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The Best Defense is a Good Offense February 20, 2015

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, Science & Technology, Technology.
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J0216075The US has made the strategic choice to put its resources into engineering better attack tools and an infrastructure to support them. In a way it’s a smart choice. It’s a truism that the cyber battlefield is asymmetric—a defender has to get it right every time, while an attacker only has to succeed once. If the US spends a billion dollars in cyber defense, it will still be vulnerable. But spend it on cyber attack, and you get the most advanced computer espionage and sabotage tools that history has ever seen.

 The tool hides itself encrypted in the Windows registry, so that anti-virus software can’t find it on the computer’s disk. It carves out its own virtual file system on your machine to store data for exfiltration.  It uses a well-engineered piece of software called a bootkit to control the operating system from the ground up. There are update mechanisms, dozens of plug-ins, a self-destruct function, massive code obfuscation, hundreds of fake websites to serve as command-and-control. One of the NSA’s malware plug-ins can even reprogram your hard drive’s firmware, allowing the implant to survive a complete disk wipe.

via Surprise! America Already Has a Manhattan Project for Developing Cyber Attacks | WIRED.

Hackers Are Winning The CyberWar – So Far February 10, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, In The News, Lifestyle, Technology.
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Virus writers are having a field day. A new industry has blossomed called Exploit Kits. Talented programmers sell their exploit kits for $3000 a pop to help their brethren malware writers deliver their payloads more effectively.

Late 2012, the NY Times published a controversial piece questioning the effectiveness of modern antivirus software. The shocking conclusion was that after an exhaustive analysis of over 40 antivirus products, there was only a 5% chance of detecting and defeating a new threat. That is, if a computer had 40+ antivirus products running simultaneously, there is a scant 5% chance that the computer would be safe from new threats.

Computer BugsThe US Department of Homeland Security advised last week that users disable Java. This is unprecedented. The government felt this is a computing problem so severe that it must intervene. Java is a real and present threat to not only our national security but our computers, privacy and wallets. The DHS has no motivation to sow misinformation or fear, and they should be heeded. (more…)

New Super Worm Attacks Infrastructure September 25, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Technology.
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Stuxnet works by exploiting previously unknown security holes in Microsoft’s Windows operating system. It then seeks out a component called Simatic WinCC, manufactured by Siemens, which controls critical factory operations. The malware even uses a stolen cryptographic key belonging to the Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer RealTek to validate itself in high-security factory systems.

The worm then takes over the computer running the factory process – which for WinCC would be “mission-critical” systems which have to keep functioning under any circumstance – and “blocks” it for up to a tenth of a second. For high-speed systems, such as the centrifuges used for nuclear fuel processing being done by Iran, that could be disastrous, experts suggested.

“This is a very sophisticated attack – the first of its kind – and has clearly been developed by a highly skilled group of people intent on gaining access to SCADA [supervisory control and data acquisition] systems – industrial control systems for monitoring and managing industrial infrastructure or facility-based processes. In contrast to the bulk of indiscriminate cybercrime threats on the internet, this has been aimed at very specific targets. It’s different also because there’s no obvious financial motivation behind the attack – rather the aim seems to be to sabotage systems.”

via Stuxnet worm is the ‘work of a national government agency’ | Technology | guardian.co.uk.

Most malware comes from legit sites January 24, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Technology.
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Most malware comes from legit sites, says researcher
According to data compiled by Websense Inc., 51% of the sites it classified as malicious in the second half of 2007 had been compromised and then seeded with attack code that infected unpatched machines visiting the URLs. The remaining 49% were “intentionally built for malicious intent,” the Websense report said. Keep you patches, virus and anti spyware up-to-date – “Shields Up”

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