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Security News, Notably Microsoft/NSA Catastrophe

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Security
  • Major cyber attack hits companies, hospitals, schools worldwide

    Private security firms identified the ransomware as a new variant of "WannaCry" that had the ability to automatically spread across large networks by exploiting a known bug in Microsoft's Windows operating system.

  • Massive cyberattack hits several hospitals across England
  • Rejection Letter

    We start with a shadowy US government agency, the NSA, systematically analyzing the software of the biggest American computer companies in search of vulnerabilities. So far, so plausible: this is one of the jobs of an intelligence and counter-espionage agency focussed on information technology. However, instead of helping Microsoft fix them, we are supposed to believe that the NSA hoard their knowledge of weaknesses in Microsoft Windows, a vitally important piece of their own nation's infrastructure, in case they'll come in handy againt some hypothetical future enemy. (I'm sorry, but this just won't wash; surely the good guys would prioritize protecting their own corporate infrastructure? But this is just the first of the many logical inconsistencies which riddle the back story and plot of "Zero Day".)

  • Microsoft issues ‘highly unusual’ Windows XP patch to prevent massive ransomware attack
  • Is it prudent to ask if Britain’s nuke subs, which also run Windows XP, have also been hit by ransomware?

    Let’s reword this to drive the point home. How likely is it that the United States NSA, through its persistent interest in keeping us unsafe, has managed to hand control of Britain’s nuclear weapons platforms to unknown ransomware authors, perhaps in Russia or Uzbekistan?

  • Current wave of ransomware not written by ordinary criminals, but by the NSA

    The lesson here is that the NSA’s mission, keeping a country safe, is in direct conflict with its methods of collecting a catalog of vulnerabilities in critical systems and constructing weapons to use against those systems, weapons that will always leak, instead of fixing the discovered weaknesses and vulnerabilities that make us unsafe.

  • Wana Decrypt0r Ransomware Outbreak Temporarily Stopped By "Accidental Hero"

    A security researcher that goes online by the nickname of MalwareTech is the hero of the day, albeit an accidental one, after having saved countless of computers worldwide from a virulent form of ransomware called Wana Decrypt0r (also referenced as WCry, WannaCry, WannaCrypt, and WanaCrypt0r).

  • DDOS attacks in Q1 2017

    In Q1 2017, the geography of DDoS attacks narrowed to 72 countries, with China accounting for 55.11% (21.9 p.p. less than the previous quarter). South Korea (22.41% vs. 7.04% in Q4 2016) and the US (11.37% vs. 7.30%) were second and third respectively.

    The Top 10 most targeted countries accounted for 95.5% of all attacks. The UK (0.8%) appeared in the ranking, replacing Japan. Vietnam (0.8%, + 0.2 p.p.) moved up from seventh to sixth, while Canada (0.7%) dropped to eighth.

  • Applied Physical Attacks and Hardware Pentesting

    This week, I had the opportunity to take Joe Fitzpatrick’s class “Applied Physical Attacks and Hardware Pentesting”. This was a preview of the course he’s offering at Black Hat this summer, and so it was in a bit of an unpolished state, but I actually enjoyed the fact that it was that way. I’ve taken a class with Joe before, back when he and Stephen Ridley of Xipiter taught “Software Exploitation via Hardware Exploitation”, and I’ve watched a number of his talks at various conferences, so I had high expectations of the course, and he didn’t disappoint.

  • SambaXP 2017: John Hixson’s Reflection

    The next talk was given by Jeremy Allison on the recent symlink CVE. Jeremy explained how it was discovered and the measures that were taken to fix it.

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Kernel Space: HMM, Cloud Native, Linux 4.12, TFS, Linux 4.11.2, and 4.10 EoL

  • Faster machine learning is coming to the Linux kernel
    Heterogenous memory management (HMM) allows a device’s driver to mirror the address space for a process under its own memory management. As Red Hat developer Jérôme Glisse explains, this makes it easier for hardware devices like GPUs to directly access the memory of a process without the extra overhead of copying anything. It also doesn't violate the memory protection features afforded by modern OSes.
  • Product Development in the Age of Cloud Native
    Ever since the mass adoption of Agile development techniques and devops philosophies that attempt to eradication organizational silos, there’s been a welcome discussion on how to optimize development for continuous delivery on a massive scale. Some of the better known adages that have taken root as a result of this shift include “deploy in production after checking in code” (feasible due to the rigorous upfront testing required in this model), “infrastructure as code”, and a host of others that, taken out of context, would lead one down the path of chaos and mayhem. Indeed, the shift towards devops and agile methodologies and away from “waterfall” has led to a much needed evaluation of all processes around product and service delivery that were taken as a given in the very recent past.
  • Running Intel Kabylake Graphics On Linux 4.12
  • TFS File-System Still Aiming To Compete With ZFS, Written In Rust
    The developers behind the Rust-based Redox operating system continue working on the "TFS" file-system that they hope will compete with the long-standing ZFS file-system, but TFS isn't being tied to just Redox OS.
  • Linux Kernel 4.10 Reached End of Life, Users Urged to Move to Linux 4.11 Series
    Greg Kroah-Hartman informed the Linux community about the release and immediate availability of the seventeenth maintenance update to the Linux 4.10 kernel series, which also marked the end of life.
  • Linux Kernel 4.11.2 Has Many F2FS and CIFS Improvements, Lots of Updated Drivers

ROSA Fresh R9

ROSA is a desktop distribution that was originally forked from Mandriva Linux, but now is independently developed. While the company which produces ROSA is based in Russia, the distribution includes complete translations for multiple languages. The ROSA desktop distribution is designed to be easy to use and includes a range of popular applications and multimedia support. ROSA R9 is available in two editions, one featuring the KDE 4 desktop and the second featuring the KDE Plasma 5 desktop. These editions are scheduled to receive four years of support and security updates. I decided to download the Plasma edition of ROSA R9 and found the installation media to be approximately 2GB in size. Booting from the ROSA disc brings up a menu asking if we would like to load the distribution's live desktop environment or begin the installation process. Taking the live option brings up a graphical wizard that asks us a few questions. We are asked to select our preferred language from a list and accept the project's warranty and license. We are then asked to select our time zone and keyboard layout from lists. With these steps completed, the wizard disappears and the Plasma 5.9 desktop loads. Read more