Friday, November 14, 2014

OpenStack 11/15/2014 (a.m.)

  • Tags: surveillance state, cyberwar, Stuxnet

    • “Is this related to what we talked about before?” Bencsáth said, referring to a previous discussion they’d had about testing new services the company planned to offer customers.

      “No, something else,” Bartos said. “Can you come now? It’s important. But don’t tell anyone where you’re going.”

      Bencsáth wolfed down the rest of his lunch and told his colleagues in the lab that he had a “red alert” and had to go. “Don’t ask,” he said as he ran out the door.

      A while later, he was at Bartos’ office, where a triage team had been assembled to address the problem they wanted to discuss. “We think we’ve been hacked,” Bartos said.

    • They found a suspicious file on a developer’s machine that had been created late at night when no one was working. The file was encrypted and compressed so they had no idea what was inside, but they suspected it was data the attackers had copied from the machine and planned to retrieve later. A search of the company’s network found a few more machines that had been infected as well. The triage team felt confident they had contained the attack but wanted Bencsáth’s help determining how the intruders had broken in and what they were after. The company had all the right protections in place—firewalls, antivirus, intrusion-detection and -prevention systems—and still the attackers got in.
    • Bencsáth was a teacher, not a malware hunter, and had never done such forensic work before. At the CrySyS Lab, where he was one of four advisers working with a handful of grad students, he did academic research for the European Union and occasional hands-on consulting work for other clients, but the latter was mostly run-of-the-mill cleanup work—mopping up and restoring systems after random virus infections. He’d never investigated a targeted hack before, let alone one that was still live, and was thrilled to have the chance. The only catch was, he couldn’t tell anyone what he was doing. Bartos’ company depended on the trust of customers, and if word got out that the company had been hacked, they could lose clients.

      The triage team had taken mirror images of the infected hard drives, so they and Bencsáth spent the rest of the afternoon poring over the copies in search of anything suspicious. By the end of the day, they’d found what they were looking for—an “infostealer” string of code that was designed to record passwords and other keystrokes on infected machines, as well as steal documents and take screenshots. It also catalogued any devices or systems that were connected to the machines so the attackers could build a blueprint of the company’s network architecture. The malware didn’t immediately siphon the stolen data from infected machines but instead stored it in a temporary file, like the one the triage team had found. The file grew fatter each time the infostealer sucked up data, until at some point the attackers would reach out to the machine to retrieve it from a server in India that served as a command-and-control node for the malware.

    • Bencsáth took the mirror images and the company’s system logs with him, after they had been scrubbed of any sensitive customer data, and over the next few days scoured them for more malicious files, all the while being coy to his colleagues back at the lab about what he was doing. The triage team worked in parallel, and after several more days they had uncovered three additional suspicious files.

      When Bencsáth examined one of them—a kernel-mode driver, a program that helps the computer communicate with devices such as printers—his heart quickened. It was signed with a valid digital certificate from a company in Taiwan (digital certificates are documents ensuring that a piece of software is legitimate). Wait a minute, he thought. Stuxnet—the cyberweapon that was unleashed on Iran’s uranium-enrichment program—also used a driver that was signed with a certificate from a company in Taiwan. That one came from RealTek Semiconductor, but this certificate belonged to a different company, C-Media Electronics. The driver had been signed with the certificate in August 2009, around the same time Stuxnet had been unleashed on machines in Iran.

  • Bookburning in the digital era.

    Tags: open web, Internet, censorship, UK

    • Internet companies have agreed to do more to tackle extremist material online following negotiations led by Downing Street.

      The UK’s major Internet service providers – BT, Virgin, Sky and Talk Talk – have this week committed to host a public reporting button for terrorist material online, similar to the reporting button which allows the public to report child sexual exploitation.

      They have also agreed to ensure that terrorist and extremist material is captured by their filters to prevent children and young people coming across radicalising material.

      The UK is the only country in the world with a Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CITRU) - a 24/7 law enforcement unit, based in the Met, dedicated to identifying and taking down extreme graphic material as well as material that glorifies, incites and radicalises.


Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

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