Search This Blog

Showing posts with label Information. Show all posts

LastPass Experiences its Second Major Data Breach in 4 Months


LastPass's data breach in August permitted a hacker to infiltrate the company again and steal customer data. LastPass announced on Wednesday that it was investigating the breach, which involved a third-party cloud storage service linked to company systems. 
“We have determined that an unauthorized party, using information obtained in the August 2022 incident, was able to gain access to certain elements of our customers’ information,” the company wrote in a blog post(Opens in a new window). 

It is unknown what data was stolen. LastPass, on the other hand, has stated that customers' passwords should be safe because the company does not store(Opens in a new window) information on the "Master Password" that customers use to access the encrypted password vaults on the platform.

“We are working diligently to understand the scope of the incident and identify what specific information has been accessed. In the meantime, we can confirm that LastPass products and services remain fully functional,” the company said.  

Nonetheless, the incident demonstrates that the August breach at LastPass was more serious than previously thought. At the time, the company confirmed that the August breach only affected internal software development systems and did not include any customer password information. Despite this, the hacker was able to steal portions of the company's source code as well as some proprietary LastPass technical information, which likely paved the way for the subsequent intrusion.

LastPass also announced in September that it had completed its investigation into the breach with the assistance of cybersecurity firm Mandiant. According to the findings, the hacker only had access to the internal systems for four days. 

There was also no evidence of tampering. However, it appears that LastPass did not uncover all of the possible ways the hacker could use the access to breach the company again. LastPass did not identify the third-party cloud storage service used by the hacker to breach the company a second time. LastPass, on the other hand, has been sharing the cloud storage service with its affiliate GoTo. Private equity firms currently own both companies.

In response to the new breach, LastPass has implemented additional security measures and increased monitoring of its IT infrastructure. It has also contacted Mandiant and law enforcement to inquire about the hack.

Is it Safe to Use Virtual Credit Cards?


People all over the world use the internet to pay their bills, buy goods and services, and transfer money. This has many benefits, but one major disadvantage is security: millions of people fall victim to fraud and identity theft each year. 

Staying safe online necessitates constant vigilance, secure software, and a variety of skills required to navigate the World Wide Web. However, when it comes to online payments, virtual credit cards can add an extra layer of security. Virtual credit cards are primarily short-term digital cards intended for one-day or even one-time use. A virtual card is linked to a physical credit card or bank account.

It generates a card number, expiration date, and security code at random. As a result, your true information is not visible to or shared with anyone. Consider the following scenario to better understand how virtual credit cards work. You've logged into your preferred e-commerce platform, added various items to your cart, entered your information, and are about to pay. Instead of entering your credit card number, you create a new virtual credit card and enter all of the required information from it.

You learn several weeks later that this e-commerce platform was compromised by an unknown threat actor. The cybercriminal gained access to the company's systems, injected malicious code into the website, and stole user data, including credit card numbers. Your information and bank account, however, are safe because you used a virtual credit card rather than a real, physical card. 

Because the virtual credit card you used has already expired, you can proceed without concern about the breach. This is essentially the purpose of virtual credit cards. They conceal your true identity from threat actors and safeguard you from cybercrime. They obviously provide more privacy than physical credit cards, which is an added bonus.

Virtual credit cards are clearly something that everyone who values their security (and their hard-earned money) should consider. So, how does one go about obtaining one? The answer may be disappointing, but your best option is to contact your bank and inquire about virtual credit cards. Many people nowadays do.

However, if your bank or card issuer is incapable to provide you with a virtual credit card for whatever reason, there is another service called Privacy that you could utilize. It is a simple and easy-to-understand online platform for creating virtual credit cards. Essentially, all you need to do is add a funding source, create a card, and you're ready to go.

Of course, privacy provides much more. Setting spending limits, creating an online wallet with multiple cards, setting recurring payments (great for subscription services), tracking your spending, and more are all possible with the platform. Privacy also has a mobile app and a chrome extension, enabling you to access the service from almost any device.

More notably, privacy is extremely safe. It is PCI-DSS compliant, which means it is held to the same standards as US banks. Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) with AES-256 encryption protects all data center communications, while Transport Layer Security protects web traffic (TLS). Customers' passwords are hashed, and their data is stored on servers spread across the globe.

Privacy has three different plans: personal, professional, and team. Personal is free, but you can only create 12 virtual credit cards each month. You can make up to 36 cards with Pro and up to 60 with Teams. These two plans charge $10 and $25 per month, respectively.

However, there is one major drawback to Privacy: it is only available to US citizens and legal residents, as well as residents of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. According to the company's official website, it is striving to make its services available globally, so keep an ear to the ground if you are not based in the US but require a virtual credit card.

The fact that virtual credit cards cannot be used in person is an evident disadvantage. You can, however, add some virtual credit cards to a safe and dependable mobile wallet and pay that way whenever possible.
The main disadvantage of using virtual credit cards over physical ones is that they are only destined for one-time or one-day use. Furthermore, even if a virtual card is not intended for temporary use, you would need to generate new ones on a regular basis to ensure maximum security. The issue is that if you pay for something online with your virtual credit card and then demand a refund because the goods do not arrive or receive the product damaged, you will have no way of getting your money back if the card number has already expired.

Another potential disadvantage is that you sometimes need to utilize the same card to pay for a service. For example, if you make a hotel reservation online using your virtual credit card but do not pay the full amount in advance, the hotel may ask you to pay for your room with the same card you used to book it—which you will be unable to do if your virtual credit card has already expired.

Virtual credit cards are secure, simple to use, free (or, at the very least, inexpensive), and will improve your security and privacy. Most importantly, they will safeguard you against fraud, theft, and other forms of cybercrime.

There is always the potential of having problems getting a refund or something similar, but that is probably a reasonable compromise for most people. And, until you get a virtual credit card, make sure you are familiar with the most common online shopping security threats and how to avoid them.

Shangri-La Reports Major Data Breach at Eight Hotels, Guests Data Leaked


A database breach at Shangri-La Group has potentially exposed the personal information of guests who stayed at its hotels in Singapore, Hong Kong, Chiang Mai, Taipei, and Tokyo. 

Mr. Brian Yu, the group's senior vice-president for operations and process transformation, stated in an e-mail to affected guests on Friday: "A sophisticated threat actor managed to bypass Shangri-IT La's security monitoring systems undetected and illegally accessed the guest databases." The breach occurred between May and July 2022, according to its investigation. 

Around the same time, Asia's top security summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue, returned to Singapore after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. From June 10 to 12, the event was held at the eponymous Shangri-La hotel on Orange Grove Road near Orchard Road. In the e-mail sent to the affected guests, Mr. Yu confirmed that certain data files had been stolen from the breached databases.

"Although we were not able to confirm the content of the exfiltrated data files, it is likely that they contained guest data," he added.

Upon being asked whether the Shangri-La Dialogue was specifically targeted, a hotel spokesman said, “There is no evidence to suggest any specific hotel or event was singled out. As a matter of policy, we do not disclose information about our guests.” 

"Data related to the Shangri-La Dialogue was stored on a separate secure server and was not affected in this incident," stated a spokesman for the event's organiser, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

The Singapore Cyber Security Agency mentioned that it is aware of the incident and urged organisations to monitor and check their IT networks for signs of suspicious activity regularly. The  properties affected are listed below:

• Shangri-La Apartments, Singapore
• Shangri-La Singapore
• Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong
• Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong
• Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong
• Shangri-La Chiang Mai
• Shangri-La Far Eastern, Taipei
• Shangri-La Tokyo

Following the discovery of unauthorised network activity, the hotel group said it hired cyber forensic experts to investigate the discrepancies. The databases of the hotels affected by this incident contained a combination of the following data sets: guest names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, postal addresses, Shangri-La Circle membership numbers, reservation dates, and company names, according to the statement.

The hotel chain assured guests that there is currently no evidence that their personal information has been released or misused by third parties. As a precaution, in destinations where local regulations allow, it is providing affected guests with a one-year complimentary identity monitoring service provided by Experian, a third-party cyber security service provider.

"We deeply regret this has occurred and wish to assure you that all necessary steps have been taken to investigate and contain this incident. This notice provides information about what happened and how we can assist you," wrote Mr. Yu in the e-mail.

He ensured guests that data such as passport numbers, ID numbers, dates of birth, and credit card numbers with expiry dates are encrypted. "Protecting our guests' information is very important to us and we wish to assure you that all necessary steps have been taken to further strengthen the security of our networks, systems, and databases. Once again, we deeply regret any inconvenience or concerns this incident may cause."

Watchdog Finds, Over Half of Operating Systems at VA Medical Center in Texas are Outdated


According to an IT security assessment released on Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Inspector General, more than half of the network switches at the Harlingen VA Health Care Center in Harlingen, Texas, were running outdated operating systems and did not meet the department's baseline configurations. 

The audit was conducted to evaluate whether Harlingen was complying with the Federal Information Security Management Act, or FISMA, information security safeguards. The OIG stated that it chose Harlingen for an assessment because it had not previously been reviewed during the annual FISMA audit. 

Harlingen is part of the Texas Valley Coastal Bend Healthcare System, which receives approximately 300,000 outpatient visits per year. The OIG discovered flaws in three of the four security control areas at Harlingen, including configuration management, contingency planning and access controls. OIG’s inspection team did not document any issues with the center’s security management.

OIG discovered flaws in three of Harlingen's four security control areas, including configuration management, contingency planning, and access controls. The OIG inspection team found no problems with the centre's security management.

The audit found significant flaws in Harlingen's configuration management controls, which were used to identify and track the centre's hardware and software components. These flaws included an inaccurate component inventory list, unaddressed security flaws, and an inability to identify all critical and high-risk vulnerabilities across the centre's network.

Most concerning was OIG’s finding that “almost 53 per cent of the Harlingen centre’s network switches used operating systems that no longer receive maintenance or vulnerability support from the vendor.” And the outdated devices did not meet the baseline configurations for network equipment mandated by the VA Office of Information and Technology Configuration Control Board, which reflect “agreed-on specifications for systems or configuration items within those systems." 

“Network devices and IT systems are an organization’s most critical infrastructure,” OIG said in its assessment. “Upgrading is not just a defensive strategy but a proactive one that protects network stability.”

Despite VA's use of an automated inventory system, the OIG assessment revealed varying tallies of IT components at Harlingen. The VA discovered 1,568 devices at the centre, while the OIG assessment team discovered 1,544 devices on the Harlingen network. However, according to the audit, VA's Enterprise Mission Assurance Support Services system, or eMASS, which "allows for FISMA systems inventory tracking and reporting activities," only identified 942 devices.

“Because VA’s eMASS is used for developing system security and privacy plans, without an accurate inventory of network devices in eMASS, VA has no assurance that these plans implement security controls for all the components within the system,” the audit said. 

OIG's inspection team also compared on-site vulnerability scans from Jan. 10 to Jan. 13, 2022, with those conducted remotely by VA's Office of Information and Technology, and discovered 16 serious vulnerabilities on the Harlingen network that had not been mitigated within VA's established timeframe for addressing vulnerabilities. These included "five critical vulnerabilities on less than 1% of the computers and 11 high-risk vulnerabilities."

The OIG's inspection team also discovered that database managers were not adequately maintaining log data; that computer rooms and communications closets throughout the facility lacked fire detection systems; and that the computer room housing the center's police servers lacked a visitor access log. Furthermore, the OIG discovered that Harlingen's contingency plan "did not fully address reconstituting all systems to restore IT operations to a fully operational state following a disaster."

The OIG made four recommendations to the VA's assistant secretary for information and technology and chief information officer "due to enterprise-wide IT security issues similar to those identified during previous FISMA audits and IT security reviews." The OIG also made another recommendation to Harlingen's director to “validate that appropriate physical and environmental security measures are implemented and functioning as intended.” VA concurred with all five recommendations. 

VA has long struggled to meet FISMA requirements, with the Government Accountability Office stating in a November 2019 report that VA was one of the federal agencies with inadequate information security protections, including when it came to implementing effective security controls and mitigating vulnerabilities.

On Sept. 22, the OIG released a separate IT security assessment of the Alexandria VA Medical Center in Pineville, Louisiana, documenting deficiencies in three of the facility's four security control areas and discovering "critical and high-risk vulnerabilities on 37% of the devices."

The FISMA audit of VA's agencywide compliance for fiscal year 2021, released in April, found that the department as a whole "continues to face significant challenges in complying with FISMA due to the nature and maturity of its information security program.” OIG noted in Tuesday’s assessment of Harlingen that the FY2021 FISMA audit made 26 recommendations to VA, and that “all 26 recommendations were repeated from the prior year.”

In-Depth Look at Ragnar Locker Ransomware Targeting Vital Industries


The Ragnar group, responsible for the Ragnar Locker ransomware, has been active since 2019, targeting critical industries and using double extortion. The FBI warned in March 2022 that at least 52 entities from ten critical industry sectors had been affected. 

In August 2022, the group launched an attack on Greek gas supplier Desfa, claiming to have stolen sensitive data. Cybereason researchers examined Ragnar Locker's encryption process. Ragnar Locker performs a location check during execution. Execution is stopped if the location is any country in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

It then gathers host information, such as the computer and user names, as well as the machine GUID and Windows version. A custom hashing function concatenates and conceals this data. The combined hashes are used to name a new event. Ragnar Locker then attempts to locate existing file volumes by utilising the Windows APICreateFileW.

The encrypted list of services contained within the Ragnar Locker code is decrypted. VSS, sql, memtas, mepocs, sophos, veeam, backup, pulseway, logme, logmein, connectwise, splashtop, kaseya, vmcompute, Hyper-v, vmms, Dfs are all included. If any of these are discovered to be running services, the malware terminates them.

The malware then decrypts and prepares an embedded RSA public key for use. It decrypts the ransom note and then proceeds to delete any shadow copies of the host via vssadmin.exe and Wmic.exe.

The ransom note also states in the analysed sample, "Also, all of your sensitive and private information was gathered, and if you decide NOT to pay, we will upload it for public view!" Tor's Ragnar Locker data leak site (http [://] rgleaktxuey67yrgspmhvtnrqtgogur35lwdrup4d3igtbm3pupc4lyd [.] onion/) currently lists approximately 70 claimed victims.

The note demands a ransom of 25 bitcoins, but suggests that if contact is made within two days, this can be negotiated. However, it warns that if no contact is made within 14 days, the ransom will double, and the decryption key will be destroyed if no payment agreement is reached within 21 days. It also states that the attackers customised the ransom amount based on the victim's "network size, number of employees, annual revenue."

Ragnar Locker begins the encryption process once the ransom note is complete. The files like autoruns.inf, boot.ini, bootfront.bin, bootsect.bak, bootmgr, bootmgr.efi, bootmgfw.efi, desktop.ini, iconcache.db, ntldr, ntuser.dat, ntuser.dat.log, ntuser.ini, thumbs.db; specific processes and objects such as Windows.old, Tor Browser, Internet Explorer, Google, Opera, Opera Software, Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, $Recycle.bin, ProgramData, All Users; and files with the extensions .db, .sys, .dll, lnk, .msi, .drv, .exe.are among those excluded.

Other files' filenames are sent to the encryption function, which encrypts them and appends the suffix '.ragnar [hashed computer name]'. Ragnar Locker creates a notepad.exe process after encryption and displays the ransom note on the user's screen.

The stolen data used in the double extortion process is continuously exfiltrated until it reaches the point of encryption. According to Loic Castel, a principal security analyst at Cybereason's Global SOC, “In general, ransomware operatives doing double extortion always require full privileges on the network they are looking to encrypt.. Between the initial access phase (when they take control of an asset, for instance through spearphishing) and the encryption phase, they have access to many machines, which they can extract data from and send through exfiltration services / external domains.”

As per the FBI alert, data exfiltration occurred nearly six weeks after the initial access and continued for about ten days before the encryption process began. Ragnar Locker primarily targets critical industry companies. 

“Ragnar Locker ransomware actors work as part of a ransomware family, frequently changing obfuscation techniques to avoid detection and prevention,” warned the FBI in its March 2022 alert.

Massive China-Linked Disinformation Campaign Taps PR Firm for Help


Security experts have discovered another Chinese information operation that is attempting to improve the country's image overseas by utilising a large number of fake news sites and social media assets. 

The content, which is available in 11 languages, tries to win hearts and minds over to Beijing's way of thinking by undermining criticism of the Xinjiang genocide and the deterioration of democracy in Hong Kong. 

According to Mandiant, among the Communist Party opponents targeted in the campaign are Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and German anthropologist Adrian Zenz, who is known for his study on Uyghur oppression. The campaign's most striking feature is that it appears to leverage infrastructure owned by local public relations business Shanghai Haixun Technology, a company that promotes "positive thinking." 

According to Mandiant in a blog post, the word "positive energy" is particularly loaded in China since it is frequently used by the Xi Jinping government to refer to communications that reflect Beijing positively. As a result, Mandiant dubbed the information operations effort "HaiEnergy." 

“While we do not currently have sufficient evidence to determine the extent to which Haixun is involved in, or even aware of HaiEnergy, our analysis indicates that the campaign has at least leveraged services and infrastructure belonging to Haixun to host and distribute content,” the firm explained. 

“In total, we identified 72 websites (59 domains and 14 subdomains) hosted by Haixun, which were used to target audiences in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.” 

The campaign has solely relied on Haixun's internet infrastructure to post information and host websites. In reality, those sites share significant commonalities, indicating a coordinated strategy, including: 
  • Nearly all the English language sites are built with a Chinese-language HTML template
  • Several of the sites that include a domain and subdomain are disguised to appear as different, independent sites
  • Many of the sites link directly to other sites in the network
  • The same articles are often published across multiple sites
If Haixun is actively involved in this effort, it would be a continuation of a pattern in which threat actors utilise "info ops for hire" organisations to perform their dirty work, according to Mandiant. The one advantage is that it does not appear to have paid off on this occasion.

“We note that despite the capabilities and global reach advertised by Haixun, there is at least some evidence to suggest HaiEnergy failed to generate substantial engagement,” the report concluded.

“Most notably, despite a significantly large number of followers, the political posts promoted by inauthentic accounts we attribute to this campaign failed to gain much traction outside of the campaign itself.”

Hackers Target National Portal of India Via ‘Unprecedented’ Phishing Method


On Thursday, cyber-security experts announced the discovery of an "unprecedented, sophisticated" phishing method that has been extorting people from official websites worldwide, including the Indian government's portal 

According to AI-driven cyber-security startup CloudSEK, threat actors have been targeting the Indian government's webpage by using a fake URL to deceive users into entering sensitive information such as credit card numbers, expiration months, and CVV codes. 

In a most advanced phishing technique known as Browser-in-the-Browser (BitB) attack, hackers imitate the browser window of the Indian government website, most typically SSO (single sign-on) pages, with a unique login. BitB attacks impersonate reputable websites in order to steal user passwords and other sensitive data such as personally identifying information (PII). The new URL that emerges as a result of the BitB attack looks to be legitimate. 

"The bad actors have also replicated the original page's user interface. Once their victims click into the phishing page, a pop-up appears on the phoney window claiming that their systems have been blocked, posing as a notification from the Home Affairs Enforcement and Police," the researchers asserted. 

The users are then alerted that their excessive usage of pornographic websites is banned under Indian law, and they are asked to pay a Rs 30,000 fee in order to unlock their computers.

"They are given a form to fill out in order to pay the fine, which asks them to divulge personal information, including their credit card information. The victims become panicked because the warning has a sense of urgency and appears to be time-bound," the researchers stated. 

The information entered by the victims into the form is sent to the attacker's server. Once the attackers have obtained the card information, it may be sold to other purchasers in a bigger network of cyber criminals, or the victim may be extorted for more funds. 

When users attempt to connect to a website, they may click on a malicious link that appears as an SSO login pop-up window. Users are requested to check in to the website using their SSO credentials when they visit the provided URL. The victims are then sent to a fraudulent webpage that appears just like the SSO page. The attack often triggers single sign-on windows and presents bogus web pages that are identical to the legitimate page. 

"Combine SSO with MFA (multi-factor authentication) for secure login across accounts, check for suspicious logins and account takeovers and avoid clicking on email links from unknown sources," the researchers suggested.

Japanese City Worker Loses USB Containing Resident's Personal Data


A Japanese city has been compelled to apologise after a contractor admitted to losing a USB memory stick holding the personal data of over 500,000 inhabitants following an alcohol-fueled night out. 

Amagasaki, western Japan, officials claimed the man – an unidentified employee of a private contractor hired to administer Covid-19 compensation payments to local homes – had taken the flash drive from the city's offices to transfer the data to a contact centre in neighbouring Osaka. 

After spending Tuesday evening drinking at a restaurant, he realised on his way home that the bag holding the drive, as well as the personal information of all 460,000 Amagasaki residents, had gone missing. The next morning, he reported the loss to the police. 

According to the Asahi Shimbun, the information contained the residents' names, residences, and dates of birth, as well as data on their residence tax payments and the bank account numbers of those receiving child benefits and other welfare payments. There have been no complaints of data leaks because all of the information is encrypted and password secured. 

“We deeply regret that we have profoundly harmed the public’s trust in the administration of the city,” an Amagasaki official told reporters. The city told in a statement that it would “ensure security management when handling electronic data. We will work to regain our residents’ trust by heightening awareness of the importance of protecting personal information.” 

Not a new affair 

Last month, a man in Abu was handed £279,000/US$343,000 in Covid-19 relief payments meant for 463 low-income people. Local officials said this week that they had recovered all of the money via internet payment services after the individual claimed he had gambled it all away. 

The Amagasaki event highlights worries about some Japanese organisations' ongoing usage of obsolete technologies. According to media reports last week, dozens of businesses and government agencies were rushing to transition away from Internet Explorer before Microsoft retired the browser at midnight on Wednesday. 

According to Nikkei Asia, a sense of "panic" seized businesses and government organisations who were slow to abandon their dependency on IE before Microsoft formally ceased support services, leaving surviving users susceptible to flaws and hacks.