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Ransomware Group DEV-0569 Exhibits Remarkable Innovation, Microsoft Issues a Warning


There are many types of ransomware and they generally start with spam and then move to infect the system with ransomware. 

As per a report published by the computing giant this week, the DEV-0569 cyberattack group, tracked by Microsoft Security Threat Intelligence, has been spotted enhancing its detection, detection evasion, and post-compromise payloads as it continues to advance its detection capabilities. 

A specific characteristic of DEV-0569 is that it uses malvertising and phishing links in spam emails and fake forum pages to convince the recipient to download a malware downloader masquerading as a software installer or update, the Microsoft researchers added. 

As a result of the group's innovations in just a few months, the Microsoft team was able to observe the group's actions. These included hiding malicious links in contact forms and burying fake installers on legitimate download sites. They also used Google ads to mask the group's malicious activity through their advertising campaigns. 

The Microsoft team explained that the malware payloads for DEV-0569 are encrypted and delivered as signed binaries, according to their report. In recent campaigns, the group has also been seen to use the open-source tool NSUDO in an attempt to disable antivirus solutions, as the group is well-known for relying heavily on defense evasion techniques to get around defenses. 

DEV-0569 has proven successful, and Microsoft Security described the group as a platform where other ransomware operations can use DEV-0569 as an access broker. 

Cyberattacks: How Ingenuity Can Counter Them 

Apart from the new tricks, Mike Parkin, senior technical engineer at Vulcan Cyber, notes that the threat group effectively adjusts its campaign tactics along the edges. Despite this, they depend on users making mistakes during the process. The key to ensuring a successful defense program is to educate the user, according to Mike Parkin. 

Dark Reading reports that the phishing and malvertising attacks reported here entirely depend on the user interacting with the lure to make the attacks successful. As a consequence, when the user does not interact with the system, there is no security threat. 

According to Mike, Security teams need to keep an eye on the latest exploits and malware being deployed in the wild to stay ahead of the game, alongside a certain level of user awareness and education is necessary for the user community to become a solid line of defense instead of being the main attack surface. 

Controls in IAM are important 

IAM controls are an important part of RSA's identity and access management (IAM) team recommendations, according to Robert Hughes, RSA CISO. 

Despite the inability to prevent malware at the human and endpoint level, strong identity and access governance can assist in controlling the spread of malware. This can limit its impact. For instance, Hughes says that it is possible to stop authorized individuals from clicking a link or installing software that they are authorized to install. This is done by preventing them from clicking on a link. Having your data and identities protected from ransomware attacks will help to mitigate the damage that could be caused by such attacks in the future - and it will also make it easier to re-image your endpoints when it comes to resolving the issue. 

As Phil Neray of CardinalOps confirms, we are on the right track. According to him, security teams must also focus on minimizing the fallout after a hacker successfully downloads and executes a ransomware attack. This means that techniques like malicious Google Ads are tough to defend against.

"For instance, if this is the case, Neray recommends making sure the SoC is capable of detecting suspicious or unauthorized behavior, such as privilege escalation and the use of remote management and admin tools like PowerShell that live off the land," Neray says.

New Vulnerabilities Discovered in 5 WooCommerce WordPress Plugins

The U.S. state authorities Nationwide Vulnerability Database (NVD) has recently warned of vulnerabilities in 5 WooCommerce WordPress plugins, where over 135,000 installations were affected.

Many of the vulnerabilities are rated 9.8, on the scale of 1-10, ranging in severity from moderate to as excessive as Essential. 

The respective vulnerabilities were provided a CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) identity number, given to the discovered vulnerabilities. 

Advanced Order Exported For WooCommerce 

The Advanced Order Export for WooCommerce plugin that was installed on as many as 100,000 websites, is vulnerable to a Cross-Site Request Forgery attack (CSRF). 

A CSRF vulnerability is created via a flaw in a website plugin, that enables the threat actor to deceive the online user into conducting an unintentional action. 

Generally, a website browser consists of cookies that notify a website that a user is registered and logged in. The threat actor could assume the privilege levels of an admin, giving him complete access to a website. Consequently, exposing admin’s sensitive customer information. 

This vulnerability could lead to an export file download. It may be reasonable to presume that order data is the type of file an attacker can access, given that the plugin's goal is to export WooCommerce order data. 

1. Official Vulnerability Description: 

The Official vulnerability description states that “Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in Advanced Order Export For WooCommerce plugin <= 3.3.2 on WordPress leading to export file download.” 

This vulnerability could impact all versions of the Advanced Order Export for WooCommerce plugin that is less than or equal to version 3.3.2. 

2. Advanced Dynamic Pricing for WooCommerce: 

The second affected plugin, the Superior Dynamic Pricing plugin for WooCommerce is being put in over 20,000 websites. The plugin was discovered to have two CSRF vulnerabilities, having an impact on all plugin versions lower than 4.1.6. 

The goal of the plugin is to make it simpler for retailers to create low-cost and pricing guidelines. 

The primary vulnerability (CVE-2022-43488) can result in a “rule sort migration.” 

The official description by the NVD reads “Cross-Web site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in Superior Dynamic Pricing for WooCommerce plugin <= 4.1.5 on WordPress resulting in rule sort migration.” 

3. Advanced Coupons for WooCommerce Coupons plugin: 

The third plugin that was affected, Advanced Coupons for WooCommerce Coupons, has over 10,000 installs. The issue being discovered in this plugin is as well a CSRF vulnerability, affecting all versions less than version 4.5.01. 

The official description by the NVD reads “Cross-Web site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in Superior Coupons for WooCommerce Coupons plugin <= 4.5 on WordPress main to note dismissal.” 

4. WooCommerce Dropshipping by OPMC – Critical: 

The next affected plugin, named the WooCommerce Dropshipping by OPMC plugin has around 3,000 installations. 

A Critical Unauthenticated SQL injection vulnerability scored 9.8 (on a scale of 1-10), and occurs in versions of this plugin less than version 4.4. The SQL injection vulnerability leads an attacker to manipulate the WordPress database and assume admin-level permissions. Consequently, making changes to the database, erasing, or even downloading sensitive data. 

The NVD while describing this specific plugin vulnerability says, “The WooCommerce Dropshipping WordPress plugin before 4.4 does not properly sanitise and escape a parameter before using it in a SQL statement via a REST endpoint available to unauthenticated users, leading to a SQL injection.” 

5. Role-Based Pricing for WooCommerce: 

This plugin consists of two CSRF vulnerabilities, with over 2,000 installations. 

As noted about another plugin, a CSRF vulnerability involves a threat actor deceiving the admin or other users into clicking on a link or performing some other malicious actions. This could result in the actor acquiring the user’s website permissions levels. This vulnerability is rated as high as 8.8. 

The NVD description of the first vulnerability warns “The Role Based Pricing for WooCommerce WordPress plugin before 1.6.2 does not have authorization and proper CSRF checks, and does not validate files to be uploaded, allowing any authenticated users like subscriber to upload arbitrary files, such as PHP” 

Following this, the official NVD description of the second vulnerability says, “The Role Based Pricing for WooCommerce WordPress plugin before 1.6.3 does not have authorization and proper CSRF checks, as well as does not validate path given via user input, allowing any authenticated users like subscriber to perform PHAR deserialization attacks when they can upload a file, and a suitable gadget chain is present on the blog” 

Moreover, the official Role Based Pricing for WooCommerce WordPress plugin changelog states that the plugin is fully patched in version 1.6.2: 

“Changelog 2022-10-01 – version 1.6.2 

* Fixed the Arbitrary File Upload Vulnerability. 

* Fixed the issue of ajax nonce check.” 

Plan of Action

In order to avoid the consequences, users should update all the vulnerable plugins. It is also considered best to back up the website prior to the plugin updates and to test the plugin before updating, if at all feasible. 

GitHub Introduces Private Flaw Reporting to Secure Software Supply Chain


GitHub, a Microsoft-owned code hosting platform, has announced the launch of a direct channel for security researchers to report vulnerabilities in public repositories that allow it. The new private vulnerability reporting capability allows repository administrators to enable security researchers to report any vulnerabilities found in their code to them. 

Some repositories may include instructions on how to contact the maintainers for vulnerability reporting, but for those that do not, researchers frequently report issues publicly. Whether the researcher reports the vulnerability through social media or by creating a public issue, this method may make vulnerability details insufficiently public. 

To avoid such situations, GitHub has implemented private reporting, which allows researchers to contact repository maintainers who are willing to enroll directly. If the functionality is enabled, the reporting security researchers are given a simple form to fill out with information about the identified problem.

According to GitHub, "anyone with admin access to a public repository can enable and disable private vulnerability reporting for the repository." When a vulnerability is reported, the repository maintainer is notified and can either accept or reject the report or ask additional questions about the issue.

According to GitHub, the benefits of the new capability include the ability to discuss vulnerability details privately, receiving reports directly on the same platform where the issue is discussed and addressed, initiating the advisory report, and a lower risk of being contacted publicly.

Private vulnerability reporting can be enabled from the repository's main page's 'Settings' section, in the 'Security' section of the sidebar, under 'Code security and analysis.' Once the functionality is enabled, security researchers can submit reports by clicking on a new 'Report a vulnerability' button on the repository's 'Advisories' page.

The private vulnerability reporting was announced at the GitHub Universe 2022 global developer event, along with the general availability of CodeQL support for Ruby, a new security risk and coverage view for GitHub Enterprise users, and funding for open-source developers.

The platform will provide a $20,000 incentive to 20 developers who maintain open-source repositories through the new GitHub Accelerator initiative. While, the new $10 million M12 GitHub Fund will support future open-source companies.

ProxyNotShell Exchange Zero-Day Exploit Fixed by Microsoft


There have been updates published by Microsoft to address two severe zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange, collectively known as ProxyNotShell. These vulnerabilities have already been exploited and will continue to be exploited.

There is evidence that attackers have been chaining the two security flaws together to deploy Chinese Chopper web shells on compromised servers. As a result, they have been able to persist, steal data, as well as move laterally within the networks of their victims since September this year. 

The software giant confirmed on September 30, "that limited targeted attacks have been launched using these vulnerabilities to gain access to users' systems," stating that "we are aware of limited targeted attacks using these vulnerabilities to enter users' systems." 

"Our team of security experts is monitoring these already deployed detection tools for malicious activity and will take action in order to protect customers in the future. We are working on a timeline that will allow us to release a fix in a short period of time," the company explained. 

It was announced later that the company had released mitigation measures that allowed defenders to block ProxyNotShell attacks that were originating. In spite of this, the guidance had to be updated twice after researchers showed that attackers could still bypass them.

Updates have been issued to administrators 

The security updates that have been released by Microsoft to address these two vulnerabilities are part of Patch Tuesday for November 2022. 

Due to the fact that they are aware of active exploits of these vulnerabilities (limited targeted attacks), their recommendation is that "all users comply with the guidelines and install these updates immediately to be protected from these attacks." 

"Exchange Server is affected by the vulnerabilities addressed in these SUs and Exchange Online customers are already protected from these vulnerabilities. They will not need to take any further action than just updating the Exchange servers within their environment." 

These two security flaws, CVE-2022-41082 and CVE-2022-41040, have been tracked since 2012. They have been found to affect Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, 2016, and 2019. 

Attackers can exploit these vulnerabilities by elevating privileges to execute PowerShell within the context of a system, thereby gaining arbitrary control over the system. 

CVE-2022-41082, an advisory for the vulnerability that Microsoft has released, warns that an attacker could exploit this vulnerability to execute arbitrary commands through server accounts. 

Using the account of the server as a proxy to trigger malicious code, "the attacker will be able to gain access to the account of the server as an authenticated user." 

There are some vulnerabilities identified with ProxyNotShell that can only be exploited remotely by authenticated threat actors. However, these flaws are only exploited when low-complexity attacks do not require user interaction.

Vulnerabilities in Software Supply Chains Must be Re-valuated


The year ended in fine style for many IT teams as 2021 came to a close. However, they were caught off guard just before the holiday season by an unpleasant surprise. 

Hundreds of servers around the globe are susceptible to a vulnerability in Log4Shell, which requires urgent remediation. Consequently, the experts froze their leaves and returned to the scene to check the position of the band-aid after freezing their leaves. 

In the wake of this vulnerability, many organizations are still working to gain peace of mind. The company wants to make sure that this vulnerability, which affects so many segments of today's modern information technology infrastructure, is not lurking somewhere in its systems. 

This is because it affects Java enterprise applications often used in small and medium-sized companies. Another surprise is just around the corner this holiday season when it comes to this vulnerability. 

Among the challenges is finding the most appropriate place to apply a patch or repair the loophole to fix the problem. It is estimated that more than 35,000 Java packages, or 8% of all Java packages in the Maven Central repository, may have been affected by the Log4Shell problem. This is based on some calculations. 

With the sheer volume of third-party code that modern IT systems rely upon today, even outside of Java, it is easy to imagine the kind of headaches that IT teams face in dealing with today's complex IT systems. The problem is that we have too much to sort through to come up with a solution. If you do not see the problem, you can not fix it. 

It is estimated that approximately 40% to 80% of the lines of code in software today come from third parties, such as libraries, components, and software development kits (SDKs) that are provided by third parties. Gartner's research determined that by 2025, 45% of organizations around the world will have experienced attacks on their software supply chains. This is a threefold increase over what was seen in 2021, according to a report by Gartner, a company specializing in information security research. 

The Need for More Automation and Visibility Must be Addressed 

Currently, an industry has been built around cyberattacks. Currently, this industry has numerous specialists waiting on the Dark Web. These specialists can play specific roles in a ransomware attack, from crafting the phishing message to collecting the ransom in the case of a ransomware attack. 

In a world where malicious actors have been developing such intricate supply chains and weaponizing malware as a tool for criminals, businesses should step up their game if they want to maintain a competitive edge in their software supply chains. 

A tool that can improve automation within their IT systems as well as provide them with visibility into their IT systems is what they need to provide the level of service they currently provide. Essentially, this means that they will be able to find vulnerabilities in their software supply chain more easily, instead of manually searching for such vulnerabilities. 

A software supply chain has so many parts that it can be quite intimidating. If we were to narrow it down to Java software specifically, here are some of the features to keep an eye out for: 

• An application-level vulnerability assessment can be performed continuously without the need to obtain source code to assess visibility at the application level. A Java-specific CVE database is used to compare code against the CVE database that is run against Java. 

• It is critical to ensure that false positives are avoided by monitoring code executed by the Java runtime (JVM) and building accurate results that are not detected by traditional tools. 

• Performance transparency: By adding additional agents to the production system, we avoid performance degradation caused by overheads that are added to the machine. There should be a way to run a solution without any agents being involved. 

• The tool must perform thorough checks to ensure that it works on all versions of Java software installed on users' computers. This is to avoid missing any loopholes that may exist. 

Traceability history: Establish a history of the components and code used so forensics efforts can concentrate on finding vulnerable code that led to exploits so that forensic efforts can focus on determining what caused the exploit. 

Adapting to an uncertain environment 

As IT environments become more complex, businesses need to be able to observe more of what is going on and increase automation as required. There is no possibility of using manual labor in the future. During production, a piece of software that is running in production daily needs to be closely monitored and observed at a high level. As the supply chain of software becomes more and more complex, malicious actors are increasingly seeking a way to gain access to victims' systems by digging deeper into them. 

Cyberattackers have come up with new ways to penetrate software supply chains, not just through the Log4Shell issue. This vulnerability was classified as one of the most serious software vulnerabilities in history by the United States Department of Homeland Security, but also through various other creative approaches. Their attacks are also somewhat more brazen in the way they do so, as well as in the way they mount them. 

Users of MiMi, a Chinese messaging app whose version was spiked with malicious code earlier this year, have seen a fake version of it being served to them. Depending on how the software is configured, this could allow an attacker to remotely control the program. As a result, the spies could see what the users were chatting about during their chat sessions. 

One of the most remarkable things about this attack was the fact that the attackers somehow managed to gain control over the servers on which the app was delivered to the users. As a result, the attackers added code to the app, removed the original version, and tricked victims into downloading and installing it without their knowledge. 

There is no doubt that this was not a Java-based issue, however, it demonstrates how dangerous software supply chain vulnerabilities have become in the past few years, as well as just how challenging it is to stem the tide of attacks such as this. 

The issue of trust is also one that needs to be taken into account. The majority of digital services today rely on several third parties to provide them with services, ranging from open-source repositories, where attackers can plant malicious code, to packaged apps that are installed by enterprises on their devices. 

This is the background against which businesses have to adopt a smarter approach if they wish to ensure that their digital communications efforts do not go astray. They must also be careful not to encumber themselves with excessive security measures that are too onerous and do not benefit the customer's experience at all. 

To become more agile, companies must look for streamlined solutions that can detect threats automatically as it will enable them to maintain the competitiveness they need.

The RCE Vulnerability in ConnectWise Has Been Resolved


As part of the ConnectWise Recover and R1Soft Server Backup Manager (SBM) secure backup solutions, ConnectWise has released security updates that address a critical vulnerability within those products. 

In an advisory published by the company today, the company describes the security flaw as being due to an injection vulnerability. This occurs when special elements in output are not adequately neutralized before entering a downstream component. 

Among the affected software, versions are ConnectWise Recover, earlier versions of the product, and R1Soft SBM versions 6.16.3 and earlier versions. 

Several security researchers have reported that this is a critical vulnerability that could expose confidential information or allow attackers to execute code remotely using the vulnerability.

Additionally, it categorized this as a high-priority issue, meaning that it may be exploited in attacks or at a high risk of being targeted in the wild if it is not addressed immediately. 

In a report released by Huntress Labs CEO Kyle Hanslovan, security researchers have discovered, rediscovered, and expanded on the vulnerability discovered by Code White security researcher Florian Hauser. According to Huntress Labs CEO Kyle Hanslovan, the vulnerability can be exploited to spread ransomware to thousands of R1Soft servers exposed to the Internet. This is done via R1Soft servers exposed to the Internet. 

Approximately 4,800 R1Soft servers that are exposed to the Internet may be vulnerable to attacks as a result of this RCE bug. According to a Shodan scan, these servers may not be patched since ConnectWise has released patches for this issue. 

There have been automatic updates applied to ConnectWise Recover SBMs that have been impacted by the vulnerability (v2.9.9), ConnectWise announced. 

It should be noted that Cryptree users are being advised to upgrade their R1Soft backup manager to the latest release, SBM v6.16.4, released on October 28, 2022, by following the steps detailed in the R1Soft upgrade wiki.

As part of the company's recommendation, all R1Soft backup servers that are impacted should be patched as soon as possible. 

Even though patching critical vulnerabilities is always something that cybersecurity professionals are strongly encouraged to do, they do not think it is wise to do it on a Friday evening, as it can be a potentially disastrous timing decision. 

As a result, all Internet-exposed servers such as websites will be compromised to the fullest extent by malicious actors as soon as they discover a vulnerability. 

There is also a tendency for hackers to be especially active on weekends since most IT teams and security teams are away from their computers during these busy times. 

As a result of an end-of-the-week release, it is also more difficult to patch any vulnerable servers before the weekend, potentially exposing more systems for a few days to attack, especially if the release takes place along with a holiday weekend. 

There is a concern that not patching the R1Soft SBM backup solution quickly may lead to a significant security incident. This is because the R1Soft SBM backup solution is a popular tool among managed service providers and cloud hosting providers.

Several Flaws Affect the Juniper Junos OS


Multiple high-severity security flaws in Juniper Networks devices have been discovered. The most serious is a CVSS score of 8.1 for a remote pre-authenticated PHP archive file deserialization vulnerability tracked as CVE-2022-22241. The vulnerability was found in Junos OS's J-Web component. An attacker can exploit the flaw by sending a specially crafted POST request, causing deserialization that could result in unauthorized local file access or arbitrary code execution. 

“Multiple vulnerabilities have been found in the J-Web component of Juniper Networks Junos OS. One or more of these issues could lead to unauthorized local file access, cross-site scripting attacks, path injection and traversal, or local file inclusion.” reads the advisory published by the vendor. 

“Phar files (PHP Archive) files contain metadata in serialized format, which when parsed by a PHP file operation function leads to the metadata getting deserialized. An attacker can abuse this behavior to exploit an object instantiation vulnerability inside the Juniper codebase.” reads the analysis published by Octagon Networks. 

“This vulnerability can be exploited by an unauthenticated remote attacker to get remote phar files deserialized, leading to arbitrary file write, which leads to a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability.” 

Other vulnerabilities discovered by the experts are:
  • CVE-2022-22242: pre-authenticated reflected XSS on the error page. 
  • CVE-2022-22243: XPATH Injection in jsdm/ajax/wizards/setup/setup.php
  • CVE-2022-22244: XPATH Injection in send_raw() method.
  • CVE-2022-22245: Path traversal during file upload leads to RCE.
  • CVE-2022-22246: PHP file include /jrest.php.  
To address the flaws,  the vendor released patches for Junos OS versions 19.1R3-S9, 19.2R3-S6, 19.3R3-S7, 19.4R3-S9, 20.1R3-S5, 20.2R3-S5, 20.3R3-S5, 20.4R3-S4, 21.1R3-S2, 21.3R3, 21.4R3, 22.1R2, 22.2R1, and more.

Rapid7 Researchers are Closely Monitoring Critical Bug in Apache Commons Text


A remote code execution vulnerability in the Apache Commons Text library has sparked comparisons with the ‘Log4Shell’ flaw that surfaced in the widely used open-source component Log4j last year.

Tracked as CVE-2022-42889, the Commons Text bug centers on an unsafe execution of the library’s variable interpolation functionality. The hacker can exploit the bug to trigger code execution when processing malicious input in the library’s default configuration. 

The Rapid7 researchers who discovered and reported the Commons Text flaw in March have downplayed its comparative effect. 

The susceptible StringSubstitutor interpolator is comparatively less utilized than the vulnerable string substitution in Log4j and the nature of such an interpolator means that getting crafted input to the vulnerable object is less likely than merely communicating with such a well-designed string as in Log4Shell. 

“The vulnerability has been compared to Log4Shell since it is an open-source library-level vulnerability that is likely to impact a wide variety of software applications that use the relevant object. However, initial analysis indicates that this is a bad comparison.” reads the technical published by Rapid7 researchers. “The nature of the vulnerability means that, unlike Log4Shell, it will be rare that an application uses the vulnerable component of Commons Text to process untrusted, potentially malicious input.” 

Apache’s security team also confirmed that the scope of the flaw is not as serious as Log4Shell, explaining that the string interpolation is a documented feature. 

“The vulnerability is indeed very similar. The Apache Commons Text code appears to be based on the Log4j code, as both of them enable interpolation of multiple Lookup sources. Log4j enabled JNDI lookups [while] Apache Commons Text and Apache Commons Configuration allow script lookups – both could lead to RCE. The impact is, therefore, very high," the researchers explained. 

Preventive measures 

The Apache Commons Text versions are 1.5 through 1.9, and all JDK versions, and has been fixed in version 1.10. However, it is still recommended that users should upgrade Apache Commons Text to 1.10.0, which disables the problematic interpolators by default. 

The users should install these patches as soon they become available, and prioritize anywhere the vendor indicates that their implementation may be remotely exploitable.

A Constant Battle Between Apple and Zero-Day Security Vulnerabilities


Recently, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of attackers targeting Apple, especially by using zero-day exploits. Among the main reasons why hackers like zero-day exploits so much are because they might just become the most valuable asset in a hacker's portfolio. As of 2022, Apple has discovered seven zero-day vulnerabilities in its products and has followed up on these discoveries with relevant updates to address these issues. Even so, it seems as though there will not be an end to this classic cat-and-mouse game anytime soon.

During 2021, there were more than double the amount of zero-days recorded, compared to the same year in 2020. This is the highest level since tracking began in 2014, with the number of zero-days increasing every year since then – the trend has been demonstrated by the repository maintained by Project Zero. 

As described by the MIT Technology Review, the increase in hacking over the past few years has been attributed to the rapid proliferation of hacking tools globally and the willingness of powerful state and non-state groups to invest handsomely in discovering and infiltrating these operating systems. Threat actors actively search for vulnerabilities and then sell the information about those vulnerabilities to the highest bidder.

Apple has repeatedly been compromised by these attackers. In 2022, Apple, one of the four most dominating IT companies in the world, is advancing into a year where it is welcoming a new year with two zero-day bugs in its operating systems, a WebKit flaw that could have left users' browsing data vulnerable and after recovering from 12 recorded exploits and remediations in 2021, they have been hit by two zero-day bugs in their operating systems. 

The company released 23 security patches less than one month after it discovered these issues. A new flaw was discovered that could be exploited by attackers to exploit a user's device if certain malicious websites are loaded onto a user's device, leading to an infection of their device.

Keeping this in mind, if we fast forward to August 17 of this year, we learn Apple has discovered two new vulnerabilities in its operating system  CVE-2022-32893 and CVE-2022-32894. The first vulnerability is a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in Apple's Safari Web browser kit, which is used by all browsers that are iOS-enabled and macOS-enabled. As for the second vulnerability, another RCE vulnerability, it gives attackers complete access to the user's software and hardware without any limitations. 

In the past couple of weeks, two major vulnerabilities have been found that affect a wide variety of Apple devices  especially the iPhone 6 and later models, the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 onwards, iPad 5th generation and newer models, iPad mini 4 and newer versions, iPod touch (7th generation), and macOS Monterey. The officials updated the security systems to create a protected environment against “actively exploited” vulnerabilities.

The research team at Digital Shadows prepared a report which included that the Zero-day exploits sell for up to $10 million, which is the most expensive commodity in a rather wide array of cybercrime. The report further added that these exploits in the market are bound to expand and provoke more cyber threats.

GitHub: Repositories Selling Fake Microsoft Exchange Exploits


Researchers have detected threat actors, impersonating security researchers and selling proof-of-concept ProxyNotShell exploits for the recently discovered Microsoft Exchange zero-day vulnerabilities. 

GTSC, a Vietnamese cybercrime firm confirmed last week their customers were being attacked using two new zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange. 

On being notified about the vulnerability, Microsoft confirmed that the bugs were being Exploited in attacks and that it is working on an accelerated timeline in order to release security updates.  

“Microsoft observed these attacks in fewer than 10 organizations globally. MSTIC assesses with medium confidence that the single activity group is likely to be a state-sponsored organization," Microsoft states in an analysis.  

Microsoft and GTSC disclosed that the threat actors instigated the campaign to abuse Exchange flaws by creating GitHub repositories for exploits. 

Microsoft has since been tracking the flaws as CVE-2022-41040 and CVE-2022-41082, describing the first as a Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF) bug. While the second allows scammers to conduct remote code execution (RCE) attacks via PowerShell. 

In one such instance, a threat actor impersonated a renowned security researcher Kevin Beaumont (aka GossTheDog) who is known for documenting the recently discovered Exchange flaws and available mitigation.  

The fraudulent repositories did not include anything necessary, but the confirms what is currently known about the detected vulnerability, followed by a pitch on how they are selling one copy of the PoC exploit for the zero days. 

The README file consists of a link to a SatoshiDisk page, where the threat actor attempts to sell the fake exploit for 0.01825265 Bitcoin, worth $364. 

Since the security researchers are keeping the technical details of the exploit private, it seems only a small number of threat actors are behind the exploit. 

In light of this, more such researchers and threat actors are waiting for the initial publication of the vulnerabilities to the public before using them in their own operations, such as protecting a network of hacking into one. 

Evidently, one can deduce that there are more such threat actors looking forward to taking advantage of this situation. Since Microsoft Exchange Server zero-day vulnerability exploits could be traded for hundreds of thousands of dollars, one must be cautious of handing over any ready money or crypto to anyone suspicious, claiming to have an exploit. 

Dex: ID Service Patches Bug that Allows Unauthorized Access to Client Applications


The renowned OpenID Connect (OIDC) identity service, Dex has detected and patched a critical vulnerability. The bug allows a threat actor access to the victim's ID tokens via intercepted authorization code, potentially accessing clients’ applications without authorization. The vulnerability was patched by Sigstore developers Hayden Blauzvern, Bob Callaway, and ‘joernchen', who initially reported the bug. 

The open-source sandbox project of Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Dex utilizes an identification layer on top of OAuth 2.0, providing authentication to other applications.  

Dex acts as a portal to other identity providers through certain ‘connectors’, ranging from authentication to LDAP servers, SAML providers, or identity providers like GitHub, Google, and Active Directory. As a result, Dex claims 35.6 million downloads to date. As stated in the Developer's notification, the bug affects “Dex instances with the public clients (and by extension, clients accepting tokens issued by those Dex instances.” 

As per the discovery made by security researchers, the threat actor can steal an OAuth authentication code by luring the victim to enter a malicious website and further, leading him into the OIDC flow. Thence the victim is tricked into exchanging the authorization code for a token, which allows access to applications that accept the token. As the exploit can be used multiple times, the threat actor can get a new token every time the old one expires.  

The bug thus comes into existence because the authentication process instigates a persistent “connector state parameter" as the request ID to look up the OAuth code. 

“Once the user has successfully authenticated, if the webserver is able to call /approval before the victim’s browser calls /approval, then an attacker can fetch the Dex OAuth code which can be exchanged for an ID token using the /token endpoint,” the advisory stated. The users are advised to update to version 2.35.0, as the vulnerability, having the CVSS rating of 9.3, affects versions 2.34.0 and older.  

The bug was fixed by introducing a hash-based message authentication (HMAC) code, that utilizes a randomly generated per-request secret, oblivious to the threat actor, and is persisted between the initial login and the approval request, making the server request unpredictable.

Cisco Patched High Severity Bugs in Networking and Communications Products

Flaws found in Cisco

Various flaws in the API and web-based management interface of Cisco TelePresence Video Communication Server (VCS) Software and Cisco Expressway Series Software can permit remote actors to dodge certificate authentication or execute cross-site request forgery attacks on targeted devices. 

About the first bug

The first bug, tracked as CVE-2022-20814, is an improper certification validation problem, a remote, unauthorized actor can activate it to access critical information via a man-in-the-middle attack.

A bug in the certificate validation of Cisco TelePresence VCS and Cisco Expressway-C could permit a malicious, remote actor to have unauthenticated access to sensitive information. 

The flaw is due to no validation of the SSL server certificate for an impacted device while it builds a connection to a Cisco Unified Communications Manager device. 

The Cisco advisory says: "An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by using a man-in-the-middle technique to intercept the traffic between the devices and then using a self-signed certificate to impersonate the endpoint. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to view the intercepted traffic in clear text or alter the contents of the traffic.” 

About the second bug

The second vulnerability, tracked CVE-2022-20853 is cross-site request forgery (CSRF) that can be compromised to launch a denial of service (DoS) state by luring the victim to open a specially crafted link. 

"A vulnerability in the REST API of Cisco Expressway Series and Cisco TelePresence VCS could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to conduct a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack on an affected system.” states the advisory. 

“This vulnerability is due to insufficient CSRF protections for the web-based management interface of an affected system. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by persuading a user of the REST API to follow a crafted link. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to cause the affected system to reload."

The Cisco PSIRT did not say anything about attacks in the wild exploiting these bugs or any public announcements. 

Attackers Exploiting Unpatched RCE Flaw in Zimbra Collaboration Suite


Hackers are actively attempting to exploit an unpatched remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS), a popular web client and email server. 

The CVE-2022-41352 zero-day security flaw is rated critical (CVSS v3 score: 9.8) and enables an attacker to upload arbitrary files via "Amavis" (email security system). An attacker who successfully exploits the vulnerability can overwrite the Zimbra webroot, insert a shellcode, and gain access to other users' accounts. 

The zero-day vulnerability was discovered at the beginning of September when administrators posted details about attacks on Zimbra forums.

Due to  insecure cpio usage

The vulnerability is caused by Amavis' use of the 'cpio' file archiving utility to extract archives when scanning a file for viruses. An exploitable flaw in the cpio component enables an attacker to create archives that can be extracted anywhere on a Zimbra-accessible filesystem.

When an email is sent to a Zimbra server, the Amavis security system extracts the archive and scans its contents for viruses. If it extracts a specially crafted.cpio,.tar, or.rpm archive, the contents may be extracted to the Zimbra webroot. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to deploy web shells to the Zimbra root, effectively giving them shell access to the server.

On September 14, Zimbra issued a security advisory advising system administrators to install Pax, a portable archiving utility, and restart their Zimbra servers to replace the vulnerable component, cpio.
Installing Pax solves the problem because Amavis prefers it over cpio by default, so no further configuration is required.

"If the pax package is not installed, Amavis will fall-back to using cpio, unfortunately the fall-back is implemented poorly (by Amavis) and will allow an unauthenticated attacker to create and overwrite files on the Zimbra server, including the Zimbra webroot," warned the September security advisory.

"For most Ubuntu servers the pax package should already be installed as it is a dependency of Zimbra. Due to a packaging change in CentOS, there is a high chance pax is not installed."

Vulnerability is being actively exploited

While the vulnerability has been actively exploited since September, a new Rapid7 report sheds new light on its active exploitation and includes a proof-of-concept exploit that allows attackers to easily create malicious archives.

Worse, Rapid7 tests show that many Linux distributions officially supported by Zimbra still do not install Pax by default, leaving these installations vulnerable to the bug.

Oracle Linux 8, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, Rocky Linux 8, and CentOS 8 are among these distributions. Pax was included in earlier LTS releases of Ubuntu, 18.04 and 20.04, but it was removed in 22.04. Zimbra plans to mitigate this issue decisively by deprecating cpio and making Pax a prerequisite for Zimbra Collaboration Suite, thus enforcing its use.

Since proof-of-concept (PoC) exploits have been publicly available for some time, the risk of failing to implement the workaround is severe. Zimbra intends to address this issue decisively by deprecating cpio and making Pax a requirement for Zimbra Collaboration Suite, thereby mandating its use. 

"In addition to this cpio 0-day vulnerability, Zimbra also suffers from a 0-day privilege escalation vulnerability, which has a Metasploit module. That means that this 0-day in cpio can lead directly to a remote root compromise of Zimbra Collaboration Suite servers," further warn the researchers.

However, the risks persist for existing installations, so administrators must act quickly to protect their ZCS servers.

Researchers Recently Made the World's Websites Less Vulnerable to Hacking and Cyberattacks


An international team of researchers has created a scanning tool to reduce the vulnerability of websites to hacking and cyberattacks. The black box security assessment prototype, which was tested by engineers in Australia, Pakistan, and the UAE, outperforms existing web scanners, which collectively fail to detect the top ten weaknesses in web applications. 

Dr Yousef Amer, a mechanical and systems engineer at UniSA, is one of the co-authors of a new international paper that describes the tool's development in the wake of increasing global cyberattacks. Cybercrime cost the globe $6 trillion in 2021, representing a 300 percent increase in online criminal activity over the previous two years. 

Remote working, cloud-based platforms, malware, and phishing scams have resulted in massive data breaches, while the implementation of5G and Internet of Things (IoT) devices has made us more connected – and vulnerable – than ever. Dr. Yousef Amer and colleagues from Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Western Sydney University highlight numerous security flaws in website applications that are costing organisations badly.

Because of the pervasive use of eCommerce, iBanking, and eGovernment sites, web applications have become a prime target for cybercriminals looking to steal personal and corporate information and disrupt business operations. Despite an anticipated $170 billion global outlay on internet security in 2022 against a backdrop of escalating and more severe cyberattacks, existing web scanners, according to Dr. Amer, fall far short of evaluating vulnerabilities.

“We have identified that most of the publicly available scanners have weaknesses and are not doing the job they should,” he says.

Almost 72% of businesses have experienced at least one serious security breach on their website, with vulnerabilities tripling since 2017. According to WhiteHat Security, a world leader in web application security, 86% of scanned web pages have on average 56% vulnerabilities. At least one of these is classified as critical. The researchers compared the top ten vulnerabilities to 11 publicly available web application scanners.

“We found that no single scanner is capable of countering all these vulnerabilities, but our prototype tool caters for all these challenges. It’s basically a one-stop guide to ensure 100 per cent website security. There’s a dire need to audit websites and ensure they are secure if we are to curb these breaches and save companies and governments millions of dollars,”Dr Amer stated.

CISA: Atlassian Bitbucket Server Flaws added to KEV Catalog List


The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) added three recently disclosed security flaws to its list of Known Exploited Vulnerabilities (KEV ) Catalog, including critical vulnerability in Atlassian’s Bitbucket Server and Data Center, and two Microsoft Exchange zero-days.

At the end of August, Atlassian rectified a security flaw, tracked as CVE-2002-36804 (CVSS score 9.9) in Bitbucket Server and Data Center. The flaw is a critical severity and is related to a command injection vulnerability that enables malicious actors access to arbitrary code execution, by exploiting the flaw through malicious HTTP requests.

"All versions of Bitbucket Server and Datacenter released after 6.10.17 including 7.0.0 and newer are affected, this means that all instances that are running any versions between 7.0.0 and 8.3.0 inclusive are affected by this vulnerability," Atlassain states in an advisory released in late August.

Although CISA did not provide further details on how the security flaw is being exploited or how widespread the exploitation efforts are, researchers at GreyNoise, on September 20 and 23 confirms to have detected evidence of in-the-wild abuse.

The other two KEV flaws, Microsoft Exchange zero-days (tracked as CVE-2022-41040 and CVE-2022-41082) exploited in limited, targeted attacks according to Microsoft.

"Microsoft is also monitoring these already deployed detections for malicious activity and will take necessary response actions to protect customers. [..] We are working on an accelerated timeline to release a fix," states Microsoft.

The Federal Civilian Executive Branch Agencies (FCEB) have applied patches or mitigation measures for these three security vulnerabilities after being added to CISA’s KEV catalog as required by the binding operational directive (BOD 22-01) from November.

Since the directive was issued last year, CISA has added more than 800 security vulnerabilities to its KEV catalog, while requiring federal agencies to direct them on a tighter schedule.

Although BOD 22-01 only applies to U.S. FCEB agencies, CISA has suggested to all the private and public sector organizations worldwide to put forward these security flaws, as applying mitigation measures will assist in containing potential attacks and breach attempts. In the same regard, CISA furthermore stated, “These types of vulnerabilities are a frequent attack vector for malicious cyber actors and pose significant risk to the federal enterprise”

A Matrix Update Patches Serious End-to-End Encryption Flaws

Recently the open source Matrix messenger protocol published security warnings on its platform about two critical-severity vulnerabilities that affect the end-to-end encryption in the software development kit (SDK). 

As per the warning statement, the groups of malicious actors are exploiting these vulnerabilities that could break the confidentiality of Matrix communications. The vulnerabilities also allow the threat actors to run man-in-the-middle attacks that expose message contents in a readable form. 

According to the technical data, the users who were using the matrix-js-sdk, matrix-android-sdk2, and matrix-ios-sdk, like Element, Cinny, SchildiChat, Beeper, Circuli, and have been hit by the bugs. However, the platform clarified that clients using a different encryption implementation such as Hydrogen, Nheko, ElementX, FluffyChat, Timmy, Syphon, Gomuks, Pantalaimon) are safe from the attacks. 

The vulnerabilities were reported to Matrix by the researchers of Brave Software, the University of Sheffield, and the Royal Holloway University in London. The group published the technical details of the research findings. 

List of the critical severity flaws discovered by the team

  • CVE-2022-39255: Same as CVE-2022-39251 but impacting matrix-ios-sdk (iOS clients). 
  • CVE-2022-39251: Protocol-confusion bug in matrix-js-sdk, leading to incorrectly accepting messages from a spoofed sender, possibly impersonating a trusted sender. 

The same flaw makes it possible for malicious home server admins to add backup keys to the target's account. 

  • CVE-2022-39250: Key/Device identifier confusion in SAS verification on matrix-js-sdk, enabling a malicious server administrator to break emoji-based verification when cross-signing is used, authenticating themselves instead of the target user.
  • CVE-2022-39257: Same as CVE-2022-39249 but impacting matrix-ios-sdk (iOS clients).
  • CVE-2022-39248: Same as CVE-2022-39251 but impacting matrix-android-sdk2 (Android clients). 
  • CVE-2022-39249: Semi-trusted impersonation problem in matrix-js-sdk leading to accepting keys forwarded without request, making impersonation of other users in the server possible. Clients mark these messages as suspicious on the recipient's end,  thus dropping the severity of the bug. 
  • CVE-2022-39246: Same as CVE-2022-39249 but impacting matrix-android-sdk2 (Android clients). 
Furthermore, the report detailing listed two problems that are yet to receive an identification number. One of these problems allows malicious actors access to the home server and the second refers to using AES-CTR. 

Microsoft Accepts Breach of Two Zero Day Vulnerabilties

Exchange Server Vulnerabilities

Microsoft accepted that it knows about the two Exchange Server zero-day vulnerabilities that have been compromised in targeted cyberattacks. GSTC, a cybersecurity agency from Vietnam, reports finding attacks comprising two latest Microsoft Exchange zero-day vulnerabilities. It thinks that the attacks, which first surfaced in August and aimed at crucial infrastructure, were orchestrated by Chinese threat actors. 

Technical details about the vulnerabilities have not been disclosed publicly yet, however, GSTC says that the attacker's exploitation activities following the attack include the installation of backdoors, deployment of Malware, and lateral movement. 

Details about zero-day vulnerabilities

Microsoft was informed about vulnerabilities through the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), by Trend Micro. Microsoft posted a blog telling its customers that the company is looking into two reported zero-day vulnerabilities. As per Microsoft, one flaw is a server-side request forgery (SSRF) issue, identified as CVE-2022-41040 and the second flaw is an RCE (remote code execution) flaw identified as CVE-2022-41082. The security loopholes seem to affect Exchange Server 2013, 2016, and 2019. 

According to Microsoft, it is aware of limited targeted attacks using the two vulnerabilities to get into users’ systems. In these attacks, CVE-2022-41040 can enable an authenticated attacker to remotely trigger CVE-2022-41082. It should be noted that authenticated access to the vulnerable Exchange Server is necessary to successfully exploit either of the two vulnerabilities. 

Microsoft fixing the issue

Microsoft is currently working on an accelerated timeline to fix the vulnerabilities. For the time being, it has given detailed guidelines to protect against the vulnerability. It believes that its products should identify post-exploitation malware and any malicious activities related to it. Microsoft Online Exchange users don't have to do anything. 

"Security researcher Kevin Beaumont has named the vulnerabilities ProxyNotShell due to similarities with the old ProxyShell flaw, which has been exploited in the wild for more than a year. In fact, before Microsoft confirmed the zero-days, Beaumont believed it might just be a new and more effective variant of the ProxyShell exploit, rather than an actual new vulnerability," reports Security Week.

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.”

Critical Security Bug Detected in Java Template Framework Pebble


The vulnerability in Pebble, a Java templating engine could allow a hacker to circumvent its security safeguards and launch command injection assaults against host servers.  

Pebble Templates is primarily used to generate HTML text output but it can also employ to design CSS, XML, JS, etc. The templates are convenient because of their user-friendly web application templating system, internationalization capabilities, and security features like auto-escaping and a block-list method access validator that thwarts command execution assaults. 

However, a threat analyst at GitHub has identified that with the right code and template files, Pebble’s command execution defense can be bypassed easily. 

Circumventing Pebble Security 

The bypassing technology can work effectively when Pebble is utilized in combination with Spring, a well-known Java application framework. Multiple Spring classes are registered as beans, allowing them to be dynamically installed at runtime. The hacker can install one of the Spring objects that supports class loading by exploiting the Java beans engine. 

Subsequently, the malicious hacker can employ Jackson, a data-parsing library, to read an XML file containing the details of a class to instantiate and a function to operate. This allows a threat actor a window to execute arbitrary code on the host server. 

As a proof of concept, the security analyst installed an XML file from the internet employing a Pebble template, then instantiated a Java class that supported implementing server-side system commands. 

No easy solution yet 

The security bug report has sparked conversation among GitHub researchers. Due to the vulnerability’s CVE designation, business systems that rely on the latest version of Pebble are receiving security alerts.

The maintainers are working on a fix, but since it is a community-driven project, it remains unclear when it will be published. The developers have issued a few temporary workarounds to safeguard projects in the interim. 

It is worth noting that to exploit the bug, an attacker would need to have a way to upload a malicious Pebble template on the server. Hence, organizations must enhance security checks on user-provided content and limit template uploads. Businesses can also employ sanitization techniques to spot and mitigate malicious content before using it in the template.

Google Analyst Identifies Critical Bug in PlayStation 5


The vulnerability in the PlayStation 5 could have allowed hackers to access the console system that was already identified and fixed on the PlayStation 4 last year. 

“I found it on the PS4 and then two years later on the PS5. It seems like their patch somehow got reverted when doing FreeBSD9 to FreeBSD11 migration,” Andy Nguyen, a security researcher at Google Nguyen told Motherboard, referring to the Linux distribution that manages the PlayStation’s operating system. 

Last year, the researcher gave an indication by jailbreaking his PlayStation 5 and tweeting an image of the console’s debug settings, which should only be accessible if the console is jailbroken. 

Jailbreaking a console system allows customers to install emulators for other consoles, play pirated games, as well as unlock hidden features. The flip side of the coin is that Sony may block a jailbroken console from utilizing network features, blocking the user from playing online games. 

Earlier this year in January, Andy reported the vulnerability to Sony and wrote that he discovered an identical bug in 2020, “when the PS5 did not yet exist, thus this should be considered as a new report and not a duplicate.” 

The vulnerability led the researcher to gain control of the PlayStation 5’s kernel, the soul of the console’s operating system, which has access to and controls most of its functions. Last week, Sony patched the bug for the PlayStation 5 and rewarded Nguyen with a bounty of $10,000, the same amount as a reward in 2021. 

Nguyen explained that the vulnerability he identified was only one of a chain of flaws required to fully jailbreak the PlayStation 5. And as of today, Sony’s new console is fully patched, which also means there are no pirated apps or emulators like there are for the PlayStation 4, for which there is a public jailbreak. 

Earlier this month, another security researcher discovered the security bug to jailbreak the PS4 and the PS5 by exploiting the official PS2 emulator that Sony offered for its two most recent consoles. 

“By hacking the official PS2 emulator he could run unofficial apps, other emulators, and “even some pirated commercial PS4 games. One of the advantages of exploiting the PS2 emulator is that Sony cannot patch it,” CTurt explained in a blog post. “Because the emulator is bundled as a game, not part of the OS, Sony has no readily available options to revoke access to it.”