[From Dave Farber's IP distribution. PGN-ed] [Be careful what you agree to when you click that EULA... Sam] A computer game retailer revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in the terms and conditions agreed to by online shoppers. [Source; FOXNews.com, 15 Apr 2010; PGN-ed] http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/15/online-shoppers-unknowingly-sold-souls/ British game retailer *GameStation* has revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in the terms and conditions agreed to by online shoppers. On April Fools' Day they had added the "immortal soul clause" to the contract that you would sign before making any online purchases. It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul. "By placing an order via this Web site <#> on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions." GameStation's form http://www.gamestation.co.uk/Help/TermsAndConditions/ also points out that "we reserve the right to serve such notice in 6-foot-high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction." The GameStation folks apparently intended to make a very real point: No one reads the online terms and conditions of shopping, and companies are free to insert whatever language they want into the documents. While all shoppers during the test were given a simple tick box option to opt out, very few did this, which would have also rewarded them with a 5-pound voucher. Due to the number of people who ticked the box, GameStation claims believes as many as 88 percent of people do not read the terms and conditions of a Web site before they make a purchase. http://newslite.tv/2010/04/06/7500-shoppers-unknowingly-sold.html. The company noted that it would not be enforcing the ownership rights, and planned to e-mail customers nullifying any claim on their soul.
Amanda Lenhart, Rich Ling, Scott Campbell, Kristen Purcell, Teens and Mobile Phones, Pew Internet & American Life Project 20 Apr 2010 Daily text messaging among American teens has shot up in the past 18 months, from 38% of teens texting friends daily in February of 2008 to 54% of teens texting daily in September 2009. And it's not just frequency - teens are sending enormous quantities of text messages a day. Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month. Older teen girls ages 14-17 lead the charge on text messaging, averaging 100 messages a day for the entire cohort. The youngest teen boys are the most resistant to texting - averaging 20 messages per day. ... http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Teens-and-Mobile-Phones.aspx
[Source: Renay San Miguel, Hackers and Social Networking: A Love Story, *TechNewsWorld*, 22 Apr 2010; PGN-ed, with thanks to Gary McGraw.] http://www.technewsworld.com/story/69822.html?wlc=1271963809 This is a fascinating article on the Social Networking bandwagon and the Cloud Computing megaballoon. It quotes Cloud Computing Alliance's Wen Tseng, Entrust's Eric Skinner, and Cigital's Gary McGraw. I won't begin to summarize it, but Gary gets the last words: "Generally speaking, it looks like HR is all for the social networking thing, and so they're kind of pushing for the networking -- using LinkedIn and Twitter and outreach communications without thinking through the implications of it all. So stepping back and thinking, 'What's the downside' is always a good idea. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should." [See also Brad Stone and Ashlee Vance, Companies Slowly Join Cloud-Computing, *The New York Times*, 18 Apr 2010. PGN's favorite quote from the Stone/Vance article is this: Ah, the cloud - these days, Silicon Valley can't seem to get its head out of it. The idea, though typically expressed in ways larded with jargon, is actually rather simple. Cloud providers, large ones like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and AT&T, and smaller ones like Rackspace and Terremark, aim to convince other companies to give up building and managing [in-house] data centers and to use [the provider's] computer capacity instead. PGN]
There's a McAfee anti-virus update today that went wrong. It is bringing down millions of XP machines worldwide. So if you decided to be "safe" and run McAfee, your machine is dead. If you decided to live dangerously, you haven't lost anything. The rational economic argument for users is on the side of not using anti-virus (in this case)... http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/21/mcafee-update--shutting-down-xp-machines/ [Lauren Weinstein notes a *USA Today* article on the COST. PGN] Total cost of McAfee's antivirus error will be many millions http://bit.ly/ckiOsh
A computer error prevented the West Virginia coal mine where 29 workers died in an explosion last week from receiving a warning about safety violations. Evidently, a computer program used by the Mine Safety and Health Administration screens mines for patterns of violations. Because eight citations at the mine in question were apparently omitted, the program did not flag the mine for safety violations. However, the mine operators apparently had fixed the identified problems earlier. Nevertheless, the inadequate reporting has alerted U.S. House lawmakers. [Source: Sam Hananel, AP item, 13 Apr 2010; PGN-ed. Thanks to dkross.] http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jcWTXGVTKM_1CpDr0g42ejESRZPAD9F2I4CG0
In the aftermath of Consumer Reports recommendation against buying the Toyota GX 460 SUV because of a risk of rollovers, Toyota is recalling 9400 vehicles in the US (and others overseas) for a software upgrade - a flaw in the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) software can allow unstable handling. The part I find disconcerting is that the update is going to be available by the end of April (less than two weeks from now), which hardly seems long enough to make a software fix and perform adequate testing. 'nuff said. http://money.cnn.com/2010/04/19/autos/lexus_gx460_recall/index.htm?hpt=T2
A caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth to be able to verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Giving out such information has resulted in identity fraud in at least 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois, and Colorado. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their websites, warning consumers about the fraud. http://www.fbi.gov/page2/june06/jury_scams060206.htm http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/juryduty.asp
Around 2,300 students across two schools in the Lower Merion School District of Ardmore, PA earlier have received $1,000 Macintosh laptops for use with preinstalled video-monitoring software that can be remotely activated. A motion against the District was filed on 15 Apr. The suit accuses the school district of violating various federal and state statutes against surveillance and wiretapping, including the federal Electronics Communications Privacy Act. [Source: David Murphy, *PC Magazine*, 18 Apr 2010; PGN-ed. This follows up on the earlier items in RISKS-25.95,97.] http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2362791,00.asp
With so many credit/debit card cloning scams and the consequent multi-million (multi-billion?) pound losses it might be expected that banks such as Barclays would be promoting security with card transactions especially with regards to the use of 'chip and pin.' However, the latest advert for Barclay Card's 'Rewards' programme - which is airing regularly on British t.v. - depicts just the opposite. Indeed it is an excellent example of how to NOT carry out a 'chip and pin' transaction. The advert shows a somewhat narcissistic and effeminate guy - for some reason carrying a piece rolled up carpet - shopping and paying for goods and services by 'chip and pin.' However whilst the chip might be secure, he openly flouts his PIN to all and everyone including shop assistants and waiters and anyone standing in his near vicinity. The smirk on his face at every successful transaction - as he punches in his PIN accompanied by annoying musical 'plinks and plonks' - in full view of anyone watching - is indicative of his total ignorance of card cloning and fraud. This irritating advert demonstrates the very worst of Barclay's attitude towards security both of customers credit/debit card accounts and the losses it sustains due to card cloning and fraud. Apparently musical 'plinks and plonks' of customers punching in their PINs to earn some ephemeral 'rewards' for using their cards is more important than demonstrating the necessity of keeping one's PIN secret, i.e. NOT allowing others to see the PIN punched in. The mind boggles at Barclays utter stupidity in using this advert for their services. Risks: You can't beat the Banks for demonstrating stupity when looking after someone else's hard-earned cash and credit card accounts.
Penguin is destroying all 7000 copies of its Pasta Bible after a misprint suggesting that a dish requires "salt and freshly ground black people". The head of publishing "defended proofreaders for letting through a misprint that he suggested came from a spell-check program." http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/apr/19/penguin-cook-book The RISKS archives are of course peopled - er, peppered - with such examples. [Mark Brader suggested a title for this item: "Freshly ground books and msipelt tagliatelle." Actually, blaming spelling checkers is *not a legitimate defense*. That's STUPIDITY, IGNORANCE, and MALPRACTICE. PGN]
This is nothing new. The RFID Zapper had been already presented at the Chaos Computer Congress in Berlin in 2005. Prof. Wool is definitely not the first person to publish and present on this topic. But the statement in the RISKS Newsletter reads like that. The Zapper had been developed by Computer Science students from Berlin.  http://events.ccc.de/congress/2005/static/r/f/i/RFID-Zapper(EN)_77f3.html Oliver Leistert, Universitšt Paderborn, Warburger Str. 100 33098 Paderborn +49-5251/60-3275 www.upb.de/gk-automatismen/kollegiatinnen/oliver-leistert/
One of the great features of humanity is that we can not only learn from our own mistakes, we can learn from other peoples -and, through the written word and youtube videos, from people at a distance, after the event. It's a shame that some people felt that the best comment they could add was criticism, but perhaps they resented having to change their single-web-site password across all web sites. Looking at the apache attack, it appears that the escalation from JIRA admin to system admin was due to inadequate password policy, rather than any OS vulnerability. Once on the machine they attempted to cross over from the public, apache committer-accessible server to the main SVN servers, and fell foul of the fact that it's login mechanism is much stricter -and failures picked up on immediately. The fact that an attack came from a rented VM is interesting as it shows a trend to worry about in future: now all you need is a stolen credit card to gain a small cluster of machines with good network access and a restricted audit trail. The network load of a VM trying to log in to a remote service isn't going to show up on the billing and monitoring infrastructure of a hosting datacentre, so it will be up to every endpoint to defend for that. Fail2Ban is a solution -one which requires every service to log unauthenticated operations. If you have a login point, log failures. That includes every SOAP or REST endpoint -but you also need to make sure the logs themselves don't trigger a failure, else you have created a new DoS vulnerability. Some other issues * ASF Hardware is often donated, and is colocated on different sites. There is no "secure datacentre", back end subnet or other multi-layer defences: everything is in the DMZ. This makes it harder to secure systems, but stops you getting complacent. If there is a network -even a VPN- which grants extra rights to callers, you need a plan to deal with it being compromised and the tests to detect it. * If the JIRA cookies had been marked HttpOnly, then XSS scripts would be unable to read them. I wasn't personally aware of HttpOnly cookies until this incident; I shall be adding Jetty and Tomcat filters to my applications in future to make cookies HttpOnly regardless of the applications' policies. * Log analysis would be easier if events were not scattered across different machines, but instead analysable across them "show me all requests to ASF infrastructure from IPAddr 192.168.1.1". The cloud computing projects within Apache are building tooling which could do this: anyone wiling to apply the CouchDB and Hadoop project's products for such capture and mining would be encouraged to do so. * TinyURL was used to obfuscate the XSS attack, so the script did not appear in any (sanitised) email bug reports. There's no easy defence against that, except maybe to use some tooling other than the web browser to resolve tinyURL links. longSHORE, at http://long-shore.com/ ( http://tinyurl.com/y4kta7o ) can do that; the thought of a Firefox plugin that works with this service appeals to me, though of course as longshore is accessed via HTTP, you have to trust DNS in your browsing location. * The https://issues.apache.org/ HTTPS certificate has to be considered compromised. This is why it's important to have a different https certificate for every host, not save money for a *.mydomain.com certificate. It is also why client applications should check certificates for revocation. It's easy for people to look at the post mortem and criticise, but consider this: the team wrote up what happened, in enough detail for the readers to follow. We don't see that very often; it would have been easier to say "A zero-day exploit" and leave it at that.
A few observations from a recent road trip with our brand new TomTom: "Fastest route" seems to assume you'll be doing speed limit and thus prefers major freeways. It's a reasonable assumption, except major freeways in big cities tend to be congested most of the time -- presumably paid subscription to real-time traffic reports service helps with that. In a couple of places "shortest route" had us turn off a highway into a side street (across oncoming traffic), turn right into another side street, and then back into the same highway (left, across all traffic again). A look at the map showed the highway turning left in wide bend. I expect the "shortcut" was indeed a few metres shorter. Then there's GPS/map/address accuracy: we're coming to a motel hiding at the end of a driveway on the left side of a wide boulevard, right next to a major intersection. To follow TomTom's "make a u-turn and you've arrived at your destination", I'd have drive over the divider lawn and into some sort of an office building. There was left turn pocket a few metres back, with a big "no u-turn" sign on it. It does into the driveway we wanted, but the driveway entrance is probably not exactly at the motel's listed address, the driveway veers back a little (causing TomTom -- I guess -- to insist on "u-turn" instead of just "turn left"), and by the time TomTom decides "you're there", you've actually already passed the turn. Not too unreasonable, and once you get the hang of it and look at the screen and/or map (traffic conditions permitting) instead of blindly following the voice prompts, no worse than any other piece of software I get to work with. Of course, I do software for living, by now I have an intuitive feel for how it works and what the limitations would be. I've no problem believing that an average GPS user would drive off a non-existing bridge or wedge a truck under a too-low overpass. YOUR SAT NAV HAS LIMITATIONS - LEARN TO USE IT PROPERLY! Dimitri (Dima) Maziuk, BioMagResBank, UW-Madison -- http://www.bmrb.wisc.edu
Even when you choose the alternative of "shortest time", that doesn't always help. A lot of GPS map data seems to divide roads into a rather small number of classes, with all roads within a class considered to be equally "fast". Typically, minor asphalted country roads may be considered to be in the same class as farm tracks, so whichever route appears to be shorter will always be chosen.
> ... it relayed a passport I was holding to a similar reader in the UK, > using a mobile phone data link. Presumably the same attack would work against many RFID systems? Beware of people sidling up to you in a pub, they may be opening your car, home, workplace, lab ... At least with the old coded metal bar keys they could be reasonably hidden in trouser pockets. ;-)
(Horrocks, RISKS-25.98). NB: E-mail address munged to defeat spam, "yeeha" = "yahoo", of course. > It's not clear from the article whether the change was incorrectly > implemented or exactly as requested. As the old joke goes, the trouble with software engineers is that they give you what you asked for, not what you actually wanted...
This article says, "Blackboard and school officials clarified Thursday that the boy had not found and exploited a security vulnerability, but rather that he had obtained a teacher's password." So allowing privilege escalation from "teacher" to "administrator" is not a security vulnerability? Of course it is -- if those roles were not intended to be equivalent, then there is a mismatch between the intended policy and the implemented one. Exploiting that can certainly be described as "hacking". David-Sarah Hopwood http://davidsarah.livejournal.com
Facing precisely that problem, I'd created spamtune.pl back in 2005, a sort Perl script that generates an OpenOffice.org spreadsheet which loads up SpamAssassin configuration and known spam and ham messages. Once loaded, you can tweak individual SpamAssassin scores in the spreadsheet itself and see their effect on spam/ham classification in real-time. The script also shows you the number of false positives and negatives for a set of scores in real-time. The program is available at: http://kandalaya.org/software/spamtune.pl Feedback appreciated. Raj Mathur email@example.com http://kandalaya.org/
Notice of Inquiry, 21 Apr 2010: The FCC adopted a Notice of Inquiry to enhance its understanding of the present state of survivability in broadband communications networks and to explore potential measures to reduce network vulnerability to failures in network equipment or severe over-load conditions, such as would occur in natural disasters, pandemics, and other disasters. The Commission seeks comment on the ability of existing networks to withstand localized or distributed physical damage, including whether there is adequate network redundancy and the extent of survivability of physical enclosures in which network elements are located. Comments are due 45 days from publication in the Federal Register; replies 75 days from publication. https://portal.neca.org/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_307_206_0_43/http%3B/prodnet.www.neca.org/publicationsdocs/wwpdf/fcc1062.pdf> Notice of Inquiry, 21 Apr 2010: The FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry that seeks comment on whether the Commission should establish a voluntary program under which participating communications service providers would be certified by the FCC or a yet to be determined third party entity for their adherence to a set of cyber security objectives and/or practices. The Commission also seeks comment on the components of such a program, if any, and whether such a program would create business incentives for providers of communications services to sustain a high level of cybersecurity culture and practice. Comments will be due 60 days after the NOI is published in the Federal Register; replies will be due 120 days after publication. https://portal.neca.org/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_307_206_0_43/http%3B/prodnet.www.neca.org/publicationsdocs/wwpdf/fcc1063.pdf Charles L. Jackson, PO Box 221, Port Tobacco, MD 20677, 1-301 656 8716 [Don't you love these easily remembered URLs? PGN]
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