Locking gas caps!

Post ImageHow can you tell that gas prices are far too high? Well, you might spit coffee all over the dash when you drive up to the pump and see the price, or you might be checking prices on one of those converters that makes your car burn restaurant grease as fuel. Or, you might even be ordering a locking gas cap:

The word from Pittsburgh is that auto parts suppliers are rapidly selling out of locking gas caps, which were originally invented in the 30s because of gas thefts during the Great Depression. Buyers are reporting their gas tanks have been siphoned, or that they want to head off potential siphoning due to ever-rising gas prices. Some stores are having difficulty getting more units in stock from manufacturers.

There was a similar little article in today’s Dose too. Are people really siphoning gas, or is this a little bit of Pimp My Ride? I mean gas prices are so high, what’s another few dollars on a locking gas cap right?

Read: Engadget

Firefox 1.0.5 Released

Post ImageThe latest update to Firefox was released today by the Mozilla Foundation, version 1.0.5. No new features, but there are a number of security fixes, as well as improvements to stability.

Firefox 1.0.5 is a security update that is part of our ongoing program to provide a safe Internet experience for our customers. We recommend that all users upgrade to this latest version.

Release notes are up, and you can download from the Mozilla site.

I love Firefox, and use it as my main browser. I just wish that people would realize that it has the same potential for security problems as every other browser, including Internet Explorer. I mean, look at the issues that were fixed in this version – “Code execution through shared function objects”, “Standalone applications can run arbitrary code through the browser”, and a bunch of others. Nobody’s perfect!

Read: Mozilla Firefox

Would you give your password for theatre tickets?

This news is a few days old, but organizers for the Infosecurity Europe trade show have completed their “annual pulse-taking of people’s susceptibility to social engineering.” This year, they asked individuals for private information in return for theatre tickets:

Claire Sellick approached a woman in London’s tony theater district with a clipboard and a chance to win tickets to an upcoming show. All the woman had to do was answer a three-minute survey on locals’ theater-going habits. Or so she thought.

The woman answered questions about her name, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, name of the first school she attended and more. All of that information could easily be used to gain access to “secure” data, like a bank account. The woman wasn’t the only one though. Here’s the results of the experiment that surveyed 200 people:

  • 100% provided their names upon request.
  • 94% provided pet’s names (common passwords) and their mother’s maiden name (common second form of authentication) when told actors frequently use both to create stage names.
  • 98% gave their address in order to receive a winning voucher.
  • 96% divulged the name of their first school. Combined with mother’s maiden name, the two are key pieces of information used by banks for verification.
  • 92% provided their date of birth and the same number supplied their home phone number.

Just goes to show that for all the technology in the world, humans are always the weakest link. No number of firewalls, passwords, or other security features will prevent a person from giving up valuable and sensitive information. So, be mindful about what you divulge! Your mother’s maiden name might be just as important as your bank account number!

Read: Search Security

Will Firefox always be more secure?

Speaking at PC Forum, Mitchell Baker of the Mozilla Foundation proclaimed that Firefox will always have less security vulnerabilities than Internet Explorer, even as its popularity grows. But he didn’t stop there! Baker went on to say:

“There is this idea that market share alone will make you have more vulnerabilities. It is not relational at all.”

No? I guess we’ll find out when Firefox has more than the 5% market share it has now. I am willing to bet the number of vulnerabilities will increase. Furthermore, Firefox will experience new security breaches at a faster rate than Internet Explorer ever did. Why? Because it’s open source. A hacker has to play with IE a bit, use some trial and error, to get the desired result. With Firefox, anyone can look at the code. As soon as Mozilla patches something, a hacker (for lack of a better name) can go and look at the code for the patch to see if it was in fact implemented correctly.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Firefox. It has been my default browser on all computers for a long time now. It’s just that I don’t agree with the “invincibility” some open source pundits think they have. Sooner or later it’ll all come crashing down.

Read: CNET News.com