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Some 40% of disclosed vulns as of Q3 are rated as severe, new Risk Based Security data shows.
Data compiled by Risk Based Security shows that software flaws reported in 2016 exceeded the previous year's number despite the availability of new security tools.
Risk Based Security's software vulnerability report for 2016 finds that the number of new flaws found during the year set a record.
Google and Microsoft are butting heads over the disclosure of vulnerabilities. On Monday, Google revealed a critical flaw in Windows after it gave Microsoft a ten-day window to warn the public about it. Google posted about the zero-day vulnerability on its security blog, saying Microsoft had yet to publish a fix or issue an advisory about the software flaw. "This vulnerability is particularly serious because we know it is being actively exploited," Google said.
It lets hackers exploit a bug in the Windows kernel, via a win32k.sys system call, to bypass the security sandbox. The search giant originally told Microsoft about the problem 10 days ago, on Oct. 21.
It waited to say anything about it publicly so Microsoft could fix the problem first.

But Google has a strict policy of giving vendors only seven days to either publish a patch or issue a warning about a flaw. "Seven days is an aggressive timeline and may be too short for some vendors to update their products," Google said in a blog post in 2013. "But it should be enough time to publish advice about possible mitigations." Microsoft slammed Google's latest move. “We believe in coordinated vulnerability disclosure, and today’s disclosure by Google could put customers at potential risk," the company said. It's not the first time the two companies have disagreed over disclosing a vulnerability.
In 2015, Google disclosed publicly unknown holes in Windows before Microsoft had a chance to issue patches.

This prompted Microsoft to complain.   "Although following through keeps to Google’s announced timeline for disclosure, the decision feels less like principles and more like a 'gotcha', with customers the ones who may suffer as a result," Microsoft said at the time.  Brian Martin, director of vulnerability intelligence at Risk Based Security, said it would be impossible for Microsoft to come up with a patch in seven days.

Fixing a Windows vulnerability can mean addressing problems in several different platforms of the OS and ensuring that the resulting patch doesn't disrupt any of the existing programming, he said.  "It's just too complex to do that in a matter of days," Martin said. However, Google had some justification in warning the public, given that hackers were already exploiting the vulnerability, he said. "It goes back to an age-old debate of how much time you should give," he said. "In this case, because the vulnerability was being exploited in the wild, it forces Microsoft to up their schedule." Google said that on Windows 10, its Chrome browser will prevent the problem from occurring. Using its own sandbox, the browser can block win32k.sys system calls. 
Modern Business Solutions keeping quiet A US-based data aggregator that trades people's personal information with the automotive industry and real estate companies has seemingly spilled the private information of more than 58 million people online. A large MongoDB file – which belongs to Modern Business Solutions and containing tens of millions of records – was shared publicly on Twitter.

The stolen database features email addresses, names, home addresses, dates of birth and phone numbers.

Downloads of the leak have been deleted, but perhaps not before exposing people to increased risk of more convincing phishing emails or attempted ID theft scams. Austin-based Modern Business Solutions is yet to publicly acknowledge the breach, first reported by security tools firms Risk Based Security and DataBreaches.net. El Reg has yet to receive a response to our inquiry on the matter. Reader Dave R tipped us off about the breach, which he learned affected him personally after receiving an alert from breach notification site haveibeenpwned.com. "[I'm] pretty angry that they're just sticking their head in the sand and not telling us anything, especially when this is the 9th largest breach on haveibeenpwned." Modern Business Solutions provides "technology and services for data owners and their partners," as the firm describes it.

The outfit makes its money through ad brokering and by delivering targeted emails to subscribers. ®
Hefin Richardsreader comments 15 Share this story There has been yet another major data breach, this time exposing names, IP addresses, birth dates, e-mail addresses, vehicle data, and occupations of at least 58 million subscribers, researchers said. The trove was mined from a poorly secured database and then published and later removed at least three times over the past week, according to this analysis from security firm Risk Based Security.

Based on conversations with a Twitter user who first published links to the leaked data, the researchers believe the data was stored on servers belonging to Modern Business Solutions, a company that provides data storage and database hosting services. Shortly after researchers contacted Modern Business Solutions, the leaky database was secured, but the researchers said they never received a response from anyone at the firm, which claims to be located in Austin, Texas. Officials with Modern Business Solutions didn't respond to several messages Ars left seeking comment and additional details. Risk Based Security said the actual number of exposed records may be almost 260 million.

The company based this possibility on an update researchers received from the Twitter user who originally reported the leak.

The update claimed the discovery of an additional table that contained 258 million rows of personal data.

By the time the update came, however, the database had already been secured, and Risk Based Security was unable to confirm the claim.

The official tally cited Wednesday by breach notification service Have I Been Pwned? is 58.8 accounts.
In all, the breach resulted in 34,000 notifications being sent to Have I Been Pwned? users monitoring e-mail addresses and 3,000 users monitoring domains.Enlarge Risk Based Security According to Risk Based Security, the account information was compiled using the open source MongoDB database application.

The researchers believe the unsecured data was first spotted using the Shodan search engine.

The publication of the data happened when a party that first identified the leak shared it with friends rather than privately reporting it to Modern Business Solutions. By the tally of Risk Based Security, there have been 2,928 publicly disclosed data breaches so far in 2016 that have exposed more than 2.2 billion records.

The figures provide a stark reminder of why it's usually a good idea to omit or falsify as much requested data as possible when registering with both online and offline services.
It's also a good idea to use a password manager, although this leak was unusual in that it didn't contain any form of user password, most likely because the data was being stored on behalf of one or more other services.
A stolen cache of files that may belong to the National Security Agency contains genuine hacking tools that not only work, but show a level of sophistication rarely seen, according to security researchers. That includes malware that can infect a device's firmware and persist, even if the operating system is reinstalled.   "It's terrifying because it demonstrates a serious level of expertise and technical ability," said Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, an assistant professor at New York University's school of engineering. He's been among the researchers going over the sample files from the cache, after an anonymous group called the Shadow Brokers posted them online. Allegedly, the files were stolen from the Equation Group, a top cyberespionage team that may be connected with the NSA. The Equation Group likely helped develop the infamous Stuxnet computer worm, and is said to have created malware that can be impossible to remove once installed. Already, researchers have found that the hacking tools inside the sample files target firewall and router products and do so by exploiting software flaws -- some of which could be zero-day vulnerabilities or defects that have never been reported before. On Wednesday, Cisco confirmed that the sample files did contain one unknown flaw that affects the company's firewall software, and a patch has been rolled out. Other affected vendors including Juniper Networks say they are still studying the matter, but more patches will likely come.   Brian Martin, a director at Risk Based Security, has been studying the sample files as well and said they also target possible zero-day vulnerabilities in Chinese products, including those from firewall provider Topsec. However, the hacks may not be as dangerous as researchers initially feared.

For instance, the exploits found within the samples rely on having direct access to the firewall's interface, which is normally restricted from outside Internet users, Martin said. "The exploits are still useful, but they're not what people dreaded," he added.   Nevertheless, the hacking tools probably weren't easy to develop. Within the sample files are also pieces of malware that can target a computer's firmware called the BIOS, Dolan-Gavitt said. "The BIOS is the first piece of code that runs when a system boots, and so it has control over everything else," he added. As a result, any malware installed on the BIOS, will continue to persist even if the computer's operating system is reinstalled.

That can make it particularly useful to spy on a computer's network traffic or inject new data. However, to develop malware, the creators would have needed detailed knowledge on the hardware, Dolan-Gavitt said. Normally this isn't made publicly available, so the creators may have resorted to reverse-engineering. The BIOS malware appears to affect Cisco products, but on Wednesday the company said that it had already patched the issue through its Secure Boot startup process.
Shadow Brokersreader comments 13 Share this story In what security experts say is either a one-of-a-kind breach or an elaborate hoax, an anonymous group has published what it claims are sophisticated software tools belonging to an elite team of hackers tied to the US National Security Agency. In a recently published blog post, the group calling itself Shadow Brokers claims the leaked set of exploits were obtained after members hacked Equation Group (the post has since been removed from Tumblr). Last year, Kaspersky Lab researchers described Equation Group as one of the world's most advanced hacking groups, with ties to both the Stuxnet and Flame espionage malware platforms. The compressed data accompanying the Shadow Broker post is slightly bigger than 256 megabytes and purports to contain a series of hacking tools dating back to 2010. While it wasn't immediately possible for outsiders to prove the posted data—mostly batch scripts and poorly coded python scripts—belonged to Equation Group, there was little doubt the data have origins with some advanced hacking group. Not fully fake "These files are not fully fake for sure," Bencsáth Boldizsár, a researcher with Hungary-based CrySyS who is widely credited with discovering Flame, told Ars in an e-mail. "Most likely they are part of the NSA toolset, judging just by the volume and peeps into the samples. At first glance it is sound that these are important attack related files, and yes, the first guess would be Equation Group." The Shadow Broker post came the same day that Guccifer 2.0, the online persona behind high-profile hacks of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, posted a new batch of private material purportedly taken during the breach of the latter Democratic group. Monday's Guccifer post came on the heels of Friday's separate document dump that leaked a massive amount of personal data belonging to every Democratic member of the US House of Representatives. Taken together, the three posts, and several earlier Guccifer 2.0 dispatches, represent a major broadside against US interests, although it’s impossible to directly connect the people behind the two online personas. Shadow Brokers’ post also differed in that it was offering to auction off the stolen data in exchange for a payment reaching one million Bitcoins (current value more than $500 million). (The 256 MB of data included in Monday’s post was offered as a small sample of what Shadow Brokers had acquired.) Many researchers doubt the group has any hope of selling the data. As international tensions over hacking remain high, those experts speculate the true aim of Shadow Brokers is to discredit and embarrass the US government and its intelligence apparatus. Many researchers similarly doubt the data was acquired during a direct hack of Equation Group networks. Instead, researchers speculate the data came after breaching a command-and-control channel server used by a hacking group. Samples of the stolen files are dated most recently to 2013 and contain implants, exploits, and other tools for controlling routers and firewalls, including those from Cisco Systems, Juniper, Fortigate, and China-based Topsec, according to this analysis from Matt Suiche, cofounder and CEO of security firm Comae Technologies. A separate analysis from firm Risk Based Security noted that an IP address in an exploit labeled "ESPL: ESCALATEPLOWMAN" contained an IP address belonging to the US Department of Defense. Using broken English, Shadow Brokers posted the following: We follow Equation Group traffic. We find Equation Group source range. We hack Equation Group. We find many many Equation Group cyber weapons. You see pictures. We give you some Equation Group files free, you see. This is good proof no? You enjoy!!! You break many things. You find many intrusions. You write many words. But not all, we are auction the best files. At the same time, the Risk Based Security post cautioned that so-called false-flag operations—in which attackers manufacture evidence that falsely implicates others—is a regular occurrence in hacking campaigns, particularly those sponsored by nations. If the claims in the Shadow Brokers’ post are true, this may be one of the only publicly known times the NSA has been compromised. But even if the claims turn out to be exaggerated, the Shadow Brokers’ post is significant, if only for the amount of work and planning that went into the fabricating evidence to provoke one of the world’s most advanced hacking operations.
A NEW TROJAN targeting Linux servers has been discovered in the wild, exploiting servers running the Redis NoSQL database to use them for bitcoin mining. Up to 30,000 Redis servers may be vulnerable, largely because careless systems administrators have put them online without setting a password. The Linux.Lady malware was discovered by Russian antivirus software vendor Dr Web and is, intriguingly, written using Google's Go programming language, largely based on open source Go libraries hosted on GitHub. The malware uses a more compact trojan called Linux.Downloader.196 to download the main payload after infection. Linux.Lady, once installed and running, sends basic information about the cracked system to the command-and-control (C&C) server. The next step in the infection process is a configuration file sent from the C&C server to start the crypto-currency mining process for the benefit of the malware's controllers. Linux.Lady is also self-propagating. "This malware possesses the ability to collect information about an infected computer and transfer it to the C&C server, download and launch a crypto-currency mining utility, and attack other computers on the network to install its own copy on them," said the Dr Web advisory. Once launched, the trojan checks the system for keys and terminates itself if they are missing: Version - display the trojan's version and terminate the session Install - install the trojan D - launch main payload of the trojan. The Redis database server exploited by the trojan has already been criticised for poor security.

The Risk Based Security report suggested in July that there were more than 6,300 compromised Redis servers online. Redis is a NoSQL database system described as "ideal for storing data in the key-value format, using an in-memory system for handling the data and subsequent queries", according to Softpedia. The lack of security features partly accounts for the decent performance of Redis in its default configuration. Redis stands for REmote DIctionary Server and is the product of an open source project released in April 2009.
It has been sponsored by VMware and Pivotal and is therefore a popular choice. µ Further reading
Crestron Electronics DM-TXRX-100-STR web interface contains multiple vulnerabilities Original Release date: 01 Aug 2016 | Last revised: 01 Aug 2016 Overview Crestron Electronics DM-TXRX-100-STR, version 1.2866.00026 and earlier, has a web management ...
Live from Las Vegas: over 40 video interviews with Black Hat USA conference speakers and sponsors. Wednesday Aug. 3, Thursday Aug, 4, starting at 2 p.m.

ET. The Dark Reading News Desk will return to Black Hat USA next week to bring you an exclusive look inside the conference: over 40 live video interviews with conference speakers, sponsors and industry experts. Our broadcast will stream live, right here, from 2 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

E.T.  (11 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. P.T.) Wednesday, Aug. 3 and from 2 p.m. -- 6:10 p.m.

ET (11 a.m. -- 3:10 p.m. PT Thursday, Aug. 4. Your hosts, once again are myself (Dark Reading senior editor Sara Peters) and UBM's VP of Event and Content Strategy Brian Gillooly. We'll be having some fun, and more importantly, talking to this superb line-up of guests (subject to change): Wednesday, August 3 Jeremiah Grossman, Chief of Security Strategy, SentinelOne Bob Adams, Cyber Security Strategist, Mimecast Travis LeBlanc, Chief, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission  Andrew Krug, Security Researcher Hugh Njemanze, CEO, Anomali Aditya Gupta, CEO and Founder, Attify Stuart McClure, President and CEO, Cylance George Karidis, President, Cloud Technology Services, CompuCom Shehzad Merchant, CTO, Gigamon Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties, and Riana Pfefferkorn, Cryptography Fellow, both from the Stanford Center for Internet & Society Jeff Schilling, CSO, Armor Israel Barak, Head of Incident Response, Cybereason Dr. Zinaida Benenson, Chair for IT Security Infrastructures, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Joe Loveless, Director of Product Marketing, Neustar Peleus Uhley, Lead Security Strategist, Adobe Michelle Cobb, VP of Worldwide Marketing, Skybox Security Paul Vixie, CEO of Farsight Security, Inc. Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, Security Researchers Leo Taddeo, CSO, Cryptzone Kenneth Geers, Professor, NATO Cyber Centre Hal Lonas, CTO, Webroot Jamesha Fisher, Security Operations Engineer, GitHub Stu Sjouwerman, CEO and Founder, KnowBe4 Inc. Thursday, August 4 Jeff Melrose, Senior Principal Tech Specialist, Yokogawa Nadav Avital, Application Security Research Team Leader and Itsik Mantin, Director of Security Research, Imperva Jake Kouns, CISO, Risk Based Security and Christine Gadsby Director of BlackBerry's Global Product Security Incident Response Team (SIRT) Eva Galperin, Global Policy Analyst, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Cooper Quintin, Staff Technologist, Electronic Frontier Foundation Barmak Meftah, President and CEO, AlienVault Tom Nipravsky, Security Researcher, Deep Instinct Jian Zhen, SVP of Product for Endgame Chris Wysopal, Co-founder and CTO, Veracode Joyce Brocaglia, CEO Alta Associates, Founder Executive Women's Forum Brian Vecci, Technical Evangelist, Varonis Dan Kaminsky, Chief Scientist, White Ops Carl Herberger, Radware Wade Williamson, Director of Threats and Mike Banic, Vectra Michael Sutton, CISO, Zscaler Lance James, Chief Scientist, Flashpoint Rick Holland, VP of Strategy, Digital Shadows Jelle Niemantsverdriet, Director Cyber Risk Services, Deloitte Nikhil Mittal, Security Researcher Marco Ortisi, Senior Penetration Tester, European Network for CyberSecurity Tune in Wednesday at 2 p.m.

E.T. and join the fun.
If you see anything you like, share it with the hashtags #DRNewsDesk and #BHUSA.  How could you not find something you like here? We'll have new vulnerabilities being announced, Jeremiah Grossman talking about cyber insurance, Adi Gupta talking IoT security, Jelle Niemantsverdriet talking about designing better security for end users, Andrew Krug talking about hardening AWS, Peleus Uhley talking about automation, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek talking car hacking, and Jennifer Granick and Riana Pfefferkorn talking about handling technical assistance demands from law enforcement.  Plus, these are live, four- or five-hour shows. That's like two back-to-back SuperBowls without halftime breaks and the first one went into overtime.

That's like two back-to-back Major League Baseball games that went into 12, 13, 14 innings.
So even if you aren't interested in the infosec content, at least tune in on Thursday afternoon to see how well Brian and I are holding up. Maybe if you send us water, medicine, and Reeses Pieces around the time Dan Kaminsky is talking about how we could lose the Internet, we'll survive all the way through to Marco Ortisi's discussion of recovering a RSA private key from a TLS session with perfect-forward secrecy.

Either way, it should be good viewing!  Black Hat’s CISO Summit Aug 2 offers executive-level insights into technologies and issues security execs need to keep pace with the speed of business.

Click to register.
Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ...
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A Google security researcher has found high severity vulnerabilities in enterprise and consumer products from antivirus vendor Symantec that could be easily be exploited by hackers to take control of computers. Symantec released patches for the affected products, but while some products were updated automatically, some affected enterprise products could require manual intervention. The flaws were found by Tavis Ormandy, a researcher with Google's Project Zero team who has found similar vulnerabilities in antivirus products from other vendors.

They highlight the poor state of software security in the antivirus world, something that has been noted by researchers. Most of the new flaws found by Ormandy are in the Decomposer component of the Symantec antivirus engine.

This component handles the parsing of various file formats, including archive files like RAR and ZIP. Furthermore, the Decomposer runs under the system user, the most privileged account on Windows systems. Symantec didn't immediately respond to a request for comments on the vulnerabilties. Security researchers have criticized antivirus vendors many times for performing risky operations like file parsing with unnecessarily elevated privileges. Historically, such operations have been a source of many arbitrary code execution vulnerabilities in all sorts of applications. Ormandy found vulnerabilities in the Symantec code used to handle ZIP, RAR, LZH, LHA, CAB, MIME, TNEF, and PPT files. Most of these flaws can lead to remote code execution and are wormable, meaning they can be used to create computer worms. "Because Symantec uses a filter driver to intercept all system I/O [input/output operations], just emailing a file to a victim or sending them a link to an exploit is enough to trigger it -- the victim does not need to open the file or interact with it in anyway," Ormandy said in a blog post. Even more surprising is the fact that Symantec appears to have used code from open source libraries, but failed to import patches released by those projects over the years. For example, Ormandy determined that Symantec products were using version 4.1.4 of an open-source unrar package that was released in January 2012.

The most current version of that code is 5.3.11.

A similar situation was also observed for another library called libmspack. "Dozens of public vulnerabilities in these libraries affected Symantec, some with public exploits," Ormandy said. "We sent Symantec some examples, and they verified they had fallen behind on releases." The failure to keep track of vulnerabilities patched in the third-party code used by software vendors and developers in their own projects is a widespread problem. However, there's a natural expectation that security vendors would not make that mistake.

After all, they often preach secure software development and vulnerability management to others. Unfortunately, "when looking at how even a behemoth of a security product vendor like Symantec is bundling ancient code in their products, clearly hasn't subjected this code to security reviews and testing, and to top it off runs this old, unsafe code with SYSTEM/root privileges, it is clear that security vendors don't hold themselves to very high standards," Carsten Eiram, the chief research officer of vulnerability intelligence firm Risk Based Security, said by email. According to RBS' data, 222 vulnerabilities have been reported this year in security products, representing 3.4 percent of all vulnerabilities seen in 2016 so far. "It may not sound like much, but it's actually quite significant," Eiram said. Symantec has published a security advisory that lists the affected products and contains instructions on how to update them.

All Norton products -- the consumer line -- should have been updated automatically.