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Use Of Pirated Games To Spread Cryptojacking Malware

Pirated versions of popular games such as Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K19 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 attract a large number of gamers as they can download these versions free from different forums. However, there might be a hidden cost associated with these pirated versions of popular games. It has been reported that threat artists are using the cracked or pirated versions of popular games to distribute malware. This malware aims at secretly mining cryptocurrency using the infected systems.

The threat has been identified as Crackonosh and has been found to be active since June 2018. The malware wipes out the antivirus programs installed on the target system and uses the system for mining cryptocurrency.

Understanding Crackonosh

The main aim of Crackonosh is to install XMRig on the infected system. XMRig is a coin miner which is then used by the threat actors to secretly mine Monero cryptocurrency using the cracked software downloaded on the infected machine. Reports suggest that the threat actors have mined over $2 Million, or 9000 XMR in total. As of May 2021, the malware was reported to be still getting about 1000 hits a day.

Here is a brief account of how the malware operates:

Disabling Antivirus

Crackonosh caught the eyes of researchers when a large number of people reported that Avast Antivirus programs were removed from their systems. The malware has the capability to remove antivirus software and disabling security software & updates in addition to the use of other anti-analysis techniques. This makes it harder to discover, detect and remove the malware. Crackonosh can delete antivirus programs that use the command - rd <AV directory> /s /q; where <AV directory> is the default directory name that specific antivirus product uses, for example Adaware, Bitdefender, Escan, F-secure, Kaspersky, McAfee (scanner only), Norton and Panda.

Infection Chain

Here is the brief infection process:

  • The target downloads and installs the cracked or pirated software.
  • The installer runs maintenance vbs and starts the installation process using msi.
  • msi registers and runs the main malware executable serviceinstaller.exe.
  • The executable installs a file titled DLL, which extracts winlogui.exe and downloads winscomrssrv.dll and winrmsrv.exe.
  • These files are contained, decrypted and placed in the folder.

Disabling Windows Defender

The malware deletes Windows Defender and Windows Update by deleting a list of registry entries. The motive is to stop Windows Defender and turn off automatic updates. Later, it installs its own MSASCuiL.exe instead of Windows Defender, which adds a Windows Security icon to the system tray. This tricks the user and prevents him from discovering the removal of original Windows Defender.

Conclusion:

Crackonosh attack re-emphasizes on the fact ‘when you try to steal a software, chances are someone is trying to steal from you.’ Such attacks can be prevented by steering away from downloading and using pirated or cracked software. Also, stay cautious and download software from authentic developer.

Centex Technologies has a team of cyber security professionals who help clients in understanding latest cyber security threats and formulate an effective defense strategy. To know more about latest malware attacks, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

What Is Disaster Recovery As A Service?

“Disaster Recovery As A Service” or DRaaS can be defined as a cloud computing service model which allows an organization to back-up its data and IT infrastructure on a third party cloud computing environment. It also provides disaster recovery through a SaaS solution to help an organization regain access and functionality to IT infrastructure after a disaster.

Benefits of DRaaS:

Cost Efficiency:

The most important components of disaster recovery include:

  • Preventive measures that reduce the risk of man-made disasters
  • Detective measures aimed at identifying disasters at the earliest
  • Corrective measures to restore lost data and allow affected organization to resume business operations at the earliest, in case a disaster occurs
  • Disaster recovery planning includes using innovative hardware, software and performing on-time updates.

In order to achieve these goals, organizations need to run regular analysis of potential threats, maintain IT systems in optimal conditions, and seek innovative solutions focused on cybersecurity. DRaaS providers take care of these requirements with high efficiency. They also include cloud-based data management where resources are replicated to many different sites to ensure continuous backup even if one site is not available. This helps in reducing the risk of disaster and reduces the cost incurred due to downtime after disaster.

Increased Employee Productivity: In order to execute a disaster recovery plan, it is important that employees should know their roles and responsibilities. When specific roles and responsibilities are assigned in advance, it will increase effectiveness and productivity of the plan. It is important for organizations to have at least two employees who can perform one task. This allows the organization to implement disaster recovery plan even if one of the employees is not available.  Opting for DRaaS allows the organization’s employees to focus on their own tasks as the disaster recovery is managed by the well-trained team of the service provider. Most managed service providers also train employees of the client to handle disaster recovery plan.

Scalability: When a disaster recovery plan is designed, organizations also take scalability into account. The recovery plan should be able to manage increased organizational resources resulting from business growth. Opting for DRaaS allows easy scalability as organizations are just required to convey increased requirements to the service provider and pay accordingly.

Centex Technologies offers an array of managed services to its clients. The services are aimed at ensuring smooth operations and security of clients. To know more about Disaster Recover As A Service (DRaaS), call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Role Of AI In Transforming DevOp

DevOps methodology has significantly improved software development by breaking down the traditional barrier between development & IT teams. This collaboration of distributed teams helps in reducing the timeline of software development. However, the ultimate goal of DevOps – which is 100% automation across Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) – remains unachieved. Some business organizations still seem to be struggling with how to integrate DevOps in overall business processes.

These challenges can be maneuvered by adopting AI. The highly distributed nature of AI toolsets helps in reducing operational complexities of DevOps methodology. AI also improves the accuracy, quality and reliability of DevOps by streamlining and accelerating different phases of software development.

Ways in which AI transforms DevoPS:

  • Testing: DevOps includes a number of testing processes such as unit testing, regression testing, functional testing, and user acceptance testing. These testing processes generate a large amount of data and analyzing this data can be overwhelming for the DevOps team. AI implements pattern recognition to make it easier to analyze and categorize the data. After analyzing, it also provides insights on poor coding practices and errors to help code developers identify areas for better performance.
  • Data Access: The productivity and efficiency of DevOps team is highly stalled by lack of adequate access to data. This hinders the team’s ability to leverage data for decision-making. AI-powered data mapping technologies integrate a myriad of data from different sources & streamline it for consistent & repeatable analysis. It helps teams uncover valuable insights for decision-making.
  • Real-Time Alerts: Prompt alerts are helpful in promoting rapid response. However, when DevOps teams receive multiple alerts with same level of severity, it becomes difficult for them to react effectively. In such situations, AI helps in prioritizing most critical issues by collecting diagnostic information pertaining to every issue. In addition to prioritizing the issues, AI also suggests prospective solution based on magnitude of alert, past behavior, & source of alert. This facilitates faster remediation of the issue.
  • Automation: Integration of AI with DevOps significantly improves the automation quotient by eliminating or reducing the need for human intervention across processes from code changes to deployment.
  • Security: DevSecOps is an extension of DevOps that ingrains security into DevOps workflow. It automates core security tasks across software development lifecycle. AI based anomaly detection techniques help teams to accurately spot threats to their system and secure it proactively.
  • Collaboration: AI plays an important role in improving collaboration between DevOps teams by facilitating a single, unified view into system issues across DevOps toolchain.
  • Software Quality: AI improves the quality of software by auto-generating and auto-running test cases on the code. AI-based testing tools eliminate test coverage overlaps and fasten the process from bug detection to bug prevention.

Centex Technologies offers software development services for organizations. To discuss your software requirements, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.

Guide To Web Application Penetration Testing

In a dynamic cyber security environment, it is important to test the security protocols of your web application at regular intervals. An effective approach is to check how the security system will react if the application is actually attacked.

Web application penetration testing is a simulation technique that simulates attacks against the web application to help developers and cyber security teams identify any cyber security flaws, weaknesses and vulnerabilities for timely remediation. This type of testing can be used to identify vulnerabilities across web application components and APIs including backend network, database and source code.

Types Of Penetration Testing:

Depending upon the location of attack, web application penetration testing can be classified into two types:

  • External Penetration Testing: In this type, the web application is attacked from outside. The penetration test simulates the way an external attacker would launch an attack against the web application. This type of testing helps in checking firewalls and server security protocols.
  • Internal Penetration Testing: In this type of penetration testing, the attacks against the web application are launched from within the organization. The testing is usually performed through LAN connections. The goal off internal penetration testing is to identify vulnerabilities that might exist within the firewall. This type of testing helps in understanding the reaction of web application security system in case of a malicious insider attack.

Another important aspect of consideration when testing web application security is level of access. Following types of web application penetration testing can be performed to test the level of access and scope of knowledge:

  • Black Box Penetration Testing: This type of web application penetration testing simulates cyber security attacks that may be launched by external attackers who have no prior knowledge of targeted system.
  • Gray Box Penetration Testing: This type of web application penetration testing checks the response of security systems in case of an insider attack launched by internal threat actors having user level access to certain systems.
  • White Box Penetration Testing: This is a comprehensive penetration testing that simulates cyber security attacks that may be launched by a threat actor having root level or administrator access to the web application servers and data.

How Is Penetration Test Executed?

Planning:

  • Define the scope of test.
  • Provide required information and documentation to the tester.
  • Determine success criteria of the test.

Execution:

  • Run the test several times.
  • Follow pre-defined success and reporting criteria.
  • Create a clear & detailed report.

Post-Execution:

  • Provide recommendation for remediating vulnerabilities.
  • Re-test to check if remediation was effective.
  • Once all tests are concluded, revert the system to original configuration.

For more information on web application penetration testing, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.         

Understanding Cloud-First Approach To Data Protection

Year 2020 has witnessed a great rise in number of cyber-attacks, specially Ransomware attacks and Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks including phishing, spear phishing and whaling. These attacks result in data and financial losses. Another reason that has resulted in hike in threat of data threat and data exfiltration is increased number of remote employees due to COVID-19.

The major risk involved in data loss is associated with storing data on-premise or endpoints. Thus, it has become imperative for businesses to adopt a cloud-first approach to data protection.

Here is a step-wise approach to implementing cloud-first data protection strategy:

  • First step is to determine if you can trust the cloud service provider’s platform. Analyze if the service provider can meet the data storage requirements of the organization and has the capacity to adapt to any changes to organization’s backup and recovery plans in the future. Check if the provider can:

                  Support all cloud models including private, public and hybrid.

                  Protect data on servers, desktops, mobile devices, and third-party cloud apps.

  • Know about the data security practices implemented by the cloud service provider. It is important to ensure that organizational data should be encrypted both in flight and rest to avoid unauthorized access.
  • Be prepared to combat a data theft attack by designing a well-defined data recovery plan. Ask the cloud service provider, if there is a recovery action plan such as redundant data centers, secondary data center at a different location, etc. for such situations.
  • Relying solely on manual processes to back up mission-critical data can be ineffective. As organizations create a large amount of data everyday, manual data backup and management is no longer feasible. Also, processes such as Cloud, DevOps, and automation movements account for a dynamic business environment which further solidifies the need for automated backup policies.
  • Consider the level of tech support that the organization would require in case any issue with cloud backup or cloud data management is detected. It is important to have a pre-hand knowledge about how to contact the cloud service provider to reduce the response time. Ask the cloud service provider if it offers different support channels such as Email or chat. Also, make sure that the provider offers 24*7 support across different time zones.

What Are The Benefits Of Cloud-First Approach To Data Protection?

  • Cost savings
  • Scalability
  • Streamlined and coordinated approach
  • Reduced human error
  • Improved recovery abilities

For more information on cloud-first approach to data protection, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.   

Understanding Automation Software

Automation refers to the use of technology for performing tasks with reduced human assistance. It can be applied to any industry that involves repetitive tasks. However, it is more profoundly implemented in the industries of robotics, manufacturing, automotives and technology.

In the technology industry, automation is used for developing IT systems and business decision software.

  • IT Automation: In case of IT, automation can be integrated with and applied to anything from network automation to infrastructure, methodologies, DevOps, cloud, edge computing, security, testing, monitoring, and alerting.
  • Business Automation: It involves the alignment of business process management and business rules management with the process of modern application development. The underlying goal of business automation is to meet changing market demands.

The current market scenario requires businesses to undergo Digital Transformation. Instead of focusing on streamlining processes like automating customer records for sales, businesses now need to focus on developing new opportunities like automating complete business operations. This requires business and IT leaders to partner together for developing automation software and applications for business operations.

However, a simple question that needs to be answered is: Why Should a Business Adopt Automation Software?

In modern day scenario, businesses face multiple challenges such as supporting their employees, reaching out to new customers, providing innovative products & services at a faster speed. Automation software helps the business in managing, changing and adapting its IT infrastructure as well as business operations. Simplifying basic operational processes frees up time for businesses to focus on innovation and creativity.

Here are some other reasons that support the decision of adopting automation software for businesses:

  • It is hard to manage IT operations and processes while adopting new processes and staying in compliance with dynamic legal systems.
  • Requirements and demand are growing exponentially faster as compared to IT and business capabilities.
  • New methodologies such as DevOps are forcing changes in business culture.
  • The scaling up of business technology including virtualization, Cloud, etc. is too extensive to be performed manually.

An automation software for businesses holds its importance in improving productivity, consistency, and efficiency. Some advantages of automation software for businesses are:

  • Higher Productivity: As the automation software handles the repetitive tasks, the IT team is free to use the skills for more productive tasks such as developing new opportunities.
  • Better Reliability: Reducing the amount of human intervention in repetitive tasks helps in reducing the errors. A software brings reliability to the tasks as the processes, testing, updates, and workflow happen in the same order and time, making the results more reliable.
  • Easier Governance: A software can be coded easily to implement any changes making it easier to oversee the implementation and processes.

For more information on automation software, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.      

Jokeroo: Things To Know

Jokeroo is a type of ‘Ransomware As A Service’. So, in order to understand Jokeroo, it is first important to understand what is RaaS (Ransomware As A Service). RaaS is a mode of selling the use of ransomware to different affiliates.

The developer creates the ransomware and a payment site. The affiliates can sign up on the payment site. Once signed up, these affiliates help in distributing the ransomware to different victims. The ransom collected from the victims is then split between the developer and the affiliate.

Features Of Jokeroo RaaS:

  • In order to spread infection via Jokeroo ransomware, the developers distribute the ransomware via developers of other programs as well.
  • Jokeroo acts as a RaaS that offers membership packages to its affiliates. The services available to the affiliates depend upon the membership tier.
  • Once signed up, the affiliates gain access to dashboard of Jokeroo RaaS platform. The dashboard will show the membership level of the affiliate, list of victims, when they were infected, and if the victim has paid the ransom or not.
  • Affiliates can also look deeper to check the victim list and their IP address. The list also includes information such as Windows version and geographic location.
  • Jokeroo RaaS allows the affiliates to create their customized ransom notes.

How To Remove Jokeroo Ransomware?

If the victim has working backup of the infected files or is never going to try and recover the lost files, then the simple ways to remove Jokeroo ransomware are to:

  • Scan the computer with one or more antivirus and anti-malware programs
  • Reinstall the operating system

In case the victim needs to recover the encrypted files, victims can try to decrypt the files or use methods of file recovery.

  • Restore From Backup: If regular backups have been made on a separate device, then the victim can easily recover the files after running antivirus and antimalware scans to remove the ransomware.
  • File Recovery From Cloud Storage: Even if the encrypted files have been synced to the linked cloud storage, a number of cloud services retain the older versions of altered files for some days.
  • Recover Shadow Volume Copies: Volume Shadow Copy Service is a Windows technology that creates snapshots of the computer files on a regular basis and allows to revert any changes made on those files.

For more information on Jokeroo, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.