McAfee Labs Report Reveals New Mobile App Collusion Threats

intel-security-logoNEWS HIGHLIGHTS

  • McAfee Labs identifies more than 5,000 versions of 21 consumer mobile apps containing colluding code capable of data exfiltration, file inspection, fake SMS messages, and other malicious activity
  • New strain of Pinkslipbot Trojan features anti-analysis and multi-layered encryption
  • New ransomware grew 24% quarter-over-quarter in Q1 2016
  • Threat researchers saw a 17% quarter-over-quarter increase in new mobile malware samples in Q1 2016
  • Mac malware spiked Q1 primarily due to an increase in VSearch adware

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 14, 2016 – Intel Security today released its McAfee Labs Threats Report: June 2016, which explains the dynamics of mobile app collusion, where cybercriminals manipulate two or more apps to orchestrate attacks capable of exfiltrating user data, inspecting files, sending fake SMS messages, loading additional apps without user consent, and sending user location information to control servers. McAfee Labs has observed such behavior across more than 5,000 versions of 21 apps designed to provide useful user services such as mobile video streaming, health monitoring, and travel planning. Unfortunately, the failure of users to regularly implement essential software updates to these 21 mobile apps raises the possibility that older versions could be commandeered for malicious activity.

Widely considered a theoretical threat for many years, colluding mobile apps carry out harmful activity together by leveraging interapp communication capabilities common to mobile operating systems. These operating systems incorporate many techniques to isolate apps in sandboxes, restrict their capabilities, and control which permissions they have at a fairly granular level. Unfortunately, mobile platforms also include fully documented ways for apps to communicate with each other across sandbox boundaries. Working together, colluding apps can leverage these interapp communication capabilities for malicious purposes.

McAfee Labs has identified three types of threats that can result from mobile app collusion:

  • Information theft: An app with access to sensitive or confidential information willingly or unwillingly collaborates with one or more other apps to send information outside the boundaries of the device
  • Financial theft: An app sends information to another app that can execute financial transactions or make financial API calls to achieve similar objectives
  • Service misuse: One app controls a system service and receives information or commands from one or more other apps to orchestrate a variety of malicious activities.

Mobile app collusion requires at least one app with permission to access the restricted information or service, one app without that permission but with access outside the device, and the capability to communicate with each other. Either app could be collaborating on purpose or unintentionally due to accidental data leakage or inclusion of a malicious library or software development kit. Such apps may use a shared space (files readable by all) to exchange information about granted privileges and to determine which one is optimally positioned to serve as an entry point for remote commands.

“Improved detection drives greater efforts at deception,” said Vincent Weafer, vice president of Intel Security’s McAfee Labs group. “It should not come as a surprise that adversaries have responded to mobile security efforts with new threats that attempt to hide in plain sight. Our goal is to make it increasingly harder for malicious apps to gain a foothold on our personal devices, developing smarter tools and techniques to detect colluding mobile apps.”

The McAfee Labs report discusses forward-looking research to create tools, initially used by threat researchers manually but eventually to be automated, to detect colluding mobile apps. Once identified, colluding apps may be blocked using mobile security technology. The report suggests a variety of user approaches to minimize mobile app collusion, including downloading mobile apps only from trusted sources, avoiding apps with embedded advertising, not “jailbreaking” mobile devices, and most importantly, always keeping operating system and app software up-to-date.

For online safety tips on how consumers can protect themselves from the threats mentioned in this report, visit Consumer Safety Tips Blog.

This quarter’s report also documents the return of the W32/Pinkslipbot Trojan (also known as Qakbot, Akbot, QBot). This backdoor Trojan with worm-like abilities initially launched in 2007 and quickly earned a reputation for being a damaging, high-impact malware family capable of stealing banking credentials, email passwords, and digital certificates. The Pinkslipbot malware reemerged in late 2015 with improved features such as anti-analysis and multi-layered encryption abilities to thwart malware researchers’ efforts to dissect and reverse engineer it. The report also provides details about the Trojan’s self-update and data exfiltration mechanism, and McAfee Labs’ effort to monitor Pinkslipbot infections and credential theft in real-time.

Finally, McAfee Labs assesses the state of mainstream hashing functions, and urges organizations to keep their systems up to date with the latest, strongest hashing standards.

Q1 2016 Threat Statistics

  • New ransomware samples rose 24% this quarter due to the continued entry of relatively low-skilled criminals into the ransomware cybercrime community. This trend is the result of widespread adoption of exploit kits to deploy the malware.
  • New mobile malware samples grew 17% quarter over quarter in Q1 2016. Total mobile malware samples grew 23% quarter over quarter and 113% over the last four quarters.
  • Mac OS malware. Mac OS malware grew quickly in Q1, primarily due to an increase in VSearch adware. While the absolute number of Mac OS samples is still low, the total number of samples has increased 68% quarter over quarter and 559% over the last four quarters.
  • Macro malware. Macro malware continues on the growth trajectory begun in 2015 with a 42% quarter over quarter increase in new macro malware samples. The new breed of macro malware continues to attack corporate networks primarily through sophisticated spam campaigns that leverage information gathered through social engineering to appear legitimate.
  • Gamut botnet. The Gamut botnet became the most productive spam botnet in Q1, increasing its volume nearly 50%. Prevalent spam campaigns offer get-rich-quick schemes and knockoff pharmaceutical supplies. Kelihos, the most prolific spamming botnet during Q4 2015 and a widespread malware distributor, slipped to fourth place.

For more information on these focus topics, or more threat landscape statistics for Q1 2016, visit http:/www.mcafee.com/June2016ThreatsReport for the full report.

For guidance on how organizations can better protect their enterprises from the threats detailed in this quarter’s report, visit Enterprise Blog.

 

About McAfee Labs

McAfee Labs is the threat research division of Intel Corporation’s Intel Security Group, and one of the world’s leading sources for threat research, threat intelligence, and cybersecurity thought leadership. The McAfee Labs team of researchers collects threat data from millions of sensors across key threat vectors—file, web, message, and network. It then performs cross-vector threat correlation analysis and delivers real-time threat intelligence to tightly integrated McAfee endpoint, content, and network security products through its cloud-based McAfee Global Threat Intelligence service. McAfee Labs also develops core threat detection technologies—such as application profiling, and graylist management—that are incorporated into the broadest security product portfolio in the industry.

About Intel Security

McAfee Labs is now part of Intel Security. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security and unique McAfee Global Threat Intelligence, Intel Security is intensively focused on developing proactive, proven security solutions and services that protect systems, networks and mobile devices for business and personal use around the world. Intel Security is combining the experience and expertise of McAfee with the innovation and proven performance of Intel to make security an essential ingredient in every architecture and on every computing platform. The mission of Intel Security is to give everyone the confidence to live and work safety and securely in the digital world. www.intelsecurity.com

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The Era of 5G: The Machines Are Coming

Aicha Evens - 1000x1500

The definition of mobility is changing and broadening every day. Today’s mobile world was built for smartphones with voice and data in mind. In tomorrow’s world, nothing is mobile because everything is mobile. It will be a world built for connected cars, connected factories and connected drones, to name a few examples. The machines are coming and we are going to need the next era of wireless technology to bring new connections and unique capabilities to the connected world. That next era is 5G…

At Intel, we recognize that 5G is more than an evolutionary step forward for our industry. It encompasses many technologies and a much wider ecosystem than has ever been seen in the wireless and telecommunications industries. It’s an inflection point, a place in time where we will see and experience everything being smart and connected. But in order for billions of people and machines to be connected, we need smarter, faster and more efficient networks. The ability to connect to each other, to our machines and to the cloud, and to derive actionable insights from the massive amount of data, will bring new experiences to our daily lives and transform businesses. This is why Intel is focusing on three key areas: industry partnerships, end-to-end 5G-related hardware and software development, and supporting 5G standards-setting. We are pushing hard to create end-to-end solutions from the device to the network to the cloud. We are accelerating prototype solutions through efforts like Intel’s 5G mobile trial platform and are working with standards-setting bodies such as 3GPP and IEEE on defining the 5G standards to ensure a smooth path and entry to a faster and smarter pace of connectivity.

Connectivity binds together the cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), all our devices, memory and FPGAs — all creating a virtuous cycle of growth that Brian Krzanich outlined a few weeks ago. Enabling smart, fast, efficient, and powerful connectivity to the expected 50 billion connected “things” will make our homes, our cities and our world smarter and our lives richer.  5G has the potential to deliver data hundreds of times faster than current wireless technology. But such potential can only be achieved when computing and communications converge, and this is where our industry must align.

Current and next wave connectivity technologies — LTE, millimeter wave, 5G modems, Wi-Fi, WiGig, Bluetooth, Ethernet, to name a few — are essential for this end-to-end pervasive connectivity across extremely diverse device and application needs, from multi-gigabit per second speeds to ultra-low latency.

One of the first steps is to start connecting the unconnected machines and “things.” This is an area I am incredibly passionate about, and I am excited about the connectivity solutions that Intel is delivering to ensure that a true IoT world becomes reality. Our customers are partnering closely with us on this, validating their modules that utilize our modems on carrier networks around the world. At Mobile World Congress, Intel and AT&T announced a collaboration to test and define airborne LTE requirements for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, and Intel also showed demonstrations of technologies such as Mobile Edge Computing, millimeter wave and NarrowBand IOT (NB-IOT). These are all important steps to bring connectivity to a variety of new IoT devices globally.

By the same token, we must architect modems, devices and networks to ensure that everything and anything that can compute and connect to the network actually will. Think about it this way — every device that connects to the network redefines connectivity and establishes a new point of convergence. With this in mind, we must redefine the meaning of the network. Every device becomes a node by default.

Such connectivity requires immediate analytics and response as well. Many people believe devices are simply dumb data sources, and that all analytics occur in the cloud. That’s not true. The fact is computing and analytics happen not only in the clouds, but also in the network and on our devices.  Computing does not happen in a vacuum, it is ubiquitous like connectivity.

To deliver 5G connectivity and intelligence we must work together. Industry partnerships are more critical than ever. No one company can move this technology forward alone. For me, that means collaborating with industry leaders from device and equipment manufacturers to network operators and service providers. It also means laying down a strong foundation for 5G right now, in areas like Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and NB-IOT.

We have been busy on those fronts. Intel showcased working demonstrations of NB-IOT technology with Ericsson and Nokia at Mobile World Congress; Intel, Orange and Ericsson conducted one of the world’s first extended coverage trials for IoT using EC-GSM-IoT; and during Computex this week, Intel announced a collaboration with Foxconn on the development of network infrastructure technologies, to help transform communications networks and lay the foundation for 5G.

With all of this progress, I am confident in Intel’s ability to deliver world-class products, end-to-end, from device to network to data center and cloud. As a company, we are excited to help lead the industry through this inflection point and let the machines finally come to life.

Aicha Evans is corporate vice president and general manager for Intel’s Communication and Devices Group.

The post The Era of 5G: The Machines Are Coming appeared first on Intel Newsroom.

Media Alert: Intel to Outline Path to 5G at Mobile World Congress 2016

Billions of increasingly smart and connected devices, data-rich personalized services, and cloud applications are bringing amazing experiences to our daily lives. This places unprecedented demands on today’s wireless networks and connected devices and makes faster, smarter, more efficient 5G wireless networks and technology critical. At Mobile World Congress 2016, Intel will announce new developments that will accelerate the road to 5G and help make amazing experiences of the future possible.

Intel Press Conference

WHAT

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Join Aicha Evans, corporate vice president and general manager of the Intel Communication and Devices Group to hear about new partnerships and technologies that are paving the way to 5G.

When

Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. CET
Product and technology demonstrations will also be available in the booth.

Where

Intel Booth, Fira Gran Via, Hall 3, Booth #3D30
Barcelona, Spain

Additional Speakerships & Panels

Join Intel executives at the GSMA panels to discuss topics such as 5G and the Internet of Things, including:

Keynote Session: Mobile is Disruption
Feb. 22, 2016, 12:15 – 1 p.m. CET
Hall 4, Auditorium 1

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and executives from Ericsson and AT&T will discuss the future of mobility.

Designing and Engineering the Industrial Internet
Feb. 24, 2016, 1:45 – 3 p.m. CET
The Innovation Zone, Fira Gran Via

Doug Davis, senior vice president and general manager, IoT Group at Intel,   will join industry leaders and PricewaterhouseCoopers to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with designing and engineering the next-generation Industrial Internet.

Media Lounge

Enjoy a comfortable space built exclusively for media and analysts in Intel’s booth on Tuesday, Feb. 23 through Wednesday, Feb. 24. Wi-Fi and refreshments will be available. All attendees with media or analysts badges will be admitted.

Media Contacts

Lindsey Sech, Intel Global Communications (U.S.)
+1 408 552 3597, lindsey.a.sech@intel.com

Alistair Kemp, Intel Global Communications (Europe)
+447789746205, Alistair.kemp@intel.com

More Information

Find more information at www.intel.com/newsroom/mwc. Join the conversation at Mobile World Congress by tagging #Intel and #MWC16

The post Media Alert: Intel to Outline Path to 5G at Mobile World Congress 2016 appeared first on Intel Newsroom.

Intel Announces Support, Intent to Deliver Narrow-Band LTE (NB-LTE) Products in 2016

Intel, Ericsson, Nokia Working Together on Next-Generation Wireless Connectivity for the Internet of Things Market Segment

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 11, 2015 – Intel Corporation today announced its support for Narrow-Band Long-Term Evolution (NB-LTE) technology as the ideal wireless connectivity solution for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market segment.

NB-LTE is an optimized variant of the widely deployed 4G LTE technology, and is well-suited for the IoT market segment because of its low implementation cost, ease of use and power efficiency. Intel plans to work closely with Ericsson* and Nokia* to develop and bring to market the products needed for the commercialization of NB-LTE timed with market demand.

Intel intends to support commercial rollout of the technology with a roadmap for NB-LTE chipsets and product upgrades beginning in 2016 that will enable slim form factors. The products will add to Intel’s growing LTE portfolio. Nokia and Ericsson will provide the required network upgrades to support an extension of existing LTE networks with NB-LTE optimized for low-power machine-to-machine communication.

“We are excited to collaborate with two leading network vendors, Ericsson and Nokia, on the next wave of wireless innovation to connect the growing IoT market segment, and to further grow the momentum for Intel’s LTE portfolio and roadmap with NB-LTE,” said Stefan Wolff, vice president, Platform Engineering Group and general manager of the Multi-Comms Business Unit, Intel.

“Cellular networks already cover 90 percent of the world’s population so it makes sense to leverage this global footprint to support and drive IoT adoption through the standardization of Narrow-Band LTE. Working with Intel and Nokia, Ericsson is driving the ecosystem to accelerate IoT growth and ensuring a global foundation for a vast range of new IoT applications for consumers, industry and government,” said Thomas Norén, vice president and Head of Product Management, Business Unit Radio, Ericsson.

“We believe in building an ecosystem around NB-LTE to speed up the takeup of the Internet of Things. This development will bring consumers benefits, such as enhanced and improved connectivity of devices and at lower cost. This is another extension of Nokia’s aim to improve people’s lives through a programmable world where billions of people, things, sensors and devices are connected,” said Stephan Litjens, vice president, Portfolio Strategy & Analytics, Nokia Networks.

Statements in this document that refer to Intel’s plans and expectations for the quarter, the year, and the future, are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. A detailed discussion of the factors that could affect Intel’s results and plans is included in Intel’s SEC filings, including the annual report on Form 10-K.

The post Intel Announces Support, Intent to Deliver Narrow-Band LTE (NB-LTE) Products in 2016 appeared first on Intel Newsroom.

Chip Shot: Computers Top List of ‘Must-Haves’ for Back-to-School

An Intel survey conducted by Uthink examined the technology needs and expectations across North America of incoming college freshmen compared to their parents’ experience a few decades ago. Although there are several differences between then and now, there is agreement among parents and students today that a new computer is the top tech device needed when heading back to school. However, more than half of the American parents find that the abundance of tech choices offered today—from 2 in 1 devices, notebooks and Chromebooks to portable All-in-One PCs, Mini PCs, tablets and smartphones—can be overwhelming, and nearly 9 out of 10 parents are seeking advice on the type of device(s) they should purchase. To help parents and students of all ages find the devices that best fit their needs this school year, check out Intel’s 2015 Back-to-School Buyer’s Guide. View the press kit for more information.


Infographic: Heading to College: Then & Now

newsroom-infogfx-teaser-college-then-now.jpg

Chip Shot: Computers Top List of ‘Must-Haves’ for Back-to-School

An Intel survey conducted by Uthink examined the technology needs and expectations across North America of incoming college freshmen compared to their parents’ experience a few decades ago. Although there are several differences between then and now, there is agreement among parents and students today that a new computer is the top tech device needed when heading back to school. However, more than half of the American parents find that the abundance of tech choices offered today—from 2 in 1 devices, notebooks and Chromebooks to portable All-in-One PCs, Mini PCs, tablets and smartphones—can be overwhelming, and nearly 9 out of 10 parents are seeking advice on the type of device(s) they should purchase. To help parents and students of all ages find the devices that best fit their needs this school year, check out Intel’s 2015 Back-to-School Buyer’s Guide. View the press kit for more information.


Infographic: Heading to College: Then & Now

newsroom-infogfx-teaser-college-then-now.jpg

Chip Shot: Computers Top List of ‘Must-Haves’ for Back-to-School

An Intel survey conducted by Uthink examined the technology needs and expectations across North America of incoming college freshmen compared to their parents’ experience a few decades ago. Although there are several differences between then and now, there is agreement among parents and students today that a new computer is the top tech device needed when heading back to school. However, more than half of the American parents find that the abundance of tech choices offered today—from 2 in 1 devices, notebooks and Chromebooks to portable All-in-One PCs, Mini PCs, tablets and smartphones—can be overwhelming, and nearly 9 out of 10 parents are seeking advice on the type of device(s) they should purchase. To help parents and students of all ages find the devices that best fit their needs this school year, check out Intel’s 2015 Back-to-School Buyer’s Guide. View the press kit for more information.


Infographic: Heading to College: Then & Now

newsroom-infogfx-teaser-college-then-now.jpg

Chip Shot: Power Hot Summer Activities with Cool Intel® Technology

Summer is upon us and everyone is looking for fun summer activities. Intel-based devices offer fun for everyone in the family. From ultra-portable tablets, 2 in 1s, smartphones and Chromebooks to all-in-one PCs, Intel-powered devices make road trips, beach vacations and barbecues more exciting. With devices for every member of the family and every price point, Intel can help power the perfect family summer. Check out this interactive photo capsule to learn more about some great Intel-based devices for a cool summer.


Interactive Photo Capsule: Intel Powers Summer Fun


Chip Shot: Power Hot Summer Activities with Cool Intel® Technology

Summer is upon us and everyone is looking for fun summer activities. Intel-based devices offer fun for everyone in the family. From ultra-portable tablets, 2 in 1s, smartphones and Chromebooks to all-in-one PCs, Intel-powered devices make road trips, beach vacations and barbecues more exciting. With devices for every member of the family and every price point, Intel can help power the perfect family summer. Check out this interactive photo capsule to learn more about some great Intel-based devices for a cool summer.


Interactive Photo Capsule: Intel Powers Summer Fun


Chip Shot: Power Hot Summer Activities with Cool Intel® Technology

Summer is upon us and everyone is looking for fun summer activities. Intel-based devices offer fun for everyone in the family. From ultra-portable tablets, 2 in 1s, smartphones and Chromebooks to all-in-one PCs, Intel-powered devices make road trips, beach vacations and barbecues more exciting. With devices for every member of the family and every price point, Intel can help power the perfect family summer. Check out this interactive photo capsule to learn more about some great Intel-based devices for a cool summer.


Interactive Photo Capsule: Intel Powers Summer Fun