Story image

Malicious cyber attack method resurfaces, targets mobile devices

13 Jan 2016

Palo Alto Networks has revealed details on an old cyber attack method that has resurfaced and is targeting mobile devices.

The renewed attack has been dubbed ‘BackStab’ and is used to steal private information from mobile device backup files stored on a victim’s computer.

“Cyber security teams must realise, just because an attack technique is well-known, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer a threat.

“While conducting our research into BackStab attacks, we gathered over 600 malware samples from 30 countries around the world that were used to conduct remote BackStab attacks,” says Ryan Olson, Palo Alto Networks director of threat intelligence at Unit 42.

A whitepaper from the company’s Unit 42 threat intelligence team explains how cyberattackers are using malware to remotely infiltrate computers and execute BackStab attacks in an unprecedented fashion.

Used to capture text messages, photos, geographic location data, and almost any other type of information stored on a mobile device in their possession, BackStab has been employed by law enforcement and cyberattackers alike, Palo Alto Networks says.

The company says BackStab attacks have evolved to leverage malware for remote access and Apple iOS devices have been a primary target for attacks, as the default settings in iTunes store unencrypted backup files in fixed locations and automatically sync devices when they are connected to a user’s computer.

Recommendations from Palo Alto Networks:

  • iOS users should encrypt their local backups or use the iCloud backup system and choose a secure password.
  • Users should upgrade iOS devices to the latest version, which creates encrypted backups by default.
  • When connecting an iOS device to an untrusted computer or charger via a USB cable, users should not click the “Trust” button when the dialogue box is displayed.
What to expect from the Surface Hub 2S
Microsoft has released details about the next iteration of the Surface Hub featuring mobility, reduced weight and a 85in version in the works.
Too many 'critical' vulnerabilities to patch? Tenable opts for a different approach
Tenable is hedging all of its security bets on the power of predictive, as the company announced general available of its Predictive Prioritisation solution within Tenable.io.
Informatica launches new AI-driven innovations
Informatica announced new features and AI-driven innovations across five key segments.
Hands-on review: The ruggedly tough CAT S61 smartphone
The driveway beckoned me, so I dropped the phone several times.  Back in the study, close examination has failed to reveal a single scratch.
Industrial control component vulnerabilities up 30%
Positive Technologies says exploitation of these vulnerabilities could disturb operations by disrupting command transfer between components.
McAfee announces Google Cloud Platform support
McAfee MVISION Cloud now integrates with GCP Cloud SCC to help security professionals gain visibility and control over their cloud resources.
Nutanix introduces new cloud-native solutions for enterprises
Nutanix announced the general availability of its certified Kubernetes solution.
Talend integrates Pipeline Designer with IPaaS offering
Talend has added a web-based graphical designer to its integration platform-as-a-service, Talend Cloud.