In one of those "why would anyone ever think to try something like this" moments, researchers have discovered that freezing encrypted Android devices will allow them to gain access to previously encrypted data. The encryption scheme used by Android has been a "nightmare" for law enforcement, though it looks like this won't be the case for much longer.
Tilo Muller, Michael Spreitzenbarth and Felix Freiling, researchers at Erlangen's Friedrich-Alexander University, placed Android phones into a freezer until they were below -10C. For some reason, this allowed them to quickly connect and disconnect the battery, placing the phone into a vulnerable mode.
Once the phone was in this state, they could load custom software onto the device. Known as Forensic Recovery of Scrambled Telephones, or FROST for short, the software allowed the data to be copied off to a computer for analysis. Luckily for consumers, the group of researchers are now attempting to figure out a way to prevent this hack from working.
Coming on the heels of a bug that allows partial access to the Galaxy Note II, a new bug has been discovered that provides full access to a device locked with a pin, password, or gesture. The bug was posted on the Full Disclosure mailing list by Sean McMillian and makes use of a variation on the original bug.
ZDNet verified the bug on their Galaxy S III running Android 4.1.2 and note that "the issue is very small and difficult to replicate at first." McMillian's instructions are as follows:
- On the code entry screen, press Emergency Call
- Press Emergency Contacts
- Press the Home button once
- Just after pressing the Home button, press the power button quickly
- If successful, pressing the power button again will bring you to the S3's home screen.
It seems like it's not just Apple that is having security issues stemming from the emergency call function. Samsung has not yet commented on the bug and there is not a current estimate for how long it will take for a fix to be released.
Apple has released an update to Java 6 that patches a zero-day vulnerability discovered a few days ago. Mac OS X Lion and Mountain Lion users should download the Java for OS X 2013-002 update so that they aren't susceptible to the zero-day exploit that has been used in the wild. Mac OS X 10.6 Update 14 can be used for Snow Leopard users.
Oddly enough, Oracle delivers updates for Java 7, while Apple is tasked with keeping Java 6 updated.
In a release today, China's Defense Ministry unveiled new details about alleged cyber-attacks on its websites. The report points a finger at the US claiming that about two-thirds of the security breaches originated from the USA.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesma, Geng Yansheng, said:
"The Defense Ministry and China Military Online websites have faced a serious threat from hacking attacks since they were established, and the number of hacks has risen steadily in recent years. According to the IP addresses, the Defense Ministry and China Military Online websites were, in 2012, hacked on average from overseas 144,000 times a month, of which attacks from the U.S. accounted for 62.9 percent."
China says that it received more than 144,000 cyber intrusions a month in 2012 and that the US government is responsible for the majority of said breaches. The report comes hot on the heels of a report last month from security firm Mandiant, which traced cyber-attacks on US media outlets back to China.
Another iOS 6.1 lockscreen vulnerability discovered, allows full access to contacts, pictures, and more
More and more bugs continue to be found in Apple's iOS 6.1 update. The latest to be found is another bug that allows people to bypass the lockscreen of a device secured with a pin. This exploit allows direct access to a device's contacts, pictures, videos, and more simply by executing a few easy steps.
The steps are similar to the previous lockscreen bug that was discovered and involves the same process of making a call to an emergency number. The process relies heavily on the earlier exploit, though this one allows hackers to pull data from the device directly through a USB cable, useful if you want to transfer large amounts of data (read: numerous pictures).
Apple has a fix for the first passcode bug already included in the iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 update, though it's not clear if that patch will fix this latest bug to be discovered.
It was only hours ago that Anonymous' Twitter account was hacked, and now it seems that the hacking collective have taken down, or at least infiltrated yet another federal government website.
The latest target is the US State Department, and on top of hacking the site itself, they were able to acquire personal data on hundreds of State department employees, posting it all online. The personal data includes private and work e-mails, phone numbers and addresses that Anonymous dumped on the ZeroBin website.
Anonymous have said that the hack on the US State Department is in retaliation for the arresting of members from LulzSec. Anonymous said within their data post to ZeroBin:
Our reasons for this attack are very simple. You've imprisoned or either censored our people. We will not tolerate things as such. You don't see us going around censoring everything that is inappropriate or we do not like. Basically, you tried to put an end to us and you got owned, there's nothing more you can say or do. You took away Topiary, Avunit, Neuron, Pwnsauce, lolspoon, Aaron Swartz shall we go on?
It looks like Burger King and Donald Trump aren't the only ones having trouble with Twitter hacks this week. Ironically, one of Anonymous' Twitter accounts was the target of a hack. Rustle League, a little-known hacking group, has taken responsibility for compromising the @Anon_Central Twitter account.
"The reason Anonymous fell victim is probably human weakness," said Graham Cluley, senior consultant at security firm Sophos. "Chances are that they followed poor password practices, like using the same password in multiple places or choosing a password that was easy to crack."
We didn't capture any screenshots of tweets sent out while the account was out of Anonymous' control. If you managed to see some of the tweets--if there were any--let us know what they said!
Donald Trump can now count himself among an exclusive group of high-profile users who had their Twitter accounts hacked during the past week. We started out this week with Burger King's Twitter being hijacked and tweeting that they had been bought by McDonalds.
Jeep joined the party a bit later in the week and Donald Trump has joined the ranks today, though he regained his account much quicker than the others. Just before 12p.m. EST, Trump's account tweeted lyrics from Will.I.Am's "Scream & Shout (Remix)" song, as seen in the picture above.
Within 15 minutes, the tweet was deleted, but not before being retweeted by over 1,000 people. Trump has probably said "You're Fired!" to the people in charge of keeping his Twitter account safe and has tweeted that he is looking for the perpetrators.
MTV and BET attempted to jump on the Twitter hacking bandwagon by pretending to hack each other. The stunt failed to pay off and the two companies have received negative feedback over it.
Reports surfaced today stating that a small number of Apple's systems were hacked through the same zero-day Java exploit that Facebook's systems fell victim to in January. The source of the exploit is said to be the same as the one that managed to infect some of Facebook's systems. In the case of Apple, there is no evidence that any data was transmitted from Apple's systems.
"Apple has identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers," the company said in a statement. "The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers. We identified a small number of systems within Apple that were infected and isolated them from our network."
Apple has released an update to Mac OS X that will help protect customers from the malware. The update can be installed from the Software Update panel in the Mac App Store or downloaded directly from Apple's website.
The source of the Facebook and Apple hacks is said to be a mobile development website known as iPhoneDevSDK. It's likely that the site didn't know that they were infected as it is a fairly reputable site when it comes to mobile development.
Security firm Mandiant has come out with quite the startling report titled "APT1: Exposing One of China's Cyber Espionage Units", which has tracked the alleged military-backed Chinese hacking group dubbed as Advanced Persistent Threat 1 all the way back to 2006.
Mandiant have written "Our analysis has led us to conclude that APT1 is likely government-sponsored and one of the most persistent of China's cyber threat actors." The group is also believed to be the 2nd Bureau of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) General Staff Department's (GSD) 3rd Department, otherwise known as Unit 61398.
The New York Times have written about it, where they worked off an advance copy of the report, which led them to buildings in Shanghai which they believe is where the unit is based. The Times then encountered persistent attacks from Chinese hackers last year, where they worked with Mandiant to monitor and block the intrusions into their network.
Burger King has had its Twitter account hacked today. It promptly tweeted out that the company had been purchased by McDonalds. The Profile picture and cover photo were changed out to make this more believable. Twitter accounts are hacked all the time, but they usually aren't the high profile brand profiles.
Twitter sells itself as a brand-friendly social network. With a high-profile hack such as this, some of the brands could start to rethink their reliance on the site. With the potential implications aside, let's take a look at some of the hilarious tweets pushed out while it was hacked.
The account was suspended by Twitter around 1:35p.m. EST. The hack appears to have been orchestrated by someone in the Anonymous collective, though why they would go after Burger King isn't immediately clear. Whatever the reason may be, we're glad they were making funny tweets instead of vulgar ones.
Proving that everyone is susceptible to weak passwords, the hoax zombie alert that went out across multiple stations' emergency alert system is being blamed upon the stations not changing the default password to the system. This allowed the still-unnamed prankster to hack into the system and send out the fake alert.
Most people weren't too concerned with the fake alert. In fact, it seems that the stations are more concerned with the fact that the system was able to be compromised. According to Cynthia Thompson, station manager for Michigan's ABC 10 affiliate, "the nature of the message Monday night was not necessarily dangerous, but the fact that the system was vulnerable to outside intrusion IS a danger."
If the prankster had wanted to cause more panic, a fake terrorist attack message or natural disaster message would have likely proved more effective. This is where the real concern comes into play as someone wanting to cause real issues could display a message such as that. Reportedly two products from one of the main EAS vendors is susceptible to compromise even after the default password has been changed.
Officials from the United States Federal Reserve have confirmed that hackers stole information from its servers. The information, which was released by Anonymous, was gleaned from a security vulnerability in a website vendor product. The hole has since been patched and never gave access to any critical data.
The information apparently came from a contact database that was kept in case of a natural disaster. A breach of the Federal Reserve servers will certainly shine a spotlight on the agency and cause the public's trust in the Federal Reserve to decline. Furthermore, this should cause the public to question security measures of other top agencies.
The Federal Reserve has actually been compromised before this occasion. Back in 2010, Malaysian hacker Lin Mun Poo hacked into the US Reserve and stole data with the intent to use it to steal money.
Anonymous target bank executives in their latest attack, unleash personal information of over 4000 executives
Anonymous have struck again, this time into the hearts of US banking executives - over 4000 of them. These 4000+ bankers have had their personal information leaked in Anonymous' latest campaign dubbed Operation Last Resort.
Anonymous' campaign is designed to provoke computer crime law reform after the suicide of Internet activist and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz. Anonymous have reportedly hacked into the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center's website over the weekend, where they used the site to host the spreadsheet of the executives' information. This spreadsheet includes the information of bankers' names, phone numbers, computer log-in credentials and IP addresses.
The Twitter account of Anonymous talked about getting the information from Federal Reserve computers, and when contacted for a comment by the Huffington Post, a spokesperson refused to comment on Anonymous' claims, nor would they confirm if a statement was on its way.
In another example of the future being cyber terror and cyber warfare, the US Department of Energy has announced that it was hacked mid-January. The hack reportedly affected several hundred employees, though the agency says that "no classified data was compromised."
This story comes on the heels of The New York Times announcing that they had been the target of Chinese hackers after running a story about the new president of China. The hack appears to have only provided the hackers with personal data of employees, though there is cause for concern as the Department of Energy oversees the US's nuclear research.
The hackers have not been identified, though it appears that they may not be connected with any countries that have previously been accused of hacking.
Just over 24 hours ago we reported that Twitter was experiencing a global outage, but more information has been released by Twitter where they've announced that they were actually victims of some attacks this week.
Twitter took to their company blog where they said during the week they had detected "unusual access patterns" that led them to see that unauthorized attempts to access users' data was made. Twitter actually discovered one attack as it was happening, where they were able to quickly shut it down shortly after.
The social networking site said that the attackers may have had access to information for close to 250,000 different users. Twitter added "usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords" would have been available.
Twitter have since reset the passwords and revoked session token for all affected accounts, with affected users to expect an email notifying them of the reset. Because of the hack, Twitter have taken the time to "echo" the recent advisory by the Department of Homeland Security, who have told users to disable Java on their systems for the best security.
We hope you're brushed up on your hacking skills, as Mega founder (we can't really keep saying MegaUpload founder now, can we?) is offering up a bounty for the first person to break into Mega.
Dotcom is offering a very tidy 10,000 euros (or roughly $13,580) for the first person to break into Mega, where he has offered up the prize for enterprising hackers after the site was criticized for the way it handles security. Mega launched just under two weeks ago now and has since taken 50 million files from users.
Dotcom's bounty offer is a good way to get hackers to break through their security so that they know what to patch up, but we should expect this from a 'beta' of a cloud storage site.
The Pentagon has approved an increase in cyber security staff that would see an increase in the number of staff from around 900 to roughly 4,900. The 4,900 staff members would be composed of both military and civilian personnel and is possibly in response to events such as Anonymous' attack on the US DOJ or the finding of malware on power plants' computers.
Future wars are likely to be conducted in cyber space rather than on the ground with traditional troops and weapons, so it will be important for the US to have a large enough security force that is well trained to protect itself from these future threats. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta acknowledges that the US hasn't invested enough in cyber security:
"We've got good people that are involved in it, but, very frankly, if we're going to stay on the cutting edge of what's happening with regards to the chances that are occurring, we have to invest more in that area," Panetta said in a speech last November.
Google wants hackers to compromise Chrome OS at Pwnium 3 competition, $3.14159M in prizes offered up
Google is one of the leaders when it comes to offering bug bounties. At Pwnium 3, Google has brought lots of money to the table to ensure that Chrome OS is the most secure it can possibly be. By offering up $3.14159 million in prizes, Google hopes to entice the world's best hackers to compromise Chrome OS before someone with bad intentions can.
Prizes will be in two different levels:
- $110,000: browser or system level compromise in guest mode or as a logged-in user, delivered via a web page.
- $150,000: compromise with device persistence - guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page.
If a hacker is unable to do that, Google isn't hanging them out to dry. Partial awards will be offered for incomplete or unreliable exploits. Attacks must work against a Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook running the latest Chrome OS if the hacker wishes to collect the prize.
Pwnium 3 will be held at CanSecWest in Vancouver, BC, on March 7. The competition will run at the same time as Pwn2Own, which is taking place at the same place from March 6-8.
Aaron Swartz took his life a couple of weeks ago and we have now seen hacktivist collective Anonymous making a strategic move by hacking a US government website related to the justice system.
They posted on the site informing everyone they would begin leaking a cache of government documents if the justice system is not reformed. Anonymous hacked the website for the United States Sentencing Commission late Friday, where they posted a message about what they're calling "Operation Last Resort", which included a bunch of downloadable, but encrypted files that they say contain sensitive information.
Anonymous' statement reads:
Two weeks ago today, a line was crossed. Two weeks ago today, Aaron Swartz was killed. Killed because he faced an impossible choice. Killed because he was forced into playing a game he could not win -- a twisted and distorted perversion of justice -- a game where the only winning move was not to play.
The United States is again the best at something, though this probably isn't something we want to be the best at. According to data from McAfee, the United States is home to the largest number of botnet servers in the world. Botnet servers are the servers that send commands and receive data back from computers that have been compromised by attackers.
The list may not be completely accurate as often times owners of these botnet C&C servers try to mask their location by using proxies and other methods. However, McAfee's data shows that 631 C&C servers are located in the United States, which is more than two and a half times greater than the British Virgin Islands.
The British Virgin Islands is second on the list with 237 servers. Netherlands, Russia, Germany, and Korea follow with 154, 125, 95, and 81 servers, respectively. The map above shows the number of botnet servers around the world, according to McAfee's data. In the US, it appears the servers are mainly located in Los Angeles, California and Washington DC.