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Posted in Technology Research on February 14, 2013
While changes (fine-tuning) to a heuristic system often have unpredictable consequences, additions to URL filtering are absolutely predictable – it will block one spam campaign and nothing else. For example, consider a legitimate newsletter from drugstore.com (a legitimate retailer) that advertises various health products and perhaps has “free” offers. Many heuristic systems will have trouble accepting this as a legitimate email due to “spam-like” content. Because SpamStopsHere almost completely ignores normal content, this email would not be blocked.
Now consider a spammer that takes the drugstore.com newsletter and changes all URL links from drugstore.com to drugstorerx.com (assuming this is the spammer’s domain and website), and then sends this to a huge email list. This would be a heuristic system’s nightmare. First the spammer’s newsletter would likely not be blocked; then after many user reported the spam, the legitimate newsletter would also be blocked in the future.
With URL filtering, only the drugstorerx.com domain needs to be added to the blocking database. If not already in the blocking database, the SpamStopsHere technology would likely add it automatically and then have its 24/7 staff confirm it.
With URL filtering, the legitimate drugstore.com newsletter will never be blocked while the spammer’s newsletter (with nearly identical content) will be blocked 100%. Also, with URL filtering, the anti-spam vendor can determine precisely what will be blocked by policy. For example, the vendor can decide to block all emails that link to pornographic, casino and betting sites. Without blocking even vulgar personal emails, or discussions about casinos.
Posted in Technology Research on February 10, 2013
Advanced, built-in security protection and remote auditing help your organization comply with industry security standards, including Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), HIPAA, Basel II, and SOX, in a cost-effective way—without requiring multiple appliances, application changes, or rewrites. BIG-IP ASM reports previously unknown threats, such as layer 7 denial-of-service (DoS) and SQL injection attacks, and it mitigates web application threats to shield the organization from data breaches. All reports are GUI-driven and provide drill-down options with a click.
With PCI reporting, BIG-IP ASM lists security measures required by PCI DSS 1.2, determines if compliance is being met, and details steps required to become compliant if not.
Geolocation reporting informs you of the country where threats originate in addition to attack type, violation, URL, IP address, severity, and more. You can also schedule reports to be sent to a designated email address automatically for up-to-date reporting.
Easy-to-read format for remote auditing
BIG-IP ASM makes security compliance easier and saves valuable IT time by exporting policies in human readable format. The flat, readable XML file format enables auditors to view the policies off site. Auditors working remotely can view, select, review, and test policies without requiring time and support from the web application security administrator.
Posted in Technology Research on January 22, 2013
In this model, we assume OCF (OpenCard Framework) and the smartX engine are initially installed and configured on the target terminal. As explained in the previous section, the terminal application consists in two blocks: the application process and the application protocol. The application process that encapsulates the logic of the application is compiled into a Java applet signed by a trusted entity. The application protocol is described inside an SML dictionary and is card-specific. Once the Java applet is downloaded, the smartX engine identifies the smart card inserted in the terminal. A simple identification consists in verifying the historical bytes of the card ATR (Answer To Reset). After correct identification, the smartX engine dynamically downloads the SML dictionary that contains the application protocol for the card inserted inside the terminal. With this dynamic mechanism, you minimize the loading time since you only download the dictionary relevant to the card inside the terminal.
In the OCF model, you had to download with the applet all the CardService implementations. With smartX, a terminal is also not limited to a predefined set of smart cards. As long as you provide the correct SML dictionary, a terminal can dynamically accept a new smart card that was not originally supported by the application. All these advantages make smartX a platform of choice for developing and deploying smart card applications on the Internet.
Posted in Technology Research on January 20, 2013
Each shared resource has a priority ceiling that is defined as the priority of the highest-priority task that can ever access that shared resource. The protocol is defined as follows,
- A task runs at its original (sometimes called its base) priority when it is outside a critical section.
- A task can lock a shared resource only if its priority is strictly higher than the priority ceilings of all shared resources currently
locked by other tasks. Otherwise, the task must block, and the task which has locked the shared resource with the highest priority ceiling inherits the priority of task.
An interesting consequence of the above protocol is that a task may block trying to lock a shared resource, even though the resource is not locked. The priority ceiling protocol has the interesting and very useful property that no task can be blocked for longer than the duration of the longest critical section of any lower-priority task.
Priority Ceiling Protocol Emulation
The priority ceiling of a shared resource is defined, as before, to be the priority of the highest-priority task that can ever access that resource. A task executes at a priority equal to (or higher than) the priority ceiling of a shared resource as soon as it enters a critical section associated with that resource. Applying the Priority Ceiling Protocol Emulation to the Priority Ceiling Protocol example results in the following sequence:
Posted in Technology Research on January 17, 2013
In a virtual environment system a computer generates sensory impressions that are delivered to the human senses. The type and the quality of these impressions determine the level of immersion and the feeling of presence in VR. Ideally the high-resolution, high-quality and consistent over all the displays, information should be presented to all of the user’s senses. Moreover, the environment itself should react realistically to the user’s actions. The practice, however, is very different from this ideal case. Many applications stimulate only one or a few of the senses, very often with low-quality and unsynchronized information. We can group the VR systems accordingly to the level of immersion they offer to the user.
- Desktop VR – sometimes called Window on World (WoW) systems. This is the simplest type of virtual reality applications. It uses a conventional monitor to display the image (generally monoscopic) of the world. No other sensory output is supported.
- Fish Tank VR – improved version of Desktop VR. These systems support head tracking and therefore improve the feeling of “of being there” thanks to the motion parallax effect. They still use a conventional monitor (very often with LCD shutter glasses for stereoscopic viewing) but generally do not support sensory output.
- Immersive systems – the ultimate version of VR systems. They let the user totally immerse in computer generated world with the help of HMD that supports a stereoscopic view of the scene accordingly to the user’s position and orientation. These systems may be enhanced by audio, haptic and sensory interfaces.
Posted in Application Development on January 16, 2013
Consider a business traveler who has a laptop configured to automatically update a remote DNS server with its current IP address. If the FQDN that was being updated by the laptop is known, or can be guessed, then anyone with modest computer skills can issue DNS queries on that name at regular intervals and monitor the current IP address.
As the traveler moves from one location to another, the IP address will change and the public DNS record for the FQDN will reflect this. The person monitoring the domain name will be able to observe the precise network locations used whenever the laptop connects to the Internet, as well as an approximate timestamp for when each event took place. Depending on the resources available to the monitor, most notably whether or not they work for law enforcement, they may be able to map that network location to a geographic location, possibly with a high degree of resolution.
The public DNS system is distributed across thousands of servers on the Internet and is used in a wide range of Internet protocols. Dynamic DNS monitoring uses nothing more than basic DNS queries and as such it offers effectively complete anonymity to the person doing the surveillance. Not only that, the target this is unable to detect that they are being observed in this manner. This represents a new form of surveillance that might be used by law enforcement for legitimate purposes or for unethical reasons by co-workers, competitors, or even stalkers, of the target.
Dynamic DNS is used by a large number of users for various reasons. For many of these, with static residential or business computers, monitoring poses no real privacy risk. But for those who travel with their laptop it could pose a serious risk to their personal privacy and business confidentiality. This risk has not been widely recognized thus far.
Posted in Technology Research on January 15, 2013
In stateful page evaluation, the browser history file and additional history stored by SpoofGuard are used to evaluate the referring page. Since it is important to minimize the number of false alarms, SpoofGuard does not issue any warnings for visiting a site that is in the user’s history file. The rationale for this is that if the user is warned the first time, and decides to proceed, the user is assumed to have sufficient reason to trust the site.
Domain check : If the domain of a page closely resembles a standard or previously visited domain, the page may be part of a spoof. Although crude, we currently compare domains by Hamming (edit) distance. For example example.com will raise the domain check if example.com is in the file of commonly spoofed sites or in the user history. Clearly, it is possible to improve our comparison algorithm by studying the way people are fooled; this is a significant direction for future work.
A related issue is that some businesses outsource some of their web operations to contractors with different domain names. This poses an interesting challenge that we believe can be addressed. However, outsourced web activity leads to false alarms in the current version of
Referring page When a user follows a link, the browser maintains a record of the referring page. Since the typical web spoofing attack begins with an email message, a referring page from a web site where the user may have been reading email (such as Hotmail) raises
the level of suspicion. One complication associated with Hotmail, for example, is that Hotmail uses numeric IP addresses instead of symbolic host names. Therefore, when a user clicks on a link in a Hotmail message, the browser provides a numeric IP address to SpoofGuard as the referring page. In this situation, SpoofGuard uses reverse DNS to find the domain name associated with a numeric address, allowing us to identify Hotmail as the referring site.
Image-domain associations The image check described on database associating images such as corporate logos with domains.
The initial static database can be assembled using a web crawler or other tool, or it can be augmented using an individual’s browsing history. An early version of SpoofGuard used a fixed database; the current SpoofGuard implementation uses a hashed image history file.
Posted in Application Development on January 14, 2013
The identification of applicable laws in the absence of any explicit choice by the parties involved is difficult in relation to any information society service, and cloud computing service models are certainly no exception. In a European context, the provisions of the eCommerce Directive play a central role, as it contains specific rules on applicable law for information society services. However, it is clear that this will be insufficient to address all questions in this domain: the rules established by the Directive obviously apply only in Member States, and in a non-European international context will not be able to solve conflicts of law. In addition, applicability of the law remains linked to the geographical location of the information society service provider, and in a cloud model it may be difficult to identify this entity or its geographical location. Finally, certain issues including contractual consumer protection clauses and intellectual property protection are excluded from the Directive’s scope, meaning that answers to conflicts of law in these domains will have to be sought elsewhere. Thus, it is already very complicated to identify the starting point for the establishment of trust, namely the specific laws that will apply in the absence of a choice by the parties. Globally, voluntary choice of applicable law by the stakeholders in a cloud service model may be the only viable solution to identify applicable law. In practice, the importance of this issue should not be overstated, as the choice of an applicable legal system on a contractual basis has indeed become standard practice in information society service contracts.
Posted in Application Development on January 12, 2013
We can specify any of the conflict resolution policies enumerated above for rules having the same security level. However, if there are rules belonging to different security levels, the conflict resolution policy must always favor the dominated rule. This is because delaying
a rule at the dominated level because of the execution of a rule at the dominating level may give rise to a timing channel.
In a multilevel secure active database system we can also specify priorities, but the requirement is that no dominating rule must have a higher priority than a dominated rule. Thus, if priorities are specified by ordering the set of rules, then all rules at dominated levels must be ordered before any rule at the dominating level.
If numeric priorities are to be specified, one approach is to make the priority specification have two parts: one for the security level and the other for the number. For rules having different security levels, the dominated rules will get preference over the dominating rules. For rules having the same security level, the number will decide which rule is chosen for execution.