Archive for February, 2012

Serious breach of privacy rights

It’s strange how so many commentators have whipped themselves into a lather over the attack on privacy rights in Bill C-30, otherwise known as the Protecting Children From Internet Predators Act. And yet they don’t appear troubled by another infringement of privacy rights that is even more serious.

Anyone worried by the potential erosion of privacy rights in the Conservatives’ Bill C-30 should be even more concerned about the actual erosion of privacy rights in existing federal law known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

Introduced by the Chretien Liberal government in 2000, PIPEDA has been in force for over a decade. It regulates the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by businesses.

In other words, it applies to cellphone and Internet service providers, phone companies, credit card companies and all other businesses that collect and track data on our daily activities.

It covers a wider range of businesses than C-30.

PIPEDA allows any business to disclose any personal information without the knowledge or consent of an individual to a government institution or part of a government institution (including a police officer), where the disclosure is requested for the purpose of enforcing or administering any law, or if the information is suspected to relate to national security.

The only limit on this is that the person requesting the information must have identified his or her “lawful authority.

Courts have interpreted this “lawful authority” to include a police officer’s authority to investigate.”

(Further, under the proposed terms of new legislation known as Bill C-12, PIPEDA will be amended to state police do not require a subpoena or warrant prior to making any request.”

PIPEDA means every police officer in Canada has the power to request disclosure of personal information from any business collecting information from subscribers or customers.

True, there’s no legal compulsion on the business to supply the information but they often do, based on user agreements and their so-called privacy policies, which permit information to be supplied under “lawful authority”.

Yet it seems few, if any, commentators are concerned with PIPEDA.

Surely, for the sake of consistency, opponents of Bill C-30 should be demanding the government amend PIPEDA to define “lawful authority”, so that it requires the person making the request for disclosure has a judicial warrant backing up that request.

True, Bill C-30 goes a step beyond PIPEDA by legally requiring all telecommunication service providers to provide subscriber information, based solely on a written request, whereas PIPEDA doesn’t force, but allows, businesses to release the information.

Still, PIPEDA covers a wider range of businesses, allows for more information to be released based solely upon request and is accessible to any government institution, as well as police.

Arguably PIPEDA is more intrusive than C-30. Anyone objecting to one must logically object to the other.

That said, a particularly troubling aspect of C-30 relates to the compelled disclosure of subscriber information.

Such disclosure may seem innocuous at first blush.

After all, who could reasonably object to release of a subscriber’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, Internet protocol address and service provider identifier associated with the subscriber’s service and equipment?

But we can’t look at any one piece of information in isolation. While it in itself might reveal nothing of significance, it may be that same piece of information, when coupled with other data, leads to disclosure of significant facts,

For example, the IP address alone may be of no significance, but it may be the missing piece to a puzzle that leads to disclosure of personal information deserving of protection.

For these reasons even seemingly innocuous subscriber information shouldn’t be accessible to authorities without a warrant, unless of course, there’s an emergency situation. 

Article source: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/02/24/serious-breach-of-privacy-rights

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Hepatitis C kills more Americans than HIV: study

Months after he admitted that he already has a girlfriend, Jericho Rosales finally dropped hints on the …

Article source: http://ph.omg.yahoo.com/news/hepatitis-c-kills-more-americans-hiv-study-141953413.html

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New WordPress Plugin Locks Down Your Website’s Security

You’ve got virus protection on all of your business computers, passwords in place on mobile devices and laptops, and even virus protection on your company smartphones. But have you looked at how secure your website is? If you rely on your site for any aspect of your business, a new plugin from 6Scan helps you find and manage vulnerabilities quickly and easily.

While WordPress and other content management systems including Drupal and Joomla are built to be secure, they’re a prime target for hackers because so many websites run on them. I personally know of two CMS-based websites that have been compromised; one blog had to recover quickly from a major attack on its WordPress installation, and a friend who manages a local arts incubator had to have the organization’s website rebuilt from the ground up when a hacker took over its Joomla installation.

6Scan finds vulnerabilities on your WordPress website for free, and plugs them automatically for a small monthly charge.

The free version of 6Scan tells you what’s wrong with your website and sends you an email notification when a problem with the site that could give a hacker access is discovered. The notifications provide you with enough information that you can fix it yourself if you’re technically inclined or have a webmaster on call.

For $10 a month, the Fortress plan includes a Bodyguard feature that auto-fixes any found vulnerabilities. You also get premium email support and SMS notifications of site issues, in addition to the email you’ll already have from the free version. More importantly, 6Scan’s research team of ex-military hackers notifies you upon discovering new potential threats. The Enterprise level adds 24/7 site monitoring and phone support for a range of anywhere from $20 to hundreds of dollars per month, depending on the requirements of your business.

Installation and Setup

First, navigate to your Plugins menu from your WordPress Dashboard. Click on “Add New”, and do a search for “6Scan”. You’ll be able to install the plugin from there. You can also download the plugin .zip file from this page and install it from your WordPress Plugins dashboard. Once it’s installed, 6Scan will be available from your left-hand sidebar. You can upgrade at any time from within the 6Scan Dashboard.

Once I set up 6Scan on my professional website, it caught a vulnerability and emailed me with all the information I needed to fix it. All I needed to do with the information it gave me was go into the “Readme” file and remove my WordPress version information. If it were something more complex that I felt I couldn’t fix on my own, I’d probably upgrade to the $10/month Fortress plan.

Works With Other Security Plugins, Other CMS Versions Coming Soon

6Scan isn’t the only horse in WordPress’s security plugin stable, but it will run with the rest of them. If you’ve got Bulletproof Security or WP Security Scan installed, you can park 6Scan right alongside them to back them up.

6Scan will be releasing versions for Joomla and Drupal within the next few weeks, and versions for Magento and Amazon EC2 within the next few months, according to owner and CEO Nitzan Miron.

Angela West wrote this blog post to the dulcet tones of the “Hackers” soundtrack. She’s written for big insurance companies, small wildlife control businesses, gourmet food chains, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @angelawest and Facebook.

Article source: http://news.idg.no/cw/art.cfm?id=E40FB911-FE00-35E0-99C7AC0FA1C0F769

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Chinese Nickispy malware targets smartphones

Dmitri Alperovitch ... this really showcases that the current security model for smartphones is inadequate.

Dmitri Alperovitch … “this really showcases that the current security model for smartphones is inadequate”.

WASHINGTON: Just as US companies are coming to grips with threats to their computer networks emanating from cyber-spies based in China, a noted expert is highlighting what he says is an even more pernicious vulnerability in smartphones.

Dmitri Alperovitch, the former McAfee cyber security researcher best known for identifying a widespread China-based cyber-espionage operation dubbed Shady Rat, has used a previously unknown hole in smartphone browsers to plant China-based malware that can commandeer the device, record its calls, pinpoint its location and access user texts and emails.

He conducted the experiment on a phone running Google’s Android operating system, although he says Apple’s iPhones are equally vulnerable.

“It’s a much more powerful attack vector than just getting into someone’s computer,” said Alperovitch, who just formed a new security company called CrowdStrike with former McAfee Chief Technology Officer George Kutz.

Alperovitch, who has consulted with the US intelligence community, is scheduled to demonstrate his findings February 29 at the RSA conference in San Francisco, an annual cyber-security gathering.

The Shady Rat attack he disclosed last year targeted 72 government and corporate entities for as long as five years, siphoning unknown volumes of confidential material to a server in China.

Alperovitch said he and his team commandeered an existing piece of malware called Nickispy, a remote access tool from China that was identified last year by anti-virus firms as a so-called Trojan horse.

The malware was disguised as a Google+ app that users could download. But Google quickly removed it from its Android Market app store, which meant that few users were hit.

Alperovitch and his team reverse-engineered the malware, he said, and took control of it. He then conducted an experiment in which malware was delivered through a classic “spear phishing” attack – in this case, a text message from what looks like a mobile phone carrier, asking the user to click on a link.

Alperovitch said he exploited what’s known as a zero-day vulnerability in smartphone browsers to secretly install the malware. Zero-day vulnerabilities are ones that are not yet known by the manufacturers and anti-virus companies.

“The minute you go the site, it will download a real-life Chinese remote access tool to your phone,” he said. “The user will not see anything. Once the app is installed, we’ll be intercepting voice calls. The microphone activates the moment you start dialing.”

The malware also intercepts texts and emails and tracks the phone’s location, he said. In theory, it could be used to infiltrate a corporate network with which the phone connects.

There is no security software that would thwart it, he said.

As smartphone use has exploded, malware has not been as much of a problem as it has with laptops and desktops, Alperovitch said, because most people download applications through app stores that are regulated by Google and Apple.

If cyber-thieves and spies figure out a way to get malware on the devices by bypassing the app store – as Alperovitch says he has demonstrated – it could cause huge problems.

“This really showcases that the current security model for smartphones is inadequate,” he said.

Earlier this month, the top US intelligence official, James Clapper, accused China and Russia of engaging in “wholesale plunder of our intellectual property” through cyber-attacks. Both countries deny a state-sponsored policy of cyber-espionage.

The US says it doesn’t steal trade secrets or intellectual property. Western business executives who travel to China these days frequently take extraordinary computer security precautions, including ensuring that any device they bring to China is never again connected to their corporate networks.

Last year, anti-virus firm Trend Micro found a Chinese website that charged $US300 to $US540 to customers who wanted to spy on smartphones that ran Symbian or Windows Mobile operating systems. The website offered to send Nickispy as an attachment to a multimedia message.

Los Angeles Times

 

 

 

Article source: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/chinese-nickispy-malware-targets-smartphones-20120225-1tuve.html

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RSA Preview: 5 Hot Security Worries

Anonymous: 10 Facts About The Hacktivist Group
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)If there’s one IT realm that hasn’t been quiet over the past year, it’s information security.

“It’s been a crazy year. There’ve just been so many incidents,” said Hugh Thompson, chief security strategist at People Security. “There’ve been so many of these–whatever you want to call them–advanced persistent threats, advanced attacks. What does it mean for big businesses and how security has to change?”

That’s the big question for this year’s RSA conference, which is one of the country’s largest gatherings of information security aficionados. Kicking off Monday in San Francisco, here are some of the hottest security topics on tap:

1. Securing Employees’ Smartphones and Tablets

Mobile devices are highly portable and easy to use. Accordingly, it’s a no-brainer that employees use them to store sensitive business information. But the devices, being small and portable, have a habit of getting lost or stolen. In addition, they’re increasingly under attack from growing quantities of mobile malware.

That means securing mobile devices poses a massive headache for enterprise IT groups, as evidenced by the topic’s conference-paper popularity. “We started a half track this year for mobile, thinking we’d get some good submissions,” said Thompson, who serves as the RSA conference’s program committee chair. “As it turned out, we couldn’t contain it in that half track, and they’ve just spilled over everywhere.”

[ Read about why APTs represent one of the most insidious challenges for your organization’s security team. See Advanced Persistent Threats Get More Respect.]

2. Stopping Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

“We have quite a few sessions that are talking about advanced persistent threats,” said Thompson. Attackers favor these APT attacks because they’re “low and slow,” meaning that with persistence and patience, they may be able to sneak by traditional security defenses and stay undetected for long periods of time.

To stop such exploits, security thinkers need a better understanding of how these attacks occur so that they can be spotted at the start. “It’s raised some really interesting questions, such as: are folks who are interested in intellectual property different in what they do than the standard cyber-criminal?” said Thompson.

3. Curbing Social Animal Attacks
Another hot topic is “the human element of security,” said Thompson. “It’s fascinating–as you go through some of these high-profile breaches and wind back the clock to the beginning of the story, you see a lot of intelligent, well-meaning, trusted employees who just made an unfortunate choice.” Such choices may include dodgy downloads, opening seemingly real Excel spreadsheets, falling for a phishing site, or even divulging passwords to pretenders over the phone.

If social engineering attacks seem obvious in retrospect, their success rate–and their dubious distinction of being the primary APT attack vector–highlights how it’s impossible for people to successfully avoid such attacks, at least not all the time.

Still, businesses can work to better the odds. Cue a keynote from journalist and New York Times columnist David Brooks, author of The Social Animal, which pulls from the fields of sociology, psychology, and biology to explore how people make decisions.

4. Securing Big Data
The intersection of information security and so-called Big Data–in this case, massive amounts of security data–is another big concern. “What a lot of people are asking is: can we be smarter and more proactive about security? And that really comes down to not generating new data, but can we mine that data, and correlate it, and use it, and reuse it in interesting ways?” said Thompson. “In other words, is there a set of canaries out there that we can bring into our mine to get us smarter about vulnerabilities and attacks?”

5. Getting Better At Stopping Hacktivists
Over the last year, hacktivist groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec have rewritten the rules for what attackers want from a security breach. So, how can they be stopped?

“The events of the last 12 or 18 months can’t help but make people ask the question: can we be smarter? Can we anticipate these sorts of things? And when you look at hacktivist-types of attacks, are there indicators out there where businesses can say, are we a likely target?” said Thompson. In other words, if a business is about to make a decision that’s likely to prove unpopular, should the risk management department put the security team on high alert–or maybe even veto the business move?

Plan to hear that question, along with numerous answers, detailed at this year’s RSA.

It’s no longer a matter of if you get hacked, but when. In this special retrospective of news coverage, Monitoring Tools And Logs Make All The Difference, Dark Reading takes a look at ways to measure your security posture and the challenges that lie ahead with the emerging threat landscape. (Free registration required.)

Article source: http://feeds.informationweek.com/click.phdo?i=3a4064a0f1ca1d0b775e79ae6656ddfa

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YouPorn usernames, emails exposed after data breach

(Credit:
YouPorn)

(AP) – Users of a chat service linked to the heavily-trafficked YouPorn website have had their personal information compromised after a third-party service provider failed to secure its data, YouPorn’s owners said Wednesday.

Luxembourg-based Manwin Holding SARL said the chat site had been disabled and would remain offline until an investigation was carried out. Manwin spokeswoman Kate Miller stressed that the site was run by an outside company on separate servers and that there was no breach at YouPorn itself.

“YouPorn continues to ensure that all appropriate measures and tools are in place to maintain the security of its infrastructure, and to safeguard the privacy of its users,” she said in a statement.

It remains unclear how many people were potentially affected by the breach. Thousands of leaked email address and password combinations purportedly linked to the chat service were circulating online, but their authenticity could not be confirmed by The Associated Press. At least some of the addresses appeared to be bogus or inactive.

Manwin runs some of the world’s most-visited pornography websites, and its YouPorn offering is one of the 100 most-popular sites on the planet, according to Web information company Alexa. Miller said she could not immediately say who ran the chat service, called YP Chat. The site was down Wednesday, but a cached version described it as an “affiliate partner program site licensed by YouPorn.”

Earlier this month, a hacker claimed to have broken into a site associated with Manwin-owned pornography maker Brazzers and published a stash of usernames and passwords. The company said at the time it had taken steps to notify the users involved.

Article source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-57383669-501465/youporn-usernames-emails-exposed-after-data-breach/

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New WordPress plugin locks down your website’s security

You’ve got virus protection on all of your business computers, passwords in place on mobile devices and laptops, and even virus protection on your company smartphones. But have you looked at how secure your website is? If you rely on your site for any aspect of your business, a new plugin from 6Scan helps you find and manage vulnerabilities quickly and easily.

While WordPress and other content management systems including Drupal and Joomla are built to be secure, they’re a prime target for hackers because so many websites run on them. I personally know of two CMS-based websites that have been compromised; one blog had to recover quickly from a major attack on its WordPress installation, and a friend who manages a local arts incubator had to have the organization’s website rebuilt from the ground up when a hacker took over its Joomla installation.

6Scan finds vulnerabilities on your WordPress website for free, and plugs them automatically for a small monthly charge.

The free version of 6Scan tells you what’s wrong with your website and sends you an email notification when a problem with the site that could give a hacker access is discovered. The notifications provide you with enough information that you can fix it yourself if you’re technically inclined or have a webmaster on call.

For $10 a month, the Fortress plan includes a Bodyguard feature that auto-fixes any found vulnerabilities. You also get premium email support and SMS notifications of site issues, in addition to the email you’ll already have from the free version. More importantly, 6Scan’s research team of ex-military hackers notifies you upon discovering new potential threats. The Enterprise level adds 24/7 site monitoring and phone support for a range of anywhere from $20 to hundreds of dollars per month, depending on the requirements of your business.

Installation and Setup

First, navigate to your Plugins menu from your WordPress Dashboard. Click on “Add New”, and do a search for “6Scan”. You’ll be able to install the plugin from there. You can also download the plugin .zip file from this page and install it from your WordPress Plugins dashboard. Once it’s installed, 6Scan will be available from your left-hand sidebar. You can upgrade at any time from within the 6Scan Dashboard.

Once I set up 6Scan on my professional website, it caught a vulnerability and emailed me with all the information I needed to fix it. All I needed to do with the information it gave me was go into the “Readme” file and remove my WordPress version information. If it were something more complex that I felt I couldn’t fix on my own, I’d probably upgrade to the $10/month Fortress plan.

Works With Other Security Plugins, Other CMS Versions Coming Soon

6Scan isn’t the only horse in WordPress’s security plugin stable, but it will run with the rest of them. If you’ve got Bulletproof Security or WP Security Scan installed, you can park 6Scan right alongside them to back them up.

6Scan will be releasing versions for Joomla and Drupal within the next few weeks, and versions for Magento and Amazon EC2 within the next few months, according to owner and CEO Nitzan Miron.

Angela West wrote this blog post to the dulcet tones of the “Hackers” soundtrack. She’s written for big insurance companies, small wildlife control businesses, gourmet food chains, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @angelawest and Facebook.

Article source: http://www.itworld.com/security/253000/new-wordpress-plugin-locks-down-your-websites-security

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Disclosure of Data Breaches in Australia:More Requirements Beyond Current …

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Breach of critical info unlikely: El Paso County Commissioner Willie Gandara …

It is unlikely that El Paso County Commissioner Willie Gandara Jr. had access to sensitive law-enforcement information about drug trafficking in the area despite holding political office.

Gandara remains jailed with no bond following his arrest by DEA agents Wednesday night after a grand jury indicted him on federal marijuana-trafficking charges.

Gandara, 37, has been a commissioner since 2008 and is running for the Texas House District 75 seat. Gandara’s lawyer has said his client is innocent.

“As a county commissioner, we have a bit more access to information than the everyday man on the street,” Commissioner Dan Haggerty said Friday.

“We can certainly pick up our phone and call the sheriff or Mr. (Bill) Ellis, who is the sheriff’s assistant, and they will call us back immediately. They would give us the answer to almost any and all questions.”

But any answer would only be “public information that would be available to anyone else,” Haggerty said.

County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal and other county officials said commissioners cannot access the computer system used by prosecutors and law-enforcement officers.

Sheriff Richard Wiles said the chances that Gandara got inside information on drug investigations was “none.”

“First of all, as a separate elected official, I’m not obligated to report to the Commissioners Court at all,” Wiles said. “And even when I worked as (El Paso) police chief with the city manager, I wouldn’t disclose information about

investigations because it could compromise the investigation.”

Wiles first met Gandara years ago when they both attended Sul Ross State University, where Gandara earned a master’s degree in public administration.

Wiles said that he was elected sheriff the same year that Gandara became a county commissioner but that they are not friends. Wiles said Gandara has never called him asking for any type of information.

“He never really communicated with me,” Wiles said.

He reiterated that Gandara is innocent until proven guilty.

“The thing is, the federal government when it typically seek indictments, they really do a thorough job of gathering evidence when they present it to a grand jury,” Wiles said. “Clearly, they are very serious charges. It’s a shame that someone in his position would place himself in a position to be indicted. It’s not a good thing for our county.”

The Sheriff’s Office and El Paso Police Department both had officers in the DEA-lead task force that investigated Gandara, who is listed as the owner of Socorro Iron Metal.

The federal indictment alleges that Gandara was nicknamed the “Godfather” and conspired to distribute more than 110 pounds of marijuana and that the drugs would be stored for distribution at a property the commissioner owned on Coker Road in his hometown of Socorro. Prosecutors allege the scheme had been running since November 2010.

As part of the investigation, federal agents this week also searched Commissioner Gandara’s office at the County Courthouse.

Federal agents arrested another man, Juan Canales, 50, of San Elizario.

County Courthouse sources said Canales was Gandara’s driver and was often at the commissioner’s office. Canales was also in a Gandara family photo taken two years ago by the El Paso Times.

A campaign finance report filed last month lists a donation to Gandara from Juan Canales of San Elizario. The report stated the donation on Dec. 10 was an in-kind contribution of “music/band for an event” worth $1,500.

The document lists Canales as a general manager at SMG Transports, a trucking company whose mailing address is that of Gandara’s home on Thunder Road.

State records show that the manager and registered agent for SMG Transports is Guillermo Gandara, but it is unclear if it refers to Gandara or his father, Guillermo “Willie” Gandara Sr.

Canales is also jailed with no bond, which is common for defendants in federal drug-trafficking cases.

Whether Gandara Jr. and Canales are given bond will be determined by a U.S. magistrate judge at a detention hearing on Tuesday.

Daniel Borunda may be reached at [email protected]; 546-6102.

Times reporter Cindy Ramirez contributed to this report.

Article source: http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_20041855?source=most_viewed

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RSA Newsflash: Security is Not Working

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. — As the leaders in the global information security industry gather on Monday at the signature event of the year, the annual RSA Security conference in San Francisco, the amount of malware generated during the event will continue to explode. Total Defense research reports that based on its most recent data compiled for the month of February, over the five days of the RSA conference — Monday, February 27 to Friday, March 2 — approximately 193,000 pieces of unique malware will be generated by cybercriminals around the world.

As shown in the chart below, new malware has increased approximately 300 percent from the level generated five years before, from an estimated six million new pieces of malware in 2007 to an estimated 17.8 million in 2011, according to data from industry research firm AV-Test.Org (http://www.av-test.org/en/statistics/malware/). Malware is software intended to damage or disable computer systems.

“At RSA, the security leaders will be out celebrating their growth, but not their success. Despite the industry’s vast resources and market capitalizations, the cybercriminals are working better, faster and cheaper each year to exploit the weaknesses in our current approach to security,” stated Paul Lipman, chief executive officer of Total Defense. “If the local police had the same abysmal record, they would be run out of town.”

Article source: http://www.sunherald.com/2012/02/24/3774806/rsa-newsflash-security-is-not.html

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