Nick Miroff and William Booth, *The Washington Post*, 15 Feb 2012 http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/armored-suv-could-not-protect-us-agents-in-mexico/2012/02/13/gIQACv1KFR_story.html?hpid=z2 When U.S. special agent Jaime Zapata was shot dead one year ago on a notorious stretch of highway in central Mexico, he was driving a $160,000 armored Chevy Suburban, built to exacting government standards, designed to defeat high-velocity gunfire, fragmentation grenades and land mines. But the vehicle had a basic, fatal flaw. Forced off the road in a well-coordinated ambush, surrounded by drug cartel gunmen brandishing AK-47s, Zapata and his partner, Victor Avila, rolled to a stop. Zapata put the vehicle in park. The door locks popped open. That terrifying sound—a quiet click—set into motion events that remain under investigation. When Zapata needed it most, the Suburban's elaborate armoring was rendered worthless by a consumer-friendly automatic setting useful for family vacations and hurried commuters but not for U.S. agents driving through a red zone in Mexico. ... [However, defaulting to all doors locked without manual overrides in cases of loss of power or fire is also not a happy choice. I am reminded of the alternative defaults for elevators in case of power failure: by gravity balancing, mechanically go to the bottom floor (not good in floods), the top floor (not good in fires), or—with a little more advanced planning and mechanical apparatus—the main lobby (perhaps not good in case of front-door armed building takeovers). A Trilemma, or maybe a less-well known example of Morton's Fork? (Some of you may recall that I touched on some of this in a comment on the second item in RISKS-21.47.) PGN]
(Michael Degusta) A rather well-researched item in *The Understatement* claims that if a Tesla battery becomes completely discharged, the all-electric vehicle becomes totally immobile—requiring installation of a new battery (at least $32,000 plus labor and taxes). Reportedly, this failure mode is covered neither by dealer warranties nor by insurance policies. If true, that is a major risk! http://theunderstatement.com/post/18030062041/its-a-brick-tesla-motors-devastating-design [Thanks to Lauren Weinstein for spotting this one.]
An outstanding new paper by Scott Wolchok, Eric Wustrow, Dawn Isabel and J. Alex Halderman, Attacking the Washington, D.C. Internet Voting System, was presented at Financial Crypto earlier this month. This paper provides a nicely reasoned analysis of what was described previously in RISKS-26.18, 19, and 20. (https://jhalderm.com/pub/papers/dcvoting-fc12.pdf) [CORRECTED URL in archives. PGN] See also a FierceGovernmentIT article with the subject line of this item: http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/small-coding-mistake-led-big-internet-voting-system-failure/2012-02-22?utm_campaign=twitter-Share-Web#.T0ZojwPn5A8.twitter
It's a good thing I wasn't working on my web site at the time! -- -------- Forwarded message ---------- From: QTH.com Admin <email@example.com> Date: Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM Subject: QTH.com Server Outage Notice At approximately 6:30am CST this morning (2/23), our www5.qth.com became unresponsive. Technicians in our data center investigated and found the server without power. The server was powered back up, and after going through the standard boot routine, disk health checks, etc., became fully operational again, a little after 7am CST. Now, why was the server without power? As embarrassing as it is to report, it was powered down because literally the power cord was unplugged from the server! A data center technician had been working on a nearby server and somehow managed to snag the power cord of our server in the process. I sincerely apologize for the outage and any inconvenience this caused you.
An article by Arjen K. Lenstra, James P. Hughes, Maxime Augier, Joppe W. Bos, Thorsten Kleinjung, and Christophe Wachter, *Ron was wrong, Whit is right*, will be presented at CRYPTO in Santa Barbara in August 2012. The authors have discovered an unexpected weakness in public-key encryption systems used worldwide for online shopping, banking, e-mail and other Internet services that require security and privacy. The flaw involves on the order of .2% of 7.1 million collected prime moduli used in RSA, ElGamal, and DSA (plus just one ECDSA key), and arises when two different public keys inadvertently share a common prime for their construction. This happenstance is algorithmically detectable, and knowledge of it obviously greatly simplifies factoring! This occurs despite standards to supposedly prevent it. [Sources: John Markoff, Flaw Found in an Online Encryption Method, *The New York Times*, 14 Feb 2012: and the Lenstra paper; PGN-ed and extensivesly oversimplified.] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/technology/researchers-find-flaw-in-an-online-encryption-method.html?_r=1&hpw http://eprint.iacr.org/2012/064.pdf
Ross Anderson et al.) Weak PIN codes ... are a notorious vulnerability of banking cards. Now a group of British computer security researchers have collected data to show just how vulnerable they actually are. A Cambridge University Computer Laboratory team collected statistics on how people choose banking PINs when they are permitted to select their own keys. The risk is that a thief who steals a wallet can then try to siphon money from a bank account by guessing the password, often with the aid of personal identification information like the birth date found in the wallet. Ross Anderson: “A thief can expect to get lucky every 18th wallet—except for those banks which negligently allow their customers to choose really dumb PINs like 1111 and 1234. There the thief cashes out once every 11 wallets. There is every incentive for the bad guys to try guessing PINs on every card that they steal, There will be a certain percentage that will be guessed, particularly if a bank allows its customers to choose PINs.'' The researchers describing the criminal practice of guessing PIN numbers from stolen bank cards as *jackpotting*. Their conclusions were not entirely bleak, however. They concluded that user choices of banking PINs were not as weak as with other security codes like passwords. Moreover, they also found that there were lower rates of reuse and sharing of PIN numbers than was frequently the case with passwords. ... The researchers wrote that there were two lessons to be drawn from their study. First, customers should never use date of birth as a PIN or password. Second, banks should institute blacklists of common passwords, or prohibit user selection of passwords entirely. [Source: John Markoff, *The New York Times*, 20 Feb 2012; PGN-ed] http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/security-of-self-selected-pins-is-lacking/?src=recg
Dear Rev.Ifile@Illinois.gov, One can't help but notice ones IL-PIN ends up right on the IL-1040 PDF one keeps for their records when electronically filing their taxes. The IRS uses a separate file in such cases, so PINs don't get exposed if one needs to share their tax forms with others e.g., when applying for loans or tuition assistance, etc. Illinois should consider doing the same.
[BEWARE. This has the aura of a nasty scam / malware / whatever. PGN] Oh joy. http://googlephone.page.tl/ Google Mobile Phone Tracker v6.5.8 Way back in November 2007, Google location-enabled all of their Google Maps for mobile clients to bring location awareness to the masses and improve the local search experience. Using My Location, millions of you have been able to easily find yourselves on a map at the touch of a button. But what about finding other people? Lots of you have been requesting to see where your friends are in a map, too. Well, now you can with Google Mobile Phone Tracker v6.5.8. Google Mobile Phone Tracker v6.5.8 is a new feature for Google Maps in mobile, as well as home PCs, that allows you to see your friend's locations. You can use your Google account to sign in and easily search friends from your existing list of contacts or by entering their mobile numbers. Google Talk is integrated with Google Mobile Phone Tracker v6.5.8, so you and your friends can update your status messages and profile photos and see what everyone is up to. You can also call, SMS, IM, or email each other within the app. Google has gone to great lengths to put this on as many personal PCs and smartphone devices as possible from day one so that most of the people you know will be able to use Google Mobile Phone Tracker v6.5.8 right away. The application is free and to be used for legal purposes with the knowledge of the owner of mobile number to be tracked. Start using Google Mobile Phone Tracker v6.5.8 right now from the link below : [URL REMOVED FOR SAFETY SAKE. Available on request for RESEARCH PURPOSES. PGN]
Last Saturday night I-10 between Palm Springs and Los Angeles (a stretch with no alternate routes) was partially closed for routine road work, but because of a problem in delivering concrete it remained closed all day Sunday. Buried deep in the printed version (on 2/17) (but not the online version as of 2/17) of the story is that it was caused by computer failure at the concrete plant. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/caltrans-slammed-after-roadwork-causes-25-mile-backup.html
(via Network Neutrality Squad) http://j.mp/zZGRLs (This message on Google+) http://j.mp/Aq94K2 (WSJ) "A coalition of Internet giants including Google Inc. has agreed to support a do-not-track button to be embedded in most Web browsers-a move that the industry had been resisting for more than a year." Now, here are the real ironies. As you'll see from reading the story, what this is about is mainly personalized advertising from online services. But reputable firms have been handling this through mechanisms that typically don't tie back to individuals' actual identities in the first place. Some (like Google) provide a "dashboard" that users can already employ to control personalized ads or turn off personalization completely. Turn off personalization, and two things happen. (1) You get more "random" ads (you're still going to get ads) that are less likely to be of any interest. (2) Those ads will be less valuable to advertisers, over time potentially undermining the financial support structures of many Web services most users enjoy for free. Meanwhile, out in the brick and mortar world, information regarding our bank transactions, credit card purchases, voting records (yes, voting activity records!), and all manner of other activities are tracked, sold, sliced, and diced, then fed to the credit reporting agencies, in ways that *really* can impact people's lives in serious (and often negative) ways. This data is often tied to our *real* identities through bank accounts, social security numbers, and so on. Yet most of the political public attention is on personalized Web ads, which are usually deployed through anonymous mechanisms. Interesting priorities, eh? Lauren Weinstein (firstname.lastname@example.org): http://www.vortex.com/lauren Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com
*Wall Street Journal*: "The U.N. Threat to Internet Freedom" (+ my comments) http://j.mp/zwZqVB (This message on Google+) http://j.mp/yKbWLq (WSJ) "On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year's end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish "international control over the Internet" through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices ... Merely saying "no" to any changes to the current structure of Internet governance is likely to be a losing proposition. A more successful strategy would be for proponents of Internet freedom and prosperity within every nation to encourage a dialogue among all interested parties, including governments and the ITU, to broaden the multi-stakeholder umbrella with the goal of reaching consensus to address reasonable concerns. As part of this conversation, we should underscore the tremendous benefits that the Internet has yielded for the developing world through the multi-stakeholder model." For those of us who have spent many years warning that the stage was being set for potentially disastrous regulatory outcomes for the Internet, and have been pushing for alternatives all along, the emotions triggered are complex indeed. Every time we tried to discuss alternative methodologies in this sphere, the standard push-back response has been, "Oh, if we tamper with ICANN or the rest of the existing structure, the UN/ITU might take over and we don't want that!" But that's exactly what could happen anyway. It's been a "comfortable" arrangement for the U.S. to effectively control the Internet, but it's always been clear to many of us that the current path could lead to exactly the kind of outcome that we all wanted to avoid. ICANN has plowed ahead with their extortive get-rich-quick gTLD expansion scheme. The U.S. has turned the DNS into a mechanism for unilateral actions over entities in other countries, without such niceities as due process being required. The list goes on and on. So no wonder the rest of the world pushes for changes—and threatens network fragemention—even as their proposed regulatory regimes could do enormous damage to the Net. The status quo is going to be history, one way or another. I have long called for consideration of a purpose-built international organization to address these issues, unrelated to existing organizations loaded down with political baggage like the U.N. and ITU. There may still be time to chart better outcomes than the ones now barreling toward us. But there is no time at all to waste. http://lists.nnsquad.org/mailman/listinfo/nnsquad
I work as forensic information analyst in Australia. I've had a number of recent criminal cases where historical records are or would-be useful. These records include SMTP records, login records etc. In actual fact, SMTP records are not kept (At least by the ISPs I was investigating) and from what I can make out there is no record of IP addresses for 3G connections - admittedly my sample was small but it included Telstra 3G/NextG. Conversion to keeping SMTP records and IP records appears possible but eventually the data will become significantly large. Of more importance are the records held by providers like Hotmail and Gmail. They do not include SMTP records in their lawful disclosure guides. Even with the data they do retain there has a fairly short expiry time. If Australia does make this law then retained data will be very incomplete and the law will effectively penalise Australian ISP operators in comparison to global operators of email and other services. As for privacy, I'm assuming the new law requires a Warrant to access the information. However Australia's Telecommunication Interception Act has been a movable feast. So far it's been in fairly brisk time order: - The Police could demand records without Warrant - Police needed a Warrant to demand records. - The Telco could give records to the Police without a Warrant - so long as the Police didn't ask for them. - Any records obtained by Police had to have a Warrant. I sense that the laws are being made up on the spot and the effects of not thinking it through are obvious. It certainly makes my job harder having to know which laws were in effect at any particular time.
Bruce Schneier Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012, xv+366 Schneier's Liars and Outliers inquires of cyberfires, bemires taps of wires, spyers, hires, cybergyres, and conspirers, acquires admirers, aspires to eyers and buyers, inspires choirs of lyres. It sires 8 quires*. Shy-ers beware! * Note: approximately, the number of sheets of paper. This book runs the gamut of the roles of trust in a world in which many elements—systems, people, applications, and so on—may be either inherently or potentially unworthy of being trusted: untrustworthy third parties, insiders, clouds, you name it. RISKS readers should find it provocative. See Rob Slade's review, next in this issue.
BKLRSOTL.RVW 20120104 "Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive", Bruce Schneier, 2012, 978-1-118-14330-8, U$24.95/C$29.95 %A Bruce Schneier www.Schneier.com %C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor, Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8 %D 2012 %E Editor (of book or series) %G 978-1-118-14330-8 1-118-14330-2 %I John Wiley & Sons, Inc. %O U$24.95/C$29.95 416-236-4433 fax: 416-236-4448 www.wiley.com %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1118143302/robsladesinterne http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1118143302/robsladesinte-21 %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/1118143302/robsladesin03-20 %O Audience n+ Tech 2 Writing 3 (see revfaq.htm for explanation) %P 365 p. %T "Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive" Chapter one is what would ordinarily constitute an introduction or preface to the book. Schneier states that the book is about trust: the trust that we need to operate as a society. In these terms, trust is the confidence we can have that other people will reliably behave in certain ways, and not in others. In any group, there is a desire in having people cooperate and act in the interest of all the members of the group. In all individuals, there is a possibility that they will defect and act against the interests of the group, either for their own competing interest, or simply in opposition to the group. (The author notes that defection is not always negative: positive social change is generally driven by defectors.) Actually, the text may be more about social engineering, because Schneier does a very comprehensive job of exploring how confident we can be about trust, and they ways we can increase (and sometimes inadvertently decrease) that reliability. Part I explores the background of trust, in both the hard and soft sciences. Chapter two looks at biology and game theory for the basics. Chapter three will be familiar to those who have studied sociobiology, or other evolutionary perspectives on behaviour. A historical view of sociology and scaling makes up chapter four. Chapter five returns to game theory to examine conflict and societal dilemmas. Schneier says that part II develops a model of trust. This may not be evident at a cursory reading: the model consists of moral pressures, reputational pressures, institutional pressures, and security systems, and the author is very careful to explain each part in chapters seven through ten: so careful that it is sometimes hard to follow the structure of the arguments. Part III applies the model to the real world, examining competing interests, organizations, corporations, and institutions. The relative utility of the four parts of the model is analyzed in respect to different scales (sizes and complexities) of society. The author also notes, in a number of places, that distrust, and therefore excessive institutional pressures or security systems, is very expensive for individuals and society as a whole. Part IV reviews the ways societal pressures fail, with particular emphasis on technology, and information technology. Schneier discusses situations where carelessly chosen institutional pressures can create the opposite of the effect intended. The author lists, and proposes, a number of additional models. There are Ostrom's rules for managing commons (a model for self-regulating societies), Dunbar's numbers, and other existing structures. But Schneier has also created a categorization of reasons for defection, a new set of security control types, a set of principles for designing effective societal pressures, and an array of the relation between these control types and his trust model. Not all of them are perfect. His list of control types has gaps and ambiguities (but then, so does the existing military/governmental catalogue). In his figure of the feedback loops in societal pressures, it is difficult to find a distinction between "side effects" and "unintended consequences." However, despite minor problems, all of these paradigms can be useful in reviewing both the human factors in security systems, and in public policy. Schneier writes as well as he always does, and his research is extensive. In part one, possibly too extensive. A great many studies and results are mentioned, but few are examined in any depth. This does not help the central thrust of the book. After all, eventually Schneier wants to talk about the technology of trust, what works, and what doesn't. In laying the basic foundation, the question of the far historical origin of altruism may be of academic philosophical interest, but that does not necessarily translate into an understanding of current moral mechanisms. It may be that God intended us to be altruistic, and therefore gave us an ethical code to shape our behaviour. Or, it may be that random mutation produced entities that acted altruistically and more of them survived than did others, so the population created expectations and laws to encourage that behaviour, and God to explain and enforce it. But trying to explore which of those (and many other variant) options might be right only muddies the understanding of what options actually help us form a secure society today. Schneier has, as with "Beyond Fear" (cf. BKBYNDFR.RVW) and "Secrets and Lies" (cf. BKSECLIE.RVW), not only made a useful addition to the security literature, but created something of value to those involved with public policy, and a fascinating philosophical tome for the general public. Security professionals can use a number of the models to assess controls in security systems, with a view to what will work, what won't (and what areas are just too expensive to protect). Public policy will benefit from examination of which formal structures are likely to have a desired effect. (As I am finishing this review the debate over SOPA and PIPA is going on: measures unlikely to protect intellectual property in any meaningful way, and guaranteed to have enormous adverse effects.) And Schneier has brought together a wealth of ideas and research in the fields of trust and society, with his usual clarity and readability. copyright, Robert M. Slade 2011 BKLRSOTL.RVW 20120104 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com victoria.tc.ca/techrev/rms.htm http://www.infosecbc.org/links http://blogs.securiteam.com/index.php/archives/author/p1/
Elisa Bertino/Kenji Takahashi BKIMCTAS.RVW 20110326 "Identity Management: Concepts, Technologies, and Systems", Elisa Bertino/Kenji Takahashi, 2011, 978-1-60807-039-8 %A Elisa Bertino %A Kenji Takahashi %C 685 Canton St., Norwood, MA 02062 %D 2011 %G 978-1-60807-039-8 1-60807-039-5 %I Artech House/Horizon %O 800-225-9977 fax: +1-617-769-6334 firstname.lastname@example.org %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1608070395/robsladesinterne http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1608070395/robsladesinte-21 %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/1608070395/robsladesin03-20 %O Audience i- Tech 2 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation) %P 196 p. %T "Identity Management: Concepts, Technologies, and Systems" Chapter one, the introduction, is a review of general identity related issues. The definition of identity management, in chapter two, is thorough and detailed, covering the broad range of different types and uses of identities, the various loci of control, the identity lifecycle (in depth), and a very effective technical definition of privacy. (The transactional attribute is perhaps defined too narrowly, as it could relate to non-commercial activities.) "Fundamental technologies and processes" addresses credentials, PKI (Public Key Infrastructure), single sign-on, Kerberos, privacy, and anonymous systems in chapter three. The level of detail varies: most of the material is specific with limited examples, while attribute federation is handled quite abstractly. Chapter four turns to standards and systems, reviewing SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language), Web Services Framework, OpenID, Information Card-Based Identity Management (IC-IDM), interoperability, other prototypes, examples, and projects, with an odd digression into the fundamental confidentiality, integrity, and availability concepts. Challenges are noted in chapter five, briefly examining usability, access control, privacy, trust management, interoperability (from the human, rather than machine, perspective, particularly expectations, experience, and jargon), and finally biometrics. This book raises a number of important questions, and mentions many new areas of work and development. For experienced security professionals needing to move into this area as a new field, it can serve as an introduction to the topics which need to be discussed. Those looking for assistance with an identity management project will probably need to look elsewhere. copyright, Robert M. Slade 2011 BKIMCTAS.RVW 20110326 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com victoria.tc.ca/techrev/rms.htm http://www.infosecbc.org/links
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