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(credit: Acid the meme machine)

Cloudflare, a service that helps optimize the security and performance of more than 5.5 million websites, warned customers today that a recently fixed software bug exposed a range of sensitive information that could have included passwords, and cookies and tokens used to authenticate users.

A combination of factors made the bug particularly severe. First, the leakage may have been active since September 22, nearly five months before it was discovered, although the greatest period of impact was from February 13 and February 18. Second, some of the highly sensitive data that was leaked was cached by Google and other search engines. The result was that for the entire time the bug was active, hackers had the ability to access the data in real-time, by making Web requests to affected websites, and to access some of the leaked data later by crafting queries on search engines.

"The bug was serious because the leaked memory could contain private information and because it had been cached by search engines," Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming wrote in a blog post published Thursday. "We are disclosing this problem now as we are satisfied that search engine caches have now been cleared of sensitive information. We have also not discovered any evidence of malicious exploits of the bug or other reports of its existence."

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Enlarge / Frank Abagnale, as played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can, once pretended to be a doctor. Now he's teaching the health industry about the threat of identity theft. (credit: Dreamworks)

Frank Abagnale is world-famous for pretending to be other people. The former teenage con man, whose exploits 50 years ago became a Leonardo DiCaprio film called Catch Me If You Can, has built a lifelong career as a security consultant and advisor to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. So it's perhaps ironic that four and a half years ago, his identity was stolen—along with those of 3.6 million other South Carolina taxpayers.

"When that occurred," Abagnale recounted to Ars, "I was at the FBI office in Phoenix. I got a call from [a reporter at] the local TV news station, who knew that my identity was stolen, and they wanted a comment. And I said, 'Before I make a comment, what did the State Tax Revenue Office say?' Well, they said they did nothing wrong. I said that would be absolutely literally impossible. All breaches happen because people make them happen, not because hackers do it. Every breach occurs because someone in that company did something they weren't supposed to do, or somebody in that company failed to do something they were supposed to do." As it turned out (as a Secret Service investigation determined), a government employee had taken home a laptop that shouldn't have left the office and connected it—unprotected—to the Internet.

Government breaches of personal information have become all too common, as demonstrated by the impact of the hacking of the Office of Management and Budget's personnel records two years ago. But another sort of organization is now in the crosshairs of criminals seeking identity data to sell to fraudsters: doctors' offices. Abagnale was in Orlando this week to speak to health IT professionals at the 2017 HIMSS Conference about the rising threat of identity theft through hacking medical records—a threat made possible largely because of the sometimes haphazard adoption of electronic medical records systems by health care providers.

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Google has announced that they have succeeded in developing a technique which makes it practical to crafttwo PDF files with the same SHA-1 digital signature.

Of course like all new vulnerabilities/attacks in this decade it needs a web page and a cool logo. Not to disappoint they can be found here.

What does this mean to you? The fact is nothing has changed since yesterday. This is still a difficult attack. For most applications SHA-1 will still be an adequate level of protection. This does highlight a significant riskto high-trust applications such as banking, legal contracts and digital signatures. Theoretical attacks against SHA-1 have been hypothesized since 2005 and SHA-1 was deprecated by NIST in 2011, so most high-trust uses of SHA-1 should be long since upgraded to more secure methods.

SHA-1 is still commmonly used for file integrity hashes, and is used for that purpose in Git and most vendor signatures, so there wil be some work to do.

Google is following their disclosure guidelines so the details of the attack will not be released for 90 days. Leaving time for applications that are still using SHA-1 to move to more secure hashing methods such as SHA-3 or SHA-256.

Further reading below:

Google - https://security.googleblog.com/2017/02/announcing-first-sha1-collision.html

ARSTechnica -https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/02/at-deaths-door-for-years-widely-used-sha1-function-is-now-dead/

-- Rick Wanner MSISE - rwanner at isc dot sans dot edu - http://namedeplume.blogspot.com/ - Twitter:namedeplume (Protected)

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

-- Rick Wanner MSISE - rwanner at isc dot sans dot edu - http://namedeplume.blogspot.com/ - Twitter:namedeplume (Protected)

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

(credit: Bob Embleton)

For more than six years, the SHA1 cryptographic hash function underpinning Internet security has been at death's door. Now it's officially dead, thanks to the submission of the first known instance of a fatal exploit known as a "collision."

Despite more than a decade of warnings about the lack of security of SHA1, the watershed moment comes as the hash function remains widely used. Git, the world's most widely used system for managing software development among multiple people, relies on it for data integrity. The GnuPG e-mail encryption program still deems SHA1 safe. And hundreds if not thousands of big-name software packages rely on SHA1 signatures to ensure installation and update files distributed over the Internet haven't been maliciously altered.

A collision occurs when the two different files or messages produce the same cryptographic hash. The most well-known collision occurred sometime around 2010 against the MD5 hash algorithm, which is even weaker than SHA1. A piece of nation-sponsored espionage malware known as Flame used the attack to hijack the Windows update mechanism Microsoft uses to distribute patches to hundreds of millions of customers. By forging the digital signature used to cryptographically prove the authenticity of Microsoft servers, Flame was able to spread from one infected computer to another inside targeted networks.

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