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TECHNOLOGY

Andariel, a Lazarus subgroup, expands its attacks with new ransomware 

August 10, 2022 7:57 p.m.

Kaspersky experts have uncovered new attacks by Andariel, an advanced persistent threat (APT) subgroup of Lazarus, known for its campaigns in South Korea.

The attacks involved modifications of the well-known malware, DTrack, as well as the use of a brand-new Maui ransomware. They targeted high-profile organizations in the USA, Japan, India, Vietnam, and Russia.

Andariel has operated for over a decade within the infamous Lazarus group, and Kaspersky researchers identified an interesting incident in Japan involving a never-before-seen Maui ransomware. However, in 2022, the group continued expanding its malware arsenal and the geography of its attacks. As CISA reported in July 2022, Andariel affected public and healthcare organizations with the Maui ransomware. Following their research, Kaspersky experts have revealed a thorough analysis of the APT group. 

It shows that Andariel deploys a well-known DTrack malware, which executes an embedded shellcode, loading a final Windows in-memory payload. According to Kaspersky Threat Attribution Engine, this spyware was reportedly created by the Lazarus Group and is being used to upload and download files to victims’ systems, record keystrokes and conduct other actions typical of a malicious remote administration tool (RAT). DTrack collects system information and browser history via Windows commands. Interestingly, dwell time within target networks can last for months prior to activity. 

The novel malware used by Andariel in 2021 and 2022 has been dubbed Maui ransomware. Kaspersky experts identified its launch after DTrack was deployed within an organization. Maui has been employed for attacks on multiple occasions, primarily targeting companies in the USA and Japan. Kaspersky researchers have assessed that the actor is opportunistic and may compromise any company around the world regardless of their category of business, instead focusing on their good financial standing. 

“We’ve been tracking the Andariel APT group for years and see that their attacks are constantly evolving. What requires special attention is that the group has started deploying ransomware on a global scale, demonstrating ongoing financial motivations and interest,”’ comments Kurt Baumgartner, a security expert at Kaspersky.

To learn more about Maui ransomware and other malware used by Andariel, read the report on Securelist.com 

To protect yourself and your business from ransomware attacks, consider following these Kaspersky recommendations: 

  • Do not expose remote desktop services (such as RDP) to public networks unless absolutely necessary and always use strong passwords for them.
  • Promptly install available patches for commercial VPN solutions, providing access for remote employees and acting as gateways in your network.
  • Always keep software updated on all the devices you use to prevent ransomware from exploiting vulnerabilities.
  • Focus your defense strategy on detecting lateral movements and data exfiltration to the Internet. Pay special attention to outgoing traffic to detect cybercriminals’ connections.
  • Back up data regularly. Make sure you can quickly access it in an emergency when needed. 
  • Use solutions like Kaspersky Endpoint Detection and Response Expert and Kaspersky Managed Detection and Response service, which help identify and stop attacks during the early stages, before attackers reach their final goals.
  • Educate your employees to protect the corporate environment. Dedicated training courses can help, such as the ones provided in the Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Platform.
  • Use a reliable endpoint security solution, such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business, that is powered by exploit prevention, behavior detection and a remediation engine that is able to roll back malicious actions. KESB also has self-defense mechanisms, which can prevent its removal by cybercriminals.
  • Use the latest Threat Intelligence information to stay aware of actual TTPs used by threat actors. The Kaspersky Threat Intelligence Portal is a single point of access for Kaspersky’s TI, providing cyberattack data and insights gathered by our team for almost 25 years. To help businesses enable effective defenses in these turbulent times, Kaspersky has announced access to independent, continuously updated and globally sourced information on ongoing cyberattacks and threats, at no charge. Request access to this offer here.

TECHNOLOGY

Ultra tough HONOR X9a 5G gets tested in an experiential launch in Philippines; priced at P16,990

January 23, 2023 3:01 p.m.

Celebrities, guests from the media, and partners have been gathered in an overnight event at Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay to experience the toughness of the new HONOR X9a 5G.

“To see is to believe, that’s why we came up with this launch that really puts HONOR X9a 5G’s toughness to the test. Our guests have seen first-hand how durable our new phone is and we are very confident that the activities we laid out for have showcased the top-of-the-line performance of HONOR X9a 5G,” said Stephen Cheng, HONOR Philippines Vice President for Marketing.

During the afternoon festivities, guests were challenged to participate in games that highlighted HONOR X9a 5G’s top specs such as shooting its screen with a toy gun and in a paired drop test where one has to throw and the other catches. A selfie area in front of Taal also brings out the best in HONOR X9a 5G’s super triple camera capturing the crisp and accurate colors of the famous volcano. The viral phone has also withstood the outdoor badminton and smash challenges.

HONOR X9a 5G Specs

Sporting a 120Hz Premium OLED Curved Display, the HONOR X9a 5G brings users a large screen of 6.67-inch with an impressive screen-to-body ratio of 93%, guaranteeing an immersive viewing experience for all your favorite content.

An ultra-large 5100mAh battery in a compact body awaits you too. So far, the HONOR X9a 5G is the thinnest and lightest smartphone to feature a battery larger than 5000mAh, which allows it to support up to 2 days of daily use for a truly uninterrupted user experience. With just 30 minutes of charging, the HONOR X9a 5G delivers 12.5 hours of video streaming, sparing users from having to worry about their battery.

Designed for a style conscious audience, the HONOR X9a 5G is available in two stunning colors: Titanium Silver and Emerald Green. Starting from January 20 to February 3, the HONOR X9a 5G will be available to purchase via all HONOR kiosks and partner online stores –  Lazada (http://bit.ly/3XHFPIC), Shopee (http://bit.ly/3XzEfrS), Tiktok Shop (http://bit.ly/3kfHhTS), and Home Credit.

HONOR fans can finally avail the HONOR X9a 5G via Home Credit, for as low as Php 661 per month with insurance, Php 765 without insurance, and on a 0% interest installment payment.

HONOR X9a 5G is priced at P16,990 with FREE HONOR Earbuds X3 Lite worth P3,999.

For more information and announcements, you may visit HONOR’s website www.hihonor.com or social media platforms: Facebook (Facebook.com/HonorPhilippines), Instagram (Instagram.com/honorphilippines/) and TikTok: (Tiktok.com/@honorphilippines).

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TECHNOLOGY

Miscommunications in IT security lead to cybersecurity incidents in 62% of companies

January 12, 2023 5:58 p.m.

More than half of top-tier managers (62%) admit that a miscommunication with the IT department or IT security team has resulted in at least one cybersecurity incident in their organizations.

In terms of personal attitudes, the majority of non-IT executives cited a diminished sense of cooperation between different teams (34%) and said this situation makes them question their colleagues’ skills and abilities when communication with their IT-security employees was unclear (33%).

The recent Forrester analytics survey says that companies spend an average of 37 days and $2.4 million to detect and recover from a cybersecurity breach. To determine how much mutual understanding between executives and information security teams affects a company’s cyber resilience, Kaspersky conducted a global survey of more than 1,300 business leaders. 

According to the results of the study, 98% of non-IT respondents experienced miscommunications regarding IT security. With regards to consequences, most often a breakdown in communications leads to serious project delays (67%) and cybersecurity incidents (62%). Almost one-third of respondents (30% and 27% respectively) even said that they had even encountered these issues more than once. Among other negative effects are a wasted budget, the loss of a valued employee and deteriorating relationships between teams –situations that occurred to 61% of respondents.

In addition to worsening business indicators, unclear communication with IT-security employees also affects the emotional state of the team and makes executives question IT-security employees’ skills and abilities. Also, 28% executives admit that misunderstandings make them lose confidence in the business’ safety and 26% of them find this situation makes them nervous, which affects their work performance. 

“Clear communication between a company’s executives and IT security management is a prerequisite for corporate business security,”  comments Alexey Vovk, Head of Information Security at Kaspersky.

 ”The challenge here is to put oneself in the others’ position, to anticipate and prevent serious misunderstandings. This means that, on the one hand, CISOs should know the basic business language to better explain the existing risks and need for safety measures. On the other hand, a business should also understand that information security in the 21st century is an integral part of business and budgeting for it is an investment in protecting company assets,” adds Vovk.

To make the communication between IT security and business functions within the company more transparent, Kaspersky recommends the following: 

  • Understanding professionals from another sphere requires not only empathy but also additional knowledge. While IT security workers could get more information about basic business terms and concepts in various training courses, non-IT executives have an opportunity to walk in a CISO’s shoes to get insights on the most relevant IT security challenges. 
  • Both IT and non-IT managers should not lock themselves in a professional “information bubble”. Staying aware of the agenda in both the business and cybersecurity worlds is another key to successful communication and mutual understanding between them.
  • Cybersecurity specialists should use reliable and understandable arguments when communicating their needs to the board and justifying their cybersecurity budget. Use information about the threats and security measures most relevant to your particular industry and company size to prove the probability of risks and the protective measures needed. Resources such as IT Security Calculator and reports based on experts’ observations can significantly ease this task.
  • Today when cyber threats are becoming more and more relevant and companies are forced to increase their information security budgets, it’s extremely important to allocate cybersecurity investments to tools with proven efficacy and ROI. This means tools that lower the level of false positives and reduce the time of attack detection, the time spent per case, and other metrics are important to any IT security team.

The full report and more insights on communications issues between C-level and IT security managers are available via the link.

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TECHNOLOGY

WIKO to release Huawei-developed smartphones

January 2, 2023 5:46 p.m.

A few days ago, the French technology brand WIKO made its debut on Weibo, and its China official website was launched simultaneously.

According to the teasers, last December 27, WIKO release its flagship phone in China, which not only supports 5G, but also a device thats equipped with Harmony OS, with a 108-megapixel main camera, 66W super-fast charging and other familiar configurations.

The new flagship–WIKO 5G, uses a 6.78-inch 120Hz high-refresh screen, equipped with a Snapdragon 695 processor, a rear-mounted 108megapixel main camera + 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle + 2-megapixel macro + 2-megapixel depth-of-field lens, and the front camera is 16 million pixels, built-in 4000mAh battery.

It uses a 2.0GHz Octa Core CPU processor using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G chipset, an Adreno 619 graphics processor paired with 8GB of RAM, 128GB/256GB of internal memory and runs on the HarmonyOS operating system.

Equipped with 4 rear cameras, Quad Camera with LED flash consisting of

  • Main camera, 108 megapixel resolution, Samsung HM2 sensor, aperture f / 1.9, 1 / 1.52) and PDAF system
  • The second camera, Ultra Wide lens, 8 megapixel resolution, f / 2.2 aperture
  • 3rd camera, depth lens, 2 megapixel resolution, f / 2.4 aperture
  • 3rd camera, macro lens, 2 megapixel resolution, f / 2.4 aperture

According to reports, WIKO is officially licensed to release smartphones developed by Huawei technology. WIKO is a local mobile phone brand in France. Later, the mobile phone business of this brand was jointly acquired by Tianyin Holdings and Dongguan Financial Holdings. In addition, WIKO took the second place in the French mobile phone market in 2014, second only to Samsung in terms of local market share.

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