John Leyden

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Costa Rica launches investigation after reports hackers ‘rigged’ 2014 election

Costa Rica is to investigate whether hackers interfered with its 2014 elections. The investigation comes days after jailed hacker Andres Sepulveda claimed he had used black propaganda and other tactics in order to influence many electoral contests across Latin America over a run of eight years for 2005 until 2013. Sepulveda …
John Leyden, 08 Apr 2016
Android figurine (silver) hangs off building at Mountain View HQ. Photo by Nick Fox, Shutterstock.com</a>

Academics claim Google Android two-factor authentication is breakable

Computer security researchers warn security shortcomings in Android/Playstore undermine the security offered by all SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA). The issue - first reported to Google more than a year ago - revolves around an alleged security weakness rather than a straightforward software vulnerability. The …
John Leyden, 08 Apr 2016
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Breach at childbirth trust

UK childbirth and parenting charity The National Childbirth Trust has apologised after thousands of usernames and email addresses were swiped by hackers. Registration details of 15,000 new and expectant parents were compromised as a result of the breach, the BBC reports. Encrypted (presumably) hashed passwords were also …
John Leyden, 08 Apr 2016
No junk mail. Pic: gajman, Flickr

Mumblehard spam-spewing botnet floored

Security researchers have teamed up with authorities in Ukraine to take down a spam-spewing Linux-infesting botnet. Security firm ESET teamed up with CyS-CERT and the Cyber Police of Ukraine to take down the Mumblehard botnet. A year ago, ESET analyzed the Mumblehard botnet, which was made up of thousands of infected Linux …
John Leyden, 07 Apr 2016

Ultra-rare WWII Lorenz cipher machine goes on display at Bletchley Park

A rare example of Hitler’s most secret cipher machine, the Lorenz, has been presented for display at the The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) at Bletchley Park.* Lorenz messages were used to encrypt the messages of the German High Command during World War II. Much more complex than Enigma, the Lorenz cipher could be broken …
John Leyden, 07 Apr 2016
Man gesticulates furiously in front of parked car. Photo by Shutterstock

Neighbour sick of you parking in his driveway? You'd better hack-proof your car

Car security startup Karamba Security has emerged from stealth with $2.5m in funding and a plan to revamp in-car security. Karamba has developed a technology that hardens the externally-facing electronic control unit (ECU) of cars in order to defend against hack attacks. The software is designed to protect a car's externally …
John Leyden, 07 Apr 2016
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ESET blocks news sites

Antivirus updates from security firm ESET blocked access to El Reg today. Other news websites such as the BBC were also affected by Thursday's update. The snafu caused a certain amount of consternation (here and here) before it was resolved with a rollback to previous virus definition files. ESET told The Reg: "Today, ESET …
John Leyden, 07 Apr 2016
Katipunan, Quezon City, Philippines. Photo by Chris Villarin, CC 3.0

Megabreach: 55 MILLION voters' details leaked in Philippines

A massive data breach appears to have left 55 million Philippine voters at much greater risk of identity fraud and more. Security researchers warn that the entire database of the Philippines’ Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has been exposed in what appears to be the biggest government related data breach in history. The …
John Leyden, 07 Apr 2016
glow in the dark cat could cure aids

Illegal drugs and dodgy pics? Nah. Half the dark web is perfectly legal

Despite its reputation, less than half of the sites on the dark web are illegal, according to a new study by security intelligence outfit Intelliagg. On the 48 per cent of the dark web which crosses the line, the unlawful content is mostly related to financial crime rather than drugs or sexual perversion, contrary to tabloid …
John Leyden, 07 Apr 2016
The two Wicked Lasers fired up

Turbo-charged quantum crypto? You'll need Cambridge laser boffins for that

Boffins hope to turbo-charge the speed of “unbreakable” quantum cryptographic systems with a new technique involving “seeding” one laser beam inside another. Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Toshiba Research Europe have used the technique to demonstrate that it might be possible to distribute encryption keys at …
John Leyden, 06 Apr 2016

Call the doctor... no, call security. Docs' mobiles are hopelessly insecure – study

One in five doctors’ mobile devices might be at risk of leaking sensitive data due to either malware or poor password security practices, according to a new study. Mobile threat device firm Skycure reports that 14 per cent of smartmobes and tablets containing patient data likely have no passcode to protect them. And 11 per …
John Leyden, 06 Apr 2016
SHUT UP!

Surprise! Magic Kinder app could let hackers send vids to your kids

Security watchers have warned of massive privacy problems with the Magic Kinder App for children. A lack of encryption within the Magic Kinder smartphone app and other security shortcomings open the doors for all sorts of exploits, they claim. Hacktive Security alleges that a malicious user could "read the chat of the …
John Leyden, 05 Apr 2016
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Pic: openDemocracy

Did hacktivists really just expose half of Turkey's entire population to ID theft?

Updated A trove of leaked information, purported to be the entire Turkish citizenship database, has been leaked. The leaked info appears to contain names, addresses and ID numbers of more than 49 million citizens. If confirmed, the leak would become one of the biggest privacy breaches, by number of records, ever. Although billed as a …
John Leyden, 04 Apr 2016
Don Draper is Sad

UK.gov watchdog growls at firms that pass off advertorials as real opinions

The UK.gov's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is tackling undisclosed advertising in online articles and blogs through a new investigation into murky marketing practices in the world of sponsored content. A CMA’s investigation found two marketing companies, Starcom Mediavest and TAN Media, arranged for endorsements in …
John Leyden, 04 Apr 2016
Fawlty Towers

Bloaty banking app? There's a good chance it was written in Britain

App developers in the UK banking sector are lagging behind their European and US counterparts in tools and methodologies, according to a new study based on code reviews. According to the survey, most British banking apps are developed using three old-school technology stacks including COBOL and Oracle Server. European apps, by …
John Leyden, 04 Apr 2016
PayPal inStore app in action

PayPal plugs phishing-enabling vulnerability, stumps up $500

PayPal has patched a flaw which created a means for miscreants to abuse its platform to lend authenticity to fraudulent or otherwise malicious emails. The input validation and mail encoding web vulnerability in the official PayPal online web app was discovered by Vulnerability Laboratory researcher Benjamin Kunz Mejri. The …
John Leyden, 01 Apr 2016

Brazilian and Russian cybercrooks collaborating to create more potent threats

Cybercriminals on opposite sides of the world in Russia and Brazil have overcome time differences and language barriers to work together. The collaboration is driving a rapid evolution of malicious tools, security researchers at Kaspersky Lab warn. The Brazilian and Russian cybercrime undergrounds have both created numerous, …
John Leyden, 01 Apr 2016

Patch out for 'ridiculous' Trend Micro command execution vuln

A bug in its software meant that Trend Micro accidentally left a remote debugging server running on customer machines. The flaw, discovered by Google’s Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy, opened the door to command execution of vulnerable systems (running either Trend Micro Maximum Security, Trend Micro Premium Security or …
John Leyden, 31 Mar 2016

Infosec miscreants are peddling malware that will KO your router

Malware targeting embedded devices such as routers rather than computers is doing the rounds. A new and improved version of Kaiten, an Internet Relay Chat (IRC)-controlled malware typically used to carry out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, is spreading, security firm ESET warns. KTN-Remastered or KTN-RM features …
John Leyden, 30 Mar 2016
Great Hall of the People, seat of Communist party government in Beijing, China. Photo by Shutterstock

Former FBI spy hunter: Don’t trust China on ‘no hack’ pact

A former FBI investigator who helped expose Soviet double agent Robert Hanssen1 warns that enterprises should give up worrying about hackers, “who are now the good guys”, and be more worried about spies. Veteran spy hunter turned infosec exec Eric O'Neill said that espionage has evolved and become increasingly digital as …
John Leyden, 30 Mar 2016

Ransomware scum sling PowerShell, Word macro nasty at healthcare biz

Miscreants have put together a strain of ransomware written in Microsoft Word macros and PowerShell, Redmond's scripting language. The malware is designed to infect organizations, encrypting files and demanding money to unscramble files. Interestingly, installation of the ransomware begins after someone opens a booby-trapped …
John Leyden, 29 Mar 2016
SAP Match Insights

Some old SAP systems have default kernel user accounts. Guess what happened next?

Security researchers were able to access default SAP accounts on enterprise systems worldwide by using default passwords. The security snafu meant that SAP systems worldwide were potentially vulnerable to data theft, business process disruption and fraud, specialist security outfit ERP-SEC warned. Joris van de Vis, researcher …
John Leyden, 29 Mar 2016

US charges Iranians with hacking into an NY dam, blasting banks offline

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged seven Iranian hackers over a string of high-profile distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against banks. The seven allegedly worked with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-affiliated entities to run a coordinated campaign of cyber attacks against the US financial sector. One …
John Leyden, 24 Mar 2016
Water Treatment Centre pipe sluices off water. Photo by Joe Jungmann, released into the public domain

Water treatment plant hacked, chemical mix changed for tap supplies

Hackers infiltrated a water utility’s control system and changed the levels of chemicals being used to treat tap water, we're told. The cyber-attack is documented in this month’s IT security breach report (available here, registration required) from Verizon Security Solutions. The utility in question is referred to using a …
John Leyden, 24 Mar 2016

Researchers find hole in SIP, Apple’s newest protection feature

Security researchers have discovered a vulnerability that creates a means for hackers to circumvent Apple’s newest protection feature, System Integrity Protection (SIP). SIP is designed to prevent potentially malicious software from modifying protected files and folders. The technology is designed to protect the system from …
John Leyden, 24 Mar 2016

Stagefright flaw still a nightmare: '850 million' Androids face hijack risk

Mobile security biz Zimperium reckons 600 to 850 million Android devices are still vulnerable to a Stagefright flaw that lets webpages and videos inject malware into phones and tablets. Stagefright is a software library buried deep within Android that processes multimedia files. It is used by a key Android component called …
John Leyden, 23 Mar 2016

Microsoft beefs up defences against Office macros menace

Microsoft has introduced a macros-blocking feature within Office 2016 in a move designed to collar a long-running malware threat. Macro-based malware is once again on the rise as a vector in the spread of various strains of malware including the Locky ransomware, BlackEnergy and the Dridex banking trojan. Microsoft’s stats …
John Leyden, 23 Mar 2016

Wait! Where did you get that USB? Super-stealthy trojan only drives stick

Hackers have created a trojan that that makes exclusive use of USB devices in order to spread. The malware - dubbed USB Thief - is capable of stealthy attacks against air-gapped systems, net security firm ESET warns. USB Thief is well protected against detection and reverse-engineering - not least because it leaves no trace of …
John Leyden, 23 Mar 2016
Syrian Electronic Army

FBI's Most Wanted: Syrian Electronic Army hacktivists

The FBI has placed suspected self-styled Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) hacktivists on its most wanted list, publicly naming members of the notorious group for the first time. Ahmad Umar Agha (AKA The Pro), 22, and Firas Dardar (AKA The Shadow), 27, were each charged with multiple conspiracies related to computer hacking. Peter …
John Leyden, 22 Mar 2016

Hackers giving up on crypto ransomware. Now they just lock up device, hope you pay

Malware slingers have gone back to basics with the release of a new strain of ransomware malware that locks up compromised devices without encrypting files. The infection was discovered on a porn site that redirects users to an exploit kit that pushes the ransom locker malware. Researchers at Cyphort Labs who discovered the …
John Leyden, 22 Mar 2016

PC World's cloudy backup failed when exposed to ransomware

The shortcomings of consumer-grade backup services in protecting against the scourge of ransomware have been exposed by the experiences of a UK businesswoman. Amy W, who runs a small business in the Newbury, Berkshire area, was convinced that the KnowHow cloud was the only backup technology she'd ever need1 when she bought a …
John Leyden, 22 Mar 2016
Bread/pretzels in the shape of zeros tumble out of a paper packet. photo via sHutterstock

Zero-day vulnerability count up by, er, zero in 2015

The number of zero-day vulnerabilities last year was the same as in 2014, according to a new study by vulnerability management outfit Secunia. Last year Secunia Research at Flexera Software recorded a total of 16,081 vulnerabilities in 2,484 products from 263 vendors. The big majority (84 per cent) of vulnerabilities in all …
John Leyden, 21 Mar 2016

Hackers crack OS X, Windows, web browsers' security to net $460,000

Pwn2Own Researchers pulled off multiple OS X, Windows and web browser exploits at the latest Pwn2Own competition. White hat hackers earned $460,000 in prizes for finding and exploiting 21 security vulnerabilities in widely used software. Details of the flaws were privately shared with vendors so that their code that can be fixed and …
John Leyden, 18 Mar 2016
 French bulldog puppy wears plastic devil horns and cute expression. Photo by Shutterstock

FreeBSD crushes system-crashing bug

Sysadmins ought to patch their FreeBSD systems after an irritating bug was found in the kernel. A programming blunder involving integer signedness can be exploited by a logged-in user to crash a system. With the right parameters, you can trick the kernel into clearing too much of its heap memory with zeros via the sysarch …
John Leyden, 18 Mar 2016

Infosec bods pop mobile money crypto by 'sniffing' e-mag radiation

Researchers have broken the encryption schemes used in mobile money transfers by “sniffing” electromagnetic radiation from smartphones. The work, by researchers from the Check Point Institute for Information Security at Tel Aviv University and the University of Adelaide, offers further evidence that TEMPEST-style side channel …
John Leyden, 17 Mar 2016
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Glasgow boiler firm in hot water for cold calls, cops £180K fine

A Glasgow-based boiler replacement firm has been fined £180,000 for its prolific and obnoxious nuisance call campaign. FEP Heatcare made 2.6 million unwanted calls, which played a recorded message promoting the company’s products and services. Its activities made it one of Britain’s most complained about nuisance callers. …
John Leyden, 17 Mar 2016

IBM wants to harden your 'data centre on wheels'. Yes, your car

IBM is developing a security stack for connected cars as part of a wider strategy to secure vehicles against a growing range of hacking attacks. Some describe modern cars as computers on wheels but for Martin Borrett, CTO IBM Security Europe the range of communication options (Bluetooth, 3G) and range of embedded computing …
John Leyden, 17 Mar 2016

Blundering ransomware uses backdoored crypto, unlock keys spewed

A software developer whose example encryption code was used by a strain of ransomware has released the decryption keys for the malware. The unnamed software nasty scrambles users' files on compromised Windows PCs using the AES algorithm. It appends the .locked extension to the ciphered documents before demanding that victims …
John Leyden, 16 Mar 2016
Mac malware

New iOS malware targets stock iPhones, spreads via App Store

Miscreants have forged a strain of iOS malware which poses a greater risk than previous nasties because it can infect non-jailbroken devices without the user’s confirmation. AceDeceiver is fundamentally different from recent iOS malware because it relies in exploiting flaws in Apple’s DRM software rather than abusing …
John Leyden, 16 Mar 2016

Middle-aged US bloke pleads guilty to iCloud celeb nude photo hack

A 36-year-old US man has admitted hacking into the iCloud and Gmail accounts of celebrities through a long-running phishing attack. Ryan Collins, from Lancaster in Pennsylvania, admitted he had illegally accessed and downloaded images from 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts that he had managed to compromise through …
John Leyden, 16 Mar 2016
Bitcoin is the future of money CC 2.0 by Jonathan Waller https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitez/

Reformed LulzSec hacktivist joins payments firm

Updated A payments firm has hired reformed LulzSec hactivist Mustafa Al-Bassam (formerly known as tFlow) for a new blockchain research project. London-based payments group Secure Trading has taken on Al-Bassam to help develop a platform that applies the verification benefits of blockchain technology in order to improve the visibility …
John Leyden, 16 Mar 2016
Hacker with face obscured, wearing a hoodie,  works in front of a bank of monitors. photo by Shutterstock

Is this Romanian man really 'GhostShell'? If so, he risks arrest

Members of the security community are nonplussed by claims that a Romanian hacker “GhostShell” has seemingly risked arrest by doxxing himself in a bid to get a job in information security. The man claiming to be a one-time Anonymous-affiliated hacktivist avoided identification and arrest for four years before apparently outing …
John Leyden, 15 Mar 2016

Millions menaced as ransomware-smuggling ads pollute top websites

Top-flight US online publishers are serving up adverts that attempt to install ransomware and other malware on victims' PCs. Websites visited by millions of people daily – msn.com, nytimes.com, aol.com, nfl.com, theweathernetwork.com, thehill.com, zerohedge.com and more – are accidentally pushing out booby-trapped adverts via …
John Leyden, 15 Mar 2016

Ironic: CCTV systems slide open a backdoor into your biz network

Closed circuit TV systems, designed to protect organisations' physical assets, commonly create holes for hackers to exploit and tunnel their way into enterprise systems. Research carried out by independent consultant Andrew Tierney on behalf of Cloudview – a video surveillance company based in Hampshire, England – found major …
John Leyden, 14 Mar 2016
dumb_and_dumber_648

Like masochism? Run a PC? These VXers want to help you pwn yourself

Masochistic Windows users have been given a helping hand from hackers, in the form of step-by-step instructions on how to get their PCs infected with malware. A recent malware-slinging banking trojan campaign targeting Germany last week comes with explicit instructions for the recipients describing how to get their computers …
John Leyden, 14 Mar 2016

Anti-cyber-attack biz Staminus is cyber-attacked, mocked by card-leaking tormentors

Updated Staminus Communications – a US web hosting biz that specializes in protecting sites from distributed denial-of-service attacks – is recovering after hackers ransacked its servers and leaked customer credit card numbers. Its systems fell over for about 20 hours up until the early hours of Friday morning, UK time, or late at …
John Leyden, 11 Mar 2016

Samsung PC, laptop owner? Better update the update tool

Users ought to upgrade following the discovery of a flaw in Samsung’s software update tool that opens the door to man-in-the-middle attacks. Security shortcomings in Samsung SW Update Tool, which analyses the system drivers of a computer, were discovered by Core Security. Following the discovery of this vulnerability, Core …
John Leyden, 11 Mar 2016
Bank vault

A typo stopped hackers siphoning nearly $1bn out of Bangladesh

Cybercrooks looted more than $80m from Bangladesh’s central bank in one of the largest known bank robberies in history. Fraudsters used stolen credentials to make illegitimate cash transfers from the Bangladesh government’s reserve account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The damage could have been even worse. If …
John Leyden, 11 Mar 2016
SAP logo

SAP software download app exposed passwords thanks to serious vuln

A Java application from SAP that allows downloading of software packages and support notes needs patching following the discovery of a serious security flaw. Core Security found that an attacker who manages to get access to a user's configuration file in SAP’s Download Manager might be able to obtain the stored proxy password …
John Leyden, 11 Mar 2016

DDoS protection biz Incapsula knackers its customers' websites

Glitches at distributed denial-of-service mitigation biz Incapsula left the websites it defends offline twice on Thursday. Incapsula blamed "connectivity issues" for the global PITSTOP, aka the worldwide degradation of its services. "A rare case triggered an issue on the Incapsula service and caused two system-wide errors at …
John Leyden, 10 Mar 2016