A researcher has found large flaws in the leading Real-Time Operating System, FreeRTOS. This leaves a large number of Internet of Things devices vulnerable to attack. This affects devices from refrigerators to pacemakers. Last year, Amazon took over project management and upgraded the OS for their own Amazon FreeRTOS IoT operating system. They enhanced the OS for use with their own products in the future.
There are a total of 13 vulnerabilities in FreeRTOS’s TCP/IP stack, which affect the Amazon FreeRTOS as well. These issues let hackers do just about anything they want to the target device, from executing their own code to leaking memory information. The technical details of the flaws have not been revealed to the public in order to protect the development of a fix.
RIT is rolling out Multi Factor Authentication very soon. Multi Factor Authentication is adding an extra factor to validate your credentials. For example, when you log into RIT services you are prompted your username and password; with the new multi factor authentication, you will need to provide an extra form of authentication. These methods include: Using the DUO mobile app, text, phone call, office phone call, and email. RIT has been experiencing more attacks than ever before, and this is their attempt at mitigating the risk of attacks. Last year MFA was put into effect for faculty, staff, and student employees. This was because many Ebiz accounts became compromised. The attackers then changed direct deposit numbers to be routed somewhere else. Luckily no one lost money because controllers saw the change in numbers and knew what was happening because another university was attacked in the same manner.
Why does this matter to us?
If we do not enroll in MFA by the 24th of October, there will be a hold on your account and you will not be able to enroll for classes next semester.
With MFA comes the use of another device to authenticate yourself on RIT services. For example, if you signed up and planned on using the DUO app, DO NOT forget your phone. ITS will have to give you a Bypass until you can get access to your phone, which would be unfortunate if you need to log onto something ASAP. I personally don’t see why the students need MFA, but I have no choice but to enroll into it.
By: Alejandro Juarez
California Governor Jerry Brown is the first governor to sign a bill to protect against the very prevalent cyber attacks on Internet of Things (IoT) devices. CNET tells:
The law mandates that any maker of an Internet-connected, or “smart,” device ensure the gadget has “reasonable” security features that “protect the device and any information contained therein from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.”
Since this bill is the first of its kind, it is expected that many other states will begin to follow California’s example and implement some sort of protection against IoT attacks. Although the bill requires manufacturers to assign a password to each device, many of the stipulations are non-specific, like many cyber laws. It is hard to be specific in a case like this, as attacks could easily find a loophole not covered within the bill. With a vague bill, it in a way could deter an attacker who knows the law could be translated in a number of ways to point to what he or she might have been doing as illegal.
This need of security was demonstrated most by the WannaCry ransomware attacks that hit hospitals across the nation. Hospitals have been increasingly using devices connected to their networks to aid in caring for patients. The attacks locked up devices that were in use, potentially threatening the lives of patients. An attack like this is more alarming than many ransomware attacks, as it takes the attacker’s morals (or in this case, lack of morals) into account more than other attacks.
The lack of security on IoT devices has desperately needed to be addressed, as over 8.4 billion IoT devices are out in the world on networks with little to no security. The law goes into effect at the beginning of 2020. California’s status as the most populated state in the U.S. is part of the reason the bill was signed into effect and is also the hope for cyber security experts to be influential in persuading others to join in the fight against attacks.
With more and more technological advancements every day, our vision of quantum computing is turning more into a reality than a theory. Companies like IBM and Microsoft are accelerating forward and becoming closer than ever to build the first fully functioning quantum computer. Seemingly on the edge of an almost quantum revolution, it’s important to ask questions about how integral parts of our lives like cyber security will be affected by this change.
First, let’s understand what quantum computing is. Comparing it to modern computing, which relies on discrete values of a bit being either a 0 or a 1, quantum computing would allow both of these possibilities to exist simultaneously in something called qubits, and these values only truly form when they are observed. This allows quantum computers to handle operations and equations at speeds that are exponentially higher than what we are used to in modern computers and their energy costs are far less.
How does this effect today’s security? Many of today’s security systems rely on cryptography, this is because normal computers struggle at factoring large numbers. This means that cryptography based on factoring numbers would be a safe bet against our technology today, but with the introduction of quantum computing, these practices would be useless. This isn’t the end of cryptography though because there are some approaches in use today that will be safe against the power of a quantum computer. That doesn’t mean that important companies and governments are using them though, and if quantum computing is to take off faster than anticipated they could run into some trouble. Other security strategies that are used today, like two-factor authentication, will still be just as effective after the introduction of quantum computing, due to multiple steps being taken by the person to log into a system.
Tomorrow’s security will be something almost unfathomable with quantum-based security implementations. Techniques like theoretically unbreakable cryptography, encrypting data to stop working if anyone attempts to uncover them and guaranteeing a safe passage to send data no matter what attacks are being used against it can all be potentially achieved with quantum computing. It’s not all positive though because with the power to develop secure techniques comes the power to exploit older strategies. An almost quantum arms race has begun between intelligence agencies and this is because the first agency to gain access to quantum computing power will have an incredible edge over all other counties.
Although quantum computers may never be a household item, their impact in the world will definitely be historical. While many of their advancements will benefit society and the internet infrastructure as we know it, it is still important to make sure what the world is ready for a step this large.
How Will Quantum Computing Impact Cyber Security?
With the internet becoming available on just about any device one can get their hands on, the incidents of hacking can rapidly increase. Smartphones and computers have been the main devices being hacked by cyberhackers before the internet has quickly become available in other machines and technologies. The vision of the future is seen with flying cars and robots, but these things would have to be connected to the internet to function. If any of these things in the future are connected to the internet, then cyberhackers will have more options of technologies to hack. Devices and machines, like cars, coffee makers, and thermostats were once not apart of the internet and that was a beneficial thing in society. But, vast new forms of technology and electronics that were once around as another form, are now more modern with today’s devices that are connected to the internet. We can easily access our cars, televisions, and thermostats with our cell phones now since they are all connected online. These new ways of interacting with electronics may seem fascinating to many in society but they don’t realize that this only gives hackers more opportunities to hack innocent people and businesses.
In the article, a famous hacker and former cybercriminal, Samy Kamkar, helped demonstrate how easy it is for hackers to gain access to other people’s electronic property, by hacking into a car. First of all, Samy is a “gray hat” hacker, meaning he is a good and bad hacker that hacks into devices to search for its weak vulnerabilities only to share with others his findings so they can patch up those weaknesses. Coming from a cybercriminal to a hacker who helps the world with hacking, just shows how much we might need to rely more on people like Samy. The world is becoming more connected through the internet with normal appliances used by people every day, to being used by hackers as cyberweapons and a new way to gain access to a victim’s wallet. Samy was able to use his own gadgets to hack into a random smart car by duplicating the connection with car’s actual key with Samy’s gadgets to be able to unlock the car. Samy showed that we aren’t taking our security as seriously as we should be. People often have weak passwords that they usually use for more than one of their accounts and devices that create a greater advantage for cyberhackers. I believe the world needs more good “gray hat” hackers like Samy Kamkar that can help teach and show others where there are weak vulnerabilities in smart appliances and devices. The more vulnerabilities that are fixed, the less hacking we will hopefully have in the world.