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Apple expands its bug bounty, increases maximum payout to $1M

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Apple  is finally giving security researchers something they’ve wanted for years: a macOS bug bounty.

The technology giant said Thursday it will roll out the bug bounty program to include Macs and MacBooks, as well as Apple TV and Apple Watch, almost exactly three years after it debuted its bug bounty program for iOS.

The idea is simple: you find a vulnerability, you disclose it to Apple, they fix it — and in return you get a cash payout. These programs are wildly popular in the tech industry as it helps to fund security researchers in exchange for serious security flaws that could otherwise be used by malicious actors, and also helps fill the void of bug finders selling their vulnerabilities to exploit brokers, and on the black market, who might abuse the flaws to conduct surveillance.

But Apple had dragged its feet on rolling out a bug bounty to its range of computers. Some security researchers had flat-out refused to report security flaws to Apple in absence of a bug bounty.

At the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, head of security engineering and architecture Ivan Krstić announced the program to run alongside its existing iOS bug bounty.

Patrick Wardle, a security expert and principle security researcher at Jamf, said the move was a “no brainer.”

Wardle has found several major security vulnerabilities and dropped zero-days — details of flaws published without allowing the companies a chance to fix — citing the lack of a macOS bug bounty. He has long criticized Apple for not having a bug bounty, accusing the company of leaving a void open for security researchers to sell their flaws to exploit brokers who often use the vulnerabilities for nefarious reasons.

“Granted, they hired many incredible talented researchers and security professionals — but still never really had a transparent mutually beneficial relationship with external independent researchers,” said Wardle.

“Sure this is a win for Apple, but ultimately this a huge win for Apple’s end users,” he added.

Apple said it will open its bug bounty program to all researchers and increase the size of the bounty from the current maximum of $200,000 per exploit to $1 million for a zero-click, full chain kernel code execution attack with persistence — in other words, if an attacker can gain complete control of a phone without any user interaction and simply by knowing a target’s phone number.

Apple also said that any researcher who finds a vulnerability in pre-release builds that’s reported before general release will qualify for up to 50% bonus on top of the category of vulnerability they discover.

The bug bounty programs will be available to all security researchers beginning later this year.

The company also confirmed a Forbes report, published earlier this week, saying it will give a number of “dev” iPhones to vetted and trusted security researchers and hackers under the new iOS Security Research Device Program. These devices are special devices that give the hackers greater access to the underlying software and operating system to help them find vulnerabilities typically locked away from other security researchers — such as secure shell.

Apple said that it hopes expanding its bug bounty program will encourage more researchers to privately disclose security flaws, which will help to increase the protection of its customers.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/08/apple-hackers-macos-security/

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Security

Firm introduces new cyberthreat detection service

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Sophos, a global leader in network and endpoint security, has announced the availability of a fully managed threat hunting, detection and response service, called Sophos Managed Threat Response.

The firm said the re-sellable service would provide organisations with a dedicated 24/7 security team to neutralise the most sophisticated and complex threats.

According to a statement, these threats include active attackers leveraging fileless attacks and administrator tools such as PowerShell to escalate privileges, exfiltrate data and spread laterally.

“Attacks like these are difficult to detect since they involve an active adversary using legitimate tools for nefarious purposes, and Sophos MTR helps eliminate this threat,” it said.

The Chief Technology Officer at Sophos, Joe Levy, said cybercriminals were adapting their methods and increasingly launching hybrid attacks that combined automation with interactive human ingenuity to more effectively evade detection.

He said, “Once they gain a foothold, they’ll employ ‘living off the land’ techniques and other deceptive methods requiring human interaction to discover and disrupt their attacks.

“For the most part, other managed detection and response services simply notify customers of potential threats and then leave it up to them to manage things from there.

“Sophos MTR not only augments internal teams with additional threat intelligence, unparalleled product expertise, and round-the-clock coverage, but also gives customers the option of having a highly trained team of response experts take targeted actions on their behalf to neutralise even the most sophisticated threats.”

Source:
https://punchng.com/firm-introduces-new-cyberthreat-detection-service/

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Security

Google now treats iPhones as physical security keys

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The latest update to Google’s Smart Lock app on iOS means you can now use your iPhone as a physical 2FA security key for logging into Google’s first-party services in Chrome. Once it’s set up, attempting to log in to a Google service on, say, a laptop, will generate a push notification on your nearby iPhone. You’ll then need to unlock your Bluetooth-enabled iPhone and tap a button in Google’s app to authenticate before the login process on your laptop completes. The news was first reported by 9to5Google.

Two-factor authentication is one of the most important steps you can take to secure your online accounts, and provides an additional layer of security beyond a standard username and password. Physical security keys are much more secure than the six digit codes that are in common use today, since these codes can be intercepted almost as easily as passwords themselves. Google already lets you use your Android phone as a physical security key, and now that the functionality is available on iOS it means that anyone with a smartphone now owns a security key without having to buy a dedicated device.

Attempting to log in to a Google service will send a push notification to your phone over Bluetooth.

The new process is similar to the existing Google Prompt functionality, but the key difference is that Smart Lock app works over Bluetooth, rather than connecting via the internet. That means your phone will have to be in relatively close proximity to your laptop for the authentication to work, which provides another layer of security. However, the app itself doesn’t ask for any biometric authentication — if your phone is already unlocked then a nearby attacker could theoretically open the app and authenticate the login attempt.

According to one cryptogopher working at Google, the new functionality makes use of the iPhone processor’s Secure Enclave, which is used to securely store the device’s private keys. The feature was first introduced with the iPhone 5S, and Google’s app says that it requires iOS 10 or later to function.

The new iPhone support appears to be limited to authenticating Google logins from the Chrome browser. When we attempted to use an iPhone to authenticate a login of the same service (we tested with Gmail) using Safari on a MacBook, we were prompted to insert our key fob (which we don’t have), meaning it created an extra step in our login process where we had to pick an alternative 2FA option.

Source:
https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/15/21066768/google-iphone-ios-security-key-2-factor-authentication

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Security

Samsung made a fingerprint-secured portable SSD

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Portable SSDs have become quite popular lately but only a handful of them offer proper security so Samsung is taking matters into its own hands by introducing the T7 Touch with fingerprint reader identification. This way you can rest assured that your sensitive data is safe even if you misplace the actual drive.

Samsung made a fingerprint-secured portable SSD

The T7 Touch succeeds the T5 from last year by offering a capacitive fingerprint scanner and AES 256-bit hardware encryption and password for added security. Moreover, the T7 Touch boasts about 1 GB/s read and 1 GB/s read speeds, which is almost twice as fast as its predecessor.

Connectivity options include USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A while the connector of the device supports 10Gbps speeds over USB 3.2 (Gen 2).

The T7 Touch comes in three flavors – 500GB for $129, 1TB for $229 and 2TB for $399 with planned availability this month. The available paint jobs of the titanium case are black and silver and the whole thing weighs just 58 grams.

Source:
https://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_made_a_fingerprintsecured_portable_ssd-news-40949.php

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