Encryption

  • New software obfuscation system a cryptography game changer

    A team of researchers has designed a system to encrypt software so that it only allows someone to use a program as intended while preventing any deciphering of the code behind it. This is known in computer science as “software obfuscation,” and it is the first time it has been accomplished. Previously developed techniques for obfuscation presented only a “speed bump,” forcing an attacker to spend some effort, perhaps a few days, trying to reverse-engineer the software. The new system puts up an “iron wall,” making it impossible for an adversary to reverse-engineer the software without solving mathematical problems that take hundreds of years to work out on today’s computers — a game-change in the field of cryptography.

  • New state-of-the-art cybersecurity resource available to software developers

    Cybercrime is booming; it is an estimated $100 billion industry in the United States and shows no signs of slowing down. Attackers have an arsenal of weapons at their disposal, including social engineering — or phishing — penetrating weak security protocols and exploiting software vulnerabilities that can serve as an “open window” into an organization’s IT environment. Closing those windows requires effective and accessible tools to identify and root out software vulnerabilities. Supported by a $23.4 million grant from DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the Software Assurance Marketplace, or SWAMP, provides a state-of-the-art facility that serves as an open resource for software developers, software assurance tool developers, and software researchers who wish to collaborate and improve software assurance activities in a safe, secure environment.

  • Quantum encryption for wiretap-proof communication a step closer

    Polarized light, in which all the light waves oscillate on the same plane, forms the foundation for technology such as LCD displays in computers and TV sets, and advanced quantum encryption. There are two ways to create polarized light, but each has its problems: filtering normal unpolarized to block unwanted light waves (but here, half of the light emitted, and thereby an equal amount of energy, are lost), or using light which is polarized at the source (but here, polarization is either too weak or hard to control). Now there is a better way: By emitting photons from a quantum dot at the top of a micropyramid, researchers are creating a polarized light source with a high degree of linear polarization, on average 84 percent. As the quantum dots can also emit one photon at a time, this is promising technology for quantum encryption, a growing technology for wiretap-proof communication.

  • National cyber complex to open next to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev campus

    A new national cyber complex called CyberSpark will open at the Advanced Technology Park (ATP) which is located next to Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Fortune 500 companies Lockheed Martin and IBM announced they would invest in CyberSpark R&D facilities, joining other cybersecurity leaders Deutsche Telekom, EMC, RSA, and many startups. The 15-building ATP is the only type of complex of its kind in the world that includes Fortune 500 companies and cyber-incubators, academic researchers, and educational facilities as well as national government and security agencies. The CyberSpark will also include a high school geared toward science and technology.

  • Cal Poly unveils ambitious cybersecurity educational initiative

    Cal Poly, with a grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, has established a Cybersecurity Center, opened a new cyber lab, and is developing a cybersecurity curriculum with an ambitious set of goals in mind: educating thousands of students in cybersecurity awareness and readiness; producing experts in cyber technologies and systems, including many professionals who will serve the military and defense industry; and graduating cyber innovators who are prepared for advanced study and applied research in emerging cyber issues.

  • Botwall: New Web security solution uses real-time polymorphism to ward off attacks

    Malware has long used polymorphism — that is, rewriting its code — every time a new machine was infected in order easily to evade antivirus detection systems. Shape Security says its new product, the ShapeShifter, is reversing this advantage which malware has so far enjoyed: the new product uses polymorphic code as a new foundational tool for Web site defense. The patent-pending technology implements real-time polymorphism, or dynamically changing code, on any Web site, to remove the static elements that botnets and malware depend on for their attacks.

  • Quantum physics to make possible secure, single-use computer memories

    Computer security systems may one day get a boost from quantum physics, as researchers have devised a way to make a security device that has proved notoriously difficult to build — a “one-shot” memory unit, whose contents can be read only a single time. One-shot memories would have a wide range of possible applications such as protecting the transfer of large sums of money electronically.

  • FireEye acquires Mandiant in a deal worth about $1 billion

    The combination of the two companies creates one of the cybersecurity industry leading vendor. The combined competencies of the two companies would allow them to find and stop attacks at every stage of the attack life cycle. “The reason for this deal is that we now live in a world of constant compromise. When you know you will be compromised, you can’t just continue trying to keep the bad guys out; you also need to investigate every compromise, figure out what happened, prevent it from ever happening again and clean up the mess,” says one analyst.

  • NIST invites comment on RFP to support cybersecurity center of excellence

    The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) is inviting comments on a Partial Draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for a contractor to operate a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) to support the mission of the NCCoE. The FFRDC will be the first solely dedicated to enhancing the security of the nation’s information systems.

  • BGU researchers identify critical vulnerability Samsung's Galaxy S4

    Security researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev’s (BGU) Cyber Security Labs have identified a critical vulnerability in highly secure Samsung mobile devices which are based on the Knox architecture. Samsung Knox, which is currently undergoing the U.S. Department of Defense approval review process, features the most advanced security-driven infrastructure for mobile phones. The breach, researchers believe, enables easy interception of data communications between the secure container and the external world including file transfers, emails and browser activity.

  • Cold War to cyber war, here’s how weapon exports are controlled

    It was reported last week that the U.K. government is pushing for new restrictions on software — in particular, on tools that would prevent surveillance by the state. This was the focus of negotiations to incorporate cyber security technologies into the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies. Wassenaar was born of the Cold War in 1996. The idea was to inhibit the Soviets (and Chinese) by preventing the export of military equipment and the technology that could be used to make, maintain or defeat that equipment. The push to include cybersecurity in Wassenaar negotiations is unlikely to be effective but will reassure nervous politicians and officials.

  • New Silicon Valley focus on cybersecurity

    The last time Silicon Valley focused on cybersecurity was in the 1990s. That focus saw the emergence of two giants: McAfee and Symantec. The two companies remain the most recognizable household names, thanks to their traditional firewall and anti-virus products. Now they find the arena which they thought was their own encroached from two sides. On one side there are tech giants like Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems, which see new revenue opportunity in cybersecurity. On the other side there is a rush of start-ups backed by large investments of venture capital.

  • U.S., U.K. intelligence worried about Snowden’s “insurance policy” cache

    Edward Snowden has so far released about 500 of the classified documents he secretly downloaded while working for an NSA contractor. Source familiar with the case say he had downloaded between 50,000 and 200,000 classified NSA and British government documents. Those close to him suggest that in addition to continuing a steady release of secret documents over the next two to three years, the potentially most damaging information he obtained, information which includes the names of thousands of intelligence agents and informers employed by the United States and its allies, is kept in a secret cache as an insurance policy against arrest or physical harm.

  • Surveillance programs prompt start-up entry into privacy protection market

    Revelations of the surveillance programs of the National Security Agency(NSA) and the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters(GCHQ) have sparked technical innovations, legal challenges, and pursuits of political reforms in the United States and Britain. While some established providers of secure e-mails have bowed out, new companies are moving in to offer consumers protection from prying.

  • Akamai to acquire cloud-based security solutions provider Prolexic

    Organizations, faced with an ever-changing threat landscape, require comprehensive security solutions that address many different protection scenarios. These include securing mission critical Web properties and applications from attack, as well as protecting the full suite of enterprise IP applications — including e-mail, file transfers, and VPN — across a data center. Akamai acquires Prolexic in order to extend its Web optimization and security offerings by adding cloud-based security solutions for protecting data centers and enterprise applications.