Tag: Government

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 The Militarily Critical Technologies List (MCTL) is “outdated and updates have ceased,” the GAO found in a report released this week.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 But the government agencies charged with using the list say it is too broad and out-of-date to be of much use and have long since abandoned it.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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Citing Facebook, Mobile Devices, FTC Updates Online Protections for Kids

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued updated rules on Wednesday that will ban online advertisers from tracking the online behavior of children without explicit consent from their parents. In a press conference in Washington D.C, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz announced new guidelines for implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Among other things, the changes expand the list of information that cannot be collected from children without parental consent to include photographs, videos and audio recordings of children and geo-location information. “Unless you get parental consent, you may not track children and use their information to build massive profiles of online behavior,” said FTC Chairman Leibowitz. The new rules are a major revision to the COPPA rule, which was first passed in 1998. The law is a kind of privacy Bill of Rights and applies to children 13 years old and younger. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, […]