Archive for the ‘All’ Category

Public Instant Messaging Scanning Service

Monday, March 27th, 2006

By Cara Garretson, Network World, 03/20/06

“Web security company ScanSafe this week plans to announce a new service aimed at protecting instant-messaging channels from viruses, spam, and other threats, as well as enforcing policies across this increasingly popular communications mechanism.”

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Ransomware Password Revealed

Monday, March 27th, 2006

A trojan horse virus is spreading across the Internet that encrypts Word documents, spreadsheets, and databases.  It then leaves a file demanding $300 in return for the password necessary to decrypt the ransomed files.  However, Technicians at Sophos have extracted the password (yes, it looks like a path name):

C:\Program Files\Microsoft \Visual Studio\VC8

This kind of attack seems to be growing.  So keep those anti-virus and firewall programs up-to-date.


Author:  Tom Olzak

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User Awareness Alert: IE Exploit Strikes, Installs Spyware

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

“The unpatched CreateTextRange vulnerability in Internet Explorer is already being used by at least one Web site to install spyware on users’ machines, a security organization said Friday.

“‘We just received a report that a particular site uses the vulnerability to install a spybot variant,’ the SANS Institute’s Internet Storm Center (ISC) warned Friday in an alert. ‘It is a minor site with insignificant visitor numbers according to Netcraft’s ‘Site rank.’”

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Writely: A great product with questionable security

Friday, March 17th, 2006

For those of you not familiar with Writely, it’s an online beta word processing service that provides the following services:

  1. Create documents online
  2. Upload documents from Word
  3. Publish to the web
  4. Post to your blog
  5. Participate in online collaboration with people you specify

Yes, it’s a great product with fantastic potential.  And now that Google has purchased the company, Upstartle, things could get very interesting.  There is just one catch; there are no safeguards to protect the content of documents during editing or viewing.

On February 27, 2006, in the Writely blog, Jen, an employee of Upstartle, responded to a thread in which users questioned why SSL protection was not provided. 

 [QUOTE=Jen]OK, now I have to reply ;-}

We don’t have SSL definitively planned as part of a premium service, although that’s certainly possible. SSL will definitely slow the service down, which is why we would likely not make it the default in the basic service. Yes, I know this response is vague, but it’s only because our plans are not final![/QUOTE]

As I posted to the Writely blog, it’s irresponsible for an organization to provide a tool like this without any apparent regard for safeguarding the activities of its users.  I hope that Google takes a different approach with this innovative and, in my opinion, much needed service.

 Author:  Tom Olzak

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DNS Cache Poisoning: Definition and Prevention

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

The Internet would grind to a halt – would not be possible – without a Domain Name System (DNS).  As you’ll see in this paper, the proper operation of DNS is fundamental to the maintenance and distribution of the addresses for the vast number of nodes around the globe.  So it would be too much to hope for crackers (malicious hackers) to ignore DNS as they continuously look for new ways to circumvent your security.  There are several facets to DNS security. 

In this paper we focus on one of the most dangerous types of attack – DNS cache poisoning.  To provide a complete picture of this threat, we’ll explore how DNS works, two ways crackers facilitate cache poisoning, what impact this type of attack can have on your organization, and steps you can take to protect your information assets.

Download this paper

Author:  Tom Olzak 

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User Awareness Alert: Open source digital signatures might be vulnerable

Monday, March 13th, 2006

“A pair of security bugs in cryptography software could allow an attacker to insert content into a digitally signed message or forge signatures on files.

“The flaws lie in the open-source GNU Privacy Guard software, also known as GnuPG and GPG, the GnuPG group said in two alerts. The software, a free replacement for the Pretty Good Privacy cryptographic technology, ships with many open-source operating systems such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD and many Linux distributions” (By Joris Evers, CNET Published on ZDNet News: March 10, 2006, 2:38 PM PT).

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Technical Security Alert: Rootkits can be hidden in virtual machines

Monday, March 13th, 2006

“Security researchers have uncovered new techniques to hide the presence of malware on infected systems. By hiding rootkit software in virtual machine environments, hackers have the potential to avoid detection by security software, boffins at Microsoft Research and the University of Michigan warn” (John Leyden, published 13 March 2006 in The Register).

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CipherTrust Toolbar to Protect Email Users

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

Last week, I wrote a blog article about the growth of SPF and Sender ID technology in the fight against unwanted email (spam, phishing, etc.).  It appears that CipherTrust is taking advantage of its own implementation of these standards to help make the Internet a safer place – at no cost.

On Monday, March 13, CipherTrust plans to make available for download a free toolbar for Outlook and Lotus Notes email users.  The toolbar will be available from the CipherTrust Research Portal, which will also launch Monday.

This is the way it works:

  1. The user clicks on an email
  2. The CipherTrust toolbar program sends the IP address of the sender to a CipherTrust hosted server running the TrustedSource reputation engine for analysis
  3. The results of the analysis are returned to the user’s desktop causing the toolbar to flash:
    1. Green with a happy-face when the email is from a reputable sender
    2. Yellow for questionable trustworthiness
    3. Red when the user should probably just delete the message

The data used for analysis come from CipherTrust’s global network of more than 4,000 sensors installed in business and government networks.  They’re collected on TrustedSource servers where the trustworthiness of the source is assessed to a very granular level.  The assessment is based on the following criteria:

  1. Is this the first time the sender has been seen?  According to CipherTrust, about 30% of IP addresses analyzed fall into this category.  Of those, about 95% are spam, viruses, etc.
  2. How much email is the sender responsible for?
  3. Does the sender send and receive email, or just send?
  4. Does the sender’s behavior seem “bursty” or is it more continuous?

This is one more step in the right direction.  Although not perfect, it goes quite a distance down the path toward a world in which the Internet is a safe place to travel the globe. 

Author:  Tom Olzak

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New Training Page

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

We’ve added a new training page to our website.  The courses are free, and you can listen to them online or download them for personal or team viewing.

User Awareness Alert: New IM Malware

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

“An anti-virus vendor warned Tuesday that two new worms spreading on Microsoft’s and America Online’s instant messaging networks delete files and leave systems open to hijacking.

“Symantec posted alerts for the “Hotmatom” and “Maniccum” worms, and ranked both as a level “2″ threat. The Cupertino, Calif.-based security company uses a 1 through 5 scale to label worms, viruses, and Trojans”

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