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Security

Security Leftovers

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Security
  • Smart electricity meters can be dangerously insecure, warns expert

    Smart electricity meters, of which there are more than 100m installed around the world, are frequently “dangerously insecure”, a security expert has said.

    The lack of security in the smart utilities raises the prospect of a single line of malicious code cutting power to a home or even causing a catastrophic overload leading to exploding meters or house fires, according to Netanel Rubin, co-founder of the security firm Vaultra.

    “Reclaim your home,” Rubin told a conference of hackers and security experts, “or someone else will.”

    If a hacker took control of a smart meter they would be able to know “exactly when and how much electricity you’re using”, Rubin told the 33rd Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg. An attacker could also see whether a home had any expensive electronics.

  • London Ambulance Service hit by 'computer system crash' on New Year's Eve

    Officials confirmed there was a systems fault in the early hours, though staff are trained for such situations, and they continued to prioritise responses as normal.

    Calls were reportedly logged manually between 12.30am GMT and 5:15am.

  • 33c3 notes

    Some notes and highlights from #33c3. In particular, some talks I found worth watching. I intentionally don't mention any of the much interesting self-organized sessions and workshops I participated since these are not recorded. I'm just listing some interesting projects at the bottom. I wrote these notes quickly, so I'm certainly missing some stuff.

Security Leftovers

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Security
  • Ex-student charged with cyberattack on school’s internet

    A Connecticut juvenile has been charged with launching cyberattacks against a school’s internet service in connection with outages that happened in 2015 and earlier this year.

    Shelton police say the former Shelton High School student, whose name and age haven’t been released, was arrested Thursday on a charge of computer crimes in the third-degree. He’s due in juvenile court on Friday.

  • 5 signs we're finally getting our act together on security

    The high-water line in information security gets higher each year. Just as we think we’ve finally figured out how to defend against attacks, then attackers come up with something new and we are right back to trying to figure out what to do next.

  • You have one second extra tonight!

    Official clocks will hit 23:59:59 as usual, but then they'll say 23:59:60, before rolling over into 2017. This is known as a ‘leap second’ and timekeepers slip them in periodically to keep our clocks in sync with the Earth’s rotation. The laboratory with responsibility for maintaining the equipment to measure time interval (or frequency) in Ireland is the NSAI’s National Metrology Laboratory.

Security Leftovers

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Security
  • Washington Post Publishes False News Story About Russians Hacking Electrical Grid

    A story published by The Washington Post Friday claims Russia hacked the electrical grid in Vermont. This caused hysteria on social media but has been denied by a spokesman for a Vermont utility company.

    The Post story was titled, “Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, officials say.”

  • Recount 2016: An Uninvited Security Audit of the U.S. Presidential Election

    The 2016 U.S. presidential election was preceded by unprecedented cyberattacks and produced a result that surprised many people in the U.S. and abroad. Was it hacked? To find out, we teamed up with scientists and lawyers from around the country—and a presidential candidate—to initiate the first presidential election recounts motivated primarily by e-voting security concerns. In this talk, we will explain how the recounts took place, what we learned about the integrity of the election, and what needs to change to ensure that future U.S. elections are secure.

  • Malware Purveyor Serving Up Ransomware Via Bogus ICANN Blacklist Removal Emails

    Fun stuff ahead for some website owners, thanks to a breakdown in the registration process. A Swiss security researcher has spotted bogus ICANN blacklist removal emails being sent to site owners containing a Word document that acts as a trigger for ransomware.

Security Leftovers

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Security
  • A Chip to Protect the Internet of Things

    The Internet of Things offers the promise of all sorts of nifty gadgets, but each connected device is also a tempting target for hackers. As recent cybersecurity incidents have shown, IoT devices can be harnessed to wreak havoc or compromise the privacy of their owners. So Microchip Technology and Amazon.com have collaborated to create an add-on chip that’s designed to make it easier to combat certain types of attack—and, of course, encourage developers to use Amazon’s cloud-based infrastructure for the Internet of Things.

  • Reproducible Builds: week 87 in Stretch cycle

    100% Of The 289 Coreboot Images Are Now Built Reproducibly by Phoronix, with more details in German by Pro-Linux.de.

    We have further reports on our Reproducible Builds World summit #2 in Berlin from Rok Garbas of NixOS as well as Clemens Lang of MacPorts

  • Chrome will soon mark some HTTP pages as 'non-secure'

    Beginning next month, the company will tag web pages that include login or credit card fields with the message "Not Secure" if the page is not served using HTTPS, the secure version of the internet protocol.

    The company on Tuesday began sending messages through its Google Search Console, a tool for webmasters, warning them of the changes that take place starting in January 2017.

Security Leftovers

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Security
  • Security advisories for Wednesday
  • 17 Security Experts Share Predictions for the Top Cyber-Trends of 2017

    Enterprises, governments and end users faced no shortage of security challenges in 2016. As the year draws to a close, we wonder: What security trends will continue into 2017? What will be the big security stories of the year to come? Many trends emerged in 2016 that are very likely to remain key issues for organizations of all sizes and shapes in 2017. Among them is the continued and growing risk of ransomware, which emerged in 2016 as a primary attack vector for hackers aiming to cash in on their nefarious activities. In 2016, nation-states once again were identified by multiple organizations as being the source of serious cyber-threats, and there is no indication that will change in the year ahead. Among the emerging trends that could become more prominent in the new year are the widespread use of containers and microservices to improve security control. This eWEEK slide show will present 17 security predictions for the year ahead from 17 security experts.

  • Learning From A Year of Security Breaches

    This year (2016) I accepted as much incident response work as I could. I spent about 300 hours responding to security incidents and data breaches this year as a consultant or volunteer.

    This included hands on work with an in-progress breach, or coordinating a response with victim engineering teams and incident responders.

    These lessons come from my consolidated notes of those incidents. I mostly work with tech companies, though not exclusively, and you’ll see a bias in these lessons as a result.

  • Girl uses sleeping mom's thumbprint to buy $250 in Pokemon toys

    The most famous, and unlikeliest, hacker in the news this week is little Ashlynd Howell of Little Rock, Ark. The exploits of the enterprising 6-year-old first came to light in a Wall Street Journal story about the difficulties of keeping presents a secret in the digital age. It seems that while mom Bethany was sleeping on the couch, Ashlynd gently picked up her mother's thumb and used it to unlock the Amazon app on her phone. She then proceeded to order $250 worth of Pokemon presents for herself. When her parents got 13 confirmation notices about the purchases, they thought that either they'd been hacked (they were, as it turned out) or that their daughter had ordered them by mistake. But she proudly explained, "No, Mommy, I was shopping." The Howells were able to return only four of the items.

  • FDIC Latest Agency To Claim It Was Hacked By A Foreign Government

    Caught in the middle of all this are the financial transactions of millions of Americans, in addition to whatever sensitive government information might have been located on the FDIC's computers.

    But claiming the Chinese were involved seems premature, even according to Reuter's own reporting, which relies heavily on a bunch of anonymous government officials discussing documents no one at Reuters has seen.

  • Parrot Security 3.3 Ethical Hacking OS With Linux Kernel 4.8 Released

Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 (Nev) and 8.10 (Erik) Get Latest Debian Security Patches

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Security

It's been two weeks since our last report on the latest security updates pushed to the stable repositories of the Debian-based Parsix GNU/Linux operating system, and a new set of patches for various software components arrived the other day.

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KDE Plasma 5.8.5 Is the Last Bugfix Release for 2016, over 55 Issues Resolved

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KDE
Security

As expected, KDE announced today the general and immediate availability of the fifth maintenance update to the long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment for GNU/Linux distributions.

Read more

Security News

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Security
  • Security advisories for Monday
  • Is Mirai Really as Black as It’s Being Painted?

    An important feature of the way the Mirai botnet scans devices is that the bot uses a login and password dictionary when trying to connect to a device. The author of the original Mirai included a relatively small list of logins and passwords for connecting to different devices. However, we have seen a significant expansion of the login and password list since then, achieved by including default logins and passwords for a variety of IoT devices, which means that multiple modifications of the bot now exist.

    [...]

    If you ignore trivial combinations like “root:root” or “admin:admin”, you can get a good idea of which equipment the botnet is looking for. For example, the pairs “root:xc3511” and “root:vizxv” are default accounts for IP cameras made by rather large Chinese manufacturers.

  • Parrot Security 3.3 Ethical Hacking OS Updates Anonsurf, Fixes Touchpad Support

    A new stable release of the Debian-based Parrot Security ethical hacking and penetration testing operating system has been released on Christmas Day, versioned 3.3.

    Powered by a kernel from the Linux 4.8 series, Parrot Security OS 3.3 is here a little over two months since the release of Parrot Security 3.2, but it doesn't look like it's a major update and all that, as it only updates a few core components and hacking tools, and addresses a few of the bugs reported by users since version 3.2.

  • Linux Top 3: Guix, Parrot Security and OpenMandriva Lx

    The GNU Guix project builds a transactional package manager system and it is the base feature around which Guix SD(system distribution) is built.

    [...]

    The 3.01 release brings a number of major fixes since 3.0 release:

    updated software
    new drivers and kernel – better support for newer hardware
    many bugs fixed
    stable Plasma running on Wayland

  • LibreOffice 5.2.4 packages

    The computers worked frantically while I relaxed with my family. Slackware 14.2 and -current packages are ready for LibreOffice 5.2.4. Enjoy the newest version of this highly popular office suite.

Security News

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Security
  • SQL is Insecure

    SQL is insecure, tell everyone. If you use SQL, your website will get hacked. Tell everyone.

    I saw the news that the US Elections Agency was hacked by a SQL injection attack and I kind of lost it. It’s been well over two decades since prepared statements were introduced. We’ve educated and advised developers about how to avoid SQL injection, yet it still happens. If education failed, all we can do is shame developers into never using SQL.

    I actually really like SQL, I’ve even made a SQL dialect. SQL’s relational algebra is expressive, probably more so than any other NoSQL database I know of. But developers have proven far too often that it’s simply too difficult to know when to use prepared statements or just concatenate strings — it’s time we just abandon SQL altogether. It isn’t worth it. It’s time we called for all government’s to ban use of SQL databases in government contracts and in healthcare. There must be utter clarity.

  • Cyber-criminals target African countries with ransom-ware

    Once again Conficker retained its position as the world’s most prevalent malware, responsible for 15% of recognised attacks. Second-placed Locky, which only started its distribution in February of this year, was responsible for 6% of all attacks, and third-placed Sality was responsible for 5% of known attacks. Overall, the top ten malware families were responsible for 45% of all known attacks.

  • It's Incredibly Easy to Tamper with Someone's Flight Plan, Anywhere on the Globe

    It’s easier than many people realize to modify someone else’s flight booking, or cancel their flight altogether, because airlines rely on old, unsecured systems for processing customers’ travel plans, researchers will explain at the Chaos Communication Congress hacking festival on Tuesday. The issues predominantly center around the lack of any meaningful authentication for customers requesting their flight information.

    The issues highlight how a decades-old system is still in constant, heavy use, despite being susceptible to fairly simple attacks and with no clear means for a solution.

    “Whenever you take a trip, you are in one or more of these systems,” security researcher Karsten Nohl told Motherboard in a phone call ahead of his and co-researcher Nemanja Nikodijevic’s talk.

  • Open source risks and rewards – why team structure matters

    An impressive and user-friendly digital presence is an indispensable asset to any brand. It is often the first point of contact for customers who expect and demand great functionality and engaging content across multiple platforms. The finding that nearly half of us won't wait even three seconds for a website to load bears witness to ever increasing customer expectations which must be met.

    Partnership with a digital agency can be a great way to keep up to speed with rapid change and innovation but to ensure the very best outcome, both client and agency need to find an optimum commercial, creative and secure cultural fit. This should be a priority for both sides from the very first pitch. The promise of exceptional creativity and customer experience is one thing, but considering the more practical aspects of how the relationship will work is entirely another.

Security News

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Security
  • Friday's security advisories
  • The State of Linux Security

    In the last 10 years, GNU/Linux achieved something some foreseen as almost impossible: powering both the smallest and biggest devices in the world, and everything in between. Only the desktop is not a conquered terrain yet.

    The year 2016 had an impact on the world. Both from a real life perspective, as digitally. Some people found their personal details leaked on the internet, others found their software being backdoored. Let’s have a look back on what happened this year regarding Linux security.

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SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension

Historically, data replication has been available only piecemeal through proprietary vendors. In a quest to remediate history, SUSE and partner LINBIT announced a solution that promises to change the economics of data replication. The two companies' collaborative effort is the headliner in the updated SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension, which now includes LINBIT's integrated geo-clustering technology. Read more

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today's leftovers

  • DRM display resource leasing (kernel side)
    So, you've got a fine head-mounted display and want to explore the delights of virtual reality. Right now, on Linux, that means getting the window system to cooperate because the window system is the DRM master and holds sole access to all display resources. So, you plug in your device, play with RandR to get it displaying bits from the window system and then carefully configure your VR application to use the whole monitor area and hope that the desktop will actually grant you the boon of page flipping so that you will get reasonable performance and maybe not even experience tearing. Results so far have been mixed, and depend on a lot of pieces working in ways that aren't exactly how they were designed to work.
  • GUADEC accommodation
    At this year’s GUADEC in Manchester we have rooms available for you right at the venue in lovely modern student townhouses. As I write this there are still some available to book along with your registration. In a couple of days we have to a final numbers to the University for how many rooms we want, so it would help us out if all the folk who want a room there could register and book one now if you haven’t already done so! We’ll have some available for later booking but we have to pay up front for them now so we can’t reserve too many.
  • Kickstarter for Niryo One, open source 6-axis 3D printed robotic arm, doubles campaign goal
    A Kickstarter campaign for the Niryo One, an open source 3D printed 6-axis robotic arm, has more than doubled its €20,000 target after just a couple of days. The 3D printed robot is powered by Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Robot Operating System.
  • Linux Action Show to End Eleven Year Run at LFNW
    Jupiter Broadcasting’s long-running podcast, Linux Action Show, will soon be signing off the air…er, fiber cable, for the last time. The show first streamed on June 10, 2006 and was hosted by “Linux Tycoon” Bryan Lunduke and Jupiter Broadcasting founder Chris Fisher. Lunduke left the show in 2012, replaced by Matt Hartley, who served as co-host for about three years. The show is currently hosted by Fisher and Noah Chelliah, president of Altispeed, an open source technology company located in Grand Forks, North Dakota.