Deloitte hit by cyber-attack.Do you think CVE-2016-7255 is the culprit?

Do you think CVE-2016-7255 is the culprit? Let enterprise audit firm Deloitte hit by cyber-attack causes information leak.The vulnerability which allows hacker do the code injection on both 32- and 64-bit versions of windows server and workstation OS before Nov 2016. If this is the root causes! How does the customer defense until Microsoft issue the patch. Even though security vendor IDS Yara rule not defined such pattern yet. As a result there are more victim afterwards! For more details on Deloitte  cyber security incident, please see below url for reference:


More regulations has been implemented in China. Hey CIO,CTO and CISO any doubt?


The policies enforcement trend in China eager to enhance existing cyber security and governance in China. Perhaps our focus of this discussion pure on IT operation and information security and therefore any other background we are not going to surmise.

Censorship People’s Republic of China on behalf of Legal basis and regulations

As usual, different country maintain their regulations and view point in order to enhance their governance in their country. It looks that there is no way to refuse since you are entitle to enjoys the social benefits of their country includes environment and culture. And therefore a obligation to the individual able to follow the Law and regulations.

An official announcement of new regulations bring misgiving to business industries especially technology units.

Since cryptographic techniques implement to all business industries nowadays especially banking financial, publisher, pharmaceutical and manufacturing. In order to fulfill their company costs saving plan, The IPsec site-to-site VPN tunnel deployment is in high demand. Since it is easy to setup once Firewall and Internet are ready in your company. However this method not compliance to China regulation so far. Perhaps last few years China government not proactive enforce the regulation. And such away lets the world believe that this is the appropriate data communications method for cross border environment solution in China.

Internet Security Law of the People ‘s Republic of China let foreign country IT department in hover !

The new cyber security law has been ennounced on 1st June 2017. The Article 5 looks with powerful privileges which causes solicitor, data privacy expert headache! Let take a closer look of Article 5 (see below)

Article 5 The state shall take measures to monitor, defend against and deal with cybersecurity risks and threats from both inside and outside the territory of the People’s Republic of China, protect critical information infrastructure from attack, intrusion, interference and damage, punish illegal criminal activities on the network in accordance with the law, and maintain cyberspace security and order.

Techincal view point: In the sense that even though your web hosting not located in Greater China area once there is one endpoint located in Greater China the computer owner require to follow the new law.

What’s the status today?

Since popular personal VPN client services provider was all blocked. The government objective is avoid a Chinese language term (翻牆). The English language term that is pass through firewall wall. As of today whatsapp messenger is not able to use in China. The expertise speculated that a major communist party gathering next month and therefore China government now tighten the censorship activities. it looks that the speculation make sense! The next action is to block internet unauthorized VPNs from 2018.

Let’s review the implementation time table


Hints! Provide short cut information to CIO, CTO and CISO

As of today, there are total three communication vendor are authorizes to run the internet private circuit in China (see below). The definition of internet private circuit is MPLS instead of IPSec VPN.

  • China telecom
  • China Unicom
  • China Mobile

For data encryption product, there is no solid guideline since the approved product list looks not shown up yet.


Since China has launched 14-month nationwide campaign against unauthorized internet connection includes VPN services (IPSec site-to-site and VPN client) to bypass the China country firewall (Great Firewall). The “cleanup” activities will be end until March 2018. As such, it is hard to drawn into summary at the moment.


China ban VPN connectivity – current status Aug 2017

Greater China – New version of cyber security law with effective 1st June 2017

Assurance level of 3rd party software – Part 1


As we know google did the 3rd party application assurance last few months. Their objective is intend to fight against unknown malicious code embedded in software.

Hidden malicious code history

Metamorphic code (Win32/Simile)  was born on 2002 written in assembly language which target Microsoft software operating system products. As time goes by, the 2nd generation of metamorphic code capable changing what registers to use, changing flow control with jumps, changing machine instructions to equivalent ones or reordering independent instructions.

*Metamorphic code can also mean that a virus is capable of infecting executables from two or more different operating systems (such as Windows and GNU/Linux) or even different computer architectures.

Malware/RootKit infection from software device driver to Smartphone

A revolution of technology world on 2007 driven by Apple iPhone and Android. Thus such a way driven malware and rootkit re-engineering their architecture. As a result, their implant destination not limit on device drive itself. It also includes smartphone 3rd party application.

Part 1 – Microsoft OS products, rooting your software driver technique overview 

An important step lets the hacker do the hook or infiltrate job is to identify the usable memory space.  A parameter so called KeServiceDescriptorTableShadow. Using KeServiceDescriptorTable variable exported by ntoskrnl.exe, we can get the address of KeServiceDescriptorTableShadow variable. KeServiceDescriptorTableShadow is an extension of
KeServiceDescriptorTable variable.

Below syntax get the address of KeServiceDescriptorTableShadow by comparing memories around KeServiceDescriptorTable.

typedef struct _SERVICE_DESCRIPTOR_TABLE { PULONG ServiceTable; // array of entry-points PULONG puCounterTable; // array of counters ULONG uTableSize; // number of table entries PUCHAR pbArgumentTable; // array of byte counts } SERVICE_DESCRIPTOR_TABLE, *PSERVICE_DESCRIPTOR_TABLE;

Below syntax is retrieves its address in different version of Windows.

 ULONG Index;
 UONG MajorVersion, MinorVersion, BuildNumber;
 PsGetVersion(&MajorVersion, &MinorVersion, &BuildNumber, &CSDVersion);
 if(MajorVersion == 5 && MinorVersion == 1) // Windows XP
 SDTShadow = (PUCHAR)((ULONG)&KeServiceDescriptorTable - 0x40);
 else // Windows 2000, or Windows Vista
 SDTShadow = (PUCHAR)((ULONG)&KeServiceDescriptorTable + 0x40);
 for(Index = 0; Index < 0x1000; Index ++, SDTShadow ++)
 KeServiceDescriptorTableShadow = (PSERVICE_DESCRIPTOR_TABLE)SDTShadow;
 if(KeServiceDescriptorTableShadow == &KeServiceDescriptorTable)
 if(memcmp(KeServiceDescriptorTableShadow, &KeServiceDescriptorTable, 0x10) == 0 
 && ((UCHAR)KeServiceDescriptorTableShadow->ServiceTable & 3) == 0)
 return NULL;
 return NULL;

Below details on the picture left hand side show you the step how to relies on driver hook into the kernel process. In end-user point of view, there is a simple way to identify the current driver load into your PC or server. You just execute a command fltmc in your MS-DOS prompt. There is not require any assembly language knowledge. It is a simple and direct path to let you know how many 3rd party driver load into the windows kernel. For more details, please refer to right hand side in below picture.


Hacker is difficult to find available address space due to ASLR technique. (see below URL for reference)

The enemy of ASLR (Address space layout randomization) – memory leak

Even though ASLR has design limitation might have possibility let hacker implant malware. However a better idea is that take easy way instead of difficult way. A way confirm that it is possible. From technical point of view, ASLR avoid hacker know the actual memory address.  How about run the malicious code driver and ASLR mechanism at the same time (simultaneously).That is pre-install a 3rd party driver with malicious code embedded then load the software driver during operating system startup. The way similar antivirus product using API hooking allows the antivirus to see exactly what function is called.

- Loading drivers
- Starting new processes
- Process executable image
System DLL: ntdll.dll (2 different binaries for WoW64 processes)
- Runtime loaded PE images – import table, LoadLibrary, LoadLibraryEx[1], NtMapViewOfSection

Antivirus software may use SSDT hooking (System Service Dispatch Table hooking) on 32-bit operation.  On a 64-bit system, a KM (kernel module) driver can only be loaded if it has a digital signature. And therefore hacker could be focus on 32 bit OS instead of 64 bit.

How to run 32-bit applications on x64?

In order to maintain complete code separation, running 32-bit code on a 64-bit operating system design with a destinate folder named \Windows\SysWOW64 that is used to store the 32-bit DLLs to meet the design objective. Meanwhile the x64 version of Windows uses the \windows\system32 folder for 64-bit DLLs. Below diagram shown that the WOW64 emulator responsible for file system redirection for several key components of the Windows operating system.

To identify 32 bit and 64 bit environment changes depending on the registry key. For instance, the ‘rundll32’ is point to the specify registry (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\CurrentVersion\Run).

Therefore it will execute the following command.


This is the 32-bit version program thus everything will be remapped accordingly (see below diagram for reference)

Above details shown the registry and file redirection mechanism to execute 32 bit application on 64 bit of operating system. It looks fine that application not possible to work with incorrect bits environment since it governance by registry. However a fundamental design architecture looks provide benefits to the hacker (see below diagram for reference):

Above diagram indicated that software device driver module allow 32-bit software driver go thought module (WOW64) communicate with 64-bit Kernel function. So it has possibility go through the software driver then compromise the system. From security point of view, the server or workstation Antivirus processes will keep track all DLL activities on directory (c:\windows\SysWoW64). So what is the malware next action?

Malware next action

A lot of security experts feedback comments on Microsoft OS products. They highlight that a flaw appears on kernel side. Microsoft official announcement was told that it is not a security issue.  The fact is that  malware can use API system call (PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine) to trick the OS into giving malware scanners other files. This would allow malicious software smuggling then by evade antivirus monitoring. A hacking technique so called Register load image callback (see below)


How to prevent PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine

Microsoft have solution available against register load image callback flaw. Developer can define a minifilter (FltGetFileNameInformationUnsafe) to confirm the routine returns name information for an open file or directory. And therefore it is the way to avoid the fundamental design limitation of API system Call mechanism (PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine).

But what is the causes for system developers not intend to use this preventive mechanism.

FltGetFileNameInformationUnsafe allocates it’s own memory for the structure. As a result it will encountered blue screen and system crash once 3rd party software driver not follow the SDLC (software development life cycle).

Alternative type of attack  (This time does not intend to discuss in detail)

A rootkit will create a hidden partition, at the end of the drive, 1 – 10 MB in size and set itself as the boot partition. Hence, the rootkit is already running before Windows loads. This hidden partition will not show up on Windows Disk Management in most cases.

Rootkit categories:

Operation feature

Persistent rootkit is one that is activated every time the system starts up.

Non-persistent rootkit is not capable of automatically running again after the system has been restarted.

Operation mode

User mode: this kind of rootkit hooks system calls and filters the information returned by the APIs (Application Programming Interface)

Kernel mode : these rootkits modify the kernel data structures, as well as they hook the kernel’s own APIs. It compromise the antivirus program at the same time. This is the most reliable and robust way of intercepting the system.


Even though your IT infrastructure install full scope of detective and preventive control facilities. The 3rd software driver will broken your security facilities. Perhaps you have SIEM and central log event management product however such malicious activities is hard to detect since it is running in Kernel (Ring 0).  So a standard policy on software usage is critical goal on today cyber technology world. Believe it or not, a 3rd party software driver embedded malicious code can break your great wall.








Military or Business Industry, Windows OS peripheral control bring to attention.



Since the version of Windows XP, the Windows operating system feature embedded functionality of industrial applications.  However the motivation of factor on re-engineering of system depends on customer demand.

Case study details:

The US Navy is paying Microsoft $9.1 million for continued Windows XP support – Jun 23, 2015 

Information Background – According to SPAWAR official announcement on Jun 2015. The renewal process will buy the Navy time to migrate from its existing reliance on the expiring product versions to newer product versions approved for use in Ashore and Afloat networks, and will provide hotfixes to minimize risks while ensuring support and sustainability of deployed capabilities.

* The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), based in San Diego, is an Echelon II organization within the United States Navy and is the Navy’s technical authority and acquisition command for C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), business information technology and space systems.

Doubt – known design limitations

a. Windows OS system – The re-engineering schedule instead of Windows XP operating system.

  1. US Navy is paying Microsoft $9.1 million for continued Windows XP support – Jun 23, 2015. As of today, we believed that the operating system update has been done. However a valid design weakness on Windows operation system found on 2014 till today. It found by security expert that a kernel flaw appears to all version on Microsoft operating system platform since end of 2014 (see below picture diagram for references). From my personal point of view. I agree with Microsoft official comment on their announcement, this is not a security issue (device driver inject rootkit). My stand point is that the Windows operating system fundamental design objective does not catering for mission critical industries especially Nuclear power facility and military industry.  However the modern technology industries deploying in formal fashion of manner. Yes, I agree that the manufacture industry and business automation not shown the side effect of design limitation. But on mission critical industries, the design capability limitation similar a technology kill chain! Information security is a continuous program. Microsoft operation system  don’t have exception. A group of security expert re-open this flaw recently (Inside NT’s Asynchronous Procedure Call).  Asynchronous Procedure Calls (APCs) are a fundamental building block in NT’s asynchronous processing architecture. This architecture still valid till today.

The security expert highlight the flaw in regards to the following items. 

If you are not interested in technical descriptions detail, you can skip and jump to below item 2.

As a device driver writer, you can rely on APCs to execute a routine in a particular thread context without that thread’s intervention or consent whenever no guarantee of its address space’s availability can be made.  Since APC mechanism not on Ring 3 and therefore the fundamental of design not enforce protect this mechanism. As a result, a weakness was found in this place. The PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine function registers a notification function that is called when the image is loaded or the image is mapped to memory. The operating system calls the registered callback function after displaying the image executed in the user space or in the kernel space (just what we need, because the drivers are just loaded into the kernel), before the execution of the image. The main weakness of software driver integration with operating system is given by PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine.

* The PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine routine registers a driver-supplied callback that is subsequently notified whenever an image is loaded (or mapped into memory).

As we know, antivirus software using kernel driver to inject code into all all running processes. The antivirus software register for image creation notification and then queue some APCs that will execute in user mode and do the injection. Since the security level of protection of device driver on Windows OS all depends on 3rd party developer design.  A lot of security experts feedback comments on Microsoft OS products. They highlight that a flaw appears on kernel side. Microsoft official announcement was told that it is not a security issue.  The fact is that  malware can use API system call (PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine) to trick the OS into giving malware scanners other files. This would allow malicious software smuggling then by evade antivirus monitoring.

Device driver rootkit code (sample)

mov eax, [ebp+ImageInfo]
push dword ptr [eax+4]


Do you think the developer alert this issue on their design phase? From logical point of view, this unknown threat not announce to the world. Most of the protection mechanisms are implement falls under File, Registry, Process, DLL Load. Microsoft don’t allow anyone to hook the SSDT. For my comments, the system development cycle is division of job and therefore this protection mechanism will be fall into cyber security team job scope. As are result, the protection mechanism will be relies on antivirus and malware detection software. But the specific threat might evade malware scanner custodian.

It looks that remediation step on critical industries especially Nuclear Power facilities and Military Dept might do a audit.  As soon as possible to develop the protection mechanism through SSDT hooking.

2. Satellite communication systems design limitation

Since this topic has been discuss previous.  For more details of related article. Please see below url for reference.

Perhaps military battleship can destroy everything, but it could not win in the digital war!



As of today (12th Sep 2017), my comments in regards to mission critical industries remain unchanged.  That is please re-confirm existing operating system peripherals issue before next action.

Enigma (Catalyst) – Risk investment techniques embedded inherent Risk technology



Hedge funds will often use borrowed money to amplify their returns. One aspect that has set the hedge fund industry apart is the fact that hedge funds face less regulation than mutual funds and other investment vehicles. The Enigma team wants to build an environment where traders can also become hedge fund managers.

Understanding of the Enigma (Catalyst) system Platform


Enigma project objective: Enigma (Catalyst) platform wants to make it easy for developers to create trading robots and cryptocurrency funds, and then allow other users to emulate their success by purchasing funds/robots through an open marketplace.

Comment: In the sense that they would like to become the pioneer centralize the bitcoin types digital currencies. It looks like a global digital current exchange headquarter. In regards to the digital currency trend, the economic position of Bitcoin & Ethereum will be equivalent to traditional currencies in future. Regarding to our observation, the solid model of finance especially currencies of US dollar looks no longer become the leader of the world. It is better to develop a new concept to consolidated all the cash flow around the world compatible with popular OS system nowadays. According to the fundamental design, Enigma is the protocol run on protocol layer. In additional a platform so called catalyst. Catalyst is an algorithmic trading library for crypto-assets written in Python.


(Catalyst) system Platform OS requirement – Linux, Mac OS and windows 10

Catalyst platform – You are allowed to download  the source code from Website (GitHub) setup your environment for development.

Trading Strategies – You can browse a list of strategies submitted by the community through the Enigma’s web application: open an account, learn from others and create your own!

3rd Party APIs – Quantopian, Zipline, Pandas, Numpy & Matplotlib

matplotlib is a plotting library for the Python programming language and its numerical mathematics extension NumPy.

Quantopian is an online platform for algorithm development, testing and execution.  It offers a web-based Python editor interface with tight integration with a hosted version of their open-source back-testing framework Zipline.

Zipline is a Pythonic algorithmic trading library. It is an event-driven system that supports both backtesting and live-trading.

pandas is a software library written for the Python programming language for data manipulation and analysis

NumPy is a library for the Python programming language

Discussion checkpoint 1: The project objective of Enigma is going to build an environment where traders can also become hedge fund managers.

A common criteria on programming language – banking environment

J.P. Morgan uses Python for its Athena programme, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch has built Quartz using it. Python is now wide-spread across investment banking and hedge funds.

Discussion Checkpoint 2 : We known that Enigma introduce encryption technique so called homomorphic encryption. A way to encrypt data such that it can be shared with a third party and used in computations without it ever being decrypted.

A technical limitation is that bitcoin takes an average of 10 minutes before a transaction receives a network confirmation. What the benefits of Enigma?

  • Bitcoin’s block time is 10 minutes
  • Ethereum’s block time is 15 seconds.
  •  LITECOIN – It takes an average of 2.5 minutes for this process to complete.
  • MONERO – 1/5th of the time bitcoin generates a block, which does not include any anonymity features
  • RIPPLE – The average Ripple network block is generated in as little as 3.5 seconds.

What is the benefits of faster block time from cyber security viewpoint

Empty blocks are often actually good for the network. There is always a non-zero amount of time before miners calculate their next block template. From technical point of view it avoid a duplicate transaction counterfeit by anonymous party.

Defense in depth

It looks that new technology implement on Enigma digital currency platform (Catalyst) looks perfect. So can we say this is a perfect solution? But what is the background reason lets half million worth of digital currency in unknown status? News article claimed that the incident has been caused by email scam.  For more details, please see below url for reference.

With Enigma, the attackers used their access to announce a “pre-sale” via Enigma’s site, messaging channels, and email. They provided an Ethereum “address” they controlled for investors to send money to. And that’s exactly what happened, with users handing over 1,492 Ether — around $480,000 at current prices said Business insider UK.

Enigma crypto technology (see below) found by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Alan Turing (United Kingdom) and his attempts to crack the Enigma machinecode during World War II. The decryption method so called banburismus technique (see below)

But Hacker did not going to spend too much man power to break through the crypto system. They are smart to use social engineering technique (SCAM EMAIL) to mislead the investor send the money to a counterfeit site. This technique similar break through enigma crypto system use intercept technique.


My imagination (assumption and proof of concept)

Banburismus was a cryptanalytic process developed by Alan Turing at Bletchley Park in England during the Second World War. A program was initiated by Bletchley Park to design much faster bombes that could decrypt the four-rotor system (Enigma) in a reasonable time. The conceptual ideal shown as below:

A deduction step used by the bombe; while the actual intermediate values after the plugboard P — the “steckered” values — are unknown, if one is guessed then it is possible to use the crib to deduce other steckered values. Here, a guess that P(A) = Y can be used to deduce that P(T) = Q because A and T are linked at the 10th position in the crib.

Above conceptual idea looks have possibilities to crack the Enigma. But this is not the true structure of Enigma (Catalyst) platform. However value and Y and Q are the significant value and apply to similar concept of architecture design to other crypto system. So this is the design weakness of the equivalent.

Apart from that (Catalyst) system Platform & 3rd party APIs are deployed on Python programming language intensively. We agreed that it is hard to avoid vulnerability found on software and hardware today. But hacker execute code can more easy execute on system platform which install python on top.

A critical vulnerability occurs on Sep 2016 in Python.The vulnerability allows remote attackers to have unspecified impact via a negative data size value, which triggers a heap-based buffer overflow (CVE-2016-5636). As a result it leading to arbitrary code execution. If similar vulnerability happen in future, Hacker not only compromise the fund manger Enigma (catalyst) platform, it might possibilities to amplifying the attack to the Enigma exchange.

Discussion checkpoint 3:  Engima official announcement  will be held on 11th Sep 2017. Let’ s see how the status of finance market to cryptocurrency world.  For sure that we will keep track the activities see whether any details let us to start another discussion.

We hope that the  Enigma (catalyst) system will succeed in the future.

Goal and Objective