The 2010 Hacker Challenge
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Events, Security1 Comment on The 2010 Hacker Challenge

October is national Cyber Security awareness month, and what better way to promote it than with the 2010 Hacker Challenge.

The 2010 Hacker Challenge Logo

The Hacker Challenge is a competition in which Department of Defense Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and civilian government employees try their hands at solving computer and network security problems. It’s a free and open competition designed for beginner to intermediate level security professionals and enthusiasts, and is designed to engage military and civilian members in a fun and educational way.

It started three years ago as a way to address training deficiencies in some of the military’s mandatory computer security training courses.

Hacker Challenge 2010 Details

The 2010 Hacker Challenge begins on October 27, 2010, and ends November 10, 2010.  During this two week period, participants will work at their own pace to solve the challenges. If you’re interested in participating in the 2010 Hacker Challenge, you must sign up before October 25, 2010.

Teams of up to 6 members are allowed, including one person teams.

The Hacker Challenge is comprised of two parts – a written portion and a hands-on portion. The written portion involves a series of questions that will test a participant’s knowledge of technology and security topics. The hands-on portion will test the participant’s security knowledge through the use of tools during practical exercises. Some challenges will be easier than others. For a few examples see the sample Hacker Challenge questions below.

This is a friendly competition, and does not involve the use of any malicious software. There are also strict rules on cheating, and what is considered cheating. Any team caught cheating will be disqualified, and it will be publicized on the Hacker Challenge blog.

Sample Hacker Challenge Questions

Below are a few of the questions you might find in the Hacker Challenge competition. These questions were taken from the 2009 Hacker Challenge. Remember this contest is for beginner to intermediate level security enthusiasts.

1) Download and crack the passwords found at this link.

2) You perform a banner grab against a customer’s web server and get the following response. What does it mean?

GET / JUNK/1.0
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 17:17:47 GMT
Server: Apache/1.3.23
Last-Modified: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 03:48:19 GMT
ETag: "32417-c4-3e5d8a83"
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Length: 196
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html

3) Download the packet capture in the below link and look at the device with the MAC address of 00:12:0E:6F:B4:4B. What is this device, and what do you think it’s doing during the time period traffic was captured?

4) Watch Hak5 episodes 1 and 3 from season 4 and pay attention to the sections dealing with the “WiFi Pineapple.” Discuss how the WiFi Pineapple is able to masquerade as a “trusted” AP and suggest at least one way that a user can tell this type of attack is occurring.

5) Dig through the below captured packet and state the following things: (a) What browser is being employed? (b) What application on the browser will be used? (c) What OS is being used? (d) What device did this packet come from?

0000    00 04  5a f2  25 d8  00 12  0e  6f b4  4b  08  00   45  00
0010    00 de  a2 ab  40 00  40 06  b5  3d ac  14  14  05   4a  dc
0020    d7 3b  05 f9  00 50  c5 5f  13  be 38  8e  eb  66   50  18
0030    0b 68  c9 47  00 00  47 45  54  20 2f  63  68  75   6d  62
0040    79 5f  76 69  64 65  6f 73  2f  62 61  6c  6c  73   2e  66
0050    6c 76  20 48  54 54  50 2f  31  2e 31  0d  0a  48   6f  73
0060    74 3a  20 72  62 65  6c 6f  74  74 65  2e  6e  65   74  0d
0070    0a 41  63 63  65 70  74 3a  20  2a 2f  2a  0d  0a   55  73
0080    65 72  2d 41  67 65  6e 74  3a  20 4d  6f  7a  69   6c  6c
0090    61 2f  35 2e  30 20  28 63  6f  6d 70  61  74  69   62  6c
00a0    65 3b  20 55  3b 20  43 68  75  6d 62  79  3b  20   4c  69
00b0    6e 75  78 29  20 46  6c 61  73  68 20  4c  69  74   65  20
00c0    33 2e  30 2e  34 0d  0a 50  72  61 67  6d  61  3a   20  43
00d0    68 75  6d 62  79 0d  0a 43  6f  6e 6e  65  63  74   69  6f
00e0    6e 3a  20 63  6c 6f  73 65  0d  0a 0d  0a

For more information on Hacker Challenge 2010, visit the official website.

Coming Soon: The Advanced Hacker Challenge

If you are a security professional in the advanced category, don’t lose hope. In late 2011 an advanced Hacker Challenge will be introduced, and it will be completely different from the basic/intermediate version. The new advanced version will be almost completely hands-on. The advanced version write-ups will require a deeper understanding of security concepts, and the targets will be a bit of a challenge. And FYI, some of the advanced challenges will require participants to sign a “release of liability” form.

The Facebook Will Start Charging Scam
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Web SecurityLeave a comment on The Facebook Will Start Charging Scam

With over 400 million users, Facebook is a constant target of online criminals and scam artists. The “Facebook will start charging” scam has been around since last year, yet people are still falling for it. Even worse, there’s been an increase in these types of scams over the last couple of months.

How the Facebook Will Start Charging Scam Works

Online criminals create Facebook pages claiming that Facebook will begin charging some monthly fee. For example, the page “I won’t pay $3.99 to use Facebook starting in July” is a scam. And the page “I will not pay to use Facebook as of Sept 7th 2010” is also a scam.

In fact, Facebook spokesman Larry Yu stated, “We have absolutely no plans to charge for the basic service of using Facebook.”

Facebook Will Start Charging Scam Page

There are many variations on this theme, and they’re all scams. I searched on Facebook for “Facebook pay” and got 287 page results (see below). And every single one of these pages is a scam! The top result had 7661 fans.

Just out of curiosity, I searched for “Facebook pay” again the following day and noticed that the pages are growing. The top result went from 7661 fans to 7844 fans and the second result went from 6877 fans to 6899 fans. So it looks like things are going in the wrong direction.

Facebook Will Start Charging Scam Search Results Facebook Will Start Charging Scam Search Results

Online scammers create Facebook pages (and groups) in an attempt to trick people into divulging their personal information, downloading malicious content, or inviting their friends to join the page. In the case of the “Facebook will start charging” scam, it seems the most common method is to get people to invite their friends to the page in an attempt to amass a large number of fans they can then sell to unsuspecting businesses.

Just take a look at the information on the “I will not pay to use Facebook as of Sept 7th 2010” page:

I Will Not Pay for Facebook Scam Page Description

And if you look at the information on some of the other Facebook Pay pages, you will notice that they don’t ask you for any personal information, or ask you to download something, or ask you to go to another website. The main thing these pages are asking people to do is to invite all of their friends. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t malicious links showing up on these pages, so be careful, and don’t click on any links in these pages.

So now that you know the truth, don’t join any Facebook pages claiming that Facebook will start charging.

How to Protect Yourself on Facebook

For the most part, these Facebook Pay pages weren’t setup to steal your personal information – although I didn’t look at every single page. And even if they were setup for that purpose, you usually have to take some action for this to occur.

But joining not only encourages criminals to keep coming up with these scams, it also puts your friends at risk. How? Well, as soon as you join, it’s displayed on your friends’ news feeds. A friend could see it and then join the group.

So, other than the obvious don’t join advice, here are a few other tips to help keep you and your friends secure while on Facebook:

  • If you see your friends joining these Facebook Pay pages, warn them about the scam and tell them to remove themselves from the page.
  • Spread the word. Scammers take advantage of the fact that people aren’t aware of these scams to do their dirty work. If people are informed of the risks, then it becomes a lot harder to get away with it. So tell your Facebook friends, and send them a link to this post, or any other post on the topic.
  • Be suspicious of any Facebook page that makes it easy for you to invite your friends, asks you to download something, or asks for your personal information in return for something else.
  • Always check the page’s wall before joining. There are legitimate reasons why you may be asked to download and install something from Facebook pages. However, there are also plenty of malicious programs out there. The legitimate stuff will, for the most part, work as advertised. On the other hand, the malicious stuff usually won’t work at all. So if you go to the page’s wall and see a lot of people complaining about the fact that it doesn’t work, stay away! Odds are it’s malware. And I’m not talking about a couple of bad reviews, because even the legitimate programs will get bad reviews every now and then. But if you see mostly complaints, then it’s likely to be malware. And even if it’s not, why waste your time, it obviously doesn’t work!
  • Join the Facebook Security page to get the latest security updates from Facebook, or visit Facebook’s Safety Center.
  • Read and follow the 5 most important steps for internet security to protect your computer from online criminals.

Have you come across this scam? Have you come across any other Facebook scams lately? What other ways of staying safe on Facebook do you recommend?

 

Latest Twitter Email Phishing Scam
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Web SecurityLeave a comment on Latest Twitter Email Phishing Scam

The latest phishing scam targeting Twitter users is in the form of an email message claiming to be from Twitter Support. The subject line of the fake email message starts off with the word Twit and is followed by a set of numbers. These numbers will vary from email to email. The email message claims that you have some number of “unreaded” or delayed messages from Twitter, and provides a link to supposedly check your “unreaded” messages. How nice of them! But instead the link takes you to a malicious phishing website.

There are actually two links in the fake email message, both linking back to malicious phishing websites. Don’t click on either of them! Here’s what the email looks like:

Twitter unreaded email phishing scam

According to Twitter Safety, Twitter Support doesn’t send emails about unread messages.

Twitter safety email phishing scam alert

What Can You Do?

Here are 7 things you can do to protect yourself, and avoid becoming a victim of email phishing scams.

  • If you receive an email message claiming to be from Twitter or Twitter Support with the subject line Twit [set of two numbers here], do not open it and delete it right away.
  • If you receive an email with bad English or misspellings, most likely it’s a scam. For example using the word unreaded instead of unread. Don’t click on any links in the email or download any attachments.
  • Don’t click on links in email messages. Always go to the site directly and log in to your account to check it out.
  • If you must click on a link in an email, for example it’s not a check your account status type of email, hover over the link and look at what the status bar tells you. If the URL shown in the status bar isn’t for the website you’re expecting to go to, don’t click on the link. In the case of this recent Twitter scam, the URL in the status bar doesn’t link to twitter.com. Instead it links to dev.somedomainname.com.

Twitter email phishing scam domain name on status bar

  • Note that the only domain name used by Twitter is twitter.com. Any URL that doesn’t start with http://twitter.com/ is not an official Twitter page. That’s not to say it’s a malicious site, it’s just not an official Twitter page, so use caution when going to these sites.
  • If you have a Twitter account, follow Twitter Safety or Twitter Spam to get the latest news about known Twitter scams.
  • Read and follow the 5 most important steps for internet security to protect your computer from these cyber crimes.

Image credits: Fake Twitter email, Twitter Safety tweets

Spammers Create Fake Facebook Profiles
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Web SecurityLeave a comment on Spammers Create Fake Facebook Profiles

Have you received a friend request on Facebook from a hot girl you don’t recognize? You say what the heck, I don’t know her, but she’s hot, so yeah I’ll be your friend. Bad move! Take a look at the profile below, see anything strange?

Fake Facebook User Profile Maybe you received a friend request from someone you don’t recognize with a lot of mutual friends. So you accept the request thinking, well I probably met this person at some point. Wrong again.

Facebook spammers are now creating fake user profiles to amass a large number of “friends” they can then sell to unsuspecting businesses. These businesses may have seen an ad similar to this one:

Spammer Advertising

Soon after you accept requests from these fake users, you start getting invitations to join Facebook fan pages. This is how spammers create artificial word of mouth marketing.

Worse yet, now these spammers have access to personal information you’ve marked as viewable by friends only. This includes two very important pieces of information, your birthdate and location. This can possibly lead to identity theft!

What Can You Do?

  • Avoid friending anyone you don’t recognize. Hot girls aren’t the only threat, it could be a hot guy, or a normal looking person.
  • Ask a real friend. If you get a friend request from someone with mutual friends, send your real friends a message and ask them about this person you don’t recognize. If several of your real friends tell you they don’t actually know this person, stay away!
  • Look through your current friend list. Remove anyone you don’t recognize, especially if they’re constantly inviting you to join Facebook pages.
  • Spread the word. Spammers get away with this because most people aren’t aware of these threats. So tell your friends.

Have you seen any other suspicious Facebook activity? Let us know.

Beware, Facebook Password Email Scam
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Web SecurityLeave a comment on Beware, Facebook Password Email Scam

There is yet another Facebook email scam going around. This time victims receive an email with the subject line “Facebook Password Reset Confirmation! Customer Support”. The email instructs the victim to click on an attachment in order to retrieve the password. The attachment is really a password stealer, and once installed it can potentially access any username and password combination utilized on that computer – not just for the user’s Facebook account. Here is an example of what the Facebook password reset scam email looks like.

Facebook Password Reset Email Scam Example

Facebook never sends emails alerting a user that they changed his or her password. If you receive this email, delete it right away and do not click on the attachment. To protect your computer from this type of cybercrime, follow The 5 Most Important Steps for Internet Security. Also, visit the Facebook Security page for tips on protecting yourself from scams on Facebook.

To get more details on this Facebook email scam, read the McAfee Labs Blog.

Watch Out for Tax Season Phishing Scams
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Web Security1 Comment on Watch Out for Tax Season Phishing Scams

Online Phishing ScamsI found an interesting post on the McAfee Labs Blog on tax time phishing scams worth sharing.

Every year during tax season, online criminals create fake irs.gov domains in an attempt to trick taxpayers into revealing their personal and financial information. Victims might visit these phishing and malicious websites via any number of effective redirection methods, such as phishing attacks, forum postings, and black-hat search-engine optimizations.

If you get an email from the “IRS”, it’s probably a scam. The IRS Consumer Alert page says, “The IRS does not send taxpayers unsolicited emails about their tax accounts, tax situations, or personal tax issues.” Here is an example of a fraudulent IRS email. To prevent your personal information from being compromised, avoid replying or clicking on any links in the email, and delete these messages.

For the full article visit the McAfee Labs Blog.

Well I hope you found my tax season series to be helpful. Let me know if you have topic suggestions for next year’s tax time series.

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