Cyber Security Weekly Briefing, 27 May – 2 June

June 2, 2023

Backdoor discovered in hundreds of Gigabyte motherboards

Cybersecurity researchers at Eclypsium discovered a secret backdoor in the firmware of hundreds of Gigabyte motherboard models, a well-known Taiwanese manufacturer.

Every time a machine with one of these motherboards is rebooted, an update application downloaded and executed by the board's firmware is silently activated, allowing the installation of other, possibly malicious, software.

The firmware on these systems removes a Windows binary at operating system startup and downloads and executes another payload from Gigabyte's servers over an insecure connection without verifying the legitimacy of the file. A total of 271 different motherboard versions were identified as vulnerable.

Although the feature appears to be related to the Gigabyte App Center, it is difficult to rule out the possibility of a malicious backdoor due to the lack of proper authentication and the use of insecure HTTP connections instead of HTTPS which could allow for man-in-the-middle attacks.

Even if Gigabyte fixes the issue, firmware updates may fail on users' machines due to their complexity and difficulty in matching with the hardware. In addition, the updater could be used maliciously by actors on the same network to install their own malware.

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Google's Passkey is just another nail in the password coffin

SharpPanda's campaign against the G20

Cyble has published an investigation in which it shares its findings on the campaign currently being developed by the SharpPanda espionage group, allegedly backed by the Chinese government, against the member countries of the G20 (the international forum that brings together the world's most industrialized countries along with organizations such as the UN or the World Bank).

As Cyble explains, the campaign starts with the distribution of emails to high-ranking officials of the targeted countries in which a .docx file supposedly generated by the G7 (a group of countries within the G20) is included.

This file downloads an RTF document that includes the RoyalRoad malware kit. The exploit creates a scheduled task and executes a malware DLL downloader, which executes another Command & Control (C2) DLL. RoyalRoad exploits a specific set of vulnerabilities, including CVE-2018-0802 , CVE-2018-0798 y CVE-2017-11882, within Microsoft Office.

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0-day vulnerability actively exploited in Email Security Gateway for months

Barracuda recently issued a statement warning customers about an actively exploited 0-day vulnerability in its Email Security Gateway asset.

The security flaw was identified as CVE-2023-2868 and it is noted that exploiting it could allow a remote attacker to perform code execution on vulnerable systems. However, new information has emerged that has identified that the exploitation of this vulnerability has been taking place since October 2022 using a total of three different strains of malware, namely Saltwater, Seaspy and Seaside.

Barracuda has not released any information about the victims publicly, but they have identified evidence of exfiltration of information in some victims to whom all the information has been reported. It should be noted that this vulnerability affects versions to and was fixed on May 20 and 21.

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Cybersecurity: “black swan“ events in a connected world

New analysis of BlackCat ransomware

The IBM research team has published an analysis in which it mentions new ransomware variants that enable better data exfiltration and evasion of security solutions. In particular, the experts note that the operators of the BlackCat/ALPHV ransomware continue to evolve the tool, especially from two perspectives.

On the one hand, the operators of this malware are reportedly using ExMatter malware in their operations, the function of which is to optimise file exfiltration processes.

On the other hand, IBM says it has analysed a new strain of BlackCat, which it has dubbed Sphynx, which stands out for having a series of capabilities that allow it to evade security solutions more effectively.

IBM points out that these ransomware evolutions show that the operators behind these threats are increasingly aware of the systems' infrastructures and are trying to improve their operational efficiency.

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CISA has warned about two vulnerabilities in industrial control systems

CISA has issued a warning about two vulnerabilities affecting industrial control systems, specifically Moxa's MXsecurity product.

Firstly, the vulnerability identified as CVE-2023-33235, with CVSS of 7.2, is a command injection vulnerability that can be exploited by attackers who have obtained authorisation privileges and can exit the restricted shell and execute arbitrary code.

On the other hand, CVE-2023-33236, with CVSS 9.8, can be exploited to create arbitrary JWT tokens and bypass authentication of web-based APIs. Notably, Moxa has addressed these flaws with the update to v1.0.1.

For its part, CISA recommends that users implement defensive measures to minimise the risk of exploitation, such as minimising network exposure for devices, using firewalls and VPNs.

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Featured photo: DCStudio on Freepik.