The Register

Macs, smartphones, security, the universe…

Wearing my vendor-independent Apple/smartphone commentary hat, I've just posted a couple of blogs on the Mac Virus site that some of you might find of interest. OK, suit yourselves. ;-) "Touching (or Bumping) Base" addresses a mixed bag of issues: Charlie Miller's presentation on fuzzing for "20 zero-day holes … in closed source Apple products"

Cascading False Positives

 Security researchers work together and share information in many ways and in many contexts that aren't constrained by company boundaries, but it's unusual for security researchers working for different vendors to join forces in a company blog. However, John Leyden of The Register contacted us both when he was writing an article on the controversy following

iPhones, jailbreaking and blocked Apple IDs

[Update: The Register's John Leyden has also commented on the issue at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/16/apple_bans_iphone_hackers/] There's been a burst of interest in the last day or so in the blocking of certain Apple IDs from the iTunes App Store. Some bloggers have suggested that this might be a precursor to a massive blocking of jailbroken phones from accessing

Fake Firefoxfur

There's an interesting post by Lee Graves about fake Firefox updates that actually push adware. It's pretty comprehensive, and lots of other blogs have picked up on it, so I won't rehash the issue here. However, I notice that The Register have credited us with the story (though they may have changed it by the

Kaspersky, Virus Total, and Unacceptable Shortcuts

Larry Seltzer posted an interesting item yesterday.  The article on "SW Tests Show Problems With AV Detections " is  based on an "Analyst's Diary" entry called "On the way to better testing." Kaspersky did something rather interesting, though a little suspect. They created 20 perfectly innocent executable files, then created fake detections for ten of them.

Verified by Visa – Pushmi-pullyu*

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pushmi-pullyu#The_Pushmi-pullyu In an article in the Register with the eye-catching title of "Verified by Visa bitchslapped by Cambridge researchers", John Leyden comments on the argument by Cambridge researchers Ross Anderson and Steve Murdoch that the 3D Secure system, better known as Verified by Visa or Mastercard Securecode is better suited to shifting liability for

UK National Identity Database

The Register reports that "Home Secretary Alan Johnson has confirmed that the National Identity Register contains National Insurance numbers and answers to 'shared secrets'." See: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/07/id_register_includes_ni_numbers/ Johnson was responding to a parliamentary question about "what information will be held on the National Identity Register which is not held on the UK Passport Database." Inevitably, there

The out-of-control decade

We interrupt our – well, my – scheduled programming to bring to your attention an article in "The Register" that I think deserves your attention. I put up what was intended to be a brief pointer on the AVIEN blog (http://avien.net/blog/?p=253), but I found myself kind of warming to the subject, to the extent that I

Droid Avoids with an AppleJackHack

Will the Motorola Droid be the next malware-victimized smartphone? Well, it's a bit early to make a claim like that, but the fact that it's been rooted (an analogous process to jailbreaking on the iPhone and iPod Touch) in order to allow end-users to install unapproved applications, puts the platform one step nearer. See the

Qinetiq Energy: A Patent Leathering

[Update: Michael St Nietzel also pointed out that there's an issue with installers that verify a checksum before installation. In fact, this is a special case of an issue I may not have made completely clear before: unless this approach is combined with some form of whitelisting, there has to be some way of reversing the modification

Biting the Hand that Feeds You?

Verizon has just done something rather brave. The company has issued a report on "ICSA Labs Product Assurance Report" (http://www.icsalabs.com/sites/default/files/WP14117.20Yrs-ICSA%20Labs.pdf) that talks about the difficulties that most products have in meeting the requirements of ICSA Labs certification. Why is it brave? Because those companies provide ICSALabs with a healthy income, and might therefore be a

SSL: to certify web security is not to guarantee it

Hard on the heels of the translated blog by Sebastián Bortnik that I posted at the weekend comes news from the Register (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/05/fraudulent_paypay_certificate_published/) of a bogus Paypal SSL certificate released yesterday exploiting a bug in Microsoft’s crypto API that has remained unpatched for more than two months, when Moxie Marlinspike (can I have a handle

That BT Scam Again

A few days ago, I mentioned an email chain letter that’s going round in the UK about a scam where where "the bad guy poses as a telephone company operative and threatens to cut off service unless the panicked recipient of the call immediately pays an allegedly unpaid bill. Faced with a sceptical potential victim,

Crisis? What Crisis?

In the AV industry, we’re not unaccustomed to security scare stories met with a debunking response. For example, Peter Norton was quoted in 1988 in Insight as saying that computer viruses were an urban myth, like the alligators supposed to inhabit the sewers of New York. (He did change his mind around 1990 when he gave

Taking the Mikeyy

Well, Mikeyy may not be the only security problem Twitter has right now, but the Hoodied Bore does seem to be doing an excellent job of exhausting everyone’s patience, including that of The Register’s John Leyden, who described him as "increasingly annoying". It appears that Mr. Mooney did take responsibility for at least the first

Giving AV the Hard Shoulder*

The Register’s John Leyden has harsh words to say today about problems with security software: "Once, running Windows anti-virus was like driving down a dual carriageway. These days, it’s more like an unpaved road." Well, I can understand his viewpoint, though given the sheer volume of security products these days, I’m not sure a small

Parliament of Foul Play

This wouldn’t normally be the place to discuss the ongoing decline of the fortunes of the British Government, but there have been several IT-security-related stories coming out of the Mother of Parliaments worth a closer look. Back on March 10th, The Register reported that MP (Member of Parliament) Alun Michael had reported to the police that he

Xrupter – Scareware meets Ransomware

There are quite a few reports currently about particularly ugly development son the fake AV front. The Register’s John Leyden has referred to a "double dipping" attack, in which the notorious Antivirus 2009 is implicated in an attack that goes beyond offering useless rogue anti-malware to inflicting actual damage on user data files, in order to force the victim

Adobe Patches & Communication

Well, Adobe are still not speaking to me: I’ve had no information about updates to address the recent Acrobat vulnerability/exploits to either of the addresses I subscribed to its Security Notification Service. (See PPPS below.) However, something positive is happening out there in the old clay homestead: updates have arrived for a machine on which

Excel Exasperation, Acrobat Aggro

As The Register has pointed out, the Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for March 2009 doesn’t mention a forthcoming patch for the Excel vulnerability we’ve already flagged in this blog here and here and here. Since, as John Leyden remarks, the exploit is being actively exploited, it may seem that Microsoft are not taking the issue seriously

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