A multi-platform Python-based virus targeting Windows and Linux devices has now been modified to worm its way into Internet-exposed VMware vCenter servers unpatched against a remote code execution vulnerability.
The malware, known as FreakOut by CheckPoint researchers in January (also known as Necro and N3Cr0m0rPh), is an obscured Python script built with a polymorphic engine and a user-mode rootkit that conceals dangerous files placed on infected systems.
FreakOut spreads by taking advantage of a variety of OS and app flaws and brute-forcing passwords over SSH, adding the infected devices to an IRC botnet that is under the control of its creators.
Infected systems can be backdoored, network traffic can be sniffed and exfiltrated, and XMRig miners can be used to mine Monero cryptocurrency thanks to the malware’s main feature.
Updated malware with fresh exploits
FreakOut’s developers have been hard at work enhancing the malware’s spreading capabilities since early May when the botnet’s activity abruptly spiked, Cisco Talos researchers said in a report released today.
“Although the bot was originally discovered earlier this year, the latest activity shows numerous changes to the bot, ranging from different command and control (C2) communications and the addition of new exploits for spreading, most notable vulnerabilities in VMWare vSphere, SCO OpenServer, Vesta Control Panel and SMB-based exploits that were not present in the earlier iterations of the code,” Cisco Talos security researcher Vanja Svajcer said.
FreakOut bots look for new systems to attack by generating network ranges at random or by responding to commands from their masters delivered via IRC via the command-and-control server.
The bot will attempt to log in using one of the built-in exploits or a hardcoded set of SSH credentials for each IP address in the scan list.
The most recent FreakOut versions include more than twice as many built-in exploits, whereas earlier versions could only exploit vulnerable versions of Liferay, Laravel, WebLogic, TerraMaster, and Zend Framework (Laminas Project) web apps.
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The following newly added malware variant exploits were discovered by Cisco Talos in May:
VestaCP — “v sftp license” in version 0.9.8 Script injection
‘cgi-bin/kerbynet’ in ZeroShell 3.9.0 Injection of remote root commands
‘output form’ in SCO OpenServer 5.0.7 Script injection
Genesis VULNERABILITY IN PLATINUM 4410 2.1 P4410-V2-1.28 FOR REMOTE COMMAND EXECUTION
Remote Command Execution vulnerability in OTRS 6.0.1
Remote Command Execution vulnerability in VMware vCenter
An Nrdh.php remote code execution attack for an unknown program
Python versions of the EternalBlue and EternalRomance attacks (CVE-2017-0144 and CVE-2017-0147, respectively)
Numerous VMware servers are vulnerable to assaults.
The vCenter plugin for vRealize Operations (vROps) contains the VMware vCenter vulnerability (CVE-2021-21972), which is particularly intriguing because it affects all default vCenter Server installations.
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Exclusive: U.S. spy agency probes sabotage of satellite internet during Russian invasion, sources say
11 March (Reuters) According to three persons with direct knowledge of the situation, Western intelligence agencies are looking into a cyberattack by unidentified hackers that crippled broadband satellite internet connection in Ukraine at the same time as Russia’s incursion.
Analysts for the French government cybersecurity agency ANSSI, the Ukrainian intelligence service, and the U.S. National Security Agency are evaluating whether the remote sabotage of a satellite internet provider’s service was carried out by Russian-state-backed hackers attempting to cut off communications to prepare the battlefield.
On February 24, between 5 and 9 a.m., the digital blitz on the satellite service commenced as Russian forces entered Ukraine and began shooting missiles, impacting major Ukrainian cities including the capital, Kyiv.
According to a representative of the American telecommunications company Viasat, which controls the impacted network, satellite modems belonging to tens of thousands of users in Europe were taken offline as a result of the incident.
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Some clients across Europe, including Ukraine, have internet connectivity from Viasat Inc.’s KA-SAT satellite, which was blocked by the hackers. Some are still offline more than two weeks later, resellers told Reuters.
Due to Viasat’s role as a defense contractor for the United States and its allies, what seems to be one of the most serious wartime cyberattacks officially documented thus far has caught the attention of Western intelligence.
According to government contracts examined by Reuters, KA-SAT has given Ukrainian military and police forces internet connectivity.
According to Pablo Breuer, a former SOCOM technician for the United States, cutting off satellite internet connectivity could make it more difficult for Ukraine to defend itself against Russian forces.
“The range of conventional land-based radios is limited. You must rely on these satellites if you’re deploying contemporary smart systems, smart weapons, and trying to perform combined arms movements “Breuer remarked.
When contacted for comment, the Russian Embassy in Washington did not respond right away. Moscow has consistently denied claims that it takes part in cyberattacks.
In what the Kremlin refers to as a “de-Nazification” campaign, the Russian military has surrounded Ukrainian cities. The West has condemned this as an unprovoked attack and has imposed harsh penalties against Moscow as a result. View More
Viasat claimed in a statement that a “deliberate, isolated and external cyber event” was to blame for the disruption for clients in Ukraine and elsewhere, but the company has not yet offered a thorough, open justification.
In an email, business representative Chris Phillips said, “The network has stabilized and we are restoring service and activating terminals as rapidly as possible.” He added that the company was giving priority to “essential infrastructure and humanitarian assistance.”
Managing director of the Czech telecoms firm INTV, Jaroslav Strategy, said that the impacted modems appeared to be fully inoperative. He claimed that normally, the SurfBeam 2 modems’ four status lights would show whether they were online or not. The lights on the Viasat-made equipment would not switch on at all following the attack.
The Viasat representative claimed that a bug in the satellite network’s “administration section” had given the hackers remote access to the modems, forcing them offline. He claimed that some of the impacted devices would need to be replaced and that the majority of them would need to be reprogrammed, either on-site or at a repair facility.
The Viasat representative declined to provide any information and was evasive when asked what the “management part” of the network meant. A Eutelsat subsidiary continues to run KA-SAT and its related ground stations, which Viasat acquired from the European firm Eutelsat last year.
Questions were forwarded to Viasat through Eutelsat.
According to two persons with knowledge of the situation, Viasat has hired the American cybersecurity company Mandiant to look into the infiltration. Mandiant specializes in finding state-sponsored hackers.
Mandiant, ANSSI, and the NSA’s spokespeople all declined to comment.
Government customers who directly purchased services from Viasat, according to the corporation, were unaffected by the outage. However, a third firm manages the KA-SAT network and contracts out service via a number of distributors.
According to contracts published on ProZorro, a Ukrainian transparency portal, the military and security services of Ukraine have purchased a number of various communications equipment that utilize the Viasat network during the previous few years.
The Ukrainian military did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment.
Some online vendors are still holding off on replacing their hardware.
The Czech telecom chief, Strategy, claimed Viasat was not at fault.
On the morning of the invasion, when he arrived at work, a monitor displayed regional satellite coverage in the Czech Republic, neighboring Slovakia, and Ukraine, all of which were highlighted in red.
“What happened was immediately evident,” he stated.
Apple Patches iOS and macOS Against Newly Exploited WebKit Flaw
As 2022 comes to a close, Apple is delivering its customers a significant series of security upgrades that fix hundreds of flaws in numerous products, including a zero-day vulnerability that iOS users are reportedly being exploited by hackers.
As many Apple fans should already be aware, the Cupertino-based corporation released an update to iPhone 8 and subsequent models in November that appeared to be trivial and irrelevant. Apple did not reveal the exact reason for the patch, merely stating that “information will be forthcoming soon.”
The advisory now includes a real CVE and a brief summary indicating that iOS 16.1.2 plugs a significant security hole that threat actors may have used.
The problem, identified as CVE-2022-42856, is in WebKit, the rendering engine that apps utilize to show web content on both iOS and macOS.
By using “maliciously constructed online content” to inject into the target device, a type of confusion flaw might be used by threat actors to execute arbitrary code, possibly malware, or steal data.
According to the alert, “Apple is aware of a report that this problem may have been actively exploited against versions of iOS published before iOS 15.1.”
Google’s Threat Analysis Group researcher Clément Lecigne is credited for finding the problem.
On previous generation devices including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone SE, most current iPads, and even the seventh-generation iPod touch, iOS 15.7.2 and iPadOS 15.7.2 fix this horrible zero-day vulnerability.
Users of Apple TV are also impacted, and tvOS 16.2 by Apple fixes the problem. In addition, standalone upgrades to Safari for macOS Big Sur and macOS Monterey, as well as for macOS Ventura 13.1, fix the issue.
Numerous further security flaws in Apple’s devices are being fixed, and they are all detailed on this page.
iOS 16.2, a brand-new point update for iPhone and iPad owners, not only addresses security but also adds a number of new features and enhancements. Go to Settings -> General -> Software Upgrade and select Download and Install to update your iDevice.
At long last, foreign investors can now invest in China’s VPN Market
In Beijing, the Chinese government finally declared that foreign companies can now invest in the ownership of their virtual private network services throughout the nation.
However, foreign investors are only permitted to purchase up to 50% of VPN businesses established in China. This restriction gives China the ability to maintain control over domestic goods that have been approved while providing a significant incentive for future investments.
Changes to investment caps on information services for various application stores, internet providers, and other topics are also covered by the policy update.
Everyone is shocked by this news because China has been fighting international VPNs for a very long time, preventing their entry into the nation, and imposing fines and punishments on users who disobeyed the banning laws. The only issue China had with VPNs was that they allowed users to bypass the Great Firewall and access foreign websites that were supposed to be blocked due to government censorship.
China will not relax its stringent control and internet access restrictions, despite the new measures the Chinese government has taken to attract international investment.
The state will continue to put pressure on foreign businesses to follow its rules.
What regulations have China put into place for incoming international investors?
The Chinese government’s first priority is to impose internet censorship. They took care to keep local servers running so that user data could be stored and made accessible to local law enforcement. They also informed the investors that users who appear to be employing a censorship bypass method may be blocked and reported.
China seeks to develop its many service businesses under this new program.
Additionally, the Chinese government is considering allowing access to their digital behemoths Tencent and Alibaba by expanding the search engine market on the Chinese internet.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China is currently creating precise laws and regulations that would compel all Chinese businesses to allow the appearance of their competitors’ websites in search engine results.
It would be an unprecedented move for the Chinese internet, one that would make dominating it harder than it has ever been if the Ministry of Industry moves forward with these new laws and regulations.
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