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

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Welcome to the September edition of the Digital Forensics Magazine Newsletter. With the release of Issue 12 last month, we are already in the build up to Issue 13, which is due out in November and, as usual, is packed full of different features.

In this months newsletter we bring you details of what's coming up in Issue 13, the latest news and details De Montfort Universities brand new Cyber Security Centre.

Information Assurance Strategies Ltd

/In The News

UK’s First Academic Research Institute to investigate the “Science of Cyber Security”

The Institute, which is funded by a £3.8 million grant, is part of a cross-government commitment towards increasing the nation’s academic capability in all fields of Cyber Security. Its research will ultimately make it easier for businesses, individuals and government to take informed decisions about how to implement better cyber protection measures and safely benefit from the huge opportunities offered in Cyber Space.

Established by GCHQ, in partnership with the Research Councils’ Global Uncertainties Programme (RCUK), (led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)), and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Research Institute is a virtual organisation involving seven universities. It will allow leading academics in the field of Cyber Security including social scientists, mathematicians and computer scientists from across the UK to work together.

It will also connect them with the collective expertise of industry security experts and international researchers in the field to tackle some of the UK’s toughest challenges in Cyber Security, in both the public and private sectors.

Francis Maude, Minister for Cyber Security said "The UK is one of the most secure places in the world to do business - already 8% of our GDP is generated from the cyber world and that trend is set to grow. But we are not complacent. Through the National Cyber Security Programme we are putting serious investment into the best UK expertise to lead thought in the science of cyber. The UK's first academic Research Institute will strengthen capability in a strategically important area, keeping the UK at the forefront of international research in the field."

Congratulating the successful teams, David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said: "Britain has one of the largest online economies in the world and a growing cyber security sector, and we need to ensure this success continues. This new Research Institute will draw on the leading expertise in our universities from both technological and behavioural disciplines to address key challenges. It will help businesses, government and individuals to better protect themselves from cyber threats so they can make the most of the opportunities the internet presents."

CyberMD advert

China’s Cyber-Attack Fears to Spark Massive Defense Spending

China’s concerns over the safety of its power infrastructure will result in astronomical security spending over the next decade, states the latest report by international business analysts GlobalData.

The new paper* says that China’s cyber security market will expand remarkably in the coming years, from a valuation of $1.8 billion in 2011 to $50 billion by 2020, representing a dramatic compound annual growth rate (CAGR) increase of 44.7%.

The study describes the country’s cyber security market as an ‘anomaly’, due to the scale of expenditure when compared with that of other regions - Europe and North America combined are predicted to spend a comparatively modest $16 billion during the same period.

The Asian giant has a strained relationship with a number of nations in relation to cyber security, with the US in particular often accusing Chinese hackers of attempting to breach their power systems, although this has never been confirmed by Chinese government. Such accusations may have fostered an environment of mistrust in which the Chinese authorities expect retaliatory cyber-attacks on their own power infrastructure.

However, as GlobalData explains, for a country experiencing rapid urbanization and undertaking smart grid construction on a vast geographical scale, the cost of protecting all available access points will be huge. The smart grid building phase is expected to be complete by 2015, at which point tens of thousands of homes will be securely connected at an approximate cost of $1,000 per household.

The Stuxnet computer worm, discovered in 2010, was a major example of the vulnerability of power grids to malicious cyber-attack. The worm focused on five Iran-based organizations and was believed by many to be a deliberate attempt to disrupt the Iranian nuclear power program.

New version of DIGIPASS for Mobile combines excellent user convenience with enhanced security

VASCO Data Security International, Inc., a leading software security company specializing in strong authentication products and services, launches today a new version of DIGIPASS for Mobile. DIGIPASS for Mobile 4.0 offers an enhanced user experience through the use of QR codes and more enhanced provisioning and deployment options. With the launch of DIGIPASS for Mobile 4.0 VASCO reinforces its commitment in providing banks and enterprises with innovative security solutions that gain a widespread high end-user acceptance.

DIGIPASS for Mobile 4.0 provides two-factor authentication with one-time passwords and e-signature functionality to address security risks associated with online and mobile applications. New is that the application is bound to device-dependent components and linked to the user with a PIN code, preventing the application from being duplicated on another phone or mobile device. The new version also offers enhanced provisioning and even provides provisioning options for software DIGIPASS using HSM server side implementation. Furthermore, the application supports eight different crypto-applications, allowing an extended use in different settings such as IVR, online connections, signatures, offline transactions etc.

Deployment options have been extended in this version. Besides the traditional online or off-line deployment modes, DIGIPASS for Mobile 4.0 offers a third option using QR codes. The DIGIPASS application can now be activated in an instant without any additional manual input by just capturing the QR code. Customers willing to outsource the provisioning can make use of VASCO's operated DIGIPASS as a Service Provisioning Service.

The application is fully customizable based on customers' individual requirements and comes with a complete set of tools allowing customers to publish their own company branded application on common application stores.

/DMU launches brand new Cyber Security Centre

De Monfort University, in Leicester, UK, celebrated the grand opening of its brand new Cyber Security Centre, on Tuesday 18th September.

The Cyber Security Centre (CSC) will form a new research department at the University, aiming to provide research solutions to a world that is suffering from more and more cyber crises each day.

This move comes as a result of the increased concerns amongst governments, businesses and experts that cyber systems are constantly at risk from highly sophisticated attacks from hackers and malicious users.

Director of the CSC, Dr Tim Watson, explained that, so far, there had been "too little" effort to define cyber security in practice and that the CSC has been designed to achieve this through "collaborative, international and multidisciplinary" approaches to cyber security.

He further explained that,

“Protection of cyberspace would fail unless conventional boundaries between academia and the public and private sectors were broken down."

“If the purpose of computing is to serve humanity, then the purpose of cyber security is to do the same.”

The CSC Grand Opening took place at the University campus, on Tuesday 18th September, where Dr Watson and other speakers presented talks and discussions on various topics, as well as presenting industry tools being developed for cyber security purposes.

/From the DFM Team

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/Issue 13 of Digital Forensics Magazine Due Out November.

Continuing our aim of bringing you new and interesting articles from the world of Digital Forensics, Issue 13 is shaping up to be another good mix of research and practical advice, here is just a taste of some of the articles being looked at.

The team at DFM reserves the right to change the planned content of any issue, at any time.


SSD's & Digital Forensics

This feature article by James Wiebe will present some new thoughts on how data may be hidden on hard drives. Covering old concepts first, (such as Host Protected Areas), the author will present alternative methods for hiding information on hard drives, such as in supervisory areas. These areas are never visible through standard drive commands, and are also are not visible to any operating system. The article will also discuss hypothetical examples of how drives may be 'tampered' by sophisticated bad guys in order to provide facade characteristics to a forensic investigator.

Database Specific Forensics

In this article David Litchfield looks at the collection, collation and analysis of evidence from a compromised Oracle database server showing how the what, how, why as well as how time and cost of a breach investigation can both be dramatically reduced using a particular framework and tool, the article will look at the science behind the tool and the problem it is solving.

Human Forensics: Tactical Interviewing for Forensic Examiners

Accessing this information demands more than a write blocker and a laptop, and techniques used must work both on those anxious to recall all they can, and those with something to hide. The Police have the skills to tackle this issue, but as they are not involved in the majority of incidents, this is a capability forensic practitioners would benefit from acquiring. This article will introduce readers to the PEACE system of tactical interviewing used by the UK Police and other enforcement agencies and show how it can be applied.

Mobile Malware

The mobile phone is considered by many as a necessity with practically every handbag and pocket hiding these modern miracles of technology. Jamie Blasco takes a look at how malware on smartphones is used by criminals to make money; they steal information, contact details, emails, personal data or even financial information; they hijack browser sessions, interfering with online banking transactions and circumventing one time password (OTP) security procedures; even certain apps can have a malicious undertone for example sending SMS messages to premium rate numbers.

The Wild West of Social Media Collection

In this article Gina Gallup takes a look at how Social media/webmail are still part of the Wild West as far as forensic collections and electronic discovery are concerned. This article will look at how to standardize and de-duplicate various formats; how to search and filter entries if they can't be uploaded to a traditional platform, and what authorizations you need to collect information.

Video Identification

The proliferation of video material that can be downloaded from the Internet has resulted in child abuse and terrorism cases becoming even more complex and time-consuming to investigate. Dr Richard Leary, MBE, a former West Midlands Police officer and one of the original Directors who set up the Jill Dando Institute looks at the current challenges faced by investigators and introduces VIdentifier the efficient and easy-to-use video identification system.

Tarantula Uncovered

We asked the folks at Tarantula to provide us with an in depth, step-by-step guide on how to use the Tarantula equipment. The tutorial will cover the following; Setup, Connection to device under investigation, Extraction of Data, Analysis of data and an additional section on the Tarantula case management software included as part of the package.

Content of any Issue is subject to change without notice.

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