Secret Code For Kindergartners

How dumb is this?

‘Pizza’ Party Codeword May Have Doomed CIA Spies

All the CIA’s Lebanon spies wanted was a slice. What they got, allegedly, was a big intelligence failure.

Hezbollah may have just rolled up the CIA’s network of spies devoted to cracking the secrets of the Lebanese Shiite extremist group. If so, it’s because of one of the stupidest, least secure code words in history.

According to ABC News, Hezbollah operatives figured out that CIA informants who had infiltrated the Iranian proxy group were meeting with their agency handlers at a Beirut Pizza Hut. How could Hezbollah deduce that location? “The CIA used the codeword ‘PIZZA’ when discussing where to meet with the agents,” ABC reports.

See also:
Exclusive: CIA Spies Caught, Fear Execution in Middle East
CIA in Lebanon damaged by capture of spies by Hezbollah
The Pizza Hut Connection: CIA Exposes Own Spies in Iran and Lebanon
CIA’s ‘pizza’ blunders leave informants facing execution
Iran and Hezbollah Caught All the CIA Spies at Pizza Hut
Iran and Hezbollah Caught CIA Spies at a Pizza Hut in Beirut
American ‘Pizza Hut’ Spies Captured in Lebanon
CIA informants in Iran, Lebanon outed over ‘pizza code-word’ blunders
Hezbollah unraveling CIA spy network in Lebanon
CIA spy ring busted in Iran and Lebanon
Reports: U.S. Operatives Caught In Lebanon, Iran
White House: No Comment on Spies Outed in Iran, Lebanon
Hezbollah uncovers CIA informants
CIA spies captured in Lebanon
‘CIA spies busted in Iran, Lebanon’

What were they thinking? It’s unfortunate that people working for us have or are about to lose their lives over something this stupid and easily avoidable. Not only is it extremely damaging to our intelligence gathering efforts, but it’s also going to have a chilling effect on future recruitment efforts. Seriously, who wants to work for amateurs, especially if your life depends on it?

/taking the intelligence out of Central Intelligence Agency

Beyond Stuxnet

Looks like someone, and I’m guessing it’s not the Anonymous script kiddies, is getting ready to open a serious can of cyberwarfare whoop ass on someone.

W32.Duqu: The Precursor to the Next Stuxnet

On October 14, 2011, a research lab with strong international connections alerted us to a sample that appeared to be very similar to Stuxnet. They named the threat “Duqu” [dyü-kyü] because it creates files with the file name prefix “~DQ”. The research lab provided us with samples recovered from computer systems located in Europe, as well as a detailed report with their initial findings, including analysis comparing the threat to Stuxnet, which we were able to confirm. Parts of Duqu are nearly identical to Stuxnet, but with a completely different purpose.

Duqu is essentially the precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack. The threat was written by the same authors (or those that have access to the Stuxnet source code) and appears to have been created since the last Stuxnet file was recovered. Duqu’s purpose is to gather intelligence data and assets from entities, such as industrial control system manufacturers, in order to more easily conduct a future attack against another third party. The attackers are looking for information such as design documents that could help them mount a future attack on an industrial control facility.

Duqu does not contain any code related to industrial control systems and is primarily a remote access Trojan (RAT). The threat does not self-replicate. Our telemetry shows the threat was highly targeted toward a limited number of organizations for their specific assets. However, it’s possible that other attacks are being conducted against other organizations in a similar manner with currently undetected variants.

See also:
Son of Stuxnet Found in the Wild on Systems in Europe
Duqu May Have Targeted Certificate Authorities for Encryption Keys
Stuxnet Clone ‘Duqu’: The Hydrogen Bomb of Cyberwarfare?
“Son of Stuxnet” Virus Uncovered
New virus a cyber ‘attack in the making’
Cyberattack forecast after spy virus found
Stuxnet successor on the loose?
Brace for “son of Stuxnet” — Duqu spies on SCADA
Duqu: Son of Stuxnet?
Symantec, McAfee differ on Duqu threat
Who’s behind worm Duqu, ‘son of Stuxnet’?
Stuxnet-based cyber espionage virus targets European firms
Key European Nuclear Firms Attacked By Variation On Stuxnet Virus

A couple of conclusions come to mind. First, the fact that Duqu is based on Stuxnet and the Stuxnet source code has never been released makes it a sure bet that the authors are one in the same, namely Israel and/or the United States, Second, the fact that Duqu is clandestinely collecting information from European manufacturers of industrial control system software, specifically software that controls nuclear facilities, strongly suggests that the eventual primary target of the apparent pending cyberattack will, once again, be Iran’s nuclear program.

/in other words, Duqu is setting up a cyberassault that will hopefully finish, once and for all, the job that Stuxnet so effectively started, halting Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon in its tracks without having to bomb the [expletive deleted] out of their nuclear facilities

Tuesday Is The Time At Microsoft When We Patch

It’s a relatively small one this time, but critical.

Microsoft Fixes 22 Bugs in July Patch Tuesday

Microsoft addressed 22 security vulnerabilities across four security bulletins in July’s Patch Tuesday update. Three of the patches fix issues in the Windows operating system.

The four bulletins patched issues in all versions of the Windows operating system and in Microsoft Visio 2003 Service Pack 3, Microsoft said in its Patch Tuesday advisory, released July 12. Of the patches, only one has been rated “critical.” The remaining three are rated “important,” according to Microsoft.

“Today’s Patch Tuesday, though light, should not be ignored, as these patches address vulnerabilities that allow attackers to remotely execute arbitrary code on systems and use privilege escalation exploits,” said Dave Marcus, director of security research and communications at McAfee Labs.

Security experts ranked Microsoft bulletin MS11-053, which addressed a critical vulnerability in the Windows Bluetooth stack on Windows Vista and Windows 7, as the highest priority. Attackers could exploit the vulnerability by crafting and sending specially crafted Bluetooth packets to the target system to remotely take control, Microsoft said in its bulletin advisory.

See also:
Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for July 2011
Microsoft fixes 22 security holes
Microsoft issues critical patch for Windows 7, Vista users
Microsoft Releases 4 Updates for Windows and Office
Microsoft warns of critical security hole in Bluetooth stack
Security Experts Warn of Microsoft Bluetooth Vulnerability
Patch Tuesday Fixes Critical Bluetooth Flaw in Windows 7
‘Bluetooth sniper’ Windows vuln fix in light Patch Tuesday
Microsoft Squashes Bluetooth Bug
Microsoft patches ‘sexy’ Bluetooth bug in Vista, Windows 7
Microsoft Fixes 22 Bugs in July Patch Tuesday
Businesses should not ignore critical Microsoft Patch Tuesday update, say experts
Microsoft Patch Tuesday: four security bulletins
Microsoft Patch Tuesday – 12th July 2011
Windows Update

This isn’t the first time you’ve had to update Windows, you know what to do, so get busy.

/until next time, same patch time, same patch channel

Super Bot

This sure looks like a nasty piece of work.

Massive botnet ‘indestructible,’ say researchers

A new and improved botnet that has infected more than four million PCs is “practically indestructible,” security researchers say.

“TDL-4,” the name for both the bot Trojan that infects machines and the ensuing collection of compromised computers, is “the most sophisticated threat today,” said Kaspersky Labs researcher Sergey Golovanov in a detailed analysis Monday.

“[TDL-4] is practically indestructible,” Golovanov said.

. . .

TDL-4 infects the MBR, or master boot record, of the PC with a rootkit — malware that hides by subverting the operating system. The master boot record is the first sector — sector 0 — of the hard drive, where code is stored to bootstrap the operating system after the computer’s BIOS does its start-up checks.

Because TDL-4 installs its rootkit on the MBR, it is invisible to both the operating system and more, importantly, security software designed to sniff out malicious code.

But that’s not TDL-4’s secret weapon.

What makes the botnet indestructible is the combination of its advanced encryption and the use of a public peer-to-peer (P2P) network for the instructions issued to the malware by command-and-control (C&C) servers.

See also:
TDL4 – Top Bot
Sophisticated TDL-4 Botnet Has 4.5 Million Infected Zombies
‘Indestructible’ rootkit enslaves 4.5m PCs in 3 months
TDL-4 creates 4.5 million PC ‘indestructible’ botnet
Security Researchers Discover the Mother of All Botnets
TDL-4: The ‘indestructible’ botnet?
There’s a Botnet Called TDL-4 That’s Virtually Indestructable
‘Indestructible’ Botnet Enslaves 4.5 Million PCs
‘Indestructible’ Zombie PC Botnet Borrows Exploit From Israeli, U.S. Cyberweapon
Have cybercriminals created the perfect botnet — undetectable and indestructible?

If you ever needed a reason and reminder to keep your operating system, anti-virus, and anti-spywware software patched and up to date, this would be a good one.

/remember, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re potentially part of the problem

Operation Cupcake

Too funny, the British go about fighting terrorism with attempted humor.

MI6 attacks al-Qaeda in ‘Operation Cupcake’

The cyber-warfare operation was launched by MI6 and GCHQ in an attempt to disrupt efforts by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular to recruit “lone-wolf” terrorists with a new English-language magazine, the Daily Telegraph understands.

When followers tried to download the 67-page colour magazine, instead of instructions about how to “Make a bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom” by “The AQ Chef” they were greeted with garbled computer code.

The code, which had been inserted into the original magazine by the British intelligence hackers, was actually a web page of recipes for “The Best Cupcakes in America” published by the Ellen DeGeneres chat show.

See also:
British intelligence used cupcake recipes to ruin al-Qaida websiteMI6 hacks Qaida site, swaps bomb info with cake recipes
MI6 swapped pipe-bomb guide for cupcake recipes
MI6 scores al Qaeda hit, with cupcakes
British MI6 replace bomb website with cupcake recipe
MI6 hacks al-Qaeda website, leaves garbled recipe for cupcakes
UK spies cooked up problem for al Qaeda: media
Cupcake shop enlisted in war on terror?
MI6 Hackers Replaced Bombs with Cakes
Make Pastries, Not Bombs
SIS (MI6)
Secret Intelligence Service
GCHQ – Government Communications Headquarters
Government Communications Headquarters

Of course, it would have been better if the cupcake recipes hadn’t been garbled but, nonetheless, well played!

/and hey, as long as MI6 has rooted themselves this deep into al Qaeda servers, why not a massive Hello Kitty campaign?