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Security clearance under review for right-wing activist Trump retweeted

Story highlights

  • Trump retweeted Posobiec on Monday
  • Posobiec promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy

Posobiec is a Navy reservist and intelligence officer who has trafficked in debunked conspiracy theories and was retweeted by President Donald Trump this week. A Navy official told CNN on Wednesday that Posobiec’s security clearance is now being reviewed by his command, which considering whether his statements and behavior are in violation of the conditions of his clearance. Posobiec is one of many bombastic right-wing voices who have picked up steam online, posting nearly constantly to Twitter and earning the praise of Trump’s supporters as well as attention from the President himself.

NBC1 was first to report on Posobiec’s security clearance review.Posobiec responded to NBC’s report on Twitter, writing2, “‘I’ve always been honest and open about my military service and am proud to have worn the uniform . Why did no one from NBC simply ask me?”

“Outrageous that fake news media’s first reaction was to attack my service record with the US military . Shameful!” he tweeted later. Trump on Monday retweeted a post from Posobiec decrying the lack of “national media outrage” over shootings in Chicago during the weekend that Charlottesville, Virginia, became a national flashpoint. Posobiec’s military record showed he enlisted in the US Navy in 2010 . His latest rank was junior-grade lieutenant, and as of April 2017, he was a Navy reservist who worked in Strategic Command Intelligence . His record said he served in Guantanamo Bay for nearly a year.

CNN’s Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

References

  1. ^ NBC (www.nbcnews.com)
  2. ^ writing (twitter.com)

Carbon Black denies its IT security guard system oozes customer secrets

Security firms are, understandably, quite sensitive about claims that their products are insecure, so accusations of this sort tend to cause a kerfuffle. On Wednesday, security consultancy DirectDefense published a blog post1 claiming endpoint security vendor Carbon Black’s Cb Response protection software would, once installed for a customer, spew sensitive data to third parties . This included customers’ AWS, Azure and Google Compute private keys, internal usernames and passwords, proprietary internal applications, and two-factor authentication secrets, allegedly. Jim Broome, president of DirectDefense, said the problem stems from the way Cb Response patrols corporate file systems, and transmits data out to third-party malware scanners to check whether files are legit or infected with nasties . If the Cb Response installation doesn’t recognize a document or executable, it can punt it out to multiple scanners to see if they have come across the binaries before, and if they’re safe or need quarantining.

“This means that files uploaded by Cb Response customers first go to Carbon Black (or their local Carbon Black server instance), but then are immediately forwarded to a cloud-based multiscanner, where they are dutifully spread to anyone that wants them and is willing to pay,” he explained.

“Welcome to the world’s largest pay-for-play data exfiltration botnet.”

Broome said that his team had discovered this flow of data while working for a client last year, and have since found multiple organizations using the Cb Response system . He said his team went public with its findings to warn people without informing the vendor and put out a press release2 to highlight the supposed danger. However, Carbon Black has fired back with a blog post of its own, claiming DirectDefense got its facts wrong . It’s not a bug causing the data emissions it’s a feature.

Bug ? Feature?

“This is an optional feature, turned off by default, to allow customers to share information with external sources for additional ability to detect threats,” said3 Michael Viscuso, cofounder of Carbon Black.

“In Cb Response, there is an optional, customer-controlled configuration (disabled by default) that allows the uploading of binaries (executables) to VirusTotal for additional threat analysis .

This option can be enabled by a customer, on a per-sensor group basis . When enabled, executable files will be uploaded to VirusTotal, a public repository and scanning service owned by Google.”

He pointed out that even with the information sharing feature turned on, users can customize exactly what data is sent out of the network . There’s also a popup warning page telling admins that they are sending data outside the company network. He also notes that DirectDefense could have contacted them about this before creating a big fuss about it, and Carbon Black would have explained the issue. A spokeswoman for DirectDefense told The Register that they didn’t tip off Carbon Black about the issue because it didn’t consider the data transmission a vulnerability, instead describing Cb Response as suffering “a function of how the tool is architected” in the original blog.

“Yes, we’ve seen this feature setting in the product and in the manual that stated this is off by default,” the firm said in a followup blog post4.

“However, the recommendations or messaging from Carbon Black’s professional services team during the course of installing the product is to turn this feature on to help accelerate the analysis of the file scans.”

So DirectDefense decided to “educate users” about the issue, albeit in somewhat alarmist terms .

Education or PR stunt that backfired you decide.

Sponsored: M3: Machine Learning & AI conference brought to by The Register5

References

  1. ^ blog post (www.directdefense.com)
  2. ^ press release (www.businesswire.com)
  3. ^ said (www.carbonblack.com)
  4. ^ blog post (www.directdefense.com)
  5. ^ M3: Machine Learning & AI conference brought to by The Register (go.theregister.com)

Carbon Black denies its IT security guard system oozes customer …

Security firms are, understandably, quite sensitive about claims that their products are insecure, so accusations of this sort tend to cause a kerfuffle. On Wednesday, security consultancy DirectDefense published a blog post1 claiming endpoint security vendor Carbon Black’s Cb Response protection software would, once installed for a customer, spew sensitive data to third parties . This included customers’ AWS, Azure and Google Compute private keys, internal usernames and passwords, proprietary internal applications, and two-factor authentication secrets, allegedly. Jim Broome, president of DirectDefense, said the problem stems from the way Cb Response patrols corporate file systems, and transmits data out to third-party malware scanners to check whether files are legit or infected with nasties . If the Cb Response installation doesn’t recognize a document or executable, it can punt it out to multiple scanners to see if they have come across the binaries before, and if they’re safe or need quarantining.

“This means that files uploaded by Cb Response customers first go to Carbon Black (or their local Carbon Black server instance), but then are immediately forwarded to a cloud-based multiscanner, where they are dutifully spread to anyone that wants them and is willing to pay,” he explained.

“Welcome to the world’s largest pay-for-play data exfiltration botnet.”

Broome said that his team had discovered this flow of data while working for a client last year, and have since found multiple organizations using the Cb Response system . He said his team went public with its findings to warn people without informing the vendor and put out a press release2 to highlight the supposed danger. However, Carbon Black has fired back with a blog post of its own, claiming DirectDefense got its facts wrong . It’s not a bug causing the data emissions it’s a feature.

Bug ? Feature?

“This is an optional feature, turned off by default, to allow customers to share information with external sources for additional ability to detect threats,” said3 Michael Viscuso, cofounder of Carbon Black.

“In Cb Response, there is an optional, customer-controlled configuration (disabled by default) that allows the uploading of binaries (executables) to VirusTotal for additional threat analysis .

This option can be enabled by a customer, on a per-sensor group basis . When enabled, executable files will be uploaded to VirusTotal, a public repository and scanning service owned by Google.”

He pointed out that even with the information sharing feature turned on, users can customize exactly what data is sent out of the network . There’s also a popup warning page telling admins that they are sending data outside the company network. He also notes that DirectDefense could have contacted them about this before creating a big fuss about it, and Carbon Black would have explained the issue. A spokeswoman for DirectDefense told The Register that they didn’t tip off Carbon Black about the issue because it didn’t consider the data transmission a vulnerability, instead describing Cb Response as suffering “a function of how the tool is architected” in the original blog.

“Yes, we’ve seen this feature setting in the product and in the manual that stated this is off by default,” the firm said in a followup blog post4.

“However, the recommendations or messaging from Carbon Black’s professional services team during the course of installing the product is to turn this feature on to help accelerate the analysis of the file scans.”

So DirectDefense decided to “educate users” about the issue, albeit in somewhat alarmist terms .

Education or PR stunt that backfired you decide.

Sponsored: M3: Machine Learning & AI conference brought to by The Register5

References

  1. ^ blog post (www.directdefense.com)
  2. ^ press release (www.businesswire.com)
  3. ^ said (www.carbonblack.com)
  4. ^ blog post (www.directdefense.com)
  5. ^ M3: Machine Learning & AI conference brought to by The Register (go.theregister.com)