Recently, Google researchers discovered a local privilege escalation vulnerability in Windows which was being used in zero-day attacks, including those carried out by the Pawn Storm espionage group. This is an easily exploitable vulnerability which can be found in all supported versions of Windows, from Windows 7 to Windows 10. By changing one bit, the attacker can elevate the privileges of a thread, giving administrator access to a process that would not have it under normal circumstances.Read More
The effectiveness of a zero-day quickly deteriorates as an attack tool after it gets discovered and patched by the affected software vendors. Within the time between the discovery of the vulnerability and the release of the fix, a bad actor might try to get the most out of his previously valuable attack assets. This is exactly what we saw in late October and early November 2016, when the espionage group Pawn Storm (also known as Fancy Bear, APT28, Sofacy, and STRONTIUM) ramped up its spear-phishing campaigns against various governments and embassies around the world. In these campaigns, Pawn Storm used a previously unknown zero-day in Adobe’s Flash (CVE-2016-7855, fixed on October 26, 2016 with an emergency update) in combination with a privilege escalation in Microsoft’s Windows Operating System (CVE-2016-7255) that was fixed on November 8, 2016.Read More
A new exploit kit has arrived which is spreading different versions of Locky ransomware. We spotted two cases of this new threat, which is based on the earlier Sundown exploit kit. Sundown rose to prominence (together with Rig) after the then-dominant Neutrino exploit kit was neutralized.
Called Bizarro Sundown, the first version was spotted on October 5 with a second sighting two weeks later, on October 19. Users in Taiwan and Korea made up more than half of the victims of this threat. Bizarro Sundown shares some features with its Sundown predecessor but added anti-analysis features. The October 19 attack also changed its URL format to closely resemble legitimate web advertisements. Both versions were used exclusively by the ShadowGate/WordsJS campaign.Read More
Exploiting CVE-2016-3298 enables attackers to check for specific antivirus (AV) software installed in the system in order to avoid AV detection and threat research/analysis. This sounds innocuous, but determining if the system is unsecure eases—and even automates—the undertaking of sneaking malware into it.Read More
Adobe has released an out-of-bound patch for Flash Player due to a zero-day vulnerability. According to Adobe’s bulletin (APSB16-36), versions of Flash from 126.96.36.199 and earlier (released on October 11) are affected. (Adobe Flash Player for Linux uses a separate version numbering system; for that product versions 188.8.131.527 and earlier are vulnerable.) We urge all users who still have Flash installed to update to the version released today as soon as possible.Read More