The point of sales (POS) breaches at Hilton, and Starwood before that, suggest that a group of hackers is specifically targeting hotels, probably because most travelers have above average income. It should also make us brace for a likely wave of further POS breaches in many other businesses during the holiday shopping season. It really makes me wish that more merchants accepted secure payment tools like Apple Pay, or even that more than a small fraction accepted the new chip and signature cards.
The Hola peer to peer VPN service suffered a number of very damaging security revelations today including exploit vulnerabilities, exposed administrative tools, & broken architecture impacting 45 million active users of the service.Read More
Engineers at Golden Frog recently discovered that Cricket wireless was automatically disabling their email encryption.
It is not at all clear why they were doing this, but we do know how. When an email client attempts to make a secure connection to a server, it sends a STARTTLS command. If the server never sees the STARTTLS, then it assumes you just wanted an insecure connection.
The ISP can easily modify the data stream to remove the request, causing your computer to connect without any encryption. According to the standard, the user is supposed to get a warning about this, but in practice almost all software just fails silently.
The best way to protect yourself against this attack is to encrypt your email end to end. You can use SMIME, which is built into most email clients, or GPG. GPG can be stronger, but it is harder to use, and easy to misuse. Either will significantly improve your security.
The next step is to use a VPN like Anonymizer.com to protect you against your ISP. It will also protect you against anyone else in the path between your computer and your VPN service. Unfortunately between them and the destination server, you are still vulnerable to any hostile ISPs.
- Who do you / can you trust for privacy?
- How to protect yourself against new DarkHotel type WiFi attacks
- More proof that the web security model is totaly broken
This article describes a clever attack against Secret, the “anonymous” secret sharing app.
Their technique allows the attacker to isolate just a single target, so any posts seen are known to be from them. The company is working on detecting and preventing this attack, but it is a hard problem.
In general, any anonymity system needs to blend the activity of a number of users so that any observed activity could have originated from any of them. For effective anonymity the number needs to be large. Just pulling from the friends in my address book who also use Secret is way too small a group.
Welcome to the December podcast – our last official podcast of 2012. In this episode, I’ll be running down some of the biggest online privacy and security events of the last year. From the Zappos and LinkedIn password breaches, to the epic hacking of reporter Mat Honan, I'll be providing user tips and suggestions to help you avoid some of the privacy pitfalls of 2012. Download the transcript