Adobe last week detailed plans to retire its Flash Player software, a cross-platform browser plugin so powerful and so packed with security holes that it has become the favorite target of malware developers. To help eradicate this ubiquitous liability, Adobe is enlisting the help of Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla. But don’t break out the bubbly just yet: Adobe says Flash won’t be put down officially until 2020.
Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate today introduced a bill that would set baseline security standards for the government’s purchase and use of a broad range of Internet-connected devices, including computers, routers and security cameras. The legislation, which also seeks to remedy some widely-perceived shortcomings in existing cybercrime law, was developed in direct response to a series of massive cyber attacks in 2016 that were fueled for the most part by poorly-secured “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices.
Let’s get this out of the way up front: Having “2016 election” in the headline above is probably the only reason anyone might read this story today. It remains unclear whether Republicans and Democrats can patch things up after a bruising and divisive election, but thanks to a special Election Day Patch Tuesday hundreds of millions of Adobe and Microsoft users have some more immediate patching to do.
A previously unknown security flaw in Bugzilla — a popular online bug-tracking tool used by Mozilla and many of the open source Linux distributions — allows anyone to view detailed reports about unfixed vulnerabilities in a broad swath of software. Bugzilla is expected today to issue a fix for this very serious weakness, which potentially exposes a veritable gold mine of vulnerabilities that would be highly prized by cyber criminals and nation-state actors.
On any given day, nation-states and criminal hackers have access to an entire arsenal of zero-day vulnerabilities — undocumented and unpatched software flaws that can be used to silently slip past most organizations’ cyber defenses, new research suggests. That sobering conclusion comes amid mounting evidence that thieves and cyberspies are ramping up spending to acquire and stockpile these digital armaments.
At a time when Apple, Mozilla and other tech giants are taking steps to prevent users from browsing the Web with outdated versions of Java, Yahoo! is pushing many of its users in the other direction: The free tool that it offers users to help build Web sites installs a dangerously insecure version of Java that is more than four years old.
I recently began publishing a series of advice columns for people who are interested in learning more about security as a craft or profession. For the third installment in this series, I interviewed Jeremiah Grossman, chief technology officer of WhiteHat Security, a Web application security firm.
A frequent speaker on a broad range of security topics, Grossman stressed the importance of coding, networking, and getting your hands dirty (in a clean way, of course).
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.
Adobe, Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla all released updates on Tuesday to fix critical security flaws in their products. Adobe issued a patch that corrects four vulnerabilities in Shockwave Player, while Redmond pushed out updates to address four Windows flaws. Apple slipped out an update for its version of Java that mends at least 17 security holes, and Mozilla issued yet another major Firefox release, Firefox 8.
Comcast says it is revamping the software that new customers need to install to start service with the ISP. The software is not terribly friendly to Mac users running Firefox: It changes the browser’s homepage to comcast.net, and blocks users from changing it to anything else.