Threat Report

CTC’s June 2019 Threat Report

Trust, but verify.

It’s advice popularized by President Ronald Reagan during his tenure. He used to help characterize his philosophy toward Soviet leaders on the subject of nuclear disarmament.

The need for such due diligence permeates every layer of every enterprise’s IT landscape. News from the last month underscores how even the largest organizations are either tripped up by hackers or poor internal processes.

Let’s take a look at two of the more prominent ones, along with a promising development for future cyber battles.

Malware Hits Popular Messaging App

WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging app in the world, with 1.5 billion users — 1 billion of whom use it every day.

Recently, hackers used WhatsApp for a different purpose: installing surveillance malware on smartphones. Notably, they installed malware remotely by calling targeted phone numbers over the WhatsApp audio call feature.

How it worked:

  1. A buffer overflow vulnerability in WhatsApp VOIP stack allowed remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on target phones by sending a specially crafted series of SRTCP packets.
  2. The packets could be delivered by placing a WhatsApp call, even in cases where the recipient did not answer the call.
  3. Once delivered, the Pegasus spyware erased the incoming call information from the logs to cover its tracks.

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, patched the vulnerability and encouraged users on both iOS and Android platforms to update their software.

Hackers Hold Baltimore Computers Hostage

Hackers are trying to disprove the adage that you can’t beat city hall. Unfortunately for them, the adage still holds.

That’s because the city of Baltimore, whose computer systems are under siege by hackers executing a ransomware scheme against the municipality, refuse to pay the hackers approximately $100,000 in bitcoins to free thousands of Baltimore city computers.

The fallout, according to “[F]or two weeks, city employees have been locked out of their email accounts and citizens have been unable to access essential services, including websites where they pay their water bills, property taxes, and parking tickets.”

While Baltimore holds out, it’s difficult to calculate the cost of this assault. It’s also the second cyber attack the city has faced in under 18 months.

READ: 6 Social Engineering Scams To Guard Against and 5 Top Endpoint Security Providers for 2019

Tomorrow’s Heroes: National Cybersecurity Champions

Fortunately, today’s college students are preparing to help stem the tide of such attacks and vulnerabilities.

The latest evidence: A team representing the University of Virginia, comprising computer science and mechanical engineering students, won this year’s National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

The victory required them to protect a fictional agriculture company’s business infrastructure against bad actors attempting to take their system down. It also required them to keep the system up while continuing with business and technical activities.

Defense Today

We congratulate the UVA team on their victory. Until its members are busy at work protecting your company from continuing cyber threats, CTC Technologies is here to help.

The need for such support is highlighted by the attacks successfully perpetrated against large enterprises such as WhatsApp and the city of Baltimore. If they can fall victim to attacks, the odds are good the companies with which you’re engaged can, too.

CTC Technologies has hands-on experience helping clients across a range of industries either install, bolster, and recover from cyber incidents. We can help you, too, beginning today. Contact us today to start elevating your enterprise’s IT defenses.