Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt, *The New York Times*, 16 Nov 2016 http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/16/us/politics/china-phones-software-security.html “For about $50, you can get a smartphone with a high-definition display, fast data service and, according to security contractors, a secret feature: a backdoor that sends all your text messages to China every 72 hours. Security contractors recently discovered pre-installed software in some Android phones that monitors where users go, whom they talk to and what they write in text messages.'' “The Chinese company that wrote the software, Shanghai Adups Technology Company, says its code runs on more than 700 million phones, cars and other smart devices. One American phone manufacturer, BLU Products, said that 120,000 of its phones had been affected and that it had updated the software to eliminate the feature.'' [Al Mac also noted this article: When work is off-shored, and one nation captures a monopoly on manufacture, it grants them enormous power to impose their values on the world. PGN] Geoff Goodfellow noted another article: http://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/secret-backdoor-some-android-phones-sent-user-data-to-china-report PGN]
One of the biggest problems in the field is two-fold: knowledge workers frequent send unnecessary e-mails as an acknowledgment, namely of the “Great!” or “Thanks!” variety, and users tend to mindlessly hit the reply-to-all button assuming more is more. These issues, compounded with the fact that almost no e-mail systems prevent users from e-mailing hundreds of thousands of people let alone including them in a reply, culminated with an unprecedented e-mail system meltdown that brought health services in the United Kingdom to a full stop. <http://www.frequentbusinesstraveler.com/travel-topics/united-kingdom/> Earlier today, an e-mail created by an employee at the National Health Service in the United Kingdom accidentally went to 840,000 employees there. The problem didn't stop there: multiple employees clicked *reply to all* and responded, thereby compounding the problem. Needless to say, the e-mail server crawled to a halt and probably had smoke coming out of its air vents. http://www.frequentbusinesstraveler.com/2016/11/information-overload-chronicles-hit-reply-to-all-shutdown-u-k-national-health-service/ Gabriel Goldberg, Computers and Publishing, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org 3401 Silver Maple Place, Falls Church, VA 22042 (703) 204-0433 [Also noted by Jonathan Spira in Dave Farber's IP distribution. PGN]
RISKS readers interested in election math might want to take a look at this: Statistical researcher, Jonathan Simon, has been comparing end-of-election-day polling data with the reported vote totals since 2004. His analysis for 2016 can be seen here: http://codered2014.com/possible-election-rigging-seen-exit-polls/ You can see his charts for the Presidential race: http://codered2014.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2016PresidentialExitPoll-VoteCountComparative.pdf and the Senate races: http://codered2014.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2016USSenateExitPollVoteCountComparison.pdf His book (updated for 2016), can be freely downloaded from the codered2014.com website. Long-time election integrity advocate Bev Harris has noted the possibility of stealth tampering via the GEMS election management system, which currently tallies about 25% of the U.S. votes. She has been recently raising concern about the addition of votes via fractional decimals, which are hidden in integer display. You can read more about this in a 7-part article starting here: http://blackboxvoting.org/fraction-magic-1/ This technique applied to siphoning off money from bank accounts [has long been referred to] as Salami Slicing (or Salami Embezzlement).
Lucian Constantin, InfoWorld, 4 Nov 2016 Update your Belkin WeMo devices before they become botnet zombies. Researchers have disclosed a critical vulnerability in Belkin's WeMo Switch and possibly other devices. http://www.infoworld.com/article/3137963/security/update-your-belkin-wemo-devices-before-they-become-botnet-zombies.html selected text: Owners of WeMo home automation devices should upgrade them to the latest firmware version, which was released this week to fix a critical vulnerability that could allow hackers to fully compromise them. Tenaglia and Tanen said Belkin was very responsive to their report and is one of the better IoT vendors out there when it comes to security. The company actually did a pretty good job of locking down the WeMo Switch on the hardware side, and the device is more secure than average IoT products on the market today, they said. Another example of the Internet of Insecure Things. [I long ago had a backronym for "IDIoT", but cannot find it in RISKS. However, Gene just came up with a new one: "Insecurely Designed Internet of Things". PGN]
GlobalVoices via NNSquad The government of Cameroon has launched a campaign against social media, which according to the government-controlled daily, Cameroon Tribune, is "fast becoming a threat to peace and a secret instrument of manipulation" promoting "character destruction, destabilisation of public opinion and deformation of facts among others." https://globalvoices.org/2016/11/16/cameroonian-government-launches-campaign-against-social-media-calls-it-a-new-form-of-terrorism/
Over 412 million accounts from pornography sites and s*x hookup service reportedly leaked as Friend Finder Networks suffers second hack in just over a year. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/14/adult-friend-finder-and-penthouse-hacked-in-largest-personal-data-breach-on-record
[Peter, when reading this story you, too, might catch yourself wishing it was April Fools Day...] Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 16 Nov 2016 Meet PoisonTap, the $5 tool that ransacks password-protected computers http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/11/meet-poisontap-the-5-tool-that-ransacks-password-protected-computers/ The perils of leaving computers unattended just got worse, thanks to a newly released exploit tool that takes only 30 seconds to install a privacy-invading backdoor, even when the machine is locked with a strong password. *PoisonTap*, as the tool has been dubbed, runs freely available software on a $5 Raspberry Pi Zero device <http://arstechnica.co.uk/gadgets/2015/11/raspberry-pi-zero-sells-out-within-24-hours/>. Once the payment card-sized computer is plugged into a computer's USB slot, it intercepts all unencrypted Web traffic, including any authentication cookies used to log in to private accounts. PoisonTap then sends that data to a server under the attacker's control. The hack also installs a backdoor that makes the owner's Web browser and local network remotely controllable by the attacker. PoisonTap is the latest creation of Samy Kamkar, the engineer behind a long line of low-cost hacks, including a password-pilfering keylogger disguised as a USB charger <http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/01/13/meet-keysweeper-the-10-usb-charger-that-steals-ms-keyboard-strokes/>, a key-sized dongle that jimmies open electronically locked cars and garages <http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/08/meet-rolljam-the-30-device-that-jimmies-car-and-garage-doors/>, and a DIY stalker app that mined Google Streetview <http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/03/google_street_view_hack/>. While inspiring for their creativity and elegance, Kamkar's inventions also underscore the security and privacy tradeoffs that arise from an increasingly computerized world. PoisonTap continues this cautionary theme by challenging the practice of password-protecting an unattended computer rather than shutting it off or, a safer bet still, toting it to the restroom or lunch room. Kamkar: "The primary motivation is to demonstrate that even on a password-protected computer running off of a WPA2 Wi-Fi, your system and network can still be attacked quickly and easily. Existing non-HTTPS website credentials can be stolen, and, in fact, cookies from HTTPS sites that did not properly set the 'secure' flag on the cookie can also be siphoned" ... <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi_Protected_Access> Unsecured home or office routers are similarly at risk. Kamkar has published the PoisonTap source code and additional technical details, and has also released a video demonstration. <https://t.co/VZNji4Qwdo> Once the device is inserted in a locked Mac or PC (Kamkar said he hasn't tested PoisonTap on a Linux machine), it surreptitiously poisons the browser cache with malicious code that lives on well after the tool is removed. That makes the hack ideal for infecting computers while they are only briefly unattended. Here's how it works. ...<snip-snip>.... PoisonTap challenges a tradition that can be found in almost any home or office—the age-old practice of briefly leaving a locked computer unattended. And for that reason, the ease and thoroughness of the hack may be understandably unsettling for some people. Still, several safeguards can significantly lower the threat posed by the hack. The first is to, whenever possible, use sites that are protected by HTTPS encryption and the transmission of secure cookies to prevent log-in credentials from being intercepted. A measure known as HTTP Strict Transport Security is better still, because it prevents attack techniques that attempt to downgrade HTTPS connections to unsecured HTTP. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_Secure> <https://www.owasp.org/index.php/SecureFlag> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security> As a result, neither Google nor Facebook pages can be triggered by computers infected by PoisonTap. Sadly, multi-factor authentication isn't likely to provide much protection because it generally isn't triggered by credentials provided in authentication cookies. End users, meanwhile, should at a minimum close their browsers before locking their computer or, if they're on a Mac, be sure to enable FileVault2 and put their machine to sleep before walking away, since browsers are unable to make requests in such cases. Regularly flushing browser caches is also a sound, albeit imperfect, measure. For the truly paranoid, it may make more sense to simply bring laptops along or to turn off machines altogether.
Bogdan Popa, Softpedia, 15 Nov 2016 Apple Insider Says iPhone 6 Plus Has a Major Bug, Company Should Start Recall http://news.softpedia.com/news/apple-insider-says-iphone-6-plus-has-a-major-bug-company-should-start-recall-510228.shtml WSFA 12 News cites a former Apple insider... as saying the iPhone 6 Plus was launched with a major bug that the company is yet to acknowledge, ... [which] seems to be causing issues similar to the famous *touch disease*, leading to screen flickering... Although it might seem like the display is at fault, the technician explains that this isn't the case, but that the main logic board should be replaced by Apple... in a global recall of the iPhone 6 Plus, as customers spend hundreds of dollars on repairs that usually involve replacing the screen, only to experience the same issue after a while again (and again) ... out of warranty, a ~$300 expense at Apple Stores. <http://www.wsfa.com/story/33614279/apple-insider-iphone-6-plus-is-defective-should-be-recalled>
Ars Technica Live #2 - 26 May 2016 Surveillance technology has advanced far beyond the laws that govern it http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/05/surveillance-technology-has-advanced-far-beyond-the-laws-that-govern-it/ UC Davis Law professor *Elizabeth Joh* predicts the future of high-tech policing. (Second episode of Ars Technica Live - video filmed in Oakland, California) ...interesting conversation with UC Davis law professor Elizabeth Joh, who researches surveillance technology and policing. Right out of the gate, Joh made it clear that the problem isn't surveillance per se—governments "need surveillance," she said, to figure out what its citizens require in terms of benefits, help, and security. The problem is when this surveillance becomes invasive, and the government inhibits freedom of expression and punishes unconventional behavior. How do we balance the need for surveillance and the need for free expression and privacy in a democratic society? Joh talked a lot about the future legal landscape we're creating with cutting-edge technologies like self-driving cars, facial recognition, and body cams. When you're talking about law and policy, the issue is always that adoption of devices like body cams tends to precede careful thought about what rules will govern them. After the Ferguson protests, for example, police departments started using body cams as an accountability measure. But there are no federal guidelines for how cops will use these cams. Will they be able to turn them off whenever they want? Who has access to the data they collect? Can they use facial recognition in body cams? All of these questions remain unanswered, yet body cams are in widespread use across the US. A similar problem dogs our use of DNA databases, Joh explained. The US government gives states financial incentives to develop databases and biological sample libraries with the DNA of everyone who gets arrested. These aren't convicts, mind you—just anyone who gets arrested, regardless of whether they were released the next day or found guilty of a felony. Again, the question here is how to regulate these databases, as well as other digital databases full of our "information microbiome." The key, Joh argued, isn't going to be found in the courts or Congress. Instead, "public vigilance" is the only social force that moves fast enough to push government to behave responsibly with new surveillance technologies. Of course, public vigilance is only as good as public information, and if the public doesn't know what data law enforcement has, we can't push for better rules. That's why the rise of private security forces is so troubling. Joh estimated that private security forces, from guards at 7-11 to "Target's private crime lab," are 3-5 times larger than public forces. And they are not regulated by government in any way, which means that it's impossible for the public to know what kinds of data private forces are gathering. In the question and answer period, Joh talked about the future of surveillance tech in the US. Though self-driving cars may be great for safety, they will also log everywhere you go. Who will have access to all the information generated by these cars? She also believes very strongly that robots will become a key part of law enforcement, whether via surveillance drones or actual Robocop-style police officers who arrest people. She's also very concerned about "predictive policing," or using algorithms to predict where crimes will happen and who is likely to be involved in them. The idea of "pre-crime police" is straight out of a Philip K. Dick science fiction story, but it's not far from reality at this point.
Strategic Principles for Securing the Internet of Things, Department of Homeland Security, along with a two-page IoT Fact Sheet, November 15, 2016. https://www.dhs.gov/securingtheIoT
What language does the Offensive Word belong to? If we are to include all languages in the world, it will be a long list, and very little communication.
Apparently DL has never taken an Economics or Finance class... *Of course* there will be no depreciation or interest charges if you stop using your own hardware. The cost just migrates up the Income Statement to the EXPENSES section. What you pay your cloud provider is a deduction in determining the "earnings". You know the bit at the front of Earnings Before etc. etc. Rationally, you would not elect to 'cloudify' if it cost more than the actual costs (interest and the real depreciation rate) of the hardware, so Earnings should be greater. And since you have NOT diverted capital funds towards purchases of hardware, more actual equity can be invested in increasing Income... Unless of course, the corporation actually has a negative Return on Investment. In which case, see United States v. Bernie Madoff, not as an example, but as a warning.
I flew out of Baltimore Washington airport (BWI) on Thursday, November 10. There was a woman who may have been with TSA or maybe with CLEAR, who was trying to sign people up for CLEAR. I was tempted as the TSA pre-check line was a bit long, but you had to provide a credit card for a 30 day free trial. I believe that CLEAR is also new to BWI.
http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988290/avoiding_catastrophe_the_lessons_of_deepwater_horizon.html We must coldly examine how inherently dangerous systems work and how they fail, writes Earl Boebert, and then apply those insights to reducing the risk of failure through systems design, regulation, and education. That examination must apply the most modern and effective analytic tools. To do otherwise is to almost guarantee a repeat catastrophe. [The Ecologist editor.] This model will be a simplification and an idealization, and consequently a falsification. It is to be hoped that the features retained for discussion are those of greatest importance in the present state of knowledge. A recent film casts the tragic fate of the Deepwater Horizon, her crew and the Gulf of Mexico as resulting from a confrontation between two individuals which the wrong person won. What actually occurred was a classic 'emergent event', arising from the interaction of multiple decisions and actions, the majority of which took place weeks or months before the events of the film began. [...] Whether we like it or not, complex, high-risk / high-consequence systems like offshore drilling exist and massive financial interests will [e]nsure that they are not going away any time soon. Their safety results from the interaction of technology, human action, and organizational dynamics, and that interaction is far from simple. If we as a society are to intelligently cope with them we must set aside glib generalizations, ideological preconceptions and Hollywood caricatures. We must coldly examine how such systems work and how they fail, and then apply those insights to reducing the risk of failure through systems design, regulation, and education. That examination must apply the most modern and effective analytic tools. To do otherwise is to almost guarantee a repeat catastrophe. [This is highly relevant to RISKS, especially as a possible reminder to the industry that bad publicity is not good for business, and that in the long run proactive care would be good business. PGN]
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