Hacktivists Turn to Phishing to Fund Their Causes

At Intel Security we recently observed a phishing campaign targeting Apple account holders.


The link directed the user to a compromised WordPress site used to serve the fake Apple ID login page.


Users are asked to log in with their Apple IDs, and then are requested to update billing information and credit card details. In the following images we have highlighted some indicators that the site is not legitimate.


Users are then redirected to the official Apple page.


The phishers usually create a local .zip file that contains all of their scripts to create the phishing page. They upload this file to a compromised server, extract it, and delete the file. On this occasion, the phisher appears to have forgotten to perform this last step.


This oversight enabled us to see how the website code worked; we found some interesting comments.

The .zip file contained a readme that states the results would be stored locally, although this was not the case.


We also found some .htaccess files. These are used to block access to the site by checking the originating IP of the connection. This is done to prevent the site’s being accessed and analyzed by robot scrapers.


Depending on the page a user lands on—credit card, Apple login, or address change—a .php script generates an email and sends it to [email protected]


In one of the .php files we found a reference a hacktivist group. We did some investigating and found this name had been associated with several website defacings. The group’s activities promote a set of political views, so we suspect that the group was funding its operations through this new phishing scam.

We received another phishing email that was identical to the original one apart from the URL it linked to. It served the same fake Apple page but this time it did not contain the .zip file. We went to the homepage of the compromised site and found it had also been defaced.

This confirmed our view that the original phishing site was hacked by the hacktivist group. It seems that political hackers are now using their skills to generate income to aid their causes.

Intel Security customers are protected from this campaign through heuristic definitions and McAfee Global Threat Intelligence reputation.

The post Hacktivists Turn to Phishing to Fund Their Causes appeared first on McAfee.

VMware Releases Security Updates

Original release date: March 16, 2016

VMware has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in VMware vRealize Automation and vRealize Business Advanced and Enterprise. Exploitation of these vulnerabilities may allow a remote attacker to take control of an affected system.

Users and administrators are encouraged to review VMware Security Advisory VMSA-2016-0003 and apply the necessary updates. 

This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.

ICO releases 12 step guide on the GDPR

On Monday this week the UK Information Commissioner’s Office released its first guidance on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): the 12 steps that businesses can start taking now to prepare for the GDPR.  The guide was launched as part of the ICO’s annual Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference, in Manchester.  The ICO also launched a new microsite on the GDPR (see below).

In its accompanying press release, the ICO emphasised that its role is “not just about enforcement and fines” and that the guide would help the ICO to do its work in “guiding organisations who want to make sure they’re following the new rules, and getting it right from the start”. This tallies with the message of the ICO at the conference – it is here to help organisations, but that there are steps that can be taken now to start preparing for the implementation of the GDPR.

Here is a summary::

  • Ensure there is awareness amongst key stakeholders in the organisation that the GDPR represents a major overhaul of data protection law in Europe and ensure they identify the areas of the GDPR that have the biggest impact on them.
  • document the personal data that they hold, where it came from and with whom they share it. The ICO suggests that this can be done through an information audit – this will be necessary to match the updated subject rights for the “networked world”.
  • review current privacy notices and put a plan in place for making any necessary changes in time for GDPR implementation.
  • check existing procedures to ensure that they cover all the rights data subjects now have under the GDPR – both the enhanced rights and the additional right of data portability.
  • look at the various types of data processing they carry out, identify a legal basis under the GDPR for carrying it out and document it.
  • ensure process and procedures are documented – to help demonstrate compliance with the accountability requirements. This may also help a controller to rely on the “manifestly unfounded or excessive” exemption for subject access requests, help to readily produce the upgraded form of privacy notice or help to determine the lead supervisory authority.

Interestingly, many of these recommendations will already be in place for those with BCRs or who have done data audits following the recent Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield developments.  Clearly, now is the time to get your ‘data privacy’ house in order.

We think that the 12 step guide is a useful starting point for all businesses, especially those small-to medium-sized enterprises who may be intimidated by the (over 200-page) GDPR – it helps puts theory into practice and could hint at the ICO’s enforcement focus going forward.

We expect that it will be the first in a set of practical guidance issued by the ICO ahead of the GDPR. Indeed, the ICO has anticipated, in its accompanying blog entry, that over the next few months, it will “…be doing more work to consider the feedback we’ve received and produce a more detailed plan for the guidance, other tools and services we need to develop”. In this way, the ICO seems to be taking a phased and business-friendly approach to the GDPR.

The ICO has also launched a new microsite dpreform.org.uk – this will be the home for the ICO’s GDPR guidance; a key addition to your “favourites” bar.

It has also invited further feedback about the areas in which advice and guidance is most needed – so get in touch if you have any strong views. Watch this space as we see what else the ICO (and other European regulators) will produce on the GDPR


To bypass code-signing checks, malware gang steals lots of certificates

Enlarge / By default, Mac OS X allows applications to run only if they are signed with a valid certificate.

There are lots of ways to ensure the success of an advanced hacking operation. For a gang called Suckfly, one of the keys is having plenty of stolen code-signing certificates on hand to give its custom malware the appearance of legitimacy.

Since 2014, the group has used no fewer than nine separate signing certificates from nine separate companies to digitally sign its hacking wares, according to a blog post published Tuesday by security firm Symantec. Company researchers first came upon the group last year when they identified a brute-force server message-block scanner that was signed with a certificate belonging to a South Korean mobile software developer. When the researchers searched for other executable files that used the same credential, they eventually uncovered three more custom tools from the same group of black-hat hackers.

After tracing the hacking group's traffic to IP addresses in Chengdu, China, Symantec researchers ultimately identified a much larger collection of custom-developed backdoors and hacking tool that were signed by nine different certificates from nine different companies. Curiously, all nine of the compromised companies are located within a few miles of each other in Seoul. While the physical proximity is suspicious, the researchers ultimately speculated it was coincidental, and that the certificate theft was most likely the result of the owners being infected with malware that had the ability to search for and extract signing certificates.

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