Posts Tagged security
[Guest post by Ryan Bailey]
Earlier this year roughly 50,000 stolen iTunes accounts were posted to a Chinese online auction site with prices ranging from 15 cents to $30 each. Many forms of attacks can be leveraged in acquiring passwords such as these through covert means, but almost none provide such a straightforward plan of attack like Phishing. Phishing, like many other forms of modern day email spam, is a form of social engineering aimed at acquiring sensitive information by attempting to fool users into freely surrendering passwords, credit card information or other potentially valuable information. Most current day attacks come in the form of an email seeking users to verify their account or billing details. These social engineering attempts often utilize pixel perfect facsimiles of websites or newsletters in order to gain a user’s trust. That’s where this phishing proof of concept gets its cue.
The first step of the attack comes in the form of utilizing a botnet to send out a fake news article using the default styles of a legitimate shared article. These emails often use minimal styling and shortened URLs making a fake shared story almost impossible to distinguish from a real one.
The user is then taken to a fake mobile version of the news article where the user is able to browse the page as they normally would. The only clue to the fake at this point is the URL in the address bar which can easily be spoofed with either a shortened URL or a misspelled domain name.
After a certain amount of time, an iOS alert pops up to inform the user that the iTunes Terms of Service has changed. Normally users are only prompted to accept changes after attempting a download from the iTunes store. But as anyone who has owned an iPhone will attest to, these changes often stand in the way of desired actions and often are accepted without a second thought. By delaying the bait until after the user has begun to read the article, it stands to reason the users will simply accept the thought of accepting the new Terms of Service without second thought.
The users, after having clicked through to accept the changes, are taken to a facsimile iTunes Store Terms of Service page where users are given bogus information about the update they are about to agree to. This view of removing the standard Safari title bar is easily accomplished through several frameworks designed to perfectly mimic the iOS user interface.
The user scroll to the bottom of the fake Terms of Service to the realistic “Accept” button where upon clicking pops up a copy of the iOS Username and Password Prompt. After entering their username and tapping the “OK” button, the user can be forwarded back to the article being none the wiser to their personal information now being in the hands of the highest bidder.
[HT Ryan Baily]
According to this research paper, its pretty easy.
Srdjan Capkun, an assistant professor of computer science in the system security group at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, who led the work, says he was inspired to investigate the security of keyless entry and start systems after buying a car that had one. Capkun and Aurélien Francillon and Boris Danev, both researchers in the same institution, examined 10 car models from the eight manufacturers. They were able to access all 10 and drive them away by intercepting and relaying signals from the cars to their wireless keys. While they could relay the signals from the key back to the car as well, usually they did not need to because the key transmits its signals up to around 100 meters. The attack works no matter what cryptography and protocols the key and car use to communicate with each other.
Normally, when a wireless key is within a few meters of the right car, it detects a low-powered signal that causes it to issue a command that opens the car enable the ignition. The researchers used a pair of antennas to transmit these signals from the car to the key when the key was farther away, tricking the car into opening without the ordinary authorization. One antenna needs to be very close to the car, and one needs to be within eight meters of the key.
The researchers came up with two versions of the attack. In one, they ran a cable from near the car to near the key and used it to transmit the signals. They conducted the other wirelessly. Francillon says that the materials for the wired attack cost about $50, and those for the wireless attack cost between $100 and $1,000, depending on the electronic components used.
[HT Bruce Schneier]
Here’s an excellent article on the use of biometrics in security system. Here are some highlights.
Authentication of a person is usually based on one of three things: something the person knows, such as a password; something physical the person possesses, like an actual key or token; or something about the person’s appearance or behaviour. Biometric authentication relies on the third approach. Its advantage is that, unlike a password or a token, it can work without active input from the user. That makes it both convenient and efficient: there is nothing to carry, forget or lose.
The downside is that biometric screening can also work without the user’s co-operation or even knowledge. Covert identification may be a boon when screening for terrorists or criminals, but it raises serious concerns for innocent individuals. Biometric identification can even invite violence. A motorist in Germany had a finger chopped off by thieves seeking to steal his exotic car, which used a fingerprint reader instead of a conventional door lock.
Another problem with biometrics is that the traits used for identification are not secret, but exposed for all and sundry to see. People leave fingerprints all over the place. Voices are recorded and faces photographed endlessly. Appearance and body language is captured on security cameras at every turn. Replacing misappropriated biometric traits is nowhere near as easy as issuing a replacement for a forgotten password or lost key. In addition, it is not all that difficult for impostors to subvert fingerprint readers and other biometric devices.
The panel of scientists, engineers and legal experts who carried out the study concludes that biometric recognition is not only “inherently fallible”, but also in dire need of some fundamental research on the biological underpinnings of human distinctiveness. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are paying for studies of better screening methods, but no one seems to be doing fundamental research on whether the physical or behavioural characteristics such technologies seek to measure are truly reliable, and how they change with age, disease, stress and other factors. None looks stable across all situations, says the report. The fear is that, without a proper understanding of the biology of the population being screened, installing biometric devices at borders, airports, banks and public buildings is more likely to lead to long queues, lots of false positives, and missed opportunities to catch terrorists or criminals.