In-brief: Researchers at universities in Germany, working with the security firm Trend Micro, discovered more than 100 vulnerabilities in GitHub code repositories simply by looking for re-used code from tutorials and other free code samples. The same method could be harnessed by cyber criminals or other sophisticated attackers to find and exploit vulnerabilities in software applications, the researchers warned.
In-brief: three quarters of embedded systems that sport web interfaces tested by researchers at universities in Germany and France contained serious security vulnerabilities, according to a new study. The results raise more questions about the security of embedded devices including home routers and home surveillance cameras.
Saying that research dollars for cyber security are disproportionately devoted to work on “offensive” techniques (like hacking), social media giant Facebook has awarded two researchers a $50,000 prize for their work on cyber defense. The company announced on Wednesday that Johannes Dahse and Thorsten Holz, both of Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany for their work on a method for making software less prone to being hacked. The two developed a method for detecting so-called “second-order” vulnerabilities in Web applications using automated static code analysis. Their paper (PDF here) was presented at the 23rd USENIX Security Symposium in San Diego. In a blog post announcing the prize, John Flyn, a security engineering manager at Facebook, said the Internet Defense Prize recognizes “superior quality research that combines a working prototype with significant contributions to the security of the Internet—particularly in the areas of protection and defense.” Dahse and Holz’s work was chosen by a panel […]
Symantec, the security software firm, is reporting that its researchers have discovered a new, malicious “worm” that is spreading on the Internet and has been adapted to attack embedded devices running the Linux operating system, including many devices that are part of the Internet of Things. Writing on the Symantec research blog, Kaoru Hayashi, a threat analyst within Symantec’s Security Response organization, said that the company had uncovered the worm, dubbed Linux.Darlloz, spreading between more common PC systems. However, an analysis of the program revealed that its creators were thinking big: engineering the worm to be capable of attacking a “range of small, Internet-enabled devices in addition to traditional computers.” Specifically, Symantec’s team found variants of Darlloz for chip architectures common in devices ranging from home routers and set-top boxes to security cameras. The warnings about an “Internet of Things worm” were hypothetical, however. Hayashi said that no attacks against non-PC […]
A plug-in that was pulled from the official WordPress plug-in directory has been restored, but will be monitored closely, after the plug-in’s owner claimed a rogue contractor introduced malicious code into the popular web publishing add-on. Social Media Widget, a free plug-in for the WordPress blogging platform with more than a million downloads, was restored to the WordPress.org official plugin directory on Thursday, days after it was found injecting WordPress websites with spam links to web sites offering Pay Day Loans. In a post on a support forum for Social Media Widget, Samuel Wood, a WordPress administrator, said that WordPress.org was willing to give the owner and the plug-in, Brendan Sheehan, a second chance. “Naturally we do take a very hard line on spam, and obviously an author putting malicious code into a plugin is enough grounds for us to bring down the ban hammer,” Wood wrote on Friday. “But […]