China Gets A Peek At Microsoft Source Code
Mike Clendenin writes on InformationWeek:
Microsoft is giving the Chinese government access to the source code for Windows 7 and other key products in an effort to head off any concerns about the security capabilities of Microsoft products.
The review is an extension of an agreement signed in 2006 which enables China immediate access to the source code for Windows 7, Vista, XP, Server 2008 R2, Server 2003, and 2000, and the embedded software CE 6.0, 5.0, and 4.2. Also included is the source code for Microsoft Office 2003 Professional Edition and most other Microsoft products.
The agreement comes on the heels of a recent and somewhat controversial interview in which Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer downplayed the importance of China to Microsoft because of its poor IP protection and said India was a better market, irritating some Chinese.
Somehow, from a security perspective, this doesn't strike me as a Good Thing. -ferg
Lieberman Bill Gives Feds 'Emergency' Powers to Secure Civilian Nets
Noah Shachtman writes on Danger Room:
Joe Lieberman wants to give the federal government the power to take over civilian networks’ security, if there’s an “imminent cyber threat.” It’s part of a draft bill, co-sponsored by Senators Lieberman and Susan Collins, that provides the Department of Homeland Security broad authority to ensure that “critical infrastructure” stays up and running in the face of a looming hack attack.
The government’s role in protecting private firms’ networks is one of the most contentious topics in information security today. Several bills are circulating on Capitol Hill on how to keep power and transportation and financial firms running in the event of a so-called “cybersecurity emergency.”
Android Rootkit is Just a Phone Call Away
Robert McMillan writes on ComputerWorld:
Hoping to understand what a new generation of mobile malware could resemble, security researchers will demonstrate a malicious "rootkit" program they've written for Google's Android phone next month at the Defcon hacking conference in Las Vegas.
Once it's installed on the Android phone, the rootkit can be activated via a phone call or SMS (short message service) message, giving attackers a stealthy and hard-to-detect tool for siphoning data from the phone or misdirecting the user. "You call the phone, the phone doesn't ring, and when the phone realizes that it's being called by an attacker's phone number, it sends him back a shell [program]," said Christian Papathanasiou, a security consultant with Chicago's Trustwave, the company that did the research.
The hard part of writing an Android rootkit is figuring out how to take advantage of new mobile features while making sure the software runs smoothly on the new platform, Papathanasiou said.
Because the rootkit runs as a module in Android's Linux kernel, it has the highest level of access to the Android phone and can be a very powerful tool for attackers. For example, it could be used to reroute a victim's 911 calls to a bogus number. The rootkit could also track a victim's location or even reroute his browser to a malicious Web site. "Because we interface with the kernel, the opportunities to abuse this are limitless," Papathanasiou said.