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IBM PowerVC Version 1.2.3 Introduction and Configuration

IBM News Feed - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 13:30
Draft Redbook, last updated: Wed, 2 Sep 2015

- OpenStack compatibility for integration with cloud software stacks
- Integration of server and storage virtualization
- IBM PowerVM virtualization management

IBM® Power Virtualization Center (PowerVC) is an advanced enterprise virtualization management offering for IBM Power Systems™, based on the OpenStack framework.

TA15-240A: Controlling Outbound DNS Access

US Cert latest breaches - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 17:31
Original release date: August 28, 2015 | Last revised: August 30, 2015
Systems Affected

Networked systems


US-CERT has observed an increase in Domain Name System (DNS) traffic from client systems within internal networks to publically hosted DNS servers. Direct client access to Internet DNS servers, rather than controlled access through enterprise DNS servers, can expose an organization to unnecessary security risks and system inefficiencies. This Alert provides recommendations for improving security related to outbound DNS queries and responses.


Client systems and applications may be configured to send DNS requests to servers other than authorized enterprise DNS caching name servers (also called resolving, forwarding or recursive name servers). This type of configuration poses a security risk and may introduce inefficiencies to an organization.   


Unless managed by perimeter technical solutions, client systems and applications may connect to systems outside the enterprise’s administrative control for DNS resolution. Internal enterprise systems should only be permitted to initiate requests to and receive responses from approved enterprise DNS caching name servers. Permitting client systems and applications to connect directly to Internet DNS infrastructure introduces risks and inefficiencies to the organization, which include:

  • Bypassed enterprise monitoring and logging of DNS traffic; this type of monitoring is an important tool for detecting potential malicious network activity.
  • Bypassed enterprise DNS security filtering (sinkhole/redirect or blackhole/block) capabilities; this may allow clients to access malicious domains that would otherwise be blocked.
  • Client interaction with compromised or malicious DNS servers; this may cause inaccurate DNS responses for the domain requested (e.g., the client is sent to a phishing site or served malicious code).
  • Lost protections against DNS cache poisoning and denial-of-service attacks. The mitigating effects of a tiered or hierarchical (e.g., separate internal and external DNS servers, split DNS, etc.) DNS architecture used to prevent such attacks are lost.  
  • Reduced Internet browsing speed since enterprise DNS caching would not be utilized.

Implement the recommendations below to provide a more secure and efficient DNS infrastructure. Please note that these recommendations focus on improving the security of outbound DNS query or responses and do not encompass all DNS security best practices.  

  • Configure operating systems and applications (including lower-tier DNS servers intended to forward queries to controlled enterprise DNS servers) to use only authorized DNS servers within the enterprise for outbound DNS resolution.
  • Configure enterprise perimeter network devices to block all outbound User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) traffic to destination port 53, except from specific, authorized DNS servers (including both authoritative and caching/forwarding name servers).  
    • Additionally, filtering inbound destination port 53 TCP and UDP traffic to only allow connections to authorized DNS servers (including both authoritative and caching/forwarding name servers) will provide additional protections. 
  • Refer to Section 12 of the NIST Special Publication 800-81-2 for guidance when configuring enterprise recursive DNS resolvers. [1]
References Revision History
  • August 28, 2015: Initial Release

This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.

IBM PowerVP: Introduction and Technical Overview

IBM News Feed - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 13:30
Redpaper, published: Fri, 14 Aug 2015

This IBM® Redpaper™ publication is a comprehensive guide that covers IBM Power Virtualization Performance (PowerVP™) for IBM Power Systems™ Version 1.1.3.

TA15-213A: Recent Email Phishing Campaigns – Mitigation and Response Recommendations

US Cert latest breaches - Sat, 08/01/2015 - 22:01
Original release date: August 01, 2015
Systems Affected

Microsoft Windows Systems, Adobe Flash Player, and Linux


Between June and July 2015, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) received reports of multiple, ongoing and likely evolving, email-based phishing campaigns targeting U.S. Government agencies and private sector organizations. This alert provides general and phishing-specific mitigation strategies and countermeasures.


US-CERT is aware of three phishing campaigns targeting U.S. Government agencies and private organizations across multiple sectors. All three campaigns leveraged website links contained in emails; two sites exploited a recent Adobe Flash vulnerability (CVE-2015-5119) while the third involved the download of a compressed (i.e., ZIP) file containing a malicious executable file. Most of the websites involved are legitimate corporate or organizational sites that were compromised and are hosting malicious content.


Systems infected through targeted phishing campaigns act as an entry point for attackers to spread throughout an organization’s entire enterprise, steal sensitive business or personal information, or disrupt business operations.


Phishing Mitigation and Response Recommendations

  • Implement perimeter blocks for known threat indicators:
    • Email server or email security gateway filters for email indicators
    • Web proxy and firewall filters for websites or Internet Protocol (IP) addresses linked in the emails or used by related malware
    • DNS server blocks (blackhole) or redirects (sinkhole) for known related domains and hostnames
  • Remove malicious emails from targeted user mailboxes based on email indicators (e.g., using Microsoft ExMerge).
  • Identify recipients and possible infected systems:
    • Search email server logs for applicable sender, subject, attachments, etc. (to identify users that may have deleted the email and were not identified in purge of mailboxes)
    • Search applicable web proxy, DNS, firewall or IDS logs for activity the malicious link clicked.
    • Search applicable web proxy, DNS, firewall or IDS logs for activity to any associated command and control (C2) domains or IP addresses associated with the malware.
    • Review anti-virus (AV) logs for alerts associated with the malware.  AV products should be configured to be in quarantine mode. It is important to note that the absence of AV alerts or a clean AV scan should not be taken as conclusive evidence a system is not infected.
    • Scan systems for host-level indicators of the related malware (e.g., YARA signatures)
  • For systems that may be infected:
    • Capture live memory of potentially infected systems for analysis
    • Take forensic images of potentially infected systems for analysis
    • Isolate systems to a virtual local area network (VLAN) segmented form the production agency network (e.g., an Internet-only segment)
  • Report incidents, with as much detail as possible, to the NCCIC.

Educate Your Users

Organizations should remind users that they play a critical role in protecting their organizations form cyber threats. Users should:

  • Exercise caution when opening email attachments, even if the attachment is expected and the sender appears to be known.  Be particularly wary of compressed or ZIP file attachments.
  • Avoid clicking directly on website links in emails; attempts to verify web addresses independently (e.g., contact your organization’s helpdesk or sear the Internet for the main website of the organization or topic mentioned in the email).
  • Report any suspicious emails to the information technology (IT) helpdesk or security office immediately.

Basic Cyber Hygiene

Practicing basic cyber hygiene would address or mitigate the vast majority of security breaches handled by today’s security practitioners:

  • Privilege control (i.e., minimize administrative or superuser privileges)
  • Application whitelisting / software execution control (by file or location)
  • System application patching (e.g., operating system vulnerabilities, third-party vendor applications)
  • Security software updating (e.g., AV definitions, IDS/IPS signatures and filters)
  • Network segmentation (e.g., separate administrative networks from business-critical networks with physical controls and virtual local area networks)
  • Multi-factor authentication (e.g., one-time password tokens, personal identity verification (PIV cards)

Further Information

For more information on cybersecurity best practices, users and administrators are encouraged to review US-CERT Security Tip: Handling Destructive Malware to evaluate their capabilities encompassing planning, preparation, detection, and response. Another resource is ICS-CERT Recommended Practice: Improving Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity with Defense-In-Depth Strategies.

References Revision History
  • August 1, 2015: Initial Release

This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.

IBM PowerVP: Introduction and Technical Overview

IBM News Feed - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 13:30
Draft Redpaper, last updated: Fri, 24 Jul 2015

This IBM® Redpaper™ publication is a comprehensive guide that covers IBM Power Virtualization Performance (PowerVP™) for IBM Power Systems™ Version 1.1.3.

TA15-195A: Adobe Flash and Microsoft Windows Vulnerabilities

US Cert latest breaches - Tue, 07/14/2015 - 23:13
Original release date: July 14, 2015 | Last revised: July 15, 2015
Systems Affected

Microsoft Windows systems with Adobe Flash Player installed.


Used in conjunction, recently disclosed vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and Microsoft Windows may allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code with system privileges. Since attackers continue to target and find new vulnerabilities in popular, Internet-facing software, updating is not sufficient, and it is important to use exploit mitigation and other defensive techniques.


The following vulnerabilities illustrate the need for ongoing mitigation techniques and prioritization of updates for highly targeted software:

  • Adobe Flash use-after-free and memory corruption vulnerabilities (CVE-2015-5119, CVE-2015-5122, CVE-2015-5123) Adobe Flash Player contains critical vulnerabilities within the ActionScript 3 ByteArray, opaqueBackground and BitmapData classes. Exploitation of these vulnerabilities could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system.
  • Microsoft Windows Adobe Type Manager privilege escalation vulnerability (CVE-2015-2387)
    The Adobe Type Manager module contains a memory corruption vulnerability, which can allow an attacker to obtain system privileges on an affected Windows system. The Adobe Type Manager is a Microsoft Windows component present in every version since NT 4.0. The primary impact of exploiting this vulnerability is local privilege escalation.
Vulnerability Chaining

By convincing a user to visit a website or open a file containing specially crafted Flash content, an attacker could combine any one of the three Adobe Flash vulnerabilities with the Microsoft Windows vulnerability to take full control of an affected system.

A common attack vector for exploiting a Flash vulnerability is to entice a user to load Flash content in a web browser, and most web browsers have Flash installed and enabled. A second attack vector for Flash vulnerabilities is through a file (such as an email attachment) that embeds Flash content. Another technique leverages Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) capabilities in Microsoft Office documents to automatically download Flash content from a remote server.

An attacker who is able to execute arbitrary code through the Flash vulnerability could exploit the Adobe Type Manager vulnerability to gain elevated system privileges. The Adobe Type Manager vulnerability allows the attacker to bypass sandbox defenses (such as those found in Adobe Reader and Google Chrome) and low integrity protections (such as Protected Mode Internet Explorer and Protected View for Microsoft Office).


The Adobe Flash vulnerabilities can allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code. Exploitation of the Adobe Type Manager vulnerability could then allow the attacker to execute code with system privileges.


Since attackers regularly target widely deployed, Internet-accessible software such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Windows, it is important to prioritize updates for these products to defend against known vulnerabilities.

Since attackers regularly discover new vulnerabilities for which updates do not exist, it is important to enable exploit mitigation and other defensive techniques.

Apply Security Updates

The Adobe Flash vulnerabilities (CVE-2015-5119, CVE-2015-5122, CVE-2015-5123) are addressed in Adobe Security Bulletins APSB15-16 and APSB15-18. Users are encouraged to review the Bulletins and apply the necessary updates.

The Microsoft Windows Adobe Type Manager vulnerability (CVE-2015-2387) is addressed in Microsoft security Bulletin MS15-077. Users are encouraged to review the Bulletin and apply the necessary updates.

Additional information regarding the vulnerabilities can be found in Vulnerability Notes VU#561288, VU#338736, VU#918568, and VU#103336.

Limit Flash Content

Do not run untrusted Flash content. Most web browsers have Flash enabled by default, however, it may be possible to enable click-to-play features. For information see  http://www.howtogeek.com/188059/how-to-enable-click-to-play-plugins-in-every-web-browser/

Use the Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET)

EMET can be used to help prevent exploitation of the Flash vulnerabilities. In particular, Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) can be configured to help restrict Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer from loading the Flash ActiveX control. See the following link for additional information: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=46366

References Revision History
  • July 14, 2015: Initial Release

This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.

IBM Power System E850 Technical Overview and Introduction

IBM News Feed - Wed, 06/17/2015 - 13:30
Redpaper, published: Wed, 17 Jun 2015

This IBM® Redpaper™ publication is a comprehensive guide covering the IBM Power System E850 (8408-E8E) server that supports IBM AIX®, and Linux operating systems.

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