The RISKS Digest
Volume 29 Issue 12

Wednesday, 25th November 2015

Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems

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

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Laser damages pilot's eye
The Guardian
Data breach in Georgia could affect 6 million voters
Tech group rejects post-Paris call for data encryption backdoors
After Lenovo now Dell PCs and Laptops are shipping with rogue root level CA
Dell provides cert removal tool nightmare
Ars Technica
SSL Safer
The Right to Tinker With Cars' Software
Dyre for Win 10
Help Net & Heimdal
Federal privacy law lags far behind personal-health technologies
The 911 System Isn't Ready for the iPhone Era
Bank fined: automated electronic foreign exchange trading misconduct
DFS.NY via The Conversation
IRS cyber security challenges
GAO & Gov Info Security
Net of Insecurity
Craig Timberg
Government minister poses with his password on a PostIt note
Diomidis Spinellis
Multiple Paris Attackers were on US Watch Lists
Free Beacon
Re: Beware of ads that use inaudible sound...
Chris Drew
Info on RISKS (comp.risks)

Laser damages pilot's eye

"Peter G. Neumann" <>
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 3:46:28 PST

Data breach in Georgia could affect 6 million voters

Lauren Weinstein <>
Thu, 19 Nov 2015 21:20:51 -0800

  Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp acknowledged Wednesday that his
  office last month illegally disclosed the Social Security numbers and
  other private information of more than 6 million registered voters.  Kemp
  said the data went to 12 organizations who regularly subscribe to "voter
  lists" maintained by the state, and he was adamant that the "clerical
  error" did not compromise Georgia's voter registration system.  But the
  problem didn't become public until two voters filed a class-action lawsuit
  alleging a massive data breach ... "This is a very serious breach
  involving a huge number of Georgia residents," Vladeck said in an
  email. "The types of information released—especially SSNs and driver
  license records (which generally have addresses, dates of birth, pictures
  and other uniquely identifying information)—are very, very valuable to
  identity thieves." ... While the AJC and others—including the Georgia
  GOP and the Democratic Party of Georgia—have since complied with the
  request, at least one organization—the Libertarian Party—had not as
  of Wednesday afternoon.  "I am out at my daughter's shooting competition,"
  the Libertarian Party's Doug Craig said in a text when asked whether he
  would return the disc. "Going to tomorrow ... maybe."

You *really* think anyone returned the disks before copying off the
contents?  REALLY?

Tech group rejects post-Paris call for data encryption backdoors

"Peter G. Neumann" <>
Mon, 23 Nov 2015 14:40:03 PST
Dustin Volz, Reuters, 19 Nov 2015

The Information Technology Industry Council (representing Apple, Google,
Microsoft, and dozens of other blue-chip tech companies): Weakening
encryption to help the government monitor electronic communications in the
name of national security "simply does not make sense,"

After Lenovo now Dell PCs and Laptops are shipping with rogue root level CA

Lauren Weinstein <>
Mon, 23 Nov 2015 09:56:03 -0800
  Nord has made a webpost describing eDellRoot. He says that though the
  action performed by eDellRoot are not known at present, it may be in the
  same category as Superfish. He says, "the eDellRoot certificate is a
  trusted root that expires in 2039 and is intended for "All" purposes.
  Notice that this is more powerful than the clearly legitimate DigiCert
  certificate just above it, which spikes more curiosity."  The problem with
  this rogue root level CA is that it is not know what spying activities it
  will perform unlike the Superfish in Lenovo which was known to inject
  adware into Lenovo PCs and Laptops without the users consent.

  [See also,_You_Got_Dell_d.pdf

Dell provides cert removal tool nightmare

Lauren Weinstein <>
Mon, 23 Nov 2015 23:25:09 -0800
Dell apologizes for HTTPS certificate fiasco, provides removal tool

  Dell officials have apologized for shipping PCs with a certificate that
  made it easy for attackers to cryptographically impersonate
  HTTPS-protected websites and issued a software tool that removes the
  transport layer security credential from affected machines.

SSL Safer

"Alister Wm Macintyre \(Wow\)" <>
Sun, 22 Nov 2015 12:16:38 -0600
Heads-up regarding certificate changes coming first of the 2016 year.

Go to this link:
You should see this result:
Your browser supports SHA-2 SSL Certificates

The certificate changes do *not* apply just to browsers, but if that test
works your OS is probably ok, too.  (SSL certificate changes affect other
applications, also.)

and read that site above for more info, or:

The Right to Tinker With Cars' Software (NYTimes)

Henry Baker <>
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 06:59:25 -0800
  FYI—Hopefully, this decision re: auto SW will set off a new round of
  innovation similar to what happened to digital networking after the
  Carterfone decision.  HB

Barry Meier and Jad Mouawadnov. *The New York Times*, 22 Nov 2015
For Auto Enthusiasts, the Right to Tinker With Cars' Software

Car owners in the United States can soon play Volkswagen engineer, courtesy
of the federal government.

Last month, officials gave auto enthusiasts who want to beef up their car's
performance the right to tinker with vehicle software without incurring the
legal wrath of car makers.  The decision was one of many changes to a federal
copyright law, including allowing people to jailbreak their mobile phones
and reprogram older video games.

Digital-rights activists have applauded the changes, which are scheduled to
take effect next year.  But environmental regulators and car makers have
warned that the decision opens a new front in a cat-and-mouse game with car
lovers who soup up their engines—perhaps violating emissions standards.

A version of this article appears in print on November 23, 2015, on page B1
of the New York edition with the headline: Car Buffs Get the Keys to

Dyre for Win 10 (Help Net & Heimdal)

"Alister Wm Macintyre \(Wow\)" <>
Sun, 22 Nov 2015 14:17:52 -0600
With each new Win flavor, the bad ware community figures out how to corrupt
that also.

A new version of the Dyre/Dyreza banking Trojan is ready for Win 10 and
Microsoft Edge, the browser to eventually replace IE.

This new version is out just in time for bad actors to steal from holiday
shoppers, as it can take on just about any OS or browser.

Dyreza is "Crime as a service network", to get into the bank accounts of
anyone who accesses one of the 80,000 web sites they have infected, and also
add them to the malware spam delivery botnetwork.

Federal privacy law lags far behind personal-health technologies

Monty Solomon <>
Sun, 22 Nov 2015 20:48:53 -0500

The 911 System Isn't Ready for the iPhone Era

Monty Solomon <>
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 09:21:21 -0500

First responders are still relying on an emergency system based on dangerously outmoded technology.

Bank fined: automated electronic foreign exchange trading misconduct

Andrew Waugh <>
Fri, 20 Nov 2015 10:20:07 +1100
The NYDFS press release explaining the misconduct in detail...

"In certain instances, Barclays used this Last Look system to automatically
reject client orders that would be unprofitable for the bank because of
subsequent price swings during milliseconds-long latency (`hold') periods.
Furthermore, when clients questioned Barclays about these rejected trades,
Barclays failed to disclose the reason that the trades were being rejected,
instead citing technical issues or providing vague responses."

A description of the misconduct intended for the general public:

IRS cyber security challenges (GAO & Gov Info Security)

"Alister Wm Macintyre \(Wow\)" <>
Sun, 22 Nov 2015 17:09:17 -0600
In the USA, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is under constant criticism
thanks to a variety of government investigations uncovering a stream of new
scandals.  There is an Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Dept of the
Treasury, devoted exclusively to investigating the IRS.

Many gov agencies are underfunded.  When the choice is not doing their core
mission, or keeping their security perfect, they choose the core mission,
which explains many bad security reports, a steady annual growth in
breaches, and other incidents.  That's why the US Government Accountability
office (GAO) has found cyber security lacking in many gov agencies.

The GAO found that the IRS is missing security patches going back to 2011,
continues to use weak passwords, inadequate audit trails, or monitoring.

Some of the IRS's trouble arrived thanks to the US Supreme Court ruling in
Citizen's United, giving nonprofits more rights than had been in IRS
regulations, written by the US Dept of Treasury.  Republicans in Congress
were so angry with IRS draconian treatment of conservative groups seeking
nonprofit status, after Citizen's United, that they cut the IRS budget as
punishment.  This means the IRS may as well forget about any security
upgrades, to avoid sacrificing its core mission.

Net of Insecurity (Craig Timberg)

Dewayne Hendricks <>
November 24, 2015 at 6:17:24 AM EST
Craig Timberg, in *The Washington Post* (via DH via Dave Farber)
This is a multi-part project on the Internet's inherent vulnerabilities and
why they may never be fixed.

Part 1: A Flaw in the Design

Part 2: The long life of a quick 'fix'

Part 3: A disaster foretold - and ignored

Part 4: Hacks on the highway

Part 5: The kernel of the argument

Read the eBook. "The Threatened Net: How the Internet Became a Perilous Place"

Government minister poses with his password on a PostIt note

Diomidis Spinellis <>
Mon, 23 Nov 2015 01:02:57 +0200
A picture making the rounds in the social media in Greece has a deputy
government minister posing in front of a computer monitor featuring a PostIt
note with his user name and password [1].  The yellow note contains the text
"USER: YPOURGOS [minister]" and "123456", presumably as his password, listed
under it.  The official in question is Nikos Toskas, the Deputy Minister for
the Interior responsible for the police and the country's intelligence
agency. Toskas has served the Greek army as well as NATO positions abroad as
a high rank officer.  The 9 Mpixel photograph adorned the official's CV on
the ministry's web site. After the brouhaha it was apparently cropped to
remove the monitor with the offending PostIt note [2].


Multiple Paris Attackers were on US Watch Lists (Free Beacon)

"Alister Wm Macintyre \(Wow\)" <>
Sat, 21 Nov 2015 14:36:39 -0600
The US maintains many lists of people suspected of being a threat to US
National Security, to US persons, and other trouble.  Even deadbeat Dads are
on some of these lists.  Four of the perpetrators of the Paris Attacks were
listed in a U.S. intelligence community counterterrorism database before the
attacks, and one was on a U.S. no-fly list.  The $64 million question is
whether the US had shared those databases with EU authorities, so that they
could think twice before letting those people arrive, without any hassles.
[PGN-ed from what AlMac sent]

See also related items:
The US Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a computer audit of US
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and found serious issues.

Re: Beware of ads that use inaudible sound... (RISKS-29.10)

Chris Drew <>
Thu, 19 Nov 2015 22:08:19 +0000
At risk of stating the obvious: one thing that I found when I worked in
telecomms was how collecting revenues for services in traditional ways is a
mighty costly activity.  Telecomms and other utility businesses have to sign
up customers (and maybe do creditworthiness checks) for a contract
initially, measure their useage, periodically compile a bill to notify them
of what they owe, get the money off them, chase up late/non-payers, handle
any disputes, deal with taxes if applicable, etc. which is a big
administrative overhead.

For internet-based services it's probably a lot easier to offer a service
free of charge to all-comers, then count the clicks-through and analyse
usage, and sell onwards the marketing intelligence thus gained—no need
to have any direct contact with end-users.  This is what people expect
nowadays anyway; it's improbable that search engines and social-networking
web sites would have thrived if users had to pay bills to use them.
(Presumably this is why some newspapers and magazines are now issued free of
charge, it's easier to fund them entirely out of advertising than by selling
them and having to handle the cash.)

The alternative to capitalism is having services provided by Governments.
It's interesting to speculate how today's Internet (and smartphones, etc.)
may have developed if telecomms service was still provided by PTTs
(post/telephone/telegraph administrations) as it was in most countries
before the 1980s.

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