In the past, I’ve recommended Secunia PSI as a way to keep your systems up to date. I know from my own experience that it helps, but I also know it doesn’t work 100 percent of the time.
When it comes to security, nothing is more critical than making sure your updates are applying correctly. That’s where my employer comes in, with Qualys Browser Check.
Continue reading Double-check your security with Qualys Browser Check
The other day, this showed up in my e-mail:
A file change was detected on your system for site URL http://dfarq.homeip.net. Scan was generated on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 at 5:25 am
A summary of the scan results is shown below:
The following files were removed from your host:
/var/www/wordpress/wp-content/cache/supercache/dfarq.homeip.net/wordpress/index.html (modified on: 2015-11-03 03:23:52)
The following files were changed on your host:
/var/www/wp-content/themes/twentyfourteen/functions.php (modified on: 2015-08-19 22:24:04)
/var/www/wp-content/themes/twentyfourteen/header.php (modified on: 2015-08-19 22:24:04)
Login to your site to view the scan details.
I didn’t make those changes. Fortunately fixing it when changes appear in functions.php and header.php that you didn’t make is pretty easy.
Continue reading I got hacked. I did it to teach you a lesson, and I’m sure you believe it.
Last week Apple released a bunch of patches up and down its product line. One of the vulnerabilities it fixed in OS X was a vulnerability in its font parser.
In the past you could mitigate vulnerabilities like this by only installing fonts from trusted sources, but since it’s now possible for web pages to transmit fonts along with other content, there’s a limitless number of untrusted fonts out there in the world.
Since it may take a while for all of the major operating systems to shake out all of the problems in their font subsystems, that’s the reason I’ve recommended filtering fonts at the proxy.
Continue reading Another reason to block fonts at the proxy
Last week, Symantec discovered a worm that infects routers and takes measures to make them more secure. For lack of anything else to call it, Symantec is calling it malware, and most of the security echo chamber is probably howling over this, but I think I understand why it was created.
Continue reading Vigilante router security
The most infamous Microsoft patch of all time, in security circles at least, is MS08-067. As the name suggests, it was the 67th security update that Microsoft released in 2008. Less obviously, it fixed a huge problem in a file called netapi32.dll. Of course, 2008 was a long time ago in computing circles, but not far enough. I still hear stories about production servers that are missing MS08-067.
Last week, Microsoft took a look back at MS08-067, sharing some of its own war stories, including how they uncovered the vulnerability, developed a fix, and deployed it quickly. It’s unclear who besides Microsoft knew about the problem at the time, but one must assume others were aware of it and using it. They certainly were after the fall of 2008.
Continue reading Microsoft looks back at MS08-067
I heard an interesting question the other day: What’s the difference between Nessus (a vulnerability scanner) and Arcsight (a log collector/SEIM). To a security practitioner, the tools couldn’t be much more different, but not everyone is a security practitioner.
On a basic, fundamental level, a vulnerability scanner deals in what’s missing in the environment and what could happen as a result of those things that are missing, where a SEIM deals in what actually has happened and is happening.
Continue reading The difference between a vulnerability scanner and a SEIM
There’s some nasty WordPress malware circulating right now. I haven’t fallen victim to that one, but I caught the very early stages of infection myself all too recently. WordPress itself was just updated to close some vulnerabilities, but the biggest problem is the plugins. Unfortunately, the plugins are the main reason to run WordPress.
At my day job, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a very security-conscious webmaster for the last couple of months, and he and I talk about WordPress security frequently and look into what we, or anyone for that matter, can do to make the best of the situation. Here’s what he and I have found in the last week or so.
Continue reading A few more WordPress security tips
Lost in the stories of last week was a story I really don’t want to talk about, but I have to: Planned Parenthood got hacked, and a database of its employees was stolen.
I don’t want to talk about it because the risk is this story becoming about abortion rather than about security. But it brings up a real problem: Now we know that political activists have the desire and the ability to hack into organizations they disagree with.
Continue reading Hacktivism is real, and getting more dangerous
Josh Drake, the researcher who discovered the Stagefright vulnerability in Android that lets an attacker hack into an Android device by sending a specially crafted picture or video in a text message, was on the Risky Business security podcast this week to talk about it. What he had to say was interesting.
Patrick Gray, the host, tends to be a pretty outspoken critic of Android and isn’t shy about talking up Apple. He tried to get Drake to say Android is a trainwreck, security-wise, but Drake wouldn’t say it. Drake actually went as far as to say he thinks Android and IOS are fairly close, security wise.
So why do we see so many more Android bugs? Drake had an answer.
Continue reading Droidpocalypse? Josh Drake says no.
Microsoft rushed out an out-of-band patch, MS15-078, to deal with active exploits in their font driver yesterday. Since pushing out patches takes time, my boss asked me what we could do to mitigate the issue in the meantime.
The biggest threat, by far, is exploit-bearing fonts being downloaded from web sites. Ideally you only install trusted fonts from trusted sources locally on your workstations, right? If not, I suggest you start that practice as well.
You have a couple of options when it comes to blocking fonts in browsers.
Continue reading How to mitigate MS15-078 or future Microsoft font driver vulnerabilities