Episodes 113A, 113B, and 112 su root editon: February 21, 2010

Three episodes, one low price. (Free). We posted the show in three parts this week. Episode 113 A is a 35-minute interview on cell phone tracking, posted separately, so that anyone who wants the cybercrime news can skip straight to Episode 113 B.

The other post is the su root edition for the technically proficient. This week it’s an interview with Ben Jun from Cryptography Research, on developing applications that adapt to sweeping changes in technology. A preview of his RSA presentation. It’s 20 minutes long.

Episode 113 A – cell phone tracking interview

This is an interview segment on the legal and technical issues under review by the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals regarding tracking of cell phone users. Our guests are Rebecca Gasca of the Nevada ACLU and Dr. Nirmala Shinoy of the Rochester Institute of Technology. This segment is 35 minutes long.

The most informative of the documents is the 2008 court order now being appealed, in which a Western Pennsylvania magistrate denied the government’s request for tracking data without a warrant. It’s 56 pages long, but offers a very comprehensive statutory history of the laws that apply to phone tapping and tracking. Newsweek recaps the issue and covers the appeal. http://www.newsweek.com/id/233916

Episode 113B Cybercrime and Security News

A spike in power grid attacks is predicted in the next 12 months. The Project Grey Goose report claims the number and severity of attacks on the existing grid has been underreported.

Coincidentally, Zues and its variants are more severe and widespread than previously reported. The attack is not just stealing money from commercial bank accounts. It’s settled into more than two thousand entities and 74 thousand computers, stealing intellectual property, credit card numbers email and network credentials, and a wide variety of other information. The good news is, it’s finally hitting the mainstream press. Reported this week in the following publications.

CNET: Zeus on 74k PCs in global botnet. “…Compromises of enterprise networks have reached epidemic levels”

NY Times: Malicious Software Infects Corporate Computers. Attack goes well beyond just bank account info stealing.

Wall St Journal: Broad New Hacking Attack Detected

WaPo: Nearly 2500 companies victim of massive cyberattack

The economics of malware- a new report urges us to look at cybercrime differently. It’s not lone gunmen and geeky teens, it’s an entire economy, with mom and pop shops, street vendors, manufacturers and marketers.

A TV news story that suggests banks are using your social networking pages to glean information about your creditworthiness. A company that mines the sites for data and sells it to the banks says nope… the institutions only use it for marketing, not for lending decisions.

A Houston television station launched an investigation of retail credit card practices at the cash register in Sears and K-Mart. Employees at the store accepted credit cards without checking ID or signatures. The reporters made numerous purchases using cards that didn’t belong to them. The stores will “immediately” begin retraining their employees at more than 2,000 combined stores nationwide in techniques for preventing credit card fraud.

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