Showing 169 posts tagged security
Showing 169 posts tagged security
Some 300,000 systems remain susceptible to catastrophic exploits, one scan shows.
With the media off (most) companies’ backs there’s just no way/reason that these remaining companies are going to patch the heartbleed vulnerability. One can only hope that civil suits are launched against these remaining companies to show via the market that patching is a requirement for contemporary digitally-enabled businesses.
Why “white hat” hackers - who cyber security experts argue are vital to security research - are sometimes leery of reporting vulnerabilities.
…according to Parsons, reporting those findings to vendors risks bringing on defamation or SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) suits – a long and costly legal endeavour.
“Let’s say you discovered that there was vulnerability in something the CRA was running separate to Heartbleed – the CRA purchased that from a vendor, so the vendor would have an interest in that not becoming public because it could damage them,” he said.
“They will say if you disclose this we will sue you – and it might be a SLAPP case, but unless you are well-off financially the cost of defending yourself against a SLAPP suit could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Global News contacted Shared Services Canada, the agency responsible for IT infrastructures for all government departments, for comment regarding whether outside researchers would be allowed to report vulnerabilities found within government websites without risking legal action.
Shared Services Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The chilling effect of vulnerability disclosure stems from potential legal liability for reporting vulnerabilities to software vendors. While it’s often (though not always) the case that technical staff understand the problems and may work to mitigate them, things can go to hell pretty quickly once non-technical staff such as legal or public relations get involved.
In effect, the incentive model for White Hats to come forward to help the commons of software users breaks down incredibly quickly in the face of harsh penalties for individuals ‘breaking digital locks’ or found to violate terms of service, penalties that corporate vendors can (and do) leverage in order to maintain their public reputations.
Technically, the Canadian Prime Minister shouldn’t have to worry about being snooped on. Declassified information on the so-called Five Eyes partnership—an intelligence-sharing agreement between America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand—supposedly forbids the five friendly governments from snooping on each other. But we don’t know what caveats exist in that agreement, because it’s kept top secret. We do know, however, that the NSA was operating in Toronto during the G8 and G20—and that CSE knew about it. That sort of cooperation, Parsons says, is to be expected by the Five Eyes partners.
“There is of course a concern that in the Five Eyes agreement there is an proviso that members of the Five Eyes network can engage in surveillance on other partners if it’s in their sovereign interest,” Parsons said.
It’s certainly interesting (and newsworthy) that Canada is buying cryptographically-secure systems from the NSA, though not necessarily surprising: the NSA is recognized as a leader in this technical space and has economies of scale that could reduce the cost of the equipment. These isn’t, however, any indication whether CSEC examines or tests the devices for backdoors. Presuming that the math hasn’t been compromised, and the phones and faxes aren’t being compromised by our close ally, then there are presumably (relatively) few worries with the Canadian procurement strategy and lots of benefits.
OpenSSL’s bare-bones operations are in stark contrast to some other open source projects that receive sponsorship from corporations relying on their code. Chief among them is probably the Linux operating system kernel, which has a foundation with multiple employees and funding from HP, IBM, Red Hat, Intel, Oracle, Google, Cisco, and many other companies. Workers at some of these firms spend large amounts of their employers’ time writing code for the Linux kernel, benefiting everyone who uses it.
That’s never been the case with OpenSSL, but the Linux Foundation wants to change that. The foundation today is announcing a three-year initiative with at least $3.9 million to help under-funded open source projects—with OpenSSL coming first. Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Qualcomm, Rackspace, and VMware have all pledged to commit at least $100,000 a year for at least three years to the “Core Infrastructure Initiative,” Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin told Ars.
To be clear, the money will go to multiple open source projects—OpenSSL will get a portion of the funding but likely nowhere close to the entire $3.9 million. The initiative will identify important open source projects that need help in addition to OpenSSL.
This is really excellent news: the large companies and organizations that rely on open-source critical infrastructure projects need to (ideally) contribute back through either code contributions of financial support. Hopefully we’ll not just see money but efforts to improve and develop the code of these projects, projects which often are the hidden veins that enable contemporary Internet experiences.