Archive for the ‘Security’ Category

Google Play Apps Pose a Security Risk

November 6, 2012 in Security | Comments (0)

Research by Bit9 has come out showing that 24% of Android applications in the Google Play store post a security risk to: 1) mobile device users and 2) the networks they are connected to.

The research found that 42% of these applications access GPS location data. Amazingly these applications include games and wallpapers. Why on earth would a wallpaper application grab GPS location data?

The research also showed that 31% of these applications access phone numbers or phone calls. Fully 26% were shown to access personal data such as contacts and e-mail.

Considering how much at risk mobile devices are it’s a concern that 71% of employers surveyed allow their employees to bring them to the workplace. Only 24% of companies employ any application control or monitoring to detect what applications are running on their employees’ mobile devices.

Clearly, when employees are accessing corporate data from their mobile devices, their employers’ intellectual property is being put at risk. It’s time for many to reconsider their policies regard the use of personal mobile devices in a work environment.

Shared server security

December 30, 2011 in Security | Comments (0)

I recently heard a story about one of our competitors. It was told to me by their sysadmin. It seems they suffered some fairly significant issues caused by a compromised PHP script being used by one of their clients. Basically, the client intended the file uploader to be used for pictures, but the hackers discovered it could be used for any kind of file they wanted. The trouble they caused resulted in fluctuating web service for all clients on one of their shared Linux hosting machines.

In a nutshell, what happened was that a standard PHP file uploader script was used to place some programs into an upload directory that had 777 permissions as the default for some reason (this sounds geeky…but it really isn’t, and it’s something everybody with a website should have a basic understanding of). Once they discovered this exploit, it was pretty easy for the bad guys to run their uploaded programs. That’s when the real trouble started.

This list of things that the hackers were able to accomplish in a fairly short amount of time is beyond the scope of this blog. It would just end up being 20 paragraphs of geek-speak. Let’s just say none of it was good, and some of it was really bad. The sysadmin estimated that it took them about 8 -10 hours to get things back to normal, during which time all their client’s sites were unavailable. The site that was the original portal for the uploads was – to the best of my knowledge – offline for a further day or two until their developers could isolate and fix the problem, and make sure no further vulnerabilities remained.

All this leads me to my main point, which is that we at Enertiahost would to like to remind you to make sure that any third-party scripts or software that you might be using (WordPress, Joomla, etc.) need to be maintained/patched to the most recent version whenever it is released. Not doing so puts everybody on a shared hosting system like ours in jeopardy.

We also strongly encourage you to choose challenging passwords, and to change them regularly. Our experience has been that compromised passwords are the biggest single issue when it comes to websites getting hacked.

- Iain

Spammers prosecuted – follow up

December 2, 2009 in email,Security | Comments (0)

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Here’s an interesting article from BBC news on how a radio reporter helped track down the bad guys.