archives
March 2010

Damn The Icebergs, Full Steam Ahead!

A couple of weeks ago I posted an entry on here about the size of the cybercrime problem from a dollar perspective. I pointed out that is was reported that US banks had lost US$40 million per month for the third quarter of 2009 due to online banking fraud. Also, the 2009 Internet Crime Report

Here Come (more of) The Ghouls

[Update: it's likely that the attacks described below will also take advantage of the more recent bombings in Dagestan, as described by the BBC here. Isn't it bad enough that horrors like this take place at all, let alone provide revenue for cybercriminals?] Late last  night (30th March) I added a pointer to my earlier

Deus ex machina

It will likely come as no surprise to regular readers of ESET's Threat Blog that we are somewhat gadget aficionados here in the Research Department. Our focus, however, is usually on issues such as malware, spam and privacy so we do not spend a lot of time discussing gadgetry.  Every once in a while, though,

Corpus Christi Hoax Mail

Bill B. forwarded an interesting hoax mail to my "hoaxchecker" account (hoaxchecker [at] gmail [dot] com. The hoax isn't so interesting in itself, in that it's been around quite a while, as is described at the ever-dependable hoax resource snopes.com. But I do find interesting the fact that this particular variant includes some wrinkles that

Holes In The Cloud

About a month ago I gave a presentation in Kuala Lumpur that covered some of the concerns about the seemingly enthusiastic rush to push everything out "to the cloud". People in the Marketing business love the term "cloud computing" and have come up with some lovely images of fluffy clouds reflected on office blocks and

Russian Metro Bombings: Here come the Ghouls

[Interim updates removed: later information on Twitter profile attacks and Blackhat SEO attacks using keywords related to this topic to spread malware, has been made public in a later blog at http://www.eset.com/blog/2010/03/30/here-come-more-of-the-ghouls.] Following this morning's bombings in the Moscow Metro (subway system), Aryeh Goretsky suggests the likelihood of criminals using "blackhat SEO" (search engine optimization

So THAT’S Who’s Doing it!

Early last month I posted a blog entry entitled "Who Is Doing it? Who? Who….?!". The main point of my entry was regarding the matter of people opening attachments and clicking on links that appear to be spam based. I've just been reading the 2010 MAAWG Email Security Awareness and Usage Report, and it seems

H.R.4098 – Secure Federal File Sharing Act & P2P

Yesterday the US House of Representatives approved legislation that would specify and limit open-network P2P usage by government employees and contractors on systems authorized to connected to federal computers and network resources. As with everything in life, there are exceptions. Requests to use open-network P2P applications can be made for the following purposes: necessary for

Fake Updater [updated]

An article at Help Net Security by Zeljka Zorz describes malware written in Visual BASIC which masquerades as legitimate updates DeepFreeze, Java, Windows, Adobe Reader, and other legitimate applications. Zeljka says: "They have the same icon and version details, and can fool regular users and experts alike…it opens the DHCP client, the DNS client, Network share

World-Cup Malware: the Kick-Off

Looking into their crystal balls (no jokes, please) at the end of 2009, our colleagues in Latin America came up with a prophecy that was later incorporated into a white paper (2010: Cybercrime Coming of Age): In June 2010, one of the most popular regular sports events, the soccer World Cup, will take place in

Virus, Anti-Virus, Fake Anti-Virus

Round here, we're more than a little concerned about fake/rogue antivirus (and other fake security software). It's an ugly form of ransomware that hurts its victims in many ways. It scares them by threatening dire consequences and damage from malware that doesn't exist (except in the sense that the fake AV is itself malware), in

Don’t Be A Twit

There's a news item out at the moment about how a French man has been arrested for a host of Twitter account attacks including the accounts of US President Obama and Britney Spears. It seems the hacks were carried out in April last year and the arrest came about after collaboration between the US FBI

CanSecWest: Mitigation versus Impregnability

Inevitably, CanSecWest  2010 kicked off with the promised and eagerly-awaited Pwn2Own hacking contest, in which a number of effective protection strategies (DEP, code signing, ASLR [1]) failed to prevent determined vulnerability researchers making loadsamoney by circumventing them with attacks on Firefox and IE8 on Windows 7, Safari, and the iPhone. For details and extensive comment see: http://macviruscom.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/and-the-firewalls-came-tumbling-down/ http://kevtownsend.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/sacred-cows-fall-at-pwn2own/

While Rome Burns…

A flurry of long-overdue government initiatives designed to address cybercrime has begun to actually develop some momentum. When I consider that it took a year to just get a cybersecurity bill through committee, I think of Nero fiddling while Rome burns, especially when everyone on the committee appears to believe it’s critical legislation. The CyberSecurity

Good In Theory, But….

Two weeks ago I acted as a panelist in a panel discussion at an IT Security conference in Kuala Lumpur. I was asked a question about global cybercrime laws. And I've just read Randy Abrams' blog that he posted here today about the proposed new US legislation that is ultimately aimed at driving other nations

The Ugly Marketing of Google Security

Engineers are really smart people who often know how to make something with no real world effectiveness work really well without effect. In a glaring example of marketing hype, very limited effectiveness, and a lesson in teaching users to fall for phishing attacks, Pavni Diwanji, Engineering Director at Google published a blog post http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2010/03/detecting-suspicious-account-activity.html The

Carrots, Sticks and Cyber-spies

Carrots, Sticks and Cyber-spies The US legislature is proposing international cybercrime laws according to an article on Dark Reading . The idea is to provide incentives to cooperate on fighting cybercrime, as well as penalties for countries that do not cooperate. Part of the plan calls for a “Cyber-Security Ambassador” . There is an interesting

Run! It’s the Fuzz!

Unfortunately, I'm not able to attend the CanSecWest 2010 conference in Vancouver this week, though I think Pierre-Marc will be there. I would have been more than a little interested in Charlie Miller's presentation on fuzzing Mac applications: that is, “…a method for discovering faults in software by providing unexpected input and monitoring for exceptions.” 

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be

I've been having a few conversations lately with friend and colleague Aryeh Goretsky, who's been in this industry "before it was an industry" about auld lang syne. (More about that further down the line.) So it was kind of amusing to find a news article on the BBC web site about wildlife found in the

Who Can It Be Now?

Back on the 22nd of February, I wrote an entry on this blog called "Does Anybody Know WHOIS Out There?". This entry was about the very slack or even non-existent verification of identification information (sheesh, try saying THAT with a few beers under your belt!) provided by individuals and organizations registering domain names on the

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