The Associated Press, 29 Apr 2017 A legislative audit has found that Maryland's Board of Elections needlessly exposed the full Social Security numbers of almost 600,000 voters to potential hacking, risking theft of voters' identities. A report released Friday also criticized the board's handling of ballot security, disaster preparedness, contracting and balancing its books. The Baltimore Sun reports (http://bsun.md/2pvOFMF) that state lawmakers called for a hearing in response to the report, which prompted strong reaction from critics of the board and administrator Linda Lamone. Doug Mayer, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan, said the report underscores some of the governor's concerns about a lack of executive oversight at the board, where the day-to-day management is outside the administration's control. Lamone said most of the findings in the report have already been addressed. http://wtop.com/maryland/2017/04/auditors-panel-exposed-voter-records-to-potential-hacking/ [Lamone also is quoted: "The information the state provides to ERIC doesn't include full Social Security numbers and is encrypted before it is sent. You can't get into ERIC data. There's no way." She very clearly does not read RISKS. PGN]
Nice graphic on players in the probe into alleged Russia interference in US election. For the complete illustration on 2 opposite pages, see pages 28-29 of the April 10-23 Bloomberg Business Wek magazine. https://www.scribd.com/article/344313129/How-Will-They-Know-And-When-Will-They-Know-It https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-06/the-russia-probes-how-will-they-know-and-when-will-they-know-it
via NNSquad https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/04/russian-controlled-telecom-hijacks-financial-services-internet-traffic/ On Wednesday, large chunks of network traffic belonging to MasterCard, Visa, and more than two dozen other financial services companies were briefly routed through a Russian government-controlled telecom under unexplained circumstances that renew lingering questions about the trust and reliability of some of the most sensitive Internet communications. Anomalies in the border gateway protocol--which routes large-scale amounts of traffic among Internet backbones, ISPs, and other large networks--are common and usually the result of human error. While it's possible Wednesday's five- to seven-minute hijack of 36 large network blocks may also have been inadvertent, the high concentration of technology and financial services companies affected made the incident "curious" to engineers at network monitoring service BGPmon. What's more, the way some of the affected networks were redirected indicated their underlying prefixes had been manually inserted into BGP tables, most likely by someone at Rostelecom, the Russian government-controlled telecom that improperly announced ownership of the blocks.
*The Copenhagen Post* The defence minister, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, has revealed that Russian hackers have been targeting Danish Defence for the past two years, but with limited success. Frederiksen confirmed what was written in a new report just published by the Centre for Cyber Security (CFCS): that a Russian hacker group has gained entry to employee emails in 2015 and 2016. http://cphpost.dk/news/denmark-russia-has-been-hacking-us-for-two-years.html The Google translation of the Centre's press briefing is surprisingly good: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=3Dda&tl=3Den&js=3Dy&prev=3D_t&hl=3Den&ie=3DUTF-8&u=3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Ffe-ddis.dk%2Fcfcs%2Fnyheder%2Farkiv%2F2017%2FPages%2FUdenlandskaktoerspionerermoddanskemyndigheder.aspx&edit-text And the translation of the original report: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=3Dda&tl=3Den&js=3Dy&prev=3D_t&hl= =3Den&ie=3DUTF-8&u=3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Ffe-ddis.dk%2Fcfcs%2FCFCSDocuments%2FUnd= ers%25C3%25B8gelsesrapport%2520-%2520En%2520akt%25C3%25B8r%2520mange%2520a= ngreb.pdf&edit-text=3D [The URLs are as they appear in my old RISKS mail reader, which I still use because it has features that my macros need, and modern mailers do not serve the purpose. I'm not going to mess with the coded this time, although I usually do—and then test them to make sure they work. PGN]
The Israeli press is reporting that "120 targets including academic institutions, ministries, companies and private individuals were attacked" in a "attack was unique in its sophistication, Franco said, with the malware arriving in infected Microsoft Word files attached to authentic emails from an authentic academic institution. Anti-virus software failed to notice the problem." Anonymous sources indicated that a tool reportedly developed by the NSA was used in the attack, and that it seems likely to have been sourced in Iran. This just goes to demonstrate what security researchers have long stated - that there is no possibility to have cyber tools that will remain only in the hands of "the good guys", and the only safe option is to make everything secure against government, as well as against "bad guys". http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-1.785802 behind paywall) Edwin Shalom Slonim, Haifa 3107202 Israel ph: +972-4-826-6583 cell: +972-52-282-1906 USA: +1(718)715-0581
via NNSquad https://medium.com/@krishnabharat/how-to-detect-fake-news-in-real-time-9fdae0197bfd "This made me wonder what Facebook and other platforms could have done to detect these waves of misinformation in real-time. Could they have run countermeasures? If detected in time could they have slowed the spread or marked it as unreliable news?" The author is the now ex-Googler who led the original team that built Google News.
Apparently driverless cars use GPS down to centimetre precision (probably using carrier phase detection), but given that tectonic plates moved at several cm/year I guess Google's cars may start crashing in a few years. (Incidentally, my spell checker suggested "drivelers" for "driverless".) Dave Horsfall DTM (VK2KFU)
http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/ihealth-alarm-sounds-again-in-nanaimo-1.16804895 A prescription management system that many Physicians and Nurses feel is dangerous has been found to be too embedded in VIHA's new iHealth system to disable. The Root issue seems to be a failure to address the human factors interface. Both on data entry, and in trying to use even the largest rolling, self standing, workstation display to replicate the way that practitioners used to be able to flip through 3 ring binders until something caught their eye. Data entry takes much longer with a keyboard and mouse than with a pen and paper, slowing staff down. We also see the issue of mistaken identity come up. A Saanich man contacted the Provincial Privacy Commissioner because VIHA staff keep confusing him with someone with the same name. He says he has repeatedly had to tell practitioners that they were acting on the basis of someone else's file and making incorrect decisions. Staff were unable to find test results for him. http://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/it-s-very-disconcerting-island-health-mixes-up-man-s-identity-health-records-1.3307461 An interesting substory is that iHealth reinvented the Electronic Prescription Wheel. BC has had a mandatory, no exceptions, Province Wide PharmaNet Registry since the mid 1990s. It was brought in as a knee jerk reaction to Prescriptions being the fastest growing part of the Provincial Health Care Budget. For some reason iHealth decided they would develop a parallel system, rather than using the existing prescription registry. Failed promises of efficiency and better health are an old story. The Province wide mandatory PharmaNet system promised that it would prevent drug interactions. That supposed benefit was illustrated by the tale of a senior who had been prescribed diuretics by several different doctors, filled at different pharmacies. A number of pharmacies already had such systems, but a quarter of a century later we find pharmacists turning off interaction alarms because of alarm overload. People are still being harmed by drug interaction. The BC College of Pharmacists was ordered to stop selling Prescribing Profile information collected from PharmaNet. They ignored the Minister's polite request to cease and desist, so she made it an order. The College has published the Chart Numbers and names of a number of Pharmacists Disciplined for breach of privacy via PharmaNet. https://web-beta.archive.org/web/20031218202856/http://www.bcpharmacists.org/pdf/julyaugust2000.pdf http://web.archive.org/web/20031230224214/http://www.bcpharmacists.org/pdf/marchapril2000.pdf http://web.archive.org/web/20040101163903/http://www.bcpharmacists.org/pdf/mayjune99.pdf The Sep-Oct version of the Bulletin also dealt with PharmaNet Privacy abuse, but does not seem to be available online. A breach of PharmaNet recently resulted in identity theft for over 20,000 people. http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/arrest-made-in-pharmanet-privacy-breach-20-500-may-be-affected-1.13962023
Clinical users have long complained that electronic health record (EHR) systems feature screens that are so cluttered with trivia that the truly important is difficult to pick out. Now one major vendor has addressed that problem, but in the wrong way. They recognized that patients' medication lists contain both drugs they are on for the long haul (e.g., for diabetes, seizures, heart disease, etc.) but also drugs that are short term (e.g., antibiotics for an infection). What a clutter! So, they added a variable that the user must set if the drug is intended for long term use. If that long term flag is not set, then the drug disappears from the list after a period of time has elapsed. Hmm, what could go wrong? Only a couple of diabetics whose insulin was omitted, or patients with clotting disorders whose blood thinners disappeared, epileptics whose anticonvulsants went into the void, etc, etc.
... while many executive branch employees now have PIV [Personal Identity Verification] cards [for 2-factor authentication] with chips embedded in them, Senate employees get ID cards with a picture of a chip on them. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/04/picture-this-senate-staffers-id-cards-have-photo-of-smart-chip-no-security/ [You can't make this up.] Tom Russ, Google Los Angeles (Venice), 340 Main St., Venice CA 90291
HSBC says: No longer will you need to remember your PIN or Telephone Access Code each time you call in to telephone banking. With Voice ID, you can gain immediate access to your accounts by entering your account, card or Social Security number and simply saying "My voice is my password." http://www.us.hsbc.com/1/2/home/customer-service/voice A friend commented: I recently read how some telephone scammers try to get you to answer certain questions so that they can record your voice for later use. Sounds like this kind of system is the target. To which I replied: And all crooks need do is call HSBC customer and ask how they log on! They'll answer... "My voice is my password" I love it, have everyone say exactly the same brainless thing, simplify tricking and spoofing. Brilliant.
is a good thing, right? My credit union used it for some time, it's called VerifyU and has options to send "security code" to one of registered phone numbers (SMS or robo-call) or e-mail addresses. And we were happy knowing someone in our credit union's IT dept. has a clue. Well, we're in a beach side resort in Costa Rica (terrible, I know). We try to see how much money's there, VerifyU page comes up with no e-mail option. Neither my wife's T-Mobile nor my AT&T phones get any signal here so no security code for us. "Having trouble logging in?"—call an 800 or a local number. Did I mention our phones don't work? Remember back when the 2nd "factor" was a "security question" like what was your mother's maiden name? That was much too insecure, it allowed customers to actually log in. So we can't have that. (I can actually call the 1-800 number via skype as I have WiFi but if skype for mobile has a "dial a number" option I'm unable to find it. Good thing I have a laptop, too, where that option is still available.)
A signature update just nuked hundreds of benign files needed to run Microsoft Windows, as well as apps that run on top of the operating system. Considered Windows malware and Facebook a phishing scheme. OMG https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/04/av-provider-webroot-melts-down-as-update-nukes-hundreds-of-legit-files/
An electronics engineer says he found a flaw in traffic lights. The Oregon engineering board fined him for it. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/man-fined-dollar500-for-crime-of-writing-i-am-an-engineer-in-an-email-to-the-government
via NNSquad https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/29/turkey-blocks-wikipedia-under-law-designed-to-protect-national-security Turkey has blocked Wikipedia, the country's telecommunications watchdog said on Saturday, citing a law that allows it to ban access to websites deemed obscene or a threat to national security. The move is likely to further worry rights groups and Turkey's western allies, who say Ankara has curtailed freedom of speech and other basic rights in the crackdown that followed last year's failed coup. "After technical analysis and legal consideration ... an administrative measure has been taken for this website," the BTK watchdog said in a statement on its website.
via NNSquad https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/04/28/epa-website-removes-climate-science-site-from-public-view-after-two-decades/ One of the websites that appeared to be gone had been cited to challenge statements made by the EPA's new administrator, Scott Pruitt. Another provided detailed information on the previous administration's Clean Power Plan, including fact sheets about greenhouse gas emissions on the state and local levels and how different demographic groups were affected by such emissions. [I presume all of the removed items have been mirrored regularly by environmental organizations??? PGN]
via NNSquad https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/amazon-echo-look-bedroom-camera The newly announced Echo Look is a virtual assistant with a microphone and a camera that's designed to go somewhere in your bedroom, bathroom, or wherever the hell you get dressed.
This is an interesting case study (came to light this week) of a vigilante worm that is attacking/disabling insecure IoT devices that are susceptible to hijacking by DDoS botnets. https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/25/brickerbot-is-a-vigilante-worm-that-destroys-insecure-iot-devices/ This is effectively destroying poorly manufactured products, produced by an IoT industry that doesn't care how their devices are affecting the privacy of their consumer or Internet victims that have to deal with their hijacked products as DDoS drones. Could all those victim consumers whose products are being destroyed produce a tech support surge that finally pushes the IoT manufacturers to improve their default device security. We shall see. [See also a long item on Janit0r in gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/this-hacker-is-my-new-hero-1794630960 PGN]
In many areas we are depending on technology, where the hype far outstrips the technology capabilities. Many new technologies have glitches, and sometimes it takes a while to resolve the problems. Many companies are overwhelmed with cybersecurity alerts. They need better systems to manage info from the alert systems. Many US judicial and police authorities are overwhelmed with ankle bracelet alerts. The technology is not good enough for what they using it for. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-04-06/what-s-the-maker-of-post-it-notes-doing-in-the-ankle-monitor-business-struggling http://www.telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120222/NEWS/102229941/0/COLUMN67 Do you ever experience a loss of signal with your consumer electronics? When that happens with an ankle monitor, either the offender is arrested for disappearing, or gets phone call in middle of night to walk out into middle of street outside home, so law enforcement can get a better signal. We have seen stories in RISKS about bad GPS signals, and bogus ID pointing at the unlucky person whose home is same as a default used when ID cannot be nailed down. That also happens with ankle monitors, giving false info about offender whereabouts, leading to arrest of that person for violating rules where they supposed to be. When the ankle bracelet system gives off false information, the offender is automatically considered to be at fault. A July 2015 article in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recounted a criminal defense attorney's tale of his client's device showing that he had walked across a lake. http://masslawyersweekly.com/2015/07/23/gps-tracking-glitches-illustrate-need-for-caution/
http://www.infoworld.com/article/3192084/security/bash-bunny-big-hacks-come-in-tiny-packages.html Roger A. Grimes, Columnist, InfoWorld, 25 Apr 2017 With new hardware hacking devices, it's absurdly easy to attack organizations through the USB port of any computer on a network selected text: Today's increasingly miniaturized world is giving rise to all sorts of hardware devices that can hack almost any computer, device, or network. Plug in an item the size of a USB stick and all your hard-won protections could be defeated. If you haven't been paying attention to this field of attack, what you learn might shock you. In the interest of defending against this new threat, let's take a close look at one of the most versatile and popular hardware hacking devices: Bash Bunny by Hak5. I'm offering considerable detail here to show how easy it is to launch malicious attacks that bypass network defenses—and to help white hats who may wish to use the device for simulated red team attacks. Bash Bunny is a Debian Linux computer with a USB interface designed specifically to execute payloads when plugged into a target computer. It can be used against Windows, MacOS, Linux, Unix, and Android computing devices. It features a multicolor RGB LED that indicates various statuses and a three-position selector switch: Two of the positions are used to launch payloads, while the third makes Bash Bunny appear to be a regular USB storage device for copying and modifying files.
[This has long been a topic in RISKS: URLs with characters that aren't quite what you expect, as in a Cyrillic o in .com. PGN] Here's a challenge for you: you click on a link in your email, and find yourself at the website <apple.com>. Your browser shows the green padlock icon, confirming it's a secure connection; and it says *Secure* next to it, for added reassurance. And yet, you've been phished. Do you know how? https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/19/phishing-url-trick-hackers For a long time, domain names could only be written in Latin characters without diacritics, but since 1998 it's actually been possible to write them in other alphabets too. That's useful if you want to register a domain name in Chinese or Arabic script, or even just correctly spelled French or German -- anything that can be represented with the Unicode standard can be registered, even emoji—but it's also opened up a whole new avenue of misdirection for malicious actors to take advantage of, by finding characters in other alphabets which look similar to Latin ones. The Chrome team has since decided to include the fix in Chrome 58, which should be available around April 25. Mozilla, however, declined to fix it, arguing that it's Apple's problem to solve: “it is sadly the responsibility of domain owners to check for whole-script homographs and register them.''
via NNSquad https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/this-false-story-about-a-husband-and-wife-discovering?utm_term=.tjX972VElm#.ejwL0b5K3j A husband and wife go to a fertility clinic. As part of the treatment process, the clinic takes DNA samples from both of them and discovers that they are, in fact, fraternal twins. It's a story seemingly guaranteed to go viral, and it soon made its way onto websites around the world. The Daily Mail covered it, as did Lad Bible, Elite Daily, The Independent's Indy100, Huffington Post Germany, and even websites as far away as India, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Israel. They all pointed back to the same source: an April 12 story in the Mississippi Herald. Some referred to the Herald as a newspaper, but there's no print publication by that name, and the MississippiHerald.com domain was only registered in November. The reality is the story is a complete fabrication, and the Herald is part of a network of fake local news sites that recently began pumping out hoaxes. But the site's utterly dubious origin didn't stop large, legitimate news sites from spreading its hoax to a global audience. A Google Search on this topic shows a top result indicating the story is fake, and two out of the three featured boxes say it's fake. The remaining feature box reports it as legit, as do all the other links on the first page below the top link.
via NNSquad https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/04/princeton-scholars-figure-out-why-your-ai-is-racist/ Ever since Microsoft's chatbot Tay started spouting racist commentary after 24 hours of interacting with humans on Twitter, it has been obvious that our AI creations can fall prey to human prejudice. Now a group of researchers has figured out one reason why that happens. Their findings shed light on more than our future robot overlords, however. They've also worked out an algorithm that can actually predict human prejudices based on an intensive analysis of how people use English online.
Fahmida Y. Rashid, InfoWorld, 20 Apr 2017 Data you thought you had deleted from the cloud can come back to haunt you. Get to know your provider's data deletion policy http://www.infoworld.com/article/3190131/security/dont-get-bit-by-zombie-cloud-data.html selected text: The Internet never forgets, which means data that should have been deleted doesn't always stay deleted. Call it "zombie data," and unless your organization has a complete understanding of how your cloud providers handle file deletion requests, it can come back to haunt you. Deleting data in the cloud differs vastly from deleting data on a PC or smartphone. The cloud's redundancy and availability model ensures there are multiple copies of any given file at any given time, and each must be removed for the file to be truly deleted from the cloud. When a user deletes a file from a cloud account, the expectation is that all these copies are gone, but that really isn't the case. In some cases, providers adopt a 30-day retention policy (Gmail has a 60-day policy), where the file may no longer appear in the user's account but stay on servers until the period is up. Then the file and all its copies are automatically purged. Others offer users a permanent-delete option, similar to emptying the Recycle Bin on Windows. Service providers make mistakes. In February, forensics firm Elcomsoft found copies of Safari browser history still on iCloud, even after users had deleted the records. The company's analysts found that when the user deleted their browsing history, iCloud moved the data to a format invisible to the user instead of actually removing the data from the servers. Earlier, in January, Dropbox users were surprised to find files that had been deleted years ago reappearing in their accounts. A bug had prevented files from being permanently deleted from Dropbox servers, and when engineers tried to fix the bug, they inadvertently restored the files.
Fahmida Y. Rashid, InfoWorld, 13 Apr 2017 DDoS attacks abusing exposed LDAP servers on the rise A pair of advisories from Ixia and Akamai illustrate how DDoS attackers can abuse legitimate protocols to launch ever larger reflection attacks http://www.infoworld.com/article/3189756/security/ddos-attacks-abusing-exposed-ldap-servers-on-the-rise.html Each DDoS attack seem to be larger than the last, and recent advisories from Akamai and Ixia indicate that attackers are stepping up their game. As attackers expand their arsenal of reflection methods to target CLDAP (Connection-less Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and BIND, expect to see even larger attacks this year. Reflection attacks abuse legitimate protocols, such as NTP, DNS, and SNMP, to produce significantly large amounts of attack bandwidth. Attackers send a request to a third-party server using a spoofed IP address, and the server sends back a response (which is typically much larger in size). Since the IP address is spoofed, the response doesn't go to the original requester, but to the unsuspecting victim. Instead of building large botnets of millions of compromised hosts to launch a large attack, attackers can use a smaller number of systems to target exposed third-party servers. [... Examples follow]
via NNSquad https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/04/19/bose-headphones-have-been-spying-on-their-customers-lawsuit-claims/ Combined with the registration information, that gave Bose access to personally identifiable information that Zak and other never agreed to share, the complaint says. Listening data can be very personal, particularly if users are listening to podcasts or other audio files that could shade in information about their political preferences, health conditions or other interests, the complaint argues. The filing also alleges that Bose wasn't just collecting the information. It was also sharing it with a data mining company called Segment.io, according to research conducted by Edelson, the Chicago-based law firm representing Zak. [Gene Wirchenko noted a similar BBC item: "Bose sued for logging listening habits" http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39654085
Finally, the DMV told me that I wasn't the victim of identity theft; there was simply another Lisa S Davis with the same birthday in New York City. Our records were crossed. When cops run a license, they don't check the person's address, signature, or social security numbers. They check the name and the birthday, and both the other Lisa S Davis's and mine were the same. We were, in the eyes of the law, one person, caught in a perfect storm of DMV and NYPD idiocy. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/03/identity-theft-racial-justice Funny, I've entertainingly crossed paths/wires with another Gabe Goldberg (also a writer!) and know of several others. Maybe made-up names are the answer, with numbers and special characters. Maybe the artist formerly and once again known as Prince was on to something.
"Will we have a bill board inside our cars, with info about the retail establishments along our coming route?" Don't we already have that? High end new vehicles either have built in displays in visors or seat backs, heads up displays or mobile hubs that wireless devices can connect to. Passengers on long trips have always wanted something to distract them, but with autonomous vehicles drivers will also be tempted to pay more attention to the infotainment system than to the road ahead. Connecting to "free" wifi along a recurring travel path often involves paging through ads to set up your connection. Many commercial web servers try to get your location data and tailor ads and search engine suggestions based on your location and movement history. I normally get my video from TELUS, not Rogers, but when I am at the local Renal Agency clinic or hospital I often see Rogers overlaying advertising for additional fee products onto the video channels.
> The car comes to a stop sign it's passed a hundred > times before - but this time, it blows right through it. This appears to me to be an unlikely scenario. I expect that self-driving cars will (1) come with a database of stop sign locations and (2) learn where the stop signs are on frequently traveled routes. A self-driving car should be prepared to cope with the problem created when an out-of-control car removes a stop sign or a tree branch covers it up. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/local_rural/training/fhwasa09025/ for a discussion of various ways that traffic signs fail. I think a more reasonable hack would be to put up lots of false stop signs or stop lights. An always red stoplight would be (1) inexpensive and (2) tie up traffic. Moreover, a self-driving car *should* be programmed to pay attention to a stop light that it has not seen before and that is not in its database. [There will always be unmapped areas, as well as temporary changes that reroute traffic. The latter happens frequently. PGN]
Interestingly, while there are calls for more searches and more physical restrictions, nobody seems to have wondered how these prisoners could get hold of the guard's password. It would seem to me that that was the more important side of the problem. A computer cable is easily disconnected, but carelessness about passwords is insidious.
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