Archive for the 'Technology' Category

I’m preparing to spend one week without buying or throwing away anything plastic. This experiment was inspired by the movie “Tapped,” which artfully shows the terrible environmental damages, health risks and social conflicts caused by the mass manufacture and waste of plastics. The first step is to list all of the necessities I typically use […]

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“Mike,” the owner of a midsized web-hosting company, talks about the effects of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI/DSS) on web hosting companies and small online merchants who are his customers. s: If PCI/DSS were enforced today, what would happen? m: Well, all the small businesses would lie. Right? If you’re a small […]

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Governments store and gather a *lot* of private information about everyday citizens, in order to provide you with services such as health, transportation, safety, education, taxation, and much more. How much of this will be handed over to private IT companies such as Google in the rush to the “cloud”? What will happen to it […]

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Recently I saw an ad which read: “Over 60% of the U.S. state governments have gone Google.” Does this mean that we’ve now handed the majority of our state governments’ operational data to a single privately-controlled company which has well-publicized partnerships with other governments such as China? To find out more, I contacted Google’s press […]

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‘”Until the first blow fell, no one was convinced that Penn Station really would be demolished, or that New York would permit this monumental act of vandalism against one of the largest and finest landmarks of its age of Roman elegance.” (New York TImes) ‘”Its destruction left a deep and lasting wound in the architectural […]

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Hackers and the Power Grid

I really loved Robert Graham’s article about the Brazilian power outages. He writes: “Most rumors of hacker infiltrations are false. If you investigate computers in any large organization hard enough, you’ll find malware. This doesn’t mean hackers have broken in, because most viruses are not under control of the hacker who launched them. Also, things […]

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Here’s where you can download my “scary” DEFCON presentation: Reverse of the United States Great SealNovus Ordo Seclorum“A New Order of the Ages” “Death of Anonymous Travel”DEFCON 2009 – PDF MD5sum: c772681c37c9ad5d210c19c12eb43095 Thanks to everyone who sent in comments, suggestions, and encouragement. (Special thanks to the EFF lawyers for reviewing this beforehand– you guys rock!) […]

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Bobby Dominguez wrote in to report on how the DHS is automatically collecting full travel itineraries, including hotel reservations, from electronic booking systems. He writes: “I recently requested my “file” from the Dept of Homeland Security – Customs. It was interesting to see that they not only knew every flight I took, but also all […]

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7/15 – Updated with more details, and a shiny new photo. The Bush Turnpike in Texas no longer accepts cash as of July 1, 2009. Based on the federal Coinage Act of 1965, I believe this is illegal. The Coinage Act (31 U.S.C. 5103) states: “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and […]

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This week I’m trying to think positively about mass surveillance. It seems inevitable, after all. “Iran’s Web Spying Aided By Western Technology,” read the front page of the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago. “European Gear Used in Vast Effort to Monitor Communications.” Judging by the Intelligence Support Systems industry marketing brochures, Iran’s “monitoring […]

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Kindle Spying

Josh Wright recently purchased a new Kindle. Surprisingly, when he downloaded one of his books onto the new Kindle, it offered to open it to the page where he had left off on his old Kindle. In other words, Amazon tracked not just the books he was reading, but specifically which sections of the book […]

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The illustrious John Strand has an update for us regarding Verizon’s demo EVDO system security. This summer John is launching his new SANS class, Security Architecture for Systems Administrators. Shortly after we posted the article about the openness of the Verizon EVDO demonstration terminals, we were contacted by Verizon. After discussing the issue at length […]

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Verizon Stores Pre-p0wned

John Strand is the author of this week’s article. John is the owner of Black Hills Information Security and a member of PaulDotCom Security Weekly. He is also a SANS Instructor and a regular presenter at various security conferences. Last week I was plucking around at my local Verizon Wireless store looking for a power […]

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On May 15, the first phase of TSA’s Secure Flight program took effect after years of development. By the end of the year, when you book a flight, the airline will send your name (as specified on your government-issued ID), birthdate, gender, and itinerary to TSA’s centralized Secure Flight system, where you will be checked […]

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I love the Minneapolis airport. For an information security geek, it never fails to provide some interesting gem. Wandering through the airport this week I ran across a Delta “Helpline” kiosk (formerly Northwest’s Rebook Service Center). Every time I walk through the airport I see these gray kiosks closed up and pushed aside in some […]

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This week, IBM ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal, which advertised that: New York’s “Real Time Crime Center can quickly query millions of pieces of information to uncover previously unknown data relationships and points of connection.” In Poland “personal and vehicle IDs can be instantly checked in an EU-wide database.” In Chicago: […]

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Pirates and Ninjas: Emacs or Vi?

In the great debates of Pirates vs. Ninjas and Emacs vs. Vi, there is one overarching question: Do Pirates and Ninjas use Emacs or Vi? Philosecurity has conducted countless hours of research, interviewed real ninjas and pirates in their natural environs, and launched intensive laboratory studies involving monkeys in order to bring you, our readers, […]

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No matter where you go, your computer leaves footprints on the network. When you connect to the network, logon to your workstation, or surf the web, these activities leave trails throughout your employer or ISP’s network– even when the administrators are not deliberately trying to monitor your activity. Forensic analysts traditionally focus on hard drive […]

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Rogue Wireless Gets Sneakier

For $40, anyone can purchase a cheap wireless AP and plug it into the company network. Often, employees do this simply for the sake of convenience, not realizing that it opens the company to attack. Criminals also deliberately plant wireless access points, which allow them to bypass the pesky firewall and remotely access the network […]

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Last week marked the original official deadline for the Digital Television Transition, after which analog television broadcasts would be terminated. (The official deadline was recently extended to June 12, 2009.) To ease the transition, the US government launched the TV Converter Box Coupon Program, which “allows U.S. households to obtain up to two coupons, each […]

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