Tag: software

UPDATE: Vulnerability In EAS To Blame For Fake Zombie Apocalypse Warning?

Editor’s Note: Updated to include information on the brand of EAS device that was compromised. – PFR 2/14/2013 OK – the good news is that the dead aren’t rising from their graves and the Zombie Apocalypse hasn’t begun (yet…). The bad news: a phony EAS (Emergency Alerting System) warning about just such a cataclysm earlier this week may have been the result of a hack of what one security researcher says are known vulnerabilities in the hardware and software that is used to distribute emergency broadcasts to the public in the U.S. The warning from Mike Davis, a Principal Research Scientist at the firm IOActive, comes just days after unknown hackers compromised EAS systems at television stations in the U.S. and broadcast a bogus emergency alert claiming that the “dead were rising from their graves” and attacking people. Published reports say that at least four television stations were the victims […]

Whitelist Goes Black: Security Firm Bit9 Hacked

Application “whitelisting” offers an alternative to signature based malware protection. Rather than trying to spot the bad guys, the thinking goes, just identify a list of approved (whitelisted) applications, then block everything else. But what happens when the whitelist, itself, becomes compromised? That’s the scenario that’s playing out with customers of whitelisting firm Bit9, which acknowledged a breach of its corporate network that allowed unknown assailants to gain control of an application code signing server. The acknowledgement came after Bit9 was contacted regarding the breach by Brian Krebs of Krebsonsecurity.com, which broke the news Friday. Little is known about the incident. In a blog post, Bit9’s CEO, Patrick Morley, said that only three of the company’ s customers were affected. Those customers identified malware on their networks that had been signed by one of Bit9’s code signing servers. The lapse was the result of a breach on Bit9’s own network. […]

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) […]

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 […]

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, […]