Government Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Gopala Krishna Behara

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Government Cloud: Blog Feed Post

Anonymous Takes Down More Governmental Websites

CTO Security Weekly Round-Up

This week Ustream gets an injection of political reality, Apple fixes a critical encryption blunder affecting some of its users, FBI documents are leaked detailing their worries over Bitcoin digital currency, and Anonymous takes down more Governmental websites as part of its ongoing operations.

UStream Targeted by Advanced Distributed Denial of Service:

UStream was the target of Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS attacks) that crippled its personal video streaming service and caused “significant” damage to site revenues.  The co-founder and CEO was quoted saying “What we saw today were systematic attempts, method after method, up to seven methods”.  Ustream has determined with “100% confidence” that the attacks were against several Russian anti-government citizen journalists.

While no governments were specifically pointed out as having carried out the attack, it is safe to say that advanced denial of service attacks, at this point in time, with this many resources, and this much planning was likely state-sponsored.  Russia has also had a love affair with denial-of-service attacks in the past–Some were used by Russians during the Georgian occupation to disable internet infrastructure there.  While it may not be politically correct to finger any specific government, the evidence certainly does point pretty clearly in one direction.

Read More here

Pirate Bay Blocked…Again.

The Pirate Bay, the (in)famous torrent sharing and indexing site is under legal fire again, this time from the Dutch judicial system.  Dutch ISPs must now block access to the website, making it the second time a government has mandated that access to the website be restricted (the first was the UK).  Fortunately for The Pirate Bay, the blockage in the UK earlier had the opposite intended effect — 12 million more users ended up visiting the website, which took the opportunity to explain how to bypass access restrictions through the use of various technologies.

It is unlikely that attempts to restrict access to the website will result in much of a difference for those who still wish to access the website due to the nature of the internet it is quite easy to subvert any access restrictions put in place by ISPs.

Read More here

Bitcoins, The Sinister Currency

A bitcoin is a type of internet-based currency that is cryptographically difficult to generate and is distributed across the internet to anyone with enough computing power to generate them.  The “coins” exist as strings of numbers and can be transacted anonymously through the bitcoin peer-to-peer network.  Several online shops take them as payment for goods, and many hackers take that form of currency (and several others besides actual cash) for services as well.  A new document leaked to the internet marked “For Offical Use Only” details how this scenario of using untraceable money to pay for hacking services worries the FBI.

While the bitcoin service can be anonymous, the FBI acknowledges that it is only as anonymous as the user makes it, since once bitcoins are converted to cash they can be easy to trace, and that with enough access, the IP addresses of bitcoin users can be unearthed.  The document reads like a guide to both anonymizing bitcoins and uncovering it’s users.

Read the Report here

Twitter Breached…But Not Really

When this pastebin document showed up with a list of users and passwords, it caused some alarm in the twittersphere because it appeared to be 55,000 usernames and passwords to people on twitter.  Upon analysis by Twitter, however, it was found to be mostly a dud.  20,000 names are duplicates, most of the passwords don’t match, and those that do were mostly spam accounts, having since been disabled on twitter for their spamming.  Overall Twitter doesn’t seem to be making a big deal about this, and it’s likely that this is some sort of brute-force attack.

Read More here

Critical Mac Password Bug Fixed, But…

Less of a bug, and more of a debugging feature that was forgotten about, Apple developers have exposed (and since fixed and patched) passwords to Mac encryption program filevault by logging the password in the debug logs in cleartext.  The flaw exposes passwords for those who have upgraded to OSX Lion 10.7.3 with filevault enabled prior to the upgrade and uses the legacy filevault (not filevault 2) is vulnerable.  Whole-disk encryption with Filevault 2 is unaffected.  Only users with root access can read the debug file with the plaintext password.

Since its disclosure, this bug has been fixed, but what is truely concerning about this and smoe other Apple security issues is the time it took to get the issue recognized, fixed, and disseminated.  The bug took three months to be fixed, which is a long time for such a serious issue affecting security integrity.  The Mac Flashback Java exploit also took some time for Apple to deploy, even though Oracle had a fix weeks before Apple would send it to their customers as an Apple update.

As Apple grows as a computing platform in the manner it has in the past few years, it will experience these problems.  Windows went through similar pains and has managed to evolve slowly and painfully into the fast and agile responder to security threats is today.  Apple will need to do the same to remain competitive in the security domain.

Read More here

Anonymous Activity Report:

Anonymous was active around the world this week.  The following websites were taken offline via Distributed Denial of Service:

Russian Federal Security Service
Bahraini Interior Ministry
Bahraini Police and Police Academy
Bahraini State News Agency
Gulf Air

The last 4 websites were due to Anonymous’s continued contempt for the human rights abuses in Bahrain and the decision to hold an Grand Prix F1 event there despite news of the abuses.  The Russian websites were likely taken down in a show of support for the opposition to President Putin.

Expect to see more Anonymous activity in Russia, United States, and NATO online presences as political turmoil in Russia increases and the G8 and NATO summits begin later this month in the United States.

Read More here

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com

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