Authentic8 Blog Category: News

Ideas That Become Obvious In Hindsight

Interview: Authentic8 Co-founder and CEO Scott Petry on Leo Laporte's TWiT.tv

Were you excited when Apple presented the Newton mobile device to the world, a glimpse into a future starring the iPhone? Or perhaps relieved when the email Spam Wars were won by Postini, a Silicon Valley startup later bought by Google, where it became the core of Gmail?

The ideas and concepts that drove both breakthrough innovations initially faced ridicule (in the case of Newton) and skepticism. What they have in common is that today, they are obvious in hindsight.

What they also share is a name: Scott Petry. His career took him from Apple's Newton team to founding and later selling Postini - which solved the email spam problem - to Google and from there to his current role as Co-founder and CEO of Authentic8, which pioneered remote browser isolation in the cloud.

Do we have a theme here? Leo Laporte thinks so. The award-winning tech journalist and founder

October Is Malvertising Awareness Month

Large-scale malvertising campaigns have pushed more than a billion malware and spam-laden ads through online advertising networks onto "secure" web browsers. Ad-blocking software fails to stem the tide.

*

In case you were wondering - yes, you're right: October's official designation still is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. For bystanders, web publishers, and the victims of malicious ads, though, it turned into unofficial "Malvertising Awareness Month" rather quickly.

That's because news broke that cyber criminals had hit major browsers (Chromium/Chrome, Safari, Opera, Edge) with a broadscale malvertising campaign. Dubbed eGobbler by threat hunters, it generated more than a billion malicious advertising ad impressions over the past months.

The Mechanics: How Does Malvertising Work?

The not-so-secret sauce of malvertising campaigns is that they piggyback on legitimate online advertising networks and popular websites to push malware, such as ransomware exploit kits, onto millions of unsuspecting targets at once.

The malicious code then gets downloaded and executed by the web browser on the victim's computer. Game over.

JavaScript Template Attacks: How Browsers Give Away the Store

Did you know? Attackers use  your locally installed browser base and JavaScript to draw up intricate exploit roadmaps for targeted attacks on your organization. Listen to our interview with security researcher Michael Schwarz to learn how JavaScript template attacks work and how to prevent them.

*

“Free” browsers boast features and extensions that supposedly enhance security and privacy online. The same settings or plugins, it turns out, can be used by adversaries to achieve precisely the opposite effect.

That’s just one of the eye-opening findings reported in the research paper JavaScript Template Attacks: Automatically Inferring Host Information for Targeted Exploits.

The paper was authored by security researchers Michael Schwarz, Florian Lackner and Daniel Gruss of Graz University in Austria. They describe how JavaScript template attacks help attackers prepare pinpointed zero-day or side-channel attacks against large organizations, by exploiting the ubiquitous data leaks in “free” browsers and their extensions.

The researchers found an abundance of environment-dependent properties in Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and mobile

Authentic8 Supports the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum

There is no organization more focused on creating permeability between the public and private sectors than the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF).

Authentic8 and DEF have many things in common, and none more than a shared commitment to supporting national defense through creative problem solving, productivity enhancement, and deliberate partnership. For that reason, we will be sponsoring the upcoming DEF 2019 Annual National Conference.

DEF & Authentic8

While Silo Cloud Browser by Authentic8 is designed to create a perfect isolation layer between users and the web, we as a company, like DEF, are dedicated to bringing diverse groups together and breaking down barriers. In essence, we both see that the path toward responsible collaboration is through connecting silos (pun intended).

We look forward to an enduring relationship with DEF as we commit to a more visible role in supporting its mission.

85% of Infected Websites Are NOT Blacklisted

Website attacks increased by 59% in 2018, according to the 2019 Website Security Report [PDF] recently published by Scottsdale, AZ-based SiteLock, a provider of business website security solutions. Most of the attacks were automated, the company reports, with 330 bots staging on average 62 attacks per day.

So far, so not surprising - just wait, there’s more. Let’s look next at a significant aspect of the SiteLock findings. It illustrates how much the attackers behind such malware campaigns can rely on the inherent vulnerability of traditional browsers.

When someone visits an infected site, the regular browser dutifully executes the malicious code from the web on the local machine. From there, ransomware, spyware or cryptojackers can spread through the user’s corporate or home network. Game over.

“Not so fast,” you may object. “Our IT security team has many ways to prevent such exploits. AV/EPP/ATP, CASB, VPN, SWG/URL Filters…” Which brings up that other finding in the report