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Privacy

2/26/2015
03:20 PM
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Hits Keep On Coming For Both SSL & Its Abusers

Hacktivist group Lizard Squad punishes Lenovo with a DNS hijack. Will Comodo be next?

Hacktivists this week have retaliated against Komodia and Lenovo for their roles in distributing Komodia's Superfish adware that compromises all SSL communications on Lenovo's Windows laptops. Monday, Komodia's website was DDoSed. Wednesday, Lenovo's website was taken over by hacking group Lizard Squad, as the result of a DNS hijacking attack on the Malaysian registrar that hosts Lenovo.com.

According to KrebsOnSecurity, the attackers exploited the registrar, Web Commerce Communication (Webnic), via a command injection vulnerability, and uploaded a rootkit. They were then able to change the IP address associated with Lenovo.com, sending visitors instead to a page that featured a slideshow that linked to the Lizard Squad Twitter account.

By hijacking the domain name, they were also able to intercept email and spoof email accounts. Lizard Squad showed off an email they lifted that referenced continuing problems with Superfish: 

It's possible that SSL certificate authority Comodo could be the next target. This week it was reported that Comodo had been shipping PrivDog, an application developed by the company's founder that commits many of the same offenses as Superfish -- and under the guise of a tool that supposed to make Web browsing more private.

Like Superfish, PrivDog acts as a man-in-the-middle to hijack SSL communications, installs a trusted root certificate, and fails to certify legitimate SSL certificates from other sources. Some security experts have said it is even worse than Superfish.

 

Dark Reading's Quick Hits delivers a brief synopsis and summary of the significance of breaking news events. For more information from the original source of the news item, please follow the link provided in this article. View Full Bio

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RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2015 | 1:30:05 PM
Re: Overall Benefit to Superfish and PrivDog
@Sara Peters. Thanks for clarifying. Although now I'm appalled that this is a common practice within lenovo machines. The typical end user is most likely unaware and if I were them I would be thoroughly annoyed when I found out there is no way around having ads thrown in my face from all directions.

Utterly disappointing...
Sara Peters
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Sara Peters,
User Rank: Author
2/27/2015 | 11:22:16 AM
Re: Overall Benefit to Superfish and PrivDog
@RyanSepe  Well Superfish's claim is that it helps users by serving them ads/offers for things they already seem to want -- so if they're looking at blenders, they'll serve an ad for a houseware company or something. But its real benefit is to Lenovo, because Komodia pays them to preinstall Superfish.

PrivDog's claim is that it improves users' privacy when they're browsing, but I think that's BS. Hanno Bock explains it like this: "The webpage claims: 'PrivDog protects your privacy while browsing the web and more!' What PrivDog does technically is to detect ads it considers as bad and replace them with ads delivered by AdTrustMedia, the company behind PrivDog."
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2015 | 9:46:12 AM
Overall Benefit to Superfish and PrivDog
Other than installing a trusted cert, is there an overall benefit to Superfish and PrivDog? It seems like there are more inherent detriments with the technology than benefits.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2015 | 6:34:26 PM
Can't keep them out?
Dismaying that hackers seem to be able to do this at will.
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