Information Security News
by Sean Gallagher
A leaked database from a hacked denial-of-service site has provided some insight on what sorts of targets individuals will pay to knock offline for a few dollars or bitcoin. And it's safe to say that a significant percentage of them are not the brightest stars in the sky. To get an idea of who would use such a service and for what purposes, Ars analyzed the data from a recently-hacked DDoS for hire site: LizardSquad's LizardStresser.
"Booter" or "stresser" sites offer users the ability to pay for distributed denial of service attacks against a target, and these sites promise to try to disguise the nature of the attack with the fig leaf of being legitimate load testing sites. That wasn't so much the case with LizardStresser, the botnet-for-hire set up by the distributed denial of service crew known as LizardSquad. The group used its Christmas week DDoS attacks on Microsoft's Xbox Live network and Sony's Playstation Network as a form of advertising for the new service.
Since then, attacks on gamers have made up a significant percentage of the LizardStresser's workload. While more than half of the attacks launched by customers of the service have been against Web servers, a significant portion have targeted individuals or small community gaming servers—including Minecraft servers.
by Sean Gallagher
Citing anonymous sources in and close to the US government, The New York Times reports that the fingering of North Korea as responsible for the attack on the network of Sony Pictures Entertainment was through evidence gathered by National Security Agency surveillance. This includes software taps into networks associated with North Korea's network warfare and espionage unit, Bureau 121, among others. The actual evidence, however, will likely never see the light of day because of the highly classified nature of how it was obtained.
David Sanger and Martin Fackler of the Times report that the NSA started to ramp up efforts to penetrate North Korea's networks in 2010 to monitor the growth of Bureau 121 and the rest of the country's "computer network exploitation" capabilities:
A classified security agency program expanded into an ambitious effort, officials said, to place malware that could track the internal workings of many of the computers and networks used by the North’s hackers, a force that South Korea’s military recently said numbers roughly 6,000 people. Most are commanded by the country’s main intelligence service, called the Reconnaissance General Bureau, and Bureau 121, its secretive hacking unit, with a large outpost in China.
The evidence gathered by the “early warning radar” of software painstakingly hidden to monitor North Korea’s activities proved critical in persuading President Obama to accuse the government of Kim Jong-un of ordering the Sony attack, according to the officials and experts, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the classified NSA operation.
The NSA's Tailored Access Office, according to the report, "drilled into the Chinese networks that connect North Korea to the outside world, picked through connections in Malaysia favored by North Korean hackers, and penetrated directly into the North with the help of South Korea and other American allies." According to NSA documents released by Der Spiegel, some of South Korea's initial assistance was not voluntary—the NSA secretly exploited South Korea's existing hacks of North Korea to gain intelligence information. But despite the level of access they gained, according to an unnamed investigator into the Sony Pictures attack, the NSA and other US agencies "couldn't really understand the severity" of the attack that would be launched against Sony when they began on November 24.
This is a guest diary submitted by Brad Duncan.
Various sources have reported version 3 of CryptoWall has appeared   . This malware is currently seen from exploit kits and phishing emails. CryptoWall is one of many ransomware trojans that encrypt the personal files on your computer and demand a bitcoin payment before you can unlock them.
I got a sample on Wednesday, January 14th 2015 while infecting a virtual machine (VM) from a malicious server hosting the Magnitude exploit kit.
If youre registered with Malwr.com, you can get a copy of this CryptoWall 3.0 sample at:
Lets look at the traffic from my infected VM:
In this example, the infected VM checked ip-addr.es to determine its public IP address. Then the VM communicated with a server at 18.104.22.168 over a non-standard HTTP port. In this case it was port 2525, but I saw different ports in other hosts Ive infected with this sample.
Finally, the user viewed a web page for the decrypt instructions at 22.214.171.124.
When monitoring the infection traffic with Security Onion , we see an EmergingThreats alert for CryptoWall check-in .
The decryption instructions specify the following bitcoin account for a ransom payment: 1GJRTp9YRKFEvzZCTSaRAzrHskFjEwsZy
Heres what the user would see on their desktop screen:
Brad Duncan is a Security Researcher at Rackspace, and he runs a blog on malware traffic analysis at http://www.malware-traffic-analysis.net
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