Data network connectivity developments, networking business news, and related computing items.
Saturday, February 28, 2004
Will IM be the next security culprit? "IM-based attacks present particular danger because they would not cause the changes to machines or networks that make an attack visible. In fact, compared to past attacks, they would need very few connections for full infection. Today's worms take time to spread because they must find hosts to infect through scanning, e-mail distribution and file sharing--in the process creating a lot of unproductive traffic. .. In contrast, an IM-based attack eliminates nuisance traffic almost completely. Once it has infected a machine, the code gains direct access to your buddy list and learns who is currently online. Once it has infected a machine, the code gains direct access to your buddy list and learns who is currently online. The code needs only to send a few small requests to the online users.. This would not raise alarms because the Internet would not be clogged with useless attempts at infection or propagation. Also, the infected computers would not suffer poor performance or change their behavior in any way."
One early example is reported, "Trojan horse advertising program, called BuddyLinks, masquerades as a news Web site with a story on [Osama bin Laden's] capture in an attempt to fool users of America Online's instant-messaging program into downloading software and receiving advertising." These invitations to websites could leverage browser vulnerabilities in disturbing ways. 11:48:46 PM
Shirky: The RIAA Succeeds Where the Cypherpunks Failed: "For years, the US Government has been terrified of losing surveillance powers over digital communications generally, and one of their biggest fears has been broad public adoption of encryption. If the average user were to routinely encrypt their email, files, and instant messages, whole swaths of public communication currently available to law enforcement with a simple subpoena (at most) would become either unreadable, or readable only at huge expense. ..
The RIAA is succeeding where the Cypherpunks failed, convincing users to trade a broad but penetrable privacy for unbreakable anonymity under their personal control... encryption is now becoming a background feature of collaborative workspaces. Because encryption is becoming something that must run in the background, there is now an incentive to make its adoption as easy and transparent to the user as possible. It's too early to say how widely casual encryption use will spread, but it isn't too early to see that the shift is both profound and irreversible.
People will differ on the value of this change, depending on their feelings about privacy and their trust of the Government, but the effects of the increased use of encryption, and the subsequent difficulties for law enforcement in decrypting messages and files, will last far longer than the current transition to digital music delivery, and may in fact be the most important legacy of the current legal crackdown. " 10:49:51 PM