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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Batchwiper: How I Learned to Worry Less and Love Least Privilege Security

Posted December 19, 2012    BeyondTrust Research Team

With news coming from Iran’s CERT of a nasty (but not really nasty) new piece of malware designed to wipe drives and desktop contents on a specific date, we took the straightforward approach of examining what common, easily implemented security best practices could have stopped Batchwiper in its tracks…

As far as malware goes, Batchwiper is very rudimentary in its execution and capabilities, yet it still has the capacity to cause damage – so how might someone defend themselves from Batchwiper? Simple: run with least privileges. Running as non-administrator effectively neutralizes the dropper component of Batchwiper, specifically GrooveMonitor.exe (MD5 – f3dd76477e16e26571f8c64a7fd4a97b). The dropper is a self-extracting archive, which attempts to put files in the \WINDOWS\system32\ folder. If you’re running as non-admin, the dropper has no permissions to write to that location and the malware will simply fail to execute its intended payloads.

Batchwiper stymied by least privilege.

Least privilege defeats Batchwiper dropper.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a corporate IT environment that does not properly manage Administrative privileges, then the dropper will continue to execute by spawning a series of processes. This eventually leads to Batchwiper formatting drives D through I, performing a Disk Check on each drive (possibly to mask the cause of the data loss), and then deleting the current user profile’s desktop contents.

Batchwiper process list.

Batchwiper processes spawned by dropper.

This malware serves as another example in a long line of threats that are, in most cases, completely (if not severely) mitigated by good security configuration best practices such as practicing Least Privilege.

BeyondTrust has been at the forefront of championing the cause of Least Privilege for quite some time through our BeyondTrust PowerBroker solutions for both Windows and Unix/Linux. Customers leveraging BeyondTrust’s PowerBroker for Windows will mitigate a large majority of malware that affects companies on a day-to-day basis, including this recent Batchwiper malware. You can find out more about our Least Privilege solutions here: http://www.beyondtrust.com/Products/PowerBrokerForWindows/

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Additional articles

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A Quick Look at MS14-068

Posted November 20, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

Microsoft recently released an out of band patch for Kerberos.  Taking a look at the Microsoft security bulletin, it seems like there is some kind of issue with Kerberos signatures related to tickets. Further information is available in the Microsoft SRD Blogpost So it looks like there is an issue with PAC signatures.  But what…

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Password Game Show

Managing Shared Accounts for Privileged Users: 5 Best Practices for Achieving Control and Accountability

Posted November 20, 2014    Scott Lang

How do organizations ensure accountability of shared privileged accounts to meet compliance and security requirements without impacting administrator productivity? Consider these five best practices…

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Triggering MS14-066

Triggering MS14-066

Posted November 17, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

Microsoft addressed CVE-2014-6321 this Patch Tuesday, which has been hyped as the next Heartbleed.  This vulnerability (actually at least 2 vulnerabilities) promises remote code execution in applications that use the SChannel Security Service Provider, such as Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). The details have been scarce.  Lets fix that. Looking at the bindiff of schannel.dll, we see a…

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