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Philippines targeted in latest cyber attack by Hussarini malware

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Philippines targeted in latest cyber attack by Hussarini malware

Also known as Sarhust, cybercriminals have used this malware to actively target Southeast Asia since 2014

Philippines targeted in latest cyber attack by Hussarini malware

Fortinet, a global leader in broad, integrated and automated cybersecurity solutions, has discovered a resurgence of the Hussarini malware in Philippines that exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Office. Also known as “Sarhurst”, this backdoor malware was last seen in 2014 targeting various countries in Southeast Asia.

Philippines targeted in latest cyber attack by Hussarini malware

Fortinet’s FortiGuard Labs identified Hussarini in a malicious document with the politically-themed filename “Draft PH-US Dialogue on Cyber Security.doc”. This malware is classified as an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attack, and attempts unauthorized entry into computer networks to potentially steal data. This infected document takes advantage of the vulnerability CVE-2017-11882. (Note: Microsoft has issued a patch for this vulnerability and users should download it to prevent attacks)

Philippines targeted in latest cyber attack by Hussarini malware

 

Analysis by FortiGuard Labs researchers indicates that it is by no coincidence that cybercriminals are targeting Philippines in the renewed APT attack campaign. In 2016, the Philippines government suffered a major attack on its Commission on Elections database that compromised personal information of over 50 million voters. Cybercriminals had exploited known website vulnerabilities to launch their attacks. That same year, a cyber attack on the Bangladesh central bank led to loss of US$81 million that was illegally transferred to a Philippines commercial bank. Security lapses failed to flag suspicious transactions and stop the movement of stolen money through bank networks.

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Philippines targeted in latest cyber attack by Hussarini malware

 

Humans are the weakest link in the information security chain. The Philippines, with a huge number of internet users with little to no knowledge about cybersecurity, is very vulnerable to cyber attacks. There are three ways to bolster security. Firstly, the best way for companies to avoid becoming victims of malware is employee security awareness so they won’t easily fall prey to phishing attacks. The second way is to practice good security hygiene, ensuring that computers automatically get the latest updates from their software and OS vendors. Lastly, organizations and computer users need to deploy the appropriate security technologies to block these attacks.

Philippines targeted in latest cyber attack by Hussarini malware

 

“It is very important for the Philippines both in the government and in the business sector to integrate cybersecurity into its risk management practices,” said David Maciejak, Director of Security Research for Fortinet. “The threat landscape is constantly evolving and attacks are getting more complicated, resulting in information leaks and financial loses. As a positive step, the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has unveiled its National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities and tighten security measures. Knowing that the risks exist and promoting best practices for handling those risks will minimize the negative impact of these attacks to businesses and to the government.”

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FortiGuard Labs Predicts the Convergence of Advanced Persistent Threat Methods with Cybercrime 

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Advanced Persistent Cybercrime Enables New Wave of Destructive Attacks at Scale Fueled by Cybercrime-as-a-Service 

Derek Manky, Chief Security Strategist & VP Global Threat Intelligence, FortiGuard Labs

“As cybercrime converges with advanced persistent threat methods, cybercriminals are finding ways to weaponize new technologies at scale to enable more disruption and destruction. They are not just targeting the traditional attack surface but also beneath it, meaning both outside and inside traditional network environments. At the same time, they are spending more time on reconnaissance to attempt to evade detection, intelligence, and controls. All of this means cyber risk continues to escalate, and that CISOs need to be just as nimble and methodical as the adversary. Organizations will be better positioned to protect against these attacks with a cybersecurity platform integrated across networks, endpoints, and clouds to enable automated and actionable threat intelligence, coupled with advanced behavioral-based detection and response capabilities.”

Daniel Kwong, Field Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Fortinet South East Asia & Hong Kong 

 

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“The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing digital economies in the region, and as digitalization accelerates, the country will face more cyber risks. As the country continues to strengthen its digital transformation initiatives, there is a strong focus on digitizing infrastructure, logistics, and the development of smart cities. As these sectors digitize, they will become highly desirable targets for attackers. This reality means that organizations need to protect themselves with the right IT and OT infrastructure security architecture and prepare for the digital world.”

News Summary

Fortinet® (NASDAQ: FTNT), a global leader in broad, integrated, and automated cybersecurity solutions, today unveiled predictions from the FortiGuard Labs global threat intelligence and research team about the cyberthreat landscape for the next 12 months and beyond. From quickly evolving Cybercrime-as-a-Service (CaaS)-fueled attacks to new exploits on nontraditional targets like edge devices or online worlds, the volume, variety, and scale of cyberthreats will keep security teams on high alert in 2023 and beyond. Highlights of the predictions can be found below, but for a more detailed view of the predictions and key takeaways for CISOs, read our blog.

1) Success of RaaS is a Preview of What Is to Come with CaaS

Given cybercriminal success with Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), a growing number of additional attack vectors will be made available as a service through the dark web to fuel a significant expansion of Cybercrime-as-a-Service. Beyond the sale of ransomware and other Malware-as-a-Service offerings, new a la carte services will emerge. CaaS presents an attractive business model for threat actors. With varying skill levels they can easily take advantage of turnkey offerings without investing the time and resources up front to craft their own unique attack plan. And for seasoned cybercriminals, creating and selling attack portfolios as-a-service offers a simple, quick, and repeatable payday. Going forward, subscription-based CaaS offerings could potentially provide additional revenue streams. In addition, threat actors will also begin to leverage emerging attack vectors such as deepfakes, offering these videos and audio recordings and related algorithms more broadly for purchase.

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One of the most important methods to defend against these developments is cybersecurity awareness education and training. While many organizations offer basic security training programs for employees, organizations should consider adding new modules that provide education on spotting evolving methods such as AI-enabled threats.

2) Reconnaissance-as-a-Service Models Could Make Attacks More Effective

Another aspect of how the organized nature of cybercrime will enable more effective attack strategies involves the future of reconnaissance. As attacks become more targeted, threat actors will likely hire “detectives” on the dark web to gather intelligence on a particular target before launching an attack. Like the insights one might gain from hiring a private investigator, Reconnaissance-as-a-Service offerings may serve up attack blueprints to include an organization’s security schema, key cybersecurity personnel, the number of servers they have, known external vulnerabilities, and even compromised credentials for sale, or more, to help a cybercriminal carry out a highly targeted and effective attack. Attacks fueled by CaaS models means stopping adversaries earlier during reconnaissance will be important.

Luring cybercriminals with deception technology will be a helpful way to not only counter RaaS but also CaaS at the reconnaissance phase. Cybersecurity deception coupled with a digital risk protection (DRP) service can help organizations know the enemy and gain advantage.

3) Money Laundering Gets a Boost from Automation to Create LaaS

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To grow cybercriminal organizations, leaders and affiliate programs employ money mules who are knowingly or unknowingly used to help launder money. The money shuffling is typically done through anonymous wire transfer services or through crypto exchanges to avoid detection. Setting up money mule recruitment campaigns has historically been a time-consuming process, as cybercrime leaders go to great lengths to create websites for fake organizations and subsequent job listings to make their businesses seem legitimate. Cybercriminals will soon start using machine learning (ML) for recruitment targeting, helping them to better identify potential mules while reducing the time it takes to find these recruits. Manual mule campaigns will be replaced with automated services that move money through layers of crypto exchanges, making the process faster and more challenging to trace. Money Laundering-as-a-Service (LaaS) could quickly become mainstream as part of the growing CaaS portfolio. And for the organizations or individuals that fall victim to this type of cybercrime, the move to automation means that money laundering will be harder to trace, decreasing the chances of recovering stolen funds.

Looking outside an organization for clues about future attack methods will be more important than ever, to help prepare before attacks take place. DRP services are critical for external threat surface assessments, to find and remediate security issues, and to help gain contextual insights on current and imminent threats before an attack takes place.

4) Virtual Cities and Online Worlds Are New Attack Surfaces to Fuel Cybercrime

The metaverse is giving rise to new, fully immersive experiences in the online world, and virtual cities are some of the first to foray into this new version of the internet driven by augmented reality technologies. Retailers are even launching digital goods available for purchase in these virtual worlds. While these new online destinations open a world of possibilities, they also open the door to an unprecedented increase in cybercrime in unchartered territory. For example, an individual’s avatar is essentially a gateway to personally identifiable information (PII), making them prime targets for attackers. Because individuals can purchase goods and services in virtual cities, digital wallets, crypto exchanges, NFTs, and any currencies used to transact offer threat actors yet another emerging attack surface. Biometric hacking could also become a real possibility because of the AR and VR-driven components of virtual cities, making it easier for a cybercriminal to steal fingerprint mapping, facial recognition data, or retina scans and then use them for malicious purposes. In addition, the applications, protocols, and transactions within these environments are all also possible targets for adversaries.

Regardless of work-from-anywhere, learning-from-anywhere, or immersive experiences-from-anywhere, real-time visibility, protection, and mitigation is essential with advanced endpoint detection and response (EDR) to enable real-time analysis, protection, and remediation.

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5) Commoditization of Wiper Malware Will Enable More Destructive Attacks

Wiper malware has made a dramatic comeback in 2022, with attackers introducing new variants of this decade-old attack method. According to the 1H 2022 FortiGuard Labs Global Threat Landscape report, there was an increase in disk-wiping malware in conjunction with the war in Ukraine, but it was also detected in 24 additional countries, not just in Europe. Its growth in prevalence is alarming because this could be just the start of something more destructive. Beyond the existing reality of threat actors combining a computer worm with wiper malware, and even ransomware for maximum impact, the concern going forward is the commoditization of wiper malware for cybercriminals. Malware that may have been developed and deployed by nation-state actors could be picked up and re-used by criminal groups and used throughout the CaaS model. Given its broader availability combined with the right exploit, wiper malware could cause massive destruction in a short period of time given the organized nature of cybercrime today. This makes time to detection and the speed at which security teams can remediate paramount.

Using AI-powered inline sandboxing is a good starting point to protect against sophisticated ransomware and wiper malware threats. It allows real-time protection against evolving attacks because it can ensure only benign files will be delivered to endpoints if integrated with a cybersecurity platform.

What These Attack Trends Mean for Cybersecurity Professionals

The world of cybercrime and the attack methods of cyber adversaries in general continue to scale at great speed. The good news is that many of the tactics they are using to execute these attacks are familiar, which better positions security teams to protect against them. Security solutions should be enhanced with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) so they can detect attack patterns and stop threats in real time. However, a collection of point security solutions is not effective in today’s landscape. A broad, integrated, and automated cybersecurity mesh platform is essential for reducing complexity and increasing security resiliency. It can enable tighter integration, improved visibility, and more rapid, coordinated, and effective response to threats across the network.

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Fortinet Empowers Teams to Proactively Manage Cloud Risk with New Cloud-native Protection Offering, Available Now on AWS

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Fortinet Empowers Teams to Proactively Manage Cloud Risk with New Cloud-native Protection Offering, Available Now on AWS 

 

Fortinet® (NASDAQ: FTNT), a global leader in broad, integrated, and automated cybersecurity solutions, today announced FortiCNP, a new built-in-the-cloud offering that correlates security findings from across an organization’s cloud footprint to facilitate friction-free cloud security operations. FortiCNP’s patented Resource Risk Insights (RRI)TM technology produces context-rich, actionable insights that help teams prioritize the remediation and mitigation of risks with the highest potential impact on cloud workload security without slowing down the business.  

 

Also announced today, Fortinet is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Launch Partner for Amazon GuardDuty Malware Protection, which provides agentless malware detection capabilities across AWS data stores, disk volumes, and workload images. FortiCNP supports Amazon GuardDuty Malware Protection, delivering near-real-time threat protection with zero-permission capabilities to actively scan running workloads with no impact or delays to operations.   

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The rapid pace of cloud adoption as part of a hybrid IT architecture allows organizations to achieve faster time to market and increased responsiveness to customer needs. However, the cloud can increase overall security risk, which is often addressed by adding new security solutions to an organization’s existing infrastructure. Each of these solutions comes with a litany of alerts that often require manual analysis and can quickly compound across an organization’s cloud deployment.  

 

Without the proper tools, security professionals must manually sift through hundreds, if not thousands, of security alerts on a daily basis,” said Doug Cahill, Vice President, Analyst Services and Senior Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). “Inundated with alerts, teams can face decreased productivity, inefficient workflows, and security risks accumulating faster than they can be addressed. FortiCNP helps cut through the noise, pointing teams to the security alerts that matter most.”  

 

Customers are already experiencing the benefits of FortiCNP’s approach to cloud-native risk management:  

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FortiCNP gives us comprehensive cloud visibility with an intuitive dashboard that allows us to easily track risk management over time,” said Caio Hyppolito, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at BK Bank. “Most importantly, it enables our team to focus on securing high-priority resources instead of spending time working through long lists of security findings. Integrations with the products we already have allow us to get even more value out of our deployment and allow broader visibility and easier, more proactive cloud security management.” 

 

Partners are also leveraging FortiCNP to enhance their offerings:  

 

“As an AWS Level 1 MSSP Competency Partner, Observian is dedicated to ensuring our service offerings support customers in building scalable, secure cloud deployments. Observian is thrilled to deliver a new service featuring Fortinet’s new Cloud-Native Protection solution, FortiCNP, with Observian’s trusted and proven managed detection and response services,” said Scott Plamondon, Co-Founder and VP of Architecture at Observian. “FortiCNP allows customers to easily integrate, more quickly operationalize, and immediately benefit from AWS’s native-cloud security services with more targeted and actionable alerts tuned to their needs and less noise. Our customers that rely on Observian’s Security Operations team will benefit from our ability to even better triage and report on those alerts 24/7.” 

 

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A defining feature of FortiCNP is integration with AWS security products and services, and the Fortinet Security Fabric, which helps organizations more effectively secure their cloud environments and maximize their cloud security investments.  

Fortinet Empowers Teams to Proactively Manage Cloud Risk with New Cloud-native Protection Offering, Available Now on AWS

“At AWS, we provide our customers with smarter tools to easily take action and mitigate risk faster,” said Jon Ramsey, Vice President (VP) AWS Security. “Security Partners like Fortinet with their FortiCNP offering built on AWS and integrated with our security services like Amazon GuardDuty give customers a choice to simplify and accelerate their cloud journey with cloud-native security services.” 

 

FortiCNP delivers the following features that allow security teams to effectively manage risk in the cloud: 

 

  • FortiCNP Resource Risk Insights (RRI)TM leverages a patented risk score algorithm to contextualize security findings from Fortinet Cloud Security solutions and AWS products and services to provide teams with prioritized, context-rich, and actionable insights about resources that present the highest risk and need immediate attention.  
  • By analyzing, correlating, and contextualizing security findings from AWS cloud security services with FortiCNP, customers maximize the value and benefit from easy deployment capabilities offered by Amazon GuardDuty Malware Protection, Amazon Inspector, AWS Security Hub, AWS CloudTrail, and AWS Organizations. 
  • Integrations with Amazon GuardDuty Malware Protection leverage a zero-permission, agentless approach for detecting malware throughout the data supply chain by scanning cloud data stores, disk volumes, and workload images.  
  • Integrations with digital workflow solutions turn FortiCNP RRIs into intuitively actionable workflow tasks as part of the cloud infrastructure lifecycle.  
  • For customers utilizing Fortinet Cloud Security solutions such as FortiGate-VM and FortiWeb, RRIs will be able to trigger stop-gap remediations to block high-impact threats.   
  • FortiCNP continuously scans and monitors changes to cloud data with industry-leading threat intelligence and content scanning powered by FortiGuard Labs.  

 

FortiCNP will be continually expanded to ingest more types of cloud security findings to provide broader context across more cloud workloads. Enabling consistent workflows that scale security across the public cloud helps teams improve security coverage, productivity, and risk mitigation—at the speed of the cloud. Cloud-native integrations facilitate reduced friction from deployment through operations. With consistent workflows utilizing cloud-native services across multiple clouds, security teams will no longer be required to master the intricacies of each cloud platform’s security service operational model. This will help security teams increase productivity by effectively working through cloud security backlog, mitigating risk, and quantifiably improving cloud security over time. 

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“FortiCNP is the latest example of Fortinet’s commitment to delivering Fabric solutions that extend enterprise security with cloud-native integrations,” said John Maddison, EVP of Products and CMO at Fortinet. “We’re pleased to continue to deliver solutions that allow security professionals to transition from time-consuming triage and manual analysis processes to proactively securing their cloud workloads and easily understand their cloud security risk.” 

 

Today’s announcement builds on Fortinet and AWS’ relationship to support customers in accelerating their journey to AWS. Fortinet has also been named an AWS Security Competency Partner, with FortiCNP serving as the latest example of Fortinet’s commitment to delivering purpose-built cloud security solutions that integrate with AWS products and solutions. Fortinet delivers one of the broadest sets of use cases with comprehensive security for AWS workloads including firewall, security gateway, intrusion prevention, and web application security. With flexible procurement options in AWS Marketplace, including contract and consumption offerings, and a range of available form factors, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), virtual machine (VM), container, and application programming interface (API) based protection, customers can address a broad variety of AWS security and procurement requirements to protect their AWS workloads. 

 

Get a free trial of FortiCNP at AWS Marketplace: https://www.forticnp-aws.com 

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Fortinet Collaborates with Edukasyon.ph to Educate Children in Philippines on Internet Safety

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Edukasyon.ph, DepEd to receive illustrated book on cybersecurity awareness  

Fortinet, a global leader in broad, integrated, and automated cybersecurity solutions, further strengthens its commitment to educating the global community on cybersecurity as it collaborates with Edukasyon.ph, a leading online education platform for youth in the Philippines. Complimentary copies of Fortinet’s “Cyber Safe” book will be given to Edukasyon.ph and the Department of Education (DepEd) as a part of this initiative.

 

In addition, copies of the children’s book, “Cyber Safe: A Dog’s Guide to Internet Security,” will be given to parents and educators who register for the livestream event to be conducted by Fortinet and Edukasyon.ph. Through this collaboration, Fortinet aims to raise the youth’s cybersecurity awareness by informing parents and educators about cybersecurity and encouraging them to be involved in cyber safety to protect children in the digital world.

 

“Amid the pandemic, internet usage greatly increased among the youths due to online and remote education as the new norm. This develops new threats that affect the children’s privacy, safety, and security. For that reason, parents’ and educators’ protective boundaries apply not only physically but also digitally. At Fortinet, we have been committed to educating, and empowering communities through knowledge and necessary skills to deal with cyber threats, especially educating youth on good cybersecurity hygiene. Fortinet has pledged to train 1 million people to help close the cybersecurity skills gap globally across the next 5 years through Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda (TAA),” said Louie Castañeda, country manager of Fortinet Philippines.

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Co-authored by Renee Tarun, Fortinet’s Deputy CISO and Vice President of Information Security, the “Cyber Safe” book provides an easy-to-understand introduction to possible dangers for children connecting online for school, video games, and streaming videos shows, and more. The internet can be a truly valuable resource, however, it can also be a playground for things like cyberbullying, malicious content, and bad actors who seek to prey on children and their families for things such as identity theft, criminal activity, and more.

Fortinet Collaborates with Edukasyon.ph to Educate Children in Philippines on Internet Safety

The book will be officially endowed via a virtual event, “Asking for a Friend: How Can Kids Stay Safe from Digital Threats,” which will delve on the cyber threats that youths may face amid the digital world, identify suspicious behavior, and what parents can do to keep children safe online.

 

The event will feature Mikaela Lagdameo – Martinez, a celebrity mom, as the host and speaker of the event. The panel, on the other hand, will be composed of Louie Castañeda, country manager of Fortinet Philippines, Z Gonzales, head of product of Edukasyon.ph, and DepEd Representative.

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“As we, at Edukasyon.ph, continue to empower students, enabling them to pursue their chosen career and life through our platform. We also want to protect them from the growing threats online that could disrupt their lives and learning. Through this virtual event, Edukasyon.ph and Fortinet will train parents and educators on how to recognize cyber threats, what action they can take if it arises, and how they can keep the children safe from existing and emerging digital threats,” expressed Grace David, CEO of Edukasyon.ph.

 

This youth outreach with Edukasyon.ph and DepEd is part of Fortinet’s global CSR commitment to creating awareness among children. It also reinforces Fortinet’s skills gap initiative to build cybersecurity awareness at a young age, helping to create a safe online environment for everyone.

 

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Meanwhile, aside from this initiative, Fortinet also provides access to an award-winning cybersecurity training curriculum, known as the Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) program. Through its NSE Training Institute, Fortinet offers free self-paced cyber awareness courses via NSE 1 and NSE 2 to further develop foundational cybersecurity skills, complementing the “Cyber Safe” book. In 2020, the NSE Training Institute also launched the Information Security Awareness and Training Service available for free. Parents and educators can use this service to raise their cybersecurity awareness to protect their children.

 

Fortinet and Edukasyon.ph’s livestream event will be held on December 4, 2021, at 4.00PM. To register, visit go.edukasyon.ph/cybersafety.

 

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