Author Archives: Russ
Author Archives: Russ
What happened to integrity in cybersecurity? I don’t mean integrity in terms of a company’s missteps in disclosing a data breach, nor around the ethics of sketchy security “research” practices. I’m talking about integrity as a foundational approach in protecting valuable data and systems. —Tim Erlin @Dark Reading
While the network engineering world tends to use the word resilience to describe a system that will support rapid change in the real world, another word often used in computer science is robustness. What makes a system robust or resilient? If you ask a network engineer this question, the most likely answer you will get is something like there is no single point of failure. This common answer, however, does not go “far enough” in describing resilience. For instance, it is at least sometimes the case that adding more redundancy into a network can actually harm MTTR. A simple example: adding more links in parallel can cause the control plane to converge more slowly; at some point, the time to converge can be reduced enough to offset the higher path availability.
In other cases, automating the response to a change in the network can harm MTTR. For instance, we often nail a static route up and redistribute that, rather than redistributing live routing information between protocols. Experience shows that sometimes not reacting automatically is better than reacting automatically.
This post will look at a paper that examines robustness more deeply, Robustness in Complexity Systems,” by Steven Gribble. While this Continue reading
“I’m surrounded by lazy, marginally competent people. The boss is no better, and neither is the boss’ boss. What we’re doing is Not Even Wrong, it’s bureaucratically lame. I have much better ideas than my ‘superiors’, but no one understands, no one cares…” —Jean-Louis Gassée @Medium
The Facebook freak-out provides an outlet for fears regarding the digital environment we inhabit. A few companies control most channels of information. The gadgets that we use for convenience and entertainment also create the mechanisms for near-total surveillance, from tracking devices in our pockets to wiretaps in our homes—hi, Alexa! Someone besides Santa is watching and knows whether you have been naughty or nice. —Nathanael Blake @Public Discourse
Within just 10 days of the disclosure of two critical vulnerabilities in GPON router at least 5 botnet families have been found exploiting the flaws to build an army of million devices. Security researchers from Chinese-based cybersecurity firm Qihoo 360 Netlab have spotted 5 botnet families, including Mettle, Muhstik, Mirai, Hajime, and Satori, making use of the GPON exploit in the wild. —Swati Khandelwal @The Hacker News
Exploitation of Rowhammer attack just got easier. Dubbed ‘Throwhammer,’ the newly discovered technique could allow attackers to launch Rowhammer attack on the targeted systems just by sending specially crafted packets to the vulnerable network cards over the local area network. Known since 2012, Rowhammer is a severe issue with recent generation dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips in which repeatedly accessing a row of memory Continue reading
Google on Monday showed off a slew of new features coming to its wide range of consumer products, from an addition to its Android OS that encourage users to take breaks to a feature in its Google Assistant that praises kids (and, perhaps, adults) for using the word “please.” —Rachel Metz @Technology Review
All of our computerized systems are deeply international, and we have no choice but to trust the companies and governments that touch those systems. And while we can ban a few specific products, services or companies, no country can isolate itself from potential foreign interference. —Schneier on Security
In some recent design situations, I’ve spent some time looking at routers and firewalls, looking for some fairly hefty performance characteristics. That’s where it became quite clear (if it wasn’t clear enough already), that router and firewall performance costs a lot more, compared to switches. As covered in the previous blog. —Pete Welcher @Netcraftsmen
Facebook is taking the place of blogs, but doesn’t permit linking, styles. Posts can’t have titles or include podcasts. As a result these essential features are falling into disuse. We’re returning to AOL. Linking, especially is essential. @Scripting News
Way back in the old days, the unit I worked at in the US Air Force had a room with a lot of equipment used for processing classified information. Among this equipment was a Zenith Z-250 with an odd sort of keyboard and a very low resolution screen. A fine metal mesh embedded in a semi-clear substrate was glued to the surface of the monitor. This was our TEMPEST rated computer, on which we could type up classified memos, read classified email, and the like. We normally connected it to the STU-3 through a modem (remember those) to send and receive various kinds of classified information.
Elovici, Mordechai Guri, Yuval. “Bridgeware: The Air-Gap Malware.” Accessed May 13, 2018. https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2018/4/226377-bridgeware/abstract.
The idea of TEMPEST begins way back in 1985, when a Dutch researcher demonstrated “reading” the screen of a computer using some relatively cheap, and easy to assemble, equipment, from several feet away. The paper I’m looking at today provides a good overview of the many ways which have been discovered since this initial demonstration to transfer data from one computer to another across what should be an “air gap.” For instance, the TEMPEST rated computer described Continue reading
We, as the stewards of networking, need to help this process along. We need to spend more time talking about design and theory. We need to dissect protocols and help people understand how to use the tools they have rather than hoping someone will build the best mousetrap ever to solve each piece of a complicated puzzle. We need to teach people to be thinkers and problem solvers. And, yes, that does mean a bit less complaining about things like vendor code quality and VAR behavior. —Tom @The Networking Nerd
A team of security researchers has reportedly discovered a total of eight new “Spectre-class” vulnerabilities in Intel CPUs, which also affect at least a small number of ARM processors and may impact AMD processor architecture as well. Dubbed Spectre-Next Generation, or Spectre-NG, the partial details of the vulnerabilities were first leaked to journalists at German computer magazine Heise, which claims that Intel has classified four of the new vulnerabilities as “high risk” and remaining four as “medium.” —Mohit Kumar @Hacker News
As cities get smarter, their appetite and access to information is also increasing. The rise of data-generating technologies has given government agencies unprecedented opportunities to harness useful, real-time information about citizens. But governments often lack dedicated expertise and resources to collect, analyze, and ultimately turn such data into actionable information, and so have turned to private-sector companies and academic researchers to get at this information. —Joseph Jerome @CDT
Despite this renewed rhetoric, most experts continue to agree that exceptional access, no matter how you implement it, weakens security. The terminology might have changed, but the essential question has not: should technology companies be forced to develop a system that inherently harms their users? The answer hasn’t changed either: Continue reading
Most every organization has been affected by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in some way: whether they were hit directly in a traffic-flooding attack, or if they suffered the fallout from one of their partners or suppliers getting victimized. —Kelly Jackson Higgins @Dark Reading
It seems, based on this, that all businesses care about, in terms of the network, is the ability to move packets. To use a comparison that is often made: It might be “nice” to drive a “nicer car,” but in the end, a car is a car is a car. All that matters in cars is that they get you from point A to point B, wherever those points might be. If all the data a business cares about can be packed up into packets, and all that matters is getting them from point A to point B—wherever those two places might be, then the kind of equipment you use to move packets does not matter. @ECI