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BSI IT Security Report 2014 – attacks on industrial objectives

BSI (Federal Office for Information Security) published “IT Security Report 2014” (in German), a document with 40 pages of information and reports on cyber security. Probably the most interesting parts of the reports are those in Chapter 3.3 – Security Incidents in the industry. 3.3.1 reports about an APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) attack on a steel factory in Germany. The attack was, as usual, conducted via spear-phishing and social engineering targeting the office employees of the steel factory. Check out this link to see the 28 steel factories in Germany (I can’t guarantee that the number is correct). After the office network was penetrated and malware was running on the computers inside the company network, the attackers went a step further and infected successively computers in the factories. What happened next is a matter which can be truly understood by security experts in ICS/ACS. If you don’t know what it means, read further. Industrial Control Systems (ICS) are those systems that control entire systems in factories, consisting in computers, and devices that belong to the production – in this case, furnaces and their control systems. BSI mentions that the malware attack on the CS of the furnace produced “massive damages to the…


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Lazy Developers Hate Agile and Scrum (updated with my opinion)

From Agilescout.com “Lazy developers cannot hide specific problems for weeks. Every day you have to explain your progress.” “Lazy developers hate Scrum because they have to report progress everyday.” “It’s really a team effort, the team has the responsibility to deliver together.” “Lazy developer are often the ones that now have to show what they’ve been hiding before from a customer.” “In sum we do believe lazy developers hate Scrum and Agile because they have to change, they have to be much more visible to what they are doing and cannot hide.”     My opinion: I think that there is no such thing as “lazy” developers. There are developers who are demotivated, who don’t have a solid technical background or simply doesn’t understand what they have to do. And all these have as effect that the project doesn’t move forward. For those who see the problem from outside, this gives the impression that a developer is “lazy” because he doesn’t produce the expected results.


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When the whales fly (or Twitter hiccups)

From time to time, the users of Twitter are unable to login on the official website. Sometimes the screen below can be seen, sometimes just a timeout error. Interesting enough, after you refresh a couple of times, you are able to do whatever you were trying to do, and then never get this error until you login again. There can be many reasons for which we see this error. From a simple overload to a distributed denial of service. Which we know that it happened on August 6, 2009 [1]. But, the most common reason is too many users(or services) are trying to access the Twitter services simultaneously. In this case, the servers behind the twitter.com domain are overloaded and are not able to access the required information to let you in. There is a corresponding HTTP error which is reported : 503 – Service (or server) not available. But what is this error and why are we able to see it when the webservers are not available? There’s a trick. Any decent webserver reserves a certain amount of connections for this kind of messages. This error code can be served in the following circumstances: – Too many connections simultaneously….



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How Spaces.Live.com encourages spamming

We analyzed the spam presented in the post called Colorful Spam twist for bypassing Spamfilters and ended the post with the information that the target page is hosted on the spaces.live.com. Of course, as we always do in such cases, we wanted to report several URLs to the Abuse team at live.com. We searched on the page and In the footer of each page hosted there, there are some options and one of them is “Report abuse” – http://support.live.com/default.aspx?productKey=wlspacesabuse . However, once we tried to report the URLs hosting the meds advertisements, we started to feel that Live.com tries to do everything as complicated as possible for the reporter. So, the first thing which hit us that we had to provide full identification information and a valid email address. I can’t understand why would Live.com need this information, since I only want to report something. The most frustrating thing on this part of the page is the fact that I have to write the email address or the member ID associated with the blog I want to report. Hello, Microsoft, are you kidding ? How could I possibly know this? I think that only the spammer knows it. The next…


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