Software Security: The Lost Art of Refactoring

René Pfeiffer/ June 29, 2015/ Development, Discussion, Security

A sysadmin, a software developer, and an infosec researcher almost walked into a bar. Unfortunately they couldn’t agree where to go together. So they died of thirst. Sounds familiar? When it comes to information technology, there is one thing that binds us all together: software. This article was written and published by software. You can read it by using (different) software. This doesn’t automagically create stalwart bands of adventurers fighting dragons (i.e. code vulnerabilities) and doing good deeds (i.e. not selling 0days). However it is a common ground where one can meet. Since all software has bugs, and we all use software, there’s also a common cause. Unfortunately this is where things go wrong. Code has a life cycle. It usually starts out as a (reasonably) good idea. Without a Big Bang. Then the implementation

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I spy with my little Spy, something beginning with „Anti…“

René Pfeiffer/ June 27, 2015/ Discussion, High Entropy, Security

Anti-virus software developers made the news recently. The Intercept published an article describing details of what vendors were targeted and what information might be useful for attackers. Obtaining data, no matter how, has its place in the news since 2013 when the NSA documents went public. The current case is no surprise. This statement is not meant to downplay the severity of the issue. While technically there is no direct attack to speak of (yet), the news item shows how security measures will be reconnoitred by third parties. Why call it third parties? Because a lot of people dig into the operation of anti-virus protection software. The past two DeepSec conferences featured talks called „Why Antivirus Software fails“ and „Easy Ways To Bypass Anti-Virus Systems“. The Project Zero team at Google found a vulnerability in

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Crypto Article: „Cornerstones of German Encryption Policy“ from 1999 are still in place

Sanna/ June 24, 2015/ Discussion, Security

We have some more translated news for you. In theory it is an article about policies and the process of law-making. In practice it concerns the use of encryption and everyone relying on service providers (mostly connected to the Internet, i.e. „cloud providers“). No matter how cool your start-up is and what its products aim to replace, information security will probably need a backdoor-free and working encryption technology as a core component. This is exactly why you cannot stay focused on the technology alone. Threats may come in the guise of new laws or regulations (think Wassenaar Arrangement). Matthias Monroy has some information about the official stance of the German government regarding the currently raging „crypto wars“. Enjoy! Federal Ministry of the Interior: The “Cornerstones of German encryption policy“ from 1999 still remain Source: netzpolitik.org Author: Matthias

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Dual Use Equation: Knowledge + Vulnerability = “Cyber” Nuclear Missile

René Pfeiffer/ June 21, 2015/ Discussion, High Entropy, Legal, Odd

We all rely on software every  day, one way or another. The bytes that form the (computer) code all around us are here to stay. Mobile devices connected to networks and networked computing equipment in general is a major part of our lives now. Fortunately not all systems decide between life or death in case there is a failure. The ongoing discussion about „cyber war“, „cyber terrorism“, „cyber weapons of mass destruction“, and „cyber in general“ has reached critical levels – it has entered its way into politics. Recently the Wassenaar Arrangement proposed a regulation on the publication of exploited (previously unknown) vulnerabilities in software/hardware, the so-called „0days“. The US Department of Commerce proposed to apply export controls for 0days and malicious software. While the ban is  only intended for „intrusion software“, it may

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Surveillance Article: Listening Posts for Wireless Communication

René Pfeiffer/ June 18, 2015/ High Entropy

Modern ways of communication and methods to obtain the transported data have raised eyebrows and interest in the past years. Information security specialists are used to digitally dig into the networked world. Once you take a look at buildings, geographic topology, and photographs of structures your world view expands. Coupled with the knowledge of ham radio operators connecting the dots can give you some new information about structures hiding in plain sight. This is why we have translated an article by Erich Möchel, Austrian journalist who is writing blog articles for the FM4 radio station. Read  this article for yourself and keep our Call for Papers for DeepSec 2015 in mind. If you have ideas how to keep an eye on the environment surrounding your information technology infrastructure let us know. Companies should know

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New MJS Article: Trusting Your Cloud Provider – Protecting Private Virtual Machines

René Pfeiffer/ June 17, 2015/ Report, Security

Once you live in the Cloud, you shouldn’t spent your time daydreaming about information security. Don’t cloud the future of your data. The Magdeburger Journal zur Sicherheitsforschung published a new article by Armin Simma (who talked about this topic at DeepSec 2014). The Paper titled »Trusting Your Cloud Provider: Protecting Private Virtual Machines« discusses an integrated solution that allows cloud customers to increase their trust into the cloud provider including cloud insiders. This article proposes an integrated solution that allows cloud customers to increase their trust into the cloud provider including cloud insiders (e.g. administrators). It is based on Mandatory Access Control and Trusted Computing technologies, namely Measured Boot, Attestation and Sealing. It gives customers strong guarantees about the provider’s host system and binds encrypted virtual machines to the previously attested host. This article

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DeepSec Ticket Registration: Early Worm gets to 0wn the Network

René Pfeiffer/ June 16, 2015/ Administrivia, Conference

Did you feed the cat? Did you lock the door? Did you switch off the Internet while on vacation? Did you wrap your wallet in tin foil? Did you buy this ticket to this conference you want to attend in November? How was it called? We have a foolproof way to get over this constant feeling that you forgot something. Go to our registration web site, book a ticket to DeepSec 2015, print it out, and write all the important things you have to remember on the back! Your laundry list of All Teh Important Things™ will last until November 2015. After that you will come up with a new way to help you. Looking forward to see you!

Crypto Article: EU Economy needs secure Encryption

René Pfeiffer/ June 16, 2015/ Discussion, Security

Given the ongoing demonisation of cryptography we have translated an article for you, written by Erich Möchel, an ORF journalist. The use of encryption stays an important component for information security, regardless which version of the Crypto Wars is currently running. While most of the voices in news articles get the threat model wrong, there are still some sane discussions about the beneficial use of technology. The following article was published on the FM4 web site on 25 January 2015. Have a look and decide for yourself if the Crypto Wars have begun again (provided they came to an end at some point in the past). Maybe you work in this field and like to submit a presentation covering the current state of affairs. Let us know. EU Economy needs secure Encryption The EU technical bodies

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