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Archive for the ‘social engineering’ Category

GMA Fake Site and Tricks Scammers Use

Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on February 25, 2009

GMA News warned the public last week regarding a fake site that reports fake news, which has fortunately been taken down as of press time. This reminds me of the recent fake news item about Megan Fox being a man. If anyone actually checked that site’s menu, they’d see links to a “Mutants” section and an “Aliens” section, which should readily warn anyone about the veracity of news on that site. Unfortunately some educated people believed that piece of news, which is really quite sad.

CSOOnline came out with an article detailing the Dirty Tricks: Social Engineers’ Favorite Pick-Up Lines, which are divided as Social Networking Scams, Office Offenses and Phishing Lures:

    Social Networking Scams
    “I’m traveling in London and I’ve lost my wallet. Can you wire some money?”
    “Someone has a secret crush on you! Download this application to find who it is!”
    “Did you see this video of you? Check out this link!”
    Office Offenses
    “Hi, I’m from the rep from Cisco and I’m here to see Nancy.”
    “This is Chris from tech services. I’ve been notified of an infection on your computer.”
    “Can you hold the door for me? I don’t have my key/access card on me.”
    Phishing Lures
    “You have not paid for the item you recently won on eBay. Please click here to pay.”
    “You’ve been let go. Click here to register for severance pay. “

Check out the site link above for more details.

The same author, Joan Goodchild, also wrote about Social Engineering:8 Common Tactics, and 3 Ways a Twitter Hack can Hurt You, which might interest you if you want to learn more about Social Engineering.


Tips
If in case you aren’t using encryption yet and want an easy and free encryption solution, you may want to check out TrueCrypt. Tom’s Hardware has published a how to and review to start you out.


Auditing
A consortium of US agencies and organizations released a draft of the Consensus Audit Guidelines that define the 20 most critical security controls to protect federal and contractor information systems.
The press release states that: “The CAG initiative is part of a larger effort housed at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC to advance key recommendations from the CSIS Commission report on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency.”


Other Security News
(The Register) New OS X research warns of stealthier Mac attacks
(The Register) Banking app vuln surfaces 18 months after discovery
(The Register) Hacker pokes new hole in secure sockets layer
(PCWorld) New Attacks Target IE7 Flaw
(PCWorld) IE8 Focuses on Improved Security and Privacy
(PCWorld) Microsoft Adds Clickjacking Protection to IE8 RC1
(PCWorld) Downloads for Hard Economic Times

Posted in Awareness, News, Philippines, social engineering, Social Networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Info Sec News, Feb 5, 2009

Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on February 5, 2009

Seminars
ECCInternational will be giving a Certified BCMS (ISO 25999:2007) course from Feb 9-11. They will also be giving an ITIL Practitioner Program – Configuration Management on Feb 10-11, you can check out their Training Schedule here. ISO 9001:2008 IRCA Certified Lead Auditor Seminar will also be given either on Feb 9-13 or Feb 16-20. For details and specific dates, please contact Rose, Faith or Ness at 7505671 to 73 or email training@ccinternational.com.


Webcasts
CSO Online has published a podcast interview of Jim Routh who is the CISO of the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC). He is a veteran technology and security executive, having held positions at American Express and American Express Financial Advisors before joining DTCC.

(Simply Continuous) How To Keep Your Business Running in the Event of a Disaster


Whitepapers
There’s a recent (Winter 2009) presentation published by the Standford Applied Crypto group by John Mitchell on Phishing and Malicious JavaScript. Aside from Phishing, the presentation talks about how JavaScript is used to obtain information from your browser. John Mitchell teaches CS 142, Web Programming and Security, at Stanford University.

(SonicWall) Bottom-line benefits of telecommuting & secure remote access
(Quest Software) Finding Complete Identity Lifecycle Management that Fits


Insider Threat
I either gotta love this… or get paranoid about this: Within 90 minutes of getting fired, a former contract worker for Fannie Mae allegedly added a malicious script hidden within a legitimate script that ran each morning on the network, which was designed to disable monitoring alerts and all log-ins, delete the root passwords to the 4,000 Fannie Mae servers, erase all data and backup data, power off all the servers and then disable the ability to remotely switch on the machines. This was fortunately found by another employee within days of the firing.

(Computerworld) Ex-Fannie Mae engineer pleads innocent to server bomb charge
(CSO Online) Alleged Fannie Mae data bomb author working for Bank of America now?

Another recent example of an Insider Threat is of a former employee that still has access to the system, as this article reports, “Mysterious Text-Message Alert at U. of Florida Scares and Angers Students.


Psychology/Social Engineering
There’s good insight as to the psychology involved when it comes to Information Security in this article from (CSO Online) Are You Addicted to Information Insecurity?

And speaking of psychology, CSO Online’s Anatomy of a Hack is an in-depth article on how Social Engineering can be used. Also in connection to social engineering, the FBI also warns of Money Mule Scams.

A novel way of luring people to a website with malware was found in North Dakota. How? Stick a parking violation ticket on the windshield, with the supposed details of the infraction on a website.

Readers of this blog might also want to check out What the Web knows about you. Its a 6 page article on what attackers may be able to find out about you online. If you’re in the US and is considering searching your SS number, check out this article first on Search Engine Privacy Tips from the World Privacy Forum website.


Browser Security
CSO Online also did a an unscientific poll of security experts on browser security, and it turns out that IE isn’t viewed as being as insecure as it was just a few years back. In relation to browser security, Firefox just fixed a couple of vulnerabilities in their release of version 3.06 of their browser.

Also related, Browser secrets of secure connections talks about how browsers play a key part in determining the strength of cipher used between the client and the web server. The article references the Infoworld Test Center Guide to browser security.


New DNS Attack
(CSO Online) Porn Site Feud Spawns New DNS Attack – Botnet operators are adding code to launch a new type of distributed denial of service attack, security experts warn
(NetworkWorld.com) Porn Site Feud Spawns New DNS Attack – A scrap between two pornographic Web sites turned nasty when one figured out how to take down the other by exploiting a previously unknown quirk in the Internet’s DNS.
(NetworkWorld.com Slideshow) How DNS cache poisoning works – this also has tips at the end on how to defend this kind of attack.


Other Info Sec News
(CSO Online) SMB Security: Five Bright Ideas – Small businesses have to be crafty to handle security with fewer resources. Here are bright ideas for SMBs.

(Computerworld Blog) Security businesses move ahead in this economy

(Computerworld) Removing admin rights stymies 92% of Microsoft’s bugs

(Computerworld) Microsoft denies Windows 7 security feature contains bug

(Computerworld) Banks, customers feel the fallout of the Heartland breach

(Computerworld) Study: Data breaches continue to get more costly for businesses

(Computerworld) Obama health care plan said to boost security, privacy controls – Privacy advocates say $20B e-health proposal overcomes some HIPAA concerns

Posted in Change Management, conferences, Incident Management, ISMS, Presentations, Privacy, social engineering, Webinars, Whitepapers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Info Sec News, Jan 19, 2009

Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on January 19, 2009

Secure Coding and Application Dev
What is probably the most significant security news item of the past week is the release of SANS and Mitre of their Top 25 errors and how to fix them. It’s been said that around 85% of criminal activities on the net stem from the current crop of Top 25 flaws. The Top 25 list is divided into three broad categories namely: Insecure Interaction Between Components, Risky Resource Management, and Porous Defenses.

The PDF version of the Top 25 is available here.

The Software Assurance Forum for Excellence in Code (SAFECode) has made two publications available to help eliminate the Top 25 errors, its Guide to the Most Effective Secure Dev Practices in Use Today, and Software Assurance: An Overview of Current Industry Best Practices.


Social Engineering
A rehash of old tactics can be seen in an E-mail purportedly from Northwest Airlines (but actually carries a zipped trojan file), and malware spreading websites that claim US President elect Obama won’t be taking the oath of office on the 20th. This just strengthens the argument that your personnel and their security awareness training are now your first line of defense, and not your perimeter firewall.

This is related to the fake Christmas and holiday greetings that been sent every year for the past few years, which was seen again this past Christmas.


Malware
The Downadup (also known as Conficker) Worm versions A, B and C that exploits what Microsoft released an out of band patch for in late October ’08, and weak Admin passwords, is said to have infected an “amazing” 9 million PC’s according to F-Secure researchers. If you’re wondering how they got to this astonishing figure, check out F-Secure’s Blog.

(PC World) UK Ministry of Defence Stung by Rapidly Spreading Virus


Secure deletion, reuse or disposal
According to new research led by Craig Wright, it just takes one re-write to securely wipe the data from a hard drive. This talks about a complete sector by sector overwrite of a hard drive.

Articles on this can be found on Heise Security and SecurityFocus. The paper was presented at the Fourth International Conference on Information Systems Security (ICISS) in Hyderabad, India and can be purchased here.


Encryption
Heise Security has published an in depth article on how modern cryptological attacks are done in their article, “Cheap Cracks“.


Patches and Change Management
Oracle released fixes for 41 different flaws this month and Microsoft released a single patch that closed three flaws.

(Heise Security) Numerous security updates from Oracle
(Heise Security) Microsoft closes three holes in Windows
Microsoft issues patches for ‘nasty’ Windows bugs

A vulnerability in SAP GUI has also been found and a patch has been released and is available to registered SAP users.


Other InfoSec News:
In relation to the Anonymization article I wrote about a few days ago, the makers of Tor has announced that their software has zero known bugs.

(Computerworld) Two big, bad botnets gone, but replacements step up

(Computerworld) Critical security projects escape the budget ax

(Heise Security) Banking details can be stolen through a new JavaScript exploit

(Computerworld) Six Worst Internet Routing Attacks

(GO San Angelo.com) US Air Force planning to train hundreds yearly in cyber warfare skills

(Information Week) Thief Steals Sony Ericsson Prototypes

The Windows 7 Beta Team has removed the 2.5 million download limit as stated in the Windows 7 Blog. People can get the Beta until January 24.

Secunia Advisories


Tips:

(Computerworld) How to Secure your Vista PC in 10 easy steps

(Computerworld Blog) Removing malware from an infected PC

The Windows Security Blog has announced a new Beta called Sundance that could help secure Windows and Office 2007 installations.

In relation to what I wrote about around a month ago regarding wireless networks, the crack in the WPA protocol only affects the TKIP version and not AES, so the solution is to simply switch from TKIP to AES as is detailed in this article from Search Security.com, “Cracks in WPA? How to continue protecting Wi-Fi networks“.

(PC Magazine) The Top Tech Tips of 2008 Part 1

(PC Magazine) The Top Tech Tips of 2008 Part 2

Posted in ISMS, News, social engineering, Windows | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy New Year to All :)

Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on January 6, 2009

A lot of people in the Philippines are probably still hungover from the long vacation from Dec 25 to Jan 4, unless of course they were part of sales, or a BPO… anyway, on to the news:

OpenVAS 2.0 was released around two weeks ago, and a respected security expert (who wishes to remain anonymous) thinks it is, “fast approaching the maturity level needed to truly compete with Nessus in the vulnerability assessment area.”

The OpenVas 2.0 press release states that:
OpenVAS is a fork of the Nessus security scanner which has continued development under a proprietary license since late 2005. Since the release of OpenVAS 1.0.0 in October 2007, the OpenVAS developers continued the auditing of the code inherited from Nessus and have added a variety of useful features for OpenVAS users, for server administrators and for developers of Network Vulnerability Tests (NVTs).


Some of the Philippines’ high ranking government officials may want to look into cellphone voice encryption (as mentioned in this SecurityPark.net article) before calling some other high ranking government official so that they wouldn’t need to give a televised public apology (wink).


Speaking of mobile phone security, there was a DOS vulnerability found in Nokia Series 60 cellphones just before new year’s eve called the “Curse of Silence”, which either stops the cellphone from receiving SMS until a factory reset is done (Series 60 2.6 and 3.0 devices) or not all SMS’s are received (Series 60 2.8 and 3.1).

This is done via the following steps (check out the demo video link below):
For Series 60 phones v2.2, 2.3, 3.0 and 3.1 attack target phones
1. create an email that has an e-mail address with more than 32 characters followed by a space.
2. set TP Protocol Identifier of SMS Message to Internet Electronic Mail
3. send message to target (eleven times to Series 60 v 3.1, only one message is needed for all other versions)

There are currently no client side workarounds published as of the moment. If ever you work for Smart Communications, Globe Telecom or Sun Cellular maybe your network team can take heed of the suggestion in the document that “network operators should filter messages with TP-PID ‘Internet Electronic Mail’ and an email address of more than 32 characters or reset the TP-PID of these messages to 0”. I also do not have a Series 60 phone mentioned in the list so I cannot test if it can affect cell phones here in the Philippines. Kindly drop me a line in case you were able to test this.

Phones affected:
S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 1 (S60 3.1):
Nokia E90 Communicator
Nokia E71
Nokia E66
Nokia E51
Nokia N95 8GB
Nokia N95
Nokia N82
Nokia N81 8GB
Nokia N81
Nokia N76
Nokia 6290
Nokia 6124 classic
Nokia 6121 classic
Nokia 6120 classic
Nokia 6110 Navigator
Nokia 5700 XpressMusic

S60 3rd Edition, initial release (S60 3.0):
Nokia E70
Nokia E65
Nokia E62
Nokia E61i
Nokia E61
Nokia E60
Nokia E50
Nokia N93i
Nokia N93
Nokia N92
Nokia N91 8GB
Nokia N91
Nokia N80
Nokia N77
Nokia N73
Nokia N71
Nokia 5500
Nokia 3250

S60 2nd Edition, Feature Pack 3 (S60 2.8):
Nokia N90
Nokia N72
Nokia N70

S60 2nd Edition, Feature Pack 2 (S60 2.6):
Nokia 6682
Nokia 6681
Nokia 6680
Nokia 6630

More details can be found in a must see video (21 MB) and a document (6.8 KB) on the website of Tobias Engel, who is a member of the Chaos Computer Club.


Microblogging site Twitter had a major breach and has phishing problems reports HeiseSecurity, SCMagazineUS, and SecurityFocus. Apparently, US President elect Barack Obama’s and Britney Spears’ accounts were compromised.

In related news, (The Register) Bogus LinkedIn profiles punt malware to fools.

A security update for the popular email client Mozilla Thunderbird was recently released. (Heise Security report, SCMagazineUS report)

The recently found MD5 vulnerability links:
(SCMagazineUS) MD5 insecurity affects all internet users
(SCMagazineUS) Hackers find hole to create rogue digital certificates
(Heise Security) Verisign/RapidSSL close 25C3 MD5 vulnerability
(SecurityFocus) Survey: One in seven SSL certificates are weak

Posted in News, social engineering, Social Networking, vulnerability, vulnerability assessment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mostly Browser News, Dec 16, 2008

Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on December 16, 2008

A couple of news items regarding browser security have been cropping up these days, mostly about Internet Explorer vulnerabilities.

(Heise) Zero day exploit for Internet Explorer is spreading
(Heise) Internet Explorer 6 and 8 also affected by zero-day vulnerability
(SC Mag US) Internet Explorer zero-day infection rates grow
(SC Mag US) New zero-day Internet Explorer exploit uncovered

One of the ways this risk can be mitigated (aside from not using IE) is removing Admin rights. Beyondtrust gives a webinar on how to eliminate Admin rights using their Privilege Manger here. For typical SOHO users, just make a limited user account and as much as possible, try not to use your Admin account.

For people that aren’t paranoid enough surfing the web and having the appropriate controls while doing so, this article on Heise Security online talks about the Fiesta exploit pack (yes the name is correct) which costs $850 and contains 25 different exploits designed to infect users when they VISIT a webpage.

A different article on the same website talks about Chrome being at the bottom in terms of password management. I personally do not recommend allowing your browser to remember passwords. Google Chrome fans might want to check out the Iron Browser which is a more secure version of Chrome. Speaking of Chrome being the most insecure browser for password management… Google has released a browser security handbook which talks about the security features of browsers and issues that could lead to weaknesses. The current version of the handbook covers IE 6, IE 7, Firefox 2, Firefox 3, Safari 3.2, Opera 9.62, Google Chrome 1.0.154.36 and the Android embedded browser.


Other InfoSec News:
(Times Online UK Blog) This woman sent Nigerian scam artists $400,000 – a fool or a victim?
(Computerworld) Apple patches 21 Mac OS X Vulnerabilities
(BBC) Inmate escapes German jail in box
(Wall Street Journal March 10, 2008 article) NSA’s Domestic Spying
(SC Mag US) Forecast: Security threats for 2009
(SC Mag US) The five myths of two-factor authentication


Posted in Awareness, News, social engineering | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Info Sec News, Dec 8, 2008 Updated

Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on December 8, 2008

Upcoming details for this month’s Patch Tuesday can be found in Heise Online’s Microsoft wants to close six critical holes and PC World’s Microsoft readies Eight New Security Patches.

A Secunia blog states that 98% of all PC’s aren’t fully patched as was also reported in The Register and SCMag UK. No doubt this contributes to the millions of PC’s out there that are used as zombies unbeknownst to their owners. This happens mostly because people have too much confidence in their Anti Virus in stopping all threats. I’ll write about this more in another post, as for now, you might want to check out Secunia’s freely available Personal Software Inspector to check for patches their PCs may need.

Trend Micro researchers though, say that vulnerabilities only play a minor role (5%) in attacks. And that most attacks (53%) come in the form of Social Engineering attacks wherein the user is duped into downloading malware. An example of this would be fake anti-virus products that take up the top three positions in BitDefender’s Top e-threats (Heise Security also gives the list here). Which reminds me of what Zot O’Conner said in his talk at the Renaissance Makati in late October… that you cannot design a security product to defend against a user that just clicks and accepts anything.

In related news, Security Park reports that Human error continues to be the top cause of IT security breaches primarily because individuals are given the option to bypass them.


Other Security News
Center for Strategic and International Studies publishes report on Securing Cyberspace
Distributed SSH attacks bypass blacklists
New variant of DNSChanger in mass DNS hijack
The debate resumes over Mac Security
Identity Theft breaches on the increase in the US
(Security Focus) US Commission calls for Cybersecurity Czar
(Security Park) Free malware search tool helps financial institutions identify web attacks targeting their websites
SANS Webcast on December Threat Update
SANS Webcast on What Works in Security Information and Event Management
(Linux Security) New Wireshark Packages fix Vulnerabilities
(Linux Security) Never Installed a Firewall on Ubuntu? Try Firestarter
(Linux Security) Debian: New Linux 2.6.24 packages fix several vulnerabilities
(NY Times) Thieves Winning Online War, Maybe Even in Your Computer
(Translated by Google) 21 Million German Citizen’s Account Numbers in Circulation

Posted in Change Management, News, social engineering, vulnerability assessment, Windows | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »