Microsoft is currently patching a zero-day Secure-Boot bug.
The BlackLotus bootkit is the first-known real-world malware that can bypass Secure Boot protections, allowing for the execution of malicious code before your PC begins loading Windows and its many security protections. Secure Boot has been enabled by default for over a decade on most Windows PCs sold by companies like Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer, and others. PCs running Windows 11 must have it enabled to meet the software’s system requirements.
Microsoft says that the vulnerability can be exploited by an attacker with either physical access to a system or administrator rights on a system. It can affect physical PCs and virtual machines with Secure Boot enabled.
That’s important. This is a nasty vulnerability, but it takes some work to exploit it.
The problem with the patch is that it breaks backwards compatibility: “…once the fixes have been enabled, your PC will no longer be able to boot from older bootable media that doesn’t include the fixes.”
Not wanting to suddenly render any users’ systems unbootable, Microsoft will be rolling the update out in phases over the next few months. The initial version of the patch requires substantial user intervention to enable—you first need to install May’s security updates, then use a five-step process to manually apply and verify a pair of “revocation files” that update your system’s hidden EFI boot partition and your registry. These will make it so that older, vulnerable versions of the bootloader will no longer be trusted by PCs.
A second update will follow in July that won’t enable the patch by default but will make it easier to enable. A third update in “first quarter 2024” will enable the fix by default and render older boot media unbootable on all patched Windows PCs. Microsoft says it is “looking for opportunities to accelerate this schedule,” though it’s unclear what that would entail.
So it’ll be almost a year before this is completely fixed.
Posted on May 17, 2023 at 7:01 AM •
An impressive array of hacks were demonstrated at the first day of the Pwn2Own conference in Vancouver:
On the first day of Pwn2Own Vancouver 2023, security researchers successfully demoed Tesla Model 3, Windows 11, and macOS zero-day exploits and exploit chains to win $375,000 and a Tesla Model 3.
The first to fall was Adobe Reader in the enterprise applications category after Haboob SA’s Abdul Aziz Hariri (@abdhariri) used an exploit chain targeting a 6-bug logic chain abusing multiple failed patches which escaped the sandbox and bypassed a banned API list on macOS to earn $50,000.
The STAR Labs team (@starlabs_sg) demoed a zero-day exploit chain targeting Microsoft’s SharePoint team collaboration platform that brought them a $100,000 reward and successfully hacked Ubuntu Desktop with a previously known exploit for $15,000.
Synacktiv (@Synacktiv) took home $100,000 and a Tesla Model 3 after successfully executing a TOCTOU (time-of-check to time-of-use) attack against the Tesla-Gateway in the Automotive category. They also used a TOCTOU zero-day vulnerability to escalate privileges on Apple macOS and earned $40,000.
Oracle VirtualBox was hacked using an OOB Read and a stacked-based buffer overflow exploit chain (worth $40,000) by Qrious Security’s Bien Pham (@bienpnn).
Last but not least, Marcin Wiązowski elevated privileges on Windows 11 using an improper input validation zero-day that came with a $30,000 prize.
The con’s second and third days were equally impressive.
Posted on March 27, 2023 at 7:03 AM •
The most recent iPhone update—to version 16.2—patches a zero-day vulnerability that “may have been actively exploited against versions of iOS released before iOS 15.1.”
Apple said security researchers at Google’s Threat Analysis Group, which investigates nation state-backed spyware, hacking and cyberattacks, discovered and reported the WebKit bug.
WebKit bugs are often exploited when a person visits a malicious domain in their browser (or via the in-app browser). It’s not uncommon for bad actors to find vulnerabilities that target WebKit as a way to break into the device’s operating system and the user’s private data. WebKit bugs can be “chained” to other vulnerabilities to break through multiple layers of a device’s defenses.
Posted on December 16, 2022 at 7:04 AM •
Yet another article about cyberweapons arms manufacturers and their particular supply chain. This one is about Windows and Adobe Reader zero-day exploits sold by an Austrian company named DSIRF.
There’s an entire industry devoted to undermining all of our security. It needs to be stopped.
Posted on July 29, 2022 at 10:08 AM •
Researchers have reported a still-unpatched Windows zero-day that is currently being exploited in the wild.
Here’s the advisory, which includes a work-around until a patch is available.
Posted on June 1, 2022 at 1:25 PM •
Both Google and Mandiant are reporting a significant increase in the number of zero-day vulnerabilities reported in 2021.
2021 included the detection and disclosure of 58 in-the-wild 0-days, the most ever recorded since Project Zero began tracking in mid-2014. That’s more than double the previous maximum of 28 detected in 2015 and especially stark when you consider that there were only 25 detected in 2020. We’ve tracked publicly known in-the-wild 0-day exploits in this spreadsheet since mid-2014.
While we often talk about the number of 0-day exploits used in-the-wild, what we’re actually discussing is the number of 0-day exploits detected and disclosed as in-the-wild. And that leads into our first conclusion: we believe the large uptick in in-the-wild 0-days in 2021 is due to increased detection and disclosure of these 0-days, rather than simply increased usage of 0-day exploits.
In 2021, Mandiant Threat Intelligence identified 80 zero-days exploited in the wild, which is more than double the previous record volume in 2019. State-sponsored groups continue to be the primary actors exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities, led by Chinese groups. The proportion of financially motivated actors—particularly ransomware groups—deploying zero-day exploits also grew significantly, and nearly 1 in 3 identified actors exploiting zero-days in 2021 was financially motivated. Threat actors exploited zero-days in Microsoft, Apple, and Google products most frequently, likely reflecting the popularity of these vendors. The vast increase in zero-day exploitation in 2021, as well as the diversification of actors using them, expands the risk portfolio for organizations in nearly every industry sector and geography, particularly those that rely on these popular systems.
Posted on April 27, 2022 at 1:40 PM •
North Korean hackers have been exploiting a zero-day in Chrome.
The flaw, tracked as CVE-2022-0609, was exploited by two separate North Korean hacking groups. Both groups deployed the same exploit kit on websites that either belonged to legitimate organizations and were hacked or were set up for the express purpose of serving attack code on unsuspecting visitors. One group was dubbed Operation Dream Job, and it targeted more than 250 people working for 10 different companies. The other group, known as AppleJeus, targeted 85 users.
The attackers made use of an exploit kit that contained multiple stages and components in order to exploit targeted users. The attackers placed links to the exploit kit within hidden iframes, which they embedded on both websites they owned as well as some websites they compromised.
Careful to protect their exploits, the attackers deployed multiple safeguards to make it difficult for security teams to recover any of the stages. These safeguards included:
- Only serving the iframe at specific times, presumably when they knew an intended target would be visiting the site.
- On some email campaigns the targets received links with unique IDs. This was potentially used to enforce a one-time-click policy for each link and allow the exploit kit to only be served once.
- The exploit kit would AES encrypt each stage, including the clients’ responses with a session-specific key.
- Additional stages were not served if the previous stage failed.
Although we recovered a Chrome RCE, we also found evidence where the attackers specifically checked for visitors using Safari on MacOS or Firefox (on any OS), and directed them to specific links on known exploitation servers. We did not recover any responses from those URLs.
If you’re a Chrome user, patch your system now.
Posted on March 31, 2022 at 6:13 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 •
Log4j is being exploited by all sorts of attackers, all over the Internet:
At that point it was reported that there were over 100 attempts to exploit the vulnerability every minute. “Since we started to implement our protection we prevented over 1,272,000 attempts to allocate the vulnerability, over 46% of those attempts were made by known malicious groups,” said cybersecurity company Check Point.
And according to Check Point, attackers have now attempted to exploit the flaw on over 40% of global networks.
And a second vulnerability was found, in the patch for the first vulnerability. This is likely not to be the last.
Posted on December 16, 2021 at 9:50 AM •
The range of impacts is so broad because of the nature of the vulnerability itself. Developers use logging frameworks to keep track of what happens in a given application. To exploit Log4Shell, an attacker only needs to get the system to log a strategically crafted string of code. From there they can load arbitrary code on the targeted server and install malware or launch other attacks. Notably, hackers can introduce the snippet in seemingly benign ways, like by sending the string in an email or setting it as an account username.
Threat advisory from Cisco. Cloudflare found it in the wild before it was disclosed. CISA is very concerned, saying that hundreds of millions of devices are likely affected.
Posted on December 14, 2021 at 9:55 AM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.