Tag: reports

Uncle Sam Needs A Plan: GAO Pans Govt. Cybersecurity Efforts in 100 Page Report

There’s been a lot of light and heat in the last week when it comes to the U.S. government and cyber security. After all, President Obama just released his Executive Order on cyber security, which puts an emphasis on identifying and protecting critical infrastructure and, just maybe, pushes the sprawling federal bureaucracy towards better security practices. But a just-released report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) makes clear that, in the big scheme of things, the Executive Order is just window dressing on the mess that is the Federal Government’s handling of cyber security. The report, GAO-13-187 (PDF), is a round-up and updating of previous reports that studied aspects of federal cyber security as they affect a wide range of federal agencies. The GAO’s conclusion? Uncle Sam has made negligible progress towards improving the security of its information systems, and has little to show in key areas such as responding to […]

Wealthy Countries Better At Protecting Citizens…From Malware

To paraphrase a quote attributed to the great American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald: ‘Rich countries aren’t like you and me. They have less malware.’ That’s the conclusion of a special Security Intelligence Report released by Microsoft on Wednesday, which found that the rate of malware infections was relatively lower in countries that were wealthy than those with lower gross income per capita. The study, “Linking Cybersecurity Policy and Performance” investigated the links between rates of computer infections and a range of national characteristics including the relative wealth of a nation, observance of the rule of law and the rate of software piracy. The conclusion: wealthier nations, especially in Europe, do a better job preventing malware infections than poorer and developing nations. The report marks an effort by Microsoft to dig into some of the underlying causes of cyber insecurity globally. Using data gathered from its Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) […]

You’ve Been Hacked By APT! (The Video)

The whole APT – or “Advanced Persistent Threat” – meme has received a lot of attention in the media. This site and others have written about APT-style hacks, such as the recent compromise at The New York Times. But what does an APT hack look like? And what would it mean if you or your employer were in the crosshairs of an APT-type actor? The SANS Institute’s Securing The Human project has put together a nice training video that helps answer some of these questions, and to explain how APT-style attacks work. This is good stuff – explaining the difference between cyber crime and APT, and generic enough that any organization could use it as a training video. SANS says that it will produce one of these a month, and post them on the first of each month. My only criticism here is that, after they do a solid job describing […]

Researchers: Hole In TLS Encryption Could Expose Secure Web Sessions

Researchers at the University of London are going public with a paper that claims to have found a flaw in the specification for Transport Layer Security (TLS) that could leave supposedly secure Web, IM, VoIP and other online sessions exposed to prying eyes. The researchers, Nadhem Al Fardan and Kenny Patterson of the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway, University of London said that the security hole stem from a flaw in the TLS specification, rather than a bug in how TLS is implemented. The two researchers have developed proof of concept attacks that take advantage of the flaw, and that could be used to recover a complete block of TLS-encrypted plaintext, the researchers said. Al Fardan is a Ph.D student in the Information Security Group. Patterson is a professor of Information Security there. The two have  discovered other, serious holes in TLS before. Notably: the two discovered a critical […]

Weekend Security Reads – Our Picks

This was another eventful news week in the security world – stories about hacks on two, prominent newspapers, and a widespread hole in UPnP, a technology that all of us use, but never pay much attention to. (Always a dangerous combination.) Let’s face it, Friday is a time for decamping from the office, not taking on some weighty new mental project or thought provoking issue. But, come Sunday morning over coffee, you might just be ready to switch your higher cognitive functions on again. If so, here are some Security Ledger picks for good weekend reads: Hacking the Old Gray Lady – Slate.com The top security story this week was the string of revelations about sophisticated, targeted attacks against leading U.S. newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post may also have been infiltrated, according to a report on Krebsonsecurity.com. The attacks by so-called […]