Decline of the Scientific Method: New (Austrian) “Trojan” Law without Technical Expertise

Sanna/ August 3, 2017/ Discussion, High Entropy, Security

The Crypto Wars are still raging despite everyone relying on secure communication. Everyone means everyone. The good thing is that mathematics still works, even though some people wouldn’t want it to. The latest cryptographic review comes from Amber Rudd, the current UK Home Secretary. She said recently: “Real people often prefer ease of use and a multitude of features to perfect, unbreakable security.” The corollary in turn states that DeepSec conferences aren’t attended by real people. Since we are not yet a purely robot-based event, there is something wrong with this approach to secure communication. The common denominator is simply the lack of technical expertise. There is no surprise there. Ever since the Internet was discovered by the rest of the world (which was in the 1990s, don’t get fooled by web sites who

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Malicious Software explores new Business Models – Politics

René Pfeiffer/ July 19, 2017/ Discussion, Internet, Security

Malicious software has become a major component of criminal business and geopolitics. In addition it is a convenient explanation for anything one does not want to investigate. Since code always come from somewhere you have to ask yourself many more questions when it comes to infected networks and compromised hosts. What is the agenda of the day? Journalist Erich Moechel has written an article about the arms race regarding malicious software. We have translated the original text from German to English. Expect the state of cyber in your network to rise in the course of the next years. Arms race with Malicious Software enters a dangerous Phase The enormous damage done by “Petya” and “WannaCry” can be traced back to a single, reworked tool from the leaked NSA pool of the “Shadow Brokers”. Experts

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Digital Security of the Future: Technology and Algorithms alone are no Substitute for Strategy

René Pfeiffer/ July 14, 2017/ Conference, Security Intelligence

Unfortunately, you can not rely on antivirus programs when it comes to the security of your own business. Antivirus programs do not read newspapers, they do not attend lectures, they don’t protect you from social engineering or know the meaning of Facebook friends or Twitter tweets. False friends, indeed. The continuous monitoring and evaluation of threats is the next step in information security. This aspect has always been an important part of digital defense. Today’s discussion often centers around the term Security Intelligence, which unites different approaches. The DeepINTEL is Austria’s first event, which, since 2012, has been taking up this topic – in all its facets, because modern information security is interdisciplinary. Lectures by experts from various fields of science, defence and industry: At DeepINTEL you have the opportunity to strategically rethink your

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Disinformation Warfare – Attribution makes you Wannacry

René Pfeiffer/ May 16, 2017/ Discussion, High Entropy, Security Intelligence

After the Wannacry malware wreaked havoc in networks, ticket vending machines, companies, and hospitals the clean-up has begun. This also means that the blame game has started. The first round of blame was distributed between Microsoft and the alleged inspiration for the code. The stance on vulnerabilities of security researchers is quite clear. Weaknesses in software, hardware, protocols, or design needs to be documented and published. This is the only way to address the problem and to give the defenders a chance to react. The discussion about how to deal with the process is ongoing and will most likely never come to a conclusion. What about the source of the attack? Attribution is hard. Knowing who attacked has become increasingly difficult in the analogue world. Take any of the conflicts around the world and

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Wannacry, Code Red, and „Cyber“ Warfare

René Pfeiffer/ May 14, 2017/ High Entropy, Security

Society and businesses increasingly rely on networked infrastructure. This is not news. Worms that used networks to spread to new hosts in order to infect them is also not news. Code Red did this back in 2001. There is a new worm going around. Its name is Wannacry, and it is allegedly based on published attack code developed by the NSA. The malicious software is delivered by email. After successful installation it infects the host and propagates to other systems by using probes to port 139/TCP, 445/TCP and 3389/TCP. It belongs to the class of ransomware, encrypting files and demanding ransom. Thousands of infected systems are still active. The attack is still ongoing. If you are in doubt if you have compromised systems within your network, we recommend taking a look at how to

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DeepSec Video: Legal Responses Against Cyber Incidents

René Pfeiffer/ February 16, 2016/ Conference, Legal

Despite current efforts to adapt existing legal instruments to regulate hostile activities in cyber space, there is uncertainty about the legal situation of actors affected by these actions. Part of this uncertainty is due to the fact that the cyber domain is technically complex; there is a strong need for collaboration between technical and legal subject matter experts, collaboration which is difficult to achieve. This talk summarizes the current legal status of Cyber Attacks. It defines a taxonomy of possible cyber-incidents, and analyses the predictable consequences of each type of cyber-incident with the purpose of mapping cyber-incidents to different legal frameworks. Oscar Serrano held a presentation at DeepSec 2015 about legal issues with digital attacks.

DeepSec Video: Cyber Cyber Cyber Warfare: Mistakes from the MoDs

René Pfeiffer/ January 28, 2016/ Conference, Internet, Security

The  word cyber has entered the information security circus a couple of years ago. It should have been long gone according to its creator William Gibson. Meanwhile everything has developed into something being cyber – CSI, war, politics, security, homes, cars, telephones, and more. Inventing new words helps to distract. Distraction is what Raoul Chiesa has seen in the last five years, while training various military units in different countries. He held a presentation at DeepSec 2015 about his experiences. While we don’t use the word cyber when talking about (information) security, others sadly do. So think of Information Warfare or Information Offensive Operations when hearing cyber and don’t let yourself be distracted by the fog of war.

DeepSec 2015 Talk: Legal Responses Against Cyber Incidents – Oscar Serrano

Sanna/ September 19, 2015/ Conference, Security

Like it or not, „cyber“ is here to stay. No matter what word you use, the networks have become a battlefield for various military operations. While you won’t be able to secure physical territory by keyboard (you still need boots on the ground for this), you can gain information, thwart hostile communications, and possibly sabotage devices (given the sorry state of the Internet of Stuff). When you deal  with actions in this arena, you might want to know what your options are. It’s worth to think about legal consequences. When it comes to mundane cyber crime, you usually have laws to deal with incidents. What is the response to a military cyber attack? And what counts as one? In his presentation at DeepSec 2015 Oscar Serrano will introduce you to the legal implications and

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DeepSec 2012 Talk: A Non-Attribution-Dilemma and its Impact on legal Regulation of Cyberwar

René Pfeiffer/ November 14, 2012/ Conference, Discussion

We asked Michael Niekamp and Florian Grunert to give an outlook on their presentation titled A Non-Attribution-Dilemma and its Impact on Legal Regulation of Cyberwar: A general challenge of cyberwar lies in the field of legal regulation under conditions of non-attribution. The optimistic view emphasizes that our international law and its underlying standards are sufficient (in principle and de facto) to solve all emerging problems. A more sceptical view postulates “the impossibility of global regulation”. Although we lean towards the sceptical view, we’ll provide a different and new line of reasoning for the impossibility of a rational legal regulation by formulating a non-attribution-dilemma. In contrast to some prominent arguments, we do not overestimate the suggestive power of the non-attribution-problem concerning the question of rational “deterrence through a threat of retaliation” (DTR for short), but

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DeepSec 2012 Talk: Wargames in the Fifth Domain

René Pfeiffer/ November 2, 2012/ Conference

We asked Karin Kosina to illustrate her talk Wargames in the Fifth Domain: “This is a pre-9/11 moment. The attackers are plotting.” These are the words of U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta addressing business executives on the dangers of cyberwar two weeks ago in New York. And just in case this did not leave the audience scared enough, Panetta also warned about the possibility of an upcoming “cyber-Pearl Harbor”. A massively destructive cyberwar, it seems, is imminent. Or is it? Is the world really on the brink of cyberwar? Time to panic and hide in our cyber shelters? – Well, I think things are slightly more complicated than that. Before you dismiss me as a peace-loving hippie who views the world through rose-tinted glasses: There is no doubt that our emerging information society

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DeepSec 2012 Keynote: We Came In Peace – They Don’t: Hackers vs. CyberWar

René Pfeiffer/ October 19, 2012/ Conference

„Cyberwar“ is all the fashion these days. Everyone knows about it, everyone has capabilities, everyone has a military doctrine to deal with it. Sceptics make fun of it, politicians use it for election campaigns, security researchers wonder what’s new about it, „experts“ use it to beef up their CV, cybercrime yawns, journalists invent new words, most others are confused or don’t care (probably both). This is why DeepSec 2012 features four talks about this topic, including the keynote by Felix ‘FX’ Lindner. FX explains what you can expect from his presentation: “The issues we are facing concerning the militarization and beginning arms race in the so-called “cyber domain” are not what you might think they are. I would like to highlight two aspects of how we, the civilian hackers, in my opinion handle things

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DeepSec 2012 Talk: The Interim Years of Cyberspace – Security in a Domain of Warfare

René Pfeiffer/ October 6, 2012/ Conference

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, officially that is, welcome to the fifth domain! As with space and other environments, the networked world has been discovered by various forces and groups for their advantage. The past years have shown that whatever happens in Cyberspace, doesn’t always stay in Cyberspace. It’s not always about the DDoS attacks, which have been blown out of proportion, but it’s about malicious software, reconnaissance, information extraction and other aspects which are less spectacular (watching less television helps to restore the perspective to normal). We’d like to set your perspective right and recommend listening to Robert M. Lee’s presentation about the Interim Years of Cyberspace. His talk focuses on the bigger picture in an effort to add a different view to the discussions taking place at DeepSec. The

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A „Cool War“ is not cool

René Pfeiffer/ June 18, 2012/ Discussion, High Entropy

The term „Cyberwar“ carries a dark fascination. Most people think of it as „war lite“. You get all the benefits of a real war, but the casualties are limited to bits, bytes and maybe pixels. No one dies, only the targets get destroyed. This sounds too clean to be true. There is even an article called „Cool War“ that glorifies the concept of digital battles even further. The author suggests that a cool war could prevent a „real“ armed conflict by digital preemptive strikes. The good news is that a preemptive cyber attack on the military command-and-control systems of two countries getting ready to fight a “real war” might give each side pause before going into the fight. In this instance, the hackers mounting such attacks should probably publicize their actions — perhaps even

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Collateral Damage in Cyberspace

René Pfeiffer/ June 8, 2012/ High Entropy, Security

„In cyberspace, no one can hear you scream.“ System administrators know this already for a long time, as do security researchers. Everybody is talking about „cyberwar“ these days (elections are coming). No one is talking about the (digital) fallout from „cyberwar“ operations. Unless you solely rely on passive methods, there’s not much that can happen. As soon as you employ „offensive security“, which is just an euphemism for „breaking things“, there will be damage in terms of service disruption, compromised systems, modified/erased data, inserted attack code and possibly more. Attack tools such as Stuxnet, Duqu and now Flame have been discussed for years by security researchers. Especially anti-virus vendors have repeatedly promised to include malware of any origin in their databases. In theory this includes these „cyberweapons“ as well. In real life these weapons

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Let’s talk about War

René Pfeiffer/ April 17, 2012/ Discussion, High Entropy, Stories

Extreme situations, entropy eruptions and unforeseen problems caused by complex interactions between a plethora of components are prime story material. You can use it in (science) fiction, you can use for breaking news, you can use it for scaring your children, you can use it for advertising and you can use it when talking about information security. Maybe this is why talking about „cyberwar“ is all the fashion these days. Let’s follow the trend and introduce the issue with style: No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There’s always a boom tomorrow. What? Look, somebody’s got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! — Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5 This statement from a fictional character pretty much sums up the issue (plus it contains exactly the required amount of sources

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