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.

Risk

9/26/2010
10:49 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Zeus Targeting Mobile Phone Authentication

A new variant of the Zeus botnet aims to circumvent an increasingly popular mode of two-factor authentication among financial institutions and other enterprises.

A new variant of the Zeus botnet aims to circumvent an increasingly popular mode of two-factor authentication among financial institutions and other enterprises.Anyone who has been following IT security long enough knows that it's a never ending game of leapfrog. As businesses and the security industry devise new ways to thwart attacks, criminal attackers find new ways to do their deeds. It's a game that's as old as crime itself, and I don't see it going away any time soon.

Enter the new variant of the infamous Zeus malware. According to Spanish security firm S21sec, Zeus authors have a plan to render an increasingly popular form of multi-factor less effective.

Increasingly banks and others are turning to mobile phone SMS texting features as a way to add a layer of additional authentication for users and transactions. For instance, last week when I used my online banking service to make a transfer to another customer the bank sent a code to my cell phone that I had to enter back online to complete the transaction.

Bad guys want to get in the middle of these transactions. From S21sec's security blog:

In this post, we are going to talk about a better alternative planned by a ZeuS gang: infect the mobile device and sniff all the SMS messages that are being delivered. The scenario is now easier:

- The attacker steals both the online username and password using a malware (ZeuS 2.x)

- The attacker infects the user's mobile device by forcing him to install a malicious application (he sends a SMS with a link to the malicious mobile application)

- The attacker logs in with the stolen credentials using the user's computer as a socks/proxy and performs a specific operation that needs SMS authentication

- An SMS is sent to the user's mobile device with the authentication code. The malicious software running in the device forwards the SMS to other terminal controlled by the attacker

- The attacker fills in the authentication code and completes the operation.

That's certainly worthy of note, and it shows that attackers aren't going to stand still. They never have, and they never will. Does this mean SMS is dead as a form of additional authentication? Absolutely not. It still significantly raises the bar for the bad guys.

Interesting, however, that this bad news for SMS authentication tactics hits around the same time that Google announces its going to support SMS text messaging to authenticate to its online applications.

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, follow me on Twitter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15208
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, when determining the common dimension size of two tensors, TFLite uses a `DCHECK` which is no-op outside of debug compilation modes. Since the function always returns the dimension of the first tensor, malicious attackers can ...
CVE-2020-15209
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, a crafted TFLite model can force a node to have as input a tensor backed by a `nullptr` buffer. This can be achieved by changing a buffer index in the flatbuffer serialization to convert a read-only tensor to a read-write one....
CVE-2020-15210
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, if a TFLite saved model uses the same tensor as both input and output of an operator, then, depending on the operator, we can observe a segmentation fault or just memory corruption. We have patched the issue in d58c96946b and ...
CVE-2020-15211
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, saved models in the flatbuffer format use a double indexing scheme: a model has a set of subgraphs, each subgraph has a set of operators and each operator has a set of input/output tensors. The flatbuffer format uses indices f...
CVE-2020-15212
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, models using segment sum can trigger writes outside of bounds of heap allocated buffers by inserting negative elements in the segment ids tensor. Users having access to `segment_ids_data` can alter `output_index` and then write to outside of `outpu...