Archive | March, 2018

Cambridge Analytica Facebook Data Scandal

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One of the biggest stories of the year so far has been the scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica that came out after a Channel 4 expose that demonstrated the depths they are willing to go to profile voters, manipulate elections and much more.

Cambridge Analytica Facebook Data Scandal


It’s kicking off in the UK and the US and Mark Zuckerberg has had to come out publically and apologise about the involvement of Facebook.

This goes deep with ties to elections and political activities in Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Kenya.

Controversial data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica has been hit with an emergency data seizure order in England following an extraordinary series of events Monday night that revolved around a TV undercover expose.

Following a day in which the company became the focus of attention online, in print, and in the UK Parliament and US Congress for its unethical use of user data, senior executives from the firm were then shown on camera boasting about the use of dark methods, including honey traps, fake news and sub-contracting with ex-spies to entrap individuals.

Those revelations – filmed during an undercover investigation by Channel 4 in the UK – came as the controversial company was already in the news after it was revealed it had secretly grabbed the personal details of over 50 million Facebook users and used the data to sell voter targeting services.

Following the segment on those secret recordings, UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said she would seek a warrant on Tuesday forcing Cambridge Analytica to hand over relevant data, after she said the company had refused to respond sufficiently to earlier requests.

Adding to a sense of drama, as Denham was on television saying she would apply for the warrant, a Channel 4 reporter posted outside the company’s headquarters reported that a team from Facebook was inside the building ensuring that their purloined data had been deleted.


There’s a whole #DeleteFacebook movement spawning from this like it’s somehow new that we are actually the product on Social Media networks and we live in a post-privacy era.

It’s a pretty widespread story as it affects pretty much every continent and billions of individuals all around the World.

Less than an hour after the program aired, the authorities announced they had received a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica’s offices that very night.

As to the undercover investigation, Channel 4’s reporters posed as Sri Lankan clients interested in paying the company to help their candidates in upcoming elections. Over the course of a series of meetings in London a series of senior executives outlined an increasingly disturbing array of services they would be willing to provide.

At an initial meeting with its managing director Mark Turnbull and chief data officer Dr Alex Tayler the pair talked about their infamous data analytics and profiling services as a way to identify potential swing voters.

That ethical line appeared to disappear however when the undercover journalists met with Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive Alexander Nix.

Nix was caught on film outlining a series of extremely dubious and many cases illegal scenarios for dealing with political opponents. They included bribing officials and candidates – “we can have a wealthy developer come in and offer a large amount of money to a candidate – for land, for example” – and film the transaction in order to expose them as corrupt.

He also suggested that the company could arrange for a honey-trap – sending young women to operate a sex sting – while stressing that he was “just giving examples of what can be done, what has been done.”

He also appeared to embrace the idea of creating and promoting fake news – an extremely sensitive topic given the evidence that fake news was used extensively in the US presidential elections in 2016 – noting that “it doesn’t have to be true, it just has to be believed.”

The latest is that Alexander Nix has been suspended pending an investigation.

The whistleblower for the whole thing is a young researcher called Christopher Wylie from London.

It even manages to be much bigger than the Equifax leak and scandal.

Source: The Register

Posted in: Hacking News

Topic: Hacking News


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GetAltName – Discover Sub-Domains From SSL Certificates

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GetAltName it’s a little script to discover sub-domains that can extract Subject Alt Names for SSL Certificates directly from HTTPS websites which can provide you with DNS names or virtual servers.

GetAltName - Discover Sub-Domains From SSL Certificates


It’s useful in a discovery phase of a pen-testing assessment, this tool can provide you with more information about your target and scope.

Features of GetAltName to Discover Sub-Domains

  • Strips wildcards and www’s
  • Returns a unique list (no duplicates)
  • Works on verified and self-signed certs
  • Domain matching system
  • Filtering for main domains and TLDs
  • Gets additional sub-domains from crt.sh
  • Outputs to clipboard

GetAltName Subdomain Exctraction Tool Usage

You can output to a text file and also copy the output to your clipboard as a List or a Single line string, which is useful if you’re trying to make a quick scan with Nmap or other tools.


GetAltName Required

  • colorama
  • ndg-httpsclient
  • pyperclip
  • requests
  • tldextract

There are other DNS discovery and extraction tools using different methods, including brute-forcing such as:

InstaRecon – Automated Subdomain Discovery Tool
hostmap 0.2 – Automatic Hostname & Virtual Hosts Discovery Tool
SubBrute – Subdomain Brute-forcing Tool
altdns – Subdomain Recon Tool With Permutation Generation

You can download GetAltName here:

getaltname-1.0.0.zip

Or read more here.

Posted in: Hacking Tools

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Memcrashed – Memcached DDoS Exploit Tool

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Memcrashed is a Memcached DDoS exploit tool written in Python that allows you to send forged UDP packets to a list of Memcached servers obtained from Shodan.

Memcrashed - Memcached DDoS Exploit Tool


This is related to the recent record-breaking Memcached DDoS attacks that are likely to plague 2018 with over 100,000 vulnerable Memcached servers showing up in Shodan.

What is Memcached?

Memcached is an in-memory key-value store for small chunks of arbitrary data (strings, objects) from results of database calls, API calls, or page rendering.

Free & open source, high-performance, distributed memory object caching system, generic in nature, but intended for use in speeding up dynamic web applications by alleviating database load.

Requirements for Memcrashed Memcached DDoS Exploit Tool

You need to have Python 3.x installed:

And you also need Scapy and Shodan Python modules:

The tool also requires you own an upgraded Shodan API key.

You can download Memcrashed here:

Memcrashed-DDoS-Exploit-master.zip

Or read more here.

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QualysGuard – Vulnerability Management Tool

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QualysGuard is a web-based vulnerability management tool provided by Qualys, Inc, which was the first company to deliver vulnerability management services as a SaaS-based web-service.

QualysGuard - Vulnerability Management Tool


From reviews, it seems like a competent tool with a low rate of false positives that is fairly easy to work with and keep the more ‘dangerous’ parts of vulnerability scanning out of the hands of users, but with the flexibility for expert users to do what they need.

It would be up against other tools like Nessus, Retina, nCircle, NeXpose and Tenable.

Features of QualysGuard Scanner

The apps’ capabilities include:

  • Asset discovery and inventory
  • Vulnerability management
  • Remediation prioritization
  • Compliance monitoring
  • Container security
  • Web application scanning and firewall
  • File integrity monitoring
  • Indication of compromise and more

It can also handle internal scans using Qualys appliances which can communicate back the cloud-based system, which makes it very scalable.

About Qualys

Qualys was founded in 1999. The company launched QualysGuard in December 2000, making Qualys one of the first entrants in the vulnerability management market. The QualysGuard Intranet Scanner was released in 2002 to automatically scan corporate LANs for vulnerabilities and search for an available patch. The following year, Qualys released FreeMap, a web-based tool for scanning, mapping and identifying possible security holes within networks connected to the Internet.


In 2005, Qualys extended its QualysGuard product line. In 2008, Qualys introduced QualysGuard Policy Compliance, which extended the platform’s global scanning capabilities to collect IT compliance data across the organization and map this information into policies to document compliance for auditing purposes.

Source: Wikipedia

QualysGuard pricing should start from around $2000 a year onwards, but no prices are made public and the latest information I could find was from 2014 ($2,495 per year, which provides scanning services for web applications on eight external IP addresses and PCI compliance reporting; $5,495 per year gets into the meat of the product giving subscribers scan coverage for 256 IPs and a virtual scanning appliance).

You can read more on the Qualys website here, there is a free trial.

Posted in: Security Software

Topic: Security Software


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Memcached DDoS Attacks Will Be BIG In 2018

The New Acunetix V12 Engine


So after the massive DDoS attack trend in 2016 it seems like 2018 is going to the year of the Memcached DDoS amplification attack with so many insecure Memcached servers available on the public Internet.

Memcached DDoS Attacks Will Be BIG In 2018


Unfortunately, it looks like a problem that won’t easily go away as there are so many publically exposed, poorly configured Memcached servers online (estimated to be over 100,000).

Honestly, Github handled the 1.3Tbps attack like a champ with only 10 minutes downtime although they did deflect it by moving traffic to Akamai.

Last week, the code repository GitHub was taken off air in a 1.3Tbps denial of service attack. We predicted then that there would be more such attacks and it seems we were right.

Arbor Networks is now reporting that a US service provider suffered a 1.7Tbps attack earlier this month. In this case, there were no outages as the provider had taken adequate safeguards, but it’s clear that the memcached attack is going to be a feature network managers are going to have to take seriously in the future.

The attacks use shoddily secured memcached database servers to amplify attacks against a target. The assailant spoofs the UDP address of its victim and pings a small data packet at a memcached server that doesn’t have an authenticated traffic requirement in place. The server responds by firing back as much as 50,000 times the data it received.


Then less than a week later, there appears to have been another record-breaking Memcached DDoS attack this time clocking in at 1.7Tbps, although we don’t currently know who it was aimed at.

The amplification is fairly significant as well with the Memcached servers sending up to 50,000 times the data recieved to the unwitting victim, I imagine they are sending some kind of command to retrieve all key value pairs available on the server to the spoofed IP – which could be a significant amount of traffic.

With multiple data packets sent out a second, the memcached server unwittingly amplifies the deluge of data that can be sent against the target. Without proper filtering and network management, the tsunami of data can be enough to knock some providers offline.

There are some simple mitigation techniques, notably blocking off UDP traffic from Port 11211, which is the default avenue for traffic from memcached servers. In addition, the operators of memcached servers need to lock down their systems to avoid taking part in such denial of service attacks.

“While the internet community is coming together to shut down access to the many open memcached servers out there, the sheer number of servers running memcached openly will make this a lasting vulnerability that attackers will exploit,” said Carlos Morales, VP of sales, engineering and operations at Arbor Networks.

“It is critically important for companies to take the necessary steps to protect themselves.”

Memcached servers, like any other part of a well-built infrastructure, should be only listening on the LAN IP address, not the public IP (like any database), but like the whole MongoDB Ransack fiasco, it’s much easier to listen on * and Memcached typically is used without any type of authentication.

I suspect we will see many more of these Memcached DDoS attacks through-out 2018, and probably more targeted. I’m not sure why people love to target Github – perhaps because it’s just so resilient it’s a good test target to see how effective you are.

Source: The Register

Posted in: Hacking News

Topic: Hacking News


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libsodium – Easy-to-use Software Library For Encryption

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Sodium is a new, easy-to-use software library for encryption, decryption, signatures, password hashing and more. It is a portable, cross-compilable, installable, packageable fork of NaCl, with a compatible API, and an extended API to improve usability even further.

libsodium - Easy-to-use Software Library For Encryption


Its goal is to provide all of the core operations needed to build higher-level cryptographic tools. Sodium supports a variety of compilers and operating systems, including Windows (with MingW or Visual Studio, x86 and x64), iOS, Android, as well as Javascript and Webassembly.

Installing libsodium Software Library for Encryption

Sodium is a shared library with a machine-independent set of headers, so that it can easily be used by 3rd party projects. The library is built using autotools, making it easy to package. Installation is trivial, and both compilation and testing can take advantage of multiple CPU cores.

Download a tarball of libsodium, preferably the latest stable version, then follow the ritual:

Since different files are compiled for different CPU classes, and to prevent unwanted optimizations, avoiding link-time optimization (LTO) is recommended. On Linux, if the process hangs at the make check step, your system PRG may not have been properly seeded. Please refer to the notes in the “Usage” section for ways to address this.


Using libsodium Encryption Library

A project using libsodium should include the sodium.h header. Including individual headers is neither required nor recommended.

The sodium_init() function should then be called before any other function. It is safe to call sodium_init() multiple times, or from different threads; it will immediately return 1 without doing anything if the library had already been initialized.

Something related is:

Wycheproof – Test Crypto Libraries Against Known Attacks

You can download libsodium here:

libsodium-1.0.16.tar.gz

Or you can read more here.

Posted in: Cryptography

Topic: Cryptography


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