All News (124 Posts)

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Distributed Credential Protection

RSA recently announced their Distributed Credential Protection (DCP) technology which should help address the impact of passwords leakage/theft when the system where they are stored gets compromised. They accomplish that by splitting up stored credentialsacrossdifferent systems.

In its current implementation it uses 2 servers. 1 server (BLUE) stores the password XOR to a random number and another server (RED) stores that random number.
When a user wants to authenticate it uses his password to XOR it with his own Random number. It then sends the transformed password to the BLUE server and the new random number to the RED server.
The BLUE and RED servers then compare the stored password with the one the user just provided. At this stage, I guess it must communicate to the RED server to get the corresponding random numbers.

This process is given an overview >>[READ MORE]


Wipe out/Factory Reset some Android’s phones

According to this FRENCH WEBSITE, a major security vulnerability has been disclosed at the Ekoparty 2012Security Conferencewhich affects some android handsets. It it is possible to reset those affected handsets to factory default settings and in the process wipe out all data.This vulnerability exploits a “secret” code that can be used to trigger the factory reset automatically, without asking any confirmation from the user. That code is:*2767*3855#

There are different methods known to date to push that code onto those handsets:

– SMS in Wap Push mode (where the user would have to click on a link)

– QR Code

– NFC Protocol

Or… if users go to some websites where either

<frame src="tel:*2767*3855%23" />... 
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A Physical Solution to a Software Problem

Thinkst is a small security organisation and one of its member recently published a post on their blog regarding the security of an encrypted USB drive. One of his friend lost the password to his USB Freecom Self Encrypted Drive (SED) drive and one of the protection in place was the need to power cycle the hard drive after every 5 bad attempts. This meant a brute force attack was impossible due to the time to plug/unplug the device.

Here comesingenuity, although the author call this a “lame hack”, I actually really like it as he thought outside the box (pun intended). He basically build a new controller to automatically power cycle the drive, and managed to find the lost password after 500 attempts.

I don’t do electronics and am always impressed when hack...
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MD5 Security Flaws

In case you were in any doubts about the security flaws of MD5, in recent days, 2 implementations of MD5 have been shown to have severe security issues.

1) The md5crypt password scrambler used in many Unix based distributions has been deemed as “unsafe” by its author (in fact this has been known for some time now).

2) MD5 collisions were used in the recent Flame malware to bypass Microsoft Update signature certificates.

The sole use of MD5 as a security vector must be avoided.

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An interesting timeline representation of the CloudFlare’s hack

CloudFlare is an interesting young company, a few years old, as introduced in this Bloomberg article. Although it is tempting to just describe it as being similar to Akamaibecauseit provides web acceleration and DOS protection through the use of a Content Distributed Network (CDN), it is also different. As explained by its founder, Matthew Price, it can understand, analyse and protect all requests to a website, not just a subset. It also has a different price model starting with a free offering and generally being much less expensive than the competition even with its pro/business/enterprise options.

In a nutshell, CloudFlare appears to be a service that can help optim...
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Flame and the DEB93D trail

In the last few weeks there has been a lot of noise about what looks like the latest State sponsored malware, Flame. You can find a lot of information about it from Kaspersky and also from the CrySyS lab who seems to have done some parallel investigation and call it differently (sKyWIper).

This malware is quite interesting for several reasons:
1) It seems to focus on stealing information rather than being directly disruptive.
2) It has been active for 5+ years and has remained undetected until now.
3) It has an option to delete itself, but in doing so leaves one file. a ~DEB93D.tmp file.
4) It is modular and can/has been used to intercept Microsoft update using fake certificates t...
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Apple in Denial

Note: Many of the security articles I have written about Apple on this blog are negative and the reader could think I do not like Apple. This is actually very far from the truth, I am a big Apple fan; but I am also a security professional and I do not agree with their overall security strategy.

The title of this post is inspired directly from an Article I read on ZDnet, discussing the latest security threat that infected an estimated half a million Mac with malware: “BackDoor.Flashback.39″.

Mac Trojans are evolving and becoming more frequent, last August a Mac Trojan (Bash/Qhost.WB)was found in a fake Flash updater that once installed would redirect google search results to “bad sites”, then in September another Mac Trojan ( >>[READ MORE]


Satellite phones encryption attacked

About a month ago, Arts Technica ran an article about the encryption standards used by satellite phones that have been broken.

This is yet another exemple of a proprietary encryption system which appears to have been weakly designed and implemented.
Although they have only been able to break the communication from the Satellite to the phone and not the other way around, it should still be of concern for anyone using those phones to transmit sensitive information without additional security.
Even if the audio codec still needs to be reversed engineered, this should be the easy part of this attack!

Someone is likely to get a great PhD as the paper exposing this issuewas co-written by such student.

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Windows 8 Picture Password, great but…

After looking at the new features listed for Windows 8, one in particular caught my attention: The Picture Password Login.
It is a very refreshing approach to authentication!

You are presented with a photo at log in and instead of entering a password, you have to touch the image according to the “allowed” touch sequence you registered your user with. In some respect it is similar to the existing gesture based authentication mechanisms you can find on some smartphones (anyone remember that feature on the Palm V?!), but I think it is taken to the next step.
Microsoft is maybe trying to do to passwords what Apple did to the Walkman.

By providing you with a photo of your choice (i.e.: your own family picture), and a restricted number of gestures (point, draw a line and circle) it is easier to remember a sequence, more natural and more personal. For exemple, you would circle the head of your best friend, touch the feet of your child and stroke your dog&...
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John Nash on Cryptography

John Nash is a famous mathematician whose life inspired the Hollywood movie “A beautiful Mind”. However, summerizing his life through that light hearted movie would be very inadequate!

So, this genius mathematician who worked in game theory, differential geometry, and partial differential equations as well as winning a Nobel Prize in 1994 appears to also have had some great insights into modern cryptography… back in the 1950s!

As seen in this article, NSA recently released a series of documents related to letters/conversationa between the NSA and Nash in 1955, where the mathematician made an unsuccessful but noted attempt to communicate his own take on a crypto machine.

If anything, reading at the hand written...
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