Cyberattack / Most Commented

Do We Need Two Internets?

Jonathan Zittrain's recent book, The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It, has spurred a lot of discussion both online and offline, with blog posts lauding his insights or criticising his over-apocalyptic imagination. The book itself makes fascinating reading for those who have watched the network grow from its roots in the research community into today's global channel for communications, commerce and cultural expression... One of the reasons that Zittrain puts forward for the growing popularity of closed or, as he prefers 'tethered', devices, is that they are less vulnerable to hacking, security flaws, malware and all the other perils that face any internet-enabled system. more

Are Botnets Run by Spy Agencies?

A recent story today about discussions for an official defense Botnet in the USA prompted me to post a question I've been asking for the last year. Are some of the world's botnets secretly run by intelligence agencies, and if not, why not? Some estimates suggest that up to 1/3 of PCs are secretly part of a botnet. The main use of botnets is sending spam, but they are also used for DDOS extortion attacks and presumably other nasty things like identity theft. But consider this... more

Digital Geneva Convention: Multilateral Treaty, Multistakeholder Implementation

Microsoft's call for a Digital Geneva Convention, outlined in Smith's blog post, has attracted the attention of the digital policy community. Only two years ago, it would have been unthinkable for an Internet company to invite governments to adopt a digital convention. Microsoft has crossed this Rubicon in global digital politics by proposing a Digital Geneva Convention which should 'commit governments to avoiding cyber-attacks that target the private sector or critical infrastructure or the use of hacking to steal intellectual property'. more

World Body Declares Cyber Security Top Issue

Sovereign nations around the globe have clearly defined borders, but as attendees were shown at a UN Conference several years ago, cybercrime is a borderless phenomenon. In 2011 Norton Security released statistics that showed that every 14 seconds an adult is a victim of cybercrime and the numbers are growing. As internet use grows, so does the amount and type of information streaming across the web. This information crosses transnational lines, public and private sectors. more

Are We at the Dawn of a New Cold War?

Over the past say six months there are trends and events on and around the Internet that made me come up with this bizarre sounding question. Still it may actually make sense if we look at some facts. I'll be honest up front. This is a contribution that is not totally thought over and more a compilation of ideas and impressions gathered over the past weeks and months. Still, it could well serve as the beginning of a discussion on giving the recent events a place. There's nothing better than a provocative question in that case! Let's start here. more

The Militarization of the Internet

Someone needs to take a good hard look at those Internet surveillance stories being strategically placed on the front page of the New York Times. There's a trail here, I believe, that's worth following. Here are some data points... there appears to be a deep interest in the ability to declare war online, as evidenced by cybersecurity research and public speeches by Herbert Lin, a key player who has worked on several cybersecurity reports for the National Research Council.

Policy Failure Enables Mass Malware: Part I (Rx-Partners/VIPMEDS)

This is the first in a series of releases that tie extensive code injection campaigns directly to policy failures within the Internet architecture. In this report we detail a PHP injection found on dozens of university and non-profit websites which redirected visitor's browsers to illicit pharmacies controlled by the VIPMEDS/Rx-Partners affiliate network. This is not a unique problem, however the pharmacy shop sites in question: HEALTHCUBE[DOT]US and GETPILLS[DOT]US should not even exist under the .US Nexus Policy. more

Report on DNS Amplification Attacks

In this newly released paper Randal Vaughn and Gadi Evron discuss the threat of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks using recursive DNS name servers open to the world. The study is based on case studies of several attacked ISPs reported to have on a volume of 2.8Gbps. One reported event indicated attacks reaching as high as 10Gbps and used as many as 140,000 exploited name servers. more

So You Think You’re Safe from DNS Cache Poisoning?

Everyone is probably well aware of the Kashpureff-style DNS cache- poisoning exploit (I'll call this "classic cache poisoning"). For reference, see the original US-CERT advisory prompted by this exploit. Vendors patched their code to appropriately scrub (validate) responses so that caches could not be poisoned. For the next 7-8 years, we didn't hear much about cache poisoning. However, there was still a vulnerability lurking in the code, directly related to cache poisoning. ...On April 7, 2005, the SANS ISC (not to be confused with Internet Systems Consortium) posted an update detailing how Microsoft Windows DNS servers were still being poisoned, even though the "Secure cache against pollution" option was set. The SANS ISC found that Windows DNS servers using BIND4 and BIND8 servers as forwarders were being poisoned. But how could this be? more

Protecting the Internet: Certified Attachments and Reverse Firewalls?

In many respects the internet is going to hell in a hand basket. Spam, phishing, DNS poisoning, DDoS attacks, viruses, worms, and the like make the net a sick place. It is bad enough that bad folks are doing this. But it is worse that just about every user computer on the net offers a nice fertile place for such ill behavior to be secretly planted and operated as a zombie under the control of a distant and unknown zombie farmer. ...Some of us are coming to the converse point of view that the net is being endangered by the masses of ill-protected machines operated by users. more

Security by Obscurity?

Ah yes, 'Security by obscurity': "Many people believe that 'security through obscurity' is flawed because... secrets are hard to keep." I'm glad the guys guarding the A Root Servers are up on the latest security trends. Of course, you could hide the A Root Servers at the heart of the Minotaur's maze, but they're still going to be "right over there" in cyberspace, at more

Putting Cyber Threats Into Perspective

As society uses more digital technologies we are increasingly also faced with its problems. Most of us will have some horror stories to tell about using computers, smartphones, and the internet. But this hasn't stopped us from using the technology more and more. I believe that most people would say that their lives would be worse without technology -- in developed countries but equally in the developing world. more

Why You Must Learn to Love DNSSEC

It's been nearly two months since the high profile BGP hijack attack against MyEtherwallet, where crypto thieves used BGP leaks to hijack MEW's name servers, which were on Amazon's Route53, and inserted their own fake name servers which directed victims to their own fake wallet site, thereby draining some people's wallets. It generated a lot of discussion at the time... What isn't fully appreciated is that attack has, in fact, changed the game somewhat... more

Schneier and Kerr on Encryption Workarounds

Bruce Schneier is a famous cryptography expert and Orin Kerr a famous cyberlaw professor. Together they've published a law journal article on Encryption Workarounds. It's intended for lawyers so it's quite accessible to non-technical readers. The article starts with a summary of how encryption works, and then goes through six workarounds to get the text of an encrypted message. more

Maintaining Security and Stability in the Internet Ecosystem

DDoS attacks, phishing scams and malware. We battle these dark forces every day - and every day they get more sophisticated. But what worries me isn't just keeping up with them, it is keeping up with the sheer volume of devices and data that these forces can enlist in an attack. That's why we as an industry need to come together and share best practices - at the ICANN community, at the IETF and elsewhere - so collectively we are ready for the future. more