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Twitter blocked accounts used to deceive information security experts

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Hackers downloaded malware onto victims’ devices as part of a lengthy cyber espionage campaign.

The administration of the social network Twitter has disabled two accounts records (@ lagal1990 and @ shiftrows13), which were used by attackers to deceive cybersecurity researchers. Hackers downloaded malware onto victims’ devices as part of a long-running cyber espionage campaign linked to North Korea.

The campaign was identified by the Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG) team in January this year. The attackers created a “research” blog and used Twitter accounts to spread links to a fraudulent resource in order to attract potential victims. The accounts were also used to post videos of alleged exploits, as well as to retweet messages from other accounts controlled by criminals.

The campaign targeted cybersecurity researchers interested in vulnerabilities. According to experts, with the help of accounts, cybercriminals impersonate information security experts, “relying on the hype about zero-day vulnerabilities.”

“After establishing initial communication, the criminals asked the potential victim if she wanted to collaborate on vulnerability research, and then provided a Visual Studio project,” said the experts.

The Visual Studio project contains the source code to exploit the vulnerability, as well as an additional DLL that will execute through the Visual Studio build events. The DLL is a custom malware and, once launched, will interact with the C&C server of the criminals.

To make it more credible, the criminals also posted a video on YouTube with the allegedly successful exploitation of a Windows Defender vulnerability (CVE-2021-1647). The vulnerability was known to have been exploited by hackers during an attack on SolarWinds.

Affected researchers worked with fully patched and updated versions of the Windows 10 browser and Google Chrome. This means that attackers have exploited zero-day vulnerabilities.

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CronRAT: Linux malware scheduled to launch on February 31

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Malware masks its malicious activity by scheduling it to occur on a non-existent calendar day.

Cybersecurity Researchers from Sansec Threat Research discovered a new remote access Trojan for Linux systems that uses a stealth method never seen before. Malware disguises its malicious activity by scheduling it to occur on February 31st, a nonexistent calendar day.

The malware, dubbed CronRAT, can steal data from e-commerce sites on the server side, bypassing browser-based security solutions. Experts found RAT samples in several online retailers, including the largest store in an unspecified country.

A standout feature of CronRAT is its ability to use the Unix cron job-scheduler utility to hide malicious payloads using the names of tasks programmed to run on February 31st. This not only allows malware to evade detection by security solutions, but also allows it to launch a number of attack commands that can compromise e-commerce servers running Linux.

Most online retailers implement browser-only protection, and attackers take advantage of an unsecured internal server. Security professionals should consider the entire attack surface, said Sansec Threat Research.

“CronRAT adds a number of tasks to the crontab with an interesting date specification: 52 23 31 2 3. These lines are syntactically correct, but will generate a runtime error when executed. However, this will never happen, since their launch is scheduled for February 31, experts explained.

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Google has agreed with UK regulator on cookie changes

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Google is committed to promoting competition in digital markets and protecting the interests of other businesses.

Google has promised to introduce additional restrictions on the use of data in its Google Chrome browser. The decision stems from concerns from the UK competition regulator about the tech giant’s plan to ban third-party cookies that advertisers use to track consumers.

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) examines Google’s plan to reduce support for certain cookies in Chrome is an initiative called the Privacy Sandbox that is developing a new set of open standards. With their help, Google seeks to create a balance between the privacy of users and the desire of advertising companies to track their preferences.

The new set of standards will allow advertising companies to determine the interests of the user without individual identification. General categories of interests, such as music genre, will be taken into account, but data at the level of the history of visits to specific sites will remain unaffected.

As noted by Google, users want more privacy when browsing the web, including not being tracked across different sites. However, other companies have stated that losing browser cookies will limit their ability to collect information to personalize ads and make them more dependent on Google’s user databases.

Google previously agreed not to implement the plan without CMA approval, and the changes agreed with the UK regulator will apply globally. Google has addressed some remaining issues, including a commitment to curtail access to IP addresses and clarify internal restrictions on the data it can use, the CMA said.

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Researchers Accused Microsoft of Reducing Bug Bounty Amounts

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In some cases, the tech giant has reduced the remuneration tenfold or 90%.

A number of security researchers have accused Microsoft of reducing the amount of fees that the company pays for reporting vulnerabilities as part of its bug bounty program. Apparently, in some cases, the tech giant has reduced the remuneration tenfold or 90%.

As recently as last year, researcher Marcus Hutchins, also known as MalwareTech, reported on Twitter, that for the discovered vulnerability he received from the company only $ 1,000, although earlier the amount of remuneration for such vulnerabilities was $ 10,000.

Other researchers are posting similar complaints. For example, as a security researcher for Hyper-V virtualization under the alias rthhh17 recently reported, Microsoft estimated its vulnerability, which can be exploited from a guest machine, at only $ 5,000.

The most recent example of a disgruntled researcher is Abdelhamid Naseri, who posted a PoC code for an as-yet-unpatched Windows vulnerability in retaliation for Microsoft’s reduced bounty.

The current bug bounty pricing is as follows:

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It is noteworthy that although rthhh received for its vulnerability of remote code execution in Hyper-V only $ 5 thousand, according to the Microsoft website, such vulnerabilities are estimated “up to $ 250 thousand.” In other words, the company has cut the remuneration amount by 80%.

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