Events

Area41, formerly known as …

Gruezi from Zurich, Switzerland, where the Area41 conference is currently being held. Area41 doesn’t ring a bell? Well, this event went under a renaming process and was formerly known as Hashdays, that took place in Lucerne. However, the steering team behind it still is the DEFCON Switzland group. And they have found a fantastic venue! The Komplex457 building oozes that indie type of atmosphere, that makes you feel right at home.

Mobile Malware, Buffer Overflows, Malware Miscellany, Conferences, History of Malware, Proof-of-Concept, Vulnerabilities and exploits, Zero-day vulnerabilities, Public key infrastructure, Cyber espionage, Privacy, Virtualization, Vulnerabilities, Bitcoin
Opening ceremony with Candid Wüst and Stefan Friedli.

Since the event is organised by the DEFCON Switzerland group, it’s not lacking the trademark puzzle. This time every attendee gets a fancy coin as a badge, that will give you the first hint to solve the puzzle game.

The Area41 badge.
The Area41 badge.

Halvar Flake was invited to hold the Keynote (slides are already available). He made everyone in the audience aware of the chain of trust and how much the IT industry as a whole is depending on certification authorities (and yes, there are hundreds of them!) as well as on trusting the goods produced by the hardware industry, especially with the recent revelations in mind. He finally pleaded for more transparency, for example by CAs publishing lists of files officially signed by them. By doing so everyone is able to verify if a digital signature on software is genuine or if the file got signed by a third party with stolen keys from a breach. Security clearly goes further than solely software security.

The bandwidth of talks presented here shows a great variety, from vulnerability research to mobile threats, bitcoins or just entertaining stories in the field of IT-security. Make sure you have a closer look at the agenda here. Overall, the event presents itself with a very open, friendly atmosphere – just what you would expect from the successor of the Hashdays.

Area41, formerly known as …

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Reports

Lazarus targets defense industry with ThreatNeedle

In mid-2020, we realized that Lazarus was launching attacks on the defense industry using the ThreatNeedle cluster, an advanced malware cluster of Manuscrypt (a.k.a. NukeSped). While investigating this activity, we were able to observe the complete life cycle of an attack, uncovering more technical details and links to the group’s other campaigns.

Sunburst backdoor – code overlaps with Kazuar

While looking at the Sunburst backdoor, we discovered several features that overlap with a previously identified backdoor known as Kazuar. Our observations shows that Kazuar was used together with Turla tools during multiple breaches in past years.

Lazarus covets COVID-19-related intelligence

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Sunburst: connecting the dots in the DNS requests

We matched private and public DNS data for the SUNBURST-malware root C2 domain with the CNAME records, to identify who was targeted for further exploitation. In total, we analyzed 1722 DNS records, leading to 1026 unique target name parts and 964 unique UIDs.

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