Microsoft says Iran-linked hackers have targeted US and Israeli defense firms

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CNN 11 October, 2021 - 05:53pm

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Microsoft says Iran hackers targeting Israeli, US defense technology firms

The Times of Israel 12 October, 2021 - 12:00am

Updated 6:53 PM ET, Mon October 11, 2021

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Microsoft: Iran-linked hackers target US defense tech companies

BleepingComputer 12 October, 2021 - 12:00am

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Iran-linked threat actors are targeting the Office 365 tenants of US and Israeli defense technology companies in extensive password spraying attacks.

In password spray attacks, threat actors attempt to brute-force accounts by using the same passwords across multiple accounts simultaneously, which allows them to hide failed attempts using different IP addresses.

This enables them to defeat automated defenses like password lockout and malicious IP blocking designed to block multiple failed login attempts.

The activity cluster was temporarily dubbed DEV-0343 by researchers at Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) and Microsoft Digital Security Unit (DSU), who have tracked it since late July.

According to Microsoft, this ongoing malicious activity lines up with Iranian national interests based on techniques and targets aligning with another Iran-linked threat actor.

DEV-0343 was also linked to Iran based on pattern-of-life analysis and an extensive crossover in sectoral and geographic targeting with other Iranian hacking groups.

"Targeting in this DEV-0343 activity has been observed across defense companies that support United States, European Union, and Israeli government partners producing military-grade radars, drone technology, satellite systems, and emergency response communication systems,' Microsoft says.

"Further activity has targeted customers in geographic information systems (GIS), spatial analytics, regional ports of entry in the Persian Gulf, and several maritime and cargo transportation companies with a business focus in the Middle East."

The DEV-0343 operators' end goal is likely to gain access to commercial satellite imagery and proprietary shipping plans and logs, which would be used to augment Iran's in-development satellite program.

Microsoft has directly notified customers that have been targeted or compromised, providing them with the information they need to secure their accounts.

Since the attacks have started, less than 20 targets have been compromised, with Microsoft noting that Office 365 accounts with multifactor authentication (MFA) toggled are resilient against DEV-0343's password spray attacks.

DEV-0343 targets the Autodiscover and ActiveSync Exchange endpoints with their enumeration/password spray tool to validate active accounts and refine their attacks.

"They typically target dozens to hundreds of accounts within an organization, depending on the size, and enumerate each account from dozens to thousands of times," Microsoft says.

"On average, between 150 and 1,000+ unique Tor proxy IP addresses are used in attacks against each organization."

Companies exposed to this activity are encouraged to look for DEV-0343 behaviors and tactics in logs and network activity, including:

Microsoft recommends taking the following measures as a defense against DEV-0343's attacks:

MSTIC and DSU researchers also shared Microsoft 365 Defender and Azure Sentinel advanced hunting queries at the end of the blog post to help SecOps teams to detect DEV-0343 related activity.

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Chargers guard Oday Aboushi out for rest of season because of torn ACL

CyberScoop 11 October, 2021 - 04:40pm

Coach Brandon Staley said the veteran will have surgery.

In Aboushi’s absence, Michael Schofield III will move into the starting lineup. Schofield replaced Aboushi in the first quarter against Cleveland and finished the game.

Rookie Brenden Jaimes will serve as the backup guard. Staley suggested the Chargers also could look “elsewhere” for help.

Aboushi, 30, signed as a free agent in March and started the first five games on the Chargers’ rebuilt front. He played every offensive snap this season before being injured.

The Chargers weren’t thrilled with how they managed the clock at the goal line in the closing minutes of their win over the Cleveland Browns.

Jaimes was a fifth-round pick from Nebraska. He was on the game-day roster to open the season but was recently replaced by Schofield after the Chargers signed the veteran in mid-September.

Staley spoke highly of Jaimes on Monday but said he needs more time to develop.

“It’s not an ability issue right now for us,” Staley said of Jaimes. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, this guy’s not capable of playing in the NFL right now’ because that’s not the case. We just want to make sure that he’s ready full time.”

The Chargers have won twice in three weeks by scoring late touchdowns when they would have benefited more from not scoring and killing valuable time.

At Kansas City in Week 3, Justin Herbert checked out of a running play and passed to Mike Williams for a four-yard score with 32 seconds remaining.

Bold play-calling by Chargers coach Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was key to the Chargers’ victory over the Browns.

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi explained later that he should have been more clear with Herbert about running the ball to prevent the Chiefs from getting a last shot on offense.

On Sunday, Austin Ekeler was dragged into the end zone by several Cleveland defenders with 1:31 to go when the play called for him to go down short of the goal line.

Ekeler admitted his mistake after the game, saying he was too “greedy.” As with Lombardi, head coach Brandon Staley said Monday he could have been more precise with Ekeler.

With the play originating at the three-yard line, Staley said Ekeler was supposed to move forward until “he gets to the traffic” and then surrender himself by taking a knee.

The Chargers also could have had Herbert take a knee instead of handing off. But Staley explained that — based on analytics — there’s an important reason to advance the ball in that situation.

“What we didn’t want to do is go backward because that actually decreases your win probability,” he said. “What we wanted to do was go forward and take a knee … because that increases your odds of winning.”

As it turned out, the Chargers got away with scoring too soon against both the Chiefs and Browns when last-second “Hail Mary passes” fell incomplete.

Slater continued to impress Sunday despite being called for a false start and giving up a sack.

Ekeler said the rookie left tackle asked teammates to stop giving him help, even when he was blocking Myles Garrett, one of the NFL’s top pass rushers.

“He actually didn’t want us to chip because it was like helping them,” Ekeler said. “We were bumping guys off of him.”

Chargers coach Brandon Staley says his team has star power all over roster, and winning wit eye-catching play is something L.A. loves ... like the ‘Showtime’ Lakers.

A first-round draft pick, Slater has allowed two sacks and 10 pressures on 243 pass-block snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Rashawn felt like, ‘Hey, I can block this guy. I can block this guy man-to-man,’” Staley said. “What you’re seeing is a player that is earning the confidence to say that because he’s got a lot of belief in his game.”

Staley said he was pleased Slater spoke up because it also showed the rookie’s growing trust in the communication system the Chargers have established.

“I’m excited that we were able to get that done for him because that’s what you want,” Staley said. “You want your players put in positions where they can succeed. He felt like that was going to be the best position for him to be successful.”

Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Jeff Miller is the Chargers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times. He previously spent 20 years as a sports columnist for the Orange County Register and, before that, the Miami Herald. He also served as the Angels beat writer for The Times and the Register. His other stops include the Palm Beach Post and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Chargers guard Oday Aboushi out for rest of season because of torn ACL

Sputnik International 11 October, 2021 - 04:40pm

Coach Brandon Staley said the veteran will have surgery.

In Aboushi’s absence, Michael Schofield III will move into the starting lineup. Schofield replaced Aboushi in the first quarter against Cleveland and finished the game.

Rookie Brenden Jaimes will serve as the backup guard. Staley suggested the Chargers also could look “elsewhere” for help.

Aboushi, 30, signed as a free agent in March and started the first five games on the Chargers’ rebuilt front. He played every offensive snap this season before being injured.

The Chargers weren’t thrilled with how they managed the clock at the goal line in the closing minutes of their win over the Cleveland Browns.

Jaimes was a fifth-round pick from Nebraska. He was on the game-day roster to open the season but was recently replaced by Schofield after the Chargers signed the veteran in mid-September.

Staley spoke highly of Jaimes on Monday but said he needs more time to develop.

“It’s not an ability issue right now for us,” Staley said of Jaimes. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, this guy’s not capable of playing in the NFL right now’ because that’s not the case. We just want to make sure that he’s ready full time.”

The Chargers have won twice in three weeks by scoring late touchdowns when they would have benefited more from not scoring and killing valuable time.

At Kansas City in Week 3, Justin Herbert checked out of a running play and passed to Mike Williams for a four-yard score with 32 seconds remaining.

Bold play-calling by Chargers coach Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was key to the Chargers’ victory over the Browns.

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi explained later that he should have been more clear with Herbert about running the ball to prevent the Chiefs from getting a last shot on offense.

On Sunday, Austin Ekeler was dragged into the end zone by several Cleveland defenders with 1:31 to go when the play called for him to go down short of the goal line.

Ekeler admitted his mistake after the game, saying he was too “greedy.” As with Lombardi, head coach Brandon Staley said Monday he could have been more precise with Ekeler.

With the play originating at the three-yard line, Staley said Ekeler was supposed to move forward until “he gets to the traffic” and then surrender himself by taking a knee.

The Chargers also could have had Herbert take a knee instead of handing off. But Staley explained that — based on analytics — there’s an important reason to advance the ball in that situation.

“What we didn’t want to do is go backward because that actually decreases your win probability,” he said. “What we wanted to do was go forward and take a knee … because that increases your odds of winning.”

As it turned out, the Chargers got away with scoring too soon against both the Chiefs and Browns when last-second “Hail Mary passes” fell incomplete.

Slater continued to impress Sunday despite being called for a false start and giving up a sack.

Ekeler said the rookie left tackle asked teammates to stop giving him help, even when he was blocking Myles Garrett, one of the NFL’s top pass rushers.

“He actually didn’t want us to chip because it was like helping them,” Ekeler said. “We were bumping guys off of him.”

Chargers coach Brandon Staley says his team has star power all over roster, and winning wit eye-catching play is something L.A. loves ... like the ‘Showtime’ Lakers.

A first-round draft pick, Slater has allowed two sacks and 10 pressures on 243 pass-block snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Rashawn felt like, ‘Hey, I can block this guy. I can block this guy man-to-man,’” Staley said. “What you’re seeing is a player that is earning the confidence to say that because he’s got a lot of belief in his game.”

Staley said he was pleased Slater spoke up because it also showed the rookie’s growing trust in the communication system the Chargers have established.

“I’m excited that we were able to get that done for him because that’s what you want,” Staley said. “You want your players put in positions where they can succeed. He felt like that was going to be the best position for him to be successful.”

Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Jeff Miller is the Chargers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times. He previously spent 20 years as a sports columnist for the Orange County Register and, before that, the Miami Herald. He also served as the Angels beat writer for The Times and the Register. His other stops include the Palm Beach Post and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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