Digital Forensics Magazine December 2012 Newsletter
The Latest News and Offerings from the DFM Team

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Welcome to the December edition of the Digital Forensics Magazine Newsletter. Hopefully the world will not end this week and you will be able to make use of a fantastic offer from DFM!

This month, we bring you Christmas greetings, job vacancy alerts and the latest news from the Digital Forensics industry.

Information Assurance Strategies Ltd

/In The News

New Password Cracking Method Provides Rapid Results

A new attack makes some password cracking faster, easier than ever. A researcher has devised a method that reduces the time and resources required to crack passwords that are protected by the SHA1 cryptographic algorithm.

First, some context. One of the main use cases for hashing function, such as the SHA-1 function, is to store passwords securely. When attackers obtain such hashed password, they need to launch a "brute force" attack against it, in order to reveal the password. "Brute force" means, they need to repeatedly guess the password, apply the hashing function on it and compare the result with their hash password they have. The security researcher has found an algorithmic shortcut in SHA-1 calculation that makes the computation easier, thus reducing the time needed to successfully "brute force" an attack.

But it should not surprise the security community, as the writing was on the wall. When a crypto hash is weakened (i.e., discovered to be less secured than perceived), it usually marks the start of its downfall and SHA 1 has been weakened since 2004.

The corollary? In case the hashing is done for security (e.g. hash user passwords, verify data integrity, etc.):

MD5 is dead and should never be used.
SHA-1 is going in the same direction.

Consider an upgrade of existing systems and definitely don't use it for new systems.

A smart choice would be to follow the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommendation for federal agencies: "Federal agencies should stop using SHA-1 for generating digital signatures, generating time stamps and for other applications that require collision resistance."

Best option? Use a hash function from SHA-2 family, such as the SHA256.

(Report provided by Imperva)

How U.K. Police Busted Anonymous Suspect

Operation Payback operators' identities unearthed largely through "social leakage" -- highlighting differences between U.S. and British hacker investigations.

Are U.S. authorities focusing too much on busting low-level hacktivist operators, at the expense of taking down the leading lights?

The difference in style can be seen in the approach that U.K. investigators have taken to prosecuting the ringleaders of Operation Payback, which was the Anonymous-branded attack campaign that targeted businesses, including PayPal and MasterCard, with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks for their having blocked payments to WikiLeaks. PayPal said the attacks resulted in losses of £3.5 million ($5.6 million).

According to Ray Massie, a freelance computer forensic and open source training consultant who led Britain's Operation Payback investigation as a detective sergeant with London's Metropolitan Police Service, his team focused on the people who organized the attacks and picked the targets, rather than low-level operators. "We went after organizers and facilitators rather than foot soldiers. U.S. authorities went after a mix," Massie told The Register.

Read on at Information Week

UK planning 'Cyber Reserve' defence force

The UK government is to set up a "Cyber Reserve" force to deal with security threats posed by computer crime.

Run by the Ministry of Defence, it will allow the armed forces to "draw on the wider talent and skills of the nation in the cyber field".

Internet-related business is estimated to be worth £82bn a year to the UK.

Minister Francis Maude said help was needed with "critical" work in combating online crime. The scheme's details will be unveiled next year.

Terrorists, fraudsters, rogue states and individual activists are among the criminals targeting computer systems in the UK.

In a written statement Mr Maude said 93% of large corporations and 76% of small businesses had reported a cyber breach in the past year.

He promised efforts to make the UK "one of the most secure places in the world to do business in cyber space" as he gave a first year update on the UK's Cyber Security Strategy.

Read on at BBC News

/HMRC Job Vacancies

Job Advert img

Senior Forensic Practitioner (6 permanent posts, 5 London 1 Nottingham)

HMRC Criminal Investigation protects the exchequer from attempted fraud by criminals targeting our regimes. The Cyber Crime Team focuses on protection and prevention of online services whilst the Digital Forensics Group is responsible for the provision of a range of technical and forensic capabilities in support of criminal and civil investigations by HMRC and other agencies.

As a Senior Forensic Practitioner you will build on the experience you already have and provide specialist advice, guidance and support to HMRC, CPS and other agencies in relation to criminal investigations by collecting, analysing and presenting digital evidence in support of criminal prosecutions. Extensive liaison with case investigators and prosecutors will be involved, and you will lead on large and complex forensic investigations. There is an on-call commitment, and you will be responsible for digital evidence recovery at search scenes. You'll come to us with a proven track record of conducting digital forensics examinations in a commercial or criminal justice capacity. Able to explain technical information effectively to the wider population as well as our national and international partners, you will have a mix of law enforcement and Information Security experience.

You might currently be working for the police or a similar law enforcement agency, or in a consultancy or in-house role. It's likely you'll have a postgraduate-level qualification in cyber crime forensics, digital forensics or information security and you'll definitely have a sound understanding of computer network infrastructure. A full driving licence would be desirable.

HMRC plays a vital role in the economic wellbeing of the nation by assessing and collecting tax revenues, and administering benefits and credits to support families and workers. Protecting these revenues has never been more important.

This is a reserved post, open to UK nationals only. For full details on nationality requirements, please refer to http://bit.ly/IgGJRm

For full information and to apply, please visit https://jobsstatic.civilservice.gov.uk/csjobs.html/

Closing date: 2 January 2013

Interview / Sift dates to be confirmed

HMRC Image 2

Higher Forensic Officer (3 permanent posts, 2 London 1 Nottingham)

Forensics Officer (3 permanent posts, 2 London 1 Nottingham)

HMRC Criminal Investigation protects the exchequer from attempted fraud by criminals targeting our regimes. The Cyber Crime Team focuses on protection and prevention of online services whilst the Digital Forensics Group is responsible for the provision of a range of technical and forensic capabilities in support of criminal and civil investigations by HMRC and other agencies.

The Higher Forensic Officer will support the Senior Forensic Practitioner in their work, and will perform the majority of the analysing and presentation of evidence in support of the operational teams.

The Forensic Officer posts are essentially training posts where you can practically build those skills required to support your academic achievements. You will increase your knowledge base to prepare you for promotion to the next grade when required.

You'll come to us with a proven track record of conducting digital forensics examinations in a commercial or criminal justice capacity. Able to explain technical information effectively to the wider population as well as our national and international partners, you will have a mix of law enforcement and Information Security experience.

You might currently be working for the police or a similar law enforcement agency, or in a consultancy or in-house role. It's likely you'll have a postgraduate-level qualification in cyber crime forensics, digital forensics or information security and you'll definitely have a sound understanding of computer network infrastructure. A full driving licence would be desirable.

HMRC plays a vital role in the economic wellbeing of the nation by assessing and collecting tax revenues, and administering benefits and credits to support families and workers. Protecting these revenues has never been more important.

This is a reserved post, open to UK nationals only. For full details on nationality requirements, please refer to http://bit.ly/IgGJRm

For full information and to apply, please visit https://jobsstatic.civilservice.gov.uk/csjobs.html/

Closing date: 2 January 2013.

Interview / Sift dates to be confirmed

At HMRC we welcome applications from people from every kind of background so that we mirror the community we serve.

Job Advert img

Cyber Crime Specialist (1 post) -- Grade 6
Fixed-term appointments for 2 years
Flexible UK location

HMRC's Specialist Cyber Crime Team protects the exchequer from attempted fraud by cyber criminals who are using increasingly sophisticated ways to target our repayment systems. Building on HMRC's existing cyber counter-fraud, investigation and intelligence work they are a key element of HMRCs Cyber Crime and Security Strategy. Join our Cyber Crime Team, and you will play a critical role in protecting your own, and everyone else's information.

We'll look to you to provide technical expertise and consultancy on the impact of cyber crime on our systems, providing authoritative advice to regime owners and system designers. An excellent communicator, you'll develop and maintain strong relationships with government and industry bodies to enhance our electronic fraud prevention and criminal investigation capabilities. You'll also take the technical lead in complex criminal investigations, supporting investigative teams by identifying and securing digital evidence from internal and external computer networks ‐ evidence to be used in criminal and civil proceedings.

You'll come to us with a proven track record of conducting cyber crime or digital forensics examinations in a commercial or criminal justice capacity. Able to explain technical information effectively to the wider population as well as our national and international partners, you will have a mix of law enforcement and information security experience.

You might currently be working for the police or a similar law enforcement agency, or in a consultancy or in-house role. You'll have a postgraduate-level qualification in cyber crime forensics, digital forensics or information security and you'll definitely have a sound understanding of computer network infrastructure. A full driving license would be desirable.

HMRC plays a vital role in the economic wellbeing of the nation by assessing and collecting tax revenues, and administering benefits and credits to support families and workers. Protecting these revenues has never been more important.

This is a reserved post, open to UK nationals only. For full details on nationality requirements, please refer to http://bit.ly/IgGJRm

For full information and to apply, please visit https://jobsstatic.civilservice.gov.uk/csjobs.html//

Closing date: 2nd January 2013

Interview / Sift dates to be confirmed

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/Digital Forensics Magazine Christmas Special

It is the season of specials. This year, Digital Forensics Magazine has decided to help you celebrate the festive season with our very own Christmas special.

The voucher below can be used by yourself, or given as a present to get 20% off a full years digital subscription. But hurry! This offer will end on the 1st February 2013.



Click here to use the voucher code now.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Digital Forensics Magazine

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