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Two botnets are fighting over control of thousands of unsecured Android devices

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Two botnet gangs are fighting to take control over as many unsecured Android devices as they can to use their resources and mine cryptocurrency behind owners’ backs.

The turf war between these two botnets –one named Fbot and the other named Trinity– has been going on for at least a month if we’re to combine the various clues from reports published by different cyber-security firms.

Both are in direct competition and are going after the same targets, namely Android devices on which vendors or owners have left the diagnostics port exposed online.

This port is 5555, and it hosts a standard Android feature called the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). All Android devices support it but most come with it disabled.

But while ADB is disabled on hundreds of millions of devices, there are tens of thousands where this feature has been left enabled, either by accident during the device’s assembly and testing process or by the user after he used the ADB to debug or customize his phone.

Making matters worse, in its default configuration, the ADB interface also doesn’t use a password. Once the ADB port is enabled and the device is connected to the internet, the ADB feature acts as a permanent wide-open backdoor to vulnerable devices.

According to a Shodan search, the number of Android devices with an ADB port exposed online usually varies between 30,000 and 35,000 during a day.

Cyber-criminals have also noticed these devices. Back in February this year, a botnet built on a malware strain known as ADB.Miner had infected nearly 7,500 devices, most of them being Android-based smart TVs and TV top boxes.

The ADB.Miner crew mined cryptocurrency, and in the end, turned a nice profit. But this malware strain evolved with time and later morphed into a new botnet named Trinity –also known as com.ufo.miner, after the name of its process.

The botnet has been seen by Qihoo 360 Netlab in September and was still going strong in October when Ixia researchers also spotted it online.

Just like its previous ADB.Miner incarnation, the Trinity botnet has continued to rely on the exposed ADB interface to access devices, plant its crypto-mining malware, and then use the infected device to spread to new victims.

However, ADB.Miner and Trinity’s success has also drawn new contenders on the scene. Also starting with September, a different botnet was also seen scanning for devices with an ADB port left exposed online. This second botnet, named Fbot, has not been seen mining cryptocurrency, yet.

For not, Fbot, which researchers say shares code with the Satori IoT DDoS malware, has only been focused on spreading to as many devices as possible and permanently dislodging Trinity from infected devices. You see, Fbot contains special code that specifically searches for Trinity’s file name (com.ufo.miner) and removes it.

While its purpose remains a mystery and it may take some time before Fbot becomes just as large as Trinty, it is clear that Android device owners need to take note of this malware trend and make sure their device is not exposing the ADB port online.

This tutorial will help device owners disable the ADB service –which is also referred to as “USB Debugging” in many Android devices’ settings menus.

Back in June, infosec pundit Kevin Beaumont had suggested that mobile telcos could do everyone a favor by blocking inbound traffic into their networks that targeted port 5555, which would render scans for open ADB ports useless, effectively blocking any exploitation attempts.

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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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Secure Insight: GigaOm Partners with the CISO Series

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Don’t look now, but GigaOm, the analyst firm that enables smart businesses to future-proof their decisions, is forging new partnerships to extend its reach and better inform busy IT decision makers. On Thursday, the company announced it was teaming with the CISO Series to share content and better support the community of chief information security officers, security practitioners, and security vendors.

“The CISO Series is one we have admired for a while because they have a very similar aim: They help security professionals become more knowledgeable and understand how their roles are changing,” said Ben Book, GigaOm founder and CEO. “We saw a clear common interest and are delighted to be working together.”

The CISO Series brand has built a formidable reputation through its podcasts, blogs, video chats, and live events for the security community. It has added the extremely popular CyberSecurity Headlines podcast to its stable this year, which joins the CISO/Security Vendor Relationship and Defense in Depth podcasts. Every Friday at 10am Pacific Time, the CISO Series hosts its highly engaging and fun weekly live CISO Series Video Chat, which viewers can register for here.

The channel partnership connects two of the strongest, fastest-growing brands in enterprise IT content production. The agreement enables the CISO Series to share exclusive GigaOm reports with its audience ahead of publication, while GigaOm is able to share insights from the CISO Series’ various publications through its social channels and newsletters. The CISO Series joins other media firms, such as The Register and SDXCentral, as official GigaOm Channel Partners.

“We are delighted to be working with GigaOm because we’re not only both addressing the same audience, but we’re also both trying to bring education and understanding to both the security vendor and practitioner communities,” said David Spark, managing editor and executive producer at the CISO Series. “GigaOm is providing some excellent reports that we’re leaning on for our discussions and reporting across all of our shows.”

Spark continued: “We are always tweaking our programming to bring the best and most up-to-date resources and we’re really impressed with both the volume and quality GigaOm is delivering. Not only are we impressed with their editorial work, but we also appreciate their business branding. It’s something we felt comfortable about aligning with the CISO Series brand as well.”

Check out the CISO Series schedule at http://crowdcast.io/cisoseries, or visit cisoseries.com for more information about the CISO Series and its weekly Video Chats.

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Key Criteria for Evaluating Vulnerability Management Tools

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Vulnerability management tools scan your IT estate to help identify and mitigate security risks and weaknesses. These tools can facilitate the development of a more comprehensive vulnerability management program. Leveraging people, processes, and technologies, successful initiatives effectively identify, classify, prioritize, and remediate security threats.

A security vulnerability is a weakness that can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of information. Attackers are constantly looking to exploit defects in software code or insecure configurations. Vulnerabilities can exist anywhere in the software stack, from web applications and databases to infrastructure components such as load balancers, firewalls, machine and container images, operating systems, and libraries. This includes code used in the CI/CD pipeline as well as the infrastructure-as-code (IAC) that defines the compute, network, and storage infrastructure.

Recent cybersecurity events have exposed widespread vulnerabilities involving the exploitation of zero-day malware and unknown weaknesses. Threat actors continually discover new exploitation tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to take advantage of weaknesses throughout integrated systems. Moreover, identifying breach paths is increasingly complicated due to the widespread adoption of ephemeral services.

Vulnerability management solutions should provide end-to-end visibility of the protect-surface by aggregating both platform and application risks in a single pane of glass, while leveraging prioritized remediation based on business risk and threat context for efficiency. Containerized workloads deployed via DevOps pipelines have unique security requirements that demand a fully integrated vulnerability assessment to be automated into cloud platform services running containerized workloads.

The path to a mature security posture starts with the ability to identify vulnerabilities in software code, third-party libraries, and at runtime. In addition, the cloud platform used to host your applications should be scanned for misconfigurations. This requires the use of policy configuration baselines, benchmarks, and compliance standards that apply to both the infrastructure and the code used to build it. As organizations implement security guardrails early in the software development lifecycle (SDLC), they can take advantage of cloud-native culture to ensure network and security tools are used throughout all phases of the SDLC.

This GigaOm report explores the key criteria and emerging technologies that IT decision makers should evaluate when choosing a vulnerability management solution. The key criteria report, together with the GigaOm radar report that evaluates relevant products, provides a framework to help organizations assess the solutions currently available on the market and how these tools fit with their requirements.

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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