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North Korea debuts new Electricfish malware in Hidden Cobra campaigns

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South Korea reports its first cryptojacking case
Four young cryptojackers will stand trial for infecting over 6,000 PCs.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have released a joint security advisory warning of a new strain of malware being used in North Korean cyberattacks.

Dubbed Electricfish, the malware was uncovered while the departments were tracking the activities of Hidden Cobra, a threat group believed to be state-sponsored and backed by the North Korean government.

Also known as the Lazarus group, Hidden Cobra has been connected to a variety of attacks against financial institutions, critical industrial players, and targets chosen for valuable intellectual property worldwide.

The description of Electricfish is based on one malicious 32-bit Windows executable. After reverse engineering the sample, the malware was found to contain a custom protocol which permits traffic to be funneled between source and destination IP addresses.

Electricfish is, therefore, able to shift traffic through proxies by the attackers to reach outside of a victim network.

“The malware can be configured with a proxy server/port and proxy username and password,” the advisory reads. “This feature allows connectivity to a system sitting inside of a proxy server, which allows the actor to bypass the compromised system’s required authentication to reach outside of the network.”

The command-line utility attempts to establish TCP sessions with the source IP address and the destination IP. If a connection attempt is successful, the utility will launch its custom protocol, leading to the quick push of traffic between two machines.

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“The header of the initial authentication packet, sent to both the source and destination systems, will be static except for two random bytes,” the advisory says. “Everything within this 34-byte header is static except for the bytes 0X2B6E, which will change during each connection attempt.”

Such a tool can be used by threat actors to covertly funnel out information stolen from a victim’s machine, as well as to bolster attempts to remain under the radar and to keep the theft undetected.

The DHS and FBI said the advisory was published “to enable network defense and reduce exposure to North Korean government malicious cyber activity.” 

TechRepublic: Cybersecurity burnout: 10 most stressful parts of the job

This is one of many recent advisories relating to alleged North Korean cyberattackers. In April, the US government sent out a warning concerning Hoplight, another strain of malware used by Hidden Cobra.

Hoplight is a backdoor which siphons data from a victim machine and sends this information to an attacker’s command-and-control (C2) server. The malware is also capable of modifying registry settings, both creating and killing processes, and downloading files, among other features.

See also: Hackers attack Confluence Servers, hijack power for cryptocurrency mining

US government advisories for Hidden Cobra have been issued since 2017 with the emergence of the global WannaCry ransomware outbreak, which was believed to be the work of North Korean hackers.

A list of Indicators of Compromise (IOC) for Electricfish can be downloaded here. 

Previous and related coverage


Have a tip? Get in touch securely via WhatsApp | Signal at +447713 025 499, or over at Keybase: charlie0


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Managing Vulnerabilities in a Cloud Native World

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in Cloud Native Vulnerability Management, featuring analyst Iben Rodriguez and special guest from Palo Alto Networks, John Morello. The discussion will focus on optimizing cloud security posture and integration with enterprise tool sets.

We will review platforms delivering Security Posture Management and Workload Protection for Microservice based and Hybrid Cloud Workloads.

Registrants will learn how new customers can benefit from Prisma Cloud to better secure their complex multi-cloud environments. Existing customers will learn about new features they can take advantage of and how to optimize their limited resources.

Register now to join GigaOm and Palo Alto Networks for this free expert webinar.

The post Managing Vulnerabilities in a Cloud Native World appeared first on Gigaom.

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Security Tools Help Bring Dev and Security Teams Together

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Software development teams are increasingly focused on identifying and mitigating any issues as quickly and completely as possible. This relates not only to software quality but also software security. Different organizations are at different levels when it comes to having their development teams and security teams working in concert, but the simple fact remains that there are far more developers out there than security engineers.

Those factors are leading organizations to consider security tooling and automation to proactively discover and resolve any software security issues throughout the development process. In the recent report, “GigaOm Radar for Developer Security Tools,” Shea Stewart examines a roundup of security tools aimed at software development teams.

Stewart identified three critical criteria to bear in mind when evaluating developer security tools. These include:

  • Vendors providing tools to improve application security can and should also enhance an organization’s overall security posture.
  • The prevailing “shift-left” mindset doesn’t necessarily mean the responsibility for reducing risk should shift to development, but instead focusing on security earlier in the process and continuing to do so throughout the development process will reduce risk and the need for extensive rework.
  • Security throughout the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC) is critical for any organization focused on reducing risk.

Figure 1. How Cybersecurity Applies Across Each Stage of the Software Development Lifecycle *Note: This report focuses only on the Developer Security Tooling area

Individual vendors have made varying levels of progress and innovation toward enhancing developer security. Following several acquisitions, Red Hat, Palo Alto Networks, and Rapid7 have all added tooling for developer security to their platforms. Stewart sees a couple of the smaller vendors like JFrog and Sonatype as continuing to innovate to remain ahead of the market.

Vendors delving into this category and moving deeper into “DevSecOps” all seem to be taking different approaches to their enhanced security tooling. While they are involving security in every aspect of the development process, some tend to be moving more quickly to match the pace of the SDLC. Others are trying to shore up existing platforms by adding functionality through acquisition. Both infrastructure and software developers are now sharing toolsets and processes, so these development security tools must account for the requirements of both groups.

While none of the 12 vendors evaluated in this report can provide comprehensive security throughout the entire SDLC, they all have their particular strengths and areas of focus. It is therefore incumbent upon the organization to fully and accurately assess its SDLC, involve the development and security teams, and match the unique requirements with the functionality provided by these tools. Even if it involves using more than one at different points throughout the process, focus on striking a balance between stringent security and simplifying the development process.

Read more: Key Criteria for Evaluating Developer Security Tools, and the Gigaom Radar for Developer Security Tool Companies.

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Key Criteria for Evaluating User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)

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Cybersecurity is a multidisciplinary practice that not only grows in complexity annually but evolves nearly as quickly. A survey of the security landscape today would reveal concerns ranging from the classic compromised servers to the relatively new DevSecOps practices aimed at securing the rapid deployment of new code and infrastructure. However, some things remain constant no matter how much change is introduced. While technology evolves and complexity varies, there is almost always a human component in
risks presented to an organization.

User Behavior Analysis (UBA) was designed to analyze the actions of users in an organization and attempt to identify normal and abnormal behaviors. From this analysis, malicious or risky behaviors can be detected. UBA solutions identify events that are not detectable using other methods because, unlike classic security tools (an IDS or SIEM for example), UBA does not simply pattern match or apply rule sets to data to identify security events. Instead, it looks for any and all deviations from baseline user activity.

As technology advanced and evolved, and the scope of what is connected to the network grew, the need to analyze entities other than users emerged. In response, entity analysis has been added to UBA to create UEBA or User and Entity Behavior Analysis. The strategy remains the same, but the scope of analysis has expanded to include entities involving things like daemons, processes, infrastructure, and so on.

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.

Solution 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.

The post Key Criteria for Evaluating User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) appeared first on Gigaom.

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