Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Video conferencing and meeting room snooping

There is a very good article in the NYTimes concerning the use of video conferencing devices as means to snoop in a meeting room. The issue is not new and dates back in the age of PABX and analog phones.

However, the ease with which HD Moore was able to enter a number of corporations is concerning.

Also, I distinctly remember a consultant from a vendor that makes both video conference equipment and firewalls tell us to "disable the protocol inspection for SIP and think of having the server directly on the Internet, as it would be easier than opening all the required ports".

Coming from a consultant who is supposed to know his subject: scary ...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Read My E-mail? Get a Warrant

This is another example of a not-so-well-thought action. True, this may help the police to catch the bad guys and in certain cases to save lives. But ...

What about the possible abuses? If I were the spouse or kid of a police official, I would really be concerned about the possibility that the machine might be bugged. And what if a policeman helps a friend's business? After all, if there is no warrant, that trojan could be installed on the competitors's computers and report possible contracts or opportunities ...

Also, what happens if the police computers are hacked into? This would be a free-for-all of bank information, PII and that sort of things, centralized in a single location. And yes, what about the police responsibility in this case? Would the government refund the potential losses for the citizens?

There is a need there for the governments to think these through, and instead of finding technical means to circumvent the consequences - and the legal means of justifying these work-arounds - address the real causes of all those issues.

Read My E-mail? Get a Warrant:

Last October the well-known hacking group Chaos Computer Club revealed that the German state police had been monitoring the computers of ordinary citizens using specially designed surveillance software. This spyware could peek into users’ files, record keystrokes, take screenshots of Web pages users happened to be visiting, and even commandeer Web cams and microphones, giving the cops an open window into the home. The revelations invited comparisons to the Stasi, the infamous police force that operated in the former East Germany.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Police system compromised due to parental spying

A bizarre chain of events unrolls to "Police system compromised due to parental spying".

The police officer should have known better than (a) install a trojan on her daughter's computer and (b) use his personal computer for his official activities.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mac OS X, VLANs and MAC addresses

Recently, I had to investigate an issue of machines not able to connect to a network. The machines would send frames - or supposedly do so - but received nothing.

One of the machines was actually working. But moving the connection to a different machine was not, so I suspected some form of association between the port and the mac address.

To prove it, I decided to change the MAC address of my Mac Book Pro and copy the MAC address of the working machine.

At the shell:

sudo ifconfig en0 link aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff
Continuing with the layer 2, Mac OS X allows one to create virtual VLAN subinterfaces.

  • Create the interface

ifconfig vlan<nn> create

  • Associate the interface with the vlan tag and physical interface

ifconfig vlan<nn> vlan 2 vlandev en0

  • Add an IP address to the interface

ifconfig vlan<nn> inet <IP> netmask <MASK>

  • Bring the interface up

ifconfig vlan<nn> up

All these commands need to be executed as root.