For the first time in many years, participants were able to present an exploit for remote code execution in Chrome.
Chinese security researchers have won a total of $ 1.88 million in the country’s premier hacking competition, the Tianfu Cup, hacking the world’s most popular software, including Windows 10, iOS 15, Ubuntu, Chrome, and more.
The Grand Prix of the competition, which took place on October 16-17 in the city of Chengdu, was won by specialists from the Chinese information security company Kunlun Lab, who took home $ 654.5 thousand, which is one third of the total prize fund.
“Tianfu Cup” was held for the fourth time. The competition is governed by the same rules as the popular Pwn2Own hacking competition, in which Chinese researchers are prohibited from participating. Recall that until 2017, the Chinese won multimillion-dollar prizes at Pwn2Own and enjoyed great prestige, but then the government banned them from participating in foreign hacker competitions. Beijing considered that such valuable personnel would be useful to itself, and established its own competition – “Tianfu Cup”.
In July 2021, the organizers presented a list of programs intended for hacking. The participants had three to four months to prepare exploits, which they had to execute on the devices provided by the organizers at the “Tianfu Cup” arena. They were given five minutes to launch exploits. Participants could also increase their winnings by registering to jailbreak more devices.
This year, hackers were offered a list of 16 programs, and 11 participants submitted successfully working exploits for 13 of them. Only the Synology DS220j NAS, the Xiaomi Mi 11 smartphone, and an electric vehicle from an unnamed Chinese brand, which were not registered to be hacked, were not jailbroken. For the rest, working exploits were presented:
Most of the vulnerabilities discovered by contributors are privilege escalation or remote code execution, but two exploits deserve special attention.
The first exploit allows a chain of attacks to be carried out on the latest iPhone 13 running iOS 15 with all existing updates. With the help of the second, you can remotely execute code on Google Chrome in two stages, which for many years has not been achieved by participants in hacking competitions.
CronRAT: Linux malware scheduled to launch on February 31
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.
Google has agreed with UK regulator on cookie changes
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.
Researchers Accused Microsoft of Reducing Bug Bounty Amounts
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:
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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