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Security: Intel, Cisco, Apple, FBI

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Security
  • How Much Slower Will My PC Become After Meltdown And Spectre Patches?
  • Intel's Microcode Update for Spectre Exploit Is Now Available in Ubuntu's Repos

    Canonical announced a few moments ago that Intel's latest microcode update for the Spectre security vulnerability is now available from the software repositories of all supported Ubuntu Linux releases.

    After releasing earlier this week new kernel updates to mitigate the Meltdown and Spectre security exploits that put billions of devices at risk of attacks by allowing a local, unprivileged attacker to obtain sensitive information from kernel memory, Canonical now released the updated microcode from Intel for supported Intel CPUs.

  • Cisco can now sniff out malware inside encrypted traffic

    Cisco has switched on latent features in its recent routers and switches, plus a cloud service, that together make it possible to detect the fingerprints of malware in encrypted traffic.

    Switchzilla has not made a dent in transport layer security (TLS) to make this possible. Instead, as we reported in July 2016, Cisco researchers found that malware leaves recognisable traces even in encrypted traffic. The company announced its intention to productise that research last year and this week exited trials to make the service – now known as Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA) - available to purchasers of its 4000 Series Integrated Service Routers, the 1000-series Aggregation Services Router and the model 1000V Cloud Services Router 1000V.

    Those devices can’t do the job alone: users need to sign up for Cisco’s StealthWatch service and let traffic from their kit flow to a cloud-based analytics service that inspects traffic and uses self-improving machine learning algorithms to spot dodgy traffic.

  • MacOS High Sierra security bug lets you unlock App Store System Preferences with any random password

    According to the bug report, users can simply open System Preferences, go to App Store settings and check the padlock icon. If it is unlocked, lock it and then try unlocking it using your username and any password.

  • Intel tells select customers not to use its bug fixes

    Processor giant Intel has told some of its customers that the microcode patches it issued to fix the Meltdown and Spectre flaws in its products are buggy and that they should not install them.

  • Canonical reissues Meltdown and Spectre patches for Ubuntu after borkage
  • A Step in the Right Direction: House Passes the Cyber Vulnerability Disclosure Reporting Act

    The House of Representatives passed the “Cyber Vulnerability Disclosure Reporting Act” this week. While the bill is quite limited in scope, EFF applauds its goals and supports its passage in the Senate.

    H.R. 3202 is a short and simple bill, sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), that would require the Department of Homeland Security to submit a report to Congress outlining how the government deals with disclosing vulnerabilities. Specifically, the mandated report would comprise two parts. First, a “description of the policies and procedures developed [by DHS] for coordinating cyber vulnerability disclosures,” or in other words, how the government reports flaws in computer hardware and software to the developers. And second, a possibly classified “annex” containing descriptions of specific instances where these policies were used to disclose vulnerabilities in the previous year, leading to mitigation of the vulnerabilities by private actors.

    Perhaps the best thing about this short bill is that it is intended to provide some evidence for the government’s long-standing claims that it discloses a large number of vulnerabilities. To date, such evidence has been exceedingly sparse; for instance, Apple received its first ever vulnerability report from the U.S. government in 2016. Assuming the report and annex work as intended, the public’s confidence in the government’s ability to “play defense” may actually increase.

  • FBI Says Device Encryption Is 'Evil' And A Threat To Public Safety

    The FBI continues its anti-encryption push. It's now expanded past Director Christopher Wray to include statements by other FBI personnel. Not that Chris Wray isn't taking every opportunity he can to portray personal security as a threat to the security of the American public. He still is. But he's no longer the only FBI employee willing to speak up on the issue.

    Wray expanded his anti-encryption rhetoric last week at a cybersecurity conference in New York. In short, encryption is inherently dangerous. And the FBI boss will apparently continue to complain about encryption without offering any solutions.

  • Canonical Says It'll Release New Ubuntu Kernels to Further Mitigate Spectre Bugs

    Canonical's Dean Henrichsmeyer published today an update on the Ubuntu patches for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities and what they plan on doing next to mitigate these critical bugs.

    By now, most of you have probably updated your Ubuntu Linux computers to the new kernel versions Canonical released earlier this week, as well as the new Nvidia proprietary graphics driver and Firefox web browser, both including patches to mitigate the Meltdown and Spectre exploits affecting billions of devices powered by modern processors from Intel, AMD, and ARM.

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Ubuntu 17.10 Reaches End of Life, Existing Users Must Upgrade to 18.04

Ubuntu 17.10 reached the end of life on 19th July 2018. This means that systems running Ubuntu 17.10 won’t receive security and maintenance updates from Canonical anymore leaving them vulnerable. Read more

3 big steps toward building authentic developer communities

As more software businesses are selling open source products, we've seen a corresponding rise in the emphasis of building out developer communities around these products as a key metric for success. Happy users are passionate advocates, and these passionate advocates raise overall awareness of a company's product offerings. Attract the right vocal influencers into your community, and customers become more interested in forming a relationship with your company. Doing community building the right way, however, is a delicate balance. Undercut the needs of your user community in favor of driving sales, and your company will face a decrease in adoption and unfavorable brand awareness. Meanwhile, too little focus on the bottom line isn't good for the company. So how can this tension be balanced effectively, especially in a world in which developers are the "new kingmakers" and meeting their sensibilities is a cornerstone of driving corporate purchasing decisions? Over the past year, I've thought a lot about how to do effective community building while building the business bottom line. In this article, I'll outline three big steps to take toward building authentic, productive, sustainable developer communities. Read more Also: A 4-step plan for creating teams that aren't afraid to fail

Amid the 20th anniversary of open source, Tim O’Reilly warns that platform companies built on open-source software have lost their way

It’s rare to hear Chinese philosophy quoted on stage at a software-development conference. But O’Reilly Media founder and CEO Tim O’Reilly invoked the words of Lao Tzu Wednesday morning during the opening keynotes at OSCON 2018 in hopes of convincing those in attendance — many of whom work for the big internet platform companies of our time — that the tech industry needs to return to the spirit of openness and collaboration that drove the early days of the open-source community before it is too late. “We have an opportunity with these next generation of systems, to rebuild, to rethink the future, to discover what does it mean to get these systems right,” O’Reilly said. If the first era of the internet was dominated by open protocols, and the second era was dominated by the rise of huge platform companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook, the third era we’re about to enter presents a chance to get it right again. Read more