Tag Archives: security

Chop-Shop Electronics

The Hidden Dangers of Chop-Shop Electronics

Do you really know what’s inside the electronic devices you use? Neither the U.S. military nor an increasing number of large corporations knows what’s in theirs. Between 2005 and 2008, the number of companies reporting incidents involving counterfeit chips—including recycled parts passed off as new, those that fail testing and are sold anyway, and some that are phony from the beginning and were never intended to work at all—more than doubled. Some of these supply-chain catastrophes have found their way into aircraft such as military jets and helicopters—and into an untold number of commercial systems that don’t face the level of scrutiny the military brings to bear.

The global trade in recycled electronics parts is enormous and growing rapidly, driven by a confluence of cost pressures, increasingly complex supply chains, and the huge growth in the amount of electronic waste sent for disposal around the world. Recycled parts, relabeled and sold as new, threaten not only military systems but also commercial transportation systems, medical devices and systems, and the computers and networks that run today’s financial markets and communications systems.


Virtualization, in computing, is a term that refers to the various techniques, methods or approaches of creating a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as a virtual hardware platform, operating system (OS), storage device, or network resources.

Hardware virtualization or platform virtualization refers to the creation of a virtual machine that acts like a real computer with an operating system. Software executed on these virtual machines is separated from the underlying hardware resources. For example, a computer that is running Microsoft Windows may host a virtual machine that looks like a computer with the Ubuntu Linux operating system; Ubuntu-based software can be run on the virtual machine.[1][2]

In hardware virtualization, the host machine is the actual machine on which the virtualization takes place, and the guest machine is the virtual machine. The words host and guest are used to distinguish the software that runs on the physical machine from the software that runs on the virtual machine. The software or firmware that creates a virtual machine on the host hardware is called a hypervisor or Virtual Machine Manager.

Different types of hardware virtualization include:

  1. Full virtualization: Almost complete simulation of the actual hardware to allow software, which typically consists of a guest operating system, to run unmodified.
  2. Partial virtualization: Some but not all of the target environment is simulated. Some guest programs, therefore, may need modifications to run in this virtual environment.
  3. Paravirtualization: A hardware environment is not simulated; however, the guest programs are executed in their own isolated domains, as if they are running on a separate system. Guest programs need to be specifically modified to run in this environment.

Hardware-assisted virtualization is a way of improving the efficiency of hardware virtualization. It involves employing specially designed CPUs and hardware components that help improve the performance of a guest environment.

Hardware virtualization can be viewed as part of an overall trend in enterprise IT that includes autonomic computing, a scenario in which the IT environment will be able to manage itself based on perceived activity, and utility computing, in which computer processing power is seen as a utility that clients can pay for only as needed. The usual goal of virtualization is to centralize administrative tasks while improving scalability and overall hardware-resource utilization. With virtualization, several operating systems can be run in parallel on a single central processing unit (CPU). This parallelism tends to reduce overhead costs and differs from multitasking, which involves running several programs on the same OS. Using virtualization, an enterprise can better manage updates and rapid changes to the operating system and applications without disrupting the user. “Ultimately, virtualization dramatically improves the efficiency and availability of resources and applications in an organization. Instead of relying on the old model of “one server, one application” that leads to under utilized resource, virtual resources are dynamically applied to meet business needs without any excess fat” (ConsonusTech).

Hardware virtualization is not the same as hardware emulation. In hardware emulation, a piece of hardware imitates another, while in hardware virtualization, a hypervisor (a piece of software) imitates a particular piece of computer hardware or the entire computer. Furthermore, a hypervisor is not the same as an emulator; both are computer programs that imitate hardware, but their domain of use in language differs.

VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use.

For a thorough introduction to virtualization and VirtualBox, please refer to the online version of the VirtualBox User Manual’s first chapter.

Why does HP recommend that I keep Hardware Virtualization off?

There are several attack vectors from bad drivers that can utilize VT extensions to do potentially bad things. that’s why the setting is usually in the “security” section of your BIOS UI.

additionally the smaller your instruction set, the more efficient the CPU runs at a very very low level (hence last decades interest in RISC chips). having it disabled allows the CPU to cache fewer instructions and search the cache faster.


So is there a security risk to enabling AMD-V? – Rocket Hazmat Feb 1 at 16:21
yes. Installing drivers and other very-low-level software is always risky, so its probably no more risky that grabbing a driver off a non-official download site. the big difference is that a blue-pill exploit could allow a guest to affect the host and vice-verse, which should really never be true. – Frank Thomas Feb 1 at 16:37
I disagree saying there is a security risk by enabling AMD-V. Doing a quick search on “AMD-V security” results in NO results on the first page about a security vulnerability that says a great deal. – Ramhound Feb 1 at 16:46
So, it’s off by default, because there are rootkits that pretend to by hypervisors? Guess I just gotta be careful what I download! 🙂 – Rocket Hazmat Feb 1 at 16:49

Blue Pill is the codename for a rootkit based on x86 virtualization. Blue Pill originally required AMD-V (Pacifica) virtualization support, but was later ported to support Intel VT-x (Vanderpool) as well. It was designed by Joanna Rutkowska and originally demonstrated at the Black Hat Briefings on August 3, 2006, with a reference implementation for the Microsoft Windows Vista kernel.

Information Systems Security

The Open Source Security Testing Methodology


The Information Systems Security Assessment Framework (ISSAF) seeks to integrate the following management tools and internal control checklists:

Evaluate the organizations information security policies & processes to report on their compliance with IT industry standards, and applicable laws and regulatory requirements
Identify and assess the business dependencies on infrastructure services provided by IT
Conduct vulnerability assessments & penetration tests to highlight system vulnerabilities that could result in potential risks to information assets
Specify evaluation models by security domains to :
Find mis-configurations and rectify them
Identifying risks related to technologies and addressing them
Identifying risks within people or business processes and addressing them
Strengthening existing processes and technologies
Provide best practices and procedures to support business continuity initiatives

Business Benefits of ISSAF

The ISSAF is intended to comprehensively report on the implementation of existing controls to support IEC/ISO 27001:2005(BS7799), Sarbanes Oxley SOX404, CoBIT, SAS70 and COSO, thus adding value to the operational aspects of IT related business transformation programmes.
Its primary value will derive from the fact that it provides a tested resource for security practitioners thus freeing them up from commensurate investment in commercial resources or extensive internal research to address their information security needs.
It is designed from the ground up to evolve into a comprehensive body of knowledge for organizations seeking independence and neutrality in their security assessment efforts.

It is the first framework to provide validation for bottom up security strategies such as penetration testing as well as top down approaches such as the standardization of an audit checklist for information policies.

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is an open-source application security project. The OWASP community includes corporations, educational organizations, and individuals from around the world. This community works to create freely-available articles, methodologies, documentation, tools, and technologies. The OWASP Foundation is a 501(c)(3)charitable organization that supports and manages OWASP projects and infrastructure. It is also a registered non profit in Europe since June 2011.

OWASP is not affiliated with any technology company, although it supports the informed use of security technology. OWASP has avoided affiliation as it believes freedom from organizational pressures may make it easier for it to provide unbiased, practical, cost-effective information about application security.[citation needed] OWASP advocates approaching application security by considering the people, process, and technology dimensions.

OWASP’s most successful documents include the book-length OWASP Guide,[1] the OWASP Code Review Guide OWASP Guide [2] and the widely adopted Top 10 awareness document.[3][citation needed] The most widely used OWASP tools include their training environment,[4] their penetration testing proxy WebScarab,[5] and their .NET tools.[6] OWASP includes roughly 190 local chapters [7] around the world and thousands of participants on the project mailing lists. OWASP has organized the AppSec [8] series of conferences to further build the application security community.

OWASP is also an emerging standards body, with the publication of its first standard in December 2008, the OWASP Application Security Verification Standard (ASVS).[9] The primary aim of the OWASP ASVS Project is to normalize the range of coverage and level of rigor available in the market when it comes to performing application-level security verification. The goal is to create a set of commercially workable open standards that are tailored to specific web-based technologies. A Web Application Edition has been published. A Web Service Edition is under development.

the OWASP Top Ten Project – if you’re looking for the OWASP Top 10 Mobile Click Here
The Release Candidate for the OWASP Top 10 for 2013 is now available here: OWASP Top 10 – 2013 – Release Candidate

The OWASP Top 10 – 2013 Release Candidate includes the following changes as compared to the 2010 edition:

  • A1 Injection
  • A2 Broken Authentication and Session Management (was formerly A3)
  • A3 Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) (was formerly A2)
  • A4 Insecure Direct Object References
  • A5 Security Misconfiguration (was formerly A6)
  • A6 Sensitive Data Exposure (merged from former A7 Insecure Cryptographic Storage and former A9 Insufficient Transport Layer Protection)
  • A7 Missing Function Level Access Control (renamed/broadened from former A8 Failure to Restrict URL Access)
  • A8 Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) (was formerly A5)
  • A9 Using Known Vulnerable Components (new but was part of former A6 – Security Misconfiguration)
  • A10 Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards

Please review this release candidate and provide comments to dave.wichers@owasp.org or to the OWASP Top 10 mailing list (which you must be subscribed to). The comment period is open from Feb 16 through March 30, 2013 and a final version will be released in May 2013.

If you are interested, the methodology for how the Top 10 is produced is now documented here: OWASP Top 10 Development Methodology

OWASP Appsec Tutorial Series

Uploaded on Jan 30, 2011
The first episode in the OWASP Appsec Tutorial Series. This episode describes what the series is going to cover, why it is vital to learn about application security, and what to expect in upcoming episodes.

Uploaded on Feb 8, 2011
The second episode in the OWASP Appsec Tutorial Series. This episode describes the #1 attack on the OWASP top 10 – injection attacks. This episode illustrates SQL Injection, discusses other injection attacks, covers basic fixes, and then recommends resources for further learning.

Uploaded on Jul 11, 2011
The third episode in the OWASP Appsec Tutorial Series. This episode describes the #2 attack on the OWASP top 10 – Cross-Site Scripting (XSS). This episode illustrates three version of an XSS attack: high level, detailed with the script tag, and detailed with no script tag, and then recommends resources for further learning.

Published on Sep 24, 2012
The forth episode in the OWASP Appsec Tutorial Series. This episode describes the importance of using HTTPS for all sensitive communication, and how the HTTP Strict Transport Security header can be used to ensure greater security, by transforming all HTTP links to HTTPS automatically in the browser.

DEFT 7 is based on the new Kernel 3 (Linux side) and the DART (Digital Advanced Response Toolkit) with the best freeware Windows Computer Forensic tools. It’s a new concept of Computer Forensic system that use LXDE as desktop environment and WINE for execute Windows tools under Linux and mount manager as tool for device management.

It is a very professional and stable system that includes an excellent hardware detection and the best free and open source applications dedicated to Incident Response, Cyber Intelligence and Computer Forensics.

DEFT is meant to be used by:

IT Auditors

DEFT is 100% made in Italy

Natas; Crónica del virus mexicano

Tomado de http://vx.netlux.org/lib/agm00.html

En 1992 Little Loc se registro en Prodigy para buscar información sobre virii. Little Loc, alias James Gentile, a los 16 años habí­a escrito un virus mutante que se dispersaba rápidamente. El virus, Satan Bug, estaba escrito de manera que el proceso mismo de rastrear un disco en busca de infección infectaba todos los ejecutables en el mismo.

Satan Bug era el nombre de una teleserie de los 70s. ((Aunque Little Loc nunca vio la serie, vio el nombre en el TVguí­a y le gusto. )) El icono que inspiro la creación de Satan Bug fue el trabajo de Dark Avenger, ((un programador búlgaro de virus y su virus Eddie o Dark Avenger. Eddie usaba los mecanismos de rastreo de antivirus para infectar una maquina y gradualmente corrompí­a el disco duro del anfitrión. Una muerta lenta y dolorosa bajo las cuchillas del vengador tenebroso.))

Little Loc tenía talento natural para escribir virii, un arte que aprendió sin maestro directo ni entrenamiento formal en programación. ((Siguiendo el modelo de Eddie, Satan Bug atacaba el command shell al instalarse en memoria.)) Adicionalmente a los poderes del vengador tenebroso, Satan bug estaba encriptado y se escondí­a en la memoria del computador. Las características de encriptación estaban basadas en la ballena, un virus alemán. La ballena era una pesada navaja suiza de trucos para esconderse de los antivirus.

Little Loc publico el código fuente de Satan Bug en un boletín de noticias y se dedico activamente a diseminar su código. ((Su motivación era ser reconocido por su habilidad técnica.)) Eventualmente, en 1993, Satan Bug infecto las maquinas del servicio secreto en Washington D.C. y las saco de servicio por 3 dí­as. El servicio secreto siguió una línea de investigación con la hipótesis de que el virus era un esfuerzo deliberado para atacar maquinas del gobierno de Estados Unidos.

Little Loc cambió su nombre por Priest y escribió Jackal. ((Jackal fue escrito como un contraataque contra TBClean, un antivirus producido por la compañí­a holandesa Thunderbyte, del investigador de virus Frans Veldman.)) Un derivado de Jackal fue el Natas. En su espí­ritu de medida retaliatoria, Natas formatea el disco duro cuando detecta la presencia de TBClean.

Los mecanismos de detección de programas antivirus de Jackal los incluyo Priest en Natas (Satan al revés), que llego a la ciudad de México en la primavera de 1994.

De acuerdo a la tradición, un consultor que vendía servicios antivirus en la ciudad de México se encargo de propagarlo vigorosamente. Debido a ignorancia e incompetencia, adicionada con entusiasmo empresarial y poder de convocatoria, este pendejo con iniciativa logro difundir Natas en México tan rápido que la leyendo urbana lo ubica como un software de origen mexicano. Un script tragicómico digno del mejor guionista.

El consultor, al visitar los boletines de noticias dedicados a virii, contamino un diskette con Natas. ((El software que usaba detectaba el virus en programas, pero no en el sector MBR (Master Boot Record) del disco duro.)) El consultor iba con sus clientes, corrí­a su software de rastreo de su diskette infectado y detectaba la infección de Natas que el mismo provocaba. Alarmado corría a la siguiente maquina y repetía el proceso, infectando todas las maquinas del lugar. Inmediatamente iba a visitar a sus mejores clientes con la noticia de que había una epidemia de Natas y que más les valía rastrear sus maquinas, con el software que el traí­a, que podía detectar al Natas. Entonces procedía a infectar todas las maquinas y a continuar el proceso con el vecino de al lado. Seguramente penso que eso de Satan iba ne sero cuando despues de formatar las maquinas el virus resurguía de la nada. Espeluznante!

Natas llego a México del sur de California. El consultor era visitante frecuente de BBS en Santa Clarita que tenían el Natas y su código fuente en la revista 40Hex. El buen cuate bajo el virus sin entender que al diablo le puedes vender el alma, pero no pedirla de regreso. En mayo de 1994, un mes después, desesperadamente el consultor buscaba ayuda en los boletines de noticias.

Natas era un programa tí­pico de Priest. Estando en memoria, hace parecer que programas infectados no lo estaban. Copia una copia limpia de MBR y se la muestra al usuario para fintarlo de que todo estaba bien si lo revisa. Natas infectaba diskettes y utiliza el rastreo del antivirus para diseminarse.

Yo en lo personal tuve una experiencia similar a la del cuento. Tenia una Compaq Presario que me estaba dando problemas y solicite la vista de un técnico de Compaq para que revisara la maquina. El técnico se tuvo que retirar sin dar le servicio porque todos sus diskettes con utilerías de diagnostico estaban infectados con un virus.

Ubuntu root

Con un enfoque paternalista Ubuntu de entrada no da acceso a la cuenta de  root, sino que los comandos privilegiados se deben ejecutar usando sudo. Since most Ubuntu documentation asks you to use sudo even with graphical applications, Why recommend gksudo or kdesudo for graphical applications instead of sudo.

For example, a lot of guides (including the first book ever published about Ubuntu) will ask you to type this sort of command:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

I will always recommend, however, that people use instead this sort of command:

gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

And reserve sudo for command-line applications, like so:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Why is it an issue?
Well, to be perfectly honest, most of the time it isn’t. For a lot of applications, you can run them the improper way—using sudo for graphical applications and see no adverse side effects.

1. There are other times, though, when side effects can be as mild as Firefox extensions not sticking or as extreme as as not being able to log in any more because the permissions on your .ICEauthority changed. You can read a full discussion on the issue here.

These errors occur because sometimes when sudo launches an application, it launches with root privileges but uses the user’s configuration file.


Alternate Operating System Scanner

What is PC Tools’ Alternate Operating System Scanner?

Once a system is infected with malware it becomes difficult to remove that malware as it is already embedded in the system and has control over many components which are key to the system’s operations. Malware, like rootkits, use system components to hide themselves and prevent other software from detecting or removing them. This is often the case of who gets there first; if the malware is able to get control of the system earlier on then it also has control over any software that may be run later. Besides just hiding, malware can also block the execution of other security applications. If you cannot install or run a security application in the first place then you cannot scan and detect the malware. The best time to remove this malware is when it is not running, but malware often starts with the Operating System, so we would have to stop the Operating System to stop the malware. On a shutdown OS nothing is running and malware like rootkits cannot hide themselves and so it would be easy to find and remove them.