Archive | 2010

FTC Cracks Down On Spyware Seller CyberSpy Software

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


Well this case has taken a while but the FTC won in the end and reached a settlement two years after halting the company from selling it’s “100 per cent undetectable” commercial keylogging application.

It’s interesting to see court cases that venture into the grey area of ethics, I think the main problem stemmed from the information CyberSpy provided along with it’s software. They gave instructions on how to covertly send the application via e-mail and disguise it as an image attachment or an innocuous piece of software.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with Florida spyware vendor CyberSpy Software, two years after suing the company for selling “100 percent undetectable” keylogging software.

Under the terms of the settlement, announced Wednesday, CyberSpy can keep selling its RemoteSpy spyware but must take new steps to prevent it from being misused or advertised as a tool for spying on someone else’s computer.

To prevent its program from being used illegally, CyberSpy must make changes to it to prevent surreptitious installation, and “encrypt data transmitted over the Internet, police their affiliates to ensure they comply with the order, and remove legacy versions of the software from computers,” the FTC said in a statement.

The FTC sued CyberSpy in November 2008 in an effort to get it to change its business practices.

The final verdict is CyberSpy can continue selling it’s software as that itself is illegal, but they must take precautions to prevent it from being misused or abused and they can no longer advertise it as a tool for spying on others.

This is why ethical cases are a little odd, they can continue selling the exact same software with the same functions – they just have to market it differently and not give people instructions which enable them to spy on others.

Not like people can’t find the same info elsewhere.

CyberSpy used to advertise its product as a tool that let users “secretly and covertly monitor and record PC’s without the need of physical access.”

Today, it’s billed as a tool that lets users spy on their own PCs — in order to keep tabs on children or employees.

The company previously had provided detailed instructions on how to attach a RemoteSpy executable file to an e-mail message, disguised as a photo or legitimate file attachment, the FTC said.

Today, CyberSpy simply advises users to do a Google search on compressing executable attachments, if they want to send RemoteSpy to their own computer and keep it from being blocked by e-mail filters.

CyberSpy have shifted their marketing slightly and now promote the tool as something to spy on your own computers (on your kids/employees etc.) – which is still highly questionable, but not illegal.

They also now include a disclaimer on the RemoteSpy page which states:

Notice: Installing computer monitoring tools on computers you do not own or do not have permission to monitor may violate local, state or federal law.

Source: Network World

Posted in: Legal Issues, Malware, Privacy

Topic: Legal Issues, Malware, Privacy


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sectool – Security Audit Tool & IDS

Keep on Guard!


sectool is a security tool that can be used both as a security audit as well as a part of an intrusion detection system. It consists of set of tests, library and textual/graphical frontend. Tests are sorted into groups and security levels. Administrators can run selected tests, groups or whole security levels.

Security Levels

  1. Naive – pretty basic and short set of tests
  2. Desktop – set of tests prepared to run on box not connected to internet
  3. Network – standard client machine connected to internet
  4. Server – network server
  5. Paranoid – bunch of tests for paranoid admins

The tests print several type of messages during their execution. “Warning” and “Error” messages are used to inform about discovered security risks.

  • warning – something that admin should know about
  • error – issues that should be fixed

Then there are another two messages: “Hint” and “Info”. These two are not print by default, so they need to be turned on.

  • hint – helps to find a way how to resolve discovered issue
  • info – provides information what does the test do at the moment

Test Results

Every test run is finished with one of these results:

  • PASS – Everything went OK, no security risks were discovered
  • WARNING – only warning messages were print
  • ERROR – at least one security issue was discovered
  • FAIL – internal test problem appears, test can’t be run

You can download sectool here:

sectool-0.9.4.tar.bz2

Or read more here.

Posted in: Countermeasures, Security Software

Topic: Countermeasures, Security Software


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iPhone Security Flaw – Using a PIN Won’t Protect Your Data

Keep on Guard!


Now it wasn’t long ago when the first malicious iPhone worm appeared in the wild and well generally since the boom of the device people have looking at the security measures.

Huge sales are made to corporates touting the security, privacy and encryption features of the iPhone OS. The latest discovery is that using a PIN on your iPhone 3GS really doesn’t protect you from anything as long as the person has physical access to your phone.

But then the same thing goes for desktop/laptop computers too, if someone has physical access you’re done for.

Using a four-digit PIN to lock your iPhone doesn’t really protect your data, security and IT blogger Bernd Marienfeldt has discovered. In an article describing the iPhone’s business security framework, Marienfeldt has found a “data protection vulnerability” in Apple’s iPhone 3GS.

Marienfeldt, working with security expert Jim Herbeck, has been able to reproduce the vulnerability on at least three non jail-broken iPhone 3GS handsets with different iPhone OS versions installed (including the latest). All tested iPhones were protected with a four-digit PIN.

In Marienfeldt’s own words:

“The unprotected iPhone 3GS mounting is “limited” to the DCIM folder under Ubuntu < 10.04 LTS, Apple Macintosh, Windows 2000 SP2 and Windows 7. The way Ubuntu Lucid Lynx handles the iPhone 3GS [6,7,8] allows to get more content (please do make sure that the native Ubuntu system is fully up to date, e.g. "apt-get update, "apt-get upgrade" - any virtualization based solution will not work as described). I used the Alternate CD with x86 and AMD64 on different hardware."

I guess with phones/embedded system we expected the user data to a little more secure and well we guessed wrongly. With a total of 33.75 million iPhones sold up to Q4 2009 that’s a staggering amount of vulnerable devices out there.

Another issue is Apple haven’t as yet worked out what the problem is, they’ve given some vague mentions of “race conditions” or “a pairing issues” but haven’t been able to reproduce it so far.

Other people have had varying success in exploiting the flaw, it seems to depend on the actual iPhone itself rather than anything else.

Basically, plugging an up-to-date, non jail-broken, PIN-protected iPhone (powered off) into a computer running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx will allow the people to see practically all of the user’s data–including music, photos, videos, podcasts, voice recordings, Google safe browsing databases, and game contents. The “hacker” has read/write access to the iPhone, and the hack leaves no trace.

According to Marienfeldt, “The allowed write access could also lead into triggering a buffer overflow.” A buffer overflow could allow full write access, and full write access could potentially lead to the attacker being able to make phone calls (as far as we know, the attacker can access all of your data but they can’t make any phone calls…how reassuring).

Marienfeldt points out that this is especially an issue for corporate/business users, who “rely on the expectation that their iPhone 3GS’s whole content is protected by encryption with a passcode based authentication in place to unlock it.”

Apple has been notified of the flaw, but has yet to correct it (or give a timeline for the correction).

I hope Apple can address this phone and give a proper breakdown and explanation of why this happens, there must be some technical explanation for it and why it occurs in their so called ‘secure’ implementation.

You can read the original blog post here:

iPhone business security framework

Source: Network World

Posted in: Apple, Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Privacy

Topic: Apple, Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Privacy


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eLearnSecurity – Online Penetration Testing Training

Keep on Guard!


Introduction

If you are in the information security industry, or plan to be you’ve probably been looking at the various infosec certifications available. Back when I started there really wasn’t anything available, there were no infosec degrees and no professional certs. Only later some high level ones came from SANS, then more jumped on the bandwagon with stuff like Security+ and CEH.

The ones I found respected in the industry were certs such as SANS GIAC and Cisco CCIE just for the pure level of network understanding it took to pass. Some others came along mostly aimed at those interested in management like CISSP and CISA.

In more recent years some more technical and more accessible courses and certs have been appearing such as OPST (which I hold) and OSCP. The oldest being CEH has always been thought of as a script kiddy cert, and well it still remains as such – although it has improved vastly over the years it’s still not what it should be (I’ve taught CEH before).

Anyway the point is, there’s a new kid on the block – recently launched from eLearnSecurity called Penetration Testing – Pro (PTP) with the tagline “What CEH Should Have Been”.

eLearnSecurity

The course itself contains 3 knowledge-domains spread over 1600 interactive elearning slides with 4 hours of video and labs. It’s authored by a guy I’ve known a long time Armando Romeo from Hackers Center along with Brett D. Arion and the famous pair Nitin & Vipin Kumar. If you’ve been reading Darknet for a long time most likely you’d have read about Nitin and Vipin here when we wrote about VBootkit bypassing Vistas digital signing.

The course also has an optional certification called Certified Professional Penetration Tester (eCPPT) which should be relevant to most as the course is targeted at those with between 0-3 years of experience. It covers all the way from the basics up to advanced techniques, especially in the System Security section written by Nitin and Vipin.

The Course

The course itself is basically a Penetration Testing Course and covers 3 main areas; System Security, Network Security & Web Application Security. This pretty much covers what you need to know to conduct a penetration test as each of the 3 topics are quite broad. The course-ware itself is well presented and it doesn’t limit the order in which you can learn the topics, there’s no linear progressions so you can pick and choose depending on your mood.

eLearnSecurity - Penetration Testing Pro

Let’s take a look at the sub-sections.

System Security

The topics covered in System Security are as follows:

  • Module 1 : Introduction
  • Module 2 : Cryptography and Password cracking
  • Module 3 : Buffer overflow
  • Module 4 : Shellcoding
  • Module 5 : Malware
  • Module 6 : Rootkit coding

You’ll fare a lot better in this topic if you have some coding experience as it heads in quite deep starting out with Dev-C++ and Assembly language using NASM. This is probably the most intensive section of the course, especially for the uninitiated. This course once again re-enforces what I wrote 2 years back, that yes – you still need to learn Assembly (ASM).

That’s why I say programming will help, they don’t spoon feed you on ASM and C++ so you’ll need to do some work on your own. However if you already have some knowledge of these two languages you’ll have a definite advantage. They also cover the basics of Windows Driver Development.

Dev-CPP

After that it’s onto the harder stuff, each topic is covered fairly broadly but with enough pointers so you can continue to do more research on your own. When it comes to subjects like Cryptography, you can spend 4 years doing a degree on that alone – so don’t expect to become an overnight master. Remember the focus of the course is to become a professional penetration tester, so you need to understand enough to do your job. Even though saying that pretty much all bases are covered here, for example the Cryptography module alone has around 150 slides (some of those contain sub-slides) so expect to spend quite some time on this.

The shortest section is the Rootkit module, but then how much can you write about rootkits? As long as you understand the concept and how they generally work you’re good to go.

Network Security

  • Module 1 : Information Gathering
  • Module 2 : Scanning and target detection
  • Module 3 : Enumeration and Footprinting
  • Module 4 : Sniffing and MITM Attacks
  • Module 5 : VA & Exploitation
  • Module 6 : Anonymity

Network Security would probably be my favourite topic, as you get deeper into infosec you’ll tend to find you have a certain affinity for some things, maybe natural talent in those areas or just more interest. Either way, for me it’s always been Network Security.

It follow a fairly logical structure as you would with a pen-test (info gathering, scanning, enumeration/fingerprinting then on to attacks). They explore plenty of tools but do note there are many more out there, it’s not possible to cover them all – plus they only really briefly introduce the tools. Getting familiar/skilled with the tools is on you, finding them however is easy – just look on Google and of course we have a good stock of tools for Network Hacking here at Darknet.

Tools such as Nmap and Maltego are very well covered.

The Vulnerability Assessment and Exploitation section (the fun part!) covers both Nessus and Metasploit fairly well. There are also quite a few videos in this section, which makes the whole thing a lot more interactive. The videos tend to take the form of a screen-cam with a voice over.

Web Application Security

  • Module 1 : Introduction
  • Module 2 : Information gathering
  • Module 3 : Vulnerability assessment
  • Module 4 : XSS
  • Module 5 : SQL Injection attacks
  • Module 6 : Advanced Web Attacks

Web Application Security is of course the newest and hottest security topic right now and has been for the past few years, with more and more sites moving important data online, ecommerce and online payment solutions it’s a critical area.

The two main things you need to know in Web Application Security are XSS (Cross Site Scripting) and SQL Injection.

The code examples are mostly based around PHP which makes sense, the content is well structured and starts from the very beginning (database structure) all the way to advanced SQL Injection attacks. I personally feel this is one of the strongest and most useful sections in the courseware, props to Armando for authoring these modules.

He also gives a good low-down on most of the popular tools for SQL Injection and even includes a taxonomy of what features are supported by each. Where possible the tools are linked directly and in some cases are attached to the slides for immediate download.

SQL Injection Tools

Appendixes

  • Methodology : Handling information
  • Methodology : Forms
  • Reporting : Guide

One of the main differences with this course, rather than just teaching you how to ‘hack’ and leaving it there – the course also includes a section on how to professional handle information and how to create reports.

As a professional penetration teser (and as with most) I personally hate the reporting part…but if you want to get paid it’s a necessary evil. You should know to report your findings in a clear, concise and methodological order. This is a very important part as in reality reporting on a VA/PT project can actually account for 30-50% of the total project time, it’s a safe bet in most cases that if the job will take 2 weeks the reporting will take another 1-2 weeks on top of that.

Labs

The labs consist of a customized version of Backtrack 4 with a vulnerable web application built in, there is a comprehensive PDF for download on how to setup the lab to attain the eCPPT certification.

Penetration Testing Pro - Lab

If you really put the effort in, completing the practical assessment shouldn’t be a big problem. The certification exam is a practical pentest over a virtual lab and the production of a full report that will be carefully valuated by one of our instructors – there’s no multiple choice or automated marking here. You really have to prove you know what you’ve learned – including the reporting section.

Conclusion

All in all I think if you are looking for Penetration Testing Training this is a great choice, even if you have no desire to take the certification you can learn a lot just by studying the modules and applying yourself. Perhaps if are new to infosec (1-2) years and you feel you have some weak areas or blind-spots you could fill those in with this course.

If you are just starting out (still studying or a fresh grad) I think the course and the certification will definitely have a positive effect on your career. Currently at only $599USD it’s one of the cheaper offerings on the market and certainly makes economic sense when comparing to attending real life 5-day courses. Also of course it gives you the advantage of taking your time and making sure you really understand each module – more differentiators here [PDF].

It goes into a lot more depth than courses like CEH and can really benefit your skills. I wish there was something like this in 1999 when I was starting out. The way in which the material is presented is a lot more interactive and interesting than many other courses out there with a good mix of words, images and videos plus a good theory/practical mix too. This makes it a lot easier as many of the topics within infosec can get very dry very fast.

You can view the full syllabus here: syllabus.pdf

If you have any more questions you can check the PTP FAQ here.

Posted in: Advertorial, Hacking News

Topic: Advertorial, Hacking News


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IBM Distributes Malware Laden USB Drives at AusCERT Security Conference

Keep on Guard!


Another case of ‘accidental’ malware distribution, remember a while back when Vodafone Spain was Distributing Mariposa Malware, the latest is that IBM handed out malware laden USB drives at a security conference of all places.

Well on the up-side at least everyone there would be security savvy so damage should be minimal. If it was a normal consumer conference we may not even know about it.

I wonder where the core of this problem is coming from? Manufacturers? Is it part of the whole China cyber-terrorism plot?

IBM has apologised after supplying a malware-infected USB stick to delegates of this week’s IBM AusCERT security conference.

The unlovely gift was supplied to an unknown number of delegates to the Gold Coast, Queensland conference who visited IBM’s booth. Big Blue does not identify the strain of malware involved in the attack beyond saying it’s a type of virus widely detected for at least two years which takes advantage of Windows autorun to spread, as a copy of IBM’s email apology published by the Beast Or Buddha blog explains.

As usual the big corporations tend to give as little information as possible, the same goes for IBM who kept pretty hush-hush about the whole thing and how it happened. They didn’t even release the name of the malware infector.

At least they did acknowledge it however and warned the attendees providing an address to return the USB key to. From their statement I’d say it’s probably not a targeted attack as it’s a rather old malware variant.

More likely it can be attributed to sloppy handling of the USB drives at some point, perhaps during testing procedure the host computer was already infected and spread when the drives were plugged in.

At the AusCERT conference this week, you may have collected a complimentary USB key from the IBM booth. Unfortunately we have discovered that some of these USB keys contained malware and we suspect that all USB keys may be affected.

The malware is detected by the majority of current Anti Virus products [as at 20/05/2010] and been known since 2008.

The malware is known by a number of names and is contained in the setup.exe and autorun.ini files. It is spread when the infected USB device is inserted into a Microsoft Windows workstation or server whereby the setup.exe and autorun.ini files run automatically.

Please do not use the USB key, and we ask that you return it to IBM at Reply Paid 120, PO Box 400, West Pennant Hills 2120.

Hopefully we won’t start to see hoards of phones and USB pen-drives getting handed out carrying nasty malware variants, we could write these incidents off as freak convergences of circumstance..but then honestly I think it will happen again.

And this isn’t the first time it’s happened at AusCERT either, Australian telco Telstra distributed malware-infected USB drives at AusCERT 2008 as reported by Secure Computing.

You thought some people might have learn some lessons by now?

Source: The Register

Posted in: Hardware Hacking, Malware

Topic: Hardware Hacking, Malware


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