Sunday, August 9, 2009

Quote of the day

Quote of the day

Our real enemies are the people who make us feel so good that we are slowly, but inexorably, pulled down into the quicksand of smugness and self-satisfaction.

Sydney Harris

New IT Term of the day

New IT Term of the day


Short for dark Internet, in file sharing terminology, a darknet is a Internet or private network, where information and content are shared by darknet participants anonymously. Darknets are popular with users who share copy protected files as the service will let users send and receive files anonymously — that is, users cannot be traced, tracked or personally identified. Usually, darknets are not easily accessible via regular Web browsers.

ATTACK : Attackers Took Shots at Wi-Fi Network at Black Hat

ATTACK : Attackers Took Shots at Wi-Fi Network at Black Hat

by Brian Prince

August 4, 2009

It should come as no surprise that at a security conference called 'Black Hat' there would be a fair amount of shenanigans going on over the WLAN network.

According to Aruba Networks, which provided the Wi-Fi network at the conference last month in Las Vegas, attackers were up to their usual tricks. The company tracked and analyzed all attempted attacks throughout the event.

Here is what they found:


Security stats:

  • 9 suspected rogue access points were detected.
  • 175 attempts by a wireless user to access the Aruba mobility controller were blocked by the Aruba firewall.
  • 23 impersonation attacks were detected.
  • 71 non-Blackhat access points were detected.
  • 154 denial-of-service attacks were detected.

In some ways, the numbers were an improvement from 2008; in some ways not. For example, fewer rogue access points were detected this year. On the other hand, there were 130 more denial-of-service attacks detected in 2009. Check out these numbers:


Security stats:

  • Each day there were between 10-15 rogue APs detected (rogue defined as an AP that was advertising the conference SSID of "BlackHat").
  • 49 users attempted to connect to rogue APs and were blocked by RFprotect, which generated 709 shielding actions
  • 362 attempts by a wireless user to access the Aruba mobility controller were blocked by the Aruba firewall.
  • 221 attempts by a wireless user to ARP poison the default gateway were blocked by the Aruba firewall.
  • 140 port scans (nmap or similar) from wireless users to other wireless users were detected and blocked by the Aruba firewall.
  • 57 non-Blackhat APs were detected
  • 24 denial of service attacks were detected. The average duration of each attack was 24 seconds.

The stats are a reminder that whether you are at a security conference or at a local Starbucks, it is best to keep your guard up.

CHINA : Hacker Schools Become Big Business

CHINA : Hacker Schools Become Big Business

By Matthew Harwood



Long known as a prominent source of cyberattacks worldwide, China has seen the emergence of online training schools that teach students the skills necessary to either be a network defender or a cybercriminal.

These "hacker schools," as they're known, are also big business, generating $34.8 million last year, reports China Daily.

Students can enroll in online classes for as little as a few hundred yuan.

While some schools advertise themselves as training the next generation of security experts, many worry a percentage of the students will use their skills to commit various cybercrimes, such as identity theft or stealing trade secrets.

Wang Xianbing—a security consultant for a prominent online hacking school, Hackbase.com—likens the training provided by the Web site to that of the locksmith trade.

"It's like teaching lock picking," he told Beijing Today. "No one can guarantee the student will become a professional locksmith rather than a future thief."

Rather it's up to the individual and his conscience whether to use his knowledge for good or evil, Wang said. Interviewed by China Daily, he said that the company's students are explicitly told not to use their knowledge for illegal activities.

"Lots of hacker schools only teach students how to hack into unprotected computers and steal personal information," said Wang. "They then make a profit by selling users' information."

Imparting such knowledge, even with caveats, runs obvious risks. Last year alone, according to China Daily, hacking cost the Chinese economy approximately $1 billion. Globally, Symantec estimates cybercrime cost firms a total of $1 trillion in 2008, reported CNet.com in January.

But money isn't the only motivation, reports China Daily.

A 25-year-old hacker school student from Shanghai surnamed Wang, said most of his "classmates" simply enroll in hacker school for personal reasons, such as spying on relatives, showing off their computer-savvy skills or taking revenge on a rival's Websites, rather than making money.

Wang described the Catch-22 of teaching a new generation of security experts the tools of the trade: "They have to learn how to attack a Web site before they can learn how to defend it."

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CONTROL : Malaysia considering internet filter

CONTROL : Malaysia considering internet filter


06 August 2009


MALAYSIA is considering the establishment of an Internet filter, similar to China's abandoned 'Green Dam' project, a source familiar with the process told Reuters on Thursday.

News of the proposal emerged within days of police arresting nearly 600 opposition supporters at a weekend rally denouncing a government that has ruled this Southeast Asian country for 51 years.

A vibrant Internet culture has contributed to political challenges facing the government, which tightly controls mainstream media and has used sedition laws and imprisonment without trial to prosecute a blogger.

'They (the government) are looking to tweak the technical and legal details of implementing this Internet filter, setting the stage for its implementation late this year or next year,' said the source, who declined to be identified.

No one from the government was available for comment.

Malaysia plans to double home Internet penetration to 50 per cent by the end of next year with a new broadband project.

New Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim, whose ministry issued the tender, also plans to secure control over the content and monitoring division of Malaysia's Internet regulator, a second source said.

'The minister wants to focus more on enforcement in the coming year,' the source said.

Malaysia, with a population of 27 million, attracted foreign technology companies such as Microsoft Corp and Cisco Systems to invest and guaranteed that the government would not impose controls on the Internet.

Ms Rais said last month that wider broadband access required more regulation.

'With the good comes the bad through the broadband over the Internet,' he said. 'We will introduce certain measures to overcome the bad.'

THREAT : Cyber security threat to India is real

THREAT : Cyber security threat to India is real

Vicky Nanjappa


August 05, 2009


The demand for better methods to enforce cyber security has grown stronger since the November 26 attacks in Mumbai

India has a dedicated organisation, CERT-In -- which operates under the auspices of the department of communication and information technology -- to tackle cyber crimes. However, the agency is not a prosecuting body.

An officer at CERT-In told rediff.com over the telephone from New Delhi that although the agency does not have the legal power to examine cyber crimes, it can probe cases referred to the organisation.

CERT-In, which covers both government and military areas, says the threats relating to cyber security are on the rise. Common targets include critical infrastructure like telecommunication, transportation, energy and finance.

The attackers are not confined to information infrastructures and geographical boundaries. They exploit network interconnections and navigate easily through the infrastructure. More worryingly, these cyber criminals are becoming more skilled at masking their behaviour.

CERT-In consists a group of professionals headed by a director who investigate cases referred to the agency. It submits a report to the police station that has sought the agency's help following which a chargesheet is filed.

Why not a single agency?

Senior police officers say it is difficult to have a single agency looking at such cases.

If a crime is committed in a particular state, it is easier for police officers of that state to probe the case. At present, one police officer adds, no one person has complete charge of cyber security.

Although the Union government drafts all cyber laws and CERT-In assists in investigations, the final call can be taken by the cyber crime wings based in the states.

The only other national agency which can probe cyber crime cases is the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The prosecuting agency

The ministry for communication and information technology governs the system pertaining to cyber security. While the ministry is largely involved in drafting laws, the actual job on the ground is handled by the cyber-crime wings in the states.

The law is clear that a complaint pertaining to a cyber crime or threat can be assigned only to the jurisdictional cyber crime wing in each state. An inspector general of police heads each cyber crime wing; a superintendent of police, inspectors and sub inspectors report to her/him. Only this department can file a chargesheet and prosecute individuals involved in cyber criminal activity.

The inspector general of police reports to the state police chief.

An officer in the Karnataka cyber crime wing said it is often difficult to crack a case as the cell does not have enough IT professionals. In such cases, CERT-In's assistance is sought.

Experts feel the process of investigating a cyber crime is cumbersome under the present set-up. It is difficult to have a national level agency which takes a final call since Indian law clearly states that cases will be probed on a jurisdictional basis for all practical purposes.

R Srikumar, a former Karnataka police chief and chairman of the Cyber Society of India (Karnataka chapter), says that trained personnel could be inducted into cyber crime cells so that the procedure of referring the matter to another agency and then waiting for a report to proceed with the prosecution can be avoided.

Professor Chandrashekar, a forensics expert and a member of the CSI, believes dedicated teams of IT professionals should be appointed by respective state governments to work with the cyber crime wings.

Former CBI Director R Raghavan launched the first cyber society in Tamil Nadu. Professor Chandrashekar explains that the society's role is to train professionals in cracking cyber crimes.

He says the society will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Law School, Bengaluru, to introduce a course in cyber security. The course will issue a certificate to certified cyber crime investigators.

Cyber crime wings in the states could then employ such certified investigators.

Although private security agencies investigate cyber crimes, the Union government has not made full use of their services as is the case in some countries.

Sources say the government may seek the skills of private agencies in select cases, but would prefer to improve official cyber crime wings since such cases often involve national security.

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