Dec 30 2015

Linode DDoS Attack – Merry Xmas Sysadmins

So the Linode DDoS attack – seems like this xmas has been a terrible time for sys admins, along with what happened to Steam and A Small Orange (100+ hours down). A whole lot of work during the most drunken holiday of the year, not fun. And yes it affected me too, work wise everything [...] The post Linode DDoS Attack – Merry Xmas...

Read the full post at darknet.org.uk
Dec 30 2015

Google slams AVG for exposing Chrome user data with “security” plugin

Safer browsing... except someone can watch everything you search?

A free plugin installed by AVG AntiVirus bypassed the security of Google's Chrome browser, potentially exposing the browsing histories and other personal data of customers to the Internet. The vulnerability, demonstrated in an exploit by a Google researcher earlier this year, has now been patched after initial stumbling attempts by AVG, according to a discussion of the bug in Google's security research discussion list.

AVG's "Web TuneUp" tool is a free download from the Chrome Store intended to provide reputation-based protection against malicious websites, and it was "force-installed" by AVG AntiVirus in a way that broke the security checks Chrome uses to test for malicious plugins and malware. The plugin works by sending the Web addresses of sites visited by the user to AVG's servers to check them against a database of known malicious sites. But the way the plugin was constructed meant that information could be easily exploited by an attacker through cross-site scripting [XSS], according to a post by Google Security researcher Tavis Ormandy on December 15.

"This extension adds numerous JavaScript API's to Chrome, apparently so that they can hijack search settings and the new tab page," Ormandy wrote. "The installation process is quite complicated so that they can bypass the chrome malware checks, which specifically tries to stop abuse of the extension API. Anyway, many of the API's are broken."

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Dec 29 2015

Microsoft may have your encryption key; here’s how to take it back

(credit: Linus Bohman)

As happens from time to time, somebody has spotted a feature in Windows 10 that isn't actually new and has largely denounced it as a great privacy violation.

The Intercept has written that if you have bought a Windows PC recently then Microsoft probably has your encryption key. This is a reference to Windows' device encryption feature. We wrote about this feature when it was new, back when Microsoft introduced it in Windows 8.1 in 2013 (and before that, in Windows RT.

Device encryption is a simplified version of the BitLocker drive encryption that made its debut in Windows Vista in 2006. The full BitLocker requires a Pro or Enterprise edition of Windows, and includes options such as integration with Active Directory, support for encrypting removable media, and the use of passwords or USB keys to unlock the encrypted disk. Device encryption is more restricted. It only supports internal system drives, and it requires the use of Secure Boot, Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM), and Connected Standby-capable hardware. This is because Device encryption is designed to be automatic; it uses the TPM to store the password used to decrypt the disk, and it uses Secure Boot to ensure that nothing has tampered with the system to compromise that password.

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Dec 28 2015

Common payment processing protocols found to be full of flaws

Credit card users could have their PINs stolen, and merchants could have their bank accounts pillaged, in a set of attacks demonstrated by researchers Karsten Nohl and Fabian Bräunlein at the Chaos Computing Club security conference.

Much research has been done into the chips found on credit cards and the readers and number pads used with these cards, but Nohl decided to take a different approach, looking instead at the communications protocols used by those card readers. There are two that are significant; the first, ZVT, is used between point of sale systems and the card readers. The second, Poseidon, is used between the card reader and the merchant's bank. Nohl found that both had important flaws.

The ZVT protocol was originally designed for serial port connections, but nowadays is used over Ethernet, both wired and wireless. The protocol has no authentication, meaning that if an attacker can put themselves on the same network, they can act as a man-in-the-middle between the point-of-sale system and the card reader. The attacker can then read the magnetic stripe data from the card, and can also request a PIN.

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