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CircleID: News Briefs



Latest news postings on CircleID



Updated: 2017-09-20T14:29:00-08:00

 



Spanish Police Raid the Offices of .cat gTLD Registry

2017-09-20T07:29:00-08:00

(image) Photo posted by Fundació puntCAT‏ during the raid.The offices of the .cat gTLD registry Fundació puntCAT were raided by the Spanish police this morning. The company reported the incident via a series of tweets as the raid was being carried out. "Right now spanish police @guardiacivil is doing an intervention in our office @ICANN," was tweeted just about 4 hours ago followed by another tweet reporting that the police was headed to CTO's home. "We're wating for him to arrive to our office to start the intervention."

Michele Neylon writes: "The move comes a couple of days after a Spanish court ordered the domain registry to take down all .cat domain names being used by the upcoming Catalan referendum. The .cat domain registry currently has over 100 thousand active domain names, and in light of the actions taken by the Spanish government, it's unclear how the registry will continue to operate if their offices are effectively shutdown by the Spanish authorities. The seizure won't impact live domain names or general day to day operations by registrars, as the registry backend is run by CORE and leverages global DNS infrastructure. However, it is deeply worrying that the Spanish government's actions would spill over onto an entire namespace."

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More under: Registry Services, Top-Level Domains




EFF Resigns from World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) over EME Decision

2017-09-19T07:36:00-08:00

In an open letter to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced on Tuesday that it is resigning from World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in response to the organization publishing Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) as a standard. From the letter: "In 2013, EFF was disappointed to learn that the W3C had taken on the project of standardizing "Encrypted Media Extensions," an API whose sole function was to provide a first-class role for DRM within the Web browser ecosystem. By doing so, the organization offered the use of its patent pool, its staff support, and its moral authority to the idea that browsers can and should be designed to cede control over key aspects from users to remote parties. ... We believe they will regret that choice. Today, the W3C bequeaths an legally unauditable attack-surface to browsers used by billions of people. They give media companies the power to sue or intimidate away those who might re-purpose video for people with disabilities. They side against the archivists who are scrambling to preserve the public record of our era. The W3C process has been abused by companies that made their fortunes by upsetting the established order, and now, thanks to EME, they'll be able to ensure no one ever subjects them to the same innovative pressures."

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More under: Cybersecurity, Policy & Regulation, Privacy, Web




Net Neutrality Advocates Planning Two Days of Protest in Washington DC

2017-09-18T09:53:00-08:00

A coalition of activists and consumer groups are planning to gather in Washington, DC to meet directly with the members of Congress, as they protest plans to defang regulations meant to protect an open internet.

The event organizer, Fight for the Future, is running a dedicated website 'battleforthenet.com/dc' in which it states in part: "On September 26-27 Internet users from across the country will converge on Washington, DC to meet directly with their members of Congress, which is by far the most effective way to influence their positions and counter the power of telecom lobbyists and campaign contributions. ... The only thing that can stop them is a coordinated grassroots effort of constituents directly pressuring our members of Congress, who have the power to stop the FCC and vote down bad legislation."

Participating organizations in the protest include Fight for the Future, Public Knowledge, EFF, Center for Media Justice, Common Cause, Consumers Union, Free Press and the Writers Guild of America West. See additional report by Dominic Rushe in The Guardian.

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More under: Net Neutrality, Policy & Regulation




Forty Percent of New Generic TLDs Shrinking, According to Domain Incite Analysis

2017-09-18T08:39:00-08:00

Forty percent of non-brand new gTLDs are shrinking, reports Kevin Murphy in Domain Incite: "According to numbers culled from registry reports, 172 of the 436 commercial gTLDs we looked at had fewer domains under management at the start of June than they did a year earlier. ... As you might expect, registries with the greatest exposure to the budget and/or Chinese markets were hardest hit over the period. .wang, .red, .ren, .science and .party all saw DUM decline by six figures. Another 27 gTLDs saw declines of over 10,000 names."

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More under: Domain Names, Registry Services, Top-Level Domains




China to Create National Cyberattack Database

2017-09-15T13:43:00-08:00

China has revealed plans to create a national data repository for information on cyberattacks and will require telecom firms, internet companies and domain name service providers to report threats to it. Reuters reports: "The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said companies and telcos as well as government bodies must share information on incidents including Trojan malware, hardware vulnerabilities, and content linked to "malicious" IP addresses to the new platform. An MIIT policy note also said that the ministry, which is creating the platform, will be liable for disposing of threats under the new rules, which will take effect on Jan. 1."

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More under: Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Policy & Regulation, Registry Services, Telecom




Bluetooth-Based Attack Vector Dubbed "BlueBorne" Exposes Almost Every Connected Device

2017-09-15T13:30:00-08:00

New discovery of a set of zero-day Bluetooth-related vulnerabilities can affect billions of devices in use today. Security firm, Armis Labs, has revealed a new attack vector that can target major mobile, desktop, and IoT operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux, and the devices using them. The new vector named "BlueBorne", as it spread through the air (airborne) and attacks devices via Bluetooth.

No pairing required: "BlueBorne is an attack vector by which hackers can leverage Bluetooth connections to penetrate and take complete control over targeted devices. BlueBorne affects ordinary computers, mobile phones, and the expanding realm of IoT devices. The attack does not require the targeted device to be paired to the attacker's device, or even to be set on discoverable mode."

— "The BlueBorne attack vector has several qualities which can have a devastating effect when combined. By spreading through the air, BlueBorne targets the weakest spot in the networks' defense — and the only one that no security measure protects. Spreading from device to device through the air also makes BlueBorne highly infectious. Moreover, since the Bluetooth process has high privileges on all operating systems, exploiting it provides virtually full control over the device."

Vulnerabilities found in Android, Microsoft, Linux and iOS versions pre-iOS 10. "Armis reported the vulnerabilities to Google, Microsoft, and the Linux community. Google and Microsoft are releasing updates and patches on Tuesday, September 12. Others are preparing patches that are in various stages of being released."

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More under: Cyberattack, Cybersecurity, Malware, Mobile Internet, Wireless




U.S. Navy Investigating Possibility of Cyberattack Behind Two Navy Destroyer Collisions

2017-09-15T12:53:00-08:00

(image)

Deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, Vice Adm. Jan Tigh, says the military is investigating the possibility of compromised computer systems behind two U.S. Navy destroyer collisions with merchant vessels that occurred in recent months. Elias Groll reporting in Foreign Policy: "Naval investigators are scrambling to determine the causes of the mishaps, including whether hackers infiltrated the computer systems of the USS John S. McCain ahead of the collision on Aug. 21, Tighe said during an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington… he Navy has no indication that a cyberattack was behind either of the incidents, but it is dispatching investigators to the McCain to put those questions to rest, she said."

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More under: Cyberattack, Cybersecurity




Equifax Breach Blamed on Open-Source Software Flaw

2017-09-11T18:04:01-08:00

Equifax has blamed a flaw in the software running its online databases for the massive breach revealed last week that has allowed hackers to steal personal information of as many as 143 million customers. Kevin Dugan reporting in the New York Post: "Hackers were able to access the info — including Social Security numbers — because there was a flaw in the open-source software created by the Apache Foundation ... STRUTS is a widely available software system that's used by about 65 percent of Fortune 100 companies, including Lockheed Martin, Citigroup, Vodafone, Virgin Atlantic, Reader's Digest, Office Depot, and Showtime — plus the IRS, according to lgtm, a software development group."

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More under: Cybercrime, Cybersecurity




Equifax Hacked, Nearly Half of US Population Affected

2017-09-07T15:37:01-08:00

(image) Rick Smith, Chairman and CEO of Equifax Inc., on cybersecurity incident involving consumer information. Equifax has established a dedicated website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection.In an announcement today, credit reporting giant Equifax revealed a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. The historic data breach has exposed names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers, Equifax said in the statement. "In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed." Equifax has also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain UK and Canadian residents. The company says it has found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax's core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.

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More under: Cyberattack, Cybercrime, Cybersecurity




EU Presidency Pushing Other Member States for Substantial Internet Surveillance

2017-09-06T14:24:00-08:00

A leaked document by Statewatch reveals the current EU Presidency (Estonia) has been pushing the other Member States to strengthen indiscriminate internet surveillance and to follow in the footsteps of China regarding online censorship. Diego Naranjo reporting in EDRi: "Standing firmly behind its belief that filtering the uploads is the way to go, the Presidency has worked hard in order to make the proposal for the new copyright Directive even more harmful than the Commission's original proposal, and pushing it further into the realms of illegality. ... The proposals in this leak highlight a very dangerous roadmap for the EU Member States, if they were to follow the Presidency's lead."

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More under: Censorship, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation




Europe and North America Energy Sector Targeted by Sophisticated Cyberattack Group

2017-09-06T07:53:00-08:00

The Western energy sector is being targeted by a new wave of cyberattacks capable of providing attackers ability to severely disrupt affected operations, according to reports on Wednesday. Symantec Security Response team reports: "The energy sector has become an area of increased interest to cyber attackers over the past two years. Most notably, disruptions to Ukraine’s power system in 2015 and 2016 were attributed to a cyber attack and led to power outages affecting hundreds of thousands of people. ... The Dragonfly group appears to be interested in both learning how energy facilities operate and also gaining access to operational systems themselves, to the extent that the group now potentially has the ability to sabotage or gain control of these systems should it decide to do so."

The group behind the attacks is known as Dragonfly: "The group has been in operation since at least 2011 but has re-emerged over the past two years from a quiet period… This 'Dragonfly 2.0' campaign, which appears to have begun in late 2015, shares tactics and tools used in earlier campaigns by the group."

"The original Dragonfly campaigns now appear to have been a more exploratory phase where the attackers were simply trying to gain access to the networks of targeted organizations. The Dragonfly 2.0 campaigns show how the attackers may be entering into a new phase, with recent campaigns potentially providing them with access to operational systems, access that could be used for more disruptive purposes in future."

"The most concerning evidence of this is in their use of screen captures. In one particular instance the attackers used a clear format for naming the screen capture files, [machine description and location].[organization name]. The string 'cntrl' (control) is used in many of the machine descriptions, possibly indicating that these machines have access to operational systems."

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More under: Cyberattack, Cybersecurity




RIPE NCC to Hold Sixth IPv6 Focused Hackathon

2017-09-05T22:27:00-08:00

The Regional Internet Registry for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia (RIPE NCC) together with Comcast and Danish Network Operator's Group (DKNOG), are organizing the sixth IPv6 focused hackathon. The event is aimed at promoting IPv6 in Denmark, creating new tools for IPv6 measurement visualizations and IPv6 deployment efforts. From the announcement: "Hackathons provide great opportunities for network operators, designers, local community, RIPE Atlas developers and other enthusiastic coders and hackers in developing new and creative tools, meeting others in your field, and exchanging knowledge and experience with people very different from your everyday colleagues."

Details
Event Date: 4-5 November 2017
Location: A super-cool, top secret location in Copenhagen, Denmark

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More under: IP Addressing, IPv6




Domain Registries to Discuss Possibility of ICANN Fee Cuts in Private Meeting This Month

2017-09-05T21:59:00-08:00

Heads of 20 or more gTLD registries will meet privately this month to discuss various topics including the possibility of a reduction in ICANN fees. Kevin Murphy reporting in Domain Incite: "The Registry CEO Summit is being held in Seattle at the end of September… Jay Westerdal of Top Level Spectrum (.feedback etc) and Ray King of Top Level Design (.design etc) are organizing the event. ... 20 to 25 registry CEOs to attend. .. .CLUB Domains CEO Colin Campbell, who said he will attend, said he intends to bring proposals to the meeting around persuading ICANN to support the industry with marketing support and fee reductions."

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More under: Domain Names, ICANN, Registry Services, Top-Level Domains




Researchers Expose Over 320 Million Hashed Passwords

2017-09-05T13:32:00-08:00

A group of security researchers have succeeeded in cracking over 320 million passwords which were made public in an encrypted blacklist. CynoSure Prime, a “password research collective” reports: "Earlier this month (August 2017) Troy Hunt founder of the website Have I been pwned? released over 319 million plaintext passwords compiled from various non-hashed data breaches, in the form of SHA-1 hashes. Making this data public might allow future passwords to be cross-checked in a secure manner in the hopes of preventing password re-use, especially of those from compromised breaches which were in unhashed plaintext. ... Out of the roughly 320 million hashes, we were able to recover all but 116 of the SHA-1 hashes, a roughly 99.9999% success rate. In addition, we attempted to take it a step further and resolve as many 'nested' hashes (hashes within hashes) as possible to their ultimate plaintext forms."

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More under: Cybersecurity




China Continues VPN Crackdown, Targets Alibaba and Other Ecommerce Sites

2017-08-17T13:24:00-08:00

In the latest series of measures taken by China to clamp down on use and distributions of VPNs, Chinese authorities have issued warning to the country's top ecommerce platforms, including Alibaba's Taobao.com, over the sale of illegal virtual private networks that allow users to skirt state censorship controls. Reuter reports: "Five websites have been asked to carry out immediate "self-examination and correction" to remove vendors that sell illegal virtual private networks (VPNs), according to a notice posted by the Zhejiang provincial branch of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), China's top cyber regulator. Some of them were ordered to halt new user registrations, suspend services and punish accountable staff." Last month China also passed laws which will come into effect February 2018, requiring telecommunications providers to block people from using VPNs.

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More under: Censorship, Policy & Regulation, Telecom




Cloudflare Reverses Long-Held Policy to Remain Content-Neutral, Ends Service to the Daily Stormer

2017-08-17T11:58:00-08:00

Cloudflare on Wednesday reversed its long-held policy to remain content-neutral and terminated its service to neo-Nazi site, The Daily Stormer. Kate Conger reporting in Gizmodo writes: "Prince explained in an internal email to staffers that he doesn't think CEOs of internet companies should be in the position of policing content on their networks ... that's a job that should ultimately be left up to law enforcement if the content violates the law — but felt pushed to act because the operators of the Daily Stormer are "assholes." ... Prince wants to spark a conversation about how tech should respond to abhorrent content, and whether content should be policed by registrars, browsers, or social networks."

— "Earlier today, Cloudflare terminated the account of the Daily Stormer. We've stopped proxying their traffic and stopped answering DNS requests for their sites," Matthew Prince wrote in a blog post yesterday. "The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology."

Apple and PayPal disable payment support from websites selling white nationalist and Nazi apparel. Apple confirmed has also confirmed that it has disabled Apple Pay support for various websites selling sweaters with Nazi logos, T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase "White Pride," and a bumper sticker showing a car plowing into stick figure demonstrators.

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More under: Censorship, Cloud Computing, Policy & Regulation




U.S. Department of Justice Demands IP Addresses, Other Details on Visitors to Trump Resistance Site

2017-08-15T13:23:00-08:00

The Los Angeles-based hosting company, DreamHost on Monday revealed that for the past several months it has been dealing with a search warrant from the Department of Justice pertaining to a website used to organize protests against President Trump. DreamHost says: "At the center of the requests is disruptj20.org, a website that organized participants of political protests against the current United States administration. While we have no insight into the affidavit for the search warrant (those records are sealed), the DOJ has recently asked DreamHost to provide all information available to us about this website, its owner, and, more importantly, its visitors. ... The request from the DOJ demands that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million visitor IP addresses — in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people — in an effort to determine who simply visited the website."

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More under: Law, Privacy, Web




British Organizations Could Face Massive Fines for Cybersecurity Failures

2017-08-08T06:30:00-08:00

Organizations who fail to implement effective cybersecurity measures could be fined as much as £17 million or 4% of global turnover, as part of Britain's plan to prevent cyberattacks that could result in major disruption to services such as transport, health or electricity networks. The Guardian reports: "The move comes after the [National Health Service] NHS became the highest-profile victim of a global ransomware attack, which resulted in operations being cancelled, ambulances being diverted and patient records being made unavailable. ... The issue came to the fore again after a major IT failure at British Airways left 75,000 passengers stranded and cost the airline £80m… The consultation will also focus on system failures, with requirements for companies to show what action they are taking to reduce the risks."

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More under: Cyberattack, Cybersecurity, Policy & Regulation




China Carries Out Drill with ISPs to Practice Taking Down Websites Deemed Harmful

2017-08-04T11:40:00-08:00

China carried out a drill on Thursday to practice shutting down websites that are deemed harmful amidst country's preparation for a sensitive political reshuffling set to take place later this year. Sijia Jiang reporting in Reuters: "Internet data centers (IDC) and cloud companies ... were ordered to participate in a three-hour drill to hone their 'emergency response' skills, according to at least four participants that included the operator of Microsoft's cloud service in China. ... The drill asked internet data centers to practice shutting down target web pages speedily and report relevant details to the police, including the affected websites' contact details, IP address and server location."

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More under: Access Providers, Censorship, Internet Governance




British Security Researcher Credited for Stopping WannaCry Is Charged in a U.S. Cybercrime Case

2017-08-04T11:22:00-08:00

Cybersecurity researcher to appear in court in Las Vegas charged in a US cybercrime case. The 23-year-old British security researcher, Marcus Hutchins, who a few months ago was credited with stopping the WannaCry outbreak by discovering a hidden "kill switch" for the malware, is now reported to have been arrested by the FBI over his alleged involvement in separate malicious software targeting bank accounts. The Guardian reports: "According to an indictment released by the US Department of Justice on Thursday, Hutchins is accused of having helped to create, spread and maintain the banking trojan Kronos between 2014 and 2015. The Kronos malware was spread through emails with malicious attachments such as compromised Microsoft Word documents, and hijacked credentials such as internet banking passwords to let its user steal money with ease."

The Kronos indictment: Is it a crime to create and sell malware? Orin Kerr from the Washington Post writes: "The indictment asserts that Hutchins created the malware and an unnamed co-conspirator took the lead in selling it. The indictment charges a slew of different crimes… Do the charges hold up? Just based on a first look at the case, my sense is that the government’s theory of the case is fairly aggressive. It will lead to some significant legal challenges."

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More under: Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Malware