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The One Valuable Thing All Websites Have: Reputation (and Why It's Attractive to Phishers)

Here's something I hear quite a bit when talking about security things: Our site isn't a target, it doesn't have anything valuable on it This is usually the retort that comes back in defence of some pretty shady practices and in the mind of the defendant, it's a perfectly reasonable position. They don't collect any credentials, they don't have any payment info and in many cases, the site is simply a static representation of content that rarely changes. So what upside is there for an attacker? Reputation. More specifically, a non-negative reputation because that's a valuable thing to attackers wanting to mount a phishing campaign. This happens on an alarmingly regular basis and there was a perfect illustration of precisely...

Weekly Update 59

I've actually had a day off today. Well mostly - I am still writing this piece and publishing a data breach - but I've pretty much spent the day between pool, beach and jet ski hence my being a bit dishevelled today 😀 Be that as it may, it's been a massive week and that's primarily due to the launch of Report URI V2 and in particular, the announcement that I've joined Scott in running the project. I've contributed dollars, social leverage and expertise because I genuinely think it's an awesome project and I'm very happy to be joining my good mate there. Plus, there's the whole "pseudo password fields" thing which is, well, just read it - it's...

Bypassing Browser Security Warnings with Pseudo Password Fields

It seems that there is no limit to human ingenuity when it comes to working around limitations within one's environment. For example, imagine you genuinely wanted to run a device requiring mains power in the centre of your inflatable pool - you're flat out of luck, right? Wrong! Or imagine there's a fire somewhere but the hydrant is on the other side of train tracks and you really want to put that fire out but trains have still gotta run too - what options are you left with? None? Wrong again! Seeing a theme here? Let's extend that into the digital world and we'll talk about HTTPS for a bit. You should use it. No really, if you're not HTTPS'ing...

I'm Joining Report URI!

What if I told you... that you can get visitors to your site to automatically check for a bunch of security issues. And then, when any are found, those visitors will let you know about it automatically. And the best bit is that you can set this up in a few minutes and add it to your site with zero risk. Or if you like, set it up so that it can automatically block certain types of attacks. It's not an expensive appliance, it's not a wacky browser extension and it's not some weird proprietary code implementation. Instead, it's all open standards built into modern web browsers and it's all available for free, right now. Well, it mostly is, the...

Weekly update 58

I'm between (short domestic) trips, I'm playing with my new iPad and I'm working on something really, really cool I'm going to be talking about next week. Seriously, this is a big thing that's been in the works for a while now and I'll be covering it in detail in the next update. For now, I've caught up on the whole IoT warning thing I totally overlooked last week. Frankly, it's just as well given how long that one was, the whole South Africa situation is still a very serious incident that has a long way to play out yet. But moving onto this week, I explain the deal with winning a Lenovo ThinkPad - what it is, how I'm...

Do Something Awesome with Have I Been Pwned and Win a Lenovo ThinkPad!

Current status: The competition has run and been won! Scroll down to the bottom for the result. Friends who follow what I'm up to these days will see that I'm often away from home in far-flung parts of the world. What that means is a lot of time on planes, a lot of time in airports (which is where I'm writing this now) and a lot of time in hotel rooms. Want to know how I churn out so much content? It's using that otherwise wasted down time to do useful things. But to do that, I need to be productive whilst mobile and I owe a lot of that to the machine I use when travelling. Now, to make...

Weekly update 57

I'm doing this week's update a little back to front due to the massive incident in South Africa involving what looks like pretty much the entire population. I've spent the first half an hour just talking about that incident in a way that I hope is consumable for the layperson. I wanted to explain what these things many regular viewers understand as "data breaches" are, why I have them and pretty much everything else I know about the incident in South Africa. I'm hoping that explaining things via video (and podcast) medium makes it a little easier for a broader range of people to absorb. Beyond that, this week I have a new Pluralsight course out on the...

Questions about the Massive South African "Master Deeds" Data Breach Answered

This week, I started looking into a large database backup file which turned out to contain the personal data of a significant portion of the South African population. It's an explosive situation with potentially severe ramifications and I've been bombarded by questions about it over the last 48 hours. This post explains everything I know. Who Am I and Why Do I Have This Data? Some background context is important as I appreciate there's a lot of folks out there who haven't heard of me or what I do before. I'm an independent Australian (I have a Microsoft Regional Director title but RDs don't actually work for Microsoft) and I specialise in security training folks who build online systems. For...

The 6-Step "Happy Path" to HTTPS

It's finally time: it's time the pendulum swings further towards the "secure by default" end of the scale than what it ever has before. At least insofar as securing web traffic goes because as of this week's Chrome 62's launch, any website with an input box is now doing this when served over an insecure connection: It's not doing it immediately for everyone, but don't worry, it's coming very soon even if it hasn't yet arrived for you personally and it's going to take many people by surprise. It shouldn't though because we've known it's coming for quite a while now starting with Google's announcement back in April. That was then covered pretty extensively by the tech press...

New Pluralsight Course: Emerging Threats in IoT

It's another Pluralsight course! I actually recorded Emerging Threats in IoT with Lars Klint back in June whilst we were at the NDC conference in Oslo. It's another "Play by Play" course which means it's Lars and I sitting there having a conversation like this: We choose to talk about IoT because frankly, it's fascinating. There's just so many angles to security in otherwise everyday devices, for example: The collection of never-before digitised data (adult toys are a perfect example) Vulnerabilities in the cloud services behind IoT (they're just websites, after all) Risks in the devices themselves that expose data (such as Bluetooth PINs) Risks which expose the network (LIFX leaked the wifi password) Risks which result in...