So, last night I downloaded a version of the Low-Orbit Ion Cannon, the traffic generation tool which Anonymous has been using to attack various websites. The version I acquired, from SourceForge, was not one which had been modified for use by Anonymous – it didn’t have the “Hive” function which allows it to be utilized remotely. I should mention that although it was originally made by Praetox, and many versions available for download still have Praetox branding, Praetox no longer supports the code, nor is in any way affiliated with Anonymous. It’s not really a terribly complicated tool. All it does is flood out requests in one of three ways: http requests, TCP packets, or UDP packets. It allows the[…]

Over the last few months, many people have talked about using HTTPS with sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The technology came up often after the release of Firesheep, which allowed Wi-Fi users to hijack other users who used these sites without HTTPS. Part of the technology behind HTTPS are certificates – small electronic files that help your browser ensure it’s connecting to a trusted site and protect the connection from eavesdropping or tampering. For instance, when you visit, the Google server has a certificate that lets your browser know it’s connecting to Google and not an impostor. But how does your browser know if the certificate is not also from an impostor? Each browser maintains a list of[…]

Earlier today, news began to spread about an exploited certification authority (CA) spotted in the wild. The Tor project blog has an excellent write-up on how they detected the presence of patches blocking particular SSL certificates and worked backwards to determine that a Comodo issuer had been compromised. The folks at Tor suppose (rightly) that if people who monitor the patches for Firefox and Chrome hadn’t noticed, this entire incident might have been swept under the rug. Since that time, Comodo has come clean with an incident report which describes in detail the certificates that were issued and even states    All of the above leads us to one conclusion only:- that this was likely to be a state-driven attack.[…]

Open Authorization (OAuth), the authorization standard centered around the granting of permissions and the exchange of access tokens, has slowly gained more widespread use as a result of its adoption as an API authorization system for large web services (Google, Facebook, and Twitter all embrace some version of OAuth). Although OAuth version 2.0 probably won’t look much different from 1.0a to end users (if they even notice), most improvements seem to be aligned with the needs of a rapidly-expanding apps market. This is not a bad thing. When implemented correctly, OAuth can certainly improve security. Naturally, there would be an interest in simplifying things for both users and developers. But this simplification comes partially from the lack of signatures (used[…]

Yesterday, I started getting a bunch of warnings from the anti-virus program I’ve got installed on my Mac – F-Secure Mac Protection Technology Preview. Since I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary or perform any “suspicious” behavior, this was a surprise to me. (Especially considering I had only received one virus alert from the software in the last 3 months.) The below is a screenshot I grabbed shortly after this began. Every time I loaded a web page in my browser, a bunch of files would be detected and be automatically removed by the software. If I restarted the Google Chrome browser, the anti-virus deleted a critical enough file to cause Chrome to crash. Within about 20 minutes I[…]

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, then you undoubtedly know that Japan was rocked a few days ago by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake (the 3rd largest in the past decade and top 10 overall – also check out the NYT’s before & after shots) and a subsequent tsunami that exponentially compounded the ill effects of the disaster. Coming out of that incident, one of the most hyped “news” items has been the aftermath at the Fukushima nuclear power generation facility. It turns out (unsurprisingly) that much of this coverage has been faulty, inappropriately throwing around talk of “melt downs” when, in fact, things are under control. For a great, detailed description of the entire incident,[…]