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More Marketing Service firms in the news

Dark Reading is reporting that Best Buy has suffered a second loss of customer data - e-mail addresses - through another vendor (not Epsilon).  

PCI news & updates

According to this article on InformationWeek:

RSA, Comodo and Barracuda. One of these is not like the others.

Consider this:

The RSA attack shows that SecurID has an architecture risk: They keep a copy of your shared secrets for revenue reasons. The Comodo attack shows a structural risk: incentives exist to sell certificates without investing it making sure they are legitimate. The RSA attack does not minimize the benefit of using two-factor authentication. It only highlights the well-known risk of using shared secrets instead of asymmetric encryption.  The Comodo attack doesn't mean that SSL encryption doesn't work. It just points out (again) that the CA trust model is broken. 

Both attacks also demonstrate that having a vendor in the middle increases the attack surface. This is the key take-away from these attacks. I'm concerned that this is getting lost and that companies will move to authentication systems that have the same risk. A prime example of such a system would be SMS-based authentication. If you can't trust RSA with your secrets, can you trust your mobile phone carrier?   

The Barracuda attack is different.  Ironically, the Barracuda attack shows the value of their own technology.  Yes, they may need to improve it (or turn it on), but fundamentally, their technology should have stopped the attack. To me this is a very important difference.

Adding two-factor authentication to (web) applications

This blog post has been in the offing ever since I read "Why is it so difficult to add two-factor authentication to online applications?"  a couple of months ago. First, this should not be an issue.  Most CMS systems and application frameworks support HTTP authentication and adding two-factor authentication to Apache for example) is quite simple.  

The Baby and the Bathwater, SSL cert edition

Background:  Comodo, the SSL certificate authority was attacked and fraudulent certificates for a number of high-value sites were issuedSites like, etc.  as well as

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