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SANS NewsBites is a semiweekly high-level executive summary of the most important news articles that have been published on computer security during the last week. Each news item is very briefly summarized and includes a reference on the web for detailed information, if possible.

Spend five minutes per week to keep up with the high-level perspective of all the latest security news. New issues are delivered free every Tuesday and Friday.

Volume XV - Issue #85

October 25, 2013

Policy makers considering the impact of the NIST Framework released this week might find John Pescatore's assessment illuminating (first story). More to come on this.



NIST Releases Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework
July DOE Intrusion Affected More People Than Previously Thought


US Attorney Charges Seven in Connection with Fraudulent Internet Transactions
Cisco Issues Software Fixes for Networking and Communications Products
Flash Now Sandboxed in Safari on OS X 10.9
Don't Call Yourself a Hacker
Malware Found on International Atomic Energy Agency Computers
Netgear Equipment Vulnerabilities
Rental Company Settles Charges Over Webcam Spying
Federal Appeals Court Says Warrant Required for GPS Tracking



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NIST Releases Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework (October 22 & 23, 2013)

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released its preliminary cybersecurity framework. The practices described in the document are voluntary. Some are critical of voluntary standards because they in turn become the de facto industry standards, which means companies that suffer breaches could be found liable if they have not implemented the practices. Private companies operate most elements of the country's critical infrastructure. The final version of the document is scheduled to be released in February 2014.



Draft Framework:
[Editor's Note (Pescatore): The draft framework provides a mapping of its security controls to the many other existing frameworks. There are *no* requirements that do not already exist in one or more frameworks, with ISO 27001 being directly mapped to more than 61% of the NIST controls. The controls that don't directly map to ISO 27001 are generally either refinements (specifying detected events must be "analyzed") of controls that are found in ISO27001 or requirements to update controls - there is very little value add over just pointing to ISO 27001 or NIST 800-53, for that matter. There is no prioritization of the controls in the framework, but the mapping does include mapping to the Critical Security Controls. ]

July DOE Intrusion Affected More People Than Previously Thought (October 22, 2013)

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has revised the details of a July 2013 data security breach. DOE now says that the personal information of more than 104,000 current and former employees, their dependents, and contractors was compromised in the intrusion. DOE initially informed employees of the breach in mid-August, saying that at least 14,000 individuals were affected. By the end of that month, the official figure had nearly quadrupled to 53,000. Now that number has nearly doubled.

Updated DOE Cyber Incident Information:

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US Attorney Charges Seven in Connection with Fraudulent Internet Transactions (October 24, 2013)

Seven people have been indicted in connection with a scheme selling nonexistent luxury items on eBay and other sites. The indictment was filed in the Eastern District of New York Office of the US Attorney. The defendants allegedly netted more than US $3 million in the scheme. The defendants, who are from Romania and Albania, remain at large. Interpol is asking for assistance in apprehending the suspects.


Cisco Issues Software Fixes for Networking and Communications Products (October 24, 2013)

Cisco Systems released security updates for several of its products to address denial-of-service and arbitrary command execution vulnerabilities. Cisco has released updates for Cisco IOS XR Software, Cisco Identity Services Engine, and the Apache Struts development framework.

Flash Now Sandboxed in Safari on OS X 10.9 (October 23 & 24, 2013)

Adobe Flash Player is now sandboxed in Apple's Safari browser. Adobe has already released sandboxed versions of Flash for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. When software is sandboxed, it is granted limited privileges on a system; it may be prohibited from writing to a storage device or altering data in memory. The sandboxed version of Flash for Safari is for machines running OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

[Editor's Note (Northcutt): Adobe has been working on virtualization for their product suite for a while now. There are two things to keep in mind. One is the definition of sandbox. Do we mean reduced privileges, the ability to keep the browser from changing the underlying file/operating system or the ability to protect one tab from another. Second, it is good to see them continue to strengthen their products. ]

Don't Call Yourself a Hacker (October 23, 2013)

A US federal court in Idaho recently stripped Corey Thuen of his Fourth Amendment rights because he called himself a "hacker" on his website. Judge Lynn Winmill ruled that software developer's computer could be seized and its contents copied without prior notice because he referred to himself as a "hacker." The judge wrote, "The tipping point for the Court comes from evidence that de defendants - in their own words - are hackers." The case involves Thuen and his former employer, Battelle Energy Alliance. After helping to develop a security tool called Sophia at Battelle, Thuen left the company and established his own company, Southfork Security. He initially bid to help commercialize the tool, but then withdrew that bid and shortly later, released a tool called Visdom, which bears striking similarities to Sophia. Battelle sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent Southfork from marketing Visdom and asked that the order be issued with no prior warning because Battelle was concerned that Thuen would release Visdom as open source.


[Editor's Note (Murray): The issuance of a restraining order does not amount to "stripping" of "Fourth Amendment rights." Indeed, Thuen got exactly what the Amendment guarantees, "due process." In their request, Batelle made a number of claims to convince the court that there existed "probable cause." In retrospect, I think we may find that Batelle over reacted and over reached but that is what courts are for. We are guaranteed due process, but not necessarily a just outcome. ]

Malware Found on International Atomic Energy Agency Computers (October 23, 2013)

Some computers at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are infected with malware. IAEA says the machines have been infected for several months, adding that sensitive information about nuclear inspections was not compromised. Late last year, IAEA suffered a computer security breach at the hands of a politically motivated hacking group calling itself Parastoo.

[Editor's Note (Murray): Since malware is so pervasive and since one cannot demonstrate its absence, enterprise security must assume its presence and manage with the followings teps: air gap your intellectual assets, segment your internal network, employ end-to-end crypto, terminate VPNs on applications rather than on the perimeter or on operating systems, reduce administrative privileges, increase supervision of privileged users, increase use of two-person controls and strong authentication, etc. ]

Netgear Equipment Vulnerabilities (October 23, 2013)

Security flaws in some Netgear wireless routers and network-attached storage products could be exploited to take control of the devices. The vulnerabilities lie in the management interfaces of the products.

Rental Company Settles Charges Over Webcam Spying (October 22 & 23, 2013)

An Atlanta-based rental store has agreed to stop spying on customers who rent computers. Aaron's used software called Detective Mode to monitor customer activity through keystroke logging, screen shots, and images taken from webcams. The complaint, filed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) noted that the practice violated customers' privacy and put them at rick of identity fraud because of screen shots that contained financial data. According to the settlement, Aaron's may not use technology that captures keystrokes, screenshots, images, or sounds on the devices it rents. The company may only use tracking technology with the consent of the renter. Consumers also filed a lawsuit against Aaron's prior to the FTC's complaint.

FTC Complaint:
Consumer lawsuit:

Federal Appeals Court Says Warrant Required for GPS Tracking (October 22, 2013)

The Third US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that law enforcement officers must obtain a probable cause warrant before affixing GPS trackers to a suspect's vehicle. The is the first appeals court ruling since the January 2012 US Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Jones that affixing a GPS device to a suspect's vehicle constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. The justices did not rule on whether the search was unreasonable and thus required a warrant. This recent case, United States v. Katzin, involved a GPS device attached to the vehicle of a suspect in a series of pharmacy robberies.



php.net site compromised and used to spread malware

We are looking for experiences from small businesses who were the victim of a DoS attack

Yet more WHMCS Vulnerabilities

Netgear Router Authentication Bypass

Certified pre-pw0ned Smartphones

(sorry, German only)

Google and Arbor publish real time DDoS attack Map

Using Nexus 1000v Switch and Netflow in VMWare

Cryptolocker Update

Apple Updates
(new updates should be added sometime today/tomorrow)

The Editorial Board of SANS NewsBites

John Pescatore was Vice President at Gartner Inc. for fourteen years. He became a director of the SANS Institute in 2013. He has worked in computer and network security since 1978 including time at the NSA and the U.S. Secret Service.

Shawn Henry recently retired as FBI Executive Assistant Director responsible for all criminal and cyber programs and investigations worldwide, as well as international operations and the FBI's critical incident response. He is now president of CrowdStrike Services.

Stephen Northcutt teaches advanced courses in cyber security management; he founded the GIAC certification and was the founding President of STI, the premier skills-based cyber security graduate school, www.sans.edu.

Dr. Johannes Ullrich is Chief Technology Officer of the Internet Storm Center and Dean of the Faculty of the graduate school at the SANS Technology Institute.

Ed Skoudis is co-founder of CounterHack, the nation's top producer of cyber ranges, simulations, and competitive challenges, now used from high schools to the Air Force. He is also author and lead instructor of the SANS Hacker Exploits and Incident Handling course, and Penetration Testing course.

Michael Assante was Vice President and Chief Security Officer at NERC, led a key control systems group at Idaho National Labs, and was American Electric Power's CSO. He now leads the global cyber skills development program at SANS for power, oil & gas and other critical infrastructure industries.

Mark Weatherford is a Principal at The Chertoff Group and the former Deputy Under Secretary of Cybersecurity at the US Department of Homeland Security.

William Hugh Murray is an executive consultant and trainer in Information Assurance and Associate Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Sean McBride is Director of Analysis and co-founder of Critical Intelligence, and, while at Idaho National Laboratory, he initiated the situational awareness effort that became the ICS-CERT.

Rob Lee is the SANS Institute's top forensics instructor and director of the digital forensics and incident response research and education program at SANS (computer-forensics.sans.org).

Tom Liston is a Senior Security Consultant and Malware Analyst for InGuardians, a handler for the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center, and co-author of the book Counter Hack Reloaded.

Dr. Eric Cole is an instructor, author and fellow with The SANS Institute. He has written five books, including Insider Threat and he is a founder with Secure Anchor Consulting.

Mason Brown is one of a very small number of people in the information security field who have held a top management position in a Fortune 50 company (Alcoa). He leads SANS' efforts to raise the bar in cybersecurity education around the world.

David Hoelzer is the director of research & principal examiner for Enclave Forensics and a senior fellow with the SANS Technology Institute.

Gal Shpantzer is a trusted advisor to CSOs of large corporations, technology startups, Ivy League universities and non-profits specializing in critical infrastructure protection. Gal created the Security Outliers project in 2009, focusing on the role of culture in risk management outcomes and contributes to the Infosec Burnout project.

Alan Paller is director of research at the SANS Institute.

Brian Honan is an independent security consultant based in Dublin, Ireland.

David Turley is SANS infrastructure manager and serves as production manager and final editor on SANS NewsBites.

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