DarkFiber Consulting – IT Managed Services

SSH Key-based Attacks

August 26th, 2008 . by DarkFiber Consulting

DarkFiber Consulting is aware of active attacks against linux-based computing infrastructures using compromised SSH keys. The attack appears to initially use stolen SSH keys to gain access to a system, and then uses local kernel exploits to gain root access. Once root access has been obtained, a rootkit known as “phalanx2″ is installed.

Phalanx2 appears to be a derivative of an older rootkit named “phalanx”. Phalanx2 and the support scripts within the rootkit, are configured to systematically steal SSH keys from the compromised system. These SSH keys are sent to the attackers, who then use them to try to compromise other sites and other systems of interest at the attacked site.

Detection of phalanx2 as used in this attack may be performed as follows:

  • “ls” does not show a directory “/etc/khubd.p2/”, but it can be entered with “cd /etc/khubd.p2″.
  • “/dev/shm/” may contain files from the attack.
  • Any directory named “khubd.p2″ is hidden from “ls”, but may be entered by using “cd”.
  • Changes in the configuration of the rootkit might change the attack indicators listed above. Other detection methods may include searching for hidden processes and checking the reference count in “/etc” against the number of directories shown by “ls”.

DarkFiber Consulting encourages administrators to perform the following actions to help mitigate the risks:

  • Proactively identify and examine systems where SSH keys are used as part of automated processes. These keys will typically not have passphrases or passwords.
  • Encourage users to use the keys with passphrase or passwords to reduce the risk if a key is compromised.
  • Review access paths to internet facing systems and ensure that systems are fully patched.

If a compromise is confirmed, DarkFiber Consulting recommends the following actions:

  • Disable key-based SSH authentication on the affected systems, where possible.
  • Perform an audit of all SSH keys on the affected systems.
  • Notify all key owners of the potential compromise of their keys.

DarkFiber Consulting will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Microsoft Revised Security Bulletin MS08-051

August 25th, 2008 . by DarkFiber Consulting

Microsoft has revised Security Bulletin MS08-051, which addresses vulnerabilities in Microsoft PowerPoint. This revision describes a rerelease of the standalone update package for Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003.

According to Microsoft, users who applied the update provided through Microsoft Update or Office Update do not need to take further action. Users who installed the original standalone update should apply the updated package as described in the revised Microsoft Security Bulletin.

DarkFiber Consulting encourages users and administrators to review Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-051 and apply or reapply any necessary updates.

Red Hat Releases OpenSSH Security Update

August 25th, 2008 . by DarkFiber Consulting

Red Hat has released Security Advisory RHSA-2008:0855-6 to address a recent security incident. In the advisory, Red Hat indicates that the incident involved an intrusion on several of their computer systems. During the intrusion, an attacker was able to sign a small number of OpenSSH packages. Red Hat has provided a list of the compromised packages and has released updated versions of the OpenSSH packages as a precautionary measure.

DarkFiber Consulting encourages users and administrators to review Red Hat Security Advisory RHSA-2008:0855-6 and apply the solution provided in the document.

Malware Circulating via Russia/Georgia Conflict Spam Messages

August 21st, 2008 . by DarkFiber Consulting

DarkFiber Consulting is aware of public reports of malware circulating via spam email messages related to the Russia/Georgia conflict. These messages contain factual information about the conflict. The messages also contain download instructions for the user to watch a video that is attached to the message. If a user opens the attachment, malware may be downloaded and installed onto their system.

DarkFiber Consulting encourages users and administrators to take the following preventative measures to help mitigate the security risks:

Opera Releases Version 9.52

August 21st, 2008 . by DarkFiber Consulting

Opera Software has released version 9.52 of the Opera web browser to address multiple vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code, inject malicious content into a page on a trusted website, obtain sensitive information, or cause a denial-of-service condition.

DarkFiber Consulting encourages users to review the latest Opera Security Advisories and upgrade to Opera 9.52 to help mitigate the risks.

Joomla! Password Reset Vulnerability

August 14th, 2008 . by DarkFiber Consulting

The Joomla! Project has released an advisory to address a password reset vulnerability in the Joomla! content management system. This vulnerability, which may allow non-validating tokens to be forged, is due to a flaw in the reset token validation mechanism. Exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an unauthenticated attacker to reset the password of the first enabled user, which is typically an administrator user.

DarkFiber Consulting encourages users to review the Joomla! advisory and upgrade to version 1.5.6 (or newer) or apply the patch listed in the advisory.

Apple MobileMe Phishing Scam

August 13th, 2008 . by DarkFiber Consulting

DarkFiber Consulting is aware of public reports of a phishing attack circulating via email messages that appear to be targeting Apple MobileMe users. These messages claim that there is a problem with the user’s billing information and instruct the user to follow a web link to update personal information. Clicking on this link directs the user to a web page that contains a seemingly legetimate web form requesting personal and financial information. Any information entered in this form is not sent to Apple but rather, to a malicious attacker.

DarkFiber Consulting encourages users to do the following to help mitigate the risks:

Microsoft Releases August Security Bulletin

August 13th, 2008 . by DarkFiber Consulting

Microsoft has released updates to address vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Windows Messenger as part of the Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for August 2008. These vulnerabilities may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code or obtain sensitive information.

DarkFiber Consulting encourages users to review the bulletins and follow best-practice security policies to determine which updates should be applied.

Webex Meeting Manager ActiveX Control Vulnerability

August 11th, 2008 . by DarkFiber Consulting

DarkFiber Consulting is aware of public reports of a vulnerability that affects Webex Meeting Manager. This vulnerability is due to improper handling of arguments passed to the “NewObject()” method within the WebexUCFObject ActiveX control (atucfobj.dll). By convincing a user to visit a specially crafted web page, a remote attacker may be able to execute arbitrary code.

Public reports indicate that Webex has addressed this issue in Meeting Manager version 20.2008.2606.4919. DarkFiber Consulting encourages users to upgrade to this version or set the kill bit for CLSID 32E26FD9-F435-4A20-A561-35D4B987CFDC. Information about how to set a kill bit can be found in Microsoft Support Article 240797.

Malware Circulating via Spam Messages

August 7th, 2008 . by DarkFiber Consulting

DarkFiber Consulting is aware of public reports of malware spreading via spam. It has been reported that malware is spreading in spam messages related to the upcoming Olympics and to fake CNN news reports. If a user clicks the link to one of these fake news reports they are prompted to install a Flash Player update. If users attempt to install the update, malware may be downloaded and installed onto their system.

DarkFiber Consulting encourages users and administrators to take the following preventative measures to help mitigate the security risks:

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