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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.
US government declares June 1st and 2nd "National day of Civic Hacking", invites hackers to help improve the country
June 1st and 2nd have officially been named National Day of Civic Hacking. NDCH is a national event in which citizens of all schools of hacking are invited to collaborate with developer and entrepreneurs from all corners of the nation to create, build, and invent new solutions using pubically released code, data and technology to better their community.
The National Day of Civic Hacking will give American's a chance to get back to their roots, roll up our sleeves, and create solutions to problems in their communities. The event will utilize the expertise, knowledge and DIY spirit of those outside of federal, state and local governments.
The source listed below includes a list of participating cities, and even if you are not near one of those, there most likely will be many web based events where you can participate. My local metropolis of Augusta, GA will be one of the host cities and I am sure my local Maker Space, The Clubhouse, will be hosting something as well. So check with your local Hacker Spaces, Maker Spaces, and Tech Clubs to see if they too will be hosting an event.
Last year, two US power plants were infected by malware that was brought into the system by USB drives. This is according to the US Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) as this is their job to protect and respond to security issues such as this. These latest events just add fuel to the growing fire over whether or not key infrastructure is secure.
ICS-CERT has said that the two power plants were targeted by "sophisticated" attacks. ICS-CERT added that these are common and are expected to continue increasing with time.
One technician uploaded the virus to one power plant while attempting to update software on the system. The other plant was infected by a USB used to back up control systems configurations. He reported issues with the drive and IT staff found the malware present on the drive.
The systems were taken offline for around three weeks while the problems were sorted out. This goes to show just how much of a problem malware could be to key infrastructure systems in the future.
Java seems to be one of the most exploited pieces of software running on a computer. Unfortunately, most computers are running Java for websites and other interactive features online. Just earlier this week, Oracle had to rush out a patch for Java that secured up a critical bug that allowed hackers to run code on a victim's machine.
An administrator for an exclusive cybercrime forum posted up Monday an offering for a new zero-day exploit that has yet to be patched by Oracle. It also has yet to be rolled into one of the exploit kits, some of which rent for upwards of $10,000 a month. The starting price for the exploit? $5,000.
For those developers who supported the Google Glass project early on by ponying up $1,500 to buy a developer set, Google will be hosting two hackathons, one in San Francisco and one in New York City, where early backers will be able to go hands on with early prototypes of the wearable computing devices.
Google's hackathon in San Francisco will take place January 28 and 29 and the hackathon in New York City will take place shortly after on February 1 and 2. The events are called Glass Foundry, a fitting name for the hackathons, and both events appear to follow the same agenda.
The first day will introduce the device and let developers use it on-site. After that, the hackathons will dive into the Mirror API and development with Google engineers at attendees' sides to answer any questions. Space is limited, so if you put out the $1,500 to get an early pair, you should get in contact with Google before all the slots are taken.
The Red October cyberespionage attacks were thought to have used Excel and Word exploits solely, but new data by a different set of researchers suggest that a Java exploit was also used to spread the infection. Israeli IT security firm Seculert was analyzing the Command and Control servers for the attack and found a special folder containing a malicious Java applet.
The applet used an exploit that was patched back in October 2011, which suggests that the attackers preferred older, known vulnerabilities and not zero-day ones. The applet was compiled in February 2012, which furthers this theory. This discovery is being credited to the fact that the attackers switched from a PHP server-side scripting language to CGI on the C&C servers.
They left up older PHP-based attack pages, which allowed the source code to be viewed. Full analysis is now impossible as the attackers have shut the C&C servers down, likely to cover their tracks.
Kaspersky of all companies have found something utterly shocking, an advanced cyber espionage network that makes last year's infamous Flame malware look like a joke. Dubbed Operation Red October, each attack is handcrafted for its victim in order to make sure it 100% works.
Red October has been hitting systems across the world since at least May 2007 and carefully chooses its victims spanning over two dozen countries who hold positions in government, military, aerospace, research, trade and commerce, nuclear, oil and other important, vital industries. Investigators aren't sure who is behind the attacks, but it is being reported that Chinese hackers may have created the exploit, while the various malware modules deployed seem to have been created by those who speak Russian.
Kaspersky can't put their finger on the source, as it is currently being run through at least two layers of proxy servers across Russia, Germany and Austria. Whoever is involved has some skill, as they've been silently sitting, unknown to the user, in major government and industry computers.
Internet Explorer was discovered to have a vulnerability that would allow hackers to gain control of a Windows PC late last month. In order for the exploit to work, users had to be running an older version of the program, versions 6 to 8, specifically, and have visited a malicious website.
Microsoft attempted to remedy the problem with various workarounds and a "one-click fix," all of which are temporary workarounds. Normally, bugs and exploits would have been addressed during Microsoft's normally scheduled Patch Tuesday, though when it didn't come, IT professionals began to wonder when it would.
We now have the answer: today. The patch should be available through Windows Update and marked as 'Critical', meaning it will be automatically installed, as long as the user has Automatic Updates enabled. If you use an older version of Internet Explorer, pre-version 9, you should make sure you install the update, especially if you don't have Automatic Updates enabled.