Tag Archives: activity

[ISN] Random numbers aren’t, says infosec boffin

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/11/your_numbers_arent_random_says_infosec_boffin/ By Richard Chirgwin The Register 11 Aug 2015 The randomness (or rather, lack thereof) of pseudo-random number generators (PRNGs) is a persistent pain for those who work at the low layers of cryptography. Security researcher Bruce Potter, whose activity in the field stretches back more than a decade, when he demonstrated war-driving using Bluetooth, says problems both in design and implementation undermine the effectiveness of common crypto libraries. Now Potter’s work (his BlackHat presentation is here [PDF]) has led to the claim that nobody really understands what’s going on. Part of the problem, he writes, is that people tend to conflate “entropy” with “randomness”, when in fact the two mean different things: entropy is a measurement of the uncertainty of an outcome, while randomness is a long-term assessment of entropy. […]




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[ISN] Report: Hack of government employee records discovered by product demo

http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/06/report-hack-of-government-employee-records-discovered-by-product-demo/ By Sean Gallagher Ars Technica June 11, 2015 As officials of the Obama administration announced that millions of sensitive records associated with current and past federal employees and contractors had been exposed by a long-running infiltration of the networks and systems of the Office of Personnel Management on June 4, they claimed the breach had been found during a government effort to correct problems with OPM’s security. An OPM statement on the attack said that the agency discovered the breach as it had “undertaken an aggressive effort to update its cybersecurity posture.” And a DHS spokesperson told Ars that “interagency partners” were helping the OPM improve its network monitoring “through which OPM detected new malicious activity affecting its information technology systems and data in April 2015.” Those statements may not be entirely accurate. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the breach was indeed discovered in April. But according to sources who spoke to the WSJ’s Damian Paletta and Siobhan Hughes, it was in fact discovered during a sales demonstration of a network forensics software package called CyFIR by its developer, CyTech Services. “CyTech, trying to show OPM how its cybersecurity product worked, ran a diagnostics study on OPM’s network and discovered malware was embedded on the network,” Paletta and Hughes reported. And, according to federal investigators, that malware may have been in place for over a year. US intelligence agencies have joined the investigation into the breach. But it’s still not even clear what data was accessed by the attackers. Meanwhile, the breach has triggered outrage from unions representing federal employees. In a letter to OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, American Federation of Government Employees president J. David Cox expressed displeasure at the way OPM had handled the breach, calling the 18 months of credit monitoring and $1 million liability insurance OPM is offering federal employees “entirely inadequate, either as compensation or protection from harm.” […]


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[ISN] Tallinn 2.0 and a Chinese View on the Tallinn Process

http://www.lawfareblog.com/2015/05/tallinn-2-0-and-a-chinese-view-on-the-tallinn-process/ By Ashley Deeks LAWFARE May 31, 2015 This past week, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence put on its annual Cyber Conflict conference in Tallinn, Estonia. The conference boasted a number of experienced cyber-hands, including Adm. Mike Rodgers, DefCon founder Jeff Moss, and law of armed conflict expert Mike Schmitt. One of the most interesting sessions, which included a presentation by Mike, focused on aspects of the Tallinn Manual versions 1.0 and 2.0. Version 1.0, produced by an independent group of experts, came out in 2013. It proffered what the experts saw as current black letter law on jus ad bellum and jus in bello rules relevant to cyber operations. The Manual includes both crisp articulations of the rules and more extensive commentary setting out the legal basis for the rule and any differences that arose among the experts. Version 2.0 picks up where Version 1.0 left off, and will set forth the experts’ views on what international law applies to cyber activity that falls below the level of armed conflict or the use of force. Mike previewed some of the topics that 2.0’s group of experts will discuss, including customary rules related to sovereignty. As Mike notes, sovereignty is not simply a factor restricting a state’s activities in other states’ territory. It also is the basis for states to regulate and exercise jurisdiction within their territory over people, hardware, and cyber operations. One challenge for the experts will be to achieve consensus on what types of activities by one state violate another state’s sovereignty: what level of damage, intrusion, or alteration of data suffices? Other norms up for discussion relate to due diligence obligations by states to stop actions that produce adverse consequences for other states, and the applicability of state responsibility (including counter-measures and the use of “necessity” arguments). Tallinn 2.0 has the potential to be even more influential than Tallinn 1.0, because it systematically will address activities that are far more prevalent in the cyber realm than uses of force or armed attacks. Bill Boothby, a former Deputy Director of Legal Services for the UK Royal Air Force, then provided a retrospective look at Tallinn 1.0. Mike Schmitt had asked Bill to review all of the literature that offered reviews or critiques of Tallinn 1.0, to assess whether to consider certain modest amendments to the Manual’s commentary (though not to its black letter rules) or to take up certain issues that Tallinn 1.0 did not cover. Bill assessed that there has been huge interest in the Manual since it came out, but that the Manual reflected “all reasonable positions” on the issues it took up and that there were only a few amendments worth pondering. In particular, Bill wondered whether the definition of what constitutes a “cyber attack” might need to expand to include “major disruptions” that nevertheless do not produce physical harm to the affected state. He also asked whether the jus in bello rule on precautions was ill-suited to cyber, given that states utterly have failed to segregate their military cyber infrastructure from civilian cyber infrastructure. […]


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[ISN] Russian hackers used State Dept. systems to Phish White House staffers

http://www.csoonline.com/article/2907122/data-protection/russian-hackers-used-state-dept-systems-to-phish-white-house-staffers.html By Steve Ragan CSO Apr 7, 2015 U.S. officials, who have been briefed on the investigation so far, have told CNN that Russian hackers used their access after compromising the U.S. State Department to target sensitive information on the unclassified White House network. Last October, a White House official told Reuters that suspicious activity had been detected on the Executive Office of the President (EOP) network. The incident was blamed for an outage on the EOP network a week prior to the story breaking, somewhat aligning with statements given to the Washington Post by officials who noted that the problems on the unclassified network were caused by hackers out of Russia. CNN’s story however, adds new details to the previous coverage. While the blame is still centered on actors out of Russia, the unclassified network that was breached held sensitive information the hackers are said to have had access to, including real-time non-public details of the president’s schedule. […]


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[ISN] Could Security Concerns Scuttle M&A And Investment Deals?

http://www.darkreading.com/attacks-breaches/could-security-concerns-scuttle-manda-and-investment-deals/d/d-id/1319798 By Ericka Chickowski Dark Reading April 6, 2015 Last week’s breach of communication software start-up Slack offered a great example of how information security is not just a big consideration of customers and business partners, but also potential investors and acquiring companies. Increasingly, financial experts believe that the examination of a company’s IT security posture should be as much a part of the due diligence process prior to investment or mergers and acquisition activity as an ROI analysis should be. In the case of Slack, the breach occurred just after the company was rounding up $160 million in investment. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, “It’s unclear when Slack discovered the breach or if new investors were told of it before they agreed to the deal.” Because the funding story was the result of leaked information from confidential sources and the company is pretty closed-mouthed over the deal, it may be hard to ever know if the breach has or will materially impact the closing of Slack’s latest funding round. But one thing you can bet on is that as large-scale breaches continue to gain awareness in the board room, M&A and other investment deals may include security contingencies to cover investors’ backsides. “I could foresee a situation in which, number one, a deal might go through, but one of the terms is that certain upgrades and certain measures be taken from a data security perspective between the time of signing and closing,” says Scott Vernick, head of the data security and privacy practice at the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP. “And, two, I could see closing contingent upon there being no material adverse changes, just like anything else. I could also see certain holdbacks from the purchase price if the buyer determines that you’ve got to spend $5 million or $10 million or whatever it is to bring someone up to best practices or a more robust security environment.” As Vernick explains, though security evaluation adds yet another layer of complexity to the already arduous due diligence process, it is something that shouldn’t be optional within the vetting process for M&A. […]


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[ISN] FBI Warns U.S. Companies of Cyber Terror

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/fbi-warns-of-anti-israel-cyber-attacks/ By Bill Gertz The Washington Free Beacon April 2, 2015 The FBI is warning U.S. companies that cyber terrorists from the Middle East and North Africa are planning to conduct cyber attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests next week. The Bureau stated in a security notice to U.S. industry on Sunday that, as of early March, “several extremist hacking groups indicated they would participate in a forthcoming operation, #OpIsrael, which will target Israeli and Jewish Web sites.” “Given the perceived connections between the government of Israel and Israeli financial institutions, and those of the United States, #OpIsrael participants may also shift their operations to target vulnerable U.S.-based financial targets or Jewish-oriented organizations within the United States,” the FBI warning said. “Based on historical attacks, the FBI assesses that attacks which may spawn from #OpIsrael to target U.S.-based systems will likely constitute only a small percentage of overall activity.” The FBI said members of at least two extremist hacking groups it did not identify are currently working to recruit hackers for the attacks next week, which will coincide with the second anniversary of the first #OpIsrael cyber attacks. Those were launched on April 7, 2013, and timed to coincide with Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins the evening of April 15. […]


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[ISN] Startup finds malware intrusions by keeping an eye on processor radio frequencies

http://www.networkworld.com/article/2875517/security0/startup-finds-malware-intrusions-by-keeping-an-eye-on-processor-radio-frequencies.html By Tim Greene Network World Jan 26, 2015 PFP Cybersecurity, a startup with roots in academia and the military, seeks out malware by analyzing the performance of hardware – not software and not the behavior of devices on the network. PFP’s system compares ongoing radio-frequency output from processors to a baseline that is established when the device is known to be performing legitimate tasks. When it detects anomalies that might represent malicious activity, it triggers alarms. Then it’s up to other tools to figure out what exactly is behind the problem. The system could be used to keep an eye on a large number of similar devices all performing the same task, such as those found in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks that support power grids, chemical plants and the like. Savannah River National Laboratory is considering the gear for to protect its smart-grid relays. The system could also be used to check new devices as they are delivered from the plants where they are made in order to find faulty ones or ones that have been tampered with, the company says. […]


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[ISN] New Technology Detects Cyberattacks By Their Power Consumption

http://www.darkreading.com/analytics/security-monitoring/new-technology-detects-cyberattacks-by-their-power-consumption-/d/d-id/1318669 By Kelly Jackson Higgins Dark Reading 1/20/2015 Startup’s “power fingerprinting” approach catches Stuxnet infection within seconds in DOE power grid test bed. A security startup launching early next week uses trends in power consumption activity, rather than standard malware detection, to spot cyberattacks against power and manufacturing plants. The technology successfully spotted Stuxnet in an experimental network before the malware went into action. PFP Cybersecurity, which officially launches on Monday and was originally funded by DARPA, the Defense Department, and the Department of Homeland Security, basically establishes the baseline power consumption of ICS/SCADA equipment such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), supervisory relays, or other devices and issues an alert when power consumption or RF radiation changes outside of their baseline usage occur. Such changes could be due to malware, as well as to hardware or system failures, for instance. The US Department of Energy’s Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) recently tested the PFP technology’s ability to detect Stuxnet on a Siemens SIMATIC S7-1200 PLC. Joe Cordaro, advisory engineer with SRNL, says the PFP system right away found Stuxnet on the PLC, before the infamous malware began to activate


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