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Intense scanning activity detected for BlueKeep RDP flaw

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Sources networks of recent BlueKeep scans


Image: GreyNoise

Threat actors have started scanning the internet for Windows systems that are vulnerable to the BlueKeep (CVE-2019-0708) vulnerability.

This vulnerability impacts the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) service included in older versions of the Windows OS, such as XP, 7, Server 2003, and Server 2008.

Microsoft released fixes for this vulnerability on May 14, as part of the May 2019 Patch Tuesday updates train, and warned users and companies to patch vulnerable systems as soon as possible, classifying the issue as very dangerous, and warning that CVE-2019-0708 could be weaponized to create wormable (self-replicating) exploits.

Many have likened BlueKeep to the EternalBlue exploit that’s been used in 2017 during the WannaCry, NotPetya, and Bad Rabbit ransomware outbreaks.

No proof-of-concept demo code (yet)

For this reason, and because of Microsoft’s doom-and-gloom warning, for the past two weeks, the infosec community has been keeping an eye out for signs of attacks or the publication of any proof-of-concept demo code that could simplify the creation of RDP exploits — and inherently start subsequent attacks.

Until now, no one researcher or security firm has published any such demo exploit code — for obvious reasons, since it could help threat actors start massive attacks.

Nonetheless, several entities have confirmed that they’ve successfully developed exploits for BlueKeep, which they intend to keep private. The list includes Zerodium, McAfee, Kaspersky, Check Point, MalwareTech, and Valthek.

The NCC Group developed detection rules for network security equipment so that companies could detect any exploitation attempts, and 0patch developed a micropatch that can temporarily protect systems until they receive the official update.

Further, RiskSense security researcher Sean Dillon also created a tool that companies can use and test to see if their PC fleets have been correctly patched against the BlueKeep flaw.

BlueKeep scans started over the weekend

But while the infosec community was holding its collective breath thinking attacks may never start, things changed over the weekend.

On Saturday, threat intelligence firm GreyNoise started detecting scans for Windows systems vulnerable to BlueKeep.

Speaking to ZDNet, GreyNoise founder Andrew Morris said they believe the attacker was using the Metasploit module detected by RiskSense to scan the internet for BlueKeep vulnerable host.

“This activity has been observed from exclusively Tor exit nodes and is likely being executed by a single actor,” he said in a tweet on Saturday.

For now, these are only scans, and not actual exploitation attempts.

However, it appears that at least one threat actor is investing quite the time and effort into compiling a list of vulnerable devices, most likely in preparation for the actual attacks.

With at least six entities revealing they’ve come up with private BlueKeep exploits, and with at least two very detailed write-ups on the BlueKeep vulnerability details available online [1, 2], it is only a matter of time until the real bad guys come up with their own exploits as well.

The Tor-originating scans that GreyNoise is currently seeing — and which Morris told ZDNet that are still ongoing at the time of writing — are a first sign that things are about to get worse. Really worse!

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Work from Home Security

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Spin Master is a leading global children’s entertainment company that invents toys and games, produces dozens of television and studio series that are distributed in 160 countries, and creates a variety of digital games played by more than 30 million children. What was once a small private company founded by childhood friends is now a public global supply chain with over 1,500 employees and 28 offices around the world.

Like most organizations in 2020, Spin Master had to adapt quickly to the new normal of remote work, shifting most of its production from cubicles in regional and head offices to hundreds of employees working from home and other remote locations.

This dramatic shift created potential security risks, as most employees were no longer behind the firewall on the corporate network. Without the implementation of hardened endpoint security, the door would be open for bad actors to infiltrate the organization, acquire intellectual property, and ransom customer information. Additionally, the potential downtime caused by a security breach could harm the global supply chain. With that in mind, Spin Master created a self-imposed 30-day deadline to extend its network protection capabilities to the edge.

Key Findings:

  • Think Long Term: The initial goal of establishing a stop-gap work-from-home (WFH) and work-from-anywhere (WFA) strategy has since morphed into a permanent strategy, requiring long-term solutions.
  • Gather Skills: The real urgency posed by the global pandemic made forging partnerships with providers that could fill all the required skill sets a top priority.
  • Build Momentum: The compressed timeline left no room for delay or error. The Board of Directors threw its support behind the implementation team and gave it broad budget authority to ensure rapid action, while providing active guidance to align strategy with action.
  • Deliver Value: The team established two key requirements that the selected partner must deliver: implementation support and establishing an ongoing managed security operations center (SOC).
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Key Criteria for Evaluating Privileged Access Management

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Privileged Access Management (PAM) enables administrative access to critical IT systems while minimizing the chances of security compromises through monitoring, policy enforcement, and credential management.

A key operating principle of all PAM systems is the separation of user credentials for individual staff members from the system administration credentials they are permitted to use. PAM solutions store and manage all of the privileged credentials, providing system access without requiring users to remember, or even know, the privileged password. Of course, all staff have their own unique user ID and password that they use to complete everyday tasks such as accessing email and writing documents. Users who are permitted to handle system administration tasks that require privileged credentials log into the PAM solution, which provides and controls such access according to predefined security policies. These policies control who is allowed to use which privileged credentials when, where, and for what tasks. An organization’s policy may also require logging and recording of the actions undertaken with the privileged credentials.

Once implemented, PAM will improve your security posture in several ways. The first is by segregating day-to-day duties from duties that require elevated access, reducing the risk of accidental privileged actions. Secondly, automated password management reduces the possibility that credentials will be shared while also lowering the risk if credentials are accidentally exposed. Finally, extensive logging and activity recording in PAM solutions aids audits of critical system access for both preventative and forensic security.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Vendor Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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Adventist Risk Management Data Protection Infrastructure

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Companies always want to enhance their ability to quickly address pressing business needs. Toward that end, they look for new ways to make their IT infrastructures more efficient—and more cost effective. Today, those pressing needs often center around data protection and regulatory compliance, which was certainly the case for Adventist Risk Management. What they wanted was an end-to-end, best-in-class solution to meet their needs. After trying several others, they found the perfect combination with HYCU and Nutanix, which provided:

  • Ease of deployment
  • Outstanding ROI
  • Overall TCO improvement

Nutanix Cloud Platform provides a software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure, while HYCU offers purpose-built backup and recovery for Nutanix. Compared to the previous traditional infrastructure and data protection solutions in use at Adventist Risk Management, Nutanix and HYCU simplified processes, speeding day-to-day operations up to 75%. Now, migration and update activities typically scheduled for weekends can be performed during working hours and help to increase IT staff and management quality of life. HYCU further increased savings by providing faster and more frequent points of recovery as well as better DR Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) by increasing the ability to do daily backups from one to four per day.

Furthermore, the recent adoption of Nutanix Objects, which provides secure and performant S3 storage capabilities, enhanced the infrastructure by:

    • Improving overall performance for backups
    • Adding security against potential ransomware attacks
    • Replacing components difficult to manage and support

In the end, Nutanix and HYCU enabled their customer to save money, improve the existing environment, and, above all, meet regulatory compliance requirements without any struggle.

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