Merck's $310m NotPetya bill, stolen RDP logins selling for $10 a pop, bug patches, and more

Scary flaws in time for Halloween weekend


Roundup While the security world has been in full Holy Grail mode with BadRabbit, plenty of other stuff has been going on this week. Here's a roundup of everything else you need to know on top of what we've already reported.

On the vulnerability front, it was something of a quiet week. Google updated Chrome with a new build (62.0.3202.73) to fix a handful of flaws, notably a nasty stack-overflow screwup in its V8 JavaScript engine, some memory issues, and an exploitable bug in its software that could crash the browser. Make sure you grab the latest version.

Apache OpenOffice users also need to get patching. Cisco's Talos security team found three critical flaws in the dying software suite, and patches are ready and waiting. Maybe a good time to try LibreOffice? Just sayin'.

The trifecta of OpenOffice trouble included a flaw in WW8Fonts for the suite's word processing package, an out-of-bound write vulnerability exists in the PPTStyleSheet:PPTStyleSheet function of the Draw application, and a similar issue with WW8RStyle::ImportOldFormatStyles in the Write app.

And in worrying news for whistleblowers, the makers of the secure tell-all tool SecureDrop committed an embarrassing blunder. It turned out the installation code misconfigured Ansible, and caused three packages (Tor, NTP, and the Tor keyring) to be installed without automatically checking the dependencies' cryptographic signatures. In other words, if you work for an interesting organization and deployed SecureDrop, anyone able to tamper with your downloads could alter them to unmask your sources or cause other havoc.

Also, if you deploy virtual machines on Amazon EC2 with multiple users able to login, be aware they can get at your access keys.

Russian to conclusions

As for vulnerabilities yet to be found, McAfee confirmed to El Reg it will no longer allow Russian officials to inspect its source code for vulnerabilities and backdoors. The American antivirus maker had to reveal its blueprints to secure the right to sell its gear in Russia – kind of apt considering Kaspersky Lab is trying to get the US government to examine its source code.

While we're on the topic, Eugene Kaspersky has been on the media warpath over the treatment of his company in the US. After being banned from federal government contracts and computers, Eugene said the effect would cause a 10 per cent in software sales in the Land of the FreeTM.

Kaspersky hasn't actually visited the US since 2015, but said he'd be willing to travel to America to argue his case in front of Congress. Whether or not they'd be willing to listen is another matter – some of them can't even pronounce Kaspersky.

Dark web discord and divisiveness

It has been a disturbing week for some hackers frequenting dark-web forums to buy and sell stolen data and the tools to get more of it.

Frequenters of the underworld bazaar Basetools got a nasty shock on October 24 when an unnamed miscreant claimed to have pwned the souk comprehensively. According to infosec biz Digital Shadows, the culprit claimed they had details of everyone on the murky site and would release them to the authorities unless the administrators paid a $50,000 ransom.

The Basetools site subsequently went down. The extortionist also claimed the bazaar's administrators had been gaming their patrons by creating fake seller profiles to drum up bogus interest on the site. Cheeky.

However, the dark markets keep on selling. An investigation by Flashpoint revealed one big growth area is the sale of stolen login details for Remote Desktop Protocol servers for hackers to use, for instance, as jump boxes to commit other crimes, thus concealing their paths across the internet.

The slimy souk Ultimate Anonymity Services had 35,000 RDP-accessible account usernames and passwords for sale at around $10 a pop, claiming they had been obtained by bruteforce from otherwise legit systems. While these servers were predominantly located in China, Brazil and India, access to more than 300 US-based boxes was also up for grabs.

Finally, Merck bosses, in a conference call with financial analysts on Friday, said the NotPetya ransomware outbreak in June set the US pharma giant back at least $310m – $175m in costs and $135m in lost sales – just like it bit Maersk and FedEx for $300m each. Merck's third-quarter revenues were $10.3bn, down two per cent year on year, and it made a $56m loss compared to a $2.1bn profit the year before. ®

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