The FBI has observed cyber actors circumventing multi-factor authentication through common social engineering and technical attacks. This PIN explains these methods and offers mitigation strategies for organizations and entities using multi-factor authentication in their security efforts. Multi-factor authentication continues to be a strong and effective security measure to protect online accounts, as long as users take precautions to ensure they do not fall victim to these attacks.
FBI Cyber Bulletin: Targeting of Audio and Visual Communication Devices on Business Networks to Identify Vulnerabilities for Exploitation
The FBI identified incidents over the past few months in which cyber actors scanned for and sought to exploit audio and visual communication devices on networks to identify vulnerabilities which could later be used to gain access and unlawfully acquire information about the organization. In addition to targeting corporate information, vulnerable devices may be targeted for compromise for use in botnets or other criminal activities. The types of devices targeted include: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones, video conferencing equipment, conference phones, VoIP routers, and cloud-based communication systems. While cyber actors have targeted VoIP and other communication devices in the past, the FBI continues to see these devices scanned by cyber actors for vulnerabilities.
FBI Private Sector Report: US Adversaries Exploit Social Media Information to Target US Individuals and Government Clearance Holders
The FBI’s Washington Field Office, in coordination with the FBI’s Office of Private Sector (OPS), is informing private sector partners regarding foreign intelligence services’ (FIS) exploitation of social media platforms and data to target corporate and US government (USG) clearance holders. FIS and US adversary intelligence officers are using popular US-based social media platforms to identify, recruit, and conduct operations against USG clearance holders, to include private sector employees or contractors supporting the USG. FIS officers will use popular US-based platforms and their respective countries’ social media platforms for personal and intelligence gathering/operations purposes.
The FBI has identified successful spearphishing campaigns directed at college and university students, especially during periods when financial aid funds are disbursed in large volumes. In general, the spearphishing emails request students’ login credentials for the University’s internal intranet. The cyber criminals then capture students’ login credentials, and after gaining access, change the students’ direct deposit destination to bank accounts within the threat actor’s control.
APT actors in the near future likely intend to target US Cleared Defense Contractors (CDC) via spear phishing campaigns or network infrastructure compromises, according to recent intelligence. Common spear phish targets may include individuals featured on internet-facing CDC Web sites and high-ranking CDC executives.
(U//FOUO) California Cybersecurity Integration Center Advisory: Security Concerns with Kaspersky Labs Products
On 11 July, the United States Government removed Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab from two lists of approved vendors used by government agencies to purchase technology equipment, amid concerns the cyber security firm’s products could be used by the Kremlin to gain entry into U.S. networks. Last month the Senate Armed Services Committee passed a defense spending policy bill that would ban Kaspersky products from use in the military. The move came a day after the FBI interviewed several of the company’s U.S. employees at their private homes as part of a counterintelligence investigation into its operations.
FBI Cyber Bulletin: Individuals Threatening Distributed Denial of Service of Private-Sector Companies for Bitcoin
An individual or group claiming to be “Anonymous” or “Lizard Squad” sent extortion emails to private-sector companies threatening to conduct distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on their network unless they received an identified amount of Bitcoin. No victims to date have reported DDoS activity as a penalty for non-payment.
FBI Cyber Bulletin: Cyber Criminals Targeting FTP Servers to Compromise Protected Health Information
The FBI is aware of criminal actors who are actively targeting File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers operating in “anonymous” mode and associated with medical and dental facilities to access protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII) in order to intimidate, harass, and blackmail business owners.
FBI Cyber Bulletin: APT Targeting U.S. Private Sector, Government Networks Using Presidential Election Lures
Likely Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) cyber actors have targeted US private sector and government networks since August 2016 with spear phishing campaigns, using newly identified exploits contained within lures related to foreign affairs and the recent US presidential election. The FBI analyzed malicious Microsoft Office documents, a zip archive, a first-stage downloader, a second-stage in-memory-only PNG wrapped malware, and a BAT-initiated PowerShell script associated with the campaigns. This FLASH provides rules and signatures to assist in network defense efforts.
FBI Cyber Bulletin: Denial of Service Attack Against DNS Host Highlights Vulnerability of Internet of Things Devices
The FBI has obtained information regarding a malicious cyber group that has compromised the networks of foreign banks. The actors have exploited vulnerabilities in the internal environments of the banks and initiated unauthorized monetary transfers over an international payment messaging system. In some instances, the actors have been present on victim networks for a significant period of time. Contact law enforcement immediately regarding any activity related to the indicators of compromise (IOCs) in the attached appendix that are associated with this group.
The ‘Locky’ malware is a ransomware variant, which has extensively utilized spam campaigns to distribute malicious files that download and execute code capable of encrypting numerous critical file types on both local and networked file stores. Encrypted files are renamed with a unique hexadecimal filename and receive the “.locky” extension. Each directory containing encrypted files contains instructions on how to utilize Bitcoin in order to pay a ransom for file recovery, and the system’s computer background is also changed to contain payment instructions. Recovery of encrypted files is impossible without data backup or acquisition of the private key due to the well-implemented, strong encryption. Historically, while payment of the ransom may result in receipt of the valid private key, enabling decryption of the targeted files, the FBI does not recommended the victim pay the ransom.
As of 5 May 2016, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Sympathizer hacking group United Cyber Caliphate (UCC) defaced a Nigerian-hosted Web site, posting an html file containing the heading “USA Online Company Data Dumped by United Cyber Caliphate,” there was no other message or threat associated with the file. The file contained approximately 1,137 entries, many of which appeared to be US-based individuals with corresponding personally identifiable information (PII) fields such as name, company, e-mail, phone, city, state, and zip code. The PII was doxed from the personnel directory of a US business, according to FBI and open source reporting.
KeySweeper is a covert device that resembles a functional Universal Serial Bus (USB) enabled device charger which conceals hardware capable of harvesting keystrokes from certain wireless keyboards. If placed strategically in an office or other location where individuals might use wireless devices, a malicious cyber actor could potentially harvest personally identifiable information, intellectual property, trade secrets, passwords, or other sensitive information. Since the data is intercepted prior to reaching the CPU, security managers may not have insight into how sensitive information is being stolen.
The FBI previously identified that the actor(s) exploit Java-based Web servers to gain persistent access to a victim network and infect Windows-based hosts. The FBI also indicated that several victims have reported the initial intrusion occurred via JBOSS applications. Further analysis of victim machines indicates that, in at least two cases, the attackers used a Python tool, known as JexBoss, to probe and exploit target systems. Analysis of the JexBoss Exploit Kit identified the specific JBoss services targeted and vulnerabilities exploited. The FBI is distributing these indicators to enable network defense activities and reduce the risk of similar attacks in the future.
FBI Cyber Bulletin: Smart Farming May Increase Cyber Targeting Against US Food and Agriculture Sector
The FBI and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) assess the Food and Agriculture (FA) Sector is increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks as farmers become more reliant on digitized data. While precision agriculture technology (a.k.a. smart farming)a reduces farming costs and increases crop yields, farmers need to be aware of and understand the associated cyber risks to their data and ensure that companies entrusted to manage their data, including digital management tool and application developers and cloud service providers, develop adequate cybersecurity and breach response plans.
Over the past 18-24 months, an unknown number of online extremists have conducted “hacktivist” cyber operations – primarily Web site defacements, denial-of-service attacks, and release of personally identifiable information (PII) in an effort to spread pro-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) propaganda and to incite violence against the United States and the West. Recent open source reporting from the Daily Mail India, indicates ISIL is recruiting Indian hackers and offering upwards of $10,000 USD per job to hack government Web sites, steal data, and to build social media databases for recruiting purposes. Indian officials believe as many as 30,000 hackers in India may have been contacted. The FBI cannot confirm the validity of the media reports, and beyond this single article on Indian hackers and ISIL, does not have information indicating any such relationship exists to date. The FBI assesses this activity is most likely independent of ISIL’s leaders located in Syria and Iraq.
Social engineering, an age old threat, continues to play a significant role in successful attacks against people, enterprises, and agencies. The advent of the Internet, its diverse and increased use, and the reliance on it by almost every element of society, amplifies social engineering opportunities. Cybercriminals enjoy an expansive attack surface, novel attack vectors, and an increasing number of vulnerable points of entry. Threat actors, both cyber and physical, continue to leverage social engineering due in part to its high rate of success. Security experts believe complex social engineering threats will continue across all vectors and attack levels will continue to intensify.
As of July 2015, an APT actor that has previously targeted the U.S. financial sector used an implant to provide command and control (C2), according to credible reporting. Implant communications were observed between administrative infrastructure and known malware C2 nodes used in spear-phishing campaigns in July 2015. The communication from administrative infrastructure was an HTTP POST request.
FBI Cyber Division Bulletin: Hacking Team Exploit Used in Spearphishing Campaign Targeting U.S. Government
A bulletin issued by the FBI Cyber Division discusses a spearphishing campaign targeting U.S. government agencies in June and July of 2015. The campaign utilized a Adobe Flash exploit CVE-2015-5119 that was discovered in the 400GB data archive from hacked Italian surveillance technology company Hacking Team that was released publicly earlier this month. The exploit was being sold as a product of Hacking Team and was listed in their product knowledge base. The bulletin notes that the Flash exploit was being used in phishing emails in June 2015 despite the fact that the Hacking Team data was only made public on July 5, 2015.
FBI Cyber Division Bulletin: Distributed Denial of Service Attack Bitcoin Extortion Campaigns Expanding
Recent FBI investigations and open source reporting reveal that extortion campaigns conducted via e-mails threatening Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks continue to expand targets from unregulated activities, such as illegal gaming activity, to now include legitimate business operations. The increase in scope has resulted in additional attacks with Bitcoin ransom amounts trending upwards as well.
The FBI has obtained information regarding cyber actors who have compromised and stolen sensitive business information and Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Information obtained from victims indicates that PII was a priority target. The FBI notes that stolen PII has been used in other instances to target or otherwise facilitate various malicious activities such as financial fraud though the FBI is not aware of such activity by these groups. Any activity related to these groups detected on a network should be considered an indication of a compromise requiring extensive mitigation and contact with law enforcement.
The FBI is providing the following information with HIGH confidence: The FBI has obtained information regarding one or more groups of cyber actors who have compromised and stolen sensitive business information from US commercial and government networks through cyber espionage. Analysis indicates a significant amount of the computer network exploitation activities emanated from infrastructure located within China. Any activity related to these groups detected on a network should be considered an indication of a compromise requiring extensive mitigation and contact with law enforcement.
The FBI and TSA are currently analyzing claims in recent media reports which included statements that critical in-flight networks on commercial aircraft may be vulnerable to remote intrusion. At this time, the FBI and TSA have no information to support these claims but continue to leverage public and private sector partnerships to evaluate potential threats posed by intrusions into a commercial aircraft’s secure networks. The FBI and TSA also continuously monitor and analyze reporting on cyber and technical threats to proactively deter individuals from using remote intrusions to disrupt any portion of the aviation sector, including its business networks, critical navigation and air traffic control signals, and the onboard networks of commercial aircraft.