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APT Trends report Q3 2017

Beginning in the second quarter of 2017, Kaspersky's Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) began publishing summaries of the quarter's private threat intelligence reports in an effort to make the public aware of what research we have been conducting.  This report serves as the next installment, focusing on important reports produced during Q3 of 2017.
Searchmetrics partners with Content Marketing Institute in joint webinar revealing how search engine optimization unlocks high-performing content marketing SAN MATEO, Calif. (July 19, 2017) ‒ The marriage of content marketing and search engine op...
San Mateo, CA – [May 8, 2017] – Searchmetrics Inc., a leading search engine optimization (“SEO”) and online content development provider in the United States, announced today that it has filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S.

Bankruptcy Code in Wilmington, Delaware, together with a proposed plan of reorganization that contemplates payment in full of all obligations recognized by the bankruptcy court.

The implementation of the Company’s strategy will position... Source: RealWire
Over a five-month period, Pindrop Security collects and analyzes 100,000 fraudulent calls to a robocall honeypot called phoneypot. While most of us dread being the recipient of a robocall, Aude Marzuoli actually looks to attract and collect fraudulent calls to her robocall honeypot, aka, the phoneypot. Marzuoli, a data scientist at Pindrop Security, first provided details about the phoneypot and a sample of 100,000 calls it collected in the first half of 2016 during a session at the Black Hat USA security conference last week.In an interview with eWEEK, Marzuoli provided additional insight into her study and the results it found."We suspected that out of all the phone scams that hit consumers, there would be some infrastructure behind it," Marzuoli told eWEEK.What Marzuoli didn't know before conducting the study was how much, or little, infrastructure it takes to place 100,000 calls.

As it turns out, more than half (51 percent) of the calls the phoneypot recorded could be attributed to only 38 distinct telephony infrastructures. Marzuoli defines a telephony infrastructure as a grouping of phone numbers and back-end call centers operated by a phone fraud group. Pindrop's technology platform  provides a voice fingerprinting capability that was used to help analyze recorded calls from the phoneypot. The people and organizations behind phone scams aren't just an annoyance to consumers; they're also part of the wider cyber-security challenge, Marzuoli said.
If an individual divulges personal information over the phone to an attacker, the attacker will use that information to impersonate the individual in other places, including financial services transactions. In conducting the phoneypot research, Marzuoli and Pindrop faced a number of challenges, including making sure that attackers didn't know which phone numbers are owned by Pindrop.  The study looked at a sample of 100,000 out of 1 million calls received by Pindrop between February and June 2016.Among the surprising findings from the phoneypot study was that the numbers that called weren't necessarily the same as those that consumers have complained about in various online forums."What I found is that among the phone numbers that are responsible for two-thirds of all online complaints, they only represented 2 percent of numbers calling our honeypot," Marzuoli said. "Meaning that people online only complain about the very frequent callers, but they are really only a small sample of all the bad phone numbers out there that are spamming people."In addition, most phone numbers only show up once or twice, which makes many forms of traditional analytics and machine learning ineffective at fully understanding what is going on with robocalling, she said.

That's why the additional step of actually recording the 100,000 calls was taken—to further analyze the voices and content of the robocalls to try to determine additional patterns.Among the different phone fraud campaigns detected in the phoneypot are ones related to Google search engine optimization (SEO) as well as attackers claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service.At this point, Marzuoli is not providing full attribution on the worst phone fraud offenders.
She added that for any given phone number, a call could potentially transit across multiple carriers, making it challenging and expensive to fully backtrace the source origination for a single number."Instead of just looking for one number though, we're looking for a group of say a hundred numbers that look unrelated but we know come from the same source," Marzuoli said. "The problem then of finding the individual or people behind the calls become easier as there is a much bigger data set and a more reliable source of information."Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com.

Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.
If you're running a WordPress website and you have the hugely popular All in One SEO Pack plug-in installed, it's a good idea to update it as soon as possible.

The latest version released Friday fixes a flaw that could be used to hijack the site's admin account. The vulnerability is in the plug-in's Bot Blocker functionality and can be exploited remotely by sending HTTP requests with specifically crafted headers to the website. The Bot Blocker feature is designed to detect and block spam bots based on their user agent and referer header values, according to security researcher David Vaartjes, who found and reported the issue. If the Track Blocked Bots setting is enabled -- it's not by default -- the plug-in will log all requests that were blocked and will display them on an HTML page inside the site's admin panel. Because the plug-in fails to properly sanitize the requests before displaying them, attackers can inject malicious JavaScript code in the request headers, allowing the code to end up as part of the HTML page. This allows for a persistent cross-site scripting (XSS) attack, where the rogue code will be executed every time a user views the log page.

Because that page is in the admin panel, that user will likely be the administrator, and the code can steal their session tokens. These tokens are values stored inside the browser that allows a website to identify a logged in user.

By placing these values in their own browsers, attackers could access the website as an administrator without having to authenticate. The rogue code could also force the administrator's browser to perform an action that they haven't authorized. The All in One SEO Pack developer, a company called Semper Fi Web Design, has released version 2.3.7 Friday in order to fix this vulnerability. Users are advised to upgrade to this version as soon as possible or to make sure they don't have the Track Blocked Bots setting enabled. All in One SEO Pack provides a lot of search engine optimization features meant to increase a website's visibility in search results.

According to statistics from the WordPress plug-ins repository, it is popular, with over one million active installations.