Enhanced Nigerian scam – linkedin style

Linkedin is a much better platform for Nigerian scammers: They now have my first and last name, information about me, etc. So they can craft the following letter (sent by this guy):

Hello Aviram Jenik,

I am Dr Sherif Akande, a citizen of Ghana, i work with Barclay’s Bank Ltd, Ghana. I have in my bank Existence of the Amount of money valued at $8.400,000.00, the big hurt Belongs to the customer, Peter B.Jenik, who Happen To Have The Same name as yours. The fund is now without any Claim Because, Peter B.Jenik, in a deadly earthquake in China in 2008. I want your cooperation so that bank will send you the fund as the beneficiary and located next of kin to the fund.

This transaction will be of a great mutual assistance to us. Send me your reply of interest so that i will give you the details. Strictly send it to my private email account {sherifakande48@gmail.com} or send me your email address to send you details of this transaction.

At the receipt of your reply, I will give you details of the transaction.I look forward to hear from you. I will send you a scan copy of the deposit certificate.

Send me an email to my private email account {sherifakande48@gmail.com}for more details of the transaction.

Sincerely,
Best Regard’s
Dr Sherif Akande.
Here is my number +233548598269

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Fuzzing Samsung Kies

Android fuzzing is always fun – seems that whenever we fuzz an android app it crashes within seconds.

Samsung Kies was no different. With the help of the talented Juan Yacubian (who built the Kies module in no time) we launched beSTORM against Kies… And saw it crash in record 23 seconds (just over 1,100 attack combinations).

Next on the agenda: install gdb for Android and build the proper payload.

Samsung Kies Crash

 

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Nopcon 2013 is here

Douglas Adams is still right: No language has the phrase “As pretty as an airport”. But in my humble opinion, airports have come a long way in the last 10 years. Or maybe my expectations have become so low, I can’t be disappointed. Either way, it seems to me going through an airport isn’t as bad or boring or inconvenient as it used to be.
I’m not just talking about the East-Asian airports (Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore) which have always been stellar. Even the infamous American airports are newer, and more convenient.

I’m giving you this airport cheer-leading chant because if you live in Europe, you should go and check out how much your airport has improved since you’ve last seen it. Then, take a flight to Istanbul. Not just because Istanbul is one of the nicest cities in Europe but also because Nopcon is taking place June 6, and has some very interesting and incredibly original speaker lineup: Moti Joseph, Nikita Tarakanov, Gökhan Alkan, Svetlana Gaivoronski, Canberk Bolat and Ahmet Cihan (aka Hurby). Nice!

More info here: http://www.nopcon.org/

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S. Korea Cyber Attack Crashes Navigation Devices. Time to fuzz your GPS?

South Korea suffered a major cyber attack yesterday. The origin of the attack seems to be China at the moment, but that is far from being definite.

I happened to be in one of the (several) cyber security operation centers, by pure coincidence. I had a chance to see events unravel in real time. Several banks have been hit (including the very large shinhan bank) and a few broadcasting channels.

The damage is hard to assess, since it’s now in everyone’s advantage to blame the cyber attack on anything from a system crash to the coffee machine running out of capsules. Budget and political moves will dominate most of the data that will be released in the next few days.
It’s clear, however, that the damage substantial. I reached out to a few friends in technical positions at various MSPs and most had a sleepless night. They’ve been hit hard.

The most interesting part of this incident, in my opinion, was a report on car GPS crashing while the attack was taking place. I haven’t seen a news report about that yet, and I couldn’t personally verify it (as I mentioned, I was stationary at the time, watching the frantic cyber-security team getting a handle on a difficult situation) but this is making rounds in security forums and a couple of friends confirmed to me that their car navigation system crashed and had to be restarted, at the exact time the attack was taking place.

The most likely explanation is that the broadcasting companies, who send TPEG data to the GPS devices (almost every car in Korea has a GPS device, almost all get real-time updates via TPEG), had sent malformed data which caused the devices to crash. This data could have been just a result of a domino effect from the networks crashing, or it could have been a very sophisticated proof-of-concept by the attacker to see if they can create a distruption. Traffic in Seoul is bad even on a normal day; without GPS devices it can be a nightmare.

Which brings up an interesting point about fuzzing network devices. TPEG fuzzers have been available for a while now (beSTORM has a TPEG module, and you can easily write your own TPEG fuzzer). The difficult part is getting the GPS device to communicate with the fuzzing generator; this is something the GPS developer can do (but probably won’t) but it is also possible for a government entity to do the necessary configuration to make that happen, given the proper resources or simply by forcing the vendors to cooperate.

The choice of the attacker to bring down the broadcasting networks might be deliberate: other than knocking TV and radio off the air (an obvious advantage in a pre-attack strike) the broadcasting networks control many devices who rely on their data. Forcing them to send malformed data to crash a variety of devices can have interesting implications. If I was a little more naive, I would predict that this will push governments around the world to focus more on fuzzing to discover these kind of vulnerabilities before they see their adversaries exploit them. But in the world we live in, they will instead throw around the phrase “APT” and buy more “APT detection products” (an oximoron if I’ve ever heard one). Thank god for APT, the greatest job saving invention since bloodletting.

An detailed analysis of the attack here:

http://training.nshc.net/KOR/Document/virus/20130321_320CyberTerrorIncidentResponseReportbyRedAlert(EN).pdf

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What happens when your user changes his password?

You just forced the user to change his password; periodic password changing is good policy, right?

Now lets see what happens next:

  • The user sends the password to himself by email, in plaintext, so he won’t forget. Now it’s in his inbox, viewable on the email ‘preview’ section to anyone shoulder surfing
  • He then writes it on a post-it note. The cleaning person threw out the previous password (but that’s ok, he finally remembered it). Now there’s a post it with the password in the top right drawer
  • He then sends it to his wife/friend/colleague who also uses the account sometimes. Now it’s in another person’s inbox, again in a preview pane. He might have typed their email wrong and sent it to someone else by mistake, or maybe they put it on a post-it note too
  • The next time he tries to login he will use the old password (that he remembers) and fail. Your system will lock him out, and he will call to have it released. Another false positive that makes the person auditing the log for lock outs not pay attention to the warnings
  • He will then sign up to the new and cool social web site and use this last password as his password there. It’s already on the post-it note: Why write another? This new social web site will soon be cracked and your user’s password will be available online

Remind me again why changing passwords periodically is good for security? Oh, I get it. You were just living up to the bad reputation and preventing ease of use.

 

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New record in ridiculous password rules

The US Treasury wants to show how much they care about security. To show how much, here are their password guidelines:

Must be at least 8 characters long.
Must contain at least one uppercase letter.
Must contain at least one lowercase letter.
Must contain at least one numeric character.
Must contain at least one special character.
Must not have more than two repeating characters.
Must not repeat any of your last ten passwords.
Must not have been your password in during the last ten days.
Must not be a word in a language, slang, dialect, or jargon.
Must not be related to personal identity, history, environment, or other personal associations.

(No idea how they can enforce the last rule). But here’s the kicker. The last rule is:

Must not be shared or displayed in plain view.

Of course not, because you will be able to easily memorize it based on the rules above.

Here’s a hint for someone trying to break into one of their accounts: THE PASSWORD IS ON A POST-IT NOTE IN THE TOP DRAWER.

When will they realize a simple password is so much more secure?

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About the reported beSTORM “Vulnerability”

A few people asked me about the advisory posted on exploit db (Now also on SecurityFocus) that talks about a security vulnerability in beSTORM, which would be ironic since it’s a fairly simple vulnerability to find by fuzzing, and beSTORM is, after all, a fuzzer.

I always thought security holes in security products were especially funny. You expect security companies to know better, right? Well, as usual, it’s much less funny when it happens to you. Seeing reports about a vulnerability in beSTORM wasn’t amusing.

The thing is, the vulnerability is not in beSTORM, it is not remote, and on top of all – the exploit PoC does not work as advertised. Now comes the second irony: I’ve been on the management team of a security database for the past 14 years, and I’m sure more than one vendor cursed me to walk a mile in their shoes. Well, vendors: I am! Trying to explain to vulnerability databases that just because someone posted something doesn’t mean it’s true, is not easy. But you knew that already.

Now for the details:

The vulnerability described is a problem in WizGraphviz.dll, a graphic library that has been abandoned by its developer. It is not a part of beSTORM, and never was. You could, in early versions of beSTORM, install that DLL in order to view SVG files. beSTORM would have downloaded it on request. But it hasn’t been the case in a while now.

The vulnerability is also not remote. This ActiveX is marked not safe for scripting, which means you have to manually enable it to get the exploit code to run.

In other words, you need to download an ActiveX from the Internet, go into the settings to mark it safe for scripting (and ignore the huge warnings) and then you will be vulnerable to an ActiveX attack when visiting a rogue site. And all this is only true for an old version of beSTORM which is no longer available for download.

Life is full of ironies: This attack is simple enough that we could (should?) have found it by fuzzing this DLL ourselves. Hell, there’s a good chance the good guys that published this advisory did exactly that. For being lazy, we deserve the public flogging. But just to set the record straight, a security vulnerability it ain’t.

 

 

 

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Howto: Phish HSBC credit card numbers

Like many other people, I try helping developing countries when I can. So to help boost GDP in Eastern Europe and Africa (or ‘redistribute the wealth’ if you will) here’s a quick tutorial that will help scammers get HSBC customers’ credit card numbers. All the steps below are done by the real HSBC, so you don’t even need to “fool” anyone.

An HSBC customer who has gone through this process before won’t be able to distinguish between you and the real HSBC. Customer that has not been through this process certainly won’t know better anyway. In fact, you can do it to HSBC employees and they won’t know.

All you need is a toll-free number for them to call (feel free to forward it to Nigeria). The nice thing about HSBC is that the process below is identical to how the real HSBC asks customers for information. In other words: HSBC is training their customers to follow this path. I propose a new term for HSBC’s method of breeding phish: spowning (spawn+p0wn).

Step 1:

Prepare an email that looks like:

Dear :

As a service to our customers and in an effort to protect their HSBC Premier  MasterCard  account, we are attempting to confirm recent charge activity or changes to the account.

Please contact the HSBC Premier Fraud Servicing Center to validate the activity at 1-888-206-5963 within the Continental United States. If you are calling from outside the United States, please call us collect at 716-841-7755.

If the activity is unauthorized, we will be able to close the account and reissue both a new account number and cards. Please use the Subject Reference Number below, when calling.

At HSBC, the security of our customer’s accounts has always been, and will continue to be a high priority. We appreciate your business and regret any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Sincerely,

Security & Fraud Risk HSBC USA

Alert ID Number :  10917558

Note:  Emails sent to this repository will go unmonitored.  Please do not reply to this email. —————————————– ************************************************************** This e-mail is confidential. It may also be legally privileged. If you are not the addressee you may not copy, forward, disclose or use any part of it. If you have received this message in error, please delete it and all copies from your system and notify the sender immediately by return e-mail. Internet communications cannot be guaranteed to be timely, secure, error or virus-free. The sender does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. ************************************************************** “SAVE PAPER – THINK BEFORE YOU PRINT!”

Step 2:

Replace the phone numbers with your own. The above are HSBC’s.

Don’t worry about the ‘alert ID’. Just make something up. Unlike other credit cards, the caller (me, in this case) can’t use the alert ID to confirm this is really HSBC.

Step 3:

Blast this email. You’re bound to reach plenty of HSBC card holders. The rest you don’t care about anyway.

Main perk: Before the customer gets to speak to a human they need to enter full credit card number and 4 digit SSN. So even the most lazy scammer can at least get those.

For the overachieving scammers, have a human answer and ask for  Card expiration and Full name on the card before agreeing to answer any other questions from the customer. This is all standard procedure at HSBC so customers shouldn’t be suspicious.

Oh, and if the customer who happens to be a security blogger tries to authenticate you back, tell them to hang up and call the number on the back of their card. That will shut them up.

At HSBC, the security of our customer’s accounts has always been, and will continue to be a high priority.

If it really was, you wouldn’t make me such an easy target for scammers. But thanks for playing.

 

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The “Man in the Browser” attack

Gizmodo reports:

New “Man in the Browser” Attack Bypasses Banks’ Two-Factor Authentication Systems

Except there is nothing new about this attack. OWASP documented it in 2007 and it was widely known that malware writers used it to bypass 2-factor authentication.

More from Gizmodo:

Since this attack has shown that the two-factor system is no longer a viable defense, the banking industry may have to adopt more advanced fraud-detection methods

Given that this has been going on for more than 5 years, it’s obvious that banks already have adopted more advanced fraud detection methods.

So why are they forcing you to carry around tokens and one-time passwords that make it awkward and uncomfortable to use your own money as you wish?

Because with only few exceptions, banks’ security guys are not interested in making your life comfortable. The more you suffer, the more you think they are secure.

Maybe it’s time to ask for accountability? Which of their so-called security features is really for security, and which is for CYA or ‘make-the-regulator-happy’?

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Forcing your users to write down their passwords

This sums up everything that is wrong with the “password policy” theme. From the t-mobile web site:

T-Mobile Password Policy

There is no way any reasonable person can choose a password that fits this policy AND can be remembered (note how they are telling you that you CANNOT use special characters. So users now have to bend according to the lowest common denominator of their bad back-end database routine and their bad password policy).

I’m sure some high-paid consultant convinced the T-MO CSO that stricter password policy is the answer to all their security problems. Reminds me of a story about an air-force security chief that claimed 25% increase in security by making mandatory password length 10 characters instead of 8, but I digress.

Yes, I know my habitat. No security executive ever got fired for making the user’s experience more difficult. All in the name of security. Except it’s both bad security and bad usability (which, incidentally, correlate more often than not, despite what lazy security ‘experts’ might let you believe.

I’ve ranted about this before.

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“The next big cyber attack will be worse than 9/11″

Except it won’t be.

I’m assuming the reporter who quoted the statement in the title as coming from the Davos “Global Shapers” group was trying to make his own headline. Hey, that works (I even used it myself). But this is not the first time we’ve been warned about the Armageddon that is cyber terror, and it’s time somebody called bullshit on it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not mother Teresa. I work in IT security, and have been known to scare people now and then with the “this is what might happen to you if you won’t fix your security”.  Most times I’d like to think I was calling it the way I saw it, but I’m sure more than once people that were listening to me thought I was exaggerating. And probably much more than once, I was. But this is not an “exaggeration”. It’s something totally different.

Have you been terrorized? I bet you have. You don’t have to know someone who was killed by a suicide bomber; it’s enough if you think back to when the school bully tried to take your lunch. That was terrifying. And terrorizing. You thought bodily harm will come to you, and this is why “terror” works so well: it’s scary.

Is ‘cyber terror’ really that scary? Well, lets compare. Many of us have been “victims” of cyber terror. You probably visited a web site that was defaced by political hacker wannabes. Were you terrorized?

We’ve all heard about the attacks in Estonia. That was the most effective cyberwar to date. But did anyone died? Lets compare it to the war (actual war) in Georgia. Again Russia clashing with a neighbor, but this time people died; lost their homes; forced to move their lives elsewhere. I’m sorry, but that’s not the equivalent of having to reformat your computer or losing facebook connectivity for 24 hours.

War is war: people die, suffer bodily harm, have their lives change. I’m not against the term “cyber-war” or “cyber-terror”, but can we put it in proportion please?

So no, the next ‘cyber war’ or ‘cyber terror’ attack won’t be worse like 9/11. It won’t be even mildly comparable to 9/11. Unless it kills thousands of people, in which case there will be nothing “cyber” about it.

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2nd Annual Cyber Security China 2012

It seems like nowadays China is the immediate suspect when it comes to hacking attempts or cyber espionage. It’s therefore interesting to know that they are suffering from as much internal attacks as anyone else.

The ‘cyber security china 2012′ is organized with ISC2, which is typically a good indicator for interesting speakers and content (at least, that’s been my past experience in other countries). The description shows that the Chinese are worried about the same things we all are:

With support from Ministry of Public Security  of  China,  and  working  with  ISC2, ITU-IMPACT and  ISFS Hong kong, Cyber Security China 2011  is successfully organized in March 24-25 in Shanghai, China.  The  2011  event convened 130+ delegates from global and local cyber security authorities, government, law enforcement  agencies, users  and  security  vendors,  and  mainly  explored  the solutions  against  evolving cyber  threats  and  attacks,  and how to fight the  cyber crimes through public-private-partnership.

More information here.

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First big break-in of the year

Richard Stiennon writes:

I have only one security related prediction for 2012 and that is that we are in for a year that will make 2011 look tame in terms of major targeted attacks.

He gives the 2011 examples of the break-in to Sony playstation network and an attack on Stratfor (a defense intelligence organization). Here’s one from yesterday: A saudi attacker published the details of credit cards (and other personal information such as I.D numbers and address) for hundreds of thousands Israelis.

Going to be a fun year!

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Easy login into Korean Point-of-Sale device

Some things are cross-culture it seems. Especially when it comes to trivial security mishaps.
So I’m at a PoS terminal in a large department store in Seoul and while I’m waiting for the register to ring up my order, I look at the touchscreen where I will be asked for my signature in a moment. I notice a little icon that looks like ‘settings’. How can I not click on it?

Initial PoS screen
Oh, it needs a password. Must be this PCI compliance thing everybody is raving about. And no, wiseass, 1-2-3-4-5 doesn’t work.

Asking for password

…But 1-2-3-4 does.

Password

Yup. Unlocked.
Now I need to polish up my Korean to figure out what to do next. Suggestions?

Menu Screen

Sorry for the full disclosure guys. And that includes all of you that now need to change your luggage combination.

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The political risks of a DDoS

In Korea, the ruling party performed a DDoS attack, and as result the chairman and most of its officials will resign. Most likely, it will be disbanded completely.
This is probably the most severe result of a cyber attack yet. Of course, the only reason they know who to blame, is because the guy responsible for the attack admitted guilt. DDoS is all fun and games until the guy you hired to do it spills the beans.

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The truth behind the Opera unpatched vulnerability

How hard is it to get facts straight? I don’t expect vendors to admit they sat on a vulnerability for months without patching: it’s human nature to blame someone else:

Opera [...] claims that it couldn’t replicate the issue at the time. According to the vendor, its attempts to obtain more information from the researcher at the time weren’t successful.

Of course, when dealing with vendors, it’s always “the dog ate my homework” and “I swear we couldn’t reproduce it until it became public”
But I’m puzzled on why a technical reporter would just happily accept what’s being shoveled at him. For one, he could have contacted us and asked…

Here’s what really happened: We notified Opera about this vulnerability back in May. We gave them the Proof-of-Concept, disassembly, explanation and vulnerability analysis. So saying they did not have the full information is far from the truth. We didn’t ask for anything in return (we never do) but I admit we were skeptical based on previous experience with reporting vulnerabilities to Opera.
Then came the Million dollar question; we were asked if it worked on the latest version of Opera, and we said we don’t know. Since last time I checked, no one here worked for the Opera QA team, so we didn’t feel it was our job to check it. The response was typical:
“We only fix issues that are relevant to the latest version of Opera”

Followed by the all-too-common:”the items provided only cause crashes they have no intention to fix them”.

I guess they meant “we won’t fix them unless you drop a 0-day and we get a call from a computer magazine”.The Vendors-against-full-disclosure will continue, no doubt. Tech writers, get your spines refitted please: if you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.

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