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#deepweb | When Rogue Insiders Go to the Dark Web

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Employees gone bad sell stolen company information, sometimes openly touting their companies, researchers say.

Researchers who operate undercover in the Dark Web are noticing an increase in activity among rogue employees selling access and stolen data from their organizations — mainly financial and telecommunications companies — for profit.

Charity Wright, cyber threat intelligence analyst and researcher at IntSights, says the rogue employee, often working via underground brokers, is a growing phenomenon in the Dark Web. Researchers have observed sellers, especially in Russian language-speaking forums, openly discussing how they offer services where they steal and sell information from their employers.

The researchers spotted a pair of telecommunications employees selling text message logs and geolocation information from phone SIM cards, for example. “There’s huge potential for damage if they use it to target VIPs or government employees,” for instance, Wright notes. “These services are relatively cheap, and all you have to do is provide them a phone number and they can give you everything they have on it.”

Rogue financial firm employees typically get paid more: Brokers offer 10 times more money for information supplied by bank insiders. “Because they have the keys to the kingdom … with customer bank information they have access to, and deals that are being closed, for insider trading,” she says.

IntSights has been studying the rogue insider trend in the Dark Web for the past four years. In 2017, IntSights and RedOwl published a report, “Monetizing the Insider: The Growing Symbiosis of Insiders and the Dark Web,” on their two-year study of Dark Web forums that recruit insiders. At the time, they noted a twofold increase in insider outreach and forum discussions between 2015 and 2016. 

Insider recruits go through an elaborate selection and verification process by the forums, including confirming the access the insider has within its organization and how fast they can grab it and release it. Once they are in, they are protected with a shroud of anonymity, the study found.

Most recently, IntSights has found the most active forums for rogue insiders include Dark Money, a forum for buying and selling stolen banking information; cc, a Dark Web site; and exploit.IN, a popular Russian Dark Web forum, she says. Genesis Market, Joker’s Stash, and Bitify are among some of the underground markets where stolen bank cards can go for anywhere from $30 to $50 apiece, or $95 for “fresh” cards, for example, Wright says.

What’s unclear, however, is just how these employees gone bad access the information they steal and monetize. “It looks like they already have access to it in their jobs, whether they are supposed to or maybe they have admin access they are not supposed to have. … We’re not really sure how they got the access,” she says. “But they are definitely out there and in some certain regions, like Russia, they are pretty blatant and open about what company they work for. They’re not even trying to hide it.”

That openness is not the case in English-speaking forums, however, where rogue insiders and sellers are more cautious and suspicious of buyers and questions. “In English-language forums, they tend to be a lot more cautious and suspicious,” especially now that they are aware of researchers and law enforcement infiltrating their spaces, she says. And because law enforcement has been shuttering some of these forums over the past couple of years, it’s harder to track where the rogue insiders go next, notes Wright, who will present some of IntSights’ latest Dark Web findings at Black Hat Europe in London this week.

But identifying in the Dark Web just who’s behind what and from where it came isn’t necessarily always cut and dried. There are plenty of cybercriminals selling data they have stolen from their victims.

“The economy of scale of the Dark Web has a multitude of participants — not all of them full-time cybercriminals,” notes Tom Kellermann, head cybersecurity strategist for Carbon Black, now part of VMware, which has seen an increase of 41% in so-called “island-hopping,” where attackers pivot from one victim to its business partners or other connected targets to steal information.

“The challenge is determining whether these are true insiders or digital insiders commandeering the digital transformation of the corporation and using it to island-hop and access-mine” data, he says.

Finding Out the Hard Way
IntSights gets hired by organizations to drill down on their stolen data in the Dark Web. They often don’t have visibility into their data leaking out of the organization, Wright notes. “A lot of organizations are very aware of what’s going on in their networks and what’s attacking them [and going on] inside, but they aren’t aware very much of what is exposed … outside of their network,” she says.

Organizations already are flooded with security incidents on a daily basis, often with an understaffed security team, so they triage the main threats first. “They start with the closest targets and biggest threats first,” Wright says. “First, it’s malware and data loss, and then if you mature your organization to a point where you can afford an insider-threat team, it’s usually one person. Then they are overwhelmed once they start digging into the insider threat.”

Related Content:

Check out The Edge, Dark Reading’s new section for features, threat data, and in-depth perspectives. Today’s top story: “A Cause You Care About Needs Your Cybersecurity Help.”


Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise … View Full Bio

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New Flaw Lets Rogue Android Apps Access Camera Without Permission

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

hacking android camera apps

An alarming security vulnerability has been discovered in several models of Android smartphones manufactured by Google, Samsung, and others that could allow malicious apps to secretly take pictures and record videos — even when they don’t have specific device permissions to do so.

You must already know that the security model of the Android mobile operating system is primarily based on device permissions where each app needs to explicitly define which services, device capabilities, or user information it wants to access.

However, researchers at Checkmarx discovered that a vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2019-2234, in pre-installed camera apps on millions of devices could be leveraged by attackers to bypass such restrictions and access device camera and microphone without any permissions to do so.

How Can Attackers Exploit the Camera App Vulnerability?

The attack scenario involves a rogue app that only needs access to device storage (i.e., SD card), which is one of the most common requested permissions and does not raise any suspicion.

According to researchers, by merely manipulating specific “actions and intents,” a malicious app can trick vulnerable camera apps into performing actions on behalf of the attacker, who can then steal photos and videos from the device storage after being taken.

Since smartphone camera apps already have access to required permissions, the flaw could allow attackers to indirectly and surreptitiously take photos, record videos, eavesdrop on conversations, and track location — even if the phone is locked, the screen is off, or the app is closed.

“After a detailed analysis of the Google Camera app, our team found that by manipulating specific actions and intents, an attacker can control the app to take photos and/or record videos through a rogue application that has no permissions to do so,” Checkmarx wrote in a blog post published today.

“Additionally, we found that certain attack scenarios enable malicious actors to circumvent various storage permission policies, giving them access to stored videos and photos, as well as GPS metadata embedded in photos, to locate the user by taking a photo or video and parsing the proper EXIF data. This same technique also applied to Samsung’s Camera app.”

To demonstrate the risk of the vulnerability for Android users, the researchers created a proof-of-concept rogue app masqueraded as an innocent weather app that only asks for the basic storage permission.

The PoC app came in two parts — the client app running on an Android device and an attacker’s controlled command-and-control (C&C) server that the app creates a persistent connection to so that closing the app did not terminate the server connection.

The malicious app designed by the researchers was able to perform a long list of malicious tasks, including:

  • Making the camera app on the victim’s phone to take photos and record videos and then upload (retrieve) it to the C&C server.
  • Pulling GPS metadata embedded into photos and videos stored on the phone to locate the user.
  • Waiting for a voice call and automatically recording audio from both sides of the conversation and video from the victim’s side.
  • Operating in stealth mode while taking photos and recording videos, so no camera shutter sounds for alerting the user.

The malicious app implemented the wait for a voice call option via the phone’s proximity sensor that can sense when the phone is held to the victim’s ear.

Web Application Firewall

Researchers have also published a video of successfully exploiting the vulnerabilities on Google Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 3 and confirmed that the vulnerabilities were relevant to all Google phone models.

Vulnerability Disclosure and Patch Availability

The Checkmarx research team responsibly reported their findings to Google in early July with the PoC app and a video demonstrating an attack scenario.

Google confirmed and addressed the vulnerability in its Pixel line of devices with a camera update that became available in July, and contacted other Android-based smartphone OEMs in late August to inform them about the issue, which the company rated as “High” in severity.

However, Google did not disclose the names of the affected manufacturers and models.

“We appreciate Checkmarx bringing this to our attention and working with Google and Android partners to coordinate disclosure,” Google said.

“The issue was addressed on impacted Google devices via a Play Store update to the Google Camera Application in July 2019. A patch has also been made available to all partners.”

Also Read: Over 1,300 Android Apps Caught Collecting Data Even If You Deny Permissions

Checkmarx also reported the vulnerability to Samsung that affected its Camera app. Samsung confirmed and fixed the issue in late August, although it wasn’t revealed when the company patched the flaw.

“Since being notified of this issue by Google, we have subsequently released patches to address all Samsung device models that may be affected. We value our partnership with the Android team that allowed us to identify and address this matter directly,” Samsung said.

To protect yourself from attacks surrounding this vulnerability, ensure you are running the latest version of the camera app on your Android smartphone.

Besides this, you are also recommended to run the latest version of the Android operating system and regularly update apps installed on your phone.

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Going Rogue for Creative Discourse

As educators we are all about planning and considering student learning outcomes.  As the moderators of K12ArtChat, I would say that Matt and I have found a formula that (generally) works for our professional learning […]

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How to spot a hacker, and prevent employees turning rogue

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Hackers come in many shapes and forms. Many of them are located thousands of miles away working for criminal gangs, or even as part of some state-sponsored army bent on stealing your secrets. Those remote hackers will always be there, and you will never come into physical contact with them. But there are also the hackers who wheedle their way into your organisation and undermine your security from the inside. They are potentially the more dangerous, because they work inside your firewalls. However, they are also the people you have some chance of identifying and stopping – if you know what to look for. We collected a group of people whose job it is to do just this, and asked them to give their advice to our readers. This is a flavour of what they said….. Jenny Radcliff, who specialises in penetration testing, observed that many malicious insiders begin as normal employees, but slowly become disenchanted with the organisation and it treats them. “Organisations end up growing their own hackers,” she said. “They have employees who are not fans of the company itself, and even if these employees don’t become hackers themselves, they will feel no obligation to resist a hacker.” […]

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