Archive for December, 2012

Update: Popular WordPress Plugin Leaves Sensitive Data in the Open

December 26, 2012 16:577 comments
Update: Popular WordPress Plugin Leaves Sensitive Data in the Open

Editor’s Note: Updated to add comments from Jason Donenfeld. – Paul A security researcher is warning WordPress uses that a popular plugin may leave sensitive information from their blog accessible from the public Internet with little more than a Google search. The researcher, Jason A. Donenfeld, who uses the handle “zx2c4” posted a notice about the add-on, W3 Total Cache on the Full Disclosure security mailing list on Sunday, warning that many WordPress users that had added the plugin had directories of cached content that could be browsed by anyone with a web browser and knowledge of where to look. The content of those directories could be downloaded, including directories containing sensitive data like password hashes, Donenfeld wrote. W3 Total Cache is described as a “performance framework” that speeds up web sites that use the WordPress content management system by caching site content, speeding up page loads, downloads and the […]

Read more ›

Update: Spammers abusing Google Rich Snippets to boost Scam Sites

December 20, 2012 15:241 comment
Update: Spammers abusing Google Rich Snippets to boost Scam Sites

Editor’s Note: Updated to add official comment from Google. Spammers prove the rule that says criminals will always stay one step ahead of the law. That’s why – despite predictions from some of the technology industry’s best and brightest (*ahem* Bill Gates) that spamming would be eradicated  it survives (and thrives) even today. One way that spammers continue to stay in business is by latching on to new technology – any new technology – that might give them an edge in reaching more potential victims and luring them in. Spammers were among the first to recognize the importance of technologies like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in driving traffic to web sites. They’re willing to try any new social media platform – no matter how nascent. And they don’t cling to technology or methods that don’t work. When the Internet community got hip to how loosely monitored infrastructure like open proxies (PDF) contributed […]

Read more ›

Citing Facebook, Mobile Devices, FTC Updates Online Protections for Kids

December 19, 2012 14:51Comments Off
Citing Facebook, Mobile Devices, FTC Updates Online Protections for Kids

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued updated rules on Wednesday that will ban online advertisers from tracking the online behavior of children without explicit consent from their parents. In a press conference in Washington D.C, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz announced new guidelines for implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Among other things, the changes expand the list of information that cannot be collected from children without parental consent to include photographs, videos and audio recordings of children and geo-location information. “Unless you get parental consent, you may not track children and use their information to build massive profiles of online behavior,” said FTC Chairman Leibowitz. The new rules are a major revision to the COPPA rule, which was first passed in 1998. The law is a kind of privacy Bill of Rights and applies to children 13 years old and younger. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, […]

Read more ›

The Good News for Newtown Investigators: Destroying Hard Drives is Harder than You Think

December 18, 2012 18:031 comment
The Good News for Newtown Investigators: Destroying Hard Drives is Harder than You Think

Adam Lanza knew what he was doing. The 20 year-old man, who has been named as the killer of 27 people, including 20 children, six elementary school staff members and his own mother, deliberately destroyed the hard drives to personal computers he used before leaving his home to launch his attack on t the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The hard drives are believed to contain valuable clues to Lanza’s online activities and could help establish a motive for the otherwise senseless crime. According to reports from various news outlets, Lanza removed the hard drives and “smashed” them using what’s described as a hammer or possibly a screw driver. The drives are described as “broken into pieces.” A report on CBS quoted an unnamed source that was “working with the drives” as saying that they were “so badly damaged that authorities face a significant challenge in retrieving any data […]

Read more ›

In Iran, New Data Wiping Malware on the Loose

December 17, 2012 11:42Comments Off
In Iran, New Data Wiping Malware on the Loose

Iran’s Computer Emergency Response Team (IR-CERT) issued a warning on Sunday about a newly discovered malicious program that is erasing hard drives on infected systems in that country – just the latest data-destroying malware to appear there. IR-CERT said that an investigation by its Maher center found that the malware “wipes files on different drives in various predefined times,” including disk partitions and user profiles. However, the malware isn’t widespread and doesn’t appear linked to “other sophisticated targeted attacks,” the alert said – in a possible reference to the Stuxnet and Flame malware, both of which targeted Iranian critical infrastructure. Subsequent analysis by independent security firms confirmed most of the details of the IR-CERT warning. Writing on Monday, Jamie Blasco of the firm Alien Vault said the malware was “just another wiping malware” and “very simple,” and could have been delivered in a variety of ways – from USB drive […]

Read more ›

Tantalizing Clues in Dexter Malware Lead to Mystery Man…and Zeus

December 15, 2012 20:571 comment
Tantalizing Clues in Dexter Malware Lead to Mystery Man…and Zeus

The Dexter malware is getting some media attention this week – and not just because the malware shares its name with Showtime’s popular drama about a serial killer by the same name. (Not that those of us tasked to write catchy headlines don’t love stuff like that – ’cause we do.) No, the Dexter virus caught the attention of malware analysts because it infects point of sale (POS) systems like electronic cash registers, kiosks and automatic teller machines (ATMs), rather than run of the mill laptops and desktops. It has also generated some interest because it uses a form of memory dump parsing to steal sensitive data from infected POS terminals, and because its POS malware that is part of a botnet – communicating back to a command and control system and receiving commands – that’s quite unusual and, while its kind of insider baseball for malware geeks, it makes […]

Read more ›

Security Hole in Samsung Smart TVs Could Allow Remote Spying

December 12, 2012 11:2713 comments
Security Hole in Samsung Smart TVs Could Allow Remote Spying

The company that made headlines in October for publicizing zero day holes in SCADA products now says it has uncovered a remotely exploitable security hole in Samsung Smart TVs. If left unpatched, the vulnerability could allow hackers to make off with owners’ social media credentials and even to spy on those watching the TV using compatible video cameras and microphones. In an e-mail exchange with Security Ledger, the Malta-based firm said that the previously unknown (“zero day”) hole affects Samsung Smart TVs running the latest version of the company’s Linux-based firmware. It could give an attacker the ability to access any file available on the remote device, as well as external devices (such as USB drives) connected to the TV. And, in a Orwellian twist, the hole could be used to access cameras and microphones attached to the Smart TVs, giving remote attacker the ability to spy on those viewing […]

Read more ›

FBI Issued Alert over July Attack on HVAC System

December 10, 2012 18:24Comments Off
FBI Issued Alert over July Attack on HVAC System

The FBI issued an alert to businesses in July after unknown attackers breached a computer used to control the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system of a New Jersey company, accessing a graphical user interface for the system, including a floor play layout of the company’s office. The attacks came after an Anonymous affiliated hacker, using the handle @ntisec, published links to vulnerable ICS systems running software from the firm Tridium online. The links included the address of an administrative system that controlled the HVAC system used by US Business 1, a New Jersey company that installs air conditioning systems for other companies, according to a copy of the July, 2012 Situational Information Report (PDF), issued by the Newark Division of the FBI. The alert concerning the February and March, 2012 attack was released by the web site Public Intelligence on Saturday. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment from Security […]

Read more ›

Report Warns of Growing ‘Dark Side’ of Cyberspace

December 7, 2012 01:38Comments Off
Report Warns of Growing ‘Dark Side’ of Cyberspace

The head of a prominent human rights groups has warned that increased state involvement in cyberspace, including surveillance, censorship, propaganda campaigns and offensive cyber operations threatens the future of the Internet as much as endemic problems like cyber crime – part of a growing “dark side” to cyberspace. Writing in the Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs,  Ronald Deibert, Director of Citizen Lab and Canada Centre for Global Security Studies said that threats to human rights and individual liberties come from a variety of states – from authoritarian regimes, to Latin American narco-states to liberal democracies in the West, as governments increasingly leverage the power of the Internet to monitor citizens’ behavior and impose limits on free expression. Citizen Lab, part of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, has played a key role in high-profile investigations of cyber espionage including the now-infamous Ghost Net attacks on […]

Read more ›

Update: New 25 GPU Monster Devours Passwords In Seconds

December 4, 2012 19:1279 comments
Update: New 25 GPU Monster Devours Passwords In Seconds

Editor’s note: I’ve updated the article with some new (and in some cases) clarifying detail from Jeremi. I’ve left changes in where they were made. The biggest changes: 1) an updated link to slides 2) clarifying that VCL refers to Virtual OpenCL and 3)  that the quote regarding 14char passwords falling in 6 minutes was for LM encrypted – not NTLM encrypted passwords. Long (8 char) NTLM passwords would take much longer…around 5.5 hours.  - Paul There needs to be some kind of Moore’s law analog to capture the tremendous advances in the speed of password cracking operations. Just within the last five years, there’s been an explosion in innovation in this ancient art, as researchers have realized that they can harness specialized silicon and cloud based computing pools to quickly and efficiently break passwords. A presentation at the Passwords^12 Conference in Oslo, Norway (slides available here - PDF), has moved […]

Read more ›

Security Ledger Uses: