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Bumper security update for Java released

Bumper security update for Java released

oracle java logo

Oracle has released a bumper update package for Java that closes lots of security holes in the software.

The update fixes 51 separate security bugs in Java, which owner Oracle says is used on billions of devices.

About a dozen of the bugs were serious enough to allow attackers to take remote control of a compromised system, researchers said.

Java is one of the most popular targets for cyber-thieves and malware writers seeking to hijack home computers.

In its advisory about the update, Oracle urged customers to patch the software as soon as possible “due to the threat posed by a successful attack”.

Programming language Java has proved popular because software written with it can easily be made to run on many different types of computer.

Twelve of the holes in Java addressed by the update topped the table that ranked the severity of security weaknesses in software, wrote Qualys security expert Wolfgang Kandek in a blogpost.

If these bugs were exploited, attackers could bypass ID controls and take over a target system, he added.

He said those seeking to exploit Java would probably seed web pages with booby-trapped links in a bid to catch vulnerable machines.

Security glitches in Java are favourites among those that write and run so-called “exploit kits” that seek to compromise vulnerable websites and other systems.

Security blogger Brian Krebs said if people needed to run Java, it was well worth taking time to apply the update.

Those that did not need the software should consider disabling it altogether, he said.

“This widely installed and powerful program is riddled with security holes, and is a top target of malware writers and miscreants,” he wrote.

The update is available via the main Java website and has prompted follow-up action from other electronics firms. Apple has released an update to the version of Java that runs on its computers. This update points people towards the official version of Java from Oracle instead of that supplied by Apple.

In the past, Apple has faced criticism over the speed with which it updated its version of Java.

This article originally appeared on the BBC News website

Irish Web Design – Bumper security update for Java released

black hole

Suspected Malware Criminal Arrested

Blackhole malware exploit kit suspect arrested

Russian police have reportedly arrested a man on suspicion of masterminding two infamous hacking tools.

He is suspected of being the man behind the alias Paunch – the nickname used by the creator of the Blackhole and Cool exploit kits, sold to cybercriminals to infect web users with malware.

The Russian authorities have not confirmed the details.

But security firms said they had already detected a decline in the programs’ use.

A spokesman for the law enforcement agency Europol told the BBC: “Europol and the European Cybercrime Centre has been informed that a high-level suspected cyber criminal has been arrested.

“We can only refer you to the Russian authorities, they are the ones who should speak about this topic.”

The Russian police’s press office said it had nothing to add at this time.

However, Alexander Gostev, chief security expert at the Moscow-based internet protection provider Kaspersky Lab, said the arrest had been confirmed to him by “anonymous sources”.

Blackhole software The Blackhole kit offered an interface used to manage malware attacks

 

Spreading malware

The Blackhole kit, released in 2010, dominated the crimeware market throughout 2012 and the start of 2013, according to Fraser Howard, a researcher at the anti-virus company Sophos.

He said the code had been sold for an annual licence of $1,500 (£940) or could be rented from its creator for $200 (£125) for one week’s use, among other price plans.

The software targeted a range of vulnerabilities in the Java programming language, Adobe’s Flash media player, Windows software and PDF files.

It had two ways of doing this:

  • adding malicious code to hundreds of thousands of legitimate websites, which then copied malware to visitors computers
  • creating links in spam messages to specially created sites that infected PCs
Blackhole email
Sophos said that Blackhole was used to send links that directed users to sites that downloaded malware

Among the malware downloaded was:

  • fake anti-virus software that falsely claimed the PC was infected and urged the user to pay a fee to remove viruses
  • Trojans that attempted to steal financial records stored on the PC
  • the ZeroAccess rootkit, which downloaded other software that hijacked the PC for use in a botnet – a facility used to overwhelm websites with traffic and force them offline
  • key loggers that took a record of what was typed on the PC
  • ransomware that attempted to blackmail the PC owner

Although Mr Howard said Blackhole was once the biggest threat of its kind, he added that in recent months it had been overshadowed by rival kits, including Sweet Orange and Neutrino.

According to the researcher, the Blackhole and Cool kits put together were only involved in about 4% of all malware detected by Sophos in August, down from 28% the previous year.

The figure had since dropped to 2% in recent days, he added.

Another independent security blogger stressed that the arrest was still significant.

“If it’s true that the brains behind the Blackhole has been apprehended it’s a very big deal – a real coup for the cybercrime-fighting authorities, and hopefully cause disruption to the development of one of the most notorious exploit kits the web has ever seen,” said Graham Cluley.

“However, it’s worth remembering that nature abhors a vacuum, and there would surely be other online criminals waiting to take their place, promoting their alternative exploit kits and malicious code.”

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, agreed.

“If indeed it is Paunch that they arrested, that is a major arrest – he is a big deal,” he told the BBC.

“He was clearly the biggest player in providing exploit kits – not just by selling them, but also renting and leasing them to online criminals.

“Both Blackhole and its successor Cool have been very popular.

“Users didn’t have to be very technical to operate them – there was a manual that came with them – they just had to get them running and be able to break into a high-profile website, or create a new one from scratch, to install something bad on your computer.”

This story appeared on the BBC News Technology Section

Suspected Malware Criminal Arrested – Irish Web Design

supermarket cctv footage

Secure your CCTV

This is an interesting article that Irish Web Design found on the BBC News Features and Analysis Section.

The subject of securing your systems from outside access applies to virtually every computer.

Those businesses with security systems that can be accessed on the web or by mobile phone should pay particular attention to how their system is secured.

cc tv camera

How to hack a nation’s infrastructure

By Mark Ward Technology correspondent, BBC News

I’m watching a live video feed of people visiting a café in London.

It’s a small, busy place and is doing a good trade in tea, coffee and cakes. That woman has dropped some money. A child is running around. Later, another customer thinks they have got the wrong change.

Nothing too gripping, you might think, except that the feed should be private, seen only by the cafe’s managers. Somebody forgot to click a box so now anyone who knows where to look can watch.

That CCTV feed is just one of many inadvertently put online. Finding them has got much easier thanks to search engines such as Shodan that scour the web for them. It catalogues hundreds every day.

“Shodan makes it easier to perform attacks that were historically difficult due to the rarity of the systems involved,” Alastair O’Neill from the Insecurety computer security research collective told the BBC. “Shodan lowers the cost of enumerating a network and looking for specific targets.”

It is not just CCTV that has been inadvertently exposed to public scrutiny. Search engines are revealing public interfaces to huge numbers of domestic, business and industrial systems.

Mr O’Neill and other researchers have found public control interfaces for heating systems, geo-thermal energy plants, building control systems and manufacturing plants.
Remote work

The most worrying examples are web-facing controls for “critical infrastructure” – water treatment systems, power plants and traffic control systems.
Industrial plant Many industrial systems are networked because they are in remote locations

“There’s a tremendous amount of stuff out there right now,” said Kyle Wilhoit, a threat researcher from Trend Micro who specialises in seeking out those exposed systems and helping them improve their defences.

Mr Wilhoit said such control systems, which often go by the name of Scada (supervisory control and data acquisition), get put online for many different reasons. Often, he said, the elements of such critical systems were in far-flung places and it was much cheaper to keep an eye on them via the internet than to send an engineer out.

It’s not just finding these systems that is a danger. Security experts are finding lots of holes in the software they run that, in the hands of a skilled attacker, can be exploited to grant unauthorised access.

“For attackers, the potential pay-off for compromising these systems is very high,” said Mr Wilhoit.

Governments are turning their attention to increasingly public vulnerabilities in such critical systems. The US Department of Homeland Security has established a computer emergency response team that deals solely with threats to industrial control systems. In the UK, government cash has been made available to help intelligence agencies and law enforcement deal with cyberthreats.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

“The threat is there – it might not be biting you yet but you had better be ready for the day it does”

Jeff Parker ICSPA

A Cabinet Office spokesman said cyber-attacks were one of the “top four” threats to the UK’s national security.

“Billions of pounds are being lost to the UK economy from cybercrime each year, including from intellectual property theft and cyber-espionage,” he said. “Industry is by far the biggest victim.”

The spokesman added that government was working with industry to harden critical infrastructure against attack, and had set up a series of initiatives to share information about threats and the best way to tackle them.
Bad decisions

The number of web-facing industrial and critical systems that these search engines find is only going to grow. That could introduce a whole new problem if the work of Greg Jones from security firm Digital Assurance is any guide.

Mr Jones bought several smart electricity meters from eBay and took them apart to see how well they protected the information within them. The models he bought are the same as those likely to be used as the UK converts its relatively dumb electricity grid to a smarter alternative.

A few days of work saw Mr Jones and his colleagues extract the passwords from the small chunk of memory inside the meter.
Warning text Many of the systems found by Shodan should have a restricted audience

“They had the same credentials in them – factory default passwords.” In addition, he said, basic steps to stop people fiddling with the hardware, or at least reveal tampering, had not been taken.

The traffic the devices swapped with utilities looked like it would be easy to spoof. If smart meters are rolled out in large numbers this could mean problems as it would give any attacker a way to trick that smart grid into making some catastrophically bad decisions.

“There are some really good standards out there governing smart meters,” said Mr Jones. “Our evidence suggests that those suggestions are not being followed.”

This is despite the government body that advises on security, based at GCHQ in Cheltenham, drawing up standards for validating the security, or otherwise, of the meters. The UK was already supposed to be well on the way to making the grid smarter but the project has been delayed because of worries about the central control system.

What is clear is that critical infrastructure and industrial plant control systems are coming under more scrutiny from both attackers and defenders.

That has its upside, said Jeff Parker, one of the directors at the ICSPA, which advises governments and businesses on cyber-protection.

“Is that a benefit? If it raises awareness of vulnerabilities, then, yes, it can help,” he said. However, it might take a lot of work to harden systems and ensure they were adequately protected.

“The threat is there,” he said, “It might not be biting you yet but you had better be ready for the day it does.”

Read the original article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22524274

Secure your CCTV – Irish Web Design

you tube audio tabs

Google Chrome Audio Tabs

As we are currently working on a music website we were especially interested to hear that Google Chrome are about to add an ‘audio icon’ to any tabs that are making noise.

you tube audio tabs

How often does it happen that there are a number of browsers open with multiple tabs on each and you find yourself wondering where the noise is coming from.

Once they release this feature you will be able to tell immediately which tabs have audio running.

The tabs are also designed to tell the Chrome browser which tabs have audio running.

As you may know Chrome closes tabs if it is running out of memory.

With this new feature Chrome will discard the tabs with the audio indicator active last.

So if you’re listening to something in a tab near the back of all your tabs Chrome won’t assume that it is inactive.

This function is already in the latest build of Chrome meant for developers and ‘early adopters’ but at present it’s not always stable.

Expect to see it in an update to Google Chrome in the very near future.

Google Chrome Audio Tabs – Irish Web Design

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