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Staying Safe in the Era of Browser-based Cryptocurrency Mining

Qualys Malware Research Labs is announcing the release of Qualys BrowserCheck CoinBlocker Chrome extension to detect and block browser-based cryptocurrency mining, aka cryptojacking.

Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking attacks leverage the victim system’s resources via malicious JavaScript to mine certain cryptocurrencies. Attackers carry out these attacks by infecting popular sites with JavaScript that enables cryptojacking. Any visitor to such sites will download the JavaScript and unknowingly contribute its system resources to mine a cryptocurrency that is added to the attacker’s wallet. The resource-intensive mining process is carried out on victim systems typically consumes more than 70% of CPU, that reduces system performance, increases power consumption and can cause possible permanent damage to the system.

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Microsoft Misfires with Meltdown Patch, while WannaCry Pops Up at Boeing

In our weekly roundup of InfoSec happenings, we start, as has often been the case this year, with concerning Meltdown / Spectre news — this time involving Microsoft — and also touch on a password hack at Under Armour, a WannaCry infection at Boeing, and a severe Drupal vulnerability.

Microsoft patches its Meltdown patch, then patches it again

In an instance of the cure possibly being worse than the disease, a Microsoft patch for Meltdown released in January created a gaping security hole in certain systems in which it was installed.

It took Microsoft two tries to fix the issue, which affects Windows 7 (x64) and Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64) systems. The company thought it had solved the vulnerability (CVE-2018-1038) with a scheduled patch last Tuesday, but then had to rush out an emergency fix two days later.

Security researcher Ulf Frisk, who discovered the vulnerability, called it “way worse” than Meltdown because it “allowed any process to read the complete memory contents at gigabytes per second” and made it possible to write to arbitrary memory as well.

“No fancy exploits were needed. Windows 7 already did the hard work of mapping in the required memory into every running process,” Frisk wrote. “Exploitation was just a matter of read and write to already mapped in-process virtual memory. No fancy APIs or syscalls required — just standard read and write.”

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Cryptomining is all the rage among hackers, as DDoS amplification attacks continue

In this week’s InfoSec news review we’ll dive into cryptomining, get the latest on DDoS amplification, go over recent data breaches, and check out another vendor claiming it can crack iPhones.

I, me, mine

The freight train that’s cryptomining shows no sign of slowing down, and the cyber security implications are intensifying accordingly.

This week alone, Microsoft detected and disrupted a massive cryptomining malware campaign, a Tesla AWS account got hijacked, a new mining worm was discovered, and Kaspersky researchers warned about increased sophistication of infection methods.  

While there is a legitimate component to this business, malicious hackers eager to profit are aggressively breaching networks and infecting devices — PCs, IoT systems, smartphones, servers — to steal computing power for mining virtual currencies.

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