Analysis technique uses security metrics to assign risk of network attacks


Computer scientists at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and George Mason University have developed a new network analysis technique that uses security metrics to determine the risk and probability of network attacks. Using attack graphs and NIST’s National Vulnerability Database (NVD), researchers evaluate attack routes into networks and assign risk factors to them based on how challenging the routes are to attackers. The model analyzes the probability of attack against each route’s components—firewall, router, and FTP server, for instance—and determines the overall risk to the network. The researchers plan to expand their technique to large-scale enterprise networks. The researchers presented the analysis technique at the Working Conference on Data and Applications Security in early July. (Science Daily)

Researcher finds iPhone vulnerable to email scams


A security researcher has reported three flaws in the iPhone that could leave users open to phishing and spam attacks. Aviv Raff identified the vulnerabilities in the iPhone’s Mail and Safari applications. Raff is withholding the technical details until Apple releases fixes. Raff suggests that users avoid clicking on embedded links and instead type Web sites’ URLs into the Safari browser. (Aviv Raff on .NET)

Consumer electronics companies back wireless high-definition technology


Consumer electronics (CE) companies, including Sony, Samsung, Motorola, Sharp, and Hitachi, have thrown their weight behind Wireless Home Digital Interface (WHDI) technology. The wireless technology operates in the 6 GHz spectrum, has a range of roughly 100 feet, and sends uncompressed high-definition signals at up to three Gbits per second. A standard for WHDI has yet to be approved, but Amimon, the company that created the technology, and its CE partners are working toward that end. WHDI faces competition from WirelessHD, which is backed by Toshiba, Sony, LG, and Intel. (BetaNews)

Google’s Knol ready for contributions


Google has opened up Knol, its online community-based encyclopedia, to contributors. A knol is a unit of knowledge; in Google’s setup, it refers to an individual article on a subject. Each knol will contain the author’s name, a contrast to the anonymous postings on Wikipedia. Readers can submit suggestions to knols, which the author can accept, modify, or reject. Community tools let readers comment, rate, or write reviews. Google has also integrated its AdSense program into Knol. On its blog, Google said, “At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads from our AdSense program.” Authors will share in the revenue generated by including ads in their knols. Additionally, Google has an agreement in place with New Yorker magazine, which will let knol authors insert one New Yorker cartoon into each of their knols. (BetaNews)

CherryPal “Cloud computer” announced


CherryPal announced its two-watt mini desktop that relies heavily on cloud computing rather than an operating system. Applications are run through a modified FireFox browser, and the company takes care of application upgrading or installing new software to the Debian GNU/Linux core that runs underneath the browser. The computer, which will retail for US$249, comes pre-equipped with OpenOffice, iTunes, a FireFox-based Web browser, and a CherryPal media player and IM client. Users can store their files online in their CherryPalCloud account, which offers 50 Gbytes of free storage. The device runs on Freescale’s MPC5121e mobileGT processor running at 400 MHz and includes, among other things, 256 MB DDR2 DRAM, a 4-Gbyte solid state drive, two USB 2.0 ports, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, and one 10/100 Ethernet jack. A keyboard and monitor aren’t included, however. The company says the desktop uses 80 percent fewer hardware components than standard desktops. The company is taking preorders for the device and expects to begin shipping it at the end of July. (CherryPal)

DNS flaw mistakenly published


Matasano Security inadvertently confirmed a blog posting that speculated on the technical details of the DNS cache poisoning flaw discovered by Dan Kaminsky. Matasano immediately removed its blog posting, but copies were soon circulating on the Internet. The company has since apologized on its blog. Kaminsky is scheduled to discuss the vulnerability at the upcoming Black Hat conference in August and had asked the security community to hold off on discussions about the bug to give users time to patch their systems. Kaminsky found the bug several months ago and worked with software vendors to create a fix for the flaw, which was released in early July. On his blog, Kaminsky writes, “Patch. Today. Now. Yes, stay late.” (InfoWorld

BlackBerry PDF vulnerability fixed


A vulnerability in the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) that could let attackers try to get users to open malicious PDFs attached to email has been patched by Research In Motion (RIM). (Computerworld)

Web site of Georgian president falls in DDoS attack


The Web site of Mikhail Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, was knocked offline from Saturday to early Sunday by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack launched by a botnet. The Shadowserver Foundation, an all-volunteer watchdog group of security professionals, identified the attack’s command-and-control (C&C) server as based in the US. The C&C server used botnets to flood the president’s Web site with TCP, HTTP, and Internet control message protocol (ICMP) attacks. The attackers and motive have yet to be identified. (Techworld)

New malware analysis tool to be unveiled at Black Hat


A security researcher will release a new malware analysis tool based on Intel VT at the Black Hat conference in August. Paul Royal, a researcher at Damballa, will release Azure, an external hardware tool that detects and analyzes malware at the instruction or Windows API level. Azure uses Intel VT, a virtualization tool, to create a full-scale virtual environment outside of the operating system for malware analysis. Azure lets users infect the virtual environment with malware without the malware detecting the virtual environment. In a test to detect 15 widely used malware obfuscate applications against other malware analysis tools—Saffron and Renovo—Azure was the only tool to detect all 15 malware packing tools. (Dark Reading)

Free tool to detect DNS flaw released


DNSstuff has released DNS Vulnerability Check, a tool to check domain name servers for the cache poisoning flaw announced earlier this month by Dan Kaminsky. DNSstuff’s tool redirects to a specially designed URL that encodes a user’s IP address. The URL resolves to several unique URLs, resulting in several DNS queries. DNSstuff records the IP addresses of the DNS servers making the requests, the source port for the queries, and the query IDs in the DNS packet headers. The tool compares the lookups and displays vulnerability information. (eWeek)

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