Smart Move - Satya - Smart Move Now, what was it you were going to do about the October Creators Update for Windows 10 nagging problem of deleting user documents and other files en mass? Was this a redirection marketing tactic to deflect attention from the recent rash of Microsft Windows Update failures plaguing Redmond; or is it a Lack of Focus Mr. Nadella? (Update: News from Martin Brinkmann at GHacks that the file deletion issue is reportedly fixed). To be fair, an inability to service operating system updates robustly is not just a Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) failure, this SNAFU is a hallmark of the so-called Android 'ecosystem' as well. Oh, and I'm a cricket fan as well. Enjoy.
As the quality of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) software continues to drop, significant annoyances - with direct latency effects in the macOS operating system - are evident. In this case, relatively high numbers of line items displaying 13th month errors in a wide (if not all) number of applications are being written to the console logs; with of course, the expected disk and/or memory related effects. Shameful.
Folks, gird yourselves for the truly horrifying... Read the superlative security reportage by jhutchins at NoMotion, in which, the good Hutchins details the cruft-laden, and fundamentally idiotic practice of hard-coding accounts in low-end routerland. Behold SharknAT&To, and more, much more... Today's Must Read. H/T
"When evidence of the problems described in this report were first noticed, it almost seemed hard to believe. However, for those familiar with the technical history of Arris and their careless lingering of hardcoded accounts on their products, this report will sadly come as no surprise. For everyone else, prepare to be horrified." - via NoMotions' jhutchins
Meanwhile, in cruft news...
A Tale of Cruftery
First discovered by security researcher Alexander Klink, and discussed on his shift or die blog, the leakage documentation he has amassed is a tour de force in correct handling of the discovery. Mozilla's response has been a tad lackadaisical and (disappointlingly) still in telemetry data gathering mode as of this post.
Superb work by Alexander; nonetheless, he does suggest regular cleansing your browser user profile (if you are so unlucky as to be using the browser under scrutiny, yet most likely, a good idea on any browser). There are many tools available that deal with the cache cleaning task (both scripted and manual, GUI-based and not, both in-built and otherwise). Enjoy the cruft. H/T
News, of Microsoft Corporation (NasdaqGS: MSFT) selling of customer telemetry on Windows 10 has come to light via Martin Kauffman on GHacks. Martin superlatively details the phenomenal audacity of Microsoft in the matter of selling usage information; and, while not surprising, just another indicator of the onerous feet-of-clay syndrome now evident in Redmond. Oh, and by-the-way, the data being shared is with a security firm, simply astounding. As always, you be the judge.
News from the Past (the recent past, that is) - Apple Inc. (NasdaqGS: AAPL) Safari drops the drawbridge, and is summarily PWND at POC PwnFest 2016. The exploit took twenty seconds to work its magic... Cruft, the gift that keeps on giving; hearty congratulations to PANGU for their outstanding effort.
Essentially, PAWS provisions a workstation to perform high risk-determined activities (SysAdmin work, for example), and permits a user VM on the machine to perform less sensitive, mundane tasks such as normal office tasks.
Seems a might crufty, eh?
'In simplest terms, a PAW is a hardened and locked down workstation designed to provide high security assurances for sensitive accounts and tasks. PAWs are recommended for administration of identity systems, cloud services, and private cloud fabric as well as sensitive business functions.' - via Microsoft Technet
News, via Dan Goodin, writing at Ars Technica, details a seven year old, pernicious bug in Xen virtualiztion wares. In which, users can exploit the bug to breakout of their local machines, thence into the underlying hypervisor layer. FYI - One high profile customer of the Xen Hypervisor is Amazon Web Services. Time to Patch, eh?
"Admittedly this is subtle bug, because there is no buggy code that could be spotted immediately. The bug emerges only if one looks at a bigger picture of logic flows (compare also QSB #09 for a somehow similar situation). On the other hand, it is really shocking that such a bug has been lurking in the core of the hypervisor for so many years. In our opinion the Xen project should rethink their coding guidelines and try to come up with practices and perhaps additional mechanisms that would not let similar flaws to plague the hypervisor ever again (assert-like mechanisms perhaps?). Otherwise the whole project makes no sense, at least to those who would like to use Xen for security-sensitive work." - via Dan Goodin, writing at Ars Technica.
"The TL;DR is that based on this audit, TrueCrypt appears to be a relatively well-designed piece of crypto software," Matt Green, a Johns Hopkins University professor specializing in cryptography and an audit organizer, wrote in a blog post accompanying Thursday's report. "The NCC audit found no evidence of deliberate backdoors, or any severe design flaws that will make the software insecure in most instances." via Dan Goodin at Ars Technica
'Security researchers from FireEye recently examined the most popular apps on Google Play and the Apple App Store and found 1,999 titles that left users wide open to the encryption downgrade attack. Specifically, 1,228 Android apps with one million or more downloads were vulnerable, while 771 out of the top 14,079 iOS apps were susceptible. Vulnerable apps were those that used—or in the case of iOS, could use—an affected crypto library and connected to servers that offered weak, 512-bit encryption keys. The number of vulnerable apps would no doubt mushroom when analyzing slightly less popular titles.' - via Ars Technica's Dan Goodin
Meanwhile, in idiotic-decisions-made-by-a-Fortune-500-Company news... Quite likely one of the world's largest software publishers - Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL) has been installing adware along with the JAVA SE Runtime and other JAVA applications on user machines. Evidence of Greed or just Bad Decisions, you be the judge. In this case, when installing the JAVA bits, the ASK.com toolbar is loaded onto the unfortunate victims machine (users can opt-out, but it is not an easy choice to make).
"Tests on a Mac running the latest OS X release proved Oracle's newest Java installer will tack on the Ask extension to both Google's Chrome browser and Apple's Safari, using what some may consider deceptive practices. The option to install Ask is selected by default, meaning users proceeding through installer pop-ups are unlikely to notice the adware until they open a new browser window. Once installed, Ask's extension points the browser's homepage to Ask.com and inserts the Ask toolbar just below the address bar." - via AppleInsider
In not-unsurprising-cruft-news, additional, vulnerability-laden, Unix and Unix-like (read Linux) utilities have been detected, requiring updates. The list, enumerated by HD Moore, the CTO of Rapid7 (and of Metasploit fame) includes wget, tnftp, symlink issues and others. Questions have arisen, as to why these utilities have not been scrutinized earlier...
' “wget versions prior to 1.16 are vulnerable to a symlink attack (CVE-2014-4877) when running in recursive mode with a FTP target,” said HD Moore, the chief research officer at Rapid7 who found the vulnerability, in a blog post Tuesday...' - via PCWorld's Lucian Constantin
Not to be undone by the well reported Bourne Again Shell vulnerability of two weeks past, now, via, Robert Lemos, writing at ArsTechnica, comes this sordid tale of poor punctuation coupled with input validation issues. In which, the vulnerability at hand, opens up a logical path within the Microsoft Corporation (NasdaqGS: MSFT) Windows in-built shell, where all the badness is vectored...