Noun: Sockpuppet

An Internet sockpuppet, according to Google, is “a false online identity, typically created by a person or group in order to promote their own opinions or views.”

Sockpuppets are nothing particularly new… they go back as far as USENET. But it feels that recently, sockpuppetry has reached new heights.

Twitter is an easy place to find multiple examples…

Russian language sockpuppets

“Joined September 2016”

And so I’ve created a list of “September ’16 sockpuppets” – 80 related accounts.

Take a look (down the rabbit hole) and see for yourself. Enjoy!

F-Secure Vulnerability Reward Program Update

A message from Calvin, a security vulnerability expert and member of our Anti-Malware Unit. The AMU team has a customer care/support focus.

Happy New Year to all you readers out there! A year has passed since we launched our F-Secure Vulnerability Reward Program (bug bounty) and time really flies. Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve seen in 2016:

  • We had close to 60 unique submissions.
  • We rewarded almost €30,000 for 35 reports in total.
  • We rewarded €5,000 for one critical vulnerability.
  • We released two security advisories as a result of the submissions received.

The reports submitted during the past year have proven to be very useful to us. We have seen some interesting exploitation tricks and our development team has made use of the information to further improve our internal process. Not forgetting, we have a Hall of Fame page thanking all the researchers who helped make our products better.

On the other hand, we realized, being new to this, that we are not perfect and some mistakes were made. For that, we apologize and ask for forgiveness. We have learned from it and here is an update on what to expect in 2017:

  • Our program is now extended for another year, ending on 31st December 2017.
  • We are now promising an acknowledgement email within 5 business days upon receiving your report. We will also provide a progress update email within 10 business days after our last contact with you.
  • We are working on listing a payment table so that you can have a better overview of our reward level. Stay tuned to our program page.
  • We are also working on defining what we at F-Secure consider as quality report, and this too will be updated in our program page.

We thank you for your continuous research and for helping us keep our users secure. Click here for the complete rules. Happy bug hunting!

What’s The Deal With Digital Forensics, Incident Response, And Attribution?

After several high-profile cyber attacks made big news headlines this year, it’s become evident to me, through online commentary, that there’s some confusion in the public space about how incident response services are utilized, how attribution is performed, and how law enforcement’s role fits into cyber crime investigations. I’m hoping this article helps to clear things up and answer some of the most frequent questions I’ve been getting.

Cyber crime investigations are similar in nature to fraud and financial crime investigations. Nowadays a great deal of financial crimes are, in fact, cyber crimes. Cyber crimes, just like financial crimes, are frequently difficult to spot.

In the case of financial crimes, it might take something like a quarterly financial audit to reveal that something suspect is going on. Some cyber crimes are subtle like this, too. For instance, in the case of a hidden attacker maintaining persistence on a corporate network for purposes of long-term data exfiltration, the intrusion might only be revealed during a network sweep, as part of periodic threat assessment process, or via a newly installed intrusion detection system.  Not all cyber crimes are difficult to spot. Some cyber crimes reveal themselves as part of the operation – an attacker will contact the victim organization and will attempt to extort a ransom, or an attacker will leak data to the public, and the victim company will find out about it.

It’s interesting to note that several high-profile breaches during the past few years were discovered when a cyber security vendor installed their technology stack on the victim’s network as part of a pre-sales demo or trial period.

Regardless of how it’s discovered, once a company suspects that they’re the victim of a financial or cyber crime, they’ll need to collect additional evidence before involving law enforcement. Once an investigation is initiated, a variety of third party auditors are usually brought in to help. In the case of suspected fraud or financial crime, insurance companies can provide some of those services. In the case of a cyber crime, a cyber security firm specialized in digital forensics and incident response will be called in.

The victim organization pays for such services out of their own pocket. Why? Because incident response isn’t just about forensics. It’s about cleaning up affected systems, restoring the network to a non-compromised state, restoring lost data, and often it’s also about providing assistance to the victim organization in adjusting security practices and risk management plans to avoid future incidents. As part of the incident response process, law enforcement are involved once enough evidence has been collected to determine when and how the crime was committed.

Once involved, law enforcement agencies utilize the forensic data collected by privately-run incident response operations as a starting point for their own investigations. Remember that the police have access to additional sources of evidence that private investigators don’t. For instance, law enforcement agencies can subpoena logs from additional private sources (such as Internet Service Providers), and can correlate data from other investigations they’ve run. In our experience, law enforcement will often continue to cooperate with third party first-responders during an ongoing criminal investigation.

Cyber Attribution Dice

You can also determine cyber attribution with this handy set of dice. (Source:

Attribution is more of an art than a science. When it comes to cyber crimes, private incident responders perform educated guesswork. This usually involves correlating the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) found at the crime scene with previous casework or open source threat intelligence. This guesswork includes analyzing samples, such as custom tools or malware, found at the scene, language and content patterns found in phishing emails, the locations of C&C servers and phishing sites, techniques used for persistence or lateral movement, IP addresses associated with the attacks, and any other metadata uncovered during the investigation. The motives of suspected criminal groups may also factor into attribution guesswork. It’s not uncommon for private cyber security companies to work with law enforcement when determining attribution. However, due to the confidential nature of ongoing law enforcement work, evidence collected by or provided by law enforcement agencies isn’t normally made public as part of a third-party’s attribution conclusions.

There are a lot fewer cyber security companies in the world than there are insurance and financial services companies. Because of that, the demand for cyber security services companies is high. So high, in fact, that security-conscious organizations will often pay a yearly fee to keep a cyber security firm on retainer. By doing this, they ensure that help will be at hand as soon as an incident happens, and that prices for incident response work are charged at agreed upon rates. This is not unlike keeping law firms or financial services firms on retainer (for emergencies) or having certain special corporate agreements with insurance partners in place. Organizations that don’t have a cyber security firm on retainer typically have difficulty securing incident response and forensics services when they’re needed, and may end up paying rather high prices when they finally find someone who can help.

Incident response work isn’t just about reacting to breaches and cyber crimes. Companies are now able to purchase cyber insurance policies. Here’s how forensics work comes into play in the case of an insurance settlement related to a cyber security incident. Insurance firms employ claims adjusters whose job it is to investigate insurance claims and determine the extent of a company’s liability when the claim is filed. In a traditional sense, claims adjusters gather data in a variety of ways, including interviewing claimants and witnesses, consulting police and hospital records and inspecting property damage. In the case of a cyber crime, cyber claims adjusters, are brought in to run forensics in a similar way to how incident response is carried out. Compensation is awarded to the claimant based on the findings of the cyber claims adjuster. If the cyber claims adjuster were to, for instance, determine that a network was breached via a known vulnerability that should have been patched long ago, the claimant may receive a low amount of compensation. This is completely analogous to how an individual claimant would receive a low amount of compensation if they were burgled and it was later determined that they’d left their front door open.

With cyber security incidents becoming more and more widespread, businesses are learning that they need to adapt. This includes setting aside budget to keep cyber security services on retainer, paying for periodic trainings, threat assessments, and risk assessments, and even bringing experts onto their payroll to properly manage their cyber security practices. The cost of not taking cyber security seriously today is akin to the cost of not having your business properly insured. And yet there are plenty of businesses out there who don’t think they’ll become the victim of the next breach, and who clearly don’t take these costs into account. And they’re most likely going to end up paying through the nose in the long term.

On Botting, Cheating, And DDoSers

On November 10th 2016 Blizzard enacted a “ban wave” on thousands of World of Warcraft accounts for “botting”, a term widely used to describe using third party programs to automate gameplay. Technically it wasn’t a “ban wave” – the accounts in question received between 6 and 24 month suspensions based on how often they’d been caught botting in the past. This is the first action they’ve taken on cheating since the August 30th release of the latest expansion, Legion.

Bots in World of Warcraft are used for a variety of cheats, all of which impact legitimate players fairly heavily. What might surprise you is that botting, and cheating in general, is extremely common. Left unchecked, it can proliferate to the point of ruining an entire franchise.

Diablo 3, another game published by Blizzard entertainment, was, for all intents and purposes, destroyed by botting. During 2015 it became apparent that a large percentage of the player base were botting their characters. Even some high-profile “celebrity” streamers were known to bot “off camera”. One streamer, who’s account averaged over 22 hours gameplay per day since the launch of the game’s “Seasons” mode explained that his brother “Chris” was playing on his account when he wasn’t. He was eventually caught, and lost his account, only to immediately buy a new one and continue to bot. To this day, bots are still often referred to as “Brother Chris”.

In another example of just how widespread the problem was, here’s a video of one player who forgot to shut off his stream before starting his bot software and leaving it running, all night, for the world to see. At the time, he was one of very few people to actually lose their accounts.

A multi-bot setup

A WoW bot farm in action. (Source:

Botting in Diablo 3 went unchecked for so long that many players came to the conclusion that there would never be any repercussions for doing it. This empowered more and more players to follow suit and start cheating. The snowball effect grew to the point where it was estimated that way more than half of all players were botting and using other cheat software. As cheating went from niche to mainstream, it became a de facto requirement for playing the game competitively. The problem was so bad that several high-profile Diablo 3 players got together and wrote an open letter to Blizzard. Although Blizzard acknowledged this letter shortly after it was posted, botting continued unabated for months later.

A well-known streamer, MannerCookie, posted this video on youtube showing what bots are capable of. If you’ve never seen a bot in action, I recommend watching the video – it’s quite astonishing how sophisticated they are. What’s sad is that MannerCookie actually received an account ban for making this public service announcement.

Blizzard eventually enacted a ban wave in Diablo 3, but long after I, and all of my friends, had given up on the game. I’m pretty sure Blizzard were stuck between a rock and a hard place on the bot issue. Ban all the bots and you lose more than half of your player base. Don’t ban them, and you slowly lose regular players, trust, and legitimacy. The fact is, the problem shouldn’t have persisted, unchecked, for as long as it did.

With Blizzard enacting ban waves on an infrequent, almost regular-as-clockwork basis, most botters simply buy new accounts and continue where they left off. Last night, just hours after the ban wave, I spotted several bots in World of Warcraft, happily doing what they’ve always being doing. I reported them, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them over and over again.

Visiting the forums used by botters after a ban wave gives me insight into the psyche of these folks. What’s obvious is that many of them feel incredibly entitled. They claim it’s their right to bot. I saw one kid go ballistic about the fact that he didn’t have time to play all of his eleven, yes, count them, eleven different Warcraft accounts without the use of a bot. He went on to state, in no uncertain terms, that he was going to sue Blizzard for the action they had taken on his accounts (which, of course, I’m sure he didn’t).

Given that cheating is surprisingly widespread, and to many, perfectly acceptable, an entire culture of self-entitled habitual video game cheaters has sprung up. In these social circles, cheating at video games is just the first step on a path that leads to even more anti-social behavior. More often than not, these same self-entitled kids, once caught in the act of breaking terms of service, will lash back at Blizzard with DDoS attacks sourced from the same readily available services of the folks I talked about in my last post. Every time Blizzard swings the ban hammer, they know they’ll need to brace for DDoS attacks. And those attacks affect everyone using Blizzard’s services. This cesspool of low moral ethics hurts legitimate gamers, the games they’re playing, and games companies themselves. And companies like Blizzard need to spend significant resources on cheat detection and DDoS prevention just to keep on top of all of this.

Often parents ask us what their kids are getting up to in the Internet that they don’t know about. This might just be one of those things.

This article was originally published on Huffpost Tech UK.

A Joint Centre To Combat Hybrid Warfare Threats

Helsinki will host a new centre focused on curbing the growing threat of hybrid warfare according to recent reports. Disinformation and fake news is considered “hybrid warfare” in this context.

YLE Uutiset 2016-11-21

The proposed annual budget is reportedly estimated at two million euros.

I think… they’re gonna need a bigger boat.

You're gonna need a bigger boat

Fighting against hybrid warfare disinformation will be extremely challenging in today’s media landscape. Disinformation for profit, a.k.a. content farming, as well as good old fashioned misinformation, coupled with the average individual’s inability to make any real critical distinctions, provides a huge amount of cover for politically motivated disinformation.

And how bad is the average individual’s ability to tell real news from fake? Stanford researchers recently evaluated students’ ability and described the results as…”bleak”.

From NPR.

NPR 2016-11-23

It’s a surprise to me that researchers would be shocked but the results of their study – but then, I spent a many, many months studying cost-per-action social media spam on Facebook years ago. Fraudulent links using supposedly scandalous video bait of one sort or another spread rapidly, and millions upon millions of people clicked the links. Repeatedly. Why would scandalous “news” be any different?

Is education the answer?

Education Week 2016-11-01

I’m never against a good education. But it’s not going to fix the problem.

As long as media continues to hunt for “viral content” in its increasingly desperate search for advertising revenues – disinformation and misinformation will continue to exist and flourish. And as long as it does, there will be able ample enough cover to provide political actors plausible deniability.

The new Helsinki joint centre has its work cut out for it.

Yahoo! Voice Call 2FA Fail

Netflix recently fixed an account takeover vulnerability involving automated phone calls and caller ID spoofing. The issue? An attacker could use Netflix’s “forgot email/password” feature to reset an account’s password by directing the reset code to a voice call. In order to force the code to voice mail, the attacker would need to call the account holder’s phone at the same time, and then, the code could be retrieved from the account holder’s voicemail via caller ID spoofing (which something that many operators are vulnerable to even though it’s 2016).

Netflix: Forgot Email/Password

Netflix: Forgot Email/Password

Netflix has now adjusted its system to wait for input before providing the reset code. No input, no code. So nothing just rolls into voicemail anymore.

Waiting for input is how Microsoft’s Office sign in works with its “call me” verification.

Office 365 MFA Options

Microsoft Office Sign In

The automated call agent prompts the account holder to input the pound/hash/number sign (#), and then, once the recipient does so, the sign in is completed.

And then… there’s an organization which was recently in the news because hundreds of millions of account passwords were compromised. Yahoo!

Yahoo! MFA Options

“Call with the code”

Unfortunately, Yahoo’s multi-factor authentication “call with the code” feature is not interactive. It just calls with a one-time code. And so, Yahoo currently suffers from the same vulnerability as Netflix did. An attacker can force such codes to voicemail. And as there are so many compromised passwords in-the-wild… this is a problem.

Here’s a demonstration that Andy and I recorded.

Via Twitter.

Embedded audio.

What’s The Deal With “Next Gen”?

We’re frequently asked about “Next Gen” antivirus companies, which is not surprising. They’ve been making a lot of noise and bold claims during the last couple of years (so, basically, since they were founded). So let’s take a look at what they’re all about.

Coopetition in the AV industry

But before getting into what “Next Gen” are up to, let’s take a brief stroll down memory lane. During the past three decades, vendors in the Endpoint Protection industry have adopted a system of “coopetition”, where vendors compete fiercely on the sales front while their analysts, developers, and engineers share information and cooperate for the greater good of cyber security. This cooperative competition has included sharing knowledge (through conferences and events), sharing samples, sharing threat intelligence, and agreeing on certain standards.

A few examples of this. In June 2004, VirusTotal was founded as a service for the industry to cooperate on the sharing of samples and verdicts. This service now facilitates the sharing of approximately half a billion samples daily, includes over fifty products, and is a great source of threat intelligence for many in the industry.

Here’s another example. Independent testing organizations, whose mandate was to ensure that products were actually providing the protection they claimed, were formed. It makes sense to hand this task to a set of independent organizations – consumers and businesses just don’t have the time, resources, or expertise to work with live malware, find freshly exploited sites, and conduct tests against dozens of different products just to make a decision about which solution they’ll purchase. I find it astonishing that some “next gen” companies actually recommend that the public perform their own AV testing. Anyways, in 2008, the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO™) was founded to facilitate just this.

This cooperative spirit didn’t just happen overnight – it’s been a slow and gradual process. In the old days, there was plenty more competition and rivalry between cyber security companies.

How to alienate yourself from Virus Total

But things changed a few years ago. Instead of joining the community, many of the “Next Gen” players (to be clear here, we’re talking about “Next Gen Endpoint Security”, or “antivirus” vendors, not EDR or breach detection products) took an altogether different route. They launched marketing campaigns designed to discredit incumbent security vendors by insinuating that their products are based on “signature-only” technologies.

The “data” that “Next Gen” vendors often rely on to present this argument is flawed. It’s based on comparing their full technology stack to competitor results from VirusTotal (which only test static file scanning capabilities). Despite the fact that Virus Total changed their policies regarding the use of their data after noticing these campaigns, “Next Gen” are still up to it. And it’s certainly provocative.

Welcome to the Big AV conspiracy

What might have led them to do this? It seems that some “Next Gen” companies claim that they’re unable to compete in an industry that is controlled by what they refer to as “Big AV”. Akin to stories of the Illuminati, they insinuate that a shadowy cabal of established InfoSec companies control the industry and are working to undermine their credibility.


A picture from the last annual general meeting of Big AV. That’s me on the right. (Source:

When in doubt, blame QA

Just recently, “Next Gen” have turned their inaccurate marketing assault towards the independent AV testing industry. Numerous claims have been made insinuating that the independent AV testing industry is untrustworthy, biased, and paid-for.

We agree that independent testing methodologies aren’t perfect, and perhaps they haven’t evolved as fast as the technologies and threat landscape around them have. Not every technology in our own products factors into the tests they run. But the industry certainly isn’t rigged in favor of certain types of products or vendors.

Our main motivation behind working with independent testing organizations is to acquire valuable quality assurance data for our products and technologies. Testing organizations build and maintain complex infrastructure designed to search for the absolute latest threats in the wild, in an attempt to trip up the best endpoint protection technologies. We source multiple private tests every month and use the data from those tests to constantly improve our technologies and services. These organizations don’t exist to tell us our products are good – if they were, we’d find little value in utilizing their services.

Many “Next Gen” companies refuse to participate in independent testing – public or private. In fact, some “Next Gen” vendors go to great lengths to avoid having their products independently evaluated – they specifically refrain from selling their products to testing labs, and may even revoke a license key – without a refund – if they find out or suspect that it was bought anonymously by a testing lab.

Why do the work when you can get others to do it for you?

As I’ve said in the past, “Traditional AV” versus “Next Gen” is a concept that was coined by “Next Gen” marketing departments. And here’s why. Instead of investing resources into the technologies and infrastructure required by all other independent security companies, many “Next Gen” vendors outsource a lot of that work to third parties (often the very companies they’re calling “Traditional AV”). This outsourcing can include licensing feeds of verdicts from third parties (which are generated by, you guessed it, “Traditional AV” products) or even running competitor products in their own back end infrastructure.

We see about 500,000 new samples every day, and to analyze and categorize those samples, we’ve invested heavily into infrastructure, storage, and automation. Building and improving that infrastructure took over a dozen years. Without this infrastructure and the constant improvements we put into back end systems, sample analysis automation, and sample storage and categorization, we’d simply not be able to stay ahead of the threat landscape. Technologies are one thing, but they’re only as good as the rules, logic, samples, and metadata they’re fed. Which, in turn, relies heavily on providing relevant inputs. And those inputs have to come from somewhere.

Venture capital buys a lot of marketing

The money saved from skimping on proper data collection and infrastructure is funneled directly into “Next Gen” marketing departments. Equipped with these huge venture capital-backed marketing budgets, they’ve bombarded the press with the idea of “Traditional AV” versus “Next Gen”, spread mistruths that incumbent AV products are “signature only”, created bad press around independent testing organizations, and are probably working on new propaganda we haven’t seen yet.

It’s important to note that the term “Next Gen” has already seen widespread adoption in the industry, which is a shame, since it’s obviously biased. “Next Gen” implies newer and better, a notion that’s far from the truth. A more accurate and fair term would be “Anti Virus startup”.

If you want to know how you’re being protected, you’re going to have a hard time figuring out how most “Next Gen” products work; their blog posts and white papers are mostly just a string of marketing buzzwords. In many cases, their products are difficult to get hold of – you can’t simply buy a license and go download the installer. They claim it’s because they don’t want their intellectual property stolen. We have a term for that – security through obscurity.

What’s so “Next Gen” about ten year old ideas?

The fact is, all endpoint protection solutions use similar approaches (and again, I’m comparing all endpoint protection products here, not breach detection solutions, which are a totally different beast). Some products emphasize certain technologies or strategies more heavily than others. And although the technologies that are being dubbed “Next Gen” have been around for at least a decade, and were originally conceived and developed by “Traditional AV” vendors, “Next Gen” players are applying these technologies in their own way, and are doing a great job at it. Maybe by their own logic, we’re all “Next Gen”?

The fact is, “Next Gen” or not, these products are designed to protect endpoint systems against malicious attacks. And that’s great. Competition is good. Innovation is good. Attacking an old problem from a new angle is always welcome. It’s a positive thing for the industry that there’s a bunch of new players in the field. And they’ve done a great job at getting the word out to the general public that threats exist and protection is needed, especially with the growth we’ve seen in the cyber-crime industry and with targeted attacks becoming ever more widespread.

I’m not sure why “Next Gen” took it upon themselves to start out by fighting the industry. Regardless of their reasons, it’s not too late to change. I’d personally prefer we sit down, have a beer or three, share ideas, share data, and talk about how we can work together to make things safer and more secure for everyone.

Agree? Disagree? Tell me your opinion on Twitter!

A RAT For The US Presidential Elections

A day before the controversial United States Presidential elections, an email was distributed to inform the recipients of a possible attack during election day as mentioned in a manifesto, allegedly from the ISIS terrorist group, entitled “The Murtadd Vote”. The email was supposedly sent by the head of a US-based terrorist monitoring group. The message was a snippet from the article of USA Today, and has a ZIP archive called “The Murtadd”.


The attachment extracts to “The Murtadd Vote.jar”, which is an Adwind Remote Access Tool/trojan (RAT). Adwind RAT (or jRAT) is nothing novel. In fact, it has been available as a Malware-as-a-Service subscription for already 4 years now. The RAT is capable of keylogging, credential-stealing, and downloading and executing additional files on the infected host to name a few features.


What makes this threat slightly different from other RATs? It’s platform-independent, and so it runs basically on any device with Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed. As seen below, the malware was able to successfully install a copy of itself as evgjyuBYuAY.WyhMVR in both Windows and Linux.


This particular sample phones home to invoicesheet[.]ddns[.]net:183, which resolved to yesterday, and today to

In Windows, it uses a VBS script to search for machine information, such as which firewall is being used. It writes onto the registries using a .REG file, and has the ability to disable UAC and kill several processes that are related to system monitoring, antivirus products, and debugging software.



  • 80b83ff63adce9ee3ef593ef92eb6fb8eebe431d
  • f9143d7ff3d7651155e7164093722d2eba25bd13 (DeepGuard Kavala.O)
  • dc4a1fdbaad15ddd6fe22d3907c6b03727b71510
  • 8a50c72b4580c20d4a7bfc7af8f12671bf6715ae

How To Vet URL Shorteners #2016CampaignEdition

John Podesta, the Chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, allowed his Gmail account to be compromised in March 2016. And as a consequence, his correspondence has been in the news throughout the month of October.

Recently, the March 2016 phishing message itself was published.

John Podesta Phishing Message

Do you notice anything odd about the message?

The very first thing that jumps out at me is this: WTF is a Bitly link doing there in what’s supposed to be a message from Google? Apparently, Podesta’s IT guy failed to flag this message as suspicious when he asked about it. A “support message” with a short link should always, always equal a big red flag.

Because first of all, to the best of my knowledge, Google support doesn’t use a URL shortener. And second, even if it did, it would undoubtedly use Google’s own URL shortener service at (and not

But the real tragedy of the situation is this… it’s very easy to check and short links. All one needs to do is to add a “+” to the end of the URL. Adding a plus character to the link in the Podesta phishing message ( yields this information from

John Podesta Phishing, Bitly URL Info

A Google account page located on the .tk TLD? No. At this point, anybody should be able to determine it’s a trap.

Also, 2 clicks?

Both of them from the USA. Once by the IT guy and once by Podesta? Not a whole lot of vetting going on here, evidently.

Amusingly, part of the phishing site can still be viewed via Google Cache.

John Podesta Phishing, Google Cache

It’s a copy of John Podesta’s Wikipedia Page.

CSS Disclosure: tar Extract Pathname Bypass

T2’16 Infosec Conference kicked off this morning in Helsinki. And to celebrate this, F-Secure CSS security consultant Harry Sintonen has a vulnerability disclosure to publish.

See below for more info.

Tar will happily extract files & directories into an arbitrary location when supplied with a suitably crafted archive file. If a target system is extracting an attacker supplied file, the vulnerability can be exploited to gain file overwrite capability. | We have exploited this vulnerability in environments where tar was run as root to gain root access on the target. In most scenarios this is a non-issue, however as we have witnessed, corner cases can be quite useful. | After the communication with different parties was discontinued for more than 42 days, the decision was made to proceed with our honorable disclosure policy.

tar Extract Pathname Bypass

Full Disclosure: POINTYFEATHER / tar Extract Pathname Bypass (CVE-2016-6321)

Hacking An Election Is Hard. Why Not Pwn The Messenger Instead?

Election day USA, November 8th, is nigh. US elections (during a presidential election year) are a massive affair comprising federal, state, and local candidates for all sorts of elected positions: president, governors, senators, representatives, judges, state and county commissioners, et cetera. They are organized and run at the county level. There are 3,144 counties and […]


Fun With Internet Metadata (AKA The Deep Web)

Our Cyber Security Services (CSS) division spend a fair amount of time working with companies on threat assessments. They’ve been doing this stuff for several years, and during that time, they developed some useful tools to make their jobs easier. One of those tools is Riddler. It’s a web crawler that makes Internet metadata available via […]


What’s The Deal With Non-Signature-Based Anti-Malware Solutions?

Gartner recently published an insightful report entitled “The Real Value of a Non-Signature-Based Anti-Malware Solution to Your Organization”. In this report, it discusses the ways in which non-signature technologies can be used to augment an organization’s endpoint protection strategy. Let’s take a look at how Gartner has defined non-signature malware detection solutions. Here’s a clip directly […]


Definitely Not Cerber

At the beginning of last week we noticed a spam campaign delivering a double zipped JScript file. The campaign started on September 8th. The email had the subject line of “RE: [name of recipient]” with an empty body, and an attached zip file named “[recipient name][a-z]{4}.zip”. The characteristics of the mail, naming of the attached item, […]


Seriously, Put Away The Foil

I was scanning the headlines this morning, as I do, and came across this article by YLE Uutiset (News). — “Finnish police: Keep your car keys in the fridge” From YLE’s article: “These so-called smart keys work by emitting a signal when the driver touches the door handle. The lock opens when it recognises the […]


0ld 5ch00l MBR Malware

I recently installed Audacity, an open source audio editor… And while verifying the current version to download, I came across an interesting security notification. Before I read the details, I fully expected to discover yet another case of some crypto-ransomware group hijacking and trojanizing an application installer. But not so! Audacity’s download partner was infiltrated […]


What’s The Deal With Machine Learning?

We’ve recently received quite a few questions regarding the use of machine learning techniques in cyber security. I figured it was time for a blog post. Interestingly, while I was writing this post, we got asked even more questions, so the timing couldn’t be better. It seems that there are quite a few companies out […]


Coming Soon: iOS 10

I’ve been testing iOS 10 Beta for several weeks (on a secondary iPad mini 2 of mine) and so far, so good. I’m enjoying Swift Playgrounds and looking forward to the final release. Most of the changes I’ve noticed have been surface (i.e., UI) changes. But today I read an interesting blog post by @nabla_c0d3, […]


Got Ransomware? Negotiate

ICYMI: we recently published a customer service study of various crypto-ransomware families. Communication being a crucial element of ransomware schemes, we decided to put it to a comparative test. The biggest takeaway? If you find yourself compromised – negotiate. You have little to lose, the majority of extortionists appear to be willing work with their […]


NanHaiShu: RATing the South China Sea

Since last year, we have been following a threat that we refer to as NanHaiShu, which is a Remote Access Trojan. The threat actors behind this malware target government and private-sector organizations that were directly or indirectly involved in the international territorial dispute centering on the South China Sea. Hence, the name nán hǎi shǔ […]