Information Security and Network Awareness

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A brief tale of two PCs for Holiday Tech-Support. A relative with a Windows machine v. a relative with an Ubuntu machine. Which one did I have to troubleshoot? Relative 1 This machine had dropped its wireless connection inexplicably. Wired connections were fine, though. On Windows, there are myriad reasons this can happen. Sometimes proprietary wireless management software (intended to “help” users manage their wireless connectivity) can actually break functions. I’ve seen instances of Dell’s wireless software conflicting with Windows’ native network stack, rendering the card inactive. Sometimes, there’s a driver problem. An erroneous update, a missing update, an incorrect driver version… Perhaps the machine received a Windows update that interfered with the currently installed drivers. This wasn’t a rare-form specialty wireless adapter by any stretch, just a run-o... (more)

Nothing New Under the Sun

I recently wrote a couple of to-be-published articles basically laying out all the reasons why we as security professionals should not be running away from so-called "new" technology. Essentially I am asking that we take the time to really understand what's so new about this stuff. SmartPhones, the "cloud", etc these are all repackaged versions of old technology. We're terrified of them because we think we don't understand them. The sad part is, we don't. We seem to be under the impression that all new technology is bad and inherently insecure, it isn't. It's not any more insecu... (more)

The Mystery of the Red USB Sticks (at the Information Security Summit 2009)

If you were one of the lucky people to pick up one of the red USB sticks at this year's Information Security Summit fear not! There's nothing malicious on it. It was merely an exercise to see how aware some security folks are these day. Here is what the sticks had on them: 1) familyphoto.exe (compiled from with py2exe) -- This simply makes a connection to a webserver and sends some header info. 2) thankyou.vbs -- This pops up a window telling you to enjoy your new usb drive 3) family.bat -- This runs the above two programs and then deletes them and itself Source Code: fami... (more)

So You Wanna Be a (Security) Superstar?

Written by Rick Deacon Recently I've been faced with a very difficult type of question... and it isn't even technical. No, it's not the typical 'How do you find a buffer overflow?' or 'Can you write me code entirely in assembly... in 20 minutes?'... it's much more difficult to answer. It's answer, to many people, may be the 'key' they are looking for in this industry. The question is very often phrased as "So what did it take for you to get where you are?" or "How do I get into the security industry?" and even sometimes "How do I become a hacker?" There are many different approac... (more)

Mobile Security Apps – ESET

By: Bill Mathews - Anyone who listens to our podcast should know that I hate all anti-virus and anti-virus vendors. I really don’t have too many shades of grey when it comes to it, so it’s pretty hard to make me want to do anything regarding anti-virus technology that isn’t just recommending you get rid of the platform that is so susceptible to it. I’ve argued (and still argue) that even though there is clearly a malware issue with Android phones (unless lots of folks are lying), it is not as bad as the vendors make it out to be. They have a whole new platform to infect…err, get ... (more)