The CyberWire Daily Briefing for 2.18.2013
Facebook discloses that it was hacked last month—a victim of "Java in the browser"—but says that no user information was compromised. The FBI is investigating. The Voice of America casually and darkly links the attack to the recent campaign against media outlets apparently mounted by the Chinese government. (See, however, Dark Reading's cautions about the difficulties of attribution, and how blaming Chinese security services for cyber attacks has become an easy default.)
New Zealand's Telecom recovers from a cyber attack. An Ecuadorian opposition journalism website says it was attacked by the government. That same government, anticipating trouble over upcoming elections, has hired Kevin Mitnick to secure the voting. The "Syrian Electronic Army" attacks Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. Business Today offers a summary of recent Indian cyber security stories.
Health records in Saskatchewan and Wisconsin are compromised in separate incidents. The FCC seeks to close vulnerabilities in the US Emergency Alert System that enabled this month's zombie hoax.
Chilling an Android phone may enable attackers to access data in RAM, German researchers find. Exploitation may be far-fetched ("the planets must align" for it to work, comments Sophos), but still, the discovery's worth noting.
USA Today, announcing the discovery of sin, discerns a trend: adults as well as children are cyber-bullies.
US budget cuts are only ten days away, and Defense follows a firemen-first strategy to scare them off. Large defense contractors continue to see cyber as a hedge against cuts. Booz Allen continues its push into the Saudi cyber market.
Today's issue includes events affecting African Union, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Ecuador, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Kingdom, and United States..
Cyber Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities
Facebook owns up - admits network breached, blames 'Java in the browser' (Naked Security) In The Social Network, the movie version of Zuckerberg could shout, "WE NEVER CRASH!" I bet the real-life Zuckerberg wishes he could say, "We never get hacked"
Facebook Target of Cyber Attack (Voice of America) Twitter reported a cyber attack earlier this month. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal newspapers have also said they were attacked and blame computer hackers based in China. U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive order this week for
Facebook hit by 'sophisticated attack'; Java zero-day exploit to blame (ZDNet) Facebook said that it suffered at the hands of a Java zero-day exploit that was able to bypass the software's sandbox—a system that keeps whatever applet is running in a safe place away from system files. This was reported to Oracle and has since been
Hardcore Chinese Hacker Sells Facebook 'Likes' on the Side (Wired Business) Computer security specialists hunted down a Chinese hacking mastermind, only to find he was running a Facebook business on the side
Twitter hack to hinder e-commerce service uptake (ZDNet) Users may refrain from linking their Twitter accounts with American Express details following the successful hack on the microblogging site, but the payment provider's security efforts may help assuage some consumers' concerns. The recent hack on Twitter which affected 250,000 users will have left subscribers uneasy over linking their microblogging accounts to their American Express credit card accounts to conduct e-commerce activities. The saving grace would be American Express' efforts in beefing up its online transaction security these past years, which should convince some users that the e-commerce tie-up between the two companies remains a viable service
Cyber attack forces Telecom to cancel email passwords (Newstalk ZB) Telecom has tonight begun cancelling the current passwords of around 60,000 Yahoo! Xtra email accounts it believes have been compromised following a cyber attack last weekend. These additional 60,000 customers, on top of the existing 15,000 that
Telecom too slow to react to cyber attack - Netsafe (Radio New Zealand) NetSafe says Telecom has been too slow in its response to a cyber attack that has affected more than 70,000 customers. The trouble began over a week ago with a spam attack on their Yahoo! Xtra email accounts. Telecom on Saturday cancelled the
More Mac malware attacking minority groups in China (Naked Securiyy) A targeted Mac malware attack strikes a minority group in China, exploiting an old Microsoft Word vulnerability
Ecuadorian website claims government was behind cyber-attack (Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas) The website "Bananaleaks.com" accused the Ecuadorian government via Twitter of attempting to sabotage its operations, reported Fundamedios. According to journalist Santiago Villa, spokesperson for the website, the website suffered an attack from
Hacker Kevin Mitnick Called In to Secure Elections in Ecuador (Softpedia) Kevin Mitnick, the famous hacker and the author of Ghost in the wires, was hired by President Rafael Correa to secure the elections that took place on Sunday. The security expert was assigned to secure the Net Lock computer systems utilized to tabulate the elections. I'm here in Quito, Ecuador to help secure the Presidential election
Syria strikes back? Hackers break into Haaretz emails, threaten more attacks (Ha'aretz) A group of Syrian hackers broke into the Haaretz Group's email server on Friday. According to members of the group, known as the Syrian Electronic Army, they gained access to 80 email accounts and passwords of Haaretz employees, including some belonging to senior editors, journalists and management at the paper
Anonymous Hackers Hit Leading Bangladeshi Newspaper (eSecurity Planet) The English-language Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star recently acknowledged that its Web site was hacked earlier this week by members of Anonymous."The group uploaded a post headlined 'Anonymous Continues Struggle For Justice' at the top of the Daily Star website around 4:30pm [Tuesday]," The Daily Star reports. "Around one hour after the post was removed, the hackers uploaded the same post under another headline 'Anonymous Steps It Up.''Anonymous continued its bid for true democracy and freedom today, when they started on a new path to bring to an end the corruption and oppressive regimes of today's governments. In a call for a truely open society Anonymous has started to raise its public profile the world over,' the hackers wrote on the defaced page," writes Softpedia's Eduard Kovacs
Hackers Publish PM Resignation Notice on Malaysian Government Website (Softpedia) A group of hackers has managed to breach the official website of Malaysias Department of Information. The cybercriminals have published a fake post which announced that the countrys Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, had resigned. According to Digital News Asia, the false statement was published on the e-Akhbar and e-Press sections of the site, along with a notice regarding applications for Malaysian citizenship
Beware of the bugs (Business Today) Can cyber attacks on India's critical infrastructure be thwarted? In early July last year, a staffer at the secretive National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) noticed odd "signals" on his monitoring system. Using complex algorithms that NTRO had been developing since 2010, he categorised these signals as a precursor to a major cyber attack. The agency, run under the Prime Minister's Office, immediately sent a warning up the chain of command. Inexplicably, the warning went unheeded. That mistake would result in the single-largest cyber attack ever carried out against India
Zeus hit five major banks in Japan (Cyberwarzone) Zeus malware is considered the most popular and prolific malicious code for banking, it is one of the privilege agent by cybercrime the use to sell various customized version in the underground to conduct sophisticated frauds. Security community has found it in different occasion and anyway it was a surprice, the malware has evolved in time exploiting various platforms and technologies from mobile to social networks, from P2P protocols to Deep Web. Cyber criminals continue to use Zeus, it is considered one of the most dynamic cyber threats due the numerous variants and customizations detected
African Union Commission Hacked by SysBreak-Crew (eSecurity Planet) The hackers didn't provide a reason for the breach. The official Web site of the African Union Commission was recently defaced by hackers calling themselves the SysBreak-Crew. No reason was given for the attack
Point-of-Sale malware attacks – crooks expand their reach, no business too small (Naked Security) SophosLabs has been tracking a set of incidents involving Point-of-Sale malware. The crooks have added a few tricks over the last 15 months. Find out what's new, and why no business can "fly under the radar" of cybercrime
Tax-themed malicious spam bombard inboxes (Help Net Security) As the end of the U.S. tax season slowly approaches, cyber crooks are stepping up their game and are sending bogus out tax-themed emails. Webroot warns about an alert supposedly sent by the US
Saskatchewan Health Ministry Acknowledges Security Breach (eSecurity Planet) Canada's Saskatchewan Ministry of Health recently began informing 58 patients of a breach of their personal health information."Personal health information from 2003 was on a file that was used in an instructional setting in a health management course at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) Regina campus beginning in 2005-06…Up to 140 students may have viewed the personal health data," the Ministry said in a statement
Froedtert patients want answers in possible cyber attack (WTMJ4) Froedtert Hospital patients are on edge about their personal information after the hospital notified them that a hacker may have accessed their records
Union County Public Schools Encounter Cyber Attack (FOX Charlotte) School employees are at risk of having their confidential information, such as social security numbers, compromised by the cyber attack. The Union County Sheriff's Office says an investigation is underway to determine what information was affected as
Zombie Hackers Exploited Emergency Alert System Security Flaws (InformationWeek) FCC has known about security gaps in networked alert systems equipment for more than 10 years. What if next hoax is serious?
Cyber Attack Analysis: The New York Times & Wall Street Journal (Infosecurity Magazine) The New York Times was recently the victim of a cyber attack that successfully infiltrated the newspaper's networks to capture employee passwords as part of an advanced 'spy campaign'. Days later, news also broke of an attack on the Wall Street Journal
Facebook Login Bug: Lessons Learned (InformationWeek) Service interruption at dozens of prominent websites including CNN and Hulu reminds that third-party code integration carries risks
iPhone Vulnerability: Return Of The Lock Screen Bypass (Dark Reading) How do these errors resurface after being fixed? In Apple's case, the problem could be a weakness in their test plans or procedures. Reports yesterday of a lock screen bypass in the iPhone 5 noted that a "similar" bug was found in iOS 4.1 and fixed in 4.2. In both cases, the lock screen, which is only supposed to let you make emergency calls or enter the lock code, allows the user to perform other functions, like make other phone calls. How do these errors resurface after being fixed? In Apple's case, the problem could be a weakness in their test plans or procedures
Can freezing an Android device crack its encryption keys? (Naked Security) Will chilling an Android phone to -15 degrees C freeze the encryption keys into memory? And if so, can you use a modified version of Android to dig them out? German researchers had a crack at it - Paul Ducklin takes a look at how things turned out
Security Patches, Mitigations, and Software Updates
HP ArcSight Connector Appliance and Logger Vulnerabilities (Internet Storm Center) If you are using HP ArcSight Connector Appliance (v6.3 and earlier) and Logger (v5.2 and earlier), some potential security vulnerabilities have been identified which could be remotely exploited to allow information disclosure, command injection and cross-site scripting (XSS). HP recommend to contact support to request the current updates for ArcSight Connector Appliance (v6.4) and ArcSight Logger (v5.3) to resolve these issues. Additional information available here
Adobe Promises Fix for Zero-Day Bug in Reader This Week (PC Magazine) Adobe promised a fix for the critical zero-day vulnerability currently being exploited in the wild will be available sometime this week. Updates for Windows and Mac OS X versions of Adobe Reader and Acrobat XI (11.0.01 and earlier), X (10.1.5 and
Cyberbullying extends to workplace, bedroom (USA Today) Cyberbullying is no longer restricted to children. Adults routinely use content from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social-media services to intimidate and harass subordinates and rivals at work. When romantic relationships go sour, aggrieved lovers often turn to social-media services to stalk or embarrass an estranged partner."Adults are now finding themselves in unchartered territory when it comes to social media," says Jenny Ungless, a life coach and workplace consultant
Worldwide psychological shift needed for mobile security, says expert (IT Proportal) For well over a decade, IT security experts have been striving to convince PC users they are at risk from a plethora of dangers online, and while it is a fight that will never truly end for the preachers, it can be said that certain security principles have now been established and ingrained in our minds. But the arrival of the smartphone and its insistence on assuming nearly all the responsibilities we have traditionally entrusted to our PC has effectively reset the battle ground and produced the same struggle for the security industry all over again. Steve Santorelli of security research group Team Cymru admits its a real headache
Fears of Government and Legal Intervention Slows Cloud Adoption (CloudTimes) Carried out by the Cloud Security Alliance, the survey found that 88 per cent were concerned about sensitive data could be lost or hacked in the cloud.
Businesses in the Philippines moving slowly on BYOD (FierceMobileIT) Firms in the Philippines are reluctant to embrace BYOD because of security and support cost concerns, according to a report by ZDNet. "Businesses in Philippines are starting to look at BYOD [and] there is a lot of interest in protecting [the] network from BYOD," Jonathan Andresen, Asia-Pacific director of product marketing at IT security vendor Blue Coat, was quoted by ZDNet as saying
White House Seeks 'Balanced Way' To Budget Fix (Yahoo.com) Actual cuts may be around 13 percent for defense and 9 percent for other programs because lawmakers delayed their impact, requiring savings over a shorter period of time. The White House last week let loose a list of ways Americans would feel the trims, from longer waits at airport security to as many as 13,000 teachers being laid off. Outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a congressional panel the sequester would hollow the U.S. military because it would give the Pentagon little leeway in deciding how best to spend the money
Pentagon Aims Ax To Make A Point (Washington Times) The Obama administration is putting attention-getting Pentagon projects on the chopping block in a bid to pressure Congress into making a deal that avoids $46 billion in military budget cuts March 1, analysts and congressional officials say
Experts say DoD cyber workers undertrained (Navy Times) "Richard is working with them [US Cyber Command] on how they even take the workforce that they have today and make sure that there's uniformity in the
Growth of miltary cyber security could benefit Fort Gordon (The Augusta Chronicle) Plans by the Department of Defense for a massive expansion of the joint US Cyber Command have been reported in recent weeks, with some accounts speculating ...
James Clapper Aiming To Avoid Furloughs Under Sequestration (ExecutiveGov) James Clapper, director of national intelligence, told Federal News Radio in an interview that he will do everything in his power to avoid furloughs if sequestration cuts are triggered March 1
Pentagon Readies a Cyber Arsenal to Fight Attackers (The Fiscal Times) With recent cyber attacks on high profile media companies like The New York…Top-level defense contractors like General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin are
Defense, Intelligence Agencies Struggle to Unify Data Networks (National Defense Magazine) David Pendall, a former division intelligence officer with the Army's 1st Cavalry Division. "Palantir has been working in our labs at Aberdeen where we do
Arms Vendors Turn to Cyber Security as Sales Drop (ABC News) The world's largest arms vendors are expanding in the cybersecurity sector as austerity measures weigh on sales of traditional weapons, a Swedish peace research institute said Monday. Sales by the 100 largest arms producing companies, excluding Chinese companies, fell by 5 percent to $410 billion in 2011, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in its annual review of the industry. The drop was mainly due to austerity measures and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, SIPRI said, but pointed out that cybersecurity has remained a privileged spending area for governments despite budget cuts
BAE teams up with Vodafone for cyber security drive (Reuters India) BAE, Europe's largest defence contractor, is looking for growth in its cyber and security arm, BAE Systems Detica, particularly in areas such as communications technology. The first part of the agreement will see the launch of a new cloud-based mobile
Booz Allen Hamilton to support business and economic growth in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (AME Info) Booz Allen Hamilton announced it has been registered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia…most notably in the areas of cyber security, information technology
As sequester nears, Northrop Grumman looks and lobbies for new markets (Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group) In 2012, Northrop Grumman ranked tenth among US contractors with $4.2 billion in…He identified the unmanned sector, or drones, and related intelligence
Northrop Grumman, U.S. Air Force Complete Successful Preliminary Design Review of Air Operations Center Modernization Program (MarketWatch) Open Systems Approach Will Deliver More Affordable, Collaborative and Dynamic Command and Control to the Warfighter. The U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman Corporation NOC -0.26% have successfully completed the preliminary design review for the Air Operations Center (AOC) Weapon System (WS) program. The successful review allows the AOC WS program to enter the detailed design phase
OPM Accepting Bids For 10-Year Data Center Consolidation Program (GovConWire) The Office of Personnel Management has issued a request for proposals for a potential 10-year contract to consolidate data centers, Washington Technology reports. Proposals are due March 11 and the agency will award the program as a full set-aside for small businesses, according to the report. OPMOffice of Personnel Management is seeking to consolidate five
SRA Wins Spot On $5B DIA Analysis IDIQ (GovConWire) SRA International has won a position on a potential $5.6 billion Defense Intelligence Agency contract covering analysis support services for warfighters, defense planners and policy makers. The company is one of 12 awardees for the potential five-year Solutions for Intelligence Analysis II program, SRA said Friday. "SRA looks forward to continuing our service to the
BlackBerry 10's delay loosens firm's 'tight grip on enterprise users', says IDC (FierceMobileIT) Because of the delay in launching BlackBerry 10, the company's "tight grip on enterprise users has loosened and its popularity within emerging markets has been diminished by the competition," said research firm IDC
Products, Services, and Solutions
Would You Trust a Website With Your Paycheck? (IEEE Spectrum) Simple.com does much of what a bank does, without bricks, mortar, or fees
Creepy Side of Search Emerges on Facebook (Wired Business) Facebook Graph Search is getting its own privacy filters after it was shown that the social discovery service could be used to run creepy searches for children
Bye, bye, Facebook: Americans abandoning in droves, says poll (Washington Examiner) The Facebook craze that gave us Farmville and notes from "friends" about their breakfast and just about everything else may finally be ending. A new Pew Research Center poll finds that a huge group of users, 61 percent, are taking breaks from Facebook up to "several weeks" long
Intel's Itanium server CPUs shuffle one step closer to the grave (Ars Technica) Intel is quietly scaling back the roadmap for its ill-fated 64-bit CPUs
Enterprise data security intelligence improved by Vormetric (Security Park) Vormetric, the leader in enterprise data security for physical, virtual and cloud environments, recently announced its strategy and initial steps to enhance enterprise security intelligence. As hackers improve their ability to penetrate traditional defences with attacks such as advanced persistent threats (APTs), Vormetric Data Security can help enterprises gather security intelligence around what is happening to their sensitive data so they can counter such threats better and faster. As a recent Forrester Research analysis* summarised, Targeted attacks are on the rise
Qosmos ixEngine provides deep application intelligence for F5's BIG-IP Policy Enforcement Manager (Virtual Strategy) Qosmos today announced that F5 Networks, the global leader in Application Delivery Networking, has embedded Qosmos' ixEngine within their BIG-IP Policy Enforcement Manager (PEM). Qosmos ixEngine generates real-time, application intelligence which is used by the PEM to analyze application traffic and subscriber behavior, enhancing traffic policing rules for mobile service providers
Symantec unveils new SSL algorithms and web security products (Help Net Security) Symantec unveiled new updates to its Website Security Solutions portfolio with capabilities to meet the increasing security and performance needs for connected businesses. The end result is to deliver
CRM Lands In Jail: Meet Illinois Offender-360 (InformationWeek) Illinois Department of Corrections moves criminal records from aging mainframe environment to Microsoft Dynamics CRM cloud-based system
Amazon Drops Prices On Multiple Zone Database Service (InformationWeek) Amazon wants more of its relational database customers to upgrade to two "availability zones," which ensures automated failover in case of outages
Skype, VoIP taking business away from carriers (FierceCIO: TechWatch) Skype is the largest international voice provider in the world, according to new research from TeleGeography. In a new blog titled "The bell tolls for telcos?," the analysis firm estimates that cross-border Skype-to-Skype voice and video traffic grew 44 percent in 2012 to 167 billion minutes. To put the figure into perspective, this increase is more than twice that achieved by all international carriers in the world combined
3 alternatives to Adobe Reader (FierceCIO: TechWatch) Tired of being kept on your toes by PDF-related exploits and vulnerabilities, or just want to check out lightweight PDF readers as alternatives to the full-fledged Adobe Reader? Whatever the case, Brad Chacos of PC World has drawn up a list of three different applications that you can use to serve up your PDF files
Technologies, Techniques, and Standards
U.S. Agency Issues Call for National Cybersecurity Standards (IEEE Spectrum) In the post-Stuxnet world, the prospect of undeclared cyberwar has been dragged out of the shadows to the front pages. With that in mind, yesterday the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) kicked off an effort to establish a set of best practices for protecting the networks and computers that run the country's critical infrastructure. The Cybersecurity Framework was initiated at the behest of President Barack Obama, who issued an executive order calling for a common core of standards and procedures aimed at keeping power plants and financial, transportation, and communication systems from falling prey to any of a wide range of cybersecurity threats
New Dawn for Smart Grid? (IEEE Spectrum) After Hurricane Sandy smarty-pants pundits like me suggested that maybe what we need right away is not a smarter, more agile grid but, rather, a really tough dumb grid. Indisputably, technologies integrating digital communications and computing into power system infrastructure were materializing much more slowly than their proponents had predicted, and measurable benefits were hard to find. But if the darkest is just before dawn, as the saying goes, then perhaps now the smart grid may at last be coming over the horizon
The Pros And Cons Of A WebKit Monoculture (TechCrunch) The news that Opera is shutting down the development of its own browser rendering engine and moving to the open source WebKit engine cause quite a stir earlier this week. With WebKit powering the built-in browsers of Google's Android and Apple's iOS, it's already the de-facto standard engine for the mobile and it has the potential to do the same on the desktop. Worldwide, Chrome now holds a
Spy v Spy (Dave Waterson on Security) This is what I love about IT security – the intellectual battle played out daily between the good guys and the bad guys like an intricate chess game on a global chess board. Every day consists of countless skirmishes, reconnaissance and espionage expeditions, the shoring up of defences, securing data, secret communications, subterfuge, surveillance, encryption, and commando raids, in a shadowy intellectual dual between attacker and defender. Intellectual, because the clever guy wins
Tech Insight: Attribution is Much More Than a Source IP (Dark Reading) Recent attacks are shining more light on the need for attribution, but companies seem too quick to jump to the Chinese / APT bandwagon."The Chinese hacked us" is becoming an all too common phrase in recent corporate hacks. While it is no doubt true in some of the situations, it's hard not to wonder how many of these attack victims are crying Red Army... er, uhm... wolf. Or, how many are simply basing their accusations on incomplete, faulty evidence
Security: The beauty of…malware reverse engineering (IT World) Malware represents one of the greatest threats that organizations face today and IT departments are coming to understand that their AV tools can only do so much to protect them. When malware is discovered on their systems, they want to know what it might have done, if the threat is still ongoing, and what they might have lost to the infection. Answers can be very tough to find, but reverse engineering the malware might just be the way to provide them
Why you should write your passwords down (FierceCIO: TechWatch) I wrote earlier this week about the trouble Jeremiah Grossman had recovering a forgotten password. Though it should have been a fairly simple matter with an online service equipped with a "forgotten password" feature, the problem in this instance was that the password was required to access an encrypted offline volume
Design and Innovation
Move over Dick Tracy, here comes Apple's 'iWatch' (FierceMobileIT) Can you imagine coming into work wearing a yellow overcoat, yellow hat and a smartphone wristwatch? OK, forget the yellow overcoat and hat, but the smartphone wristwatch would be cool. That is what the future holds if Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) "iWatch" project takes off. Images of the 1940s comic strip Dick Tracy definitely come to mind
Apple iWatch: 7 Reasons It Won't Fly (InformationWeek) Squeezing a processor into an iPod Nano form factor mostly means a less-capable computing device, and adding a wristband doesn't change that
Apple iWatch Vs. Smartwatches Past And Present (InformationWeek) iWatch could change the mobile landscape, or it could end up as a redundant peripheral. Can Apple avoid the smartwatch flops of the past
How the Open Compute Project helped Facebook reduce costs (FierceCIO: TechWatch) Facebook is preparing to open up a 290,000 square-foot data center in Sweden that will exclusively utilize servers designed in-house, reports Ars Technica. Just as maintaining its own data center is cheaper than relying on cloud providers, so is cutting out traditional server vendors, according to Frank Frankovsky, VP of hardware design and supply chain operations at Facebook. The Open Compute Project was started by the company two years ago
CyberHive Launches Security-Specific Incubator In San Diego (Dark Reading) Select firms will receive up to $200,000 in start-up capital in addition to business and research mentoring. A consortium of the nation's most influential business, government, and financial leaders have joined forces to form CyberHive San Diego, a non-profit organization charged with incubating security-focused startups. CyberHive opens its doors today with the goal of discovering and building world-class security solutions and firms. Modeled after CyberHive/Cyber Maryland it is the first of its kind on the West coast. Select firms will receive up to $200,000 in start-up capital in addition to business and research mentoring
Research and Development
Cryptographers Aim to Find New Password Hashing Algorithm (Threatpost) Passwords are the keys to our online identities, and as a result, they're also near the top of the target list for attackers. There have been countless breaches in the last few years in which unencrypted passwords have been stolen from a database and leaked online, and security experts often shake their heads at the lack of use of encryption or even hashing for passwords. Now, a group of cryptographers is sponsoring a competition to come up with a new password hash algorithm to help improve the state of the art
US soldiers and spies to get handheld biometric scanners (Naked Security) The US Department of Defense is funding the development of a hardware peripheral and software suite that turns a regular smartphone into a device that scans and transmits biometric data at distances not possible for current scanning technology
Crash-proof computer tactic revealed by UK researchers (Computer World) For a PC user, nothing chills the heart like the "Blue Screen of Death" in Windows. It means the computer has crashed. Although crashes are as old as computers, some UK researchers may be taking the first steps toward sending blue screens to the same graveyard where 5
Quantum cryptography put to work for electric grid security (R & D Magazine) The miniature transmitter communicates with a trusted authority to generate random cryptographic keys to encode and Recently, a Los Alamos National Laboratory quantum cryptography (QC) team successfully completed the first-ever demonstration of
Online College Offers Academic Rigor At Bargain Prices (InformationWeek) American Honors charges community college rates for top-notch courses, sets students up to transfer into a respected bachelor's degree program
Legislation, Policy, and Regulation
New HIPAA Omnibus Rule Changes Health IT Security Landscape (Dark Reading) Rule means more audits and increased penalties if compliance is not achieved
Cybersecurity debate won't amount to a hill of default passwords (ZDNet) Maybe even easier to understand than the iconic computing phrase "Hello World" has to be these clear instructions from computer hardware manufacturers - change the default password. Yet, as Capitol Hill twists itself around new cybersecurity pronouncements from President Obama to protect critical infrastucture, the FCC is busy ordering all U.S. TV stations to change the passwords on their Emergency Alert System (EAS), which are used to broadcast warnings to the general public via the most watched communications medium on the planet. Not because the stations didn't do a good job the first time around, but because they didn't set them at all
Cyber attacks stepped up against American firms (Sydney Morning Herald) China and Iran are intensifying cyber assaults against the US, the head of the House Intelligence Committee said as he pressed for legislation to encourage companies to share information on hacker threats. China's cyber espionage effort targeting US industrial secrets ''has grown exponentially both in terms of its volume and damage it's doing to our economic future,'' the committee chairman, Mike Rogers, said at a hearing Thursday. ''We have no practical deterrents in place today
Industry Experts to Congress: We Can Remove Personally Identifiable Information Before Reporting Cybersecurity Threats (pogowasright.org) On Thursday, the House of Representatives Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing on CISPA, the newly introduced cybersecurity legislation that would allow companies to pass sensitive user data directly to the government without a judges oversight. No members of the civil liberties community were invited to testify. But while Internet freedom advocates were barred from voicing our concerns at the hearing, there was one important fact brought to light during the testimony of industry representatives: experts from the financial industry and the business roundtable confirmed that its possible for them to remove data that identifies users from cybersecurity data before sharing it with the government
Many agencies get expanded cyber roles (Federal Times) Officials from the White House, the Commerce, Homeland Security and Justice departments, and US Cyber Command last week emphasized a "whole of government
Privacy advocates: Cybersecurity bill faces tough odds this year (The Hill) …and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) re-introduced the Cyber Intelligence…kept up," said Leslie Harris, president of the Center of Democracy and Technology
Cyber Threat Sharing Faces Roadblocks: Report (American Banker (subscription required)) President Obama's executive order on cybersecurity calls on intelligence agencies to share information about digital threats with the private sector, but the agencies may have trouble sharing information themselves. Though the Department of Homeland
CISPA Cybersecurity Bill, Reborn: 6 Key Facts (InformationWeek) House revives controversial cybersecurity information-sharing bill, but can CISPA 2.0 address lingering privacy concerns
Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement
Feds Say Megaupload Entrapment Claim Is 'Sensationalist Rhetoric' (Wired Threat Level) Calling it "sensationalist rhetoric," federal authorities took the offensive late Thursday for the second time in as many months to blast Megaupload for its contention that the authorities entrapped the now-shuttered file-sharing service
Oz law enforcement only charges 8% of reported online crooks (ZDNet) Only 8 percent of reported online attacks on businesses have resulted in a criminal being charged, according to the results of Australia's first Cyber Crime and Security Survey. The survey was commissioned by Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Australia and conducted by the Centre for Internet Safety at the University of Canberra. It was sent to 450 companies that are CERT Australia stakeholders
The American 'gospel of anti-corruption' works, just not how it's said to (Quartz) In the last few years the US government has become both more willing to tackle corruption by American companies abroad, and better at it. At least, so it would seem. IBM is still working out a $10 million settlement on charges that it bribed Chinese and South Korean officials. A few weeks ago, the ATM manufacturer Diebold set aside $18 million to put to rest allegations of bribery by a Russian subsidiary. Walmart's bribery scandal in Mexico, which prompted probes into its activities in various other countries, has been in and out of the headlines
FBI investigates cyber attack on Facebook (La Prensa) The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is collaborating in the investigation of a "sophisticated attack" by hackers on Facebook last month, which, according to the social network, has not compromised users' data
Successful ways of undermining cybercrime ecosystems (Help Net Security) Most cybercrime is carried out by a loose confederation of independent contractors who work together when necessary through online forums and "partnerkas" that allow them to pool their resources, but these online criminal networks can be foiled, according to a new report by the Digital Citizens Alliance
Herb Lin on the Market for Zero-Day Vulnerabilities (Lawfare) The flourishing market in zero-day vulnerabilities is, as these two recent scary stories indicate, a major cybersecurity challenge. Herb Lin, the chief scientist at the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Research Council, has these brief thoughts
For a complete running list of events, please visit the Event Tracker.
ATMiA US Conference 2013 (Scottsdale, Arizona, US, Feb 19 - 21, 2013) A conference devoted to the design of ATMs, and the future of the ATM industry.
Cybergamut Technical Tuesday: Cloud Security (, Jan 1, 1970) Dr. Susie Cole of Exceptional Software Strategies will discuss cloud security..
#BSidesBOS (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, Feb 23, 2013) Each BSides is a community-driven framework for building events for and by information security community members. The goal is to expand the spectrum of conversation beyond the traditional confines of space and time. It creates opportunities for individuals to both present and participate in an intimate atmosphere that encourages collaboration. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. It is where conversations for the next-big-thing are happening..
RSA USA 2013 (San Francisco, California, USA, Feb 25 - Mar 1, 2013) RSA Conference continually evolves program offerings to meet the ever-changing needs of our delegates in the dynamic infosec industry.
Nullcon Goa 2013 (Bogmallo Beach Resort, Goa, India, Feb 26 - Mar 2, 2013) An international information security conference that will feature speakers and training. Topics include security and politics, vulnerability elimination, Android hacking, SCADA and smart grid penetration testing, and more.
NRO Winter Way Forward Conference (Chantilly, Virginia, USA, Feb 28, 2013) This annual event will provide an increased awareness, understanding and support among the IT workforce by focusing on the NRO IT Way-Forward in terms of the NRO IT Sub-Portfolio Roadmaps. Exhibitors will gain valuable networking time with conference attendees and all NRO personnel.
TechMentor Orlando 2013 (Orland, Florida, USA, Mar 4 - 8, 2013) Celebrating 15 years of educational events for the IT community, TechMentor is returning to Orlando, Florida, March 4-8, for 5 days of information-packed sessions and workshops. Surrounded by your fellow IT professionals, you will receive immediately usable education that will keep you relevant in the workforce. TechMentor track topics include:Windows PowerShell and AutomationCisco and Networking Infrastructure Windows Server Management Windows Client Management Cloud and Virtualization Identity, Access Management and Security Performance Tuning and Troubleshooting Mobility and BYOD Messaging and Collaboration.
Business Insurance Risk Management Summit (New York City, New York, USA, Mar 5 - 6, 2013) The annual Risk Management Summit, now in it its fourth year, provides attendees with focused insight via specific, timely general sessions and strategic, thought-provoking discussions with peers and industry leaders.
CanSecWest 2013 (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Mar 6 - 8, 2013) CanSecWest, the world's most advanced conference focusing on applied digital security, is about bringing the industry luminaries together in a relaxed environment which promotes collaboration and social networking. The conference lasts for three days and features a single track of thought provoking presentations, each prepared by an experienced professional and talented educator who is at the cutting edge of his or her field. We give preference to new and innovative material, highlighting important, emergent technologies, techniques, or best industry practices. It will feature a bigger, enhanced Pwn2own.
e-Crime Congress 2013 (London, England, Mar 12 - 13, 2013) The e-Crime Congress is designed to meet the needs of key stakeholders and decision makers who are responsible for designing and coordinating information security and risk management strategy, safeguarding digital assets and sensitive information, protecting customers, defending against internal or external threats and responding to incidents.
CTIN Digital Forensics Conference (Seattle, Washington, USA, Mar 13 - 15, 2013) Speakers include experts and published authors in the field of digital forensics and cybersecurity. Topics include; Mobile Device Forensics, Internet Forensics, Physical Memory Analysis, Open Source Tools, Data Carving, Registry Forensics, Placing the Suspect Behind the Keyboard, Triage and Live Forensics CDs, and more.
IT Security Entrepreneurs' Forum (ITSEF 2013) (Palo Alto, California, USA, Mar 19 - 20, 2013) Supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Science and Technology, ITSEF 2013 aims to connect the ecosystem of the entrepreneur: industry, government, and academia. The conference will advance innovation, lead change and build trusted global collaboration models between the public and private sectors to defeat Cybersecurity threats.
The Future of Cyber Security 2013 (London, England, UK, Mar 21, 2013) Cyber Security and the Citizen 2013 is a one-day conference and exhibition for senior decision-makers of central and local government organisations, NGOs and major private sector enterprises.
SANS Cyber Threat Intelligence Summit (Washington, DC, USA, Mar 22, 2013) Conventional network defense tools such as intrusion detection systems and anti-virus focus on the vulnerability component of risk, and traditional incident response methodology presupposes a successful intrusio…Network defense techniques which leverage knowledge about these adversaries - known as cyber threat intelligence - can enable defenders to establish a state of information superiority which decreases the adversary's likelihood of success with each subsequent intrusion attempt…The goal of this summit will be to equip attendees with knowledge on the tools, methodologies and processes they need to move forward with cyber threat intelligence. The SANS What Works in Cyber Threat Intelligence Summit will bring attendees who are eager to hear this information and learn about tools, techniques, and solutions that can help address these needs.
AFCEA Belvoir Industry Days 2013 (National Harbor, Maryland, USA, Apr 2 - 3, 2013) The purpose of this event is to inform the IT community about the recent successes and the forward-thinking opportunities that the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army have developed.
CSO40 (Braselton, Georgia, USA, Apr 2 - 3, 2013) The CSO40 Security Confab + Awards will honor and share the critical viewpoints of today's leading CSOs, CISOs and security executives at the nation's leading CSO thought leadership conference.
Cloud Connect Silicon Valley (Santa Clara, California, USA, Apr 2 - 5, 2013) Cloud Connect returns to Silicon Valley, April 2-5, 2013, for four days of lectures, panels, tutorials and roundtable discussions on a comprehensive selection of cloud topics taught by leading industry experts.
An Evening in Cyberspace: Supporting Tomorrow's Cybersecurity Leaders (National Harbor, Maryland, USA, Apr 6, 2013) UMUC is pleased to present An Evening in Cyberspace: Supporting Tomorrow's Cybersecurity Leaders. Join us for this special black-tie event to support the next generation of cybersecurity students. The evening will feature a reception, dinner, keynote and entertainment.
Cyber 1.3 (, Jan 1, 1970) Maj. Gen. Suzanne Vautrinot, USAF, commander, 24th Air Force, and commander, Air Force Network Operations, will discuss the global strategic implications that relate to the cyber domain at the Space Foundation national conference Cyber 1.3, to be held Monday, April 8th, at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cyber 1.3 is a full-day conference that takes place immediately before the official opening of the 29th National Space Symposium. The conference includes a networking breakfast, a luncheon and concludes with a networking reception, co-sponsored by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. Government Executive Media Group is a Cyber 1.3 media co-sponsor.
HITBSecConf2013 (Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Apr 8 - 11, 2013) HITB2013AMS will feature cutting edge attack and defense research including the a presentation on the inner workings of the iOS 6.1 Evasi0n jailbreak presented by members of the world famous Evad3rs Team, a brand new kernel level exploit affecting _all versions_ of Microsoft Windows up till Windows 8 and even a presentation on remotely hacking airplanes.
INFILTRATE 2013 (Miami, Florida, USA, Apr 11 - 12, 2013) INFILTRATE is a deep technical conference that focuses entirely on offensive security issues. Researchers focused on the latest technical issues will demonstrate techniques that you cannot find elsewhere.
Information Tech Expo Series - Hawaii (Oahu, Hawaii, USA, Apr 12 - 19, 2013) This 6-series showcase will feature stops at 5 DoD locations and 1 Intel Center on the island of Oahu. Celebrating 20 years of these expos is a true testament to the government and military's readiness to learn from and work with industry partners. .
InfoSec World Conference & Expo 2013 (Orlando, Florida, USA, Apr 15 - 17, 2013) With the primary objective of providing top-notch education to all levels of information security and IT auditing professionals, InfoSec World delivers practical sessions that give you the tools to strengthen your security without restricting your business.
Infosec Southwest 2013 (Austin, Texas, USA, Apr 19 - 21, 2013) InfoSec Southwest is intended to be a general security and hacking conference with no specific industry or topical focus. As such, nearly all topics (other than vendor pitches) are fair game and the attending audience is expected to span all demographics.
23rd Annual Government Procurement Conference (Washington, DC, USA, Apr 25, 2013) This unique one-day event attracts more than 3,000 participants representing government agencies, prime contractors and small businesses from around the country. Participating companies are able to network with procurement officials from federal, state and local government agencies under one roof.
Interop Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, May 6 - 10, 2013) Attend Interop Las Vegas, May 6-10, and attend the most thorough training on Apple deployment at the NEW Mac & iOS IT Conference. Join us in Las Vegas for access to 125+ workshops and conference classes, 350+ exhibiting companies and the latest technology.
Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise Conference and Expo (San Francisco, California, USA, Jun 2 - 4, 2013) From smartphones to mobile apps, social software and 4G networks, the wave of innovation in the consumer space is transforming the way companies do business, both inside and outside of the enterprise. Over two and a half action packed days, CITE 2013 will bring together IT and business executives, venture capitalists and other practitioners to showcase leading efforts and teach others how to make the most of this transformation.
25th Annual FIRST Conference (Bangkok, Thailand, Jun 16 - 21, 2013) The annual FIRST conference provides a setting for conference participants to attend a wide range of presentations delivered by leading experts in both the CSIRT field and from the global security community.
SECRYPT 2013 (Reykjavik, Iceland, Jul 29 - 31, 2013) The 10th International Conference on Security and Cryptography (SECRYPT 2013) will take place from 29 to 31 July 2013 in Reykjavik, Iceland…The conference will focus on information systems and network security, including applications within the scope of knowledge society in general and information systems development in particular, especially in the context of e-business, internet and global enterprises. It will bring together researchers, mathematicians, engineers and practitioners interested in security aspects related to information and communication.