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TP-Link router botnet has been used to send cheap SMS for years

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Since at least 2016, jailbroken devices have been used to send SMS with rates, verification codes, etc.

Specialists of information security companies Acronis and Search-Lab Robert Neumann and Sergey Eberhardt uncovered Details of a large, underground SMS messaging service powered by a botnet of thousands of compromised TP-Link MR6400 routers with built-in SMS messaging capabilities.

Since at least 2016, hacked routers have been used to send messages with bids, verification codes, confirmations of online payments or donations, or send cryptic messages that experts have not yet been able to decrypt.

In an interview with The Record, Neumann said that he became interested in the problem after he got his hands on an infected router with 4G support, which “presented” its owner with a huge phone bill, the lion’s share of which was the payment for outgoing SMS messages sent from the SIM. maps on the device.

As it turned out, hackers compromised the routers using a vulnerability discovered in 2015 (CVE-2015-3035), which allows access to files on TP-Link devices without authorization. Neumann was able to reproduce an exploit using CVE-2015-3035 to access one of the router’s LTE functions, which “send messages, read incoming and outgoing SMS chains, collect SIM information, and modify LAN and clock settings.”

Although the vulnerability was fixed in TP-Link firmware versions released after 2015, many routers remain vulnerable to this day.

Neumann was unable to identify the creators of the botnet, nor did he detect an advertisement for an underground SMS service, but the variety of SMS mailings indicates a wide client base.

According to experts, the botnet is still working, but its activity has significantly decreased since 2018.

“Lack of interest from cybercriminals, updating device firmware to a patched version, moving to a new vulnerable model with a higher market share, or blocking [функций отправки SMS] on a SIM card – all this can contribute to a decrease in activity, ”said Neumann.

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Security

Vulnerability in WinRAR allows code to run without the user’s knowledge

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To carry out an attack, you need to create a malicious Wi-Fi access point, hack a router, and spoof DNS.

Positive Technologies Igor Sak-Sakovsky discovered a dangerous vulnerability in the WinRAR file archiver. An issue identified as CVE-2021-35052 exists in the WinRAR web notifier, which is used to display trial period expiration messages. The vulnerability affects WinRAR versions prior to 6.02 beta 1.

To display a message about the expiration of the trial period, the web component redirects to HHPS: //notifier.win-rar.com/. The vulnerability allows a remote unauthorized person to intercept requests sent to them and thereby carry out a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, create a backdoor, and even remotely execute code.

As explained by the researcher, the vulnerability exists due to the use of the incorrectly configured webbrowser module by the web notifier component.

According to Sak-Sakovsky, in order to carry out an MITM attack through this vulnerability, an attacker needs to create a malicious Wi-Fi access point, hack a router and spoof DNS, or be on the same network with the victim.

An attacker can use an SMB server to execute code remotely, but there are restrictions on the black list of executable file extensions. So, when you run files with the bat, vbs, exe and msi extensions, a message about the malicious file will appear, suggesting possible actions with them. However, since WinRAR does not have an automatic update mechanism, and vulnerable versions are common, attackers can bypass the restrictions and hide the launch using old exploits for WinRAR or Microsoft Office.

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Vodafone is suing the UK over a contract to develop a hacker-proof communication line

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The company considers it unfair that the contract was awarded to Fujitsu, although both bidders did not meet the requirements.

Mobile operator Vodafone filed in court against the UK government after losing a tender to develop a hacker-proof communications system, in which the Japanese company Fujitsu also took part.

Although both bidders were found to have failed to meet the government’s minimum requirements, Vodafone believes Fujitsu was unfairly awarded a £ 184m ($ 254m) contract to improve the communications system used by 532 British embassies and other agencies.

The Echo 2 project aims to provide secure communications for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, employees and agents in over 170 countries.

According to the government, the current communications system operated by Vodafone is “outdated” and poses a risk to national security.

Vodafone went to court after Cable & Wireless, acquired by the operator in 2012, lost its long-term contract for the Echo 1.

“We do not believe that the procurement process was carried out correctly. The contracting authority itself admitted that the Fujitsu Solution was ‘not fit for purpose,’ said a Vodafone spokesman.

According to foreign ministry lawyers, Fujitsu’s proposal had problems with two requirements, but generally met the terms of the tender. Fujitsu representatives did not comment on the situation.

The trial in this case is scheduled for January 2022. The court allowed the UK government to enter into a “conditional contract” with Fujitsu. The details of the contract were not disclosed due to security concerns.

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Security

FIN7 recruits specialists to carry out ransomware attacks

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FIN7 created a fictitious information security company with the aim of hiring experts, ostensibly to conduct penetration tests.

It appears that cybercriminal group FIN7 is trying to find a new source of income by joining the ranks of ransomware hackers. In particular, FIN7 created a fictitious information security company with the aim of hiring cybersecurity experts, ostensibly to conduct penetration testing, but in fact – to carry out ransomware attacks.

According to investigation specialists Gemini Advisory (a division of the information security company Recorded Future), the group posted hiring advertisements on the website of a company called Bastion Secure, allegedly specializing in providing penetration testing services to companies and organizations around the world. The “company” was interested in specialists in the field of reverse engineering, system administrators, programmers with knowledge of C ++, Python and PHP. The proposed salary ranged from $ 800 to $ 1200 per month.

Gemini Advisory managed to get an insight into Bastion Secure’s work with the help of an “insider”. As it turned out, job seekers were asked to complete a three-stage interview, which, however, did not include any explanation or legal documents authorizing penetration tests.

In practical terms, applicants were only allowed to use certain tools that were not detectable by security solutions, and to search for backups and file storage systems on the company’s network. At the same time, the tasks set “coincided with the steps taken in the preparation of ransomware attacks.” During the attacks, the ransomware Ryuk or REvil was installed, experts say.

Proposed testing tools included Carbanak and Lizar / Tirion malware, which security experts have linked to FIN7 attacks.

This is not the first time the group has used fictitious companies to attract specialists. For example, a few years ago FIN7 set up a company called Combi Security that looked for pentesters to hack companies’ networks and install malware on PoS terminals.

Although creating and running fictitious companies is a laborious process, hiring an information security expert will cost FIN7 much less than partnering with hackers or hacker groups recruited through cybercriminal forums, which are likely to demand a share of the proceeds from ransomware attacks, the researchers explained.

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