Tomb, a Successor To TrueCrypt For Linux Geeks

Original Article 
from the tomb-is-a-nice-friendly-word dept.

jaromil writes:

Last day we released Tomb version 2.1 with improvements to stability, documentation and translations. Tomb is just a ZSh script wrapping around cryptsetup, gpg and other tools to facilitate the creation and management of LUKS encrypted volumes with features like key separation, steganography, off-line search, QRcode paper backups etc. In designing Tomb we struggle for minimalism and readability, convinced that the increasing complexity of personal technology is the root of many vulnerabilities the world is witnessing today — and this approach turns out to be very successful, judging from the wide adoption, appreciation and contributions our project has received especially after the demise of TrueCrypt.
As maintainer of the software I wonder what Slashdot readers think about what we are doing, how we are doing it and more in general about the need for simplicity in secure systems, a debate I perceive as transversal to many other GNU/Linux/BSD projects and their evolution. Given the increasing responsibility in maintaining such a software, considering the human-interface side of things is an easy to reach surface of attack, I can certainly use some advice and criticism.

Posted by timothy 2 days ago

IT Workers Training Their Foreign Replacements

IT Workers Training Their Foreign Replacements ‘Troubling,’ Says White Housefrom the understating-the-matter dept.

dcblogs writes:

A top White House official told House lawmakers this week that the replacement of U.S. workers by H-1B visa holders is ‘troubling’ and not supposed to happen. That answer came in response to a question from U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) that referenced Disney workers who had to train their temporary visa holding replacements (the layoffs were later canceled. Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said if H-1B workers are being used to replace U.S. workers, then “it’s a very serious failing of the H-1B program.” But Johnson also told lawmakers that they may not be able to stop it, based on current law. Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at Howard University who has testified before Congress multiple times on H-1B visa use, sees that as a “bizarre interpretation” of the law.

Posted by Soulskill 2 days ago

7 Things You Should Know…

7 Things You Should Know About Secure Payment Technology

Despite the existence of EMV and Apple Pay, we’re a long way from true payment security, especially in the US.

 
 The summer of 2014 was defined by point-of-sale malware and retail breaches — Backoff at UPS, BlackPOS at Home Depot, and the like.

With such threats out there, merchants have had to pay more attention to secure payment technology. But most of it doesn’t have anything to do with malware lifting payment card data off of PoS terminals. Rather, the principal goal of new tech is to simply prevent PoS terminals from ever holding that data in the first place — so even if attackers can compromise a terminal, the data they slurp off is of no use to them.
Here are a few things you should know about the state of secure payments today. 
image: “alec – Mr. Money Bags,” by Aisle22

Data lifted off magnetic stripe payment cards fetches a high price on the black market because it can be used to print counterfeit cards, and skimmers make it relatively easy to steal. Payment cards equipped with EMV chips — for “Chip-and-PIN” transactions — eliminate that particular risk.

Yet, while 99.9% of PoS terminals in Europe are chip-enabled by now, the U.S. is one of the last countries to adopt EMV.
“We should have done it five- to seven years ago,” says Avivah Litan, vice president and distinguished analyst for Gartner. “Now it will still take us another two- to four.”
Al Pascual, director of security, risk, and fraud for Javelin Strategy and Research, explains that part of the reason for the disparity is that European merchants needed the technology more (or thought they did). In the U.S., most card-present payments are authorized at the time of purchase, yet, in Europe, there are still many purchases made “offline” — which makes the protection provided by EMV more important.
Card issuers, not merchants, have usually been the ones to absorb the costs of fraud. So for them, there’s reason to put EMV chips into cards. (Though, they’ve still been slow to do it, stating that customers weren’t asking for it, merchants weren’t accepting it, and therefore it wasn’t worth the investment of replacing cards, which is approximately $1 to $2.50 per card.)
For merchants, EMV is just another thing to have to implement — at the cost of $300 to $400 per terminal — and why bother, if the banks aren’t even issuing chip-equipped cards?
In October 2015, the grand “liability shift” takes effect. From then on, in the event of payment card fraud, whichever party has the lesser security is the one to be stuck with liability. So, if the card issuer has put an EMV chip in the card, but the merchant has not updated their PoS terminals to accept EMV, then the merchant is liable; and vice versa.
“Monopoly Money [Explored],” by Jason Devaun

As Litan explains, attackers are finding ways around EMV. Part of the reason they’re able to do it is that card issuers relax their fraud protection controls on EMV purchases.

She provides the example of a group of attackers in Brazil who were able to complete fake EMV transactions using stolen magstripe data. As she explained in a recent report:
They took the stolen card data and attached to it dummy cryptograms and dummy one-time codes that are part of EMV card transaction sets, and successfully transmitted payment authorization requests over payment processing networks to EMV and non-EMV card issuers across the globe. These fraudulent transactions were subsequently authorized and settled, and the fraud scheme succeeded against non-EMV (only magstripe) U.S. card issuers and EMV card issuers in different countries.
EMV card issuers outside the U.S. authorized these fraudulent EMV transactions because their controls simply looked for the EMV transaction indicator, which was enough for their authorization systems to approve the card payment request. The EMV issuers were caught off guard because they had not implemented “handshakes” for the transaction’s EMV cryptograms and one-time codes.
“They relaxed fraud controls,” says Litan, “so they got caught with their pants down.”
Attackers targeting Home Depot stores in Canada found another way around EMV, leveraging the fact that PoS terminals have to accept both EMV and magnetic stripe cards. They infected point-of-sale terminals with malware that social-engineered shoppers. The PoS would simply prompt customers to swipe their cards — even if they had EMV-equipped cards. They’d lift the magstripe data, then complete the transaction through the EMV chip.
Even when tokenization technology is added to the mix, Litan explains that malware authors can steal the magstripe data before it’s tokenized. The only way to prevent that is by implementing point-to-point encryption (P2PE).
“P2PE is really what the retailers are focused on,” says Litan, but unfortunately most P2PE solutions have not yet been PCI-certified, so some retailers are hesitant to deploy them. Merchants get some breaks on their PCI audits if they use P2PE, but only if they use PCI-certified P2PE applications.
“rolled my age,” by john.d.mcdonald

If, because of tokenization, merchants and payment processors don’t need to actually see payment data, then attackers won’t need to steal payment data — they’ll just need to steal tokens.

“Token vaults will become a huge target,” says Pascual. “That’s where the [attackers’] focus will be.”
So why bother with tokenization?
“You could teach a 5-year-old how to skim cards,” says Pascual, but “you’re not going to teach a 5-year-old to break into a token vault.”
“Monopoly Free Parking Ver2,” by StockMonkeys.com.

In September, Apple announced details on the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, including that the new devices will be equipped with Apple Pay — a contactless mobile payment scheme that tokenizes payments, never communicates credit card data to the merchant, and essentially turns an iPhone into a mini point-of-sale terminal.

As Apple describes it:

With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual credit and debit card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted, and securely stored in the Secure Element, a dedicated chip in iPhone and Apple Watch. These numbers are never stored on Apple servers.
So, the only point of failure is on the card-holder’s Apple device, not on an Apple server that could be targeted by attackers. There are certainly benefits to that system, but Apple Pay raises a new question: do you want Apple, not merchants, to be responsible for payment data security?
“While for those who work in fraud and security there is still a bit of a question mark,” says Pascual, “the average consumer, they don’t care.”
In any case, Apple Pay is “worlds more secure than what you’re using now,” says Pascual. “Regardless of whether or not Apple has the payment security chops, it’s better than the pedestrian, old-school” magnetic stripe methods that are currently in use.
Litan agrees: “It’s actually very secure,” she says, noting that it is not built on a proprietary Apple tokenization protocol, but rather the EMVCo tokenization standard.
“Monopoly Thimble,” by Rich Brooks

Merchants are more likely to invest in new payment tech if it reduces “friction” — in other words, if it speeds up the transaction process or reduces the number of hoops a potential buyer has to jump through to complete a purchase.

Conversely, any tech that increases friction is usually avoided. Case in point: 3D Secure — the technology behind Verified by Visa, Mastercard Secure Code, and American Express SafeKey.
3D Secure helps prevent fraudulent card-not-present transactions, like those made through online stores. When a user initiates a purchase, they are redirected to a separate web page — the issuing bank’s 3D Secure authentication page. If the card holder authenticates successfully, the transaction will proceed.
3D Secure is “being used pretty extensively in Europe,” says Litan. “But Amazon would never use it,” because it adds friction, eliminating “one-click shopping.”
“Monopoly,” by Mike Mozart

Apple Pay isn’t the only new payment technology out there. There are rumors that Google is testing something called Google Plaso — a point-of-sale system which presumably reduces friction by allowing users to complete purchases simply by telling the cashier their initials.

There’s the “Hidden Mastercard” revealed at CES, which aims to make the transition from magstripe to Chip-and-PIN a bit smoother and more secure. It looks like a card, but it’s really a little computer. The user must authenticate to the card itself, and then is given a one-time card number — which appears on the front of the card and is fed into the magnetic stripe and the EMV chip. Once the purchase is made, the one-time card data is erased.
There’s also Natural Security, a payment technology that uses biometric authentication, which has been around for years, but still hasn’t caught on.
There will, no doubt, be others — but how different will they be, really? Pascual says there’s “so much money tied up in cards,” and it would be at least 10 years before we move away from cards and onto some other form factor.
Further, explains Litan, all of these technologies are still linked to bank accounts. The only payment tech that is truly different are alternative currencies, like Bitcoin, which comes with its own set of problems.
Do any of the new payment technologies pique your fancy? Do you think Apple Pay is all it’s cracked up to be? Do you think EMV adoption will really accelerate when the liability shift happens in October? Let us know in the comments below.
*****************************

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad … View Full Bio

 

Commodore PC Still Controls Heat and A/C At 19 Michigan Public Schools

Commodore PC Still Controls Heat and A/C At 19 Michigan Public Schoolsfrom the if-it-ain’t-broke dept.

jmulvey writes:

Think your SCADA systems are outdated? Environmental monitoring at 19 Grand Rapids Public Schools are still controlled by a Commodore Amiga. Programmed by a High School student in the 1980s, the system has been running 24/7 for decades. A replacement has been budgeted by the school system, estimated cost: Between $1.5 and 2 million. How much is your old Commodore Amiga worth?

Posted by Soulskill a day ago

Trojanized, Info-Stealing PuTTY Version Lurking Onlinefrom the at-your-command-prompt dept.

Original Article
One of the best first steps in setting up a Windows machine is to install PuTTY on it, so you have a highly evolved secure shell at your command. An anonymous reader writes, though, with a note of caution if you’re installing PuTTY from a source other than the project’s own official page. A malicious version with information-stealing abilities has been found in the wild. According to the article:

Compiled from source, this malicious version is apparently capable of stealing the credentials needed to connect to those servers. “Data that is sent through SSH connections may be sensitive and is often considered a gold mine for a malicious actor. Attackers can ultimately use this sensitive information to get the highest level of privileges on a computer or server, (known as ‘root’ access) which can give them complete control over the targeted system,” the researchers explained.

The Symantec report linked above also shows that (at least for this iteration) the malware version is easy to spot, by hitting the “About” information for the app.

Posted by timothy 10 days ago

USBKill turns thumb drives into computer kill switches

original article 

A coder that goes by the online handle “Hephaestos” has shared with the world a Python script that, when put on an USB thumb drive, turns the device in an effective kill switch for the computer in which it’s plugged in.


USBkill, as the programmer dubbed it, “waits for a change on your USB ports, then immediately kills your computer.”

The device would be useful “in case the police comes busting in, or steals your laptop from you when you are at a public library (as with Ross [Ulbricht]),” Hephaestos explained. 

Using a cord to attach the USB key to one’s wrist will assure that the USB is removed instantly with a quick tug upon the arrest of the user or the seizure of the computer. 

Of course, if the user doesn’t use full disk encryption in the first place, the device becomes useless.

Hephaestos says that USBkill is still in the early stages, but that it works, and works well.



http://platform.twitter.com/widgets/follow_button.95466a0b743d88fdf27be4b6df8e2945.en.html#_=1430956117971&dnt=false&id=twitter-widget-0&lang=en&screen_name=zeljkazorz&show_count=false&show_screen_name=true&size=l

Trend Micro: Hackers Using Android App For Sextortion   

 

Researchers found that the extortionists first lure their victims through a number of online chatting tools   
Saturday, March 28, 2015:  Security software company Trend Micro has come up with a new finding in which they detected that criminals have developed advanced mobile applications and tools that siphon their victims’ online passwords and contacts to increase the chance that they will pay up.

In a latest report ‘sextortion in the far east’, Trend Micro’s researchers detailed a new Android app that criminals are using to pressure their victims into blackmail.

Sextortion is the act of coercing cybercrime victims to perform sexual favors or to pay large amounts of money in exchange for the non-exposure of their explicit images, videos, or conversations.

Cybercriminals lure, record, and threaten their victims online, which includes a mobile malware component. During their chat or Skype session, cybercriminals convince victims to install a data stealer or disguised Android malware that steals victim data off their device. Cybercriminals can then threaten their victims with the possibility of sending the explicit content to their victim’s contact list. The malware these cybercriminals used are persistent and exhibit various intrusive behaviors.

Researchers found that the extortionists first lure their victims through a number of online chatting tools. Once the trap is set, they feign audio or messaging problems to persuade their target to download one of four malicious Android apps. Using their email, social media and bank accounts, Trend Micro traced several of the Android app developers and their money go-betweens to China.

The company found evidence that the criminals opened different bank accounts for each extortion campaign, which typically, lasted for a few weeks. 

Sushma rani, EFYTIMES News Network