The RISKS Digest
Volume 28 Issue 29

Thursday, 9th October 2014

Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems

ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator

Please try the URL privacy information feature enabled by clicking the flashlight icon above. This will reveal two icons after each link the body of the digest. The shield takes you to a breakdown of Terms of Service for the site - however only a small number of sites are covered at the moment. The flashlight take you to an analysis of the various trackers etc. that the linked site delivers. Please let the website maintainer know if you find this useful or not. As a RISKS reader, you will probably not be surprised by what is revealed…


Remote automobile shutdown shuts down emergency-room visit
Gabe Goldberg
TripAdvisor's Viator card data breach affects 1.4M customers
Dave Farber
Shellshock DHCP RCE Proof of Concept
Gene Wirchenko
'Spike' toolkit seeks routers, Internet of things for DDoS botnet
Antone Gonsalves via Gene Wirchenko
Apple pulls back first update to iOS 8
Brian Jackson via Gene Wirchenko
World's #1 champion most complicated password requirements
Dan Jacobson
Fast Lane, Slow Lane—"No Lane"—End Game in Telecommunications
Dewayne Hendricks
California Amends Data Breach Notification Law
Dan Appelman
The NSA's Yada Yada Bytes
Henry Baker
Holder urges tech companies to leave device backdoors open for police
Craig Timberg via Henry Baker
"LTE Direct": Is that a Stingray in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Henry Baker
*A Question of DNS Protocols*
Geoff Huston via PGN
FDA workshop on medical device security
Kevin Fu
Info on RISKS (comp.risks)

Remote automobile shutdown shuts down emergency-room visit

Gabe Goldberg <>
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:47:33 -0400
The thermometer showed a 103.5-degree fever, and her 10-year-old's asthma
was flaring up. Mary Bolender, who lives in Las Vegas, needed to get her
daughter to an emergency room, but her 2005 Chrysler van would not start.

The cause was not a mechanical problem—it was her lender.

Ms. Bolender was three days behind on her monthly car payment. Her lender,
C.A.G. Acceptance of Mesa, Ariz., remotely activated a device in her car's
dashboard that prevented her car from starting.  Before she could get back on
the road, she had to pay more than $389, money she did not have that morning
in March.

Remote auto shutdown—what could go wrong with THAT?

TripAdvisor's Viator card data breach affects 1.4M customers

"David Farber via ip" <>
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:45:38 -0400
  [This is getting more than boring. I warned about this 10 years ago.  DF]

TripAdvisor has reportedly been hit by a massive data breach at its Online
travel booking and review website Viator, that may have exposed payment card
details and account credentials of its customers, affecting an estimated 1.4
million of its customers.

The San Francisco-based Viator, acquired by TripAdvisor—the world's
largest travel site—for US$200 million back in July, admitted late on
Friday that the intruders have hacked into some of its customers' payment
card accounts and made unauthorized charges.

The data breach was discovered in the bookings made through Viator's
websites and mobile offerings that could potentially affect payment card

Shellshock DHCP RCE Proof of Concept

Gene Wirchenko <>
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 09:32:30 -0700
TrustedSec, 25 Sep 2014

  [See also The NYT article.  PGN]

'Spike' toolkit seeks routers, Internet of things for DDoS botnet (Antone Gonsalves)

Gene Wirchenko <>
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 09:45:51 -0700
Antone Gonsalves, CSO | 25 Sep 2014
The toolkit is capable of infecting computers, routers, and IoT
devices to launch large-scale simultaneous DDoS attacks

Apple pulls back first update to iOS 8 (Brian Jackson)

Gene Wirchenko <>
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 23:10:59 -0700
Brian Jackson, *IT Business*, 24 Sep 2014

Apple Inc. has retracted its first update to iOS 8 since releasing the major
update to its platform last week after users reported the update disabled
their device's ability to connect with a cell network or use Touch ID.

World's #1 champion most complicated password requirements

Dan Jacobson <>
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 20:57:57 +0800
We forgot our password again at

"Note: The password should be long enough or containing multiple character
classes: symbols, digits (0-9), upper and lower case letters (for instance:
chill_Urban5Incest).  pwqcheck options are 'match=0 max%6

The maximum allowed password length: 256
Checks for common substrings are disabled.
The minimum length for passwords consisting of characters from one class: 24
The minimum length for passwords consisting of characters from two
  classes that don't meet requirements for passphrases: 24
The minimum length for passphrases: 11
The minimum length for passwords consisting of characters from three classes: 8
The minimum length for passwords consisting of characters from four classes: 7

Fast Lane, Slow Lane—"No Lane"—End Game in Telecommunications

Dewayne Hendricks <>
September 26, 2014 at 3:06:14 PM EDT
[Note:  This item comes from friend Bruce Kushnick.  DLH] (via Dave Farber)

(Excerpted from the new book: The Book of Broken Promises: $400 Billion Broadband Scandal and Free the Net)

Fast Lane, Slow Lane—"No Lane"—End Game in Telecommunications

Forget about Net Neutrality's fast lane vs slow lane. We are at the end game
in telecommunications and we should all be talking about the "No Lane".

Net Neutrality is like one of those Rorschach Tests used in psychological
examinations where everyone sees something different in the same
picture. With a record 3.7 million comments filed at the FCC in the Open
Internet proceeding, as of September 15th, 2014, one thing is clear --
America is angst-ridden about something.

The most common theme in the last round of comments filed is now
the-easy-to-remember chant—"fast lane vs slow lane", while over the last
decade it has referred to the blocking or degrading of service.

But the truth is—the angst is not only from 'Net Neutrality'. According
to an ACSI survey, in 2014, Comcast and Time Warner are leading the list as
the "most hated companies in America", while "ISPs", (actually the phone and
cable companies, including AT&T and Centurylink) were also at the bottom of
customer satisfaction.

While Net Neutrality focuses on important issues, it doesn't address or cure
anything to do with stopping the "No Lane"-- the end game if AT&T, Verizon,
Comcast and Time Warner continue on their path. These companies are the
incumbent wireline and cable companies that control most of the wires in the
US and that also means that they control all wireless services. Control of
the wires also gives them control over all services, including competitor
services, but more importantly it gives them the ability to control who gets
upgraded and who doesn't, or what prices customers' pay, or worse, who will
be 'shut off' and end up in a 'Digital Dead Zone'.

How bad is the broadband 'landscape'?

A recent speech by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler brings the "No Lane", filed with
the "have nots", into focus.

"At the low end of throughput, 4 Mbps and 10 Mbps, the majority of Americans
have a choice of only two providers. That is what economists call a
"duopoly", a market place that is typically characterized by less than
vibrant competition."

"At 25 Mbps, there is simply no competitive choice for most Americans. Stop
and let that sink in...Three-quarters of American homes have no competitive
choice for the essential infrastructure for 21st century economics and
democracy. Included in that is almost 20 percent who have no service at
all!" "Things only get worse as you move to 50 Mbps where 82 percent of
consumers lack a choice."

Ironically, (as we mentioned in our previous article), America's customers
have been charged about $400 billion dollars to have the entire US upgraded
to fiber optic services by 2010, or there abouts, with speeds of at least 45
Mbps in both directions—and that was the speed of broadband in 1992; by
2014, we should have been a 'gigabit nation'.

Wheeler, unfortunately, appears to be in denial about the other pressing
issues—And it is going to get worse.

The "No Lane": Shutting off the Copper—and Force-Migrating to Wireless.

At an investor meeting, a CITI Investment Research analyst asked Fran
Shammo, Verizon's CFO, about "the homes where you don't have FiOS. I think
it's... maybe roughly 8 million homes...".

Fran Shammo responded: 'VoiceLink' and 'harvesting' are the plan.

"Outside of the FiOS footprint obviously, really we are taking two measures
there. One is the Wireless portfolio and replacing some of that that old
voice legacy copper voice with our LTE voice product that Wireless has been
selling across the nation for almost two years now called Home Phone
Connect. Within Wireline, they have a very similar product called VoiceLink
which in essence is the same thing.

"So we will try to replace that copper legacy with those technologies. But
look, I mean, outside, this is kind of where you say it's you have to
nurture it and harvest what you have and we know that we are not going to be
able to compete with speed in that environment and we will continue to do
the best we can."

Harvesting customers is essentially getting as much profits out of a
customer as possible by raising rates until the customer screams uncle and
leaves, or stays but is being gouged. But the primary goal is to shut off
the copper, so make as much as possible until then. Meanwhile, VoiceLink
caused a revolt on Fire Island, New York. After the Sandy Storm, Verizon's
plan was to not fix the copper utility networks in various parts of New York
and New Jersey and force customers onto a 2G-styled wireless service called
VoiceLink. Fire Island residents attacked this plan and in 2014 they were
wired with fiber optics; Mantoloking New Jersey wasn't as fortunate or vocal
and is still forced onto VoiceLink.

Unfortunately, AT&T has an identical plan, but they call it the "IP
Transition". This chart, supplied by AT&T to the FCC, is the current and
after picture about its plans for the Carbon Hill Alabama Internet Protocol
(IP) transition trials, which is supposed to migrate customers from the
current networks to Internet-based networks.

In this rather jaw-dropping chart we see that AT&T will shut off 60% of
working wired services to be replaced with their own wireless service, while
4% can't get anything upgraded so far. And their wireless product includes a
VoiceLink-like service. (I note that as of the filing, VoiceLink couldn't do
data applications or Internet service.)

How exactly does shutting off the working phone lines (and not upgrading the
customers), or worse, replacing the line with an inferior and expensive
wireless service constitute a "transition" to IP protocols exactly?

Net Neutrality's Broadband Utility Push and the Disconnect.

To read the Rest:

Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director,New Networks Institute

California Amends Data Breach Notification Law

"Dan Appelman, Montgomery & Hansen, LLP" <>
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:57:58 -0400 (EDT)
California Amends Data Breach Notification Law and Prohibitions on Use of
  Social Security Numbers

On September 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law several
amendments of California's data breach notification law and California's
prohibition on certain uses of social security numbers.  These amendments
take effect on January 1, 2015.

Implementation of Security Procedures and Practices to Protect Personal

The recent breaches of security at national chain retailers such as Target
and Home Depot have prompted calls for laws that better protect digitized
personal information.  Current California law requires organizations that
own or license personal information about Californians to implement and
maintain "reasonable security procedures and practices" to protect that
personal information from unauthorized access, destruction, use,
modification and disclosure.  In the event of a known or suspected breach,
the law also requires those organizations to notify California residents
whose information may have been compromised of the breach.  California's
Civil Code provides that California residents who have suffered harm
attributable to a breach of these requirements may sue the companies that
failed to comply and may recover damages.

One of the new amendments extends the first requirement (that of
implementing and maintaining reasonable security procedures and practices)
to organizations that maintain personal information, even if they don't own
it or license it from others.  Thus, businesses that host or otherwise
retain data for others, such as cloud and co-location service providers, and
retail businesses that collect information from their customers but do not
own or license it, must now implement and maintain reasonable security
procedures and practices if that data contains any personal information.

For purposes of California's data breach law, "personal information" means a
person's first name or initial and last name in combination with any one or
more of the following data elements: (i) social security number, (ii)
driver's license number, (iii) California identification card number, (iv)
an account, credit or debit card number in combination with any required
security code, access code or password or (v) any individually identifiable
information regarding the person's medical history, medical treatment or
diagnosis by a health care professional.  However, personal information that
is encrypted does not trigger the law's compliance requirements.

The new amendment does not specify the scope of what it means to "maintain"
personal information.  Consequently, "maintain" can be interpreted quite
broadly; and businesses that collect personal information about California
residents would be prudent to comply with the law's requirements, at least
until future cases provide clarification.

The law also does not specify what security procedures and practices will be
considered sufficient, other than to say that those measures must be
"appropriate to the nature of the [personal] information."  Thus, the law
leaves it up to each business to implement what it deems to be reasonable
security measures under the circumstances.  Whether those measures are
sufficient or insufficient will be determined in retrospect by a court when
the business is sued for failure to comply with the law.

Offers of Identity Theft Prevention and Mitigation Services

Another recent amendment requires businesses experiencing a breach of their
security systems to offer all affected persons not less than twelve months
of free identity theft prevention and mitigation services along with all
information necessary to take advantage of the offer. This applies only to
those who own or license the personal information that has been compromised,
not to those who merely maintain that information.  This amendment does not
specify what identity theft and mitigation services to offer or any minimum
benefits that must be included with those services.

Amendment of Prohibitions on Certain Uses of Social Security Numbers

California law currently prohibits businesses from (i) publicly posting or
displaying social security numbers, (ii) printing social security numbers on
cards required to access products or services, (iii) requiring individuals
to transmit their social security numbers over the Internet in an unsecured
or unencrypted fashion, (iv) requiring the use of social security numbers to
access Internet web sites without also requiring a password or unique
personal identification number or other authentication device to access that
web site, and (v) printing social security numbers on any materials that are
mailed, unless state or federal law requires it.

The new California amendments also make it illegal to sell, offer to sell,
or advertise for sale any individual's social security number.  However, the
release of a social security number for a purpose allowed by federal or
state law, or as part of a larger transaction where the release is necessary
in order to accomplish a legitimate business purpose, does not violate the
new law.

Tips and Recommendations.

(1) Most businesses, regardless of where located, that maintain computerized
databases that include personal information will have to comply with
California's breach notification law because those databases are likely to
include personal information about California residents.

(2) If possible, Companies that own, license or maintain computerized data
that include personal information should encrypt either the names of the
individuals contained in their databases or the data elements or both.  The
requirements in California's breach notification law to provide reasonable
security for personal information and to notify those affected by a breach
in that security do not apply if the personal information is encrypted.

(3) Offering theft prevention and mitigation services following a breach is
now mandatory for companies that actually own or license personal
information, and the offer must comply with the new requirements mentioned
above.  Companies that maintain personal information (but do not own or
license it) who experience a breach should consider this type of offer as a
form of best practices to mitigate harm, even though this part of the law
does not apply to them.

(4) Keep in mind that each state enacts its own laws in the data privacy
area and those laws vary significantly from one another.  At least three
other states, Florida, Kentucky and Iowa, recently amended their personal
information breach notification laws, and California has enacted several
previous amendments since its law first became effective in 2003.  This is
an area of the law that changes frequently, and California is often in the
forefront of those changes.  Companies must keep up to date on protection
and breach notification requirements that affect how they conduct their
business in all states.

The changes described in this client update are contained in Assembly Bill

The NSA's Yada Yada Bytes

Henry Baker <>
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:22:58 -0700
"Yada yada.  A disparaging response, indicating that something previously
said was predictable, repetitive or tedious... This phrase is a modern-day
equivalent of 'blah, blah, blah'... incessant talk - yatter, jabber,

The NSA has so buried itself in yottabytes ("YB") of boring Big Data in
aptly named Bluffdale ("Bluffbytes" ?), Utah, that it can't make any sense
of it, as the following article indicates.

(There are an incredible number of excellent links in the original article; too many to include here.)

How American Intelligence Works in the 21st Century, *HuffPost, 30 Sep 2014

Failure Is Success

Cross-posted with

What are the odds?  You put about $68 billion annually into a maze of 17
major intelligence outfits.  You build them glorious headquarters.  You
create a global surveillance state for the ages.  You listen in on your
citizenry and gather their communications in staggering quantities.  Your
employees even morph into avatars and enter video-game landscapes, lest any
Americans betray a penchant for evil deeds while in entertainment mode.  You
collect information on visits to porn sites just in case, one day, blackmail
might be useful.  You pass around naked photos of them just for... well, the
salacious hell of it.  Your employees even use aspects of the system you've
created to stalk former lovers and, within your arcane world, that act of
"spycraft" gains its own name: LOVEINT.

You listen in on foreign leaders and politicians across the planet.  You
bring on board hundreds of thousands of crony corporate employees, creating
the sinews of an intelligence-corporate complex of the first order.  You
break into the `backdoors' of the data centers of major Internet outfits to
collect user accounts.  You create new outfits within outfits, including an
ever-expanding secret military and intelligence crew embedded inside the
military itself (and not counted among those 17 agencies).  Your leaders lie
to Congress and the American people without, as far as we can tell, a
flicker of self-doubt.  Your acts are subject to secret courts, which only
hear your versions of events and regularly rubberstamp them—and whose
judgments and substantial body of lawmaking are far too secret for Americans
to know about.

You have put extraordinary effort into ensuring that information about your
world and the millions of documents you produce doesn't make it into our
world.  You even have the legal ability to gag American organizations and
citizens who might speak out on subjects that would displease you (and they
can't say that their mouths have been shut).  You undoubtedly spy on
Congress.  You hack into congressional computer systems.  And if
whistleblowers inside your world try to tell the American public anything
unauthorized about what you're doing, you prosecute them under the Espionage
Act, as if they were spies for a foreign power (which, in a sense, they are,
since you treat the American people as if they were a foreign population).
You do everything to wreck their lives and—should one escape your grasp
-- you hunt him implacably to the ends of the Earth.

As for your top officials, when their moment is past, the revolving door is
theirs to spin through into a lucrative mirror life in the
intelligence-corporate complex.

What They Didn't Know [...]

Producing Subprime Intelligence as a Way of Life [...]

Holder urges tech companies to leave device backdoors open for police (Craig Timberg)

Henry Baker <>
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:45:40 -0700
Craig Timberg, *The Washington Post, 30 Sep 2014

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on Tuesday that new forms of
encryption capable of locking law enforcement officials out of popular
electronic devices imperil investigations of kidnappers and sexual
predators, putting children at increased risk.  [...]

"LTE Direct": Is that a Stingray in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Henry Baker <>
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 08:51:41 -0700
FYI—Apparently, IMSI/SSID/BluetoothID catchers aren't good enough (or
profitable enough for mobile operators).  Here comes "LTE Direct Discovery",
which puts a tracking beacon in every pocket!

"[LTE Direct] has a range of up to 500 meters, far more than either Wi-Fi or
Bluetooth."  So basically, you can now reliably capture the ID's of every
cellphone that you pass on the freeway.

"LTE Direct" aka "Proximate Discovery" aka "Ambient Awareness".

BTW, I'm curious about how the NSA/FBI backdoor for "LTE Discovery"
information works.

Here are Qualcomm's marketing materials:
Size: 101 KB (102,427 bytes)
Size: 479 KB (489,511 bytes)
Size: 2.3 MB (2,411,428 bytes)
Size: 1.4 MB (1,446,036 bytes)
Size: 2.4 MB (2,491,591 bytes)
Size: 2.4 MB (2,491,591 bytes)
Size: 3.1 MB (3,177,036 bytes)

 - - - -

Tom Simonite, 29 Sep 2014
Future Smartphones Won't Need Cell Towers to Connect

Qualcomm, Facebook, and other tech companies are experimenting with
technology that lets smartphones use their LTE radio to connect directly to
other devices up to 500 meters away.

  [long item PGN-truncated]

*A Question of DNS Protocols* (Geoff Huston)

"Peter G. Neumann" <>
Thu, 9 Oct 2014 11:59:12 PDT
There's a timely article by Geoff Huston in the September 2014 issue of *The
Internet Protocol Journal* that may be worthy of your attentions.  It's
strongly recommended reading for those of you not familiar with Internet
security problems.

FDA workshop on medical device security

Kevin Fu <>
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 02:00:17 -0400
The FDA recently announced a two-day workshop to gather public comments
on medical device security.  Here's the announcement, plus a commentary.

This workshop is follow up to the 2013 draft FDA guidance on medical device

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