Jeb Bush Comes Out Against Encryption

from the not-so-cryptic-statements dept.

An anonymous reader writes:

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush has called on tech companies to form a more “cooperative” arrangement with intelligence agencies. During a speech in South Carolina, Bush made clear his opinion on encryption: “If you create encryption, it makes it harder for the American government to do its job — while protecting civil liberties — to make sure that evildoers aren’t in our midst.” He also indicated he felt the recent scaling back of the Patriot Act went too far. Bush says he hasn’t seen any indication the bulk collection of phone metadata violated anyone’s civil liberties.

Facebook Intern Gets Preemptive Ax For Exposing Security Flaw

Original Article
from the because-they’re-all-edgy-and-wear-hoodies dept.

Engadget reports that Harvard student Aran Khanna, who was about to begin an internship at Facebook, had that internship yanked after he created (and took down, but evidently too slowly for the company’s taste) a browser plug-in that exposed a security flaw in Facebook, by allowing users to discover the location of other users when they use the Messenger app. Surely Khanna won’t be jobless or internship-less for long. (Don’t expect the app to work now; it’s still in the Chrome store as a historical artifact, though, and at GitHub.)

Posted by timothy


Windows 10’s Privacy Policy: the New Normal?

from the no-i-do-not-want-to-send-a-crash-report dept.

An anonymous reader writes:

The launch of Windows 10 brought a lot of users kicking and screaming to the “connected desktop.” Its benefits come with tradeoffs: “the online service providers can track which devices are making which requests, which devices are near which Wi-Fi networks, and feasibly might be able to track how devices move around. The service providers will all claim that the data is anonymized, and that no persistent tracking is performed… but it almost certainly could be.” There are non-trivial privacy concerns, particularly for default settings. 
According to Peter Bright, for better or worse this is the new normal for mainstream operating systems. We’re going to have to either get used to it, or get used to fighting with settings to turn it all off. “The days of mainstream operating systems that don’t integrate cloud services, that don’t exploit machine learning and big data, that don’t let developers know which features are used and what problems occur, are behind us, and they’re not coming back. This may cost us some amount of privacy, but we’ll tend to get something in return: software that can do more things and that works better.”

Posted by Soulskill 2 days ago


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

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

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

The Reason For Java’s Staying Power

The Reason For Java’s Staying Power: It’s Easy To Readfrom the easy-on-the-eyes dept.

jfruh writes:

Java made its public debut twenty years ago today, and despite a sometimes bumpy history that features its parent company being absorbed by Oracle, it’s still widely used. Mark Reinhold, chief architect for the Oracle’s Java platform group, offers one explanation for its continuing popularity: it’s easy for humans to understand it at a glance. “It is pretty easy to read Java code and figure out what it means. There aren’t a lot of obscure gotchas in the language … Most of the cost of maintaining any body of code over time is in maintenance, not in initial creation.”

Posted by samzenpus 3 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.

Hacking: Chinese Hackers Target Southeast Asia, India   

Monday, April 13, 2015:  Hackers, most likely from China, have been spying on governments and companies in Southeast Asia and India, a US cybersecurity company ‘FireEye Inc’ said in a report.

In the report the company said that the attacks have been designed to glean intelligence, likely from classified government networks and other sources, pertaining to political and military issues such as disputes over the South China Sea.

Some of the cyberattacks have taken the form of specially crafted emails, written in recipients’ native languages, with documents that appear legitimate but contain malware, the report said. 

The attackers focused not only on governments, but on ASEAN itself, as well as corporations and journalists interested in China. Other targets included Indian or Southeast Asian-based companies in sectors such as construction, energy, transport, telecommunications and aviation.

The Milpitas, Calif.-based FireEye said the hacking efforts are remarkable because of their duration—noting some elements have been in place since 2005 and stand out because of their geographic focus. 

China has been accused before of targeting countries in South and Southeast Asia. In 2011, researchers from McAfee reported a campaign dubbed Shady Rat which attacked Asian governments and institutions, among other targets. 

The problem is not new; Singapore has reported sophisticated cyber-espionage attacks on civil servants in several ministries dating back to 2004. 

Sushma rani, EFYTIMES News Network