What you need to know about the Adobe certificate compromise

Charles Ripley , BrandPost

Adobe announced plans to revoke one of its code-signing certificates after it was compromised and used to make malicious attacks appear to be legitimate Adobe tools. The question businesses and consumers need to ask themselves is what impact this might have on them, or what needs to be done to avoid attacks using the compromised certificate.

Adobe announced plans to revoke the effected code-signing certificate effective next Thursday—October 4, 2012. In a blog post explaining the action, Adobe stated that customers should not notice any adverse consequences as a result of the revocation process.

Adobe claims that the impact so far seems to be limited to the discovery of two malicious utilities signed using the compromised Adobe certificate. The blog post states that Adobe is not aware of widespread malware attacks using the certificate. Adobe also states that its investigation so far shows no evidence of any other sensitive information—like customer data, financial information, or Adobe source code—has been compromised.

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Update your Samsung Galaxy S III now or you might lose all of your data

Do you have a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone? Does it contain precious information like contacts, calendar events, music, or photos that you don’t have backed up somewhere else? If so, you might want to avoid visiting any websites until you get the latest update from Samsung.

A security researcher revealed a little trick last week that puts Samsung Galaxy S III data at risk. Embedding a simple 11-digit string of characters and symbols in a Web page is enough to cause a Galaxy S III smartphone that visits the website to trigger a full factory reset of the device. All contacts, photographs, music, apps, and any other data will be erased.

The Samsung Galaxy S III runs on Android, but apparently the issue is unique to Samsung’s TouchWiz interface that it overlays on the core Android OS. According to a report from The Verge, other Samsung smartphones that use the TouchWiz UI—like the Galaxy SII or the Galaxy S—are also at risk.

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What's in your Facebook Activity Log?

Charles Ripley , PCWorld

Do you use Facebook? Hundreds of millions of people use the social network to connect with friends and family, share pictures and videos, play games, and more. What you might not realize is that everything you do on Facebook is tracked and logged.

Facebook also keeps track of your search history. When you use the search bar at the top to see if a specific college buddy is on Facebook so you can re-connect, Facebook remembers that. Facebook also remembers if you search for Kim Kardashian or marijuana.

You can see virtually all of your Facebook actions through the Activity Log, and you can change whether things show up on your Timeline, which audience can see the information (in some cases), or delete the action altogether.

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iOS

197 reasons you should upgrade to iOS 6 immediately

A few days ago—ahead of today’s launch of the new iPhone 5—Apple released the latest version of iOS. Apple initially unveiled iOS 6 earlier this year, and it has spent the past few months trumpeting the 200-plus new and updated features. Secretly, though, there are another 197 reasons to make the switch to iOS 6—and they might be more important than the 200 Apple wants you to focus on.

If you refer to Apple’s iOS 6 site, you will learn about the new Maps app, Siri’s expanded skillset, Facebook integration, Passbook, conducting FaceTime chats over cellular networks and many more exciting reasons why you should want the new iOS. But, if you check out the Apple security advisory released on Wednesday you’ll find out that there are also 197 unpatched flaws and vulnerabilities in iOS 5.

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Will you be more secure if you abandon Internet Explorer?

The German government is urging people to abandon Internet Explorer to avoid zero-day attacks currently circulating in the wild. Microsoft is scrambling to develop a patch to address the problem. The dirty secret, though, is the attack relies on Java being present, so Java—not Internet Explorer—is the Achilles heel of this equation.

Java was recently the target of attacks against its own zero-day vulnerabilities. However, it turned out that the vulnerabilities weren’t all that “zero-day.” Security researchers had discovered them and reported them to Oracle months earlier, but Oracle didn’t prioritize fixing the flaws until attackers also discovered them and started exploiting them.

In Oracle’s case, the Java patch created new problems. Oracle addressed the vulnerabilities being targeted by the zero-day attacks, but included a different vulnerability it was already aware of, but hadn’t yet developed a patch for.

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Keeping your financial data safe

The threat of digital predation by a virus, or online scam seems so pervasive these days that you might have just accepted it as an inevitable part of life. When a computer virus ends up draining your bank account, however, this common scourge can hit too close to home. The good news is 97 percent of security breaches can be prevented, and if the worst happens, there are tools available to help you cut your losses and beat cyber-crooks at their own game. With the right software and a few simple techniques, digital fraud, identity theft, and sensitive data loss can be easy to thwart.

Cross-Device Threatscape

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Flame malware continues to burn

Charles Ripley , BrandPost

Over the past couple of years a new breed of malware has been making headlines. These new attacks are very complex, and seem to be directed at precision targets of national or military significance—suggesting that they’ve been developed by nation-states as cyber weapons. New information suggests that these threats may have been developed much earlier than previously thought, and that some of the malware attacks are still evolving and/or have not yet been discovered.

Stuxnet, Duqu, and Flame all seem to be highly sophisticated malware platforms. A coalition of security researchers has been diligently working to unravel Flame, figure out what makes it tick, and learn more about its origins and purpose. The results of the investigation are intriguing and seem to create as many questions as they answer.

According to the Flame investigation, the developers worked very hard to disguise Flame as a legitimate CMS (Content Management System) platform. The data captured by Flame is heavily encrypted on the server using strong public key cryptography to ensure that only the attackers can access it. Your average malware developers don’t generally go to such lengths to protect the stolen data—supporting the idea that Flame is not your average malware.

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