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Entries in Security (11)

Friday
Jul052013

Android's 'Master Key' Discovered

Bad news for us Android users: Bluebox Labs, a computer security research team, just found a massive vulnerability in Android's security model that, in theory, allows hackers to take control of a phone, listen in on conversations, access data, turn apps into malicious Trojans and send junk messages. Amazingly, what's being called the “master key” is present on any Android phone released in the last four years, which amounts to 900 million devices.

According to the Bluebox blog, “while the risk to the individual and the enterprise is great, this risk is compounded when you consider applications developed by the device manufacturers (e.g. HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG) or third-parties that work in cooperation with the device manufacturer.”

Installation of a Trojan application from the device manufacturer can grant the application full access to Android system and all applications (and their data) currently installed. The application then not only has the ability to read arbitrary application data on the device (email, SMS messages, documents, etc.), retrieve all stored account & service passwords, it can essentially take over the normal functioning of the phone and control any function thereof (make arbitrary phone calls, send arbitrary SMS messages, turn on the camera, and record calls). Finally, and most unsettling, is the potential for a hacker to take advantage of the always-on, always-connected, and always-moving (therefore hard-to-detect) nature of these “zombie” mobile devices to create a botnet.

According to BBC News, Google said it currently had no comment to make on BlueBox's discovery.

For more details on Bluebox's findings, read the blog post here.

Wednesday
Mar092011

China to Install World's Largest Security Network with 500,000 Cameras

Chongqing in southwest China plans to build a $2.6 billion security system with 500,000 surveillance cameras -- the world's largest security network -- by 2012.

The Xinjiang region already has a network of 40,000 security cameras that was installed last year.

The new network will watch over 30 million people and will be used for crime prevention and emergency response.

China has increasingly started to embrace high-tech security measures. For the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the government employed facial recognition technology.

Tuesday
Mar012011

Company Introduces Mini Radar/Surveillance System

Mantissa Ltd. has developed a mini radar sensor, the MSHRS-300X, which measures precise range and range rate for every pixel on the scene along with course angle. For every detected target, fully reliable
parameters of range, velocity, angle and course of movement are calculated for transfer to a command and control center. A unique Micro-Doppler processor further analyzes suspicious targets and determines whether the target is human or nonhuman.

Weighing 1 pound and measuring about the size of a personal camera, the system combines high-frequency millimeter wave technology with software that enable the radar to function in day and night, as well as all weather conditions, to identify threats with great precision.

The miniature sensor is suitable for critical infrastures, urban security and borders.

The system can identify vehicles from a distance of up to 650 yards and can distinguish people from animals at 325 yards.

Wednesday
Jan192011

Converting 2-D Photos into 3-D Faces for Security Applications

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University were able to construct a 3-D face from 2-D images. The discovery could be used for biometrics in security applications or in forensic investigations.

A computer algorithm analyzes the viewing angle and illumination of a face in an image and generates a 3-D view of the face based on the results.


Tuesday
Jan112011

National Internet ID Cards to Come?

National Internet ID cards -- much like driver's licenses -- are being proposed by the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. Propoents say this is an attempt to enhance online security and privacy, while opponents fear privacy concerns.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is quick to say this is not a national ID card.

"We are not talking about a government-controlled system," he told CNET. "What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities."

In the proposal, private online retailers would offer customers an account they could use for multiple -- or even all -- vendors, eliminating the need to remember numerous usernames and passwords.

Verizon, Google, PayPal, Symantec and AT&T are some retailers that support this measure.

But is this a convenience or a privacy nightmare?