Remote access at risk: Pandemic pulls more cyber‑crooks into the brute‑forcing game – 10 minute mail

Poorly secured remote access attracts mostly ransomware gangs, but can provide access to coin miners and backdoors too

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the nature of everyday work, forcing employees to do large parts of their jobs via remote access. Cybercriminals – especially ransomware operators – are aware of the shift and attempt to exploit the new opportunities and increase their illicit earnings. ESET telemetry confirms this trend in an uptick in the number of unique clients who reported brute-force attack attempts blocked via ESET’s network attack detection technology.

Before the lockdown, most employees worked from the office and used infrastructure monitored and controlled by their IT department. But the coronavirus pandemic has brought a major shift to the status quo. Today, a huge proportion of “office” work occurs via home devices with workers accessing sensitive company systems through Windows’ Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) – a proprietary solution created by Microsoft to allow connecting to the corporate network from remote computers.

Despite the increasing importance of RDP (as well as other remote access services), organizations often neglect its settings and protection. Employees use easy-to-guess passwords and with no additional layers of authentication or protection, there is little that can stop cybercriminals from compromising an organization’s systems.

That is probably also the reason why RDP has become such a popular attack vector in the past few years, especially among ransomware gangs. These cybercriminals typically brute-force their way into a poorly secured network, elevate their rights to admin level, disable or uninstall security solutions and then run ransomware to encrypt crucial company data.

The growing number of unique clients who have reported an RDP attack attempt is visible in data gathered by ESET telemetry (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Trend of RDP attack attempts against unique clients (per day), detected by ESET technologies

Brute-force attack protection

To address the growing risks posed by increasing RDP use, ESET researchers have devised a new detection layer that is hidden under the hood of ESET Network Attack Protection and is designed to block incoming brute-force attacks from external IP addresses, covering RDP as well as SMB protocols.

Called ESET Brute-Force Attack Protection, this new layer detects groups of failed login attempts from external environments, which hint at an incoming brute-force attack, and then blocks further attempts. Subsequently, the biggest offenders among these IP addresses are added to a blacklist, which protects millions of devices from future attacks.

The new technology has proven to be effective against both random and targeted attacks. For it to work properly, the RDP option Network Level Authentication (NLA) on server must be enabled.

According to ESET telemetry, most of the blocked IPs in January–May 2020 were seen in the United States, China, Russia, Germany and France (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Countries with the largest number of all blocked IP addresses (between Jan 1 and May 31, 2020).

Countries that had the largest proportion of targeted IPs were Russia, Germany, Japan, Brazil and Hungary (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. Countries with the most brute-force attacks reported by ESET telemetry (between Jan 1 and May 31, 2020).

How to configure remote access correctly

Yet, even with protective measures such as ESET Brute-Force Attack Protection, organizations need to keep their remote access properly configured:

  • Disable internet-facing RDP. If that is not possible, minimize the number of users allowed to connect directly to the organization’s servers over the internet.
  • Require strong and complex passwords for all accounts that can be logged into via RDP.
  • Use an additional layer of authentication (MFA/2FA).
  • Install a virtual private network (VPN) gateway to broker all RDP connections from outside your local network.
  • At the perimeter firewall, disallow external connections to local machines on port 3389 (TCP/UDP) or any other RDP port.
  • Protect your endpoint security software from tampering or uninstallation by password-protecting its settings.
  • Isolate any insecure or outdated computers that need to be accessed from the internet using RDP and replace them as soon as possible.
  • For a detailed description of how to set up your RDP connection correctly, please refer to this article by ESET Distinguished Researcher Aryeh Goretsky.
  • Most of these best practices apply to FTP, SMB, SSH, SQL, TeamViewer, VNC and other services as well.

Ransomware, coin miners and backdoors

Encryption of data and subsequent extortion is in no way the only scenario that could follow an RDP compromise. Frequently the attackers try to install coin-mining malware or create a backdoor, which can be used in case their unauthorized RDP access has been identified and closed.

Other common scenarios following an RDP compromise can include:

  • clearing of log files, thus removing the evidence of previous malicious activity,
  • downloading and running the attacker’s choice of tools and malware on the compromised system,
  • disabling of scheduled backups and shadow copies or completely erasing them, or
  • exfiltrating data from the server.

Black hats have been trying to exploit RDP for years, as documented by our blogpost from 2013. Steadily growing numbers of RDP attacks over the past few years have become the subject of numerous governmental advisories including the FBI, the UK’s NCSC and Australia’s ACSC.

This only demonstrates how crucial the security of remote access has become, potentially making or breaking a company’s future. And even if the damage to an organization’s reputation can be managed, there are financial losses, stalled operations and expensive recovery efforts that need to be accounted for. This doesn’t consider the additional costs of potential penalties that can be issued by authorities under data-protective legislation such as GDPR (EU), CCPA (California) or NDB (Australia).

Whether or not there’s a pandemic, businesses should manage the risks posed by wide usage of RDP or other similar services by reinforcing their passwords and by adding other protective layers, including multi-factor authentication and a security solution that defends against attacks based on RDP and similar protocols.



Ondrej Kubovič


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Apple Offering Some Users an Extra Month of Free Apple Arcade Access

Apple today sent out emails to some former Apple Arcade subscribers, offering them another month of free access.


It’s not entirely clear how many people are receiving the additional month of Apple Arcade service to try it out, but the emails may be going out to those who tried ‌Apple Arcade‌ for a month and then canceled it after the trial period was over.

For customers who used their free month trial right when the ‌Apple Arcade‌ service came out, there was a limited number of games available. Apple has been regularly releasing new ‌Apple Arcade‌ games and there are now over a hundred, all of which are free from in-app purchases and ads.

Apple may be wanting to provide those early subscribers with a chance to test the service in its more fleshed out form, with many more game titles to choose from. Those who received the email can tap on the “Get Started” text to receive a promo code to input into ‌Apple Arcade‌ for the additional free month.

After a one-month free trial, Apple Arcade is priced at $4.99 per month, and that price tag provides access for the whole family.

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iOS 14 Privacy: Users Can Give Apps Access to Limited Selection of Photos

A new privacy feature in iOS 14 enables users to give an app access to a limited number of photos, instead of having to hand over the keys to their entire photo library.

The new app permissions feature was spotted in the ‌iOS 14‌ beta by Benedict Evans, who shared a couple of screenshots of it in action.


When an app requests access to photos on a device, the user can now choose from three options: Select Photos…, Allow Access to All ‌Photos‌, or Don’t Allow.

An iOS privacy awareness pane explains it like so:

Your photos and memories are personal. Apple’s new privacy controls let you decide what photos and videos you share. When an app asks for permission to access your photo library, you have the choice to select specific items or allow access to all photos and videos.

The change is a nice improvement to the current binary option of either denying an app access to your photos or allowing it to get at your entire library of images. It should come in especially handy for when users want to give an app one-off access to a single photo, for example.

Apple has been keen to promote the new privacy features coming in ‌iOS 14‌. Other ‌iOS 14‌ privacy highlights covered at WWDC 2020 include the ability to give an app your approximate location instead of your precise location, App Store privacy lists for all apps, clipboard restrictions, and camera and microphone access attempt notifications.


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Eve App for HomeKit Devices Gains Contextual Touch and Hold Menus, Quick Automation Access

Eve Systems, known for its line of Eve-branded HomeKit products, today updated its Eve app to version 4.3, adding a number of useful new features.


The Eve update will primarily be of interest to those who own Eve ‌HomeKit‌ accessories, but it is one of the better ‌HomeKit‌ apps on the market, and it also works with non-Eve devices.

Eve 4.3 introduces Touch and Hold functionality, allowing users to touch and hold almost anywhere in the app to open up contextual menus that provide additional control options. Where the new gesture can be used:

  • At a Glance: quickly control an accessory, set a scene that it’s part of and view all accessory details.
  • Room Overview: instantly toggle all lights in a room and refine room settings in a snap.
  • Accessory Details & Types: jumping back and forth between individual accessories’ details and the overview by Types has never been easier.
  • Automation: quickly toggle Rules and set Scenes.

Quicker automation access has been bundled into the app update. When viewing an accessory’s details, there’s an “Automation” entry that lists Rules and Scenes that it is part of. Entries support long press gestures for toggling Rules and setting Scenes, and tapping the “Add Rule” or “Add Scene” buttons provides a quick way to create a new automation.

Along with these major new features, the update provides different colors for each Home, a feature that’s useful to those who have multiple homes, and it adds additional icons for ‌HomeKit‌ devices.

There’s also support for Eve Window Guard and the Eve Cam, a camera with ‌HomeKit‌ Secure Video support that is set to start shipping in the near future.

The Eve for ‌HomeKit‌ app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Peloton Introduces Apple TV App With Access to Thousands of Workouts

Peloton today introduced an Apple TV app, providing easy access to its full library of live and on-demand workout videos on the big screen. There are thousands of workouts related to cycling, running, walking, strength training, yoga, stretching, and more.




Peloton bikes already feature a built-in touchscreen for accessing workout videos, but the Apple TV app allows the videos to be watched on a larger TV without AirPlay. Some workouts are designed with the Peloton bike or treadmill in mind, but other exercises can be done on the floor with a mat, such as yoga, stretching, and meditation.

Peloton bike owners were notified of the new Apple TV app today, including 9to5Mac‘s Zac Hall. The app is free to download, but requires a Peloton membership.

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Apple and Google Launch COVID-19 Exposure Notification API, Over 20 Countries Have Requested and Received Access

Apple and Google today launched their Exposure Notification API to assist public health authorities around the world with slowing the spread of COVID-19.


On the Apple side, the API is available in the iOS 13.5 software update released today. Apple said that several U.S. states and 22 countries around the world have requested and received access to the API to date, with more expected to join in the coming weeks. A few of the committed states so far include Alabama, South Carolina, and North Dakota.

Apple and Google have consulted with a number of public health authorities on the API, including the CDC, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and the Public Health Informatics Institute of the Taskforce for Global Health.

Apple and Google said that the API is intended to supplement rather than substitute for traditional contact tracing. In a statement, the companies said that the API is designed to make contact tracing apps work better:

One of the most effective techniques that public health officials have used during outbreaks is called contact tracing. Through this approach, public health officials contact, test, treat and advise people who may have been exposed to an affected person. One new element of contact tracing is Exposure Notifications: using privacy-preserving digital technology to tell someone they may have been exposed to the virus. Exposure Notification has the specific goal of rapid notification, which is especially important to slowing the spread of the disease with a virus that can be spread asymptomatically.

To help, Apple and Google cooperated to build Exposure Notifications technology that will enable apps created by public health agencies to work more accurately, reliably and effectively across both Android phones and iPhones. Over the last several weeks, our two companies have worked together, reaching out to public health officials scientists, privacy groups and government leaders all over the world to get their input and guidance.

Starting today, our Exposure Notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android. What we’ve built is not an app — rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install. Our technology is designed to make these apps work better. Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app. User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps.

Today, this technology is in the hands of public health agencies across the world who will take the lead and we will continue to support their efforts.

Governor Doug Burgum, North Dakota:

North Dakota is excited to be among the first states in the nation to utilize the exposure notification technology built by Apple and Google to help keep our citizens safe. The CARE19 Exposure app will help us improve contact tracing and continue our ND Smart Restart by notifying people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, reaching the greatest number of people in a way that protects their privacy. As we respond to this unprecedented public health emergency, we invite other states to join us in leveraging smartphone technologies to strengthen existing contact tracing efforts, which are critical to getting communities and economies back up and running.

Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama State Health Officer:

The State of Alabama’s priority as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic together is the health and safety of its citizens as well as their privacy. In partnership with Apple and Google, the Alabama Department of Public Health, University of Alabama System, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, we are harnessing technology to accelerate exposure notification to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that we can all be safe together.

Leslie A. Lenert MD, Assistant Provost for Data Science and Informatics and Chief Research Information Officer, Medical University of South Carolina:

The Department of Health and Environment Concerns (DHEC) and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) are building the SC-Safer-Together COVID-19 risk management app, which is designed to let people know anonymously that they may have been exposed to the virus and giving them the option to connect with public health officials. Built to tough medical privacy protection standards by health care providers, the SC Safer Together app, using the Apple-Google system, protects users’ privacy and will help South Carolina safely get back to work. MUSC is also proud to be working with Clemson University and the University of California San Diego on smart and private extensions that will further enhance the app’s capabilities.

To learn how the API works, read our Exposure Notification guide.

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FBI Reportedly Gained Access to iPhone Used by Mass Shooter in Florida After Apple Refused to Help

FBI officials have somehow managed to unlock at least one of two passcode-protected iPhones owned by Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, the perpetrator of a mass shooting at a Naval Air Station in Florida last December, according to CNN.


Apple provided the FBI with iCloud data belonging to Alshamrani, but it refused to assist investigators with gaining access to the iPhones. In a statement earlier this year, the company said that while it was “devastated to learn of the tragic terrorist attack” at the Naval Air Station, creating a backdoor into iOS would pose a national security threat.

We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys. Backdoors can also be exploited by those who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. Today, law enforcement has access to more data than ever before in history, so Americans do not have to choose between weakening encryption and solving investigations. We feel strongly encryption is vital to protecting our country and our users’ data.

Alshamrani owned an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 5, according to The New York Times.

Apple faced a similar situation in 2016, when a U.S. federal judge ordered the company to help the FBI unlock an iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino, California. Apple opposed the order, noting that it would set a “dangerous precedent.” In that case, the FBI also found a way to access the iPhone, although the method was never publicly disclosed.

Last week, exploit acquisition platform Zerodium announced that it would not be purchasing any iOS exploits for a few months due to a high number of submissions, noting that there are at least a few persistent security vulnerabilities affecting all iPhones and iPads. “Let’s hope iOS 14 will be better,” said Zerodium CEO Chaouki Bekrar.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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(2-Methods) Access and Use TOR Network On Google Chrome Browser – 10 minute mail

In Short Hacks: To surf anonymously on the Internet is not a big deal. There are plenty of VPN apps that does these jobs. But Have you ever read about TOR Network? Ah! if yes then its great, but if not then this article would very helpful for you. So here we are going to leanr What is TOR? How Does Tor network Works? And The best part is “How To Access/Use TOR In Google Chrome browser. 

How To Access/Use TOR Network On Google Chrome Browser
How To Access/Use TOR Network On Google Chrome Browser

Tor is the name of a software, and this name is derived from the original name if the software which is ‘The Onion Router.’ It is described as ‘A dark corner of the web‘ and has been targeted by different agencies if different countries because Tor can be used for anonymous defamation, unauthorized news leaks, selling controlled substances and much more. This extension for Google works like an ideal VPN. It is free and uses numerous relays to protect the privacy of a user.

TOR is the strongest VPN as it is very difficult to trace the Tor users. On using Tor, results from the deep net can be viewed. Deep net allows you to view web-based hidden services such as gambling, guns, hacking and much more. You can send messages and buy things anonymously. People use Tor for both licit and illicit purposes. Tor has an inbuilt Firefox add-on but, for chrome, Tor can be accessed by adding an on and off button to it. The steps required to add this on and off button to access Tor on Chrome are listed below. The method is quite simple and can be easily understood and executed.

Also Read: How To Remove or Unlock Memory Card Password Using Android or PC

This Method is very simple. All you need to perform these 6 steps to access TOR in Chrome Browser. So let’s take a look at the steps which you need to execute to add the button for accessing Tor on chrome browser.

Steps To Access TOR On Chrome: Working

Step 1: In the very first step, you have to install Tor on your device since that is what we need to have. You can download it from here

Step 2: Then, install ‘Proxy Switchy‘ on your chrome browser which will do the actual task required for this process.

Step 3: In a proxy switch, change the name of the profile to anything you like for eg tor. Then, check the ‘manual configuration’ box. Now, in the HTTP Proxy enter the codes “127.0.0.1” and in port enter “8118” and check the box below this which reads ‘Use the same proxy server for all protocols.’

Use Tor In Chrome
Use Tor In Chrome

Step 4: Once you are done with the changes which you have to make listed above, hit the ‘Save‘ option which you will find at the bottom of the box.

Step 5: Now, in the options of proxy switch, go to the general tab and here, check the box which says ‘quick switch‘ and also the box which says ‘binary switch’.

Step 6: Then, in the Profile 1 select ‘[direct connection]’ from the drop-down box and in Profile 2, select the name which you had previously entered in step 3 from the drop-down box. And finally, click on the save option to save the changes.

Also Read: How To Hack Android Phones Using Kali Linux 


Step 1: First of all you need to install the Kronymous – Access internet via Tor Network extension.

kronymous App

Step 2: As the extension will get installed in your chrome browser and you will see the apps in the app list, simply click on the app and then click on Ok on the popup appears.

Step 3: Now there click on ‘Start Tor Proxy‘ to start the services and within a few moments TOR services will get started.

Step 4: Now you will see the done message indicating the Tor has been started.

Step 5: Grats! Now you have Tor network on chrome with you start browsing anonymously.

Also Read: How To Use Mobile Data and WiFi Network Simultaneously

Wrap Up: That’s it! A switch will be generated which will allow you to Access TOR on Chrome Browser. The above-listed method is the easiest method which you will find for accessing tor on Chrome browser. If you have any other better and easier method or if you are stuck at any step then, please let us know in the comments section below.

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Sophos found the group abusing NSIS installers and deploying remote access tools (RATs) – Disposable mail news


Security Researchers at Sophos have found the hacking group that hacked industrial companies using NSIS installers in order to deploy remote access tools (RATs) and info- stealing malwares.

The hacking group was “RATicate’s” which has been targeting companies from Europe, the Middle East, and the Republic of Korea in not one but five campaigns between November 2019 and January 2020. But Sophos researchers suspect that this group was behind other past attacks too.

These targeted companies were from the industrial sector, particularly companies focused on manufacturing to investment firms and internet companies. Namely,

  • “an electrical equipment manufacturer in Romania; 
  •  a Kuwaiti construction services and engineering company;
  •  a Korean internet company; 
  • a Korean investment firm;
  • a British building supply manufacturer; 
  • a Korean medical news publication; 
  • Korean telecommunications and electrical cable manufacturer; 
  • a Swiss publishing equipment manufacturer; 
  • a Japanese courier and transportation company.” 

( as reported by bleeping computer in their blog)

 Two Infection Chains 

The hackers used two infection chains to infect the computers by using phishing emails to deploy payloads but with a small difference.

  •  The first chain had ZIP, UDF, and IMG attachments carrying NSIS (Nullsoft Scriptable Install System) installers. 
  •  The second chain had XLS and RTF docs that downloaded the payload from a remote server to the user’s machine. 

“We considered two possible scenarios: either the malicious NSIS package is a generic packer sold on dark forums; or, the same threat actor is using a custom loader to deploy different payloads in a variety of their attacks,” Sophos reports.

NSIS installers hid the dropped malware by spamming and dropping junk files like images, source code files, shell scripts, and Python binaries.

“During the analysis of the samples we collected—conducted both manually and with the aid of sandboxing tools—we found several different families of RATs and info stealers,” Sophos explains.

“These included Lokibot, Betabot, Formbook, and AgentTesla. But all of them followed the same multi-stage unpacking process when executed.”

 One Actor-Multiple Campaign 

Sophos found that this group RATicate was the key player behind five sequential campaigns between November 2019 and January 2020 using similar payloads and commands.

 The security researchers “found that some of the different payloads from each campaign (mostly Betabot, Lokibot, AgentTesla, and Formbook) shared the same C&C,” suggesting the same threat group.

“There was also a distinct clustering of the campaign timelines—there was never any overlap between them, suggesting that they were operated serially by the same threat actors.”

“Some of the infrastructures were also shared across multiple campaigns, which also suggests the same actor was involved across all of them,” states Sophos.

Now, the RATicates have found a new lure and payload – using COVID-19 to trick people into installing malwares in their systems.


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Edison Mail Sync Bug Allowing Access to Other Users’ Email Accounts

Several users of popular email app Edison Mail this morning are reporting that they are able to see email accounts of other users within the iOS app. In what appears to be a major privacy breach, users report that after enabling a new sync feature, they have full access to these other email accounts.


The new sync feature was recently rolled out by Edison to allow connected email accounts to show up across all of your devices, but clearly something has gone significantly wrong with the feature.



Users have also reported being able to see that other devices are linked to their accounts, indicating that others are able to see their emails.


Edison has yet to reply to any of the tweets from users reporting the issue, but at this time it certainly seems advisable for Edison Mail users who have enabled the sync feature to delete their email accounts from the app.

While it’s unlikely that users would be able to directly see the passwords of others’ email accounts, affected users may still want to change the passwords on their email accounts for some added peace of mind until more details on exactly what the issue is surface.

(Thanks, Chris!)


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