I.T. Security and Linux Administration

April 30, 2014  8:53 PM

AOL Talks Breach

Eric Hansen Eric Hansen Profile: Eric Hansen


AOL still exists?

But, seriously, this is interesting to say the least.  The idea of spam itself causing a security breach is intriguing.  Changing security measures by sending out a mass amount of email full of viagra…genius.

I use AOL only for the instant messenger portion these days.  Not sure if this is going to make me be concerned or not, though.

April 30, 2014  8:47 PM

Bug Bounty Program Critique

Eric Hansen Eric Hansen Profile: Eric Hansen

Bug bounty programs have really become a popular tourist attraction for IT security pros.  The premise is that a company will pay $x for finding an exploit, based on various criteria like severity, impact, etc…

However, it seems more often than not, people are reporting exploits that should be paid for, and getting refused for whatever reason the bounty head wants to claim.  It feels more like hiring a pen-tester to test the network, getting a report and never paying them for the services.

I’m not saying to pay for every XSS exploit found (these days XSS doesn’t even seem to be a threat), but how is this not worthy of at least something?

April 30, 2014  8:32 PM

Should the Government Release Info?

Eric Hansen Eric Hansen Profile: Eric Hansen


This is a big article that can be boiled down to this: “the American government (specifically NSA) won’t always disclose information.”

Some people might get in an uproar about this, but why?  Because we’re not told everything?  Because the government is withholding information?

Around Easter a couple of weeks ago I was watching a documentary on catching the Boston Bombers.  Now, what is real and fabricated in that is left up to the imagination as far as I’m concerned, it did mention a major detail.  The FBI felt it was in the best interest to not disclose information about the bombers.

While this ultimately lead to the capture of one and death of the other, we were still withheld information until the FBI had their backs against the wall.  Yet, no one gets in a fuss about our lives possibly being in danger.

I don’t condone what happened, but I also feel like we shouldn’t shake our finger at one person and tip the hat to the other for doing the same thing.

April 30, 2014  8:26 PM

Hackers hack traffic lights

Eric Hansen Eric Hansen Profile: Eric Hansen


This one is interesting.  When I first saw the title it brought me back to the golden days when I would hack Coke and Pepsi machines (it was cool to get to the debug menu).  I then also read on how to hack those light signs that construction workers place, though I did nothing with the information.  Overall the idea of it this even being possible doesn’t shock me the slightest.

A lot of the content in this article though is theoretical.  It doesn’t discuss anything that actually happened, just that a contractor that works for a IT consulting firm tested these wireless sensors.  The end result was that even the most basic of security practices weren’t being followed (i.e.: no encryption with data), and these are placed in some major US cities like Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

March 31, 2014  7:39 AM

Dropbox & DMCA

Eric Hansen Eric Hansen Profile: Eric Hansen

An article was posted recently about Dropbox and its relation to DMCA.  In short, if you share a file publicly, and its been flagged as a violation to DMCA (either under your account or another’s), it will be blocked from the share.  So far this doesn’t mean its deleted from your account, just that you can’t share it publicly.

I like how Dropbox functions on this, but I can see one issue.  Dropbox does this by checking the hash of a file, and comparing it against a database of known infridged files, similar to how a lot of AV systems check for viruses.  I haven’t done a lot of research on the algorithm used, but lets say its SHA-2 to make it actually useful.

While the possibility of this happening is very small, what if a collision happened between a music video file of Metallica and a picture of my wife’s newest kittens?  Two completely different files, but they end up with the same hash.  Would you allow the music video to be shared too or block the kittens from harvesting me my sweet Reddit karma?

Now, Dropbox also uses the hashing system to save on bandwidth and disk space (if a file on the server already exists with the same hash, it just shares that exact file with both accounts instead of uploading the same file twice).  As you can possibly imagine, the same issue occurs and Dropship has tried to exploit this but Dropbox has worked to stop it from happening.

March 31, 2014  7:28 AM

Invader Microsoft

Eric Hansen Eric Hansen Profile: Eric Hansen

Earlier this month a big report broke out that Microsoft was spying on a former employee who was leaking IP (Windows 8 code) to a blogger.  Since, the leaker has been arrested but a lot of people are in an uproar about it because of privacy concerns.

When you’re using a third-party to deal with any type of service, especially if they are hosting the content for you, expect the provider to be able to read/peek/view anything of yours at any time any where they please.

You’re using their systems, their space, their bandwidth and their electricity.  Its like being invited over to a friend’s house and getting pissed when they take your glass away, dump whatever was in it, then give it back to you with a fresh drink.

At the same time I know its not a similar comparison, but the idea is there.  You put all your faith that a provider isn’t going to see what their space is being used for, you are pretty naive.  Everyone does it, from big to small companies.  Its just like working at a company who monitors your network habits.

January 31, 2014  11:48 PM

Don’t catch a virus…!

Eric Hansen Eric Hansen Profile: Eric Hansen


So, maybe “virus” a little farfetched, but really this bothers me.  The system itself is nice (I never ran into issues).  The gripes of it crashing is kind of warranted (there’s tools out there to benchmark/stress test set ups), but ideal data can only go so far.

Even then, while the hacker had 70k records, compared to how many there are on there, it just seems so…insignificant?  Hey, at least it wasn’t a DDoS attack finally.

January 31, 2014  11:44 PM

Still prefer Chrome?

Eric Hansen Eric Hansen Profile: Eric Hansen


Fair argument?  Not sure.  But I do feel Chrome has really lost its luster period.  Yeah, its “faster” at times, but I seem to have more issues with it than anything else these days.  I mean, I’m restricted to one profile and even in incognito mode if I try to visit GMail in 2+ incognito windows the session persists.  Its…frustrating.  LuaKit is nice but I don’t always feel like using Vim.

January 31, 2014  11:41 PM

Can’t catch CAPTCHA

Eric Hansen Eric Hansen Profile: Eric Hansen


CAPTCHA systems can be either very unique or very easy to break.  Oh, also very hard to use (looking at you Microsoft and those people who make it look like a rainbow threw up on alphabet soup).  Though, I’ve noticed a lot of people these days using ones that are strictly numerical.  It feels really like we’re regressing backwards in terms of CAPTCHA than anything else these days.

January 31, 2014  11:37 PM

A flaw of open source

Eric Hansen Eric Hansen Profile: Eric Hansen


I’m a super strong supporter of open source and believe really in providing code for free and if monetization is key than charge for support.  It works for a lot of models (Red Hat is a big one, Snort is another).

I feel this just gives open-source junkies a bad name though for the argument of closed-vs-open source.

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