Critical RDP Vulnerability

Critical Vulnerability in Microsoft RDP

Details of a critical rdp vulnerability in Microsoft’s remote desktop software were made public yesterday. Microsoft even released patches for old operating systems going back as far as Windows XP which has been out of maintenance for many years! This issue is being taken very seriously!

Sample exploit code has been available to buy on the Dark Web. We have it, it does work and is easy and reliable to use.  And there are credible reports that we should expect a substantial attack over the coming few days.  If computers are not patched in time it is possible that this could cause damage and disruption similar to that caused by WannaCry . Statistics suggest that some 8% of all machines are at risk, the majority being in small businesses which have not yet upgraded to more modern operating systems. Please contact us urgently if your business is still running older OS machines. It is time to upgrade!

How does the exploit work and how critical is it?

Vulnerable server operating systems includes: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2

The list for PCs includes: Windows XP and Windows 7

By exploiting a remote execution bug in RDP the hacker can run code on machines without having to sign in. Once an attacker breaks into a computer this way, they have full control over the machine. No login credentials are needed!

Just running RDP on an old OS means your system is wide open to anyone that wants to use it.

For example, this vulnerability could allow access to deploy worms.  These could replicate themselves across your network infecting machines which would not otherwise be at risk. Alternatively, ransomware encryption viruses could be deployed or your data stolen.  The opportunities for theft, extortion and disruption are only limited by the creativity of the hacker!

The WannaCry ransomware worm spread around the globe in 24 hours. It infected around 300 million computers in 150 countries at an alarming pace. The National Health Service was amongst those badly affected. It is quite possible for this to be a repeat event.

How to mitigate the RDP vulnerability

Patch, patch patch!

We recommend that you apply these security measures as quickly as possible.

1 Patch all systems NOW.

2 Implement IP restrictions if possible to prevent unauthorised traffic.

3 Enable NLA if available. Network Level Authentication is another possible lock in front of RDP traffic.

4 Enforce VPN routing for RDP as this requires authentication.

5 Disable RDP on all systems if not used.

All this is technical so contact your IT company for help if it does not mean anything to you. If they are not aware of the problem then ditch them and contact LIS for help!

LIS Clients are Protected

All LIS clients on our managed services or network support plans are fully protected already. We have patched or scheduled all client machines that have our support software installed whether in contract or not. If you are not already supported by a pro-active IT support company like LIS then please contact us. We can help.

The 2020 problem

This should be a reminder to progress your upgrade plans. Remove all old machines from your networks by the end of this year. The 2020 time bomb is a serious matter and should not be ignored.

In light of Microsoft’s rare legacy OS patch for RDP services, Securonix?s Head explains the likely reasons for the disclosure and its critical nature, as well as how to secure the RDP endpoints.

 

Hardware Security

Hardware security risks happen obviously. But we all trust our phones, tablets, PCs and laptops to be fundamentally secure. Built that way. Right?

Well maybe mainly hardware is secure but some recent news does beg the question as to whether we are right to assume all is well. Perhaps we are reaching the point where we need some mechanism to check and warrant and continually prove that we are secure and not open to unexpected risk. Recently we have had 2 big cases where fears have been raised but there is precious little fact to go on.

Huawei

The first is the Huawei issue. Essentially, cutting through the technobabble, this boils down to political risk. If the Chinese Government put pressure on the company would they and could they use their power as a supplier to do something we would not want. All this is masked in “are there backdoors” or exploits they could use. These are technical questions but largely irrelevant. The products could be squeaky clean today and tomorrow a new driver update might change all that. So the fundamental question is do we trust the company and can we prove nothing underhand has been done?

Some countries are blocking the use of telecoms network equipment from the Chinese firm.

Intel

The second recent issue is the Intel VISA bug. This is nothing to do with a well know credit card company by the way! The key facts here are that Intel buried a little monitoring and debugging tool into their chips so they could run internal tests. Unfortunately whether by accident or design they left it turned on in production systems. The result is that someone could plug a USB stick into many current PCs servers and laptops and gain access to just about everything. It wouldn’t be simple but it would be possible. Interestingly it is quite a hard problem to fix because, well, it is in the hardware! The only saving grace for this fiasco is that physical access is required to exploit the bug. As far as we know any way!

Can We Trust Manufacturers?

What both these cases have in common is that we live in a very complicated technical world. The average user cannot be expected to even understand the hardware security risks let alone mitigate them. So we have to rely on trust. Trust that we are safe. But trust is built on the premise that someone is checking to make sure that no-one is trying to be naughty. And that someone can put it right if abuse is found.

But is anyone actually looking?  Well, Intel  have a department whose only job is to deal with this stuff. Not sure they are sufficient protection for us given that the VISA bug slipped out. Huawei offer all the assurances in the world but Mr Trump is not falling for that one (allegedly). A cynic might suggest that this is more to do with trade wars with China than any technical concern!

But surely any manufacturer supplying the military or 5G infrastructure or your phone is just as much of a risk? Do we trust Cisco or any of the other big players? Just because the political risk is this side of the fence does that make it less risky? Just because AMD hasn’t fallen victim yet does that mean a bug isn’t there latent in the hardware.

Is there anything to be done. Well yes, its not actually that complicated to solve hardware security risks but it does require political will, technical knowledge and worldwide agreement. Does that seem likely in these fractured political times? In a word, No! So it’s time to keep your fingers crossed, backup like mad and make sure you encrypt everything that leaves your sight. Right? Ok, but then there’s the Whatsapp bug. Even encryption isn’t perfect!

Might be the right time to find a nice warm sandy beach and dig a head shaped hole and pretend nothing is wrong for a year or two! If that’s you and you need someone to keep an eye on your IT security the do contact LIS. It’s what we do!

 

Password Security

3 in 4 staff would fail a simple password check

You want your staff to watch this video because their weak password security puts your business at risk.

3 in 4 people use passwords so weak, they are very easily hacked. We’re talking:

• 123456
• Pet names, children’ names, spouse’s names
• Football teams, favourite player, etc

Here at LIS almost every day we see the consequences of local businesses being hacked, due to weak passwords.

We’ve got a brand new educational video on password security. Watch it now. If you want to lock things down or need to talk through the problem then contact LIS.

Web Hosting DDoS Protection

We have introduced enterprise-level Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection across our shared hosting platforms. These include general Windows, and Linux shared hosting as well as a dedicated shared WordPress system optimised for performance.

DDoS attacks flood a target with traffic with the intention of making a website unusable. Our shared platform is less vulnerable to these attacks than others because we use unique autoscaling servers. We have now added web hosting DDoS protection to strengthen our overall security offering at no extra cost.

The protection mitigates attacks even of Terabit per Second-levels of data. During an attack the system works by identifying the malicious traffic and isolating it, while letting normal, ‘friendly’ user traffic through so sites will function as normal. Overall this gives your website increased up-time and less vulnerability should the worst happen.

To find out more or to migrate your websites contact LIS. We will be pleased to help.

A live data visualization of DDoS attacks around the globe

 

White Hat Hacker

Meet Mafia Boy, the “white hat hacker” who knows everything there is to know about infiltrating computer systems

If you need more information read our guide. If you need help, contact LIS now. We can support your firewall, antivirus, dns filter, antispam, anti-phishing and anything else you may need.

#hackers #cybercrime #security

 

Full review here: http://hothardware.com/reviews/navigating-the-printer-security-minefield – MafiaBoy gained international notoriety in early 2000 by knockin…