Other News

For Industrial, Medical Systems: Bugs Run In The Family

On the surface, the kinds of industrial control systems that run a power plant or factory floor are very different from, say, a drug infusion pump sitting bedside in a hospital intensive care unit. But two security researchers say that many of these systems have two important things in common: they’re manufactured by the same company, and contain many of the same critical software security problems. In a presentation at gathering of industrial control security experts in Florida, researchers Billy Rios and Terry McCorkle said an informal audit of medical devices from major manufacturers, including Philips showed that medical devices have many of the same kinds of software security holes found in industrial control system (ICS) software from the same firms. The research suggests that lax coding practices may be institutionalized within the firms, amplifying their effects. Rios (@xssniper), a security researcher at Google, and McCorkle (@0psys), the CTO of SpearPoint […]

New Phishing Toolkit Uses Whitelisting To Keep Scams Alive

Researchers at RSA say that a new phishing toolkit allows attackers to put a velvet rope around scam web pages – bouncing all but the intended victims. The new toolkit, dubbed “Bouncer,” was discovered in an analysis of attacks on financial institutions in South Africa, Australia and Malaysia, said Daniel Cohen, Head of Business Development for Online Threats Managed Services at RSA.  The kit allows attackers to generate a unique ID for each intended victim, then embed that in a URL that is sent to the victim. Outsiders attempting to access the phishing page are redirected to a “404 page not found” error message, Cohen said. In phishing attacks, attackers pose as a legitimate online entity in an attempt to obtain a user’s username, password or other sensitive information. Phishing attacks often rely on imposter web sites to trick users into giving up their secret information. The discovery of “Bouncer” underscores the […]

University Course Will Teach Medical Device Security

The University of Michigan will be among the first to offer graduate students the opportunity to study the security of advanced medical devices. The course, EECS 598-008 “Medical Device Security” will teach graduate students in UMich’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science program “the engineering concepts and skills for creating more trustworthy software-based medical devices ranging from pacemakers to radiation planning software to mobile medical apps.” It comes amid heightened scrutiny of the security of medical device hardware and software, as more devices connected to IP-based hospital networks and add wireless monitoring and management functionality. The new course comes amid rapid change in the market for sophisticated medical devices like insulin pumps, respirators and monitoring stations, which increasingly run on versions of the same operating systems that power desktops and servers. In 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that software failures were the root cause of a quarter […]

Making It Official

For those of you who have been regular visitors to this site over the past few months, this post might seem a bit strange.  I’m taking the opportunity today to officially launch The Security Ledger: a security news website dedicated to covering the rapidly expanding landscape of the IT security space. Yes – I know: Security Ledger has been publishing regularly since late August. But think of that kind of like one of Google’s interminable “beta” periods, in which you keep expectations low and shake out all the bugs before making it official. So what’s this all about? With help from our sponsors, Qualys Inc. and Veracode, The Security Ledger is dedicated to covering the vastly expanding cyber security landscape. As more and more elements of our daily lives join the “Internet of Things,” The Security Ledger offers original reporting and curated news from the front lines, including coverage of mobile devices, intelligent consumer […]

Rush Job: Oracle Releases Fix For Critical Java Bug

Oracle Corp. has rushed out an update for its Java Standard Edition software after malicious hackers jumped on a security hole in widespread, web-based attacks. Oracle released Java Standard Edition Update 11 on Sunday, less than a week after news first broke that cyber criminals had woven exploit code for the security hole into push button “exploit kits” that are for sale in the cyber underground. The update fixes CVE-20130-0422, and Oracle urged Java users to apply the update as soon as possible. Java technology powers billions of laptop and desktop computers, as well as smart phones and embedded devices. However, the platform has been the subject of repeated, critical security holes. Most recently, in August, Oracle was forced to rush out a similar update – Java Standard Edition Update 10 – in the face of similar attacks on another security hole.  Attacks using the exploit were reported to be […]