Mike Murray, VP of Security Intelligence

April 3, 2017

Pegasus for Android: the other side of the story emerges

Today, Lookout and Google are releasing research into the Android version of one of the most sophisticated and targeted mobile attacks we’ve seen in the wild: Pegasus.

Read the full technical analysis here

A “cyber arms dealer” named NSO Group developed the Pegasus malware, which jailbreaks or roots target devices to surveil specific targets. Last summer, after being tipped off by a political dissident in the UAE, Citizen Lab brought Lookout in to further investigate Pegasus. In August 2016, Lookout, with Citizen Lab, published research about the discovery of the iOS version of this threat. What we discovered was a serious mobile spyware operation that has since been reportedly used to target Mexican activists, according to The New York Times.

Google calls this threat Chrysaor, the brother of Pegasus. For simplicity, we’ll reference this as Pegasus for Android. Names aside, the threat is clear: NSO Group has sophisticated mobile spyware capabilities across a number of operating systems that are actively being used to target individuals.

Lookout enterprise and personal customers are protected from this threat.

March 27, 2017

Mobile Safari scareware campaign thwarted

Today, Apple released an update to iOS (10.3) that changed how Mobile Safari handles JavaScript pop-ups, which Lookout discovered scammers using to execute a scareware campaign.

The scammers abused the handling of pop-up dialogs in Mobile Safari in such a way that it would lock out a victim from using the browser. The attack would block use of the Safari browser on iOS until the victim pays the attacker money in the form of an iTunes Gift Card. During the lockout, the attackers displayed threatening messaging in an attempt to scare and coerce victims into paying.

However, a knowledgeable user could restore functionality of Mobile Safari by clearing the browser’s cache via the the iOS Settings — the attack doesn’t actually encrypt any data and hold it ransom. Its purpose is to scare the victim into paying to unlock the browser before he realizes he doesn’t have to pay the ransom to recover data or access the browser.

Lookout found this attack in the wild last month, along with several related websites used in the campaign, discovered the root cause, and shared the details with Apple. As part of the iOS 10.3 patch released today, Apple closed the attack vector by changing how Mobile Safari handles website pop-up dialogs, making them per-tab rather than taking over the entire app. We are publishing these details about the campaign upon the release of iOS 10.3.

March 15, 2017

Securing enterprise mobility is driving record growth at Lookout

2016 was the year mobile risk reduction became a necessity for global enterprises. Controlling mobile access to corporate data is now a top priority and proactive CISOs are selecting Lookout to accelerate secure mobility in the workplace.

This increase in customer orders drove Lookout to triple our billings year over year in 2016 compared to 2015 for Mobile Endpoint Security. To date, more than 150 enterprises, including top financial services institutions, technology leaders, healthcare providers, professional services firms, and large government agencies, are using Lookout Mobile Endpoint Security. Lookout also more than tripled the number of channel partnerships year over year, and we’re now working with over 80 distributors globally, including new partnerships with Carahsoft, Docomo, Ingram Micro, CDW, SHI, Synergie, and Netrix.

March 7, 2017

The convergence of the mobile threat defense and mobile app reputation market is good news for CISOs

The graphic above appears in Gartner’s report, Market Guide for Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) Solutions*. I believe a comprehensive mobile security solution must cover all four of these quadrants and enterprises should look for single solutions that cover all aspects addressed by MTD + MARS.

In my conversations with CISOs, I repeatedly hear that one of the biggest issues they have is too many security products. They usually express different versions of, “I’ve got 50 different vendors and 50 different security products, and I simply can’t afford the personnel that I need to manage 50 different products.” I’m happy to share that at Lookout, our Mobile Endpoint Security solution is already a united single offering with capabilities that are usually considered separate parts of Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) and Mobile App Reputation Solutions (MARS) products.

February 16, 2017

ViperRAT: The mobile APT targeting the Israeli Defense Force that should be on your radar

ViperRAT is an active, advanced persistent threat (APT) that sophisticated threat actors are actively using to target and spy on the Israeli Defense Force.

The threat actors behind the ViperRAT surveillanceware collect a significant amount of sensitive information off of the device, and seem most interested in exfiltrating images and audio content. The attackers are also hijacking the device camera to take pictures.

Using data collected from the Lookout global sensor network, the Lookout research team was able to gain unique visibility into the ViperRAT malware, including 11 new, unreported applications. We also discovered and analyzed live, misconfigured malicious command and control servers (C2), from which we were able to identify how the attacker gets new, infected apps to secretly install and the types of activities they are monitoring. In addition, we uncovered the IMEIs of the targeted individuals (IMEIs will not be shared publicly for the privacy and safety of the victims) as well as the types of exfiltrated content.

In aggregate, the type of information stolen could let an attacker know where a person is, with whom they are associated (including contacts’ profile photos), the messages they are sending, the websites they visit and search history, screenshots that reveal data from other apps on the device, the conversations they have in the presence of the device, and a myriad of images including anything at which device’s camera is pointed.

February 16, 2017

5 non-negotiable principles to combat cyber war on mobile

Cyber war is a term the U.S. government is intimately familiar with, but woefully unprepared for when it comes to mobile.

Government employee mobile devices are a relatively new attack surface, and a particularly valuable one for espionage missions and other criminal intent. Mobile devices access confidential, classified, and other protected data classes. At this point, that’s just a fact. Both CSIS and the Presidential Cyber Commision acknowledge that mobile is no longer a fringe technology, but a central instrument that allows employees to get their jobs done.

Protecting data on mobile is non-negotiable and the responsibility of federal technology and security leaders across the entire government.

There are five principles any federal agency or organization must use to build a mobile security strategy. To forego such a strategy directly puts sensitive government data at risk.

January 23, 2017

Lookout in Vanity Fair: The real story behind Pegasus and Trident

Smartphones today have more computing power than a Cray III supercomputer. However, many security professionals put about as much thought into securing their mobile ecosystems as they did into securing Motorola RAZRv3 flip phones back in the day.

Vanity Fair interviewed my team to understand the story behind the discovery of Trident, the three zero-day vulnerabilities used to remotely jailbreak iOS devices, and Pegasus, the spyware that used these vulnerabilities to exploit targeted individuals.

Read the article

January 19, 2017

Lookout is “FedRAMP Ready,” making it even easier for agencies to protect against mobile risks

Today, I am proud to announce that Lookout is now “FedRAMP Ready,” an indicator to federal agencies that Lookout Mobile Endpoint Security is vetted, secure, and can be quickly implemented into any U.S. government organization.

Lookout is the first mobile security solution to achieve this status.

December 5, 2016

Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity: Prioritize mobile security now

The Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity released its report on securing and growing the digital economy  in which one message is clear: de-prioritizing mobile security is no longer an option.

New priorities for a new mobile workplace

The days of employees working only at an office using an organization-issued desktop computer fully managed by the organization are largely over. Market forces and employee demands have made “bring your own device” the de facto option in many workplaces. … Organizations no longer have the control over people, locations, networks, and devices on which they once relied to secure their data. Mobile technologies are heavily used by almost every organization’s employees, yet security for mobile devices is often not considered as high a priority as security for other computing platforms. In short, the classic concept of the security perimeter is largely obsolete.” – Excerpt from the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity report

Employees in the public sector are using mobile devices every day to get their jobs done, whether government agencies know about it or not. Today, having a secured mobile workforce — which includes protection against risky applications, network attacks, and malicious intrusions — is a necessary element of an agency’s overall security architecture.

December 1, 2016

It starts now: 2017 mobile security predictions from Gartner

Gartner just published its “Predicts 2017: Endpoint and Mobile Security” report that includes findings and recommendations. I believe three of these to be significant for mobile security and for InfoSec and technology leaders heading into the new year. My take on these findings is below.