If you are easily confused like me, you may appreciate this quick summary as to the different updates released the last couple of days:

Oracle Java:

Java 7 Update 15

Java 6 Update 41


(in addition to Apples Java update to the versions shown above)



Flash Player 11.6.602.168 (Windows. OS X is still on 167)

Probably the most dangerous thing you can do when applying patches is to rush. You may not only end up with a broken system, but worse, the patch may not be applied correctly. Take the time to test that you are all up to date. Encourage your coworkers and relatives to visit browsercheck.qualyis.com to test if all plugins are installed correctly.

(we may update this diary for a day or two)


Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.

SANS Technology Institute

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
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Twitter is urging its account holders to be smarter with their passwords following two recent attacks by hackers directed at Burger King and Jeep that took control of those accounts.
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The label of state sponsored attacks or advanced persistent treat has been used and abused frequently in the last few years. Hardly ever have we seen any hard evidence of how these attacks happen, and who is behind it. The report by Mandiant that made the news this week is probably the best public summary of these attacks listing conclusive evidence linking the attacks to the chinese government.

Attributing cyber attacks is always very difficult. IP addresses dont really mean much as attackers frequently use chains of compromissed machines to attack the ultimate target. The Mandiant report uses additional evidence and does a very good and thorough job in tracing the attacks.

But what does it mean to you?

First of all: Read the report (the original, not the press releases and commentaries):http://intelreport.mandiant.com/Mandiant_APT1_Report.pdf . Direct management to the video that Mandiant made.

The report also includes lots of IP addresses and other indicators that you can use to check your own networks for similar compromisses.

The attacks follow a very tried and true pattern:

send an e-mail to the victim.

the victim will click on a link or an attachment

an exploit will be used to compromisse the users system

additional software will then be used to establish a foothold and exfiltrate data

What can you do about this?

At each step, try to see how you could possibly intercept the attack. For example conduct your own phishing exercises. With permission, register a hotmail/gmail/yahoo mail account using an executives e-mail address. Sent an email to all employees using this from address and see how many people click. Direct them to a nice but educational page telling them how they may have been hacked this way, and what to look for.

This way, you gain a bit of awareness, but you also gain hard numbers on how many people in your organization would have clicked on the link. This is critical to demonstrate the size of the issue to manage to obtain resources to defend agains tthis threat.

Next, to prevent the infection of the system. Patching still helps. Not all attackers use 0-day attacks. But more importantly, reduce the attack surface by removing unneeded software (Java, Flash, Office...) . Office may be a hard one to remove, but limit it to the pieces of the package that are actually needed. It will save you on licensing fees too.

Consider whitelisting. While not perfect, if done right, it is a lot better then anti virus.

And finally in this very brief list: Dont forget some kind of exfiltration or data leakage protection. Look for anomalies more then for signatures. The better you know what is normal on your network, the better are your chances to detect bad stuff.


Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.

SANS Technology Institute

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Apple has also provided an update for JAVA http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/ Update 13 addresses a number of security issues and should be applied to Apple systems sooner rather than later. Details on what the java update fixes can be found here http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/releasenotes-136954.html

Not sure whether this addresses the issue that has been reported in relation to the breach of apple, which according to the articles Ive seen have been atributed to a java issue.

Mark H

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Educause, the keeper of the .edu TLD, is reporting that a server used to hold user profiles was breached and data was exfiltrated. For the most part, this will not affect our readers, unless you are in charge of a .edu domain, and do have an account with EDUCAUSE as a result. You should have received an e-mail from EDUCAUSE asking you to reset your password. Evidently EDUCAUSE uses informz.net to send these notices and we had readers suggesting that they are phishing emails. Regardless: Dont click on the link in the e-mail. Go to the EDUCAUSE site and change your password if you think you may be affected.



Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.

SANS Technology Institute

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

(I originally wrote update 14, but turns out this is update 15)

Oracle released update 15 for Java 7 and update 41 for Java 6 today. I havent seen any specific security content yet, but Oracle states that The highest CVSS Base Score of vulnerabilities affecting Oracle Java SE is 10.0 , which is the maximum possible score and indicates remote compromisse.

Apple users: If you think you are safe, check todays news about how Apple itself got compromissed via a Java vulnerability (maybe this is why Apple was so quick in disabling the Java plugin via X-Protect).


once you are done patching (if you still have Java installed), head to browsercheck.qualys.com to make sure all the other plugins are up to date)


Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.

SANS Technology Institute



Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.

SANS Technology Institute

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.


Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.

SANS Technology Institute

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Google's famed "triumvirate" -- Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt -- will give oral statements over the coming weeks as part of a private antitrust suit brought against Google and six other technology companies by former employees.
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HTC announced its new flagship HTC One smartphone on Tuesday, which HTC Americas President Mike Woodward dubbed "the best phone ever made."
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Apple on Tuesday said it was a victim of a malware attack when a small number of systems inside the company were compromised.
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Oracle Sun Products Suite CVE-2013-0399 Local Solaris Vulnerability

Posted by InfoSec News on Feb 18


The New York Times
February 18, 2013

On the outskirts of Shanghai, in a run-down neighborhood dominated by a
12-story white office tower, sits a People’s Liberation Army base for
China’s growing corps of cyberwarriors.

The building off Datong Road, surrounded by restaurants, massage...
Internet Storm Center Infocon Status