Malicious Proxies May Become Standard Fare

A slew of security-as-a-service applications — from Postini to OpenDNS to Zscaler — reroute domain-name system (DNS) requests through centralized servers or proxies to detect security threats and sanitize traffic before it reaches the client network. Yet proxies are not just used by security companies, but by criminals as well. DNSChanger, which authorities shutdown in November, used just such a strategy to reroute victims to custom advertisements and malicious installers. When the program compromised a system, it would replace the list of valid DNS servers with entries that pointed to servers controlled by the criminal operators, allowing the botnet owners to reroute victims’ Internet requests to any site.

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Pro-American Hacker’s Attack Threatens to Expose Anonymous

As if things couldn’t get any worse for the hacktivists of Anonymous, the self-described patriotic hacker who calls himself The Jester has struck another blow. He claims to have broken into many smartphones belonging to Anonymous leaders and copied incriminating text messages, emails, address books and other data — data that he may have already passed on to the authorities. The Jester’s intricate, multilayered attack, which took place over five days last week, sounds almost too good to be true, and some online commenters have derided it as a hoax. But security experts say it’s definitely doable, and demonstrates just how valuable the data housed on iPhones and Android phones can be to hackers and identity thieves.

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Iran Hacks BBC Persian TV

Iran today hacked BBC Persian TV. The move is part of a broader attempt by the government to disrupt the BBC’s Persian service, according to BBC News. The BBC’s London office was inundated with automatic phone calls and the company’s satellite feeds into Iran were also jammed – while this only affected owners of illegal satellite dishes, these are of course the only ones that can receive the BBC signal in Iran. The media organization released extracts from a speech confirming the attack, to be spoken by Director-general Mark Thompson tomorrow. Thompson is expected to use Wednesday’s address to the Royal Television Society to accuse Iran of trying to undermine the service.

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Hacking a threat to US security

During the five-month period between October and February, there were 86 reported attacks on computer systems in the United States that control critical infrastructure, factories and databases, according to the Department of Homeland Security, compared with 11 over the same period a year ago. None of the attacks caused significant damage, but they were part of a spike in hacking attacks on networks and computers of all kinds over the same period. The department recorded more than 50,000 incidents since October, about 10,000 more than in the same period a year earlier, with an incident defined as any intrusion or attempted intrusion on a computer network.  The increase has prompted a new interest in cybersecurity on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are being prodded by the Obama administration to advance legislation that could require new standards at facilities where a breach could cause significant casualties or economic damage. It is not clear whether the higher numbers were due to increased reporting amid a wave of high-profile hacking, including the arrest last week of several members of the group Anonymous, or an actual increase in attacks. James A. Lewis, a senior fellow and a specialist in computer security issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a policy group in Washington, said that as hacking awareness had increased, attacks had become more common. He said that the attacks on the nation’s infrastructure were particularly jarring.

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Firefox 11 release postponed due to security issues

The Firefox team announced they are postponing the release of Firefox 11, originally planned for March 13, because of a security report that the team wants to evaluate to make sure the issue will not impact on their code. Mozilla’s senior director of Firefox engineering, cited Microsoft’s monthly Patch Tuesday security update, also scheduled for March 13, as a reason to hold back on releasing the new Firefox version.

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