Post Tagged with: "Government"

Heartbleed For Poets And Other Must-Reads

April 10, 2014 18:380 comments
The (nerdy) Heartbleed SSL vulnerability story has jumped into the mainstream led to lots of rumination about the proper short and long term response.

It’s H-Day + 2 – two full days since we learned that one of the pillars of online security, OpenSSL, has contained a gaping security hole for the past two years that rendered its protections illusory. As I wrote over on Veracode’s blog today: this one hurts. It exposes private encryption keys, allowing encrypted SSL sessions to be revealed. Trend Micro data suggests around 5% of one million Internet top-level domains are vulnerable.  IOActive notes that Heartbleed also appears to leave data such as user sessions subject to hijacking, exposes encrypted search queries and leaves passwords used to access online services subject to snooping, provided the service hasn’t updated their OpenSSL instance to the latest version. In fact, its safe to bet that the ramifications of Heartbleed will continue to be felt for months – even years to come. In the meantime, there is a lot of interesting coverage and […]

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Vint Cerf: CS Changes Needed To Address IoT Security, Privacy

April 2, 2014 16:140 comments
Cerf said that the advent of the Internet of Things poses a real challenge to the field of computer science. Namely: how to secure IoT devices. (Photo courtesy of Google.)

The Internet of Things has tremendous potential but also poses a tremendous risk if the underlying security of Internet of Things devices is not taken into account, according to Vint Cerf, Google’s Internet Evangelist. Cerf, speaking in a public Google Hangout on Wednesday, said that he’s tremendously excited about the possibilities of an Internet of billions of connected objects, but said that securing the data stored on those devices and exchanged between them represents a challenge to the field of computer science – and one that the nation’s universities need to start addressing. “I’m very excited,” Cerf said, in response to a question from host Leo Laporte. He cited the Philips HUE lightbulb as an example of a cool IoT application. “So you’re going to be able to manage quite a wide range of appliances at home , at work and in your car. Eventually, that will include things you’re […]

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Analysis Finds Blurry Lines Between Rovio, Advertisers

March 28, 2014 15:520 comments
Analysis Finds Blurry Lines Between Rovio, Advertisers

Rovio, the maker of the massively popular Angry Birds, makes no secret about collecting personal data from those who download and play its games. But an analysis from the advanced threat detection firm FireEye is helping to expose the extend of data harvesting, and also to sketch out the blurry line that separates Rovio and third-party advertising networks it contracts with. In a blog post on Thursday, FireEye analysts Jimmy Suo and Tao Wei described the findings of an investigation into the interaction between Rovio’s mobile applications, including the latest version of Angry Birds, and third party ad networks such as Jumptap and Millenial Media. Using FireEye’s Mobile Threat Prevention (MTP), the two gathered and analyzed network packet capture (PCap) information and analyzed the workings of Angry Birds and its communications with third-party ad networks. The two were able to reveal a multi-stage information sharing operation, tracking code paths from the reverse-engineered […]

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Is Analog The Answer To Cyber Terrorism?

March 17, 2014 09:405 comments
Ralph Langner, an expert on the security of industrial control systems, suggests that the critical infrastructure sector might consider the use of analogue systems as a backstop to cyber attacks on ICS software. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress).

Ralph Langner is one of the foremost experts on the security of critical infrastructure that we have. So, generally, when Ralph says something – whether its about Stuxnet, or cyberwar or the security of nuclear power plants – folks listen. And these days, Ralph is wondering, out loud, whether our reliance on digital systems to manage critical infrastructure has gone too far. The answer, he suggests, may be to go “back to the future,” as it were: reintroducing analog systems into the control process chain as a backstop for cyber attacks. Case in point: the Department of Homeland Security’s ICS-CERT warned on Friday that firmware for Siemens SIMATIC S7-1500 CPUs (Central Processing Units) contain nine vulnerabilities that could enable attacks such as cross site request forgery, cross site scripting and URL redirection. (Siemens has issued a firmware update that patches the holes.) Langner is among the world’s foremost experts on […]

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RSA Perspective: Outrage With A Side Of Salsa

March 7, 2014 14:280 comments
RSA Perspective: Outrage With A Side Of Salsa

Let the record show that one of the most dramatic expressions of discontent over rampant government surveillance of U.S. citizens and private companies during last week’s RSA Conference in San Francisco went down at a taco joint. As the world’s cyber security elite gathered in San Francisco’s Moscone Center for the RSA Security Conference, a group of privacy and online rights activists that go by the name “Vegas 2.0” used donated funds to rent out Chevy’s, a popular Mexican food restaurant located next to the exhibit halls and frequented by conference goers. As reported by ZDNet’s Violet Blue, paying RSA attendees and speakers – identifiable by red badges – were refused entry to Chevy’s and handed flyers explaining the protestors’ grievances against the Conference’s parent company, RSA Security, which is alleged to have colluded with the NSA to weaken encryption standards in its products. Among those reported to have been […]

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Update – Virtual Vandalism: Firm Warns Of Connected Home Security Holes

February 18, 2014 11:351 comment
Update – Virtual Vandalism: Firm Warns Of Connected Home Security Holes

[This story was updated to include response from Belkin describing its response to the vulnerabilities identified by IOActive, including firmware updates. - PFR Feb 19, 2014] A researcher with the respected security firm IOActive says that he has found a number of serious security holes in home automation products from the firm Belkin that could allow remote attackers to use Belkin’s WeMo devices to virtually vandalize connected homes or as a stepping stone to other computers connected on a home network. In a statement released on Tuesday, IOActive researcher Mike Davis said that his research into Belkin’s WeMo technology found the “devices expose users to several potentially costly threats, from home fires with possible tragic consequences down to the simple waste of electricity.” IOActive provided information on Davis’s research to the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT), which issued an advisory on the WeMo issues on Tuesday.  Belkin did not […]

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Facebook Joins In Tech Industry Demands For Surveillance Reform

February 12, 2014 11:26Comments Off
Facebook Joins In Tech Industry Demands For Surveillance Reform

Facebook on Tuesday reiterated calls for reform of laws pertaining to government surveillance practices in the U.S. and elsewhere. The company, in a blog post, urged governments to stop bulk collection of data and enact reforms to limit governments’ authority to collect users information to pertain to “individual users” for “lawful purposes.” The company also called for more oversight of national intelligence agencies such as the US National Security Agency, and more transparency about government requests for data. The blog post was authored by Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch. Facebook reiterated its calls for surveillance reform in recognition of “The Day We Fight Back,” a grass roots effort to use Tuesday, February 11th as a day to rally support for more civil liberties protections.   [Read more Security Ledger coverage of Facebook here.] The date is the one year anniversary of the suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz. Leading online […]

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Uncle Sam Makes Mobile, Medical Device Security a Priority in 2014

February 10, 2014 13:23Comments Off
Uncle Sam Makes Mobile, Medical Device Security a Priority in 2014

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says that it will make the security of mobile devices containing personal health information and networked medical devices areas of intense scrutiny in 2014.   The security of a wide range of devices, from laptops and USB ‘jump drives’ to networked medical devices like dialysis machines and medication dispensing systems will be under review, according to a 2014 Work Plan issued by HHS’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). (PDF) Among other projects, the  OIG will review hospitals’ plans to protect the loss of protected health information (PHI), as well as similar plans put in place by Medicare and Medicaid contractors in the next year.  OIG will also scrutinize security controls at hospitals that protect networked medical devices. OIG wants to determine if the controls in place are adequate to secure electronic protected health information stored on medical devices. Links between networked […]

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FTC Approves Settlement Over Leaky Surveillance Cam

11:15Comments Off
FTC Approves Settlement Over Leaky Surveillance Cam

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Friday that it has approved a settlement with TRENDnet, Inc. over lax security features in its line of SecurView cameras. The FTC said on Friday that it has approved a final order settling charges against the company, whose cameras were found to be poorly secured against external attackers, who could access them and use them to spy on the homes and private lives of hundreds of consumers. [See also: Apple Store Favorite IZON Cameras Riddled with Holes] The FTC complaint stems from a February, 2012 case in which independent security analysts with the web site Console Cowboys published details on how a firmware flaw allowed authentication for Internet-connected SecurView cameras to be bypassed, giving any Internet user (with the know-how) the ability to view the surveillance camera’s live feed. The Commission first announced a settlement with TRENDnet, a Torrance, California company, in September of […]

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Google Patent: Video Mob Sourcing Spots Public Gatherings

February 5, 2014 13:45Comments Off
Seattle fans celebrate after the Seahawks Super Bowl victory. Technology from Google could make it possible to identity spontaneous gatherings using images and video submitted by the crowd. (Image courtesy of seattlepi.com)

Google is adding to its arsenal of creepy, Big Data tools with crowd sourcing technology that can identify public gatherings and other events that draw spectators. The company has applied to the US government for a patent on what is described as a method for “inferring events based on mob source video,” according to the Web site Public Intelligence. The technology uses video clips submitted by Google users (to YouTube, etc.) to infer that “an event of interest has likely occurred.” The technology surveys time- and geolocation stamps on the videos to correlate the activities of individuals who might be part of a gathering. The Patent, US2014/0025755 A1, was published on January 23, 2014 and lists Google Inc. as the Assignee and Ronald Paul Hughes as the inventor. It claims the technology, dubbed “mob sourcing” will allow Google to correlate video and images to infer the existence of groups (i.e. a public […]

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