Research Saturday

Research Saturday

Every Saturday, we sit down with cybersecurity researchers to talk shop about the latest threats, vulnerabilities, and technical discoveries.
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Recent Episodes

Ep 193 | 7.24.21

Free malware with cracked software.

Guest Christopher Budd, Senior Global Threat Communications Manager at Avast, joins Dave to talk about some research his team did when they looked into a Reddit report saying their Avast folder was empty and other reports like it. The team found a new malware they’re calling “Crackonosh” in part because of some possible indications that the malware author may be Czech. Crackonosh is distributed along with illegal, cracked copies of popular software and searches for and disables many popular antivirus programs as part of its anti-detection and anti-forensics tactics.

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Ep 192 | 7.17.21

Enabling connectivity enables exposures.

Guest Nathan Howe, Vice President of Emerging Technology at Zscaler, joins Dave to discuss his team's work, "2021 “Exposed” Report Reveals Corporate and Cloud Infrastructures More at Risk Than Ever From Expanded Attack Surfaces." The modern workforce has resulted in an increase of users, devices, and applications existing outside of controlled networks, including corporate networks, the business emphasis on the “network” has decreased and the reliance on the internet as the connective tissue for businesses has increased. Zscaler analyzes the attack surface of 1,500 organizations and identifies trends affecting businesses of all sizes and industries, across all geographies. Key findings include: The attack surface impact based on company size The countries with the greatest attack surface The industries that are most exposed

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Ep 191 | 7.10.21

Dealing illicit goods on encrypted chat apps.

Guest Daniel Kats, Senior Principal Research Engineer at NortonLifeLock, joins Dave to discuss his team's work, "Encrypted Chat Apps Doubling as Illegal Marketplaces." Encrypted chat apps are gaining popularity worldwide due to their central premise of not sending user data to tech giants. Some popular examples include WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal. These apps have also been adopted by businesses to securely communicate directly to their users. Additionally, these apps have been instrumental to subverting authoritarian regimes. However, NortonLifeLock found that encrypted chat apps are also being used by criminals to sell illegal goods. Because content moderation is, by design, nearly impossible on these apps, they allow for an easy vector for dealers of illicit goods to communicate directly to customers without fear of law enforcement involvement.

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Ep 190 | 7.3.21

Malware in pirated Windows installation files.

Guest Tom Roter from Minerva Labs joins Dave to discuss his team research: "Rigging a Windows Installation." It is common knowledge that pirated software might contain malware, yet millions still put themselves and their devices at risk and download from dubious sources. It is even more surprising to see the popularity of torrented operating system installations, which are ranked at the top of most torrent tracker ranking lists. Today we will prove conventional wisdom right and show off a devious, yet clever attack chain employed by an infected Windows 10 image, frequently shared and downloaded by tens of thousands of users. Over the last year, numerous malicious PowerShell events popped up in our telemetry. The events caught our attention because a payload was being downloaded into the “C:\Windows” directory, which is usually well guarded under NTFS permissions, this implies that the attacker had very high privilege on the compromised system.

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Ep 189 | 6.26.21

Exhibiting advanced APT-like behavior.

Guest Yonatan Striem-Amit joins Dave to talk about Cybereason's research "Prometei Botnet Exploiting Microsoft Exchange Vulnerabilities." The Cybereason Nocturnus Team responded to several incident response (IR) cases involving infections of the Prometei Botnet against companies in North America, observing that the attackers exploited recently published Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities (CVE-2021-27065 and CVE-2021-26858) in order to penetrate the network and install malware. Yonatan shares his team's findings of the investigation of the attacks, including the initial foothold sequence of the attackers, the functionality of the different components of the malware, the threat actors’ origin and the bot’s infrastructure.

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Research Saturday
Host(s)
Dave Bittner
Dave Bittner, is a security podcast host and one of the founders at CyberWire. He’s a creator, producer, videographer, actor, experimenter, and entrepreneur. He’s had a long career in the worlds of television, journalism and media production, and is one of the pioneers of non-linear editing and digital storytelling.
Schedule: Monday-Friday
Creator: CyberWire, Inc.
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