Malware Reaches Disapproval Rating of U.S. Congress

It has been reported that nearly 74,000 new viruses or strains were created every day of 2013. Every day. Granted, most of these are readily eliminated or mitigated by antivirus software and proper digital hygiene, but the fact remains that every day new threats emerge, with lessons learned from the previous day’s failures, ready to knock on your door once again. And these are bad actors that manipulate the infrastructure, seem to work only in their personal best interest, and very often show no signs of any redeeming value. Like Congress.

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Breach is a Heartbeat Away

heartbleedOpenSSL, the vehicle through which the Secure Sockets Layer protocol protects most websites that encrypt data, has reminded us again of both the vulnerability and security of open source development. The Heartbleed bug, an accidental code addition about two years ago, exploits the heartbeat option within OpenSSL, a mechanism that allows fluid connectivity between user and server via small, hidden signals or pings. Hackers breach the system by sending false signals that fool a website’s server into releasing sensitive information. Hence the vulnerability.

Heartbleed, though, also demonstrates the security of open source development. While its revelation created initial fear and chaos, the Heartbleed bug was fixed within about four days, largely because lots of eyes were on the prize, each pair of which had a vested interest in the elimination of the Heartbleed threat. Imagine if the SSL vehicle had been proprietary, owned by a quiet company with no taste for conflict or liability. Now that’s a hot mess. (more…)

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