Monday, March 26, 2007

"Online Ads Unsafe". No Duh.

I've written about this before, so it's not exactly new news, but Computerworld is reporting that nearly 80% of all malware delivered to your browser is delivered via ads embedded in web sites, rather than in the content of the sites themselves.

This makes perfect sense to me, since most of the ad networks are pretty incestuous, and an ad placed on one network could easily be distributed by other advertising partners. With sometimes several layers of abstraction between advertiser and advertisee, it can be fairly difficult to trace a malicious ad back to its source.

The article is based on Finjan Software's latest Web Security Trends Report. You can download the complete report here (registration required), or see the summarized press release here.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fun Crypto Toy

I took some time off earlier this month to have a family vacation in London. Overall, it was pretty fun, but we wanted to get out of the city for a bit, so we took the train to Bletchley Park. BP is where the British government ran their super-secret cryptography operations against the German ciphers during WWII.

Of course, the most famous of these ciphers is the Enigma machine, of which there were actually several different types in use in the various branches of the German military. I don't want to bore you with all the details of Enigma, especially since they're probably familiar to many of you. What I wanted to tell you about was this fun toy I bought, the Pocket Enigma cipher machine.

Housed in CD jewel case and made entirely of paper, it emulates a simple one-rotor system (with a choice of two possible rotors). There's no plugboard or anything complex like that, so it's really easy to understand, and it's a lot of fun to send seekrit messages to your buddies, in a flashlight-under-the-covers kind of way.

Here's my contribution to the fun. See if you can decode the following message, enciphered on my very own Pocket Enigma. The first person to post a correct solution in the comments wins... umm... the people's ovation and fame forever!


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More on Tagging

You may remember my previous post about IP tagging, in which I described my idea for a Web 2.0-ish tagging system for NSM analysts. Well, geek00L pointed out that I'm not the first person to think of this idea. It seems that a couple of bright guys at Georgia Tech had the idea last year, and implemented it in the form of a tool called FlowTag. I recommend their paper for some real-world examples of how a tagging system can enhance analyst productivity.

The dogs must be crazy...

My friend Shirkdog offers this post about doing NSM without the backend database that solutions like Sguil offer. Personally, I'm not a fan of using grep for my core analysis workflow, but I am a fan of doing whatever gets the job done, within the limits of the resources available to you.