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08 July 2010, 15:58

Lost+Found: Encrypted messages, spying, car access codes, malware analysis for everyman

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Lost and Found Logo Too short for news, too good to lose; Lost+Found is a round up of useful security information. Today: U.S. Cyber Command embeds info in its logo, Python with an SSL handbrake, spying, access codes in cars and malware analysis for everyman.

  • Nerdy but true – U.S. Cyber Command has embedded a coded message, "9EC4C12949A4F31474F299058CE2B22A", into its official logo. The message turns out to be an MD5 hash of its official mission statement, "USCYBERCOM plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronises, and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full-spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure freedom of action in cyberspace for the U.S. and its allies, and deny the same to adversaries."
  • Without anyone noticing, Python has been running with the SSL handbrake on for ten years. Guido van Rossum set a debug flag which caused Python to pause for one second each time the SSL_read() function was called when SSL was first introduced. The development team has now removed the brake from the subversion repositories for Python 3.2, 3.1, 2.7 and 2.6.
  • Spying on your spouse or business partner can have consequences. The Romanian authorities have arrested 50 people who installed the spy program FlexiSpy on the smartphone of a spouse, business partner or their competition and used it to listen in on their activities. The person selling the program was also arrested.
  • Cracking the access codes to car control devices is child's play for a PC. The codes are just 16 bits long and it's possible to run through (German language link) all possible codes fairly quickly. This is reported to be the reason why chip tuners have no problem overcoming this barrier and why it is not really possible to prevent manipulation of digital speedometers.
  • Malware analysis for everyman – CERT Austria has published a simple guide to setting up a system using predominantly open source components for carrying out controlled investigations into infected Windows systems in a virtual environment.


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