Homeland Security & Trend Micro Recommend Uninstalling QuickTime Now

When it comes to software that you may not have heard of, or even used, recently QuickTime appears on my mind. A popular video software the system seems to have faded away, from both ours and Apple’s minds. These actions have led for Trend Micro and the Department of Homeland Security to recommend that if you have QuickTime installed on your Windows PC, uninstall QuickTime for your own safety.

The warnings both from Trend Micro and the Department of Homeland Security come as Trend Micro discover two new critical vulnerabilities within the software that could be used by remote attackers to gain control of your system. While there aren’t any active attacks targeting this problem, both groups are recommending you uninstall the software from your windows system as Apple will no longer release security updates for QuickTime on windows.

The options seem pretty clear-cut, uninstall some software or risk being exposed to a threat that will never get fixed. While QuickTime on Mac’s is unaffected, Windows users should look to use some of the alternative options available for them if you want to watch media content on your PC.

For information on how to uninstall QuickTime, you can visit Apple’s support page here.

Police Body Cameras Pre-Installed With Worm

Police are just one of many organisations that are using technology to help their everyday activities. One of these pieces of technology is body cameras, small devices which can record a policemen’s actions, allowing them to operate and display both their and others actions in court at a later date. With many police forces making these required pieces of technology and disciplining officers who turn them off it is a serious issue when these devices are exploited or misused. So what happens when they are installed with viruses?

Martel Body Cameras are supplied with GPS and are sold and marketed for use by official police departments. It would seem though that users who plug in these devices get more than they bargained for when iPower Technologies began testing the devices.

iPower Technologies are a network integrator looking at creating a cloud-based system for storing police and government videos, so during the course of their testing of products they quickly discovered something shocking. The Martel body camera came pre-installed with Win32/Conflicker.B!inf virus, a worm.

The worm in question, once unleashed, automatically spreads across the network and the internet attempting to spread it to other systems, a serious impact if the systems are meant to be secure, as government agencies expect of theirs. iPower have since contacted Martel but are yet to receive an official acknowledgement of the problem, as such they have released the information regarding this matter in a blog post. They state that the reason they have released the information is due to the severity of the security implications that these devices pose with their presence within government and police forces around the US.

Below you can find the video iPower posted showing that their anti-virus does in fact pick up and contain this worm.

Exploit Found In Netgear Routers

So we’ve all had those periods where we come home and think our stuff has been moved around, you know when you think you’ve put your keys down beside the door and you find them on the sitting room table. Now imagine that you came home and found that some of your technology has had its settings changed, and most worryingly the technology in question is your router, the central point for all your devices to enter the world wide web. Turns out this happened to Joe Giron when he found out that his router had its settings changed on the 28th September.

Joe Giron told the BBC that he had discovered that some settings, not any settings, but the admin settings on his personal router had been changed. After the device was changed it began to send web browsing data to an internet address, clearly for a malicious reason.

The router in question is one of Netgear’s, a known brand all around the world. Netgear has accepted that the vulnerability that Giron was affected by is “serious” but will affect less than 5,000 devices.

The problem is the data that was changed was the domain name server setting, normally set to your web providers or in this case Google’s. The DNS transforms web addresses into formats which computers can understand, most commonly a form of IP address. With control over these settings it’s not only possible to track visited sites but also redirect the user to whichever site you want.

Updated:

It has been confirmed by Netgear that  an update to deal with this issue will be released on the 14th October. Affected users will be prompted to update their firmware if they log into their admin settings or have the Netgear genie app installed on any connected device.

Thank you BBC for the information.

$75,000 Reward In Hunt For Drone Users

Drones are amazing devices, being able to fly a device throughout your garden and beyond, taking pictures that are breathtaking and near impossible for any one person to manage. The problems begin when users begin to do stupid things and end up endangering lives with the devices. Such as those who are now the focus of a hunt with a possible reward offering around $75,000 to the one who helps catch them.

Drones have caused a few problems in recent months, drone users have almost been responsible for 14 near misses with commercial planes between March 2014 and March 2015. With a jail sentence of 5 years for even endangering the planes, the CAA really want to drive home that it is unacceptable to use drones near airplanes. Across the pond in California, San Bernardino county to be precise, a reward of $75k has been offered to anyone who can help track down drone pilots who are flying their drones over the forest fires in the country recently.

The first incident involved a drone flying too close to a flight path, resulting in a $10,000 detour for three planes carrying flame retardant, not only costing a lot of money but also hampering the US Forest Services attempts to control and prevent the forest fire from spreading. The drone in question was flying above the legal limit of 400 feet and was also in the no-fly zone commonly put forward when dealing with wildfires.

The second fire resulted in firefighting helicopters being forced to land with as many as five drones present in the area of the fire, the subsequent fire then spread to the highway where at least 20 cars were destroyed by the flames. Luckily the passengers had managed to escape on foot prior to the fire reaching them. This was only a few days after they were forced to suspend a tanker arriving after a drone was spotted in the area around another wildfire.

With three possible culprits an offer of $25,000 has been put forward for the apprehension of the drone pilots, in what can only be considered as serious action against those who would endanger lives and property for a quick photo opportunity.

With lives being endangered on a nearly weekly rate, drone users need to be more careful and considerate or face serious repercussions for their actions.

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

Image courtesy of the BBC.

YouTube’s Toddler App Full of Disturbing Videos

Looking for videos on how to juggle chainsaws? Drink battery acid? How about My little Pony peadophilia jokes, or Bert and Ernie overdubbed with  foul language?

You can see all of these on the brand new YouTube kids, the new application that google have released, stating it is perfectly safe for young children.

Consumer groups were set to ask the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday to investigate the new application on the grounds of unfair and deceptive business practices, the second official complaint since the kid “safe” service launched last month.

Dale Kunkel stated ““The deeper you get into this, the scarier it is in placing children at risk”. Dale is a communications officer for the University of Arizona “I’m astonished at the volume of inappropriate material, much of which will be harmful for kids if they see it.”

Google posted a statement on monday that it plans to work to make the applications videos as family friendly as possible. They said they take feedback very seriously, removing offensive content that has been flagged by users.

“The first step is to “algorithmically narrow it down to family-friendly content,”  Shimrit Ben-Yair  told the San Jose Mercury News. However that filter is not working according to advocates and some parents who wrote on the Google Play and itunes stores.

Do you think the application is safe for kids to use? let us know in the comments.

Thank you to Phys for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Google

HP Recalls over 6 Million AC Power Cords

Hewlett-Packard is recalling about 6 million notebook and laptop AC power because of possible overheating, which again can pose a burn and fire risk. HP has received 29 reports of power cords overheating and melting or charring, resulting in two claims of minor burns and 13 claims of minor property damage.

The Hewlett-Packard LS-15 AC power cords were distributed with HP and Compaq notebook and mini notebook computers as well as AC adapter-powered accessories including docking stations. The power cords are black and have an “LS-15” molded on the AC adapter end of the cord and were manufactured in China.

The notebook and mini-notebook computers and accessories were sold with the AC power cords at computer and electronics stores, authorized dealers and online at www.hp.com from September 2010 to June 2012. Consumers are advised to immediately stop using and unplug the recalled power cords and contact Hewlett-Packard to order a free replacement. There is no risk in continuing to use any other parts.

Hewlett-Packard can be reached by phone during business hours or online at www.hp.com and then click “Recalls” at the bottom of the page.

Thank you laptopmag for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of HP.

BIOS Vulnerability Still Roaming Wild despite Warnings

A multi-year effort to prevent hackers from altering computers while they boot up has largely failed and the flaws are still being exploited despite their disclosures. According to researchers from the federal founded MITRE lab, many Intel customers have still not adopted the revised security design distributed in March after even more vulnerabilities were discovered.

This could leave many newer Windows computers exposed, MITRE told Reuters ahead of their Black Hat presentation.

Intel’s point person on the issue, Bruce Monroe, said that he didn’t know how many suppliers and computer makers had followed Intel’s recommendations. “We’re not privy to whether they’ve fixed it or not. We asked them to let us know.”

The NSA Director Keith Alexander already urged the chief executives of major American technology companies years ago to do something about the boot-up procedure (BIOS). Because the start-up code is given more authority, hackers who break the code can make major changes to programs and hide their presence as well as survive power-down and reboots.

The successor called Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is widely adopted now and has features like secure boot where digital signatures are checked before code is run. Microsoft was one of the first to embrace the new system with their Windows 8.

With flaws like this, it’s no surprise that well-funded spying programs as those exposed by Edward Snowden can continue to succeed against targets that depend on a complex supply chain.

MITRE made a similar presentation at last years Black Hat conference where Corey Kallenberg and Xeno Kovah broke into Dell’s boot-up process. Since the talk they have deployed sensors to about 10.000 computers to determine whether the boot procedures were still vulnerable. A shocking 55 percent of them still were, but the actual percentage is said to be even higher as the checks were done by Intel’s old UEFI guidelines that still allowed for memory corruption.

The threat is very real as shown for recent events. The 2011 Mebromi attack on Chinese computers using the Phoenix BIOS, last years report by Der Spiegel about the NSA tool called DeityBounce and just earlier this year Reuters reported about a U.S. Defense Contractors product, priced over $100k, for “incapacitating target computers by attacking BIOS and other critical elements”.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Hardware Analysis

Up to 90% of the Worlds Smartphones at Risk

Not one, but two new security threats have been revealed by researchers this week putting as many as 90 percent of the worlds smartphones at the risk of data and password theft. In some cases the hackers could even take full control of your device.

The first flaw was found by Accuvant, a Denver-based company, and said to affects Apple, Android and Blackberry devices, among others. By having implemented what they call “an obscure industry standard” that controls how everything from network connections to user identities are managed, everything is at risk.

The threat could enable attackers to remotely wipe devices, install malicious software, access data and run applications on smartphones, Mathew Solnik, a mobile researcher with Denver-based cyber security firm Accuvant, said in a phone interview with Reuters.

The second threat was found by researchers at Bluebox Security of San Francisco. It specifically affects devices running older Android software, up to three-quarters of them. The researchers have dubbed it the “Fake ID” vulnerability because it allows malicious applications to play a trick on trusted software signatures without any user notification.

“Essentially anything that relies on verified signature chains of an Android application is undermined by this vulnerability,” Bluebox said in a statement referring to devices built before Google updated its core software late last year.

Both research groups will present their findings during next week’s Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas. Accuvant stressed in a comment that the flaw they had discovered in the management software remained remote to most people. Only a few experts world wide would know how to do it.

An Apple spokesmen declined immediate comment while a Blackberry representative said they were already working closely with Accuvant and were seeking more details.

Google declined to comment on the vulnerability discovered by Accuvant, but they had quickly distributed a patch to Android phone makers on learning of the issue from Bluebox. They also said they scanned the entire Android Marketplace and found no risk to users.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of XL-comms