Careful connecting to those pub WiFis

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2013 - 05:53 PM |
Tagged: cell phone, security, wifi, PNL

A security expert recently reminded people that the Preferred Networks List Bug which was identified in 2004 has only ever been addressed by Microsoft.  All other mobile OSes, from Apple to BlackBerry can accidentally expose their PNL to an eavesdropper who can then spoof it.  If you like setting up autoconnect on your devices you might want to double check the name of your active connections occasionally; if you are connected to your home WiFi while you are out you might have a problem.  Catch more at The Register.

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"Security expert Raul Siles has warned that years after it was first identified, the Preferred Networks List (PNL) Wi-Fi bug remains unaddressed on many an iPhone, Android phone, and Windows or BlackBerry handset."

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Source: The Register

McAfee picks up Stonesoft, Intel continues to focus on network security

Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2013 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: stonesoft, security, purchase, mcafee, Intel

A small security firm called Stonesoft was acquired by Intel, or rather McAfee, for just under $400m.  They provide not only software and services but actual network appliances which utilize their proprietary Stonesoft Security Engine to provide secure connectivity.  This makes a lot of sense when you think back on Intel's statements when purchasing McAfee, they are not interested in only providing security at the software level but are interested in moving to the hardware level.  You can find out a bit more at The Inquirer.

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"SECURITY VENDOR McAfee has bought software security firm Stonesoft to add to its range of network security products.

McAfee, which is owned by Intel, is one of the biggest security vendors but has so far been focused on end-point products such as anti-virus and firewall software that runs on consumer PCs. Now the firm has made a move to go deeper into the network, buying security software vendor Stonesoft for $389m in cash."

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Source: The Inquirer

Java Releases Patch Addressing Vulnerability Used By McRat Trojan

Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2013 - 06:26 AM |
Tagged: security, patch, mcrat trojan, Java, exploit

Java developer Oracle recently released a patch to its Java Platform Standard Edition client to address two exploits used by attackers to install the McRAT trojan onto users machines. Specifically, Oracle is issuing the patch for vulnerabilities CVE-2013-1493 and CVE-2013-0809.

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The vulnerabilities were related to Java running in a web browser. When users visit a malicious web site with vulnerable versions of Java installed, attackers are able to remote execute the McRAT trojan. That trojan was subsequently used to download additional malware to further compromise the machines in question. According to Oracle, the vulnerability was first discovered on February 1st, 2013 but did not make it in time to be rolled into that month’s scheduled update. As a result, Oracle slated it for inclusion in the Java platform update on April 16, 2013, but reconsidered after seeing exploits using these vulnerabilities in the wild. While servers and standalone Java installations are not affected, consumers will need to apply the patch via Java SE’s automatic updater or by manually installing the patch from this page. Currently, all Java SE versions prior to this patch are affected, including JDK and JRE 7 Update 15, 6 Update 41, and 5.0 Update 40 (or earlier).

Oracle states that the patch is a critically important update, and users should update as soon as possible. If you have not already applied the update (or given up on Java and uninstalled it completely--heh), start up Java and check for updates to grab the patch.

Source: Oracle

McAfee always checks the sandbox for feline footprints

Subject: General Tech | February 26, 2013 - 01:45 PM |
Tagged: mcafee, security, RSA 2013, sandbox

McAfee has been showing off their stuff at RSA 2013 specifically the new heuristic malware detection capabilities which they will be using instead of their current malware signature database which has over 113 million core samples.  That signifies a huge change for the antivirus company as it moves to real time monitoring of all the processes on your machine for suspicious activity instead of matching patterns directly.  While this could lead to some interesting side effects for verification software such as you find in some games, McAfee claims 100% effectiveness against current rootkits on Intel hardware compatible with Deep Defender, though they did not give many specifics about that test to The Register.

That is not all they are up to, McAfee just purchased Validedge's sandboxing technology to allow them to watch malware as it arrives and infects a machine to allow them to study its patterns.  Strangely, The Inquirer mentions that they will be recording the signature so it is possible that it is an exaggeration that they are completely abandoning their signature database altogether and will be using a hybrid database and heuristic monitoring.  The first software using this new option will be available in the second half of this year.  Also briefly mentioned in the story is a suggestion that McAfee will be able to repair infected computers automatically via the ePO Agent.

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"Signature-based malware identification has been around since the dawn of the computer security industry, but McAfee has said it's dumping the system – or rather, adapting it – in an upgraded security suite which will (it claims) virtually eliminate susceptibility to botnets."

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Source: The Register

Want some Raspberry Pi with a side of hashes?

Subject: General Tech | February 15, 2013 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: WPAD, security, Raspberry Pi, fud

On this weeks Podcast, Ryan wondered what he could do with his new Raspberry Pi and Hack a Day has an idea for him, though it is a wee bit nefarious.  It seems that Travis over at MADSEC is using a Raspberry Pi in penetration testing, using the NetBIOS Name Service to get responses from the Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Protocol (WPAD); responses which can include LM hashes from Windows machines.  With the use of Rainbow tables you can crack those hashes and take control of existing accounts on the PCs.  This type of attack is well know, but automating the attack on something as small and easily modifiable as a Raspberry Pi adds a new layer.  Whether you use it for good or evil, you can read more about it at Hack a Day.

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"Plug in the power and Ethernet and this Raspberry Pi board will automatically collect Windows hashes from computers on the network. With a couple of RPi boards on hand [Travis] was searching for more hacks to try with them. This made a great little test to see how the board performs with the well established attack."

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Source: Hack a Day

Bad day for cellphone security

Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2013 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: Android, iOS 6, apple, security, FROST

Two different mobile phone security concerns were revealed today, one for devices using iOS 6.1 and one for Androids.  DailyTech has posted text instructions as well as linking to a video which shows how an iPhone 5's password protection can be completely bypassed and allow anyone with physical access to your phone to log into the phone with full access.  The second vulnerability, tested with Android 4.0 but possibly wide spread, was discovered by a team at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany, and it allows you to recover  information from a phone which has used the Android disk encryption.  They used both a freezer to drop the temperature of the phone and a trick with the battery which puts the phone into 'fastboot' mode and allows the loading of a custom image via a Linux PC which installs their Forensic Recovery Of Scrambled Telephones tool, aka FROST.  As you can see from the images below, that gives you the ability to get the encryption key or even brute force some passwords. 

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"First part:
-Go to emergency call, push down the power button and tap cancel.
-Dial 112 and tap green and inmediately red.
-Go to lock screen.

Ok...ready for second part:
-Go to passcode screen.
-Keep pushing down the power button ...1...2...3...seconds and before showing the slider "turn off"...tap the emergency call button and ...voilá!
-Then without releasing the power button press the home button and ready..."

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Source: DailyTech

That safe and secure Foxit plugin you use?

Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2013 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: pdf, foxit, security, fud

The Register has some bad news about that PDF reader you prefer to Adobe's software, a new vulnerability which does not even stem from booby-trapped document but from a long link name.  It seems that you can cause a buffer overflow in Foxit simply by copying the entire URL into a fixed-sized buffer when the user clicks on a PDF which "pretty much lets you write to a memory location of your choice".  5.4.4.1128 and older version are vulnerable and we have yet to hear from the creators of Foxit.  Looks like no PDF reader is safe at this point.

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"A new security bug in the popular Foxit PDF reader plugin for web browsers allows miscreants to compromise computers and install malware. There's no patch for this zero-day vulnerability.

Italian security researcher Andrea Micalizzi discovered that the latest version of the software crashes if users are tricked into clicking on an overly long web link. The plugin is kicked into action by the browser to handle the file and promptly bombs."

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Source: The Register

A light in the quantum cryptography tunnel

Subject: General Tech, Networking | November 21, 2012 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: quantum encryption, security

One of the biggest hurdles to implementing quantum cryptography has been vaulted, with researchers finding a way to transmit the key over a non-dedicated connection.  Previously because of the inherent noise in a fibre channel transmitting general data the key would be lost and so a separate fibre channel was needed which only the keys were able to transmit but thanks to researchers at Toshiba’s Cambridge Research Laboratory it is now possible to send the keys on existing fibre which also carries other data.  They have created a detector which can open for a mere 100 millionths of a micro-second and receive the key, with the detection window being so quick there is not time for noise to interfere and the wrong photon be detected as the key.  The Register reports they can transmit keys over a line running at 500kbps for 50km and still have the key properly detected.

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"Traditionally it has been necessary to use dedicated fibre to send the single photons (particles of light) that are required for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). This has restricted any applications of quantum cryptography technology to specialist and small-scale systems in banks and high-level government, essentially because of the extra inconvenience and cost required in allocating a dedicated fibre strand for quantum key distribution."

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Source: The Register

Apple No Longer Updating Safari for Windows, Users Should Switch To A More Secure Browser

Subject: General Tech | August 6, 2012 - 05:55 AM |
Tagged: windows, webkit, security, safari for windows, safari, browser, apple

The Apple-developed Safari is one of the least popular webkit-based browsers on Windows. Even so, it still commands 5% marketshare (across all platforms), and that is a problem. You see, many sites are reporting that Apple has dropped support for Safari on Windows. Windows users will not get the update to Safari 6–the new version available to Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7 Mountain Lion users. As well, it seems that Apple has removed just about every reference to ever having a Windows version of any Safari browser from its website.

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Image Credit: MacLife

The issue is that the final version that Windows users are stuck with–version 5.1.7–has a number of documented security vulnerabilities that are never going to get patched by Apple. According to Maximum PC, there are at least 121 known security holes listed in Apple’s own documentation. And as time goes by, it is extremely likely that the number of unpatched security holes will increase. Running an outdated browser is not good security practice, and running a browser that is EOL and has known vulnerabilities is just asking for trouble.

While the number of PC Perspective readers running Safari for Windows is likely extremely small, I would advise that you be on the lookout next time you are doing tech support for your friends and relatives, and if they managed to get roped into using Safari thanks to Apple’s Itunes software updater convince them to move to a (dare I say better) more secure browser like Google’s Chrome, Opera, or Firefox. At least those are still getting updates, and some are even automatically done in the background.

Have you ever used Apple’s Safari for Windows browser? What would you recommend as the best alternative? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Forbes

Firefox 12 will be able to bypass UAC and possibly corporate security settings

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2012 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: UAC, security, firefox

One of the causes of the adoption of Google's Chrome browser in the workplace is that for the most part, since it installs under your user directory it can bypass the limited permissions on most business computers, letting the user install something without consulting IT.  This is a minor security concern as Chrome runs with limited permissions and is certainly not more inherently vulnerable than the old corporate standby, IE6.

According to The Inquirer Firefox will be starting to do something similar but with larger repercussions.  FireFox 12 will be whitelisted on UAC, allowing system level access to the program.  While this does mean that if they are successful users will be running up to date software and not require IT resources to upgrade FireFox every month or so, it also introduces a powerful attack vector for infections.  A silent FireFox update might not be from Mozilla and could instead be from malware online, creating a system vulnerability that the user is completely unaware of until obvious symptoms start to show, by which time it could be too late to stop the spread of an infection to the network or to clients machines.  The update is due out today, so keep a close eye on your FireFox installation for now.

 

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"SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Mozilla will bypass Windows' user account control (UAC) to implement silent updating in its Firefox 12 web browser.

Mozilla's Firefox 12 is expected to be released today, and the outfit claims it will bypass Windows UAC in order to enable silent updating. Since Mozilla put Firefox on its rapid release schedule, it has put out new versions of the web browser every six weeks, leading some users to complain about the number of releases."

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Source: The Inquirer