At the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, a quartet of researchers, Alex Stamos, Tom Ritter, Thomas Ptacek, and Javed Samuel, implored everyone involved in cryptography, from software developers to certificate authorities to companies buying SSL certificates, to switch to newer algorithms and protocols, lest they wake up one day to find that all of their crypto infrastructure is rendered useless and insecure by mathematical advances.

We've written before about asymmetric encryption and its importance to secure communication. Asymmetric encryption algorithms have pairs of keys: one key can decrypt data encrypted with the other key, but cannot decrypt data encrypted with itself.

The asymmetric algorithms are built on an underlying assumption that certain mathematical operations are "hard," which is to say, that the time it takes to do the operation increases proportional to some number raised to the power of the length of the key ("exponential time"). However, this assumption is not actually proven, and nobody knows for certain if it is true. The risk exists that the problems are actually "easy," where "easy" means that there are algorithms that will run in a time proportional only to the key length raised to some constant power ("polynomial time").

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Chris Mohan --- Internet Storm Center Handler on Duty

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Chris Mohan --- Internet Storm Center Handler on Duty

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Facebook announced a new program this week that lets websites post public Facebook posts to their sites. And that could be a boon for businesses, says industry analysts.
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In his keynote at Black Hat 2013, Gen. Keith Alexander said NSA surveillance programs have strict oversight, despite many inaccurate media reports.
After a contentious opening keynote by NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, day one of Black Hat 2013 showed smart device hacks, severe SCADA issues.
Two U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would permanently extend a current moratorium on Internet access taxes in the country.
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Windows 8's user share growth slowed significantly last month, hinting at further trouble for the struggling operating system, new statistics from an analytics company showed today.
The state of Pennsylvania will not renew a services contract with IBM regarding the development of a modernized unemployment compensation system, after the project reportedly has gone 42 months behind schedule and $60 million over budget.
Motorola Mobility unveiled the 4.7-in. Moto X smartphone on Thursday after weeks of build-up, but analysts said the new device will still have
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After five years, the ubiquitous SuperSpeed USB communications protocol got a huge upgrade this week with a new specification that more than doubles its speed.
The founder of the UpTime Institute, Kenneth G. Brill, died Tuesday. he is credited with playing an enormous role in shaping the modern data center industry.
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IntegriCell Announces CEO Aaron Turner as Featured Speaker at August IANS ...
PR Web (press release)
IT Security pioneer Turner to lead discussion on mobile security deficiencies at the IANS Toronto Information Security Forum, an educational and networking consortium of IT and infosec practitioners. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google+ ...

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Corporate attitudes regarding bring-your-own-device policies appear to fall into one of three categories, according to a survey of IT users: There's no official policy, devices are banned or no one talks about it.
The World Wide Web Consortium has finalized its specification for Web Storage, a technology that would give Web applications more flexibility in storing data on user machines.
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A frame from a video demonstration showing BREACH in the process of extracting a 32-character security token in an HTTPS-encrypted Web page.
Prado, Harris, and Gluck

The HTTPS cryptographic scheme, which protects millions of websites, is susceptible to a new attack that allows hackers to pluck e-mail addresses and certain types of security credentials out of encrypted pages, often in as little as 30 seconds.

The technique, scheduled to be demonstrated Thursday at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, decodes encrypted data that online banks and e-commerce sites send in responses that are protected by the widely used transport layer security (TLS) and secure sockets layer (SSL) protocols. The attack can extract specific pieces of data, such as social security numbers, e-mail addresses, certain types of security tokens, and password-reset links. It works against all versions of TLS and SSL regardless of the encryption algorithm or cipher that's used.

It requires that the attacker have the ability to passively monitor the traffic traveling between the end user and website. The attack also requires the attacker to force the victim to visit a malicious link. This can be done by injecting an iframe tag in a website the victim normally visits or, alternatively, by tricking the victim into viewing an e-mail with hidden images that automatically download and generate HTTP requests. The malicious link causes the victim's computer to make multiple requests to the HTTPS server that's being targeted. These requests are used to make "probing guesses" that will be explained shortly.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments


WordPress Audio Player Plugin 'playerID' Parameter Cross Site Scripting Vulnerability
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a business-centric mobile device that offers an all-day PC experience. Battery life is impressive, as is the included stylus. But the optional accessories that make it an effective tool for power users are also the features that leave the most room for improvement.
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This is a guest diary written by Jeff Singleton. If you are interested in contributing a guest diary, please ask via our contact form


We can already use two-step authentication in GMail with the Google Authenticator Android app. The idea is creating a secret key shared between the service and the Android app, so every 30 seconds we get a randomly generated token on Android that must be provided to login in addition to the password. That token is only valid in that 30s time frame.

Since this provides a nice second security layer to our logins, why don't take advantage of it also in our Linux box?

We'll need two things to get started:

Install Google Authenticator on our Android, iOS or Blackberry phone.

Install the PAM on our Linux box

The first step is frivolous, so we will just move on to the second one.

To setup two-factor authentication for your Linux server you will need to download and compile the PAM module for your system. The examples here will be based on CentOS 6, but it should be easy enough to figure out the equivalents for whatever distribution you happen to be using. Here is a link with similar steps for Ubuntu/Debian or any OS using Aptitude.

$ sudo yum install pam-devel
$ wget https://google-authenticator.googlecode.com/files/libpam-google-authenticator-1.0-source.tar.bz2
$ tar xvfj libpam-google-authenticator-1.0-source.tar.bz2
$ cd libpam-google-authenticator-1.0
$ make
$ sudo make install
$ sudo vim /etc/pam.d/sshd

Once the PAM module and the command-line google-authenticator application are installed, you need to edit the /etc/pam.d/sshd file to add the below code to the very top of the file.

auth required pam_sepermit.so

auth required pam_google_authenticator.so

auth include  password-auth

Additionally, you may wish to add the two-step authentication to your display manager (kdm, gdm, or lightdm). Depending on your distro you might be using a different login manager. Pick and edit the correct file among these:

·       /etc/pam.d/gdm

·       /etc/pam.d/lightdm

·       /etc/pam.d/kdm

Add this line at the bottom:

auth required pam_google_authenticator.so

Once we have that installed we will run this command with the user we want to use two-step authentication with. If we want to use it for several users we will have to run it once with each of them, since it generates a unique secret key each time:

% google-authenticator

Do you want me to update your "~/.google_authenticator" file (y/n) y


Your new secret key is: ABCD12E3FGHIJKLMN

Your verification code is 98765432

Your emergency scratch codes are:


Do you want to disallow multiple uses of the same authentication token? This restricts you to one login about every 30s, but it increases your chances to notice or even prevent man-in-the-middle attacks (y/n) y

By default, tokens are good for 30 seconds and in order to compensate for possible time-skew between the client and the server, we allow an extra token before and after the current time. If you experience problems with poor time synchronization, you can increase the window from its default size of 1:30min to about 4min. Do you want to do so (y/n) n

If the computer that you are logging into isn't hardened against brute-force login attempts, you can enable rate limiting for the authentication module. By default, this limits attackers to no more than 3 login attempts every 30s. Do you want to enable rate-limiting (y/n) y


Once you see the above text in your terminal window, the very next thing you will do is launch your web browser and point it to the URL shows towards the top of the text above.


You should now see is a big QR code. Open your Google Authenticator app on your phone of choice and hit the menu button then select "Scan barcode". Point the camera to the QR code on the screen and you'll get a new item on the Google Authenticator main screen with an ID for the user and computer and the generated token below, along with a counter showing how much time is left for the code to expire.

TIP: time is very important, so your Linux server should have an NTP client installed in order to keep the time accurate. You should definitely keep an eye on this, and if you have any trouble you may have to open the window size as noted by google-authenticator.

TIP: You will also need to edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config to enable "ChallengeResponseAuthentication" and "UsePAM" (set them both to "yes").

Finally, you will restart sshd to commit the changes you just made. When this is done, try logging into the system via SSH:

% ssh <your server>

Verification code:


Last login: Tue May 10 11:54:21 2011 from client.example.com


You must provide the verification code as presented by your phone in order to log in. Even if the password is known, without the verification code, the login will fail.

Important: you will not be able to use this method if you use ssh private/public keys as the two are mutually exclusive.

The two step authentication will keep users out of you box as long as they don't also have access to your phone, but you shouldn't forget that there's no way to really secure a box if the attacker has physical access to it.

The secret key is stored in your home folder. The attacker could boot your box from a Live CD, get the key and generate tokens and have access to your Linux server.

Then again same thing holds true for you user password so that's not to say that two step authentication is not secure, it's just that is has the same problems as any other login method when it comes with physically accessible machines.

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Snowden leaves Moscow airport as Russia grants him asylum for a year
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Posted by InfoSec News on Aug 01


By Kim Zetter
Threat Level

LAS VEGAS -- Amid new revelations today about another expansive NSA
surveillance program, agency chief Gen. Keith Alexander appeared before an
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Although Alexander promised to "answer every question to the full extent...

Posted by InfoSec News on Aug 01


By John E Dunn
30 July 2013

The UK Government’s much-vaunted Cyber Security Strategy is overly-fixated
on high-level defence at the expense of investing in basic policing and
consumer protection, the Home Affairs Select Committee has warned.

The Committee’s report is not the first time the narrow focus of the...

Posted by InfoSec News on Aug 01


Dong-A Ilbo
AUGUST 01, 2013

Authorities’ investigation has found that 110,000 personal computers in
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Posted by InfoSec News on Aug 01


By Christopher Mims
July 30, 2013

Microsoft, Apple, and every maker of mobile and desktop apps on the planet
all have a problem: The moment they issue a security "patch," or an update
to their software designed to plug a hole that could be exploited by
hackers, those same hackers work feverishly to reverse-engineer that patch

Posted by InfoSec News on Aug 01


By Kelly Jackson Higgins
Dark Reading
July 31, 2013

Praetorian this week launched a free, cloud-based password auditing
service that ferrets out weak passwords and hashes.

The new PWAudit.com is based on Amazon AWS; it automatically detects hash
types and includes a wordlist generator and reporting features.
Password-cracking tools aren't new, but...
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Heckling and applause for NSA Director at Black Hat infosec conference
legal Insurrection (blog)
National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander was met with both heckling and applause at the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday. Ever since the leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden thrust ...

Internet Storm Center Infocon Status