Archive for October, 2005

Oct 28 2005

Wow. Just wow

Published by under Blogging

Attack of the Blogs –

It’s rare you see such broad generalizations based on so few examples. Daniel Lyons vilifies every blogger in existence as horrible, lying, cheating morons. It makes me wonder what his personal agenda is. The funny thing is, the way his article comes across, he’s guilty of slandering the general blogging community in much the same way he’s accusing us of doing. And he’ll probably use the backlash he get’s from the community as evidence of how right his story is. I think the appropriate term for Mr. Lyons would be ‘bigot’

For the record, I have never attacked anyone online, though I have written a couple of unfavorable review of products in the past. And, when I do a review, I am perfectly willing to post any rebutal sent to me.

By the way, you’ll either need an account on Forbes or use BugMeNot

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Oct 27 2005

Politics of the Web

Published by under General – Thinking Global

I don’t talk politics much, either on the blog or in the real world. I feel that most political situations are too complex for easy summation and judgement. The current fight between the US and the rest of the world for control of the Internet is another example of that.

(Long rant follows. I figured you can read the rest of it in the extended entry if you’re interested)

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Oct 27 2005

PCI Webcast

Published by under PCI

SANS Institute Free Webcast: The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard

Thanks to John Sawyer for pointing me to this free SANS webcast on Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. Both speakers sound like they have a decent amount of experience in security and auditing. SANS is also offering online classes on PCI, but I haven’t been able to convince my boss it would be worth the money so far.

And if you PCI is one of your areas of interest, join the PCI_Standards Yahoo group. You can either send an email to, or use the handy dandy subscribe box on the right of your screen. The group is still small, but there have already been a couple of worthwile conversations.

Thanks again, John.

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Oct 27 2005

Spear Phishing

Published by under Phishing, scams, etc.

SC Magazine US

Unluckily, I’m not surprised to hear that targetted phishing attacks are starting to become more commonplace. The goal in the average phishing attack is to send hundreds of thousands of emails out, hoping that there are one or two people out there who are gullible enough to take the bait. With ‘spear phishing’ the attacker learns enough about the target that an email can be sent that looks like it’s official and from a trusted source. One of the targets of this type of phishing is usually usernames and passwords.

I’m willing to bet that this is really nothing new. I’m sure industrial espionage has been performed via company memo for decades. Why risk going to a company to steal the secret formula when you can just send a memo on company letterhead asking the target to send you the formula.

This is one more reason that end user education is so important. Most people already know better than to give out their password, but there are always going to be one or two people who are going to think to themselves, ‘This is different, it’s official this time.’ But it’s not; we, the IT folks, should never ask for a username/password. And if you catch one of your people doing this, remind them why we shouldn’t.

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Oct 26 2005

Celebrating by giving stuff away!

Published by under General

HNS – HNS 7th Anniversary Book Contest

No, not me! The HNS blog is celebrating their 7th(!!!) anniversary of being online by giving away 6 awesome titles from Addison-Wesley. I don’t know why I’m telling you guys, since that only cuts down on my chances to win one of these books!

Thanks to Richard Bejtlich at the Tao of Network Security for pointing me to this. Two of the books are one’s he’s written, and if the Tao of Network Security Monitoring is anything of a benchmark for his writing, they should be good.

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Oct 26 2005

Problems for Skype

Published by under Security Advisories

High-risk flaws in Skype

Just when I’d been thinking about trying out Skype myself, this comes out. I don’t have a huge need to make long distance calls, but I also don’t want to miss out on the next Big Thing. Now I’m glad I’ve had too much else to do to start playing with Skype.

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Oct 25 2005

Holy blocked blogs Batman

Published by under Blogging

Wired News: No Longer Safe for Work: Blogs

This is news to me. This is the first time I’ve heard of a company specifically blocking blogs. I wonder if my blog is being blocked anywhere.

I can understand blocking blogs in some environments, just like you need to block some regular web sites. But blocking them as a blanket statement seems a little extreme to me.

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Oct 25 2005

I’d quit playing

Published by under Security Advisories

EFF: DeepLinks

I have a few friends who play World of Warcraft. If I didn’t already have City of Heroes/Villains to play, I might of gotten sucked into WoW along with them. And then I’d be quitting the game and be really ticked off!

You see, Blizzard has decided their right to make sure your not cheating outweighs your right to privacy. With the latest patch they changed their EULA (another much hated subject) and installed a program called ‘Warden’ to monitor all the open processes on your computer and deny you if they find anything they don’t like. What is and isn’t acceptable isn’t clear to me, but I can’t play a game that’s going to spy on my computer.

The reasoning behind this is that there are a number of players who are using ‘bots to cheat at WoW. But the only reason these players can have ‘bots in the first place is because Blizzard made the WoW interface extensible, eg, the made it so you can add your own programs to it to make it more user-friendly. But unluckily, that also opened the door for the ‘bots.

Blizzard has made a number of mistakes lately, but I think this is one of the biggest. Not to long ago they had a major problem with an update creating a plague in the game universe. If they made a mistake like that on the server-side code, I’d hate for them to make a similar mistake on my computer.

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Oct 25 2005

Scary stuff – Metasploit

Published by under Hacking

Powerful payloads: The evolution of exploit frameworks

The idea behind Metasploit isn’t surprising; code re-use is something most programmers have been doing since programing began. But the thought of having a ready-to-rumble, just add exploit, code base is just scary. And if this is what the white-hat hackers are working on, I have to wonder what some of the black-hats have been developing.

I’ve never used Metasploit before, but according to Ed Skoudis, the article’s author, it’s relatively easy to use and has a highly flexible system for adding the remote control vector of your choice. The only thing that seems to limit the program at all is that each of the modules has a predefined set of instructions. The problem is, some of the people who might not be able to program some of these modules from scratch can probably still modify the code Metasploit offers.

I’ve heard rumors of a few similar tools in the hacking and virus community. Nothing brazen enough to have a publicly accessible web site, but I’m prtty confident they’re out there. It used to be that the window for patching was weeks. Now it’s measured in days. How long until we measure it in hours? With tools like this, it might not be long.

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Oct 25 2005

Snort BO Exploit available

Published by under IDS

SANS – Internet Storm Center – Cooperative Cyber Threat Monitor And Alert System – Current Infosec News and Analysis

Well, the details are a little light so far, but it looks like there’s an exploit available for the Snort Back Orifice vulnerability. If you’re using 2.4.0, 2.4.1 or 2.4.2 of Snort, you need to update immediately.

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