Newsmaker Interview: Bruce Schneier on ‘Going Dark’ and the Crypto Arms Race

Newsmaker Interview: Bruce Schneier on ‘Going Dark’ and the Crypto Arms Race:

TP: Thinking about the FBI, is there is there a middle ground between the things that law enforcement wants to do and the people’s right for security and privacy?

Bruce: The middle ground is having less security and giving more access to people who want to break into systems – that’s the FBI and the Chinese government and cybercriminals. That’s the middle ground. Think of it as a dial. How much security do you want to have? How much access do you want?

This notion that I can build a backdoor that only works if a [person with a] certain morality tries to use it. That’s what doesn’t work. If you’re willing to have your nuclear power plant a little less safe in exchange for giving the FBI access, that’s your tradeoff.

(Via The first stop for security news | Threatpost)

A lightweight read that makes for a great resource when trying to explain this to non-security types.

※ Typical full disclosure as Bruce and I are part of the same organization.

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Holes punched in hull of maritime security

Crappy IoT on the high seas: Holes punched in hull of maritime security:

Years-old security issues mostly stamped out in enterprise technology remain in maritime environments, leaving ships vulnerable to hacking, tracking and worse.

A demo at the Infosecurity Europe conference in London by Ken Munro and Iian Lewis of Pen Test Partners (PTP) demonstrated multiple methods to interrupt the shipping industry. Weak default passwords, failure to apply software updates and a lack of encryption enable a variety of attacks.

(Via The Register – Security)

Vulnerable ship systems: Many left exposed to hacking:

 

“Ship security is in its infancy – most of these types of issues were fixed years ago in mainstream IT systems,” Pen Test Partners’ Ken Munro says, and points out that the advent of always-on satellite connections has exposed shipping to hacking attacks.

 

 

(Via Help Net Security)

Maritime navigation hack has potential to wreak havoc in English channel:

 

As reported by the BBC, security researcher Ken Munro from Pen Test Partners has discovered that a ship navigation system called the Electronic Chart Display (Ecdis) can be compromised, potentially to disasterous effect.

 

Ecdis is a system commonly used in the shipping industry by crews to pinpoint their locations through GPS, to set directions, and as a replacement to pen-and-paper charts.

 

The system is also touted as a means to reduce the workload on navigators by automatically dealing with route planning, monitoring, and location updates.

 

However, Munro suggests that a vulnerability in the Ecdis navigation system could cause utter chaos in the English channel should threat actors choose to exploit it.

The vulnerability, when exploited, allows attackers to reconfigure the software to shift the recorded location of a ship’s GPS receiver by up to 300 meters.

 

 

(Via Latest Topic for ZDNet in security)

I’ve been talking with companies in this space about these types of issues. While Munro’s research is telling, this is not shocking.

It does very nicely illustrate the real values in good penetration testing: challenging assumptions, taking nothing for granted, and divorcing motive from threat.

For example, the 300 meter location discrepancy could have nothing to do with the shipping company or the ship itself. It could be used by a crypto mining concern looking to delay the arrival of new GPUs for a rival firm. This type of attack could be part of a larger series of attacks, subtile enough that further investigation would be unlikely (as opposed to the English Channel scenario in the ZDNet article), and could reap substantial benefits for the crypto mining concern.

I believe it to be a war of pretexts, a war in which the true motive is not distinctly avowed, but in which pretenses, after-thoughts, evasions and other methods are employed to put a case before the community which is not the true case.

DANIEL WEBSTER: Speech in Springfield, Mass., Sept. 29, 1847

Duct Tape & Baling Wire -vs- DRM

Appliance Companies Are Lobbying to Protect Their DRM-Fueled Repair Monopolies

The bill (HB 4747) would require electronics manufacturers to sell replacement parts and tools, to allow independent repair professionals and consumers to bypass software locks that are strictly put in place to prevent “unauthorized” repair, and would require manufacturers to make available the same repair diagnostic tools and diagrams to the general public that it makes available to authorized repair professionals. Similar legislation has been proposed in 17 other states, though Illinois has advanced it the furthest so far.

Companies such as Apple and John Deere have fought vehemently against such legislation in several states, but the letters, sent to bill sponsor David Harris and six other lawmakers and obtained by Motherboard, show that other companies are fighting against right to repair as well.

(Via Motherboard)

The right to repair used to be assumed. I remember working on my grandfather’s car with my Dad. I remember changing oil and tires and brakes and head units and shocks and mufflers, &t for that and other cars.And I wasn’t (and still am not) a car guy.

I built and fixed computers when replaceable parts were the norm.

My Dad, members of my family, and people with whom I went to university worked on farms and ranches & regularly repaired the heavy equipment.These were the real instances of duct tape and baling wire.

How about early the early telephone system, which sometimes used barbed wire stretched along fences in rural communities?

We’re not in the early telephone days. We’re in a world where companies can prevent their customers from having agency over products they purchase. Companies can put their customers at risk and not allow the very same customers to protect themselves or even be able to figure out if they’re at risk in the first place.

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