Connect with us

Security

TajMahal cyber-espionage campaign uses previously unseen malicious tools

Published

on

Malware and ransomware rise puts your data at risk
For the third year running, the volume of malware attacks has increased. But there are big variations in terms of who is getting targeted, and how.

A newly discovered form of malware deployed as part of a highly stealthy cyber-espionage campaign comes with several new malicious functionalities. It appears to be the work of a completely new operation, with no known links to any known threat actors or hacking groups.

Dubbed TajMahal, after the file it uses to exfiltrate stolen data, the malware has a number of capabilities not previously seen in a backdoor.

These include stealing documents sent to the printer queue, the ability to steal files previously seen on removable drives as soon as they’re available again, the ability to steal data burnt onto a CD by the victim, as well as the ability to take screenshots when recording audio from VoiceIP applications.

In addition to its unique capabilities, TajMahal provides attackers with what’s described as a ‘full-blown spying framework’, with a backdoor into infected systems.

It can issue commands, take screenshots of the desktop and webcam, and use keylogging to steal usernames, passwords and other information. It can also open and exfiltrate documents with the help of its own file indexer for the victim’s machine.

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)   

In addition, it can steal cryptography keys, grab browser cookies, gather the backup list for Apple mobile devices and more, with around 80 malicious modules each designed for espionage activity.

The malware has been uncovered by researchers at Kaspersky Lab, who have detailed their finding’s at the company’s Security Analyst Summit 2019 in Singapore.

Described as “a technically sophisticated APT framework designed for extensive cyber espionage,” TajMahal was first uncovered in late 2018, but has been active for over five years, with the earliest sample dated to April 2013.

TajMahal was able to hide under the radar for so long because it has a completely new code base, with no similarities to known APTs or malware, and by employing an automatic update mechanism that’s regularly used to deploy new samples to avoid detection.

However, researchers were alerted to the malware after Kaspersky security software flagged a file as suspicious.

“The file turned out to be a malicious plugin of a level of sophistication that suggested an APT – and the lack of code similarity to any known attack suggested it was a previously unknown APT,” Alexey Shulmin, lead malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab told ZDNet.

“Using our knowledge of this file, we were able to identify more of them. That led us to the conclusion that the malware was part of a previously unknown, extremely rare, cyber-espionage platform,” he added.

Tokyo and Yokohama  

Researchers believe the framework is based around two packages, dubbed Tokyo and Yokohama. Tokyo is the smaller of the two, containing just three modules, one of which is the main backdoor and a connection to a command-and-control server.

Yokohama, meanwhile, contains every other capability of TajMahal, indicating that Tokyo is likely to be the initial dropper that then delivers the full-blown malware as a second-stage download – with the dropper left installed in case it’s needed for backup purposes later down the line.

The distribution method of TajMahal is still unknown and the infection has only been observed in the wild once – on the system of what’s described as ‘a diplomatic entity from a country in Central Asia’, with the infection occurring in 2014.

Researchers note that this victim has previously been unsuccessfully targeted by Zebroacy (trojan malware associated with a Russian state-backed hacking group), although it’s not thought the two campaigns are related.

SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Nonetheless, due to the sophistication of the malware and its unique capabilities, it’s unlikely that the diplomatic target is the only victim compromised by TajMahal in more than five years.

“The TajMahal framework is a very interesting and intriguing finding. The technical sophistication is beyond doubt and it seems unlikely that such a huge investment would be undertaken for only one victim. A likely hypothesis would be that there are other additional victims we haven’t found yet,” said Shulmin.

To help protect against attacks by new and unknown threat actors, researchers recommend that all software used throughout an organisation is up to date and that security patches designed to fix known vulnerabilities should be installed as a priority.

All Kaspersky Lab products have been updated to protect against TajMahal and researchers have provided a full analysis of the campaign on the Kaspersky blog.

READ MORE ON CYBERCRIME

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Security

Defeating Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

Published

on

It seems like every day the news brings new stories of cyberattacks. Whether ransomware, malware, crippling viruses, or more frequently of late—distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. According to Infosec magazine, in the first half of 2020, there was a 151% increase in the number of DDoS attacks compared to the same period the previous year. That same report states experts predict as many as 15.4 million DDoS attacks within the next two years.

These attacks can be difficult to detect until it’s too late, and then they can be challenging to defend against. There are solutions available, but there is no one magic bullet. As Alastair Cooke points out in his recent “GigaOm Radar for DDoS Protection” report, there are different categories of DDoS attacks.

And different types of attacks require different types of defenses. You’ll want to adopt each of these three defense strategies against DDoS attacks to a certain degree, as attackers are never going to limit themselves to a single attack vector:

Network Defense: Attacks targeting the OS and network operate at either Layer 3 or Layer 4 of the OSI stack. These attacks don’t flood the servers with application requests but attempt to exhaust TCP/IP resources on the supporting infrastructure. DDoS protection solutions defending against network attacks identify the attack behavior and absorb it into the platform.

Application Defense: Other DDoS attacks target the actual website itself or the web server application by overwhelming the site with random data and wasting resources. DDoS protection against these attacks might handle SSL decryption with hardware-based cryptography and prevent invalid data from reaching web servers.

Defense by Scale: There have been massive DDoS attacks, and they show no signs of stopping. The key to successfully defending against a DDoS attack is to have a scalable platform capable of deflecting an attack led by a million bots with hundreds of gigabits per second of network throughput.

Table 1. Impact of Features on Metrics
[chart id=”1001387″ show=”table”]

DDoS attacks are growing more frequent and more powerful and sophisticated. Amazon reports mitigating a massive DDoS attack a couple of years ago in which peak traffic volume reached 2.3 Tbps. Deploying DDoS protection across the spectrum of attack vectors is no longer a “nice to have,” but a necessity.

In his report, Cooke concludes that “Any DDoS protection product is only part of an overall strategy, not a silver bullet for denial-of-service hazards.” Evaluate your organization and your needs, read more about each solution evaluated in the Radar report, and carefully match the right DDoS solutions to best suit your needs.

Learn More About the Reports: Gigaom Key Criteria for DDoS, and Gigaom Radar for DDoS

The post Defeating Distributed Denial of Service Attacks appeared first on GigaOm.

Continue Reading

Security

Assessing Providers of Low-Power Wide Area Networks

Published

on

/*! elementor – v3.6.4 – 13-04-2022 */
.elementor-widget-text-editor.elementor-drop-cap-view-stacked .elementor-drop-cap{background-color:#818a91;color:#fff}.elementor-widget-text-editor.elementor-drop-cap-view-framed .elementor-drop-cap{color:#818a91;border:3px solid;background-color:transparent}.elementor-widget-text-editor:not(.elementor-drop-cap-view-default) .elementor-drop-cap{margin-top:8px}.elementor-widget-text-editor:not(.elementor-drop-cap-view-default) .elementor-drop-cap-letter{width:1em;height:1em}.elementor-widget-text-editor .elementor-drop-cap{float:left;text-align:center;line-height:1;font-size:50px}.elementor-widget-text-editor .elementor-drop-cap-letter{display:inline-block}

Blog Title: Assessing Providers of Low-Power Wide Area Network Technology

Companies are taking note of how Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) can provide long-distance communications for certain use cases. While its slow data transfer rates and high latency aren’t going to be driving any high intensity video streaming or other bandwidth-hungry situations, it can provide inexpensive, low power, long-distance communication.

According to Chris Grundemann and Logan Andrew Green’s recent report “GigaOm Radar for LPWAN Technology Providers (Unlicensed Spectrum) v1.0,” this growing communications technology is suitable for use cases with the following characteristics:

  • Requirement for long-distance transmission—10 km/6 miles or more wireless connectivity from sensor to gateway
  • Low power consumption, with battery life lasting up to 10 years
  • Terrain and building penetration to circumvent line-of-sight issues
  • Low operational costs (device management or connection subscription cost)
  • Low data transfer rate of roughly 20kbps

These use cases could include large-scale IoT deployments within heavy industry, manufacturing, government, and retail. The LPWAN technology providers evaluated in this Radar report are currently filling a gap in the IoT market. They are certainly poised to benefit from the anticipated rapid adoption of LPWAN solutions.

Depending on the use case you’re looking to fulfill, you can select from four basic deployment models from these LPWAN providers:

  • Physical Appliance: This option would require a network server on-premises to receive sensor data from gateways.
  • Virtual Appliance: Network servers could also be deployed as virtual appliances, running either on-premises or in the cloud.
  • Network Stack as a Service: With this option, the LPWAN provider fully manages your network stack and provides you with the service. You only need devices and gateways to satisfy your requirements.
  • Network as a Service: This option is provided by mobile network operators, with the provider operating the network stack and gateways. You would only need to connect to the LPWAN provider.

Figure 1. LPWAN Connectivity

The LPWAN providers evaluated in this report are well-positioned from both a business and technical perspective, as they can function as a single point of contact for building IoT solutions. Instead of cobbling together other solutions to satisfy connectivity protocols, these providers can set up your organization with a packaged IoT solution, reducing time to market and virtually eliminating any compatibility issues.

The unlicensed spectrum aspect is also significant. The LPWAN technology providers evaluated in this Radar report use at least one protocol in the unlicensed electromagnetic spectrum bands. There’s no need to buy FCC licenses for specific frequency bands, which also lowers costs.

Learn More: Gigaom Enterprise Radar for LPWAN

The post Assessing Providers of Low-Power Wide Area Networks appeared first on GigaOm.

Continue Reading

Security

The Benefits of a Price Benchmark for Data Storage

Published

on

Why Price Benchmark Data Storage?

Customers, understandably, are highly driven by budget when it comes to data storage solutions. The cost of switching, upkeep and upgrades are high risk factors for businesses, and therefore, decision makers need to look for longevity in their chosen solution. Many factors influence how data needs to be handled within storage, including data that is frequently accessed, or storing rarely-accessed legacy data. 

Storage performance may also be shaped by geographic location, from remote work or global enterprises that need to access and share data instantly, or by the necessity of automation. Each element presents a new price-point that needs to be considered, by customers and by vendors.

A benchmark gives a comparison of system performance based on a key performance indicator, such as latency, capacity, or throughput. Competitor systems are analyzed in like-for-like situations that optimize the solution, allowing a clear representation of the performance. Price benchmarks for data storage are ideal for marketing, showing customers exactly how much value for money a solution has against competitor vendors.

Benchmark tests reinforce marketing collateral and tenders with verifiable evidence of performance capabilities and how the transactional costs relate to them. Customers are more likely to invest in long-term solutions with demonstrable evidence that can be corroborated. Fully disclosed testing environments, processes, and results, give customers the proof they need and help vendors stand out from the crowd.

The Difficulty in Choosing

Storage solutions vary greatly, from cloud options to those that utilize on-premises software. Data warehouses have different focuses which impact the overall performance, and they can vary in their pricing and licensing models. Customers find it difficult to compare vendors when the basic data storage configurations differ and price plans vary. With so many storage structures available, it’s hard to explain to customers how output relates to price, appeal to their budget, and maintain integrity, all at the same time.

Switching storage solutions is also a costly, high-risk decision that requires careful consideration. Vendors need to create compelling and honest arguments that provide reassurance of ROI and high quality performance.

Vendors should begin by pitching their costs at the right level; they need to be profitable but also appealing to the customer. Benchmarking can give an indication of how competitor cost models are calculated, allowing vendors to make judgements on their own price plans to keep ahead of the competition. 

Outshining the Competition

Benchmark testing gives an authentic overview of storage transaction-based price-performance, carrying out the test in environments that imitate real-life. Customers can gain a higher understanding of how the product works in terms of transactions per second, and how competitors process storage data in comparison.

The industry-standard for benchmarking is the TPC Benchmark E (TPC-E), a recognized standard for storage vendors. Tests need to be performed in credible environments; by giving full transparency on their construction, vendors and customers can understand how the results are derived. This can also prove systems have been configured to offer the best performance of each platform.

A step-by-step account allows tests to be recreated by external parties given the information provided. This transparency in reporting provides more trustworthy and reliable outcomes that offer a higher level of insight to vendors. Readers can also examine the testing and results themselves, to draw independent conclusions.

Next Steps

Price is the driving factor for business decisions and the selection for data storage is no different. Businesses often look towards low-cost solutions that offer high capacity, and current trends have pushed customers towards cloud solutions which are often cheaper and flexible. The marketplace is full in regard to options: new start-ups are continually emerging, and long serving vendors are needing to reinvent and upgrade their systems to keep pace. 

Vendors need evidence of price-performance, so customers can be reassured that their choice will offer longevity and functionality at an affordable price point. Industry-standard benchmarking identifies how performance is impacted by price and which vendors are best in the market – the confirmation customers need to invest.

 

The post The Benefits of a Price Benchmark for Data Storage appeared first on GigaOm.

Continue Reading

Trending