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Updated: 20 hours 17 min ago

New NIST Tool Streamlines Government App Vetting

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 15:19
Developers who produce apps intended for use on internal networks at government agencies are getting a vetting process of their own called AppVet.

Google Adding Security Checks to Non-OAuth 2.0 Compliant Apps

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 14:49
Google announced it will add additional security checks to log-in attempts from applications or devices that do not support OAuth 2.0.

LibreSSL Sticks a Fork in OpenSSL

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 12:57
LibreSSL, a fork of OpenSSL, has already made "improvements" in OpenSSL programming practices according to OpenBSD officials.

Iowa State Hacked–To Mine Bitcoins

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:25
Officials at Iowa State University said Tuesday that the personal data of nearly 30,000 alumni, including Social Security numbers, was compromised during a data breach.

OpenSSL Heartbleed Highlights Crypto Pitfalls

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 09:36
There is no shortage of bad advice online about crypto–or anything else, for that matter. And the recent mess involving the OpenSSL heartbleed vulnerability has brought out plenty of advice on building, implementing and repairing cryptosystems, but experts say that the fundamental truths about how to do these tasks hasn’t changed much. Cryptosystems are the […]

NIST Removes Dual EC from Draft Guidance on RNGs

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 17:06
NIST announced it has removed the Dual EC DRBG random number generator from a draft guidance on RNGs; the move could become official next month after a public comment period expires.

AOL Email Hacked by Spoofers to Send Spam

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 16:20
A slew of old AOL email accounts were hacked over the weekend to send spam to other users.

Apple Fixes Serious SSL Issue in OSX and iOS

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 15:47
Apple has fixed a serious security flaw that’s present in many versions of both iOS and OSX and could allow an attacker to intercept data on SSL connections.

DBIR: Poor Patching, Weak Credentials Open Door to Data Breaches

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 12:44
Weak or default credentials, poor configurations and a lack of patching are common denominators in most data breaches, according to the 2014 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.

DBIR: Point-of-Sale Breaches Trending Downward

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 00:01
The 2014 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report reveals that point-of-sale intrusions are down, Web applications attacks are up, and DDoS and cyberespionage attacks merit watching.

CloudFlare Launches Bug Bounty Program

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 15:45
CloudFlare is launching a new vulnerability disclosure program in conjunction with the HackerOne bug-bounty platform.

Oracle Gives Heartbleed Update, Patches 14 Products

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 13:55
Amidst all of the fallout related to Heartbleed, Oracle is doing its best to keep users apprised of its efforts to patch any and all software that may be vulnerable to the OpenSSL issue.

OpenICS Decodes Control System Traffic, Builds Data Dictionaries

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 13:49
An ICS protocol sniffer has been released to GitHub. OpenICS builds data dictionaries, rather than signatures, from the packets it captures in order to help business leaders make security decisions.

OpenSSL Heartbleed and the Value of CRLs

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 12:02
One of the consequences of the drama around the OpenSSL heartbleed vulnerability is that security experts have begun taking a hard look again at the certificate revocation process and whether it actually protects users or gives them any visibility into the validity of a given certificate. In a lot of cases, the answer is probably no.

Targeted Attack Uses Heartbleed to Hijack VPN Sessions

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 15:33
Details of a targeted attack have emerged where hackers are using the Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability to hijack active VPN sessions to remotely access an enterprise.

3 Million Cards Impacted in Michaels Breach

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:33

Nearly four months after it first reported it was investigating a data breach, the arts and crafts retail chain Michaels confirmed yesterday that most of its U.S. stores were compromised on and off for eight months and that payment card information of nearly three million of its customers may have been impacted.

The company operates more than 1000 stores across the United States and nearly all of them were breached, although the attack has been “fully contained” by now. According to a press release yesterday however, 2.6 million cards used at Michaels’ limited point-of-sale systems between May 8, 2013 and January 27, 2014, may have been compromised in the breach.

While some stores were only targeted once, others were targeted up to four different times, some for multiple months at a time, the longest gap spanning from May to October last year.

A lengthy 45-page document (.PDF) posted by the company yesterday runs down each store that was affected – more than 1,000 are listed – and how long users were exposed at each one.

Michaels downplayed the issue by pointing out that the number of affected cards only translates to roughly seven percent of payment cards used at its stores over the course of that time period.

As the point of sale systems contained information like customers’ credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates, they are the primary bits of information considered to have been compromised in the breach. The company insists however that customers’ names, addresses or PINs do not appear to have been breached at this time.

As many as 400,000 additional cards also appear to have been implicated in a separate breach that affected one of the company’s subsidiaries, the specialty framing and art supply chain Aaron Brothers. The same malware plagued 53 different Aaron Brothers stores (.PDF) between June 26, 2013 and February 27, 2014, mostly in California but also in Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and Texas.

The news comes four months after the Irving, Texas, company announced it was investigating a potential data breach. Since then the company says it hired two security firms who were able to work in tandem with law enforcement, banks and payment processors to look into the issue.

While officials noticed the attack and were able to contain it at Michaels in late January it appears the attack at Aaron Brothers slipped by them, as malware continued to plague systems at those stores for another month afterwards, deep into February.

While similar, the Michaels data breach pales in comparison to this past winter’s Target attack, which affected the sensitive credit card information of over 40 million users. Like the Michaels attack, the Target attack, which came to light shortly before the new year, relied on hackers infecting the retail giant’s point of sale terminals with RAM scraper malware for several weeks, from Thanksgiving to mid-December last year.

In a blog post earlier this month experts at HP pointed out that while there has been an influx of retail credit card breaches – Target, Michaels, Sally Beauty Supply, etc. – there’s still no easy way to counteract these types of attacks since there’s only so many limits to what you can do with magnetic stripe technology.

“Memory scraping has become the new trend, but there is no easy way to defend against this technique as the magnetic stripe information is decrypted at some point,” Matt Oh, a Senior Malware Researcher with HP, pointed out. “This limitation with magnetic stripe technology and the history of cat and mouse between the credit card industry and the criminals tells us that it is time to adopt a new technology.”

*Michaels image via coolmikeoh‘s Flickr photostream, Creative Commons

ICS-CERT Warns of Heartbleed Vulnerabilities in Siemens Gear

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:20

A number of ICS products from Siemens and Innominate are vulnerable to the OpenSSL heartbleed flaw, some of which do not have updates available yet.

The list of products affected by the heartbleed vulnerability continues to grow by the day, with OpenVPN being one of the latest. A researcher on Friday said that he was able to extract a private key from a vulnerable OpenVPN server after hitting it with a large volume of requests over the course of several hours.

Now, the ICS-CERT has issued an advisory warning that several products from Siemens and one from Innominate are vulnerable to the heartbleed attack. The mGuard firmware from Innominate, versions 8.0.0 and 8.0.1 are vulnerable to the attack, but the company has issued an update that addresses the flaw.

Meanwhile, Siemens has identified a number of its products that contain the heartbleed vulnerability. The list of vulnerable products include:

  • eLAN-8.2 eLAN prior to 8.3.3 (affected when RIP is used – update available)
  • WinCC OA only V3.12 (always affected)
  • S7-1500 V1.5 (affected when HTTPS active)
  • CP1543-1 V1.1 (affected when FTPS active)
  • APE 2.0 (affected when SSL/TLS component is used in customer implementation).

“A successful “HeartBleed” exploit of the affected products by an attacker with network access could allow attackers to read sensitive data (to include private keys and user credentials) from the process memory,” the advisory says.

By some estimates, OpenSSL is deployed on more than half of the SSL-protected Web servers worldwide, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. The library also is used in embedded devices, industrial control systems and other systems, some of which are just coming to light now.

Heartbleed Used to Steal Private Keys from OpenVPN

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:27

You can add OpenVPN to the growing list of products and services vulnerable to the Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability. Worse, researchers have been able to chain together exploits to steal private keys from traffic moving through the open source virtual private network software package.

A Swedish VPN company called Mullvad reported its findings to OpenVPN this week, which quickly urged users to update their OpenSSL library, revoke old private keys, generate new ones and create new certificates for the new private keys.

This process is going on worldwide for companies and Web-based services vulnerable to the bug in the OpenSSL crypto library’s heartbeat functionality. The bug returns 64KB of memory to any client or server making a request; if the pings are made often enough, an attacker could see in plaintext anything from user credentials to enough data to piece together a private SSL key.

Fredrik Stromberg, cofounder of Mullvad, said his company was able to extract “private key material” using a known Heartbleed proof-of-concept exploit. Stromberg told Threatpost that attacks against OpenVPN are a little more complicated because TLS session traffic is wrapped inside the OpenVPN protocol. Stromberg had to write a script that cracked the OpenVPN protocol and then used a Heartbleed exploit to dump memory similar to other attacks against Web servers, for example.

“What I did was I left it continuously running overnight pounding on my test server,” Stromberg said. “When I woke up in the morning, let’s say I had more than 1GB and less than 10GB in memory dumps, and found enough key material to reproduce a key.”

Stromberg joins a growing list of security researchers who have been able to extract private keys via Heartbleed exploits—a worst-case scenario. Most of the previous success stories were achieved through the CloudFlare Challenge against a purpose-built Web server. This is the first successful attempt against VPN software.

“I can tell you the actual exploitation part is exactly the same as against TLS on a web server or email server,” Stromberg said.

“You need to know how the VPN works, but this specification is open. It’s a little more advanced than a normal Heartbleed exploit, but not very hard if you’re a competent programmer.”

OpenVPN acknowledged Stromberg’s findings and replacing the keys for each peer that was active while linked against a vulnerable OpenSSL session, its advisory said. Mullvad offers a secure OpenVPN connection for its clients for a monthly fee. Stromberg said his Heartbleed test against OpenVPN was part of due diligence for his customer base.

As far as a fix goes, VPN providers must go a step beyond patching servers, revoking certs and reissuing new ones and manually send a certificate revocation list to users and browser makers so that they won’t be accepted going forward.

“If you do not do that, you will still be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks if someone sets that up,” Stromberg said. “It would be easy to impersonate a server.”

Stromberg noted in an email to OpenVPN that the TLS-auth feature in the software marginally protects against Heartbleed to the extent that the HMAC key used to authenticate packets that are part of a TLS handshake is kept secret.

“This means that while a small business may benefit from using tls-auth because only the employees have access to the key, a public VPN service such as ours does not, because anyone who is a customer has access to the key.”

Experts Worry About Future of Critical Infrastructure Security

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:42

SAN FRANCISCO–The problem of critical infrastructure security has become a key issue in the last few years, as high-profile attacks such as Stuxnet and others have grabbed headlines and alerted politicians and others to the weaknesses facing these vital systems. It’s an issue that Eugene Kaspersky has been thinking about for a long time, and isn’t sure that the organizations running these systems are any closer to addressing these threats than they were several years ago.

As with many other things in technology, there’s a lot of disagreement in the industry about critical infrastructure and SCADA security issues, even over what exactly qualifies as critical infrastructure. The term often is applied to the systems that run things such as utilities, power grids, transportation systems and the like, and the networks and systems they control typically use arcane software. Many of those software packages haven’t been subjected to the kind of security testing an scrutiny that typical commercial software has, and the process of patching and updating them is difficult and laborious. 

The fragile nature of these systems has raised the concerns of security researchers, policymakers and others, and led to calls for regulation and standardization for security. What’s unclear in all of this is who or what entity should be involved in the creation of any standards. Should it be an international effort? Who should lead it?

Kaspersky, the CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said during an interview at the company’s Cyber Security Summit here, that he has little faith in any international push to develop such standards.

“I vote for less regulation in technology and innovation,” he said.

“The older I am, the less and less I believe in international projects. Let the nations do it themselves, and they can be an example for the rest of the world. I think the United States will be first and then the rest of the world can copy and paste.”

A big issue in the SCADA and critical infrastructure security world when it comes to regulation and standards is that in most countries, the government doesn’t own any of these systems; they’re all in the hands of private companies. Tom Ridge, the former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and former governor of Pennsylvania, said during a keynote at the summit Tuesday that, at least in the United States, that presents a major obstacle.

“The government has no critical infrastructure of its own. It relies on the private sector for that, and when it goes down, the government goes down,” Ridge said. “National security and economic security are intertwined.”

The critical infrastructure networks in the U.S. are prime targets for attackers, as is the case in other countries, but Kaspersky said the U.S. likely is at the top of the target list for skilled attackers.

“It’s very difficult to compare who is better protected. The U.S. is the most developed IT country in the world,” he said. “It has many more SCADA systems than any other country, so the U.S. is the biggest target. But it also has the most resources. So which nation is better protected, the one with all of the systems and resources or the one with fewer systems and is a smaller target?”

The bad news is that attackers likely won’t discriminate. Attackers take what they can get, usually regardless of geographic location or ownership. But Kaspersky said he has confidence that the market ultimately will provide an answer to the problem of critical infrastructure security.

“If you have many competing companies there’s much more chance that one of these will come up with something innovative. I vote for competition. I believe in a world that has independent and competing businesses,” he said. “There’s a much better chance that the right answer will be found much faster.”

Like Apple’s TouchID, Galaxy S5 Vulnerable to Fingerprint Hack

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 15:03

Researchers published a video this week demonstrating how Samsung’s latest entry in the smartphone arena, the Galaxy S5, is vulnerable to a hack that involves lifting and copying fingerprints to trick the phone’s biometric sensor.

Much like the Apple iPhone 5S, the smartphone, which first hit the market last week, boasts a fingerprint scanner as an added layer of security.

Now the same research outfit that was able to hack the iPhone’s 5S’s Touch ID feature last year, Germany’s Security Research Labs (SRLabs), has managed to bypass a similar feature on the Galaxy S5. Like the iPhone hack the Galaxy hack relies on the attackers using a mold of a fingerprint; or in this case a lab-manufactured wood glue replica of a print, to carry out their attack.

In a video posted Tuesday the researchers claim their method allows for “seemingly unlimited authentication attempts without ever requiring a password.”

While this may sound like a pretty farfetched exploit vector – a user would have to have the Finger Scanner set up on this exact brand of phone and an attacker would have to go through the trouble of creating the fingerprint replica – as the folks from SRLabs note, it could have implications for those who use the new fingerprint scan feature on PayPal’s Android app.

That app allows users to transfer funds using their fingerprint as a biometric authenticator, meaning that if an attacker had access to your phone, and one of these fingerprint molds, they’d be able to make purchases and unsolicited money transfers from the account.

In the video the researchers demonstrate how an attacker could wire himself money via PayPal from a person’s debit account. Using the fingerprint replica it takes three swipes for PayPal to recognize the bogus fingerprint, but according to the researcher, attackers could be allowed “multiple attempts to make a successful swipe with this spoof.”

In a statement released by the company this week PayPal downplayed the issue, claiming they were taking SRLabs’ findings seriously but were confident that its app is still “easier and more secure” than using passwords or credit cards. PayPal added that it could simply deactivate cryptographic keys associated with fingerprints on accounts from lost or stolen devices and allow users to make a new one.

The company added that in the unlikely occurrence that one of its users gets duped by an attacker with one of these phony fingerprint scans, it will reimburse any losses they incur.

To use the S5’s fingerprint scanner, the phone requires users to swipe a finger eight times over the home button. The user can then use that fingerprint to lock their screen, verify their Samsung account or authenticate their PayPal account.

A number of critics have been vocal against using fingerprints as a biometric authentication measure for years now. Some of those voices, including researchers from the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) and SRLabs, have pointed out that whenever a fingerprint gets stolen, there’s no way to change it and that it’s easy to lift users’ fingerprints off of items, including their personal devices.

Still though, fingerprint spoofs, known in some circles as ‘fake fingers’ are not easy to produce. CCC hacker Starbug, who was famously the first to break Apple’s TouchID last fall, used a high resolution image of a fingerprint with latex to produce his.

“This demonstrates—again—that fingerprint biometrics is unsuitable as [an] access control method and should be avoided,” the CCC said in September.