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APIs are Everywhere, but the Security is Lacking



With the gradual increase in the number of APIs (Application Programming Interface), spreading across the corporate infrastructure, API is also emerging as the largest attack surface in applications and a big target for threat actors and cyber attackers. 

According to industry experts, the increase in integrated web and mobile offerings that requires data exchange between products of multiple organizations and the reliability of mobile apps on APIs, has eventually led to growth, making API security a huge challenge for CIOs today.

A 2022 survey by 451 Research found that 41% of organizations surveyed had an API security incident in the last 12 months; 63% of respondents said the incident involved a data breach or loss. 

Consequently, cybersecurity startup Wib is looking to zero in on API security. Wib further announced a $16 million investment led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), the growth and venture arm of Koch Industries, Inc, with participation from Kmehin Ventures, Venture Israel, Techstars, and existing investors. 

Blocking API attacks in the network: 

According to a report by GigaOm research, API security products were developed before API use expanded to the extent seen today and “were based upon the idea that it is asking for failure to insist developers secure the code they write. The report added that “most developers do not knowingly create insecure code,” if they inadvertently develop code with vulnerabilities, most likely because they are unaware of what vulnerabilities an API might suffer from. 

“Once API security was in use, though,” the report said, “IT quickly discovered a new reason to use a security product: Some vulnerabilities are far easier blocked in the network than in each and every application.” 

The report inferred that the idea that it is more effective in blocking some attacks in the network, including data centers, cloud vendors, and SaaS providers — before access to the API occurs, has spurred demand for products that can do this. 

According to Wib, its API security platform aims at providing visibility across the entire API landscape, right from code to production. This would help unify software developers, cyber defenders, and CIOs around a single holistic view of their complete API domain. 

The platform could leverage real-time inspection, management, and control at every stage of the API lifecycle to automate inventory and API change management, according to the company. Wib was created to identify rogue, zombie, and shadow APIs and analyze business risk and impact, helping organizations reduce and harden their API attack surface. 

According to Gil Don, CEO, and co-founder of Wib, API has moved into the spotlight in the past years. “Organizations are using them as the basis of a new generation of complex applications, underpinning their move to competitive and agile digital business models,’’ says Don. 

A Whole New Category of Cyber Threat

Don explains that APIs account for 91% of all web traffic and they fit with the trend towards microservices architectures and the need to respond dynamically to rapidly changing market conditions. But APIs have given rise “to a whole new category of cybersecurity threats that explicitly targets them as a primary attack vector. Web API traffic and attacks are growing in volume and severity.” 

Over half of APIs are invisible to business IT and security teams. “These unknown, unmanaged, and unsecured APIs are creating massive blind spots for CIOs that expose critical business logic vulnerabilities and increase risk,’’ Don continues. 

On the other hand, GigaOm report called out Wib for its API source code scanning and analysis “with an eye toward API weaknesses.” Wib’s platform “provides automatic API documentation to create up-to-date documentation, as well as snapshots of changes to APIs and their risks every time they see a commit to code,” the report further read. 

As its operations grow across the Americas, UK, and EMEA, Wib says the investments will be used in order to improve its comprehensive API security platform and accelerate international growth.  

Must Follow Guidelines for API Security

An online store can collect payments via the PayPal API, for instance, rather than developing their own payment gateway. APIs serve the required function while sparing business time and effort, which is why it is evident they are useful. 

Protecting these APIs from security risks and breaches entails securing them together with all linked apps and users. 

APIs are used by businesses to link services and move data. Major data breaches are caused by compromised, broken, or exposed APIs. They make private and delicate financial, medical, and personal information available to the public. However, not all data is created equal, and not all data should be safeguarded in the same way. The type of data being exchanged will determine how you should approach API security. 

In the last 12 months, 95% of firms encountered an API security issue, according to the most recent Salt Labs State of API Security report. Additionally, during the past year, a variety of businesses—including Facebook, Experian, Starbucks, and Peloton—have experienced public API problems. Clearly, APIs need more protection against intrusions than the present crop of application security approaches can provide.

Security leaders need to carefully examine the way they are currently approaching API security to fix the issue. Understanding how a third-party application is sending data back to the internet is important if user API connects to one. 

Strategies for API Security

  1.  Put a secure authentication and authorization protocol into action: The first stage in an API security approach is authenticating and authorizing the appropriate users.
  2. Implement the "Least Privilege" Principle: The attack surface is decreased by restricting access to only essential tasks, which helps reduce the exposure to security breaches.
  3.  Constrain Data Sharing: To find weak spots, keep track of the data shared between apps, APIs, and users, and then secure them by restricting the shared data.
  4. Not utilize HTTPS: In order to communicate data securely, APIs employ HTTP connections and require Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption.
  5.  Implement a policy of zero trust: We can leave out the zero-trust policy when discussing API security advice. It operates under the premise that no user, device, or server should be trusted until proven otherwise.
  6. Implement data logging: Logs provide admins with a wealth of information that can be utilized to enhance API security and assist with manual inspection and monitoring.
Security requires ongoing work in the age of technology and the internet. Unfortunately, security problems would not disappear, and as IoT technology grows more widespread, the dangers and vulnerabilities will only become worse. Beware of such ineffective strategies for API security. The security strategy must broaden to keep up with attackers' growing skill sets. 

Being proactive is vital, which means keeping an eye on current technology, patching up any flaws, and implementing cutting-edge cybersecurity measures.

Countering Financial Data Leak in the Era of Digital Payments

 

Over the past five years, there has been a huge surge in the usage of financial services technologies and with that, the risk of a financial data breach has also increased. Multiple financial services technologies use screen scraping to access the private banking data of consumers.

 Screen scraping is a technology by which a customer provides its banking app login credentials to a third-party provider (TTP). The TTP then sends a software robot to the bank’s app or website to log in on behalf of the user and access data.

“The way consumers traditionally connect to their bank accounts is facilitated through screen scraping, where providers require internet banking login information,” explained Joe Pettersson, Chief Technology Officer at Banked. 

One safer alternative to screen scraping is APIs, which let two systems work together. Here are the three benefits of using API: 

Easier for developers 

APIs come with inbuilt documentation, which helps developers code between two systems with a common language. So, they don’t have to learn the details of a full fraud prevention engine’s code, they only need to look at the documentation to understand exactly how quickly they can access certain functions. Once again, this saves time and effort for the whole IT team and helps in making the fraud system more cost-effective. 

Good for Scaling

 Regardless of how efficient a person is, there’s simply no way to review all the user data manually. This is where APIs play an important role by offering fast queries and responses for hundreds of thousands of user logins, transactions, or signups. 

Automates everything 

Because APIs are linked to web apps, there’s no need to regularly tweak them or wait for IT updates. All the fixes and improvements are made from the server side, so individuals can focus on their business instead. It’s not only cheaper in terms of IT resources, but also much more efficient and faster.

Conclusion 

To mitigate fraud risk, propagating knowledge and awareness of new payment technologies, channels, and products, and the risks involved — to both customers and employees — is a crucial part of a fraud prevention strategy. Embedding the fraud management process into overall customer engagement and experience should be the first step forward.

Data Breach Targets Fast Company News

Fast Company's Apple News website currently displays a statement from the business confirming that it was hacked on Sunday afternoon, followed by another intrusion on Tuesday night that let threat actors to send bigoted notifications to smartphones via Apple News.

In a press release issued last night, the company claimed that "the statements are repulsive and are not by the contents and culture of Fast Company.  We have suspended FastCompany.com while we look into the matter and will not reopen it until it is resolved."

As soon as individuals on Twitter noticed the offensive Apple News notifications, the company disabled the Fast Company channel on the news network.

Data breach tactics

The website's webpage started to load up with articles headlined "Hacked by Vinny  Troia. [redacted] tongue my [redacted]. Thrax was here. " on Sunday afternoon, which was the first indication that Fast Company had been compromised.

In their ongoing dispute with security analyst Vinny Troia, members of the breached hacking group and the now-defunct RaidForums regularly deface websites and carry out attacks that they attribute to the researcher. Fast Company took the website offline for a while to address the defacement, but on Tuesday at around 8 PM EST, another attack occurred.

Hackers claim that after discovering that Fast Company was using WordPress for their website, they were able to compromise the company. The HTTP basic authentication which was supposed to have protected this WordPress installation was disregarded. The threat actor goes on to claim that they were able to enter the WordPress content management system by utilizing a relatively simple default password used on dozens of users.

Fast Company, according to the post, had a 'ridiculously easy' default password that was used on numerous accounts, including an admin account. The compromised account would have then been utilized by the threat actors to gain access to, among other things, authentication tokens and Apple News API credentials.

They assert that by using these tokens, they were able to set up administrator accounts on the CMS platforms, which were then used to send notifications to Apple News.

Threat actors gained access to an undefined number of customer names, birthdates, contact numbers, email, physical addresses, and personal documents, including license and passport numbers, through this same forum, which was at the center of the previous Optus breach. The hacker in question claims to have made 10,200 records available thus far. It's uncertain whether or when Apple News would reactivate the Fast Company channel.



Optus Data Breach: Australia’s Telco Giant Confirms Data of Millions of Users Compromised

 

Australia’s second largest Telecom Company, Optus has recently become a victim of a cyberattack that attack apparently led to the exposure of personal data of its current as well as former customers. According to Trevor Long, a Sydney-based tech analyst, the attack is the biggest breach of personal data from any Australian firm. 

The firm states that as soon as the attack was detected, it worked towards containing the attack, subsequently shutting it down before customers could suffer any harm. The company believes that one of the networks was still exposed to the test network with internet access. 

The data breach notification read, “Following a cyberattack, Optus is investigating the possible unauthorized access of current and former customer [..] Upon discovering this, Optus immediately shut down the attack.” 

In the wake of the attack, the firm confirmed that its customers' private data could be compromised since the attackers had an access to the customer identity database and opened it to other systems via Application Programming Interface (API). The firm further told that its network was accessed from an external source.  

The exposed data, as per the firm’s statement in a press release included customers’ names, dates of birth, contact numbers, email addresses, residential addresses, and identity documents numbers such as passport and driving licenses. The company’s services on the other hand, including mobile and home internet, have not been compromised and the attackers were void of access to messages and phone calls. 

Is Human Error Responsible For The Breach? 

At a media briefing, when asked about the possibility of a human error being responsible for the breach, Optus CEO Kelly Bayers Rosemarin stated that “I know people are hungry for details about the exact specificity of how this attack could occur, but it is the subject of criminal proceedings and so will not be divulging details about that.” 

The company has denied any claims of a human error that could execute this data breach. The CEO also apologized to the firm’s customers, stating it was challenging to offer immediate advice unless the case investigation was complete. 

The CEO also mentioned the strong cyber defense softwares invested in Telco pertaining to the attacks. She further said that this attack should be a wake-up call for all organizations in order to avoid becoming a victim of a data breach. 

 Google Chrome Flaw Enables Sites to Copy text to Clipboard

A flaw in the Google Chrome browser and other Chromium-based browsers could enable malicious websites to automatically rewrite the contents of the clipboard without asking the user's permission or requiring any user involvement.

Developer Jeff Johnson claims that the clipboard poisoning exploit was unintentionally added to Chrome version 104.  Web pages can also write to the system clipboard in Safari and Firefox, but both browsers have gesture-based security measures in place.

The flaw has been spotted by Chrome developers, but a patch has not yet been released, therefore it is still present in the most recent desktop and mobile versions of Chrome.

Security flaw

Operating systems have a temporary storage area called the system clipboard. It can contain sensitive information like passwords, banking account numbers, and cryptocurrency wallet strings and is frequently used for copying and pasting.

Users are at risk as they may end up being the targets of malware attacks if arbitrary content is written over this temporary storage space.

Users might be lured to visit websites that have been carefully built to look like reputable bitcoin services by hackers. The website might write the threat actor's address to the clipboard when the user attempts to make a payment and copy their wallet address to the clipboard.

On some websites, the user may be given the option to add more information to the clipboard when selecting text to copy from a website typically the page URL. However, in such cases, there is no obvious notification or user input before the clipboard overflows with random text.

All online browsers that support clipboard writing, have poor and insufficient security measures, according to a blog post on the subject.

When a user selects a piece of text and presses Control+C or chooses 'Copy' from the context menu, the web page is given permission to utilize the clipboard API.

Johnson explained, "Therefore, even a seemingly innocent action like clicking a link or using the arrow keys to scroll down the page allows the website to overwrite one's system clipboard." He conducted tests on Safari and Firefox and discovered that loading a web page allowed clipboard writing permission when the down arrow key was pressed or the mouse scroll wheel was used to navigate.

Fortunately, Johnson's testing showed that websites could not misuse this authorization to read clipboard contents, as it would be problematic for user privacy.

Atlassian Bitbucket: Vulnerability Spotted Inside Data Center

Bitbucket Server and Data Center users are being alerted by Atlassian about a major security vulnerability that may allow attackers to run arbitrary code on weak systems.

The most updated vulnerability that involves command injection affects several software product API endpoints and is identified as CVE-2022-36804. Given that it has a CVSS severity score of 9.9 out of a possible 10.0,  it can be concluded that the vulnerability is critical and needs to be fixed immediately.

According to an advisory from Atlassian, "A hacker with access to a public Bitbucket repository or with r permissions to a private one can execute arbitrary code by sending a malicious HTTP request."

Bitbucket is a Git-based code hosting service connected with Jira and a part of the business' DevOps solution. Bitbucket offers both free and paid options and supports an infinite number of private repositories.

All Bitbucket versions issued after 6.10.17 are impacted, thus "all instances that are operating any versions between 7.0.0 and 8.3.0 inclusive are affected by this vulnerability," according to Atlassian, which also alleges that the flaw was introduced in version 7.0.0 of Bitbucket.

Atlassian advises disabling public repositories using 'feature.public.access=false' as a temporary solution in situations where the patches cannot be applied immediately to stop unauthorized users from taking advantage of the problem.

It warned that "this can not be regarded a complete mitigation as an attacker with a user account could still succeed,", implying that hackers who already have legitimate credentials obtained through other ways could take advantage of it. 

It is advised that users of the affected software versions update as soon as possible to the most recent version in order to reduce security risks.

Max Garrett, a security researcher, disclosed CVE-2022-36804 to Atlassian via the company's bug bounty program on Bugcrowd and was rewarded with $6,000 for his discovery.

The teenage researcher tweeted yesterday that he will publish a proof-of-concept (PoC) attack for the problem in 30 days, allowing system administrators plenty of time to implement the now available remedies.

There is no guarantee that the significant RCE weakness won't be actively exploited more frequently before the PoC is released, but it is inevitable. Reverse engineering Atlassian's patch, according to Garrett, shouldn't be too challenging for knowledgeable hackers.

The motivation is there because remote code execution is the most dangerous type of vulnerability, allowing attackers to cause significant harm while evading all security protocols.

As a result, users of Bitbucket Server and Data Center are urged to install any security updates or mitigations as soon as they become available.


Hackers Breached Accounts of Twilio Users

According to data provided by Twilio, hackers were able to obtain information from "a limited number" of customer accounts through a breach including data theft of employee credentials.

On August 4th, a hacker sent SMS messages to Twilio employees asking them to change their passwords or informing them of a change in their schedule. Each message contained a URL that contained phrases like "Twilio," "SSO" (single sign-on), and "Okta," the brand of user authentication service that is employed by numerous businesses. Employees who clicked on the link were taken to a fake Twilio sign-in page, where hackers were able to capture the data they entered.

When the breach was discovered, Twilio worked with US phone providers to shut down the SMS system and also requested that web hosting companies remove the fake sign-in sites. Twilio reports that hackers were still able to switch to different hosting companies and cell carriers in order to continue their assault.

Facebook and Uber are two of the more than 150,000 businesses that use Twilio.

Laurelle Remzi, an official for Twilio, declined to reveal how many customers were impacted or what data the hackers got. According to Twilio's privacy statement, the data it gathers includes addresses, payment information, IP addresses, and, in certain situations, identification documentation. 

The hackers are skilled enough to switch between telco carriers and hosting providers using social engineering lures, according to Twilio, a dominant player in the enterprise communication API market with 26 offices across 17 countries. Twilio classified the situation as ongoing.

The company didn't specify whether the social engineering attacks were successful or whether any MFA (multi-factor authentication) hurdles were encountered by the attacker.

According to Twilio, its security team has terminated access to the hacked employee accounts in order to reduce the effect of the attack and has contacted a third-party forensics company to assist in the investigation.


Here's How BlackMatter Ransomware is Linked With LockBit 3.0

 

LockBit 3.0, the most recent version of LockBit ransomware, and BlackMatter contain similarities discovered by cybersecurity researchers. 

In addition to introducing a brand-new leak site, the first ransomware bug bounty program, LockBit 3.0, was released in June 2022. Zcash was also made available as a cryptocurrency payment method.

"The encrypted filenames are appended with the extensions 'HLJkNskOq' or '19MqZqZ0s' by the ransomware, and its icon is replaced with a.ico file icon. The ransom note then appears, referencing 'Ilon Musk'and the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union (GDPR)," researchers from Trend Micro stated.

The ransomware alters the machine's wallpaper when the infection process is finished to alert the user of the attack. Several LockBit 3.0's code snippets were found to be lifted from the BlackMatter ransomware by Trend Micro researchers when they were debugging the Lockbit 3.0 sample.

Identical ransomware threats

The researchers draw attention to the similarities between BlackMatter's privilege escalation and API harvesting techniques. By hashing a DLL's API names and comparing them to a list of the APIs the ransomware requires, LockBit 3.0 executes API harvesting. As the publically accessible script for renaming BlackMatter's APIs also functions for LockBit 3.0, this procedure is the same as that of BlackMatter.

The most recent version of LockBit also examines the UI language of the victim machine to prevent infection of machines that speak these languages in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states.

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) via COM objects is used by Lockbit 3.0 and BlackMatter to delete shadow copies. Experts draw attention to the fact that LockBit 2.0 deletes using vssadmin.exe.

The findings coincide with LockBit attacks becoming the most active ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) gangs in 2022, with the Italian Internal Revenue Service (L'Agenzia delle Entrate) being the most recent target.

The ransomware family contributed to 14% of intrusions, second only to Conti at 22%, according to Palo Alto Networks' 2022 Unit 42 Incident Response Report, which was released and is based on 600 instances handled between May 2021 and April 2022.


Prototype Bug in Blitz.js. Allows RCE on Node.js Servers

 

Blitz.js, a JavaScript web online framework, has issued a patch for a critical prototype pollution bug to prevent remote code execution (RCE) on Node.js servers. 

Prototype pollution is a specific kind of JavaScript vulnerability that allows hackers to manipulate the structure of the programming language and exploit it in multiple ways, Paul Gerste, security researcher at Sonar explained. It also allowed hackers to exploit the code in the Blitz.js app to design a reverse shell and run arbitrary commands on the server. 

Blitz is designed on top of Next.js, a React-based framework, and adds components to turn it into a full-stack web development platform. One of the popular components of Blitz.js is its ‘Zero-API’ layer, which allows the customer to employ specific functions to call server-side business logic without having to design API code. 

Additionally, it makes an RPC call to the server in the background and returns the response to the client function call. Gerste identified a chain of exploits that could be exploited via the prototype pollution bug and lead to RCE. 

The attackers target Node.js by sending a JSON request, a browser service that enables two-way data exchange with any JSON data server without exposing users’ data, to the server, which triggers the routing function of Blitz.js to load a JavaScript file with the polluted prototype. This allows the hacker to employ the malicious JavaScript object to implement arbitrary code. 

In an ideal scenario, the hacker would design and run a file on the server. But Blitz.js does not support upload functionality. However, it has a CLI wrapper script that uses JavaScript’s spawn() function to launch a new process. 

The attacker could use this function to launch a CLI process and run an arbitrary command on the server. The vulnerability can be triggered without any authentication, which means any user who can access the Blitz.js application will be able to launch RCE attacks.  

“This attack technique leverages a code pattern that isn’t a vulnerability in itself,” Gerste explained. “Prototype pollution can influence the target application in a very invasive way, and it would require a lot of work to get rid of all code that could be influenced by prototype pollution.” 

In his blog post, the researcher mentioned some general recommendations to safeguard JavaScript apps against prototype pollution, including freezing 'object.prototype or using the --disable-proto=delete flag in Node.js

“I think prototype pollution is still unknown to many JavaScript developers,” Gerste added. “I don’t see developers often use the patterns that we recommended in our article. With our blog posts, we try to help educate JavaScript developers and share this knowledge.”

A SQL Injection bug Hits the Django web Framework

 

A serious vulnerability has been addressed in the most recent versions of the open-source Django web framework. 

Updates decrease the risk of SQL Injection

Developers are advised to update or patch their Django instances as soon after the Django team issues versions Django 4.0.6 and Django 3.2.14 that fix a high-severity SQL injection vulnerability. 

Malicious actors may exploit the vulnerability, CVE-2022-34265, by passing particular inputs to the Trunc and Extract methods.

The issue, which can be leveraged if untrusted data was used as a kind/lookup name value, is said to be present in the Trunc() and Extract() database functions, according to the researchers. It is feasible to lessen the danger of being exploited by implementing input sanitization for these functions.

Bugfixes 

Django's main branch and the 4.1, 4.0, and 3.2 release branches have all received patches to fix the problem. 

"This security update eliminates the problem, but we've found enhancements to the Database API methods for date extract and truncate that should be added to Django 4.1 before its official release. Django 4.1 releases candidate 1 or newer third-party database backends will be affected by this until they can be updated to the new API. We apologize for the trouble," Django team stated.

Susceptible APIs Costing Organizations Billions Every year

 

Last week, threat intelligence firm Imperva published a report titled ‘Quantifying the Cost of API Insecurity’, which examined nearly 117,000 security incidents and unearthed that API insecurity was responsible for annual losses of between $41- 75 billion globally. 

The study conducted by the Marsh McLennan Cyber Risk Analytics Center discovered that larger enterprises had a higher threat of having API-related breaches, with organizations making more than $100 billion in revenue being three to four times more likely to face API insecurity than small or midsize enterprises. 

The security analysts identified that Asia has a high incident rate with between 16% and 20% of cyber-security incidents related to API insecurity. This is likely due to the rapid digital transformation happening across Asia, especially in regard to mobile, as the majority of digital transactions in Asia are done through mobile. 

 How are businesses getting API security so wrong? 

An API is the invisible connective tissue that allows applications to transfer data to enhance end-user experiences and results. "The growing security risks associated with APIs correlate with the proliferation of APIs," says Lebin Cheng, vice president of API security for Imperva. 

"The volume of APIs used by businesses is growing rapidly — nearly half of all businesses have between 50 and 500 deployed, either internally or publicly, while some have over a thousand active APIs." 

Businesses are frequently failing to secure APIs, with 95% of enterprises suffering an API security incident in the last 12 months, and 34% acknowledging they lack any kind of API security methodology— despite running APIs in production. 

“Many organizations are failing to protect their APIs because it requires equal participation from the security and development teams,” Cheng explained. “Historically, these groups have been at odds —security is the party of no, and devops is irresponsible and moves too fast. In order to address these challenges, security leaders have to enable application developers to create secure code using technology that is lightweight and works efficiently." 

 Tips for enhancing API security: 

Imperva recommended organizations adopt API governance by monitoring endpoints beyond their organizations. They should also monitor the data flowing through them to ensure that sensitive information is protected. 

Any methodology that security teams implement should include API discovery and data classification. This way, security experts can identify the schema of APIs, while spotting and classifying the data that passes through it, while employing testing to unearth any potential vulnerabilities.

API Security Losses Total Billions, US Companies Hit Hard


According to the analysis of breach data, US companies are the ones affected the most by the APIs. Companies have lost a combined amount of $12 billion to $23 billion in 2022 from compromises linked to Web application programming interfaces (APIs). 

APIs are used in Internet of Things (IoT) applications and on websites. An API is a mechanism that facilitates two software systems to interact. It controls the types of requests that take place between programs, how these requests are made, and the kinds of data formats used. For example, the Google Maps application on a mobile device does not contain names of all the streets, cities, towns, and other landmarks on your device. Instead, it connects to another application within the Google server that contains all of that information and this connection is made possible using an API. 

The data over the last decade suggests that API security has leveled up as a significant cybersecurity problem. Following the information, the Open Web Security Application Project (OWASP) has listed the top 10 APl security issues in 2019. 

It has explained various API weaknesses including broken authorization for objects, weak user authentication, and excessive data exposure as sensitive issues for software makers and companies that rely on cloud services. Thus, API security has become increasingly important. 

APIs work as the backend framework for mobile and web applications. Crucial and sensitive data is transferred between users, APIs, and applications and systems. Therefore, it is important to protect the sensitive data they transfer. 

According to the report 'Quantifying the Cost of API Insecurity' published this week by application-security firm Imperva and risk-strategy firm Marsh McLennan – cybersecurity issues would grow as APIs continue to become a common pattern for cloud and mobile devices.

"The growing security risks associated with APIs correlate with the proliferation of APIs. The volume of APIs used by businesses is growing rapidly — nearly half of all businesses have between 50 and 500 deployed, either internally or publicly, while some have over a thousand active APIs," says Lebin Cheng, vice president of API security for Imperva. 

Further, in Asia, more than 100 combined API security incidents occurred, and in the US more than 600 API security events. To prevent this, companies have to gain visibility into how they are using APIs and create a complete inventory of the API traffic in their network.

Google Strengthens Android Security With a New Set of Dev Policy Updates

 

Google has announced several important policy changes for Android app developers that will improve the security of users, Google Play, and the apps available through the service. 
These new developer requirements will be in effect from May 11th through November 1st, 2022, allowing developers plenty of time to adjust. The following are the most important policy changes related to cybersecurity and fraud that will be implemented: 
  • New API level target requirements.
  • Banning of loan apps whose Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is 36% or higher.
  • Prohibiting the abuse of the Accessibility API.
  • New policy changes for the permission to install packages from external sources.
All newly released/published apps must target an Android API level released within one year of the most recent major Android version release starting November 1, 2022. Those who do not comply with this criterion will have their apps banned from the Play Store, Android's official app store. 

Existing apps that do not target an API level within two years of the most recent major Android version will be eliminated from the Play Store and become undiscoverable. This change is intended to compel app developers to follow the tougher API regulations that underpin newer Android releases, such as better permission management and revoking, notification anti-hijacking, data privacy enhancements, phishing detection, splash screen limits, and other features. 

According to Google's blog article on the new policy: "users with the latest devices or those who are fully caught up on Android updates expect to realize the full potential of all the privacy and security protections Android has to offer." 

App developers who require extra time to migrate to more recent API levels can request a six-month extension, albeit this is not guaranteed. Many outdated apps will be forced to adopt better secure methods as a result of this policy change. 

Accessibility API abuse

The Accessibility API for Android enables developers to design apps that are accessible to people with disabilities, enabling the creation of new ways to operate the device using its applications. However, malware frequently exploits this capability to do actions on an Android smartphone without the user's permission or knowledge. As noted below, Google's new policies further restrict how this policy can be applied: 
  • Change user settings without their permission or prevent the ability for users to disable or uninstall any app or service unless authorized by a parent or guardian through a parental control app or by authorized administrators through enterprise management software; 
  • Workaround Android built-in privacy controls and notifications; or
  • Change or leverage the user interface deceptively or otherwise violates Google Play Developer Policies.
Google has also released a policy change that tightens the "REQUEST INSTALL PACKAGES" permission. Many malicious software publishers hide package-fetching technology that downloads malicious modules after installation to have their submission accepted on the Play Store. Users interpret these activities as "request to update" or "download new content," and they either authorise the action when presented with the corresponding prompt or don't notice because it occurs in the background. 

Google aims to narrow this loophole by imposing new permission requirements, bringing light to an area that was previously unregulated. Apps that use this permission must now only fetch digitally signed packages, and self-updates, code modifications, or bundling of APKs in the asset file will still require the user's authorization. For all apps using API level 25 (Android 7.1) or higher, the new REQUEST INSTALL PACKAGES policies will enter into force on July 11th, 2022.

To Mimic Microsoft, Phishing Employs Azure Static Web Pages

 

Microsoft Azure's Static Web Apps service is being exploited by phishing attacks to acquire Microsoft, Office 365, Outlook, and OneDrive passwords. Azure Static Web Apps is a Microsoft tool that allows to build and deploy full-stack web apps to Azure using code via GitHub or Azure DevOps.

MalwareHunterTeam, a security expert, uncovered the campaign. Attackers might imitate custom branding and website hosting services to install static landing phishing sites, according to the study. Users using Microsoft, Office 365, Outlook, and OneDrive services are being targeted by attackers who are actively mimicking Microsoft services. 

Several of the web pages and login pages in these phishing attempts are nearly identical to official Microsoft pages. Azure Static Web Apps is a program that uses a code repository to build and publish full-stack apps to Azure. 

Azure Static Apps has a process that is customized to a developer's everyday routine. Code changes are used to build and distribute apps. Azure works exclusively with GitHub or Azure DevOps to watch a branch of their choice when users establish an Azure Static Web Apps resource. A build is automatically done, and your app and API are published to Azure every time they post patches or allow codes into the watched branch. 

Targeting Microsoft users with the Azure Static Web App service is a great strategy. Because of the *.1.azurestaticapps.net wildcard TLS certificate, each landing page gets its own secure page padlock in the address bar. After seeing the certificate granted by Microsoft Azure TLS Issuing CA 05 to *.1.azurestaticapps.net, even the most skeptical targets will be fooled, certifying a fraud site as an official Microsoft login screen in the eyes of potential victims.

Due to the artificial veil of security supplied by the legitimate Microsoft TLS certs, such landing sites are also useful when targeting users of other platforms, such as Rackspace, AOL, Yahoo, or other email providers. 

When trying to figure out if one is being targeted by a phishing assault, the typical advice is to double-check the URL whenever we're asked to enter one's account credentials in a login. Unfortunately, phishing efforts that target Azure Static Web Apps render this advice nearly useless, since many users will be fooled by azurestaticapps.net subdomain and genuine TLS certificate.

Ukrainian Researcher Released  Software for Conti Ransomware

 

Conti, the notorious ransomware gang, is now the subject of cyberattacks following its proclamation early last week, it wholeheartedly supports Russia's continuing invasion of neighboring Ukraine, with the most recent blow being the public release of its source code. 

This comes only days after an archive comprising well over a year's worth of instant conversations between members of Conti, believed to be based in Russia, was leaked: speaking 400 files and tens of thousands of lines of Russian-language internal chat logs. Messages from January 2021 to February 27 of such a year can be found in the internal communication files.

Its analysis cited a cybersecurity bulletin issued jointly by the Cybercrime and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) and the FBI over the weekend, which warned Russia's attack on Ukraine – which also included cyberattacks on the Ukrainian government and key infrastructure organizations – could spill over Ukraine's borders, especially in the wake of US and allied sanctions. 

Throughout the night, ContiLeaks began publishing more information, including the source code for the gang's administration panel, the BazarBackdoor API, storage server screenshots, and more. A password-protected folder including the source code for the Conti ransomware encryptor, decryptor, and function Object() { [native code] } was one component of the release to get people interested.While the leaker did not reveal the password publicly, another researcher cracked it soon after, giving everyone access to the Conti ransomware malware files' source code. 

The code may not provide more information if you are a reverse engineer. For those who can program in C but not reverse engineer, the source code contains a wealth of information about how the malware operates. While this is beneficial for security research, having this code available to the public has its pitfalls. Threat actors immediately coopt the code to establish their own operations, as we observed when the HiddenTear (for "educational purposes") and Babuk malware source code was leaked. 

In May, the FBI issued a five-page [PDF] warning to American firms about Conti ransomware assaults on healthcare and first-responder networks, citing at least 16 such attacks by Conti in the previous year and ransom demands as high as $25 million. 

"As a result of Russia's invasion, cybercrime organizations such as Conti have taken sides, with the assumption that many of these organizations are linked to Russia and perhaps to Russian intelligence", Brett Callow, a vulnerability analyst at Emsisoft, a cybersecurity firm based in New Zealand, stated.

Mac Coinminer Employs a Novel Approach to Mask Its Traffic

 

A Mac coinminer has been discovered exploiting customizable open-source software to enhance its malicious activity. This sample incorporates a variety of altered open-source elements which the malicious actor customized to fulfill the agenda. The sample was indeed discovered concealing its network traffic with i2pd (called I2P Daemon). The Invisible Internet Protocol, or I2P client, is constructed in C++ by I2pd. I2P is a worldwide anonymous network layer which enables anonymous end-to-end encrypted communication without revealing the participants' real IP addresses. 

Coinminer is the major malware sample which has been found. MacOS. MALXMR.H is a Mach-O file which was also identified by numerous vendors because it includes XMRig-related strings as sourcing tools like Yara. Its accessibility makes, XMRig to be often utilized by other viruses to execute crypto mining. 

The primary Mach-O sample was discovered to be ad hoc-signed. This indicates the Mach-O binary is difficult to run on Mac systems, and Gatekeeper, a built-in security mechanism for macOS which enforces code signing, may prohibit it. 

The Mach-O sample is suspected to have arrived in a DMG (an Apple image format for compressing installations) of Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 v20.0.6. Apparently, the parent file could not be located. The piece of code was identified in one of its discarded files, which led to the conclusion. The sample attempts to create a non-existent file in the /Volumes path in this code. It's worth noting when double-tapping DMG files on macOS, they get automatically mounted in the /Volumes directory. 

Several embedded Mach-O files were discovered in the core Mach-O sample (detected as Coinminer.MacOS.MALXMR.H). It uses the API to elevate rights by enabling the user for authentication when it is performed. The following files have been deposited into the system by the sample:
  •  /tmp/lauth /usr/local/bin/com.adobe.acc.localhost
  •  /usr/local/bin/com.adobe.acc.network
  •  /usr/local/bin/com.adobe.acc.installer.v1 

As per Trend Micro, the sample used the auth file for persistence. The Mach-O file is in charge of creating the persistence files for the malware:
LaunchDaemons/com.adobe.acc.installer.v1.plist. 

"The file is an XMRig command-line app which has been modified. When launching the app, enter help or version in the variables to see what it's about. The help argument displays a list and overview of the parameters which can be utilized, whereas the version parameter reveals the version of the XMRig binary," according to the experts.

It is suggested to update the products and keep up with the latest patterns. Users should avoid downloading apps from shady websites and exercise excellent digital hygiene.

Brave Disabled a Chrome Extension Linked to Facebook Users

 

Last week, security analyst Zach Edwards stated how Brave had restricted the L.O.C. Chrome extension citing concerns it leaked the user's Facebook information to the third server without warning or authorization prompt. An access token used by L.O.C. was obtained easily from Facebook's Creator Studio online app. After retrieving this token — a text thread made up of 192 alphanumeric characters – from the apps, the chrome extensions can use it with Facebook's Graph API to get data about the signed-in user without being a Facebook-approved third-party app. 

The concern is whether this type of data access could be exploited. Without the user's knowledge, an extension using this token could, copy the user's file and transmit it to a remote server. It might also save the user's name and email address and use it to track them across websites. According to a Brave official, the business is working with the programmer to make certain changes — most likely an alert or permission prompt – to ensure the extension is appropriate in terms of privacy and security. 

In September 2018, Facebook announced a security breach impacting nearly 50 million profiles, it blamed criminals for stealing access tokens supplied by its "View As" function, allowing users to see how the profiles appear to others." They were able to steal Facebook access tokens, which subsequently used to take over people's accounts," said Guy Rosen, Meta's VP of Integrity.

Cambridge Analytica accessed people's Facebook profiles using a third-party quiz app which was linked to the social media platform. One would assume a quiz app won't disclose your Facebook profile information with others, and a Chrome extension won't do the same. Despite Facebook's assurances, some steps must be taken to prevent a repetition of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the Creators Studio access tokens in the hands of a malicious and widely used Chrome extension might lead to a rerun of history. 

Part of the problem is Google's Chrome extensions seem easy to corrupt or exploit, and Meta, aside from reporting the matter to Google, has no immediate ability to block the deployment of extensions which abuse its Graph API. The Creator Studio token is detailed to the user's session, according to a Meta representative, meaning it will terminate if the extension user signs out of Facebook. And, if the token hasn't been transferred to the extension developer's server, as looks to be the situation with the L.O.C. extension, uninstalling it will also result in the token expiring. 

Meta has asked Google to delete the extension from the Chrome Web Store once more and is looking into alternative options.

Facebook has Exposed a 'God Mode' Token that Might be Used to Harvest Data

 

Brave stated that it is prohibiting the installation of the popular Chrome extension L.O.C. because it exposes users' Facebook data to potential theft. "If a user is already logged into Facebook, installing this extension will automatically grant a third-party server access to some of the user's Facebook data," explained Francois Marier, a security engineer at Brave, in a post. "The API used by the extension does not cause Facebook to show a permission prompt to the user before the application's access token is issued." 

Loc Mai, the extension's developer, stated in an email that the Graph API on Facebook requires a user's access token to function. The extension sends a GET request to Creator Studio for Facebook to receive the token, which allows users of the extension to automate the processing of their own Facebook data, such as downloading messages. The request returns an access token to the extension for the logged-in Facebook user, allowing additional programmatic interactions with Facebook data. 

Zach Edwards, a security researcher, said, "Facebook faced nearly an identical scandal in 2018 when 50 million Facebook accounts were scrapped due to a token exposure." Nonetheless, Facebook appears to regard this data dispensing token as a feature rather than a bug. 

According to Mai, his extension does not harvest information, as stated in the extension's privacy policy. Currently, the extension has over 700,000 users. "The extension does not collect the user's data unless the user becomes a Premium user, and the only thing it collects is UID – which is unique to each person," explained Mai. 

As per Mai, the extension saves the token locally under localStorage.touch. This is a security concern but is not evidence of wrongdoing. L.O.C. is still available on the Chrome Web Store. A malicious developer, on the other hand, might harvest Facebook data using the same access technique, because Facebook is releasing a plain-text token that grants "god mode," as Edwards describes it. 

According to Edwards, Facebook's Terms of Service fall short in this regard because, while the company requires individuals to utilize its app platform, it does not prohibit people from utilizing browser extensions. 

This loophole, which exposes user data, is exacerbated by the way Chrome extensions now work. According to Edwards, Chrome extensions can seek authorization on one domain you control and another you don't, and then open a browser tab upon installation to scrape API tokens and session IDs for various types of apps.

Forged Kubernetes Apps is used to Extract Sensitive Data from Argo CD Setups

 

Argo CD is among the most popular Kubernetes continuous deployment technologies. Besides being easy to operate, it has a lot of power too. Kubernetes GitOps is the first tool that comes to mind. For cluster bootstrapping, Argo CD uses the App of Apps pattern.

Instead of manually developing each Argo CD app, we can make it programmatically and automatically. The idea is simple: make a single Argo CD application that looks for a git repo directory and puts all of the Argo CD application configuration files there. As a result, whenever an application definition file is created on the git repo location, the Argo CD application is immediately produced. Inspiringly, any Kubernetes object, including Argo CD, can be generated or handled. 

Apiiro's Security Research team discovered a vulnerability scanning supply chain 0-day vulnerability (CVE-2022-24348) in Argo CD, another famous open source Continuous Delivery platform, which allows attackers to access sensitive data like secrets, passwords, and API keys. 

Argo CD organizes and instigates the operation and monitoring of post-integration application deployment. A user can create a new deployment pipeline by specifying an Archive or a Kubernetes Helm Chart file which contains:
  • The metadata and data required to deploy the correct Kubernetes setup.
  • The ability to update the cloud setup dynamically as the manifest is changed. 

A Helm Infographic is a YAML document that has multiple fields which constitute a declaration of assets and configurations required for an application to be deployed. File names and indirect paths to self-contained software sections in other files are one form of value that can be found in the application in question. 

In reality, Argo CD contributors predicted as this type of exploitation will be available in 2019 and designed a dedicated framework to facilitate it. The vulnerability has two consequences: 

First, the direct consequences of reading contents from other files on the repository, which may contain sensitive data. The aforementioned can have a significant influence on a company. 

Second, because application files typically contain a variety of transitive values of secrets, tokens, and environmentally sensitive settings, the attacker can effectively use this to expand the campaign by moving laterally through different services and escalating the privileges to gain more ground on the system and target organization's resources. 

Argo CD-reposerver is a central server or pod where repositories are saved; apart from file architecture, there is no robust segmentation, hence the anti-path-traversal technique is a crucial component of file security. The mechanism's inner workings are mostly contained in a single source code file called util/security/path traversal.go, which details the systematic cleanup of origin path input.