Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

10/26/2007
03:07 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

How Dumb Is Too Dumb To Operate a Computer?

Over at GnuCitizen.org, Petko D. Petkov makes it clear that computer users are the weak link in Internet security. In a blog post, Petkov points out that the term "drive-by download," as defined by Wikipedia, doesn't quite work.

Over at GnuCitizen.org, Petko D. Petkov makes it clear that computer users are the weak link in Internet security.

In a blog post, Petkov points out that the term "drive-by download," as defined by Wikipedia, doesn't quite work.Part of the definition Wikipedia offers is, "Download of spyware, a computer virus, or any kind of malware that happens without knowledge of the user. Drive-by downloads may happen by visiting a Web site, viewing an e-mail message, or by clicking on a deceptive popup window: the user clicks on the window in the mistaken belief that, for instance, it is an error report from his own PC or that it is an innocuous advertisement popup; in such cases, the 'supplier' may claim that the user 'consented' to the download though he was completely unaware of having initiated a malicious software download."

The problem with the term "drive-by download" is that it doesn't properly attribute blame to the user in cases where the user is initiating the download with a click.

Petkov's concern is more about whether Sun needs to rethink security for the Java Runtime, which allows signed applets to operate with the privileges of desktop applications.

But it's also worth asking whether computer users should be required to demonstrate some level of competence before being allowed to connect to the Internet. As Petkov says, users will approve anything just to get a game to run, for example. "This type of attack is by far the simplest to perform and does not rely on any particular kind of vulnerability," he said in his post.

Actually, there is a vulnerability: the computer user.

So what's to be done? We don't let patients with highly infectious diseases like tuberculosis travel on airplanes, or at least we don't in theory. Yet anyone can put an insecure computer on the Net and unwittingly help hackers and malware writers spread viruses and the like through unsafe computer use.

Admittedly, the disease metaphor isn't entirely apt and there's a big difference between spreading ebola and spreading spam and adware.

But surely computer use carries with it some responsibility not to make online life worse for others through negligence or ignorance.

Doesn't it?

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 6/5/2020
How AI and Automation Can Help Bridge the Cybersecurity Talent Gap
Peter Barker, Chief Product Officer at ForgeRock,  6/1/2020
Cybersecurity Spending Hits 'Temporary Pause' Amid Pandemic
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  6/2/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: What? IT said I needed virus protection!
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-13864
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
The Elementor Page Builder plugin before 2.9.9 for WordPress suffers from a stored XSS vulnerability. An author user can create posts that result in a stored XSS by using a crafted payload in custom links.
CVE-2020-13865
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
The Elementor Page Builder plugin before 2.9.9 for WordPress suffers from multiple stored XSS vulnerabilities. An author user can create posts that result in stored XSS vulnerabilities, by using a crafted link in the custom URL or by applying custom attributes.
CVE-2020-11696
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
In Combodo iTop a menu shortcut name can be exploited with a stored XSS payload. This is fixed in all iTop packages (community, essential, professional) in version 2.7.0 and iTop essential and iTop professional in version 2.6.4.
CVE-2020-11697
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
In Combodo iTop, dashboard ids can be exploited with a reflective XSS payload. This is fixed in all iTop packages (community, essential, professional) for version 2.7.0 and in iTop essential and iTop professional packages for version 2.6.4.
CVE-2020-13646
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
In the cheetah free wifi 5.1 driver file liebaonat.sys, local users are allowed to cause a denial of service (BSOD) or other unknown impact due to failure to verify the value of a specific IOCTL.