Security News (95 Posts)

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Using a phone as a keylogger, next it will be a smartwatch!

There is an interesting paper from Georgia Tech College describing a clever proof of concept where a phone is used to eavesdrop on keystrokes.
This is done by leveraging the phone motion sensor capability and placing it next to a keyboard. They managed to create a dictionary of words/vibrations that is able to recognise words typed on a keyboard just by analysing the vibrations made from typing.
Of course, you are likely to notice someone’s else phone sitting next to your keyboard but what if your phone got hacked and that software loaded onto it?

They conducted their proof of concept on an iPhone 4 but this is likely to be also possible on other platforms/devices.

In fact, with upcoming smart watches this concept will be even more relevant! Now I can see a use for that Apple M7 chip! ;)

As I am typing this note, my phone is next to my keyboard. Maybe I should move it awayR...
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New iPhone 5S Fingerprint reader, a step in the right direction!

Apple has just announced two new models of iPhones, one of them is the iPhone 5S which comes with a fingerprint reader. Like others I believe this is no silver bullet, but it is a step in the right direction in terms of helping the masses to secure their iPhones.

There are two main areas of potential security failures:
– Fingerprints can be copied and once compromised you can’t “change” for new ones;
– The Fingerprint reader security implementation will be very important, any defects or flawed could be exploited to gain unauthorised access.

Apple may not be the first company to provide an embedded fingerprint reader into their phones, but like it did for tablets and smartphones, it will be the company that will popularise it...
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Mobile Device Management Limitations

Current MDM frameworks, unless using some kind of container approach, will always play catch-up to hackers wanting to bypass the controls enforced to their phones, as highlighted in the following article describing how to get around Airwatch’s MDM restrictions.

The conclusion of that article is spot on:
MDM solutions are great for employers to manage mobile devices. However, they are not without their problems. Not only was I able to bypass compliance for having a rooted device, but I was also able to bypass the need to encrypt my device from the profileGroupSetting table. Bypassing compliance restrictions for AirWatch is relatively trivial after a few hours and I’m sure it is probably similar with many others MDM solutions.

An MDM container approach will only ensure your corporate data does not leave that secured container and stays safe wit...
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The right (way) to disclose vulnerabilities

An article was discussed last month in The Guardian and The BBCexplaining how a research paper from the University of Birmingham had been barred by a judge from being published because it discussed weaknesses in the security related to cars starting mechanisms from many manufacturers (BMW, Porsche, Fiat, Peugeot, etc).

This was already discussed publicly at the 21st Usenix Security Sympposium, where an online video is available. A quick search on Google also produces a PDF paper explaining how a car can be gone in 360 seconds through hijacking car key transponders. If that was the paper stopped from publication, then I don’t think it provided enough details that warranted those legal actions.

Thi...
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iOS7 and Mavericks Security

There is an interesting article HERE that describes the new security features of iOS7 and Mavericks. It also asks some interesting questions that still need answering.

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A story about Password: The Wrong Formula

In this article I will first talk about some misconceptions regarding what is considered a secure password and then about how you can leverage different technologies to help protect your different credentials.

In the past few years there has been a sharp increase in websites being hacked and their users’ passwords/hashes stolen, in parallel we are using online services for almost everything: to pay for your local pizzeria delivery or your electricity bill, access your bank account, connect to your work email, etc.

The common advice is to use different passwords for each site you register to, but most people don’t. It means that hackers can often reuse credentials they obtained on one website to access another.

One way to counter that risk would be to use some kind of formula so you remember a different password for each site you have registered to. This *could* be the best solution, as remembering a password formula means you do not have to write it do...
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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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