Although I haven’t had the chance to play with her myself (does that sound wrong?), Siri seems like an awesome addition to the iPhone. It’s worth pointing out, however, that it is still possible to use Siri when the iPhone is locked – presumably for convenient ease-of-use. Unfortunately this means that anyone with physical access to your phone can access information including contacts, calendar items, SMS/iMessages, and also make calls and send emails or messages from you.
[Update] There have been a whole bunch of people crying about how this is a major security flaw. Just to dispel some of the myth… this is not a security flaw, it’s a design decision that Apple made based on usability. Yes, it’s a default setting that may introduce some vulnerabilities, but then again there are still lots of people who run around without passcodes. To be honest I’m usually the first to secure the hell out of everything, but in this case I feel they made the right decision for two reasons. First, Siri is obviously less useful as a hands-free assistant if you need to unlock your phone every time; and secondly making it easier to use will help drive the adoption of Siri.
Luckily Apple thought of this on at least two levels. First, if you ask Siri to unlock your iPhone she’ll respectfully tell you that she “can’t unlock your phone for you”. Secondly – and this is the important one – it is possible to disable the use of Siri when the iPhone is locked. The option now lives in Settings > General > Passcode Lock, where you can set Siri to Off.
Needless to say (contrary to the screenshot), I recommend setting ‘Require Passcode’ to Immediately, turn Simple Passcode off so you can set a 5-or-more-digit PIN, set ‘Siri’ to off to prevent access when your iPhone is locked, and turn on Erase Data after 10 failed passcode attempts.
Siri is great, but let’s not make it easy for someone to social-engineer her into betraying you. See my other post for more details on protecting your iPhone from loss and theft.
In other news… you can tell Siri to use a specific nickname when talking to you. It’s important to note, however, that the nickname will be put into your VCard. So be careful if you tell her to call you her pimp, and then send someone your contact details ;)
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.
Before making the switch from MobileMe to iCloud last week, I was looking around for posts about iCloud’s new webmail and didn’t find any. As I’d just installed the iOS 5 GM on my iPhone, I was eager to get iCloud going as well to get a head start, but wanted to investigate the iCloud services first. I didn’t find any useful posts, but made the switch anyway. Seeing as iCloud will be free to all users now, I thought I’d give you a heads up into what you can expect!
CloudFlare’s newly announced IPv6 support brings much more than just the ability to provide their caching and security features to IPv6-based websites. A few weeks ago CloudFlare co-founder Matthew Prince cryptically announced that they were working on a new groundbreaking feature. Whilst IPv6 is a great addition, IPv6 support alone is not what makes this new feature as cool as it is.
The main issue with IPv6 today is not the fact that ISP’s haven’t made the switch yet – this will be a fairly simple process – but rather that most websites themselves don’t yet support IPv6. This is one of the main reasons why ISPs don’t want to go full IPv6 – most content would be inaccessible to their customers. What CloudFlare have done is to make all current IPv4 CloudFlare-enabled sites accessible to IPv6-only clients, even if those websites don’t have IPv6 addresses. Because CloudFlare acts as a proxy, they simply add their own IPv6 address to the DNS of CloudFlare-enabled sites, allowing them to receive requests for those sites. Now all they have to do is serve up exactly the same cached content, and for everything else, proxy the request over onto IPv4. To make things even better, it works both ways, allowing IPv4-only clients to access IPv6-only websites, and vice-versa.
CloudFlare allows you can choose between two options: Full Mode which will enable IPv6 on all subdomains that are CloudFlare-enabled, or Safe Mode which will automatically create specific IPv6-only subdomains (e.g. www.ipv6.yoursite.com). You do not need to change any of your DNS settings. After it is up and running, you can test your IPv6 compatibility and get a badge for your site (mine’s at the bottom of the page).
I was able to take part in CloudFlare’s beta for this new feature and it works great. As you can see from the Security Generation host information below, on top of CloudFlare’s two IPv4 IPs, they’ve now added two IPv6 IPs.
securitygeneration.com has address 126.96.36.199
securitygeneration.com has address 188.8.131.52
securitygeneration.com has IPv6 address 2400:cb00:2048:1::adf5:3c63
securitygeneration.com has IPv6 address 2400:cb00:2048:1::c71b:8720
The IPv6 transition can now go ahead… Security Generation will be available when we get there ;)
As of today all CloudFlare members can now enable IPv6 support on the Settings page for the relevant domain(s). To enable ‘Automatic IPv6′ on your site, log in to CloudFlare.com > My websites > Settings (pull down menu) > CloudFlare Settings > Automatic IPv6: On.
Hit the jump to see CloudFlare’s funky new IPv6 infographic.
The Defence in Depth blog has a post about a flaw in Lion’s redesigned authentication mechanisms and Directory Services. In short, it is possible to change the password of the currently logged in user by simply running the following command in the terminal, and it won’t ask you for the user’s current password:
$ dscl localhost -passwd /Search/Users/<username>
In Lion it is also easy to dump a user’s SHA-512 password hash using the following command:
$ dscl localhost -read /Search/Users/<username>
Then look for the dsAttrTypeNative:ShadowHashData chunk in the output (sample below). The hex string in red is the salt, and the green is the hash.
62706c69 73743030 d101025d 53414c54 45442d53 48413531 324f1044 74911f72 3bd2f66a 3255e0af 4b85c639 776d510b 63f0b939 c432ab6e 082286c4 7586f19b 4e2f3aab 74229ae1 24ccb11e 916a7a1c 9b29c64b d6b0fd6c bd22e7b1 f0ba1673 080b1900 00000000 00010100 00000000 00000300 00000000 00000000 00000000 000060
Cracking password hashes can be done using his custom Python script, or John the Ripper (with the Jumbo patch). Note that even if someone manages to obtain your password hash, if you’re using a strong password it will be extremely difficult for them to recover it. Seems like both of these are important but fairly low-risk flaws introduced into Lion. Hopefully Apple will look into these for the next update.
[Update 1] While waiting for an Apple-supplied security update, it is possible to protect yourself from this vulnerability by adjusting the permissions on dscl:
sudo chmod go-x /usr/bin/dscl
This makes it so that only root can execute dscl. To revert this simply run:
sudo chmod go+x /usr/bin/dscl
[Update 2] This vulnerability was patched in Mac OS X 10.7.2.
The Pwnie Express (PwnPlug) is a purpose-built penetration testing device in a plug form factor. A key feature is its ability to exfiltrate from a network and connect back to your SSH server using HTTP, SSL, ICMP or DNS tunnels. Check out my tutorial on how to hack your Pwnie to make untraceable reverse SSH connections over Tor.
There are a number of steps required to set up the computer on which the Pwnie’s reverse SSH connections will be received (setting up the listeners). To simplify and automate this process, I’ve put them together into a set of very simple bash scripts. I’m hoping to turn two of these into a proper init.d script, but haven’t yet had the time. The PwnieScripts set contains the following five bash scripts, and are designed to be used on BackTrack 5 (although they can easily be adapted to work on any other distro):
- pwnsetup.sh: Automates the Pwnie Express setup process by enabling SSHD, generating SSH keys, creating a ‘pwnplug’ user, installing HTTPTunnel, generating an SSL certificate, configuring stunnel, and configuring DNS2TCP.
- pwnstart.sh: Kills any existing listeners, and then starts SSHD as well as new HTTPTunnel, stunnel (SSL tunnel), DNS2TCP (DNS tunnel) and ptunnel (ICMP tunnel) listeners.
- pwnwatch.sh: One-line script to monitor netstat for incoming connections from Pwnie Express.
- pwnconnect.sh: aka. the Lazy Script – initiates an SSH connection to the first available established connection from Pwnie Express, so you don’t have to check which ones are active. It’ll use the more secure/relible ones first (SSL, HTTP) where available. Use the -t flag to only connect over Tor.
- pwnstop.sh: Kills all existing HTTPTunnel, stunnel, DNS2TCP and ptunnel listener processses.
Download PwnieScripts (tgz 4kb)
v0.1: Initial release.
Today is a sad day. Steve Jobs, the man who founded Apple and single-handedly turned the company back around and redefined the music and mobile computing industry, has announced his resignation as CEO. Steve has been an inspiration to me for as long as I can remember, and his vision and attention to detail has defined a generation and brought us products that are, without a doubt, insanely great. Unfortunately Steve has struggled with health issues over the past few years, and I wish him all the best. I’m very happy to see him continue as part of Apple as Chairman of the Board. Here is Steve’s press release:
PRESS RELEASE: Letter from Steve Jobs
August 24, 2011–To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
As far as Apple goes, well, it’s always difficult to know what the company will do, but it’s safe to say that they’re in the most stable and dominant position they’ve ever been. Although Steve was the visionary, he’s had a rock solid team of executives working with him, and I’m sure that his succession plan was developed to leave Apple in the best possible situation. Apple has already announced Tim Cook as his successor, and Steve being elected to Chairman of the Board. In my opinion Tim will be a solid CEO, and proved to be extremely capable during Steve’s previous absence; I just hope he also shares some of Steve’s creative vision.
Apple stocks crashed nearly 5% in after-hours trading, which is to be expected. As the world has been aware of Steve’s medical condition for a while now, his resignation did not come as too much of a shock, otherwise the drop would’ve been far more significant. Apple has strong fundamentals, and an excellent performance capped off by a massive cash store. If the stock does drop, it will be very short lived as investors realise that the company is as solid as ever. Not to mention that Apple’s roadmap is more or less fixed for the next two years anyway.
Again, Steve I wish you all the best, get well soon, and welcome to Tim as the new leader of what will continue to be a source of innovation for years to come! I look forward to reading Steve’s official biography. Hit the jump for Apple’s full press release.
There was a lot of attention given to yesterday’s news of Passware Kit Forensic v11 being able to extract your Lion login password if your computer was locked or sleeping, even with FileVault turned on. It’s worth pointing out that not only is this old news (from 2006), it isn’t even a vulnerability specific to Mac OS X, but rather a vulnerability introduced on computers with FireWire (or iLink) ports. The FireWire specification provides external devices with the interesting ability to interact directly with system memory (without going through the OS). While in theory this could open up interesting uses, in reality it just enables vulnerabilies due to the fact that a computer’s live memory can be used to extract data or manipulate parameters. Windows systems are vulnerable to this attack too, and there are tools (eg. winlockpwn) that exist that allow an attacker to unlock a locked Windows machine, or dump its memory, just by plugging into it via FireWire/iLink.
This flaw definitely has security and privacy implications, but only if the attacker is able to get physical access to your computer. As I’ve pointed out on a number of occasions, if someone gets phsysical access to your computer, it’s game over. Even without a FireWire port, techniques such as the Cold Boot Attack may allow an attacker to recover passwords or decryption keys from live memory. Until Apple completely phases out FireWire in favour of Thunderbolt, this will continue to be an issue to be aware of. Thunderbolt itself, although not fully tested, may yet be found to have some similar issues; although I’m hoping Apple/Intel will have learnt from past mistakes.
There’s not a huge amount you can do to protect yourself apart from:
- Disable automatic login, and shut down your computer when you don’t plan on using it (especially if you’re going to be away from it for a while). Note that for this to really be effective, you’ll need to enable FileVault as well – otherwise the attacker will be able to access your unencrypted HD.
- Block your FireWire port with epoxy – or destroy it altogether.