Nice piece of research:
Abstract: Among the many types of malicious codes, ransomware poses a major threat. Ransomware encrypts data and demands a ransom in exchange for decryption. As data recovery is impossible if the encryption key is not obtained, some companies suffer from considerable damage, such as the payment of huge amounts of money or the loss of important data. In this paper, we analyzed Hive ransomware, which appeared in June 2021. Hive ransomware has caused immense harm, leading the FBI to issue an alert about it. To minimize the damage caused by Hive Ransomware and to help victims recover their files, we analyzed Hive Ransomware and studied recovery methods. By analyzing the encryption process of Hive ransomware, we confirmed that vulnerabilities exist by using their own encryption algorithm. We have recovered the master key for generating the file encryption key partially, to enable the decryption of data encrypted by Hive ransomware. We recovered 95% of the master key without the attacker’s RSA private key and decrypted the actual infected data. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first successful attempt at decrypting Hive ransomware. It is expected that our method can be used to reduce the damage caused by Hive ransomware.
Here’s the flaw:
The cryptographic vulnerability identified by the researchers concerns the mechanism by which the master keys are generated and stored, with the ransomware strain only encrypting select portions of the file as opposed to the entire contents using two keystreams derived from the master key.
The encryption keystream, which is created from an XOR operation of the two keystreams, is then XORed with the data in alternate blocks to generate the encrypted file. But this technique also makes it possible to guess the keystreams and restore the master key, in turn enabling the decode of encrypted files sans the attacker’s private key.
The researchers said that they were able to weaponize the flaw to devise a method to reliably recover more than 95% of the keys employed during encryption.
Posted on March 1, 2022 at 6:06 AM •
There’s a new ransomware that targets NAS devices made by QNAP:
The attacks started today, January 25th, with QNAP devices suddenly finding their files encrypted and file names appended with a .deadbolt file extension.
Instead of creating ransom notes in each folder on the device, the QNAP device’s login page is hijacked to display a screen stating, “WARNING: Your files have been locked by DeadBolt”….
BleepingComputer is aware of at least fifteen victims of the new DeadBolt ransomware attack, with no specific region being targeted.
As with all ransomware attacks against QNAP devices, the DeadBolt attacks only affect devices accessible to the Internet.
As the threat actors claim the attack is conducted through a zero-day vulnerability, it is strongly advised that all QNAP users disconnect their devices from the Internet and place them behind a firewall.
Posted on January 26, 2022 at 10:04 AM •
China is mandating that athletes download and use a health and travel app when they attend the Winter Olympics next month. Citizen Lab examined the app and found it riddled with security holes.
- MY2022, an app mandated for use by all attendees of the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, has a simple but devastating flaw where encryption protecting users’ voice audio and file transfers can be trivially sidestepped. Health customs forms which transmit passport details, demographic information, and medical and travel history are also vulnerable. Server responses can also be spoofed, allowing an attacker to display fake instructions to users.
- MY2022 is fairly straightforward about the types of data it collects from users in its public-facing documents. However, as the app collects a range of highly sensitive medical information, it is unclear with whom or which organization(s) it shares this information.
- MY2022 includes features that allow users to report “politically sensitive” content. The app also includes a censorship keyword list, which, while presently inactive, targets a variety of political topics including domestic issues such as Xinjiang and Tibet as well as references to Chinese government agencies.
- While the vendor did not respond to our security disclosure, we find that the app’s security deficits may not only violate Google’s Unwanted Software Policy and Apple’s App Store guidelines but also China’s own laws and national standards pertaining to privacy protection, providing potential avenues for future redress.
It’s not clear whether the security flaws were intentional or not, but the report speculated that proper encryption might interfere with some of China’s ubiquitous online surveillance tools, especially systems that allow local authorities to snoop on phones using public wireless networks or internet cafes. Still, the researchers added that the flaws were probably unintentional, because the government will already be receiving data from the app, so there wouldn’t be a need to intercept the data as it was being transferred.
The app also included a list of 2,422 political keywords, described within the code as “illegalwords.txt,” that worked as a keyword censorship list, according to Citizen Lab. The researchers said the list appeared to be a latent function that the app’s chat and file transfer function was not actively using.
The US government has already advised athletes to leave their personal phones and laptops home and bring burners.
Posted on January 21, 2022 at 6:06 AM •
Rolling Stone is reporting that the UK government has hired the M&C Saatchi advertising agency to launch an anti-encryption advertising campaign. Presumably they’ll lean heavily on the “think of the children!” rhetoric we’re seeing in this current wave of the crypto wars. The technical eavesdropping mechanisms have shifted to client-side scanning, which won’t actually help—but since that’s not really the point, it’s not argued on its merits.
Posted on January 18, 2022 at 6:05 AM •
Some European cell phone carriers, and now T-Mobile, are blocking Apple’s Private Relay anonymous browsing feature.
This could be an interesting battle to watch.
Posted on January 11, 2022 at 9:09 AM •
I hope this is true:
According to Jens Zimmermann, the German coalition negotiations had made it “quite clear” that the incoming government of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the business-friendly liberal FDP would reject “the weakening of encryption, which is being attempted under the guise of the fight against child abuse” by the coalition partners.
Such regulations, which are already enshrined in the interim solution of the ePrivacy Regulation, for example, “diametrically contradict the character of the coalition agreement” because secure end-to-end encryption is guaranteed there, Zimmermann said.
Introducing backdoors would undermine this goal of the coalition agreement, he added.
I have written about this.
Posted on December 8, 2021 at 1:19 PM •
ROT8000 is the Unicode equivalent of ROT13. What’s clever about it is that normal English looks like Chinese, and not like ciphertext (to a typical Westerner, that is).
Posted on September 23, 2021 at 8:15 AM •
Jon D. Paul has written the fascinating story of the HX-63, a super-complicated electromechanical rotor cipher machine made by Crypto AG.
Posted on September 3, 2021 at 10:19 AM •
The facts aren’t news, but Zoom will pay $85M—to the class-action attorneys, and to users—for lying to users about end-to-end encryption, and for giving user data to Facebook and Google without consent.
The proposed settlement would generally give Zoom users $15 or $25 each and was filed Saturday at US District Court for the Northern District of California. It came nine months after Zoom agreed to security improvements and a “prohibition on privacy and security misrepresentations” in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, but the FTC settlement didn’t include compensation for users.
Posted on August 5, 2021 at 6:25 AM •
Forbes has the story:
Paragon’s product will also likely get spyware critics and surveillance experts alike rubbernecking: It claims to give police the power to remotely break into encrypted instant messaging communications, whether that’s WhatsApp, Signal, Facebook Messenger or Gmail, the industry sources said. One other spyware industry executive said it also promises to get longer-lasting access to a device, even when it’s rebooted.
Two industry sources said they believed Paragon was trying to set itself apart further by promising to get access to the instant messaging applications on a device, rather than taking complete control of everything on a phone. One of the sources said they understood that Paragon’s spyware exploits the protocols of end-to-end encrypted apps, meaning it would hack into messages via vulnerabilities in the core ways in which the software operates.
Read that last sentence again: Paragon uses unpatched zero-day exploits in the software to hack messaging apps.
Posted on August 3, 2021 at 6:44 AM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.