Intel has spent the past several days dealing with fallout from the discovery of a master key for the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) protocol, ending a busy week in IT security news.
The HDCP protocol was developed by Intel to protect digital video and audio content as it is transmitted between devices and to verify the device receiving the content is licensed to do so. On Sept. 14, a report surfaced that a master key for HDCP had been revealed on the Internet. The master key can be used to generate keys for devices.
The exposure of the master key means "HDCP encryption is no longer effective because an eavesdropper who sees the initial handshake can use keygen to determine the parties' private keys, thereby allowing the eavesdropper to determine the encryption key that protects the communication," blogged Ed Felten, director of the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University.
In addition, "HDCP no longer guarantees that participating devices are licensed, because a maker of unlicensed devices can use keygen to create mathematically correct public/private key pairs," he added.
Intel said it is investigating the incident, and may sue anyone who tries to use the master key.
Other security news from the week centered on Microsoft closing a security hole associated with the notorious Stuxnet worm targeting industrial systems. In announcing the patch, Microsoft and members of the security community revealed that Stuxnet had been seen exploiting four Microsoft zero-day vulnerabilities-not just the one initially tied to the malware.
Two of the four flaws remain unpatched and can be used to escalate privileges on Windows machines. Microsoft said the company is working on updates to address those issues. Due to its sophistication, some have speculated that Stuxnet could be an example of state-sponsored malware.
The reputed maker of the "Here You Have" worm stepped forward Sept. 12, stating that the malware attack was political. Known as "Iraq Resistance," the malware author tied the attack to the actions of Florida pastor Terry Jones, who had planned to burn the Quran to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The worm flooded e-mail in-boxes at companies around the world when it hit Sept. 9, at one point accounting for a high of 14.18 percent of the e-mail being sent globally, according to Cisco Systems.
On the vendor side of things, rumors about the fate of security information and event management vendor ArcSight were finally put to rest Sept. 13 when Hewlett-Packard stepped up and offered $1.5 billion for the company.
The deal, which has not yet closed, continues HP's buying spree, which has also touched Fortify Software, 3PAR and Stratavia in recent weeks. According to HP, ArcSight's technology will help it bring greater visibility and context to IT events in the enterprise. In the days before the planned acquisition was announced, news circulated that ArcSight was shopping itself around to a number of vendors, including Oracle and EMC.
"The acquisition signals not only the largest ESIM [enterprise security and information management] purchase in history but also the potential of a new gold rush era in ESIM and adjacent sector technology acquisitions," said Andrew Hay, an analyst with The 451 Group.