At DEF CON 2012 in Las Vegas I sat through a presentation titled “Owning One to Rule them All,” hosted by penetration testers Dave Kennedy and Dave DeSimone. They discussed a recent penetration test that utilized Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager (MSCCM) to gain access to essentially an entire network of computers. MSCCM is intended to streamline the management of multiple devices – desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets – within IT infrastructures. While a tool like MSCCM may seem convenient, granting too many administrative features can lead to more serious network security headaches, including breaches.
Imagine for a second you were presented with a superhuman baby having the ability to learn and retain vast amounts of information. We’ll make it a girl super baby as a tribute to fem-heroes of comic book past. Now, what if on your shoulders lays the opportunity to raise her up and teach her the sum of all human knowledge that ever existed? Like every good mentor, you watch her closely making sure her misunderstandings and confusions are always kept checked, corrected, and resolved. You take pride in how accurate she becomes and are quick to reply “Bring it!” to anyone who wants to test her knowledge. Here at zvelo this what-if situation is a reality and I’d like to share with you the experience of training and working with an intelligent being day after day.
The recent crackdown on well-known Torrent services, aided by Internet Service Providers, has led to the increasing use of anonymizers. As the name implies, anonymizers allow for anonymous web browsing and are used by end users to bypass restrictions or blocks to web content. Anonymizers are proxy services, or “proxies,” that receive and execute web requests on behalf of the user, making online activity untraceable. It is the untraceable aspect of anonymizers that has caught the attention of the underground community.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), now in its 16th year of combatting some of the worst online criminal content, has released its 2011 Annual and Charity Report. In it, the IWF disclosed some alarming trends and statistics about the proliferation of child sexual abuse images online. The IWF also noted significant successes in combatting this inappropriate type of web content, as detailed in the following excerpts.
Brand safety is one of the most important metrics of success for online advertisers. Ad placements on inappropriate web pages can negatively impact brand appeal, leading to lost revenue. PR nightmares will also erupt if ads are delivered onto malicious or compromised websites, which tend to frequently go online and offline. Publishers and online advertising delivery vendors are challenged with addressing the brand safety demand head on, and while some entities have stepped up through noted technological innovation, others still lag in winning over advertiser sentiment.
”Drive by” spam attacks are a growing business network security risk, affecting those who open emails containing a malicious script that downloads malware to the user’s PC that ultimately infects the company’s network. These emails don’t always include an attachment. Some HTML-based varieties are reported to be activated with the mere opening of an email and nothing more.
I had the privilege of discussing the state of mobile phone payments systems, like Google Wallet, on a local radio station show called “Backbone Radio” in mid-February, 2012, which is co-hosted by Joshua Sharf. The segment aired on 710-AM KNUS in Denver and 1460-AM KZNT radio out of Colorado Springs.
Much has been said in the last few days about the security of the Android platform in general and Google Wallet specifically. One frequent question that has been asked of the Google Wallet PIN vulnerability we found is “should the average consumer be concerned about mobile device exploits that require root privileges?” The unfortunate answer is “yes.” The reason is that while it is true that this PIN vulnerability requires root privileges to succeed, it does not require that the device be rooted previously.
Cell phone-based credit card payments are a burgeoning industry. There is a great deal of backroom negotiation going on today among players like Google, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. They each want to establish themselves as a middleman in what they are betting will be a trillion dollar a year industry. The stakes are very high.
The Safer Internet Day (SID) is a commendable initiative organized by the UK Safer Internet Centre each February to promote safer and more responsible use of online technologies, especially amongst children. Each year hundreds of localized and virtual events are organized to raise awareness about online safety issues.