Security News (92 Posts)

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New iOS Security attack, this time it looks bad!

Another attack on the iOS security has been published today and there are two recurring themes to the attacks I described in previous posts, namely: weaknesses with the Keychain and iOS encryption implementation.

But this time they have been used differently and seem to provide an attacker access to any passwords stored on an iOS device, even if it is passcode protected.
One main difference in this attack, is that the attacker would only requires the iOS devices and nothing else (as opposed to the relevant synced PC with previous attacks).

It also seems to prove Zdiarski’s concerns over the iOS encryption controls to be true.
The attack used some jailbreaking techniques to access the iOS device boot/ram, bypassing the passcode and using the OS to run a script to access the local keychain and all the passwords it may contain (email, VPN, web apps, etc)
It seems that the encrypted data is not linked to the user passcode, which means that if someone ca...
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A Case Study, when Standard Security Certifications are not always your friend!

When reviewing security products you often find they have some sort of Standard Security Certifications which should garantee a certain level of security.
Some certifications ensure adequate security controls are in place for audits, operational models, physical security, cryptography modules, etc.

The benefit of those certifications is that it should save you times and money to ensure some security requirements are met, they can also be used in contrat binding security controls, i.e.: you must comply with ISO XXXX.

There is however a drawback, an increasing number of vendors now hide behind those certifications and thus provide very little details about their security controls.
Likewise, many companies do not look further than a certification name on a paper to pass its security requirement reviews.

This is where the problem lies, how many Security professionals actually know what having such certifications actually means? to what part of the vendorR...
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The increasing risk of 3G+ network within the corporate world

I remember a time where access to the internet from the work place was only available from a couple of “Internet Stations” and where the Internal company network was just that, Internal with no external links! At that time, to get around those controls, one could set up dial up/ADSL lines under his desk and it was deemed as a risk to the Internal Network integrity from within the company’s premises. This was not widespread and required a specific intent to bypass the company’s network policy.

Then came Wi-Fi and hotspots started to flourish everywhere, often basic security was forgotten, such as not bridging it to the Internal Network or not enforcing adequate access controls. It was, and still is, deemed as a risk to the company’s network integrity. Although this is a more widespread practise there are controls in place and detection mechanisms to remediate the related security risks.

Both are examples of uncontrolled access to company res...
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Follow-up on Apple iOS Full Disk Encryption

Regarding my previous post I wanted to mitigate some of the risks I was describing.
In a nutshell, it is bad, but not that bad! :)

Escrow keybag
There is indeed a forensic issue with the escrow keybag feature, but because it requires the attacker to have both the targeted mobile device and the computer used to sync it with, That attacker would first need to break the computer’s security to access its filesystem.

Because that computer is used to sync the mobile device, most of the information it contains is likely to be on the computer as well.
For example, email accounts are likely to have been setup both on the computer and the mobile device, office files are likely to have been created on the computer, etc.

Therefore gaining access to the computer’s filesystem is likely to already give you access to most of the mobile device’s data.
Having said that, there is no garantee it will always be the case and some i...
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Apple and their elusive Full Disk Encryption solution

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Full Disk Encryption Attacks

Although 3 years old, this is a good article and a link to a paper about coldboot attack against full disk encryption technology.

In a nutshell, it is related to data not being encrypted when stored in RAM and although it is volatile: “from 2.5 to 35 seconds to reach a Null State” when switched off, it can be recovered with a few techniques such as dropping the RAM temperature to slow down that “null state” or booting up the device through a very small kernel OS so only a small portion of the RAM is over written through a USB device for example.

What makes this attack even more powerful is that a lot of information “derived from the encryption keys” are stored in RAM, usually to speedup calculations.
The author then warn those attacks would be very difficult to prevent without a radical change in hardware architecture or “overhaul of the encryption process itself”.

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Cellular Network Attacks

A few websites have been running a story today on an upcoming attack announcement/demo in next week black hat conference.

Instead of targeting the OS or a specific app, that attack would target bugs directly in a component used to send and receive calls, a baseband chip. Although technically it is still a software attack, the code used to control that chip, it would bypass any security measures in place at the OS level, and would especially be out of Apple/Google control. Such attack could be used to intercept calls or spy on a phone user by activating its phone microphone…

But then surely you would also need to find a bug in the microphone chip? Or elevate your privilege at the OS level from the baseband chip bug?
Anyway, eavesdropping on calls would at least be possible.

What makes this news interesting is both that duplicating a cell tower is becoming easier/cheaper (about $2k) and that you can’t secure and control everything, even in close sy...
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Android vs iOS Security

A sensitive topic but below is my initial view on the security offered by those two platforms.

My view is that Android, being a more open platform, offers more capabilities (flash, access to the root system, extension slots, etc). However, because of this it offers a less secured experience out of the box.

Apple, by not allowing certain technologies such as flash (flash security issues are endless) and by limiting access to its root system alsolimits its security exposure compare to android devices.

A very important security feature is then offered by the app store screening process. Although not perfect by any means, it still gets rid of obvious bad or flawed apps and protects iOS users further.

None of the devices are bulletproof and both suffered some security issues:
iOS: Worm on jail broken iPhone and phone lock bypass (fixed in iOS v4.2)
Android:Core libraries are open and apps can have deeper...
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The scary world of Social Media and geo tagging

As the saying goes, “it is never too late”, and it is only recently that I created a twitter account.
I was convinced to do so after attending a SANS training course (more on that soon) where the instructor told us twitter was the best way to keep up to date and in touch with a great online security community.

I am not new to social media, but after “playing” with twitter for a few days I am both impressed and concerned!

Impressed because it is slick and indeed a great way to follow up some topics and keep in touch.
Concerned because it is a mine gold for wanna be thief!

It has been well publicized that people share far too much information on Facebook, information that can sometimes be used against them (by employers, people who dislike you, ex lovers, etc).
I feel however the micro blogging format of twitter invites more its users at describing and sharing mundane information such as what you eat, what you think, what you ...
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PS3 Hacked and Cryptography

The recent hack on PS3 where the private key used by Sony to sign their games has been recovered is of course a very bad news for Sony. It finishes to open the door to piracy which started in January 2010. In theory, anyone could now sign (pirated) software to run natively on the PS3.

It is a case of badly implemented cryptography algorithm, in that case, the use a proprietary signing algorithm with a faulty random generator.
Crypto 101 says to NEVER use proprietary/secret algorithms. Now Sony’s will pay the price for not listening :)
The PS3 hack story is a great example of badly implemented cryptography which is as important as the choice of the security controls used to protect an asset.

BBC NEWS ARTICLE

The start of an answer from Sony, which seems to indicate they did not grasp the severity of the issue when first announced about a week ago
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