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Summary

Discuss about the EternalBlue Exploitation and Attributing Cyber.

A small organization, namely, Files’R’Us mainly hosts file for its clients. Various protocols like HTTP, SFTP, SMB and many others are being utilized by them for file transferring. One of the employees of this organization has the responsibility of customer services and file server management (Caulfield, Ioannidis and Pym 2017). The file servers are being divided in a demilitarized zone, which could be accessible through RDP by utilizing the domain account. Normal protocols for file transferring like SMB are not allowed in this organization and hence RDP is utilized. This is resulting to the speeding up of DMZ. SMB has the vulnerability of EternalBlue exploits and thus the file servers could be in danger.

The following report outlines a brief discussion on the exploitation of EternalBlue for the file servers of Files’R’Us. The report focuses on the CVE-2017-0144 vulnerability and the procedure of this exploit. Moreover, a risk matrix will be provided with risk rating and proper justification. The domain impact, various remediation actions and probable prevention measures will also be discussed in this report.

In one of the research, it was found that the Monero miner Smominru use EternalBlue exploit to spread CVE-2017-0144 vulnerability. In May 2017 Smominruinfection was not changed that it use Windows exploit. Malicious actor with another bad guy has mined 8900 Moneroand US$ 3.6 millionand 24 Monero, US$ 8,500 per week (Adamov and Carlsson 2017). An operation begins regarding the EternalBlue CVE-2017-0144 vulnerability. There were 25 host trying to attack new nodes and infect via EternalBlue (CVE-2017-0144 SMB).  This increase the size of the botnet. All the hosts appear behind the autonomous system AS63199 network. The Monero Mining Pool, MineXMR and Proofpoint manage to locate the attack that were conducted by 526,000 infected Windows hosts. The majority of the attack were located in India, Russia and Taiwan.MinXMR had requested to ban the Smominru which is associated with the current address of Monero (Dwyer 2018). At the same time, after the operation being, Monero Mining Pool, MineXMR reacted for several days. It was observed that botnet operators were registering new mining and domains in the new address of the same pool. One third of the botnet had lost control in the process. Later, researchers noted that the capacity of the CPU’s was often dominated by the cryptominer’s (Mazuran, Payne and Abegaz 2017). They have even noted that cryptominer’s use Windows business tool and then the corporation is spread to mine Monero which leads to performance issues.

Exploitation of EternalBlue for File Servers

During the first half of 2017, the researcher was not clear about the sensitive hacking tools and exploits that were stolen from the hacking team of NSA’s elite. In the mid-August 2016, a cache of NSA tools was stolen and had auctioned off by the ShadowBrokers (Morris and Gao 2013). This stolen tool was the EternalBlue exploit that leverage the SMB vulnerability or CVE-2017-0144. Several supply chain hacks demonstrated interconnect cybercrime and other cybersecurity issues that are well known. This cybersecurity issue coalesced and create massive botnets. The May outbreak of WannaCryand June outbreak of NotPetya leveraged NSA exploits and disrupts the organization globally (Rid and Buchanan 2015). In the mid-year report at SurfWatch Labs, the cyber analysts described the most dangerous data breaches involve the tools and exploits theft who leaked information.

In the research it was speculated that TheVerge.com cyber-attack was against the Ukaraine. The attacker screwed up their decryption systems and the payments due to some carelessness (Kwon, Liu and Hwang 2013). At the same time Petya collected important data and credentials from the infected machine. This data and credentials will be valuable for the attacker to attack in the future. The attackers are working in many ways to make money.

EladErez is the security researcher who has created EternalBlue tool for system administrators (Uma and Padmavathi 2013). The system administrator use this tool to test the computer connected to the network that are vulnerable via NSA’s EternalBule exploit. In the cyber-security and hacking circles, the most potent exploit that has ever seen is the EternalBlue. The EternalBlue has leverages the CVE-2017-0144 vulnerability in the file transfer protocol namely SMB. As SMB was used by the company for the Windows file servers and EternalBlue exploit has targeted SMB. In Windows computer SMB has enabled by default. There are some special crafted SMB packets that are mishandled (Hartmann and Steup 2013). This allows attacker to execute arbitrary code on the user’s computer and slowly attacks nearby computer.

 

Severity

 

Catastrophic (1)

Critical (2)

Marginal (3)

Negligible (4)

Severe (5)

probability

Frequent (A)

High

High

High

Serious

Medium

Probable (b)

High

High

High

Serious

Medium

Occasional ( c )

High

High

Serious

Medium

Low

Remote (d)

High

Serious

Medium

Medium

Low

Improbable ( e )

Serious

Medium

Medium

Medium

Low

Eliminated (f)

Eliminated

A risk matrix severity versus probability of the EternalBlue defines the probability in the matrix based on the severity of the organizations. The organization has performed the risk matrix based on exploits, vulnerabilities and risk surface (Walters 2014). The risk matrix illustrated in the figure is the outcome of the risk deal with exploits, vulnerabilities and risk surface. The results that it provide are high, serious, medium and low based on the score of the risk. From the perspective of the employee, the risk matrix provide complete result of the issue.

Risk Analysis

The CVE-2015-5143 impact was found in the Windows version which has redirected to the SMB vulnerability of the malicious SMB-based server that was connected to the core library of Window API (Dwyer 2018). The Windows SMB Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – CVE-2017-0144 affected the software version and editions namely Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows RT 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows Server 2016. Each of the affected software has maximum impact of vulnerability which has been indicated by the severity rating (Morris and Gao 2013). The vulnerabilities of remote code execution handles the SMB server request in certain ways. Vulnerabilities when exploited by the attacker start to target the server and could gain the ability to execute the code. The attacker sends some special crafted packet to the targeted SMB server for the purpose of phishing. As soon as the SMB server is being accessed y the user, the codes are being stolen by the attacker and hence the authenticity is being lost (Uma and Padmavathi 2013). RDP is the only port that is allowed between the DMZ and the Corporate environment and hence the employees of Files’R’Us are utilizing this particular port for accessing the DMZ.

Although, the organization of Files’R’Us is vulnerable to EternalBlue exploitation, there are some of the remediation actions that could be useful for them. The various remediation actions for the organization of Files’R’Us are given below:

Awareness amongst Employees: This is the most significant remedy for this type of exploitation (Caulfield, Ioannidis and Pym 2017). The employees should not click on any suspicious mails or activities and if any such activity is noticed, the IT personnel should be reported.

Obtaining and Patching Systems: This particular phenomenon of obtaining and patching systems to the updated versions helps to notify such exploitations.

Isolation of UDP and TCP ports: This type of isolation within the networks would help to avoid exploitation (Walters 2014).

Antivirus: Implementation and updating antivirus software helps to protect the file servers.

For the future prevention from these types of exploitations, various policies could be undertaken by the organization.

Vulnerability patch management process should be implemented within the business.

There is a special security patch for this type of exploitations for windows (Rid and Buchanan 2015). This was launched by Microsoft and it is extremely effective.

The utilization of threat intelligence data feeds is another important procedure for mitigating these exploitations.

All the systems should be allowed to be accessed by the employees and there should be a strict restriction in this.

References

Adamov, A. and Carlsson, A., 2017, September. The state of ransomware. Trends and mitigation techniques. In East-West Design & Test Symposium (EWDTS), 2017 IEEE (pp. 1-8). IEEE.

Caulfield, T., Ioannidis, C. and Pym, D., 2017, October. The US Vulnerabilities Equities Process: An Economic Perspective. In International Conference on Decision and Game Theory for Security (pp. 131-150). Springer, Cham.

Dwyer, A.C., 2018. The NHS cyber-attack: A look at the complex environmental conditions of WannaCry. RAD Magazine, 44, pp.25-26.

Hartmann, K. and Steup, C., 2013, June. The vulnerability of UAVs to cyber attacks-An approach to the risk assessment. In Cyber Conflict (CyCon), 2013 5th International Conference on(pp. 1-23). IEEE.

Kwon, C., Liu, W. and Hwang, I., 2013, June. Security analysis for cyber-physical systems against stealthy deception attacks. In American Control Conference (ACC), 2013 (pp. 3344-3349). IEEE.

Mazuran, L.I., Payne, B.R. and Abegaz, T.T., 2017. Voice Hacking Proof of Concept: Using Smartphones to Spread Ransomware to Traditional PCs.

Morris, T.H. and Gao, W., 2013, September. Industrial control system cyber attacks. In Proceedings of the 1st International Symposium on ICS & SCADA Cyber Security Research (pp. 22-29).

Rid, T. and Buchanan, B., 2015. Attributing cyber attacks. Journal of Strategic Studies, 38(1-2), pp.4-37.

Uma, M. and Padmavathi, G., 2013. A Survey on Various Cyber Attacks and their Classification. IJ Network Security, 15(5), pp.390-396.

Walters, R., 2014. Cyber attacks on us companies in 2014. The Heritage Foundation, 4289, pp.1-5.

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