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Experts spotted Monero cryptominer sending currency to North Korean University

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 09:50 PM PST

Security researchers at AlienVault labs recently analyzed an application compiled on Christmas Eve 2017 that is an installer for a Monero cryptocurrency miner.

The mined Monero coins are sent to Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea, but experts noted that the developers might not be of North Korean origins.

The KSU is an unusually open University, it is attended by a number of foreign students and lecturers.

The researchers speculate the application could either be an experimental software or could be a prank to trick security researchers by connecting to Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Monero miner North Korea

The post Experts spotted Monero cryptominer sending currency to North Korean University appeared first on Security Affairs.

Trend Micro spotted 36 malicious apps advertised as security tools in Google Play

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 10:18 AM PST

Researchers from Trend Micro have discovered 36 malicious apps on Google Play that are posing as security tools of major firms.

Once again crooks bypassed security checks implemented by Google, researchers from Trend Micro have discovered 36 malicious apps on Google Play that are posing as security tools.

Crooks advertised the apps as security tools as applications developed by major security firms, including Security Defender, Security Keeper, Smart Security, Advanced Boost.

The applications were developed to steal user information and flood them with ads.

“These apps posed as useful security tools under the names Security Defender, Security Keeper, Smart Security, Advanced Boost, and more. They also advertised a variety of capabilities: scanning, cleaning junk, saving battery, cooling the CPU, locking apps, as well as message security, WiFi security, and so on.” reads the blog post published Trend Micro.

“The apps were actually able to perform these simple tasks, but they also secretly harvested user data, tracked user location, and aggressively pushed advertisements.”

The apps collect information such as the user’s Android ID, Mac address, IMSI, OS data, brand and model of the device, device specifics, language, location information, and data on installed apps like Google Play and Facebook to sends to a remote server.

The malicious apps are also capable of uploading installed app information, attachments, user operational information, and data on activated events as well.

When the apps are launched for the first time, they will not appear on the device launcher’s list of applications, the shortcuts will also not appear on the device screen in this way victims will only be able to see notifications sent by the apps. The malicious apps typically push alarmist security warnings and pop-up windows to the victims.

Experts noticed that the apps implement a specific function called "hide" that will not allow the applications to run on specified devices including the Google Nexus 6P, Xiaomi MI 4LTE, ZTE N958St and LGE LG-H525n. Experts believe that the “hide” function was developed to avoid security checks implemented by Google Play.

The apps bombard the users with false security notifications and other messages like advertisements, examples of notifications are "10.0 GB files are being wasted" or "Fraud SMS Broadcast Vulnerability."

security tools malicious apps

If a user clicks the displayed button on the prompt, the fake security tools will show a simple animation notifying the resolution of the problem.

“The user is bombarded with ads with almost every action. It is clear that one of the main focuses of the app is ad display and click fraud.” continues the analysis.

"Users are actually asked to sign and agree to a EULA (end-user license agreement) which describes the information that will be gathered and used by the app," researchers said in the report. "But we can still say that the app abuses privacy because the collection and transmission of personal data is unrelated to the functionality of the app."

The game security tools were spotted in December 2017 and promptly removed.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  Google Play, fake security tools)

The post Trend Micro spotted 36 malicious apps advertised as security tools in Google Play appeared first on Security Affairs.

BlackBerry Mobile Website hacked, crooks installed a Coinhive’s code to mine Monero

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 02:05 AM PST

According to Coinhive, the BlackBerry Mobile website was hacked by exploiting a critical security vulnerability in the Magento e-commerce software.

The spike in the value of some cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is attracting the interest of cyber criminals. The numbers of incidents and cyber attacks involving miners and mining scripts continue to increase and the last in order of time seems to be the BlackBerry Mobile Site.

On January 6, a Reddit user that handle the moniker “Rundvleeskroket” claims that the official website of BlackBerry Mobile was caught using Coinhive's cryprocurrency code to mine Monero. Rundvleeskroket wrote that his friend pointed out that Blackberry Mobile domain (blackberrymobile.com) was using the Coinhive code,

“A friend of mine just pointed this out to me.
Have a look at the source code on their pages. This is an official site where BB links to themselves from their product pages at blackberry.com.

Image.” he wrote.

Originally pointed out by /u/cryptocripples on /r/security

Update: it seems like only their global site is affected. So anyone getting redirected to CA, EU, US, etc won’t have the coinhive miner running while the site is open.”

The Reddit user also shared the following screenshot:

coinhive script blackberry mobile

The Coinhive code was removed from the BlackBerry mobile site, unfortunately, such kind of incidents is becoming frequent. In many cases, website owners are using the CoinHive code to generate Monero exploiting computational resources of unaware visitors.

In December experts from Sucuri discovered that nearly 5,500 WordPress websites were infected with a malicious script that logs keystrokes and in loads a cryptocurrency miner in the visitors' browsers.

In November, experts reported the same attackers were loading malicious scripts disguised as fake jQuery and Google Analytics JavaScript files that were actually a copy of the Coinhive in-browser cryptocurrency miner. By November 22, the experts observed 1,833 sites compromised by the attackers.

According to a Coinhive’s comment on the Reddit post, the BlackBerry Mobile website was hacked by exploiting a critical security vulnerability in the Magento ecommerce software.

According to Coinhive, the same Coinhive’s account was used in the hack of many other websites, for this reason, it was suspended.

"Coinhive here. We’re sorry to hear that our service has been misused. This specific user seems to have exploited a security issue in the Magento web shop software (and possibly others) and hacked a number of different sites. We have terminated the account in question for violating our terms of service now." commented Coinhive.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – BlackBerry Mobile Website, Monero Miner)

The post BlackBerry Mobile Website hacked, crooks installed a Coinhive's code to mine Monero appeared first on Security Affairs.

Microsoft KB4056892 Meltdown/Spectre patch bricks AMD Athlon-powered machines

Posted: 07 Jan 2018 11:57 PM PST

Many users claim the Security Update for Windows KB4056892, the Microsoft Meltdown/Spectre patch, bricks AMD Athlon-powered machines.

Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities will continue to create a lot of problems to users and chip vendors.

As you know, tech giants like Apple, Cisco and Microsoft admitted the problem for their products and started rolling out security patched.

While many experts argued that the fixes will have a significant impact on the performance of any devices, Intel confirmed that extensive testing conducted by tech giants (Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft) to assess any impact on system performance from security updates did not reveal negative effects.

Unfortunately, the problems seem not ended, the fix released by Microsoft for the Meltdown and Spectre attacks (Security Update for Windows KB4056892) is bricking some AMD PCs, in particular, Athlon-powered machines.

Let’s remind that AMD CPUs are not susceptible to the Meltdown attack, but are vulnerable only to Spectre attacks.


In this thread on answers.microsoft.com, many users claim that the Security Update for Windows KB4056892 bricks some AMD-powered PCs and leaves them displaying with the Windows startup logo.

“I have older AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+, Asus MB, after installation of KB4056892 the system doesn’t boot, it only shows the Windows logo without animation and nothing more. After several failed boots it do roll-back then it shows error 0x800f0845. Unfortunately, it seems it’s not easy to disable the automatic updates without gpedit tweaks, so it tries installing and rolling-back the update over and over. ” reported an angry user.

Athlon-powered systems just after the installation of the patch stopped working, and the worst news is that the fix doesn't create a recovery point, and rollback is some cases not accessible.

Some users reported that even re-installing Windows 10 doesn't solve the problem.

Affected users will need to disable Windows Update, but only Microsoft can solve the embarrassing situation for its AMD users.

At the time, the thread did not include any response from Microsoft.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  Microsoft KB4056892,  Meltdown/Spectre patch)

The post Microsoft KB4056892 Meltdown/Spectre patch bricks AMD Athlon-powered machines appeared first on Security Affairs.

Experts found a strain of the Zeus banking Trojan spread through a legitimate developer’s website

Posted: 07 Jan 2018 11:21 PM PST

Malware researchers at Talos group have discovered a strain of Zeus banking Trojan that abuses the legitimate website of the Ukraine-based accounting software developer Crystal Finance Millennium (CFM).

The experts discovered that the version of the ZeuS banking Trojan used in this attack is the that was leaked in 2011.

The attack occurred in August 2017, during the time frame associated with the observance of the Independence Day holiday in Ukraine, but researchers from Talos disclosed details of the attack online now.

Experts found many similarities with the attack vector used in the NotPetya case, hackers. While in the NotPetya attack hackers compromised the supply chain of the software fir M.E.Doc to distribute the malware, in the case of the Zeus banking Trojan threat actors relied on accounting software maker CFM’s website being used to distribute malware fetched by downloaders delivered as attachments in an email spam campaign.

Researchers from Talos were able to register and sinkhole one of the Command and Control (C2) domains used by the attackers, in this way they were able to gather information about the number and the nature of the infected systems.

Attackers used spam emails with a ZIP archive containing a JavaScript file, which was used a downloader. The researchers discovered that one of the domains used to host the malware payload was associated with CFM’s website, attackers used it also to distribute PSCrypt ransomware.

The analysis of the infection process revealed that once executed the malware would first perform a long list of anti-VM checks to determine whether it runs in a virtualized environment. If not, the malicious code achieves persistence by creating a registry entry to ensure execution at system startup.

Then the malware attempts to connect to several C&C servers and experts from Talos discovered that one of them was not registered at the time of the analysis … a gift for the researchers that used it to sinkhole the botnet.

Most of the infected systems were located in Ukraine, followed by the United States.

“Interestingly, most of the systems which beaconed to our sinkhole server were located in Ukraine with United States being the second most affected region. A graph showing the ISPs that were most heavily affected is below:”

Zeus Banking Trojan attacks

“As can be seen in the graph above, PJSC Ukrtelecom was by far the most heavily affected. This ISP is the company governed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Ukraine. In total, our sinkhole logged 11,925,626 beacons from 3,165 unique IP address” states the analysis from Talos.

According to Talos hackers are refining their attack techniques and are increasingly attempting to abuse the trust relationship between organizations and their trusted software manufacturers.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  Zeus Banking Trojan, malware)

The post Experts found a strain of the Zeus banking Trojan spread through a legitimate developer's website appeared first on Security Affairs.