Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
A logic bomb, also called slug code , is a piece of code inserted into an application, virus or malware that implements a malicious function after a certain time limit or under conditions specifications.
These “bombs” are often used via viruses, worms and Trojans to better manage your time and do maximum damage before you are noticed . They perform actions such as corrupting or altering data, reformatting a hard drive, and deleting important files.
In this article I want to explain what a logic bomb is and offer some suggestions for preventing damage.
What is a logic bomb virus?
A logic bomb is often embedded in a virus or otherwise in an executable file. It consists of malicious code that triggers an attack when specific conditions are met. Conditions can be positive (something that happens) or negative (something that doesn’t happen). In the first case an example is that of opening a program, however, an example of a negative condition is a user who does not log in.
Logic bombs are often installed by someone with high level access, such as a sysadmin. Such a person can wreak havoc by setting these codes on multiple systems and programming them to “explode” simultaneously when a certain event occurs. For example, they could trigger when a certain employee is removed from the salary database, ie when he is fired.
The term slag code refers to manipulated code that makes an otherwise safe program malicious. The logic bomb time versions are the most common ones and use the passage of a certain amount of time as a positive condition.
Whatever the name used, the method of attack is clearly the same: the code remains dormant in the infected software until it is triggered . Common attacks involve data corruption, file deletion and hard drive wiping .
How does it work
How a logic bomb works depends on who designed it. Each logic bomb is unique, which is why they are difficult to track . They are usually customized to be as undetectable as possible. They are often disguised to look like a typical computer virus or embedded in other types of malware such as worms . Worms and viruses are different, but logic bombs don’t care about the distinction – they can cause damage through both.
Is a logic bomb actually malware? Since they are part of other programs, no, but they usually have malicious intent. This is why slag codes are so difficult to detect. Furthermore, being “only” code, potentially insertable anywhere, mitigating the risk is more complicated.
The best thing to do, as an end user who might be involved in a logic bomb attack, is to keep an eye out and ask your company’s IT experts to do the necessary checks if in doubt. The risk is to unintentionally trigger the bomb trying to find it.
Examples of attacks
Logic bombs can subtly change a snippet of code so that it appears technically normal to an automated threat detection system, while it would appear highly suspicious to the human eye. In 2016, a freelance programmer voluntarily caused a recurring spreadsheet malfunction at a subsidiary of the Siemens company. The subsidiary continued to hire him to solve the problem he had caused himself (Source). In this case, the employees did not suspect anything until a lucky coincidence forced the malicious code to come out.
Even companies can use logic bombs to hack their customers . In 2005, Sony was embroiled in a scandal for releasing CDs that triggered a logic bomb when inserted into a computer. The slag code contained on the CDs installed a rootkit that blocked the PC’s ability to copy CDs. (Source)
Another high-profile case occurred in the early 2000s, when a UBS Global employee, angered by a salary dispute, planted a logic bomb that caused more than $ 3 million worth of damage . A clear sign that a very small code snippet can cause a great deal of damage. (Source)
In 2013, a time bomb attack in South Korea wiped out the hard drives of several banks and broadcasting companies. The group responsible for the attack put the time bomb inside a piece of malware that ended up infecting over 32,000 systems . The bombs all exploded together, causing chaos across the country. (Source)
Where did they come from and how to prevent logic bombs
As we have also seen in the examples, logic bombs are typically distributed within a closed network, such as that of a company or branch. One of the likely sources is a disgruntled employee with administrator access , so careful monitoring of staff outbound activities should reveal any suspicious activity . But that’s not all, logic bombs can also be placed in email attachments and suspicious file downloads , so users should be vigilant when choosing which files to download.
As we saw when we talked about phishing and social engineering , the most hackable part of a system are often the users. This is why a preventive campaign is always an excellent choice. Taking care of the staff also means offering specific training through ethical phishing services.
In addition to prevention, it’s good to limit administrative privileges to a select group of employees so that someone is less likely to cause serious damage to your network with a logic bomb. This preventative method also reduces the number of suspects in the event of an attack, making belonging to that specific group of employees in itself a deterrent against internal attacks.
The solution proposed by SOD
Where prevention fails and hackers win, it is the ideal field for implementing advanced monitoring and analysis systems.
SOD offers, for example, a SIEM system in the SOC as a Service solution. The SIEM constantly collects information on what is happening in the network . This information is then enriched with contextual metadata to standardize and manage it better. Already this is capable of triggering alarms if some suspicious events occur. But if this were not enough, the SOC also has a “ User and Entity Behavior Analysis ” (UEBA) tool that analyzes user behavior and, thanks to the interaction of an AI, is able to identify suspicious behavior. .
If you want to know more about the SOC service we offer, or if you have any questions about how SOD can help you keep your business safe, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
ransomware gangs have been targeting businesses in recent times, demanding larger payments than they can extort from consumers. The plan was very successful. According to the new data, 70% of the attacked companies paid the ransom to get their data back. Avoiding ransomware is a necessity, these figures implicitly prove it. If such a large number of companies pay, it is because the risk is too great in terms of reputation and collateral economic losses.
Researchers from IBM Security’s X-Force interviewed executives of 600 companies of all sizes and found that organizations affected by ransomware choose to pay in most cases.
Data shows that 20% of compromised organizations paid ransoms of more than $ 40,000 and 25% paid between $ 20,000 and $ 40,000. These numbers are much higher than that. that consumers typically pay, which is usually around $ 500-1,000, depending on the variant of the ransomware.
When targeting businesses, hacking groups aim to paralyze organizations by encrypting financial data , customer databases, sales data and other vital information .
Avoid ransomware – the risks of attacks
In the past year, a number of organizations have been hit by severe ransomware attacks, including hospitals, universities and others. For example, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority was hit by a ransomware attack during the weekend of Thanksgiving, a very important holiday in the US. The attack paralyzed desktops within the agency and forcing officials to shut down the automatic ticket machines. Needless to say, this attack resulted in a huge loss of assets and a ransom demand.
Getting malware into public organizations isn’t as difficult as you might think, and is often done with a single email .
In their attacks on networks, cybercriminals seek out the servers that keep the business running and encrypt critical assets rather than working on enterprise-wide endpoints.
The access point is usually a phishing email with a malicious attachment, sent to the mailbox of a employee . In most cases, the attachment is a Microsoft Office document asking the victim to enable macros . Clicking the macro enable button is often a trivial matter for those uninformed users who just want to get rid of the warning at the top of the document . The malware runs as soon as the user allows the macros to run. The ransomware can also arrive through any other attachment or through exploit kits which facilitate infection without any special action on your part.
The amount of money businesses have paid to get their data back shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the alternative. As is increasingly the case, the attack doesn’t just put key the data until payment of the requested amount. The threat continues with the release of data if you do not agree to pay a second ransom. In the end two ransoms will be paid and in any case there is no certainty that the data will not be disclosed. (It is said double extortion attack).
Many organizations keep these attacks under wraps to avoid public humiliation and loss of customer confidence . Data from the IBM survey shows that 29% of executives in large corporations would pay more than $ 50,000 to retrieve financial data.
Law enforcement, including the FBI, and security experts advise ransomware victims not to pay, for a variety of reasons. First, there is no guarantee for the attacker to deliver the decryption key. Second, the ransomware’s profits help fund other cybercrime operations.
How to defend yourself to avoid ransomware
Phishing remains one of the key methods by which a ransomware attack is attempted. With the recent increase in remote working, it is imperative to reiterate the importance of being careful when opening emails and attachments . If employees are suspicious of something, they should report it.
Organizations should also make sure they have a good patching strategy and apply the latest security updates . This prevents cybercriminals from taking advantage of known vulnerabilities to distribute malware.
Regularly updating backups should be a priority , because if the worst happens and your organization falls victim to a ransomware attack, your network can be restored without paying the ransom.
SOD provides solutions for the situations listed through the SOCaaS service. You can ensure the protection of a Security Operation Center without having to invest in its initial funding .
The system controls the actions of the computers connected to the network using an artificial intelligence. As soon as a suspicious, even legitimate, action is detected, the technicians are alerted who can investigate the nature of the fact . The new generation SIEM systems and behavioral analysis via UEBA , work together to offer 360 ° security.
SOD also provides intelligent anti-ransomware backup systems via Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud . With this tool at your side, business and customer data are safe. Any attack attempt is identified and mitigated immediately, meanwhile, thanks to dynamic backups, the data is immediately restored .
Avoiding ransomware can be relatively easy – just pay attention to every operation you perform on your computers. Unfortunately, sometimes this is not enough. This is the time when having invested in a quality safety system will make a difference.
For questions or requests do not hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to answer your questions and propose a solution tailored to your needs.
Ransomware commonly comes up with an email that tricks users into trusting a malicious file. Many of the most recent data breaches have been completed because a user has been the victim of such an attack in the previous period. Threats such as ransomware, which focus on user compromise, are causing more and more companies to adopt user and entity behavior analysis (UEBA) in their security operations center (SOC). The new functions of the SOC service, including long-term search, are oriented towards the increasing offer of additional tools for the optimal management of corporate security.
We continue to innovate our platform to increase the power of SOC in fighting ransomware and other threats. In our latest release, we have added even more machine-learning and context-aware detection capabilities that enable security analysts to tackle the most sophisticated attacks. Furthermore, the latest updates bring an ever greater ease of use for security architects.
Long-term search for the security analyst
The service introduces a number of innovations to reduce detection and response times for security analysts and threat seekers.
Improved detection of sophisticated threats
– Long-term search helps analysts discover hidden threats by providing a search capability on archived data. The search is scalable and does not affect SIEM performance.
– Analytics Sandbox helps break down false positives by providing an online QA environment to test and validate use cases.
– Persona-based threat chains detect advanced threats more accurately, including the dynamic relationship between users, hosts, IP addresses, and email addresses. Analysts benefit from greater visibility into the progression of an attack. This feature combines suspicious activity from a single user into a single priority alert, instead of separate and unrelated alerts.
– Relative Rarity offers analysts a broader context on how rare an event is compared to all other events in their environment.
– Viewing security alerts using the MITER ATT&CK Threat Framework helps analysts prioritize risk and reduce response times.
Reduction of response times
– Improved case management allows for better management, sharing and investigation of alarms, allowing operators to respond more quickly.
– New EDR integrations improve incident response by providing additional endpoint data from CarbonBlack Defense, Tanium, Symantec DLP and others.
– Better search views improve the analyst experience by reducing detection and response times. They help analysts easily identify compromised accounts, data exfiltration, and associated hotspots.
Why long-term search is so important
With a global dwell time of around 60 days on average, threat hunting continues to be an important part of cybersecurity resilience. However, searching through the data history usually takes a long time.
Many vendors are unable to dynamically scale a quick search through archived data without significant effort. The latest features of our SOCaaS provide this possibility for threat hunters with long-term search on an almost unlimited scale. With long-term research, organizations can reduce the time it takes to investigate and find threats that are already in their environment.
Analysts need to continually query the data to see if there are new threats. For example, an analyst might learn from a trusted source that their industry has been targeted. At this point we need to investigate a new indicator of compromise that has just been discovered to verify if an attacker is already inside.
Through long-term search, SOD’s native SOCaaS SIEM allows threat hunters to be proactive, making historical data research fast and convenient.
By introducing new technologies into our SOC service, we are offering more and more security for our customers.
We take care of your data by verifying not only that it is not safe now, but also that it has not been breached in the past. In case we suspect a new threat, we know how to spot it.
If you have any questions, contact us, we will be happy to answer all your questions.
Classic cyber threat defense tools and systems are rapidly becoming obsolete, and there are ways to overcome them. What remains confidently common among cyber criminals attempting an attack is the intent of the attack itself. Indeed, knowing that there are systems capable of detecting indicators of compromise (IOC), it is natural that competent hackers will try not to leave traces traceable to standards. User and Entity Behavior Analysis (UEBA) offers a more comprehensive way to make sure your business has world-class IT security. At the same time, it helps detect users and entities that could compromise the entire system.
A definition of User Entity Behavior Analytics
User and Entity Behavior Analysis or UEBA, is a type of cybersecurity process that takes note of standard user behavior. In turn, the system detects any abnormal behavior or cases where there are deviations from the “normal” patterns mentioned above. For example, if a particular user regularly downloads 10MB of files every day, and suddenly downloads 1GB, the system would be able to detect this anomaly and immediately alert operators. The behavior may be legitimate, but it’s worth checking out.
The UEBA system uses machine learning, algorithms and statistical analysis to know when there is a deviation from established patterns. Next, it shows which of these anomalies could result in a potential and real threat. Additionally, UEBA can aggregate report and log data, as well as analyze file, stream and packet information.
With a UEBA all users and entities of the system are tracked. In this way the system focuses on insider threats, such as dishonest employees, compromised ones and people who have access to the system and then carry out targeted attacks and fraud attempts, as well as the servers, applications and devices that work inside. of the system.
It is the unfortunate truth that today’s cybersecurity tools are rapidly becoming obsolete. Now the most skilled hackers and cyber criminals are able to bypass the perimeter defenses used by most companies. A few years ago you were sure if you had web gateways, firewalls, and intrusion prevention tools. This is no longer the case in the complex threat landscape, and is especially true for large companies that have proven to have very porous IT perimeters that are also very difficult to manage and supervise.
The key point? Preventive measures are no longer sufficient. Firewalls will not be 100% infallible and attackers will enter the system at one point or another. That’s why detection is just as important: when hackers successfully enter your system, then you need to be able to quickly detect their presence to minimize damage.
How does it work?
The premise of the system is actually very simple. You can easily steal an employee’s username and password, but it is much more difficult to mimic the person’s normal behavior once inside the network.
For example, let’s say you manage to steal John Smith’s password and username. However, it is almost impossible to act exactly like Mario Rossi once inside the system, unless extensive research and preparation is also done in this direction. Therefore, when Mario’s username is logged into the system and his behavior is different than typical, that’s when the UEBA alarms start ringing.
Another related analogy would be the theft of a credit card. A thief can steal your wallet and go to a luxury store and start spending thousands of dollars. But, if the spending pattern on that card is different from that of the thief, the fraud detection department will recognize the anomalous expenses and block suspicious purchases, either by sending you an alert or asking you to verify the authenticity of a transaction. .
What can UEBA do?
UEBA is a very important component of modern IT security and allows you to:
1. Detect insider threats: It is not too far fetched to imagine that an employee, or perhaps a group of employees, could disobey, steal data and information using their login. UEBA can help you detect data breaches, sabotage, abuse of privileges and policy violations by staff.
2. Detect Compromised Accounts: Sometimes, user accounts are compromised. It could be that the user has unintentionally installed malware on his machine, or that sometimes a legitimate account has been forged. UEBA can help eliminate compromised users before they can do any damage.
3. Detect Brute Force Attacks: Hackers sometimes target cloud-based entities as well as third-party authentication systems. With UEBA, you are able to detect brute force attack attempts, allowing you to block access to these entities.
4. Detect permission changes and super user creation: Some attacks involve the use of super users. UEBA allows you to detect when super users are created, or if there are accounts that have been granted unnecessary permissions.
5. Detect Secure Data Breach: If you have secured data, it’s not enough to keep it safe. Know when a user accesses this data if they have no legitimate business reason for doing so.
UEBA and SIEM
Security Information and Event Management, or SIEM, is the use of a complex set of tools and technologies that provides a complete view of the security of your IT system. It leverages event data and information, allowing you to see normal patterns and trends, and to warn of anomalies. UEBA works the same way, only it uses information on user (and entity) behavior to verify what is normal and what is not.
SIEM, however, is based on rules, and competent hackers can easily circumvent or evade these rules. Furthermore, the SIEM rules are designed to immediately detect threats that occur in real time, while the most advanced attacks are usually carried out over months or years. The UEBA, on the other hand, is not based on rules. Instead, it uses risk scoring techniques and advanced algorithms that allow it to detect anomalies over time.
One of the best practices for cybersecurity is to use both SIEM and UEBA to have better security and detection capabilities.
How a UEBA should be used
UEBA was born out of the need to identify the harmful behavior of users and other entities. UEBA tools and processes are not intended to replace legacy monitoring systems, but should instead be used to complement them and improve a company’s overall security. Another great practice is to take advantage of the storage and calculation capabilities of big data, using machine learning and statistical analysis to avoid receiving an avalanche of unnecessary alarms and being overwhelmed by the large volume of data. generated.
UEBA uses machine learning and algorithms to strengthen security by monitoring users and other entities, detecting anomalies in behavior patterns that could be indicative of a threat. By taking a proactive approach to security and gaining greater visibility into user and entity behavior, today’s businesses are able to build stronger security systems and more effectively mitigate threats and prevent breaches.
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