Prices for Zero-Day Exploits Are Rising

Companies are willing to pay ever-increasing amounts for good zero-day exploits against hard-to-break computers and applications: On Monday, market-leading exploit broker Zerodium said it would pay up to $2 million for zero-click jailbreaks of Apple’s iOS, $1.5 million for one-click iOS jailbreaks, and $1 million for exploits that take over secure messaging apps WhatsApp and iMessage. Previously, Zerodium was offering $1.5 million, $1 million, and $500,000 for the same types…

January 17, 2019
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El Chapo’s Encryption Defeated by Turning His IT Consultant

Impressive police work: In a daring move that placed his life in danger, the I.T. consultant eventually gave the F.B.I. his system’s secret encryption keys in 2011 after he had moved the network’s servers from Canada to the Netherlands during what he told the cartel’s leaders was a routine upgrade. A Dutch article says that it’s a BlackBerry system. Hacker News thread. Slashdot thread. Source: https://www.schneier.com

January 16, 2019
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Alex Stamos on Content Moderation and Security

Former Facebook CISO Alex Stamos argues that increasing political pressure on social media platforms to moderate content will give them a pretext to turn all end-to-end crypto off — which would be more profitable for them and bad for society. If we ask tech companies to fix ancient societal ills that are now reflected online with moderation, then we will end up with huge, democratically-unaccountable organizations controlling our lives in…

January 15, 2019
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Why Internet Security Is So Bad

I recently read two different essays that make the point that while Internet security is terrible, it really doesn’t affect people enough to make it an issue. This is true, and is something I worry will change in a world of physically capable computers. Automation, autonomy, and physical agency will make computer security a matter of life and death, and not just a matter of data. Source: https://www.schneier.com

January 14, 2019
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Friday Squid Blogging: New Giant Squid Video

This is a fantastic video of a young giant squid named Heck swimming around Toyama Bay near Tokyo. As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered. Read my blog posting guidelines here. Source: https://www.schneier.com

January 11, 2019
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Using a Fake Hand to Defeat Hand-Vein Biometrics

Nice work: One attraction of a vein based system over, say, a more traditional fingerprint system is that it may be typically harder for an attacker to learn how a user’s veins are positioned under their skin, rather than lifting a fingerprint from a held object or high quality photograph, for example. But with that said, Krissler and Albrecht first took photos of their vein patterns. They used a converted…

January 11, 2019
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Security Vulnerabilities in Cell Phone Systems

Good essay on the inherent vulnerabilities in the cell phone standards and the market barriers to fixing them. So far, industry and policymakers have largely dragged their feet when it comes to blocking cell-site simulators and SS7 attacks. Senator Ron Wyden, one of the few lawmakers vocal about this issue, sent a letter in August encouraging the Department of Justice to “be forthright with federal courts about the disruptive nature…

January 10, 2019
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Machine Learning to Detect Software Vulnerabilities

No one doubts that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will transform cybersecurity. We just don’t know how, or when. While the literature generally focuses on the different uses of AI by attackers and defenders ­ and the resultant arms race between the two ­ I want to talk about software vulnerabilities. All software contains bugs. The reason is basically economic: The market doesn’t want to pay for quality…

January 8, 2019
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New Attack Against Electrum Bitcoin Wallets

This is clever: How the attack works: Attacker added tens of malicious servers to the Electrum wallet network. Users of legitimate Electrum wallets initiate a Bitcoin transaction. If the transaction reaches one of the malicious servers, these servers reply with an error message that urges users to download a wallet app update from a malicious website (GitHub repo). User clicks the link and downloads the malicious update. When the user…

January 7, 2019
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