Oracle releases Java patch, but is it safe?


Things are getting worse for Oracle.

A day after the company released an emergency patch to fix a security hole recently discovered in its Java software, researchers at the Poland-based security firm Security Explorations are already claiming that they have found a security flaw in the fix, reports IDG News Service.

The Java security saga started on Sunday, when security researchers at FireEye uncovered a security flaw in Java, which exposes all devices running version 7 of the software to attacks. Cult of Mac explains that the bug is intended to trick users into visiting an infected website, which then downloads a malicious applet onto their computers.

Since the discovery, many security experts have urged users to disable Java on their web browsers. Mozilla, maker of Firefox, also joined the call.

On Tuesday, researchers at the security firm Immunity said that a second bug has been identified in the attack.

Security firm Websense told Computerworld in a interview two days ago that the bugs had already hit over 100 websites, an indication that the outbreak has gone mainstream.

Computer security firm Symantec has identified a group of Asian hackers known as “Nitro” as the culprit behind the attack. The group first emerged on the hacking scene in October 2011, when they stole data from 29 US, UK and Bangladesh-based chemical companies. The nom de plume “Nitro” was coined apparently because of this maiden hack, which took aim at the chemical industry.

Security Explorations, reports IDG News Service, claimed that they alerted Oracle of Java 7’s security vulnerability four months before FireEye’s announcement last week.


U.S. Air Force to “destroy, deny, degrade” cyber-enemies

U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit

Calling all hackers and geeks: the United State Air Force wants a few good ideas on how to hack.

Wired reports that the USAF is asking for “concept papers” to help beef up its arsenal for cyber-warfare.

More specifically, the country’s youngest military branch says on this wish list that it wants the ability “to destroy, deny, degrade, disrupt, deceive, corrupt, or usurp the adversaries [sic] ability to use the cyberspace domain for his advantage” and “to search for, intercept, identify, and locate or localize sources of access and vulnerability for the purpose of immediate threat recognition.”

Translation: they want be able to launch DDoS attacks, deploy malware and Trojan horse, map a network and extract data from computers – all in the service of weakening or defeating a potential enemy online.

The Air Force says it’s looking to spend $10 million on the initiative, according to Wired.

Suspected LulzSec hacker arrested in Arizona

Twenty-year-old Reynaldo Rivera was arrested yesterday in Arizona for his role in allegedly hacking Sony Pictures in mid-2011, Reuters reports. Conviction carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.

The indictment, made public on Tuesday, stated that Rivera was working with Cody Kretsinger, a 24-year-old who was arrested last September and pleaded guilty to the same hack this April. It also revealed that members of the group had allegedly infiltrated with a SQL injection attack.  PC Magazine reports LulzSec made out with passwords, email addresses, and other personal data from one millions users, as well as 75,000 music codes and 3.5 million music coupons.

Rivera then allegedly helped post the loot on LulzSec’s website and tweeted about the intrusion.

Rivera, known online as “neuron,” “royal” and “wildicv,” is the latest person apprehended in a string of LulzSec-related arrests that have been taking place in the US, UK and Ireland.

In June, 20-year-old Ryan Cleary and 19-year-old Jake Davis (“Topiary”), both reportedly linked to LulzSec, pleaded guilty to hacking charges in England.

In March, Cleary and his alleged LulzSec allies Ryan Ackroyd (“Kayla”), Darren Martyn (“pwnsauce”) and Jeremy Hammond (“Anarchaos”) were arrested with information provided by Hector Xavier Monsegur (“Sabu”), LulzSec’s leader. Monsequr, it turned out, had been working as an informant for the FBI.

Last week, a judged delayed Monsequr’s sentencing for six months, according to PC World. His new sentencing date is February 22.


A collection of images from photographer Glenn Halog.  On Monday August 13, A group of Anonymous protesters returned to the BART Stations in the bay area a year after BART pulled the plug on the Internet and cellphone signals during protests.  Around 40 people marched from the Fruitvale BART station, the location where 22 year old Oscar Grant was fatally shot by BART officers, to the BART Police headquarters in Downtown Oakland.  OpBART protests originally touched off in the fall of 2011 and largely disappeared during the Occupy movement.


Saudi oil producer admits to being hacked


Courtesy of Saudi Aramco

It’s a plot line straight out of a summer blockbuster: a malicious virus taking down the computer network of a global oil giant.

Two weeks ago, it really did happen.

The attack took place on August 15. The target: Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer owned by the country’s ruling Al-Saud family. Some 30,000 computers—about three-quarters of the company’s PCs—were hit by a virus.

A group of hackers calling itself Cutting Sword of Justice took credit for the attack the same day Saudi Aramco started to experience network problems. In a statement posted on Pastebin, the group said Aramco was targeted because it is “the largest financial source for [the] al-Saud regime,” which supports “crimes and atrocities” against people in Syria, Egypt and other neighboring countries.

The New York Times reports that the virus replaced important data on the affected computers and with an image of a burning American flag, and considers this “the first significant use of malware” by hacktivists, given the level of malice that was intended.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Khalid al-Falih, Aramco’s chief executive, said that the virus had been purged and network services were restored. The breach didn’t affect oil exploration and exploration.



Canada opens inquiry into Anonymous threat

 A processing plant in the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada. Photo courtesy The Interior.

One of Canada’s biggest export industries could be Anonymous’ next high-profile target.

According to documents obtained by Bloomberg under freedom of information laws, Canada’s security agencies opened an investigation into threats against its energy sector between the start of 2011 and mid-March, after Anonymous issued a press statement slamming oil-sands companies for harming the environment.

Oil sands have been called the world’s dirtiest oil, and Canada has tons of the stuff underground. The process used to convert oil sands into usable fuel is among the most expensive and energy intensive in the world. Furthermore, oil sands production emits more carbon dioxide than the production of regular crude.

Canadian government feared that Anonymous could target the IT infrastructures of some of the country’s biggest oil-sands companies, even though it found no evidence of plans for an actual attack.

According to Bloomberg, Canada holds regular security meetings with the energy sector.

Twitter refuses to hand over Occupy Wall Street protester tweets

Occupy Wall Street protesters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1, 2011. Photo courtesy Mat McDermott.

Twitter wants the world to know: It doesn’t own your tweets. You do. And that difference might have huge legal and privacy implications.

According to Wired, Twitter is hoping to overturn a court order obtained by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which wants the social media site to hand over account information and tweets said to belong to Malcolm Harris, an Occupy Wall Street protester arrested in October 2011 at a Brooklyn Bridge rally.

In an appeal filed on Monday, Twitter argued that because Harris’ tweets belong to him, and not the company, releasing the content without a search warrant would be in violation of federal laws and of Harris’ privacy.

New York prosecutors have asked to see Harris’ tweets over a three-month period to prove that he knew protesters were banned from going on the bridge’s roadway and knowingly broke the law.

The use of social media as evidence in criminal investigations is a growing trend among police and this case is yet another example. Reuters says that back in March, a judge had ordered Twitter to hand over information on an account allegedly tied to Occupy Boston.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy group have come out in support of Twitter’s decision.


Moscow Court’s Website Hacked in Response to Pussy Riot Verdict

Screenshot of hacked website, courtesy of Hacker News

Following the two-year penal colony sentence for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” handed to the three members of the band Pussy Riot at a Moscow court, protesters have taken to the streets and the internet.

According to BBC News, on Tuesday, the Moscow Khamovnichesky district court’s website was defaced by hackers. Upon entering the page, one of Pussy Riot’s anti-Putin songs begins to play.  Anti-Putin slogans were found throughout the site. The Telegraph reports that the website featured a screenshot from the Twitter feed of Moscow’s People’s Freedom Party leader Ilya Yashin, with a banner reading, “Putin’s thieving gang is plundering our country! Wake up, comrades!”

The attack on the site also included a link to a YouTube music video of Bulgarian singer Azis, featuring two men erotically eating strawberries and ice cream bars, according to The Guardian.

Allegedly, members of AnonymousRussia, the Russian faction of the hacktivist group Anonymous, have claimed responsibility for the hack. In a statement given to Interfax, court press officer Darya Lyakh “The form of the hacking attack was chosen by people with bad imagination.”