Archive for the ‘Security’ Category

The Coolest Hacks of 2017 [Inspirational Reading for 2018]

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

The Coolest Hacks of 2017 by Kelly Jackson Higgins.

From the post:

You’d think by now with the pervasiveness of inherently insecure Internet of Things things that creative hacking would be a thing of the past for security researchers. It’s gotten too easy to find security holes and ways to abuse IoT devices; they’re such easy marks.

But our annual look at the coolest hacks we covered this year on Dark Reading shows that, alas, innovation is not dead. Security researchers found intriguing and scary security flaws that can be abused to bend the will of everything from robots to voting machines, and even the wind. They weaponized seemingly benign systems such as back-end servers and machine learning tools in 2017, exposing a potential dark side to these systems.

So grab a cold one from your WiFi-connected smart fridge and take a look at seven of the coolest hacks of the year.

“Dark side” language brings a sense of intrigue and naughtiness. But the “dark side(s)” of any system is just a side that meets different requirements. Such as access without authorization. May not be your requirement but it may be mine, or your government’s.

Let’s drop the dodging and posing as though there is a common interest in cybersecurity. There is no such common interest nor has there even been one. Governments want backdoors, privacy advocates, black marketeers and spies want none. Users want effortless security, while security experts know security ads are just short of actionable fraud.

Cybersecurity marketeers may resist but detail your specific requirements. In writing and appended to your contract.

Ichano AtHome IP Cameras – Free Vulnerabilities from Amazon

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

SSD Advisory – Ichano AtHome IP Cameras Multiple Vulnerabilities

Catalin Cimpanu @campuscodi pointed to these free vulnerabilities:

AtHome Camera is “a remote video surveillance app which turns your personal computer, smart TV/set-top box, smart phone, and tablet into a professional video monitoring system in a minute.”

The vulnerabilities found are:

  • Hard-coded username and password – telnet
  • Hard-coded username and password – Web server
  • Unauthenticated Remote Code Execution

Did you know the AtHome Camera – Remote video surveillance, Home security, Monitoring, IP Camera by iChano is a free download at Amazon?

That’s right! You can get all three of these vulnerabilities for free! Ranked “#270 in Apps & Games > Utilities,” as of 24 December 2017.

Sleuth Kit – Checking Your Footprints (if any)

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

Open Source File System Digital Forensics: The Sleuth Kit

From the webpage:

The Sleuth Kit is an open source forensic toolkit for analyzing Microsoft and UNIX file systems and disks. The Sleuth Kit enables investigators to identify and recover evidence from images acquired during incident response or from live systems. The Sleuth Kit is open source, which allows investigators to verify the actions of the tool or customize it to specific needs.

The Sleuth Kit uses code from the file system analysis tools of The Coroner’s Toolkit (TCT) by Wietse Venema and Dan Farmer. The TCT code was modified for platform independence. In addition, support was added for the NTFS and FAT file systems. Previously, The Sleuth Kit was called The @stake Sleuth Kit (TASK). The Sleuth Kit is now independent of any commercial or academic organizations.

It is recommended that these command line tools can be used with the Autopsy Forensic Browser. Autopsy is a graphical interface to the tools of The Sleuth Kit and automates many of the procedures and provides features such as image searching and MD5 image integrity checks.

As with any investigation tool, any results found with The Sleuth Kit should be be recreated with a second tool to verify the data.

The Sleuth Kit allows one to analyze a disk or file system image created by ‘dd’, or a similar application that creates a raw image. These tools are low-level and each performs a single task. When used together, they can perform a full analysis.

Question: Who should find your foot prints first? You or someone investigating an incident?

Test your penetration techniques for foot prints before someone else does. Yes?

BTW, pick up a copy of the Autopsy Forensic Browser.

SMB – 1 billion vulnerable machines

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

An Introduction to SMB for Network Security Analysts by Nate “Doomsday” Marx.

Of all the common protocols a new analyst encounters, perhaps none is quite as impenetrable as Server Message Block (SMB). Its enormous size, sparse documentation, and wide variety of uses can make it one of the most intimidating protocols for junior analysts to learn. But SMB is vitally important: lateral movement in Windows Active Directory environments can be the difference between a minor and a catastrophic breach, and almost all publicly available techniques for this movement involve SMB in some way. While there are numerous guides to certain aspects of SMB available, I found a dearth of material that was accessible, thorough, and targeted towards network analysis. The goal of this guide is to explain this confusing protocol in a way that helps new analysts immediately start threat hunting with it in their networks, ignoring the irrelevant minutiae that seem to form the core of most SMB primers and focusing instead on the kinds of threats an analyst is most likely to see. This guide necessarily sacrifices completeness for accessibility: further in-depth reading is provided in footnotes. There are numerous simplifications throughout to make the basic operation of the protocol more clear; the fact that they are simplifications will not always be highlighted. Lastly, since this guide is an attempt to explain the SMB protocol from a network perspective, the discussion of host based information (windows logs, for example) has been omitted.

It never occurred to me that NTLM, introduced with Windows NT in 1993, is still supported in the latest version of Windows.

That means a deep knowledge of SMB pushes systems vulnerable to you almost north of 1 billion.

How’s that for a line in your CV?

Keeper Security – Beyond Boo-Hooing Over Security Bullies

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Security firm Keeper sues news reporter over vulnerability story by Zack Whittaker.

From the post:

Keeper, a password manager software maker, has filed a lawsuit against a news reporter and its publication after a story was posted reporting a vulnerability disclosure.

Dan Goodin, security editor at Ars Technica, was named defendant in a suit filed Tuesday by Chicago-based Keeper Security, which accused Goodin of “false and misleading statements” about the company’s password manager.

Goodin’s story, posted December 15, cited Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy, who said in a vulnerability disclosure report he posted a day earlier that a security flaw in Keeper allowed “any website to steal any password” through the password manager’s browser extension.

Goodin was one of the first to cover news of the vulnerability disclosure. He wrote that the password manager was bundled in some versions of Windows 10. When Ormandy tested the bundled password manager, he found a password stealing bug that was nearly identical to one he previously discovered in 2016.

Ormandy also posted a proof-of-concept exploit for the new vulnerability.

I’ll spare you the boo-hooing over Keeper Security‘s attempt to bully Dan Goodin and Ars Technica.

Social media criticism is like the vice-presidency, it’s not worth a warm bucket of piss.

What the hand-wringers over the bullying of Dan Goodin and Ars Technica fail to mention is your ability to no longer use Keeper Security. Not a word.

In The Best Password Managers of 2018, I see ten (10) top password managers, three of which are rated as equal to or better than Keeper Security.

Sadly I don’t use Keeper Security so I can’t send tweet #1: I refuse to use/renew Keeper Security until it abandons persecution of @dangoodin001 and @arstechnica, plus pays their legal fees.

I’m left with tweet #2: I refuse to consider using Keeper Security until it abandons persecution of @dangoodin001 and @arstechnica, plus pays their legal fees.

Choose tweet 1 or 2, ask your friends to take action, and to retweet.

Weird machines, exploitability, and provable unexploitability

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Weird machines, exploitability, and provable unexploitability by Thomas Dullien (IEEE pre-print, to appear IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computing)


The concept of exploit is central to computer security, particularly in the context of memory corruptions. Yet, in spite of the centrality of the concept and voluminous descriptions of various exploitation techniques or countermeasures, a good theoretical framework for describing and reasoning about exploitation has not yet been put forward.

A body of concepts and folk theorems exists in the community of exploitation practitioners; unfortunately, these concepts are rarely written down or made sufficiently precise for people outside of this community to benefit from them.

This paper clarifies a number of these concepts, provides a clear definition of exploit, a clear definition of the concept of a weird machine, and how programming of a weird machine leads to exploitation. The papers also shows, somewhat counterintuitively, that it is feasible to design some software in a way that even powerful attackers – with the ability to corrupt memory once – cannot gain an advantage.

The approach in this paper is focused on memory corruptions. While it can be applied to many security vulnerabilities introduced by other programming mistakes, it does not address side channel attacks, protocol weaknesses, or security problems that are present by design.

A common vocabulary to bridge the gap between ‘Exploit practitioners’ (EPs) and academic researchers. Whether it will in fact bridge that gap remains to be seen. Even the attempt will prove to be useful.

Tracing the use/propagation of Dullien’s vocabulary across Google’s Project Zero reports and papers would provide a unique data set on the spread (or not) of a new vocabulary in computer science.

Not to mention being a way to map back into earlier literature with the newer vocabulary, via a topic map.

BTW, Dullien’s statement “is is feasible to design some software in a way that even powerful attackers … cannot gain an advantage,” is speculation and should not dampen your holiday spirits. (I root for the hare and not the hounds as a rule.)

What’s in Your Wallet? Photo Defeats Windows 10 Facial Recognition

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

It took more than a wallet-sized photo, but until patched, the Window 10 Hello facial recognition feature accepted a near IR printed (340×340 pixel) image to access a Windows device.

Catalin Cimpanu has the details at: Windows 10 Facial Recognition Feature Can Be Bypassed with a Photo.

The disturbing line in Cipanu’s report reads:

The feature is not that widespread since not many devices with the necessary hardware, yet when present, it is often used since it’s quite useful at unlocking computers without having users type in long passwords.

When hardware support for Windows Hello spreads, you can imagine its default use in corporate and government offices.

The Microsoft patch may defeat a 2-D near IR image but for the future, I’d invest in a 3-D printer with the ability to print in the near IR.

I don’t think your Guy Fawkes mask will work on most Windows devices:

But it might make a useful “cover” for a less common mask. If security forces have to search every Guy Fawkes mask, some Guy Fawkes+ masks are bound to slip through. Statistically speaking.

Practicing Vulnerability Hunting in Programming Languages for Music

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

If you watched Natalie Silvanovich‘s presentation on mining the JavaScript standard for vulnerabilities, the tweet from Computer Science @CompSciFact pointing to Programming Languages Used for Music must have you drooling like one of Pavlov‘s dogs.

I count one hundred and forty-seven (147) languages, of varying degrees of popularity, none of which has gotten the security review of ECMA-262. (Michael Aranda wades through terminology/naming issues for ECMAScript vs. JavaScript at: What’s the difference between JavaScript and ECMAScript?.)

Good hunting!

Standard Driven Bugs – Must Watch Presentation For Standards Geeks

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

From the description:

Web standards are ever-evolving and determine what browsers can do. But new features can also lead to new vulnerabilities as they exercise existing functionality in new and unexpected ways. This talk discusses some of the more interesting and unusual features of JavaScript, and how they lead to bugs in a variety of software, including Adobe Flash, Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari.

Natalie Silvanovich is a security researcher at Google Project Zero.

Whether you are looking for origin of bugs in a standard or playing the long game, creating the origin of bugs in standards (NSA for example), this is a must watch video!

A transcript with CVE links, etc, would be especially useful.

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Mallers, WiFiPhisher Can Help You With That!

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Acts 20:35 records Jesus as saying, in part: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Mall shoppers may honor that admonition without their knowledge (or consent).

Automated WPA Phishing Attacks: WiFiPhisher

From the webpage:

Wifiphisher is a security tool that mounts automated victim-customized phishing attacks against WiFi clients in order to obtain credentials or infect the victims with malwares. It is primarily a social engineering attack that unlike other methods it does not include any brute forcing. It is an easy way for obtaining credentials from captive portals and third party login pages (e.g. in social networks) or WPA/WPA2 pre-shared keys.

Security advice for mallers:

  • Go hard copy, shop with cash/checks.
  • Leave all wifi devices at home, not in your car, at home.

Otherwise, you may have a very blessed holiday shopping experience.

Evil Foca [Encourage Upgrades from Windows XP]

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Network Security Testing: Evil Foca

From the webpage:

Evil Foca is a tool for security pentesters and auditors whose purpose it is to test security in IPv4 and IPv6 data networks. The software automatically scans the networks and identifies all devices and their respective network interfaces, specifying their IPv4 and IPv6 addresses as well as the physical addresses through a convenient and intuitive interface.

The tool is capable of carrying out various attacks such as:

  • MITM over IPv4 networks with ARP Spoofing and DHCP ACK Injection.
  • MITM on IPv6 networks with Neighbor Advertisement Spoofing, SLAAC attack, fake DHCPv6.
  • DoS (Denial of Service) on IPv4 networks with ARP Spoofing.
  • DoS (Denial of Service) on IPv6 networks with SLAAC DoS.
  • DNS Hijacking.


  • Windows XP or later.

ATMs and users running Windows XP are justification for possessing Windows XP.

But upgrading from Windows XP as an operations platform should be encouraged. For any purpose.


Otherwise, what’s next? A luggable computer for your next assignment?

getExploit (utility)

Friday, December 15th, 2017


From the webpage:

Python script to explore exploits from Exist a similar script in Kali Linux, but in difference this python script will have provide more flexibility at search and download time.

Looks useful, modulo the added risk of a local copy.

Yeti (You Are What You Record)

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Open Distributed Threat Intelligence: Yeti

From the webpage:

Yeti is a platform meant to organize observables, indicators of compromise, TTPs, and knowledge on threats in a single, unified repository. Yeti will also automatically enrich observables (e.g. resolve domains, geolocate IPs) so that you don’t have to. Yeti provides an interface for humans (shiny Bootstrap-based UI) and one for machines (web API) so that your other tools can talk nicely to it.

Yeti was born out of frustration of having to answer the question “where have I seen this artifact before?” or Googling shady domains to tie them to a malware family.

In a nutshell, Yeti allows you to:

  • Submit observables and get a pretty good guess on the nature of the threat.
  • Inversely, focus on a threat and quickly list all TTPs, Observables, and associated malware.
  • Let responders skip the “Google the artifact” stage of incident response.
  • Let analysts focus on adding intelligence rather than worrying about machine-readable export formats.
  • Visualize relationship graphs between different threats.

This is done by:

  • Collecting and processing observables from a wide array of different sources (MISP instances, malware trackers, XML feeds, JSON feeds…)
  • Providing a web API to automate queries (think incident management platform) and enrichment (think malware sandbox).
  • Export the data in user-defined formats so that they can be ingested by third-party applications (think blocklists, SIEM).

Yeti sounds like a good tool, but always remember: You Are What You Record.

Innocent activities captured in your Yeti repository could be made to look like plans for criminal activity.

Just a word to the wise.

KubeCon/CloudNativeCon [Breaking Into Clouds]

Friday, December 15th, 2017

KubeCon/CloudNativeCon just concluded in Austin, Texas with 179 videos now available on YouTube.

A sortable list of presentations: How long that will persist isn’t clear.

If you missed Why The Federal Government Warmed Up To Cloud Computing, take a minute to review it now. It’s a promotional piece but the essential take away, government data is moving to the cloud, remains valid.

To detect security failures during migration and post-migration, you will need to know cloud technology better than the average migration tech.

The videos from KubeCon/CloudNativeCon 2017 are a nice starter set in that direction.

THC-Hydra – Very Fast Network Logon Cracker

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Very Fast Network Logon Cracker: THC-Hydra

From the webpage:

Number one of the biggest security holes are passwords, as every password security study shows. Hydra is a parallized login cracker which supports numerous protocols to attack. New modules are easy to add, beside that, it is flexible and very fast. This fast, and many will say fastest network logon cracker supports many different services. Deemed ‘The best parallelized login hacker’: for Samba, FTP, POP3, IMAP, Telnet, HTTP Auth, LDAP, NNTP, MySQL, VNC, ICQ, Socks5, PCNFS, Cisco and more. Includes SSL support and is part of Nessus.

If you don’t know CyberPunk, they have great graphics:

If you have found the recent 1.4 billion password dump, THC-Hydra is in your near future.

98% Fail Rate on Privileged Accounts – Transparency in 2018

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Half of companies fail to tell customers about data breaches, claims study by Nicholas Fearn.

From the post:

Half of organisations don’t bother telling customers when their personal information might have been compromised following a cyber attack, according to a new study.

The latest survey from security firm CyberArk comes with the full implementation of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) just months away.

Organisations that fail to notify the relevant data protection authorities of a breach within 72 hours of finding it can expect to face crippling fines of up to four per cent of turnover – with companies trying to hide breaches likely to be hit with the biggest punishments.

The findings have been published in the second iteration the CyberArk Global Advanced Threat Landscape Report 2018, which explores business leaders’ attitudes towards IT security and data protection.

The survey found that, overall, security “does not translate into accountability”. Some 46 per cent of organisations struggle to stop every attempt to breach their IT infrastructure.

And 63 per cent of business leaders acknowledge that their companies are vulnerable to attacks, such as phishing. Despite this concern, 49 per cent of organisations don’t have the right knowledge about security policies.

You can download the report cited in Fearn’s post at: Cyberark Global Advanced Threat Landscape Report 2018: The Business View of Security.

If you think that report has implications for involuntary/inadvertent transparency, Cyberark Global Advanced Threat Landscape Report 2018: Focus on DevOps, reports this gem:

It’s not just that businesses underestimate threats. As noted above, they also do not seem to fully understand where privileged accounts and secrets exist. When asked which IT environments and devices contain privileged accounts and secrets, responses (IT decision maker and DevOps/app developer respondents) were at odds with the claim that most businesses have implemented a privileged account security solution. A massive 98% did not select at least one of the ‘containers’, ‘microservices’, ‘CI/CD tools’, ‘cloud environments’ or ‘source code repositories’ options. At the risk of repetition, privileged accounts and secrets are stored in all of these entities.

A fail rate of 98% on identifying “privileged accounts and secrets?”

Reports like this make you wonder about the clamor for transparency of organizations and governments. Why bother?

Information in 2018 is kept secure by a lack of interest in collecting it.

Remember that for your next transparency discussion.

A Guide To Kernel Exploitation: Attacking the Core (source files)

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

If you know or are interested in >A Guide To Kernel Exploitation: Attacking the Core by Enrico Perla and Massimiliano Oldani, the source files are now available at:

The website that accompanied the book is now reported to be defunct. Thanks to yrp604 for preserving these files.


Incomplete Reporting – How to Verify A Dark Web Discovery?

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

1.4 Billion Clear Text Credentials Discovered in a Single Database by Julio Casal.

From the post:

Now even unsophisticated and newbie hackers can access the largest trove ever of sensitive credentials in an underground community forum. Is the cyber crime epidemic about become an exponentially worse?

While scanning the deep and dark web for stolen, leaked or lost data, 4iQ discovered a single file with a database of 1.4 billion clear text credentials — the largest aggregate database found in the dark web to date.

None of the passwords are encrypted, and what’s scary is the we’ve tested a subset of these passwords and most of the have been verified to be true.

The breach is almost two times larger than the previous largest credential exposure, the combo list that exposed 797 million records. This dump aggregates 252 previous breaches, including known credential lists such as Anti Public and, decrypted passwords of known breaches like LinkedIn as well as smaller breaches like Bitcoin and Pastebin sites.

This is not just a list. It is an aggregated, interactive database that allows for fast (one second response) searches and new breach imports. Given the fact that people reuse passwords across their email, social media, e-commerce, banking and work accounts, hackers can automate account hijacking or account takeover.

This database makes finding passwords faster and easier than ever before. As an example searching for “admin,” “administrator” and “root” returned 226,631 passwords of admin users in a few seconds.

The data is organized alphabetically, offering examples of trends in how people set passwords, reuse them and create repetitive patterns over time. The breach offers concrete insights into password trends, cementing the need for recommendations, such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.
… (emphasis in original)

The full post goes onto discuss sources of the data, details of the dump file, freshness and password reuse. See Casal’s post for those details.

But no links were provided to the:

“…largest trove ever of sensitive credentials in an underground community forum.

How would you go about verifying such a discovery?

The post offers the following hints:

  1. “…single file … 1.4 billion clear text credentials”
  2. dump contains file “imported.log”
  3. list shown from “imported.log” has 55 unique file names

With #1, clear text credentials, I should be able to search for #2 “imported.log” and one of fifty-five (55) unique file names to come up with a fairly narrow set of search results. Not perfect but not a lot of manual browsing.

All onion search engines have .onion addresses.

Ahmia Never got to try one of the file names, “imported.log” returns 0 results.

Caronte I entered “imported.log,” but Caronte searches for “imported log.” Sigh, I really tire of corrective search interfaces. You? No useful results.

Haystack 0 results for “imported.log.”

Not Evil 3973 “hits” for “imported.log.” With search refinement, still no joy.

Bottom line: No verification of the reported credentials discovery.

Possible explanations:

  • Files have been moved or renamed
  • Forum is password protected
  • Used the wrong Dark Web search engines

Verification is all the rage in mainstream media.

How do you verify reports of content on the Dark Web? Or do you?

Zero Days, Thousands of Nights [Zero-day – 6.9 Year Average Life Expectancy]

Saturday, December 9th, 2017

Zero Days, Thousands of Nights – The Life and Times of Zero-Day Vulnerabilities and Their Exploits by Lillian Ablon, Timothy Bogart.

From the post:

Zero-day vulnerabilities — software vulnerabilities for which no patch or fix has been publicly released — and their exploits are useful in cyber operations — whether by criminals, militaries, or governments — as well as in defensive and academic settings.

This report provides findings from real-world zero-day vulnerability and exploit data that could augment conventional proxy examples and expert opinion, complement current efforts to create a framework for deciding whether to disclose or retain a cache of zero-day vulnerabilities and exploits, inform ongoing policy debates regarding stockpiling and vulnerability disclosure, and add extra context for those examining the implications and resulting liability of attacks and data breaches for U.S. consumers, companies, insurers, and for the civil justice system broadly.

The authors provide insights about the zero-day vulnerability research and exploit development industry; give information on what proportion of zero-day vulnerabilities are alive (undisclosed), dead (known), or somewhere in between; and establish some baseline metrics regarding the average lifespan of zero-day vulnerabilities, the likelihood of another party discovering a vulnerability within a given time period, and the time and costs involved in developing an exploit for a zero-day vulnerability.

Longevity and Discovery by Others

  • Zero-day exploits and their underlying vulnerabilities have a rather long average life expectancy (6.9 years). Only 25 percent of vulnerabilities do not survive to 1.51 years, and only 25 percent live more than 9.5 years.
  • No vulnerability characteristics indicated a long or short life; however, future analyses may want to examine Linux versus other platform types, the similarity of open and closed source code, and exploit class type.
  • For a given stockpile of zero-day vulnerabilities, after a year, approximately 5.7 percent have been publicly discovered and disclosed by another entity.

Rand researchers Ablon and Bogart attempt to interject facts into the debate over stockpiling zero-day vulnerabilities. It a great read, even though I doubt policy decisions over zero-day stockpiling will be fact-driven.

As an advocate of inadvertent or involuntary transparency (is there any other honest kind?), I take heart from the 6.9 year average life expectancy of zero-day exploits.

Researchers should take encouragement from the finding that within a given year, only 5.7 of all zero-days vulnerability discoveries overlap. That is 94.3% of zero-day discoveries are unique. That indicates to me vulnerabilities are left undiscovered every year.

Voluntary transparency, like presidential press conferences, is an opportunity to shape and manipulate your opinions. Zero-day vulnerabilities, on the other hand, can empower honest/involuntary transparency.

Won’t you help?

Google About to Publicly Drop iPhone Exploit (More Holiday News!)

Friday, December 8th, 2017

The Jailbreaking Community Is Bracing for Google to Publicly Drop an iPhone Exploit by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai.

From the post:

Because exploits are so valuable, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a publicly accessible iPhone jailbreak even for older versions of iOS (let alone one in the wild for an up to date iPhone.) But a tweet sent by a Google researcher Wednesday has got the security and jailbreaking communities in a frenzy. The tweet suggests that Google is about to drop an exploit that is a major step toward an iPhone jailbreak, and other researchers say they will be able to take that exploit and turn it into a full jailbreak.

It might seem surprising that an iPhone exploit would be released by Google, Apple’s closest competitor, but the company has a history of doing so, albeit with less hype than this one is garnering.

Ian Beer is a Google Project Zero security researcher, and one of the most prolific iOS bug hunters. Wednesday, he told his followers to keep their “research-only” devices on iOS 11.1.2 because he was about to release “tfp0” soon. (tfp0 stands for “task for pid 0,” or the kernel task port, which gives you control of the core of the operating system.) He also hinted that this is just the first part of more releases to come. iOS 11.1.2 was just patched and updated last week by Apple; it is extremely rare for exploits for recent versions of iOS to be made public.

Another surprise in the offing for the holiday season! See Franceschi-Bicchierai’s post for much speculation and possibilities.

Benefits from a current iPhone Exploit

  • Security researchers obtain better access to research iPhone security issues
  • FBI told by courts to hire local hackers instead of badgering Apple
  • Who carries iPhones? (security clueless public officials)

From improving the lot of security researchers, local employment for hackers and greater exposure of public officials, what’s there to not like?

Looking forward to the drop and security researchers jumping on it like a terrier pack on a rat.

Another Windows Critical Vulnerability (and I forgot to get MS anything)

Friday, December 8th, 2017

Microsoft Issues Emergency Windows Security Update For A Critical Vulnerability by Swati Khandelwal.

From the post:

If your computer is running Microsoft’s Windows operating system, then you need to apply this emergency patch immediately. By immediately, I mean now!

Microsoft has just released an emergency security patch to address a critical remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in its Malware Protection Engine (MPE) that could allow an attacker to take full control of a victim’s PC.

Enabled by default, Microsoft Malware Protection Engine offers the core cybersecurity capabilities, like scanning, detection, and cleaning, for the company’s antivirus and antimalware programs in all of its products.

According to Microsoft, the vulnerability affects a large number of Microsoft security products, including Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials along with Endpoint Protection, Forefront Endpoint Protection, and Exchange Server 2013 and 2016, impacting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows RT 8.1, and Windows Server.

Tracked as CVE-2017-11937, the vulnerability is a memory corruption issue which is triggered when the Malware Protection Engine scans a specially crafted file to check for any potential threat.
… (emphasis in original)

I always feel bad when I read about newly discovered vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. Despite MS opening up computers around the world to the idly curious if not the malicious, I haven’t gotten them anything.

I’m sure Munich must be celebrating its plan to switch to Windows 10 for €50m. You wouldn’t think unintended governmental transparency would be that expensive. Munich could save everyone time and trouble by backing up all its files/data to an open S3 bucket on AWS. Thoughts?

Khandelwal also reports Microsoft says that this vulnerability isn’t being used in the wild. Modulo that claim comes from the originator of the vulnerability. If it couldn’t/didn’t recognize the vulnerability in its code, what are the odds of it recognizes its exploit by others? Your call.

See Khandelwal’s post for more details.

Security Analyst Summit – #TheSAS2017

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Security Analyst Summit – #TheSAS2017

From the webpage:

The Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit (SAS) is a unique annual event connecting anti-malware researchers and developers, global law enforcement agencies and CERTs and members of the security research community.

The summit is one of the best places to learn, debate, share and showcase cutting-edge research, new technologies and discuss ways to improve collaboration in the fight against cyber-crime.

Now you have a chance to get access to the unique videos of the presentations given at #TheSAS2017

Registration required but where are you going to hide from Kaspersky anyway? 😉

I count sixty-three (63) videos.

If you want to start 2018 with a broad overview of security issues, this is one place to start.


PS: Any favorites?

INFILTRATE 2018 – Vote on Papers – Closes 14 December 2017

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017


Cast your vote for the talks you want to see at INFILTRATE 2018.

As of today, 6 December 2017, I count 26 presentations.

The titles alone are enough to sell the conference:

  1. Energy Larceny-Breaking into a solar power plant
  2. Chainspotting: Building Exploit Chains with Logic Bugs
  3. Back To The Future – Going Back In Time To Abuse Android's JIT
  4. Windows Offender: Attacking The Windows Defender Emulator
  5. Bypassing Mitigations by Attacking JIT Server in Microsoft Edge
  6. A year of inadvertent macOS bugs
  7. L'art de l’Évasion: Modern VMWare Exploitation techniques
  8. Unboxing your VirtualBoxes: A close look at a desktop hypervisor
  9. Fuzzing the ‘Unfuzzable’
  10. How to become a Penetration tester – an attempt to guide the next generation of hackers
  11. Parasite OS
  12. Detecting Reverse Engineering with Canaries
  13. Discovering & exploiting a Cisco ASA pre-auth RCE vulnerability
  14. Synthetic Reality; Breaking macOS One Click at a Time
  15. Dissecting QNX – Analyzing & Breaking QNX Exploit Mitigations and Secure Random Number Generators
  16. Malware​ ​ tradecrafts​ ​ and nasty​ ​ secrets​ ​ of​ ​ evading​ ​ to escalating
  17. Sandbox evasion using VBA Referencing
  18. Exploits in Wetware
  19. How to escalate privileges to SYSTEM in Windows 10
  20. Pack your Android: Everything you need to know about Android Boxing
  21. How to hide your browser 0-days
  22. So you think IoT DDoS botnets are dangerous – Bypassing ISP and Enterprise Anti-DDoS with 90's techn
  23. Making love to Enterprise Software
  24. I Did it Thrawn’s Way- Spiels and the Symbiosis of Red Teaming & Threat Intelligence Analysis
  25. Digital Vengeance: Exploiting Notorious C&C Toolkits
  26. Advanced Social Engineering and OSINT for Penetration Testing

Another example of open sharing as opposed to the hoard and privilege approach of the defensive cybersecurity community. White hats are fortunate to only be a decade behind. Consider it the paranoia penalty. Fear of sharing knowledge harms you more than anyone else.

Speaking of sharing, the archives for INFILTRATE 2011 through INFILTRATE 2017 are online.

May not be true for any particular exploit, but given the lagging nature of cyberdefense, not to mention shoddy patch application, any technique less than ten years old is likely still viable. Remember SQL injection turned 17 this year and remains the #1 threat to websites.

Vote on your favorite papers for INFILTRATE 2018 – OPEN CFP
and let’s see some great tweet coverage for the conference!

INFILTRATE Security Conference, April 26 & 27 2018, @Fountainbleau Hotel

INFILTRATE is a deep technical conference that focuses entirely on offensive security issues. Groundbreaking researchers focused on the latest technical issues will demonstrate techniques that you cannot find elsewhere. INFILTRATE is the single-most important event for those who are focused on the technical aspects of offensive security issues, for example, computer and network exploitation, vulnerability discovery, and rootkit and trojan covert protocols. INFILTRATE eschews policy and high-level presentations in favor of just hard-core thought-provoking technical meat.

Registration: infiltrate@immunityincdotcom

Twitter: @InfiltrateCon.


Tabula: Extracting A Hit (sorry) Security List From PDF Report

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

Benchmarking U.S. Government Websites by Daniel Castro, Galia Nurko, and Alan McQuinn, provides a quick assessment of 468 of the most popular federal websites for “…page-load speed, mobile friendliness, security, and accessibility.”

Unfortunately, it has an ugly table layout:

Double column listings with the same headers?

There are 476 results on Stackoverflow this morning for extracting tables from PDF.

However, I need a cup of coffee, maybe two cups of coffee answer to extracting data from these tables.

Enter Tabula.

If you’ve ever tried to do anything with data provided to you in PDFs, you know how painful it is — there’s no easy way to copy-and-paste rows of data out of PDF files. Tabula allows you to extract that data into a CSV or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet using a simple, easy-to-use interface. Tabula works on Mac, Windows and Linux.

Tabula is download, extract, start and point your web browser to http://localhost:8080 (or, load your PDF file, select the table, export the content, easy to use.

I tried selecting the columns separately (one page at a time) but then used table recognition and selected the entirety of Table 6 (security evaluation). I don’t think it made any difference in the errors I was seeing in the result (dropping first letter of site domains, but check with your data.)

Warning: For some unknown reason, possibly a defect in the PDF and/or Tabula, the leading character from the second domain field was dropped on some entries. Not all, not consistently, but it was dropped. Not to mention missing the last line of entries on a couple of pages. Proofing is required!

Not to mention there were other recognition issues

Capture wasn’t perfect due to underlying differences in the PDF:,100,901,,100,"3,284",100,904,,100,"3,307",,,100,,,"3,340",,,,,,100,,,"9,012",

With proofing, we are way beyond two cups of coffee but once proofed, I tossed it into Calc and produced a single column CSV file: 2017-Benchmarking-US-Government-Websites-Security-Table-6.csv.


PS: I discovered a LibreOffice Calc “gotcha” in this exercise. If you select a column for the top and attempt to paste it under an existing column (same or different spreadsheet), you get the error message: “There is not enough room on the sheet to insert here.”

When you select a column from the top, it copies all the blank cells in that column so there truly isn’t sufficient space to paste it under another column. Tip: Always copy columns in Calc from the bottom of the column up.

Finding Interesting Amazon S3 Buckets

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Bucket Stream

From the webpage:

This tool simply listens to various certificate transparency logs (via certstream) and attempts to find public S3 buckets from permutations of the certificates domain name.

(graphic omitted)

Be responsible. I mainly created this tool to highlight the risks associated with public S3 buckets and to put a different spin on the usual dictionary based attacks.
… (emphasis in original)

If you find the March of Dimes or the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent with an insecure Amazon S3 bucket, take the author’s advice and report it.

If asked about Amazon S3 buckets belonging to groups, organizations and governments actively seeking to harm others, I would answer differently.


Will 2018 Be Your First Penetration? [Possession of SANS Posters]

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Blueprint: Building A Better Pen Tester Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 at 1:00 PM EST (18:00:00 UTC).

From the post:

Register for this webcast and have (4) printed copies of the *new* SANS Pen Test Poster “Blueprint: Building A Better Pen Tester” mailed to the address on your SANS Portal Account. Don’t have an account? Register today and then join Ed Skoudis, on January 9th at 1pm EST, as he dives into all the tips available on the poster so you’ll know how use it to become a better pen tester. If you’re not a pen tester, this webcast will help you learn many helpful tips to make you a better information security professional and bring additional value and tradecraft to your organization.

Posters will be mailed after the webcast in January 2018.
… (emphasis in original)

It’s never clear if “pen tester” is tongue in cheek or not. Perhaps the ambiguity is intentional.

Either I or Gimp failed to enlarge the posters sufficiently to produce readable text. But, given the reputation of SANS, it’s a nice way to start the new year.

Is possession of SANS posters considered evidence of illegal activity? Any court cases you can cite?

What do you mean, “We?”

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Prasad Ajgaonkar reports in 94pc of cyber attacks are caused by lack of infosecurity awareness training. Is your organisation safe?:

Do you know that a cyber attack takes place every 10 minutes in India? This rate is higher than that in 2016, where a cyber attack took place once every 12 minutes. A study conducted by Fortinet found that a whopping 94 percent of IT experts believe that information security (InfoSec) practices in Indian organizations are sorely inadequate and completely fail to protect from cyber attacks in today’s world.

It is crucial to be aware that the exorbitantly high cyber attacks in India is a human issue, rather than an IT issue. This means that employees failing to follow InfoSec practices- rather than IT system failures- is the biggest contributor of cyber attacks.

Therefore, it is critical to ensure that all employees at an organisation are vigilant, fully aware of cyber-threats, and trained to follow InfoSec practices at all times.

Focusing on the lack of training for employees, the post suggests this solution:

Story-telling and scenario based training would be an excellent and highly effective way to ensure that employees consistently practice InfoSec measures. An effective InfoSec training programme has the following features:

  1. Educating employees through story-telling and interactive media – …
  2. Continuous top of the mind recall – …
  3. Presenting InfoSec tips, trivia and reminders to employees through mobile phone apps…
  4. Training through scenario-based assessments – …
  5. Training through group discussions – …

I have a simpler explanation for poor cybersecurity practices of employees in India.

The Hindu captured it in one headline: India Inc pay gap: CEOs earn up to 1,200-times of average staff

Many thought the American pay gap at CEOs make 271 times the pay of most workers was bad.

Try almost four (4) times the American CEO – worker pay gap.

How much commonality of interest exists between the worker who gets $1 and for every $1, their CEO gets $1,200?

Conventional training, excluding the use of drugs and/or physical torture, isn’t likely to create a commonality of interest. Yes?

Cybersecurity “solutions” that don’t address the worker to CEO wage gap, are castles made of sand.

Are You A Member of the 300+ Mile High Club? 1,738 Satellite Targets

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

UCS Satellite Database – In-depth details on the 1,738 satellites currently orbiting Earth.

From the post:

Assembled by experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the Satellite Database is a listing of the more than 1000 operational satellites currently in orbit around Earth.

Our intent in producing the database is to create a research tool for specialists and non-specialists alike by collecting open-source information on operational satellites and presenting it in a format that can be easily manipulated for research and analysis.

It is available as both a downloadable Excel file and in a tab-delimited text format. A version is also provided in which the “Name” column contains only the official name of the satellite in the case of government and military satellites, and the most commonly used name in the case of commercial and civil satellites.

Satellites are much easier targets than undersea cables. Specialized equipment required for both, but undersea cables also require a submarine while satellites only a line of sight. Much easier to arrange.

With a high quality antenna and electronic gear, the sky is alive with targets. For extra points, install your antenna remote to you and use an encrypted channel to control and receive data. (Makes you less obvious than several satellite dishes in the back yard.)

PS: Follow the USC Satellite DB on Twitter. Plus, the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Going Among Capitalists? Don’t Forget Your S8 USB Cable!

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Teardown of a consumer voice/location cellular spying device that fits in the tip of a USB cable by Cory Doctorow.

From the post:

Mich from ha.cking bought a $25 “S8 data line locator” device — a cellular spying tool, disguised as a USB cable and marketed to the general public — and did a teardown of the gadget, offering a glimpse into the world of “trickle down surveillance” where the kinds of surveillance tools used by the NSA are turned into products and sold to randos over the internet for $25.

The S8 makes use of the GSM cellular network and takes a regular micro-SIM, and can use any of the international GSM bands. You communicate with it by sending it SMSes or by using a web front-end, which causes it to switch on a hidden mic so you can listen in on its surroundings; it can also give a coarse approximation of its location (based on GSM towers, not GPS, and accurate to within about 1.57km).

For all the technical details see: Inside a low budget consumer hardware espionage implant by mich @0x6d696368by.

In some legal jurisdictions use of this cable may be construed as a crime. But, as US torture of prisoners, NSA surveillance, and numerous other crimes by US operatives demonstrates, prosecution of crimes is at the whim and caprice of prosecutors.

Calling something a “crime” is pejorative labeling for media purposes, unless you are a prosecutor deciding on prosecution. Otherwise, it’s just labeling.

From Forever Vulnerable (aka Microsoft) – Seventeen Years of Vulnerability

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

A seventeen year old vulnerability was patched in the Microsoft Equation Editor yesterday.

For a semi-technical overview, see Office Equation Editor Security Bug Runs Malicious Code Without User Interaction by Catalin Cimpanu.

For all the details and a back story useful for finding vulnerabilities, see: Skeleton in the closet. MS Office vulnerability you didn’t know about by Embedi.

Walking through the steps in the post to “re-discover” this vulnerability is good exercise.

It’s not the fault of Microsoft that its users fail to patch/upgrade Microsoft products. That being said, CVE-2017-11882, with a seventeen year range, should be added to your evergreen list of Microsoft vulnerabilities.