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6 Tips on How to be More Watchful for Email Viruses and Scams
Posted by Bruno Rochon on 24 February 2015 10:42 AM

Keeping up-to-date with your anti-virus and anti-spam software is very important but not foolproof. Since anti-virus and anti-spam software blocks known viruses and scams, new viruses and phishing scams may unfortunately find their way to your Inbox now and then. There have also been higher incidents of virus attacks reported worldwide recently with attack vectors through email. Maintaining a cautious approach to email handling is necessary, and any email that is remotely suspicious should simply be deleted and not opened.  

According to McAfee Labs Threat Report[i], phishing attacks success rate results with 80% of business users unable to detect scams. Also, results show that the finance and HR departments, which hold sensitive data, performed the worst.

So, here are 6 tips on how to be more watchful for email viruses and scams:

Be wary of unsolicited emails and attachments, even from people you know: Some viruses and phishing scams can be spread by being forwarded, and others can scan an individual’s account and automatically send the virus or phishing scam to all the addresses that are found. Conduct your email handling with a no-trust attitude. It is important to call or text your contact first to verify the legitimacy of any suspicious emails.

Move suspicious emails to the Junk Email folder: To reveal the identity of email addresses and URLs, Infoware advises you to send suspicious emails to the “Junk Email” folder. Here, you will be able to see the true “Sent From:” and “To:” addresses, along with any URLs from within the message body.

Automatic downloading and opening of email attachments need to be turned off: Infoware disables the automatic downloading or opening of attachments for all their clients. If you notice this feature on i.e. html emails don’t say, “click here to download pictures,” contact the Infoware help desk to ensure it’s turned off.

Rules to follow for avoiding dangerous email attachments: Look out for strange or misspelled file extensions that have technical-looking file names, such as “Win32.Nyxem.exe” and “HappyHollyday.” Also as a rule, any file ending in EXE, COM, VBS, or CMD should never be opened because legitimate email attachments will never end in these letters.

Don’t click the link: Scammers can easily create a legitimate-looking email, but the link you click could take you to a shady website. Some email scams contain weird syntax, poor spelling and a suspicious web address. Try hovering over the link with your mouse - a box should pop up with the destination URL address - and verify the true URL address. If the link doesn’t appear legitimate, don’t click the link. If you’re still not sure, verify from the company or person first before proceeding further.

Stop, verify and trust your instincts: If your instincts are telling you that the email is suspicious – trust your instincts! Don’t open the attachment or click the link, even if your anti-virus or anti-spam software did not filter the email. Also, don’t forward the email. Always verify with your contact if the email is legitimate or delete the message to be safe.

Put your phishing knowledge to the test

McAfee has created an online quiz to see how skilled you are at detecting malicious phishing attempts amid common work-related emails. Go to

What to do if you’re unsure of an email or you get a virus?

Call the Infoware Help desk with any email questions or issues. Our goal is to resolve your problem and help you get back to business quickly. Call us at 416-360-2646 ext. 1 or email at



[i] McAfee Labs Threat Report,, August 2014.

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Infoware Managed Email Upgrade
Posted by Bruno Rochon on 22 December 2014 09:01 AM

Infoware’s Managed Email services, which include high level and best of class email anti-spam and anti-malware protection, is set to be upgraded on January 2nd, 2015.  Users will not notice any interruption in email receipt or delivery, however the online user management interface may be offline for 30 minutes starting at 11PM EST on January 2nd, 2015.

New Features/Fixes:

- Anti-virus scanning engine enhancements to detect and block zero-hour viruses and malware links.

- Enhancements to the Recent Messages page:

o             Added a column for SMTP delivery result status

o             Color-code the recent messages for success, failure, temporary deferral, journal and spam

o             Added date picker to History page to search a specific time frame

- “Automatic Replies” and Outlook 2013 “Out of Office” will no longer be auto-whitelisted

- Whitelist and Blacklist domains now automatically allow/block sub-domains.

- Emails found on block list are no longer delivered to customers when "Flag the subject line" is selected for spam.

- The correct Control Panel is now inserted when email is blocked/filtered through subject line filtering in Flag Mode.

- Messages with a blank date header field are now handled correctly.

Infoware’s Managed Email services are available for 1 to thousands of users.  For more information or to subscribe, please contact or 416-360-2646.

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Data location doesn't matter: US Federal Judge
Posted by Bruno Rochon on 03 September 2014 10:14 AM



Data location doesn't matter: US Federal Judge

In a decision that should not come as a big surprise, a US Federal Court judge has determined that the location of data under Microsoft's custody is not relevant. If Microsoft can produce it, it is required to do so.

As reported in Computerworld, the decision relates to a search warrant that directed Microsoft to produce the contents of one of its customer’s e-mails, where that information is stored on a server located in Dublin, Ireland. Microsoft contended that courts in the US cannot issue warrants for extraterritorial search and seizure, but the judge denied Microsoft's motion to quash the warrant. It argued, in part, that a US court can't issue a search warrant for premises outside of the United States so they should not be able to do so virtually.

However, the Court found that these orders may look like search warrants but they are more like subpoenas. They order an American company to do something entirely in the Unites States:

But the concerns that animate the presumption against extraterritoriality are simply not present here: an SCA Warrant does not criminalize conduct taking place in a foreign country; it does not involve the deployment of American law enforcement personnel abroad; it does not require even the physical presence of service provider employees at the location where data are stored. At least in this instance, it places obligations only on the service provider to act within the United States....


This case, for some Canadian readers will be reminiscent of the Canadian Federal Court decision in eBay Canada Ltd. v. M.N.R., 2008 FCA 348, where the Court ordered eBay in Canada to turn over information about Canadian "powersellers" regardless of the fact that the data was not within the territorial jurisdiction of the Court.

Microsoft is appealing this decision, but for now it stands for the proposition that the location of data is largely irrelevant in determining whether a government can order it to be turned over. The location or nationality of the custodian is much more relevant.

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Heartbleed bug
Posted by Bruno Rochon on 10 April 2014 08:19 AM

Taken from


The Heartbleed Bug

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).

The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

What leaks in practice?

We have tested some of our own services from attacker's perspective. We attacked ourselves from outside, without leaving a trace. Without using any privileged information or credentials we were able steal from ourselves the secret keys used for our X.509 certificates, user names and passwords, instant messages, emails and business critical documents and communication.

How to stop the leak?

As long as the vulnerable version of OpenSSL is in use it can be abused. Fixed OpenSSL has been released and now it has to be deployed. Operating system vendors and distribution, appliance vendors, independent software vendors have to adopt the fix and notify their users. Service providers and users have to install the fix as it becomes available for the operating systems, networked appliances and software they use.


Hearbleed Test



What is the CVE-2014-0160?

CVE-2014-0160 is the official reference to this bug. CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) is the Standard for Information Security Vulnerability Names maintained by MITRE. Due to co-incident discovery a duplicate CVE, CVE-2014-0346, which was assigned to us, should not be used, since others independently went public with the CVE-2014-0160 identifier.

Why it is called the Heartbleed Bug?

Bug is in the OpenSSL's implementation of the TLS/DTLS (transport layer security protocols) heartbeat extension (RFC6520). When it is exploited it leads to the leak of memory contents from the server to the client and from the client to the server.

What makes the Heartbleed Bug unique?

Bugs in single software or library come and go and are fixed by new versions. However this bug has left large amount of private keys and other secrets exposed to the Internet. Considering the long exposure, ease of exploitation and attacks leaving no trace this exposure should be taken seriously.

Is this a design flaw in SSL/TLS protocol specification?

No. This is implementation problem, i.e. programming mistake in popular OpenSSL library that provides cryptographic services such as SSL/TLS to the applications and services.

What is being leaked?

Encryption is used to protect secrets that may harm your privacy or security if they leak. In order to coordinate recovery from this bug we have classified the compromised secrets to four categories: 1) primary key material, 2) secondary key material and 3) protected content and 4) collateral.

What is leaked primary key material and how to recover?

These are the crown jewels, the encryption keys themselves. Leaked secret keys allows the attacker to decrypt any past and future traffic to the protected services and to impersonate the service at will. Any protection given by the encryption and the signatures in the X.509 certificates can be bypassed. Recovery from this leak requires patching the vulnerability, revocation of the compromised keys and reissuing and redistributing new keys. Even doing all this will still leave any traffic intercepted by the attacker in the past still vulnerable to decryption. All this has to be done by the owners of the services.

What is leaked secondary key material and how to recover?

These are for example the user credentials (user names and passwords) used in the vulnerable services. Recovery from this leaks requires owners of the service first to restore trust to the service according to steps described above. After this users can start changing their passwords and possible encryption keys according to the instructions from the owners of the services that have been compromised. All session keys and session cookies should be invalided and considered compromised.

What is leaked protected content and how to recover?

This is the actual content handled by the vulnerable services. It may be personal or financial details, private communication such as emails or instant messages, documents or anything seen worth protecting by encryption. Only owners of the services will be able to estimate the likelihood what has been leaked and they should notify their users accordingly. Most important thing is to restore trust to the primary and secondary key material as described above. Only this enables safe use of the compromised services in the future.

What is leaked collateral and how to recover?

Leaked collateral are other details that have been exposed to the attacker in the leaked memory content. These may contain technical details such as memory addresses and security measures such as canaries used to protect against overflow attacks. These have only contemporary value and will lose their value to the attacker when OpenSSL has been upgraded to a fixed version.

Recovery sounds laborious, is there a short cut?

After seeing what we saw by "attacking" ourselves, with ease, we decided to take this very seriously. We have gone laboriously through patching our own critical services and are in progress of dealing with possible compromise of our primary and secondary key material. All this just in case we were not first ones to discover this and this could have been exploited in the wild already.

How revocation and reissuing of certificates works in practice?

If you are a service provider you have signed your certificates with a Certificate Authority (CA). You need to check your CA how compromised keys can be revoked and new certificate reissued for the new keys. Some CAs do this for free, some may take a fee.

Am I affected by the bug?

You are likely to be affected either directly or indirectly. OpenSSL is the most popular open source cryptographic library and TLS (transport layer security) implementation used to encrypt traffic on the Internet. Your popular social site, your company's site, commerce site, hobby site, site you install software from or even sites run by your government might be using vulnerable OpenSSL. Many of online services use TLS to both to identify themselves to you and to protect your privacy and transactions. You might have networked appliances with logins secured by this buggy implementation of the TLS. Furthermore you might have client side software on your computer that could expose the data from your computer if you connect to compromised services.

How widespread is this?

Most notable software using OpenSSL are the open source web servers like Apache and nginx. The combined market share of just those two out of the active sites on the Internet was over 66% according to Netcraft's April 2014 Web Server Survey. Furthermore OpenSSL is used to protect for example email servers (SMTP, POP and IMAP protocols), chat servers (XMPP protocol), virtual private networks (SSL VPNs), network appliances and wide variety of client side software. Fortunately many large consumer sites are saved by their conservative choice of SSL/TLS termination equipment and software. Ironically smaller and more progressive services or those who have upgraded to latest and best encryption will be affected most. Furthermore OpenSSL is very popular in client software and somewhat popular in networked appliances which have most inertia in getting updates.

What versions of the OpenSSL are affected?

Status of different versions:

  • OpenSSL 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f (inclusive) are vulnerable
  • OpenSSL 1.0.1g is NOT vulnerable
  • OpenSSL 1.0.0 branch is NOT vulnerable
  • OpenSSL 0.9.8 branch is NOT vulnerable

Bug was introduced to OpenSSL in December 2011 and has been out in the wild since OpenSSL release 1.0.1 on 14th of March 2012. OpenSSL 1.0.1g released on 7th of April 2014 fixes the bug.

How common are the vulnerable OpenSSL versions?

The vulnerable versions have been out there for over two years now and they have been rapidly adopted by modern operating systems. A major contributing factor has been that TLS versions 1.1 and 1.2 came available with the first vulnerable OpenSSL version (1.0.1) and security community has been pushing the TLS 1.2 due to earlier attacks against TLS (such as the BEAST).

How about operating systems?

Some operating system distributions that have shipped with potentially vulnerable OpenSSL version:

  • Debian Wheezy (stable), OpenSSL 1.0.1e-2+deb7u4
  • Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS, OpenSSL 1.0.1-4ubuntu5.11
  • CentOS 6.5, OpenSSL 1.0.1e-15
  • Fedora 18, OpenSSL 1.0.1e-4
  • OpenBSD 5.3 (OpenSSL 1.0.1c 10 May 2012) and 5.4 (OpenSSL 1.0.1c 10 May 2012)
  • FreeBSD 10.0 - OpenSSL 1.0.1e 11 Feb 2013
  • NetBSD 5.0.2 (OpenSSL 1.0.1e)
  • OpenSUSE 12.2 (OpenSSL 1.0.1c)

Operating system distribution with versions that are not vulnerable:

  • Debian Squeeze (oldstable), OpenSSL 0.9.8o-4squeeze14
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
  • FreeBSD 8.4 - OpenSSL 0.9.8y 5 Feb 2013
  • FreeBSD 9.2 - OpenSSL 0.9.8y 5 Feb 2013
  • FreeBSD Ports - OpenSSL 1.0.1g (At 7 Apr 21:46:40 2014 UTC)

How can OpenSSL be fixed?

Even though the actual code fix may appear trivial, OpenSSL team is the expert in fixing it properly so latest fixed version 1.0.1g or newer should be used. If this is not possible software developers can recompile OpenSSL with the handshake removed from the code by compile time option -DOPENSSL_NO_HEARTBEATS.

Should heartbeat be removed to aid in detection of vulnerable services?

Recovery from this bug could benefit if the new version of the OpenSSL would both fix the bug and disable heartbeat temporarily until some future version. It appears that majority if not almost all TLS implementations that respond to the heartbeat request today are vulnerable versions of OpenSSL. If only vulnerable versions of OpenSSL would continue to respond to the heartbeat for next few months then large scale coordinated response to reach owners of vulnerable services would become more feasible.

Can I detect if someone has exploited this against me?

Exploitation of this bug leaves no traces of anything abnormal happening to the logs.

Can IDS/IPS detect or block this attack?

Although the content of the heartbeat request is encrypted it has its own record type in the protocol. This should allow intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS) to be trained to detect use of the heartbeat request. Due to encryption differentiating between legitimate use and attack can not be based on the content of the request, but the attack may be detected by comparing the size of the request against the size of the reply. This seems to imply that IDS/IPS can be programmed to detect the attack but not to block it unless heartbeat requests are blocked altogether.

Has this been abused in the wild?

We don't know. Security community should deploy TLS/DTLS honeypots that entrap attackers and to alert about exploitation attempts.

Can attacker access only 64k of the memory?

There is no total of 64 kilobytes limitation to the attack, that limit applies only to a single heartbeat. Attacker can either keep reconnecting or during an active TLS connection keep requesting arbitrary number of 64 kilobyte chunks of memory content until enough secrets are revealed.

Is this a MITM bug like Apple's goto fail bug was?

No this doesn't require a man in the middle attack (MITM). Attacker can directly contact the vulnerable service or attack any user connecting to a malicious service. However in addition to direct threat the theft of the key material allows man in the middle attackers to impersonate compromised services.

Does TLS client certificate authentication mitigate this?

No, heartbeat request can be sent and is replied to during the handshake phase of the protocol. This occurs prior to client certificate authentication.

Does OpenSSL's FIPS mode mitigate this?

No, OpenSSL Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) mode has no effect on the vulnerable heartbeat functionality.

Does Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) mitigate this?

Use of Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), which is unfortunately rare but powerful, should protect past communications from retrospective decryption. Please see how leaked tickets may affect this.

Can heartbeat extension be disabled during the TLS handshake?

No, vulnerable heartbeat extension code is activated regardless of the results of the handshake phase negotiations. Only way to protect yourself is to upgrade to fixed version of OpenSSL or to recompile OpenSSL with the handshake removed from the code.

Who found the Heartbleed Bug?

This bug was independently discovered by a team of security engineers (Riku, Antti and Matti) at Codenomicon and Neel Mehta of Google Security, who first reported it to the OpenSSL team. Codenomicon team found heartbleed bug while improving the SafeGuard feature in Codenomicon's Defensics security testing tools and reported this bug to the NCSC-FI for vulnerability coordination and reporting to OpenSSL team.

What is the Defensics SafeGuard?

The SafeGuard feature of the Codenomicon's Defensics security testtools automatically tests the target system for weaknesses that compromise the integrity, privacy or safety. The SafeGuard is systematic solution to expose failed cryptographic certificate checks, privacy leaks or authentication bypass weaknesses that have exposed the Internet users to man in the middle attacks and eavesdropping. In addition to the Heartbleed bug the new Defensics TLS Safeguard feature can detect for instance the exploitable security flaw in widely used GnuTLS open source software implementing SSL/TLS functionality and the "goto fail;" bug in Apple's TLS/SSL implementation that was patched in February 2014.

Who coordinates response to this vulnerability?

NCSC-FI took up the task of reaching out to the authors of OpenSSL, software, operating system and appliance vendors, which were potentially affected. However, this vulnerability was found and details released independently by others before this work was completed. Vendors should be notifying their users and service providers. Internet service providers should be notifying their end users where and when potential action is required.

Is there a bright side to all this?

For those service providers who are affected this is a good opportunity to upgrade security strength of the secret keys used. A lot of software gets updates which otherwise would have not been urgent. Although this is painful for the security community, we can rest assured that infrastructure of the cyber criminals and their secrets have been exposed as well.



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Infoware Support Site Updated
Posted by Bruno Rochon on 28 January 2014 01:21 PM

The Infoware Support Site at has been updated.   You will notice a new look and feel and improved performance throughout.  Client functions remain unchanged.  Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we strive to achieve the highest level of customer support and satisfaction.

Bruno Rochon
Manager, Support & Services
416.360.2646 ext. 555

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