News

15 October, 2019

Cracking the Passwords of Early Internet Pioneers

Lots of them weren't very good: BSD co-inventor Dennis Ritchie, for instance, used "dmac" (his middle name was MacAlistair); Stephen R. Bourne, creator of the Bourne shell command line interpreter, chose "bourne"; Eric Schmidt, an early developer of Unix software and now the executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, relied on "wendy!!!" (the name of his wife); and…

14 October, 2019

Factoring 2048-bit Numbers Using 20 Million Qubits

This theoretical paper shows how to factor 2048-bit RSA moduli with a 20-million qubit quantum computer in eight hours. It's interesting work, but I don't want overstate the risk. We know from Shor's Algorithm that both factoring and discrete logs are easy to solve on a large, working quantum computer. Both of those are currently beyond our technological abilities.…

11 October, 2019

Friday Squid Blogging: Apple Fixes Squid Emoji

Apple fixed the squid emoji in iOS 13.1: A squid's siphon helps it move, breathe, and discharge waste, so having the siphon in back makes more sense than having it in front. Now, the poor squid emoji will look like it should, without a siphon on its front. As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk…

11 October, 2019

I Have a New Book: We Have Root

I just published my third collection of essays: We Have Root. This book covers essays from 2013 to 2017. (The first two are Schneier on Security and Carry On.) There is nothing in this book is that is not available for free on my website; but if you'd like these essays in an easy-to-carry paperback book format, you can…

11 October, 2019

Details on Uzbekistan Government Malware: SandCat

Kaspersky has uncovered an Uzbeki hacking operation, mostly due to incompetence on the part of the government hackers. The group's lax operational security includes using the name of a military group with ties to the SSS to register a domain used in its attack infrastructure; installing Kaspersky's antivirus software on machines it uses to write new malware, allowing Kaspersky…

10 October, 2019

New Reductor Nation-State Malware Compromises TLS

Kaspersky has a detailed blog post about a new piece of sophisticated malware that it's calling Reductor. The malware is able to compromise TLS traffic by infecting the computer with hacked TLS engine substituted on the fly, "marking" infected TLS handshakes by compromising the underlining random-number generator, and adding new digital certificates. The result is that the attacker can…

10 October, 2019

Wi-Fi Hotspot Tracking

Free Wi-Fi hotspots can track your location, even if you don't connect to them. This is because your phone or computer broadcasts a unique MAC address. What distinguishes location-based marketing hotspot providers like Zenreach and Euclid is that the personal information you enter in the captive portalĀ­ -- like your email address, phone number, or social media profileĀ­ --…

9 October, 2019

Cheating at Professional Poker

Interesting story about someone who is almost certainly cheating at professional poker. But then I start to see things that seem so obvious, but I wonder whether they aren't just paranoia after hours and hours of digging into the mystery. Like the fact that he starts wearing a hat that has a strange bulge around the brim -- one…

9 October, 2019

Illegal Data Center Hidden in Former NATO Bunker

Interesting: German investigators said Friday they have shut down a data processing center installed in a former NATO bunker that hosted sites dealing in drugs and other illegal activities. Seven people were arrested. [...] Thirteen people aged 20 to 59 are under investigation in all, including three German and seven Dutch citizens, Brauer said. Authorities arrested seven of them,…

8 October, 2019

Speakers Censored at AISA Conference in Melbourne

Two speakers were censored at the Australian Information Security Association's annual conference this week in Melbourne. Thomas Drake, former NSA employee and whistleblower, was scheduled to give a talk on the golden age of surveillance, both government and corporate. Suelette Dreyfus, lecturer at the University of Melbourne, was scheduled to give a talk on her work -- funded by…

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