ePrivacy Directive: EU to tighten up on Data Breach Notifications

You may be aware that the EU recently put into force the updated ePrivacy Directive (2002/58/EC). As of May 2011, the use of cookies to track website visitor information is now strictly prohibited. Cookies which were previously used to track visitor behaviour and personal details may now only be used with the express permission of the visitor. Interesting website based outside of the EU, do not have to operate with the same constraints. The enforcement and technical implementation of the directive may take some time to filter through to every cookie using site on the web, and penalties for not doing so are yet to be seen.

Work continues on the ePrivacy Directive in the coming months. One InfoSec concept which the EU are looking to tighten up control of through the directive is “disclosure”. Whereas in the past, companies or organisations may have been a little shy about publicising their […]

Phone Hacking How To: Hacking Voicemail

I’ve been asked in recent weeks how the News of the World private investigators were able to hack into the voicemail of the alleged 4,000 victims of the phone hacking scandal. While the details of all that activity are something for the police to worry about, we can explain the basic methodology of a simple attack to do this. The one probably used in the majority of cases.

In the world of Infosec there is such a thing called a spoofing attack. A spoofing attack is where you have your device (whether that be a phone, pc or laptop) send out network packets with the identity of someone else. In the IP world, communications are broken down into thousands of small packets of data. Each packet has a destination address and a source address. When we’re trying to use a spoofing attack, we can use specialised software to send out packets, […]

Microsoft AD RMS: User Adoption Made Simple

What is Rights Management?

Rights management pertains directly to managing permissions for individuals to access specific information. Our two jargon busting acronyms for this area are DRM (Digital Rights Management) and IRM (Information Rights Management). For the purposes of this article we will consider both DRM and IRM one in the same.

Development of this area of technology primarily driven by Copyright. Publishers of books, music and films have in recent years been more and more motivated to try to protect their material, in the face of the proliferation of internet use. The Internet has been it exponentially more possible to share copyrighted materials with the click of a button, and not to just one person, but hundreds of people, even one’s that the sharer has never even met. The need to control who has the right to access, read, modify or even delete information and also become […]

Eco-Labelling – The Green Argument For Information Classification

It seems that if you are promoting a product or service these days, it’s mandatory to have an associated “Green Story” to back up your proposition. Earning cold hard cash for the benefit of both you and your customer is in some circumstances frowned upon, if there isn’t an ethical eco-friendly angle to your pitch. While I support green initiatives and do what I can to help with moves to improve the sustainability of the planet, hasn’t it all gone a bit eco-mad.

Those fabled 3 letters, E C O , are being used and abused by all and sundry to get that green tickbox filled. Whether a product in environmentally friendly or not, the ECO label gets thrown around like confetti at a wedding. We have Eco-Homes, Eco-Heaters, Eco-Computers, Eco-Laptops, Eco-Cars, Eco-Trucks… you name it we have it. In a shameless attempt to look more trendy, I’d […]

UK: What is the GCSx Code of Connection (CoCo)?

A code of connection (CoCo) is a mutually agreed set of rules used by two parties to allow the Exchange of information between their systems. The UK government has pursued several initiatives in recent years to connect all government organisations into the secure networks of the central government intranet.

GCSx stands for Government Connect Secure Extranet. This is the network which will specifically connect Local Authorities (LAs) to the central government intranet (GSI – Government Secure Intranet). GCSx relates only to LAs in England and Wales. Scottish LAs will connect through GSX (Government Secure Extranet). Local Authorities must achieve CoCo compliance in order to be access access to the Government Secure networks. Confused yet? Being driven CoCo.Nuts?

Here’s a diagram to help see how it all fits together:

There are jut under 100 controls and measures that a Local Authority needs to put in […]

Phone Hacking, Corporate Responsibility and Employee Accountability

The UK has been awash with scandal upon scandal in recent months. Individuals and organisations who we are supposed to trust have abuse their positions and the circumstances available to them. Is this to be the century of corruption? The politicians led the way with the expenses scandal, immediately followed by questionable banking practices which brought the world to the brink of bankruptcy. Now in our latest installment of the “people doing what they really shouldn’t” saga, we have once reputable press organisations hacking into the phones of, well, pretty much everyone.

The world needs a double dose of the medicine that is corporate responsibility and employee accountability. Whether or not the chiefs at the head of these corporate tribes were aware of the activities of their employees, ultimately they have a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent this kind of unacceptable behaviour occurring. Failure […]

Theory of Gravitational Information Security – Making Security Policy Implementation A Reality

This article draws on elements of gravity theory to help visualise information security concepts and to describe how to practically implement security policy objectives. It describes a metaphorical model where gravitational forces are analogous to the level of security controls we apply to an organisation’s information. Be warned, this will quite possibly be the nerdiest article I have written, but will be simple enough.. no degree in particle physics required to grasp it.

What is Gravity?

Gravity is a force which attracts and pulls physical objects towards each other. All objects are known to be affected by gravity, from the smallest atom to the largest star in the night sky. A general rule for gravity is, that the greater the mass of an object, the more gravitational force it will exert on the other objects around it. The sun, for instance, pulls the earth towards it in the same way that […]

Web 2.0 – Why the internet got better, why security got worse.

Web 2.0 was recently crowned the one millionth word of the English language. This is perhaps just one indicator of the impact that Web 2.0 has had on our everyday lives. Why? In this blog, I’m going to go into what Web 2.0 actually is, some of the underlying technologies and what challenges these bring for security.

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Google Sniff-View Cars?

Probably one of the more interesting news stories this month is the revelation of Google admitting that it packet sniffed on unsecured public Wi-fi networks. Read news here.

It appears that Google Street View cars were driving around taking pictures of various locations, but were also kitted out with network sniffers that could connect to unsecured public wi-fi access points, monitor and record data transmissions across those networks. Naughty stuff Google. This went on for a total of 3 years and accordingly to Google the activity was a “simple mistake”. This continues to re-affirm beliefs that public Wi-fi networks are serious security risks for both individuals and companies. If one of the world’s largest IT monopolies can do this by accident, cough, what could a determined plan of attack achieve.

So how did they do it? The answer is, without rocket science. It’s easy enough to connect a laptop […]

How secure is my wireless network? Four Tips to bump up security.

Do you think your wireless network is secure?

If the answer is yes. The BackTrack (BackTrack 4 – www.backtrack-linux.org) pentration testing OS would beg to differ.

BackTrack 4 manifests itself in an entirely customised distribution of Linux. The underlying Linux distro is Ubuntu, but has been specifically enhanced, configured and packaged for the purposes of penetration testing. Within the package you receive a wide variety of wireless cracking, network scanning and password breaking tools.

There are several options you can select for running BackTrack to start your activities. You can install it as an OS on your harddrive, you can install it and run it from a USB stick and you can even run the entire OS from CD. The latter option requires no installation at all. You simply select a machine, boot from the CD and then remove the CD when finished. I chose the latter option for […]