Reports

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 The Militarily Critical Technologies List (MCTL) is “outdated and updates have ceased,” the GAO found in a report released this week.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 But the government agencies charged with using the list say it is too broad and out-of-date to be of much use and have long since abandoned it.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, […]

Council on Foreign Relations Harold Pratt House

Microsoft Rushes Fix for IE Hole Used in Attacks on DC’s Elite

Microsoft issued an emergency fix for its Internet Explorer web browser on Monday, just days after security researchers reported finding a previously unknown (zero day) vulnerability in IE that was being used in targeted attacks against members of Washington D.C.’s media, government and policy elite. Microsoft’s Security Response Center (MSRC) released the fix for IE versions 6, 7 and 8 on Monday following reports of sophisticated and targeted attacks using the vulnerability were detected on the web site of the Council of Foreign Relations, a leading think tank whose members include senior government officials. In a Security Advisory (#2794220), Microsoft described the flaw as a “remote code execution vulnerability” in code that governs the way that “Internet Explorer accesses an object in memory that has been deleted or (improperly) allocated.” The vulnerability could allow a malicious attacker to create a malicious web page that would exploit the vulnerability to corrupt memory in […]

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 […]

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 […]

Uncle Sam Wants To Stop Healthcare Fraud, But Smart Cards Are No Panacea

Medical fraud is a huge issue in the U.S. Depending on whose numbers you use, fraud stemming from false medical claims and reimbursements range from $65 billion a year (a figure generated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies) to more than ten times that: $750 billion a year (according to the Institute for Medicine). To stem the losses, government and law enforcement have been cracking down on fraud. In October, for example, the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced charges against 91 individuals believed to be behind a huge, interstate Medicare fraud scheme responsible for some $430 million in false billing charges. Increasingly, though, the U.S. government is turning to technology to help it identify and root out fraud within the system for medical reimbursements. Chief among the ideas under consideration is a beefed up system for identifying health consumers […]