Feb 15 2012

Syrian Government and Irish Software Companies

Category: eGovernment,Security,TelecomsTeknovis @ 18:58

The software developed by two Irish companies is currently being used by the Syrian Government to monitor and block communications within the country, according to Syria regime ‘using Irish technology’.

The companies are AdaptiveMobile and Cellusys. I had a quick look at both of their web sites, and neither company appears to be publicising this! This seems strange, given how topical Syria is these days!

Perhaps these two companies are not proud of this particular sale and produce use!

Actually, if I attend Mobile World Congress this year I might visit their stands to discuss this!

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Jan 22 2012

How to Expose a Malware Gang

Category: SecurityTeknovis @ 17:46

The story of how the gang behind the Koobface worm and botnet was exposed is contained in The Koobface malware gang – exposed!.

It is fascinating reading, and it almost reads like a novel!

Actually, it reminds me of the time I discovered a local prostitution ring, but that is a story for another day… :D

Jan 01 2012

Humorous SOPA Comment

Category: eGovernment,Humour,Internet,SecurityTeknovis @ 10:29

Happy New Year everybody! I hope that it will be a good one for you! I thought that I would start the year with something light-hearted :)

I have not been following the recent Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) arguments, but I know enough about it to know that I am against it :) Anyway, I came across the following humorous comment by Dave Piscitello:

If #SOPA passes, supporters will seek to change Internet’s TCP/IP to Trademark Copyright Patent/Intellectual Property


Dec 31 2011

The Shadow Factory

Category: eGovernment,Reviews,SecurityTeknovis @ 15:32

I finished reading “The Shadow Factory” by James Bamford today. (Amazon link to book.)

"The Shadow Factory" by James Bamford

"The Shadow Factory" by James Bamford

It was an interesting read, but I felt that it lost its sense of direction somewhere in the middle :( In the beginning it read very like a novel describing the events leading to the 9/11 attacks. This was very gripping! However, the writing style then became more factual, and it seemed to randomly jump from topic to topic.

It was an interesting time to finish reading this book, because I see that part of its subject matter is in the media: Telecom Immunity Ruling Upheld by U.S. Appeals Court.

Nov 27 2011

Windows Protection from Djibouti

Category: Security,SoftwareTeknovis @ 08:40

I recently got multiple phone calls on my landline from a support agent working for a “Microsoft Support Company” in Djibouti. The exact phone number used each time was +253 820 308, and the support agent knew my family name (it is available in the telephone directory). The support agent told me that she could see from her system that my computer was infected, and she was going to help me! Great!

Of course this is a scam, and I have heard of it many times. Unfortunately, not everybody knows this, and I know somebody who was conned in this way.

I had never received such a call before, so the mischievous streak in me decided to play along with the support agent :) I must stress that I knew what I was doing, and in general I would not recommend this! I was also curious to know exactly how the scam worked.

I made myself look like the ideal target for the support agent, because I claimed not to know much about how computers work, and I was very eager to pay for the support agent to fix my problem. I was not doing anything that required too much concentration at the time, so I was willing to waste the support agent’s time. In the end our conversations spanned three phone calls, and lasted for about an hour and twenty minutes in total.

The way the scam works is that the support agent firstly tries to get the victim’s confidence. So I was told about the dangers of computer viruses, and how easy it is to become infected. I agreed with this, and we spent several minutes discussing this. I then confirmed that I had been feeling tired and run-down recently, so I suspected that I had indeed got a virus from my computer. This caused another lengthy explanation :D

Next the support agent gets the victim to download some software that allows the support agent to remotely control the victim’s computer. This took more than half an hour to achieve for a variety of reasons. I was given many instructions for trying to start my Internet browser (such as Ctrl + R, Start + All Programs), but none of them appeared to work. The support agent was becoming frustrated at this stage, so I innocently asked her when I should turn on my computer :D

Over the next half hour the support agent got me to download remote access software from the following web sites:

I do not know if these are legitimate sites or not. Regardless, in each I was asked to download an executable file, and then run it. Much to the support agent’s frustration, the files kept producing errors when I tried running them. I offered several times to pay her there and then by credit card (using a test number of course) for her to fix the problem, but she told me that I needed to run the software first. I helpfully suggested that it was probably due to the virus, but the support agent dismissed this idea :o In hindsight, it was probably because I was using Ubuntu :D

At this stage the customer support agent had to consult with a colleague (for the second time). By the time that she phoned me back I was bored of her, so I told her than I had bought a new computer since the last call. The dismay in voice was noticeable!

The moral of the story – if you get one of these calls you are probably best to tell the support agent that you do not have a computer!

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May 25 2011

Web Client-Server Developments

Category: Internet,Security,Software Development,Standards,TelecomsTeknovis @ 21:11

I have been made aware (thanks) of some interesting web client-server developments recently, so I will group them all together in this post!

There are a lot of exciting developments there!

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May 16 2011

BehavioSec Raises 1 Million Euro

Category: Entrepreneurship,SecurityTeknovis @ 12:39

I came across a great story today – BehavioSec raises €1m for behavior-based identity theft prevention.

BehavioSec is a Swedish company. However, there is an Irish connection :o Its CTO is Neil Costigan, who is Irish and ex-DCU :)

Well done!

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Jan 11 2011

Fine Gael Website

Category: eGovernment,SecurityTeknovis @ 20:06

Oh dear – it has been a really bad few days for the recently launched new Fine Gael website: finegael2011.com

Indeed, things have been going from bad (Hackers deface Fine Gael website) to worse (Thousands of users’ data stolen in Fine Gael site hack)!

I wonder will there be many more security breaches as the political parties try to use the Internet more in the coming months in preparation for the general election this year.

Sep 01 2010

OWASP Dublin Meeting

Category: SecurityTeknovis @ 16:30

OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) is hosting a meeting in Dublin later this month. The talks seem very interesting, and the full details are available in OWASP AppSec 2010 Ireland.

Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend :(


Aug 19 2010

Drive-By Download Infection

Category: Internet,SecurityTeknovis @ 20:44

The laptop belonging to a friend of mine recently got attacked by a Drive-By Download virus. The particular virus was the Antimalware Doctor, and there is plenty of information about it available online, such as Remove Antimalware Doctor (Uninstall Guide).

Lucky, my friend had a very recent external backup. Therefore, I wiped the laptop and simply reinstalled everything, rather than trying to remove the virus.

However, this made me wonder how Drive-By Download infection occurs. Another friend recommended that I read The Ghost In The Browser Analysis of Web-based Malware. It was an excellent introduction, and it was very readable.

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