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Who Is Blocking WHOIS? Part 2

We have just returned from the Brussels, Belgium ICANN meeting where we released our Registrar audit, the Internet "Doomsday Book." There are many topics covered in the report, but we wanted to follow up specifically on the issue of WHOIS access and add data to our previous column Who Is Blocking WHOIS? which covered Registrar denial of their contracted obligation to support Port 43 WHOIS access. more

IDN and Homographs Spoofing

There is a published spoofing attack using homographs IDN. By using a Cyrillic SMALL LETTER A (U+430), Securnia is able to pretend to be http://www.paypal.com/. Actually this is well-documented in RFC 3490 under the Security Consideration: "To help prevent confusion between characters that are visually similar, it is suggested that implementations provide visual indications where a domain name contains multiple scripts. Such mechanisms can also be used to show when a name contains a mixture of simplified and traditional Chinese characters, or to distinguish zero and one from O and l..." more

The Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008

Last week Sen. Snowe filed bill S.2661, the Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008, or APCPA. While its goals are laudable, I have my doubts about some of the details. The first substantive section of the bill, Section 3, makes various phishy activities more illegal than they are now in its first two subsections. It makes it specifically illegal to solicit identifying information from a computer under false pretenses, and to use a domain name that is deceptively similar to someone else's brand or name on the web in e-mail or IM to mislead people... more

A Fundamental Look at DNSSEC, Deployment, and DNS Security Extensions

In looking at the general topic of trust and the Internet, one of the more critical parts of the Internet's infrastructure that appears to be a central anchor point of trust is that of the Domain Name Service, or DNS. The mapping of "named" service points to the protocol-level address is a function that every Internet user relies upon, one way or another. The ability to corrupt the operation of the DNS is one of the more effective ways of corrupting the integrity of Internet-based applications and services. If an attacker can in some fashion alter the DNS response then a large set of attack vectors are exposed. ...The more useful question is whether it is possible to strengthen the DNS. The DNS is a query -- response application, and the critical question in terms of strengthening its function is whether it is possible to authenticate the answers provided by the DNS. DNSSEC provides an answer to this question. more

Shambles at the .Pro Registry

Registration of .Pro domains has descended into shambles as the Registry responsible for their administration has allowed a flood of domain registrations which appear to be in breach of the strict rules restricting who can register a .pro domain and the certified credentials required before any such domain can work. more

New Instance of DNS Root Server Makes Internet History

For the first time in Internet history the number of instances of DNS root servers outside the United States has overtaken the number within. The balance was tipped by the recent launch in Frankfurt of an anycast instance of the RIPE NCC operated K-root server. The K-root server is one of the 13 DNS root servers that resolve lookups for domain names all over the world and form a critical part of the global Internet infrastructure. The K-root server has been operated by the RIPE NCC since 1997 when the first server was installed at the London Internet Exchange (LINX) in London, UK. more

Experts Urge Congress to Reject DNS Filtering from PROTECT IP Act, Serious Technical Concerns Raised

A group of leading DNS experts have released a paper detailing serious concerns over the proposed DNS filtering requirements included as part of the bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate named Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 ("PROTECT IP Act"). The group who is urging lawmakers to reconsider enacting such a mandate into law, includes leading DNS designers, operators, and researchers, responsible for numerous RFCs for DNS, publication of many peer-reviewed academic studies related to architecture and security of the DNS, and responsible for the operation of important DNS infrastructure on the Internet. more

UN Global Forum on Internet Governance

More than 200 leaders from government, business and civil society attended the Global Forum on Internet Governance, held on 25 and 26 March 2004 and organized by the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force. The forum, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, was intended, according to a UN press release, "to contribute to worldwide consultations to prepare the ground to a future Working Group on Internet Governance to be established by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which is to report to the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, 2005)". more

Sender ID: A Tale of Open Standards and Corporate Greed? - Part I

A long long time ago when the Internet was still young and most people were still using clunky Apples, PCs and mainframes; two documents were published by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), part of the US Government's Department of Defense. They were called "RFC 821 - Simple Mail Transfer Protocol" and "RFC 822 - Standard for the format of ARPA Internet text messages" respectively. Written by the John Postel and Dave Crocker respectively, often referred to as some of the founding fathers of the Internet, they defined a simple text-based email system for the use of the fledging network then called the "ARPA Internet"... more

Microsoft’s Takedown of 3322.org - A Gigantic Self Goal?

I will first begin this post by emphasizing that this article is entirely my personal viewpoint and not to be considered as endorsed by or a viewpoint of my employer or any other organization that I am affiliated with. Neither is this to be considered an indictment of the sterling work (which I personally value very highly) that several people in Microsoft are doing against cybercrime. Microsoft's takedown of 3322.org to disrupt the Nitol botnet is partial and will, at best, have a temporary effect on the botnet itself... more

Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail Compromised - But How?

One of the bigger news stories is that of 10,000 usernames and passwords of Hotmail users were posted this past week, victims of a phishing scam... It seems unlikely to me that this would be a hack where someone would break into Hotmail's servers and access the account information that way. It is much more likely that the spammers got the information by social engineering. Why is this more likely? For one, they'd have to get past all of the firewalls and security measures that Microsoft/Hotmail have to keep intruders out. more

Thoughts About “Protection Against BIND”

Imagine my surprise upon reading a BBC article which identified ISC BIND as the top security vulnerability to UNIX systems. At ISC, we have striven for a decade to repair BIND's reputation, and by all accounts we have made great progress. "What could this be about," I wondered, as I scanned the BBC article for more details. It turns out that BBC was merely parroting what it had been told by SANS. OK, let's see what SANS has to say... more

IP or NAT IP: Mostly IP

There seems to be a heated debate on this site about NAT (network-address translation). What came as a surprise to me is that a lot of the arguments seem to reside in ideological point of views which obscure the real issues at hand -- IP addressing, IP security -- and have little to do with NAT's actual merits or drawbacks. more

Hypertext Mail Protocol (a.k.a. Stub Email): A Proposal

Back in the days of dial-up modems and transfer speeds measured in hundreds of bits per second, unwanted email messages were actually felt as a significant dent in our personal pocketbooks. As increases in transfer speeds outpaced increases in spam traffic, the hundreds of unwanted emails we received per week became more of a nuisance than a serious financial threat. Today sophisticated spam filters offered by all major email providers keep us from seeing hundreds of unwanted emails on a daily basis, and relatively infrequently allow unwanted messages to reach our coveted Inboxes. So, to some degree, the spam problem has been mitigated. But this "mitigation" requires multiple layers of protection and enormous amounts of continually-applied effort. more

When Registrars Look the Other Way, Drug-Dealers Get Paid

Since November of last year we have been discussing the problem of illicit and illegal online pharmacy support by ICANN-accredited Registrars. In several articles and direct contact with the Registrars we have tirelessly tried to convey the seriousness of this problem, many listened, some did not... With the background information already known, the case presented here is much more specific and concerns EvaPharmacy, which was until recently, the world's largest online criminal pharmacy network. more