supply chain

Blade Runner Redux: Do Embedded Systems Need A Time To Die?

The plot of the 1982 film Blade Runner (loosely based on the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick) turns on the question of what makes us ‘human.’ Is it memories? Pain? Our ability to feel empathy? Or is it merely the foreknowledge of our own certain demise? In that movie, a group of rebellious, human-like androids – or “replicants” – return to a ruined Earth to seek out their maker. Their objective: find a way to disable an programmed ‘end of life’ in each of them.  In essence: the replicants want to become immortal. It’s a cool idea. And the replicants – pre-loaded with fake memories and histories – pose an interesting philosophical question about what it is that makes us humans. Our artificial intelligence isn’t quite to the ‘replicant’ level yet (the fictional tale takes place in 2019, so we have time). But some […]

Arbor Networks PoS Report

Unknown Knowns: Arbor Warns Of Widespread Point of Sale Compromises

The hack of U.S. retailer Target put attacks on point of sale systems on the radar, and prompted major retailers to revisit the security of the systems that accept credit card transactions. Now research from Arbor Networks is warning that hackers and cyber criminals are doubling down on point of sale (PoS) systems with a wide range of specialized PoS malware and targeted attacks. Arbor says it has data suggesting that PoS compromises may be widespread, and undetected. Arbor’s Security Engineering & Response Team (SERT)  issued its findings in a Threat Intelligence Brief (2014-6)  report. The company said that “ambitious threat actors” are using targeted attack campaigns against PoS networks. The “longevity and extent” of PoS attack campaigns – even at wealthy and sophisticated organizations – is “a serious concern.”   [Read Security Ledger’s coverage of the Target data breach here.] “In organizations with security teams and well-managed network infrastructure, point of […]

No Silver Bullet For Securing The Internet Of Things

On Wednesday we wrapped up the first-ever Security of Things Forum (SECoT) here in Boston, which was a great success. During a full day of talks and panel discussions, there was a lot of discussion – both on the stage and in the audience. Here are some (high level) take aways from the event: The Internet of Things will be different – really different The combination of technologies that we refer to as the Internet of Things is going to be transformative in ways that are profound. As I said in introductory comments: I see the net effect of this next phase of the Internet as being a leap forward, rather than incremental change – less “invention of the printing press” and more “invention of writing and counting systems.”   Like Internet v.1, the exact direction that the Internet of Things will take is unclear. What is clear is that it […]

heartbleed SSL image

Tripping Over Heartbleed’s Long Tail

The news about the dreadful Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability keeps pumping – almost a month since it first made headlines. But now that other, equally scary security news is stealing the headlines (like the nasty Internet Explorer vulnerability that was announced this week, Heartbleed is taking a back seat. So where do things stand? I think its safe to say that we’re entering a phase that might be considered Heartbleed’s ‘long tail.’ On the one hand: there’s evidence of good news. The Register reported today that data collected by the firm Qualys suggests that almost all websites that were vulnerable to Heartbleed three weeks ago are now patched and no longer vulnerable. The Register’s John Leyden quotes Ristic, the director of engineering at Qualys, putting the percent of web sites, globally, that are still vulnerable to Heartbleed at 1 percent. That’s great news – but I don’t think its the end of the story […]

Heartbleed For Poets

Heartbleed For Poets And Other Must-Reads

It’s H-Day + 2 – two full days since we learned that one of the pillars of online security, OpenSSL, has contained a gaping security hole for the past two years that rendered its protections illusory. As I wrote over on Veracode’s blog today: this one hurts. It exposes private encryption keys, allowing encrypted SSL sessions to be revealed. Trend Micro data suggests around 5% of one million Internet top-level domains are vulnerable.  IOActive notes that Heartbleed also appears to leave data such as user sessions subject to hijacking, exposes encrypted search queries and leaves passwords used to access online services subject to snooping, provided the service hasn’t updated their OpenSSL instance to the latest version. In fact, its safe to bet that the ramifications of Heartbleed will continue to be felt for months – even years to come. In the meantime, there is a lot of interesting coverage and […]