Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tidbits: A5/1, WhiteListing and Google

There is a nice write-up in the very respectable IEEE Spectrum on the A5/1 rainbow table generation project run by Karsten Knol for cracking GSM encryption. The write-up for Knol in the IEEE is a signal that his project has mainstream acceptance and attention. The timeliness of Knol’s project was heightened a few weeks ago when MasterCard announced that they would be using GSM as an additional authentication factor in their transactions. This MasterCard feature may end up being very popular since IDC recently predicted that the mobile phone market will exceed one billion handsets by the end of 2010. Hopefully this huge demand will increase the deployment of the the stronger A5/3 algorithm that is being phased in during upgrades to 3G networks.

The evidence continues to mount that whitelisting is an idea whose time has come. Roger Grimes at InfoWorld published a large list of reviews on whitelisting products, and he was pleasantly surprised that “whitelisting solutions are proving to be mature, capable, and manageable enough to provide significant protection while still giving trustworthy users room to breathe”. Given that the amount of malware introduced in 2008 exceeded all known malware from previous years, viable alternatives to the current blacklisting model are needed.

Finally, Google recently announced that it will be offering its own DNS service, nominally to increase performance and security. Sean Michael Kerner wonders whether Google DNS is resistant to the attacks reported by Dan Kaminsky last year, where common DNS implementations relied on poor random numbers. H. D. Moore has forwarded Kerner some graphs he made from sampling Google DNS for randomness. First, a plot on port scanning

image and then a plot of source ports against transactions IDs


In both cases the graphs look quite random, and so both Kerner and Moore conclude that Google seems to be a right track here. But Moore concedes that more testing to be done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Theirs also have new updates about google.