Jan 26 2014

Google Pwnium 4 Invites Hackers to Attack Chrome OS at CanSecWest

google pwnium 4 Google holds regular competitions to encourage involvement in improving the security of the Chromium project. Contests like Pwnium helps to better patch specific exploits and issues to make Chromium even more secure.

This year Pwnium 4 will once again set sights on Chrome OS, and will be hosted in March at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver.

With a total of $2.71828 Million USD in the pot, Pwnium rewards will be issued for eligible Chrome OS exploits at the following levels:

— $110,000 USD: browser or system-level compromise in guest mode or as a logged-in user, delivered via a web page.
— $150,000 USD: compromise with device persistence: guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page.

Past Pwnium competitions have focused on Intel-based Chrome OS devices, but this year researchers can choose between an ARM-based Chromebook, the HP Chromebook 11 (WiFi), or the Acer C720 Chromebook (2GB WiFi) that is based on the Intel Haswell microarchitecture. The attack must be demonstrated against one of these devices running the then-current stable version of Chrome OS.

Participants need to register in advance for a timeslot. To register, e-mail pwnium4@chromium.org. Registration will close at 5:00 p.m. PST Monday, March 10th, 2014. Only exploits demonstrated on time in this specifically-arranged window will be eligible for a reward.

More Info:
The Chromium Blog : Announcing Pwnium 4 Targeting Chrome OS
Pwnium4@CanSecWest2014 : Official Rules
Chromium OS : Developer Guide

Jan 22 2014

’123456′ Declared Worst Internet Password of 2013

Worst Passwords 2013 The 2013 list of worst passwords, influenced by postings from the Adobe breach, demonstrates the importance of not basing passwords on the application or website being accessed.

SplashData has announced its annual list of the 25 most common passwords found on the Internet. For the first time since SplashData began compiling its annual list, “password” has lost its title as the most common and therefore Worst Password, and two-time runner-up “123456″ took the dubious honor. “Password” fell to #2.

According to SplashData, this year’s list was influenced by the large number of passwords from Adobe users posted online by security consulting firm Stricture Consulting Group following Adobe’s well publicized security breach.

“Seeing passwords like ‘adobe123′ and ‘photoshop’ on this list offers a good reminder not to base your password on the name of the website or application you are accessing,” says Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData.

SplashData’s list of frequently used passwords shows that many people continue to put themselves at risk by using weak, easily guessable passwords. Some other passwords in the Top Ten include “qwerty,” “abc123,” “111111,” and “iloveyou.”

“Another interesting aspect of this year’s list is that more short numerical passwords showed up even though websites are starting to enforce stronger password policies,” Slain said. For example, new to this year’s list are simple and easily guessable passwords like “1234″ at #16, “12345″ at #20, and “000000″ at #25.

Sources:
1] SplashData News – Worst Passwords of 2013
2] Stricture Group – Top 100 Adobe Passwords with Count

Jan 20 2014

Microsoft Remotely Removed Tor Browser Bundle from more than 2 Million Systems

Tor Browser Bundle In August 2013, 4 million infected computers woke up and waited instructions from their master.

The pathogen was Sefnit, a nasty bit of malware that makes infected computers mine bitcoins. Once the computers woke up, they worked under the command of Ukranian and Israeli hackers named Scorpion and Dekadent. The malware communicated with the two by downloading Tor, the powerful anonymizing software, and talking over encrypted channels. It was the first time a botnet, as a collection of slave computers is called, used Tor in such a potentially powerful way.

By using an unconventional method to exploit Windows, the hackers unwittingly forced Microsoft to show a hand few knew it had: The ability to remotely remove progams en masse from people’s computers, without them even knowing it.

All of a sudden, the anonymous network grew from about 1 million users to 5.5 million, a jump that frightened even Tor’s developers.

Sefnit Tor Botnet Metrics

“If this had been a real attacker, if the botnet had been turned against the Tor network, it probably would have been fatal, I think,” developer Jacob Appelbaum said in a speech at the Chaos Communication Congress in December.

On one level, Sefnit’s use of Tor was a mistake. That surge in users brought unwanted attention to the botnet at a time of heightened interested in the Tor network. And the malware, which has existed in various versions of Tor since 2009, specifically targeted Windows users, a fact that got Microsoft’s attention quickly.

To fight back, Microsoft remotely removed the program from as many computers as it could, along with the Tor clients it used.

“That’s a lot of power that Microsoft has there,” Applebaum continued, raising his voice and laughing at the implications. “If you’re using Windows trying to be anonymous, word to the wise: Bad idea.”

It’s no small thing that Microsoft has the ability to reach into certain Windows installations and tear out the parts they deem dangerous, but Andrew Lewman, Tor’s executive director, says there’s little to worry about in this case.

“It sounds scary,” Lewman concluded, “until you realize users opt-in for the most part and agree to have their OS kept ‘secure’ by Microsoft.”

So, yes, Microsoft has the ability to reach into certain computers and delete programs. But, Lewman says, this is the way it’s always been—as long as the user agrees to it first.

Source: The Daily Dot – Microsoft’s secret battle against the Tor botnet

Jan 12 2014

MIT University Website Defaced by Anonymous Hackers in Honor of Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz Last year on January 11, a 26-year-old, young hacker, Reddit co-founder and the digital Activist, Aaron H. Swartz committed suicide.
He found dead in his Brooklyn, New York apartment, where he had hanged himself.

Swartz was indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2011, accused of hacking the MIT JSTOR database and stealing over four million documents with the intent to distribute them. He could have prison for 50 years and $4 million in fines by the Court, but before that he committed suicide in fear. Swartz’s father, Robert, later blamed the MIT and the judiciary system for his son’s death.

On the first Anniversary of Aaron Swartz, today the Anonymous group of hackers defaced the sub-domain of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) website (http://cogen.mit.edu/) for about an hour as part of #OPLASTRESORT. Defacement page was titled ‘THE DAY WE FIGHT BACK’. The message posted on it, “Remember The Day We Fight Back, Remember. We Never Forget, We Never Surrender, Expect Us.”

Anonymous OpLastResort

The attack on the website of MIT is a part of the tragic suicide of hacker Aaron Swartz to give him tribute.

It was the MIT’s role in the federal prosecution against an activist, which ultimately led to him committing suicide, but the U.S Government has not learned anything and they are planning to make laws stricter against hackers.

Recently, The Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman ‘Patrick Leahy’ reintroduced a revamped version of the “Personal Data Privacy and Security Act” for tough criminal penalties for hackers. The new bill suggests 20 years in prison, rather than 10 years (currently) and also recommending to give same penalties for the hackers who even attempt to hack the systems, but doesn’t succeed.