01.29.14

The Latest FOSS FUD Revolves Around Fakes and Bogus Arguments

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Security at 2:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) gets discredited over “security”, based on something which has nothing to do with FOSS and more to with human error or social engineering

THE reports from IDG make it sound as though FileZilla is a security threat [1,2] when it fact it is fakes that are a threat, as Sean pointed out to counter these allegations [3].

Yesterday we took note of the trend and two days ago we gave some examples of security-flavoured FUD against Android, of which there is plenty these days (and even today). Some of it is correctly being characterised as platform-agnostic [4]. This sometimes requires user intervention [5] or social engineering [6], so there’s a lot more to be taken into account. When the OpenSSL project got compromised some weeks ago it was actually the fault of a weak password [7,8], but some of the media spread FUD about OpenSSL itself. Weak passwords are a common human error [9] and those who don’t encrypt E-mails that contain passwords (they should!) only have themselves to blame [10,11]. To get an example of real vulnerability, consider Apple’s Safari storing passwords in plain text [12]!!! GNU/Linux, by contrast, facilitates strong encryption and has protection against all sorts of attacks [13-14].

Blaming FOSS for issues that relate to social engineering is a common FUD pattern these days (like blaming Android for users installing malware they download outside repositories), but the real security issues are back doors like Microsoft’s, security flukes like Apple’s, and data leakage through so-called ‘clouds’ (which are typically promoted by proprietary software players, tightly connected to the crack-leaning NSA).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. FileZilla warns of large malware campaign
  2. FileZilla warns of large malware campaign
  3. FileZilla, Other Open-Source Software From ‘Right’ Sources Is Safe

    A basic tenant of open-source software security has long been the idea that since the code is open, anyone can look inside to see if there is something that shouldn’t be there.

  4. Java-based malware driving DDoS botnet infects Windows, Mac, Linux devices

    The cross-platform HEUR:Backdoor.Java.Agent.a, as reported in a blog post published Tuesday by Kaspersky Lab, takes hold of computers by exploiting CVE-2013-2465, a critical Java vulnerability that Oracle patched in June. The security bug is present on Java 7 u21 and earlier. Once the bot has infected a computer, it copies itself to the autostart directory of its respective platform to ensure it runs whenever the machine is turned on. Compromised computers then report to an Internet relay chat channel that acts as a command and control server.

  5. Yahoo users exposed to malware attack

    Users clicking on some ads are redirected to sites armed with code that exploits vulnerabilities in Java and installs a variety of different malware.

  6. Password Security Requires Multiple Layers of Protection

    The gist of the story is that “123456″ is now the most commonly used weak password—surpassing the use of the word “password.”

  7. No hypervisor vulnerability exploited in OpenSSL site breach

    The OpenSSL Project confirmed that weak passwords used on the hosting infrastructure led to the compromise of its website, dispelling concerns…

  8. OpenSSL site defacement involving hypervisor hack rattles nerves (updated)

    Code repositories remained untouched in the December 29 hack, and the only outward sign of a breach was a defacement left on the OpenSSL.org home page. The compromise is nonetheless rattling some nerves. In a brief advisory last updated on New Year’s Day, officials said “the attack was made via hypervisor through the hosting provider and not via any vulnerability in the OS configuration.” The lack of additional details raised the question of whether the same weakness may have been exploited to target other sites that use the same service. After all, saying a compromise was achieved through a hypervisor vulnerability in the Web host of one of the Internet’s most important sites isn’t necessarily comforting news if the service or hypervisor platform is widely used by others.

  9. 7 sneak attacks used by today’s most devious hackers
  10. 10,000 Top Passwords

    Back when I wrote Perfect Passwords, I generated a list of the top 500 worst (aka most common) passwords which seems to have propagated quite a bit across the internet, including being mentioned on Gizomodo, Boing Boing, Symantec, Laughing Squid and many other sites. Since then I have collected a large number of new passwords bringing my current list to about 6,000,000 unique username/password combos, including many of those that have been recently made public*.

  11. All Your Internet Are Belong To Iceland*

    All that being said, and given that the Luddite solution of forsaking the Internet may not be terribly practical, this is another reason to encrypt technical data that you are sending by email even if the recipient is a U.S. person firmly planted on U.S. soil. No, the encryption isn’t a defense to the violation, but it is at least a mitigating factor. Remember, as I posted last May, that the U.S. military thinks it can put ITAR-controlled technical data on a Chinese satellite if it’s encrypted; so if you don’t have anything else to say in your defense when an email with export controlled data accidentally wanders through Lithuania, you will at least have that. And maybe one day in the distant future, BIS and DDTC will admit that the Internet exists and that encryption works.

  12. Older Versions of Safari Store Login Info in Plain Text

    Older versions of Safari for Mac store unencrypted user login credentials in a plain text file, according to security firm Kaspersky (via ZDNet). Safari saves the information in order to restore a previous browsing session, reopening all sites, even those that require authentication using the browser’s “Reopen All Windows from Last Session” functionality.

  13. Quantum crypto pitches for data centre links
  14. Linux Is the Only Way to Protect Against Potential Sound-Transmitted Malware
Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 28/11/2020: RenderDoc 1.11, GNOME 40 Scrolling Horizontally

    Links for the day



  2. Nine Documents About the Financial Siege Against EPO Staff (Past, Present, and Future)

    Today we release dozens of pages of letters and documents (internal to Europe's second-largest institution); they all focus on the betrayal and skulduggery, crushing staff in spite of what was originally promised (and what workers actually signed up for)



  3. EPO Senior Management (Cabal) “Essentially Deaf to the Proposals From Staff Representatives.”

    Representatives of EPO staff feel like the management of the EPO is "deaf" and uncaring; there's hardly any meaningful progress (or none whatsoever) when it comes to truly honest dialogue with real participation



  4. EPO Management, Led by António Campinos, Attempted to Stifle or Prevent Staff From Being Surveyed

    Battistelli's cabal, which covers up a lot of fraud and corruption, is attempting to prevent the staff from expressing an opinion (for insiders and perhaps outsiders to assess) because things are really bad and autocratic measures are seen as necessary to keep the lid on issues/abuses



  5. The European Patent Office's Central Staff Committee: Office Cannot Recruit Fit-for-Purpose Patent Examiners Anymore

    One third of EPO recruits are 'locals' (Germans), 0.2% are Swiss, 1% Scandinavian; the EPO as an employer became unattractive and it's unable to attract the staff it needs (as was projected and planned when the EPC was agreed upon)



  6. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, November 27, 2020



  7. Links 27/11/2020: Jolla is 7, Diffoscope 162, MNT Reform Production

    Links for the day



  8. The Time Coronavirus Helped EPO Management Prevent Staff From Protesting and Going on Strike (March 26th)

    "In view of the spreading of the New Corona Virus, the planned General Assemblies have to be cancelled," the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) wrote in the wake of the crisis across Europe back in March (weeks ahead of a planned strike)



  9. Guarding Your Privacy With E2EE: Primer

    "As with all security, there is assumed risk no matter how careful you are. There are no security guarantees but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try."



  10. Links 27/11/2020: Systemd 247 and Cockpit 233

    Links for the day



  11. A Free Speech Deficit Harms Software Freedom

    Free software and Software Freedom cannot possibly succeed if we keep accepting or even just tolerating systematic censorship of opinionated people in our community; failing to speak out on this matter (for fear of supposedly offending someone, risking expulsion) is part of the problem — complicity by passivity



  12. Perception of Difficulty

    New poem by figosdev



  13. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 26, 2020



  14. Cartoon: After Gambling With Workers' Savings the EPO Can Do Real Estate

    New EPO cartoon from EPO insiders (the one on the right certainly looks a lot like António Campinos and the one on the left can be his EUIPO ‘import’ or Benoît Battistelli‘s INPI ‘import’)



  15. Free as in Freedom Should Not be Associated With Cost

    It's important to remind people that so-called 'free' services (Clown Computing, centralised spaces that 'farm' their so-called 'users') aren't really free; we need to advocate freedom or free-as-in-freedom alternatives



  16. [Meme] UPC's Pyrrhic Victory

    Contrary to what Team UPC says, what happened earlier today is hardly a breakthrough



  17. Many Thanks to Free Software, the Demise of Software Patents (in Europe and the US), and So Much More

    On a positive note we're heading into the end of November, one month before Boxing Day; we take stock of patent affairs that impact software developers



  18. Links 26/11/2020: PHP 8.0, Proxmox VE 6.3, UNIGINE 2.13

    Links for the day



  19. 29,000 Blog Posts and Recent Site Improvements

    Over 29,000 blog posts have been posted here, but more importantly we've made the site a lot more robust and resilient, accessible in more formats and protocols (while improving transparency, too)



  20. [Meme] Trump is Out. Now It's Time to Pressure the Biden Administration/Transition Team on Software Freedom Issues.

    The Biden transition is in motion and tentative appointments are underway, based on news reports (see our Daily Links); now is the time to put pressure, e.g. in the form of public backlash, to ensure it's not just another corporate presidency



  21. Boycott ZDNet Unless You Fancy Being Lied to

    ZDNet's Catalin Cimpanu continues to lead the way with misinformation and lies, basically doing whatever he was doing to land that job at ZDNet (after he had done the same elsewhere)



  22. The UPC and Unitary Patent Song

    On goes the UPC symphony, as the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is almost here, always coming "real soon!"



  23. Open Letter to the German Greens on UPC and Software Patents: Don’t Betray Your Voters and Your Promises, or You Will Regret it

    Dear Members of the German Greens in the Bundestag. By Benjamin HENRION.



  24. [Meme] One Step Away From Replacing Patent Examiners With 'Hey Hi' (AI)

    If it's not legal for 'Hey Hi' (AI) to get a patent, why should it be legal for patents to be granted by those who are invisible (and sometimes in de facto house arrest)?



  25. European Patent Office (EPO) Reduced to 'Justice Over the Telephone' and Decree by E-mail

    The EPO is trashing the EPC and everything that the Office was supposed to stand for, as it wrongly assumes demand for monopolies (typically from foreign corporations) comes before the rule of law and Europe's public interest



  26. Making Free Software Work for Users

    The latest reply to a non-developer concerned about software freedom; guest post by figosdev



  27. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 25, 2020



  28. Links 26/11/2020: AV Linux 2020.11.23 and Blender 2.91 Release

    Links for the day



  29. Links 25/11/2020: GamerOS and Biden Transition in Motion

    Links for the day



  30. An Orwellian December

    With December around the corner and states tightening the screws on the population (or employers on employees) at least we can look forward to spring


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts