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NEWS - December 21, 2012

by Carol~ Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 1:53 AM PST
Samsung promises patch for critical smartphone vulnerability

Samsung has apparently made its first statement on Android Central regarding a critical security vulnerability that is a serious problem for smartphones with the Exynos 4 system-on-chip (SoC). According to the article, the company plans to provide a patch for affected devices as soon as possible - but has not given any details on when that might actually be.

Some of the devices with the problem are the Galaxy S II and S III, Note, Note II, Note 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 7.7. The vulnerability allows specially prepared applications to directly access a smartphone's entire memory, even in the kernel, thereby giving themselves root privileges and the ability to do whatever they want on the device - a security worst-case-scenario. An app could, for example, install a spyware program that monitors calls, messages and passwords or permanently deletes all of a user's data.

Continued : http://www.h-online.com/security/news/item/Samsung-promises-patch-for-critical-smartphone-vulnerability-1773557.html

Samsung Acknowledges Exynos Root Exploit
Samsung to Patch Vulnerable Exynos-powered Devices
Samsung promises fix for vulnerability in Android Galaxy devices
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A Consumer's Guide to Spotting "Fake" Charities
by Carol~ Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 2:27 AM PST


Earlier in the week we've mentioned that people should be on the lookout for "fake" charities trying to exploit the Sandy Hook tragedy. About 150 or so domains have been registered that are "suspect" and about a dozen I can safely say are fraudulent. Some basic steps we already know about how to deal with this:

• Only deal with charities that are already known to you (i.e. the Red Cross) or that you have a personal relationship (your church or church-related organization, local civic group, etc).
• Don't donate to charities simply by clicking on an e-mail; affirmatively go to website to donate directly.
• Always be sure to check for real contact information, if you don't see anything, don't donate.

That said, let's say you find a website and you want to "verify" whether it is suspect or not. There are several things you can do. Advance warning, this is US-centric mostly because I don't know "charity" laws in other countries, if someone would like to clue me in how to do similar in other countries, feel free to contact me directly.

• Check the domain registration using WHOIS. One online WHOIS tool is here. If it is a "private registration", it is suspect and move along.
• Check with the IRS whether the organization is, in fact, tax exempt. Their lookup tool is here. If the website doesn't have an organization name, it's suspect. If they are talking to you, try to get their tax ID (or FEIN) number. Ask for a copy of their IRS Form 990 (which they are required to disclose). Many states also require charities to register themselves and you can search those filings online as well.
• Check with Guidestar which is sort of a Consumer Reports / Better Business Bureau for charities.

Continued : https://isc.sans.edu/diary.html?storyid=14737

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BBB Offers Ten Giving Tips for Newtown Tragedy
by Carol~ Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 2:54 AM PST

In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the national charity monitoring arm of the Better Business Bureau, cautions donors about potential red flags in fund raising to help Newtown and to be aware of the different circumstances that often emerge in tragedy-related philanthropy.

"Certainly this tragedy will inspire people to give. Americans are emotionally drawn and will respond to requests to help the Sandy Hook community, advocacy groups and mental health charities among others," said H. Art Taylor, President & CEO, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, "and while they should be on the lookout for questionable solicitors and scammers, people may be less clear about the complicated legal character of their gifts." The BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers ten tips to educate donors, avoid problem appeals, and give with confidence.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to give thoughtfully and avoid those seeking to take advantage of the generosity of others. Here are "Ten Tips for Giving with Confidence" -

Continued : http://www.bbb.org/us/article/BBB-Offers-Ten-Giving-Tips-for-Newtown-Tragedy-39052

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"Change Facebook color theme" scam leads to spying Chrome..
by Carol~ Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 2:54 AM PST
.. extension

The end of one year and the beginning of another strikes a lot of people as the perfect moment to change something in their life and start with the proverbial clean slate. This need to change something - anything - has seemingly not gone unnoticed by cyber scammers.

In the last few days, Facebook users have been hit by two malicious offers to change how they and others see their Facebook accounts.

First there was the offer of seeing how Facebook will supposedly look in 2013, and then the well-known "Change your Facebook color theme" scheme that is trotted out every few months.

The lure in this last scheme is always the same, but what it requires users to do changes according to occasion - sometimes the cyber crooks want users to use a bogus app that will be able to post spam on their behalf, other times it leads to phishing pages.

Continued : http://www.net-security.org/secworld.php?id=14157
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Malware-Infested Sudoku Puzzles Researchers
by Carol~ Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 2:54 AM PST

A "blast from the past" surfaced recently among those who play Microsoft Excel-based Sudoku puzzles: malware spread by macros.

Spreading malicious code via macros was the rage among the digital underground in the late 1990s, so much so that Microsoft eventually disabled them by default.

But according to Sophos, someone's found a way to get people to turn the macros back on to inject malware onto their machines and harvest a host of data. "Macros are still in common use, and the trick used here is quite simple: if you want to generate a puzzle to solve, you have to enable macros," writes Richard Wang in a post. "It sounds perfectly reasonable, doesn't it? Generating Sudoku puzzles requires a program; to run the program requires macros."

Continued : https://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/malware-infested-sudoku-puzzles-researchers-121912

Related: Sudoku puzzle generating spreadsheet carries malware

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Commission Junction and LinkShare affiliate violations
by Carol~ Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 2:55 AM PST

Bed Edelman and Wesley Brandi:

"Twenty oft-found Commission Junction and LinkShare affiliate violations"

Our automation continuously scours the web for rogue affiliates. In our query tool, we provide a basic sense of how much we've found. We have also written up scores of sample rogue affiliates, but the holiday season provides an impetus for more: Thanks to high online spending, affiliate fraud at this time of year is particularly profitable for perpetrators -- and particularly costly to merchants.

Below, we report the ten Commission Junction affiliates and ten LinkShare affiliates most often seen by our automation. We focus on affiliates whose conduct violates the plain language of networks' posted terms and conditions, specifically spyware and adware, cookie-stuffing, and typosquatting. Click an affiliate summary for details about the violation, a packet log showing the network traffic that performs the violation, and, for many affiliates, screenshot or video confirmation.

Continued : http://www.benedelman.org/affiliate-top10/

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New Tool for Attackers? Facebook Charging for Guaranteed..
by Carol~ Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 3:24 AM PST
.. Message Delivery to Strangers

Facebook on Thursday began testing the feasibility of charging to guarantee that messages from strangers make it into inboxes of intended recipients at the social network.

Dabbling with getting people to pay to connect with Facebook members comes as the social network strives to tap the potential to make money from its membership base of more than a billion people.

The Facebook Messages test, limited to the United States, lets a sender pay a dollar to make sure an electronic missive is routed to someone's "inbox" even when the person isn't in their circle of friends.

Facebook messaging system was billed as being designed to deflect seemingly unwanted correspondence into an "other" folder that can be ignored.

Facebook said that it wanted to determine whether adding a "financial signal" improves its formula for delivering "relevant and useful" messages to members' inboxes.

Continued : http://www.securityweek.com/new-tool-attackers-facebook-charging-guaranteed-message-delivery-strangers

Also: Facebook Introduces Pay-To-Send Messaging Service
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FCC offers security advice to smartphone users
by Carol~ Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 3:24 AM PST

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is advising smartphone users on how to protect their mobile devices and data from mobile security threats.

The Commission released an online tool called the "Smartphone Security Checker" on Tuesday that outlines a 10-step action plan that mobile users can follow to prevent their personal data from being exposed in case their devices get infected with malware or are lost, stolen or resold.

The tool provides recommendations including: locking access to the phone with PINs or passwords; avoiding changing the phone's factory security settings or rooting/jailbreaking the phone; backing up the phone data regularly in the cloud, on a computer or on a removable memory card; installing apps only from trusted sources and after checking their user reviews; reviewing and understanding the permissions requested by applications before installing them; installing the firmware updates issued by the manufacturer; installing security apps that allow remote locking and wiping of the phone; avoiding connecting to the Internet from untrusted wireless hotspots; wiping data from the phones before reselling; donating or recycling devices; and reporting stolen devices to the authorities and the operator for inclusion in a national database of stolen smartphones.

Continued : http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9234928/FCC_offers_security_advice_to_smartphone_users

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Default HTTPS for popular sites add-on released for IE
by Carol~ Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 3:25 AM PST

"Zscaler releases Internet Explorer version of the Firefox and Chrome 'HTTPS Everywhere' browser security extension"

Cloud-based security services provider Zscaler has released an implementation for Internet Explorer of the HTTPS Everywhere browser security extension.

HTTPS Everywhere forces the browser to always connect over HTTPS (HTTP Secure) to popular websites that support the secure communication protocol but don't enable it by default. The extension also sets the "secure" flag for authentication cookies, preventing them from being transmitted over unencrypted connections.

Some HTTPS-enabled sites fail to set this flag for authentication cookies because they expect users to automatically be logged in even when they access the HTTP versions of the site. However, this allows attackers who compromised a network's gateway or who can sniff traffic on an unprotected wireless network, to steal the cookies from users and hijack their accounts.

HTTPS Everywhere was originally released as an extension for Mozilla Firefox in 2010 and is jointly developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights watchdog organisation, and the Tor Project, the creators of the Tor anonymity software. A version for Google Chrome has also been released since then.

Continued: http://news.techworld.com/security/3417458/default-https-for-popular-sites-add-on-released-for-internet-explorer/

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Still putting your PGP-protected PC in hibernate? $300 app..
by Carol~ Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 4:30 AM PST
.. can hack it

Attacking strong crypto may soon become a script kiddie exercise. [Screenshot]

Cracking PGP, TrueCrypt, and other strong encryption packages just got more affordable, with the release of a $300 package that can pluck decryption keys out of computer memory in certain cases.

Thursday's release of the Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor poses the biggest threat to people who leave their pre-OS X 7.2 Mac laptops or FireWire-equipped PCs in hibernate or sleep states while encrypted drives are mounted. It has long been possible to use the FireWire or Mac Thunderbolt interfaces to retrieve the contents of volatile memory on machines that are password-protected but not powered down. But until now, it has cost closer to $1,000 for an easy and reliable way to use that data against people using strong full-disk encryption programs.

Continued : http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/12/cheap-app-cracks-pgp/

Also: World's Most Used Encryption Technologies, Cracked in No Time with $299 Forensics Tool
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