trojan horse is a malicious software program that hides inside other programs. It enters a computer hidden inside a legitimate program, such as a screen saver. Then it puts code into the operating system that enables a hacker to access the infected computer. Trojan horses do not usually spread by themselves. They are spread by viruses, worms, or downloaded software.

What Trojans do

A Trojan horse can be written to do almost anything on your computer, and is typically set up to run every time your computer is restarted. It can create a remote backdoor to your system, allowing a cybercriminal to control your computer. It runs silently and secretly, often evading or even disabling anti-virus software.

Some Trojans install keyloggers or other forms of spyware, which record keyboard activity, monitor Internet usage and sometimes collect personal information. Other Trojans install botnet software, which enrolls a computer in a “zombie army” of computers linked together and secretly controlled by cybercriminals without the owners’ knowledge.

Botnets are used for many purposes, including launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to jam websites, pumping out spam emails, cracking encrypted passwords or storing stolen credit-card numbers.

Mobile Trojans are often found in third-party app stores, where they pretend to be cheaper versions of popular smartphone apps. Android users need to examine the permissions each app demands before it’s installed; iPhone and iPad users are probably safe as long as they do not “jailbreak” their devices.

Once Trojans are installed, detecting them can be difficult. The best method is to use a “packet sniffer” that analyzes network traffic for signs of communication with cybercriminal-controlled servers. However, most good anti-virus software will block the installation of known Trojans.

How to prevent infection by Trojans

As with other forms of malware, a few simple steps can greatly reduce your chances of infection by Trojans.

  • First, structure the user-accounts permissions on your computer so that accounts with full administrative rights are used rarely, and only to install or update software. For all other tasks, including Internet use and regular office work, use limited accounts that cannot modify applications.
  • Second, turn on whatever firewalls are available on your home network. Windows 7, Vista and the latest version of XP have built-in firewall options, as does Mac OS X. So will your wireless router.
  • Third, install a robust anti-virus software product, make sure you keep it constantly updated, and set it up to regularly perform automatic system scans. Many free anti-virus products are available from several vendors, including Microsoft, but the paid ones do a better job of protecting Web browsers and email clients from drive-by downloads and Trojanized attachments.

Intrusions happen, threats emerge and your security operation needs to be at its peak efficiency. Anglo African solutions can quickly intercept threats and thus help in avoiding data breaches. For more information about cyber security kindly contact Anglo African on 2331636 or by e-mail at contact@infosystems.mu

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