Aug 31 2016

Cisco Releases Security Updates

Original release date: August 31, 2016

Cisco has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in several products. Exploitation of some of these vulnerabilities could allow a remote attacker to take control of an affected system.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review the following Cisco Security Advisories and apply the necessary updates:


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


Aug 31 2016

Google Releases Security Update for Chrome

Original release date: August 31, 2016

Google has released Chrome version 53.0.2785.89 to address multiple vulnerabilities for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Exploitation of some of these vulnerabilities may allow an attacker to take control of an affected system.

Users and administrators are encouraged to review the Chrome Releases page and apply the necessary update.


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


Aug 31 2016

New cloud attack takes full control of virtual machines with little effort

Enlarge

The world has seen the most unsettling attack yet resulting from the so-called Rowhammer exploit, which flips individual bits in computer memory. It's a technique that's so surgical and controlled that it allows one machine to effectively steal the cryptographic keys of another machine hosted in the same cloud environment.

Until now, Rowhammer has been a somewhat clumsy and unpredictable attack tool because it was hard to control exactly where data-corrupting bit flips happened. While previous research demonstrated that it could be used to elevate user privileges and break security sandboxes, most people studying Rowhammer said there was little immediate danger of it being exploited maliciously to hijack the security of computers that use vulnerable chips. The odds of crucial data being stored in a susceptible memory location made such hacks largely a matter of chance that was stacked against the attacker. In effect, Rowhammer was more a glitch than an exploit.

Now, computer scientists have developed a significantly more refined Rowhammer technique they call Flip Feng Shui. It manipulates deduplication operations that many cloud hosts use to save memory resources by sharing identical chunks of data used by two or more virtual machines. Just as traditional Feng Shui aims to create alignment or harmony in a home or office, Flip Feng Shui can massage physical memory in a way that causes crypto keys and other sensitive data to be stored in locations known to be susceptible to Rowhammer.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Aug 31 2016

So much for counter-phishing training: Half of people click anything sent to them

With a name or just a general description of some generic event, researchers were able to "spear-phish" half of their test subjects. (credit: Wikipedia)

Security experts often talk about the importance of educating people about the risks of "phishing" e-mails containing links to malicious websites. But sometimes, even awareness isn't enough. A study by researchers at a university in Germany found that about half of the subjects in a recent experiment clicked on links from strangers in e-mails and Facebook messages—even though most of them claimed to be aware of the risks.

The researchers at the Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU) of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, led by FAU Computer Science Department Chair Dr Zinaida Benenson, revealed the initial results of the study at this month's Black Hat security conference. Simulated "spear phishing" attacks were sent to 1,700 test subjects—university students—from fake accounts.

The e-mail and Facebook accounts were set up with the ten most common names in the age group of the targets. The Facebook profiles had varying levels of publicly accessible profile and timeline data—some with public photos and profile photos, and others with minimal data. The messages claimed the links were to photos taken at a New Year's Eve party held a week before the study. Two sets of messages were sent out: in the first, the targets were addressed by their first name; in the second, they were not addressed by name, but more general information about the event allegedly photographed was given. Links sent resolved to a webpage with the message "access denied," but the site logged the clicks by each student.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments