Archive | May, 2011

Google Proposes Way To Speed Up SSL Handshake

Keep on Guard!


I’m always interesting when it comes to cryptography and cryptographic trickery. We all know, the main problem with SSL is speed – it can really slow your surfing experience down and for most people it annoys them enough to just not use it.

Google researchers claim they’ve devised a way to reduce that painful wait when visiting an SSL encrypted site. Now, it may be faster but is it any less secure? You’d have to run through the paper to ascertain that.

And well it can only work in a few very specific sets of circumstances, it’s not like it’s really going to change anything on a large scale.

Google researchers say they’ve devised a way to significantly reduce the time it takes websites to establish encrypted connections with end-user browsers, a breakthrough that could make it less painful for many services to offer the security feature.

What’s more, the technique known as False Start requires that only simple changes be made to a user’s browser and appears to work with 99 percent of active sites that offer SSL, or secure sockets layer, protection.

“We implemented SSL False Start in Chrome 9, and the results are stunning, yielding a significant decrease in overall SSL connection setup times,” Google software engineer Mike Belshe wrote in a blog post published Wednesday. “SSL False Start reduces the latency of a SSL handshake by 30%. That is a big number.”

The finding should come as welcome news to those concerned about online privacy. With the notable exceptions of Twitter, Facebook, and a handful of Google services, many websites send the vast majority of traffic over unencrypted channels, making it easy for governments, administrators, and Wi-Fi hotspot providers to snoop or even modify potentially sensitive communications while in transit. Companies such as eBay have said it’s too costly to offer always-on encryption.

The Firesheep extension introduced last year for the Firefox browser drove home just how menacing the risk of unencrypted websites can be.

There’s a blog post about the speed improvements here:

SSL FalseStart Performance Results

It shows an approximate 30% reduction in the overall SSL connection setup time. They say they have implemented it in Chrome 9 (the current public release of Chrome is version 11) – so that makes me wonder has it been running in Chrome since February this year when 9 was released?

If you did want to disable it you can do so with the following command line option:


False Start works by reducing the amount of data that must be exchanged when a webserver and browser are negotiating an SSL session. Under official SSL specifications, two round-trip passes of data must be exchanged before an encrypted tunnel is established. The requirement adds latency that can slow down the time it takes pages to load and increase the packets websites must process.

Latency “makes a difference in does it feel snappy or does it feel sluggish,” said Marsh Ray, a researcher and software developer at two-factor authentication service PhoneFactor. False Start “certainly eliminates an objection that some people have for SSL, which is that it increases the load time.”

False Start, as described in a proposal Google engineers submitted last year to the Internet Engineering Task Force, makes it possible to reduce the latency penalty of offering SSL to just a single round-trip pass. The technology does this by using an abbreviated handshake when negotiating the key and other variables used in the encrypted session.

Belshe said engineers tested False Start on a list of all known websites that offer SSL and got a 94.6 percent success rate. Almost all of the unsuccessful connections came from sites that were no longer available, leaving a true failure rate of just 0.4 percent. Those sites have now been compiled into a manageable list used to turn off False Start when they are accessed in Chrome.

With all the media coverage from FireSheep – SSL is indeed a big issue now so this might come as a pleasant surprise for heavy SSL users.

You can read the entire paper here:

Transport Layer Security (TLS) False Start

Let me know your thoughts? Yah SSL is already a big mess, but does this make it worse?

Source: The Register

Posted in: Cryptography, Networking Hacking

Topic: Cryptography, Networking Hacking


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BackTrack 5 Released – The Most Advanced Linux Security Distribution & LiveCD

Keep on Guard!


We have of course been following BackTrack since the very early days, way back in 2006 when it was just known as BackTrack – A merger between WHAX and Auditor. They’ve come a long way and BackTrack is now a very polished and well rounded security distro, most of the others have dropped off the map leaving BackTrack as the giant in the security LiveCD space.

The last major release was BackTrack Final 4 Released – Linux Security Distribution – back in January 2010.

The BackTrack Dev team has worked furiously in the past months on BackTrack 5, code name “revolution” – they released it on May 10th. This new revision has been built from scratch, and boasts several major improvements over all our previous releases. It’s based on Ubuntu Lucid LTS – Kernel 2.6.38, patched with all relevant wireless injection patches. Fully open source and GPL compliant.

BackTrack 5 – Penetration Testing Distribution from Offensive Security on Vimeo.

The interesting part for me is that the new .ISO downloads offer multiple versions, including a choice between GNOME and KDE desktops and the images include ARM, 32-Bit and 64-Bit versions.

New in Version 5


  • Based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS;
  • Linux kernel 2.6.38 (with wireless injection patches);
  • KDE 4.6;
  • GNOME 2.6;
  • 32-bit and 64-bit support;
  • Metasploit 3.7.0;
  • Forensics mode (a forensically sound instance);
  • Stealth mode (without generating network traffic);
  • Initial ARM image of BackTrack (for Android-powered devices);
  • All support for Backtrack 4 will end on May 10th, 2011 and BackTrack 4 will not be available for download from our official mirrors from that date onwards.

As for the ARM image, they have had some joy getting BackTrack running on a Motorola Xoom tablet – check it out here.

You can download BackTrack version 5 here:

http://www.backtrack-linux.org/downloads/

Posted in: Hacking Tools, Linux Hacking, Networking Hacking

Topic: Hacking Tools, Linux Hacking, Networking Hacking


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Sony Brings Back PSN & Gives Away Freebies After Hack

Keep on Guard!


We’ve been following the Sony PlayStation Network hack quite closely since back in April when we reported Sony Rebuilding PlayStation Network (PSN) – Down 4 Days So Far.

Shortly after that it got a bit ugly with Sony PlayStation Network Hack Resulted In Stolen User Data & Lawsuit and then another hack, which lost an additional 25 Million customer records – Sony Loses 25 Million More Customer Account Details Through SOE (Sony Online Entertainment).

But finally, we are glad to report Sony has been bringing the network back online, users are reporting it’s slow – but that’s to be expected really with 50 million or so trying to logon at the same time.

After hackers knocked its PlayStation Network offline for nearly a month, Sony is now trying to make amends by giving customers free video games.

Sony made the announcement Monday, saying it was a way of thanking the millions of gamers on its network for their “patience, support and continued loyalty during the service outage.”

In the U.S. and Canada, PlayStation Network and Qriocity subscribers will soon be able to register for two new games each — either in PS3 or PSP format — at the PlayStation Store. The PlayStation Store isn’t online yet, but when it comes back, gamers will have 30 days to get their goods.

PS3 users can choose from the following titles: Dead Nation, inFAMOUS, LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust HD and Wipeout HD + Fury. The PSP options are: LittleBigPlanet, ModNation Racers, Pursuit Force and Killzone: Liberation.

Depending on the package they’ve signed up for, subscribers will also get free movies, enhanced services packages and free virtual items.

The reports state the Asia section of the network is still down (which I can’t confirm or deny as I don’t actually own a PlayStation). Sony are offering up a plethora of freebies to try and placate the angry gamers.

Who can be mad after getting a couple of new games? Let’s hope other than giving away free stuff they have also secured their network and got their software up to date.

But it’s not like they’ve really disclosed any details of what happened, so it’s extremely unlikely we’ll ever really know.


Sony is offering similar plans to European and Latin American users, but the company has not said what it will do in Asia, where the network is still offline.

Last month, Sony disclosed that it had been hacked and warned its 77 million PlayStation Network users that personal information — e-mail addresses, for example — may have been compromised. Then in early May the company said that another network, the Sony Online Entertainment network, had also been broken into.This second incident affected close to 25 million users.

Sony spent the past weekend slowly bringing its gaming networks online.

Sony will give the Online Entertainment users 45 days’ free access to the service and a year’s worth of identity protection from Debix. The company has said that it will also offer PlayStation Network customers ID theft protection, but it hasn’t yet spelled out the details of that package.

They are giving the SOE users 45 days free access too – so that’s not a bad deal I guess. Plus some kind of identity protection – yah thanks Sony – I do need that after you leaked all my details to the World.

I’m not sure if we’ll see any more lawsuits after this, but media outlets are reporting they will face legal and regulatory backlash over the massive loss of data.

So good luck Sony, perhaps it’s all Karma for what you did to poor George.

Source: Network World

Posted in: Legal Issues, Privacy

Topic: Legal Issues, Privacy


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pytbull – Intrusion Detection/Prevention System (IDS/IPS) Testing Framework

Keep on Guard!


pytbull is an Intrusion Detection/Prevention System (IDS/IPS) Testing Framework for Snort, Suricata and any IDS/IPS that generates an alert file. It can be used to test the detection and blocking capabilities of an IDS/IPS, to compare IDS/IPS, to compare configuration modifications and to check/validate configurations.

The framework is shipped with about 300 tests grouped in 9 testing modules:

  • clientSideAttacks: this module uses a reverse shell to provide the server with instructions to download remote malicious files. This module tests the ability of the IDS/IPS to protect against client-side attacks.
  • testRules: basic rules testing. These attacks are supposed to be detected by the rules sets shipped with the IDS/IPS.
  • badTraffic: Non RFC compliant packets are sent to the server to test how packets are processed.
  • fragmentedPackets: various fragmented payloads are sent to server to test its ability to recompose them and detect the attacks.
  • multipleFailedLogins: tests the ability of the server to track multiple failed logins (e.g. FTP). Makes use of custom rules on Snort and Suricata.
  • evasionTechniques: various evasion techniques are used to check if the IDS/IPS can detect them.
  • shellCodes: send various shellcodes to the server on port 21/tcp to test the ability of the server to detect/reject shellcodes.
  • denialOfService: tests the ability of the IDS/IPS to protect against DoS attempts
  • pcapReplay: enables to replay pcap files

It is easily configurable and could integrate new modules in the future.

There are basically 6 types of tests:


  • socket: open a socket on a given port and send the payloads to the remote target on that port.
  • command: send command to the remote target with the subprocess.call() python function.
  • scapy: send special crafted payloads based on the Scapy syntax
  • multiple failed logins: open a socket on port 21/tcp (FTP) and attempt to login 5 times with bad credentials.
  • client side attacks: use a reverse shell on the remote target and send commands to it to make them processed by the server (typically wget commands).
  • pcap replay: enables to replay traffic based on pcap files

The official documentations is available here: pytbull documentation.

Changes/Improvements in V1.1

  • Issue #2 fixed (test number incrementing twice just after the last test from multipleFailedLogins test)
  • Issue #3 fixed (pcapReplay module not present in the checks on STDOUT)
  • Code factoring in pytbull.py
  • Timing options are now in parameters (config.cfg)
  • Automatically checks and informs if a new version is available (use PROXY section in the configuration file if needed)
  • New basic checks: Checks that paths are valid
  • SVN tags added in source code

You can download pytbull here:

pytbull-2.0.tar.bz2

Or read more here.

Posted in: Countermeasures, Networking Hacking, Security Software

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Mac Malware Becoming a Serious Threat

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


Malware on the ubiquitous Apple platform has always been scoffed at by Mac users, and it was fair enough really. There weren’t a whole lot of Mac users so the effort to develop malware for the Mac platform really wasn’t worth it.

The platform has exploded though with Macs being the weapon of choice for all the hipsters and yuppies out there, we wrote about Apple Struggling With Security & Malware back in 2009.

In 2010 we saw Sophos Launch a FREE Anti-Virus Software For Mac and in 2011 we saw a JAVA based cross platform trojan that also effected Mac machines.

Apple — and many Mac users — argue that Mac OS X has a special recipe for security that makes it less likely to be infected with malware. Many security researchers counter that the Mac’s seeming immunity stems not from its security, but from its lack of market share.

The debate may finally be settled. The emergence of a serious malware construction kit for the Mac OS X seems to mimic a 2008 prediction by a security researcher. The prediction comes from a paper written in IEEE Security & Privacy, which used game theory to predict that Macs would become a focus for attackers as soon as Apple hit 16 percent market share.

Last week, security researchers pointed to a construction kit for creating Trojans for the Mac OS X as a major issue for Mac users. Currently, three countries — Switzerland, Luxembourg and the United States — have Mac market share around that level.

“The kit is being sold under the name Weyland-Yutani Bot and it is the first of its kind to hit the Mac OS platform,” Peter Kruse, partner and security specialist at security firm CSIS, writes in a blog post. “CSIS finds this crimekit to be quite disturbing news since Mac OS previously to some degree has been spared from the increasing amount of malware which has haunted Windows-based systems for years.”

The prediction in the paper was that Mac would start being targeted when they reached a 16% market share, which has happened recently in 3 countries. There is not a trojan creation kit targeting Mac OSX – this makes threats on the platform a reality.

The original paper can be found here – j3attAO.pdf

The fact is that Mac users probably still don’t run anti-virus software because they don’t believe they need to, these threats could spread fast.


Weyland-Yutani Bot, named for the corporation in the 1979 movie Alien, is currently being sold by its developers. While it is not the first attack on the Mac OS X, crimeware has enabled criminals in the past to scale up attacks quickly.

“What is happening is that people are testing the waters,” says Adam O’Donnell, chief architect of the cloud technology group at SourceFire and the author of the 2008 paper. “It just becomes economically viable to do it, so you start seeing these attacks becoming more common.”

The 2008 paper used game theory to calculate when attackers would start seeing a payoff in focusing on the Mac OS X over Windows. It simplified the problem by assuming that all PC users ran antivirus software and that no Mac users did. The assumptions helped reduce the problem down to two factors: the effectiveness of the defenses and the marketshare of the dominant platform.

With detection rates for antivirus in the 80 percent range, the Mac OS X becomes an attractive target around 16 percent marketshare. If PC defenses are better than 80 percent, then the Mac market share at which attackers become interested drops. For example, if antivirus programs detect attack 90 percent of the time, then attackers will focus on the Mac OS X at approximately 6 percent marketshare, says O’Donnell.

“It is much more of an argument that at the low rates of penetration of the Mac in the market is why there is no malware,” he says. “You get a few points up, and like we are seeing now, you will start seeing malware.”

But even still, with AV software installed doesn’t make your computer the bastion of security. AV software still works on a reactive basis, there still is no real proactive security. AV heuristics are crap, they don’t detect anything.

Signatures still need to be updated and pushed out, and can be avoided. Especially by morphing software, the new generations of trojan and bot software are much more advanced than any AV system.

Source: Network World

Posted in: Apple, Malware

Topic: Apple, Malware


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peepdf – Analyze & Modify PDF Files

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


peepdf is a Python tool to explore PDF files in order to find out if the file can be harmful or not. The aim of this tool is to provide all the necessary components that a security researcher could need in a PDF analysis without using 3 or 4 tools to make all the tasks. With peepdf it’s possible to see all the objects in the document showing the suspicious elements, supports all the most used filters and encodings, it can parse different versions of a file, object streams and encrypted files.

With the installation of Spidermonkey and Libemu it provides Javascript and shellcode analysis wrappers too. Apart of this it’s able to create new PDF files and to modify existent ones.

Features

Analysis

  • Decodings: hexadecimal, octal, name objects
  • More used filters
  • References in objects and where an object is referenced
  • Strings search (including streams)
  • Physical structure (offsets)
  • Logical tree structure
  • Metadata
  • Modifications between versions (changelog)
  • Compressed objects (object streams)
  • Analysis and modification of Javascript (Spidermonkey): unescape, replace, join
  • Shellcode analysis (sctest wrapper, Libemu)
  • Variables (set command)
  • Extraction of old versions of the document

Creation/Modification:

  • Basic PDF creation
  • Creation of PDF with Javascript executed wen the document is opened
  • Creation of object streams to compress objects
  • Embedded PDFs
  • Strings and names obfuscation
  • Malformed PDF output: without endobj, garbage in the header, bad header…
  • Filters modification
  • Objects modification

With all the recent PDF security scares and PDF hacking it’s important to have adequate tools for PDF analysis.

There are some other tools for dealing with PDF Analysis like:

PDFResurrect v0.9 Released – PDF Analysis and Scrubbing Utility & Origami – Parse, Analyze & Forge PDF Documents.

You can download peepdf here:

peepdf-0.1.zip

Or read more here.

Posted in: Forensics, Hacking Tools, Privacy

Topic: Forensics, Hacking Tools, Privacy


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