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Security

Observations on information security.

A Hack at Best Buy?

This morning I received a flurry of unexpected email messages from Best Buy's "Reward Zone," one of those preferred customer programs. I was reading email when the messages arrived, so I immediately tried to log in to the account and check its status. I couldn't log in, so I immediately called Best Buy.

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Passwords and Entropy

Entropy with decimal diceMy friend and colleague Al Dowd pointed me to Troy Hunt's blog post last April on password entropy.

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The Ultimate USB Attack

After finishing a blog entry about the Homeland Security test using hacked CDs and USB drives, I took a look at a much nastier - though more expensive - attack.

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Penetration via Human Nature

Bloomberg has posted an interesting summary of recent hacker triumphs based on social engineering attacks. The fundamental piece of hard news was that the US Department of Homeland Security ran a test last year in which they dropped CDs and USB drives around near some US government offices. The test detected that 60 percent of these were inserted into government computers.

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Looking at Lulz

LulzSecI've been looking at the various files LulzSec has uploaded from their victims. These include Sony (several different sites on separate occasions), PBS, the game company Bethesda, Fox TV, Nintendo, and a computer security company called Unveillance. They actually defaced the PBS site, posting a bogus article claiming that dead rapper Tupac was located alive

They also extracted the hashed password file belonging to the Atlanta chapter of Infragard, an FBI-affiliated organization, and cracked a bunch of the passwords. The site is now offline.

My initial impression is that these folks are using some fairly simple attacks, like SQL injection, to retrieve a lot of the data. Note that in most cases they didn't actually deface the victim. I suspect they would have if they could have. Thus, they're taking advantage of the weaknesses they do find.

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"Cracking" Passwords

There's been buzz in computer hardware blogs over the past few days about how faster processors (and GPUs in particular) are rendering strong passwords "useless." One experimenter, named Vijay Devakumar, posted a description of his success at cracking passwords, which has been recently picked up by bloggers on

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RAID Backups Redux: Snow Leopard

Grumble, grumble.

There has been an update to the DiskUtil program that prevents my RAID backup procedure from working.

The version I am running - Version 11.5.2 (298.4) - no longer provides a "Remove" or "Demote" function when a RAID drive is missing or offline. I've found two ways around this. I recommend the first approach for regular use. The second is only provided to illustrate a bizarre feature of Apple RAID.

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More on Comodo

A fellow calling himself (herself?) "ichsun" claims responsiblity for breaking into the Comodo CA to create bogus certificates.

He has posted (pasted, actually) a series of statements on pastbin.com that describe what happened and provide some evidence to support his claim. Note that the link above will probably go sour in a while, since Pastebin's policy is to recycle the pasted storage periodically.

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More Bogus Certificates

I few months back I retold the story of a bogus Microsoft certificate issued by Verisign in 2001. It's a difficult story to track down ten years later because many articles published by then have either disappeared or been 'updated' to remove details.

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False Security Claims by Vendors

Galen Gruman on his Infoworld blog has noted recent - and not so recent - discoveries that some smart phone models lie to corporate servers.

Microsoft Exchange has a mechanism called Exchange ActiveSync which synchronizes data with mobile phones.

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