Other News

New York Times Hack Puts Antivirus on Defensive

New York Times Hack Puts Antivirus on Defensive

The big news this morning is the New York Times’ scoop on…well…itself. According to a report in today’s paper, the Times’s computer network was compromised for more than four months by attackers believed to be located in China. The attacks followed a Times exposé on the wealth accumulated by family members of China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao – one of a series of reports in Western media outlets that raised questions about corruption and influence peddling in China’s ruling Communist Party. Attackers planted 45 pieces of information-stealing malware on Times systems, despite the presence of antivirus software from Symantec Corp. protecting those systems before, during and after the hack. The story is fueling debate about the value of anti-virus software and prompted Symantec to issue a statement defending its technology, but warning that signature-based antivirus is not enough to stop sophisticated attacks. According to the Times report, the attacks used compromised systems on […]

School Shooters May Tip Their Hand In Facebook Rants

School Shooters May Tip Their Hand In Facebook Rants

School shootings have occurred with sickening regularity in the United States in the last decade. The shootings happen in all types of communities, while the shooters come from all different backgrounds. But almost all of them have one thing in common: they used social media to vent their anger and, often, declare their murderous intentions ahead of time. An analysis of common trends in school shootings by the New Jersey Fusion Center  said social media sites like Facebook are a common element in the majority of school shootings, with students who have conducted or planned attacks against their schools publicizing their anger and or intentions on sites like Facebook. The “Situational Awareness Report” (PDF) on “School Shooting Commonalities” is dated November 15, 2012, predating the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that killed 26. In that case, the shooter, Adam Lanza, was described as a loner who spent hours […]

Pi Million Dollars! Google Sets $3.14 Million Pot For Pwnium 3 Contest

Pi Million Dollars! Google Sets $3.14 Million Pot For Pwnium 3 Contest

Google cemented its reputation as the squarest company around Monday (pun intended), offering prizes totaling Pi Million Dollars –  that’s right: $3.14159 million greenbacks – in its third annual Pwnium hacking contest, to be held at the CanSecWest conference on March 7 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Google will pay $110,000 for a browser or system level compromise delivered via a web page to a Chrome user in guest mode or logged in. The company will pay $150,000 for any compromise that delivers “device persistence” delivered via a web page, the company announced on the chromium blog.   “We believe these larger rewards reflect the additional challenge involved with tackling the security defenses of Chrome OS, compared to traditional operating systems,” wrote Chris Evans of Google’s Security Team. The announcement is part of stepped up efforts by the Mountain View company to put a premium on information about security holes affecting its products, […]

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

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, […]

Are Cyber Criminals Using Plus-Sized Malware To Fool AV?

Are Cyber Criminals Using Plus-Sized Malware To Fool AV?

Obesity is an epidemic in the United States. And it looks as if it may soon be a problem in malware circles, as well. After years watching malware authors pack their poison into smaller and smaller packages, one forum frequented by those seeking help with virus infections says that they’re seeing just the opposite: simple malware wrapped within obscenely large executables – in one case, over 200 megabytes. A post on the French-language web site Malekal.com on Thursday described what  may be a nascent trend towards ‘plus size’ malware executables. In at least two cases in recent days, the forum has seen evidence of Trojan Dropper programs that deposit very large files – between 16 megabytes and 200 megabytes – on infected systems. In one case, the author discovered an exploit kit that deposited a very large file – around 16 megabytes- on infected systems. In a separate incident, he […]