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.
As you may have heard from news reports (such as http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/04/09/heartbleed-...), a major Internet security vulnerability, known as Heartbleed, was disclosed earlier this week.
If you are confused as to what will happen when Microsoft stops supporting XP, now's the time look into it. wsj.com put together a very good video explaining the implications of hiding from this issue.
This is a story right out of the privacy tome of nightmares. It reminds me of a recent talk by Mikko Hyppönen where he states that "George Orwell was an optimist" (Living in a surveillance state).
A blogger by the name of DoctorBeet posted a story of his LG Smart TV taking note of his watching habits and attempting to send them over the Internet for targeted ads or other nefarious reasons. What's worse, is it was sending information about the USB stick that he put into the TV.
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.
Comedian Jack Vale did a great video on the dangers of sharing information on Instagram and Twitter in the funny, but sobering video. Independent security analyst Graham Cluley did a great review of the video and how it affects users.
Please inform your social circle and keep yourself safe.
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.