Information Security News
Researchers have uncovered a piece of botnet malware that is capable of infecting computers running Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux that have Oracle's Java software framework installed.
The cross-platform HEUR:Backdoor.Java.Agent.a, as reported in a blog post published Tuesday by Kaspersky Lab, takes hold of computers by exploiting CVE-2013-2465, a critical Java vulnerability that Oracle patched in June. The security bug is present on Java 7 u21 and earlier. Once the bot has infected a computer, it copies itself to the autostart directory of its respective platform to ensure it runs whenever the machine is turned on. Compromised computers then report to an Internet relay chat channel that acts as a command and control server.
The botnet is designed to conduct distributed denial-of-service attacks on targets of the attackers' choice. Commands issued in the IRC channel allow the attackers to specify the IP address, port number, intensity, and duration of attacks. The malware is written entirely in Java, allowing it to run on Windows OS X and Linux machines. For added flexibility, the bot incorporates PircBot, an IRC programming interface based on Java.
We all don't like spam, but sometimes, there are good reasons to send large amounts of automatically created e-mails. Order confirmations, newsletters or similar services. Sadly, I often see how it is done wrong, and would like to propose some rules how to send mass e-mails correctly.
The risks of doing it incorrectly are two fold: Your e-mail will get caught in spam filters, or your e-mail will teach users to fall for phishing, endangering your brand.
So here are some of the rules:
- Always use an address as "From" address that is within your domain. Even if you use a third party to send the e-mail. They can still use your domain if you set them up correctly. If necessary, use a subdomain ("mail.example.com" vs "example.com").
- Use DKIM and or SPF to label the e-mail as coming from a source authorized to send e-mail on your behalf. DKIM can be a bit challenging if a third party is involved, but SPF should be doable. Using a subdomain as From address can make it easier to configure this. For extra credit, use full DMARC to setup e-mail addresses to receive reports about delivery issues.
- Use URLs only if you have to, and if you do, don't "obscure" them by making them look like they link to a different location then they actually do. Use links to your primary domain (subdomain as a work around).
- Try to keep them "plain text", but if you have to use HTML markup, make sure it matches the look and feel of your primary site well. You don't want the fake e-mail to look better then your real e-mail.
- watch for bounces, and process them to either remove dead e-mail addresses or find our about configuration issues or spam blacklisting quickly.
Of course, I would like to see more digitally signed e-mail, but I think nobody really cares about that.
Any other ideas?
by Dan Goodin
Last week, we explained how a feature designed to make Google Calendar easier to use can tip off your boss that you plan to ask for a raise. In short, putting some valid addresses in the subject line of your calendar—as part of, say, a reminder to "e-mail [email protected] to demand a pay raise"—automatically adds the reminder to the calendar associated with the boss' address.
None of that is new, but given the continuing risk of inadvertently leaking sensitive data to bosses, spouses, or others, it was worth repeating. After all, Google engineers have no plans of changing the behavior. It is similarly worth remembering that the behavior is regularly exploited by spammers as a means to get their messages in front of live bodies. Just paste a single message into the body of a calendar entry, fill in as many addresses as possible into the subject line, and voila, the message will pop up as a reminder on desktops and smartphones all over the world.
The image below depicts one of the scams currently circulating over Google Calendar. Again, it's not a new threat, and it's not always limited to Google's service. Similar scams have long plagued users of Microsoft's Outlook as well. Still, the image is a reminder of why you can't automatically trust something just because it's entered into your calendar.
-Kevin -- ISC Handler on Duty(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
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