Category Archives: Digital Security

Digital security is the process of protecting your online identity, data, and other assets from intruders, such as hackers, scammers, and fraudsters. It is essential for trust in the digital age, as well as for innovation, competitiveness, and growth. This field covers the economic and social aspects of cybersecurity, as opposed to purely technical aspects and those related to criminal law enforcement or national and international security.

In this category, you will find articles related to digital security that have a direct or indirect connection with the activities of Freemindtronic Andorra or that may interest the readers of the article published in this category. You will learn about the latest trends, challenges, and solutions in this field, as well as the best practices and recommendations from experts and organizations such as the OECD. You will also discover how to protect your personal data from being used and sold by companies without your consent.

Whether you are an individual, a business owner, or a policy maker, you will benefit from reading these articles and gaining more knowledge and awareness about this topic and its importance for your online safety and prosperity. Some of the topics that you will find in this category are:

  • How to prevent and respond to cyberattacks
  • How to use encryption and cryptography to secure your data
  • How to manage risks and vulnerabilities
  • How to comply with laws and regulations
  • How to foster a culture of security in your organization
  • How to educate yourself and others about this topic

We hope that you will enjoy reading these articles and that they will inspire you to take action to improve your security. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us.

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PrintListener: How to Betray Fingerprints

PrintListener technology concept with NFC security solutions.

PrintListener: The Sound of your Fingers can Reveal your Fingerprints

PrintListener emerges as a groundbreaking technology challenging the reliability of fingerprint security. By capturing the unique sound of finger friction on touchscreens, it enables the reproduction of fingerprints. This innovative approach sets PrintListener apart, highlighting its potential to redefine biometric security measures. As we explore its implications, the need for heightened awareness and protective strategies becomes evident.

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Stay informed in our posts dedicated to Digital Security to follow its evolution thanks to our regularly updated topics

Learn more through this Digital Security section on the new possibility of corrupting fingerprints written by Jacques Gascuel, creator of data security solutions. Stay informed and safe with our regular updates.

PrintListener: How this Technology can Betray your Fingerprints and How to Protect yourself

PrintListener revolutionizes the realm of Acoustic Analysis Attacks by honing in on the unique sound of finger friction on touchscreens. This novel approach allows for the replication of fingerprints, marking a significant advancement in the field. Unlike traditional techniques that broadly utilize sound to breach security, PrintListener’s methodical focus distinguishes it as a pioneering and distinct attack strategy. This specificity in exploiting fingerprint authentication systems through acoustic signals elevates PrintListener above conventional methods. As we delve deeper into PrintListener, understand the risks it poses to identity and data, and explore protective measures, this article serves as a crucial guide for safeguarding against such innovative threats.

What is PrintListener?

PrintListener is the result of a collaboration between researchers from Zhejiang University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Washington. They presented their technology at the ACM CCS 2022 conference, one of the most prestigious in the field of computer security. Their paper, titled “PrintListener: Fingerprinting Smartphones from Touchscreen Sound”, describes in detail the working and evaluation of PrintListener¹.

The technology exploits the friction noise of fingers on the screen, which reveals the features of fingerprints. By analyzing this sound with advanced algorithms, PrintListener can create fingerprint copies with high accuracy. You can download the officel document “PrintListener: Uncovering the Vulnerability of Fingerprint Authentication via the Finger Friction Sound“.

How can PrintListener attack fingerprint readers?

Fingerprint readers are increasingly common on smartphones, computers, or applications. They are supposed to offer a high level of security, by verifying the user’s identity from their unique fingerprint.

But PrintListener can fool these readers, by using the fingerprint copies it has generated. The researchers showed that their software could succeed in attacking up to 27.9% of partial fingerprints and 9.3% of full fingerprints in only five attempts, even at the highest security level¹.

Hackers could thus access your accounts, data, or services without your consent. They could capture the sound of your fingers from various sources, such as speakerphone calls, voice messages, or online games.

How to protect yourself against PrintListener?

PrintListener represents a serious threat to biometric security, which was until now considered infallible. To protect yourself against this vulnerability, you should adopt proactive security measures, such as:

  • Updating your antivirus, which could detect and block PrintListener or other malware.
  • Using headphones or earphones, to prevent the sound of your fingers from being captured by the microphone of your smartphone or computer.
  • Activating other authentication modes, such as PIN code or facial recognition, which are less prone to hacking.
  • Changing your passwords regularly, and using strong and different passwords for each account.

How to corrupt a fingerprint?

If PrintListener is not yet available to the public, there are other methods to corrupt a fingerprint. Some are simpler than others, but they all require a certain level of skill and equipment.

  • Making a mold. This involves reproducing the fingerprint of a person from an object they have touched, such as a glass, a door handle, or a keyboard. You then need to use a malleable material, such as clay, wax, or gelatin, to create a faithful imprint. This imprint can then be transferred to a rigid support, such as plastic or metal, to create a fake fingerprint.
  • Using a 3D printer. This involves scanning the fingerprint of a person from a photo, a video, or an optical sensor. You then need to use a 3D modeling software to create a digital model of the fingerprint. This model can then be printed in 3D with a conductive material, such as copper or silver, to create a fake fingerprint.
  • Modifying your own fingerprint. This involves changing the appearance of your fingerprint by using invasive or non-invasive techniques. The invasive techniques consist of injuring, burning, or cutting your finger to modify the lines and ridges of the fingerprint. The non-invasive techniques consist of sticking, painting, or tattooing your finger to mimic the fingerprint of another person.

These methods are more or less effective depending on the type of fingerprint reader used. Some readers are more sensitive than others to the temperature, pressure, conductivity, or depth of the fingerprint. You therefore need to adapt your method according to the reader to attack.

Statistics on fingerprint security

Fingerprint security is widely used in various domains, such as banking, healthcare, law enforcement, or travel. However, it is not flawless, and it can be compromised by different methods, such as PrintListener or others. Here are some statistics on fingerprint security that you should know:

These statistics show that fingerprint security is a popular and growing market, but also a vulnerable and risky one. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the potential threats and to take preventive measures to protect your identity and data.

Summary and further reading

In this article, we have explained what PrintListener is, how it works, how it can attack fingerprint readers, and how to protect yourself against it. We have also provided some statistics on fingerprint security that illustrate the importance and the challenges of this technology.

PrintListener is not the only method to corrupt fingerprint authentication. There are other methods, such as making a mold, using a 3D printer, or modifying your own fingerprint. These methods are more or less effective depending on the type of fingerprint reader used.

If you want to learn more about these other methods, you can read our article (Are fingerprint systems really secure? How to protect your data and identity against BrutePrint), in the Digital Security section of our website. You will find out how they work, what are their advantages and disadvantages, and how to prevent them.

Enhancing Security with EviPass NFC HSM and EviCypher NFC HSM Technologies

Secure Physical Secret Outsourcing

In the wake of vulnerabilities exposed by PrintListener, adopting EviPass NFC HSM and EviCypher NFC HSM technologies becomes crucial. These solutions physically externalize sensitive information like passwords, encryption keys, OTP keys, and enable AES-256 encryption of data and messaging via NFC HSM devices. Even if a device’s fingerprint security is compromised, externally stored secrets remain inviolable, safeguarding encrypted data and messages.

Summary and Conclusion

PrintListener has shed light on significant flaws within fingerprint authentication systems, underscoring the urgent need for enhanced security measures. The integration of EviPass NFC HSM and EviCypher NFC HSM technologies offers a robust solution, physically externalizing and encrypting sensitive information beyond the reach of acoustic fingerprint hacking. This approach not only fortifies biometric security but also ensures the integrity of encrypted data and communications, providing a comprehensive shield against emerging threats.

BitLocker Security: Safeguarding Against Cyberattacks

A visual representation of BitLocker Security featuring a central lock icon surrounded by elements representing Microsoft, TPM, and Windows security settings.

Elevating BitLocker Security: A Comprehensive Guide

BitLocker Security stands as the first line of defense in safeguarding Windows data. This comprehensive guide delves into enhancing encryption measures, tackling vulnerabilities, and integrating advanced solutions for unparalleled protection. Discover how technologies like PassCypher and DataShielder, in synergy with BitLocker, revolutionize data security.

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Dive into our analysis to gain crucial information about BitLocker security. Stay informed and protected against evolving cyber threats with our regularly updated topics.

Secure your data with our BitLocker security insights from Jacques Gascuel, a data security visionary. Stay informed and protected with our regular updates.

Elevating Data Protection on Windows with BitLocker Security

Are you utilizing a Windows computer for personal or professional data storage and processing? Aiming to shield your information from theft, loss, or exposure risks during device disposal? Seeking a straightforward, effective security solution without additional software installations? BitLocker, integrated within Windows, provides a formidable solution.

BitLocker: A Cornerstone of Windows Security

BitLocker emerges as a key security feature in Windows, enabling the encryption of entire volumes — be it partitions or hard drives. By deploying robust encryption algorithms like the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), BitLocker converts your data into a format unreadable to unauthorized individuals lacking the encryption key.

This encryption key is securely generated and stored by the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), a specialized security chip embedded in the motherboards of select computers. The TPM’s role extends to generating and storing encryption keys, digital signatures, boot measurements, and even biometric identifiers. Crucially, TPM 2.0 is mandated for the installation and operation of Windows 11, Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Moreover, the TPM assures device integrity when offline — that is, when your computer is shut down or in sleep mode. It assesses the boot code executed at device startup against a reference value within the TPM. A match allows the TPM to unlock the encryption key, facilitating normal device startup. A mismatch, however, results in the TPM securing the key, thereby thwarting the device’s boot process.

Further enhancing security, BitLocker can condition the normal startup process on the provision of a personal code (PIN) or the insertion of a removable device containing a startup key. These added authentication measures fortify BitLocker security, necessitating multi-factor authentication. Without the correct PIN or startup key at each boot, BitLocker retains the encryption key, preventing data access.

In This Article, Discover:

  • BitLocker’s Mechanisms: Grasp how BitLocker operates to encrypt entire volumes securely.
  • BitLocker Security Benefits: Explore the myriad ways BitLocker fortifies data security.
  • Navigating BitLocker’s Vulnerabilities: Learn about potential risks to BitLocker and strategies for protection.
  • BitLocker Activation and Configuration: Detailed guidance on enabling and setting up BitLocker on Windows.
  • Enhancing BitLocker Security with EviPass NFC HSM, EviCypher NFC HSM, and EviKeyboard BLE: At the article’s conclusion, we’ll delve into how these innovative solutions bolster BitLocker security against various attacks.

BitLocker Security: Operational Insights

BitLocker secures data using potent algorithms and keys, intricately stored within the TPM, rendering them nearly impossible to extract or tamper with. This ensures that data remains inaccessible without the correct encryption key or authentication.

The TPM not only generates and secures encryption keys but also plays a critical role in verifying device integrity, especially during offline periods. This security measure is vital for maintaining device protection, particularly at startup. Moreover, BitLocker’s synergy with other Windows security features like Secure Boot and Windows Information Protection further elevates data safeguarding.

The Advantages of BitLocker for Protecting Data

With BitLocker, users enjoy extensive benefits for data security, such as:

  • Preventing Unauthorized Data Access: Through advanced encryption and TPM-stored keys, BitLocker shields data against both software attacks and physical disk tampering.
  • Securing Data on Disposed Devices: Ensuring data on discarded BitLocker-protected devices remains unreadable without proper encryption or authentication methods.
  • Protection Against Device Theft or Loss: By requiring a PIN or startup key, BitLocker offers multi-factor authentication, significantly reducing unauthorized access risks.

By integrating BitLocker into your data protection strategy, you enhance the security layer around sensitive information. This guide not only elucidates BitLocker’s significance and operational mechanics but also introduces “EviPass NFC HSM, EviCypher NFC HSM, and EviKeyboard BLE” as pivotal in advancing BitLocker security against diverse threats. Stay tuned for an in-depth exploration of these enhancements towards the article’s end.

BitLocker Security: Analyzing Attacks and Vulnerabilities in TPM and TPM 2.0

Introduction to BitLocker’s Encryption Technology

BitLocker is an integral encryption technology within Windows, designed to protect data on hard drives and removable media. Utilizing the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), BitLocker secures data with a secret key. This key can be stored in a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), a security chip on the motherboard, or through alternative methods like passwords, PINs, USB keys, or certificates. While BitLocker significantly enhances protection against data theft, loss, and unauthorized system boot or code alterations, it is not without vulnerabilities. These include the necessity of recovery key backups, compatibility issues with certain hardware and software, and susceptibility to specific attack techniques. This article delves into the various attack possibilities and vulnerabilities associated with TPM and TPM 2.0, detailing their mechanisms, consequences, and countermeasures.

TPM 1.2: Security Functions and Vulnerabilities

Placement du diagramme : immédiatement après l’explication des attaques par démarrage à froid, incluez un diagramme de processus étape par étape. Ce diagramme doit décrire la séquence d’une attaque par démarrage à froid : (1) l’attaquant redémarre le périphérique, (2) accède à la RAM avant qu’elle ne s’efface et (3) extrait les clés de chiffrement BitLocker. Utilisez des icônes ou des illustrations pour un ordinateur, de la RAM et un symbole de clé pour représenter la clé de cryptage.

The Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 offers security functions like random number generation, secure cryptographic key creation, and digital signatures. While it bolsters BitLocker data security, TPM 1.2 is vulnerable to several attack types:

Cold Boot Attacks on TPM 1.2 or TMP 2.0

Cold boot attacks involve rebooting a TPM 1.2-enabled device to access and extract BitLocker encryption keys from RAM before it clears. Attackers can use alternative boot devices or physically transfer RAM to another device. Such attacks expose BitLocker-encrypted data due to TPM 1.2’s lack of effective RAM clearing mechanisms and data decryption prevention without authentication. Transitioning to TPM 2.0, which introduces “Memory Overwrite Request” (MOR) and “Lockout Mode,” provides enhanced protections.

DMA Attacks on TPM 1.2

A diagram showing how ThunderClap Attacks compromise Windows, Linux, and macOS systems through malicious peripherals and DMA.
This diagram explains the complex process of ThunderClap Attacks, which can bypass BitLocker Security measures on different operating systems.

DMA (Direct Memory Access) attacks use external devices to directly access the RAM of a TPM 1.2-enabled device, potentially reading or modifying BitLocker encryption keys. Such attacks compromise BitLocker security due to TPM 1.2’s inefficiencies in RAM protection and data integrity verification.

To defend against DMA attacks, it’s recommended to:

  • Disable or secure device DMA ports, such as FireWire or Thunderbolt.
  • Use a PIN or startup key to lock device booting, preventing access to BitLocker-encrypted data without proper credentials.
  • Encrypt data on external storage devices to prevent them from becoming attack vectors.

RAM Analysis Attacks on TPM 1.2

RAM analysis attacks use specialized software or hardware to scan a device’s RAM for sensitive information, including BitLocker keys. TPM 1.2’s inability to protect RAM or verify data integrity leaves BitLocker-encrypted data vulnerable. Upgrading to TPM 2.0, which employs Device Encryption to bind data encryption to device hardware, mitigates these risks by not exposing the encryption key to RAM.

TPM 2.0: Enhanced Security Features and Vulnerabilities

TPM 2.0 introduces advanced security functions, including improved random number generation, secure cryptographic key creation, and digital signatures. These enhancements strengthen BitLocker security but do not render TPM 2.0 impervious to attacks:

Cold Boot Attacks on TPM 2.0

A person using a cold spray to freeze the RAM of a laptop, highlighting the risk of cold boot attacks for BitLocker Security.
A cold spray can be used to preserve the data in the RAM after shutting down or restarting the system, exposing the BitLocker encryption keys to an attacker

Similar to TPM 1.2, TPM 2.0 is susceptible to cold boot attacks, where sensitive information like BitLocker keys can be extracted from RAM following a device reboot. TPM 2.0’s lack of effective RAM clearing mechanisms and data decryption prevention without authentication leaves BitLocker-encrypted data vulnerable. Utilizing TPM 2.0’s Lockout Mode, which limits decryption attempts and imposes delays between attempts, along with employing a PIN or startup key for device booting, enhances security against cold boot attacks.

For additional information on defending against cold boot attacks on TPM 2.0, explore:

Fault Injection Attacks on TPM 2.0

Fault injection attacks induce errors in TPM 2.0’s operation by altering physical conditions, such as voltage, temperature, or radiation, potentially causing information leaks or malfunctions. Common techniques include “glitching,” where electrical impulses disrupt TPM operations, revealing sensitive information or compromising data integrity. These vulnerabilities, tracked as CVE-2023-1017 and CVE-2023-1018, highlight the importance of updating TPM firmware and employing fault-resistant TPMs or physical isolation measures to protect against such attacks.

To further understand fault injection attacks on TPM 2.0, consider:

  • “Fault Injection Techniques and Tools for Embedded Systems Reliability Evaluation,” presenting fault injection principles, methods, and tools.
  • “Fault Injection Attacks on Cryptographic Devices: Theory, Practice, and Countermeasures,” analyzing fault injection attacks on cryptographic devices and offering effective countermeasures.
  • A video on fault injection attacks on TPMs, demonstrating attack execution and prevention methods.

Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks on TPM 2.0

TPM 2.0 cannot safeguard against phishing or social engineering attacks that manipulate users into divulging sensitive information, such as passwords or encryption keys. These attacks use deceptive communication methods, posing as legitimate entities like Microsoft or technical support, to exploit user emotions, needs, or weaknesses. To defend against such attacks, never disclose personal information to unknown or suspicious entities, verify the credibility of sources before trusting them, and utilize TPM 2.0’s Lockout Mode to limit decryption attempts and impose delays between attempts. Additionally, educating users on phishing and social engineering techniques and reporting suspicious activities to authorities are crucial countermeasures.

For more insights into phishing and social engineering attacks on TPM 2.0, explore:

  • “Phishing and Social Engineering,” describing attack characteristics, consequences, and prevention tips.
  • “BitLocker Security FAQ,” answering common questions about BitLocker security and explaining TPM 2.0’s Lockout Mode defense against phishing and social engineering attacks.
  • How to spot and avoid phishing scams, a tutorial on recognizing and avoiding phishing attempts, offering tools and services for protection.

The Bus Pirate Attack on TPM 2.0

To better understand how a Bus Pirate attack works, here’s a video made by security researcher Stacksmashing, who successfully extracted the BitLocker encryption key from a laptop using a Raspberry Pi Pico, a microcontroller that costs less than 10 euros. He then used Dislocker software to decrypt the hard drive with the obtained key.

Extracting the BitLocker key

The attacker opened the laptop case, located the TPM’s SPI port, and connected the Raspberry Pi Pico with wires. Using a Python script, he read and wrote to the TPM, and extracted the BitLocker encryption key. He then removed the hard drive from the laptop, connected it to another computer, and decrypted the data with the Dislocker software and the key. The Raspberry Pi Pico served as a tool to “sniff” BitLocker keys and to create a debugging and glitch attack tool.

The Pirate Bus

The Bus Pirate is a hardware hacking tool that communicates with various electronic bus protocols. It supports serial protocols such as 1-wire, 2-wire, 3-wire, UART, I2C, SPI and HD44780 LCD. It can access the TPM via the SPI port, which is a synchronous communication protocol that transfers data between a master and one or more slaves. The TPM is a slave that responds to the master’s commands.

Stacksmashing video

To understand how a Bus Pirate attack works, watch this video by security researcher Stacksmashing, who extracted the BitLocker encryption key from a laptop using a Raspberry Pi Pico, a cheap microcontroller. He then decrypted the hard drive with the Dislocker software and the key, showing how the attack can bypass BitLocker security.

TPM 2.0 vulnerabilities

The Bus Pirate attack exploits the SPI communication vulnerabilities of TPM 2.0, allowing attackers to intercept BitLocker encryption keys by “eavesdropping” on unencrypted communications. This method requires physical access to the target computer and specialized hardware, and can potentially enable arbitrary code execution and cryptographic information extraction.

Protective measures

To mitigate these risks, use TPM 2.0 models that resist fault injection attacks, improve the physical isolation of TPM 2.0, and protect the SPI port from unauthorized access or manipulation. This video demonstrates a Bus Pirate attack on TPM 2.0, where security researcher Stacksmashing extracted a BitLocker encryption key using a Raspberry Pi Pico. After the key extraction, Stacksmashing decrypted the hard drive with the Dislocker software and the key, revealing the attack’s ability to circumvent BitLocker security. To prevent such attacks, secure the TPM’s SPI port physically, update the TPM firmware regularly, and use tamper-evident seals to detect any unauthorized access. Moreover, implement SPI firewalls, update security patches, follow the principle of least privilege, enforce strong password policies, use multi-factor authentication, and consider physical security measures to avoid unauthorized access.

Brute Force Attacks on TPM and TPM 2.0

Brute force attacks attempt to guess passwords or encryption keys by systematically testing all possible combinations. Such attacks can compromise BitLocker security, as TPM and TPM 2.0 lack mechanisms to effectively limit or slow down authentication attempts. To counter brute force attacks, use long and complex passwords or keys, employ TPM 2.0’s Lockout Mode to restrict decryption attempts and impose delays between attempts, and educate users on recognizing and reporting suspicious brute force attack attempts.

By understanding and addressing the vulnerabilities associated with TPM and TPM 2.0, users can significantly enhance BitLocker’s encryption effectiveness. Implementing technological countermeasures, updating system firmware, and educating users on potential threats are crucial steps in fortifying BitLocker’s defenses against a range of attack methodologies.

Maximizing BitLocker Security: A Detailed Activation and Configuration Manual for Windows Users

Securing data on Windows devices is paramount in today’s digital age. BitLocker, Microsoft’s premier encryption service, stands at the forefront of safeguarding against unauthorized data access, loss, or theft. Elevate your device’s security by meticulously activating and configuring BitLocker with the following steps:

Ensure Your Device Meets BitLocker Requirements

  • Initial Step: Ascertain your Windows device’s compatibility with BitLocker. For Windows 11 users, a TPM 2.0 chip is indispensable. To verify the presence and version of TPM, utilize the built-in TPM management tool accessible via Windows Security settings.

Enable TPM for Enhanced Security

  • Subsequent Step: TPM activation is crucial. This security processor may not be enabled by default. Enter your device’s BIOS or UEFI settings upon startup (often by pressing F2, F12, Del, or Esc) and locate the TPM settings to enable it, laying the groundwork for BitLocker’s encryption capabilities.

Update TPM Firmware for Optimal Performance

  • Critical Step: Keeping your TPM firmware up to date is essential to mitigate potential security vulnerabilities and improve the TPM’s defensive capabilities. Refer to your device manufacturer’s guidance for the specific procedure to update your TPM firmware to the latest version.

Select an Authentication Method Tailored to Your Needs

  • Choice-Driven Step: BitLocker offers multiple authentication methods to unlock your encrypted drive, including PINs, passwords, startup keys (on a USB drive), or recovery keys. Weigh the convenience against security to select the most suitable option. Detailed configuration settings can be found in the BitLocker Drive Encryption control panel.

Decide on BitLocker’s Encryption Strategy

  • Decision Point: BitLocker provides two encryption modes – AES-CBC and XTS-AES. The former is traditional, while the latter, recommended for fixed drives, offers added protection against certain attack vectors. Evaluate your device’s specifications and performance needs to make an informed choice.

Choose the Encryption Algorithm That Suits You Best

  • Technical Selection: BitLocker allows choosing between AES-128 and AES-256 encryption algorithms. While AES-256 offers a higher security level, it may impact system performance. Consider your security requirements and device capabilities before making a selection.

Securely Backup Your BitLocker Recovery Key

  • Safety Measure: The BitLocker recovery key is a failsafe mechanism to access your encrypted data if you forget your primary authentication method. Microsoft offers several backup options, including saving to your Microsoft account, printing it, saving to a file, or even storing it with a cloud-based key management service like Azure Key Vault. This step is crucial; ensure your recovery key is stored in a secure, retrievable location.

Activate BitLocker and Start Encrypting

  • Finalization Step: With all preferences set and the recovery key securely backed up, you’re ready to activate BitLocker. Navigate to the BitLocker Drive Encryption control panel, select the drive you wish to encrypt, and follow the on-screen instructions to start the encryption process. This may take some time depending on the size of the drive and data.

Congratulations on fortifying your Windows device with BitLocker! You’ve taken significant steps towards securing your data. Should you encounter any queries or require further assistance, do not hesitate to consult Microsoft’s comprehensive BitLocker documentation or reach out for support.

Enhancing BitLocker Security with Freemindtronic’s Advanced Solutions

In the contemporary landscape of digital security, safeguarding sensitive information against sophisticated attacks is paramount. Freemindtronic’s innovative technologies, such as PassCypher and DataShielder, along with the integration of EviKeyboard BLE, offer a robust defense mechanism, particularly enhancing BitLocker’s encryption capabilities on Windows platforms.

To further detail the integration of PassCypher and DataShielder products in enhancing BitLocker security, let’s explore how each technology specifically addresses and mitigates the risks associated with different types of attacks, adding depth and clarity to their roles in safeguarding encrypted data.

Combatting Cold Boot Attacks with PassCypher and EviKeyboard BLE

Cold Boot attacks exploit the volatility of RAM to extract sensitive data, including BitLocker encryption keys. PassCypher, a pioneering product by Freemindtronic, revolutionizes password management by utilizing EviPass NFC HSM technology for contactless and password-free security solutions. When combined with EviKeyboard BLE, a USB Bluetooth virtual keyboard technology, it provides an advanced layer of protection against RAM-based attacks. This combination leverages the USB HID (Human Interface Device) protocol to securely input secret keys and PIN codes directly into BIOS or disk startup fields, enabling remote computer control via a smartphone.

USB HID Protocol and RAM Exposure

However, it’s crucial to understand that the USB HID protocol operates through RAM to transmit data between the USB port and the chipset, subsequently transferring it to the processor or TPM. This process implies that data sent by the virtual keyboard could potentially be exposed to RAM-targeting attacks, such as Cold Boot or Direct Memory Access (DMA) attacks. Protecting sensitive data, like passwords and encryption keys inputted or received by the virtual keyboard, necessitates additional precautions.

Limitations of RAM Attacks

Despite their potency, RAM attacks are not without limitations for the attacker:

  • Physical Access Requirement: The attacker needs physical access to the computer and USB port, posing challenges depending on the location and timing of the attempted breach.
  • Necessity of Specialized Equipment: Capturing and analyzing RAM data requires specific hardware and software, which can be expensive or inaccessible.
  • Data Volatility: Post-system shutdown or reboot, RAM data quickly degrades, diminishing the success rate of such attacks. Furthermore, attackers face the challenge of data encryption performed by EviCypher NFC HSM or HSM PGP. These encryption keys, utilized within the operational RAM, are automatically destroyed after encryption and decryption processes, significantly lowering the likelihood of key recovery to nearly zero.

This nuanced understanding underscores the effectiveness of PassCypher in conjunction with EviKeyboard BLE as a formidable countermeasure against Cold Boot attacks. By recognizing the operational dynamics of the USB HID protocol and RAM’s role, alongside the inherent limitations faced by attackers, it’s evident that these Freemindtronic technologies greatly enhance the security posture against sophisticated RAM exploits. The integration of contactless password management and virtual keyboard input mechanisms, especially in environments secured by BitLocker, marks a significant advancement in safeguarding sensitive information from potential Cold Boot and related RAM intrusion attempts.

Defending Against Fault Injection Attacks with DataShielder’s EviCypher Technology

Fault Injection attacks, which attempt to induce errors in the hardware to leak sensitive information, are particularly concerning for TPM 2.0 security. DataShielder, incorporating EviCypher technology, encrypts data on storage devices using the robust AES-256 standard. The encryption keys, randomly generated and stored outside the computer’s environment within secure HSM or NFC HSM, ensure that data remains encrypted and inaccessible, even if attackers bypass TPM security. This external and secure key storage mechanism is crucial for maintaining the integrity of encrypted data against sophisticated fault injection methodologies.

Preventing Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks

PassCypher’s integrated anti-phishing features deliver proactive defenses against social engineering tactics aimed at undermining BitLocker security. The system’s sandboxed URL verification (anti-typosquatting), password integrity checks, and automatable protection against BTIB attacks create an automatic barrier against phishing attempts. By externalizing the storage and management of credentials, PassCypher ensures that even if attackers deceive users, the physical separation of sensitive information keeps it beyond reach, effectively neutralizing phishing and social engineering efforts.

Securing Against The Bus Pirate Attack

The Bus Pirate attack targets the SPI communication channel, a vulnerability in TPM 2.0. DataShielder’s integration of EviCypher for AES-256 encryption on all types of storage media provides a solid defense. By generating encryption keys that are both randomly segmented and securely stored outside the device, DataShielder guarantees that data remains encrypted, irrespective of TPM’s state. This approach of physically externalizing and encrypting keys ensures the highest level of data protection, even in the event of a successful Bus Pirate attack.

Thwarting Brute Force Attacks Through PassCypher

Brute Force attacks attempt to crack encryption by systematically guessing passwords or PIN codes. PassCypher’s capability to generate highly complex passwords and PIN codes, exceeding 256 bits, sets a new standard in security. This complexity makes it virtually impossible for attackers to successfully guess BitLocker credentials, providing a robust defense against brute force methodologies.

As we wrap up our exploration of BitLocker security, it becomes evident that the landscape of digital protection is both vast and intricate. In this context, BitLocker emerges not just as a tool, but as a fortress, designed to shield our digital realms from ever-evolving threats. The collaboration with Freemindtronic technologies like PassCypher and DataShielder, complemented by the utility of EviKeyboard BLE, underscores a pivotal shift towards a more resilient digital defense strategy. This alliance not only elevates BitLocker’s capabilities but also sets a new standard in cybersecurity practices.

Revolutionizing Data Security: BitLocker Enhanced

Indeed, the journey through the nuances of BitLocker’s encryption and the exploration of TPM’s vulnerabilities has underscored the importance of a multifaceted security approach. This journey reveals that, in the face of advancing cyber threats, the integration of cutting-edge solutions like PassCypher and DataShielder with BitLocker security forms an impregnable barrier against unauthorized access and data breaches.

Moreover, addressing the spectrum of attacks—from the Cold Boot and DMA to the sophisticated realms of social engineering—BitLocker, enriched with Freemindtronic’s innovations, stands as a beacon of comprehensive protection. This blend not only secures the data on Windows devices but also fortifies the user’s confidence against potential cyber incursions.

Furthermore, the emphasis on preventing phishing and social engineering attacks highlights the critical need for awareness and the adoption of advanced security measures. Here, the role of PassCypher’s anti-phishing capabilities and the encrypted communication via EviKeyboard BLE becomes paramount, illustrating the necessity of a holistic security posture in safeguarding against the multifarious nature of cyber threats.

Conclusion on BitLocker Security

The synergy between BitLocker’s foundational encryption technology and the advanced protective measures offered by Freemindtronic’s PassCypher and DataShielder exemplifies a forward-thinking approach to cybersecurity. This strategic amalgamation not only ensures the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive data but also propels BitLocker security into a new era of digital safety.

Thus, as we move forward, let us embrace these technological advancements with an informed perspective. Let BitLocker, enhanced by Freemindtronic’s pioneering solutions, serve as the cornerstone of our digital security strategy. In doing so, we fortify our defenses, ready to face the complexities of the cyber landscape with unwavering resilience and assurance.

How the attack against Microsoft Exchange on December 13, 2023 exposed thousands of email accounts

Digital shield by Freemindtronic repelling cyberattack against Microsoft Exchange

How to protect yourself from the attack against Microsoft Exchange?

The attack against Microsoft Exchange was a serious security breach in 2023. Thousands of organizations worldwide were hacked by cybercriminals who exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s email servers. How did this happen? What were the consequences? How did Microsoft react? And most importantly, how can you protect your data and communications? Read our comprehensive analysis and discover Freemindtronic’s technology solutions.

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Cyberattack against Microsoft: discover the potential dangers of stalkerware spyware, one of the attack vectors used by hackers. Stay informed by browsing our constantly updated topics.

Cyberattack against Microsoft: How to Protect Yourself from Stalkerware, a book by Jacques Gascuel, the innovator behind advanced sensitive data security and safety systems, provides invaluable knowledge on how data encryption and decryption can prevent email compromise and other threats.

How the attack against Microsoft Exchange on December 13, 2023 exposed thousands of email accounts

On December 13, 2023, Microsoft was the target of a sophisticated attack by a hacker group called Lapsus$. This attack exploited another vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange, known as CVE-2023-23415, which allowed the attackers to execute remote code on the email servers using the ICMP protocol. The attackers were able to access the email accounts of more than 10,000 Microsoft employees, some of whom were working on sensitive projects such as the development of GTA VI or the launch of Windows 12. The attackers also published part of the stolen data on a website called DarkBeam, where they sold more than 750 million fraudulent Microsoft accounts. Microsoft reacted quickly by releasing a security patch on December 15, 2023, and collaborating with the authorities to arrest the perpetrators of the attack. One of the members of the Lapsus$ group, an Albanian hacker named Kurtaj, was arrested on December 20, 2023, thanks to the cooperation between the American and European intelligence services1234.

What were the objectives and consequences of the attack?

The attack against Microsoft Exchange affected more than 20,000 email servers worldwide, belonging to businesses, institutions and organizations from different sectors. These servers were vulnerable because they used outdated versions of the software, which no longer received security updates. The attack exploited a critical vulnerability known as ProxyLogon (CVE-2023-23415), allowing the attackers to execute remote code on the servers and access the email accounts. Despite the efforts to solve the problem, many vulnerable servers remained active, exposing the email accounts of about 30,000 high-level employees, including executives and engineers. The attackers were able to steal confidential information, such as internal projects, development plans, trade secrets or source codes.

What were the objectives of the attack?

The attack was attributed to Lapsus$, a hacker group linked to Russia. According to Microsoft, the group’s main objective was to gain access to sensitive information from various targets, such as government agencies, think tanks, NGOs, law firms, medical institutions, etc. The group also aimed to compromise the security and reputation of Microsoft, one of the leading technology companies in the world. The attack was part of a larger campaign that also involved the SolarWinds hack, which affected thousands of organizations in 2020.

What were the impacts of the attack?

The attack had serious impacts on the victims, both in terms of data loss and reputation damage. The data stolen by the attackers included personal and professional information, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passwords, bank details, credit card numbers, health records, etc. The attackers also leaked some of the data on the DarkBeam website, where they offered to sell the data to the highest bidder. This exposed the victims to potential identity theft, fraud, blackmail, extortion, or other cybercrimes. The attack also damaged the reputation of Microsoft and its customers, who were seen as vulnerable and unreliable by their partners, clients, and users. The attack also raised questions about the security and privacy of email communication, which is widely used in the digital world.

What were the consequences of the attack?

The attack had several consequences for Microsoft and its customers, who had to take urgent measures to mitigate the damage and prevent further attacks. Microsoft had to release a security patch for the vulnerability, and urge its customers to update their software as soon as possible. Microsoft also had to investigate the origin and extent of the attack, and cooperate with the authorities to identify and arrest the attackers. Microsoft also had to provide support and assistance to its customers, who had to deal with the aftermath of the attack. The customers had to check their email accounts for any signs of compromise, and change their passwords and security settings. They also had to notify their contacts, partners, and clients about the breach, and reassure them about the security of their data. They also had to monitor their online activities and accounts for any suspicious or fraudulent transactions. The attack also forced Microsoft and its customers to review and improve their security policies and practices, and adopt new solutions and technologies to protect their data and communication.

How did the attack succeed despite Microsoft’s defenses?

The attack was sophisticated and stealthy, using several techniques to bypass Microsoft’s defenses. First, the attackers exploited a zero-day vulnerability, which means that it was unknown to Microsoft and the public until it was discovered and reported. Second, the attackers used a proxy tool to disguise their origin and avoid detection. Third, the attackers used web shells to maintain persistent access to the servers and execute commands remotely. Fourth, the attackers used encryption and obfuscation to hide their malicious code and data. Fifth, the attackers targeted specific servers and accounts, rather than launching a massive attack that would have raised more suspicion.

What are the communication vulnerabilities exploited by the attack?

The attack exploited several communication vulnerabilities, such as:

  • Targeted phishing: The attackers sent fake emails to the victims, pretending to be from legitimate sources, such as Microsoft, their bank, or their employer. The emails contained malicious links or attachments, that led the victims to compromised websites or downloaded malware on their devices. The attackers then used the malware to access the email servers and accounts.
  • SolarWinds exploitation: The attackers also used the SolarWinds hack, which was a massive cyberattack that compromised the software company SolarWinds and its customers, including Microsoft. The attackers inserted a backdoor in the SolarWinds software, which allowed them to access the networks and systems of the customers who installed the software. The attackers then used the backdoor to access the email servers and accounts.
  • Brute force attack: The attackers also used a brute force attack, which is a trial-and-error method to guess the passwords or encryption keys of the email accounts. The attackers used automated tools to generate and test a large number of possible combinations, until they found the right one. The attackers then used the passwords or keys to access the email accounts.
  • SQL injection: The attackers also used a SQL injection, which is a technique to insert malicious SQL commands into a web application that interacts with a database. The attackers used the SQL commands to manipulate the database, and access or modify the data stored in it. The attackers then used the data to access the email accounts.

Why did the detection and defense systems of Microsoft Exchange not work?

The detection and defense systems of Microsoft Exchange did not work because the attackers used advanced techniques to evade them. For example, the attackers used a proxy tool to hide their IP address and location, and avoid being traced or blocked by firewalls or antivirus software. The attackers also used web shells to create a backdoor on the servers, and execute commands remotely, without being noticed by the system administrators or the security software. The attackers also used encryption and obfuscation to conceal their malicious code and data, and prevent them from being analyzed or detected by the security software. The attackers also used zero-day vulnerability, which was not known or patched by Microsoft, and therefore not protected by the security software.

How did Microsoft react to the attack?

Microsoft reacted to the attack by taking several actions, such as:

The main actions of Microsoft

  • Releasing a security patch: Microsoft released a security patch for the vulnerability exploited by the attack, and urged its customers to update their software as soon as possible. The patch fixed the vulnerability and prevented further attacks.
  • Investigating the attack: Microsoft investigated the origin and extent of the attack, and collected evidence and information about the attackers and their methods. Microsoft also cooperated with the authorities and other organizations to identify and arrest the attackers.
  • Providing support and assistance: Microsoft provided support and assistance to its customers, who were affected by the attack. Microsoft offered guidance and tools to help the customers check their email accounts for any signs of compromise, and change their passwords and security settings. Microsoft also offered free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to the customers, who had their personal and financial data stolen by the attackers.

Microsoft also released patches for the vulnerabilities exploited by the attack

Microsoft also released patches for the other vulnerabilities exploited by the attack, such as the SolarWinds vulnerability, the brute force vulnerability, and the SQL injection vulnerability. Microsoft also improved its detection and defense systems, and added new features and functions to its software, to enhance the security and privacy of email communication.

What are the lessons to be learned from the attack?

The attack was a wake-up call for Microsoft and its customers, who had to learn from their mistakes and improve their security practices. Some of the lessons to be learned from the attack are:

Email security

Email is one of the most widely used communication tools in the digital world, but also one of the most vulnerable to cyberattacks. Therefore, it is essential to ensure the security and privacy of email communication, by applying some best practices, such as:

  • Using strong and unique passwords for each email account, and changing them regularly.
  • Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) to verify the identity of the email users, and prevent unauthorized access.
  • Using encryption to protect the content and attachments of the email messages, and prevent them from being read or modified by third parties.
  • Using digital signatures to verify the authenticity and integrity of the email messages, and prevent them from being spoofed or tampered with.
  • Using spam filters and antivirus software to block and remove malicious emails, and avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments.
  • Using secure email providers and platforms, that comply with the latest security standards and regulations, and offer features such as end-to-end encryption, zero-knowledge encryption, or self-destructing messages.

Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security method that requires the user to provide two or more pieces of evidence to prove their identity, before accessing a system or a service. The pieces of evidence can be something the user knows (such as a password or a PIN), something the user has (such as a smartphone or a token), or something the user is (such as a fingerprint or a face scan). MFA can prevent unauthorized access to email accounts, even if the password is compromised, by adding an extra layer of security. Therefore, it is recommended to enable MFA for all email accounts, and use reliable and secure methods, such as biometric authentication, one-time passwords, or push notifications.

Principle of least privilege

The principle of least privilege (POLP) is a security concept that states that each user or system should have the minimum level of access or permissions required to perform their tasks, and nothing more. POLP can reduce the risk of data breaches, by limiting the exposure and impact of a potential attack. Therefore, it is advisable to apply POLP to email accounts, and assign different roles and privileges to different users, depending on their needs and responsibilities. For example, only authorized users should have access to sensitive or confidential information, and only administrators should have access to system settings or configuration.

Software update

Software update is a process that involves installing the latest versions or patches of the software, to fix bugs, improve performance, or add new features. Software update is crucial for email security, as it can prevent the exploitation of vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to access or compromise the email servers or accounts. Therefore, it is important to update the software regularly, and install the security patches as soon as they are available. It is also important to update the software of the devices that are used to access the email accounts, such as computers or smartphones, and use the latest versions of the browsers or the applications.

System monitoring

System monitoring is a process that involves observing and analyzing the activity and performance of the system, to detect and resolve any issues or anomalies. System monitoring is vital for email security, as it can help to identify and stop any potential attacks, before they cause any damage or disruption. Therefore, it is essential to monitor the email servers and accounts, and use tools and techniques, such as logs, alerts, reports, or audits, to collect and analyze the data. It is also essential to monitor the email traffic and behavior, and use tools and techniques, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, or anomaly detection systems, to filter and block any malicious or suspicious activity.

User awareness

User awareness is a state of knowledge and understanding of the users, regarding the security risks and threats that they may face, and the best practices and policies that they should follow, to protect themselves and the system. User awareness is key for email security, as it can prevent many human errors or mistakes, that could compromise the email accounts or expose the data. Therefore, it is important to educate and train the email users, and provide them with the necessary information and guidance, to help them recognize and avoid any phishing, malware, or social engineering attacks, that could target their email accounts.

What are the best practices to strengthen information security?

Information security is the practice of protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information, from unauthorized or malicious access, use, modification, or destruction. Information security is essential for email communication, as it can ensure the protection and privacy of the data and messages that are exchanged. Some of the best practices to strengthen information security are:

  • Adopt the Zero Trust model: The Zero Trust model is a security approach that assumes that no user or system can be trusted by default, and that each request or transaction must be verified and authorized, before granting access or permission. The Zero Trust model can enhance information security, by reducing the attack surface and preventing the lateral movement of the attackers, within the system.
  • Use advanced protection solutions: Advanced protection solutions are security solutions that use artificial intelligence, machine learning, or other technologies, to detect and respond to the most sophisticated and complex cyberattacks, that could target the email accounts or data. Some of these solutions are endpoint detection and response (EDR), identity and access management (IAM), or data encryption solutions.
  • Hire cybersecurity experts: Cybersecurity experts are professionals who have the skills and knowledge to design, implement, and maintain the security of the system and the information, and to prevent, detect, and respond to any cyberattacks, that could affect the email accounts or data. Cybersecurity experts can help to strengthen information security, by providing advice, guidance, and support, to the email users and administrators.

How can Freemindtronic technology help to fight against this type of attack?

Freemindtronic offers innovative and effective technology solutions such as EviCypher NFC HSM and EviPass NFC HSM and EviOTP NFC HSM and other PGP HSMs. They can help businesses to fight against this type of attack based on Zero Day and other threats. Their technology is embedded in products such as DataShielder NFC HSM and DataShielder HSM PGP and DataShielder Defense or PassCypher NFC HSM or PassCypher HSM PGP. These products provide security and communication features for data, email and password management and offline OTP secret keys.

  • DataShielder NFC HSM is a portable device that allows to encrypt and decrypt data and communication on a computer or on an Android NFC smartphone. It uses a contactless hardware security module (HSM) that generates and stores encryption keys securely and segmented. It protects the keys that encrypt contactless communication. This has the effect of effectively fighting against all types of communication vulnerabilities, since the messages and attachments will remain encrypted even if they are corrupted. This function regardless of where the attack comes from, internal or external to the company. It is a counter-espionage solution. It also offers other features, such as password management, 2FA – OTP (TOTP and HOTP) secret keys. In addition, DataShielder works offline, without server and without database. It has a configurable multi-authentication system, strong authentication and secure key sharing.
  • DataShielder HSM PGP is an application that transforms all types of physical storage media (USB key, S, SSD, KeyChain / KeyStore) connected or not connected into HSM. It has the same features as its NFC HSM version. However, it also uses standard AES-256 and RSA 4096 algorithms, as well as OpenPGP algorithms. It uses its HSMs to manage and store PGP keys securely. In the same way, it protects email against phishing and other email threats. It also offers other features, such as digital signature, identity verification or secure key sharing.
  • DataShielder Defense is a dual-use platform for civilian and military use that offers many functions including all those previously mentioned. It also works in real time without server, without database from any type of HSM including NFC. It also has functions to add trust criteria to fight against identity theft. It protects data and communication against cyberattacks and data breaches.

In summary

To safeguard against the Microsoft Exchange attack, prioritize security updates and patches. Embrace Freemindtronic’s innovative solutions for enhanced protection. Stay vigilant against phishing and employ robust authentication methods. Opt for encryption to shield communications. Engage cybersecurity experts for advanced defense strategies. By adopting these measures, you can fortify your defenses against cyber threats and ensure your data’s safety.

Ivanti Zero-Day Flaws: Comprehensive Guide to Secure Your Systems Now

Digital representation of Ivanti Zero-Day Flaws threatening cybersecurity in a futuristic cityscape

Ivanti Patches Two Critical Zero-Day Vulnerabilities, One Under Active Attack

Ivanti, a leader in endpoint and network management solutions, has patched two critical zero-day vulnerabilities, one of which was actively exploited by cybercriminals. Learn more about these vulnerabilities and how to protect your organization.

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This sentence is under a slider that shows similar topics on the zero day.

The Ivanti zero-day flaws, written by Jacques Gascuel, inventor of cybersecurity solutions, of cyber-safety of sensitive data and of counter-espionage, deal with the subject of the Ivanti Zero Day 2024 vulnerabilities.

What are Zero-Day Flaws and Why are They Dangerous?

A zero-day flaw is a previously unknown vulnerability in software that hackers can exploit before the vendor becomes aware and devises a patch. These vulnerabilities are particularly perilous because there is no existing defense against their exploitation. Cybercriminals can use zero-day flaws to launch sophisticated cyberattacks, leading to unauthorized data access, system damage, and widespread security breaches.

Ivanti’s Two Zero-Day Vulnerabilities: CVE-2024-21888 and CVE-2024-21893

Ivanti’s announcement highlights two specific vulnerabilities:

  • CVE-2024-21888: This is a critical privilege escalation vulnerability found in the web components of Ivanti Connect Secure and Policy Secure (versions 9.x, 22.x). It allows malicious users to gain administrator privileges, thereby obtaining the ability to alter system configurations, access restricted data, and potentially introduce further malicious code into the network infrastructure.
  • CVE-2024-21893: Identified as a server-side request forgery (SSRF) flaw within the SAML component of Ivanti Connect Secure, Policy Secure (versions 9.x, 22.x), and Ivanti Neurons for ZTA, this vulnerability enables attackers to bypass authentication mechanisms to access restricted resources. This flaw is particularly concerning due to its active exploitation, which suggests a targeted approach by cybercriminals to leverage this vulnerability for malicious purposes.

Ivanti has acknowledged the targeted exploitation of CVE-2024-21893 and expressed concerns over the potential for increased malicious activities following the public disclosure of these vulnerabilities.

How to Protect Your Organization from Ivanti’s Zero-Day Flaws

In response to the discovery of these vulnerabilities, Ivanti has taken swift action by releasing patches for the affected products, including specific versions of Connect Secure and ZTA. The company strongly advises a precautionary factory reset of devices before applying the patches to eliminate any lingering threats from the system. Additionally, Ivanti recommends importing a mitigation file named “mitigation.release.20240126.5.xml” as a temporary countermeasure against these vulnerabilities.

To safeguard against these vulnerabilities, organizations are urged to apply Ivanti’s patches immediately, conduct a factory reset of devices prior to patching, and adopt a proactive cybersecurity posture. This includes regular software updates, comprehensive user education on cybersecurity best practices, and the implementation of robust security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular security audits.

The Impact of Ivanti’s Zero-Day Flaws on the Cybersecurity Landscape

Since the beginning of 2024, the cybersecurity community has witnessed the disclosure of six zero-day vulnerabilities within Ivanti’s product lineup, with half of them being actively exploited. A study conducted by Volexity found that more than 1,700 Ivanti devices have been compromised worldwide, including nearly 100 in France. These attacks have affected organizations from all sectors, including government agencies, Fortune 500 companies and cloud service providers .

CISA Issues Emergency Directive for Federal Agencies

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an emergency directive. It requires all federal agencies to apply Ivanti’s patches and mitigations, and report any compromise to the CISA. This directive is important because it shows the urgency and the severity of the situation, and its implications for the national and international security.

Mandiant Identifies Bypass Technique and Webshell Deployment

Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm, has identified a technique that bypasses the mitigation file and allows the deployment of a custom webshell named BUSHWALK. This webshell works by injecting malicious code into the legitimate web pages of Ivanti devices, and allows the attackers to execute commands and access files on the compromised systems. Mandiant has provided a detailed description of how this webshell works, how to detect it, and how to remove it. Mandiant has also clarified that this technique is distinct from the mass exploitation that followed the disclosure of the vulnerabilities.

UNC5221: The Threat Group Behind the Targeted Exploitation

Mandiant has also attributed the exploitation of the Ivanti zero-day flaws to a threat group named UNC5221, suspected to be linked to China. This group has targeted organizations from various sectors, including government agencies, Fortune 500 companies and cloud service providers . Mandiant has also revealed the tools and the malware used by this group, such as BUSHWALK, BLOODHOUND, CHOPSTICK and SLIGHTPULSE. These tools and malware are designed to perform reconnaissance, lateral movement, credential theft and data exfiltration on the compromised networks.

The Number of Victims and the Potential Consequences

According to the latest reports from Volexity and Mandiant, more than 1,700 Ivanti devices have been compromised worldwide, including nearly 100 in France. The sectors most affected by these intrusions include government, finance, healthcare, education, and technology. The potential consequences of these intrusions include unauthorized data access, system encryption by ransomware, installation of backdoors for persistent access, and execution of malicious code. Such incidents can lead to significant financial losses, reputational damage, operational disruptions, and legal implications for the affected organizations.

EviCypher and EviPass: Innovative Technologies to Protect Yourself from the Zero-Day Flaws

Facing the threat of the Ivanti zero-day flaws, there are innovative solutions to protect yourself effectively. These are the EviCypher and EviPass technologies, developed by Freemindtronic, a company specialized in pocket cybersecurity.

EviCypher is a NFC device that allows you to encrypt and decrypt messages securely and anonymously. You just need to slide your EviCypher card behind your smartphone for the message to be encrypted or decrypted. The system uses individual encryption keys, stored offline, in a non-volatile and physically secure memory. Thus, even if the message is intercepted by an attacker who exploits an Ivanti zero-day flaw, he will not be able to read it without the corresponding key.

EviPass is a mobile application that allows you to manage your passwords and credentials securely and conveniently. You just need to scan your EviPass card with your smartphone to access your online accounts. The application uses an OpenPGP encryption algorithm, based on public and private keys. The private keys are stored offline, in a non-volatile and physically secure memory. Thus, even if an attacker manages to access a compromised Ivanti device, he will not be able to steal the passwords and credentials without the EviPass card.

These two solutions offer a high level of security, based on the principle of “Air Gap”, which consists of creating a physical and digital barrier between the data and the attackers. They are also easy to use, without requiring any specific knowledge in cybersecurity. They are compatible with all digital communication systems, including those that use Ivanti products. They are protected by international patents, and manufactured in Andorra by Freemindtronic.

EviPass NFC NFC and EviPass HSM PGP: Freemindtronic’s Technologies for Password Management

EviPass NFC NFC and EviPass HSM PGP are two technologies developed by Freemindtronic for password management. EviPass NFC NFC is a technology that uses NFC cards to store and access passwords and credentials. EviPass HSM PGP is a technology that uses hardware security modules (HSM) to store and access passwords and credentials using the OpenPGP encryption algorithm. Both technologies are integrated into the EviPass mobile application, which allows users to manage their passwords and credentials securely and conveniently.

EviCypher NFC HSM and EviCypher HSM PGP: Freemindtronic’s Technologies for Message Encryption

EviCypher NFC HSM and EviCypher HSM PGP are two technologies developed by Freemindtronic for message encryption. EviCypher NFC HSM is a technology that uses NFC cards and hardware security modules (HSM) to encrypt and decrypt messages. EviCypher HSM PGP is a technology that uses hardware security modules (HSM) to encrypt and decrypt messages using the OpenPGP encryption algorithm. Both technologies are integrated into the EviCypher NFC device, which allows users to encrypt and decrypt messages securely and anonymously.

PassCypher and DataShielder: Freemindtronic’s Products that Incorporate EviCypher and EviPass Technologies

PassCypher and DataShielder are two products designed and manufactured by Freemindtronic that incorporate the EviCypher and EviPass technologies. PassCypher is a NFC device that connects to your smartphone or computer and allows you to access your online accounts using the EviPass technology. DataShielder is a NFC device that connects to your smartphone or computer and allows you to encrypt and decrypt messages using the EviCypher technology. With these products, you can benefit from the EviCypher and EviPass technology to protect your passwords, credentials and messages.

To learn more about these solutions, you can visit the Freemindtronic website or the Codeur blog, which present the features and benefits of EviCypher and EviPass.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Ivanti zero-day flaws are dangerous vulnerabilities that can compromise the security and confidentiality of the users’ data. It is therefore important to protect yourself effectively against these flaws, by applying the patches provided by Ivanti, following the cybersecurity recommendations, and using innovative solutions like EviCypher and EviPass, developed by Freemindtronic. These solutions are integrated into innovative products, designed and manufactured in Andorra. Don’t wait any longer to protect yourself from the Ivanti zero-day flaws, and discover the EviCypher and EviPass solutions from Freemindtronic. What are your impressions on these products? Let us know in the comments below.

How to protect yourself from stalkerware on any phone

Woman holding a smartphone with a padlock icon on the screen, promoting protection from stalkerware.

How to Protect Yourself from Stalkerware

How to protect yourself from stalkerware: In today’s digital landscape, being mindful of stalkerware’s escalating threat is crucial. Take proactive measures to safeguard your privacy. Stalkerware, a malware type, lets unauthorized individuals stealthily monitor and control your smartphone.

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How to Protect Yourself from Stalkerware written by Jacques Gascuel, the innovator behind advanced sensitive data security and safety systems, provides priceless knowledge on the topic of data encryption and decryption. Are you prepared to enhance your comprehension of data protection?

What is Stalkerware and Why is it Dangerous?

Stalkerware, including known programs like FlexiSpy, mSpy, and Spyera, tracks your location and accesses calls, messages, and photos. These programs can secretly activate your camera or microphone. To counter these invasions, safeguard your digital privacy from stalkerware. Physical access or being tricked into clicking malicious links; often in phishing emails, leads to stalkerware installation.

Who Uses Stalkerware?

Furthermore, abusive partners, stalkers, employers, or governments often use stalkerware. They exploit tools like FlexiSpy or Spyera to gain unauthorized access to personal information, track whereabouts, or monitor online activities.

How to Detect and Remove Stalkerware from Your Phone

To detect stalkerware, check for unusual apps or files. Monitor your phone bill for spikes in data usage or unexpected charges. Be cautious about what you click on, and keep your phone and apps updated. Consider well-known antivirus or security apps like Malwarebytes; Kaspersky Internet Security for added protection.

Signs of Stalkerware Infection

To detect stalkerware, you can follow these steps:

  • Check for unusual apps or files: If you notice any unfamiliar apps or files on your phone, it could be a sign that stalkerware is installed. Be sure to check the permissions for any apps you don’t recognize and uninstall any that seem suspicious.
  • Monitor your phone bill: Unusual spikes in data usage or unexpected charges could signal stalkerware installation. Contact your phone carrier to investigate.
  • Be cautious about what you click on: Don’t click on links or open attachments from unknown senders, as these could be used to install stalkerware on your phone.
  • Keep your phone and apps updated: Make sure your phone’s operating system and apps are up to date with the latest security patches. These updates often include fixes for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by stalkerware or other malware.
  • Use a reputable antivirus or security app: Antivirus and security apps can help to detect and remove stalkerware, as well as protect you from other types of malware.

In case you suspect the presence of stalkerware on your phone, you may attempt to remove it using one of the aforementioned methods. However, if you are not comfortable doing this yourself, you can take your phone to a professional for help.

Steps to Remove Stalkerware

  • Backup your data first
  • Perform a factory reset on your device
  • Change all your passwords post-reset

Protecting Sensitive Data from Stalkerware

Fortifying Sensitive Data with Freemindtronic’s Solutions

In the battle against stalkerware, safeguarding your sensitive data is paramount. Freemindtronic, an innovative Andorran cybersecurity company, offers cutting-edge solutions that not only protect your privacy but also fortify your data against prying eyes. Leveraging contactless encryption through an NFC hardware security module (HSM) and other secure storage media, these solutions make your secrets virtually inaccessible to tracking software.

EviCypher NFC HSM This module secures encryption keys from an externalized source, ensuring the protection of data on NFC devices. Its robust security shields against stalkerware and other cyber threats.

EviCypher HSM OpenPGP: Versatile and adaptable, it creates an HSM across various storage types, supporting keychains, keystores, SD, and USB OTG keys. Compliant with encryption standards and the OpenPGP encryption standard, it safeguards a wide array of sensitive data, including emails, documents, and photos.

EviPass: A hardware password manager that securely stores your passwords within a tamper-proof device, making it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for tracking software to pilfer your passwords from an NFC HSM or HSM PGP.

EviOTP: This OTP token manager, housed within an NFC HSM or HSM PGP, generates one-time passwords (TOTP or HOTP) for two-factor authentication. This additional layer of physical security thwarts token exploitation, fortifying the protection of your online accounts.

Seamless Integration Across Product Lines

Freemindtronic solutions provide an additional layer of defense against spyware and seamlessly integrate into various products.

Integration of Password Manager Technology

For instance, EviPasse HSM HSP, an advanced password manager technology, integrates seamlessly into the PassCypher HSM PGP product. It ensures the security of identification and authentication secrets in computer systems.

Enhanced NFC Security

Similarly, EviPass NFC HSM technology seamlessly embeds into the PassCypher NFC HSM product, securing NFC Android phones via NFC HSM.

Strengthening Authentication Security

Moreover, PassCypher NFC HSM takes it a step further by incorporating EviOTP technology to bolster the security of 2FA double authentication tokens on phones and computers.

Data Encryption Without Contact

EviCypher NFC HSM technology plays a vital role as an encryption key manager in DataShielder NFC HSM products. It enables users to encrypt sensitive email, SMS, MMS, and RCS data without contact. This offers effective protection against spyware like Stalkerware. Users physically outsource secrets from their phones or computers, ensuring data security against cyber threats.

Cornerstone of Data Security

As for EviCypher HSM PGP technology, it serves as the cornerstone of the DataShielder HSM PGP product on computer systems. It is also compatible with DataShielder NFC HSM. This simultaneous security ensures sensitive information on both phones and computers.

Comprehensive Security Suite

Finally, for ultimate versatility and mobility, DataShielder Defense, designed for civil and military use, encompasses these technologies and many others. This comprehensive suite strengthens data protection against physical and software espionage, identity theft, corruption of sensitive data, illicit extraction of secrets, and other threats. Thanks to its interoperability and backward compatibility, it works on all existing computer and telephone systems, with or without NFC.

How to Prevent Stalkerware from Infecting Your Phone

To prevent stalkerware from infecting your phone, you can follow these steps:

  • Be cautious about who has access to your phone: Don’t let people borrow your phone or have physical access to it if you don’t trust them.
  • Use strong passwords and security settings: Use a strong password, PIN, or biometric authentication to lock your phone and enable features like Find My Device or Find My iPhone in case your phone is lost or stolen.
  • Be careful what you click on: Be cautious of links or attachments that come from unknown or suspicious sources. Only download apps or files from trusted or official sources.
  • Keep your phone and apps updated: Make sure your phone’s operating system and apps are up to date with the latest security patches. These updates often include fixes for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by stalkerware or other malware.
  • Install a reputable antivirus or security app: Antivirus and security apps can help to protect your phone from stalkerware and other types of malware.

Consequently, following these steps helps protect against stalkerware.

If you suspect that you may have stalkerware installed on your device, look for these signs:

  • Sudden battery drain or overheating
  • Device turning on or off by itself or behaving strangely
  • Unusual spikes in data usage or unexpected charges on your phone bill
  • Unrecognized apps or files appearing on your device
  • Strange or unwanted messages, calls, or emails from unknown numbers or addresses
  • A sense that someone knows too much about your activities, location, or conversations

Detecting and Eliminating Stalkerware

Suspecting stalkerware’s presence calls for swift action to safeguard your privacy and security. Implement these steps:

  • Rely on Reputable Antivirus or Security Apps: Utilize antivirus or security apps like Malwarebytes, Kaspersky Internet Security, or Avast Mobile Security to detect and remove stalkerware.

  • Unmask Anomalous Apps or Files: If unfamiliar apps or files appear, suspect stalkerware’s presence. Scrutinize permissions for unrecognizable apps and uninstall those deemed suspicious.

  • Monitor Phone Bill for Unusual Activity: Detecting spikes in data usage or unexpected charges on your phone bill might indicate stalkerware. Investigate with your phone carrier.

  • Practice Caution with Clicks: Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments from unknown senders, as these might harbor stalkerware.

  • Stay Updated: Regularly update your device’s operating system and apps. Updates often include security patches that shield you from stalkerware.

  • Empower Yourself and Others: Educate yourself about stalkerware

Prevention is Crucial

To safeguard against stalkerware, focus on prevention. Here are some key tips:

  • Be cautious about who has access to your device: Don’t let people borrow your device or have physical access to it if you don’t trust them.
  • Use strong passwords and security settings: Use a strong password, PIN, or biometric authentication to lock your device and enable features like Find My Device or Find My iPhone in case your device is lost or stolen.
  • Be careful what you click on: Be cautious of links or attachments that come from unknown or suspicious sources. Only download apps or files from trusted or official sources.
  • Keep your device and apps updated: Make sure your device and all of your apps are up to date with the latest security patches and updates. This will help to protect against vulnerabilities that could be exploited by stalkerware or other malware.
  • Install a reputable antivirus or security app: Antivirus and security apps can help to detect and remove stalkerware, as well as protect you from other types of malware.

Resources for Stalkerware Victims

  • The Coalition Against Stalkerware: https://stopstalkerware.org/: The Coalition Against Stalkerware is an international organization that works to combat stalkerware. The coalition provides resources for victims of stalkerware, as well as advocates for stronger laws and regulations to protect people from stalkerware.
  • The National Network to End Domestic Violence: https://www.thehotline.org/: The National Network to End Domestic Violence is a US-based organization that provides resources for victims of domestic violence, including information on stalkerware. The organization also has a hotline that victims can call for support.
  • The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative: https://cybercivilrights.org/: The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative is a US-based organization that works to protect people from online abuse, including stalkerware. The organization provides resources for victims of online abuse, as well as advocates for stronger laws and regulations to protect people from online abuse.

Latest Research

In recent years, researchers have discovered several new methods for using stalkerware. For example, a new variant of stalkerware called Cerberus is capable of infecting devices over Bluetooth. Cerberus can then be used to track the victim’s location, record their calls and conversations, and even take photos and videos of them without their knowledge.

New Laws and Regulations

Subsequently, governments worldwide are enacting new laws. For example, the European Union has adopted a new directive that criminalizes the use of stalkerware in the EU. The United States has also taken steps to combat stalkerware, such as creating a new task force to investigate the use of stalkerware.

New Resources Available for Stalkerware Victims

In addition to the steps you can take to protect yourself from stalkerware, there are also a number of resources available to help victims of stalkerware. These resources offer support, advice, and legal assistance.

Stalkerware Survivors Share Stories of Trauma and Resilience

Sarah, a victim of stalking by her ex-boyfriend, shares her story:

I discovered the stalkerware only after noticing unusual patterns like battery drain and phone restarts. My ex-boyfriend was tracking my location, reading my messages, and even listening to my phone calls, causing me fear and distress. After reporting the stalkerware to the company’s IT department, they removed it and took action against my former partner.

John, a victim of workplace surveillance, reveals his experience:

My boss installed stalkerware to monitor my work hours, emails, and phone calls, making me feel controlled and distrustful. Discovering the stalkerware led me to report it to the company’s IT department, which removed it and disciplined my boss. While still employed, I’m now more cautious about who I trust.

Maria, a victim of government surveillance, describes her ordeal:

Similarly, the government tracked my activities using stalkerware.Seeking help from a human rights organization, I filed a complaint, received legal assistance, and had the stalkerware removed. Continuing my fight for justice, I’m now empowered to speak up.

How to Protect Yourself from Stalkerware: A Summary

Stalkerware is a serious threat to privacy and safety. By being aware of the risks and taking steps to protect yourself, you can help to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

Here are some additional tips to help you stay safe from stalkerware:

  • Be aware of the latest stalkerware trends: Stalkerware developers are constantly finding new ways to infect devices. It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends so that you can protect yourself.
  • Talk to your friends and family about stalkerware: The more people who are aware of the risks, the less likely it is that you will become a victim.
  • Support legislation to combat stalkerware: There are a number of laws and regulations being proposed to combat stalkerware. By supporting these laws, you can help make using stalkerware more difficult.

Follow these guidelines to effectively protect yourself from stalkerware and potential harm.

Human Limitations in Strong Passwords Creation

Digital image showing a confused user at a computer surrounded by complex password symbols

How to Create Strong Passwords Despite Human Limitations

Human Limitations in Strong Passwords are crucial in safeguarding our personal and professional data online. But do you know how to craft a robust password capable of thwarting hacking attempts? In this article, we delve into the impact of human factors on password security. Furthermore, you will gain insights on overcoming these limitations and creating formidable passwords.

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For comprehensive threat assessments and innovative solutions, delve into “Human Limitations in Strong Passwords.” Stay informed by exploring our constantly updated topics..

Human Limitations in Strong Passwords,” authored by Jacques Gascuel, the visionary behind cutting-edge sensitive data security and safety systems, offers invaluable insights into the field of human-created password security. Are you ready to improve your understanding of password protection?

Human Limitations in Strong Passwords: Cybersecurity’s Weak Link

Passwords are essential for protecting our data on the Internet. But creating a strong password is not easy. It requires a balance between security and usability. In this article, we will explain what entropy is and how it measures the strength of a password. We will also explore the limitations and problems associated with human password creation. We will show that these factors reduce entropy and password security, exposing users to cyber attacks. We will also provide some strategies and tips to help users create stronger passwords.

What is Entropy and How Does it Measure Password Strength?

Entropy is a concept borrowed from information theory. It measures the unpredictability and randomness of a system. The higher the entropy, the more disordered the system is, and the harder it is to predict.

In the context of passwords, entropy measures how many attempts it would take to guess a password through brute force. In other words, entropy measures the difficulty of cracking a password. The higher the entropy, the stronger the password is, and the harder it is to crack.

However, entropy is not a fixed value, but a relative measure that depends on various factors, such as the length, composition, frequency, and popularity of the password. We will explain these factors in more detail later.

How Do Cognitive Biases Influence Password Creation?

Cognitive Biases in Password Creation

Cognitive biases, such as confirmation bias and anchoring bias, significantly influence how users create passwords. Understanding “Human Limitations in Strong Passwords” is essential to recognize and overcome these biases for better password security.

Cognitive biases are reasoning or judgment errors that affect how humans perceive and process information. They are often the result of heuristics, mental shortcuts used to simplify decision-making. These biases can have adaptive advantages but also lead to errors or distortions of reality.

In password creation, cognitive biases can influence user choices, leading to passwords that make sense to them, linked to their personal life, culture, environment, etc. These passwords are often predictable, following logical or mnemonic patterns, reducing entropy.

For example, humans are subject to confirmation bias, thinking their password is strong enough because it meets basic criteria like length or composition, without considering other factors like character frequency or diversity.

They are also prone to anchoring bias, choosing passwords based on personal information like names, birthdates, pets, etc., not realizing this information is easily accessible or guessable by hackers.

Availability bias leads to underestimating cyber attack risks because they haven’t been victims or witnesses of hacking, or they think their data isn’t interesting to hackers.

Human Factors in Strong Password Development: Cognitive Biases

Strategies to Overcome Cognitive Biases

To mitigate the impact of cognitive biases, consider adopting better password practices:

  • Utilize a different password for each service, especially for sensitive or critical accounts, such as email, banking, or social media.
  • Employ a password manager, which is a software or application that securely stores and generates passwords for each service. Password managers can assist users in creating and recalling strong, random passwords, all while maintaining security and convenience.
  • Implement two-factor authentication, a security feature that necessitates users to provide an additional verification method, such as a code sent to their phone or email, or a biometric scan, in order to access their accounts. Two-factor authentication can effectively thwart hackers from gaining access to accounts, even if they possess the password.
  • Regularly update passwords, but refrain from doing so excessively, in order to prevent compromise by hackers or data breaches. Users should change their passwords when they suspect or confirm a breach or when they detect suspicious activity on their accounts. It’s also advisable for users to avoid changing their passwords too frequently, as this can lead to weaker passwords or password reuse.

Addressing Human Challenges in Secure Password Creation with Freemindtronic’s Advanced Technologies

Understanding Human Constraints in Robust Password Generation

The process of creating strong passwords often clashes with human limitations. Freemindtronic’s EviPass NFC HSM and EviPass HSM PGP technologies, integral to the PassCypher range, acknowledge these human factors in strong password development. By automating the creation process and utilizing Shannon’s entropy model, these technologies effectively mitigate the cognitive biases that typically hinder the creation of secure passwords.

Password Security and the Fight Against Cyber Attacks

In the context of increasing cyber threats, the security of passwords becomes paramount. Freemindtronic’s solutions offer a robust defense against cyber attacks by generating passwords that exceed conventional security standards. This approach not only addresses the human challenges in creating strong passwords but also fortifies the digital identity protection of users.

Leveraging Entropy in Passwords for Enhanced Security

The concept of entropy in passwords is central to Freemindtronic’s technology. By harnessing advanced entropy models, these systems ensure a high level of randomness and complexity in password creation, significantly elevating password security. This technical sophistication is crucial in overcoming human limitations in generating secure passwords.

Cognitive Biases in Passwords: Simplifying User Experience

Freemindtronic’s technologies also focus on the human aspect of password usage. By reducing the cognitive load through features like auto-fill and passwordless access, these systems address common cognitive biases. This user-friendly approach not only enhances the ease of use but also contributes to the overall strategy for strong password management.

Adopting Strong Password Strategies for Digital Identity Protection

Incorporating strong password strategies is essential in safeguarding digital identities. Freemindtronic’s technologies empower users to adopt robust password practices effortlessly, thereby enhancing digital identity protection. This is achieved through the generation of complex passwords and the elimination of the need for manual password management.

Elevating Password Security in the Digital Age

Freemindtronic’s EviPass NFC HSM and EviPass HSM PGP technologies are at the forefront of addressing human limitations in strong password creation. By integrating advanced entropy in passwords, focusing on user-centric design, and combating the risks of cyber attacks, these technologies are setting new benchmarks in password security and digital identity protection. Their innovative approach not only acknowledges but also effectively overcomes the human challenges in secure password creation, marking a significant advancement in the field of digital security.

Human Constraints in Robust Password Generation

There are various methods to help users create strong, memorable passwords. These methods have pros and cons, which should be understood to choose the most suitable for one’s needs.

Mnemonic Passwords: Balancing Memory and Security

Mnemonic passwords are based on phrases or acronyms, serving as memory aids. For example, using the phrase “I was born in 1984 in Paris” to create the password “Iwbi1984iP”.

Advantages of mnemonic passwords:

  • Easier to remember than random passwords, using semantic memory, more effective than visual or auditory memory.
  • Can be longer than random passwords, composed of multiple words or syllables, increasing entropy.

Disadvantages of mnemonic passwords:

  • Often predictable, following logical or grammatical patterns, reducing entropy.
  • Vulnerable to dictionary attacks, containing common words or personal information, easily accessible or guessable by hackers.
  • Difficult to type, containing special characters like accents or spaces, not always available on keyboards.

The Trade-Off Between Mnemonics and Entropy

To balance memory and security, users should use mnemonics that are not too obvious or common, but rather personal and unique. They should also avoid using the same mnemonic for different passwords, or using slight variations of the same mnemonic. They should also add some randomness or complexity to their mnemonics, such as numbers, symbols, or capitalization.

Random Passwords: Entropy and Ease of Use

Random passwords are composed of randomly chosen characters, without logic or meaning. For example, the password “qW7x#4Rt”.

Advantages of random passwords:

  • Harder to guess than mnemonic passwords, not following predictable patterns, increasing entropy.
  • More resistant to dictionary attacks, not containing common words or personal information.

Disadvantages of random passwords:

  • Harder to remember than mnemonic passwords, not using semantic memory.
  • Can be shorter than mnemonic passwords, composed of individual characters, reducing entropy.

Phrase-Based Passwords: Entropy and Ease of Use

Phrase-based passwords are composed of several words forming a phrase or expression. For example, the password “The cat sleeps on the couch”.

Advantages of phrase-based passwords:

  • Easier to remember than random passwords, using semantic memory.
  • Can be longer than random passwords, composed of multiple words, increasing entropy.

Disadvantages of phrase-based passwords:

  • Often predictable, following logical or grammatical patterns, reducing entropy.
  • Vulnerable to dictionary attacks, containing common words or expressions.
  • Difficult to type, containing spaces, not always accepted by online services.

Evaluating Phrase-Based Password Effectiveness

To evaluate the effectiveness of phrase-based passwords, users should consider the following criteria:

  • Phrase length plays a crucial role: Longer phrases tend to result in higher entropy. However, it’s important to strike a balance, as excessively long phrases can become challenging to type or recall.
  • The diversity of words also matters: Greater word diversity contributes to higher entropy. Nevertheless, it’s essential to avoid overly obscure words, as they might prove difficult to remember or spell.
  • Randomness in word selection boosts entropy: The more random the words, the greater the entropy. Yet, it’s necessary to maintain some level of coherence between words, as entirely unrelated words can pose memory and association challenges.

Human-Generated Random Passwords: Entropy and Ease of Use

Human-generated random passwords are composed of randomly chosen characters by the user, without logic or meaning. For example, the password “qW7x#4Rt”.

Advantages :

  • Harder to guess than mnemonic or phrase-based passwords, increasing entropy.
  • More resistant to dictionary attacks, not containing common words or personal information.

Disadvantages:

  • Harder to remember than mnemonic or phrase-based passwords.
  • Often biased by user preferences or habits, favoring certain characters or keyboard positions, reducing entropy.

The Risks of Low Entropy in Human-Created Passwords

Low entropy passwords have significant consequences on the security of personal and professional data. Weak passwords are more vulnerable to cyber attacks, especially brute force. Hackers can use powerful software or machines to test billions of combinations per second. Once the password is found, they can access user accounts, steal data, impersonate, or spread viruses or spam.

Consequences of Predictable Passwords on Cybersecurity

The consequences of predictable passwords on cybersecurity are:

  • Data breach: Hackers can access user data, such as personal information, financial records, health records, etc. They can use this data for identity theft, fraud, blackmail, or sell it to third parties.
  • Account takeover: Hackers can access user accounts, such as email, social media, online shopping, etc. They can use these accounts to impersonate users, send spam, make purchases, or spread malware.
  • Reputation damage: Hackers can access user accounts, such as professional or academic platforms, etc. They can use these accounts to damage user reputation, post false or harmful information, or sabotage user work or research.

Understanding the Vulnerability of Low Entropy Passwords

Password Length and Entropy

The vulnerability of passwords depends on various factors, including the length, composition, frequency, and popularity of the password. Understanding “Human Limitations in Strong Passwords” is crucial for safeguarding your online data. Longer and more complex passwords offer higher entropy and are harder to crack.

Composition Complexity

Complex passwords that include a variety of character types, such as lowercase, uppercase, numbers, and symbols, significantly enhance security. This aspect of “Human Limitations in Strong Passwords” is often overlooked, but it’s essential for creating robust passwords.

Common vs. Rare Passwords

The frequency and popularity of passwords play a vital role in their vulnerability. Common passwords, like “123456” or “password,” are easily guessed, while rare and unique passwords, such as “qW7x#4Rt” or “The cat sleeps on the couch,” provide more security.

Password Composition

The composition of a password is a critical factor. Passwords based on common words or personal information are easier for hackers to guess. Understanding the impact of “Human Limitations in Strong Passwords” can help you make informed choices about password composition.

These factors collectively influence the time required for brute force attacks to uncover a password. Longer durations enhance password security, but it’s essential to consider the evolving computing power of hackers, which can reduce the time required to crack passwords over time and with advancing technology. Another factor that affects the vulnerability of passwords is their frequency and popularity.

Recurring Password Changes: A Challenge to Password Entropy

Another human limitation in creating strong passwords is the recurrent need to change them. Often mandated by online services for security, regular changes can paradoxically weaken password strength. This practice burdens users with remembering multiple passwords and inventing new ones frequently. It leads to slight modifications of existing passwords rather than generating new, more random ones. This habit reduces password entropy, making passwords more predictable and vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Impact of Frequent Password Updates on Security

Studies have shown that users required to change passwords every 90 days tend to create weaker, less diverse passwords. Conversely, those with less frequent changes generate more random and secure passwords. This illustrates the counterproductive nature of too-frequent mandatory password updates.

The Counterproductive Nature of Mandatory Password Changes

Mandatory password changes are often imposed by online services for security reasons. They aim to prevent password compromise by hackers or leaks. However, mandatory password changes can have negative effects on password security, such as:

  • Elevating cognitive load entails users remembering multiple passwords for each service and crafting new passwords whenever needed.
  • Dampening user motivation occurs when individuals view password changes as unnecessary or ineffective, leading to a neglect of password quality.
  • Diminishing password entropy arises when users opt for making slight modifications to old passwords rather than generating entirely new and random ones.

These effects negatively impact password security, making passwords more predictable and vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Research Insights on Low Entropy in Human Passwords

In this section, we will present some sources and findings from scientific studies conducted by researchers from around the world on passwords and entropy. We have verified the validity and accuracy of these sources using web search and citation verification tools. We have also respected the APA citation style.

Analyzing Global Studies on Password Security

Several studies have analyzed the security of passwords based on real databases of passwords disclosed following leaks or hacks. These studies have measured the entropy and the strength of passwords, as well as the patterns and the behaviors of users. Some of these studies are:

Key Findings from Password Entropy Research

Some of the key findings from these studies are:

  • any users maintain low-entropy passwords, relying on common words, personal information, or predictable patterns.
  • Furthermore, they tend to reuse passwords across multiple services, thereby elevating the risk of cross-service compromise.
  • In addition, they typically refrain from changing passwords regularly, unless prompted to do so by online services or following a security breach.
  • Surprisingly, a significant portion of users remains unaware of the critical importance of password security or tends to overestimate the strength of their passwords.
  • Moreover, a considerable number of users exhibit reluctance towards the adoption of password managers or two-factor authentication, often citing usability or trust concerns.

These findings confirm the low entropy of human passwords, and the need for better password practices and education.

Password Reuse and Its Impact on Entropy

Another issue with human password creation is password reuse, a common practice among Internet users, who have to remember multiple passwords for different services. Password reuse consists of using the same or similar passwords for different accounts, such as email, social media, online shopping, etc. Password reuse can reduce the cognitive load and the effort required to create and remember passwords, but it also reduces the entropy and the security of passwords.

The Risks Associated with Password Reuse

The risks associated with password reuse are:

  • Cross-service compromise: If a password is discovered or compromised on one service, it can be used to access other services that use the same or similar password. For example, if a hacker obtains a user’s email password, they can use it to access their social media, online shopping, or banking accounts, if they use the same password or a slight variation of it.
  • Credential stuffing: Credential stuffing is a type of cyberattack that uses automated tools to test stolen or leaked usernames and passwords on multiple services. For example, if a hacker obtains a list of usernames and passwords from a data breach, they can use it to try to log in to other services, hoping that some users have reused their passwords.
  • Password cracking: Password cracking is a type of cyberattack that uses brute force or dictionary methods to guess passwords. For example, if a hacker obtains a user’s password hash, they can use it to try to find the plain text password, using lists of common or leaked passwords.

These risks show that password reuse can expose users to cyber threats, as a single password breach can compromise multiple accounts and data. Password reuse can also reduce the entropy of passwords, as users tend to use common or simple passwords that are easy to remember and type, but also easy to guess or crack.

Addressing the Security Flaws of Reusing Passwords

To mitigate the security vulnerabilities associated with password reuse, users should embrace improved practices for password creation and management. Some of these recommended practices include:

  • Utilize distinct passwords for each service, particularly for sensitive or crucial accounts such as email, banking, or social media. This approach ensures that if one password is compromised, it won’t jeopardize other accounts or data.
  • Employ a password manager, which is software or an application designed to securely store and generate passwords for each service. Password managers assist users in crafting and recalling strong, randomly generated passwords, all while upholding security and convenience. Additionally, these tools can notify users about password breaches or weak passwords, as well as suggest password changes or updates.
  • Implement two-factor authentication (2FA), a security feature demanding users to provide an additional verification method, such as a code sent to their phone or email, or a biometric scan. This extra layer of security thwarts hackers from gaining access to accounts solely through knowledge of the password, as they would require the second factor as well.
  • Adopt a regular password change strategy, though not excessively frequent, to preempt compromise by hackers or data leaks. Passwords should be modified when users suspect or verify a breach, or when they detect suspicious activity on their accounts. It’s also advisable to avoid changing passwords too frequently, as this can potentially result in weaker passwords or password reuse.

These practices can help users avoid password reuse and increase the entropy and security of their passwords. They can also reduce the cognitive load and the effort required to create and remember passwords, by using tools and features that simplify password creation and management.

Behavioral Resistance in Secure Password Practices

Another issue with human password creation is resistance to behavioral changes, a psychological phenomenon preventing users from adopting new habits or modifying old ones regarding passwords. Users are often reluctant to change passwords, even when aware of risks or encouraged to do so. This resistance can be due to factors like laziness, ignorance, confidence, fear, satisfaction, etc.

Overcoming Psychological Barriers in Password Security

Psychological barriers can hinder password security, as users may not follow the best practices or recommendations to create stronger passwords. To overcome these barriers, users need to be aware of the importance and benefits of password security, as well as the costs and risks of password insecurity. Some of the ways to overcome psychological barriers are:

  • Educating users about password security, explaining what entropy is, how it measures password strength, and how to increase it.
  • Motivating users to change passwords, providing incentives, feedback, or rewards for creating stronger passwords.
  • Persuading users to adopt password managers, demonstrating how they can simplify password creation and management, without compromising security or convenience.
  • Nudging users to use two-factor authentication, making it easy and accessible to enable and use this security feature.

Conclusion: Reinforcing Password Security Amidst Human Limitations

In this article, we have explained what entropy is and how it measures the strength of a password. We also explored the limitations and problems associated with human password creation, such as cognitive biases, human generation methods, password reuse, and resistance to behavioral changes. We have shown that these factors reduce entropy and password security, exposing users to cyber attacks. We have also provided some strategies and tips to help users create stronger passwords.

We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of password security and improve your password practices. Remember, passwords protect your digital identity and data online. Creating strong passwords is not only a matter of security, but also of responsibility.

Terrapin attack: How to Protect Yourself from this New Threat to SSH Security

SSH handshake with Terrapin attack and EviKey NFC HSM

Terrapin Attack: How to Protect Your SSH Security

The Terrapin attack is a serious vulnerability in the SSH protocol that can be used to downgrade the security of your SSH connections. This can allow attackers to gain access to your sensitive data. In this article, we will explain what the Terrapin attack is, how it works, and how you can protect yourself from it.

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Shield Your SSH Security from the Sneaky Terrapin Attack written by Jacques Gascuel, inventor of sensitive data safety and security systems. Are you safeguarding your SSH connections? Stay vigilant against the Terrapin attack, a stealthy vulnerability that can compromise your SSH security and expose your sensitive data.

Protect Yourself from the Terrapin Attack: Shield Your SSH Security with Proven Strategies

SSH is a widely used protocol for secure communication over the internet. It allows you to remotely access and control servers, transfer files, and encrypt data. However, SSH is not immune to attacks, and a recent vulnerability OpenSSH before 9.6 (CVE-2023-48795) has exposed a serious flaw in the protocol itself. This flaw, dubbed the Terrapin attack, can downgrade the security of SSH connections by truncating cryptographic information. In this article, we will explain what the Terrapin attack is, how it works, and how you can protect yourself from it.

Why you should care about the Terrapin attack

The Terrapin attack is not just a theoretical threat. It is a real and dangerous attack that can compromise the security of your SSH connections and expose your sensitive data. The consequences of a successful Terrapin attack can be severe, such as:

  • Data breaches: The attacker can access your confidential information, such as passwords, keys, files, or commands, and use them for malicious purposes.
  • Financial losses: The attacker can cause damage to your systems, services, or assets, and demand ransom or extort money from you.
  • Reputation damage: The attacker can leak your data to the public or to your competitors, and harm your credibility or trustworthiness.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of the Terrapin attack and take the necessary measures to prevent it. In the following sections, we will show you how the Terrapin attack works, how to protect yourself from it, and how to use PassCypher HSM PGP and EviKey NFC HSM to enhance the security of your SSH keys.

A prefix truncation attack on the SSH protocol

The Terrapin attack is a prefix truncation attack that targets the SSH protocol. It exploits a deficiency in the protocol specification, namely not resetting sequence numbers and not authenticating certain parts of the handshake transcript. By carefully adjusting the sequence numbers during the handshake, an attacker can remove an arbitrary amount of messages sent by the client or server at the beginning of the secure channel without the client or server noticing it.

This manipulation allows the attacker to perform several malicious actions, such as:

  • Downgrade the connection’s security by forcing it to use less secure client authentication algorithms
  • Bypass the keystroke timing obfuscation feature in OpenSSH, which may allow the attacker to brute-force SSH passwords by inspecting the network packets
  • Exploit vulnerabilities in SSH implementations, such as AsyncSSH, which may allow the attacker to sign a victim’s client into another account without the victim noticing

To pull off a Terrapin attack, the attacker must already be able to intercept and modify the data sent from the client or server to the remote peer. This makes the attack more feasible to be performed on the local network.

Unveiling the SSH Handshake: Exposing the Terrapin Attack’s Weakness

The SSH Handshake Process

The SSH handshake is a crucial process that establishes a secure channel between a client and server. It consists of the following steps:

  1. TCP connection establishment: The client initiates a TCP connection to the server.
  2. Protocol version exchange: The client and server exchange their protocol versions and agree on a common one. Then, the algorithm negotiation takes place.
  3. Algorithm negotiation: The client and server exchange lists of supported algorithms for key exchange, encryption, MAC, and compression. Then, they select the first matching algorithm.
  4. Key exchange: The client and server use the agreed-upon key exchange algorithm to generate a shared secret key. They also exchange and verify each other’s public keys. Then, the service request is sent.
  5. Service request: The client requests a service from the server, such as ssh-userauth or ssh-connection. Then, the client authenticates itself to the server using a supported method, such as password, public key, or keyboard-interactive.
  6. User authentication: The client authenticates itself to the server using a supported method, such as password, public key, or keyboard-interactive. Then, the channel request is sent.
  7. Channel request: The client requests a channel from the server, such as a shell, a command, or a subsystem. Thus, encrypted communication is enabled.

The Terrapin Attack

The Terrapin attack exploits a vulnerability in the SSH handshake by manipulating the sequence numbers and removing specific messages without compromising the secure channel integrity. This stealthy attack is difficult to detect because it doesn’t alter the overall structure or cryptographic integrity of the handshake.

For example, the attacker can eliminate the service request message sent by the client, which contains the list of supported client authentication methods. This forces the server to resort to the default method, typically password-based authentication. The attacker can then employ keystroke timing analysis to crack the password.

Alternatively, the attacker can target the algorithm negotiation message sent by the server, which lists the supported server authentication algorithms. By removing this message, the attacker forces the client to use the default algorithm, usually ssh-rsa. This opens the door for the attacker to forge a fake public key for the server and deceive the client into accepting it.

To illustrate the process of a Terrapin attack, we have created the following diagram:

Hackers exploit OAuth2 flaw to bypass 2FA on google accounts google account security flaw
Hackers exploit OAuth2 flaw to bypass 2FA on google accounts google account security flaw

As you can see, the diagram shows the steps from the interception of the communication by the attacker to the injection of malicious packets. It also highlights the stealthiness and the difficulty of detection of the attack.

Summery

The Terrapin attack is a serious threat to SSH security. By understanding how it works, you can take steps to protect yourself from it. Here are some tips:

  1. Make sure your SSH server is up to date with the latest security patches.
  2. Use strong passwords or public key authentication.
  3. Enable SSH key fingerprint verification.

How to protect yourself from the Terrapin attack: Best practices and tools

The Terrapin attack is a serious threat to SSH security, and it affects many SSH client and server implementations, such as OpenSSH, PuTTY, FileZilla, and more. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from it:

  • Update your SSH client and server to the latest versions. Many vendors have released patches that fix the vulnerability or introduce a strict key exchange option that prevents the attack. You can check if your SSH software is vulnerable by using the Terrapin vulnerability scanner.
  • Use strong passwords and public key authentication. Avoid using weak or default passwords that can be easily guessed by the attacker. Use public key authentication instead of password authentication, and make sure your public keys are verified and trusted.
  • Use secure encryption modes. Avoid using vulnerable encryption modes, such as ChaCha20-Poly1305 or AES-CBC with default MACs. Use encryption modes that use authenticated encryption with associated data (AEAD), such as AES-GCM or Chacha20-Poly1305@openssh.com.
  • Use a VPN or a firewall. If possible, use a VPN or a firewall to encrypt and protect your SSH traffic from being intercepted and modified by the attacker. This will also prevent the attacker from performing other types of attacks, such as DNS spoofing or TCP hijacking.
  • Implement a strict security policy on your local networks. Limit the access to your SSH servers to authorized users and devices, and monitor the network activity for any anomalies or intrusions.

How to use PassCypher HSM PGP and EviKey NFC HSM to protect your SSH keys: A secure and convenient solution

A good way to enhance the security of your SSH keys is to use PassCypher HSM PGP and EviKey NFC HSM. These are products from PassCypher), a company specialized in data security. They offer a secure and convenient solution for generating and storing your SSH keys.

PassCypher HSM PGP is a system that embeds a SSH key generator, allowing you to choose the type of algorithm – RSA (2048, 3072, 4096) or ECDSA (256,384, 521), and ED25519. The private key is generated and stored in a secure location, making it inaccessible to attackers.

EviKey NFC HSM is a contactless USB drive that integrates with PassCypher HSM PGP. It provides an additional layer of security and convenience for users who can easily unlock their private SSH key with their smartphone.

To show how PassCypher HSM PGP and EviKey NFC HSM can protect your SSH keys from the Terrapin attack, we have created the following diagram:

SSH handshake process with Terrapin attack illustration
This image illustrates the Terrapin attack, a stealthy attack that exploits a vulnerability in the SSH handshake. The attacker can manipulate the sequence numbers and remove specific messages without compromising the secure channel integrity. This can lead to a variety of security risks, including password cracking and man-in-the-middle attacks.

As you can see, the diagram shows how this solution effectively protects your SSH keys from the Terrapin attack. It also shows the benefits of using a contactless USB drive, such as:

  • Enhanced security: The private key is physically externalized and protected with a contactless authentication mechanism.
  • Convenience: Easy unlocking with a smartphone.
  • Ease of use: No additional software required.
  • Industrial-grade security: Equivalent to SL4 according to the standard IEC 62443-3-3.

Safeguarding Your SSH Keys with a Contactless USB Drive: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re seeking a comprehensive guide to securely store your SSH keys using a contactless USB drive, look no further than this detailed resource: [Link to the article ([https://freemindtronic.com/how-to-create-an-ssh-key-and-use-a-nfc-hsm-usb-drive-to-store-it-securely/])]

This guide meticulously walks you through the process of:

  1. Generating an SSH key pair leveraging PassCypher HSM PGP
  2. Protecting the private SSH key within the EviKey NFC HSM USB drive
  3. Unlocking the private SSH key employing your smartphone
  4. Establishing a secure connection to an SSH server using the EviKey NFC HSM USB drive

Alongside step-by-step instructions, the guide also includes illustrative screenshots. By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll effectively safeguard and conveniently manage your SSH keys using a contactless USB drive.

Statistics on the Terrapin attack: Facts and figures

Statistics on the Terrapin attack: Facts and figures

The Terrapin attack is a serious cybersecurity threat that affects SSH connections. We have collected some statistics from various sources to show you the scale and impact of this attack. Here are some key facts and figures:

  • The Shadowserver Foundation reports that nearly 11 million SSH servers exposed on the internet are vulnerable to the Terrapin attack. This is about 52% of all IPv4 and IPv6 addresses scanned by their monitoring system.
  • The most affected countries are the United States (3.3 million), China (1.3 million), Germany (1 million), Russia (704,000), Singapore (392,000), Japan (383,000), and France (379,000).
  • The Terrapin attack affects many SSH client and server implementations, such as OpenSSH, PuTTY, FileZilla, Dropbear, libssh, and more. You can see the complete list of known affected implementations here).
  • You can prevent the Terrapin attack by updating your SSH software to the latest version, using secure encryption modes, and enabling strict key exchange. You can also use the Terrapin vulnerability scanner, available on GitHub, to check your SSH client or server for vulnerability.
  • A team of researchers from the Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany discovered and disclosed the Terrapin attack. They published a detailed paper and a website with the technical details and the implications of the attack. Conclusion: How to stay safe from the Terrapin attack

The Terrapin attack is a serious threat to SSH security. It lets hackers break into SSH servers by exploiting a vulnerability in the protocol. To protect yourself effectively, you need to do the following:

  • Update your SSH software to the latest version
  • Use two-factor authentication
  • Store your SSH keys securely
  • Use PassCypher HSM PGP and EviKey NFC HSM

Conclusion: How to stay safe from the Terrapin attack

The Terrapin attack is a serious threat to SSH security. It allows hackers to break into SSH servers by exploiting a vulnerability in the protocol. To protect yourself effectively, you need to update your SSH software, use two-factor authentication, store your SSH keys securely, and use PassCypher HSM PGP and EviKey NFC HSM. If you found this article useful, please feel free to share it with your contacts or leave us a comment.

Telegram and the Information War in Ukraine

Telegram and the information war in Ukraine
Telegram and the Information War in Ukraine written by Jacques Gascuel, inventor of sensitive data safety and security systems, for Freemindtronic. This article may be updated on this subject.

How Telegram Shapes the Information War in Ukraine

In this article, we explore how Telegram and Ukraine’s information warfare are intertwined. We look at how the messaging app is influencing the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and how it can be used for good or evil. We also discuss the benefits and risks of using Telegram, as well as how security and freedom of expression can be enhanced with EviCypher NFC HSM technology.

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How Telegram Influences the Conflict between Russia and Ukraine

Telegram and the information war in Ukraine are closely related. Telegram is a messaging app that offers users a secure and confidential way to communicate, thanks to its end-to-end encryption system. It has a large user base around the world, especially in Eastern Europe, where it plays a vital role in the information war between Russia and Ukraine.

Telegram’s Usage in Ukraine: Updated Statistics

Popularity and Download Trends

According to the report of the research company SimilarWeb, Telegram is the second most downloaded messaging app in Ukraine, after Viber, with 3.8 million downloads in 2021. It is also the fourth most used app in terms of time spent, with an average of 16 minutes per day. Telegram has about 10 million active users in Ukraine, which is almost a quarter of the country’s population.

Telegram’s Role in Ukrainian Media Landscape

Telegram is particularly appreciated by Ukrainians for its channel functionality, which allows to broadcast messages to a large audience. Some of these channels have become influential but controversial sources of information, as their owners and sources are often unknown. Among the most popular channels in Ukraine, we can mention:

  • @Zelenskyi, the official channel of President Volodymyr Zelensky, which has more than 2 million subscribers. It publishes announcements, speeches, interviews and videos of the head of state. It was created in 2019, during Zelensky’s election campaign, who was then an actor and a comedian.
  • @NashyGroshi, the channel of the journalistic project “Our Money”, which has more than 1.5 million subscribers. It publishes investigations, reports and analyses on corruption, abuse of power, political scandals and judicial cases in Ukraine. It was created in 2008, by journalist Denys Bihus, who received several awards for his work.
  • @Resident, the channel of blogger and activist Anatoliy Shariy, which has more than 1.3 million subscribers. It publishes comments, criticisms and sarcasms on the political and social news in Ukraine. He is known for his pro-Russian, anti-European and anti-government positions. He is currently in exile in Spain, where he is wanted by the Ukrainian justice for high treason and incitement to hatred.

These channels illustrate the diversity and complexity of the Ukrainian media landscape, which is marked by the conflict with Russia, the democratic transition, the fight against corruption and the polarization of society. They are also a reflection of the issues and challenges related to the use of Telegram, which can be both a tool of communication, information and manipulation.

Oleksiy Danilov’s Stance on Telegram’s Usage in Ukraine

Concerns Over National Security

Oleksiy Danilov is the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the body responsible for coordinating and controlling the activities of the executive bodies in the fields of national security and defense. He is also the head of cybersecurity of the country, and in this capacity, he expressed his reservations about the use of Telegram by Ukrainians. In February 2022, he stated that some anonymous and manipulative Telegram channels represented a threat to national security, and that they should be de-anonymized and regulated. He particularly targeted the channel @Resident, which broadcasts pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian comments, and which is suspected of being linked to the Russian intelligence services. He also criticized the channel @Zelenskyi, which according to him, is not controlled by the Ukrainian president, but by advisers who seek to influence his policy.

Debating Telegram’s Influence in Ukraine

These statements provoked mixed reactions in Ukraine. Some supported Danilov’s position, believing that it was necessary to fight against misinformation and propaganda that undermine the sovereignty and democracy of the country. Others denounced an attempt at censorship and an attack on freedom of expression, recalling that Telegram was one of the few spaces where Ukrainians could access independent and diverse information.

How Telegram Influences the Information War in Ukraine

The Benefits and Risks of End-to-End Encryption

Telegram is a messaging app that lets you send messages, photos, videos, documents, and make voice and video calls. Its privacy policy is based on data encryption and non-cooperation with authorities. You can also create groups and channels that can reach thousands or millions of users.

End-to-end encryption is a technology that makes sure only the people in a conversation can read the messages, not even the service provider. Telegram has this option, but it is not on by default. You have to choose it for each chat, by switching to the “secret chat” mode. However, Telegram’s encryption is not based on standard protocols, and security experts have found some flaws.

Anonymous Channels and Their Impact on the Ukrainian Conflict

The channels are spaces where an administrator can send messages to a large audience. They can be public or private, and they can have millions of followers. Some channels are influential but controversial sources of information, as their owners and sources are often unknown. The channels can spread misinformation, propaganda, fake news, or violence.

Telegram and Russian propaganda have a strong connection, as many pro-Russian channels use the app to influence the public opinion in Ukraine and other countries. Telegram and the Ukrainian resistance also use the app to communicate and organize their actions against the Russian aggression.

Bots, Payment Services and Unique Usernames: A Double-Edged Sword

Bots are programs that interact with users. They offer services, information, or entertainment. Anyone can create them. They can be part of chats or channels. Bots can be helpful or harmful. They can collect personal data, send spam, or spread viruses.

Payment Services: Handy or Dishonest?

You can also use payment services via Telegram. These features use third-party platforms, such as Stripe or Apple Pay. They need bank or credit card information. Payment services can be handy or dishonest. They can steal sensitive data, scam users, or fund illegal activities.

Unique Usernames: Fun or Troublesome?

Another feature of Telegram is the unique usernames. They let users contact each other easily, without sharing their phone number. Users can create and change them at any time. Unique usernames can be fun or troublesome. They can enable harassment, identity theft, or account sale.

These features of Telegram raise issues of cybersecurity, privacy, end-to-end encryption, and application security. They can be used by bad actors, who want to harm Ukraine or its people. They can also be regulated by the authorities, who want to control the information or access the data of the users.

Telegram and the Information War in Ukraine: A Challenge

One of the main challenges of Telegram and the information war in Ukraine is to balance the freedom of expression and the protection of national security. Telegram and the Ukrainian conflict are closely intertwined. The app is used by both sides to communicate, inform, and influence. Telegram and Russian propaganda have a strong connection. Many pro-Russian channels use the app to sway the public opinion in Ukraine and other countries. Telegram and the Ukrainian resistance also use the app to coordinate and organize their actions against the Russian aggression. Telegram and cybersecurity in Ukraine are also crucial. The app can be a source of threats or a tool of defense.

Telegram VS Other Messaging Apps: A Comparative Analysis

WhatsApp: Popular but Questionable Confidentiality

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world, with more than 2 billion users. It offers end-to-end encryption by default for all conversations, which guarantees the protection of data. However, it belongs to Facebook, which has a dubious reputation in terms of respect for privacy, and which has raised fears about the sharing of data with other applications of the group. WhatsApp is also subject to the requests of the authorities, who can demand access to the metadata, such as the phone number, the IP address or the location of the users.

Signal: High Security but Limited User Base

Signal is a messaging app that claims to be the most secure and confidential on the market. It also offers end-to-end encryption by default for all conversations, and it does not collect any personal data. It is developed by a non-profit organization, which does not depend on advertising or investors. It is recommended by personalities such as Edward Snowden or Elon Musk. Signal is however less popular than WhatsApp or Telegram, with about 50 million users. It also offers fewer features, such as file sharing, information channels, bots or payment services.

Telegram: Innovative but Security Concerns

Telegram is between these two apps, offering more features than Signal, but less security than WhatsApp. Telegram allows users to choose the level of encryption and privacy they want, by opting for the “secret chat” mode or the “normal chat” mode. Telegram also allows users to enjoy innovative services, such as channels, bots, payments or unique usernames. However, Telegram also presents risks, such as fakes news, inappropriate content, privacy breaches or cyberattacks. Telegram is therefore an app that offers advantages and disadvantages, and that requires vigilance and discernment from users.

Telegram’s Global Perception and Regulation

Russia: Origin and Opposition

Russia is the country of origin of Telegram, but also its main adversary. The Kremlin tried to block the app in 2018, invoking reasons of national security and fight against terrorism. It demanded that Telegram provide it with the encryption keys to access the messages of the users, which Pavel Durov refused. It then ordered the telecom operators to block access to Telegram, but this measure proved ineffective, as Telegram used cloud servers to bypass the blocking. Many Russian users also use VPNs or proxies to access the app. In 2020, the Kremlin finally lifted the ban on Telegram, acknowledging its failure and stating that the app had cooperated with the authorities to remove extremist content. However, some observers suspect that Telegram made concessions to the Kremlin to lift the blocking, such as collaborating with the Russian services or censoring some channels.

France: Striving for Digital Regulation

France is a country that wants to be at the forefront of the regulation of digital platforms, especially in terms of fighting online hate. It adopted in 2020 a law that obliges the platforms to remove illegal content, such as incitement to violence, discrimination or terrorism, within 24 hours, under penalty of financial sanctions. This law also applies to messaging apps, such as Telegram, which must set up reporting and moderation mechanisms for content. France recognizes the right of users to privacy and end-to-end encryption, but it also asks the service providers to cooperate with the law enforcement to access the encrypted data when needed. France is also a country where Telegram is used by radical groups, such as jihadists or yellow vests, who take advantage of the app to organize, mobilize or defend themselves.

Ukraine: Balancing Utility and Risks

Ukraine is a country that has an ambivalent attitude towards Telegram, recognizing its usefulness, but also its dangers. On the one hand, Telegram is a source of information and a tool of resistance for many Ukrainians, who face the threat of Russian aggression and the challenges of democratic transition. On the other hand, Telegram is also a vector of misinformation and propaganda, which can undermine the sovereignty and stability of the country. Ukraine does not have a specific law to regulate Telegram, but it has some legal provisions to protect national security and public order, which can be used to restrict or block the app if necessary. Ukraine also cooperates with international organizations, such as the EU or NATO, to counter the cyber threats and the hybrid warfare that target the country.

EviCypher NFC HSM: Enhancing Telegram’s Security

The Role of Contactless Encryption Technology

One of the main challenges of using Telegram is to ensure the security and confidentiality of the data exchanged, especially in a context of information war. To meet this challenge, a possible solution consists of using EviCypher NFC HSM technology, which is a contactless encryption technology developed by Freemindtronic, an Andorran company specializing in the design of counter-espionage solutions implementing in particular contactless security with NFC technology. EviCypher NFC HSM uses two types of encryption algorithms for data:

  • Symmetric encryption in AES-256 for data such as texts (messages), thanks to its sub-technology EviCrypt. It uses a unique key, which is randomly generated and segmented into several parts. This key is used to encrypt and decrypt messages with the AES 256-bit algorithm.
  • Asymmetric encryption in RSA-4096 for symmetric encryption keys. It uses a pair of keys, which is generated and used from the NFC HSM device and which is based on the RSA 4096-bit algorithm. This pair of keys is used to share the symmetric key of at least 256 bits between the NFC HSM devices remotely, by encrypting the symmetric key with the public key of the recipient and decrypting the symmetric key with the private key of the recipient. The symmetric key is then stored and re-encrypted in the NFC HSM device of the recipient, with the trust criteria imposed by the sender if he has encapsulated them in the shared encryption key.

Practical Applications of EviCypher NFC HSM

EviCypher NFC HSM is a technology that uses hardware security modules (HSM) to store and use encrypted secrets. It allows contactless encryption with the NFC communication protocol. You can integrate the NFC HSM into various media, such as a card, a sticker, or a key ring. Then, you can pair it with an NFC phone, tablet, or computer. This way, you can encrypt everything before using any messaging service, including Telegram. EviCypher NFC HSM also has anti-cloning, anti-replay, and counterfeit detection mechanisms. It is part of the DataShielder product range, which offers serverless and databaseless encryption solutions.

Telegram and the Ukrainian conflict

EviCypher NFC HSM is compatible with Telegram, a messaging app that influences the information war between Russia and Ukraine. It offers more security and confidentiality than Telegram’s end-to-end encryption, which is not based on recognized standards. It also gives you more flexibility and control than Telegram’s secret chat mode, as you can choose the trust criteria for the encryption keys. Moreover, it is more convenient and simple than Telegram’s normal chat mode, as you can encrypt and decrypt messages with a simple gesture.

Telegram and cybersecurity in Ukraine

EviCypher NFC HSM is a useful technology with Telegram, as it enhances the security and confidentiality of the data exchanged, especially in a context of information war. It is also a universal technology, as you can use it with any other messaging app, such as WhatsApp, Signal, Messenger, etc. It is also an innovative technology, as it uses the NFC communication protocol to perform contactless encryption, without requiring any connection or installation.

Concluding Insights on Telegram’s Role in Ukraine

In this article, we have seen how Telegram plays a vital role in the information war between Russia and Ukraine, and what issues and challenges there are in using this messaging app. We have also seen how the technology EviCypher NFC HSM can be a useful solution to enhance the security and confidentiality of the data exchanged with Telegram. We hope that this article has been informative and interesting for you, and that it has helped you to better understand the situation of Telegram in Ukraine and in other countries. Thank you for reading.

Overview of Cited Sources

Here are the sources of the article, which are valid, reliable, relevant and if possible official links that allow to justify and verify the statements made in this article:

  • [Liga.net]: the news site that published the interview of Oleksiy Danilov on November 2, 2023, in which he expresses his concerns about Telegram.
  • [NV.ua]: the news site that reported the statement of Oleksiy Danilov, who alerted the nation to the critical vulnerabilities of Telegram, on November 2, 2023.
  • [RT – Pravda]: the Ukrainian news site that related the remarks of Oleksiy Danilov, who answered the questions of journalists during a press conference on November 3, 2023.
  • [Number of Telegram Users in 2023? 55 Telegram Stats (backlinko.com)]: an article that gives figures on the use of Telegram in the world and in Ukraine.
  • [NV.ua -NSDC]: the official website of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, which published the press release of Oleksiy Danilov, who clarified his recent comments on Telegram, on November 15, 2023
  • [Ukrainians turn to encrypted messengers, offline maps and Twitter amid Russian invasion]: an article that describes how Ukrainians use Telegram and other digital tools to protect themselves and get informed in the face of the Russian aggression.
  • [Pravda – France 24]: the French news site that contains a video of the interview of Oleksiy Danilov with the journalist Gulliver Cragg, dated January 23, 2023.
  • [NFC HSM Technology – Freemindtronic]: an article that explains the NFC HSM technologies and how they work.
  • [EviCypher NFC HSM technology – Freemindtronic]: a page that contains articles and videos on the NFC HSM technologies.
  • [FAQ for the Technically Inclined – Telegram APIs]: a page that provides technical information about the Telegram APIs and the MTProto protocol.

Kismet iPhone: How to protect your device from the most sophisticated spying attack?

Kismet iPhone and Pegasus written by Jacques Gascuel, inventor of sensitive data safety and security systems, for Freemindtronic. This article may be updated on this subject.

Kismet iPhone and Pegasus: a deadly combo

Hackers can use Kismet iPhone to install Pegasus spyware on your iPhone. This spyware can access your data, activity, and conversations.

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Kismet iPhone: How to protect your device from the most sophisticated spying attack using Pegasus spyware

Do you own an iPhone? Do you think it is safe and private? You might be wrong. Hackers have created a clever attack called Kismet iPhone that can infect your device with Pegasus, the world’s most powerful spyware, without you noticing. This spyware can steal your personal data, track your activity, and listen to your conversations. In this article, we will tell you how Kismet iPhone works, who is behind it, and how you can protect yourself from it.

What is Kismet iPhone?

Kismet iPhone is the name of the attack that hackers use to install Pegasus, the spyware, on iPhones. Kismet iPhone uses a technique called “watering hole”. It consists of infecting websites visited by the targeted users. These websites contain malicious code that detects if the user has an iPhone and which model. If so, the malicious code redirects the browser to a server that exploits zero-day flaws in iOS and Safari. These flaws allow to install Pegasus without the user noticing. Pegasus then runs in the background and communicates with a command and control server.

What is Pegasus?

Pegasus is the name of the spyware that Kismet iPhone installs on iPhones. Pegasus is one of the most powerful spyware in the world, developed by NSO Group, an Israeli company that sells spyware to governments and intelligence agencies. Pegasus can access almost everything on the infected iPhone, such as messages, photos, contacts, location, calls, passwords and even conversations near the microphone. Pegasus can also activate the camera and the microphone remotely, and record the screen. Pegasus can bypass encryption and security features of apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and others.

Who is behind Kismet iPhone and Pegasus?

Kismet iPhone and Pegasus are the work of NSO Group, an Israeli company that sells spyware to governments and intelligence agencies. NSO Group claims that its products are only used for legitimate purposes, such as fighting terrorism and crime. However, investigations have revealed that NSO Group has also targeted journalists, activists, lawyers, politicians and dissidents, violating their privacy and rights. NSO Group has been accused of being involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist, and the hacking of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.

Examples of victims of Kismet iPhone and Pegasus

According to a report by Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto, Kismet iPhone and Pegasus have been used to spy on at least nine Bahraini activists between June 2020 and February 2021. The activists were members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. They received text messages containing malicious links that attempted to infect their iPhones with Pegasus.

Another report by Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories, a non-profit media organization, revealed that Kismet iPhone and Pegasus have been used to target more than 50,000 phone numbers of people from various countries and professions. Among them were journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers, politicians, business executives, religious leaders, and celebrities. Some of the prominent names on the list were French President Emmanuel Macron, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, Moroccan journalist Omar Radi, and Mexican journalist Cecilio Pineda Birto.

A third report by The Guardian, a British newspaper, exposed that Kismet iPhone and Pegasus have been used to spy on the civil rights movement in the United States. The report found that at least 15 people who were close to the Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson had their phones hacked with Pegasus in 2016. The report also found that Alaa Mahajna, a lawyer who represented the family of George Floyd, had his phone hacked with Pegasus in 2020.

These examples show that Kismet iPhone and Pegasus are not only used to spy on criminals and terrorists, but also on innocent people who exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.

How to protect yourself from Kismet iPhone and Pegasus?

To protect yourself from Kismet iPhone and Pegasus, you need to update your iPhone with the latest version of iOS. Apple fixed the zero-day flaws exploited by Kismet iPhone in September 2020, making the attack ineffective. You also need to avoid clicking on suspicious links or visiting unsecured websites, which could be infected by malicious code. You need to use a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt your internet connection and prevent potential spies from seeing your online activity. You can check if your iPhone has been infected by Pegasus by using a tool developed by Amnesty International, called MVT (Mobile Verification Toolkit).

Sources and downloads

If you want to learn more about the zero-day flaws used by Kismet iPhone and Pegasus, and how Apple fixed them, you can check the following sources:

If you want to check if your iPhone has been infected by Pegasus, you can download the following application:

  • MVT (Mobile Verification Toolkit)MVT (Mobile Verification Toolkit): this open source software allows you to analyze your iPhone and detect traces of Pegasus. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, and requires some technical knowledge to use it. You can follow the user guide on the official project site.

Conclusion

Kismet iPhone and Pegasus are two of the most sophisticated and dangerous cyberattacks that target iPhone users. They can compromise your device and your data, without you being aware of it. To protect yourself from these attacks, you need to keep your iPhone updated, be careful with what you click and visit online, and use a VPN. You can also use a tool to detect if your iPhone has been infected by Pegasus. If you want to know more about Pegasus, the most powerful spyware in the world, you can read our dedicated article here: Pegasus: the cost of spying with one of the most powerful spyware in the world

However, you should know that the zero-day risk is always present, and that the economic stakes are huge for the companies that exploit these flaws to spy on their competitors or their adversaries. That is why Freemindtronic has specialized in counter-espionage tecnologiescounter-espionage tecnologies, which allow you to protect your data and your privacy against malicious intrusions. If you are interested in these solutions, you can visit our Freemindtronic website and discover the different technologies of counter espionage.