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Posts from the ‘Updates’ Category

27
Nov

Honeyport Script Dome9 Blacklist TTL Update

Dome9 just introduced the ability to set a time-to-live (TTL) option for blacklisted IPs, something I may have bugged them for about once or twice! This is nice as it allows items on your blacklist to expire after a pre-determined amount of time instead of living on in perpetuity. It’s particularly beneficial when you run something like my Honeyport that can end up blacklisting over 400 unique IPs in about two months — it saves having to go in and manually remove blacklisted IPs periodically.

I’ve updated my Honeyport script to include the option to set a TTL on blacklisted IPs when using Dome9. Note this doesn’t yet work when using IPtables as it doesn’t have an easy TTL-style option for rules. This functionality for IPtables is on my TODO list.

Check out honeyport-0.2.sh here!

10
Jun

iPhone and iPad Activation Lock Coming in iOS 7

iOS 7 LogoThose of you who have been diligent in securing your iOS devices with passcodes, wiping and Find My iPhone, just to have a thief restore your device and keep on going – well – your prayers have been answered. Coming in iOS 7 is a great feature called ‘Activation Lock’.

activation_lock

With Activation Lock enabled, even if your iPhone or iPad is restored to its factory settings, the user will need to activate the device using the Apple ID of the previous user. Also, if the device was put into Lost Mode in Find My iPhone, the lock screen will continue to display the fact that it is lost until the device is activated.

This is a hugely useful feature that, if used properly, will make iPhones and iPads a significantly less attractive target to thieves, as the stolen devices would be rendered useless to them. It was nice to see Apple address one of the main concerns that users have been expressing about the bypass-ability of Find My iPhone. Check out Protecting and Recovering Your iPhone and iPad from Loss and Theft (will be updated soon with this new feature).

 

21
Oct

iPad Lock Screen Bypass Vulnerability using Smart Cover [Patched]

Marc Gurman at 9to5Mac has discovered a vulnerability on the iPad that allows for a limited bypass of the device’s lockscreen. Anyone with an iPad Smart Cover (or fridge magnet) can gain access to the previously-open app (or the home screen if no app was open).

By holding the power button to bring up the ‘Power Off’ screen, closing the smart cover, re-opening it (or just sliding a fridge magnet along the right-hand side of the device), and clicking cancel, the attacker will be dropped into the screen that was open before the iPad was locked. If the attacker gets dropped into the home screen, then they’ll be able to see the installed apps, but won’t be able to open anything. If Safari or Mail (or any other app) was the open when the device was locked, then the attacker would have access to that app.

Unlike Siri being available from the lock screen, which is not a security flaw (an unintended behaviour), this one actually is; and although an attacker does not get full control of the iPad, the severity depends on whether a sensitive app was being used before the device was locked.

Luckily it is possible to protect yourself against this bug in the interim by disabling Smart Covers in Settings > General > iPad Cover Lock/Unlock > Off. Expect Apple to patch this in iOS 5.0.1. Check out 9to5′s video below for a demonstration:

[Update] Apple did indeed patch this bug in iOS 5.0.1. Those of you who disabled your Smart Covers for security purposes can now re-enable them!

13
Oct

Apple Releases Slew of Security Updates (OSX, Safari, iTunes, iOS 5, aTV)

I wasn’t going to post about last week’s fairly significant iTunes update, but then Apple went and patched a whole bunch of vulnerabilities across the board. Some of these are fairly significant so I thought I would provide a short breakdown of the changes. Either way, you should definitely be patching all of your Apple devices and software tonight.

Hit the jump for a summary of the key vulnerabilities patched in Apple’s security updates.

Read moreRead more

10
Sep

Security Update 2011-005 Fixes DigiNotar SSL Vulnerability

Apple has finally issued Security Update 2011-005 to address the recent issues around compromised Dutch certificate authority DigiNotar. It was discovered that at least 531 fraudulent SSL certificates were issued by DigiNotar, leading to their root certificate being revoked in all major operating systems and browsers over the past two weeks. A man-in-the-middle attacker in possession of one of these certs (eg. Google, Skype), would be able to intercept SSL-encrypted traffic to those sites. It is believed that the use of these fraudulent certs may have been limited to the Iranian government.

This patch removes the DigiNotar CA from the trusted root certificates in the Mac OS X keychain (which is also used by Safari) for Lion and Snow Leopard. Unfortunately no patch has been issued for Leopard (10.5) users, leaving them at a heightened risk from these bad certificates. It is recommended that Leopard users delete the DigiNotar CA certificate from the Keychain using the following steps:

  1. Open Keychain Access (/Applications/Utilities/Keychain Access)
  2. Click on the System Roots keychain in the top-left hand panel
  3. Click on Certificates in the bottom-left hand panel
  4. Type DigiNotar into the search field in the top right.
  5. Right-click on the DigiNotar Root CA, and select Delete.
For sysadmins, the following Terminal command achieves the same thing:
# sudo /usr/bin/security delete-certificate -Z C060ED44CBD881BD0EF86C0BA287DDCF8167478C /System/Library/Keychains/SystemRootCertificates.keychain

Firefox users should update to the latest version of Firefox. Here is the full Apple description for this update:

Security Update 2011-005

  • Certificate Trust Policy Available for: Mac OS X v10.6.8, Mac OS X Server v10.6.8, OS X Lion v10.7.1, Lion Server v10.7.1Impact: An attacker with a privileged network position may intercept user credentials or other sensitive information

    Description: Fraudulent certificates were issued by multiple certificate authorities operated by DigiNotar. This issue is addressed by removing DigiNotar from the list of trusted root certificates, from the list of Extended Validation (EV) certificate authorities, and by configuring default system trust settings so that DigiNotar’s certificates, including those issued by other authorities, are not trusted.

27
Jul

Key iOS Security Updates Patch PDF and Certificate Validation Vulnerabilities (4.3.4 and 4.3.5)

The two latest iOS updates are fairly significant in that they patch two critical vulnerabilities. iOS update 4.3.4 patched a number of bugs including comex’s PDF/FreeType vulnerability used to create the latest JailbreakMe exploit. If you’re a jailbreaker, it’s essential that you run comex’s ‘PDF Patcher 2′ within Cydia, in order to patch the underlying vulnerability. iOS update 4.3.5 released a couple days ago, patches a fairly significant bug in the way iOS validates SSL/TLS certificates. This vulnerability can allow an attacker to intercept and/or modify data protected within an SSL session without the user knowing it. This was possible to due the fact that iOS didn’t validate the basicContstrains parameter of SSL certificates in the chain.

If you’re only an occasional patcher – now is the time.

24
Jul

OS X Lion Released, Brings Improved Security

As you will know by now, Apple has release Lion (OSX 10.7) to the orgasmic jubilation of Mac fans everywhere. Ok, perhaps I exaggerate, but Lion was probably the most anticipated release of OSX since Leopard. Critics will argue that the number of major new features are limited, but in my opinion it’s the refinements that make Lion a great update. And for what it’s worth, the Mac App Store update process went perfectly smoothly on my iMac.

Most importantly, however, are the security improvements that Apple have made to the OS. Leopard and Snow Leopard already had some of these features, but they were not fully developed. In Lion, it seems, many of those issues have been fixed. In fact Lion has been said by several security researchers to now offer superior security over competing operating systems. I’ve said for a while that Apple will wait until OSX is really stable before properly addressing security. It appears Lion is the start.

I’ll start off with the most user-visible security features:

  1. FileVault 2: Whereas FileVault on Snow Leopard only encrypted users’ home folders (using disk images), leaving the System and Applications vulnerable to attack, Lion now has true block-level Full Disk Encryption (XTS-AES 128 algorithm). FileVault 2 also supports full disk encryption of external USB and FireWire drives. One key new feature is Lion’s “Instant Wipe”, which will allow you to wipe the hard-drive should your computer fall into the wrong hands. Similar to iOS devices, this may tie in to the new Find My Mac functionality.
  2. Privacy Controls: Apple has sprinkled around some additional privacy controls, giving the user more say in how their data is stored or used. There’s now full control of which applications can make use of the Location Services features of OSX.
  3. Apple ID Authentication: This is an interesting feature that makes it easier for users to share content with others. Normally actions like Screen Sharing and File Sharing require the connecting user to have an account on the system. Now, you can simply add their Apple ID as an authorised account to give them selective access. It will be interesting to test how this actually works in practice.
  4. Application Sandboxing: Lion’s sandboxing capability has been greatly improved. Safari, for example, has been updated to include sandboxing, meaning that website content loads in a separate process with limited functionality. This help prevent malicious websites from gaining access to the underlying system. Apple is encouraging third party software developers to start sandboxing their applications.
  5. Full ASLR: This is a big one. Address Space Layout Randomization is a technique to make exploitation of vulnerabilities more difficult by not using fixed memory addresses for key data areas. In Snow Leopard, ASLR was half-baked and essentially broken. In Lion, it appears that Apple have finally implemented full ASLR (covering 32 and 64-bit application), although how well is yet to be fully determined. Either way this will present an additional barrier to exploits.
All in all, some significant improvements over Snow Leopard. The security push isn’t over yet, however, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a bit more from Apple as OSX develops. This doesn’t mean vulnerabilities won’t be found in OSX, but it will make it that much harder for workable exploits to be developed. I anticipate we’ll start seeing a lot more vulndev attention being committed to OSX this year.
8
Jul

Mac OS X “Lion” and the Dangers of Restoring from a Partition

With the release of Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion”, Apple is changing the way we’ll be doing system upgrades. Lion will only be available to Snow Leopard users electronically through the Mac App Store, and thus it will no longer be possible to purchase a physical install DVD. Before I go into the intended topic of this post, allow me to <rant> about how I’m not too keen on this decision. As a result, it’s no longer possible to install OSX on Macs that don’t have an internet connection (yes, these do exist!). Even for those who do, many don’t have very fast internet connections, or may have extremely low usage caps. I know that UK internet providers still offer entry-level packages 5Mbit lines and stupidly low 1-5 GB monthly limits. Lion is likely to be about 4GBs in size. Oh, you want to install OSX on more than one Mac? Suuure, just download the 4GB install package on each Mac.</rant> You get the point…

The real thing I wanted to talk about is Apple’s solution to system re-installation or recovery, and specifically the security implications thereof. Installing Lion will cause it to create a small ‘recovery’ partition on your primary drive, which is essentially a partition equivalent of an install DVD. If you have a problem with your main OSX partition, and need to run repair utilities or reinstall, you just boot from the recovery partition. Sounds really useful actually, as you don’t need to worry about having a DVD handy. But where this solution brings ease-of-use and convenience, it also brings some security risks.

Although Mac OS X is still largely unaffected by malware, the winds of change are indeed upon us, and it’s unrealistic to assume the Mac will remain virus-free forever. As viruses get more complex they find ever-improving ways of making themselves persistent on a system. There are countless examples of Master Boot Record viruses on Windows where the only sure-fire solution is to completely wipe the hard drive and reinstall from CD/DVD. Because once your system is infected, good security practice forces you to assume that any file or executable is compromised. So, how does this affect a bootable recovery partition? If I were a virus writer, I’d make pretty darn sure that I infect a core installer file on the recovery partition so that any  installation will have my virus. The nice thing about DVDs is that even if you insert them into an infected computer, they can’t be changed, and so you have complete confidence (barring a very advanced/rare firmware virus) that wiping and reinstalling from DVD yields a fresh and clean install of your system. As a security professional, I don’t think I’ll be able to trust a recovery partition like that.

But wait, there’s more. Viruses are a concern, but if you’re a smart user they’re not really a problem. We can run anti-virus, disable Flash, Java and Javascript, etc, and as long as you browse safely and don’t open random executables you’ll be perfectly fine. What about an attacker with remote or physical access to your computer? If I remotely hack into someone’s Mac, either due to a vulnerability or a weak password, all I have to do is modify a few files in the existing system and the recovery partition, and boom, persistent back door! The user can reinstall OSX all they want… my back door will simply be reinstalled with it.

But wait, there’s more. Even if your computer is completely secure from remote attacks, the same goes for someone with physical access to your Mac. Now, as a disclaimer, I have to point out that anytime an attacker gets physical access to any computer it’s game over. Even if you use FileVault, I may not be able to log in to your computer (unless some kind of cold boot attack is still possible), but I can easily boot your computer from a USB stick (or remove your hard drive if you have a Firmware password), trojan your recovery partition and corrupt your primary boot partition (similar to an Evil Maid attack). What are you going to do? Reinstall Mac OS X from my trojaned recovery partition of course! It’s not like you have a choice.

Any system compromise can lead to the installation of a persistent backdoor for the lifetime of the recovery partition on that hard drive. I don’t want to sound overly critical; I am probably one of the most fervent Apple supporters you’ll ever meet (with good reasons too), but not to the extent it stops me from thinking about potential impacts. I appreciate that Apple is trying to make things easier for Joe User. Being able to download updates electronically is awesome, and I honestly believe many would take advantage of that (myself included), but users should be given the choice. Particularly in situations like this where not having a physical install medium can have an impact on both usability and security.

My guess (or maybe hope) is that if Apple is not going to sell install DVDs itself, we may be allowed to burn our own install DVDs after downloading Lion from the Mac App Store. Either way, it is fairly trivial to burn the Lion installer onto a DVD – but users shouldn’t have to (or sometimes can’t) resort to a hack like that. Take heed, Apple.

[Update 21/07/11] Ok, so Apple isn’t going to allow users to burn their own DVDs, but they have confirmed that Lion will be available on a mini USB drive in August (for $69).

1
Jun

Mac OS X Security Update 2011-003 adds MACDefender Protection [Updated]

Apple has released Security Update 2011-003 for Mac OS X 10.6 which updates the system’s built in ‘File Quarantine’ (aka. XProtect) mechanism to detect and remove OSX.MacDefender.A. More significantly, however, Apple has now enabled the ability for File Quarantine to receive daily updates to to its malware definition list, essentially giving Mac OS X a very simplistic built-in anti-virus. Now it’s just up to Apple to actually update the malware definitions list on a regular basis.

In System Preferences > Security > General, users can choose whether or not they want to “Automatically update safe downloads list”. I’m not sure “safe downloads list” is the best name for it however, as it doesn’t really help users understand what its purpose is. I highly recommend keeping this option checked. Note that the screenshot below is not a recommendation of what your preferences should look like, it’s merely highlighting the new option. For more into about configuring your Security settings check out Securing Leopard: Security, FileVault and Firewall (to be updated with this new setting shortly).

[Updated 01/06/2011] As I wholly expected, a new variant of MACDefender is already out in the wild that does not get detected by OSX’s File Quarantine. As File Quarantine is simply a blacklist of known malware, it does not have the ability to pick up on malware it doesn’t recognise. This will be a good test to see how quickly Apple responds and updates the File Quarantine definitions. If you installed the 2011-003 security update then your system is already set to check for new updates every 24 hours. Browse safe out there.

[Updated 02/06/2011] Apple has already updated the File Quarantine definitions for the latest MACDefender variant (OSX.MacDefender.C). Pretty good response time by Apple!

11
May

BackTrack 5 “Revolution” Released

The most popular security and penetration testing Linux distribution has been updated once again, this time built from scratch! BackTrack 5, codenamed “Revolution”, is based on Ubuntu Lucid LTS with kernel 2.6.38, and brings with it full 32 and 64-bit support, an ARM-compatible image, forensics and stealth modes, KDE (4.6) and Gnome (2.6) desktop environments, and (allegedly) over 350 updated security tools including Metasploit 3.7.0. Best of all it’s “aligned with industry methodologies”! Whatever that means ;)

It appears BackTrack 5 will only be available torrents for the time being. The torrents are available in the following flavours: Gnome ISO (32bit, 64bit, ARM img), Gnome 32-bit VMware Image, KDE ISO (32bit, 64bit). Here’s the BackTrack downloads page. Those of you wondering which flavour to get between Gnome and KDE, it’s largely dependent on one’s taste, but the BackTrack guys appear to be favouring Gnome (which was the default Ubuntu graphics environment). If you have no idea what to get, then grab the Gnome 32-bit ISO (or VMware image) using the links above. I recommend Transmission (Mac) or uTorrent (Mac/PC) for BitTorrent clients. For anyone who hasn’t used BT before, the default username and password is root/toor.

BackTrack is a great tool for network security specialists and penetration testers, but it’s an even more valuable resource for people looking at learning more about application and network security (and Linux). Although I do have an Ubuntu install, I tend to use BackTrack more often due to the convenience (when I’m not using OSX that is ;).

It’s not possible to upgrade from BT4r2 to BT5, so those of you with installations of BackTrack 4 will need to reinstall (or download the new VM).

Check out their shiny promotional video below!

[Updated] BackTrack 5 R2 is now available, and brings a new kernel and 42 new tools. You can update your existing BT5 (R1) installation by running:

echo “deb http://updates.repository.backtrack-linux.org revolution main microverse non-free testing” >> /etc/apt/sources.list

apt-get update

apt-get dist-upgrade

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