Hardware

Welcoming A New Sponsor: The Trusted Computing Group!

The Security Ledger is a new, online publication that’s serious about reporting on security and “The Internet of Things.” While we’ve had tremendous success in our first six months of operation, any new endeavor involves some risk. That’s why I’m thrilled to have had the backing of some forward-looking sponsors: Qualys and Veracode. And today, I’m happy to add a new name to that list: The Trusted Computing Group¬†(TCG). For those of you who aren’t familiar with TCG, its best known as the group behind the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) secure, cryptographic chip that ships with almost every modern desktop and notebook PC. The TPM assures a hardware-based root of trust on compliant system, allowing TPM-equipped systems to securely generate cryptographic keys that can authenticate each endpont for use in secure, online transactions and communications. But TCG actually does a lot more. As a security beat reporter, for example, I […]

Botnet Of Embedded Devices Used To Map Internet

Botnets are mostly linked with spam e-mail campaigns, denial of service attacks and data theft. But global networks of compromised hosts can be used for a variety of ends – not all of them malicious. That was the idea behind “Internet Census 2012,” a stealth project by an unnamed and unknown researcher/hacker to map the entire IPV4 Internet address space using a massive network of compromised devices. The results, published in the form of a research paper, underscore the problem of ¬†unsecured embedded devices, including set top boxes, home routers and critical infrastructure, with the hacker able to locate and compromise these systems, creating a botnet of more than 420,000 nodes. According to a copy of the report, the project grew out of an experiment to locate unprotected devices online using nmap, the open source scanning tool. By compromising each vulnerable host and then enlisting it to scan for other […]

UPDATE: Vulnerability In EAS To Blame For Fake Zombie Apocalypse Warning?

Editor’s Note: Updated to include information on the brand of EAS device that was compromised. – PFR 2/14/2013 OK – the good news is that the dead aren’t rising from their graves and the Zombie Apocalypse hasn’t begun (yet…). The bad news: a phony EAS (Emergency Alerting System) warning about just such a cataclysm earlier this week may have been the result of a hack of what one security researcher says are known vulnerabilities in the hardware and software that is used to distribute emergency broadcasts to the public in the U.S. The warning from Mike Davis, a Principal Research Scientist at the firm IOActive, comes just days after unknown hackers compromised EAS systems at television stations in the U.S. and broadcast a bogus emergency alert claiming that the “dead were rising from their graves” and attacking people. Published reports say that at least four television stations were the victims […]

Weekend Security Reads – Our Picks

This was another eventful news week in the security world – stories about hacks on two, prominent newspapers, and a widespread hole in UPnP, a technology that all of us use, but never pay much attention to. (Always a dangerous combination.) Let’s face it, Friday is a time for decamping from the office, not taking on some weighty new mental project or thought provoking issue. But, come Sunday morning over coffee, you might just be ready to switch your higher cognitive functions on again. If so, here are some Security Ledger picks for good weekend reads: Hacking the Old Gray Lady – Slate.com The top security story this week was the string of revelations about sophisticated, targeted attacks against leading U.S. newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post may also have been infiltrated, according to a report on Krebsonsecurity.com. The attacks by so-called […]

Funding Cut, Military’s List of Critical Defense Technologies Languishes

The U.S. Department of Defense is failing to adequately maintain its main reference list of vital defense technologies that should be banned from export, despite rules requiring its use and upkeep, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The Militarily Critical Technologies List (MCTL) is “outdated and updates have ceased,” the GAO found in a report released this week. The list was intended as the DOD’s main resource for tracking sensitive technology and preventing its export to foreign nations or entities. But the government agencies charged with using the list say it is too broad and out-of-date to be of much use and have long since abandoned it. Now budget cuts to the program that maintains the list are forcing export control officials in the government to use alternative information sources and informal “networks of experts” to tell them what technologies are in need of protection, […]