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Federico Biancuzzi

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Attacking multicore CPUs

The world of multi-core cpus we have just entered is facing a serious threat. A security researcher at Cambridge disclosed a new class of vulnerabilities that takes advantage of concurrency to bypass security protections such as antivirus software The attack is based on the assumption that the software that interacts with the …
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Worms 2.0!

Interview Wade Alcorn recently published a paper explaining the technical details behind Inter-protocol Exploitation [PDF, 120kb]. In his research he focused on using a web browser as a beachhead to launch Metasploit-style attacks. What this means is that any Javascript enabled web browser might be used to launch an attack against a …
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Embedded problems: exploiting NULL pointer dereferences

Interview Barnaby Jack developed a method for exploiting certain NULL pointer dereferences on the ARM and XScale architectures (and likely PowerPC). This method affects a lot of devices since most mobile phones and PDA are ARM based, and high-end routers often use the XScale architecture. Could you introduce yourself? Barnaby Jack: I'm …
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Gone in 120 seconds: cracking Wi-Fi security

Interview WEP is dead - and here's the proof. Cracking the Wi-Fi security protocol WEP is a probability game. The number of packets required to successfully decrypt the key depends on various factors, luck included. When WEP was compromised in 2001, the attack needed more than five million packets to succeed. During the summer of 2004, …
Windows Vista teaser

0wning Vista from the boot

Interview Federico Biancuzzi interviews Nitin and Vipin Kumar, authors of VBootkit, a rootkit that is able to load from Windows Vista boot-sectors. They discuss the "features" of their code, the support of the various versions of Vista, the possibility to place it inside the BIOS (it needs around 1,500 bytes), and the chance to use it to …
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Day dawns for Metasploit 3.0

Interview The Metasploit Framework is a development platform for creating security tools and exploits. Federico Biancuzzi interviewed H D Moore to discuss what's new in release 3.0, the new license of the framework, plans for features and exploits development, and the links among the bad guys, Metasploit and the law. Could you introduce …
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The rise of zero-day patches

Interview Zero-day exploits were once the realm of just underground and elite hackers, but their increased prevalence is bringing a positive new trend: unofficial patches from members of the community, offered for protection before official vendor patches appear. Federico Biancuzzi interviewed Landon Fuller, who wrote Mac OS X patches …
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PHP security from the inside

Stefan Esser is the founder of both the Hardened-PHP Project and the PHP Security Response Team (which he recently left). Federico Biancuzzi discussed with him how the PHP Security Response Team works, why he resigned from it, what features he plans to add to his own hardening patch, the interaction between Apache and PHP, the …
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Net security from one of the fathers of the biz

Interview Many people have seen internet maps on walls and in various publications over the years. Federico Biancuzzi interviewed Bill Cheswick, who started the Internet Mapping Project that grew into software to map corporate and government networks. They discussed firewalling, logging, NIDS and IPS, how to fight DDoS, and the future of …
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Christmas shopping: Vista over XP?

Anti-Virus vendors Carmen Maierean (BitDefender product manager): Microsoft Vista from a security standpoint is above Microsoft XP mainly because of the new rights management system which will prevent unauthorised applications from running with administrator privileges. Nevertheless, the customer has to take in consideration …
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FreeBSD 6.2 nears release

Interview The upcoming release of FreeBSD 6.2 includes the new security event auditing system, that "permits the selective and fine-grained logging of security-relevant system events for the purposes of post-mortem analysis, intrusion detection, and run-time monitoring analysis". Federico Biancuzzi interviewed TrustedBSD project founder …
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ModSecurity 2.0 hits the streets

Interview ModSecurity is an open source web application firewall that runs as an Apache module, and version 2.0 offers many new features and improvements. Federico Biancuzzi interviewed Ivan Ristic to discuss the new logging system, events tracking and correlation, filtering AJAX or AFLAX applications, and just-in-time patching for closed …
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Phishing with Rachna Dhamija

Interview Federico Biancuzzi interviews Rachna Dhamija, co-author of the paper "Why Phishing Works" and creator of Dynamic Security Skins. They discuss the human factor, how easy it is to recreate a credible browser window made with images, some new anti-phishing features included in the upcoming version of some popular browsers, and the …
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The quest for ring zero

Federico Biancuzzi sits down with French researcher Loïc Duflot and speaks about the System Management Mode attack, how to mitigate it, what hardware is vulnerable, and why we should be concerned with recent X Server bugs. A feature called System Management Mode, included in modern x86 cpus, opens the way to the land of kernel …
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The man behind OSSTMM

Pete Herzog, founder of ISECOM and creator of the Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual (OSSTMM) talks with Federico Biancuzzi about the upcoming revision 3.0 of the OSSTMM. Could you introduce yourself? I'm Pete Herzog, managing director of ISECOM. I live in a small town in Catalonia just outside of Barcelona. It's …