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Security Leftovers

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  • More than 300 Cisco switch models vulnerable to CIA hack

    A cache of CIA documents was dropped on the internet two weeks ago via WikiLeaks. It was a huge volume of data, some of which detailed CIA tools for breaking into smartphones and even smart TVs. Now, Cisco has said its examination of the documents points to a gaping security hole in more than 300 models of its switches. There’s no patch for this critical vulnerability, but it’s possible to mitigate the risk with some settings changes.

    Cisco’s security arm sent out an advisory on Friday alerting customers that the IOS and IOS XE Software Cluster were vulnerable to hacks based on the leaked documents. The 318 affected switch models are mostly in the Catalyst series, but there are also some embedded systems and IE-series switches on the list. These are enterprise devices that cost a few thousand dollars at least. So, nothing in your house is affected by this particular attack.

  • Assange chastises companies who haven't responded to CIA vulnerability offers

    Wikileaks head Julian Assange slammed companies not taking the site up on the sites offer to share security flaws the CIA had exploited in their products.

    In a screen-shot statement tweeted on Saturday, Wikileaks noted that "Organizations such as Mozilla" had responded to the site's emails offering unreleased security vulnerabilities from leaked CIA files. "Google and other companies" had not.

    "Most of these lagging companies have conflicts of interest due to their classified work with US government agencies. In practice such associations limit industry staff with US security clearances from fixing holes based on leaked information from the CIA. Should such companies choose to not secure their users against CIA or NSA attacks users may prefer organizations such as Mozilla or European companies that prioritize their users over government contracts," the statement read.

    Wikileaks recently published a trove of files leaked from the CIA, including descriptions of hacking techniques. The site made an effort to redact source code showing how to actually accomplish the techniques, although enough code slipped through the cracks for researchers to reverse engineer at least one of the security flaws.

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With this week's Ryzen 5 2600X + Ryzen 7 2700X benchmarks some thought the CPUFreq scaling driver or rather its governors may have been limiting the performance of these Zen+ CPUs, so I ran some additional benchmarks this weekend. Those launch-day Ryzen 5 2600X / Ryzen 7 2700X Ubuntu Linux benchmarks were using the "performance" governor, but some have alleged that the performance governor may now actually hurt AMD systems... Ondemand, of course, is the default CPUFreq governor on Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions. Some also have said the "schedutil" governor that makes use of the kernel's scheduler utilization data may do better on AMD. So I ran some extra benchmarks while changing between CPUFreq's ondemand (default), performance (normally the best for performance, and what was used in our CPU tests), schedutil (the newest option), and powersave (if you really just care about conserving power). Read more