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Security Leftovers

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Security
  • Security advisories for Wednesday
  • There’s a new DDoS army, and it could soon rival record-setting Mirai

    For almost three months, Internet-of-things botnets built by software called Mirai have been a driving force behind a new breed of attacks so powerful they threaten the Internet as we know it. Now, a new botnet is emerging that could soon magnify or even rival that threat.

    The as-yet unnamed botnet was first detected on November 23, the day before the US Thanksgiving holiday. For exactly 8.5 hours, it delivered a non-stop stream of junk traffic to undisclosed targets, according to this post published Friday by content delivery network CloudFlare. Every day for the next six days at roughly the same time, the same network pumped out an almost identical barrage, which is aimed at a small number of targets mostly on the US West Coast. More recently, the attacks have run for 24 hours at a time.

  • Open source Roundcube webmail can be attacked ... by sending it an e-mail

    The developers of open source webmail package Roundcube want sysadmins to push in a patch, because a bug in versions prior to 1.2.3 let an attacker crash it remotely – by sending what looks like valid e-mail data.

    The authors overlooked sanitising the fifth argument (the _from parameter) in mail() – and that meant someone only needed to compose an e-mail with malicious info in that argument to attack Roundcube.

    [...]

    Roundcube posted a patch to GitHub at the end of November, and issued a version 1.2.3 here.

  • Latest Android security update fixes Dirty COW, GPS vulnerabilities
  • Open Source Flaws Found in Security Software

    Yet another industry survey has flagged open source software that according to one estimate accounts for half of the global code base as a growing security threat. Moreover, a review released by Flexera Software also found that the very security products designed to protect IT infrastructure are themselves riddled with vulnerabilities embedded in open source software.

FFmpeg 3.2.2 "Hypatia" Open-Source Multimedia Framework Released with 30 Fixes

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OSS
Security

Today, December 6, 2016, the development team behind the powerful, open-source, free, and cross-platform FFmpeg multimedia framework released a new maintenance update in the FFmpeg 3.2 "Hypatia" series.

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Security News

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Security

Security News

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Security
  • HP shutting down default FTP, Telnet access to network printers

    Security experts consider the aging FTP and Telnet protocols unsafe, and HP has decided to clamp down on access to networked printers through the remote-access tools.

    Some of HP's new business printers will, by default, be closed to remote access via protocols like FTP and Telnet. However, customers can activate remote printing access through those protocols if needed.

  • Google Chrome 55 Fixes Flaws, Blocks Flash
  • Cyberattacks are going to get a lot worse, former NSA official says

    The face of cybercrime is changing. Healthcare has gone from a declared mission of stealing personal data to much more disruptive issues. In fact, healthcare has seen the largest jump in ransomware attacks than in any other industry.

    When Joel Brenner opened the HIMSS Privacy & Security Forum in Boston Monday morning, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology research fellow - who focuses on cybersecurity, privacy and intelligence policy - and former senior counsel at the National Security Agency, didn’t sugarcoat the state of healthcare security.

    The government isn’t going to sort out that problem until we suffer some great losses, Brenner said.

  • Google Debuts Continuous Fuzzer for Open Source Software

    A new Google program aimed at continuously fuzzing open source software has already detected over 150 bugs.

    The program, OSS-Fuzz, currently in beta mode, is designed to help unearth programming errors in open source software via fuzz testing. Fuzz testing, or fuzzing is when bits of randomly generated code is inputted into programs as a means to discover code and security flaws.

  • Chrome 55 Now Blocks Flash, Uses HTML5 by Default

    Chrome 55, released earlier this week, now blocks all Adobe Flash content by default, according to a plan set in motion by Google engineers earlier this year.

    Back in May, Google's staff announced that starting with Q4 2016, Chrome would use HTML5 by default, while Flash would be turned off.

    While some of the initial implementation details of the "HTML5 By Default" plan changed since May, Flash has been phased out in favor of HTML5 as the primary technology for playing multimedia content in Chrome.

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Ransomware: Windows is the elephant in the room

    Ransomware has slowly become the most common and most difficult threat posed to companies and individuals alike over the last year.

    And there is one common thread to practically all ransomware attacks: Windows.

    Microsoft acolytes, supporters and astro-turfers can scream till they are blue in the face, but it is very rare to see ransomware that attacks any other platform.

    Of course, these Redmond backers are careful to say that ransomware attacks "computer users", not Windows users.

    But statistics tell the truth. In 2015, the average number of infections hitting Windows users was between 23,000 and 35,000, according to Symantec.

    In March, this number ballooned to 56,000 with the arrival of the Locky ransomware. And in the first quarter of 2016, US$209 million was paid by Windows users in order to make their locked files accessible again.

  • GCC Tackling Support For ARMv8-M Security Extensions

    GCC developers have been working to support the compiler-side changes for dealing with ARMv8-M Security Extensions.

Security News

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Security
  • What's the most secure operating system?

    Deciding what operating system (OS) to keep your computer running smoothly—and with the highest level of security—is a controversial yet frequent question many business owners, government officials, and ordinary Joes and Janes ask.

    There are many different operating systems—the software at the base of every computer, controlling the machine's array of functions—like Mac OS10, which comes pre-loaded on Apple laptops and desktops, and Microsoft Windows that's on the majority of personal computers. Google's Android and Apple's iOS for mobile devices are designed specifically for devices with smaller touchscreens.

    Whatever OS you use—and many users are very loyal to their operating system of choice and will argue that their's is the best—it's not entirely secure or private. Hackers are still infiltrating systems every day, and they can easily target victims with malware to spy on users and disable their operating system altogether.

    Because of this, choosing a secure system is essential to staying secure online. Below are the top three secure operating systems that will help users take the next step to ensure proper cyber and hardware security.

  • New IoT Botnet, Attackers Target Tor, and More…

    Firefox’s emergency security patch: If you use Firefox at all, and I’m assuming that most of you do, you might want to run an update to get the latest security patch from Mozilla. The patch was rushed to market on November 30 to fix a zero day vulnerability that was being exploited in the wild to attack the Firefox based Tor browser.

    In a blog post on Wednesday, Mozilla’s security head Daniel Veditz wrote, “The exploit in this case works in essentially the same way as the ‘network investigative technique’ used by FBI to deanonymize Tor users…. This similarity has led to speculation that this exploit was created by FBI or another law enforcement agency. As of now, we do not know whether this is the case. If this exploit was in fact developed and deployed by a government agency, the fact that it has been published and can now be used by anyone to attack Firefox users is a clear demonstration of how supposedly limited government hacking can become a threat to the broader Web.”

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Security updates for Friday
  • Understanding SELinux Roles

    I received a container bugzilla today for someone who was attempting to assign a container process to the object_r role. Hopefully this blog will help explain how roles work with SELinux.

    When we describe SELinux we often concentrate on Type Enforcement, which is the most important and most used feature of SELinux. This is what describe in the SELinux Coloring book as Dogs and Cats. We also describe MLS/MCS Separation in the coloring book.

  • The Internet Society is unhappy about security – pretty much all of it

    The Internet Society (ISOC) is the latest organisation saying, in essence, “security is rubbish – fix it”.

    Years of big data breaches are having their impact, it seems: in its report released last week, it quotes a 54-country, 24,000-respondent survey reporting a long-term end user trend to become more fearful in using the Internet (by Ipsos on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation).

    Report author, economist and ISOC fellow Michael Kende, reckons companies aren't doing enough to control breaches.

    “According to the Online Trust Alliance, 93 per cent of breaches are preventable” he said, but “steps to mitigate the cost of breaches that do occur are not taken – attackers cannot steal data that is not stored, and cannot use data that is encrypted.”

  • UK's new Snoopers' Charter just passed an encryption backdoor law by the backdoor

    Among the many unpleasant things in the Investigatory Powers Act that was officially signed into law this week, one that has not gained as much attention is the apparent ability for the UK government to undermine encryption and demand surveillance backdoors.

    As the bill was passing through Parliament, several organizations noted their alarm at section 217 which obliged ISPs, telcos and other communications providers to let the government know in advance of any new products and services being deployed and allow the government to demand "technical" changes to software and systems.

  • EU budget creates bug bounty programme to improve cybersecurity

    Today the European Parliament approved the EU Budget for 2017. The budget sets aside 1.9 million euros in order to improve the EU's IT infrastructure by extending the free software audit programme (FOSSA) that MEPs Max Anderson and Julia Reda initiated two years ago, and by including a bug bounty approach in the programme that was proposed by MEP Marietje Schaake.

  • Qubes OS Begins Commercialization and Community Funding Efforts

    Since the initial launch of Qubes OS back in April 2010, work on Qubes has been funded in several different ways. Originally a pet project, it was first supported by Invisible Things Lab (ITL) out of the money we earned on various R&D and consulting contracts. Later, we decided that we should try to commercialize it. Our idea, back then, was to commercialize Windows AppVM support. Unlike the rest of Qubes OS, which is licensed under GPLv2, we thought we would offer Windows AppVM support under a proprietary license. Even though we made a lot of progress on both the business and technical sides of this endeavor, it ultimately failed.

    Luckily, we got a helping hand from the Open Technology Fund (OTF), which has supported the project for the past two years. While not a large sum of money in itself, it did help us a lot, especially with all the work necessary to improve Qubes’ user interface, documentation, and outreach to new communities. Indeed, the (estimated) Qubes user base has grown significantly over that period. Thank you, OTF!

  • Linux Security Basics: What System Administrators Need to Know

    Every new Linux system administrator needs to learn a few core concepts before delving into the operating system and its applications. This short guide gives a summary of some of the essential security measures that every root user must know. All advice given follows the best security practices that are mandated by the community and the industry.

  • BitUnmap: Attacking Android Ashmem

    The law of leaky abstractions states that “all non-trivial abstractions, to some degree, are leaky”. In this blog post we’ll explore the ashmem shared memory interface provided by Android and see how false assumptions about its internal operation can result in security vulnerabilities affecting core system code.

Parental Controls for Linux Unleashed

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security

For years, one of the overlooked areas for the Linux desktop was access to “effective” parental controls. Back in 2003, I remember the now defunct Linspire (then known as Lindows) offered a proprietary option called SurfSafe. Surprisingly, at least back then, the product worked very well in providing accurate content filtering capabilities; something that was not,in fact, available and easy-to-use at that time.

Years later, an open-source alternative was released to the greater Linux community known as GNOME Nanny. Fantastic in terms of usage control, its web content web filter was laughably terrible. As expected, crowd-sourcing a filtering list isn’t a great solution. And like SurfSafe, the project is now defunct.

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Mofo Linux: The Raw Materials for Security

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security
Ubuntu

The developers of Mofo Linux talk a good game. From the name’s origin in abusive street slang to its self-description on the home page as “Linux designed to defeat state censorship and surveillance,” Mofo presents itself as a champion of security and privacy. Nor is the claim unjustified. However, rather than putting security and privacy into the hands of ordinary users, Mofo simply presents the tools and leaves users to figure them out with a minimum of help. The result is a promising distribution that with only slightly more work, could be a leading one.

Just possibly, though, this approach is a deliberate tactic, and not the carelessness it appears. Based on Ubuntu, the current release of Mofo offers nothing different in the way of productivity tools. It uses Unity for a desktop, and its applications are the standard GNOME ones. In fact, Mofo shows such little interest in such matters that it does not bother to change the title bar in the installer from Ubuntu.

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Ten Years as Desktop Linux User: My Open Source World, Then and Now

I've been a regular desktop Linux user for just about a decade now. What has changed in that time? Keep reading for a look back at all the ways that desktop Linux has become easier to use -- and those in which it has become more difficult -- over the past ten years. I installed Linux to my laptop for the first time in the summer of 2006. I started with SUSE, then moved onto Mandriva and finally settled on Fedora Core. By early 2007 I was using Fedora full time. There was no more Windows partition on my laptop. When I ran into problems or incompatibilities with Linux, my options were to sink or swim. There was no Windows to revert back to. Read more