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IDC’s IT Security Conference 2010 – My take on it.

Yesterday I attended the IDC Security Conference in London.

I was not too sure what to think of it as I never attended that event before and only accepted a “spam/unsolicited invite” because for once I took the time to read the agenda and list of speakers who were to attend.

I can now say I do not regret it and it was a great conference with lot of interesting content on the future security context related to cloud and mobile computing with a pinch of data privacy.

One of the reason I decided to attend was also because the keynote speaker was Bruce Schneier, a person I never had the privilege to see at a conference before and whom I appreciate his offbeat approach to IT Security.

Although I have attached a mindmap of my conference notes at the end of the post, if you do not want to see a “Death by MindMap” or have a 50inch screen then I invite you to read the many highlights and industry insights which were discussed at that conferenc...
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A funny case for not reusing passwords

By the way, you are free to create an account on my website! ;)

As seen on XKCD.COM!

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Arcsight, another expensive acquisition… sorry, merger!

Following on the $7 billion and a bit acquisition of mcAfee by Intel last month, it is now the turn of Arcsight, a data correlation engine, to get acquired by HP for $1.5 billion, a bargain then! This follows a trend for large non IT Security companies to step into the security field.

What I found interesting though is the difference in vocabulary used by the two companies, actually, by the Arcsight current CEO Tom Reilly. HP speaks about “acquisition”, which really it’s what it is; whereas Tom’s email to Arcsight clients speaks about a “merger”. I guess this is standard practise when the smaller party get “swallowed” by a bigger company.

I’d be interested to see what changes this “merger” will bring to Arcsight and if any of the HP Operation Manager technology (aka OpenView) will find its way in a future Arcsight ESM release… or vice versa!

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DoD Windows OS Security guides

I have recently came across that Department of Defence website where they provide free and unclassified Windows Security Guides. From Windows 2000 to windows 7, they provide a set of checklist and “STIG” which stands for Security Technical Implementation Guides.

Having only checked the Windows 7 “STIG”, I found it a useful resource when one can get some ideas on how to secure/validate a windows 7 server configuration.

http://iase.disa.mil/stigs/content_pages/windows_os_security.html

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An update on my XOR-Sum Uniqueness Cryptanalysis attack

I have updated the information I wrote about what I consider to be a potentially new type of cryptanalysis attack.

Although the described attack is relevant to my BUGS algorithm, it could also be used to attack any algorithms using some type of Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) or Cipher Feedback (CFB) mode of operation, in fact, any algorithms using a XOR function between plaintext blocks as part of their encryption process.

The explanation assume the reader is familiar with the different block cipher modes of operation. Although I start with a simple example, it helps setting the context for which the final attack could be in theory applied to: any XOR operations.

For more information on my theoretical Unrestricted XOR-Sum Uniqueness Cryptanalysis attack, please ...
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Apple new Patent could mean Big Brother on your phone

The following article from Macworld describes a new patent from Apple to detect jail-broken iphone/ipad. It also gives an interesting security twist on that patent, where it is in theory possible to take hidden photos and voice recording of a potential thief, analyse the accelerometer data to define if the thief is walking, driving or even flying, get GPS location, etc.
http://www.macworld.com/article/153612/2010/08/apple_mobiledevice_patent.html

I also came across that app for the iphone, which does not go quite as far but highlight the fact people have already thought about this:
SpyTools for iphone

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New York Times Article on Russian Harcker’s Arrest

There is maybe nothing new about governments protecting their national hackers but this is a good example on how a hacker can openly operate in his own country and then get caught in another.
The article below also makes reference to an earlier case where a Russian hacker was lured to the USA and arrested through evidence gathered by the FBI hacking his computer back own.
I have always wondered how could such evidence stand in court, what would stop the FBI to plant some fake evidence?? How is hacking into the computer located in a different country be legal either?

Hacker’s Arrest Offers Glimpse Into Crime in Russia

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Intel set to acquire McAfee for £5 billion

According to the article below both companies’ board of directors have agreed a deal. With Intel looking at providing some “hardware-enhanced” security i wonder if we will one day see an AV aware CPU? :)

SC Magazine Article

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Weekly Digest #3 – Interesting Articles

A rather large selection of news as I missed last week weekly digest!

Are Anti Virus Obsolete?
I recently had a discussion with a work colleague who was claiming Anti Virus are not as good at preventing infections as they used to be, technology is moving fast and Anti Virus vendors seem to be playing catchup with more and more delay. He also stated that most AV only detects 20% of new viruses… A claim I haven’t been able to verify by doing a quick search on the Internet, so let’s just say I agree we are seeing more and more new viruses that we, as security professionals, have to inform the AV vendors about.

On that topic, the future of AV looks to be a difficult road ahead as discussed in a recent Kaspersky’s interview below, what I found the most interesting is the last paragraph were they mention a hacker who wrote a tool which gathered many security company IP addresses. The hacker then used this information to change the...
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Weekly Digest #2 – Interesting Articles

WPA Cracking
An interestingreference on Schneier’s blog to an article describing a “in the cloud” service to crack WPA keys.It is the realisationofthe concept of distributed security cracking mentioned in 2008 by Chad Perrin, not sure if he was the first to introduce that idea.
http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/security/?p=4097

WPA2 Vulnerability – Hole 196
A new man-in-the-middle attack for WPA2 seems to have been found and recently demonstrated at the Defcon 18
http://www.airtightnetworks.com/WPA2-Hole196

World’s Top Malware
FireEye has produced a nice colourful report on the 20 top malware they found on the net with their technology. Although this could be guess, it is interesting that the top4 types of ...
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