Cybercrime

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GDPR PII Time-Bomb? Kill it With Fire!

Hi! My name is spamfighter. I investigate spam and phish in a post-GDPR dystopia. Recently, I invented Fire, to save you millions of €uros. One day, my Boss suggested I automate some of my processes. I, for one, welcome our Robot Overlords (and a happy boss), but I can be exacting about the tools I use. Perhaps not to the degree of the infamous Van Halen 'no brown M&M's' contractual clause but I have no patience for poorly-designed software, and truly dislike typing when... more

Why Are the EU Data Protection Authorities Taking Away Our Fundamental Right to be Safe?

What if we created a rule that gave everyone - good or bad - the right to hide their license plate, where they live, who they are, and just go incognito? What if we made it a right to walk into any building in the world, and simply say "No, thank you" when the security guards asked for one's identification? The criminals would celebrate, and we'd all be utterly alarmed. We would immediately be afraid for our personal safety. more

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Today we remember that the Nazis rounded up Jews, Roma, political dissidents, and other "undesirables" using the best data and technology of the day and sent them off to concentration camps. We don't normally deal with this type of political reality in ICANN, but now is the time to do so. In 1995, the recently formed European Union passed the EU Data Protection Directive. more

ICANN Proposed Interim GDPR Compliance Model Would Kill Operational Transparency of the Internet

ICANN has consistently said its intention in complying with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to comply while at the same time maintaining access to the WHOIS domain name registration database "to greatest extent possible." On February 28, ICANN published its proposed model. Strangely, while ICANN acknowledges that some of the critical purposes for WHOIS include consumer protection, investigation of cybercrimes, mitigation of DNS abuse, and intellectual property protection, the model ICANN proposes provides no meaningful pathway to use WHOIS in those ways. more

Humming an Open Internet Demise in London?

In mid-March, the group dubbed by Wired Magazine 20 years ago as Crypto-Rebels and Anarchists - the IETF - is meeting in London. With what is likely some loud humming, the activists will likely seek to rain mayhem upon the world of network and societal security using extreme end-to-end encryption, and collaterally diminish some remaining vestiges of an "open internet." Ironically, the IETF uses what has become known as the "NRA defence": extreme encryption doesn't cause harm, criminals and terrorists do. more

WHOIS: How Could I Have Been So Blind?

A colleague was recently commenting on an article by Michele Neylon "European Data Protection Authorities Send Clear Message to ICANN" citing the EU Data Commissioners of the Article 29 Working Party, the grouping a determinate factor In the impending death of WHOIS. He is on point when he said: What the European Data Protection authorities have not yet put together is that the protection of people's mental integrity on the Internet is not solely due to the action of law enforcement... more

Voluntary Reporting of Cybersecurity Incidents

One of the problems with trying to secure systems is the lack of knowledge in the community about what has or hasn't worked. I'm on record as calling for an analog to the National Transportation Safety Board: a government agency that investigates major outages and publishes the results. In the current, deregulatory political climate, though, that isn't going to happen. But how about a voluntary system? more

The Hack Back Bill in Congress is Better Than You'd Expect

Rep's Graves and Sinema recently introduced H.R. 4036, the catchily named Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act or ACDC act which creates some exceptions to criminal parts of computer crime laws. Lots of reports have decried "hack back" but if you read the bill, it's surprisingly well targeted. The first change is to what they call Attributional Technology, and says it's OK to put bait on your computer for an intruder intended to identify the intruder. more

The Darkening Web: Is there Light at the end of the Tunnel?

In his book "The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace" (Penguin Books, New York 2017), Alexander Klimburg, an Austrian-American academic, gives "Internet Dreamers" a "Wake Up Call". He tells us the background-story why people start to be "anxious about the future of the Internet", as the recent ISOC Global Internet Report "Paths to Our Digital Future" has recognized. Klimburg refers to Alphabets CEO Erich Schmidt, who once said that "the Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity does not understand". more

A European Perspective on the Equifax Hack: Encouraging Data Security Through Regulation

The Equifax hack is understood to have compromised the personal data of over 140 million individuals. Although recent hacks of other businesses have affected more individuals, the personal data held by Equifax is significantly more sensitive than the data compromised in other hacks and includes Social Security numbers, birth dates, current and previous addresses and driver licence details... (Co-authored by Peter Davis and Brendan Nixon.) more

Preliminary Thoughts on the Equifax Hack

As you've undoubtedly heard, the Equifax credit reporting agency was hit by a major attack, exposing the personal data of 143 million Americans and many more people in other countries. There's been a lot of discussion of liability; as of a few days ago, at least 25 lawsuits had been filed, with the state of Massachusetts preparing its own suit. It's certainly too soon to draw any firm conclusions... but there are a number of interesting things we can glean from Equifax's latest statement. more

The IoT Needs a Paradigm Shift from Security to Safety of Connected Devices

Building IoT ventures from scratch by prototyping hardware devices and their backend systems as well as working for a large company that tries to sell IoT devices itself, we learned a lot about the pitfalls and problems concerning security in the IoT. Nearly every connected device out there proved to be vulnerable to attacks. Researchers showed that it's possible to remotely take control over autonomous vehicles, implanted medical devices were manipulated, voting machines compromised and of course all sorts of other "smart" devices... more

Phishing: the Worst of Times in the DNS

The Anti-Phishing Working Group has released its latest Global Phishing Survey, written by myself and Rod Rasmussen. This report comprehensively examines a large data set of more than 250,000 confirmed phishing attacks detected in 2015 and 2016. By analyzing this cybercrime activity, we have learned more about what phishers have been doing, and how they have done it. Unfortunately, there's more phishing than ever, and phishers are registering more domain names than ever. more

Security Costs Money. So - Who Pays?

Computer security costs money. It costs more to develop secure software, and there's an ongoing maintenance cost to patch the remaining holes. Spending more time and money up front will likely result in lesser maintenance costs going forward, but too few companies do that. Besides, even very secure operating systems like Windows 10 and iOS have had security problems and hence require patching. (I just installed iOS 10.3.2 on my phone. It fixed about two dozen security holes.) more

IoT Devices Will Never Be Secure - Enter the Programmable Networks

Harvard Business Review just ran an interesting article on the information security aspects of Internet of Things (IoT). Based on the storyline, the smart city initiatives are doomed to fail unless the security of the IoT devices and the systems will be improved. While security of the digital society is obviously a key concern, I am not entirely convinced that relying on the security of individual devices and systems is the best course of action. more