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Heart Attack? Fixes For More Critical Holes In OpenSSL

Just a month after a critical security hole in OpenSSL dubbed “Heartbleed” captured headlines around the globe, The OpenSSL Foundation has issued an other critical software update fixing six more security holes, two of them critical. The Foundation issued its update on Thursday, saying that current versions of OpenSSL contain vulnerabilities that could be used to carry out “man in the middle” (or MITM) attacks against OpenSSL clients and servers. SSL VPN (virtual private network) products are believed to be especially vulnerable. Users of OpenSSL versions 0.9.8, 1.0.0 and 1.0.1 are all advised to update immediately. According to information released by the OpenSSL Foundation, an attacker using a carefully crafted handshake can force the use of “weak keying material in OpenSSL SSL/TLS clients and servers.” That could lay the groundwork for man-in-the-middle attacks in which an attacker positions herself between a vulnerable client and server, decrypting and modifying traffic as it passes through the attacker’s […]

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DARPA Competition Seeks Autonomous Systems for Cyber Defense

We all know that ‘layer 8’ – humans – are the biggest attack surface in any IT environment. Companies can invest millions to harden their networks and endpoints. But all attackers have to do is convince one user to open a fake credit card bill for $20,000 or click a “You won’t believe this video!” link on Facebook and its game over. Our human failings came into the spotlight, most recently, with the breach at Target. According to news reports, the retailer had advanced threat detection software by FireEye deployed that actually alerted staff to some of the malicious activity that signaled the start of that (epic) hack.  Alas, Target’s IT staff in the U.S. dismissed the alerts, which were reported by a team working out of Bangalore, India. The result: 40 million credit card numbers were pilfered from Target’s network. That may be why the U.S. Department of Defense’s advanced […]

Report: Hell is Unpatched Systems

One of the ‘subplots’ of the Internet of Things revolution concerns embedded devices. Specifically: the tendency of embedded devices to be either loosely managed or – in some cases – unmanageable.   The future holds the promise of more, not fewer of these. That’s the gist of a piece I wrote for InfoWorld, and that you can read here. In short: we’re already seeing the beginning of a shift on the threat landscape. While attacks against traditional endpoints (like Windows desktops, laptops and servers) are still the norm, there are more stories each day about cyber criminal groups and malicious actors who are compromising non-standard endpoints like home wifi routers.  In March, for example, the security consultancy Team Cymru identified a botnet consisting of some 300,000 compromised home routers and other in-home devices. The virus called “TheMoon” was also identified spreading between vulnerable home routers and other embedded devices. The […]

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Car Makers, Suppliers Going Their Own Way On Security

I was surprised to see a big feature story over at CNN.com this morning – given that the security of connected vehicles has no obvious link to LA Clippers owner Don Sterling, the on-going shakeup at the Veterans Administration or a tornado or other natural disaster. Still – there it is: “Your car is a giant computer – and it can be hacked.” The feature, by Jose Pagliery is solid enough – though it doesn’t break much new ground. He mentions the research by Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller at The Black Hat Briefings last year. He also talks to the folks over at Security Innovation. [Want more on security and connected vehicles? Check out our video: Insecure At Any Speed: Are Automakers Failing The Software Crash Test? ] The big take-away: automobiles are rife with old and outdated software and hardware, much of it lacking even basic security features  like secure communications […]

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Report: Samsung Investing In IoT Security

South Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co. said on Tuesday that it will invest heavily in security for the Internet of Things sector, citing security for IoT as a ‘key future technology’ alongside energy storage and harvesting.   The report on Tuesday, from South Korea’s Yonhap News Service said Samsung, currently the world’s top maker of mobile phones, said Samsung is soliciting proposals on IoT security algorithms and protocols through the end of June. Possible applications include “biometrics, smart structures and advanced traffic networks,” according to Yonhap. The announcement comes by way of Samsung’s Future Technology Fostering Center, a research group that the company established last year to help keep it on the cutting edge in technology. According to published reports, Samsung has pledged 1.5 trillion won ($1.34 billion) over 10 years to fund the Center. Approximately 750 billion won ($670 million) will be allocated to research projects through 2017.