DeepSec 2013 Talk (U21): The Dark Side of the Internet

René Pfeiffer/ November 10, 2013/ Conference, Internet

You may have heard of background radiation. It’s the kind of ionizing radiation you are exposed when wandering around on this planet. The sources are radioactive isotopes in the air, the soil, our food, and the water. In addition there is cosmic radiation from outer space. So even without artificial radiation sources you will have a natural background radiation. The Internet has a similar phenomenon. The pendant of the fundamental particle in Nature is the packet. Internet traffic consists of data packets going from their source to a target address. Imagine a part of the Internet which isn’t used at all. Its address space isn’t advertised anywhere. It holds no services and no active hosts. This place is called Darknet. In theory there will be no packets. In practice there are. A student from

Read More

DeepSec 2013 Talk: Mobile Fail: Cracking Open “Secure” Android Containers

René Pfeiffer/ November 8, 2013/ Conference, Security

Over the last few years the desire to have information at our fingertips whenever and wherever we want has driven us more and more towards mobile devices. The convenience of having our email, files and access codes available to us on our smartphones or tablets has given rise to a new problem… that of securing our sensitive data on an inherently insecure device. The same form factor that makes smart phones the easy choice for remote access to email and services also makes them easy to lose. In response, we’ve begun to move security closer to the data, relying on “secure” container applications to keep our private and company data secure. Mobile apps such as LastPass, Dropbox, Evernote, GOOD for Enterprise, and may others all offer differing degrees of security. In this presentation Chris

Read More

DeepSec 2013 Workshop: Effective IDS/IPS Auditing And Testing With Finux

René Pfeiffer/ October 26, 2013/ Conference, Security, Training

A major part of information security is to deal with intrusions. It doesn’t matter if you have to anticipate them, detect them, or desperately wish to avoid them. They are a part of your infosec life. This is why gentle software developers, security researchers, and vendors have created intrusion detection/preventi0n systems. It’s all there for your benefit. The trouble is that once you buy and deploy and IDS/IPS system, its dashboard looks a lot like the one from the space shuttle or a fighter jet. You can do a lot, you can combine a lot more, and you see all kinds of blinking lights when you turn everything on. That’s probably not what you want. But there is help. Arron ‘Finux’ Finnon of Alba13 Research Labs will conduct a training on effective IDS/IPS auditing

Read More

DeepSec 2013 Talk: Psychology of Security – a Research Programme

René Pfeiffer/ October 23, 2013/ Conference

Have you ever considered the impact of the human mind on information security? Since our brain also deals with information,it should be an integral part of defence. Let’s take a look at psychology:  At DeepSec 2013 Stefan Schumacher will give you an introduction into the psychology of security and why we need to improve scientific research in this particular field. Most research about security is done in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Mathematics and is about technology, algorithms and computability. However, all security issues can be traced back to human behaviour. Be it Social Engineering, the choice of weak passwords, users leaving the password on a note-it attached to the TFT, admins using MD5 as a password hash or developers ignoring testing regulations. Humans are making decisions, not computers. Therefore, security is defined by

Read More

Call for Articles – DeepSec Proceedings

René Pfeiffer/ May 14, 2013/ Administrivia, Security

While our Call for Papers for DeepSec 2013 and DeepINTEL is still open, we have a Call for Articles for all our past speakers ready. It’s our pleasure to inform you that we will publish a book with proceedings about past and present DeepSec topics. It will be a summary, a factual overview on what’s been going on at our annual event, from 2007 – 2012, a collection of the most compelling talks and captivating topics we’ve featured at our conference so far. To make this book a bummer we need your help. We want you to send us the abstracts of the talk you held at DeepSec – and we ask you to open up your topic once again. What’s been going on in the very special field you held your talk about?

Read More

The Risk of faulty Metrics and Statistics

René Pfeiffer/ March 24, 2013/ Discussion, Security

It’s never a bad idea to see what the outside world looks like. If you intend to go for a walk, you will probably consult the weather report in advance. If you plan to invest money (either for fun or for savings), you will most certainly gather information about the risks involved. There are a lot of reports out there about the IT security landscape, too. While there is nothing wrong with reading reports, you must know what you read, how the data was procured and how it was processed. Not everything that talks percentages or numbers has anything to do with statistics. Let’s talk about metrics by using an example. Imagine an Internet service provider introduced a „real-time map of Cyber attacks“. The map would show attacks to their „honeypot“ systems at 90

Read More

DeepSec 2012 Showcase: Cuteforce Analyzer

René Pfeiffer/ November 13, 2012/ Discussion, Security

The University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria will be showing the Cuteforce Analyzer at DeepSec 2012. This beast is a massively parallel computing cluster for cryptographic applications. The goals of this project was to develop a cluster framework and to evaluate suitable hardware. The cluster itself utilises two different types of co-processors, namely the well-known graphics processing units (GPUs) also used in super-computing, and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Both types of processors have their strength and weaknesses, both depending on the algorithm being executed on the hardware. The cluster framework connects both hardware platforms, and assigns computing tasks according to the advantages of the co-processor. Thus you get to use all the advantages; in addition the framework software makes sure that you can use the different hardware processors as a whole. The research team

Read More

DeepSec 2012 Talk: The „WOW Effect“

René Pfeiffer/ October 24, 2012/ Conference

If you have ever been in the position of analysing the remains of a compromised system, then you will probably know that a lot of forensic methods rely on data stored in file systems. Of course, you can always look at individual blocks, too, however sooner or later you will need the logical structure of the data. The question is: Do you rely on the file system to be honest with you? What happens if the file system (with a little help from the OS around it) tricks you into believing false information? The answer is easy. Your investigation will fail. Christian Wojner from has a presentation for you which describes the stunning „WOW Effect“ stemming from Microsoft’s WoW64 technology. WoW64 is the abbreviation for Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit. It allows 64-bit

Read More

Unlearn to Hack?

René Pfeiffer/ May 6, 2012/ Discussion, High Entropy, Security

Security is heavily influenced by the inner workings of the (human) mind. We all know about social engineering and tricks used by con men. The game of smoke and mirrors now hits the „uncontrolled spread of hacking tools“. We have already pointed out that the European Union is preparing a proposal for „banning“ „hacking tools“. There is now a case on-line where a print magazine was allegedly removed from the shelves of Barnes & Noble. Apparently the cover story was too dangerous, because it announced how to „teach you to break into networks, exploit services running remotely, beat encryption techniques, crack passwords, and more.“ The real dark side of this story is that these skills are discussed at most self-respecting security conferences. These skills are even part of a very basic job description in

Read More

Simple Questions, Security Design, Details and Assumptions

René Pfeiffer/ April 3, 2012/ Security, Stories

A few days ago we received a call from a journalist who was researching for an article about a system about parking place management. Motorists have a hard time finding a place to park in busy urban areas. This is why Austrian researchers thought of fitting street lamps with cameras that monitor parking areas. The cameras report the images to a system that identifies free parking sites and reports available spots to drivers by means of their satnav. The journalist wanted to know how safe this is and if there might be a threat to privacy. The answer is not that easy. In this context it typically resolves to the style of Radio Yerevan and starts with „In principle yes, but …“. In our case it depends on the details of the implementation. Brevity

Read More

Use Key Content for your Key Notes

René Pfeiffer/ March 21, 2012/ Administrivia, Security

There is some discussion about certain key note talks in the blogosphere and on mailing lists. Apparently there has been too much mentioning of mayhem and company ads lately. We will judge about this as soon as we have watched the video recordings of these talks. Until we have done that we’d like to point out that all our key note presentations go through the same Call for Papers mechanism as the „regular“ talks. This is true for DeepINTEL and DeepSec alike. It has also been true for all past DeepSec conferences. While we don’t mind provocative content, we still like our speakers to present high quality content. Paid content on the contrary is not always of high quality. As soon as you enter the realm of sponsored talks you’ll suddenly realise that presentations

Read More

Thoughts about “Offensive Security Research”

René Pfeiffer/ February 11, 2012/ Discussion, Security

Ever since information relevant for security was published, there have been discussions about how to handle this information. Many remember the full/no/responsible disclosure battles that frequently erupt. There is a new term on stage. Its name is „offensive security research“. The word „offensive“ apparently refers to the intent to attack IT systems. „Security“ marks the connection, and „research” covers anyone being too curious. This is nothing new, this is just the old discussion about disclosure in camouflage. So there should be nothing to worry about, right? Let’s look at statements from Adobe’s security chief Brad Arkin. At a security analyst summit Mr. Arkin claimed that his goal is not to find and fix every security bug. Instead his strategy is to „drive up the cost of writing exploits“ he explained. According to his keynote

Read More

Talk: On Cyber-Peace – Towards an International Cyber Defense Strategy

René Pfeiffer/ November 4, 2011/ Conference

While UK is preparing for war we’ll try something completely different at DeepSec 2011. We will talk about peace („cyber-peace“ to be exact). The ill-defined term cyber-war is haunting media, security communities, politics and the military for a while now. We already had talks about this at past DeepSec conferences. Cybersecurity is currently a big hype even in mainstream media like the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The Guardian or The New Yorker. Exploits and Vulnerabilities like Stuxnet or the German Trojan Rootkit for Lawful Interception are discussed in prime time news. Hackers like the Chaos Computer Club offer technical advice to the German Parliament and the highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court. Due to the constant work of security experts, researchers and hackers (including some really cool media fnords and stints), the level of security

Read More

Press Release: From Car to „Zombie“ – Data-driven Attacks on Automobiles

DeepSec Organisation/ October 19, 2011/ Press

Data-driven Attacks on Automobiles Security conference DeepSec broaches the issue of automobile security  Vienna – Hacking attacks on cars sound like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster. However, they’re possible today and pose a real threat for individuals and the automotive industry. The international security conference DeepSec, which takes place between the 15th and 18th of November 2011 chose the security of mobile phones, cars and their users as central topics for this year’s conference. „As in the years before we want to present exciting and controversial topics which concern not only experts, but most of us directly or indirectly in 7 workshops and 34 talks.The liability of modern cars to attacks is on of our topics.” says René Pfeiffer, organiser of DeepSec. “DeepSec acts as neutral platform to connect the hacker-community with IT

Read More

Talk: Alerting, Reminding, Reminding, Reminding and Releasing Vulnerability

René Pfeiffer/ October 5, 2011/ Conference

Some of you have first-hand experience with the discussions around full disclosure. Enumerating Bugtraq moderated by Aleph One, SecurityFocus and the full-disclosure mailing list is a heavily condensed view of the problem. The term full disclosure actually originates from the problems locksmiths had with weaknesses of locks. The discussion is over a hundred years old and opinion is still divided on the matter, not only among the Internet security community. So if full disclosure and its cryptographic cousin, the Kerckhoffs’s principle, was „discovered“ in the 19th century why are we still arguing about it? Thomas Mackenzie will talk about how to deal with exposing vulnerabilities in his talk at DeepSec 2011. When it comes down to releasing vulnerabilities there are no right or wrong ways to do it. The process of responsible disclosure and

Read More