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Threat Intelligence / Recently Commented

A Secure Recursive Caching DNS Server

Over the last couple of weeks I have spent some time working on a project to develop a DNS cache for Windows that is intended to be reasonably secure against spoof attacks, in particular in situations where NAT firewalls may prevent port randomization. The program is evolving, but currently uses a couple of ideas to attempt to defeat spoof attacks... The source code is intended to be entirely un-encumbered, that is free in all respects. I would welcome any suggestions or comments on the aims of the project, the source code, the functionality of the program or other ideas. more

Trust, but Verify

We are at an inflection point in our lifetimes. The Internet is broken, seriously broken... Almost all of the systems currently in use on the Internet are based on implicit trust. This has to change. The problem is that these systems are so embedded in our everyday lives that it would be, sort of like, changing gravity, very difficult. more

Updates on the Georgian Cyber Attacks

This is an update of my previous post on the subject. To be honest here, no one truly knows what's going on in Georgia's Internet except for what can be glimpsed from outside, and what has been written by the Georgians on their blog (outside their country). They are probably a bit busy avoiding kinetic bombing... more

Internet Attacks Against Georgian Websites

In the last days, news and government web sites in Georgia suffered DDoS attacks. While these attacks seem to affect the Georgian Internet, it is still there... Up to the Estonian war, such attacks would be called "hacker enthusiast attacks" or "cyber terrorism" (of the weak sort). Nowadays any attack with a political nature seems to get the "information warfare" tag. When 300 Lithuanian web sites were defaced last month, "cyber war" was the buzzword. Running security for the Israeli government Internet operation and later the Israeli government CERT such attacks were routine... more

Consumer Reports: U.S. Consumers Lost Nearly $8.5 Billion to Viruses, Spyware, and Phishing

U.S. consumers lost almost $8.5 billion over the last two years to viruses, spyware, and phishing schemes according to latest projections from the Consumer Reports State of the Net survey. Additionally, report estimates that American consumers have replaced about 2.1 million computers over the past two years because of online threats. Survey has also reveals some hopeful signs such as declining chances of becoming a cybervictim -- consumers have 1 in 6 chance of becoming a cybervictim, down from 1 in 4 in 2007. more

Cyber Threats Accelerate: 94% of Web Browser Exploits Occur Within 24 Hours of Disclosure

Today X-Force, IBM's security research and development arm, released its 2008 Midyear Trend Statistics report that indicates cyber-criminals are adopting new automation techniques and strategies that allow them to exploit vulnerabilities much faster than ever before. The new tools are being implemented on the Internet by organized criminal elements, and at the same time public exploit code published by researchers are putting more systems, databases and ultimately, people at risk of compromise. more

US-CERT Says They Are Aware of DNS Exploit Code, Emphasizes Urgent Patching

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has acknowledged that they are aware of the publicly available exploit code for a cache poisoning vulnerability in common DNS implementations. US-CERT is re-emphasizing the urgency of patching vulnerable DNS systems. more

DNS Attack Code Has Been Published

As warned by Dan Kaminsky, Paul Vixie, and numerous other experts experts, it was just a matter of time before an exploit code for the now public DNS flaw would surface. An exploit code for the flaw allowing insertion of malicious DNS records into the cache of target nameservers has been posted to Metasploit, a free provider of information and tools on exploit techniques. According to reports Metasploit creator, H D Moore in collaboration with a researcher named "|)ruid" from Computer Academic Underground, created the exploit, dubbed "DNS BaliWicked Attack", along with a DNS service created to assist with the exploit. more

DNS Security Flaw Secret Leaked Prior to Set Date: Patch DNS as Fast as Possible

In what seems to have started with a blog post by reverse engineer Halvar Flake, and subsequent blog postings from other experts in the know, the details of the recently announced DNS vulnerability was quite likely made public today. The DNS flaw was found earlier this year by security researcher Dan Kaminsky and earlier this month announced publicly along with various tools and patches provided by numerous vendors... more

An Astonishing Collaboration

Wow. It's out. It's finally, finally out... So there's a bug in DNS, the name-to-address mapping system at the core of most Internet services. DNS goes bad, every website goes bad, and every email goes...somewhere. Not where it was supposed to... I'm pretty proud of what we accomplished here. We got Windows. We got Cisco IOS. We got Nominum. We got BIND 9, and when we couldn't get BIND 8, we got Yahoo, the biggest BIND 8 deployment we knew of, to publicly commit to abandoning it entirely. It was a good day... more

Identifying Spam: MAAWG’s Latest Documents Improve Accuracy of Reputation Systems

The Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG), of which Return Path (my employer) is a very active participant, met recently in Heidelberg, Germany. Among other exciting projects, they finished two new best practices documents which have been lauded in the press as a big step towards stopping botnet spam... more

SPIT is in Everyone’s Mouth, Though Not Yet in Everyone’s Ears

Spam over Internet Telephony (SPIT) is viewed by many as a daunting threat. SPIT is much more fatal than email spam, for the annoyance and disturbance factor is much higher. Various academic groups and the industry have made some efforts to find ways to mitigate SPIT. Most ideas in that field are leaning on classical IT security concepts such as intrusion detection systems, black-/white-/greylists, Turing tests/computational puzzles, reputation systems, gatekeeper solutions, etc... We identified the lack of a benchmark testbed for SPIT as a serious gap in the current research on the matter, and this motivated us at the to start working on a first tool for that. more

Will a Global TAR Make DNSSEC Stick?

Two US Government contractors and the National Institute of Science and Technology have released a white paper, "Statement of Needed Internet Capability," detailing possible alternatives and considerations for a Trust Anchor Repository (TAR) to support DNSSEC deployment. The document was released through the DNSSEC-Deployment Group this week with a request that it be circulated as widely as possible to gather feedback. A Trust Anchor Repository (TAR) refers to the concept of a DNS resource record store that contains secure entry point keys... more

Swedish National Defense Radio Agency to Wiretap All Internet Traffic

Several people abroad have started mailing me and others asking if rumors of new legislation to be passed in Sweden on the 17th of June is for real. There are also reports in international forums starting to pop up. This is fairly old news, and I think that most of us are surprised that this has not generated more press both inside and outside Sweden earlier. This legislation will allow for the Swedish National Defense Radio Agency (FRA) to wiretap Internet traffic leaving the country... more

Carpet Bombing in Cyber Space - Say Again?

I was pointed to an article in the Armed Forces Journal where Col Charles W. Williamson III argues that the US Air Force needs to develop a BOTnet army as part of the US military capability for retaliatory strikes. The article brings up some interesting issues, the one that I believe carries the most weight is the argument that we (well, people living on the Internet) are seeing an arms race. It is true that more and more nations are looking into or developing various forms of offensive weapons systems for the use on the Internet... more