Welcome to the Network Security website at the IAS
This website is intended to bring you the latest news, how to's, tools and resources in Information Security. Security Awareness of our Faculty, Members and Staff is key in creating a safer computing environment.
The three major Principles of Information Security, Availability, Integrity and Confidentiality, will be covered throughout the security awareness program at the Institute. For a description of these principles, please see our About section.
In keeping with the spirit of the Institute, I encourage questions and open discussions about security. And if you discover anything out of the ordinary, please feel free to bring it to my attention so that we can work together to create a more productive, safer environment.
Brian Epstein <email@example.com>
Shellshock, a Bash Code Injection Vulnerability
In late September, 2014, a bug was released to the public in the popular Linux/Mac shell called bash. For those that aren't familiar, the shell is the black box that some computer folks seem to spend a lot of time in typing archane commands to magically fix the computer.
A flurry of information is coming out about the Heartbleed vulnerability that is affecting Internet websites everywhere. As the Information Security Officer at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), I worked closely with the Computing Groups across our campus to secure our services.
Martin Lee, the Threat Intelligence Technical Lead over at Cisco, posted a fascinating article about the dangers of clicking on links when tired. There has recently been a campaign telling people that driving tired is as bad or worse than driving drunk, and now it seems that clicking tired is also on the track of bad things to do.
It has been a common thread in security talks since the inception of spam that it is a bad idea to give any type of response indicating that a human is reading the spam. For example, by clicking on the "unsubscribe" link in a spam, all you are doing is asking to be put on more lists.
This interesting article by Laura Atkins from Word to the Wise (an anti-spam consultancy and software firm), debunks this setiment, and calls it a myth.
Cryptolocker is a new piece of malicious software that has started circling the globe in the last half of 2013. Deemed "rasomware" by security professionals, Cryptolocker encrypts your files and demands payment to receive the key to decrypt them. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) drafted a briefing about this software, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you are infected.
Ellen did a great skit on the real world infomercial for the Password Minder. It is a good watch, especially if you are a fan of hers.
For some good tips on creating security, easy to remember passwords, check out this blog post.
Phishing is a term used to describe a scam, a malicious attempt aimed at trying to trick you into divulging sensitive information via electronic communication. One recent avenue for this type of attack is through emails appearing to come from your IT helpdesk requesting information, such as your username and password.
I don't know about you, but I cringe every time I go to an ATM nowadays. "Why?" you ask. Because I've heard of a lot of reports and seen a lot of pictures of ATM skimmers. These devices attach to the front of an ATM where your card goes in. When you insert your card, they scan it as well as the ATM. Now they can create a copy of your card.
Sometimes you might receive a fraudulent email asking you for personal information that could be used for illegal activities. A lot of people just delete the email and move on. But, what if you want to notify someone? What if the scam is very convincing and you want someone to look into it?
Here are some tips on what to do in this situation.