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  #196  
Old 28 Nov 12, 12:46
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I'd agree with that in principle. Given the bits of recent history I know of DoD & cyber vendor contracts I'm unsure the current or recent contracting is a good model to continue. Bucking the trend it might be more efficent & secure to do more of the work in house.
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  #197  
Old 28 Nov 12, 13:00
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Originally Posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
I'd agree with that in principle. Given the bits of recent history I know of DoD & cyber vendor contracts I'm unsure the current or recent contracting is a good model to continue. Bucking the trend it might be more efficent & secure to do more of the work in house.
One of my previous gov't customers tried that on more than one occasion but compared to industry, they could never maintain both the in-house knowledge and the advanced technical skills to do more than keep patching things. They got really good are redeploying yesterday's technology.
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  #198  
Old 28 Nov 12, 13:31
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I've seen it swing both ways. Back in the 1970s & 80s the USMC was handicapped with too few Marines who had the necessary depth of knowledge to design much of anything, or even write adaquate specifications for large cyber projects. The few we had seemed to spend most of their time either patching, or making reports for the generals & DoD mangers. The results showed with systems that were far off from meeting our need. Eventualy during the 1980s we accqured a larger pool of computer gurus, who understood enough of systems design that the contractors could be made to understand what was really wanted, & who could evaluate properly contractor capabilities.

I'd think that part of breaking the paradigm would be building a capable in house group who could take up a larger load of the fundamental design work. Also the judgement of efficiency of DoD efforts is colored by the short term 'managment school' judgement of efficiency. Following their logic we'd have outsourced the US Army to Chinese companies using Asian and Africa labor.

I suspect that a close look would show business management has not always been sucessful in providing for the military & more than a few productive in house projects within the Army & Navy departments.
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  #199  
Old 28 Nov 12, 14:07
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We're looking at the environment too closely; we need to look at the bigger picture first and then push up.

For one, the existing telco infrastructure is actually rather antiquated and fragile. Look at what happened during and after the Sandy superstorm; that was not even a true Category X hurricane. Imagine what could have happened to Manhatten et al if a standard Category 3 (much less a 4/5)hurricane had come ashore. As part of a plan to update "wiring", we should really be looking at replacing "networks" with a much more physically redundant set of systems than we have now; in back of that we should have a more redundant set of standards with regard to outages and routing. Furthermore, it must also involve the way we use power in the US as part of the infrastructure/access modernization as it too is in need of substantial improvements.
We should also have the standards improved such that high performance communication requirements should be pushed from the bottom up vs. from the top down. Nowadays, we tend to see corporations and big business as the drivers of "big pipe" needs; in reality, we should flip it around and push the "big pipe" standards from the bottom of the pyramid.

The enormous existing infrastructure system "costs" are not necessarily a major barrier. Most gear gets replaced anyways, sooner or later; what is a major problem is the natural human inertia we have once a system and process are in place for so long. We tend see things once in place as "in stone" which is why we get surprised and annoyed when someone says we have to spend $xxxxxxxxx to replace a bridge that is 60 years old. Yet no one (here anyways) complains too much when we replace a carrier after 40 + years of service.

With regard to DOD, they really are nothing else but another giant corporation. In redesigning computer systems for the future, DOD should be looking at systems that are much much more complex than what we have now. The typical modern-day user has actually a very primitive interface to deal with the digital world. Every "cpu" we use, whether it's a desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone or specialized processor, has nothing more than some way to physically access via display and mouse/keyboard and "talks" to the rest of the world via IP or some sort of serial/parallel/USB interface. That's it, we don't have quantum computing via brainwave yet. So it's actually relatively primitive in that we haven't moved much past what we had in the '60s (or even earlier). Yet my laptop doesn't have self protection beyond what I decide to mount on it. So if I have firewall and AV software installed, there isn't much else that stands between it and all the bad digits out there. That's not counting all the other computing tools that I use. Yet, there are way too many civilian users who aren't able to protect themselves or their equipment, and standard firewalls and AV software have been out for decades! And upstream, the ISPs really don't have much either. That has got to change and for the DOD (and its satellite corporations), they'll need to have something much superior to what exists now.

Again, it really is setting (and following) better requirements and standards. The fact is typical industry isn't very good at setting requirements or standards because they like to be "market"-based. There's no incentive to change for them as long as they show some positive bottom-line. "Better" doesn't mean anything to them unless they show some profit-based impact up front. And IT technology is typically regarded as a capital expenditure cost within accounting so no one likes it. So it will take some kind of major hybrid effort where the gov and the business has to jointly establish a better digital environment. We can't complain too much about the Chinese J-31 being too much of a F-22/F-35 clone if we aren't willing to truly spend the effort to protect our own information.
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  #200  
Old 30 Nov 12, 18:30
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Syrian Malware Servers Survive Outage, Die Later

Quote:
Syrian government either ignored or permitted malware servers to survive its Nov. 29 Internet outage. The next day, those died too.
Quote:
The five servers were tied to a May malware scandal that apparently targeted members of the Syrian opposition groups currently fighting the government. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the attacks included Trojans and phishing designed to capture passwords for YouTube and Facebook. TrendMicro’s Malware Blog described a Website which purportedly offered Skype encryption software, but was actually a Trojan that installed DarkComet 3.3, a remote administration tool that allows an attacker to capture webcam activity, disable the notification setting for certain antivirus programs, record key strokes, steal passwords, and more–and sends that sensitive information to an address in Syrian IP space.
http://slashdot.org/topic/datacenter...vive-then-die/
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  #201  
Old 02 Dec 12, 00:12
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Probably they're standing up their new interfaces with some more internal snooping tools. That's usually what happens when someone downs their gear and then brings it back up so quickly :

http://blog.cloudflare.com/syrian-in...partially-rees
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  #202  
Old 15 Dec 12, 21:14
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Cyber-Mercenaries?

A new brand of cyber security: hacking the hackers
December 04, 2012|By Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times

Quote:
CrowdStrike is at the forefront of a new business model for cyber security, one that identifies sophisticated foreign attackers trying to steal U.S. intellectual property and uses the attackers' own techniques and vulnerabilities to thwart them.
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec...fense-20121204
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  #203  
Old 09 Jan 13, 09:29
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US Government has 'no doubt' Iran is behind a online attacks on American banks

The attackers hit one American bank after the next.

Quote:
January 8, 2013

“There is no doubt within the U.S. government that Iran is behind these attacks,” said James A. Lewis, a former official in the State and Commerce Departments and a computer security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Mr. Lewis said the amount of traffic flooding American banking sites was “multiple times” the amount that Russia directed at Estonia in a monthlong online assault in 2007 that nearly crippled the Baltic nation.

“The scale, the scope and the effectiveness of these attacks have been unprecedented,” said Carl Herberger, vice president of security solutions at Radware, a security firm that has been investigating the attacks on behalf of banks and cloud service providers. “There have never been this many financial institutions under this much duress.”

Since September, intruders have caused major disruptions to the online banking sites of Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp, PNC, Capital One, Fifth Third Bank, BB&T and HSBC.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/te....html?hp&_r=2&
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  #204  
Old 10 Jan 13, 12:51
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Zero-Day Java Exploit Debuts in Crimeware

Quote:
The hackers who maintain Blackhole and Nuclear Pack – competing crimeware products that are made to be stitched into hacked sites and use browser flaws to foist malware — say they’ve added a brand new exploit that attacks a previously unknown and currently unpatched security hole in Java.
http://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/01/z...-in-crimeware/

I saw this on another site and this bit is what caught my attention;
Quote:
The news comes days after it was revealed that Paunch was reserving his best exploits for a more closely-held exploit pack called Cool Exploit Kit, a license for which costs $10,000 per month."
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  #205  
Old 10 Jan 13, 14:54
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Another zero day exploit in the train of patches; sadly, because of the way modern software is built we will see this much more often. Be careful with your banking as many banks use Java applications since it can be used for cross-platform support with many "legacy" systems and "modern" systems. The other thing to try (after some careful consideration of what one does with their browser) is to disable Java from the browser itself. Unfortunately, I've found that some systems can still be using earlier versions of Java for whatever reason; the simplest way is to update to Java 7 and then disable it from the Windows Control Panel via the Java applet and its Advanced / Plug-in option. J6 plug-ins are more difficult to fiddle with. BTW, for some silly reason, Javas install routine does not automatically remove earlier versions of Java; quite often I've found that even though vendor installs of Java (for vendor apps) might be successful, older Java versions tend to be left on the machine. These can consume quite a bit of storage as well as be vulnerable to many Java issues. So its a good idea to remove them (as long as you don't have any apps that require specific versions, which any good app vendor provider shouldn't allow but tends to happen on occasion).
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  #206  
Old 10 Jan 13, 15:33
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I've avoided internet banking so far and I'm not seeing anything that makes me want to start anytime soon.
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  #207  
Old 10 Jan 13, 22:13
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Experts urge PC users to disable Java, cite security flaw

From: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...90919X20130110

Thu Jan 10

Computer users are being advised by security experts to disable Oracle Corp's widely used Java software after a security flaw was discovered in the past day that they say hackers are exploiting to attack computers.
"Java is a mess. It's not secure," said Jaime Blasco, Labs Manager with AlienVault Labs. "You have to disable it."

A spokeswoman for Oracle said she could not immediately comment on the matter.
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  #208  
Old 11 Jan 13, 18:41
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From: http://www.zdnet.com/homeland-securi...aw-7000009713/

January 11

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned users to disable or uninstall Java software on their computers, amid continuing fears and an escalation in warnings from security experts that hundreds of millions of business and consumer users are vulnerable to a serious flaw.

Hackers have discovered a weakness in Java 7 security that could allow the installation of malicious software and malware on machines that could increase the chance of identity theft, or the unauthorized participation in a botnet that could bring down networks or be used to carry out denial-of-service attacks against Web sites.

"We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem," said the DHS' Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) in a post on its Web site on Thursday evening. "This vulnerability is being attacked in the wild, and is reported to be incorporated into exploit kits. Exploit code for this vulnerability is also publicly available."

Java users should disable or uninstall Java immediately to mitigate any damage.
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  #209  
Old 12 Jan 13, 07:04
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Firefox has already displayed a warning about the plug in being vulnerable. It is super easy to disable through the add on feature.
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  #210  
Old 14 Jan 13, 09:23
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From: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...402_story.html

Monday, January 14

Computer security researchers have uncovered malware that appears to have been used as part of a widespread cyber espionage campaign targeting European diplomatic and government agencies.
Kaspersky Lab, a global firm based in Moscow, said in a report released Monday that the malware rivals in complexity the Flame virus, a cyber-spying tool that was created by the United States and Israel for use against Iran.

The newly discovered malware, called Rocra, has been in existence for at least five years and appears to have been written by Russian speakers using Chinese exploit code that silently installs malware. It was still active as of early January. Among other things, Rocra has been used to steal encrypted files and decryption keys used by European Union organizations and NATO, said Roel Schouwenberg, a Kaspersky researcher based in Boston.

The malware also can map out the internal layout of a computer network, the configuration of routers, and hijack files from thumb drives and smartphones, he said. It records keystrokes, makes screenshots, recovers deleted files and encrypts data it steals. It makes unique identifiers for each target to more easily catalogue the data stolen.
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