Security News (99 Posts)

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Evernote hacked, an early warning for the Cloud Storage storm coming?

In recent years I have written various articles warning of the risk related to uncontrolled cloud storage solutions usage in the corporate world.

Evernote is a popular online note storage solution which is often used by mobile users. You could see it as a cut down version of Dropbox as it is more restrictive to what one can store online.

It got hacked a few days ago, as reported by the Verge, what was stolen includes usernames, email addresses and encrypted passwords. We don’t know what password algorithm they used and how hard/easy/feasible it is for the hackers to crack them, but the company behind Evernote now asks *all* its (millions) users to reset their passwords.

This should really serve as a wake up call, to check what policies and controls are in place to prevent your user...
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Mobile devices security, history repeating itself: Harder, Faster, Stronger but not Better!

Following up on my SANS 575: Mobile Device Ethical Hacking course review, below is my take on the current state of Mobile Devices security.

First, let me define what I mean by mobile devices: Smartphone and Tablets, not laptops. Although laptops are “mobile” the level of security available to them is more mature and not in scope for this article.

Then, let’s dive into the past and where mobile device security fits.
Right at the start, when computers where used and interconnected, the security element of it has always been the last “add-on” and security professionals had to play catch-up. This was true with Intranets, where no or poor defences meant companies were often heavily relying on physical security, i.e.: no hackers will be allowed within the premises to connect their portable desktops. The realisation that staff could also be hackers and the arrival of laptops meant better IT access controls were put in place.
When Interne...
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Boxcryptor, a great tool to secure your cloud storage solution.

I made my feelings very clear about the use of Dropbox in the enterprise, through a previous post. I still believe Dropbox and similar other cloud sotrage solutions such as Google drive or Sky Drive are a timebomb waiting to happen for many companies who are busy securing their infrastructure but forget to look at the data leaving their premises through the back door. Or just not appreciating how tablets and smartphones are driving their users’ behaviours and requirements.

There will be a lot of red faces if/when Dropbox and Co announce they have been hacked.

However, I have recently come accross a great tool that can help reducing the impact of such a bad scenario. It is called Boxcryptor.

Boxcryptor creates an encrypted folder under your Cloud Storage directory (i.e.:...
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Security Onion and seeing through HTTPS

Security Onion is an Open Source Linux distribution that makes deploying an IDS/NSM a very easy task indeed and I highly recommend you try it at home. Especially since you can do everything in a VM…

The video below gives a great summary of what this is all about (it is an hour long, but like any good movie you won’t see the time fly ;)


If you have ever been through a Snorby installation yourself, you will appreciate this distribution even more as everything is done for you. The installation process only asks a couple of questions and you should be ready to monitor your network, analyse data through full packet capture within 15 minutes!

The latest beta is even better, and lets you use your own Ubuntu flavoured distribution if you prefer not to use the d...
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Is that the holy grail for critical systems?

Kaspersky Lab just announced they are working on their own Operating System for critical systems.

This is something that is increasingly needed, but is Kaspesrky the best entity suited to produce such OS? To contribute/review it, certainly. But to drive its development? I am not so certain. I would have thought that developing an OS requires more specific skills than just security ones. One could argue that making security the core skill used in developing that OS should make it more secure but I would argue back it could also introduce performance issues… And performance is a health/security risk on its own, especially when speaking about critical systems such as process control environments.

Kaspersky Labs is engaging with different vendors and ICS operators, so they should get some kind of expertise on what their systems req...
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Old tricks will always work…

There is something about deception, it can bypass a lot of security controls through a very basic principle, to make you believe about something that isn’t there. It is a bit like magic.

Like this WEBSITE, where you can see an example of what the new HTML5 fullscreen function could make you believe. That you are on a bank website, where in fact you are on a phishing site. The previous link is harmless and only serves as an example, one I would advise you to try yourself (you can’t enter any details anyway in case you haven’t understood it isn’t really a Bank of America website).

Basically, they use the HTML5 Fullscreen function to recreate your browser TABS and URL. If you are not used to browse the internet in full screen mode then you would see the trickstraightaway. However, if you are following the trend to browse in full screen mode, especially on mobile phones or on MACs where app...
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Distributed Credential Protection

RSA recently announced their Distributed Credential Protection (DCP) technology which should help address the impact of passwords leakage/theft when the system where they are stored gets compromised. They accomplish that by splitting up stored credentialsacrossdifferent systems.

In its current implementation it uses 2 servers. 1 server (BLUE) stores the password XOR to a random number and another server (RED) stores that random number.
When a user wants to authenticate it uses his password to XOR it with his own Random number. It then sends the transformed password to the BLUE server and the new random number to the RED server.
The BLUE and RED servers then compare the stored password with the one the user just provided. At this stage, I guess it must communicate to the RED server to get the corresponding random numbers.

This process is given an overview >>[READ MORE]


MD5 Security Flaws

In case you were in any doubts about the security flaws of MD5, in recent days, 2 implementations of MD5 have been shown to have severe security issues.

1) The md5crypt password scrambler used in many Unix based distributions has been deemed as “unsafe” by its author (in fact this has been known for some time now).

2) MD5 collisions were used in the recent Flame malware to bypass Microsoft Update signature certificates.

The sole use of MD5 as a security vector must be avoided.

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An interesting timeline representation of the CloudFlare’s hack

CloudFlare is an interesting young company, a few years old, as introduced in this Bloomberg article. Although it is tempting to just describe it as being similar to Akamaibecauseit provides web acceleration and DOS protection through the use of a Content Distributed Network (CDN), it is also different. As explained by its founder, Matthew Price, it can understand, analyse and protect all requests to a website, not just a subset. It also has a different price model starting with a free offering and generally being much less expensive than the competition even with its pro/business/enterprise options.

In a nutshell, CloudFlare appears to be a service that can help optim...
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Flame and the DEB93D trail

In the last few weeks there has been a lot of noise about what looks like the latest State sponsored malware, Flame. You can find a lot of information about it from Kaspersky and also from the CrySyS lab who seems to have done some parallel investigation and call it differently (sKyWIper).

This malware is quite interesting for several reasons:
1) It seems to focus on stealing information rather than being directly disruptive.
2) It has been active for 5+ years and has remained undetected until now.
3) It has an option to delete itself, but in doing so leaves one file. a ~DEB93D.tmp file.
4) It is modular and can/has been used to intercept Microsoft update using fake certificates t...
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