Memory Forensics Comes into the Light
Recently, fileless malware has shown up in numerous LinkedIn articles, blog posts and research papers. It’s being discussed as the “new” threat to watch out for. I agree that this is an important topic, but I do not agree that it is a new threat. Rather, it has been a threat long ignored and is now being rapidly exploited by attackers.
To give some information about the threat, fileless malware is found only in memory, not in a file on disk. This attack is actually using Meterpreter code inside the physical memory of a domain controller. Along with the presence of Meterpreter, analysts discovered the use of PowerShell scripts within the Windows Registry. For those who are unaware, Meterpreter is a tool from the Metasploit framework, a free hacking tool commonly used by both penetration testers and criminal hackers. Once the attackers have successfully installed Meterpreter, they use various scripts to install a malicious service on the targeted host. After... read more >
#WarStoryWednesday: Most incident response plans don’t survive first contact
This is not technically a war story, however, it is an experience that I would like to share. I recently attended an event featuring a speaker from a large company that had experienced one of the most high profile and extensive breaches in recent history. For the sake of the company I will not name them in this blog, but I do want to stress that the company is very large and the breach was extensive, affecting millions of customers and their entire network. What was interesting is that the speaker was from the company’s legal department, and as such, is not a “technical” person. This provided a brand new perspective to incident response.
In my line of work as an incident response analyst, working in a Managed Security Services Provider company, I routinely help companies that suffer from security incidents. I have first-hand knowledge as to how devastating such an event can be to a company. This speaker stressed that their company lost well over a billion... read more >
ImageGate allows Ransomware Infection
With so many users accessing Facebook within corporate networks, it is imperative that your security team be up to date on current threats involving social media. A well-known piece of malware, Locky Ransomware, is spreading via Facebook Messenger by pretending to be a harmless image file. Since many companies allow employees to access Facebook, this presents a potentially massive hole in security programs.
The initial reports on this piece of ransomware show a commonality among the type of infection vector and approach used by the attackers. First, the user receives an instant message containing only an image file, or what appears to be an image file. It is usually titled generically with a .svg extension. A .svg (Scalable Vector Graphics) is an XML-based vector image, which is formatted for two dimensional graphics and support for animation and interactivity. These image files can be created and edited with any text... read more >
Three ways to protect yourself
If you keep up with security news then you have probably heard about atom bombing. Atom bombing is the latest way for attackers to inject malicious code into nearly any Windows operating system and it uses an inherent Windows mechanism known as “atom tables.” The jury is still out on just how dangerous this technique is, but anything that would allow an attacker to run malicious code on your machine should be considered a bad thing.
Atom tables are system-defined tables that store strings and corresponding identifiers. Windows uses these tables for a variety of purposes, everything from Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) to applications. If you are interested in learning more about atom tables, you can go to https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms649053(v=vs.85).aspx for more details.
For the purposes of this blog, I am... read more >
You are only as good as your toolset!
In my last blog I asked the question, “Have you ever tried to chop down a tree with a fork?” and told you about an incident response process that was made difficult by the lack of adequate tools. This is a common problem in the field of incident response and security as a whole, and shouldn’t exist. Unfortunately, however, many system administrators, network administrators and help desk personnel assume they can handle an incident, when in reality it is far more complex than they are aware.
A basic introduction to incident response is beyond the scope of this blog, but I do want to introduce the reader to the “Order of Volatility.” This is a common methodology that is taught across the security spectrum. It provides the responder with the ability to gather evidence from the more volatile to the less. This is extremely important when responding to breaches or malware infections. So, let us review the... read more >