Category Archives: CERT

Adobe Flash Updates

Today we’ve seen yet another Adobe Flash Player update due to serious problems. So be it.

One thing always sets my teeth on edge when doing/verifying it: The number of clicks it takes me to check the version of the currently running Flash plugin. It would be far too simple if the download page (which is prominently linked everywhere) would just tell me if I need to upgrade. No, I have to click on “Learn more about Flash Player”, then “Product Page”, then “FAQ”, then scroll down to “How can I tell if I have the latest version of Flash Player installed and whether it is working correctly?”, click to reveal the answer, then click “Testing page”.

And then I have to manually compare the version shown above with the latest version listed by operating system and browser beneath.

What the fscking hell is Adobe thinking? They’ve been a top reason for PC infections for the last years (Flash + Acrobat) and still they don’t tell their web-visitors as quickly and efficiently whether they need to update.

Can someone please administer the necessary clues with a suitable LART?

The Evolution of Conference Wireless

  • 2003: RIPE offers to rent out PCMCIA wifi cards to attendees of the RIPE conference.
  • 2007: Every attendee has a laptop with built-in wifi.
  • 2012: Every attendant brings a Laptop and at least one smartphone, some bring tablets as well.

We have ~500 attendees at #FIRSTCON this week; I wonder how many distinct clients the wifi net has seen.

DNSSEC Troubles

I’ve given my share of DNSSEC talks over the last three years. I usually explain what exactly DNSSEC provides and what it does not. One of the downsides I tell ISPs about is that other people’s DNSSEC errors will hit your call-center if you’re doing DNSSEC-validation.

This just happened to Comcast.

I really recommend that anyone enabling DNSSEC validation on their resolvers should be prepared for this case. The report from Comcast is instructive, especially the media fallout they had to cope with.

The WOW-Effect

This week I had some fun helping a co-working with a paper regarding the effect of WOW64 (the 32-bit environment of 64-bit Windows) on various tools and procedures that security analysts use.

The result is here: The WOW-Effect.

#DigiNotar and paying for an audit

The question Mozilla, Microsoft and Apple should be asking themselves now is:

Which other CA do they trust based on an audit by PwC? Their green light on DigiNotar was so flawed that I have serious doubts about anyone else they certified as a trustworthy CA.

This is a bit like the financial rating agencies at the height of the 2008 banking crisis: why the hell should I trust the audit/rating of someone who is paid by the people they are auditing/rating and who need an “all fine”/AAA result?

Adobe Madness

I finally bit he bullet and upgraded to Reader 10.x to get the security benefits of the sandbox.


  • Why this f*cking bloatware of the Download Manager as a Firefox plugin. WTF?
  • And why do these bastards try to sneak in McAfee software? I did not see the checkbox.

See also this thread in the Adobe forums.

Way to go, Adobe. Do you really think pissing of customers, especially security professionals is good company policy?

Attacking PalPay, Visa, and Mastercard

The story so far: WikiLeaks posted some secrets, the US governments throws a hissy fit and some spineless companies see it as their “patriotic duty” to withheld service from WikiLeaks. This doesn’t especially endear them to the 4chan/Anonymous crowd which then starts to DDoS the pushovers.

So how is a Civil Libertarian and Network Security guy supposed to react to that?

Two bads don’t make a right. There are better ways to show disgust of and punish those electronic money movers. Attacking their operation cannot be the right answer.

But: I’ve been arguing for years now that one of the few ways to actually shut down some of the real menaces (not the imagined ones like WikiLeadks) of the Internet like Spammers, Fake AV Software scams, Viagra/… sellers, and other frauds would be to deny them the credit card payment option.

Thus, MasterCard and Visa: If you are so eager to distance yourself from WikiLeaks, when nobody can even tell you what actual laws they are supposed to have violated, why are you not able to deny service to the frauds when it is absolutely clear that they violate laws and cost the worldwide economy huge sums of money to clean up their crap?

Memo to Security Conference Organizers

First of all, there are more security conferences in September and October in Europe than any sensible organization will ever want to send people to. Sorry.

Aggressive hard-sell phone calls will not help. Quite to the contrary.

And if you send email invitations, remember that you’re sending mail to security professionals. Including tracking images in the HTML version and linking to a tracked version of your conference website is considered rude in these circles.

Cut it out.

MasterCard SecureCode: Just say no.

Sometime the timing is just too perfect.

Yesterday I was trying to book a flight on Brussel Airlines and when I was trying to pay via credit card, they insisted on an on-the-fly enrollment to MasterCard SecureCode. I refused and booked via the AMEX Business Service.

Today a security analysis of the whole scheme was published by British scientists, confirming my reservations.

Money quotes:

“Merchants who use it push liability for fraud back to banks, who in turn push it on to cardholders.”

“So this is yet another case where security economics trumps security engineering, but in a predatory way that leaves cardholders less secure.”