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Security

Lenovo ThinkPads Hit by Critical Security Flaw

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Lenovo ThinkPads Hit by Critical Security Flaw

Lenovo ThinkPads suffer from an exploit allowing the disabling of write protection of critical firmware areas, security researcher Dymtro "Cr4sh" Oleksiuk warns.

Dubbed "ThinkPwn," the exploit targets a privilege escalation flaw in a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) driver. It allows attackers to remove the flash write protection and execute rogue flaw in the System Management Mode (SMM), a privileged CPU operation mode.

Oleksiuk says the result can disable SecureBoot (prevents boot-level rootkits) and the Windows 10 Credential Guard feature (prevents theft of enterprise domain credentials). And if matters weren't bad enough, the flaw probably comes from a CPU reference specification used by a number of independent BIOS vendors (IBVs), meaning it might also affect laptops from OEMs other than Lenovo.

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Symantec Endpoint Protection Poses Vulnerability Risks

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Symantec Endpoint Protection Poses Vulnerability Risks

Google researchers warn the core engine behind Symantec security products, including Endpoint Protection, features multiple critical vulnerabilities, putting "millions of computers" at risk.

"These vulnerabilities are as bad as it gets. They don’t require any user interaction, they affect the default configuration, and the software runs at the highest privilege levels possible," a Project Zero blog post reads. "In certain cases on Windows, vulnerable code is even loaded into the kernel, resulting in remote kernel memory corruption."

All Symantec and Norton branded antivirus products across all platforms pose the same security risks. Some of the flawed code is found in "unpackers," compression tools used to reduce executable sizes. Symantec runs unpackers in the kernel, leading to risks of clean heap overflow on Linux, Mac and other UNIX platforms, or kernel memory corruption in Windows.

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Cisco SMB Routers, Firewalls Open to Hacking

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Cisco SMB Routers, Firewalls Open to Hacking

Customers using three Cisco VPN firewalls and routers from the SMB RV series should be warned the devices carry a critical vulnerability hackers can exploit to remotely take control of devices, if not entire systems.

The vulnerability involves the web-based management interface of the Cisco RV110W Wireless-N VPN Firewall, RV130W Wireless-N Multifunction VPN Router and RV215W Wireless-N VPN Router. If the devices are configured for remote management attackers can send an unauthenticated HTTP request with custom user data, leading to remote code execution with root-level priviledges on the affected system.

"A successful exploit could allow the attacker to execute arbitrary script in the context of the web-based management interface for the device or allow the attacker to access sensitive browser-based information," a Cisco security advisory reads.

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Apple Bolsters Security With Jon Callas Rehire

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Apple Bolsters Security With Jon Callas Rehire

Following its butting heads with US law enforcement against the unlocking of iPhone encryption, Reuters reports Apple is boosting its security capabilities with the hiring of cryptography expert Jon Callas.

Callas worked at Apple during 1995-1997, and again on 2009-2011 period. During the second period he designed the full-disk encryption Apple uses in iPhones, iPads and Macs. In his non-Apple time Callas worked at PGP (where he developed the OpenPGP standard) and co-founded Silent Circle, the company behind the security-minded Blackphone.

Reuters does not reveal the position Callas has at Apple, but the whys behind his hiring should be more than obvious-- the company has a firm stance in favour of strong encryption, taking the fight against the FBI's wanting to bypass iOS security to the courts.

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TeslaCrypt Creators Give Up Malware Master Key

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TeslaCrypt Creators Give Up Malware Master Key

Security firm ESET has good news for victims of TeslaCrypt-- the creators of the ransomware have given up the master key required to decrypt files infected by the malware.

TeslaCrypt first appeared in early 2015, and gained infamy by targeting game-related content such as save files and custom maps as well as the more traditional documents and pictures. In total it affects 185 different file extensions, and it reportedly earned its creators $76522 in less than two months.

However, the operators behind TeslaCrypt claim to have closed the ransomware project, and in what seems to be an act of repentance the group provided an ESET researcher with a universal decryption key.

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