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Tech News


0day exploit bypasses Windows security features, affects Lenovo ThinkPads

A zero-day exploit has been discovered in a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) driver, this exploit allows the attacker to remove the write protection that is on the flash memory, giving them open-ended access to run any scripts that they wish on the System Management Mode, which is normally a privileged operating mode for the CPU. The exploit has been dubbed ThinkPwn, a play on words of ThinkPad and Pwned. Once the attacker has used ThinkPwn to open the machine to attack, they can disable Secure Boot which is used to verify the authenticity of an OS bootloader, in order to prevent rootkits at the boot-level. After Secure Boot is disabled, Windows security features can then be accessed and disabled, too. One of those features is Credential Guard, which is used to keep enterprise domain credentials secure, amongst other pieces of data. Lenovo says that the affected code is not in its own UEFI file, but in one provided by an independent BIOS vendor (IBV). The extent of the security concern is not yet known. At the moment, it is only known to affect Lenovo ThinkPad machines, but it is a real possibility that other vendors and PC manufacturers could also be affected. Lenovo itself says the issue could be “industry-wide”. The only slightly positive in all of this is that, in order to attack a machine, you need physical access to it, as the UEFI can only be accessed physically, and would require a USB flash drive. You can read more about the exploit by the researcher who discovered it <a href="http://blog.cr4.sh/2016/06/exploring-and-exploiting-lenovo.html">here</a>

Elites AI Created Super Weapons and Started Hunting Players. Skynet is Here.

A bug in Elite Dangerous caused the games AI to create super weapons and start to hunt down the games players. Developer Frontier has had to strip out the feature at the heart of the problem, engineers weaponry, until the issue is fixed. It all started after Frontier released the 2.1 Engineers update. The release improved the games AI, making the higher ranked NPCs that would fly around Elites galaxy more formidable foes. As well as improving their competence in dog fights, the update allowed the AI to use interdiction hardware to pull players travelling at jump speed into normal space. The AI also had access to one of 2.1 versions big features: crafting. These three things combined made the AI a significant threat to players. They were better in fights, could pull unwary jump travellers into a brawl, and they could attack them with upgraded weapons. There was something else going on, though. The AI was crafting super weapons that the designers had never intended.

The hackers who could have taken down the internet in 30 minutes

I am informed that, you think that within 30 minutes the seven of you could make the internet unusable for the entire nation, is that correct? That question came from Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) on May 19, 1998, while speaking with members of a Cambridge, Massachusetts hacker group known as The L0pht. That is correct. Actually one of us with just a few packets, said Peiter Zatko, who is better known by his hacker pseudonym of Mudge. Sitting alongside Mudge were six other members of L0pht who specialised in various fields of computer and network security, from satellite communications to password cracking. One of them was Cris Thomas — also known as Space Rogue. The famous testimony of being able to take down the internet in 30 minutes, I asked Thomas in a phone interview. Was that a boast or was that realistic… He cut me off. No, he said. In our particular case, we were looking at something called BGP, or border gateway protocol. We found a flaw in the protocol that would cause a cascading effect through most routers in use at the time, said Thomas, who is now a strategist for Tenable Network Security.

TeamViewer Hacked

Sometimes, you just need to do a quick remote log in to someone elses computer. There are plenty of tools available for doing this. But most of them are either expensive to purchase or difficult to set up. Remote desktop app TeamViewer changed all that with a series of free cross-platform, lightweight apps that require only a couple of numeric codes in order to connect to a remote machine. This has made TeamViewer very popular, and in turn, an inevitable target for hackers. Last week, threads began surfacing on Reddit written by TeamViewer users claiming they had been hacked thru the app. Most of the hacking claims had common points. Users who were initially away from their computers came back to find their machines were being remotely controlled and directed to websiteS like PayPal, eBay, and Amazon.

Nulled.io Hacking Forum Suffers Data Breach

A major underground hacking forum suffered a data breach this week, after someone hacked into their system, downloaded a copy of the database, and uploaded it online. The breach took place on April 6, and the hacker released the data online on the same day. On May 12, another file popped up online containing 243,787 cracked password hashes. According to security firm Risk Based Security, the leaked data was offered as a 1.3 GB tar archive that decompressed to a 9.45 GB db.sql file, which was a database dump of the entire forums database. Everything from user accounts to private messages, and from VIP forum posts to financial transactions were included. More precisely, the data contained 536,064 user accounts, 800,593 user personal messages, 5,582 purchase records, and 12,600 invoices. For each user, leaked data included his forum username, email address, hashed password, join date, IP records, and other forum-related tidbits such as titles and post counts.

Phineas Fisher: This is how I broke into Hacking Team

Breach of surveillance vendor highlights lessons for companies. Almost a year after Italian surveillance software maker Hacking Team had its internal emails and files leaked online, Phineas Fisher the hacker responsible for the breach gave a full account of how he infiltrated the company network. Although intended mainly as a guide for hacktivists, it also shines a light on how hard it is for any company to defend itself against a truly determined and skillful attacker. Fisher says although the Italian company did have some holes in its internal infrastructure, it also had some pretty good security practices in place. For example, it did not have many devices exposed to the Internet and its development servers that hosted the source code for its software were on an isolated network segment. According to Fisher, the company systems that were reachable from the Internet were: a customer support portal that required client certificates to access, a website based on the Joomla CMS that had no obvious vulnerabilities, a couple of routers, two VPN gateways and a spam filtering appliance. There were 3 options: look for a 0day in Joomla, look for a 0day in postfix, or look for a 0day in one of the embedded devices. A 0day in an embedded device seemed like the easiest option, and after two weeks of work reverse engineering, I got a remote root exploit. Any attack that requires a previously unknown vulnerability to pull off raises the bar for attackers. However, the fact that Fisher viewed the routers and VPN appliances as the easier targets highlights the poor state of embedded device security. Fisher did not provide any other information about the vulnerability he exploited or the specific device he compromised because the flaw has not been patched yet, so its supposedly still useful for other attacks. Its worth pointing out though that routers, VPN gateways and anti-spam appliances are all devices that many companies are likely to have connected to the Internet.