Water Plants, Cyberwar, and Scenario Fulfillment

René Pfeiffer/ December 1, 2011/ High Entropy, Security, Stories

While we refuse to add a Cyberwar category to this blog, we want to explore this shady topic with a story. Do you recall the water plant hack a few weeks ago? According to news floating around in the Internet an US-American water plant in Illinois suffered from a security breach together with a failed water pump. Apparently attackers took the pump out by applying a well-tried IT technique called „Have you tried to turn it off and on again?“. So in theory this is a full-scale Cyberwar incident that puts all of our infrastructure at risk – plus you can add the magical acronym SCADA when talking about it, thus lowering the room temperature a few degrees and imposing the well-tried fear and awe effect on your audience. While industrial control systems remain

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Defending against the Hype of Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)

René Pfeiffer/ October 31, 2011/ Security

Many articles like to mention Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), point out that 0-day attacks are extremely dangerous, and that anyone and your neighbour might already be compromised, but doesn’t know about it. So APT casts a long shadow even when not having arrived yet. This is exactly why we used the word „hype“ in the title. If you are not feeling very well and you look up symptoms in popular search engines, then you suddenly end up with lots of diseases that might fit. Doing this won’t change anything, you still got the symptoms and you still got no idea what’s going on. Reading information on security breaches alone won’t alone won’t get you anywhere (currently you can find some news on the RSA hack online). Exchanging ideas and hearing about stories is fine,

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0zapftis revisited – 0ktoberfest for Security Researchers

René Pfeiffer/ October 11, 2011/ High Entropy, Odd

The CCC analysis of the malicious software bought and used by the German government has put our blog schedule and RSS reading habits out of balance. Frankly our necks hurts because we constantly shake our heads since the PDF of the analysis was published. We have talked to journalists who showed interested in the design of the malware. It’s very hard not to go into rant or BOFH mode when talking about the design and the use of the trojan horse. You have to use quite some Zen skills to stay focused and to see what we have here. In fact the whole discovery and the avalanche of questions raining down on German officials marks a turning point for the significance of computer security. Furthermore it is a perfect example of all the problems

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Rare Catastrophic Events and Infrastructure

René Pfeiffer/ March 12, 2011/ High Entropy

Most security administrators have to deal with risks and their management. If you read the news, then you will hear about lots of things that can go wrong for a multitude of reasons. A common tactic to get the required budget for securing infrastructure is to collect some horror stories and present them to management. Basically this is a polite form of blackmail. It might work, but there’s already enough fear and uncertainty spread through various media channels and word of mouth (or both). Now if you’re really interested in more stories about the End of your Data Days, why not go for earthquakes and global warming? Asteroids will do fine, too. But seriously, there’s some real thoughts behind this idea. The Internet is not strongly bound by geographical boundaries. The data of most

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The workshops have started!

René Pfeiffer/ November 23, 2010/ Administrivia

We’re near the end of the first day of workshops. We got a smooth start and the mood is great. Wi-Fi is up and running, we got a radio uplink with 32 MBit/s in both directions.¹ The GSM guys have their demonstration set-up up and running. We suspect the social engineering goes well (we can’t tell, we only see smiling faces and awfully nice persons in there). Our ISP enabled Marc to set-up the 6to4 tunnel for the IPv6 security/pentesting workshop. Mariano teaches his class how to determine if their (or your) business-critical SAP implementation is secure. If you are a really late booker, we still accept registrations for the conference, either by our online ticketing service or by ¹ When on site, look for ESSIDs DeepSec2010, DeepSec2010a, DeepSec2010g and DeepSec2010N (no encryption, bring

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