ROOTS 2018 Talk: The Swift Language from a Reverse Engineering Perspective – Malte Kraus & Vincent Haupert

Over the last decade, mobile devices have taken over the consumer market for computer hardware. Almost all these mobile devices run either Android or iOS as their operating systems. In 2014, Apple introduced the Swift programming language as an alternative to Objective C for writing iOS and macOS applications. The rising adoption of this new language has to some extent obsoleted existing techniques for program analysis for these platforms, like method swizzling and “class-dump”.

In this paper we discuss features of Swift binaries that help in reverse engineering the functionality of the contained code: We document the memory layout of compound data types and the calling convention used by the Swift compiler, as well as the runtime type information that is used by runtime and debugger when data types are not known statically. This type information is rich enough to allow an almost full recovery of the definition of most Swift data types, e.g. including even the names and offset of the members of compound data types.

Based on these findings, we introduce the open source swift-frida library for iOS built on top of the Frida instrumentation framework. It provides this information about all public and many private Swift data types in a process. It allows transparent read/write access to Swift variables and their data members with known type and memory location.

We asked Malte and Vincent a few more questions about their talk.

Please tell us the top 5 facts about your talk.

  • Frida is a popular tool for dynamic analysis of iOS apps
  • Yet, Frida lacked support for Swift, which is the preferred way of developing iOS apps today
  • We present internals of Swift binaries and show how to leverage these insights for dynamic analysis
  • As opposed to Objective-C, Swift binaries store very detailed metadata about the types used in them
  • We also introduce ‘swift-frida’, a work-in-progress developed on Github, which already offers basic support for instrumentation of Swift apps using Frida

How did you come up with it? Was there something like an initial spark that set your mind on creating this talk?

We wanted to trace function parameters in an app written in Swift, but had the problem that barely any tooling for that use-case existed. That lead to the question to what extent it is possible to recover high-level information from Swift binaries.

Why do you think this is an important topic?

The iOS ecosystem is one of the most popular computing platforms, and Swift is being adopted by more and more developers for their apps. Accordingly, knowledge about how to reverse Swift programs is important.

Is there something you want everybody to know – some good advice for our readers maybe?

Swift binaries store information like type and member names and memory layout for user-defined types that can be of great help when reverse engineering them. Today, there are no public tools to strip or obfuscate this data.

A prediction for the future – what do you think will be the next innovations or future downfalls when it comes to your field of expertise / the topic of your talk in particular?

We will likely see the emergence of the typical arms race between obfuscation and reverse engineering techniques. However, most of the data that can be useful for reverse engineering is actually required at runtime for some language or library features. Therefore, the extent to which obfuscation of this data is possible still remains to be seen.


Vincent Haupert is a research fellow and PhD candidate at the IT Security Infrastructures Lab of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in Germany. His main interests are authentication, system security and software protection of mobile devices. Particularly the security of FinTechs and mobile banking is one of his major research subjects.





Malte Kraus recently graduated with a M.Sc. in computer science from Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg. He likes to build things that break other things and has been playing CTFs since 2013.

Last Call for your Web Application Security Training – Break all teh Web and enjoy it!

Drawn spider web. Source: Internet is full of web applications. Sysadmins used to joke that HTTP is short for Hypertext Tunnelling Protocol, because anything but web content is transported via HTTP these days. It’s the best way to break out of restricted environment, too. So the chances are good that you will need the skills for dealing with all kinds web. Fortunately our training Bug Hunting Millionaire: Mastering Web Attacks with Full-Stack Exploitation conducted by Dawid Czagan has a few seats left. Don’t get distracted by the title. Focus on the phrase full-stack exploitation. It’s not just about sending HTTP requests and seeing what the application does. It’s all about using the full spectrum of components and technologies used for modern web applications.

The training is not only suited for information security researchers. The course addresses REST APIs, AngularJS-based application hacking, DOM-based exploitation, how to bypass the Content Security Policy of a web site, server-side request forgery, browser-dependent exploitation, all kinds of attacks against databases (SQL and NoSQL alike), exploiting type confusion vulnerabilities in code, exploiting race conditions, path-relative stylesheet import vulnerabilities, subdomain takeover, and more; just to name a few attack vectors. This is highly important for anyone doing software development. It is basically the „what can possibly go wrong version?“ of a secure coding workshop. So you should not only think in terms of finding high valuable bugs, instead think of the training as quality assurance for your development team. Furthermore Dawid will show you how to correctly use tools and techniques against your code.

The training is a hands-on experience. This means you will actually get to find bugs in software applications. Bring your own laptop. Dawid has conveniently compiled packages for you to install. You will be able to get right to the point of analysing security. Seats are still available in our ticket shop.

ROOTS 2018: How Android’s UI Security is Undermined by Accessibility – Anatoli Kalysch

Android’s accessibility API was designed to assist users with disabilities, or temporarily preoccupied users unable to interact with a device, e.g., while driving a car. Nowadays, many Android apps rely on the accessibility API for other purposes, including apps like password managers but also malware. From a security perspective, the accessibility API is precarious as it undermines an otherwise strong principle of sandboxing in Android that separates apps. By means of an accessibility service, apps can interact with the UI elements of another app, including reading from its screen and writing to its text fields. As a consequence, design shortcomings in the accessibility API and other UI features such as overlays have grave security implications.

This talk will provide a critical perspective on the current state of Android accessibility and selected UI security features. Starting with an app store centered overview of how accessibility services are used we will continue with currently unpatched flaws in the accessibility design of Android discovered during our assessment. These flaws and vulnerabilities allow information leakages and denial of service attacks up until Android 8.1. With an enabled accessibility service, we are able to sniff sensitive data from apps, including the password of Android’s own lock screen.

To evaluate the effectiveness of our attacks against third-party apps, we examined the 1100 most downloaded apps from Google Play and found 99.25% of them to be vulnerable to at least one of the attacks covered in this talk. In the end possible countermeasures are discussed and we shed some light on the reporting process of Android vulnerabilities.

We asked Anatoli a few more questions about his talk.

Please tell us the top 5 facts about your talk.

The talk will feature some new Android vulnerabilities and possible mitigation techniques, insights about Android’s accessibility system and probably interesting trivia about vulnerability disclosure.

How did you come up with it? Was there something like an initial spark that set your mind on creating this talk?

As part of the preparation for a live hacking event we once decided to venture into Android UI security and see what attacks we could come up with. This essentially yielded the vulnerabilities that were disclosed to Google. During the live hacking event itself we only presented already known UI vulnerabilities.

Why do you think this is an important topic?

Our vulnerability analysis of available application shows that most developers are not aware of the presented security issues and it is probably unclear of whether AOSP maintainers or developers should be in charge of addressing them.

Is there something you want everybody to know – some good advice for our readers maybe?

Accessibility and UI security seem to be a vastly underestimated attack vector for the Android ecosystem.

A prediction for the future – what do you think will be the next innovations or future downfalls when it comes to your field of expertise / the topic of your talk in particular?

New UI features often seem to undermine Androids UI security concepts, e.g., the introduction of overlays, or the new picture in picture feature. New releases of Android should always be assessed regarding which security assumptions still hold.


Anatoli Kalysch is a PhD student in IT Security at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). His research interests include reverse engineering and program analysis, obfuscation techniques, and Android security with a focus on malware analysis, and UI security. Selected projects are available on ‘‘.

DeepINTEL 2018 Talk: Risk Management in Complex Scenarios – Oscar Serrano

ICT risk management is a well-stabilized practice and as such is supported by international security standards and guidelines. But, despite advances in the legal and policy areas and the maturation of standardized frameworks for efficient risk management, it has still not become a controlled, systematic process in the cyber security domain of most organizations. One of the problems preventing organizations from having an enterprise approach to cyber security risk management is that these efforts have not been supported by commensurate investment to produce robust, technical implementations of suitable risk management methodologies and supporting systems. Although some tools do exist, such as PILAR, CRAMM, Ebios, Mehari, or Octave, they all implement different risk management methodologies and all of them are implemented to satisfy the need of specific users. None of them is a truly enterprise system able to model how a complete organization works or improve enterprise awareness. Moreover the existing methodologies are easily applicable to simple systems, but they fail to provide support to complex scenarios.

In his talk Oscar Serrano will introduce why ICT Risk management is important for all organizations and provide guidance that can be used to manage risks in highly complex interconnected environments. Guidance that could be applicable to major international organizations.

We asked Oscar Serrano a few more questions about his talk.

Please tell us the top 5 facts about your talk.

The main takeaways from this talk are:

  • Security Risk management is an important process which is often ignored.
  • Current automatic tools are not prepared to cope with complex scenarios.
  • A security accreditation process is required to ensure that risk can be managed in complex scenarios.
  • The principle of self-defending nodes is a very important security safeguard to ensure the security of complex systems.
  • The separation between physical and electronic security facilitates the risk management.

How did you come up with it? Was there something like an initial spark that set your mind on creating this talk?

My work is to ensure the security of very complex systems. During my day to day work I have encountered situations in which we have difficulties to demonstrate the security of very complex information systems to the Operational Authorities. The suggestions that I will propose during my talk are based on the day to day best practices that I have found useful to be able to demonstrate to senior stakeholders that the risks of the systems under their control are properly managed.

Why do you think this is an important topic?

There is in general a lack of understanding in senior management about what security risk assessment is and of its importance. Most organizations are not able to maintain functioning Security Risk Management practices. My talk will give some hints about how Risk management can be simplified in some cases.

Is there something you want everybody to know – some good advice for our readers maybe?

Despite advances in the legal and policy areas and the maturation of standardized frameworks for efficient risk management, it has still not become a controlled, systematic process in the cyber security domain of most organizations. I hope that my talk helps to raise awareness and that in the future Security Risk Management can be a more controlled process.

A prediction for the future – what do you think will be the next innovations or future downfalls when it comes to your field of expertise / the topic of your talk in particular?

I miss enterprise ready capabilities for Risk Management, there is a need to produce robust, technical implementations of suitable risk management methodologies and supporting systems. Although some tools do exist, such as PILAR, CRAMM, Ebios, Mehari or Octave, they all implement different risk management methodologies and all of them are implemented to satisfy the need of specific users. In addition, there is a need to move from Quantitative and Qualitative Security Risk Analysis to model based systems that can compute the risks based on well-defined security models, which take known evidence into consideration and evolve as new events are recorded. The final goal is to compute security risks with the same accuracy as it is currently done, for example, in the finance or insurance sectors, but at the moment we are far away from this goal.


Oscar Serrano holds PhD, master and bachelor degrees in Computer Engineering. He has worked for more than 15 years as a consultant and researcher for large international companies, including Telefonica, Vodafone, the Austrian Institute of Technology, Siemens, and Eurojust. In August 2012, he joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as senior scientist in the field of Cyber Security, where he supports NATO efforts to improve the cyber security capabilities of the alliance. As one of the main experts in CIS Security Risk Management in the organization he leads the security accreditation processes of large distributed missions critical systems.His research interests include Cyber Security information sharing, detection of advanced threats, risk analysis and management, policy and governance development and cyber Law.



Binary Blob Apocalypse – Firmware + Cryptography = less Security

Copiale Cipher. Source: couple of years ago we had a chat with one of our sponsors, Attingo. They are specialised in data recovery from all kinds of media and in all kinds of conditions. Since vendors keep secrets from the rest of the world, the data rescuers do a lot of reverse engineering in order to decode the mysteries of firmware blobs. Guess what they recommend: Don’t trust important tasks to firmware code! It’s the worst software written on this planet. If software gets something wrong, firmware is the best candidate for big SNAFUs. Solid state disks (SSDs) have recently joined the gallery of failures.

Carlo Meijer and Bernard van Gastel have published an article titled Self-encrypting deception: weaknesses in the encryption of solid state drives (SSDs). They analysed the implementation of hardware full-disk encryption of several SSDs. What they found is no surprise to the connaissuers of firmware. The code has critical weaknesses that allow the extraction of „protected“ data even without knowledge of the key(s). The actual secret key is not derived from tge chosen password for the device. What’s worse is the use of Bitlocker on top of these SSDs. If the storage hardware advertises encryption capabilities, then Bitlocker will happily delegate these tasks to the hardware/firmware and do nothing of its own. The standard Opal from the Trust Computing Group doesn’t help, because it is not correctly implemented in the storage media.

So short of implementing your own crypto, do not rely on a single layer of protection. If you delegate all the solutions of your problems to a binary firmware blog, then you are lost. Apart from the fact that firmware is usually never updated, it may contains more bugs and design flaws than anything piled on top. Use an extra layer of crypto such as LUKS or VeryCrypt. Better safe than $INSERT_FAVOURITE_VENDOR_TECHNOLOGY_HERE.

DeepSec 2018 Training: Advanced Infrastructure Hacking – Anant Shrivastava

Whether you are penetration testing, Red Teaming or trying to get a better understanding of managing vulnerabilities in your environment, understanding advanced hacking techniques is critical. This course covers a wide variety of neat, new and ridiculous techniques to compromise modern Operating Systems and networking devices.

We asked Anant a few more questions about his training.

Please tell us the top 5 facts about your training.

  1. Constantly evolving course: Every year each iteration has something new added to it. (Minimum 25%, maximum 50% of the course gets an upgrade every year).
  2. Developed by Practitioners: The course is developed by regular pentesters deriving challenges from real life pen-testing scenarios. All of our trainers are full time pentesters and part time trainers.
  3. Covers a whole breadth of infrastructure: From IPv4/v6 to databases, to OSINT, Windows, Linux, and Cloud platforms; from understanding OS to restricted shell breakout AppLocker, and rbash, to name a few. We also cover active directory attacks and delegations extensively. And there is still more to it than that: We also cover specialised topics like Container breakout, docker and kubernetes, VLAN, VOIP, VPN, and cloud pen-testing, AWS, GCP, and Azure.
  4. Free 1 Month Lab Access: We believe that practice makes things easier to remember. That is why every participant gets free access to our Hacklab for one month even after the class is over.
  5. Focus on Techniques and not just tools: We don’t just ask you to type commands in metasploit and be done with it. In fact during our entire class we use metasploit for not more than 6-7 exercises (15-20% of the time). Our major focus is on understanding the technique and how it can be applied in environments.

How did you come up with it? Was there something like an initial spark that set your mind on creating this course?

Our Advanced Infrastructure Hacking Training was developed out of the need for a course which covers a wide range of techniques for pentesters. As much as specialization is required the field also needs generalized skills in all areas. This course tries to fill that gap by giving people a wide range of skills.

Why do you think this is an important topic?

Infrastructure is the core of Information Technology. It will change its shape and form but will remain the core of this field. Hence training on the nitty-gritties of it will always be required.

Is there something you want everybody to know – some good advice for our readers maybe?

Penetration testing is an extremely broad, varied and complex practice, with so many potential avenues that will need to be explored in any given environment. Whether you are an experienced pentester, just starting out, moving roles, only dabbling, a developer looking to understand vulnerabilities better, or any combination of the above or others, you will know, or very quickly realise, two truths:

First, learning techniques might be relevant to specific scenarios, but developing technique is essential to becoming a good pentester.

And second, from this day until the day you’ll retire, you must never stop learning.

At the heart of every concept of all of our courses lies the goal of understanding more – not just the steps to exploit given vulnerabilities, but the processes behind them. We have tried to take all this and build the course around this concept. Hence, if you match any of the traits described above this would be a most suitably course for you.

A prediction for the future – what do you think will be the next innovations or future downfalls when it comes to your field of expertise / the topic of your training in particular?

Infrastructure is already witnessing a major trend towards cloud. Most of what’s used to be servers are now cloud services, with more and more responsibilities handled by cloud service providers. This increases the security landscape but also the risks, cause most of the background will remain opaque to tenants and hence mistakes can lead to devastating effects. Not just data, but also money can be directly affected. As for what the future holds, we see a major uptick in cloud adoption leading to all sorts of insecure configurations left wide open on the internet and a more stringent need for professionals with an understanding of Information security. Advanced Infrastructure Hacking is our attempt to bridge that gap.

Course Outline

Note: This is a fast paced version of the original 4 day class, cut down to 2 days. To fit the entire training material within 2 days, some of the exercises have been replaced by demos which will be shown by the instructor. Students will receive FREE 1 month lab access to practice each exercise after the class.

While prior pentest experience is not a strict requirement, familiarity with both Linux and Windows command line syntax will be greatly beneficial. The following is the syllabus for the class:

Day 1:
* IPv4/IPv6 Basics
* Host Discovery & Enumeration
* OSINT & Asset Discovery
* Hacking Application and CI Servers
* Oracle Database Exploitation
* Windows Vulnerabilities and Configuration Issues
* Windows Desktop ‘Breakout’ and AppLocker Bypass Techniques
* A/V & AMSI Bypass Techniques
* Offensive PowerShell Tools and Techniques
* Local Privilege Escalation
* Post Exploitation Tips, Tools and Methodology
* An Introduction into Active Directory Delegation
* Pivoting, Port Forwarding and Lateral Movement Techniques

Day 2:
* Linux Vulnerabilities and Configuration Issues
* User/Service Enumeration
* File Share Hacks
* SSH Hacks
* Restricted Shells Breakouts
* Breaking Hardened Webservers
* Local Privilege Escalation
* MongoDB, TTY, Reverse tunneling
* Post Exploitation
* VLAN Hopping
* Docker breakout
* Kubernetes vulnerabilities
* Hacking VoIP
* Exploiting Insecure VPN Configurations


Anant Shrivastava is an information security professional with 9+ years of corporate experience and expertise in Network, Mobile, Application and Linux Security. He is the Regional Director for the Asia Pacific Area for NotSoSecure Global Services and has trained about 600 delegates at various conferences (Blackhat all 3 editions, Nullcon, g0s, c0c0n, ruxcon). Anant also leads the Open Source project Android Tamer and CodeVigilant. His work can be found at

DeepINTEL 2018 Talk: Cyber Threat Intelligence – The Next Era of Cyber Security? – Markus Auer

The DeepINTEL security intelligence conference focuses on threats, indicators of compromise, and strategic counter measures. Information security is more than superficial. This is why we have asked Markus Auer to hold a presentation at DeepINTEL (28 November 2018). He explains his ideas in short:

We are tired of adding new products to our ever-growing security structure. Although this has been a common practice for years, it does not bring lasting success. Attacks continue to occur – faster, more comprehensively and with much greater impact and rising costs. Despite all protection levels and measures, the current security approach fails.

We want to stop the expansion and purchase of more reactive products that are targeted to the recent attack. Instead, security operations should be improved by aligning existing security technologies and teams and using the information across teams. What sounds simple, however, is difficult. Most organizations have Incident Response-, Security Operations Center-, Risk and Vulnerability Management-, Endpoint Protection- and Perimeter-Teams, and maybe more. Each of these teams relies on a specific combination of different point products, each with its own intelligence. They also subscribe to various threat feeds from commercial sources, open source, industry, government and existing security vendors to be fully informed.

However, security teams and their security systems are organized in such a way that information silos are formed. This means that they operate from an information system that is not able to work and communicate with other similar systems, although the same goal is pursued. Using potential synergies seems almost impossible.

We understand that the timely exchange of accurate and relevant threat information between these teams and the tools they use is the key to shorter detection and response time – not the next “Silver Bullet” security technology or another threat feed. However, this requires a change and optimization of existing workflows and processes.

The key to improving the security structure is to establish connections between the individual teams and separated solutions to avoid information silos. In this way, information about attacks can be immediately shared and responded to. The knowledge that resides within each of these teams represents the most valuable and actionable threat intelligence available to the enterprise – and that knowledge would be wasted if it were not harnessed.


Markus Auer (45) is a technology evangelist and security sales professional and joined ThreatQuotient as Regional Sales Manager in April 2018 where he is responsible for market development in Central Europe. He brings with him over 20 years of experience in IT Security.

Prior to that, Mr. Auer held other positions at ForeScout Technologies, Q1 Labs (now IBM) SourceFire (now Cisco), netForensics and MessageLabs (now Symantec). In addition to his training as Industrial Manager at Siemens AG Munich, Mr. Auer worked as a freelance consultant for Novell and Microsoft. 


DeepINTEL 2018 Security Intelligence Event – Preliminary Schedule is available

Common raven. Source: Zion National Park, took us longer than anticipated, but the schedule for DeepINTEL 2018 is final and available. The topics covered are ICT risk assessment in interconnected and complex environments, drone threats (to critical infrastructure), drone countermeasures, assessment of digital black markets (you can call them darkweb/crypto markets if you must), live threats to the information industry (based on finding and working with reliable sources in the field), framing HUMINT as an information gathering technique, and how to get started in modern cyber threat intelligence. The speakers will bring in-depth examples from their field of expertise. Given the format of DeepINTEL, the presentation are meant to turn into dialogues where you can directly ask questions and hopefully get answers helping you to understand how to detect and counter threats, and how to collect meaningful data for intelligence purposes. The idea is to discuss realistic scenarios, real events, and practices found in existing organisations and companies. Finding needles in haystacks is easy in times of Big Data and almost endless computing power. Security intelligence is all about finding the right needle in your haystacks. This requires more than algorithms and systems producing sensor data. You need the experience, and our invited speakers have them.

Since DeepINTEL is a closed event we kindly ask you to get into contact with us via email. We will in turn send you the schedule. Public keys for encrypted emails are published, don’t forget to send us your key for answers. Early birds and interested parties will be offered a discount code from our sponsor Digital Guardian. Don’t waste any time! Write us!

DeepSec 2018 Talk: Suricata and XDP, Performance with an S like Security – Eric Leblond

extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) and eXtreme Data Path (XDP) technologies are gaining in popularity in the tracing and performance community in Linux for eBPF and among the networking people for XDP. After an introduction to these technologies, this talk proposes to have a look at the usage of the eBPF and XDP technology in the domain of security. A special focus lies on Suricata that uses this technology to enhance its performance and by consequence on the accuracy of its network analysis and detection.

We asked Eric a few more questions about his talk.

Please tell us the top 5 facts about your talk.

  • Packet loss really matters. A threat detection engine like Suricata is losing 10% of IDS alerts if it misses 3% of traffic. And there are 10% of incomplete file extraction with only 0.3% of packet loss.
  • The quantity of data seen on network is exploding, the complexity of threats is increasing, forcing threat detection systems to do more in-depth analysis. All that makes it really difficult for network intrusion detection systems to keep up to speed. But if you consider that there is some traffic that you don’t really want to see like encrypted traffic, maybe there is hope. If you manage to selectively get rid of this traffic, you can really lower the load. Suricata is implementing a generic bypass mechanism but it requires implementation at the capture level to be really efficient.
  • eXtreme Data Path is a new promising technology that allows user code to be run at the network driver level or even, for some devices, in the network card itself. It is a solution to a lot of problems where standard operating system limits are reached, like blocking distributed denial of services. Blocking traffic really early changes the balance between attackers and defenders.
  • Suricata is using XDP to provide a really efficient bypass mechanism for the standard Linux raw capture method.
  • But XDP is not just about dropping packets because it can be used for wire speed packet transfer. Suricata, for example, is using this feature to provide driver to driver packet routing when used in level 2 IPS mode.

How did you come up with it? Was there something like an initial spark that set your mind on creating this talk?

It did start when I heard too many people complaining about Suricata performance in IPS mode when working on top of Netfilter. It made me think about implementing flow bypass in Netfilter queue mode. The concept is really simple but the performance boost was impressive. I did present this at Netdev 1.1 in 2015, and since then I did work on extending this to other capture methods supported by Suricata. I did not think the evolution of Linux kernel would permit me to reach my goals, but I was really excited when I first heard about the extended Berkeley Packet Filter and even more when I discovered the XDP initiative a bit later on. I’ve followed the progress made in this fields  and implemented new features in Suricata when they were reaching the stable Linux kernel.

Why do you think this is an important topic?

Suricata usage of XDP provides interesting features regarding the project, but XDP could be used by itself to address other existing issues. Yes, we are talking about high performance networks, so IoT and most home network are out of scope, but if you take a project like Cilium that addresses inter VMs filtering via XDP there is a huge play field.

Is there something you want everybody to know – some good advice for our readers maybe?

The Security community should interact more with the community of Linux developers and even more so in the case of the networking. There are crazy things going on there and the Security community should take their share of fun and profit 😉

A prediction for the future – what do you think will be the next innovations or future downfalls when it comes to your field of expertise / the topic of your talk in particular?

XDP is seen by Internet giants like Facebook or Google as a way to run their own protocol independently of the Linux kernel. The risk is that we may see a big part of the traffic switch to custom protocols, which are evolving really fast. In term of security, it means passive analysis tools will not manage to keep up to the pace of evolution, and the visibility of internet traffic, already lowered by encryption, will get even lower. Be prepared to be blind and start looking for alternatives like internal traffic analysis.


 Eric Leblond is an active member of the open source community. Since 2009 he works on the development of Suricata, the open source IDS/IPS, and he is currently one of the Suricata core developers. He is a Netfilter Core Team member working mainly on communications between kernel and userland. He is also one of the founders of Stamus Networks, a company providing security solutions based on Suricata.

DeepSec2018 Talk: Manipulating Human Memory for Fun and Profit – Stefan Schumacher

Manipulating the Human Memory for Fun and Profit, or: Why you’ve never met Bugs Bunny in DisneyLand

Hacking is not limited to technical things — like using a coffee machine to cook a soup — but also makes use of social engineering. Social engineering is the (mis)use of human behaviour like fixed action patterns, reciprocity or commitment and consistency. Simple social engineering attacks like phishing mails do not require much preparation, but more complex ones do so. Especially when one wants to set up some kind of advanced persistent threat in the psychological domain. So, besides the psychological fundamentals of social engineering we also did research on human memory, how it works, how it pretty much fails to store what really happened, and how it can be misused for a sinister purpose. The fundamental research for this topic comes from forensic psychology, were court-appointed psychologists have to examine the credibility of witness reports and ranges to experiments were manipulated photos changed the memory of subjects. This talk will summarise the current state of the research and show ways to conduct very advanced social engineering attacks and how we can recognise and counter them. As technical hacking gets more and more complex and advanced over time, the psychological domain of IT security will also advance.

Stefan Schumacher is the president of the Magdeburg Institute for Security Research and editor of the Magdeburg Journal for Security Research in Magdeburg/Germany. He started his hacking career before the fall of the Berlin Wall, on a small East German computer with 1.75 MHz and a Datasette drive. 
Ever since, he liked to explore technical and social systems, with a focus on security and how to exploit them. He was a NetBSD developer for some years and involved in several other Open Source projects and events. He studied Educational Science and Psychology, has done a lot of unique research about the Psychology of Security with a focus on Social Engineering, User Training and Didactics of  Security/Cryptography. Currently he’s leading the research project Psychology of Security,focusing on fundamental qualitative and quantitative research about the perception and construction of security. 
He presents the results of his research regularly at international conferences like AusCert Australia, Chaos Communication Congress, Chaos Communciation Camp, DeepSec, DeepIntel, Positive Hack Days Moscow or LinuxDays Luxembourg and in security related journals and books.

DeepSec 2018 Talk: Mapping and Tracking WiFi Networks / Devices without Being Connected – Caleb Madrigal

Sure, WiFi hacking has been around for a while, and everyone knows about tools like airmon-ng, Kismet, et al. But what if you just want to view a list of all networks in your area along with all the devices connected to them? Or maybe you want to know who’s hogging all the bandwidth? Or what if you want to know when a certain someone’s cell phone is nearby? Or perhaps you’d like to know if your Airbnb host’s IP Camera is uploading video to the cloud?

For all these use-cases, I’ve developed a new tool called “trackerjacker”. In this talk we’ll use this tool to explore some of the surprisingly informative data floating around in radio space, and you’ll come away with a new skill or two adding to your radio hacking skill tree, as well as a new magical weapon… I mean tool.

We asked Caleb a few more questions about his talk.

Please tell us the top 5 facts about your talk.

  1. You’ll learn how easy it is to track people or be tracked yourself.
  2. You’ll learn the scary amount of information leaked by encrypted wifi networks.
  3. You’ll learn how you can detect when nearby wireless security cameras detect motion (even if they are not your cameras, and even if you aren’t on the same wifi network).
  4. You’ll learn about a new WiFi hacking tool.
  5. You’ll learn more about how WiFi works.

How did you come up with it? Was there something like an initial spark that set your mind on creating this talk?

My initial problem was that I was trying to get my security alarms to turn on if one of my security cameras detected motion, but the camera and security system didn’t speak to one another. From this problem, I developed the trackerjacker tool. In other words, I way over-solved my particular problem 🙂

Why do you think this is an important topic?

IoT stuff is continually growing in popularity, and IoT devices are being used for more and more important things. Many IoT devices work over wifi, and all of those are susceptible to some of the problems I’ll be addressing in this talk. There are serious implications regarding your privacy and security here.

Is there something you want everybody to know – some good advice for our readers maybe?

Encrypted wifi leaks surprisingly interesting information, regardless of encryption algorithm or security mode.

A prediction for the future – what do you think will be the next innovations or future downfalls when it comes to your field of expertise / the topic of your talk in particular?

What would be concerning is if an attacker could weaponise some of these techniques – especially if they were able to remotely infiltrate wifi devices (like IoT devices) and use them to launch such attacks.


Caleb is a programmer who enjoys hacking and mathing. He is a member of the Mandiant/FireEye advanced research team, where he researches and builds sweet incident response software. Lately he’s mostly been hacking with Python, Jupyter, C, and Machine Learning. Though only recently getting into it professionally, Caleb has been into security for a while – in high school, he wrote his own (bad) cryptography and steganography software. In college, he did a good bit of “informal pen testing”. These days, he has fun doing a lot of Radio/Wireless hacking, and using Machine Learning/Math to do cool security-related things.

DeepSec 2018 Talk: Drones, the New Threat from the Sky – Dom (D#FU5E) Brack

I will talk about drones (not military ones). Drone risks and countermeasures. Drones have become an inherent risk not just for critical infrastructure, but also public events (sports, concerts) and privacy. I will speak about the exclusive risk catalogue I have developed for a small highly specialised start-up called DroneGuard. The catalogue contains over 140 detailed drone related risks. From payload of drones (explosives, chemical etc.) to cyber risks like Signal Hacking & Disruption (WiFi, GSM, Bluetooth, RFID, etc.). Since Deepsec is a more technically oriented event I will highlight the risk management frame work, my experience with our personal payload drone and the cyberrisks. This talk will help you if you have to protect critical infrastructure from a physical perspective, or if you have to protect yourself or your company from privacy implications.

Please tell us the top 5 facts about your talk.

  • Fact 1: You will learn everything feasible about drones, in order to enable you to assess the threat for your particular field of work, might that be cyber, critical infrastructure, datacenter operation, public service, etc.
  • Fact 2: The presented DroneGuard risk catalogue contains over 140 risks; and I am sure you haven’t seen them all. Your knowledge about drone risks will be greatly expanded.
  • Fact 3: You will learn that drone detection is not drone defence. You will hear about market leaders in drone detection and what type of detection/ defence possibilities exist, and can be used legally if you are not police or military.
  • Fact 4: Learn how to handle captured/ landed drones, and how to pick them up without slicing yourself like a cucumber. I’ll show you what drone blade injuries look like.
  • Fact 5: See how easy it is to release payload and drop it on a selected target.

How did you come up with it? Was there something like an initial spark that set your mind on creating this talk?

About a year ago we were approached by the government to develop new topics of future emerging risks. Since we are working in the strategic/ methodical field of cybersecurity, handling cyber and also physical risks (like IoT and autonomous vehicles etc.) we started this project about drones. Drones where also used in combination with our infrastructure (telco) and we have been involved in PoCs for hospital transport. Working on the topic of drones (UAVs, RPAS) we soon figured out that there was no structure to it. It’s mostly driven by innovation but without considering the risks that come with it. This is why we started our DroneGuard risk catalogue. The catalogue has subsequently been used in discussions with critical infrastructure operators, event organizers and local police forces as well as large private sector companies. We figured out there is a huge gap between the perception of the risk of drones and the reality. Our catalogue contains around 140 risks of drones. Some of them seem farfetched, like theft and robbery for instance, but just recently we have learned about the theft of a statue from a VIP property by using a drone. This shows how the fast progress of risks related to drones; cybercriminals just started to learn about the capabilities drones have to offer.

Why do you think this is an important topic?

Because it poses a deep security risk for particular situations. Defence capabilities need to be planed accordingly and the risks for each situation assessed. The private sector and the public sector need to include drone risks in their risk framework. There also have been the first ransomware cases putting the public in danger. A drink water supply for a small city has been threatened to be poisoned by a drone using chemical agents.

Is there something you want everybody to know – some good advice for our readers maybe?

Come to my talk… about drones of course 😊. For sure you will learn many new things about drones and the risks they can pose. You might also learn how you can extend your business to assess drone risks. After all a drone is just a flying IoT device – with all its implications.

A prediction for the future – what do you think will be the next innovations or future downfalls when it comes to your field of expertise / the topic of your talk in particular?

Swarm attacks, crime scene destruction as-a-service and emerging terrorist threats (drones are even cheaper than cars, tricks etc.).


Dominique C. Brack is a recognized expert in information security, including identity theft, social media exposure, data breach, cyber security, human manipulation and online reputation management. He is a highly qualified, top-performing professional with outstanding experience and achievements within key IT security, risk and project management roles, confirming expertise in delivering innovative, customer-responsive projects and services in highly sensitive environments on an international scale. Mr. Brack is accessible, real, professional, and provides topical, timely and cutting edge information. Dominique’s direct and to-the-point tone of voice can be counted on to capture attention, and – most importantly – inspire and empower action.

ROOTS Schedule almost ready, mind your DeepSec Training Tickets, DeepINTEL Schedule is coming up

Science First! rat. © 2017 Florian Stocker <>The review process for ROOTS has been completed a few days ago. Proper reviews are hard, this is why it took a bit longer. The accepted papers will be in the schedule at the beginning of next week for we need the redacted abstracts of all presentations. The research topics are worth it, so make sure to check the schedule next week.

For all of you looking for in-depth knowledge and hands-on training – please book tickets for our trainings as soon as possible! This is not meant to rush you. We just want to make sure that you get the training you want. Booking last minute is a sure way of making it hard to plan ahead. Furthermore the first courses are filling up. You might not get a seat if you wait too long.

The DeepINTEL schedule will be sent to interested parties as of today. The topics include drone capabilities (including counter measures), „military-grade“ ICT risk management, insights into HUMINT, evaluating data to produce secure intelligence relevant information, and effects of malicious software used for actual attacks on digital communication. If you want to get a detailed peek at the presentations, please mail us.

DeepSec 2018 Talk: Security Response Survival Skills – Benjamin Ridgway

Jarred awake by your ringing phone, bloodshot eyes groggily focus on a clock reading 3:00 AM. A weak “Hello?” barely escapes your lips before a colleague frantically relays the happenings of the evening. As the story unfolds, you start to piece together details leading you to one undeniable fact: Something has gone horribly wrong…

Despite the many talks addressing the technical mechanisms of security incident response (from the deep forensic know-how to developing world-class tools) the one aspect of IR that has been consistently overlooked is the human element. Not every incident requires forensic tooling or state of the art intrusion detection systems, yet every incident involves coordinated activity of people with differing personalities, outlooks, and emotional backgrounds. Often these people are scared, angry, or otherwise emotionally impaired.

Drawing from years of real-word experience, hundreds of incidents worked by Microsoft Security Response Center, and the many lessons learned from some of the greats in IR around the company this talk will delve into:

  • Human psychological response to stressful and/or dangerous situations
  • Strategies for effectively managing human factors during a crisis
  • Polices and structures that set up incident response teams for success
  • Tools for building a healthy and happy incident response team

Effectively navigating the human element is a critical skill for anybody who may be called upon to manage or participate in a security incident. This talk is geared toward occasional or full-time responders who are looking for practical human-management skills.

It is now 3:05AM. Everything has gone horribly wrong. A room full of panicked engineers await. It is your time to sink or swim. Good luck.

But wait! Before you put on your scuba gear, you should probably read on. We asked Benjamin a few more questions about his talk.

Please tell us the top 5 facts about your talk.

  1. The human mind still possesses all of the same wiring that helped our simian ancestors flee danger. Our reaction to perceived danger is often deeply rooted in this ancestral circuity.
  2. Studies have shown that lack of sleep impairs judgement as much as alcohol.
  3. People can subconsciously pick up on signs that their leader is stressed out. This causes an autonomic reaction and causes them to become stressed too.
  4. People fall back to learned, repetitive cycles when confronted with fatigue or stress. Security responders should prevent mistakes by drilling and practicing often.
  5. Your executives are people too. They may be just as, if not more, scared during a security incident as the rest of the team.

How did you come up with it? Was there something like an initial spark that set your mind on creating this talk?

I was sitting in a meeting with executive leadership walking through a response plan. I realized that everything we were talking about was based on technology. Nobody was talking about its impact on humans. Everyone there was an individual with their own fears and skills. Security responders rarely account for people.

Why do you think this is an important topic?

Often the most critical part of successfully managing a security crisis is the rational and efficient cooperation of people. These people are often dealing with quite natural emotional responses to danger. Good security incident managers recognize this and make it a core part of their work.

Is there something you want everybody to know – some good advice for our readers maybe?

Recognize that humans are human. This means everyone, from the entry level analysts all the way up to your CEO. Security incidents can cause feelings of anger, violation, or fear. People on the team may be fatigued during times where they need to be at their best. Be aware of the state of your team.

A prediction for the future – what do you think will be the next innovations or future downfalls when it comes to your field of expertise / the topic of your talk in particular?

As more companies adopt dev-ops, crisis issues will involve more people who are unaccustomed to working through tense security problems. Security professionals, especially those, whose job it is to keep the situation on track, will find themselves confronting human aspects more often.


 Ben Ridgway has been involved in a wide variety of projects during his security career. He started with a position at NASA looking for vulnerabilities in spacecraft control systems. Following that, he took a job with the MITRE Corporation as part of a team which consulted for the US Government. This work involved everything from pen testing high assurance systems to building out Cyber Security Operations Centers. He was hired by Microsoft in 2011 to be one of the original security engineers on Microsoft’s Azure cloud. He helped founding the security incident response team for Microsoft Azure. Over time that scope has grown across multiple online service, cloud, and machine learning technologies. Today he is the lead of the Microsoft Security Response Center – Trust and Strategy Team. This team is responsible for managing critical security incidents within Microsoft’s cloud and artificial intelligence services while preparing for the incidents of tomorrow.

Translated RadioFM4 Article: Hype about “Chinese Espionage Chips” stems from the Pentagon

[Editor’s note: This article was originally published on the web site of the FM4 radio channel of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation. We have translated the text in order to make the content accessible for our English-speaking audience, because the author raises some important questions.]

Radio FM4 Logo the FM4 fact check the sensational report by the business portal Bloomberg about manipulated hardware for cloud computing turns out to be almost completely fact-free. On Friday a long-awaited report from the Pentagon was released warning about electronics manufacturing in China.

by Erich Möchel for

In the US, the “Cyber Security Month” October has begun, related news come thick and fast. The documentary presented on Thursday about a Russian espionage attack that failed miserably was spectacular, but had already taken place in April. England, Holland and Canada have waited with this concerted action until charges were filed in the US – which happened also on Thursday.

This concerted cyber-strike was overshadowed by Bloomberg Business Week’s sensational report claiming that Apple, Amazon & Co.’s servers are infiltrated with Chinese espionage chips. Angry denials of Internet companies followed; in fact, the article contains not a single, tangible clue. One explanation for its release came on Friday, when the Pentagon released a long-awaited report targeting electronics manufacturing outsourced to China.

“US electronics industry disappears”

The report refers to Donald Trump’s Presidential Decree “Executive Order 13806”. It aims to secure the supply chain of all US government institutions and the military. Right at the beginning of its introduction, there’s already a clear warning that, given the current developments, entire industries in the US may soon disappear. The report paints a bleak picture of the decline in the production sector, of barely competitive supply companies, which have been hit hard by the economic policies of foreign competitors.

On the one hand, this is due to “collateral damage from globalization,” according to the report, but also to “targeted actions of major powers such as China.” In parallel with the decline of industrial production, essential skills and abilities of workers in the US are dwindling, such as, for example, “the soldering or manufacturing of computer components.” The focus of this Pentagon report is the electronics industry, which has been outsourcing its production facilities to China for the past two decades.

A Report without “when” and “where”

It’s well-known that not only the vast majority of smartphones for the entire world market is manufactured in China. What’s more, PCs are now predominantly made in China as well. The same is true for components for the server market of course, and that’s what the Bloomberg Business Week report is all about too: “The Big Hack – How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate US Firms.”

Naturally, this lurid title fits perfectly well with a study whose entire purpose it is to, at least partially, reclaim the US electronics industry outsourced to China and bring it back to the United States. What follows is a news story on the manipulation of Supermicro computer motherboards, which are installed in servers for cloud computing all around the world. It is portrayed as if such an incident has actually happened, but does not contain any information at all about “when and where”.

The same Scenario for 15 Years

Of course, such a scenario is possible. A tiny SMD [surface-mounted device] component could be integrated into the manufacturing process of the motherboard, which sits in front of the CPU, the main processor. It is also conceivable to slyly introduce damage code via this component to manipulate the CPU. And because this technical possibility certainly exists, this scenario is not new at all, but has been appearing in the media time and time again for, at least, the last 15 years.

In 2005, the acquisition of the PC division of IBM by the Chinese Lenovo Group, which had already previously manufactured and assembled the components for IBM notebooks, was blocked for months. Because, at that time, IBM supplied many US authorities and the military with notebooks and PCs, the intelligence complex intervened. Since then, this story, always citing anonymous, unspecific warnings from intelligence circles, regularly pops up in the news, most recently in regard to the Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE.

For Example: Huawei and ZTE

Anonymous sources from the intelligence services had also warned against their hardware of the telecom sector for many years. But only in May 2018, all smartphones of these Chinese manufacturers were removed from the military stores and members of the US armed forces prohibited from using them. The rationale: The smartphones could contain hidden components allowing for the complete surveillance of users. However, in no case such a compromised port of the hardware could be further identified or found.

That’s the way it has been for 15 years and this case is really a protopypical example. Bloomberg mentions the manufacturer Supermicro, but not which series of motherboards are affected. An animation to show where these chips, “the size of a pencil tip”, are built in Supermicro motherboards is based on a symbolic photograph. In addition to two CPUs without any label there is a marked dot, that’s all. And if, let’s say, in the manufacturing process, instead of a simple pass-through capacitor for signal smoothing, a somewhat more intelligent micro component would be used, which incidentally has a few circuits and thus computing power – Well, what would happen?

Billions of Stock Market Value destroyed

The Bloomberg report also leaves this question unanswered. Of course, it is possible that a second part of the report will be published on this subject, which will provide the relevant facts that are completely lacking in the first one. For example, when did these hardware infiltrations happen? And were there any specific incidents after that? Bloomberg will have to present the facts about this – if there are any – because its story has caused enormous financial damage. The stock price of the motherboard manufacturer Supermicro was almost halved, about 500 million dollars in stock market value were lost.

As a result, even completely uninvolved hardware manufacturers from China faced huge loses at the stockmarket. Lenovo, for example, noted on Friday a minus of 15 percent. Several billion dollars of stock market value went down the big data stream altogether, although first Supermicro, then Amazon and Apple had denied the allegations in sharp terms. These denials were followed by yet another one, this one by Bloomberg itself, right at the bottom of the article: “Bloomberg LLP is also a Supermicro customer. According to a company spokesman, no evidence has been found that the hardware used by Bloomberg has such problems as described in the article. “

Epilogue and Outlook

The British National Cyber Security Center – part of the military intelligence service GCHQ – has sided with Apple and Amazon this weekend. One sees no reason for the assumption that the hardware inside the servers of these companies is compromised, they said. Why this Bloomberg story was published on the day when NATO, in a long-planned concerted action, went public, revealing the biggest embarrassment of the Russian foreign intelligence service GRU since the end of the Soviet Union, remains puzzling.