Hackers Attacking Apache Struts Framework Code Flaw

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Today’s topics include attackers’ attempts to exploit vulnerable systems such as Apache Struts, Alibaba Cloud and Intel partnering to build a cloud-based field programmable gate array acceleration service, Google’s purchase of a popular data science platform and AgileBits’ $100,000 bounty for security researchers who discover “bad poetry.”

The open-source Apache Struts 2 technology is a widely used framework component in Java applications and it's currently under attack.

The attacks follow the March 6 disclosure by the Struts project of a Remote Code Execution vulnerability identified as CVE-2017-5638--an issue that was patched the same day.

However, multiple security firms have observed that attackers are actively going after unpatched systems. The Struts vulnerability is critical because attacks can be achieved without authentication.

On March 9 China's Alibaba Cloud and Intel unveiled a pilot program to build a cloud-based field programmable gate array, or FPGA. An FPGA is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing–hence "field-programmable."

The goal of the project is to enable cloud-services customers to have virtual access to a large set of compute resources to help them manage business, scientific and enterprise data application workloads more effectively.

Google has made no secret of its plans to leverage data science and machine learning approaches to make its products and cloud services smarter and more intuitive to use.

Last week, the company expanded its presence in the emerging fields through the acquisition of Kaggle, a platform used by an estimated 800,000 data scientists and machine learning enthusiasts for analyzing public data sets and building machine learning models.

Google said the acquisition is a major step toward making artificial intelligence tools and best practices available to a broader community of enthusiasts and practitioners.

In a bid to further improve the state of security in the 1Password password management system, developer AgileBits is increasing the reward it will pay security researchers for finding hidden encrypted text in a protected area of an account.

As part of an award contest, AgileBits hid “bad poetry” inside of code that regular users should never be able to reach. If a security researcher can find the bad poetry, that means there is a security vulnerability in the AgileBits 1Password system. The previous top bug bounty amount for finding a flaw in 1Password was $25,000.