writes "Less than 48 hours after the disclosure of the Ghost vulnerability in the GNU C library (glibc), researchers have uncovered that PHP applications, including the WordPress content management system, could be another weak spot and eventually in the crosshairs of attackers.
Ghost is a vulnerability in glibc that attackers can use against only a handful of applications right now to remotely run executable code and gain control of a Linux server. The vulnerability is a heap-based buffer overflow and affects all Linux systems, according to experts, and has been present in the glibc code since 2000.
“An example of where this could be a big issue is within WordPress itself: it uses a function named wp_http_validate_url() to validate every pingback’s post URL,” wrote Sucuri research Marc-Alexandre Montpas in an advisory published Wednesday. “And it does so by using gethostbyname(). So an attacker could leverage this vector to insert a malicious URL that would trigger a buffer overflow bug, server-side, potentially allowing him to gain privileges on the server.”"Link to Original Source
writes "In the wake of a recent enforcement action against Marriott for blocking guests’ WiFi hotspots in their hotels, the FCC is warning other hotel operators and business owners that such blocking is illegal and the commission’s Enforcement Bureau is taking note.
Marriott last year paid a fine of $600,000 to settle an FCC enforcement action that resulted from a customer complaint. A guest complained that while staying at the Gaylord Opryland hotel in Tennessee his personal WiFi hotspot was being blocked and he was being forced to pay to use the hotel’s network. The investigation by the FCC found that in some cases the hotel’s network would send de-authentication packets to the personal hotspots used by guests, forcing their devices to disconnect.
Now, the FCC is making it clear that the Enforcement Bureau is looking closely at this kind of behavior, not just by hotel operators, but by any commercial business.
“Willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi hot spots is illegal. Wi-Fi blocking violates Section 333 of the Communications Act, as amended.1 The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premises. As a result, the Bureau is protecting consumers by aggressively investigating and acting against such unlawful intentional interference,” the Federal Communications Commission said in a statement issued this week."
writes "Researchers at Kaspersky Lab have discovered shared code and functionality between the Regin malware platform and a similar platform described in a newly disclosed set of Edward Snowden documents 10 days ago by Germany’s Der Spiegel.
The link, found in a keylogger called QWERTY allegedly used by the so-called Five Eyes, leads them to conclude that the developers of each platform are either the same, or work closely together.
“Considering the extreme complexity of the Regin platform and little chance that it can be duplicated by somebody without having access to its source codes, we conclude the QWERTY malware developers and the Regin developers are the same or working together,” wrote Kaspersky Lab researchers Costin Raiu and Igor Soumenkov today in a published report."
writes "The gauges that detect and prevent fuel leaks at more than 5,000 gas stations in the United States are utterly vulnerable to remote attacks, according to new research conducted by HD Moore of Rapid7. The gauges are manufactured by Veeder-Root, who says it is working with its customers better enable available security features.
Automated tank gauges (ATGs), as they are called, monitor fuel levels in gas station storage tanks and trigger alarms in compliance with environmental regulations when fuel tanks are overfilled. The risk posed to these gas stations — roughly three percent of the 150,000 station in the U.S. — are serious and could enable hackers to completely shut down the stations containing the vulnerable ATGs.
“Many ATGs can be programmed and monitored through a built-in serial port, a plug-in serial port, a fax/modem, or a TCP/IP circuit board,” Moore explained on Rapid7’s Security Street blog. “In order to monitor these systems remotely, many operators use a TCP/IP card or a third-party serial port server to map the ATG serial interface to an internet-facing TCP port. The most common configuration is to map these to TCP port 10001.”"
writes "Adobe has released an emergency update for Flash to address a zero-day vulnerability that is being actively exploited. The company also is looking into reports of exploits for a separate Flash bug not fixed in the new release, which is being used in attacks by the Angler exploit kit.
The vulnerability that Adobe patched Thursday is under active attack, but Adobe officials said that this flaw is not the one that security researcher Kafeine said Wednesday was being used in the Angler attacks.
The patch for Flash comes just a day after Kafeine disclosed that some instances of the Angler exploit kit contained an exploit for a previously unknown vulnerability in the software. Adobe officials said Wednesday that they were investigating the reports. Kafeine initially saw Angler attacking the latest version of Flash in IE on Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8, but said the exploit wasn’t being used against Chrome or Firefox.
On Thursday he said on Twitter that the group behind Angler had changed the code to exploit Firefox as well as fully patched IE 11 on Windows 8.1."
writes "The dangerous Angler exploit kit has a new piece of ammunition to use in its attacks: a fresh Adobe Flash zero-day vulnerability. The kit is exploiting the previously unknown vulnerability in several versions of Internet explorer running on Windows 7 and Windows 8.
French security researcher Kafeine has spotted a version of the Angler kit that’s firing exploits for several vulnerabilities in Flash, including two known bugs. But the big problem is that the kit also has exploit code for what appears to be a zero-day in the latest version of Flash, version 184.108.40.2067. Kafeine said that he first spotted the exploit for the zero-day in Flash on Wednesday and that it is being used to install a piece of malware known as Bedep.
The researcher said that not all instances of Angler are using the new Flash zero-day exploit, nor is it being used against all of the popular browsers. In his tests, Kafeine found that IE 10 on Windows 8, IE 8 on Windows 7 and IE 6-9 on Windows XP all are being exploited. Chrome is not being targeted and fully patched Windows 8.1 is not exploitable, he said.
Adobe officials said they are looking into the report."
writes "Oracle on Tuesday will release a huge number of security fixes as part of its quarterly critical patch update, and one of them is a patch for a vulnerability that a well-known security researcher said looks a lot like a back door but was likely just a terrible mistake.
The flaw is found in Oracle’s eBusiness Suite, a set of apps that includes financial management, CRM and other functions. David Litchfield, an accomplished security researcher who has been poking holes in Oracle products for more than a decade, discovered the vulnerability and reported it to the vendor last year.
A remote attacker could have the ability gain control of an affected database, which is game over for the target system. Litchfield said that when he discovered the vulnerability on a client’s network, his first thought was that the client had been owned and the attacker had left the back door there for later use.
Despite how bad the vulnerability looks, Litchfield said he doesn’t think that it is actually an intentional back door inserted for law enforcement or an intelligence agency.
“I don’t think Oracle as a company would do that. Could it be a disgruntled employee? Maybe, though, giving them the benefit [of the] doubt, it could be that some dev was testing something and they forgot to turn it off. Who knows. What is concerning however is that Oracle seem not to know who and why this privilege was granted, either,” he said."
writes "Legitimate security researchers, from bug hunters to pen-testers, are buckled in for a bumpy ride as vague language in President Obama’s proposed amendments to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is expected to be debated and sorted out as it makes its way through the legislature.
The amendments come with stiffer penalties for those convicted of hacking, with some sentences doubled and some offenses elevated to felonies.
One amendment to the CFAA contains language that is a redefinition of what it means to exceed authorized access; it broadens the scope of the CFAA considerably.
From section six in the amendment: ” ‘exceeds authorized access’ means to access a computer with authorization and to use such access to obtain or alter information in the computer (a) that the accesser is not entitled to obtain or alter; or (b) for a purpose that the accesser knows is not authorized by the computer owner.”"Link to Original Source
writes "In a new article in an academic math journal, the NSA’s director of research says that the agency’s decision not to withdraw its support of the Dual EC_DRBG random number generator after security researchers found weaknesses in it and questioned its provenance was a “regrettable” choice.
Michael Wertheimer, the director of researcher at the National Security Agency, wrote in a short piece in Notices, a publication of the American Mathematical Society, that even during the standards development process for Dual EC many years ago, members of the working group focused on the algorithm raised concerns that it could have a backdoor in it. The algorithm was developed in part by the NSA and cryptographers were suspect of it from the beginning.
“With hindsight, NSA should have ceased supporting the dual EC_DRBG algorithm immediately after security researchers discovered the potential for a trapdoor. In truth, I can think of no better way to describe our failure to drop support for the Dual_EC_DRBG algorithm as anything other than regrettable,” Wertheimer wrote in a piece in Notices’ February issue."
writes "There are few things scarier these days than a politician stepping in front of a microphone, taking a deep breath and opening his mouth to pontificate on security. A long list of American elected officials have reinforced this, and on Monday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron jumped to the head of this undistinguished line with his dangerous statement that encrypted communications shouldn’t be allowed.
Cameron, speaking in the wake of the terror attack in Paris last week, said at an event Monday that the UK government can’t allow any form of communication that can’t be read.
“Are we going to allow a means of communications which it simply isn’t possible to read?” Cameron said, according to the New York Times. “My answer to that question is: ‘No, we must not.’ “
Aside from the specter of attackers identifying and exploiting an intentional backdoor, there is the problem of trying to bend software makers to the will of the government. Even if by some miracle the backdoor proposal succeeds, the government still would face the hurdle of getting software makers such as Apple to prevent secure communications apps from showing up in their app store. Apple does what Apple wants and generally not much else. And, as Doctorow says, how would Cameron address the global open source community, which produces much of the secure communications software?
These kinds of systems just flat don’t work.
“It won’t work. The basic problem with these proposals is they work against regular people who don’t care. But to make it work, you have to close the loopholes,” cryptographer Bruce Schneier, CTO of Co3 Systems, said in an interview. “If you can’t do that, you don’t hurt the bad guys, you only hurt the good guys. It plays well on TV to someone who doesn’t understand the tech. Everything works against my grandmother, but nothing works against professionals.”"
writes "A vulnerability at the heart of Apple’s Mac OS X systems—one thus far only partially addressed by Apple—opens the door to the installation of malicious firmware bootkits that resist cleanup and give hackers persistent, stealthy control over a compromised Mac.
The research is the work of a reverse engineering hobbyist and security researcher named Trammel Hudson, who gave a talk at the recent 31C3 event in Hamburg, Germany, during which he described an attack he called Thunderstrike. Thunderstrike is a Mac OS X bootkit delivered either through direct access to the Apple hardware (at the manufacturer or in transport), or via a Thunderbolt-connected peripheral device; the latter attack vector exposes vulnerable systems to Evil Maid attacks, or state-sponsored attacks where laptops are confiscated and examined in airports or border crossings, for example.
Hudson’s bootkit takes advantage of a vulnerability in how Apple computers deal with peripheral devices connected over Thunderbolt ports during a firmware update. In these cases, the flash is left unlocked, allowing an Option ROM, or peripheral firmware, to run during recovery mode boots. It then has to slip past Apple’s RSA signature check. Apple stores its public key in the boot ROM and signs firmware updates with its private key. The Option ROM over Thunderbolt circumvents this process and writes its own RSA key so that future updates can only be signed by the attacker’s key. The attack also disables the loading of further Option ROMs, closing that window of opportunity. A weaponized version of this attack would have free ring0 reign over the system.
Apple has only partially addressed the vulnerability behind this."
writes "Samy Kamkar has a special talent for turning seemingly innocuous things into rather terrifying attack tools. First it was an inexpensive drone that Kamkar turned into a flying hacking platform with his Skyjack research, and now it’s a $20 USB microcontroller that Kamkar has loaded with code that can install a backdoor on a target machine in a few seconds and hand control of it to the attacker.
Kamkar has been working on the new project for some time, looking for a way to install the backdoor without needing to use the mouse and keyboard. The solution he came up with is elegant, fast and effective. By using code that can emulate the keyboard and the mouse and evade the security protections such as local firewalls, Kamkar found a method to install his backdoor in just a couple of seconds and keep it hidden on the machine. He loaded the code onto an inexpensive Teensy USB microcontroller.
Kamkar’s USBdriveby attack can be executed in a matter of seconds and would be quite difficult for a typical user to detect once it’s executed. In a demo video, Kamkar runs the attack on OS X, but he said the code, which he’s released on GitHub, can be modified easily to run on Windows or Linux machine. The attack inserts a backdoor on the target machine and also overwrites the DNS settings so that the attacker can then spoof various destinations, such as Facebook or an online banking site, and collect usernames and passwords. The backdoor also goes into the cron queue, so that it runs at specified intervals."
writes "Unknown hackers were able to compromise vital systems belonging to ICANN, the organization that manages the global top-level domain system, and had access to the system that manages the files with data on resolving specific domain names.
The attack apparently took place in November and ICANN officials discovered it earlier this month. The intrusion started with a spear phishing campaign that targeted ICANN staffers and the email credentials of several staff members were compromised. The attackers then were able to gain access to the Centralized Zone Data System, the system that allows people to manage zone files. The zone files contain quite bit of valuable information, including domain names, the name server names associated with those domains and the IP addresses for the name servers.
ICANN officials said they are notifying any users whose zone data might have been compromised."
writes "A popular Android smartphone sold primarily in China and Taiwan but also available worldwide, contains a backdoor from the manufacturer that is being used to push pop-up advertisements and install apps without users’ consent.
The Coolpad devices, however, are ripe for much more malicious abuse, researchers at Palo Alto Networks said today, especially after the discovery of a vulnerability in the backend management interface that exposed the backdoor’s control system.
Ryan Olson, intelligence director at Palo Alto, said the CoolReaper backdoor not only connects to a number of command and control servers, but is also capable of downloading, installing and activating any Android application without the user’s permission. It also sends phony over-the-air updates to devices that instead install applications without notifying the user. The backdoor can also be used to dial phone numbers, send SMS and MMS messages, and upload device and usage information to Coolpad."
writes "Peter Baker reports at the NYT that in a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century. In addition, the United States will ease restrictions on remittances, travel and banking relations, and Cuba will release 53 Cuban prisoners identified as political prisoners by the United States government. Although the decades-old American embargo on Cuba will remain in place for now, the administration signaled that it would welcome a move by Congress to ease or lift it should lawmakers choose to. “We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse. We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state,” said the White House in a written statement. "The United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people.""