LulzSec Dissolution, Mobile Security, New Botnet Lead Week's Security News
A recap of the past week's IT security news features the "indestructible" botnet, cyber-prankster group LulzSec disbanding and a whitepaper comparing Google Android and Apple iOS.
First things first. LulzSec, the group that hacked into the networks and Web sites of government agencies and large companies for retribution and sheer entertainment, has shut down its 50-day cyber-attack spree.
The group announced on Pastebin that it will suspend its activities under the Lulz Security name. It appears the members have joined the Anonymous collective and are continuing to merrily attack and compromise Web sites and servers.
LulzSec attacked Sony multiple times, went after the Arizona police and poked around the United State Senate's network.
Even with the name retired, enterprises can't relax, as there are plenty of groups launching attacks everyday and looking for vulnerabilities. An executive from Northrop Grumman, speaking at a Gartner event, said the defense contractor detects and repels sophisticated probing attacks practically every day.
Symantec released a whitepaper that examined the security features built into Google Android and Apple iOS mobile operating systems. While the stated goal wasn't to compare the two to figure out which was better, the authors of the whitepaper pointed out the strengths and weaknesses in each platform.
For example, Apple has encryption built-in to the iOS platform, but Google didn't put that into Android by default. On the other hand, Google is much better at giving users more control over what device features an app can use, the authors said.
Kaspersky researchers uncovered a sophisticated rootkit that may have infected over 4.5 million machines in the first three months of 2011, alone. The TDL-4 rootkit infects the master-boot-record and uses a number of advanced features to make it hard to detect, remove or take down, according to Sergey Golovanov. The botnet encrypts its commands to the zombies, runs its own antivirus to remove some of the most common malware from infecting the machine, and even has a version for 64-bit systems.
Two major federal security documents were released this week, including the software vulnerabilities report from the Department of Homeland Security and updated banking guidelines from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.
The DHS released a list of common software vulnerabilities along with a scoring system to prioritize flaws, a risk analysis framework to evaluate the seriousness of the flaws and a list of top 25 dangerous software errors. The most dangerous flaw, according to the list, was SQL injection. Considering the number of sites LulzSec compromised using SQL injection attacks, the list was consistent with what security experts have been seeing and did not contain any surprises, Marcus Carey, enterprise security community manager of Rapid7, told eWEEK.
The FFIEC guidance was actually a supplement to the 2005 guidance for how financial institutions should protect consumers from cyber-fraud. Instead of relying on authentication methods, the FFIEC recommended a layered approach so that if one security control fails, others will stop the attacker.
Online security was a priority for a handful of Senators this week as the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held hearings on privacy and data security to discuss the three bills currently circulating in the Senate.
Apple pushed out its Java update for Mac OS 10.6 and 10.5 to address the remote execution vulnerabilities Oracle closed earlier this month.