I am currently experimenting with my smartphone, to see if its Mobile Access Point Functionality allows it to function as a wireless router independent of Internet connection. In theory, it should – it is capable of providing internet access to four attached devices, and that suggests that it should have router functionality, meaning that the attached devices should be able to talk with each other, rather than simply to the Internet. In practice, I know that sometimes seemingly important parts of networking implementations are, well, not implemented. The most egregious example, in my experience, was a commercial-grade firewall which was unable to pass UDP traffic under certain circumstances. The lesson I learned then was that just because the hardware and[…]

We’ve discussed the importance of properly implemented two-factor authentication before, but TFA is usually associated with computing fields or high-security facilities.  Earlier this year an InfoSec blogger wrote about his experience driving a new Ducati Diavel, in which he dealt with a dealer who did not provide a key for the bike he was test driving.  While the bike appeared to have been started before he left the dealership, apparently the dealer started it without a key, since new Ducatis can be started with an optional backup PIN in case you lose or forget your key fob.  To his surprise, the bike’s PIN was the last four digits of the bike’s VIN, although that was most likely an oversight from[…]

Let me first start off with the disclaimer that I am a CISSP and (nominally) a member of (ISC)2. I’ve been part of very few professional organizations throughout my career and college days. I even shied away from the women in engineering groups on campus, although I knew a lot of women in them. I tended towards the ad hoc, social groups instead. Blame it on the Cotillion club I was (forced to be) a part of when I was in high school, I just don’t like paying to be part of a “club”. I pay (ISC)2 only because I have to to keep my CISSP (and to other organizations for the same reason), I’m not a member because I[…]

In the past few years, we’ve seen point-of-service payment card hardware and software capabilities extend from an enterprise level (proprietary systems) to a small business level (financial instutution-backed merchant accounts) and finally to an individual level (web and mobile payments). And it makes sense; despite the growing popularity of e-currency, most people with a bank account have access to a credit/debit card and aren’t afraid to use it. And with each step of maturity, the technology surrounding payment cards gets more and more diverse and open to innovation. Jumio’s Netswipe is a new twist on entering payment card data online. Instead of swiping or typing, you essentially stream an encrypted video capture of yourself holding up your card. I’m assuming some[…]

When contracting with a data center, we ask plenty of questions. We ask about their security posture. Do they monitor entrances and exits? Do they police building parking? How is their alarm system monitored? How secure is their network? Are the cages secure? Who can get into the building? We ask about their ability to handle disasters. What kind of fire extinguishers do they have? Do they use fire-resistant doors? Slab-to-slab construction? Can they handle flooding? Power outages? But we need to start asking another set of questions: what is their legal posture? A couple of months ago, an FBI raid at a data center in Reston took out “tens” of the data center’s customers, in spite of the FBI[…]

What’s in a name if it’s transparent? The concept of a “name” has always been an important part of interactivity due to the convenience of association. We use names to keep people and things distinct when we reference them. Beyond that, their significance can be magnified by the value we place on them (e.g. exorcisms, Rumpelstiltskin). It stands to reason that one’s true name, being something of value, would be protected to some extent. We typically accomplish this simply by sharing it selectively, or by using a partial name or a nickname. Our experiences online aren’t much different; pseudonyms have long been part of the fabric of the Internet and are basically e-nicknames. Handles, monikers, and ICQ numbers have all[…]