Archive | August, 2011

Android Phones (Possibly) Hacked At Defcon On CDMA & 4G (HSPA)

Keep on Guard!


It seems like some major ownage was layed down at Defcon, I was very interested by the thread coderman posted in Full Disclosure earlier:

DEF CON 19 – hackers get hacked!

Especially when some people did chime in with supporting opinions and agreeing that it does seem like they got hacked. Basically someone setup some bogus CDMA/4G cell towers (probably with OpenBTS) and hacked a bunch of Android phones (that’s what is being claimed anyway).

And just to clarify – there’s no REAL 4G or LTE hacking involved – in the US they call HSPA 4G.

Claims that both CDMA and 4G networks were compromised at the recent Defcon security event in Las Vegas have raised little surprise, but the vulnerability of handsets is hotly debated.

The claim was made by coderman, a stalwart of security conferences, who reports that he witnessed an advanced man-in-the-middle attack operating on both CDMA and UMTS networks and masterminded by an amalgam of Anon and Lulz. This attack was apparently able to identify connected devices and run through known exploits before falling back to ask the user’s permission to install.

The symptoms of infection include “3G/4G* signal anomalies”, “Android [device] at full charged plugged in, but dropping to <50% charge once unplugged", "Android services that immediately respawn when killed" and "a hard freeze, and then take[ing] a long time to reboot". Android users might recognise that as SNAFU, but according to coderman it indicates the user has fallen prey to hackers from the usually-desperate groups Anon and Lulz. Other attendees are less certain, with many asking for more evidence (we did too, with equal lack of success). While it's hard to see if the attack happened as described much of it is plausible and follows a steady erosion of the security around cellular networks, which have stood the test of time well but are now recognised as weakening. Critically the 2G networks do not authenticate both ways – the handset authenticates to the network, but not the other way round – so it's relatively easy for an attacker to set up a femtocell and intercept communications. Handsets will also drop the encryption level on request by the network, which is required for use in countries where strong encryption is still verboten but provides an opportunity for the attacker to simply switch off the encryption.

Now there’s a lot of claims flying around here including the hacks, how advanced they are and who they were perpetrated by (Anonymous and LulzSec?).

Yes, cell network hacking has moved forward a lot in the last couple of years and the processing power of the average laptop is more than enough to own most cellular networks – but did this really happen? Right now no-one know, and really who is going to come forwards with evidence?

“Hi, I’m a l33t hacker and my phone got raped at Defcon 19” – yah sorry but that’s not going to happen.


Handsets are supposed to display such a change of status to the user, but they don’t.

Faking a call is still very hard, the secret shared between the SIM and the network authentication centre remains secure and hard to crack as ever, but once the encryption is off then data can be intercepted and false updates can be pushed out to smartphones.

In most cases such updates will require user permission to install, and will need to be signed or present additional dialogs, but users will generally agree to anything they’re presented with. The Defcon attendees might be more cautious, but the technique should be expected elsewhere.

Certainly there are numerous reports of strange cell sites popping up during the conference.

Our man on the ground, Dan Goodin, didn’t see any himself, but as handsets automatically connect to the nearest base station with the right operator code there’s no obvious notification and little to stop calls and data being intercepted.

3G networks, including HSPA, are a lot more secure and authenticate in both directions. That makes interception harder, but not impossible. Interception is then dependent on the encryption being used; A5/3 is mandated in Europe and really hard to break, but not widely used. The USA still seems to be using A5/2, at best, for some reason.

So interception of cellular data is eminently plausible, and faking updates is also plausible, but when it comes to inserting malicious code into handsets one is just as dependent on the mobile OS as if one were connecting over a Wi-Fi connection.

The whole thing is plausible? Yah definitely, but Defcon attendees are not your average drones (I hope) – and have at least some security smarts.

The delivery mechanism for this attack is the same old story, pushing out malicious updates and hoping the user installs them. For an average joe – yes this will work, for anyone who works in infosec? I find that unlikely.

I really hope more research is done on these attacks and we get to see some evidence of what really went down.

Source: The Register


Posted in: Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Privacy

Topic: Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Privacy

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Agnitio v2.0 Released – Code Security Review Tool

Keep on Guard!


It’s been a while since we’ve mentioned Agnitio, it was earlier this year in March: Agnitio v1.2 – Manual Security Code Review Tool.

The author notified me of a new version that was recently released with quite a few additions. For those not familiar with it, Agnitio is a tool to help developers and security professionals conduct manual security code reviews in a consistent and repeatable way. Agnitio aims to replace the adhoc nature of manual security code review documentation, create an audit trail and reporting.

Changes in V2.0

The major changes in v2.0 is the addition of a code analysis module which comes with Android and iOS rules, an editor for the checklist questions and the ability to create/edit/remove code analysis rules.

  • Fixed verify report button bug. It used to make the app crash if the report path field was empty because it didn’t check if it was empty before trying to use the field value.
  • Delete profile functionality added on the “view profiles” tab. Some users requested this functionality.
  • Removed hard coded filesystem paths and database names/locations from the code and make them configuration items.
  • Data editor for both principles and checklist guidance sections. This allows users to customise the guidance using their own languages, guidance text etc.
  • Increase the max size value of the text boxes on the principles guidance tab to allow more information to be entered by users.
  • More accurate error on the profile creation tab – specify exactly what fields have been missed rather than listing all.
  • Added “About” form with info, license, credits etc
  • Regular expressions expanded to include a wider range of characters including non English characters.
  • Turn the “other” language box red if the user clicks save with the other check box ticked but not language entered on the create and view profile tabs.
  • Metrics tab now “returns” if only one app is available rather than trying to load all graphs and throwing a separate error for each one.

The author is always interested in feedback and has integrated a lot of it into v2.0 of Agnitio, if you want to give some suggestions/bug reports or whatever after using the tool you can do so via the Security Ninja blog here, or on Twitter @securityninja.

You can download Agnitio v2.0 here:

Agnitio v2.zip

Or read more here.


Posted in: Countermeasures, Secure Coding, Security Software

Topic: Countermeasures, Secure Coding, Security Software

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More Cyberterrorism – Taiwan Political Party Accuses China of Hacking

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


Well there hasn’t been a whole lot of news the last couple of days apart from the London riots – which don’t have much of a technical spin. The only technical part is that the looters/rioters etc seem to be organizing themselves using BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) and Twitter.

The former being rather smart as it’s encrypted and sent via a 3rd party network – so it’s not open to wiretapping. It’s unlikely the tracksuit wearing chavs & hoodies know that, but still – it’s keeping them safe. Posting videos/pictures of themselves on public Twitter and Facebook accounts is not so smart though and will surely lead to some arrests.

Anyway that’s not the topic here, the topic here is another politically motivated hacking attack – what we would commonly call cyberterrorism.

A Taiwanese political party suspects the Chinese government is behind a hacking attack that stole information about the party’s election activities.

Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said on Tuesday that some of the attacks had been traced to China’s Xinhua News Agency, a state-run press group. The attack operated as a phishing campaign, in which DPP staffers were sent e-mails by hackers who attempted to impersonate other party employees. The staffers were then told to open the e-mail attachments, which secretly contained viruses to monitor the computers, a DPP spokeswoman said.

The DPP alleges the attacks were routed from the Xinhua News Agency through Malaysia and Australia. The attacks were also traced to IP addresses from the Chinese mainland. The Xinhua News Agency was contacted for response, but has yet to an issue a comment.

IT security experts have said the attacks were part of a state-sponsored hacking attempt, according to the DPP. “Already many countries and security groups have said the attacks from China’s cyber army are well organized and that a state actor guides and supports them,” the DPP said in statement issued on the party’s website.

As we all know, Taiwan and China are not really the best of friends with China claiming Taiwan to be part of it and Taiwan not quite agreeing. In China they fully act like Taiwan is just another state/province in China.

This time it seems to be a state run Chinese news agency (Xinhua) attacking Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (commonly know as DPP).

These are of course at this time just claims, and it’ll probably stay that way as there’s no conclusive proof in these kind of situations.


China is already in the spotlight for cyber attacks after security vendor McAfee reported a massive cyber attack that stole sensitive information from 72 companies and organizations. Although McAfee did not name the group behind the hacking attempts, security experts have pointed fingers at China because of the organizations targeted. China, however, has repeatedly denied it sponsors any kind of hacking.

A DPP spokeswoman said the phishing attacks have been an ongoing problem, but that it appears more of the recent hacking attempts have been coming from China.

Taiwan and China separated in 1949 after a civil war. While China’s ruling communist party seeks for reunification with the island, the DPP supports Taiwan becoming its own nation, putting the two at odds with one another.

The DPP said on Tuesday it also traced hacking attempts to Taiwan’s own Research, Development and Evaluation Commission and called for the commission to investigate. The commission could not be reached for immediate comment.

China have been in the spotlight fairly recently with some very widespread phishing attacks including – Targeted Phishing Attacks Carried Out On Gmail – Likely From China.

It seems like these kinds of games will be going on forever including hacktivism, cyberterrorism, defacement in the name of certain causes and all kinds of other naughty business.

With so much information on computers now it’s no surprise, I’d like to see these kind of organisations having better infosec policies though including awareness training for all staff with access to e-mail accounts and computers.

Source: Network World


Posted in: Hacking News

Topic: Hacking News

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Websecurify – Integrated Web Security Testing Environment

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


Websecurify is an integrated web security testing environment, which can be used to identify web vulnerabilities by using advanced browser automation, discovery and fuzzing technologies. The platform is designed to perform automated as well as manual vulnerability tests and it is constantly improved and fine-tuned by a team of world class web application security penetration testers and the feedback from an active open source community.

The penetration testing platform is the only one of its kind. Websecurify is in effect built on the top of a browser and can understand all modern web technologies including upcoming web standards and current technologies such as HTML5.

Main Features

  • Available for all major platforms (Windows, Mac OS, Linux)
  • Simple to use user interface
  • Builtin internationalization support
  • Easily extensible with the help of add-ons and plugins
  • Exportable and customisable reports with any level of detail
  • Moduler and reusable design
  • Powerful manual testing tools and helper facilities
  • Team sharing support
  • Powerful analytical and scanning technology
  • Built-in service and support integration
  • Scriptable support for JavaScript and Python
  • Extensible via many languages including JavaScript, Python, C, C++ and Java

Websecurify uses several key technologies combined together to achieve the best possible result when performing automatic and manual tests. At the core of the platform sits a Web Browser. This allows Websecurify to gain a fine-grained control over the targeted web application and as such detect vulnerabilities that are difficult to find with other tools.

The carefully engineered user interface is simple to use but powerful. All tools and platform features are integrated with each other. This allows smooth transition from one type of task to another and it also makes it easier to work with the complex flow of data, gathered during the penetration test.

You can download Websecurify here:

Windows: Websecurify%200.8.exe
Mac: Websecurify%200.8.dmg
Linux: Websecurify%200.8.tgz

Or you can read more here.


Posted in: Hacking Tools, Web Hacking

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Zero-day Vulnerability In TimThumb Image Utility Threatens Many WordPress Sites

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


This is pretty apt after we wrote about WebsiteDefender – Ensure Your Website Security on Monday, a platform for securing web applications with a focus on WordPress. Today a zero-day in a very commonly used WordPress library hit quite a few news sites.

The flaw is in an image utility called TimThumb which is used in a LOT of premium themes for generating on the fly thumbnails, you can check it out (and grab the latest version) here:

http://code.google.com/p/timthumb/

Attackers are exploiting a widely used extension for the WordPress publishing platform to take control of vulnerable websites, one of the victims has warned.

The vulnerability affects virtually all websites that have an image-resizing utility called TimThumb running with WordPress, Mark Maunder, CEO of Seattle-based Feedjit, wrote in a post published Monday. The extension is “inherently insecure” because it makes it easy for hackers to execute malicious code on websites that use it. At least two websites have already been compromised, he reported.

Maunder said he found the vulnerability after discovering his own website, markmaunder.com, was suddenly and inexplicably loading advertisements, even though the blog wasn’t configured to do so.

After a thorough investigation, he learned that an attacker had used TimThumb to load a PHP file into one of his site directories and then execute it. The utility, he said, by default allows files to be remotely loaded and resized from blogger.com, wordpress.com, and five other websites and doesn’t vet URLs for malicious strings, making it possible to upload malicious payloads.

I personally think this could cause some major problems because TimThumb is bundled with almost every WordPress theme (free ones or otherwise) and is invariably an old version – which will be insecure. It creates an image cache inside the readable webroot – which is really bad.

Plus the URL filtering doesn’t really work properly, so with your own domain you could create a subdomain malware.flickr.com.darknet.org.uk/malware.php and host up some nasty files there, call TimThumb on that file and it’d be cached in the webroot.


“So if you create a file on a web server like so: http://blogger.com.somebadhackersite.com/badscript.php and tell timthumb.php to fetch it, it merrily fetches the file and puts it in the cache directory ready for execution,” Maunder explained.

He went on to report the technique was used on Friday to hack Ben Gillbanks, developer of TimThumb. Gilders is working on a permanent fix, but in the meantime, Maunder has submitted a temporary patch that fixes the most obvious errors.

“I can’t apologise enough for this oversight in the code and hope nobody has anything too bad happen to their sites because of my error,” Gilders wrote in a comment responding to Maunder’s post

One of the first people that was hit was a WordPress developer himself (which is a good thing as it means we get a quick fix), a new more secure version (hopefully) is in the works and the developer has pushed out some quick fixes in the current version to make it harder to exploit.

You can grab the latest TimThumb.php code here:

http://timthumb.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/timthumb.php

There are also a lot more details on how to fix the problem on Mark Maunder’s blog, CEO of Seattle-based Feedjit:

Zero Day Vulnerability in Many WordPress Themes

There’s a story from Network World here too:

Zero-day vulnerability found in a WordPress image utility

TimThumb is in many themes with other names, so please also search for thumb.php, cropper.php, crop.php & resize.php.

Site: The Register


Posted in: Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Web Hacking

Topic: Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Web Hacking

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WebsiteDefender – Ensure Your Website Security

Outsmart Malicious Hackers


WebsiteDefender is an online service that monitors your website for hacker activity, audits the security of your web site and gives you easy to understand solutions to keep your website safe. With WebsiteDefender you can:

  • Detect Malware present on your website
  • Audit your web site for security issues
  • Avoid getting blacklisted by Google
  • Keep your web site content & data safe
  • Get alerted to suspicious hacker activity

It has an easy to user interface, it picks up all kinds of issues such as malware, reverse shells like c99, obvious stuff like outdated Plugins and WordPress core, weak passwords, bad configurations (including .htaccess config) and much more.

WebsiteDefender

Each alert is well explained and will help you to solve any issues the system finds on your blog/site.

WebsiteDefender

The great value with this for me is once you are subscribed, you will be automatically alerted of new issues by email as and when they occur. This will help you keep your website secure and will let you know immediately if any issues develop.

They’ve even released two WordPress plugins which you can find here:

WP Security Scan & Secure WordPress

You can check out the website here and sign up for a free account to test it out:

http://www.websitedefender.com/

They are on Twitter too @WebsiteDefender & Facebook.


Posted in: Countermeasures, Security Software, Web Hacking

Topic: Countermeasures, Security Software, Web Hacking

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