Russia and Iran Plan to Fundamentally Isolate the Internet

For years, countries have spoken in vague terms about creating domestic internets that could be isolated from the world at will. Now we’re seeing some begin to execute that vision. Last month Iran announced that its "national information network"—essentially a domestic internet—is 80 percent complete. Earlier this year, Russia launched a major initiative to build a domestic Russian internet, purportedly to defend against cybersecurity threats—though also a likely expansion on the Kremlin’s desire to control the flow of information within its borders. With Russia and Iran spearheading a new level of internet fragmentation, they’re not just threatening the global network architecture (cables, servers) or working to allow the government to greatly control information flows and crack down on freedoms; their …

A Cisco Router Bug Has Massive Global Implications

The Cisco 1001-X series router doesn't look much like the one you have in your home. It's bigger and much more expensive, responsible for reliable connectivity at stock exchanges, corporate offices, your local mall, and so on. The devices play a pivotal role at institutions, in other words, including some that deal with hypersensitive information. Now, researchers are disclosing a remote attack that would potentially allow a hacker to take over any 1001-X router and compromise all the data and commands that flow through it. And it only gets worse from there. To compromise the routers, researchers from the security firm Red Balloon exploited two vulnerabilities. The first is a bug in Cisco’s IOS operating system—not to be confused with …

Hacker Lexicon: What Is Application Shielding?

As hackers become increasingly adept at targeting smartphones, app security has become a pressing issue. Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in mobile software to spy on users, grab their data, or even steal their money. In response, security companies are increasingly touting a feature called "application shielding," a process that obfuscates an application's binary code, ostensibly making it harder for hackers to reverse-engineer. Application shielding is mainly used to protect intellectual property and cut down on piracy; the techniques modify a service's application code, making it more difficult for someone to tamper with it, or to figure out how to remove digital rights locks and steal media like music or movie files. Over the past few years, though, the term has …