It’s hard to keep up with the hundreds of security-specific headlines published every week.
So, we’re rounding up the top news that affect you, your business, and the security and technology industry overall. Knowledge is power. Check back every Friday to learn about the latest in security news.
The password may be one of the worst security elements we have.
They are oftentimes easily guessed because we, as humans, are generally pretty bad at creating and remembering them. So, we use weak passwords across multiple accounts. We use simple passwords like “123456” or “password.” We share our passwords with our friends and family members (I’m looking at you, Netflix-share-ers).
The industry is also yet to find something better. The phone, however, presents new and exciting ways for companies to protect their accounts, which means the phone is also become a critical part of the hacker “kill chain.”
The team at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in 2015.
It’s been almost two years since I moved from Boston to San Francisco to take on the CEO role here at Lookout. Of course, I expected some level of culture shock after spending the first 30 years of my career on the east coast. Still, I was unprepared for how different this city is. I quickly learned to substitute face-to-face customer experiences with a few clicks of an app for my most routine activities, including ordering weekly groceries from Amazon, take out from Postmates, and virtually everything else from Google Express. And, of course, Uber is now my primary means of transportation.
We first started holding Hackathons when we were a third of our size, aspiring to get the creative juice flowing across teams. Today, the Hackathon spans two-days in which employees leave the comfort of their teams and enter collaborations with new coworkers, serving in new roles. An engineer may become a product manager; a designer may use their skills in web development, all building awesome projects that oftentimes really do end up in Lookout’s products.
It’s one of our favorite times of year and this year, we wanted to highlight our Hackathon leaders: Namhee Koo, our current Hackathon coordinator, and David Richardson, the guy who started it all 4 years ago.
Hear from them why the hackathon is so key to Lookout’s culture, where it’s headed, and all the goofy stuff in between:
The World Economic Forum is calling for immediate attention to mobile cyberattack in its ‘Global Risks Report’ for 2016 — a recommendation that echoes the rapid adoption of new technologies in business and government agencies and the great need for equal interest in the associated risks and protections.
Emerging technologies are not often adopted by the channel, but Lookout’s enterprise mobility solutions have made the cut. Today, Lookout is excited to announce a strategic alliance with channel-heavyweight Ingram Micro, opening the door that connects our products to the customers who need them most even wider.
Many businesses today begin securing their data with a checkbox.
That is, a chief security or information officer is told, “We need to secure X,” thus the goal becomes, “Find a solution to tick the ‘X’ security checkbox.” This is how we measure the security of our information today, by itemizing the technologies we’ve deployed across an organization. Unfortunately, this kind of mentality gets in the way of rational thinking about how to solve real security problems enterprises are facing today. The security industry and its customers alike must move away from a checkbox mentality toward considering true risk reduction: how does this technology measure its success?
The malware family Brain Test, unfortunately, has made a comeback. Some variants attempt to gain root privilege, and persist factory resets and other efforts to remove it, especially on rooted devices.
Lookout consumer and enterprise users are protected.
In October 2015, we discovered several applications live in the Google Play Store that looked suspiciously like they were written by the developers behind the Brain Test malware family. Curiously, these apps had hundreds of thousands of downloads and at least a four star average review score — indicating a satisfying app experience, not obtrusive adware. Not long before, in September, Google had removed two Brain Test samples after a report by Check Point.
It took more research, aided by the Lookout Security Cloud, to connect the dots, but on December 29 we confirmed our suspicions that additional apps containing Brain Test malware were in Google Play. We found 13 Brain Test samples in total, written by the same developers. We contacted Google, who promptly removed these 13 apps from the Google Play Store.
How did these apps appear in the Play Store? It seems likely that over 2-3 months, the malware authors used different names, games, and techniques to see what apps they could publish in Play while flying under the radar. Then, just before Christmas, a game called Cake Tower received an update. The update turned on functionality similar to the initial versions of Brain Test and included a new command and control (C2) server, which was the smoking gun we needed to tie together the apps.
The explanation for the apps’ high ratings and hundreds-of-thousands of downloads is the malware itself. First off, some of the apps are fully-functioning games. Some are highly rated because they are fun to play. Mischievously, though, the apps are capable of using compromised devices to download and positively review other malicious apps in the Play store by the same authors. This helps increase the download figures in the Play Store. Specifically, it attempts to detect if a device is rooted, and if so, copies several files to the /system partition in an effort to ensure persistence, even after a complete factory reset. This behavior is very similar to several other malware families we’ve seen recently, specifically Shedun, ShiftyBug, and Shuanet.
Unfortunately, Brain Test is back, but Google worked quickly to remove the malicious apps we discovered, and we are continuing to monitor for new variants.