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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Encryption

Cryptography 'Becoming Less Important,' Adi Shamir Says 250

Posted by Soulskill
from the encryption-is-useless-when-users-are-also-useless dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "In the current climate of continuous attacks and intrusions by APT crews, government-sponsored groups and others organizations, cryptography is becoming less and less important, one of the fathers of public-key cryptography said Tuesday. Adi Shamir, who helped design the original RSA algorithm, said that security experts should be preparing for a 'post-cryptography' world. 'I definitely believe that cryptography is becoming less important. In effect, even the most secure computer systems in the most isolated locations have been penetrated over the last couple of years by a series of APTs and other advanced attacks,' Shamir said during the Cryptographers' Panel session at the RSA Conference today. 'We should rethink how we protect ourselves. Traditionally we have thought about two lines of defense. The first was to prevent the insertion of the APT with antivirus and other defenses. The second was to detect the activity of the APT once it's there. But recent history has shown us that the APT can survive both of these defenses and operate for several years.""
Security

Ask Slashdot: Identity Theft Attempt In Progress; How To Respond? 239

Posted by timothy
from the burrs-on-the-heel-of-the-foot-would-be-mercy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It appears that two weeks ago my email address got into the wrong database. Since that time there have been continuing attempts to access my accounts and create new accounts in my name. I have received emails asking me to click the link below to confirm I want to create an account with Twitter, Facebook, Apple Games Center, Facebook mobile account, and numerous pornographic sites. I have not attempted to create accounts on any of these services. I have also received 16 notices from Apple about how to reset my Apple ID. I am guessing these notices are being automatically generated in response to too many failed login attempts. At this point I have no reason to believe any of my accounts have been compromised but I see no good response."
Internet Explorer

Microsoft Releases Internet Explorer 10 For Windows 7 321

Posted by timothy
from the double-digits-on-the-prime dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 is out. Windows 8 may suck but now you can at least enjoy (most of) that version's Internet Explorer. IE10 for Win7, originally not planned, has seen the light of day after all — four months after it debuted in Windows 8. It is available via Windows Update as an optional update; however, if you've already installed a pre-release version, it will be updated automatically as an 'important' update. IE10 on Win7 requires a platform update to bring some Windows 8 APIs to the more mature Windows, and it will not feature embedded Adobe Flash as the Windows 8 version does (use the plug-in version from Adobe, as usual, instead)."
Google

Bypassing Google's Two-Factor Authentication 49

Posted by timothy
from the disclaimer-dug-song-is-a-genius-monkey dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The team at Duo Security figured out how to bypass Google's two-factor authentication, abusing Google's application-specific passwords. Curiously, this means that application-specific passwords are actually more powerful than users' regular passwords, as they can be used to disable the second factor entirely to gain control of an account. Duo [publicly released this exploit Monday] after Google fixed this last week — seven months after initially replying that this was expected behavior!"
China

Bit9 Says 32 Malicious Programs Whitelisted In Recent Hack 18

Posted by timothy
from the nice-binary-number dept.
chicksdaddy writes "The security firm Bit9 released a more detailed analysis of the hack of its corporate network was part of a larger operation that was aimed a firms in a 'very narrow market space' and intended to gather information from the firms. The analysis, posted on Monday on Bit9's blog is the most detailed to date of a hack that was first reported on February 8 by the blog Krebsonsecurity.com, but that began in July, 2012. In the analysis, by Bit9 Chief Technology Officer Harry Sverdlove said 32 separate malware files and malicious scripts were whitelisted in the hack. Bit9 declined to name the three customers affected by the breach, or the industry segment that was targeted, but denied that it was a government agency or a provider of critical infrastructure such as energy, utilities or banking. The small list of targets — just three — and the fact that one malware program was communicating with a system involved in a recent 'sinkholing operation' raises the specter that the hack of Bit9 may have played a part in the recent attacks on Facebook, Twitter and Apple, though Bit9 declined to name the firms or the market they serve."
Security

Helena Airport Manager Blocks TSA From Taking Full-Body Scanner 221

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-without-my-scanner dept.
OverTheGeicoE writes "TSA recently announced that it would remove all of Rapiscan's X-ray body scanners from airports by June. As part of this effort, it is trying to move a millimeter-wave body scanner from the Helena, Montana airport to replace an X-ray unit at a busier airport. Strangely enough, they have encountered resistance from the Helena's Airport Manager, Ron Mercer. Last Thursday, workers came to remove the machine, but were prevented from doing so by airport officials. Why? Perhaps Mercer agrees with Cindi Martin, airport director at Montana's Glacier Park International Airport airport, who called the scheduled removal of her airport's scanner 'a great disservice to the flying public' in part because it 'removed the need for the enhanced pat-down.'"
Microsoft

Microsoft Admits To Being Hacked Too 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the join-the-crowd dept.
colinneagle writes "Once upon a time, Microsoft claimed that falling prey to social engineering tactics and then being hacked was a 'rookie mistake.' But now is the time for companies to jump on the bandwagon, to admit they were targeted by cyberattacks and successfully infiltrated. The stage is so crowded with 'giants' at this point, that there are fewer 'bad press' repercussions than if only one major company had admitted to being breached. Microsoft now admitted, hey we were hacked too. 'As reported by Facebook and Apple, Microsoft can confirm that we also recently experienced a similar security intrusion,' wrote Matt Thomlinson, General Manager of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Security. Unlike the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal there was no mention of Chinese hackers."
Crime

Fingerprint Purchasing Technology Ensures Buyer Has a Pulse 156

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-zombie-shopping dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A small U.S. university has come up with a novel solution to reduce the possibility of using a dead person's hand to get past a fingerprint scanner through the use of hemoglobin detection. The device quickly checks the fingerprint and hemoglobin 'non-intrusively' to verify the identity and whether the individual is alive. This field of research is called Biocryptology and seeks to ensure that biometric security devices can't be easily bypassed."
Security

Ask Slashdot: How To Convince a Company Their Subscriber List Is Compromised? 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-lead-a-horse-to-water dept.
jetkins writes "As the owner of my own mail domain, I have the luxury of being able to create unique email addresses to use when registering with web sites and providers. So when I started to receive virus-infected emails recently, at an address that I created exclusively for use with a well-known provider of tools for the Systems Administration community (and which I have never used anywhere else), I knew immediately that either their systems or their subscriber list had been compromised. I passed my concerns on to a couple of their employees whom I know socially, and they informed me that they had passed it up the food chain. I have never received any sort of official response, nor seen any public notification or acceptance of this situation. When I received another virus-infected email at that same address this week, I posted a polite note on their Facebook page. Again, nothing. If it was a company in any other field, I might expect this degree of nonchalance, but given the fact that this company is staffed by — and primarily services — geeks, I'm a little taken aback by their apparent reticence. So, since the polite, behind-the-scenes approach appears to have no effect, I now throw it out to the group consciousness: Am I being paranoid, or are these folks being unreasonable in refusing to accept or even acknowledge that a problem might exist? What would you recommend as my next course of action?"
Communications

'This Is Your Second and Final Notice' Robocallers Revealed 235

Posted by Soulskill
from the hello-sir-madam dept.
nbauman writes "A New York Times consumer columnist tracked down the people who run a 'This is your second and final notice" robocall operation. The calls came from Account Management Assistance, which promises to negotiate lower credit card rates with banks. One woman paid them $1,000, and all they did was give her a limited-time zero-percent credit card that she could have gotten herself. AMA has a post office box in Orlando, Florida. The Better Business Bureau has a page for Your Financial Ladder, which does business as Account Management Assistance, and as Economic Progress. According to a Florida incorporation filing, Economic Progress is operated by Brenda Helfenstine, with her husband Tony. The Arkansas attorney general has sued Your Financial Ladder for violating the Telemarketing Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services investigated Your Financial Ladder, but the investigator went to 1760 Sundance Drive, St. Cloud, which turned out to be a residence, and gave up. The Times notes that you can type their phone number (855-462-3833) into http://800notes.com/ and get lots of reports on them."
Microsoft

The Hacker Who Found the Secrets of the Next Xbox and PlayStation 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the uncovering-final-console-generation dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Stephen Totilo at Kotaku has a long article detailing the exploits of an Australian hacker who calls himself SuperDaE. He managed to break into networks at Microsoft, Sony, and Epic Games, from which he retrieved information about the PS4 and next-gen Xbox 'Durango' (which turned out to be correct), and he even secured developer hardware for Durango itself. He uncovered security holes at Epic, but notified the company rather than exploiting them. He claims to have done the same with Microsoft. He hasn't done any damage or facilitated piracy with the access he's had, but simply breaching the security of those companies was enough to get the U.S. FBI to convince Australian authorities to raid his house and confiscate his belongings. In an age where many tech-related 'sources' are just empty claims, a lot of this guy's information has checked out. The article describes both SuperDaE's activities and a journalist's efforts to verify his claims."
Security

Lessons From the Papal Conclave About Election Security 183

Posted by timothy
from the ok-who-dropped-the-black-ball? dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The rules for papal elections are steeped in tradition. John Paul II last codified them in 1996, and Benedict XVI left the rules largely untouched. The 'Universi Dominici Gregis on the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff' is surprisingly detailed. Now as the College of Cardinals prepares to elect a new pope, security people like Bruce Schneier wonder about the process. How does it work, and just how hard would it be to hack the vote? First, the system is entirely manual, making it immune to the sorts of technological attacks that make modern voting systems so risky. Second, the small group of voters — all of whom know each other — makes it impossible for an outsider to affect the voting in any way. The chapel is cleared and locked before voting. No one is going to dress up as a cardinal and sneak into the Sistine Chapel. In short, the voter verification process is about as good as you're ever going to find. A cardinal can't stuff ballots when he votes. Then the complicated paten-and-chalice ritual ensures that each cardinal votes once — his ballot is visible — and also keeps his hand out of the chalice holding the other votes. Ballots from previous votes are burned, which makes it harder to use one to stuff the ballot box. What are the lessons here? First, open systems conducted within a known group make voting fraud much harder. Every step of the election process is observed by everyone, and everyone knows everyone, which makes it harder for someone to get away with anything. Second, small and simple elections are easier to secure. This kind of process works to elect a pope or a club president, but quickly becomes unwieldy for a large-scale election. And third: When an election process is left to develop over the course of a couple of thousand years, you end up with something surprisingly good."
Security

PunkSPIDER Project Puts Vulnerabilities On (Searchable) Display 85

Posted by timothy
from the anarchist's-cookbook dept.
First time accepted submitter punk2176 writes "Recently I started a free and open source project known as the PunkSPIDER project and presented it at ShmooCon 2013. If you haven't heard of it, it's at heart, a project with the goal of pushing for improved global website security. In order to do this we built a Hadoop distributed computing cluster along with a website vulnerability scanner that can use the cluster. Once we finished that we open sourced the code to our scanner and unleashed it on the Internet. The results of our scans are provided to the public for free in an easy-to-use search engine. The results so far aren't pretty." The Register has an informative article, too.
Android

FTC to HTC: Patch Vulnerabilities On Smartphones and Tablets 111

Posted by timothy
from the tla-envy dept.
New submitter haberb writes "I always thought my HTC phones were of average or above average quality, and certainly no less secure than an vanilla Android install, but it turns out someone was still not impressed. 'Mobile device manufacturer HTC America has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the company failed to take reasonable steps to secure the software it developed for its smartphones and tablet computers, introducing security flaws that placed sensitive information about millions of consumers at risk.' Perhaps this will push HTC to release some of the ICS upgrades they promised a few months ago but never delivered, or perhaps the reason they fell through in the first place?"
Firefox

Firefox Will Soon Block Third-Party Cookies 369

Posted by timothy
from the accept-only-genuine-chocolate-chip dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer has contributed a Firefox patch that will block third-party cookies by default. It's now on track to land in version 22. Kudos to Mozilla for protecting their users and being so open to community submissions. The initial response from the online advertising industry is unsurprisingly hostile and blustering, calling the move 'a nuclear first strike.'"

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