The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is urging states and localities to beef up security around proprietary devices that connect to the Emergency Alert System — a national public warning system used to deliver important emergency information, such as severe weather and AMBER alerts. The DHS warning came in advance of a workshop to be held this weekend at the DEFCON security conference in Las Vegas, where a security researcher is slated to demonstrate multiple weaknesses in the nationwide alert system.
Federal prosecutors in New York today announced the arrest and charging of a San Francisco man they say ran the online drug bazaar and black market known as Silk Road 2.0. In conjunction with the arrest, U.S. and European authorities have jointly seized control over the servers that hosted Silk Road 2.0 marketplace.
Security conferences are a great place to learn about the latest hacking tricks, tools and exploits, but they also remind us of important stuff that was shown to be hackable in previous years and never really got fixed. Perhaps the best example of this at last week’s annual DefCon security conference in Las Vegas came from hackers who built on research first released in 2010 to show just how trivial it still is to read, modify and clone most HID cards — the rectangular white plastic “smart” cards that organizations worldwide distribute to employees for security badges.
Talk about geek chic. Facebook has started paying researchers who find and report security bugs by issuing them custom branded “White Hat” debit cards that can be reloaded with funds each time the researchers discover new flaws.
You’re out and about, and your smartphone’s battery is about to die. Maybe you’re at an airport, hotel, or shopping mall. You don’t have the power cable needed to charge the device, but you do have a USB cord that can supply the needed juice. Then you spot an oasis: A free charging kiosk. Do you hesitate before connecting your phone to this unknown device that could be configured to read most of the data on your phone, and perhaps even upload malware?
This past week, I was reminded of a conversation I had with an ethical hacker I met at the annual Defcon security conference in Las Vegas, who showed me what may have been (and still remains) the shortest and most elegant trick I’ve seen to crash Internet Explorer 6 Web browser. I was reminded because the guy who told me about it said it still worked, even though he alerted Microsoft to the flaw back in 2004.