October was named European Month of Cyber Security and because of that, many events intended to raise cyber security awareness (such as Security Fest in Prague) were held during the 30 day period. Unfortunately, October has seen just as many new developments on the proverbial “dark side” of cyber security. One of these was a widely followed theft of personal data (including credit card numbers) of up to four milion customers of a British telecommunication service provider TalkTalk.
Information concerning number of devices vulnerable to Heartbleed vulnerability has appeared in the news during September. Given that the existence of Heartbleed was made public almost a year and a half ago it may be surprising that the number of vulnerable devices exceeds 200.000. Affair concerning the Stagefright vulnerability (which was mentioned in the last Looking back) continued in September when Zimperium – the company which discovered Stagefright – released a proof-of-concept code which exploits the vulnerability.
One of the most important information related to cyber security pertains to August release of a patch for the Stagefright vulnerability, to which almost all versions of the Android OS from versions 2.2 to version 5.1 are vulnerable. The existence of Stagefright had been made public at the end of July and it is estimated that vulnerable device number in hundreds of millions. The vulnerability enables the attacker to cause arbitrary code execution by sending a specially crafted MMS.
During April, we have witnessed - among others - a discovery of an 18 years old “Redirect to SMB” vulnerability which can be used to attack all versions of Windows released since then. The vulnerability can be exploited in cases when attacker has some control over the network, enabling him to gain user login information by redirecting of network traffic to a malicious SMB (server message block) server. The server forces the target to automatic authorization process during which the target sends users login, domain and hashed password.
Looking back at March, probably the most important information security news has been discovery of a significant vulnerability (which could be exploited using a FREAK attack) in some TLS/SSL implementations, including the ones used by Windows operating systems. Another worth while news has been a discovery of a new campaign aimed at energy sector companies in the Middle East. Trojan Laizok - a reconnaissance malware for gathering information about infected systems - has been used in the campaign, along with other malicious programs which have been modified for specific systems based on the information gathered by Laizok.