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Security

+ - Using Quantum Physics to Secure Your Network->

Submitted by Mephistophocles
Mephistophocles (930357) writes "Scientists at Toshiba and Cambridge University have perfected a technique that offers a less expensive way to ensure the security of the high-speed fiber optic cables that are the backbone of the modern Internet.

The research, which will be published Tuesday in the science journal Physical Review X, describes a technique for making infinitesimally short time measurements needed to capture pulses of quantum light hidden in streams of billions of photons transmitted each second in data networks. Scientists used an advanced photodetector to extract weak photons from the torrents of light pulses carried by fiber optic cables, making it possible to safely distribute secret keys necessary to scramble data over distances up to 56 miles.

Such data scrambling systems will most likely be used first for government communications systems for national security. But they will also be valuable for protecting financial data and ultimately all information transmitted over the Internet.

The approach is based on quantum physics, which offers the ability to exchange information in a way that the act of eavesdropping on the communication would be immediately apparent. The achievement requires the ability to reliably measure a remarkably small window of time to capture a pulse of light, in this case lasting just 50 picoseconds — the time it takes light to travel 15 millimeters."

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Security

+ - Israel Infrastructure Proves Too Strong For Anonymous-> 1

Submitted by Mephistophocles
Mephistophocles (930357) writes "Ever since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, hackers have been working overtime to strike a blow against the Israeli government’s computer systems, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Sunday. No fewer than 44 million attacks have been recorded since the operation began five days ago — with nearly all of them failing, thanks to the recent strengthening of computer defense systems in Israel.

Speaking at a special press conference at the Government Computing Center in Jerusalem about the cyber war against Israel that has accompanied Hamas’s rocket attacks, Steinitz said that hackers “are trying to disable the symbols of Israeli sovereignty, to enter web sites and install anti-Israel content, thus compromising information and data and damaging the government’s ability to serve the public.” Most of the attacks, he said, were against government sites, like the Prime Minister’s Office site, and security-related sites, such as that of the Home Front Command, the body charged with informing Israelis on how to protect themselves in the event of an attack.

Out of those 44 million-plus attacks on government and defense related sites, said Steinitz, only one succeeded – partially. One site, which he did not name, was “wobbly for a few minutes,” but quickly recovered. Even though the government has been successful in warding off hack attacks, Steinitz said that government sites were fully backed up and mirrored, meaning that they could be replaced by a duplicate site instantly if the original site were compromised."

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NASA

+ - NASA Security Breach->

Submitted by Mephistophocles
Mephistophocles (930357) writes "If you work for NASA, you saw this memo sent to all agency employees yesterday afternoon:

"On October 31, 2012, a NASA laptop and official NASA documents issued to a Headquarters employee were stolen from the employee's locked vehicle. The laptop contained records of sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) for a large number of NASA employees, contractors, and others. Although the laptop was password protected, it did not have whole disk encryption software, which means the information on the laptop could be accessible to unauthorized individuals. We are thoroughly assessing and investigating the incident, and taking every possible action to mitigate the risk of harm or inconvenience to affected employees.""

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Security

+ - Cyberespionage For Everyone->

Submitted by Mephistophocles
Mephistophocles (930357) writes "A chilling article by Darkreading's Kelly Jackson Higgins describes how the growing accessibility of hacking tools like RAT's (Remote Access Trojans) have made cyber-espionage possible for more than just those financially backed by large nation-states, and speculates on what the implications of this may be:

"Researchers at Norman Security today revealed that they recently analyzed malware used in phishing emails targeting Israeli and Palestinian targets and found that attackers used malware based on the widely available Xtreme RAT crimeware kit. The attacks, which first hit Palestinian targets, this year began going after Israeli targets, including Israeli law enforcement agencies and embassies around the world. Norman says the same attacker is behind the attacks because the attacks use the same command-and-control (C&C) infrastructure, as well as the same phony digital certificates.

This attack campaign just scratches the surface of the breadth and spread of these types of attacks around the world as more players have been turning to cyberspying. "We're just seeing the tip of the iceberg," says Einar Oftedal, deputy CTO at Norman.""

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Sony

+ - Sony Entertainment Head Steps Down->

Submitted by Mephistophocles
Mephistophocles (930357) writes "Japan Times reports today that Sony Entertainment Chief Tim Schaaf has stepped down. Schaaf's division has recently drawn the ire of users and governments alike after multiple hacks which resulted in the theft of millions of users' personal information. Schaaf joined Sony after a stint at Apple, and had ambitious plans for unifying the end-user's entertainment experience on Sony products, as well as having some big words for how to help out Sony's music division. Tim will be replaced by Andrew House, currently of Sony's Game Division.

One wonders — is this a continued sign of deterioration in Sony's Entertainment house?"

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+ - Can't Pass the Cybersecurity Bill? Sign an Executive Order-> 2

Submitted by
Mephistophocles
Mephistophocles writes "What do you do when you can't get a bill through congress? Why, you just get the president to sign an executive order, of course! The Hill reports that Senator Jay Rockefeller of Virginia is doing exactly that:

"[B]ecause it is very unclear whether the Senate will come to agreement on cybersecurity legislation in the near future, I urge you to explore and employ every lever of executive power that you possess to protect this country from the cyber threat," Rockefeller wrote in a letter to Obama on Monday. "We must act to address our cyber vulnerabilities as soon as possible and many components of the Cybersecurity Act are amenable to implementation via executive order, normal regulatory processes, or other executive action under the authorities of the Homeland Security Act."

The bill in question failed to pass congressional vote earlier this year. So much for due process."
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Microsoft

+ - Microsoft Helps NYC Deploy Big-Brother Monitoring System->

Submitted by
Mephistophocles
Mephistophocles writes "Microsoft has teamed up with the City of New York to implement a draconian crime monitoring system. Interestingly, the NYC will be keeping 30% of Microsoft's licensing revenue due to their level of involvement in designing the system's architecture:

Microsoft executed the system, but it was the NYPD that had to design it, choosing what data needed to be surfaced and when, and how it could best be presented to officers. As such, it is a true joint effort, and New York will be taking 30 percent of the revenues Microsoft gets from licensing the technology. Other cities will surely want to utilize this powerful system, so it's possible that, as Mayor Bloomberg put it, both parties will "we think we can recoup all our expenses over a period of time, and maybe even make a few bucks"

Is it just me, or does something about a city gaining direct monetary gain from designing a system to spy on its citizens seem a little unsettling?"
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