Black Hat

Black Hat, the organization that has been providing the IT industry with the latest in security research, development and trends for the better part of the last two decades, has done it again. Black Hat USA 2015 has come to a close. In traditional Black Hat fashion, researchers have left the security world buzzing about newly discovered exploits and vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities cover the gambit of technology and range from new malware to vehicle hacking.

Malvertising (malicious advertising) has been the leading delivery method for malware by cybercriminals this year. The use of malvertising has increased by 260%. Malvertising is difficult to distinguish from legitimate banner advertising and has become a major concern. Many enterprises still struggle with end user education regarding e-mail phishing schemes. With the rapid growth in malware delivery via malvertising links enterprise will struggle once again to educate users and mitigate threats targeting both enterprise and BYO devices.

Researchers had a good time with Android this year reporting on two major vulnerabilities affecting nearly all versions of the platform. Stagefright, a vulnerability many are familiar with by now was the most alarming, hence the name. Basically, Stagefright is a mechanism (libStageFright) embedded in the Android OS that helps the system process video sent via MMS or Google’s Hangouts platforms. libStageFright is responsible for pre-loading video sent via MMS to improve the user experience. However, cybercriminals could embed an attack in the video that would in turn, launch automatically. This revelation has led smartphone manufactures and Google to lean towards monthly security updates (thank you). If your device is vulnerable and unpatched you can turn off the MMS auto-retrieve function. Another flaw in Android, though more complex to exploit, lives within the mobile Remote Support Tool (mSRT) apps. Basically, if a device is infected with malware that has mSRT permissions it leaves the device prone to be taken over by an attacker.

New cloud based man-in-the-middle attacks were presented. These attacks find cloud synchronization services (Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, etc) as their delivery method. While your cloud account credentials may remain secure, the tokens used to establish those sessions can easily be hijacked. Once attackers have the tokens it is an easy task to compromise files while they are being synced. In addition, cloud sync can be used to exfiltrate data and even send command and control communications.

Researchers also demonstrated how networked printers can be used to send data via radio signal a far enough distance to be compromised by an attacker. It is done by quickly power cycling the I/O pins on chips inside the printer. A signal can be generated that is strong enough to be picked up by receivers outside the building.

Additional research provided insight into vulnerabilities in internet connected vehicles using internet-aware Programmable Logic Controllers. SquareTrade card readers are vulnerable to an encryption bypassing hardware based attack. Vulnerabilities were discovered in Linux powered firearms allowing unauthorized control and discharge.

If you missed Black Hat USA 2015, more details about the above vulnerabilities (and others) can be found throughout various websites and in 6-9 months all research documentation will be released and can be found in the Black Hat Archives at

In light of all new vulnerabilities and research presented it is as important as ever to remain diligent and ensure that your security team is knowledgeable and well trained in identifying anomalies in your enterprise environment. If you would like an assessment of security conditions at your company, need help implementing solutions to risks, or are trying to recover from an attack, the team at Archetype SC is ready to help. Regardless of your size, our team of experts will help you establish a safer and more secure digital presence.

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