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Apple and Google's Accused for Mobile Browser Monopoly Activities

The domination of Apple and Google in web devices and cloud gaming will be examined, according to the UK's authorities.

The Competition and Markets Authority announced on Tuesday that it is shifting forward on a market investigation it first suggested in June of how the companies regulate internet browsers for mobile devices and concerns that Apple restricts cloud gaming on its devices after receiving help in a public consultation.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found from market research conducted last year that they controlled the majority of mobile operating systems, app marketplaces, and web browsers.

If the 18-month study indicates an adverse impact on competition, the CMA may enforce modifications. However, the allegations are rejected by both businesses.

The authority announced on Tuesday that it is starting the investigation in part since the U.K. has put off giving its competition regulator new authority over digital markets, which is similar to what was recently passed in the European Union and which it claimed could help resolve those problems.

According to remarks released on Tuesday as part of the CMA's public consultation on its inquiry, some major IT rivals backed the investigation against Apple and Google. If nothing is done, Microsoft Corp. warned that Apple and Google's grip over its mobile ecosystems might pose growing challenges to the competition.






Sophos 2023 Threat Report: Cryptocurrency Will Fuel Cyberattacks

The Sophos 2022 Threat Report, released by Sophos, a pioneer in next-generation cybersecurity, illustrates how the gravitational influence of ransomware is attracting other cyber threats to building one vast, linked ransomware delivery system, having essential ramifications for IT security.

Entry-level hackers can buy malware and spyware installation tools from illicit markets like Genesis, and also sell illegal passwords or other data in mass. Access brokers increasingly sell other criminal groups' credentials and susceptible software exploits.

A new ransomware-as-a-service economy has emerged in the last decade due to the rising popularity of ransomware. In 2022, this as-a-service business model has grown, and almost every component of the cybercrime toolkit from initial infection to methods of evading detection is now accessible for purchase, according to the researchers.

Several step-by-step tools and methods that attackers might use to spread the ransomware were revealed when an affiliate of the Conti ransomware published the deployment guide supplied by the operators. RaaS affiliates and other ransomware operators can use malware distribution platforms and IABs to discover and target potential victims once they have the virus they require. The second significant trend predicted by Sophos is being fueled by this.

Gootloader was launching innovative hybrid operations in 2021, as per Sophos's research, that blended broad campaigns with rigorous screening to identify targets for particular malware packs.

Ransomware distribution and delivery will continue to be adapted by well-known cyber threats. Which include spam, spyware, loaders, droppers, and other common malware in addition to increasingly sophisticated, manually handled first access brokers.

Data theft and exposure, threatening phone calls, distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults, and other pressure tactics were all included in the list of ten pressure methods Sophos incident responders compiled in 2021.

Cryptocurrency will continue to feed cybercrimes like ransomware and unlawful crypto mining. In 2021, Sophos researchers discovered crypto miners like Lemon Duck and MrbMiner, which installed themselves on machines and servers by using newly revealed vulnerabilities and targets that had already been compromised by ransomware operators. Sophos anticipates that the trend will continue until international cryptocurrencies are better regulated.

In addition to promoting their products, cybercrime vendors sometimes post job openings to hire attackers with specialized capabilities. In addition to profiles of their abilities and qualifications, job seekers are posting help-wanted sites on some markets, which also have technical hiring personnel.

As web services grow, different kinds of credentials, particularly cookies, can be utilized in a variety of ways to penetrate networks more deeply and even get through MFA. Credential theft continues to be one of the simplest ways for new criminals to enter gray markets and start their careers.

Apple Accused Over Monitoring Users' Behavior Without Consent


According to a lawsuit, despite the fact that settings on Apple's iPhones and other devices are designed to prevent any tracking or sharing of app data, the corporation nonetheless collects, tracks, and monetizes user details even after users have turned off sharing.

When using the App Store app on iOS 14.6, each click users make is recorded and given to Apple, according to the thread posted last week by the Twitter account Mysk, which is maintained by two developers in Canada and Germany. 

The developers assert that this occurs regardless of users’ preferences and settings. The developers claim that "opting out or switching the personalization options off did not decrease the amount of detailed data that the app was transmitting." Apple provides a number of toggles designed to limit tracking.

In a follow-up report by Gizmodo, the developers discovered that although the privacy toggles, a number of additional apps, including Music, TV, Books, the iTunes Store, and Stocks, all transferred data to Apple. The site claims that the majority of the apps that transmitted analytics data shared constant ID numbers, which would allow Apple to follow user behavior across its services like the Health and Wallet apps.

Elliot Libman, the plaintiff, alleged  Apple's assurances that users have control over the data they provide when using iPhone apps are factually false and in violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act.

The thread also notes how ironic Apple's alleged surveillance appears given that strong controls were introduced in iOS 14.5 to stop third-party developers from tracking users against their own will. Although the iOS 14.6 operating system has been around for more than a year, the researchers said they observed identical apps sending comparable data packets when using iOS 16.

Recent Updates in Microsoft Teams Includes Decreased Latency

At its Ignite 2022 conference, Microsoft released a number of new Teams chat and meeting capabilities. The major news is that Microsoft intends to revamp Microsoft Teams to enhance the current channel experience.

When dealing with the Teams desktop client in some crucial situations, Microsoft has considerably decreased latency for Windows and Mac users.

The software is now more than 30% faster when navigating between chat and channel threads, according to Jeff Chen, a Microsoft Principal Group Program Manager for Microsoft Teams.

Chen claimed that the updated Teams framework, which now renders the HTML tree more quickly, runs JavaScript more effectively, and serializes arrays with greater efficiency, is the cause of these significant speed increases.

Microsoft also made improvements to messaging latency and page load speeds in June, including 63% faster message-composing box loads and an 11% improvement in scrolling across chat and channel lists.

In February, the business announced that Teams dramatically reduces the amount of power needed for meetings, utilizing up to 50% less power for energy-intensive scenarios in video meetings with more than 10 participants.

New Updates on Teams

Assign seats in Together mode

During virtual meetings, the Together mode enhances the sense that everyone is present in the same space. Meeting planners and presenters can now assign seats to attendees in Together mode thanks to the most recent innovation.

Shared content will open in a separate window

Users will soon have the option to pop out shared meeting content in a separate window, making it easier to see both shared content and meeting participants.

Live captioning in Teams Premium

With live translated captions for Microsoft Teams, meeting attendees may read captions in their native tongue thanks to AI-powered, real-time translations from 40 spoken languages.

Comprehensive call history

Having access to call recordings and transcriptions from call details along with this comprehensive call history provides the background to be productive and effective.

Adobe PDF expertise (collaboration with Microsoft)

To view and edit PDF files in Microsoft Teams, tenant admins can set Adobe Acrobat as the default application in the Teams admin center.

Since June 2020, Redmond has been striving to reduce the number of resources used by Teams, implementing changes gradually. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic and the shift to remote working, Microsoft Teams has had a significant influx of new members, surpassing 270 million monthly active users in January 2021.








Warning to iPhone and Android Users: 400 Apps Could Leak Data to Hackers

 


Android and iPhone users are being told to delete specific apps from their mobile phones because they could potentially steal their data. 

According to reports, Facebook has issued a warning after discovering an apparent data hack. This appears to have infected more than 400 apps and appears to have been stealing sensitive login information from smartphones. Because these apps offer popular services such as photo editors, games, and VPNs, they can easily remain unnoticed. This is because they tend to advertise themselves as popular services.

The scam apps are designed to obtain sensitive consumer information by asking users to sign in via their Facebook account once the apps have been installed. Hull Live reported that this is being done for them to be able to access their features.

It has been reported that Facebook published a post on its newsroom about a malicious app that asks users to sign in with their Facebook account. This is before they can use its advertised features. If they enter their credentials, the malware steals their usernames and passwords, which is a serious security risk.

In this case, there are official Google Play Store and Apple App Store marketplaces where these applications are available for download. This means that thousands of devices could potentially have been installed on them.

Apple and Google have already removed these apps from their application stores, however, they can still be found on third-party marketplaces, so anyone who had already downloaded the apps could still be targeted if they had done so previously.

According to Facebook, this year, they have identified more than 400 malicious Android and iOS apps that target people across the internet to steal their login information. This is in a bid to gain access to their Facebook accounts.

Apple and Google have been informed of the findings. It is working to assist those who might be affected by these results in learning more about how to remain safe and secure with their online accounts.

According to Facebook, users should take the following steps to fix the problem:

• Reset and create new, stronger passwords. Keep your passwords unique across multiple websites so that you, do not have to reuse them.

• To further protect your account, you should be able to use two-factor authentication. Preferably by using the Authenticator app as a secondary security measure.

• Make sure that you enable log-in alerts in your account settings so you are notified if anyone attempts to gain access to your account.

• Facebook also outlined some red flags that Android and iPhone users should be aware of when choosing an app that is likely to be, fraudulent.

• Users must log in with social media to use the app and, it will only function once they have completed this step.

A Facebook spokesperson added that looking at the number of downloads, ratings, and reviews may help determine whether a particular app is trustworthy.

Apple Claims "SIM not Supported" Bug Hits iPhone 14 Series

Apple's 14th-generation iPhone launch has not gone all too well as anticipated. In its most recent announcement, Apple acknowledged that iPhone 14 users are affected by the SIM problem in iOS 16.

Apple has confirmed a new iOS 16 bug that is causing owners of the iPhone 14 inconvenience. A  message is displayed on their device that reads 'SIM not supported.' The business acknowledged the flaw and declared it is looking into the matter.

Apple strongly advises against restoring the device if the notice remains. The tech giant prefers that customers seek technical support from authorized Apple service providers or visit the nearest Apple Store. According to reports, Apple is developing a patch for this flaw and may deliver it by the end of the month.

Apple confirms in the memo that it is looking into the issue and that it is not a hardware-related one even if a fix is still pending. Since a software repair is possible, the affected iPhone 14 units would not need to be recalled. Apple advises iPhone 14 customers to wait until a fix is available because, occasionally, the error message will go away and the phones will start working normally again.

The business advised customers to 'upgrade to the current version of iOS to address the issue' if they experienced problems with Messages or FaceTime after configuring their new iPhone.

Apple stated that updating to the most recent version of iOS would fix any issues with iMessage and FaceTime not fully activating on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro. 

Therefore, experts recommend holding off on upgrading to an iPhone 14 model until Apple has fixed more of these problems. The iOS 16.1 update is currently being developed by Apple and is anticipated to go live by the end of the month. The upcoming version will most likely include numerous new features, adjustments, and changes. A recent iOS 16.0.3 update from Apple is expected to fix a number of problems.

Meta: Users Warned Against Android, iOS Apps That Are Stealing Facebook Passwords

As per the report published by Facebook parent Meta on Thursday, as many as a million Facebook users have been warned of the seemingly malicious application, they may have been exposed to. The Android and iOS malware is designed to steal passwords from social networking sites. 
 
This year so far, Meta has detected more than 400 fraudulent applications, and structures for Apple or Android-powered smartphones. The malicious apps are apparently made available at the Play Store and App Store, says director of threat disruption, David Agranovich during a briefing. 
 
"These apps were listed on the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store and disguised as photo editors, games, VPN services, business apps, and other utilities to trick people into downloading them," states Meta in a Blog post.  
 
Reportedly, the fraudulent apps ask Facebook users to log in with their account information, enticing them with certain promising features. Ultimately, stealing user passwords and other credentials, if entered.  
 
"They are just trying to trick people into entering in their login information in a way that enables hackers to access their accounts [..] We will notify one million users that they may have been exposed to these applications; that is not to say they have been compromised," mentions Agranovich. 
 
With regard to these activities, Meta stated that it has shared information about the malicious apps with both Apple and Google, which controls the activities of their respective app shops.  
 
Considering this, Google said that most of the malicious apps mentioned by Meta have already been identified and removed from its Play Store by its vetting systems.  
 
"All of the apps identified in the report are no longer available on Google Play," a spokesperson told AFP. "Users are also protected by Google Play Protect, which blocks these apps on Android." 
 
On the other hand, Apple has yet not responded to questions about whether it took any action against the aforementioned apps. In the blog post, Meta also alerts internet users about certain activities they may unknowingly perform, that could leverage the threat actor.  
 
"We are also alerting people who may have unknowingly self-compromised their accounts by downloading these apps and sharing their credentials, and are helping them to secure their accounts," the blog post notes.

Microsoft Alert a Major Click Fraud Scheme Targeting Gamers

Microsoft is keeping tabs on a widespread click fraud scheme that targets gamers and uses covertly installed browser extensions on hacked devices.

The act of exaggerating the number of clicks on pay-per-click advertisements that constitutes a fraudulent click. According to experts, botnets are responsible for approximately a third of the traffic created by advertising on ad networks. To safeguard their image and keep their clients happy, advertising platforms frequently use click fraud prevention techniques, such as the Google search engine. 

In a series of tweets over the weekend, Microsoft Security Intelligence stated that "attackers monetize clicks generated by a web node WebKit or malicious browser extension stealthily installed on devices."

The internet company clarified in a tweet that the initiative targets unaware people who click rogue advertising or comments on YouTube. 

By doing this, a fake game cheats ISO file will be downloaded, and when opened, it will install the threat actors' necessary browser node-webkit (NW.js) or browser extension. Microsoft also mentioned that they saw the actors using Apple Disk Image files, or DMG files, indicating that the campaign is a cross-platform endeavor. 

It's important to note that the ISO file contains hacks and cheats for the first-person shooter game Krunker. Cheats are software tools that provide users of a game with a distinct advantage over other players.

DMG files, which are Apple Disk Image files usually used to distribute software on macOS, are also employed in the attacks in place of ISO images, demonstrating that the threat actors are aiming their attacks at several operating systems.

The discovery is no longer shocking because threat actors frequently use gamers as fine targets in their efforts, especially those who are scrambling to locate free cheats online.

The prevalence of virus spreading through well-known game franchises was demonstrated earlier in September by a report from endpoint security provider and customer IT security software company Kaspersky. The most popular file was distributed via Minecraft, which had 131,005 users infected between July 2021 and June 2022. 



Apple Offers iOS Update to Fix Vulnerabilities

Apple has patched a vulnerability that was potentially used by hackers in its iOS 12 upgrade for older iPhone and iPad models. The vulnerability was discovered by an anonymous researcher, who has received acknowledgment.

The flaw, identified as CVE-2022-32893 (CVSS score: 8.8), affects WebKit and is an out-of-bounds write problem that could result in arbitrary code execution when processing maliciously created web content, according to a document released by the firm on Wednesday.

A security vulnerability found in the platform affects users of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge as well because WebKit powers Safari and every other third-party browser accessible for iOS and iPadOS.

The security patch fixes a Safari vulnerability that might have allowed unauthorized access for users to parse maliciously created web content and execute arbitrary code. With enhanced bounds checking, the developers appear to have found a solution. Apple stated that they are already aware of a report that claims the problem may have been intentionally exploited.

Several older Apple devices, including the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, and iPod Touch, are compatible with the 275 MB update published to fix the vulnerability.

12.5.6, build 16H71, is the most recent version of the software. It appears to close the security flaw that the business recently fixed in the iOS 15.6.1 release, listed as CVE-2022-32893. 

After fixing two bugs in iOS 15.6.1, iPadOS 15.6.1, macOS 12.5.1, and Safari 15.6.1 as part of updates released on August 18, 2022, the iPhone manufacturer has released a new round of patches. 

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which discovered the significant bug and gave it a CVSS rating of 8.8, also identified it and published a warning about it last month.

Although specifics about the assaults' nature are unknown, Apple confirmed in a boilerplate statement that it was aware that this problem may have been actively exploited.

On September 7, Apple will also unveil the iPhone 14 series and iOS 16. Unfortunately, iOS 16 will not be made available to users of iPhone 8. Furthermore, older iOS device owners are urged to update as soon as possible to reduce security risks.

Over 1800 Mobile Apps Found Exposing AWS Credentials


Experts find hard-coded AWS credentials

Experts have found 1,859 applications across Android and iOS that contain hard-coded Amazon Web Services (AWS) credentials, becoming a major security threat. More than 77% of the apps contain valid AWS access tokens that allow access to private AWS cloud services. 

Mobile apps may contain vulnerabilities in the supply chain that can potentially cause exposure to sensitive data, which can be used by hackers for other attacks. Supply chain vulnerabilities in mobile apps are often added by app developers, intentionally or unintentionally. 

The developers don't know the downside of the security impacts, putting the app users' privacy, as well as the employer and organizations' privacy at risk too. 

Source of the Problem

Researchers at Broadcom Software looked into why and where exactly the AWS access tokens were inside the applications, and whether present in other apps too. They found over half (53%) of the apps were using the same AWS access tokens found in other apps. 

These apps, interestingly, were from different app developers and organizations. This way, the experts found a supply chain vulnerability, it could be traced to a shared library, third-party SDK, or other shared components used in making the apps. 

Why app developers are using hard-coded access keys?

  • Downloading or uploading assets and resources needed for the applications, generally large media files, images, or recordings. 
  • To access configuration files for the app and/or register the device or get device info for cloud storage. 
  • Access cloud services that need authentication, like translation services.
  • For no particular reason, the dead code was used for testing and never removed. 

In one incident discovered by Symantec, an unknown B2B company that offers an intranet and communication platform and also provides a mobile software development kit (SDK) to its customers had its cloud infrastructure keys embedded in the SDK to access the translation service. 

It led to the leak of all of its customers' personal information- corporate data and financial records that belonged to more than 15000 medium to large-sized firms. 

How can users stay safe from supply chain attacks?

It is possible to protect yourself from supply chain issues, one can add security scanning solutions to the app development lifecycle and if using an outsourced provider, you can review Mobile App Report Cards, which can notice any malicious app behaviors or vulnerabilities for every launch of the mobile app, can all be helpful in to highlight potential issues. 

If you're an app developer, you can look for a report card that both scans SDKs and frameworks in your apps and finds the source of any vulnerabilities or suspicious behaviors. 




Onapsis Report: Flaws to be Fixed Immediately

CISA urged government organizations to fix the seven vulnerabilities it had added to its inventory on Thursday by September 8. The 'Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog' is a list of CISA vulnerabilities that should be patched because they are known to be actively exploited in cyberattacks. 
List of vulnerabilities actively used by hackers, including the most recent security bugs from Apple. Google, SAP, and Microsoft.

Vulnerabilities

Onapsis disclosed the major SAP CVE-2022-22536 vulnerability in February and gave it a 10/10 severity level. CISA promptly alerted administrators of the need to fix the flaw because failure to do so could result in data loss, risks of financial fraud, disruptions of crucial business processes, ransomware attacks, and the cessation of all operations

The vendor addressed the issue in February in Web Dispatcher, Content Server 7.53, NetWeaver Application Server ABAP, NetWeaver Application Server Java, and ABAP Platform.

According to Doyhenard's research study, "both CVE-2022-22536 and CVE-2022-22532 were remotely exploitable and could be utilized by unauthenticated attackers to entirely compromise any SAP installation on the planet."

On Wednesday, Apple announced security upgrades for the CVE-2022-32893 and CVE-2022-32894 flaws in macOS and iOS/iPadOS, stating that these vulnerabilities might be used to execute code on unsecured devices.

Apple did not explain how the vulnerabilities were being exploited, however, given that CVE-2022-32894 permits code to be run with kernel privileges, it would enable total device takeover.

Google Chrome 104.0.5112.101, which was released on Tuesday, has a remedy for the CVE-2022-2856 vulnerability. Vulnerability researcher Hossein Lotfi found more information about the problem, albeit it hasn't been disclosed how hackers have used it in attacks.

Microsoft resolved the CVE-2022-21971 remote code execution vulnerability in the February 2022 Patch Tuesday, but there is no data on how it is currently being used in the wild. However, CVE-2022-26923 affects Active Directory Domain Services and involves privilege escalation. Days after Microsoft issued a fix in May, PoC exploits started to surface.

Martin Doyhenard, an Onapsis researcher, will give a paper on exploiting inter-process communication in SAP's HTTP server on August 10 at the Black Hat conference and on August 13 at the Def Con conference. The 18-page document Onapsis published describing its findings is also available.

FCEB agencies are required to address the discovered vulnerabilities by the deadline to safeguard their networks from attacks that take advantage of the flaws in the catalog, as stated in Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 22-0: Reducing the Significant Risk of Known Exploited Vulnerabilities.

TA558 Malware Attacks Travel and Hospitality Services

A persistent wave of attacks on Latin American hospitality, hotel, and travel firms with the intention of planting malware on compromised systems have been attributed to a financially motivated cybercrime ring.

Proofpoint researchers are keeping tabs on a malware campaign being run by the TA558 malware gang. The organization used Loda RAT, Vjw0rm, and Revenge RAT among other malware in its attacks. 

The gang has been active at a faster rate than usual in 2022, with intrusions mostly targeted at Latin American Portuguese and Spanish speakers and to a lesser level at Western European and North American speakers.

The group uses phishing campaigns that involve sending malicious spam messages with lures that have a travel theme, like hotel reservations, that contain weaponized documents or URLs in an effort to persuade unwitting users to install trojans that can conduct reconnaissance, steal data, and distribute add-on payloads.

To download and install a variety of malware, including AsyncRAT, Loda RAT, Revenge RAT, and Vjw0rm, the assaults conducted between 2018 and 2021 made use of emails with malicious Word documents that either contained VBA macros or exploits for vulnerabilities like CVE-2017-11882 and CVE-2017-8570.

In more recent attacks, the cybercriminal organization has started distributing malware using Office documents, RAR attachments, ISO attachments, and malicious URLs. The action is in response to Microsoft's decision to make Office products' default settings for macros disabled.

According to Proofpoint, 27 of the 51 campaigns that hackers ran in 2022 made use of URLs linking to ZIP and ISO archives, compared to just five efforts from 2018 through 2021.

Since 2018, at least 15 different malware families have been employed by TA558, sometimes using the same C2 infrastructure, according to Proofpoint. To host the malware payloads, the gang uses websites that have been infiltrated by hotels.

In an effort to prevent detection and obscure the source of the attacks, the threat actor frequently changes languages within the same week.

A number of noticeable patterns are also being used by TA558 in the campaign data, including the use of specific strings, naming conventions, keywords, domains, etc. 











Apple Launches Passkey Feature For Password-less Verification

At WWDC 2022, Apple previewed and announced iPad OS 16, iOS 16, macOS 13, new MacBook Air and Pro, watchOS 9, new M2 chips, and other latest gadgets. With the improved functional features and new gadgets that have been added to these solutions, the aim is to strengthen user privacy and security. In May 2022, Google, Microsoft, and Apple announced to widen assistance for a common password-less sign-in standard developed by the FIDO Alliance, and the World Wide Web Consortium. 

According to the FIDO alliance, these companies’ platforms already support FIDO Alliance standards to enable passwordless sign-in on billions of industry-leading devices, but previous implementations require users to sign in to each website or app with each device before they can use password-less functionality. The widened assistance means that users can automatically get their FIDO login credentials also known as "passkey" for their old and new devices without the need to re sign-up for every account. 

Besides this, the users can also use FIDO verification on their smartphones to log in to applications, websites, or any nearby devices. With Apple's new operating systems and tech, the extended support when practiced will lead to secure browsing in Safari and macOS Ventura, iOS and iPad 16, with passwords. Apple says passkeys are unique digital keys that stay on the device and are never stored on a web server, so hackers can’t leak them or trick users into sharing them. 

Made to replace the need for passwords, passkeys work using Face ID, Touch ID for biometric authentication, and iCloud Keychain to sync with iPad, iphone, Mac, and Apple TV via end-to-end encryption. Apple says "[Safety Check] includes an emergency reset that helps users easily sign out of iCloud on all their other devices, reset privacy permissions, and limit messaging to just the device in their hand. It also helps users understand and manage which people and apps they’ve given access to."

Safeguarding Android Users From Zero-Day Attacks

 

The term "zero-day" refers to newly found security flaws that hackers can exploit to attack systems. It refers to the fact that the vendor or developer only recently discovered the fault, leaving them with "zero days" to repair it. A zero-day attack is when a zero-day exploit is used to harm or steal data from a system that has been exposed to a vulnerability.

Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) is always on the lookout for zero-day exploits. In 2021, it revealed nine zero-day exploits impacting Chrome, Android, Apple, and Microsoft, resulting in updates to safeguard consumers. Google believes that these attacks were bundled by a single commercial monitoring firm called Cytrox.

Cytrox is a North Macedonian firm with offices in Israel and Hungary that was exposed in late 2021 as the creator and maintainer of the spyware "Predator". 

According to new Google research, Cytrox offers new exploits to government-backed actors, who subsequently deploy them in three separate attack campaigns. Egypt, Armenia, Greece, Madagascar, Côte d'Ivoire, Serbia, Spain, and Indonesia are among the actors who purchased Cytrox services. 

The hackers take advantage of the time differential between when some significant problems were patched but not identified as security issues and when these fixes were fully propagated across the Android ecosystem, using 0-day exploits alongside n-day exploits. 

These findings highlight the extent to which commercial surveillance vendors have proliferated capabilities that were previously solely available to governments with the technical know-how to build and deploy exploits. TAG is actively tracking more than 30 vendors providing exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed entities, with different levels of sophistication and public exposure.

The three initiatives were all emailed to targeted Android users with one-time URLs that looked like URL shortener services. The campaign was small - researchers estimate that the number of users targeted in each case was in the tens of thousands. When the link was clicked, the target was sent to an attacker-controlled domain that provided the bugs before redirecting the browser to a legitimate website. The user was forwarded to a valid website if the link was not active. These ads are believed to be transmitted by ALIEN, a simple Android malware capable of loading PREDATOR, an Android implant first reported by CitizenLab in December 2021. 

  • Campaign 1 – Chrome redirection to SBrowser (CVE-2021-38000): In August 2021, the first campaign was discovered using Chrome on a Samsung Galaxy S21, and the webserver immediately responded with an HTTP redirect (302) pointing to the following intended URL. This URL took use of a logic issue in Chrome to force the Samsung Browser to load another URL without user intervention or warnings. 
  • Campaign 2 – Chrome sandbox escape: TAG discovered a campaign in September 2021, in which the exploit chain was sent to a fully updated Samsung Galaxy S10 running Chrome. The exploit that was utilized to get out of the Chrome Sandbox was retrieved, but not the original RCE exploit. The libchrome-embedded sandbox escape was loaded directly as an ELF binary. Libmojo bridge is also custom. The exploit was found to have two separate vulnerabilities in Chrome that are given below: 
  1. CVE-2021-37973: In the handling of Portals API and Fenced subframes, there is a use-after-free vulnerability. 
  2. CVE-2021-37976: A memory instrumentation. mojom. Coordinator information leak allows privileged programs to obtain Global Memory Dumps. These dumps contain sensitive data (addresses) that can be utilized to circumvent ASLR. After escaping the sandbox, the vulnerability downloaded another exploit to raise privileges and install the implant in /data/data/com.android.chrome/p.so. 
  • Campaign 3 – Android 0-day exploit chain in its entirety (CVE-2021-38003, CVE-2021-1048): A full chain exploits on an up-to-date Samsung phone running the newest version of Chrome in October 2021. Two zero-day exploits were included in the chain: CVE-2021-38003, a JSON renderer 0-day vulnerability. The whole value is leaked, allowing the attacker to totally exploit the renderer. The sandbox escape relied on a Linux kernel fault in the epoll() system call. The attacker can use this system call to escape the BPF sandbox and compromise the system by injecting code into privileged processes. 
Google hasn't been able to locate a copy of the exploit and will continue to keep the community informed as they learn more about these campaigns. To combat these issues, a robust, comprehensive approach will be required, involving collaboration between threat intelligence teams, network defenders, university researchers, and technology platforms.

Apple Launched a Safety Fix for a Zero-day Flaw

 

Apple released an emergency patch for iPhone, Mac, and iPad early last month that addressed two zero-day vulnerabilities in the various operating systems. Now, just days after the launch of iOS 15.5, Apple is asking Mac and Apple Watch owners to upgrade. 

Zero-day vulnerabilities are defects in software that the vendor is ignorant of and has not yet patched. Before a fix is released, this type of vulnerability may have publicly available proof-of-concept hacks or be actively exploited in the wild. Apple stated in security warnings released on Monday that they are aware of reports this security flaw "may have been actively exploited."

CVE-2022-22675 is a bug in AppleAVD, an audio and video extension that allows programs to run arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Apple patched the flaw in macOS Big Sur 11.6., watchOS 8.6, and tvOS 15.5 with enhanced bounds checking after unknown researchers reported it. Apple Watch Series 3 or later, Macs running macOS Big Sur, Apple TV 4K, Apple TV 4K (2nd generation), and Apple TV HD are all among the affected. 
  • In 2022, Apple had five zero-day vulnerabilities. Apple patched two more zero-day vulnerabilities in January, allowing hackers to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges (CVE-2022-22587) and track online surfing habits and user identities in real-time (CVE-2022-22594). 
  • Apple also issued security upgrades to address a new zero-day vulnerability (CVE-2022-22620) that was used to compromise iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
  •  Two more actively exploited zero-days in the Intel Graphics Driver (CVE-2022-22674) and the AppleAVD media decoder were discovered in March (CVE-2022-22675). The latter is also backported in older macOS versions, including watchOS 8.6 and tvOS 15.5. 

Apple did not previously disclose specifics about the flaw to prevent hackers from using the knowledge. While, throughout last year, Apple fixed a slew of zero-day vulnerabilities that had been discovered in the wild and targeted iOS, iPadOS, and macOS devices. 

How do I upgrade my Mac? 
  • In the corner of the screen, select the Apple menu, and 'System Preferences' will appear. 
  • Click 'Software Update' in the following menu. 
  • Then select 'Update Now' or 'Upgrade Now' from the menu. 
If you're still using an older version of the operating system, such as Big Sur, click 'Upgrade Now' to upgrade to the most recent version. Monterey is approximately 12GB in size. 

How to manually update your Apple Watch: 
  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then tap the 'My Watch' tab. 
  • Select 'Software Update' from the General menu. 
  • Install the update. If your iPhone or Apple Watch passcode is requested, enter it. 
  • On your Apple Watch, wait for the progress wheel to display. The update could take anything from a few minutes to an hour to finish.

Apple Awards Bounty of $100,500 for Finding Flaws in MacBook

In 2021, Apple patched a set of MacOs vulnerabilities exposing the Safari browser to attack and letting threat actors hack users' online accounts, cameras, and mic. Cybersecurity expert Ryan Pickren, who found these vulnerabilities and reported back to company Apple, was given a $100,500 bug bounty, considering the critical scale of the vulnerabilities. These bugs exploit a set of security issues with iCloud sharing and Safari 15. 

It allows the hacker to control multimedia permissions and gain full access to all sites that the user has opened using the Safari browser. It also includes Gmail, iCloud, PayPal, and Facebook accounts. The problem is primarily concerned with ShareBear, it is an iCloud file-sharing platform that prompts users to open a shared document. Pickren noticed that the prompt doesn't ask the user to open a file after a user opened it once. 

Pickren concluded that this can allow a threat actor to play with the file's components if he has access to the files. "ShareBear will then download and update the file on the victim's machine without any user interaction or notification. 

In essence, the victim has given the attacker permission to plant a polymorphic file onto their machine and the permission to remotely launch it at any moment," explains Pickren in his writeup. In simpler terms, a .PNG format image file can have all its content and extension converted into an executable binary ("evil.dmg") once the user has opened the file. 

After this, one can launch the binary, which triggers exploit chain vulnerabilities that influence extra bugs found in Safari to control a system's mic and camera and steal local files stored in the device. It is not the first time Pickren disclosed bugs in iOS and macOS that allows a threat actor to gain access to a system and control its commands. 

The unauthorized access is gained when the victim opens a certain file type. He says "this project was an interesting exploration of how a design flaw in one application can enable a variety of other, unrelated, bugs to become more dangerous."

New Safari Vulnerability Could have given Attackers Access to Your Mac Webcam

 

Apple has awarded a cybersecurity student $100,500 (roughly Rs 75,54,000) in bounty rewards for finding a bug in Apple’s macOS, which enabled malicious actors to access the victims’ logged-in online accounts and even get into their webcams. 

Ryan Pickren, reported the flaw to Apple last summer, and was patched earlier this month. Pickren is no stranger to Apple bugs, as he uncovered an iPhone and Mac camera vulnerability earlier in April 2020. Now, he has exposed another Mac webcam bug that allows attackers to breach into the device and access sensitive user information. 

According to a report by AppleInsider, this Apple Mac webcam bug was related to a series of issues with iCloud and Safari browser. 

The vulnerability grants the hacker "full access to every website you've visited in Safari, meaning that if you're visiting my evil website on one tab, and then your other tab, you have Twitter open, I can jump into that tab and do everything you can from that screen. So, it does allow me to fully perform an account takeover on every website you visited in Safari," Pickren explained in a blog post. 

According to Pickren, it all began with exploiting the Safari browser (Safari v15 when he attempted this) and gaining access to the webarchive files. Webarchives are local storage for the Safari browser where it saves local copies of websites to open them faster. This wouldn’t be a problem, were it not for the simple fact that the downloaded files could later be altered by the author. So, a victim could download an innocent .PNG file, only to have it transform into a malicious webarchive file. 

“In essence, the victim has given the attacker permission to plant a polymorphic file onto their machine and the permission to remotely launch it at any moment. Yikes. Agreed to view my PNG file yesterday? Well, today it's an executable binary that will be automatically launched whenever I want,” Picker explained in a further blog post.

To open the webarchive file, Pickren further explains, he needed to bypass the Gatekeeper restriction, which turned out to be relatively simple. He used a fileloc to point to a local app (a technique known as Arbitrary File Execution) which was a great example of how even with macOS Gatekeeper enabled, an attacker could trick approved apps into performing malicious tasks 

Typically, researchers disclose the exploits after the company has fixed the issue, which explains why Pickren is posting about this now. The reason is to ensure that the flaw is patched before attackers can start exploiting it. 


Cisco SD-WAN Security Flaw Allows Root Code Execution

 

Cisco SD-WAN implementations are vulnerable to a high-severity privilege-escalation flaw in the IOS IE operating system, which could result in arbitrary code execution. 

Cisco's SD-WAN portfolio enables enterprises of all sizes to link different office sites over the cloud utilising a variety of networking technologies, including standard internet connections. Appliances at each location allow advanced analytics, monitoring, application-specific performance specifications and automation throughout a company's wide-area network. Meanwhile, IOS XE is the vendor's operating system that runs those appliances. 

The vulnerability (CVE-2021-1529) is an OS command-injection flaw that allows attackers to execute unexpected, harmful instructions directly on the operating system that would otherwise be inaccessible. It exists especially in the command-line interface (CLI) for Cisco's IOS XE SD-WAN software, and it could permit an authenticated, local attacker to run arbitrary commands with root privileges. 

According to Cisco’s advisory, posted this week, “The vulnerability is due to insufficient input validation by the system CLI. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to execute commands on the underlying operating system with root privileges.” 

The alert further stated that the exploit method would comprise authenticating to a susceptible device and delivering "crafted input" to the system CLI. An attacker with successful compromise would be able to read and write any files on the system, execute operations as any user, modify system configurations, install and uninstall software, update the OS and/or firmware, and much more, including subsequent access to a corporate network. 

CVE-2021-1529 has a rating of 7.8 on the CVSS vulnerability-severity scale, and researchers and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have advised organisations to fix the problem as soon as possible. 

Greg Fitzgerald, the co-founder of Sevco Security, cautioned that some firms may still have outdated machines connected to their networks, which might provide a hidden threat with issues like these. 

He stated in the email, “The vast majority of organizations do an excellent job patching the vulnerabilities on the systems they know about. The problem arises when enterprises do not have complete visibility into their asset inventory, because even the most responsive IT and security teams can’t patch a vulnerability for an asset they don’t know is connected to their network. Abandoned and unknown IT assets are often the path of least resistance for malicious actors trying to access your network or data.”

This is solely the latest SD-WAN vulnerability addressed by Cisco this year. It patched many significant buffer-overflow and command-injection SD-WAN flaws in January, the most serious of which could be abused by an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code with root privileges on the affected server.

Researchers Make Contactless Visa Payment Using iphone Flaw

 

Cybersecurity experts in a video showed how to make a contactless Visa payment of €1,000 from a locked iphone. These unauthorised payments can be made while the iPhone is locked, it is done via exploiting an Apple Pay feature built to assist users transaction easily at ticket barriers payments with Visa. 

Apple responded by saying the problem is concerned with a Visa system. However, Visa says that its payments are safe and the such attacks lie outside of its lab and are impractical. Experts believe that the problem exists in the Visa cards setup in 'Express Transit' mode in iPhone wallet. 

It is a feature (express transit) which allows users to make fast contactless payments without unlocking their phone. However, the feature turned out to be a drawback with Visa system, as experts found a way to launch an attack. While scientists demonstrated the attack, the money debited was from their personal accounts. 

How does the attack look? 

  • A small radio is placed beside the iPhone, the device thinks of it as a legit ticket barrier. 
  • Meanwhile an android phone runs an application to relay signals (developed by experts) from the iPhone to a contactless transaction platform, it could be in a shop or a place that is controlled by the criminal. 
  • As the iPhone thinks the payment is being done to a ticket barrier, it doesn't unlock. 
However, the iPhone's contact with the transaction platform is altered to make it think that the iPhone has been unlocked and an authorized payment is done which allows high value payments, without the need of fingerprint, PIN, or Face Id verification. 

The experts while demonstrating in a video did a €1,000 Visa transaction without unlocking the iPhone, or authorizing the payment. According to experts, the payment terminals and android phones used here don't need to near the targeted iPhone. 

As of now, the demonstration has only been done by experts in the lab and no reports of the feature exploit in the wild have been reported. "The researchers also tested Samsung Pay, but found it could not be exploited in this way.They also tested Mastercard but found that the way its security works prevented the attack. 

Co-author Dr Ioana Boureanu, from the University of Surrey, said this showed systems could be "both usable and secure". The research is due to be presented at the 2022 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy," reports BBC.

New AdLoad Malware Circumvents Apple’s XProtect to Infect macOS Devices

 

As part of multiple campaigns detected by cybersecurity firm SentinelOne, a new AdLoad malware strain is infecting Macs bypassing Apple's YARA signature-based XProtect built-in antivirus. 

AdLoad is a widespread trojan that has been aiming at the macOS platform since late 2017 and is used to distribute a variety of malicious payloads, including adware and Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs). This malware can also harvest system information and send it to remote servers managed by its operators. 

According to SentinelOne threat researcher Phil Stokes, these large-scale and continuing attacks began in early November 2020, with a spike in activity commencing in July and early August. 

AdLoad will install a Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) web proxy after infecting a Mac to compromise search engine results and incorporate commercials into online sites for financial benefit. 

It will also acquire longevity on infected Macs by installing LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons, as well as user cronjobs that run every two and a half hours in some circumstances. 

According to SentinelLabs, “When the user logs in, the AdLoad persistence agent will execute a binary hidden in the same user’s ~/Library/Application Support/ folder. That binary follows another deterministic pattern, whereby the child folder in Application Support is prepended with a period and a random string of digits. Within that directory is another directory called /Services/, which in turn contains a minimal application bundle having the same name as the LaunchAgent label. That barebones bundle contains an executable with the same name but without the com. prefix.” 

During the period of this campaign, the researcher witnessed over 220 samples, 150 of which were unique and went unnoticed by Apple's built-in antivirus, despite the fact that XProtect presently comprises of dozen AdLoad signatures. 

Many of the SentinelOne-detected samples are also signed with legitimate Apple-issued Developer ID certificates, while others are attested to operate under default Gatekeeper settings. 

Further, Stokes added, "At the time of writing, XProtect was last updated around June 15th. None of the samples we found are known to XProtect since they do not match any of the scanner’s current set of Adload rules." 

"The fact that hundreds of unique samples of a well-known adware variant have been circulating for at least 10 months and yet remain undetected by Apple’s built-in malware scanner demonstrates the necessity of adding further endpoint security controls to Mac devices." 

To effectively comprehend the significance of this threat, Shlayer's case can be considered which is another common macOS malware strain capable of bypassing XProtect and infecting Macs with other malicious payloads. 

Shlayer recently exploited a macOS zero-day to bypass Apple's File Quarantine, Gatekeeper, and Notarization security checks and download second-stage malicious payloads on compromised Macs. 

Even though these malware strains are just delivering adware and bundleware as secondary payloads, for the time being, their developers can, however, switch to distributing more serious malware at any point. 

Apple’s head of software, under oath, while testifying in the Epic Games vs. Apple trial in May said, "Today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don’t find acceptable and that is much worse than iOS."