Tag Archives: Petya

Microsoft security solutions against ransomware and APT

Last Tuesday I was invited to Microsoft business breakfast “Effective protection against targeted and multilevel attacks”. Here I would like to share some of my thoughts on this. Need to mention that the food was delicious and the restaurant of Russian Geographical Society is a very lovely place. 😉 Thanks, Microsoft!

Microsoft as a security vendor? O RLY?

Microsoft products are not actually my topic. To tell you the truth, personally I’d better live in a world without this massive Windows hegemony in desktop operating systems. I use Linux mostly. And even when I have to work in a Windows environment, it’s much easier for me to do all the work in some Linux virtual machine.

But in the real life almost every office network is build on Microsoft solutions. And if you are doing Vulnerability Management in any organization, you should deal with them too. The good news is that many security features are available out of the box in the MS products that you have already purchased. It’s just important to know about these features and use them right.

One more thing, why it’s interesting to learn more about Microsoft information security products. Microsoft developers, obviously, have direct access to Windows source code and know better how their own OS works. Many things are much easier for them to implement than for other security vendors. So, good chances that you will see in Microsoft products some interesting features, that other vendors don’t have (yet).

Drowning in data

The event began with an opening speech by Andrey Ivanov from Microsoft Russia.

Andrey Ivanov, "Effective protection against targeted and multilevel attacks"

I liked his thesis that “we are drowning in security data”:

  • Threat Intelligence from different sources that need to be implemented in your infrastructure and somehow validated. A good place to mention Vulners.com vulnerability feeds 😉
  • Threat Detection using logs, scanners, various protection tools, etc.
  • The overall number of SIEM inputs is growing faster than our resources. New IT system = new problems of SIEM configuration.

So, it would be nice if somebody, for example OS vendor, will provide all this as a service, right? 😉

Detect the undetectable

Then there was the keynote by Zbigniew Kukowski – one of the leading Microsoft information security experts.

Zbigniew Kukowski, "Effective protection against targeted and multilevel attacks"

Why is it necessary?

Here is what I would like to note from his report. First of all, great arguments why it is necessary. Ok, this is marketing. But the ability to explain (to sell) necessity of information security is important skill for any information security specialist now. It does not matter if you are working in a  security vendor, integrator or customer.

Zbigniew mentioned an interesting case: some Polish company, that lost $ 4.3 million in recent the Petya attack in 4 days. The cost of Information Security measures will be much less than the potential losses of business.

Another argument – attacks are not the entertainment for some individuals any more. Now it’s a well-organized criminal business. Dozens of people are working on popular malware tools, like Petya. That’s why ransomware tools are so popular now – cyber-criminals just want to return their development costs.

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Petya, M.E.Doc and the problem of trust

I’ve already mentioned in “Petya the Great and why *they* don’t patch vulnerabilities“, that NotPetya ransomware seems trivial from Vulnerability Management point of view. It uses known Windows vulnerabilities, that were patched by Microsoft long time ago.

Despite of this, I was really interested in M.E.Doc (servers were confiscated by Ukrainian police and website is not operational) role in the initial phase of malware spreading. In my opinion, we have a pretty interesting example of an attack vector, that will be very hard to detect and mitigate. And moreover, it’s once again shows that protected perimeter won’t be a panacea anymore.


M.E.Doc – My Electronic Document Circulation System. “m.e.doc” sounds like the word, that mean “honey” in Russian and Ukrainian. That’s why all these bees in promo materials.

M.E.Doc is an Document Circulation System very popular in Ukraine. It makes possible to send reports to the government authorities in electronic form. It can be used in any organization. I can even imagine situation when usage of this kind of software may be even mandatory. Now the researchers [Eset, Dr.Web] say that M.E.Doc servers sent updates with backdoors  to the customers.

This backdoor has abilities:

  • Data collection for accessing mail servers
  • Arbitrary commands execution in the infected system
  • Running any executables
  • Downloading arbitrary files to the infected computer
  • Uploading arbitrary files to a remote server
  • Identify the exact organization using EDRPOU number.

I don’t really care about technical details about this backdoor. For me it’s enough that malicious code was on official server of the vendor and was spread to legitimate customers. Boom!

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Petya the Great and why *they* don’t patch vulnerabilities

I really like this. Just imagine. Quiet, routine, everyday Vulnerability Management process in organizations: scanning-patching, scanning-patching, scanning-patching… And then. Suddenly! PEEETYYA!!!

And at very same moment everything changes. People from different companies start to communicate with each other actively, reverse this new malware, share the data, write and share tools for detection and recovery. Security professional is a friend, a brother and a source of useful information for security professional. Real movement! Real community! =)

Petya ransomware

For example, my friends from Vulners.com created pretty popular gist about Petya (petrWrap, notPetya, GoldenEye) and updated in real time for several hours.

Vulners Petya gist

My former colleagues from Positive Technologies released detailed technical review of this ransomware (in Russian) few hours since the outbreak started, at 01:00 am . They also found a local kill switch, and probably were the first one. Simultaneously with Amit Serper from Cybereason.

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