Security

A 373-post collection

Extended Validation Certificates are (Really, Really) Dead

Almost one year ago now, I declared extended validation certificates dead. The entity name had just been removed from Safari on iOS, it was about to be removed from Safari on Mojave and there were indications that Chrome would remove it from the desktop in the future (they already weren't displaying it on mobile clients). The only proponents of EV seemed to be those selling it or those who didn't understand how reliance on the absence of a positive visual indicator was simply never a good idea in the first place.The writing might have been on the wall a year ago, but the death warrant is now well and truly inked with both Chrome and Firefox killing it stone...

PayPal's Beautiful Demonstration of Extended Validation FUD

Sometimes the discussion around extended validation certificates (EV) feels a little like flogging a dead horse. In fact, it was only September that I proposed EV certificates are already dead for all sorts of good reasons that have only been reinforced since that time. Yet somehow, the discussion does seem to come up time and again as it did following this recent tweet of mine:Always find comments like this amusing: “The main concern about SSL certificates is that all of them are losing their intrinsic trust”Yet an excluded purpose for certs is: “That it is safe to do business with the Subject named in the EV Cert”https://t.co/slZVzqGLfN https://t.co/7FSbBHjj1l— Troy Hunt...

How to Track Your Kids (and Other People's Kids) With the TicTocTrack Watch

Do you ever hear those stories from your parents along the lines of "when I was young..." and then there's a tale of how risky life was back then compared to today. You know, stuff like having to walk themselves to school without adult supervision, crazy stuff like that which we somehow seem to worry much more about today than what we did then. Never mind that far less kids go missing today than 20 years ago and there's much less chance of them being hit by a car, circumstances are such today that parents are more paranoid than ever.The solution? Track your kids' movements, which brings us to TicTocTrack and the best way to understand their value proposition...

The 773 Million Record "Collection #1" Data Breach

Many people will land on this page after learning that their email address has appeared in a data breach I've called "Collection #1". Most of them won't have a tech background or be familiar with the concept of credential stuffing so I'm going to write this post for the masses and link out to more detailed material for those who want to go deeper.Let's start with the raw numbers because that's the headline, then I'll drill down into where it's from and what it's composed of. Collection #1 is a set of email addresses and passwords totalling 2,692,818,238 rows. It's made up of many different individual data breaches from literally thousands of different sources. (And yes,...

No, Spotify Wasn't Hacked

Time and time again, I get emails and DMs from people that effectively boil down to this:Hey, that paste that just appeared in Have I Been Pwned is from Spotify, looks like they've had a data breachMany years ago, I introduced the concept of pastes to HIBP and what they essentially boil down to is monitoring Pastebin and a bunch of other services for when a trove of email addresses is dumped online. Very often, those addresses are accompanied by other personal information such as passwords. When an HIBP subscriber's address appears in one of these incidents, they get an automated notification and often, it seems, they then reach out to me.Here's a perfect example of what I'm...

Beyond Passwords: 2FA, U2F and Google Advanced Protection

Last week I wrote a couple of different pieces on passwords, firstly about why we're going to be stuck with them for a long time yet and then secondly, about how we all bear some responsibility for making good password choices. A few people took some of the points I made in those posts as being contentious, although on reflection I suspect it was more a case of lamenting that we shouldn't be in a position where we're still dependent on passwords and people needing to understand good password management practices in order for them to work properly.This week, I wanted to focus on going beyond passwords and talk about 2FA. Per the title, not just any old 2FA...

When Accounts are "Hacked" Due to Poor Passwords, Victims Must Share the Blame

It's just another day on the internet when the news is full of headlines about accounts being hacked. Yesterday was a perfect example of that with 2 separate noteworthy stories adorning my early morning Twitter feed. The first one was about HSBC disclosing a "security incident" which, upon closer inspection, boiled down to this:The security incident that HSBC described in its letter seems to fit the characteristics of brute-force password-guessing attempts, also known as a credentials stuffing attack. This is when hackers try usernames and password combos leaked in data breaches at other companies, hoping that some users might have reused usernames and passwords across services.The second story was about a number of verified Twitter accounts having been...

Here's Why [Insert Thing Here] Is Not a Password Killer

These days, I get a lot of messages from people on security related things. Often it's related to data breaches or sloppy behaviour on behalf of some online service playing fast and loose with HTTPS or passwords or some other easily observable security posture. But on a fairly regular basis, I get an email from someone which effectively boils down to this:Hey, have you seen [insert thing here]? It's totally going to kill passwords!No, it's not and to save myself from repeating the same message over and over again, I want to articulate precisely why passwords have a lot of life left in them yet. But firstly, let me provide a high-level overview of the sort of product...

New Pluralsight Course: Adapting to the New Normal: Embracing a Security Culture of Continual Change

I take more pleasure than I probably should in watching the bewilderment within organisations as the technology landscape rapidly changes and rushes ahead of them. Perhaps "pleasure" isn't the right word, is it more "amusement"? Or even "curiosity"? Whichever it is, I find myself rhetorically asking "so you just expected everything to stay the same forever, did you?"A case in point: you should look for the green padlock on a website so that you know it's safe. Except that you can't say that anymore because so many phishing sites are using HTTPS (remember, encryption is morally neutral) which is why Barclays Bank had their ad pulled earlier this year. You also can't say "green padlock" anymore because after Chrome...

Extended Validation Certificates are Dead

That's it - I'm calling it - extended validation certificates are dead. Sure, you can still buy them (and there are companies out there that would just love to sell them to you!), but their usefulness has now descended from "barely there" to "as good as non-existent". This change has come via a combination of factors including increasing use of mobile devices, removal of the EV visual indicator by browser vendors and as of today, removal from Safari on iOS (it'll also be gone in Mac OS Mojave when it lands next week): I chose Comodo's website to illustrate this change as I was reminded of the desperation involved in selling EV just last month when...