This post is aimed to clarify certain terms often used in the security community. Let’s start with the easiest one: vulnerability. A vulnerability is a flaw in a selected system that allows an attacker to compromise the security of that particular system. The consequence of such a compromise can impact the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the attacked system (these three aspects are also the base metrics of the CVSS v2 scoring system that are used to rate vulnerabilities). ISO/IEC 27000, IETF RFC 2828, NIST, and others have very specific definitions of the term vulnerability, each differing slightly. A vulnerability’s attack vector is the actual method of using the discovered flaw to cause harm to the affected software; it can be thought of as the entry point to the system or application. A vulnerability without an attack vector is normally not assigned a CVE number.
Using the proprietary OOXML document format, i.e. docx, pptx and xlsx, makes you more vulnerable to phishing and other attacks. Earlier this month, the Japanese anti-virus company Trend Micro published a blog post describing how the attack group "Operation Pawn Storm" uses spear-phishing mail messages with malicious Office documents to target the military, governments, defense industries and the media.
Four years ago, Thomas Caspers and Oliver Zendel from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) already presented research results stating that most spear-phishing attacks targeting specific persons or a small group of victims are using "launch actions" in Office and PDF documents to have their malicious code executed.
Greg Knaddison has worked for big consulting firms, boutique software firms, startups, professional service firms, and former Drupal Security Team leader. He is currently the director of Engineering at CARD.com and a Drupal Association advisory board member.
Michael Hess works with the University of Michigan School of Information and the UM Medical Center teaching three courses on content management platforms and overseeing the functionality of hundreds of campus websites. He serves in a consulting and development role for many other university departments and is the current Drupal Security Team leader. He also consults with BlueCross on large-scale medical research projects. Hess is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Information with a master's degree in information.
This week I had a chance to add a NeuG, a True Random Number Generator, to the Free Software Foundation network. The NeuG exclusively uses free software and was developed in Japan by NIIBE Yutaka. A random number generator (RNG) is a device used to generate random numbers for computers. Without getting into a philosophical argument, we humans tend to take the concept of entropy (randomness) for granted. If we wish to produce random data, we simply do so. Computers, on the other hand, do as we tell them to do. They follow a set of instructions provided by a programmer and follow each instruction precisely. So there is no way to ask a computer to give us a random number because we would have to tell the computer in advance what the number is. There are some ways around this. For example, we could use a system's current timestamp as a seed, or starting point, for producing random-seeming numbers by using an algorithm. This approach will create the illusion of entropy, but if someone else knows both the timestamp used for the seed and the algorithm used to generate the random numbers, the sequence of the random number generator can be calculated and predicted.
The Central Bureau of Investigation has got a new specialized forensic lab to decipher and recover data from Apple devices seized from suspects during investigation of cases. The new lab, inaugurated at the CBI academy in Ghaziabad, will be fully equipped with latest workstations and software to decode the digital information stored in Apple devices, said sources.
The Tor Browser Team is proud to announce the first stable release in the 4.5 series. This release is available from the Tor Browser Project page and also from our distribution directory.
The 4.5 series provides significant usability, security, and privacy enhancements over the 4.0 series. Because these changes are significant, we will be delaying the automatic update of 4.0 users to the 4.5 series for one week.