Security: Windows, Marcus Hutchins, Phishing, OpenVPN, DARPA, DINSIC
The latest Windows patch is breaking even more PCs with antivirus installed
Earlier this week we reported that Microsoft halted updates to Windows PCs running Sophos and Avast’s security solutions, following user complaints that their machines were locking up or failing to boot. Since then, the list of known issues for the rogue update was itself updated to acknowledge compatibility issues with Avira and ArcaBit antivirus installed, with Microsoft temporarily blocking updates to those affected systems, too. Today, Ars Technica noticed that Microsoft is investigating compatibility issues for systems with McAfee antivirus installed, though it hasn’t started blocking the April 9 update from those PCs just yet.
‘WannaCry Hero’ Marcus Hutchins Pleads Guilty to Making Banking Malware [iophk: "It looks like they squeezed malware tech with a “plea bargain”. So I would take reports of a guilty plea with a large grain of salt. They probably threatened him with 1000s of years in prison as an alternative. The plea “deal” is not mentioned in the summary, thus misleading the public about the situation."]
Marcus Hutchins, a security researcher known for helping stop the destructive WannaCry ransomware, plead guilty to hacking crimes on Friday.
Hutchins was accused of writing a banking malware called Kronos in 2014, after he finished high school. The researcher was arrested in Las Vegas after attending the hacker conference Def Con in 2017. Days later, he plead not guilty in a Milwaukee courtroom. He was scheduled to be tried this summer.
Google will begin to block sign-ins from embedded browser frameworks in June
A deeper look into OpenVPN: Security vulnerabilities
OpenVPN is the backbone of online security. It is supported in many popular virtual private network (VPN) providers such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN, and continues to receive frequent updates well into its 17th year in operation.
It’s an unwritten rule of information technology, however, that popular security protocols will attract the largest contingent of hackers. As OpenVPN is open source, it is therefore much easier for hackers to locate and exploit security vulnerabilities within the software design.
Nevertheless, the value of the open-source model is that it promotes open collaboration, thus encouraging other programmers to suggest changes to the design. This way, security vulnerabilities can be communicated directly to the developers, who then have the option to patch the software and eliminate the vulnerability.
DARPA’s New/Old Plan for a Hack-Proof Voting Machine
The Pentagon’s top research arm is working to build a hack-proof voting machine by combining something brand new with something old – specifically, secure open-source hardware and software using advanced cryptography on one end, and good old paper on the other.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently awarded the tech company Galois a $10 million contract for the project, which grew out of a broader agency project to remedy hardware vulnerabilities, the snappily named SSITH, for System Security Integrated Through Hardware and Firmware.
Galois, which focuses on ensuring the trustworthiness of hardware and software, will design the system, which will start with a different approach used by established voting machine makers, who have come under criticism over the vulnerabilities in their systems, Motherboard reported. For one, it will use open-source software, rather than the proprietary systems used by companies such as Election Systems & Software. It also will use open-source hardware, built from designs developed under the SSITH program.
New Attacks (and Old Attacks Made New)
This is shown again in Fortinet's latest Global Threat Landscape Report for the fourth quarter of 2018, where we reported that exploits that targeted individual organizations — often variations of existing malware or the misuse of FOSS (free/open source software) security tools — continue to grow at a rapid pace: 10% over the quarter, while the number of unique exploits they experienced increased by 5%. This suggests that, despite some reports suggesting that malicious actors follow the same work routines as their victims, cybercriminals didn't take much of a break over the holidays. And as you would expect, all of this malware — especially botnets — is becoming more complex and harder to detect.
Security flaw in French government messaging app exposed confidential conversations
Tchap wasn’t built from scratch. The DINSIC, France’s government agency in charge of all things digital, forked an open-source project called Riot, which is based on an open-source protocol called Matrix.
In a few words, Matrix is a messaging protocol that features end-to-end encryption. It competes with other protocols, such as the Signal Protocol that is widely used by consumer apps, such as WhatsApp, Signal, Messenger’s secret conversations and Google Allo’s incognito conversions — Messenger and Allo conversations aren’t end-to-end encrypted by default.
French Government's 'Secure' WhatsApp Replacement Hacked In Just 90 Minutes
In order to better protect official conversations, the French government developed its own secure instant messaging alternative to WhatsApp.