How the "antimalware" XProtect for MacOS works and why it detects poorly and badly

Monday, May 6, 2019

Recently, MacOS included a signature in its integrated antivirus, intended to detect a binary for Windows; but, does this detection make sense? We could think it does, as a reaction to the fact that in February 2019 Trend Micro discovered malware created in .NET for Mac. It was executed by the implementation of Mono, included in the malware itself to read its own code. Ok, but now seriously, does it make sense? 

It might make sense to occasionally include a very particular detection that has been disseminated through the media, but in general the long-term strategy of this antivirus is not so clear, although it is intended to detect "known" malware. The fight that MacOS as a whole has against malware is an absolute nonsense. They moved from a categorically deny during the early years of the 21st century to a slight acceptance for finally, since 2009, lightly fight malware. However, since then it has not evolved so much.

Let’s continue with the detection of the Windows executable: the malware was detected in February, which means that it had been working for some time. Trend Micro discovered it and the media made it public, bringing down their reputation. On 19 April, Apple included its signature in XProtect. It is an unacceptable reaction time. On top of all this, it was the first XProtect signature update during all 2019. Is it possible that the malware dissemination was related to the signature inclusion? What is the priority level given to user’s security then? Do we know how much malware is detected by XProtect and how often this seldom-mentioned functionality is updated? Are Gatekeeper and XProtect a way in general to spare their blushes or are they really intended to help mitigate potential infections in MacOS?

New research: Docless Vietnam APT. A very interesting malware against Vietnam Government

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

We have detected a malware sent to some email accounts belonging to a Vietnam government domain. This email is written in Vietnamese and is dated March 13th, 2019. It seems to come from an account inside the organization (gov.vn), maybe someone sending it to a security operator, because of resulting suspicious. The attached file resulted in a very interesting infection system. It uses a combination of techniques never seen before, making us think about a very targeted campaign, using interesting resources to specifically infect Vietnam government.

The global view of the threat schema is the following:

Global view of the threat schema image

Although it may look typical, the schema hides some very smart techniques to avoid detection and fool the system. 

New research: we discover how to avoid SmartScreen via COM Hijacking and with no privileges

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

COM Hijacking technique has a simple theoretical basis, similar to the DLL Hijacking one: What does it happen when an application searches for a non-existent COM object on the computer where it is being executed? Or when such object exists but it cannot be found on the registry key where it was searched? An attacker may create it by means of altered information. For instance, a path leading the victim to a DLL created by the attacker instead of to the searched one. We can benefit from the by-default order used by the program to search for this object: this is how we have managed to avoid SmartScreen on Windows.

Brief introduction
COM (Component Object Model) is a binary-interface standard for software components allowing communication between processes as well as dynamic creation of objects, regardless of the language used to program them. COM provides a stable ABI (Application Binary Interface) that does not change with compilers’ different versions. This is appealing for C++ developers when the code must be shared with clients using different compilers’ versions.

COM objects are commonly compiled as a DLL, but the way they are used is particular. COM objects must be unequivocally identifiable at execution time, so the GUID identification method is used.

{CB4445AC-D88E-4846-A5F3-05DD7F220288}

Carrier Level Immutable Protection (CLIP): secure and trusted technology to empowering carriers.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A year ago, we were signing our partnership agreement with Rivetz, where we set the stage for the creation of a new decentralized model to enhance data security and management. Currently, we are in a position to talk about our first prototypes of a technology developed to provide security to all Movistar SIM-based mobile devices. To this end, we have used hardware components nowadays included in billions of devices: the so-called Trusted Execution Environments (TEE).

Alliance ElevenPaths Rivetz Wanchain Civic imagen

If you want to change your employees’ security habits, don’t call their will, modify their environment instead

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

You’re in a coffee bar and you need to connect your smartphone to a Wi-Fi, so you check your screen and see the following options. Imagine that you know or can ask for the key, in case it were requested, which one would you choose?

Wi-Fi networks image

Depending on your security awareness level, you will choose the first one: mi38, that seems to have the best signal; or v29o, that has not such a bad signal but is secured and requests a password. Imagine now that you are in the same coffee bar, but in this case you have the following list of Wi-Fi networks on your smartphone screen. Which one would you choose now?