Tag Archives: GrahamCluley

Malware in SQL – Really new?

18 February 2017

In post ‘Magento stores targeted by self-healing malware that steals credit card details‘, published by David Bisson on 18 February 2017 at Graham Cluleys’s newsletter, I found the really astonishing statement from Willem de Groot:

This is the first time I see malware written in SQL.

What happened? To put is briefly, someone found a vulnerability in Magento-powered online stores. He guessed the web shop’s administrator password. With this, he managed to get the database schema user’s username and password, connected to the database and added an after-insert trigger to the sales_flat_order table. The after-insert triggers adds code to the web page which sends customer credit card details to the attackers C&C server.

To be honest, there’s nothing new here.

As in 90% of all data breaches, a vulnerability known for some month was used to get administrative access to the shop software. For details please see post ‘10 tricks to improve Magento admin security‘.

But this must not necessarily end in a data breach. The issue here is, that the admin user was used to get privileged access to the database. This kind of trouble can be easily avoided by strict separation of duties inside the database. Only the database schema owner should have the privileges to change the database schema, i.e. add a trigger to a table. All other database users should have the privilege to access data sets only. And the web shop software administrator should have no access to database content at all. That’s plainly long known database design best practice.

In general, database application designers spend a lot of time ensuring data integrity. Data integrity was not violated here. In this case, we encounter code integrity issues, which result in the loss of confidentiality.

Separation of duties is the standard means for mitigation of this kind of issues. In addition, we should consider adding code integrity checks to ensure code integrity at runtime.

Have a good weekend.

Advertisements

Consumers cut off from progress in endpoint protection?

23 January 2016

The Dridex banking Trojan is back from the ashes like the Phoenix. In his post ‘Dridex malware adopts redirection attacks to target high-value UK banking customers’, published on 20 January 2016 in security blog GrahamCluley, David Bisson clearly shows that the Trojan attacks banks and end users with terrifying speed.

How can end users protect themselves?

‘As for ordinary users, maintaining an updated anti-virus solution and refusing to click on suspicious links will go a long way towards protecting your life savings from low-life criminals.’

To be honest, the advice to keep the anti-virus solution up-to-date creates a false sense of security. Let me give you a current example.

Last Tuesday I got an email with an attachment containing the malware ‘VirTool:Win32/CeeInject.GF’. I uploaded the attachment to VirusTotal for inspection and found that only 8 of 54 anti-virus solutions identified the malware, although the malware or a variant was first published about 9 month ago:

Table 1: Result of first scan

Table 1: Result of first scan

These are definitely not the heavyweights in the consumer market. 7 hours later only 12 of 54 anti-virus solutions identified the malware. For the development in the next days see the following table:

Table2: Changes in identification rate

Table2: Changes in identification rate

In the worst case consumers were unprotected for about 2 days. Moreover, up to yesterday evening 22 of 54 anti-virus solutions had still not identified the malware.

Advanced endpoint security tools could deal definitely better. Unfortunately the vendors of such solutions focus on the private businesses.

In the latest issue of the Cyber Intelligencer Michael Applebaum writes:

‘What the industry desperately needs is rigorous, scientifically validated third-party testing of endpoint security technologies, across a range of real-world scenarios. Invincea has been prominently calling for this and we hope to see progress in 2016 by reputable third parties.’

Even more than the industry the consumers need decision-making aids in how to protect effectively against malware. At the moment they are not participating in the progress in technology at all.

As always the user is the first and best line of defense. ‘Check twice before you click on whatever links or attachments’, is the best possible advice.

Have a good weekend, and, don’t rely too much on your anti-virus solution!