Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Attention all Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Users!

An Exploit Code Has Been Released To The Public!
And Microsoft Has Yet To Respond!

What Is The Problem?

An SMBv2 vulnerability, which has just been made public yesterday, was kept private until now. And apparently for good reason. This "new" exploit is not new at all. Microsoft has known about it for over a week and have done nothing to fix the problem.

What is SMBv2?

SMBv2 was created and released by Stephen fewer at Harmony Security. It is a hole, or code vulnerability which will allow attackers to install malware, Trojans, or open any backdoor they want. This hole was first announced to Microsoft as a non-critical DDoS attack, which then spawned a worm and the exploit code that was released yesterday. This vulnerability affects every version of Windows Vista with SP1 and SP2, including the Ultimate and Business Editions, which are the most popular with professionals and small business owners, and Windows Server 2008 with SP1.

And The Next Microsoft Patch Release Date Isn't For Another Two Weeks!

The Last release date was YESTERDAY, September 29th and Microsoft did nothing! So While Microsoft is STILL doing nothing to fix the exploit, even though they have known about it since September 17th, what are you, the one with the possibly vulnerable system, supposed to do? Just sit and wait until Microsoft issues a patch? All the while hoping and praying that your home system or, the Gods forgive me for saying this, your business doesn't get hit? Well that is what potential attackers are hoping for. They are praying that this has been so hushed that you will do absolutely nothing to ward off the problem before it's too late. That is why you need to take action NOW!

So How Do I Defend My System NOW?

Well, according to, you should impliment the "one click "fix it". This should allow any user of teh Vista and Server systems to fend off pending attacks. You can find more information on this fix HERE. Also, you could always upgrade to the new Windows 7, but that will have to wait for another post on another day... Check back in a few days, as I managed to get a free copy of Windows 7 professional because of my being a student at Kaplan University, complements of the MSDN, and I will be installing it in a virtual machine, essentially running a few different operating systems in one. I will tell you all about it in my next post! Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flash Cookies: How To Get Rid Of Them...

And How To Prevent Them In The First Place

So, like I stated in my last post, you thought deleted all of your cookies right? So very, very wrong. While you may have gone in and manually deleted your browser's history and cookies and the like, some still remain. Possibly even hundreds.

Local Shared Objects

or Flash Cookies, as they are becoming lovingly known, are becoming more and more of a problem lately. Since they do not appear in the browser's private cookie stash, finding them can be a tedious task in itself.

So Where can You Find Them You Ask?

Well, I have come to find that on most hard drives they are located in the Flash Player directory within the Documents & Settings folder on the main hard drive. Since they are a part of the Flash Player plug-in, they get stored with the rest of the Flash Player settings. So wherever you may have your Flash Player installed, that is most likely where you will find these annoying little things.

What Was That You Wanted To Know? How Do You Get Rid Of Them?

Step One

Well the first thing you have to do is go to the Adobe Flash Player Site, access the Settings Manager by clicking the link on the left that says "Flash Player 10 Help (HTML)" and select the link on the left for the Website Privacy Settings. Once the page reloads, it will give a list of all of the web sites you have visited in the past that have placed a cookie somewhere on your hard drive. You can choose form the list which cookies to delete or delete them all (which I highly recommend, I will explain why further along). Next, you will need to click on the link for the Website Storage Settings and do the same thing.

Step Two

Keeping the Adobe Flash Player page open (you will need it again in a few minutes), go to the directory where you have your flash player installed. Here is a list of areas for the different operating systems, as they all have different directories in which they can be found: * Windows: LSO files are stored typically with a “.SOL” extension, within each user’s Application Data directory, under Macromedia\FlashPlayer\#SharedObjects. * Mac OS X: For Web sites , ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/FlashPlayer. For AIR Applications, ~/Library/Preferences/[package name (ID)of your app] and ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/FlashPlayer/ * GNU-Linux: ~/.macromedia

Step Three

Once you have deleted the cookies form the directories on your hard drive, you can then go back to the Adobe page and continue with tweaking the settings so that flash cookies are no longer stored on your system in the first place. To do this, once you are back on the Adobe site, click on the links Global Privacy, Global Storage and Global settings panels one by one and on each one, click the option for "deny all." This will prevent any and all flash cookies to be stored on your hard drive, unless you give specific permission for a site to do so. The only difference these links is that on the Global Storage page, you have the option of allotting a certain amount of space on the hard drive to store the cookies. I recommend that you set this to zero. Otherwise you might just happen to store a cookie that can re-spawn itself. That is even though you might delete it, it can re-implant itself in the directory if you revisit the site you originally got it from.

So Will This Stop All Cookies?

While taking these actions may not stop all cookies from implanting themselves, it will certainly slow down a bit. The only way to really keep your computer secure is to be extra vigilant when it comes to privacy.

Almost like you are just a little paranoid about it... But then again, aren't we all?

Friday, September 11, 2009

So You Thought You Had Deleted Your Cookies...Right?

COOKIES…Everyone knows about them.

Everyone knows what cookies are, right? And you thought you deleted all of your cookies, right? You thought that going in and manually deleting them would do the trick. And for all of you Firefox users, there is even an extension that allows you to close the current page and delete cookies on a simple right click, right? Wrong.


What I bet you didn’t know is that there is another type of cookie that all the big name companies are using to track you. And these cookies don’t get deleted when cleaning the browser’s cache. Even going in and deleting them one by one won’t get rid of these cookies.


The cookies I am talking about are called Local Shared Objects, or “Flash Cookies.” Flash cookies are just like normal cookies, but can hold much more data than a regular cookie, up to 100 kb as opposed to 4 kb with a normal cookie. These cookies are usually used to store data when using flash with online movies and games to save a player’s progress or what color settings they prefer, etc.

SO WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL? It’s just a cookie right?

Wrong. It is an invasion of privacy. Because it is a flash cookie, it is not recognized as a cookie and is not deleted with the rest of them. And they can be hard to find, even if you know where to look for them. And the worst part is that even after they are deleted, the site that placed the cookie on your browser can restore it because the site itself retains the cookie information. And most sites that use these types of cookies DO NOT MENTION IT IN THEIR PRIVACY POLICY!

So What To Do About It?

Check back here tomorrow for what to do about these cookies, and how to protect yourself from the damage that they may cause.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Does your business or home use WPA TKIP WI-FI Encryption? If it does you must read this.

It has been recently reported that the WI-Fi Protected Access, or WPA type of encryption has been cracked for the second time in as many years. Most businesses have switched over to the WPA style of WI-Fi encryption ever since the WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) System was made "...effectively pointless within a few years of its introduction in 1997," as reported by The WPA system uses a Temporal Key Integrity Protocol and has become the standard in Wi-Fi network security.

In The Beginning...

The first attack in 2008, commonly known as the "Becks-Tews" attack, was researched and orchestrated by Martin Beck and Erik Tews. It worked by intercepting short packets, reading and falsifying the information. This attack had it's limitations. Though the targets were the same WPA TKIP encryption system as the new attack, it needed the support of 802.11e QOS and it would take between 12-15 minutes to execute the attack but by then most users would become aware that the attack was taking place.

Here in the Future...

A duo of Japanese researchers have executed an attack built on the same principles as the Berk-Tews attack, and targets the same WPA system but now can do so in 60 seconds. That's only one minute until your business's precious security information can be intercepted, read and falsified. This new attack works in the same way as the 2008 attack, but the researchers have found a mathematical formula to hack in much quicker. They are "lovingly" calling this attack the "Man in the middle" attack and promise that WPA2 is next. It has also been suggested that the attacks do not threaten the overall encryption of the wireless stream.

But do you really want to take that chance?

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