Oracle Patches Java. Again.

What’s the over/under on this one working? Mac users – this means XProtect won’t block it in your web browser, so if you don’t want it active be careful. I actually feel bad for the team that has to clean Java up. I’d hate to be in that mess. Share:

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Apple blocks vulnerable Java plugin

Apple uses XProtect to block the Java browser plugin due to security concerns. Draconian, but a good move, I think. Still, they should have notified users better for the ones who need Java in the browser (whoever that may be). You can still manually enable it to run if you need to. This doesn’t block Java itself, just the browser plugin. If complaint levels stay low, it indicates how few people use Java in the browser, and will empower Apple to make similar moves in the future. Share:

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A New Kind of Commodity Hardware

I was driving down the road the other day when I passed what I thought was a shipping container on the back of an 18-wheel truck. When I noticed data and power ports on the side, I realized it was a giant data center processing module. Supercomputing on wheels. Four trucks with two modules per truck, rolling down the highway. Inside reside thousands of stripped down motherboards stacked with tons of memory, packed side by side. Some of these are even designed to be filled with dielectric fluid to keep them cool. If you have not seen these things up close and personal, check out the latest article on Microsoft’s new data center When Microsoft wants to quickly ramp up a new data center, it can move dirt, pour a foundation, and build one of the most boring buildings you’ve ever seen. Or it can load up a few of its custom-designed data center modules onto a truck and drop them on the site. One of the key concepts behind big data is the realization that sometimes it’s cheaper to move computing to the data, rather than moving data to the processors. In that way you use any computing power that’s logically nearby. And there is a similar trend with data centers – in this case physically adjust location to your needs. Raw processing power. Modular. Mobile. In the event that a data center site gets flooded by a hurricane, you back up the truck, plug in a generator, and you’re back on line. It can be much for enterprises to buy a crate of computing than to provision a traditional data center. Share:

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Pointing fingers is misleading (and stupid)

Everyone is all fired up that the APT is now targeting major media companies. Rich covered that in yesterday’s post, and now it seems the Wall Street Journal was also targeted by similar tactics The Wall Street Journal said its computer systems had been infiltrated by Chinese hackers for the apparent purpose of monitoring the newspaper’s China coverage. This is shocking why? Brazen, yes. Predictable, yes. Surprising? Not in the least. But that’s neither here nor there. What annoyed me about the NYT story was pointing the finger squarely and exclusively at Symantec. And their partner in slime, Mandiant, seemingly blaming the breach on the inability of their AV engine to catch the attacks. This is bush league and clear misdirection. I am not saying, in any way, that Symantec’s failure wasn’t the main cause of this breach. But I don’t know they were either. We don’t know the answers to a few fairly important questions, including what version of Symantec AV was running at the time of compromise? If they were using SEP 10 this result isn’t surprising. That product stunk and SYMC acknowledges that. It’s like blaming Microsoft for a breach because Windows XP got compromised. That would have been fine in 2003, but now? Come on, man! If the enterprise isn’t taking advantage of modern protection, how can they expect to defend against modern attacks? Before we can credibly place blame we need to know more. What operating system was in play? Was it fully patched? How was it configured? What other defenses were in place on the endpoints? The questions go on and on. We don’t know enough to point the finger. And if these devices weren’t taking advantage of the latest versions of pretty much everything, then the issue rests more on the NYT than on a security vendor. At least in my opinion. But what fun is that, right? It’s much easier to play into the same old story about how AV sucks. But no endpoint product is going to stop a 0day targeting crappy software (yes, Oracle and Adobe, I’m looking at you). Not 100% of the time anyway. And all the attackers needed to do was compromise one device, and then they owned the environment. OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Just to make sure we’re clear, I’m not saying Symantec is free of blame here. But I know there are a bunch of other folks who should have the finger of accountability pointing at them, starting with the NYT security team. Share:

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Twitter Hacked

Twitter announced this evening that some 250k user accounts were compromised. This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users. Passwords and session tokens were reset to contain the problem. It is likely that personal information, including direct messages, were exposed. The post asks users to use strong passwords of at least 10 characters, and requests that they disable Java in the browser, which together provide a pretty fair indication of how the attacks were conducted. Disable Java in the browser – where have you heard that before? We will update this post as we learn more. Update by Rich: Adrian and I both posted this within minutes. Here is my comment: Also from the post: This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident. The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked. For that reason we felt that it was important to publicize this attack while we still gather information, and we are helping government and federal law enforcement in their effort to find and prosecute these attackers to make the Internet safer for all users. Twitter has a hell of a good security team with some serious firepower, including Charlie Miller. Share:

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