Category Archives: Privacy Advice

Citrix Patches Critical FileShare Vulnerabilities

If you manage a non-cloud version of Citrix ShareFile, please make certain you are using a non-vulnerable version of the ShareFile storage zones Controller. Please refer to the following Citrix security bulletin for the appropriate guidance:
Adding to the challenges of current remote working, I wanted to provide awareness that Citrix has released a security bulletin to address 3 critical information disclosure vulnerabilities in their ShareFile content collaboration and file sharing tool:

Why should these vulnerabilities be considered important?
Given the high severity of these vulnerabilities they may allow a threat actor who has not authenticated with the tool to access the contents of the files stored within the tool. The good news is that at this time these vulnerabilities are not yet being exploited.

What versions are affected?
From the Citrix security bulletin:

Customer-managed storage zones created using the following versions of the storage zones controller are affected:

• ShareFile storage zones Controller 5.9.0
• ShareFile storage zones Controller 5.8.0
• ShareFile storage zones Controller 5.7.0
• ShareFile StorageZones Controller 5.6.0
• ShareFile StorageZones Controller 5.5.0
• All earlier versions of ShareFile StorageZones Controller

Please also note that “Storage zones created using a vulnerable version of the storage zones controller are at risk even if the storage zones controller has been subsequently updated”.

How can I protect my organisation’s or my installation of this Citrix tool?
The good news is that Citrix is notifying customers and channel partners with customer-managed storage zone controllers about these security issues.

However, if for any reason they don’t notify your organisation, but you are using this Citrix tool, please apply the storage zone migration tool as soon as possible to the storage zone controllers managing each impacted storage zone by following the guidance within Citrix’s bulletin.

Microsoft security employee Nate Warfield has shared a Shodan (defined) query which may be of assistance if the countries your organisation operates within are vulnerable to these issues.

Dimitri van de Giessen; an ethical hacker and a system engineer has shared a means of checking if your Citrix ShareFile server is vulnerable (please substitute your Citrix ShareFile URL with the template he provides)

Thank you.

My thanks to BleepingComputer for the initial notification of these vulnerabilities and their compilation of useful resources.

April 2020 Update Summary

Update: 27th April 2020
Late last week, Microsoft issued a security advisory for Microsoft Office 2019, 365 ProPlus and Paint 3D (available within Windows 10).

These correct 4 remote code execution (an attacker can carry out any action of their choice on a compromised system) and 2 denial of service (in this instance the affected application will become unresponsive) vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities also affect the following Autodesk products:

Motion Builder
3ds Max
Autodesk AutoCAD

Please make certain your versions of the affected Autodesk products, Office 2019 or 365 ProPlus and Paint3D are up to date. The steps detailed in this linked to BleepingComputer article will guide you through doing so. The Paint3D app should have already installed the update automatically. However you can manually check for updates with these steps.

The necessary details to update the affected Autodesk products are available in the above linked to Autodesk security advisory. Details for verifying if Paint3D and Microsoft Office have been updated are provided in Microsoft’s advisory. Please see the questions titled: “I am running Office 2019 or Office 365 ProPlus. How do I tell if the security update for this vulnerability is included in my version of Office?” and “I have Paint 3D or 3D Viewer installed. How do I know if I have the security update installed?” Further details of the potential impact of these vulnerabilities as well as a recommended mitigation step are provided in this Sophos blog post.

Thank you.

Update: 15th April 2020
Yesterday Microsoft  released their scheduled updates to resolve 113 CVEs (defined). Similarly Adobe released 3 security bulletins.

Microsoft’s monthly summary; lists Known Issues for 43 Microsoft products but all have workarounds or resolution steps listed.

To begin with, let’s look at Adobe’s updates:
Adobe After Effects: 1x Priority 3 CVE resolved (1x Important severity)
Adobe ColdFusion: 3x Priority 2 CVEs resolved (3x Important severity)
Adobe Digital Editions: 1x Priority 3 CVE resolved (1x Important severity)

Adobe later issued further updates:
Adobe Bridge: 17x Priority 3 CVEs resolved (14x Critical severity, 3x Important severity)
Adobe Illustrator: 5x Priority 3 CVEs resolved (5x Critical severity)

If you use the above Adobe products, please install these updates (especially in the case of the above critical vulnerabilities within Bridge and Illustrator).

A further useful source of update related information is the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) (please see the “Information on Security Updates” heading of the “Protecting Your PC” page):

As always for this month’s Microsoft updates, I will prioritize the order of installation below:
Following disclosure last month, the Adobe Type Manager (ATM) vulnerabilities have been patched in addition to the following zero day vulnerabilities and a further publicly disclosed vulnerability;

Zero Days (defined):
Microsoft Adobe Type Manager: CVE-2020-0938 and CVE-2020-1020
Microsoft Scripting Engine: CVE-2020-0968
Windows Kernel: CVE-2020-1027

Publicly disclosed:
Microsoft OneDrive: CVE-2020-0935

Microsoft Scripting Engine: CVE-2020-0970
Microsoft Chakra Scripting Engine: CVE-2020-0969
Microsoft Graphics: CVE-2020-0687
Microsoft Graphics Components: CVE-2020-0907
Windows DNS: CVE-2020-0993
Windows Hyper-V: CVE-2020-0910
Windows Codecs: CVE-2020-0965
Windows Media Foundation: CVE-2020-0948 , CVE-2020-0949 , CVE-2020-0950
Microsoft SharePoint: CVE-2020-0929 , CVE-2020-0931 , CVE-2020-0932, CVE-2020-0974
Microsoft Office SharePoint XSS: CVE-2020-0927
Microsoft Dynamics: CVE-2020-1022


Please install the remaining updates at your earliest convenience.

As per standard best practice, I would recommend backing up the data on any device for which you are installing updates to prevent data loss in the rare event that any update causes unexpected issues.

I have also provided further details of updates available for other commonly used applications and devices below.

To all of my readers and your families, please stay safe during these challenging times. Thank you.

Mozilla Firefox
On the 7th of April, Mozilla released Firefox 75 and Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) 68.7 to resolve the following vulnerabilities:

Firefox 75.0: Addresses 3x high severity CVEs, 3x moderate severity CVEs

Firefox 68.7 ESR: Addresses 4x high severity CVEs (1 of which only affects Firefox for Android) and 1x moderate severity CVE

Firefox 75 and the previous 74.0.1 reverse the removal of support for TLs 1.0 and TLS 1.1. due to the current COVID-19 situation. It offers improved performance when installed on systems powered by Intel GPUs (defined), is available in the Flatpak distribution format for Linux and offers improved performance by “locally cache all trusted Web PKI Certificate Authority certificates that Mozilla knows, improving security and HTTPS compatibility with misconfigured web servers as a direct result”. Moreover, an improved address bar is now present in Firefox 75. Its improvements are detailed in Firefox’s release notes. Please also be aware of the new telemetry Mozilla has begun to collect with Firefox 75, you may or may not wish to turn this off.

Firefox 74.0.1 and Firefox ESR 68.6.1 were released on the 3rd of April to resolve the following zero day (defined) vulnerabilities actively being exploited in targeted attacks:

Firefox 74.0.1 and Firefox 68.6.1 ESR: Addresses 2x critical severity CVEs

Details of how to install updates for Firefox are here. If Firefox is your web browser of choice, if you have not already done so, please update it as soon as possible to benefit from the above changes.

VMware released 3 security advisories to resolve vulnerabilities within the following products:

VMware vCenter Server
VMware vRealize Log Insight
VMware ESXi 6.5 up to and including 7.0

Advisory 1: Severity: Critical:
VMware vCenter Server

Advisory 2: Severity: Important
VMware vRealize Log Insight

Advisory 3: Severity: Important:
VMware ESXi 6.5 up to and including 7.0

If you use either of the above products, please review the above advisories and install the applicable security updates as soon as possible.

Oracle issued updates to resolve 405 vulnerabilities this month. Further details and installation steps are available here. 15 vulnerabilities affect the Java runtime; all of which are remotely exploitable without an attacker needing to obtain a user’s username and password (their credentials).

Separately Oracle has issued a notice that attacks are being detected attempting to exploit a patched vulnerability (CVE-2020-2883) in Oracle Web Logic server. They strongly suggest installing this month’s update for that product to protect against these attacks.

If you use any of the Oracle products listed here, please install the appropriate security updates as soon as possible.

On the 21st April the OpenSSL Foundation issued OpenSSL 1.1.1g which includes a high severity security fix.

FTP mirrors to obtain the necessary downloads are available from here. Downloadable Tarballs (compressed/packaged code made for distribution) are available from here.

It should also be possible to use the package manager of a Linux/Unix operating system to update your OpenSSL installation as mentioned within the section titled “Installing updates for Linux distributions” on the “Protecting Your PC” page of this blog.

In early April WinSCP version 5.17.3 was made available upgrading its version of OpenSSL to 1.1.1f (from the previous version of 1.1.1d). This update resolves 1x Low severity vulnerability.

On the 24th of April, WinSCP was upgraded to version 5.17.4 which also upgrades its version of OpenSSL to version 1.1.1g resolving a high severity vulnerability. Please install this update if you use WinSCP.

On the 28th of April, VideoLAN released version 3.0.10 resolving multiple security issues (version 3.2.12 for Android and version 3.2.7 for iOS were also released) assigned to 7 CVEs (various DOSes (Denial of Services) in the microDNS service discovery). 1 CVE has been rated as critical with the other 6 being of high severity. The most recent versions can be downloaded from:

Thank you and please stay safe.

Zoom Begins to Address Security Concerns

Zoom have now published a best practice guide for securing virtual classrooms (most of which apply to standard meetings too).

I hope the above-mentioned best practice guide is useful for securing the next Zoom meeting you organise. You may also wish to view my previous post with further guidance.
I hope everyone is doing well.

While these best practices have been made available, I realise some may question how much at risk their Zoom meetings/links really are? Kreb’s on Security recently wrote about why corporate meetings should be secured by a password.

Zoom is also pledging to improve the security and privacy of their platform. To do this they have sought outside help from a panel of CISOs from companies such as Netflix, VMware, HSBC and others. An external advisor Alex Stamos, former Chief Security Officer of Facebook and Adjunct Professor at Stanford’s Freeman-Spogli Institute, has also been requested to undertake a security review of Zoom’s platform. These form just some aspects of their 90 day plan (detailed here) which seeks to “dedicat[e] the resources needed to better identify, address, and fix issues proactively”.

While adding a password to a meeting is still optional, the waiting room feature from the 31st March is now mandatory for new meetings.

The above measures are welcome, but users need to be more security aware if they intend to share Zoom meeting links publicly (or their exists a strong possibility the link could be shared by others).

Thank you and please stay safe.

Recent Shodan Scan Reveals Increase in Risky Exposed RDP Access

With working from home being the new normal during the COVID-19 crisis, it is still important to secure Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) if your organisation uses it. Keep your installation of RDP updated, protect it with a strong password, strongly consider enabling Network Level Authentication (NLA), accessing it via firewall, by using a VPN, enable 2 factor authentication and restricting access to only those that use it.


Late last month the online search engine, Shodan provided details of one the online activity changes they witnessed when lockdown in many countries took effect around the world. The number of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)(defined) connections being exposed to the internet rose as more people sought to work from home while still accessing their companies’ systems:


Other notable findings were:

  1. Shodan’s operators also noticed that some organisations were attempting to hide the presence of exposed RDP connections by using port 3388 rather than the default well known port 3389. This provides a false sense of security since it will not stop a determined attacker from locating an exposed RDP connection.
  2. 8% of the systems with RDP ports exposed across the world were still vulnerable to the critical vulnerability known as BlueKeep (CVE-2019-0708) (patched in May 2019). Others were vulnerable to DejaBlue (CVE-2019-1181 and CVE-2019-1182)(patched along with other vulnerabilities in August 2019).
  3. Industrial Control Systems (ICS)(defined) were among the systems exposed on the internet.

How can I protect my organisation if they (or I) need to use RDP for remote access during the lockdown period?
Strongly consider increasing the strength of your RDP access password to 12 characters or more.

Keep your RDP installation up to date (please see the above links for the necessary patches to BlueKeep and DejaBlue).

Strongly consider at least one of the following safeguards (2 or more recommended):

For ICS systems only:
Managing Remote Access Best Practices (PDF)

  1. Enable network level authentication (NLA)
  2. Place a hardware or software firewall between your Remote Desktop Gateway Server and the internet. (firewall: defined)
  3. Set up RDP to use a VPN(VPN: defined)
  4. Enable 2 factor authentication (also called multi-factor authentication)(usually paid for commercial solutions).
  5. Restrict RDP to the users to only those that need it.


Thank you and stay safe.

Special thanks to Solarwinds and Pieter Arntz of Malwarebytes for their useful references which inspired this post.

Better Securing Your Zoom Meetings (and other advice)

With many of us attending virtual meetings both inside and outside of work; I wanted to share the following best practice article with you.

Attackers are taking advantage of the Zoom platform. Here is how you can better secure the next Zoom meeting you organise or better inform a person you know who does organise them:

Many thanks to Lawrence Abrams of Bleepingcomputer for this.

Please also be aware of the following un-patched vulnerability in Zoom (mitigations are discussed and provided in the link below):

Other privacy limitations of Zoom are the following (with one being partially mitigated):
Zoom Meetings Aren’t End-To-End Encrypted, Despite Misleading Marketing (partially mitigated)

Zoom is Leaking Peoples’ Email Addresses and Photos to Strangers

The above guide can be used to supplement Zoom’s own best practice guide.

Thank you and please stay safe both outside and in cyberspace.

Blog Post Shout-Out March 2020

With ransomware attacks continuing to be prevalent if you have an unaffected backup you won’t need to pay the ransom. However, how you backup your data (how many copies do you create?), the software you use and how it is configured can all make a difference.

Recommendation for how to create your corporate backups and how to better secure it are provide in the following article (which also includes details gathered from ransomware operators).

Ransomware Attackers Use Your Cloud Backups Against You by Lawrence Abrams (Bleeping Computer)

In previous posts I have provided recommendations for better securing Internet of Things (IoT) devices, to re-emphasise the basic steps, I also wish to provide a respectful shout-out to the following article highlighting the publication of guidance from the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC):

UK NCSC Releases Tips on Securing Smart Security Cameras by Sergiu Gatlan (Bleeping Computer)

Full-disclosure: I am not affiliated or sponsored by Bleeping Computer in any way. I simply wish to more widely highlight good advice on topical security issues.

Thank you.

EA Resolves Origin Login Vulnerablities

Last Thursday, security firms CheckPoint Software and CyberInt disclosed details of a collection of vulnerabilities found within the login process of the Origin online gaming platform operated by Electronic Arts. They worked with EA to resolve them.

TL DR: EA Origin users should enable 2 factor authentication (see this link for details) and only use the official Origin website to download or purchase games. Also, please make certain the version of the Origin client you are using is the most up to date; version 10.5.38 for PC adds additional security measures. Finally; always be cautious when receiving links from unknown sources:

How could have attackers exploited these vulnerabilities?
EA use Microsoft’s Azure to provide global access to for players to games, allowing the purchase of games and to access their Origin social network. The chain of vulnerabilities did not require the user to hand over any login details but instead made use of authentication tokens, oAuth single sign-on (SSO) and the TRUST mechanism used during the login process. Definitions of these terms are provided in the glossary below.

Various services offered by EA are each present on a separate sub-domain e.g. But the researchers found one which no longer pointed to the correct DNS record With an empty domain name now known the researchers purchased it.

Due to some issues discovered by the researchers within the TRUST login mechanism; they re-directed where the SSO token pointed to; namely their newly acquired domain. With this accomplished the researchers could access an Origin account of their choice and the data it contains and could buy games but charge the original user of the account for these purchases.

What can we learn from this disclosure?
For online accounts operated by corporations; they need to carry out validation checks on the login pages their users interact with. The domains used by their services should also be checked to make certain they don’t contain now unused domains.

For the users of these services; enabling two-factor authentication will mean new devices accessing an account will be prompted for a security code an attacker will not have access to. Parents and children should be aware that cyber criminals will attempt to trick them with legitimate looking links. Please only access the official pages by typing the address into your browsers address bar (or make use of a saved known safe bookmark).

Thank you.

Authentication Token:
After a user logs in using their username and password; the current logged in user and various attributes of your account e.g. what type of content they can access are stored within a token (e.g. a JSON web token) in encrypted form and then sent to the client (the device the user is accessing the service from). The token (similar to ID/access card) is stored on the client device and can be presented at any time to the server replacing the need to enter a username and password to verify the user’s identity. The server will validate the token before granting the user access to the requested service.

Single sign-on:
When a user logs onto a device or service; their identity can be validated using a username and password and possibly another factor of authentication e.g. a code sent to their phone or email address. Once validated; the user is provided with a token which can be shared with a central user authentication service known as single sign-on. This service can then act on the user’s behalf authenticating them to multiple services or applications without the need to request further usernames or passwords. Online examples would Google or Facebook accounts used to log into other accounts/services using the same already entered credentials.