Disclosures, Jenkins, Conferences, and the Joys of 0Days

René Pfeiffer/ November 17, 2016/ Conference, Discussion, High Entropy

DeepSec 2016 was great. We have slightly recovered and deal with the aftermath in terms of administrivia. As announced on Twitter, we would like to publish a few thoughts on the remote code execution issue found by Matthias Kaiser. He mentioned the possibility in this presentation titled Java Deserialization Vulnerabilities – The Forgotten Bug Class. First let’s explain some things about how DeepSec runs the Call for Papers, the submissions, and the conference. During the Call for Papers process our speakers send us title, abstract, and mostly an in-depth description of the presentation’s content. This means that we usually know what’s going to happen, except for the things that are actually said and shown during the presentation slot. Since we do not offer any live video streams and publish all presentation slides after we

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DeepSec 2016 Workshop: Do-It-Yourself Patching: Writing Your Own Micropatch – Mitja Kolsek

Sanna/ October 13, 2016/ Conference, Development, Security, Training

The current state of updating software – be it operating systems, applications or appliances – is arguably much better than it was a decade ago, but apparently not nearly good enough to keep even the most critical systems patched in a timely manner – or at all, says Mitja Kolsek. Official vendor updates are cumbersome, costly to apply, even more costly to revert and prone to breaking things as they replace entire chunks of a product. Enterprises are therefore left with extensive and expensive testing of such updates before they dare to apply them in production, which gives attackers an endless supply of “n-day” vulnerabilities with published exploit code. Furthermore, for various entirely rational reasons, many organizations are using products with no security updates such as old Java runtimes, Windows XP, or expensive industry

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Thoughts on Lawful Malicious Software and its Impact on IT Infrastructure

Sanna/ April 14, 2016/ Interview, Press, Security

During the premiere of „A Good American“ we had a chat with journalists. Markus Sulzbacher of Der Standard wanted to know what the implication of the so-called Bundestrojaner (litterally federal trojan, the colloquial German term for the concept of inserting government malware in order to extract information from a suspect’s computer and telephone devices). The idea is to infect a computer system with malicious software that sits in the background and to siphon off the hard-to-get data connected to communication (i.e. messengers, Skype, emails, etc.). We have translated the interview from German to English for you. You can find the original on Der Standard web site. Der Standard 12.04.2016 “The federal Trojan is governmental malware” Police praise the software as a “wonder weapon against terror”. But for IT expert René Pfeiffer the planned introduction

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Return of the Penguin Challenge – ELF (?) Binary (?)

René Pfeiffer/ April 5, 2016/ High Entropy

Our friends from BSidesLondon have set up a challenge for you. It’s a little ELF binary with some odd properties. That’s all we will tell you. Have a look for yourself. In case you are forensically inclined, we might have a little Call for Papers email for you. There is a lot of strange code around in the Internet and other networks. Decoding what code does without getting your san(d)box blown apart is a fine art. We are interested in getting in touch with researchers in the field of malicious software and digital forensics. Software developers need to know what you have seen. So if you got some ideas, research, or interesting content, drop us your email address.

DeepSec Video: HackingTeam – How They Infected Your Android Device By 0days

René Pfeiffer/ February 20, 2016/ Conference, Discussion, High Entropy, Security

Backdoors are very popular these days. Not only cybercrime likes extra access, governments like it too. There’s even a lucrative market for insecurity. You can buy everything your IT team defends against legally. Hacking Team is/was one of the companies supplying 0days along with intrusive software to take over client systems. Attila Marosi explained at DeepSec 2015 how products of Hacking Team were used to attack and compromise Android clients. There is no need to make a long introduction when speaking about the famous Remote Control System (RCS), the product of the Italian company Hacking Team. The huge amount – 400 GB – of leaked data gives rise to lengthy discussion and is extremely concerning for every part of the professionally, politically or even those superficially interested only. Enjoy Attila’s presentation. Be careful about

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DeepSec Video: Not so Smart – On Smart TV Apps

René Pfeiffer/ February 18, 2016/ Conference, Security

„Smart“ follows the footsteps of „cyber“. Everything is smart nowadays. The problem is that using smart in this context just means a combination of „Turing complete“ and „connected to the Internet“. That’s it. This is a pretty low barrier for calling something „smart“. t DeepSec 2015 Markus Niemietz held a presentation about the state of affairs concerning SmartTVs where security is concerned: One of the main characteristics of Smart TVs are apps. Apps extend the Smart TVs menu with various functionalities, ranging from usage of social networks or payed streaming services, to buying articles on Ebay. These actions demand usage of critical data like authentication tokens and passwords, and thus raise the question of new attack scenarios and the general security of Smart TV apps. We investigate attack models for Smart TVs and their

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DeepSec Video: Extending a Legacy Platform Providing a Minimalistic, Secure Single-Sign-On-Library

René Pfeiffer/ February 17, 2016/ Conference, Stories

Even if you are not running a mainframe you probably have some old applications which you still need and whose code you cannot lift into the present (technology-wise). This is something you need to address. Despite decades of security research and authentication standards there’s still a vast amount of systems with custom solutions and embedded user databases. Such systems are typically hard to securely integrate with others. We analysed an existing system of an organisation with approximately 12.000 sensitive user data sets and uncovered severe vulnerabilities in their approach. We developed a minimal, secure Single-Sign-On-Solution and demonstrated the feasibility of implementing both a minimal Identity Provider and a minimal Service Provider with only a few lines of code. We provided a simple blueprint for an Identity Provider and an easy to use Service Provider

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DeepSec Video: Measuring the TOR Network

René Pfeiffer/ February 13, 2016/ Conference, Internet, Security

A lot of people use TOR for protecting themselves and others. Fortunately the TOR network is almost all around us. But what does it do? How can you get access to metrics? TOR is an anonymisation network and by design doesn’t know anything about its users. However, the question about the structure of the user base often arises. Some people are just interested in the size of the network while others want details about the diversity of its users and relays. Furthermore, TOR is used as a circumvention tool. It is interesting to automatically detect censorship events and to see how the number of users changes in those countries. TOR’s measurement team tries to give answer to those (and more) questions. At DeepSec 2015 Jens Kubieziel explained the collection of different data and how

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DeepSec Video: Cryptography Tools, Identity Vectors for “Djihadists”

René Pfeiffer/ February 5, 2016/ Conference, Discussion, High Entropy, Internet

Wherever and whenever terrorism, „cyber“, and cryptography (i.e. mathematics) meet, then there is a lot of confusion. The Crypto Wars 2.0 are raging as you read this article. Cryptography is usually the perfect scapegoat for a failure in intelligence. What about the facts? At DeepSec 2015 Julie Gommes talked about results of the studies done by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). The Internet is the method of choice for communication: the number of sites calling for a “jihad” rose from 28 in 1997 to over 5,000 in 2005. The basic use of these sites for the purpose of basic classical communication began in the 2000s. It was replaced by that of social networks, allowing almost instant mass communication. Julie’s talk give you an overview about the tools used according to the study.

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DeepSec Video: Chw00t: How To Break Out from Various Chroot Solutions

René Pfeiffer/ February 4, 2016/ Conference, Security

Information security borrows a lot of tools from the analogue world. Keys, locks, bars, doors, walls, or simply jails (to use a combination). Most operating systems support isolation of applications in various levels. You may call it change root (or chroot) or even jails environment. The containment is not perfect, but it helps to separate applications and to have a better control of the access to resources. Breaking out of chroots is possible, and there are various ways to do this. So preparing a tight configuration is the key. At DeepSec 2015 Balazs Bucsay held a presentation about how to create a reasonably “secure” chroot environment or how to breakout from a misconfigured one. If you a considering to use chroots/jails as a way to build compartments, make sure you know what you are

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DeepSec Video: Yes, Now YOU Can Patch That Vulnerability Too!

René Pfeiffer/ January 24, 2016/ Conference, Security

Once you got software, you most probably got yourself some decent bugs. Software vulnerabilities are everywhere. They come with the code. Managing patches and changes is they way of handling these weaknesses. At DeepSec 2015 Mitja Kolsek spoke about a new way of addressing vulnerabilities: „Software vulnerabilities are likely the biggest problem of information security, fuelling a rapidly growing market for “0days”, “1days” and exploits alike. It can be highly intellectually challenging to find a vulnerability and create an exploit for it, and super entertaining to reveal it all to the bug-hungry crowds (preferably along with a logo and a catchy name, courtesy of the marketing department). As a result, there’s been a lot of innovation and progress on the offensive side of information security, and a corresponding defensive industry is thriving providing quasi-solutions

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DeepSec 2015 Talk: “Yes, Now YOU Can Patch That Vulnerability Too!” A short Interview with Mitja Kolsek

Sanna/ September 10, 2015/ Discussion, Interview, Security

Patching software is a crucial task when it comes to fixing security vulnerabilities. While this totally works, usually you have to wait until the vendors or the developers provide you either an upgrade or a patch. What do you do in the meantime? Reducing the exposure of the software helps, but sometimes you have no choice. Public interfaces are public. There’s help. Do it yourself! Mitja Kolsek will tell you more. Please tell us the top 5 facts about your talk. We want to shake the security world by introducing a simple twist and essentially reinventing software patching. Attackers’ main advantage comes from software vulnerabilities (often very old and long-patched ones), which are a critical ingredient of most breaches into corporate and government networks. Unfortunately, most software vendors are lacking economical motivation for providing patches, let alone pro-actively

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Software Security: The Lost Art of Refactoring

René Pfeiffer/ June 29, 2015/ Development, Discussion, Security

A sysadmin, a software developer, and an infosec researcher almost walked into a bar. Unfortunately they couldn’t agree where to go together. So they died of thirst. Sounds familiar? When it comes to information technology, there is one thing that binds us all together: software. This article was written and published by software. You can read it by using (different) software. This doesn’t automagically create stalwart bands of adventurers fighting dragons (i.e. code vulnerabilities) and doing good deeds (i.e. not selling 0days). However it is a common ground where one can meet. Since all software has bugs, and we all use software, there’s also a common cause. Unfortunately this is where things go wrong. Code has a life cycle. It usually starts out as a (reasonably) good idea. Without a Big Bang. Then the implementation

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I spy with my little Spy, something beginning with „Anti…“

René Pfeiffer/ June 27, 2015/ Discussion, High Entropy, Security

Anti-virus software developers made the news recently. The Intercept published an article describing details of what vendors were targeted and what information might be useful for attackers. Obtaining data, no matter how, has its place in the news since 2013 when the NSA documents went public. The current case is no surprise. This statement is not meant to downplay the severity of the issue. While technically there is no direct attack to speak of (yet), the news item shows how security measures will be reconnoitred by third parties. Why call it third parties? Because a lot of people dig into the operation of anti-virus protection software. The past two DeepSec conferences featured talks called „Why Antivirus Software fails“ and „Easy Ways To Bypass Anti-Virus Systems“. The Project Zero team at Google found a vulnerability in

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Dual Use Equation: Knowledge + Vulnerability = “Cyber” Nuclear Missile

René Pfeiffer/ June 21, 2015/ Discussion, High Entropy, Legal, Odd

We all rely on software every  day, one way or another. The bytes that form the (computer) code all around us are here to stay. Mobile devices connected to networks and networked computing equipment in general is a major part of our lives now. Fortunately not all systems decide between life or death in case there is a failure. The ongoing discussion about „cyber war“, „cyber terrorism“, „cyber weapons of mass destruction“, and „cyber in general“ has reached critical levels – it has entered its way into politics. Recently the Wassenaar Arrangement proposed a regulation on the publication of exploited (previously unknown) vulnerabilities in software/hardware, the so-called „0days“. The US Department of Commerce proposed to apply export controls for 0days and malicious software. While the ban is  only intended for „intrusion software“, it may

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