December 22, 2016
UNM4SK3D: Ads, Email, and Inflight Entertainment
December 22, 2016
Slow clap for fraud-prevention firm White Ops who discovered the biggest digital ad fraud ever, lovingly dubbed 'Methbot.'
This may sound like a bad dream, or just another episode of Breaking Bad, but Methbot, a 'robo-browser that spoofs all the necessary interactions needed to initiate, carry out and complete ad transactions,' has been making hackers 3-5 million PER DAY since its inception. These alleged Russian hackers, part of the cyber criminal gang dubbed 'ATF13,' are pretty sneaky- they pulled off the hack by using Methbot to automatically generate 300 million fraudulent ad impressions daily, impersonating US brands like ESPN and the Huffington Post.
How did they do it? Probably with the help of a lot of vodka. But all jokes aside, this tricky scheme avoided suspicion by using 570,000 bots with forged IP addresses, making the ad views appear to be coming from the United States. To make their bots fly further under the radar, the gang employed methods like automated faked clicks, mouse movements, and social network login information.
Methbot watched as many as 300 million ads per day, with an average payout of $13.04 per 1000 faked views -White Ops
If this headline has you scratching your head over the complexity of bots, take a step back. This post from AlienVault, 'Botnet Detection and Removal: Methods & Best Practices' takes readers through Botnet 101.
#hacked (again).Yahoo! is infamous yet again, and not for the nostalgia of embarrassing first email addresses we typically associate with the site. No, they've had another massive data breach.
The latest breach comes after an initial hack compromising 500 million accounts, of which users were notified early this fall. In perfect harmony with the storm of 'winter is coming memes,' this season brought with it one of the largest data breaches in Internet history- this time hitting 1 billion of its user accounts. If you're thinking of ditching your original 'email@example.com' and opting for ProtonMail, probably a smart idea.
Not only were more accounts targeted, but more sensitive data was taken this time around. According to the Hoo's CISO, Bob Lord, "Stolen information may include names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords using MD5 encryption -- and in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers." So, that means while you can change your password, these hackers still have access to very personal information that you can't change- like your mother's maiden name and birth date.
By the end of 2020 the number of email users worldwide will top 3.0 billion. Nearly half of the worldwide population will be using email by year end 2020 -Email Statistics Report, the Radicati Group
To get more in-depth on the topic of email security, checkout this case study, 'E-Mail Investigation' which gives a case summary, explores the forensic methodology and provides a summary of the trials and prosecution.
You have more than turbulence to be worried about on your next flight. In a recent report, IOActive revealed that an in-flight entertainment system from Panasonic Avionics could potentially allow access to aircraft control systems.
In a world where free pretzels are a meal and getting an aisle seat is akin to winning the lottery, comes bad news for flyers who binge Friends re-runs from 10,000 feet. Your favorite in-flight feature, the entertainment, is under attack. The critical security vulnerabilities reside in the Panasonic Avionics In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system used in planes run by 13 major airlines, including American and Emirates and could allow hackers to hijack several flight systems and even take control of the plane. If that made you nauseous, there's a barf bag in the seat pocket infront of you.
How did this vulnerability get discovered? Well, IOActive's own Ruben Santamarta was the first to notice the dangerous, gaping whole in the system. What made him test it in the first place, we'll ask later. He managed to "hijack" in-flight displays to change information like altitude and location, as well as hack into the announcements system and could also access credit card details of passengers stored in the automatic payment system, as if $25 for a checked bag isn't enough.
If you're still trying to wrap your head around how many daily flights there must be in 2016, focus your energy instead on 'How to Hunt for Vulnerabilities' with this video from Breakpoint Labs.
There were 37.4 million flights scheduled in 2014, which means an average of 102,465 flights per day- 2014 report from Air Transport Action Group