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Security Leftovers

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Security
  • The Downside of Linux Popularity

    Popularity is becoming a two-edged sword for Linux.

    The open source operating system has become a key component of the Internet's infrastructure, and it's also the foundation for the world's largest mobile OS, Google's Android.

    Widespread use of the OS, though, has attracted the attention of hackers looking to transfer the dirty tricks previously aimed at Windows to Linux.

    Last year, for example, ransomware purveyors targeted Linux. Granted, it wasn't a very virulent strain of ransomware, but more potent versions likely will be on the way.

  • Baidu Browser Acts like a Mildly Tempered Infostealer Virus

    The Baidu Web browser for Windows and Android exhibits behavior that could easily allow a security researcher to categorize it as an infostealer virus because it collects information on its users and then sends it to Baidu's home servers.

  • Malware déjà vu - why we're still falling for the same old threats

    In second place was Conficker - first discovered in 2008 - which again allows remote control and malware downloads. Together, these two families were responsible for nearly 40% of all malware attacks detected in 2015.

  • Conficker, AndroRAT Continue Malware Reigns of Terror

    Conficker meanwhile continued in its position as King of the Worms, remaining the most prevalent malware type and accounting for 25% of all known attacks during the period. Conficker is popular with criminals thanks to its focus on disabling security services to create more vulnerabilities in the network, enabling them to be compromised further and used for launching DDoS and spam attacks.

  • Child-Monitoring Company Responds To Notification Of Security Breach By Publicly Disparaging Researcher Who Reported It

    "Thanks for letting us know about this! We'll get it fixed immediately!" said almost no company ever.

    There's a long, but definitely not proud, tradition of companies shooting the messenger when informed of security flaws or possible breaches. The tradition continues.

    uKnowKids is monitoring software parents can install on their children's cell phones that allows them to track their child's location, as well as social media activity, text messages and created media. As such, it collects quite a bit of info.

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today's lefftovers

OSS Leftovers

  • Running for the board of the Open Source Initiative – a few words
    Today I would like to explain my reasons for my candidacy at the board of the Open Source Initiative. I can think of two kinds of reason for my decision: one is personal, and the other one is directly related to current state of Open Source and software freedom. Let’s start with the first one: I’m currently helping the Open Information Security Foundation and the Suricata project in my capacity at ANSSI, while contributing in a minor way to the LibreOffice project and the Document Foundation.
  • Tutanota: Encrypted Open Source Email Service for Privacy Minded People
    Since then, I have heard of another email provider that you may be interested in. It’s a little different, but it touts some of the same features ProtonMail does: privacy, security, open-source code, etc. It’s called Tutanota, and like ProtonMail, I am a very big fan.
  • Open FinTech Forum – Event preview, October 10-11, New York City.
  • The tracker will always get through
    A big objection to tracking protection is the idea that the tracker will always get through. Some people suggest that as browsers give users more ability to control how their personal information gets leaked across sites, things won't get better for users, because third-party tracking will just keep up. On this view, today's easy-to-block third-party cookies will be replaced by techniques such as passive fingerprinting where it's hard to tell if the browser is succeeding at protecting the user or not, and users will be stuck in the same place they are now, or worse. I doubt this is the case because we're playing a more complex game than just trackers vs. users. The game has at least five sides, and some of the fastest-moving players with the best understanding of the game are the adfraud hackers. Right now adfraud is losing in some areas where they had been winning, and the resulting shift in adfraud is likely to shift the risks and rewards of tracking techniques.
  • MozMEAO SRE Status Report - February 16, 2018
    Here’s what happened on the MozMEAO SRE team from January 23 - February 16.
  • The major milestones of the Government Digital Service (GDS)
  • PyTorch Should Be Copyleft
    Most people have heard of Google’s Tensorflow which was released at the end of 2015, but there’s an active codebase called PyTorch which is easier to understand, less of a black box, and more dynamic. Tensorflow does have solutions for some of those limitations (such as Tensorflow-fold, and Tensorflow-Eager) but these new capabilities remove the need for other features and complexity of Tensorflow. Google built a great system for doing static computation graphs before realizing that most people want dynamic graphs. Doh! [...] I wish PyTorch used the AGPL license. Most neural networks are run on servers today, it is hardly used on the Linux desktop. Data is central to AI and that can stay owned by FB and the users of course. The ImageNet dataset created a revolution in computer vision, so let’s never forget that open data sets can be useful.
  • Linux on Nintendo Switch, a new Kubernetes ML platform, and more news
    In this edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at the Mozilla's IoT gateway, a new machine learning platform, Code.mil's revamp, and more.

Security: France, Munich, 'Smart' Meters, MeltdownPrime and SpectrePrime

  • Highlights of the French cybersecurity strategy

    First, the document describes that in France cyberdefence and cyberoffence are separated. This is directly opposed to the models employed in Anglo-Saxon countries. But it’s shown as an asset. Key argument: it respects freedoms and civil liberties.

    The document then lists the six general objectives of cyberdefence, namely: prevention, anticipation, protection, detection, attribution, reaction (remediation). The strategy itself is complete, it focuses on civil, military, domestic, external, and international levels. Let’s say it’s a rarity in the business in strategic cybersecurity documents.

    [...]

    The strategy then mentions that one of the solutions could be to release source code and documentation after an end of support date.

  • The Munich Security Conference 2018

    Over the past five decades, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) has become the major global forum for the discussion of security policy. Each February, it brings together more than 450 senior decision-makers from around the world, including heads-of-state, ministers, leading personalities of international and non-governmental organizations, as well as high ranking representatives of industry, media, academia, and civil society, to engage in an intensive debate on current and future security challenges.

  • Smart meters could leave British homes vulnerable to cyber attacks, experts have warned
    New smart energy meters that the Government wants to be installed in millions of homes will leave householders vulnerable to cyber attacks, ministers have been warned.
  • MeltdownPrime and SpectrePrime: Researchers nail exploits
    "The flaws—dubbed Meltdown and Spectre—are in chips made by Intel and other major suppliers. They can allow hackers to steal data from the memory of running apps, including password managers, browsers and emails." The authors of the paper on arXiv, Caroline Trippel, Daniel Lustig, and Margaret Martonosi, discuss a tool they developed for "automatically synthesizing microarchitecture-specific programs capable of producing any user-specified hardware execution pattern of interest." They said they show "how this tool can be used for generating small microarchitecture-specific programs which represent exploits in their most abstracted form—security litmus tests."

How Linux became my job

I've been using open source since what seems like prehistoric times. Back then, there was nothing called social media. There was no Firefox, no Google Chrome (not even a Google), no Amazon, barely an internet. In fact, the hot topic of the day was the new Linux 2.0 kernel. The big technical challenges in those days? Well, the ELF format was replacing the old a.out format in binary Linux distributions, and the upgrade could be tricky on some installs of Linux. Read more