Our wonderful world of technology is full of surprises, bugs, intentional weaknesses, adversaries, defenders, vendors, and users. Some software just got more lines of code instead of a decent audit or refactoring. Everything is turning smart, but no one knows what smart really means. Big Data is all the fashion, Big Knowledge still isn’t. So there is ample opportunity for security research. And we haven’t mentioned recent weaknesses such as Stack Clash or broken hyperthreading yet. Strategy hasn’t evolved much either. Most high profile attacks seem to contain a lot of cyber, originating from Russia, USA, Israel, North Korea, or China. The context matters, as do the agendas of all parties involved. A thorough and careful analysis can shape the digital defence of your future. This is why we like to discuss methods, incidents,
Quantum computing is a fashionable term these days. Some IT news articles are talking about post-quantum cryptography, qbits, and more quantum stuff. If you don’t know how the terms relate to each other, what entangled states in quantum physics are, and what everything has to do with computing, then you will have a hard time figuring out what it means for you and your infrastructure. The relationship to cryptography is yet another matter best explored after you know the basics. Using quantum effects in computing and cryptography is already done. The best example are some hardware random generators which use properties of, well, the hardware to harvest entropy. And then there is quantum key distribution (QKD). It is a method to ensure secure communication between two or more nodes. Vienna even had a working
ROOTs 2017 The first Reversing and Offensive-Oriented Trends Symposium (ROOTs) 2017 opens its call for papers. ROOTs is the first European symposium of its kind. ROOTS aims to provide an industry-friendly academic platform to discuss trends in exploitation, reversing, offensive techniques, and effective protections. Submissions should provide novel attack forms, describe novel reversing techniques or effective deployable defenses. Submissions can also provide a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art, and pinpoint promising areas that have not received appropriate attention in the past. To facilitate interaction with industry, the ROOTs ticket will be valid for all DeepSec conference tracks on both days, including the industry tracks, and the DeepSec conference tickets for the industry track will be valid for ROOTs. The usual rules for academic discounts apply. Please contact the DeepSec staff or our sponsors for
The Easter break is over. We didn’t sleep (much), and we did not look for Easter eggs in software either. Instead we did a bit of work behind the scenes. DeepSec 2017 will have some more content due to the co-hosted ROOTs workshop. The full call for papers will be ready on 1 May 2017. We will publish the text here on this blog, and email it to interested researchers. In the meantime the DeepSec 2017 Call for Papers is waiting patiently for your submission. In case you haven’t noticed, the DeepSec and DeepINTEL ticket shops are online. Please book your ticket as early as possible! Every year so far we had some people at our conference who were very sad because their favourite training was not available. If you book early you’ll help us to secure
The world of information security is full of publications. It’s like being in a maze of twisted little documents, all of them alike. Sometimes these works of art lack structure, deep analysis, or simply reproducibility. Others are perfectly researched, contain (a defence of) arguments, proofs of concept, and solid code or documentation to make a point. Information security is a mixture of different disciplines such as mathematics, physics, computer science, psychology, sociology, linguistics, or history. It’s not about computers and networks alone. There is interaction between components. Protocols are involved. Even the simple act of logging in and staying in an active session requires in some parts to talk to each other. And then there are rituals. Scepticism is widespread in information security. Questioning your environment is the way to go, but you need to
We are glad to announce that the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria supports the DeepSec 2016 conference! Their motto teaching and learning with pleasure – researching with curiosity fits perfectly to information security. Their courses cover more than just computer science. If you are interested in engineering, economics, management, media, communications, environment, or energy, then you should take a look at their courses. You can talk to students and staff at their booth. They will show your a selection of projects from the field of information security. Don’t hesitate, ask them with curiosity!
DeepSec 2016 Talk: TLS 1.3 – Lessons Learned from Implementing and Deploying the Latest Protocol – Nick Sullivan
Version 1.3 is the latest Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, which allows client/server applications to communicate over the Internet in a way that is designed to prevent eavesdropping, tampering, and message forgery. TLS is the S in HTTPS. TLS was last changed in 2008, and a lot of progress has been made since then. CloudFlare will be the first company to deploy this on a wide scale. In his talk Nick Sullivan will be able to discuss the insights his team gained while implementing and deploying this protocol. Nick will explore differences between TLS 1.3 and previous versions in detail, focusing on the security improvements of the new protocol as well as some of the challenges his team faces around securely implementing new features such as 0-RTT resumption. He’ll also demonstrate an attack on the way some
SEC Consult, our long-term supporter, has updated a report on the use of encryption keys in firmware. These hardcoded cryptographic secrets pose a serious threat to information security. The report features 50 different vendors and has some interesting statistics. The results were coordinated with CERT/CC in order to inform the vendors about the problem. The highlights of the research includes: 40% increase in devices on the web using known private keys for HTTPS server certificates 331 certificates and 553 individual private keys (accessible via Github) some crypto material is used by 500,000 and 280,000 devices on the web as of now The recommendations are crystal clear: Make sure that each device uses random and unique cryptographic material. If operating systems can change account passphrases after initialisation, so can your device. Take care of management
In the past years encrypted communication has been subject to intense scrutiny by researchers. With the advent of Transport Layer Security (TLS) Internet communication via HTTP became a lot more secure. Its predecessor Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) must not be used any more. The real world has its own ideas. SSLv2 and SSLv3 is still present. Attackers can try to downgrade the TLS session by switching to insecure ciphers. When using the correct configuration, these downgrade attacks cannot happen. The question is: Are all of your devices, applications, and systems correctly configure? If you are not sure, better check again. In order to illustrate how these attacks work, we have invited Nimrod Aviram for DeepSec 2016. He will explain the inner workings of the DROWN attack. We present a novel cross-protocol attack on TLS
Surveillance has a bad reputation. No one likes to be watched. Yet infosec researchers, sysadmins, and developers talk a lot about log files. We need to watch stuff for various reasons. You got your mail logs, diagnostic messages, performance metrics, network addresses, and more painstakingly sorted by timestamps and maybe geolocation. Log data is part of information technology. It gets interesting once you store, process and mine this data. Some people like to collect it all and do all kinds of Big Data stuff with it. Others filter out the relevant bits of information and work with that. Opinion is divided, results may vary. Enter A Good American, the documentary which was screened in Vienna during the DeepSec 2015 conference. It has been shown all over the world. The film itself is fully funded,
In case you haven’t noticed, the London BSides schedule is up. The Rookie track starts right with the most important part of information security – opsec. Behaviour is on a par with expensive security hardware and your favourite protection software. Wearables, video games, hidden data, malware mythbusting, and more follow next. The main schedule features presentations about the impact of TOR/I2P traffic to your servers (think or best forget about CloudFlare), methods used by options advanced attackers, attacking Low Powered Wide Area Network (LPWAN) devices used for smart / IoT stuff, malicious software, static code analysis, threat analysis, the temptation of containers, and honey pots. There’s ample of content for everyone looking for new ideas. Don’t miss the opportunity!
Explaining complicated topics with a lot of dependencies is hard. Even the operation of devices such as computers, telephones, or cloud(ed) applications can’t be described in a few sentences. Well, you can, if you use the tried and true lie-to-children method coined by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart. If you really want to dive into a subject, you need a good start and a tour guide who knows where the terrain gets rough and helps you through it. Information technology and its security is hard to learn. The basics are surprisingly simple. Once you get to the implementation and the actual parts that need to be touched, it gets a lot more complicated. Modern IT combines various technologies, most taken from computer science, others taken from other fields of research. The starting point defines
We already published a Call for Papers for the upcoming DeepINTEL 2016. Here are some thoughts to get your creativity going. Standard solutions and off-the-shelf products to solve your security needs are remains from the 1990s. Everything else has gone smart, and that’s how you have to address security problems in the future. NSA director Admiral Michael Rogers told the audience of the RSA Conference 2016 that the NSA cannot counter the digital attacks it faces on its own. GCHQ, the NSA’s British counterpart, has publicly stated that the £860m budget to counter digital adversaries is not sufficient to defend Britain’s digital assets. Modern digital defence needs a sound foundation of data to base decisions on. You can neither combat a forest fire or an infectious disease by blindly throwing money at it. You
Given that reconnaissance is the first step of a successful attack, anonymity has become more important than ever. The Invisible Internet Project (I2P) and the TOR project are prominent tools to protect against prying eyes (five or more). TOR is widely used. Users of anonymity services will notice that the price for extra protection is less speed in terms of latency and probably bandwidth. Researchers have published a method to attain high-speed network performance, called HORNET. HORNET is designed as a low-latency onion routing system that operates at the network layer thus enabling a wide range of applications. Our system uses only symmetric cryptography for data forwarding yet requires no per-flow state on intermediate nodes. This design enables HORNET nodes to process anonymous traffic at over 93 Gb/s. At DeepSec 2015 Chen Chen explained