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SANS NewsBites is a semiweekly high-level executive summary of the most important news articles that have been published on computer security during the last week. Each news item is very briefly summarized and includes a reference on the web for detailed information, if possible.

Spend five minutes per week to keep up with the high-level perspective of all the latest security news. New issues are delivered free every Tuesday and Friday.

Volume XVII - Issue #42

May 29, 2015

A powerful force for improving cyber hygiene is emerging as insurance companies take an increasingly tough line in computer crime cases, perhaps because they are getting sick of paying out large sums for avoidable incidents - particularly over something as obvious as insecure FTP access, or late patching. See the 3rd story under Top of the News this week.



Senate Fails to Pass PATRIOT Act Reauthorization; House Passes USA Freedom Act
Data Thieves Steal Taxpayer Information Through IRS Get Transcript Application
Insurance Company Suing Healthcare Company to Recoup Breach Payout


Grabit Malware Targets Small- and Medium-Sized Organizations
Google Identity Platform Aims to Improve App Security
Moose Router Worm
Apple Working on Fix for iOS Vulnerability that Can be Exploited to Crash iPhones
Locker Ransomware Waits for Instructions to Launch
Android Ransomware
Skype in Belgian Court Over Refusal to Allow Wiretap
A Closer Look at Claims of Hacking Commercial Aircraft



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House Passes USA Freedom Act (May 26 & 27, 2015)

The US House of Representative has passed the USA Freedom Act, which reauthorizes PATRIOT ACT provisions set to expire at the end of the month with some changes. The changes to would still allow law enforcement access to mobile communications metadata, but would require that the telecommunications providers retain it and law enforcement seek the data with warrants.

The Patriot Act may be dead forever

Data Thieves Steal Taxpayer Information Through IRS Get Transcript Application (May 26, 2015)

The US Internal Revenue Service (IES) has acknowledged that information thieves managed to steal personally identifiable information of more than 100,000 taxpayers through the agency's Get Transcript online service. It seems that the thieves possessed enough information from other sources prior to the attack to use the service.




Insurance Company Suing Healthcare Company to Recoup Breach Payout (May 28, 2015)

The Columbia Casualty Company is suing Cottage Healthcare Systems to recover US $4.1 million it paid to Cottage patients after data thieves stole 32,500 patient records. Columbia maintains that that Cottage did not meet the minimum security standards for its network, which violated the policy it held with Columbia. Among the problems noted in the lawsuit are failure to change default settings on security devices and not patching within 3 days of patches' release.

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Grabit Malware Targets Small- and Medium-Sized Organizations (May 28 & 29, 2015)

A new strain of malware dubbed Grabit targets small- and medium-sized companies in media, education, nanotechnology, and other sectors. Grabit has stolen thousands of documents since the attack campaign began in February 2015.

Google Identity Platform Aims to Improve App Security (May 28, 2015)

The Google Identity Platform aims to help developers create apps that protect users' privacy and security. The platform is a set of tools that allows developers to add password management, identity authentication, and single sign-in across related apps and websites.

Moose Router Worm (May 27 & 28, 2015)

A worm known as Moose is targeting Linux home routers. Moose tries to take control of routers by brute-force guessing of passwords. When Moose succeeds in compromising a router, it harvests access credentials for social media accounts and uses the accounts to boost numbers of followers and viewers.


Apple Working on Fix for iOS Vulnerability that Can be Exploited to Crash iPhones (May 27 & 28, 2015)

A security flaw in Apple's iOS could be exploited to crash and reboot iPhones with malicious text messages that include a precise string of characters. The attack is currently being used as a prank and while annoying - the phone turns off and needs to be rebooted - it does not corrupt any data or cause other harm. Apple is working on a fix for the problem, which resides in in iMessage.



Locker Ransomware Waits for Instructions to Launch (May 27, 2015)

Ransomware known as Locker has a feature that allows it to remain dormant until activated by attackers. It is estimated that some of the infected computers became infected several months before the attack was launched on Monday, May 25. Once activated, Locker encrypted files on infected computers, demanding 0.1 Bitcoin to restore users' access to data.

Android Ransomware (May 26, 2015)

Ransomware targeting users of Android devices pretends to be an update for Adobe Flash Player. Once the user clicks on the phony update, the malware displays what appears to be a warning from the FBI about the user's viewing of online pornography. The warning includes phony screenshots of what appears to be an incriminating browsing history.

Skype in Belgian Court Over Refusal to Allow Wiretap (May 26 & 28, 2015)

A Belgian court has summoned Skype to appear to answer for its refusal to allow authorities to tap suspects Skype communications as part of a criminal investigation. The question at the heart of the case is whether Skype, a VoIP service owned by Microsoft, can be treated as a telecommunications operator in Belgium.


A Closer Look at Claims of Hacking Commercial Aircraft (May 26, 2015)

Chris Roberts made headlines recently when an FBI agent revealed that Roberts claimed he was able to access a plane's network during a flight and cause a slight change in the aircraft's course. This article examines the claims and the likelihood of their veracity.


Angler Exploit Kit Pushing CryptoWall 3.0

Oracle Peoplesoft Password Reset Weakness

Synology Command Injection Vulnerability

Made to Order Crypto Ransomware

Microsoft Will Consider Search Protection Malicious

Javascript Bot Client Control via Twitter

Possible Wordpress Botnet C&C: errorcontent.com

CSRF Used To Attack Home Routers

The Editorial Board of SANS NewsBites

John Pescatore was Vice President at Gartner Inc. for fourteen years. He became a director of the SANS Institute in 2013. He has worked in computer and network security since 1978 including time at the NSA and the U.S. Secret Service.

Shawn Henry is president of CrowdStrike Services. He retired as FBI Executive Assistant Director responsible for all criminal and cyber programs and investigations worldwide, as well as international operations and the FBI's critical incident response.

Stephen Northcutt teaches advanced courses in cyber security management; he founded the GIAC certification and was the founding President of STI, the premier skills-based cyber security graduate school, www.sans.edu.

Dr. Johannes Ullrich is Chief Technology Officer of the Internet Storm Center and Dean of the Faculty of the graduate school at the SANS Technology Institute.

Ed Skoudis is co-founder of CounterHack, the nation's top producer of cyber ranges, simulations, and competitive challenges, now used from high schools to the Air Force. He is also author and lead instructor of the SANS Hacker Exploits and Incident Handling course, and Penetration Testing course.

Michael Assante was Vice President and Chief Security Officer at NERC, led a key control systems group at Idaho National Labs, and was American Electric Power's CSO. He now leads the global cyber skills development program at SANS for power, oil & gas and other critical infrastructure industries.

Mark Weatherford is a Principal at The Chertoff Group and the former Deputy Under Secretary of Cybersecurity at the US Department of Homeland Security.

William Hugh Murray is an executive consultant and trainer in Information Assurance and Associate Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Sean McBride is Director of Analysis and co-founder of Critical Intelligence, and, while at Idaho National Laboratory, he initiated the situational awareness effort that became the ICS-CERT.

Rob Lee is the SANS Institute's top forensics instructor and director of the digital forensics and incident response research and education program at SANS (computer-forensics.sans.org).

Tom Liston is the Principal Information Security Architect for Warner Brothers Entertainment, a handler for the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center, and co-author of the book Counter Hack Reloaded.

Dr. Eric Cole is an instructor, author and fellow with The SANS Institute. He has written five books, including Insider Threat and he is a founder with Secure Anchor Consulting.

Mason Brown is one of a very small number of people in the information security field who have held a top management position in a Fortune 50 company (Alcoa). He leads SANS' efforts to raise the bar in cybersecurity education around the world.

David Hoelzer is the director of research & principal examiner for Enclave Forensics and a senior fellow with the SANS Technology Institute.

Gal Shpantzer is a trusted advisor to CSOs of large corporations, technology startups, Ivy League universities and non-profits specializing in critical infrastructure protection. Gal created the Security Outliers project in 2009, focusing on the role of culture in risk management outcomes and contributes to the Infosec Burnout project.

Alan Paller is director of research at the SANS Institute.

Brian Honan is an independent security consultant based in Dublin, Ireland.

David Turley is SANS operations manager and serves as production manager and final editor on SANS NewsBites.

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