Google Shares Your WLAN Passwords with NSA

17. July, 2013

If you “Back up my data” is enabled on your Android phone, then Google keeps a clear-text, unencrypted copy of your WLAN passwords on its servers. Since Google is an US company, the government and its agencies have access to this data. Google also keeps a database with the location of all WLANs (for their location service) so it’s trivial for them to gain access (even though someone must physically walk/drive into the range of the WLAN router).

Solution: Disable this function, use a local backup program (disable cloud backup for them as well) and change all your passwords.

Related articles:

Overview Of Man in the Middle Attacks

26. February, 2013

David Blake posted a current overview of Man in the Middle type attacks15 Surprising Ways You Could Fall Victim to a Man in the Middle Attack

These include:

  • Key-loggers (hard- and software)
  • Browser plugins
  • Cameras (a.k.a Shoulder Surfing)
  • Wireless attacks

CVE Changes Counter

7. February, 2013

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures or CVE is a registry for security related flaws and computer systems.

The old counting system allowed only for 9’999 bugs per year.

That’s no longer enough.

Isn’t that scary?

Passwords Suck

25. January, 2013

On Wednesday, GitHub improved their code search. A few hours later, a couple of people had tried “begin rsa private key” and got more results than any sane person would anticipate. Just in case, this isn’t a problem of GitHub, the same problem can be found on pastebin or with Google.

There are several reasons for people to publish sensitive data:

  • They don’t know what they’re doing (ignorance)
  • They are sure “no one will ever find out” (security by obscurity)
  • Distributing sensitive data anonymously (crackers)
  • It’s easier that way (laziness)

It’s not a corner case, either. The SQL*Plus tool from Oracle has no easy way to set the password from a script except by passing it on the command line which effectively publishes the password to any user on the same computer. You can install a “client-side Oracle wallet” to fix this.

But the common issue behind all that is that it’s either too easy to do it wrong or too hard to do it right. Just to see how bad the situation is, I asked for a secure web login/example on The answer was basically “it’s too complex to do.”

This sucks.

Targeted Spamming via Facebook

26. September, 2012


In the past few weeks, I started getting mails from friends which just contain a link:

hey, Aaron


9/25/2012 12:34:56 PM

Turns out that someone is analyzing my Facebook account and sends me mails using names from my friends list.

If you get such a mail, don’t click on the link. It probably points to a page which infects your computer with a virus.

Right now, these mails are pretty easy to identify as fake because the email address is wrong. But you should know that the sender address in emails is just a text; neither the sending nor the receiving computer will check what is in there. A spammer can write anything into that field. If the scheme starts to fail too often, I expect to see “better” email addresses.

This means as a receiver, you should never click on links in emails. As a sender, you should never share links by email.


Embarrassing Security Failure at PayPal

26. March, 2012

PayPal is one of the places who really care about security.

But even they were vulnerable to XSS type of attacks using the search feature (see this article for details).

At the moment, I’m not sure if that’s more embarrassing or frightening. Sure, it’s shameful but when even those guys don’t get it right … who can?

Stand up for your freedom to install free software!

19. October, 2011

Read the truth behind so-called “Secure Boot” and sign the statement.