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Barracuda Urges Changing — Not Patching — Its E mail Safety Gateways – Krebs on Safety


It’s not typically {that a} zero-day vulnerability causes a community safety vendor to induce clients to bodily take away and decommission a complete line of affected {hardware} — versus simply making use of software program updates. However consultants say that’s precisely what transpired this week with Barracuda Networks, as the corporate struggled to fight a sprawling malware menace which seems to have undermined its electronic mail safety home equipment in such a basic method that they will now not be safely up to date with software program fixes.

The Barracuda E mail Safety Gateway (ESG) 900 equipment.

Campbell, Calif. based mostly Barracuda stated it employed incident response agency Mandiant on Could 18 after receiving reviews about uncommon visitors originating from its E mail Safety Gateway (ESG) gadgets, that are designed to take a seat on the fringe of a company’s community and scan all incoming and outgoing electronic mail for malware.

On Could 19, Barracuda recognized that the malicious visitors was benefiting from a beforehand unknown vulnerability in its ESG home equipment, and on Could 20 the corporate pushed a patch for the flaw to all affected home equipment (CVE-2023-2868).

In its safety advisory, Barracuda stated the vulnerability existed within the Barracuda software program part chargeable for screening attachments for malware. Extra alarmingly, the corporate stated it seems attackers first began exploiting the flaw in October 2022.

However on June 6, Barracuda out of the blue started urging its ESG clients to wholesale rip out and change — not patch — affected home equipment.

“Impacted ESG home equipment have to be instantly changed no matter patch model stage,” the corporate’s advisory warned. “Barracuda’s advice at the moment is full substitute of the impacted ESG.”

In an announcement, Barracuda stated it is going to be offering the substitute product to impacted clients for free of charge, and that not all ESG home equipment had been compromised.

“No different Barracuda product, together with our SaaS electronic mail options, had been impacted by this vulnerability,” the corporate stated. “If an ESG equipment is displaying a notification within the Person Interface, the ESG equipment had indicators of compromise. If no notification is displayed, we have now no purpose to consider that the equipment has been compromised at the moment.”

Nonetheless, the assertion says that “out of an abundance of warning and in furtherance of our containment technique, we suggest impacted clients change their compromised equipment.”

“As of June 8, 2023, roughly 5% of lively ESG home equipment worldwide have proven any proof of identified indicators of compromise as a result of vulnerability,” the assertion continues. “Regardless of deployment of extra patches based mostly on identified IOCs, we proceed to see proof of ongoing malware exercise on a subset of the compromised home equipment. Subsequently, we want clients to switch any compromised equipment with a brand new unaffected system.”

Rapid7‘s Caitlin Condon known as this outstanding flip of occasions “pretty gorgeous,” and stated there seem like roughly 11,000 susceptible ESG gadgets nonetheless linked to the Web worldwide.

“The pivot from patch to complete substitute of affected gadgets is pretty gorgeous and implies the malware the menace actors deployed someway achieves persistence at a low sufficient stage that even wiping the system wouldn’t eradicate attacker entry,” Condon wrote.

Barracuda stated the malware was recognized on a subset of home equipment that allowed the attackers persistent backdoor entry to the gadgets, and that proof of information exfiltration was recognized on some methods.

Rapid7 stated it has seen no proof that attackers are utilizing the flaw to maneuver laterally inside sufferer networks. However that could be small comfort for Barracuda clients now coming to phrases with the notion that overseas cyberspies most likely have been hoovering up all their electronic mail for months.

Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at College of California, Berkeley’s Worldwide Laptop Science Institute (ICSI), stated it’s seemingly that the malware was in a position to corrupt the underlying firmware that powers the ESG gadgets in some irreparable method.

“One of many objectives of malware is to be arduous to take away, and this means the malware compromised the firmware itself to make it actually arduous to take away and actually stealthy,” Weaver stated. “That’s not a ransomware actor, that’s a state actor. Why? As a result of a ransomware actor doesn’t care about that stage of entry. They don’t want it. In the event that they’re going for knowledge extortion, it’s extra like a smash-and-grab. In the event that they’re going for knowledge ransoming, they’re encrypting the info itself — not the machines.”

Along with changing gadgets, Barracuda says ESG clients also needs to rotate any credentials linked to the equipment(s), and examine for indicators of compromise courting again to at the least October 2022 utilizing the community and endpoint indicators the corporate has launched publicly.

Replace, June 9, 11:55 a.m. ET: Barracuda has issued an up to date assertion in regards to the incident, parts of which are actually excerpted above.

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