Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Infrastructure Security //

DNS

1/24/2019
09:35 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

DNS Tampering Prompts Homeland Security Warning

Despite the partial federal government shutdown, DHS has managed to issue a warning to the public about possible tampering with DNS addresses that appear to have originated in Iran.

The US Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued an emergency directive that addresses ongoing incidents ascribed to global Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure tampering.

Yes, in the middle of the self-inflicted shutdown the US government is freaking out.

The DNS hijacking effort has now been found to be affecting government domains. The summary page of the emergency directive uses links that refer to the hijackings -- attributed to Iran -- that have been previously reported by Talos and FireEye.

In a notice, CISA asserts that it is aware of multiple executive branch agency domains that were affected by the tampering campaign and has notified the agencies that maintain them. The agency describes the attack methodology it has encountered, which seems very similar to those which have been already described by the security companies.

(Source: iStock)
(Source: iStock)

The attacker begins by compromising user credentials -- or obtaining them through alternate means -- of an account that can make changes to DNS records.

The attacker alters DNS records, such as Address (A), Mail Exchanger (MX), or Name Server (NS) records, replacing the legitimate address of a service with an address that the attacker controls. It can then pass the traffic on to the legitimate address. This threat lasts beyond the period of traffic redirection.

With the change in DNS records, the attacker can obtain valid encryption certificates for an organization's domain names. This allows the redirected traffic to be decrypted, exposing any user-submitted data. Since the certificate is valid for the domain, end users receive no error warnings.

The directive specifies certain steps that it directs affected agencies to take within the next ten business days from January 22:

  • Audit DNS records associated with government domains to verify that they have not been tampered with and are directing traffic to the correct IP addresses.
  • Change the passwords for DNS admin accounts that modify DNS records.
  • Add multi-factor authentication (MFA) to all DNS admin accounts. It should be noted that the CISA has in the past advised against the use of SMS-based MFA.
  • Begin to monitor the Certificate Transparency (CT) logs for agency domains that will be provided by DHS within the next ten business days.

These steps have no termination date associated with them, although they could be terminated by another directive.

Affected agencies will need to submit a status report by Friday, January 2, and a completion report that all of the actions have been completed by February 5.

Related posts:

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Concerns over supply chain vulnerabilities and attack visibility drove some significant changes in enterprise cybersecurity strategies over the past year. Dark Reading's 2021 Strategic Security Survey showed that many organizations are staying the course regarding the use of a mix of attack prevention and threat detection technologies and practices for dealing with cyber threats.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-5669
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-26
Cross-site scripting vulnerability in Movable Type Movable Type Premium 1.37 and earlier and Movable Type Premium Advanced 1.37 and earlier allows a remote authenticated attacker to inject an arbitrary script via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2021-40343
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-26
An issue was discovered in Nagios XI 5.8.5. Insecure file permissions on the nagios_unbundler.py file allow the nagios user to elevate their privileges to the root user.
CVE-2021-40344
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-26
An issue was discovered in Nagios XI 5.8.5. In the Custom Includes section of the Admin panel, an administrator can upload files with arbitrary extensions as long as the MIME type corresponds to an image. Therefore it is possible to upload a crafted PHP script to achieve remote command execution.
CVE-2021-40345
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-26
An issue was discovered in Nagios XI 5.8.5. In the Manage Dashlets section of the Admin panel, an administrator can upload ZIP files. A command injection (within the name of the first file in the archive) allows an attacker to execute system commands.
CVE-2021-42343
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-26
An issue was discovered in Dask (aka python-dask) through 2021.09.1. Single machine Dask clusters started with dask.distributed.LocalCluster or dask.distributed.Client (which defaults to using LocalCluster) would mistakenly configure their respective Dask workers to listen on external interfaces (ty...