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Security Implications of Cheaper Storage

An advert from Byte magazine dating from July 1980 proudly offers a 10MB hard disk drive for only US$3495. Accounting for the effects of inflation, that equates to approximately US$10,000 in today’s prices. If data storage prices had remained constant, this would mean that the 1GB flash drive in my pocket would cost in excess of US$1,000,000, with possibly a price premium for small size and portability. In fact, it cost me about US$10, evidence of the continuing drop in the price of electronic storage media in terms of price by stored byte. The amount of storage that can be acquired for a given cost has roughly doubled every 14 months since 1980 [1]. There is nothing to suggest that this trend won’t continue for the foreseeable future. We can look forward to larger and larger data storage devices at cheaper cost. But what are the implications of this trend for security professionals? Read More »

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July, a Busy Month for Breaches

This month has been particularly prevalent for the loss of personal information. At the beginning of the month it was reported that Club Nintendo had been breached with the personal data of up to 4 million stolen by attackers [1]. Subsequently, the forums of Ubuntu were hacked with the loss of 1.82 million usernames, passwords and email addresses [2]. Additionally, Apple have announced that their developer website has had an unknown amount of personal data stolen [3].
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Zeus Botnet Impersonating Trusteer Rapport Update

Starting Friday, July 19, 2013 at 14:45 GMT, Cisco TRAC spotted a new spam campaign likely propagated by the Zeus botnet. The initial burst of spam was very short in duration and it’s possible this was intended to help hide the campaign, since it appears to be targeted towards users of a Trusteer product called Rapport. Within minutes of the campaign starting, we were seeing millions of messages.

spam3

This spam impersonated a security update from Trusteer. Attached to this file was the “RaportUpdate” file, which contained a trojan. We’ve identified this specific trojan as Fareit. This file is designed to impersonate an update to the legitimate Rapport product, which, as described by Trusteer, “Protects end users against Man-in-the-Browser malware and phishing attacks. By preventing attacks, such as Man-in-the-Browser and Man-in-the-Middle, Trusteer Rapport secures credentials and personal information and stops online fraud and account takeover.”

It’s important to note that while this end-point solution is designed to protect against browser-based threats, this specific attack is email-based. If the user downloads and executes the attachment via their mail client, it could bypass their browser and the protections of a legitimate Rapport client, entirely. If an end user is tricked into running malicious software for an attack via an avenue the attacker can reasonably predict, it becomes much easier to bypass network security devices and software.

 

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Network Solutions Customer Site Compromises and DDoS

Network Solutions is a domain name registrar that manages over 6.6 million domains. As of July 16, 2013, the Network Solutions website is under a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. Recently, Network Solutions has been a target for attackers; in a previous outage, domain name servers were redirected away from their proper IP addresses. This was reported to be a result of a server misconfiguration while Network Solutions was attempting to mitigate a DDoS attack. It is possible that the DDoS attacks are related.

According to isitdownrightnow.com, the Network Solutions site has been having issues for at least the last 24 hours.

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Response time in ms (GMT -8:00)

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TMA? Get Some Relief from Acronym Overload

I see and hear a variety of acronyms being used on a daily basis. I recently heard one tossed around with good humor that makes a point: TMA or Too Many Acronyms. Every once in a while, when I think I’ve embedded the definition and use of an acronym into my long-term memory (anything beyond an extended weekend), it seems as if either a new acronym was spawned, or it has been overloaded with a different meaning. My goal in this blog post is offer both a refresher on some topical acronyms that appear to be quite commonly circulated in security technology circles and media outlets. It is challenging to be a subject matter expert in every aspect of cyber security. Whether you are reading an article, joining a conversation or preparing for a presentation or certification in the realm of cyber security, you may not be completely perplexed by these acronyms when you come across them and become more familiar with them. For situational purposes, I organized the acronyms into categories where I have seen them used frequently and included related links for each of them.

Network Infrastructure

AAAAuthentication, Authorization, and Accounting. This is a set of actions that enable you to control over who is allowed access to the network, what services they are allowed to use once they have access, and track the services and network resources being accessed.

ACL/tACL/iACL/VACL/PACLAccess Control List. ACLs are used to filter traffic based upon a set of rules that you define. For ACLs listed with a prefix (for example, t=transit, i=infrastructure, V=VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network), P=Port)), these ACLs have special purposes to address a particular need within the network.

FW/NGFW/FWSM/ASASM: Firewall/Next Generation Firewall/Firewall Service Module/Adaptive Security Appliance Services Module. These products provide a set of security features designed to govern the communications via the network. Cisco provides firewall features as a dedicated appliance or hardware module that can be added to a network device such as a router.

IPS: Intrusion Prevention System. Typically, this is a network appliance that is used to examine network traffic for the purposes of protecting against targeted attacks, malware, and application and operating system vulnerabilities. In order to ensure the effectiveness of a Cisco IPS device, it  should be maintained using Cisco’s IPS subscription service.

DNSSECDomain Name System (DNS) Security Extensions. That’s right, we have an acronym within an acronym. These are the specifications for security characteristics that make it possible to verify the authenticity of information stored in DNS. This validation makes it possible to provide assurances to resolvers that when they request a particular piece of information from the DNS, that they receive the correct information published by the authoritative source. Read More »

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