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Posts from the ‘Technology’ Category

8
Nov

Charlie Miller Discovers iOS Code-Signing Bypass Vulnerability

Security researcher Charlie Miller (@0xcharlie) has discovered a significant flaw in iOS which may allow a malicious app on the App Store to download and execute arbitrary unsigned code. What this means for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users is that installing a malicious app may allow an attacker to obtain shell access to your device, and download contacts or images.

Apple reviews every app submitted to the App Store, which has meant that iOS users have not had to worry about outright malware. Since this vulnerability allows the apps to fetch code remotely, they can perform actions not reviewed by the App Store staff. Charlie had submitted a proof-of-concept app that was approved (see video below), but has since been removed by Apple.

The reason this vulnerability works is based around some changes Apple made in iOS 4.3 last year, which allowed Mobile Safari to run javascript at a more privileged level on the devices. This change required Apple to make an exception for Safari to execute unsigned code in a particular area of memory. Charlie Miller’s bug is allegedly a very unique case that allows any app to take advantage of this, and hence run their own unsigned code.

Charlie will be presenting the vulnerability in detail at the SysCan conference in Taiwan next week. Apple has already released a developer beta of iOS 5.0.1 which patches the recent iPad Smart Cover lock screen bypass, but I would not be at all surprised if they release another beta which includes a fix for this bug. Until then, be careful to only install apps from developers you trust.

[Update] Apple has kicked Charlie out of the Developer program. At first I felt that this was an extremely bad reaction on Apple’s part. That said, Apple is probably most upset that Charlie’s proof-of-concept app could have been installed by legitimate users. Regardless of Charlie’s intentions, this could constitute malware, and he should have removed the app as soon as he saw the flaw existed. The posting of his video above probably didn’t help matters either.

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!

17
Oct

Securing Siri on a Locked iPhone 4S

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 ;)

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.

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10
Oct

New iCloud Webmail, Contacts, Calendar and Find My iPhone

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!

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6
Oct

Farewell Steve (1955-2011)

Steve Jobs died today at the age of 56. As someone who grew up with a Mac Classic and followed Steve and Apple through the ups and downs, he’s always been a personal inspiration. Steve was a visionary and has shaped the world in ways that will reverberate into the future for decades to come. It fills me with a profound sadness to know that someone so unique is gone in the prime of his life. I had the pleasure of watching Steve give a keynote at the Mac Expo in Paris in what seems like many years ago now – I regret never having had the opportunity to shake his hand, and thank him for all that he’s given us.

Thank you Steve. You will be remembered, always.

[Update] Apple has posted the video of their Celebrating Steve event from October 19th.

27
Sep

CloudFlare Adds IPv6 Proxy Functionality

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 173.245.60.99
securitygeneration.com has address 199.27.135.32
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.

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20
Sep

Extracting and Cracking Mac OS X Lion Password Hashes [Updated]

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.

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.

8
Sep

PwnieScripts for Pwnie Express

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)

Any feedback or tweaks are welcome. Leave a comment below, send me an email, or message me on Twitter.

[Changelog]

v0.1: Initial release.

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