Cyber Security Weekly Briefing 1–8 April

Telefónica Tech    8 April, 2022
Computer. Photo: Unsplash

Critical vulnerability in GitLab allows access to user accounts

GitLab has released a security update that fixes a total of 17 vulnerabilities, including a critical vulnerability affecting both GitLab Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE). This security flaw, CVE-2022-1162, rated with a CVSS of 9.1, resides in the establishment of an encrypted password for accounts registered with an OmniAuth provider, allowing malicious actors to take control of user accounts using these encrypted passwords. So far, no evidence of the compromise of any accounts exploiting this security flaw has been detected.

However, GitLab has published a script to help identify which user accounts are affected and recommends users to update all GitLab installations to the latest versions (14.9.2, 14.8.5 or 14.7.7) as soon as possible to prevent possible attacks.

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New Deep Panda techniques: Log4Shell and digitally signed Fire Chili rootkits

Fortinet researchers have identified that the APT group Deep Panda is exploiting the Log4Shell vulnerability in VMware Horizon servers to deploy a backdoor and a new rootkit on infected machines.

The group’s goal is to steal information from victims in the financial, academic, cosmetics and travel industries. Firstly, the researchers show that the infection chain exploited the Log4j remote code execution flaw on vulnerable VMware Horizon servers to generate a chain of intermediate stages and, finally, to implement the backdoor called Milestone.

This backdoor is also designed to send information about current sessions on the system to the remote server. A kernel rootkit called Fire Chili has also been detected, which is digitally signed with certificates stolen from game development companies, allowing them to evade detection, as well as to hide malicious file operations, processes, registry key additions and network connections.

Researchers have also attributed the use of Fire Chilli to the group known as Winnti, indicating that the developers of these threats may have shared resources, such as stolen certificates and Command&Control (C2) infrastructure.

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Phishing campaign exploits supposed WhatsApp voicemail messages

Researchers at Armorblox have reported a phishing campaign that uses voice messages from the WhatsApp messaging platform as a lure to deploy malware on victims’ devices.

According to the investigation, the attack starts with the distribution of phishing emails pretending to be a WhatsApp notification containing a ‘private message’ audio message, for which the malicious actors include a ‘Play’ button embedded in the body of the email along with the length of the audio and its creation date.

As soon as the target user hits the “Play” option, they are redirected to a website offering a permission/block message that, through social engineering techniques, will eventually install the JS/Kryptik trojan and the necessary payload to ultimately deploy a stealer-type malware.

Armorblox stresses that the malicious emails are sent from legitimate accounts that have previously been compromised, which makes it very difficult for the various security tools active on the target machine to detect them.

The ultimate goal of the campaign is mainly the theft of credentials stored in browsers and applications, as well as cryptocurrency wallets, SSH keys and even files stored on the victims’ computers.

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Cicada: new espionage campaign

Symantec researchers have published research reporting on a sophisticated, long-term espionage campaign by the cybercriminal group Cicada (aka APT10). According to experts, the campaign is said to have been active from mid-2021 to February this year, with operations targeting government entities and NGOs in Asia, America and Europe.

However, other sectors such as telecommunications, legal entities and pharmaceuticals have also been affected. The entry vector is believed to be the exploitation of a known vulnerability in unpatched Microsoft Exchange servers, with no specific vulnerability specified.

After the initial compromise, Cicada deploys malware such as the Sodamaster backdoor, a tool associated with this actor and which has enabled its attribution, a custom loader via the legitimate VLC player that includes a malicious DLL, making use of the DLL Side-Loading technique, Mimikatz to obtain credentials, WinVNC for remote control or WMIExec for command execution.

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New critical vulnerabilities in VMware

VMware released a bulletin fixing critical, high and medium severity vulnerabilities for its VMware Workspace ONE Access (Access), VMware Identity Manager (vIDM), VMware vRealize Automation (vRA), VMware Cloud Foundation and vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager products. The most critical vulnerabilities are the following:

  • CVE-2022-22954 CVSSSv3 9.8: server-side template injection vulnerability that can lead to remote code execution.
  • CVE-2022-22955/22956 CVSSv3 9.8: vulnerabilities that allow bypassing authentication in the OAuth2 ACS framework.
  • CVE-2022-22957/22958 CVSSv3 9.1: remote code execution vulnerabilities via a malicious JDBC URI and requiring administrator access.

Other vulnerabilities of high criticality (CVE-2022-22959 CVSSv3 8.8 and CVE-2022-22960 CVSSv3 7.8) and medium criticality (CVE-2022-22961 CVSSv3 5.3) have also been fixed. According to the company, there is no evidence that any of these vulnerabilities are being actively exploited. Additionally, VMware has published several steps that users can take to mitigate the impact of these vulnerabilities in cases where upgrading the software is not possible.

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