[risks] Risks Digest 23.37

From: RISKS List Owner (risko@private)
Date: Tue May 18 2004 - 13:19:12 PDT

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    RISKS-LIST: Risks-Forum Digest  Tuesday 18 May 2004  Volume 23 : Issue 37
       ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator
    ***** See last item for further information, disclaimers, caveats, etc. *****
    This issue is archived at <http://www.risks.org> as
    The current issue can be found at
    Las Vegas monorail delayed due to computer glitch (Chuck Weinstock)
    False Positive Risks (John Lettice via R.G. Newbury)
    'Blue Screen of Death' on hotel TV screen (Henry Baker)
    New UK Driving Licence puts Identity at risk (Adam Laurie)
    Forrester speeds up timeline on white-collar offshoring (NewsScan)
    Researchers find WiFi flaw (NewsScan)
    Sasser creator turned in for the reward (NewsScan)
    German Toll-Collect announces another delay... (Debora Weber-Wulff)
    Listen to your CPU and break RSA? (Gadi Evron)
    Banks don't understand phishing social risks (Samuel Liddicott)
    Fines reimbursed, drivers reinstated; faulty speed camera (Bertrand Meyer)
    Re: Hybrid vehicles may be hazardous to rescuers' health (Stephen Fairfax)
    Re: Auto-Blacklisting is a bad idea (Kyler Laird)
    Formal Methods for Industrial Critical Systems CFP (Diego Latella)
    Abridged info on RISKS (comp.risks)
    Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 09:46:17 -0400
    From: Chuck Weinstock <weinstock@private>
    Subject: Las Vegas monorail delayed due to computer glitch
    The Las Vegas strip $650M 3.9-mile monorail project is months behind
    schedule.  The opening, which had been scheduled for 20 Jan 2004, was first
    postponed to March, and now to the summer.  In January, a train drive-shaft
    fell off in a test.  In February, a glitch was detected in the computer
    control system that keeps trains spaced safely while moving at 50mph.
    Bombardier (Canada) and Granite Construction Co. (Watsonville, California)
    are paying about $85,000 a day in penalties.  The control system uses
    Alcatel's SelTrac S40 Automatic Train Operating System.  Source: Associated
    Press, 11 May 2004
    Date: Tue, 11 May 1982 13:25:18 -0400
    From: "R.G. Newbury" <newbury@private>
    Subject: False Positive Risks (John Lettice)
    Roger Benson and Miguel Espinoza brought a lawsuit against Identix and
    California and Oregon because Identix's Livescan 10-print fingerprint
    scanner assigned each of them an ID that was also assigned to someone else
    who had a criminal record.
    Benson was imprisoned for 43 days for carrying a firearm after he was
    stopped in California for a traffic violation; the ID derived from his
    fingerprint scan (incorrectly) matched that of someone with a completely
    different name (William Lee Kellogg) who had been convicted for three
    felonies in Oregon.  Records show that Benson's and Kellogg's biometric
    fingerprint records are completely different -- with Benson having only nine
    fingertips!  Similarly, Espinoza claimed his restaurant business was
    destroyed because his ID was shared by someone with a criminally negligent
    homicide conviction.
    The ability of this system to generate duplicate IDs has been known since
    1996, but evidently not corrected.  In fact, Oregon has a list of 97 such
    cases.  As usual, there is significant blame to go around -- the system
    itself, and the rather unimaginative use of it by law enforcement.  (On 11
    May 2004, Identix sought to have the suit dismissed in San Jose Superior
    Incidentally, the Department of Homeland Security has a contract for
    Identix's fingerprint system, reportedly worth $27M.  The UK Passport
    Service is also using this system.
    [Source: John Lettice, DHS and UK ID card biometric vendor in false ID lawsuit,
    *The Register*, 11 May 2004; PGN-ed]
    Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 05:59:35 -0700
    From: Henry Baker <hbaker1@private>
    Subject: 'Blue Screen of Death' on hotel TV screen
    I'm staying in New York City at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel,
    where every room has a 'high definition' flat panel TV screen
    powered by a PC running Windoze XP Media edition.  This is
    massive overkill, since the 'web' feature of the setup is
    no better than what you would get with a 'thin' web browser.
    (The quality of the TV picture also left a lot to be desired,
    indicating that the $$ spent on the PC would have been better
    spent on the TV itself, but that is a different story.)
    Unfortunately, the PC malfunctioned in the middle of the
    night, and completely froze -- not responding to the IR wand,
    or even trying to power cycle the various components using the
    power on/off button..  Note: on this system, the power buttons
    are all software interpreted, so when the software screws up,
    there's no easy way to even power cycle it.
    I was forced to pull a _very_ heavy dresser away from the wall
    so I could get access to the power plug and power cycle the
    system in this way.  It's only a matter of time before hotels
    will disable this option as well, by hard wiring the power to
    the system.
    The risks of disabling the power buttons are clear -- what if the system
    were melting down and starting a fire?
    Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 08:29:39 +0100
    From: Adam Laurie <adam@private>
    Subject: New UK Driving Licence puts Identity at risk
    To obtain the new UK photocard driving licence, you are required to
    provide proof of your identity (see item 6 here):
    My wife recently applied for one, and submitted her passport as proof of
    identity. In due course, the licence arrived, but not the passport. When she
    contacted the DVLA, she was told that they were always sent separately, and
    the passport should have come first.
    Given the following story, showing that the post office is losing 14.4M
    letters a year, and the fact that the DVLA take no special precautions such
    as registered post, we assumed the worst:
    Fortunately, the passport eventually arrived, but a system that sends
    crucial documents through a service that is losing such vast quantities of
    its charges is clearly putting valuable documents, and thereby identities,
    at grave risk, which seems to me to be criminally irresponsible of those in
    charge of the DVLA.
    Adam Laurie, A.L. Digital Ltd., The Stores, 2 Bath Road, London W4 1LT UK
    +44 (20) 8742 0755  http://www.thebunker.net http://www.aldigital.co.uk
    Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 10:10:36 -0700
    From: "NewsScan" <newsscan@private>
    Subject: Forrester speeds up timeline on white-collar offshoring
    Forrester Research says the export of [U.S.] white-collar jobs is happening
    faster than it had first predicted back in 2002, but that its long-term
    outlook for offshore outsourcing hasn't changed much since that report,
    which estimated that a cumulative 3.3 million white-collar jobs would be
    shifted to other countries by 2015.  Forrester's revised numbers project a
    total of 830,000 jobs offshored by 2005, up from its earlier estimate of
    just under 600,000.  Ironically, Forrester analyst John McCarthy says the
    media's focus on the issue has encouraged more companies to experiment with
    offshore outsourcing.  "While the press visibility has spurred offshoring's
    emergence as a political third rail, it has also fostered an increase in
    overall offshore alternatives," says Forrester's revised report.  [*Wall
    Street Journal*, 17 May 2004; NewsScan Daily, 17 May 2004]
      http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB108474869663912901,00.html (sub req'd)
    Date: Fri, 14 May 2004 08:23:38 -0700
    From: "NewsScan" <newsscan@private>
    Subject: Researchers find WiFi flaw
    Researchers at Queensland University of Technology in Australia have
    discovered an easily-exploited vulnerability that can be used to take down
    most 802.11 wireless networks. The flaw operates at lower network layers
    than most previously-discovered security flaws in 802.11 networking, and
    affects any network operating at the 2.4GHz frequency -- which is the sole
    frequency used by the most popular wireless protocol, 802.11b.  [*The
    Australian*, 13 May 2004; NewsScan Daily, 14 May 2004, rec'd from John Lamp,
    Deakin U.]
    Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 08:45:38 -0700
    From: "NewsScan" <newsscan@private>
    Subject: Sasser creator turned in for the reward
    The German teenager who created the computer worm Sasser was identified by
    acquaintances seeking a $250,000 reward from Microsoft. The young man was
    arrested in the village of Waffensen, near Bremen, and appeared shaken by
    the extent of the damage his program had caused around the world. He faces
    charges of computer sabotage, which under German law could mean his
    imprisonment for five years. If the teenager is convicted, Microsoft will
    make good on its pledge for the full $250,000 reward.  {*The Washington
    Post*, 9 May 2004; NewsScan Daily, 10 May 2004]
    Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 12:47:13 +0200
    From: Debora Weber-Wulff <weberwu@fhtw-berlin.de>
    Subject: German Toll-Collect announces another delay... (Re: RISKS-23.21)
    ... but in newspeak it is, of course, not announced as such.  The
    public-private partnership Toll Collect, which was to have helped the German
    Government rake in tolls starting last year, has kept posting delays. This
    led to the Transport Secretary throwing them out in February 2004 but
    reinstating them the beginning of March because they promised to start
    testing in the summer and would have the first stage fully functional by Jan
    1, 2005.
    Experts laughed, but the government reinstated the consortium, and they got
    to work.  AP reports (quoting the *Berliner Zeitung* from 10 May 2004) that
    testing will now commence until October or November. [Well, I guess that's
    Indian Summer... dww] The company is currently looking for errors in the
    individual systems, the head of Toll Collect, Christop Bellmer, announced.
    "The recent tests of the on board units are promising. The error rate was
    just under3%, about 2% of that are software and 1% are hardware problems. "
    [Translation dww].
    THREE PERCENT error rate? For a security system of this size? But reading a
    snippet from the proposal makes it clear where the error rate is coming from
    [my translation]:
      http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/special/eco/16684/1.html (in German)
      TollChecker measures the vehicles three-dimensionally and determines a
      geometric vehicle model. With this, the number of axles are determined and
      trailers are recognized. From this data, the system determines the class
      of vehicle, in order to determine the appropriate fee. In addition,
      pictures of the vehicles and the license plates are taken with an infrared
      flash lighting that is invisible to the driver.  With this, the license
      plate can be automatically determined.
      The information from the control system is then compared by way of the
      communication interfaces [satellite!] with the data from the on-board unit
      and the data that was registered with the central computer system. Should
      it appear that some sort of falsification has occurred, the data will be
      stored as evidence.
    All this computational effort to determine how many axles the vehicle has?
    No wonder they are having problems! It seems to me that it would be a lot
    easier to have the trucks buy stickers and police the use of the stickers!
    For this they have built ugly toll station information collectors over all
    the autobahns, have installed terminals that don't work in rest stops, and
    are using satellite technology.
    It seems that the assumption is that people are hell-bent on deceiving the
    system, so they are trying to solve the social problem with technology, and
    that is not working. Germany is suffering from this wild scheme because the
    money was planned for repairing roads for the World Cup in 2006. Oh well,
    anyone for a train? Just a few minor signalling and switching problems
    [Added note from Debora: Here's a later followup on the Toll Collect:]
    There are reports (for example http://www.pcwelt.de/news/vermischtes/40102/)
    that 3 high school students have developed a toll collection system as part
    of the "Jugend forscht" (Young Scientist Award given every year in Germany).
    They spent only 1300 Euros on their system which uses WLAN technology and
    broadcasts information on the number of axles to access points mounted over
    the autobahns.  The data are then sent to a central computer, and when the
    truck leaves the highway via an exit ramp, a bill is automatically sent to
    the owner. This is similar to the toll system used, for example, on the
    bridge between Denmark and Sweden.
    The students won first prize in the Geosciences division. They were invited
    to speak with TollCollect (the consortium that has not actually produced a
    toll system yet but is burning money by the hayloads), but TollCollect said
    that they would not use the technology because so much has already been
    invested in the method that they are using.
    I would give TollCollect first prize in the "Never-admitting-we-were-wrong"
    Prof. Dr. Debora Weber-Wulff, FHTW Berlin, FB4, Treskowallee 8, 10313 Berlin
    GERMANY  +49-30-5019-2320  http://www.f4.fhtw-berlin.de/people/weberwu/
    Date: Sat, 08 May 2004 18:46:09 +0200
    From: Gadi Evron <ge@private
    Subject: Listen to your CPU and break RSA?
    A story hit slashdot today about a research done by Adi Shamir and Eran
    Tromer on how you can perhaps break RSA keys by listening to a CPU.
    The idea by itself i snot new. If you are interested you can look up
    information on DPA and SPA as well.
    I won't talk about how and what, you can find more information on the
    following URL's, and they are pretty easy to read an understand.
    /. article at:
    Original article at: http://www.wisdom.weizmann.ac.il/~tromer/acoustic/
    As much as this technology is a risk and therefore a potential threat,
    unless you are of the really paranoid (which would mean this interests you
    considerably) there are far easier ways of attacking a computer.
    This attack came to show how to attack the key, which is why it interests
    these folks, I suppose, but it would be much easier to use TEMPEST if you
    get access to actually install some tool to hear && (record || transmit) the
    audio. Then again, if you get that close you could always install a Trojan
    horse (which doesn't have to be software).
    I would suggest TEMPEST would also be more reliable, but some testing is in
    order and the POC is impressive in its simplicity and efficiency. I would
    think a lot of research would be required for every CPU you intend to
    attack, but I am apparently wrong (?).
    Cost vs. benefit? I can't really see it. But it works!
    This is pretty cool though! I have to admit that!
    (adding another mark on my paranoia list).
    +972-50-428610 (Cell)   ge@private Backup: ge@private
      [See also an article by Dmitri Asonov and Rakesh Agrawal, Keyboard
      Acoustic Emanations, 2004 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy,
      pages 3--11.  PGN]
    Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 10:48:38 +0100
    From: "Samuel Liddicott" <sam@private>
    Subject: Banks don't understand phishing social risks
    [This post has been edited slightly since being sent to the Co-operative
    Bank (UK). No response had been received from the bank after 4 weeks]
    Normally there are subtle differences between the way a bank operates and
    the way phishing scams operate; typically any client initiated contact with
    the bank is safe (typos aside).
    Phishing scams generally work by initiating a fake contact from the bank
    that directs users to transactions that scam the user.
    The Coop bank is engaging in marketing practices indistinguishable from
    those practiced by phishers, encouraging customers to believe that callers
    claiming to be from the bank are indeed from the bank, making it easy for
    phishers to impersonate the bank for the purposes of obtaining customers
    security information.
    Scammers would also need account number and sort code information that could
    be had from disposed receipts, personal cheques, stolen/found wallets etc,
    or obtained from the same phone call used to obtain the answers to security
    A few times in this past year I have received a telephone call from the bank
    (I suppose). The caller would identify themselves as being from the Coop
    bank, and that before they could proceed, would I have any objection to
    answering some security questions? I always refused to do so, not being able
    to tell that they were really from the bank and not some fraudster currently
    online to my bank and needing some help to answer my personal security
    Recently, within the last few weeks, our of curiosity I took the call a
    little further.
    I told the caller that I would not answer the questions, for how could I
    tell she really was from the Coop bank.
    She assured me she was a genuine caller from the bank, and seemed to think
    this assurance held some weight.
    I suggested that for all I knew she was a fraudster who was on the line to
    my bank that very moment and asking me the same security questions the bank
    was asking her.
    She finally understood my concerns enough and offered to let me call the
    bank number given on the bank website and then ask for her extension, which
    I did. When I then spoke to her, she said the call was just to make sure
    that I knew, that since the Coop bank and Coop insurance had merged, they
    could offer me combined products!  For some reason "making sure I knew"
    needed me to answer personal security questions.
    What is more concerning is not how sure the bank wanted to be that they were
    talking to me, but that they put their customers into the habit of believing
    that callers claiming to be from the bank are indeed from the bank.
    And after all, what's the difference TO THE CUSTOMER between an e-mail
    purporting to be from the bank (typical phishing scam) and a phone call
    claiming to be from the bank?
    I'll tell you the answer: On the bank website the customer is warned not to
    believe e-mails from the bank. There are no such warnings about telephone
    calls (yet).
    Fortunately, while this sort of behaviour makes the banks customers more
    susceptible to believing man-in-the-middle phishers, it doesn't affect me.
    It is admirable that the bank authenticates its customers, but before it
    does so the customers need to authenticate the caller as being the bank; I
    don't know how many customers are competent enough to do this, and while
    this is the case I think the bank should be careful what sort of
    expectations they instill into their customers.
    Date: Sun, 16 May 2004 17:22:03 +0200
    From: "Bertrand Meyer" <Bertrand.Meyer@private>
    Subject: Fines reimbursed, drivers reinstated; faulty speed camera (R-23.35)
    New developments on the Victoria (Australia) defective speed cameras
    affair (see my note in RISKS 23:35):
      Almost 165,000 motorists caught by fixed speed cameras will have their
      fines waived or be paid compensation, costing the State Government $26
      million. This includes waiving $6.1 million in fines.  Hundreds of drivers
      who lost their licenses for speeding may be back on the road.  The State
      Premier Steve Bracks said that every one of the 90,000 speeding fines ever
      issued because of Western Ring Road fixed cameras would be repaid.
    (Sums in Australian dollars. Summarized from the Melbourne Age, 15 May 2004,
    "Wear and tear, poor installation and electromagnetic interference were
    blamed for faulty readings on ring road cameras". The State Government is
    blaming the supplier, now in "administration", which says it's being
    scapegoated and was not in charge of camera maintenance.
    The opposition criticizes the State Government for not releasing the full
    report and is threatening to go to court to get it published
    -- Bertrand Meyer
    ETH Zurich http://se.inf.eth.ch -- Eiffel Software http://eiffel.com
    Date: Sat, 08 May 2004 16:10:21 -0400
    From: Stephen Fairfax <fairfax@private>
    Subject: Re: Hybrid vehicles may be hazardous to rescuers' health (R-23.35)
    My wife owns a Toyota Prius, and as an engineer interested in power
    electronics and reliability I purchased and studied all the available shop
    manuals and other technical documentation available for the vehicle.
    The hybrid voltage battery is located in the trunk.  The Prius DC cables are
    colored bright orange for visibility and easy identification. Unlike power
    cables in 12 VDC systems, where the car chassis serves as the return
    circuit, two cables carry the + and - DC to the power electronics.  This
    means that a person would have to accidently touch both terminals to be
    shocked.  In the unlikely but conceivable instance where damaged cable
    insulation connects one cable to the metallic chassis, a ground fault
    detection circuit would open the main DC relays (there are two, normally
    open) and de-energize the cables. Any collision that activates the front
    airbags will also cause the main DC relays to open and de-energize the
    cables and power electronics.
    Prius service technicians are taught about an easily accessible bright
    orange plastic plug inside the trunk that can be pulled to physically
    disconnect the battery and remove all power from the high voltage
    electronics and cables.  First responders are trained not to touch anything
    colored bright orange in the Prius.  There is also a control relay under the
    hood that can be removed to open the main DC relays and de-energize the
    cables.  I found instructions for removing that relay in about 15 seconds of
    google searching using the search ("toyota prius" hazmat) at
    www.firehouse.com.  As I am not a first responder I cannot comment on how
    many read firehouse.com.
    Using the search ( "toyota prius" "high voltage" site:toyota.com ) I found
    the Toyota Emergency Response Guide (ERG), a 26-page PDF document explaining
    the operation of the vehicle, roadside assistance, and emergency response
    procedures.  During a fire, the car is treated as any other car fire.  As
    the ERG notes, firefighters can not be expected to notice that the car is a
    hybrid until after the fire has been knocked down.  The battery electrolyte
    is potentially hazardous as it is a caustic alkali.  The electrolyte is
    confined in a gel and will not normally leak even if the hybrid battery case
    is cracked.
    The DC cables do NOT run through the doors.  Many automobile wires, brake
    hydraulic, and fuel lines run in or near the frames surrounding the doors,
    as these are typically heavily reinforced and so offer good protection from
    both normal wear and accidents.
    While the dangers posed by hybrid batteries are real, in context they are
    not very large, and Toyota seems to have done a commendable job of
    anticipating and mitigating the hazards.  The new RISK arises from the fact
    that this is new technology for automobiles and there is a transition period
    where not all first responders have received appropriate training.  During
    that transition period, uninformed speculation and misinformation could
    result in unwarranted delays extracting an injured person or in controlling
    a fire.
    The greatest hazard in a damaged and motionless vehicle is almost always the
    tank of gasoline.  Can you imagine the safety, environmental, and other
    regulatory hullabaloo that would arise if we were trying to introduce
    gasoline into vehicles for the first time today?
    Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 14:08:08 GMT
    From: Kyler Laird <Kyler@private>
    Subject: Re: Auto-Blacklisting is a bad idea (RISKS-23.36)
    > ... challenge-response system warned that it was going to automatically
    > blacklist my e-mail address if I didn't respond.
    Anyone know when auto-blacklisting would be beneficial?  I'm not getting it.
    If the message truly is spam, the sending address is probably bogus.  (I use
    TMDA and I think I have the data to back up that assertion.)  Either the
    address belongs to an innocent user (in which case auto-blacklisting has
    negative value, as demonstrated above) or the address points into a bit
    bucket somewhere (in which case blacklisting of any sort has little or no
    On the rare occasion that a spammer sends a message with a legitimate sender
    address, the challenge will be sent to the spammer.  It would be easy enough
    for that spammer to respond to the challenge (even, as we've already seen,
    if it requires some thought such as the image-based challenges) and the auto-
    blacklisting is not engaged.
    So now we're down to the tiny chance of a spammer sending a message with a
    legitimate sender address from which he does not respond.  Now the auto-
    blacklist engages and kills further messages from that address.  So?  The
    effect seen by the intended recipient is the same as if auto-blacklisting
    had not been used; either way, no messages are passed.
    It's a stretch, but I'm willing to say that there is *some* benefit to not
    sending challenges to the same (unresponsive) address repeatedly.  That
    benefit is so tiny that it disappears in the noise compared to the problems
    caused as a result.  Also, there is no benefit to the intended recipient
    unless bandwidth has a very high cost.
    Anything I'm missing?
      [PGN asked Drew Dean if he wanted to answer that question, and this
      is his response was evidently NO, Kyler has it right, although Drew
      added this counterquestion as to what might be added:
        That people often assume that things are linear and symmetric even
        when they aren't?
        Granted, much of the real world is linear and symmetric, so it's hard
        to fight against a large number of years of "life experience."  DD]
    Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 11:56:15 +0200
    From: Diego Latella <Diego.Latella@private>
    Subject: Formal Methods for Industrial Critical Systems CFP
    The 9th ERCIM "Formal Methods for Industrial Critical Systems" Workshop will
    be held in Linz, Austria (EU) on 20-21 September 2004
    The aim of the FMICS <http://www.inrialpes.fr/vasy/fmics/> workshops is to
    provide a forum for researchers who are interested in the development and
    application of formal methods in industry. In particular, these workshops
    are intended to bring together scientists who are active in the area of
    formal methods and interested in exchanging their experiences in the
    industrial usage of these methods. These workshops also strive to promote
    research and development for the improvement of formal methods and tools for
    industrial applications.
    Submissions are due by 21 June 2004.  Further information at
    Dott. Diego Latella, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
    Ist. di Scienze e Tecnologia dell'Informazione - ISTI
    Via G. Moruzzi, 1 - I56124 Pisa, ITALY
    phone: +39 0503152982 or +39 348 8283101
      fax: +39 0503138091 or +39 0503138092
    Diego.Latella@private   http://www.isti.cnr.it/People/D.Latella
    Date: 5 Apr 2004 (LAST-MODIFIED)
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    Subject: Abridged info on RISKS (comp.risks)
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    End of RISKS-FORUM Digest 23.37

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