Cyberattack / Most Commented

The Dark Internet

I consult on communication issues for Neustar, an Internet infrastructure company. As most CircleIDers know, Neustar works behind the scenes to ensure the smooth operation of many critical systems like DNS, .us and .biz, local number portability and digital rights management. One of the cool things about working for them is the chance to attend the events they sponsor. Last week Neustar held a security briefing for senior federal IT personnel focused on Cybersecurity and Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC)... more

Wikileaks DDoS of Spamhaus: Political Activism at Its Dumbest

A week ago, Paul Vixie wrote a thoughtful piece on the morality of DDos, for both sides of the equation of the Wikileaks issues. In it he summarizes things nicely: "Denial of service is not merely a peaceful protest meant to garner attention for a cause. Denial of service is forcible and it is injurious. It is not like any form of civil disobedience, but rather it is criminal behaviour more like looting." Well said, Paul... more

Policy Failure Enables Mass Malware: Part II (ICANN and OnlineNIC)

On Wednesday September 29th at 1PM there will be a meeting in the Old Executive Building in Washington D.C. with Registries and domain Registrars to discuss illegal Internet sales of prescription drugs. ICANN was originally invited but declined because citing "inappropriateness" . One "U.S." Registrar who definitely will not be in attendance is OnlineNIC more

Russian Cybercrime is Organized / Russian Cybercrime is Not Organized

The more I read, the more I see conflicting views on the state of the criminal cybercrime world. On the one hand, the Russian criminal cybercrime underworld is a scary, organized place... On the other hand, there is the position that that position is an exaggeration of what it is actually like and that it's a bunch of ragtag folks who have some advanced computer skills but they are not formally organized. ... I see this very similarly to how I see cyber warfare... more

US Facing a Human Capital Crisis in Cybersecurity, Says CSIS

A new study has been released by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th President that looks into cybersecurity manpower challenges in the United States. The report titled, "A Human Capital Crisis in Cybersecurity," is produced by CSIS - a bipartisan public and foreign policy think tank in Washington. more

Cutting Through the Twitter DDoS Hype

There are a lot of theories flying around about why Twitter and other social media services got knocked offline yesterday. I've heard rumors about it being linked to political tension between Georgia and Russia. Others blame Iran for the outages. I'm not a political commentator, therefore I cannot comment on anyone's political views -- but I have some logic and common sense, and I can draw some objective conclusions. more

Networks and Nationalization

This post isn't about -- or isn't only about -- the use of computer technology to commit crimes. It's more about the use of computer technology to commit war. A few weeks ago, I was part of a conversation about the legal issues cyberwarfare raises. We were talking about various scenarios -- e.g., a hostile nation-state uses cyberspace to attack the U.S. infrastructure by crippling or shutting down a power grid, air traffic control systems, financial system, etc. Mostly, we were focusing on issues that went to the laws of war, such as how and when a nation-state that is the target of a cyberattack can determine the attack is war, rather than cybercrime or cyberterrorism. more

New Analysis Suggests Recent Cyberattacks Against US and South Korea Originated from UK Not N. Korea

Nguyen Minh Duc, senior security director at Bach Khoa Internetwork Security (Bkis), says that the source of recent cyberattack against US and South Korean government websites was not North Korea -- as widely reported -- but UK. Based on Bkis analysis, a report today by Nguyen Minh Duc says that a master server located in UK was found to control the 8 Command and Control servers responsible for the series of cyberattacks last week.

Cyber Security and the White House, Part 2 - Cyberwarfare

This is a follow-up to my previous post on Cybersecurity and the White House. It illustrates an actual cyberwarfare attack against Estonia in 2007 and how it can be a legitimate national security issue. Estonia is one of the most wired countries in eastern Europe. In spite of its status of being a former Soviet republic, it relies on the internet for a substantial portion of everyday life -- communications, financial transactions, news, shopping and restaurant reservations all use the Internet. Indeed, in 2000, the Estonian government declared Internet access a basic human right... more

IANA: A Tale of Two Fails

The IANA -- Internet Assigned Numbers Authority -- is, functionally, the boiler room of the Internet. Every protocol in use to shovel data from Tallahassee to Timbuktu? Listed there. IP addresses? They are the root from which all addresses flow. Domain names? They are the Source. The entire operation is chock-full of magic numbers, numbers that form and fuel the digital world we use daily. But there are other, lesser-known numbers... It is of PENs that I write today... more

HTTPS Web Hijacking Goes From Theory to Practice

I've been privately talking about the theoretical dangers of HTTPS hacking with the developers of a major web browser since 2006 and earlier last month, I published my warnings about HTTPS web hacking along with a proposed solution. A week later, Google partially implemented some of my recommendations in an early Alpha version of their Chrome 2.0 browser... This week at the Black Hat security conference in Washington DC, Moxie Marlinspike released a tool called SSL Strip... more

Should We Make the Possession of Malware a Crime?

In the U.S., it is a federal crime to use malware to intentionally cause "damage without authorization" to a computer that is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce. Most, if not all, U.S. states outlaw the use of malware to cause damage, as do many countries. The Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime, which the United States ratified a few years ago, has a provision concerning the possession of malware. Article 6(1)(b) of the Convention requires parties to the treaty to criminalize the possession of malware "with intent that it be used for the purpose of committing" a crime involving damage to a computer or data... more Response to Security Breach Unacceptable

As some of us are continuing to learn this week the service has again been successfully hacked. According to a security bulletin posted on on January 23rd, 2009, the intruder gained access to the user database, while no resumes were apparently compromised... As a user of what I find incredibly upsetting about this situation is that I had to find out about this through a security blog. more

Reply-All Creates a DDoS Attack?

One can read in an Associated Press article that the US State Department have their email system bogged down due to too many people use the Reply-All function in their email client. IT Departments have asked people to not use Reply-All and also threaten with disciplinary action. To me, that is the wrong path forward. more

Why DNS is Broken, in Plain English

At ICANN's meeting in Egypt last week, I had the opportunity to try and explain to various non-technical audiences why the Domain Name System (DNS) is vulnerable to attack, and why that is important, without needing a computer science degree to understand it. Here is the summary. more