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American spy hacked Booking.com

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A hacker gained access to information on reservations for thousands of hotel rooms in the Middle East.

In early 2016, an American hacker hacked into the servers of the Booking.com hotel website and stole data on thousands of hotel reservations in the Middle East. After two months of investigation, IT specialists at Booking.com determined that the hacker had close ties to the American intelligence services. The site administration kept silent about the data breach and did not report the incident to clients or authorities. This was reported by the NRC newspaper.

The site’s management requested assistance from the Dutch intelligence service AIVD in investigating the massive data breach, but did not notify the affected customers or the Dutch data protection agency. According to the site’s administration, this was allegedly not required by law at the time.

Booking specialists accidentally discovered the fact of espionage in early 2016. A security officer at the company’s headquarters in Amsterdam discovered that an unknown user had access to Booking systems through a weakly secured server. The hacker gained access to thousands of hotel reservations in the Middle East (including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates).

The incident, internally referred to as a “PIN leak”, was independently confirmed by three former Booking cybersecurity specialists and one of the executives at the time of the breach. With the help of American private detectives, the Booking department was able to identify the American hacker Andrew two months later, who worked for an unnamed company on assignments for the American intelligence services.

In 2013, information leaked that the United States was spying on hotel websites in order to track the movement of foreign diplomats and install wiretapping equipment in hotel rooms. Whistleblower Edward Snowden then said that the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) monitored foreign diplomats for high-class hotel bookings. The Royal Concierge tracked 350 premium hotels worldwide. This made it possible to find out the number in which one or another high-ranking official intends to stay, and to introduce bugs into the phones.

A Booking.com spokesman confirmed that “unusual activity” was detected in 2016. According to the spokesperson, since there was no “evidence of an actual adverse effect on people’s privacy,” Booking did not report the data breach.

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Vulnerability found in the Apple M1 processor that cannot be closed programmatically

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Vulnerability found in the Apple M1 processor that cannot be

Specialists from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said that they were able to develop a PACMAN attack technique, which is possible due to a hardware vulnerability in the Apple M1 processor. Moreover, it cannot be closed by software.

Vulnerability found in the Apple M1 processor that cannot be closed programmatically

The attack itself is carried out using software and hardware, and it can be performed remotely. The PACMAN attack makes it possible to gain access to the kernel of the operating system. At the same time, potentially the same vulnerabilities can be in Qualcomm and Samsung processors, but this has not yet been confirmed.

The technical side of the attack is based on the Pointer Authentication function. It is used to check Pointer Authentication Codes (PACs), allowing only code-signed software to run. However, the PACMAN method allows you to select the necessary PAC values. In part, this technique is similar to Specter and Meltdown in Intel processors.

At the same time, Apple spokesman Scott Radcliffe said that the vulnerability does not pose an immediate threat to users and is not sufficient in itself to bypass operating system protections.

A few years ago, a vulnerability was already found in Arm processors that allows an attacker to gain unauthorized access to data.

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Security

So much for Unisoc. Companies have discovered a vulnerability in single-chip systems

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So much for Unisoc Companies have discovered a vulnerability in

Unisoc is actively capturing the market for single-chip systems, although it does so exclusively in the budget segment itself. However, it turned out that these platforms have a critical vulnerability.

So much for Unisoc.  Companies have discovered a vulnerability in single-chip systems

According to the source, the problem is in the modem’s firmware and affects both 4G and 5G platforms. The vulnerability, numbered CVE-2022-20210, was discovered while scanning Non-Access Stratum (NAS) message handlers. This vulnerability could be used to neutralize or block the device’s cellular capabilities.

The vulnerability was first discovered in the Motorola Moto G20 smartphone based on the Unisoc T700 SoC. But in the end it turned out that the same vulnerability occurs in other platforms, however, the source did not provide a list.

The Check Point specialists who discovered the vulnerability notified Unisoc back in May, and the company has already released a fix, so smartphone owners should not worry now if they update the software of their devices.

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Security

New vulnerability in Microsoft Office is heavily exploited by hackers

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New vulnerability in Microsoft Office is heavily exploited by hackers

A serious vulnerability has been found in the Microsoft Office suite that could potentially allow attackers to execute arbitrary code.

New vulnerability in Microsoft Office is heavily exploited by hackers

She was assigned the number CVE-2022-30190, and among the researchers they gave the name Follina. As noted in Kaspersky Lab, the most unpleasant thing is that there is no fix yet, and in the meantime, the vulnerability is already being actively exploited by attackers. Vulnerability CVE-2022-30190 threatens all operating systems of the Windows family, both regular and server.

While the update is being developed, experts recommend that all Windows users and administrators take advantage of temporary workarounds. As a Microsoft workaround recommends disable the MSDT URL protocol.

The CVE-2022-30190 vulnerability itself is contained in the Microsoft Windows Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT), but due to the implementation of this tool, a single malicious office document is enough to exploit the vulnerability.

The scheme could be like this. Attackers create a malicious office document and slip it to the victim, for example by sending an email with an attachment. The infected file contains a link to an HTML file that contains JavaScript code that executes malicious code on the command line via MSDT. As a result, attackers are able to install programs, view, modify or destroy data, as well as create new accounts – that is, do everything that the privileges of the user who opened the infected file allow.

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