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OBAMA WARNS AGAINST CYBER COLD WAR

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President Obama on Monday urged de-escalation of a potential arms race involving cyberweapons. The president’s remarks followed his meeting with world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China.

The U.S. has more offensive and defensive capability than any other country on Earth, Obama noted.

Citing a new era of significant cyberwarfare capabilities, the president urged moving into a space where leaders begin to institute some norms to prevent global escalation from spinning out of control.

“We’re going to have enough problems in the cyberspace with non-state actors who are engaging in theft and using the Internet for all kinds of illicit practices, and protecting our critical infrastructure, and making sure our financial systems are sound,” Obama said, “and what we cannot do is have a situation where this becomes the Wild, Wild West, where countries that have significant cybercapacity start engaging in competition — unhealthy competition or conflict through these means when, I think wisely, we’ve put in place some norms when it comes to using other weapons.”

Tensions recently have been building in U.S. relations with Russia, which is suspected of involvement in a recent series of cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and agencies of the U.S. government.

Several of those attacks resulted in leaks to the Wikileaks, which published stolen information online. The Clinton campaign has suggested that Russia may be trying to undermine the presidential election, possibly to benefit Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Growing Evidence

New evidence implicating Russia in attempts to undermine the U.S. election has come to light, wrote Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in a letter to FBI Director James Comey, late last month.

FBI officials previously confirmed they were investigating cyberattacks of several party and government organizations.

The concerns about foreign entities influencing the U.S. presidential election grew with recent reports that hackers breached voting systems in Illinois and Arizona. Personal information of thousands of Illinois voters was compromised.

A known Russian hacker is suspected of using malware to compromise credentials of a county user in order to access the statewide voting registration system, Matt Roberts, a spokesperson for the Arizona Secretary of State’s office confirmed last week.

Officials at the Russian Embassy to the United States did not respond to new inquiries, but they previously dismissed allegations that the Kremlin had any link to cyberattacks on the DNC or U.S. government agencies.

An escalation in cyberwarfare is a far different dynamic than an actual arms race, because in a cyberscenario there is no way to really know the full capabilities of an adversary, cautioned Martin Libicki, an adjunct management scientist at RAND and distinguished visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy.

“To some extent, countries keep their best stuff under wraps against the day when they might have to use it,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Conversely, the whole point of having a nuclear deterrent is to scare people — and people cannot be scared by what they don’t know about.”

In terms of the potential for Russia influencing the U.S. election, which is a growing fear, the threat is relatively limited, Libicki added, as different states have different methods of voting, and fully electronic voting is the exception rather than the rule.

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UPDATES ON CYBERSECURITY, WORDPRESS AND WHAT WE’RE COOKING IN THE LAB TODAY.

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Yes, You Should Probably Have A TLS Certificate

This entry was posted in General Security, WordPress Security on September 18, 2018 by Mikey Veenstra   9 Replies


Last week’s article covering the decision to distrust Symantec-issued TLS certificates generated a great response from our readers. One common question we received, and one that pops up just about any time SSL/TLS comes up, is how to determine when a site does and does not need such a certificate. Spoiler: Your site should probably have a TLS certificate.

A subject of some discussion in the web community surrounds the use of TLS certificates and the implementation of HTTPS that these certificates allow. While their use is critical on sites where sensitive data from visitors may be involved, like payment data or other personally identifiable information (PII), the debate concerns the use of HTTPS in cases where users aren’t providing sensitive input. In today’s post, we’ll take a practical look at the difference between HTTP and HTTPS traffic, and discuss the benefits of being issued a certificate regardless of the way users interact with your site.

What’s TLS? Is It Different From SSL?

Before we really dig in, let’s clear up some terminology for anyone who might be unfamiliar.

HTTPS (short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) allows for the secure transmission of data, especially in the case of traffic to and from websites on the internet. The security afforded by HTTPS comes from the implementation of two concepts, encryption and authenticationEncryption is a well-known concept, referring to the use of cryptographyto communicate data in a way that only the intended recipient can read. Authentication can mean different things based on context, but in terms of HTTPS it means verification is performed to ensure the server you’re connecting to is the one the domain’s owner intended you to reach. The authentication portion of the transaction relies on a number of trusted sources, called Certificate Authorities (CA for short). When a certificate is requested for a domain name, the issuing CA is responsible for validating the requestor’s ownership of that domain. The combination of validation and encryption provides the site’s visitors with assurance that their traffic is privately reaching its intended destination, not being intercepted midway and inspected or altered.

TLS, or Transport Layer Security, is the open standard used across the internet to facilitate HTTPS communications. It’s the successor to SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, although the name “SSL” has notoriously picked up common usage as an interchangeable term for TLS despite it being a deprecated technology. In general when someone brings up SSL certificates, outside of the off chance they’re literally referring to the older standard, they’re probably talking about TLS. It’s a seemingly minor distinction, but it’s one we hope will gain stronger adoption in the future.

I Shouldn’t Use TLS Unless I Really Need To, Right?

There’s no shortage of conflicting advice across the web regarding when to implement TLS and when to leave a site insecure, so it’s no surprise that a lot of strong opinions develop on both sides of the issue. Outside of cut-and-dry cases like PCI compliance, where payment transactions need to be secure to avoid a policy violation, you’ll find plenty of arguments suggesting cases where the use of TLS is unnecessary or even harmful to a website. Common arguments against the wide use of TLS tend to fall into two general categories: implementation and performance.

Concerns about implementation difficulties with TLS, like the cost of purchasing a certificate, difficulty in setting up proper HTTPS redirects, and compatibility in general are common, but are entirely manageable. In fact, TLS has never been more accessible. Let’s Encrypt, a free certificate issuer which launched in early 2016, has issued just under two-thirds of the active TLS certificates on the internet at the time of this writing. Following the flood of free certificates into the marketplace, many popular web hosting companies have begun allowing Let’s Encrypt certificates to be installed on their hosted sites, or are at least including their own certificates for free with their hosting. After all, site owners are more security-conscious now than ever, and many will happily leave a host if TLS is a cost-prohibitive endeavor.

Other pain points in the implementation of HTTPS, like compatibility with a site’s existing application stack, are no different than the pain points you’d see following other security best practices. Put simply, avoiding the use of HTTPS because your site will break is the same as avoiding security updates because your site will break. It’s understandable that you might delay it for a period of time so you can fix the underlying issue, but you still need to fix that issue.

The other arguments against widespread TLS are those of performance concerns. There’s certainly overhead in play, considering the initial key exchange and the processing necessary to encrypt and decrypt traffic on the fly. However, the efficiency of any system is going to depend heavily on implementation. In the case of most sites, the differences in performance are going to be negligible. For the rest, there’s a wealth of information available on how to fine-tune an environment to perform optimally under TLS. As a starting point, I recommend visiting Is TLS Fast Yet? to learn more about the particulars of this overhead and how best to mitigate it.

My Site Doesn’t Take Payments, So Why Bother?

Each debate ultimately hinges on whether the site owner sees value in HTTPS in the first place. A lot of the uncertainty in this regard can be traced to unfamiliarity with the data stored in HTTP requests, as well as the route that these requests travel to reach their destination. To illustrate this, let’s take a look at the contents of a typical WordPress login request.

The request contains a number of interesting pieces of information:

  • The full URL of the destination, including domain and file path
  • User-Agent details, which describe my browser and operating system
  • My referer, which reveals the page I visited prior to this one
  • Any cookies my browser has stored for this site
  • The POST body, which contains the username and password I’m attempting to log in with

The implications of this request falling into the wrong hands should be immediately recognizable in the fact that my username and password are plainly visible. Anyone intercepting this traffic can now establish administrative access to my site.

Contrast this with the same request submitted via HTTPS. In an HTTPS request, the only notable information left unencrypted is the destination hostname, to allow the request to get where it needs to go. As far as any third party is concerned, I’m sending this request instead:

Outside of examples as obvious as login security, the thing to keep in mind above all is the value of privacy. If a site’s owner hasn’t installed a TLS certificate, even though the site is purely informational and takes no user input, any traffic to that site can be inspected by the user’s ISP, or even the administrator of the network they’re connected to. This is notably problematic in certain cases, like when someone might be researching private medical or legal matters, but at the end of the day the content of a site is irrelevant. Granted, my hat probably contains a bit more tinfoil than most, but there’s no denying this is an era where browsing habits are tracked wherever possible. Real examples exist of ISPs injecting advertising into unencrypted traffic, and the world has a nonzero number of governments happy to inspect whatever traffic they can get their hands on. Using HTTPS by default shows your site’s users that their privacy is important to you, regardless of whether your site contains anything you might consider private.

Conclusion

The internet at large is rapidly adopting improved security standards, and the majority of web traffic is now being delivered via HTTPS. It’s more important than ever to make sure you’re providing your users with the assurance that their traffic is private, especially with HTTP pages being flagged as “Not Secure” by popular browsers. Secure-by-default is a great mindset to have, and while many of your users may never notice, the ones who do will appreciate it.

Interested in learning more about secure networking as it pertains to WordPress? Check out our in-depth lesson, Networking For WordPress Administrators. It’s totally free, you don’t even need to give us an email address for it. Just be sure to share the wealth and help spread the knowledge with your peers, either by sharing this post or giving them the breakdown yourself. As always, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Source: https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2018/09/yes-you-should-probably-have-a-tls-certificate/?utm_source=list&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=091818&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9wsW46ldFq1FvaoJN0ugMmuxiGBmSjZlqju3IE8PTbFjL2_C24pPWIzlN1ZdbI4H9QBr74OLQmdZsp-niu-7fojYFBDQ&_hsmi=66025383

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MEET THE MALWARE WHICH HIJACKS YOUR BROWSER AND REDIRECTS YOU TO FAKE PAGES

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The malware is currently being distributed through the RIG exploit kit.

The RIG exploit kit, which at its peak infected an average of 27,000 machines per day, has been grafted with a new tool designed to hijack browsing sessions. The malware in question, a rootkit called CEIDPageLock, has been distributed through the exploit kit in recent weeks.

According to researchers from Check Point, the rootkit was first discovered in the wild several months ago.

CEIDPageLock was detected when it attempted to tamper with a victim’s browser. The malware was attempting to turn their homepage into 2345.com, a legitimate Chinese directory for weather forecasts, TV listings, and more.

The researchers say that CEIDPageLock is sophisticated for a browser hijacker and now a bolt-on for RIG has received “noticeable” improvements.

Among the new additions is functionality which permits user browsing activities to be monitored, alongside the power to change a number of websites with fake home pages.

The malware targets Microsoft Windows systems. The dropper extracts a 32-bit kernel-mode driver which is saved in the Windows temporary directory with the name “houzi.sys.” While signed, the certificate has now been revoked by the issuer.

When the driver executes, hidden amongst standard drivers during setup, the dropper then sends the victim PC’s mac address and user ID to a malicious domain controlled by a command-and-control (C&C) server. This information is then used when a victim begins browsing in order to download the desired malicious homepage configuration.

If victims are redirected from legitimate services to fraudulent ones, this can lead to threat actors obtaining account credentials, victims being issued malicious payloads, as well as the gathering of data without consent.

CNET: That VPNFilter botnet the FBI wanted us to help kill? It’s still alive

“They then either use the information themselves to target their ad campaigns or sell it to other companies that use the data to focus their marketing content,” the team says.

The latest version of the rootkit is also packed with VMProtect, which Check Point says makes an analysis of the malware more difficult to achieve. In addition, the malware prevents browsers from accessing antivirus solutions’ files.

CEIDPageLock appears to focus on Chinese victims. Infection rates number in the thousands for the county, and while Check Point has recorded 40 infections in the United States, the spread of the malware is considered “negligible” outside of China.

“At first glance, writing a rootkit that functions as a browser hijacker and employing sophisticated protections such as VMProtect, might seem like overkill,” Check Point says. “CEIDPageLock might seem merely bothersome and hardly dangerous, the ability to execute code on an infected device while operating from the kernel, coupled with the persistence of the malware, makes it a potentially perfect backdoor.”

According to Trend Micro, exploit kits are still making inroads in the security landscape. RIG remains the most active, followed by GrandSoft and Magnitude.

 

 

Source:  https://www-zdnet-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.zdnet.com/google-amp/article/meet-the-malware-which-hijacks-your-browser-redirects-you-to-fake-pages/?amp_js_v=0.1#amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zdnet.com%2Farticle%2Fmeet-the-malware-which-hijacks-your-browser-redirects-you-to-fake-pages%2F

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GOOGLE CAMPUS DOORS HACKED, ALLOWED UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY – OTHER COMPANIES VULNERABLE

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Google engineer found that he was able to hack the supposedly secure doors at the search giant’s Sunnyvale offices. He was able to unlock doors without the RFID key, and even lock out employees who did have their key.

 

Forbes reports that David Tomaschik found what turned out to be a completely inexcusable vulnerability in the Software House devices used to secure the site.

Last summer, when Tomaschik looked at the encrypted messages the Software House devices (called iStar Ultra and IP-ACM) were sending across the Google network, he discovered they were non-random; encrypted messages should always look random if they’re properly protected.

He was intrigued and digging deeper discovered a “hardcoded” encryption key was used by all Software House devices. That meant he could effectively replicate the key and forge commands, such as those asking a door to unlock. Or he could simply replay legitimate unlocking commands, which had much the same effect […] And he could prevent legitimate Google employees from opening doors.

Worse, the hack left no trace in the security logs, so there would be no evidence of whether or not the exploit had ever been used.

The same Software House tech is widely used by other companies, meaning that any number of businesses could be left vulnerable.

Google has been forced to segment its network to prevent exploitation of the flaw, and while Software House has now come up with a solution, that will require new hardware. Software House said only that ‘this issue was addressed with our customers.’

 

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