September 22, 2014

Apple releases iOS 8 with 56 security patches

ios8-logo(LiveHacking.Com) – Along side the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Apple has also released a new version of its mobile operating system. iOS 8 includes improvements to Siri and the ability for third parties to add widgets to the notification area. Apple are calling it “huge for developers,  massive for everyone else.” iOS 8 also includes some important security fixes. Overall Apple addressed 56 unique CVEs in this release.

Among the changes are fixes for bugs which could allow an attacker with access to an iOS device to access sensitive user information from logs, allow a local attacker to escalate privileges and install unverified applications, and fixes for bugs that allow some kernel hardening measures may be bypassed.

Other fixes include a patch to stop maliciously crafted PDF files that can allow an attacker to run arbitrary code, and a patch to stop malicious applications executing arbitrary code with system privileges. Most of these issues revolve around NULL pointer dereferencing and bounds checking. For example an out-of-bounds read issue existed in the handling of an IOHIDFamily function. As a result, a malicious application may be able to read kernel pointers and then bypass kernel address space layout randomization. According to Apple’s release notes, “this issue was addressed through improved bounds checking.” A phrase that is found several times in Apple’s document that describes the security content of iOS 8.

Webkit, the open source HTML rendering engine used by Apple, also received a lot of patches (12 in total). According to Apple visiting a maliciously crafted website in previous versions of iOS may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This was because of multiple memory corruption issues in WebKit. These issues were addressed through improved memory handling.

As well as releasing iOS 8, Apple also released new versions of OS X, OS X Server, Safari, and Apple TV. These are all maintenance releases which fix bug and patch security vulnerabilities. The full list of updates including links to the relevant security information follows:

LinkedIn can be tricked into revealing personal email addresses

linkedin(LiveHacking.Com) – Benjamin Caudill and Bryan Seely, founders of Rhino Security, have discovered an unintentional side effect of LinkedIn’s obsession with making sure you are “linked” with just about everyone you have had contact with. According to the new research, which was published in part by Brian Krebs, it is possible to troll LinkedIn and discover the email addresses of public figures including leading CEOs, celebrities and company executives.

On a normal day LinkedIn will only let you connect with users that you claim to know professionally or personally. If you don’t know some you can get an introduction via a common third party. To ensure that you are linked to everyone you know LinkedIn will optionally trawl through your Google/Yahoo/Hotmail address book to see if anyone in your address book is already using LinkedIn. Sounds great, very helpful.

The problem is that if you start to create fake email addresses in your list of contacts then LinkedIn will helpfully show you the profiles of users with addresses that match your address book. This is because LinkedIn assumes that if you have their email address then you must know the person.

Now all you need to do is populate your address book with hundreds of combinations of email addresses based on people’s names, and then add @gmail.com or @yahoo.com etc on to the end.

When you import the list of names then LinkedIn will not only show you the profiles which match the addresses, it will also tell you which addresses don’t match any known profiles. If you got lucky and found the address of a high profile user then you just need to use a process of elimination to whittle down the list of emails that didn’t match a profile and you can discover the private email address of the target LinkedIn user.

To prove their point Cludill and Seely discovered the email address of Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Seely said they found success in locating the email addresses of other celebrities using the same method about nine times out of ten.

“We created several hundred possible addresses for Cuban in a few seconds, using a Microsoft Excel macro,” Seely said. “It’s just a brute-force guessing game, but 90 percent of people are going to use an email address that includes components of their real name.”

According to LinkedIn the company will be implementing a couple of changes over the next few weeks to alter the way the service handles email addresses.

Apple patches ‘Find My iPhone’ vulnerability that could have responsible for celeb photo leaks

apple-icloud(LiveHacking.Com) – Reports are starting to emerge that Apple has patched a weakness in its ‘Find My iPhone’ service that could have been used by hackers to steal private photos of nearly 100 Hollywood celebrities. Over the weekend an anonymous hacker posted revealing pictures of nearly 100 celebrities including Oscar-winning Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence, as well as personal photos belonging to Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst and many others. It is thought that the hacker stole the photos from Apple’s iCloud storage system.

The breach is being linked with a new hacking tool which was recently uploaded to GitHub called “ibrute.” The tool relied on the fact that Apple did not use any brute force protection in its ‘Find My iPhone’ service API. This meant that a script (like ibrute) could be used to try and crack Apple passwords by brute force (i.e. by trying thousands of passwords in rapid succession). The ibrute tool used the top 500 passwords from the RockYou leaked passwords. The RockYou list includes passwords which satisfy Apple’s password policy.

Apple requires its users to create passwords with a minimum of 8 characters that do not contain more than 3 consecutive identical letters, and include a number, an uppercase letter, and a lowercase letter. The top passwords from the RockYou list which satisfies these conditions are: Password1, Princess1, P@ssw0rd, Passw0rd and Michael1.

iCloud is part of Apple’s ecosystem that automatically uploads photos taken with an iPhone to the cloud. From here the photos can be seen on other Apple devices owned by the account holder. iCloud also acts as a form of backup so if a device is lost or broken the photos are still available. The problem is that some people don’t realize that their photos are being sent automatically to Apple’s servers and the only thing stopping others from viewing those photos is their password, which isn’t much protection at all if the user has set a password like Password1 and so on.

Google Safe Browsing to be expanded to detect even more suspicious downloads

Chrome-logo-2011-03-16(LiveHacking.Com) – One of the important security features that Google provides for users of its Chrome browser, as well as users of other software that call the related APIs, is its Safe Browsing service. Since Google are constantly trawling the Internet for its search engine, the company also looks at the pages it reads and checks to see if the website is serving malware or running any kind of suspicious JavaScript that can cause harm to a PC. If a user visits one of these sites and starts a download (either manually or via some malicious script) then Chrome will warn the user that the download is potentially harmful.

According to a recent blog post, Google is currently showing over three million download warnings per week! In total Chrome, along with the other browsers which use this service, are protecting over 1.1 billion people from mistakenly downloading malware on their computers.

Google has now announced that it will be expanding the Safe Browsing service to include protection against other kinds of deceptive software including programs disguised as helpful downloads that actually make unexpected and unwanted changes to your computer. As an example, Google cites applications which switch your homepage or default search engine to ones you don’t want.

“You should be able to use the web safely, without fear that malware could take control of your computer, or that you could be tricked into giving up personal information in a phishing scam,” wrote Moheeb Abu Rajab, Staff Engineer, Google Security.

When a users attempts to download these malicious software installers, Chrome will display a warning and halt the download. For those users who insist on downloading the package, it can still be accessed from the Downloads list.

It is always important to be watchful when downloading software from the Internet. Make sure you trust the source of the download and make sure your malware protection is current. Google has published a set of tips to help you stay safe on the web.

Researchers at Black Hat conference demo USB’s fatal flaw

usb-flash-drive(LiveHacking.Com) – Security experts Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell have demonstrated how any USB device can be reprogrammed and used to infect a computer without the user’s knowledge.

During a presentation at the Black Hat Security conference, and in a subsequent interview with the BBC, the duo have raised the question about the future security of USB devices.

As part of the demo, a normal looking smartphone was connected to a laptop, maybe something a friend or colleague might ask you to do so they can charge the device. But the smartphone was modified to present itself as a network card and not a USB media device. The result was that the malicious software on the phone was able to redirect traffic from legitimate web sites to shadow servers, which fake and the look and feel of the genuine sites, but are actually designed just to steal login credentials.

According to a blog entry posted by the pair, USB’s great versatility is also its Achilles heel. “Since different device classes can plug into the same connectors, one type of device can turn into a more capable or malicious type without the user noticing,” wrote the researchers.

The experts, who work for Security Research Labs in Germany, gave a presentation at the Black Hat conference called “BadUSB — On accessories that turn evil.” Every USB device has a micro-controller that isn’t visible to the user. It is responsible for talking with the host device (e.g. a PC) and interfacing with the actual hardware. The firmware for these microcontrollers is different on every USB device and what the micro-controller software does is different on every device. Webcams, keyboards, network interfaces, smartphones and flash drives all perform different tasks and the software is developed accordingly.

However, the team managed to reverse engineer and hack the firmware on different devices in under two months. As a result they can re-program the devices and get them to act as something they are not.

During their Black Hat presentation, a standard USB drive was inserted into a computer. Malicious code implanted on the stick tricked the PC into thinking a keyboard had been plugged in. The fake keyboard then began typing in commands – and forced the computer to download malware from the internet.

Defending against this type of attack includes tactics like code-signing of the micro-controller firmware updates or the disabling of firmware changes in hardware. However these must all be implemented by the USB device makers and isn’t something that end users can enforce.

You can download the slides from the presentation here: https://srlabs.de/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/SRLabs-BadUSB-BlackHat-v1.pdf

Presentation on how to break Tor removed from Black Hat schedule

Tor project logo(LiveHacking.Com) – A highly anticipated briefing about a low-cost technique for de-anonymising Tor users has been removed from the Black Hat 2014 talk schedule for as-yet unknown reasons. The talk, which would have presented a method on how to identify Tor users, was cancelled at the request of attorneys for Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where the speakers work as researchers.

The spokesperson for the conference, which is running in Las Vegas on August 6-7, said that a Carnegie Mellon attorney informed Black Hat that one of the speakers could not give the Tor talk because the material he would reveal has not been approved for public release by the university or by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI).

The Onion Router (TOR) Project network was originally developed with the US Naval Research Laboratory as part of an investigation into privacy and cryptography on the Internet. Tor re-directs Internet traffic through a set of encrypted relays to conceal a user’s location or usage from anyone monitoring their network traffic. Using Tor makes it more difficult for online activity to be traced including “visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms.”

According to Roger Dingledine, one of the original Tor developers, the project did not “ask Black Hat or CERT to cancel the talk. We did (and still
do) have questions for the presenter and for CERT about some aspects of the research, but we had no idea the talk would be pulled before the announcement was made.” He went on to say that the project encourages research on the Tor network along with responsible disclosure of all new and interesting attacks. “Researchers who have told us about bugs in the past have found us pretty helpful in fixing issues, and generally positive to work with,” he added.

Security researcher Alexander Volynkin was scheduled to give the talk titled ‘You Don’t Have to be the NSA to Break Tor: Deanonymizing Users on a Budget’ at the Black Hat conference. It would have outlined ways that individuals can try to find the original source of Tor traffic without the need for large amounts of computing power.

Oracle fixes 113 security vulnerabilities, 20 just in Java

Oracle_ai(LiveHacking.Com) – Oracle has released a mammoth set of patches to address 113 security related problems across a wide range of its products. The patch release, which Oracle refers to as a Critical Patch Update (CPU), contains 113 new security fixes for a wide range of product families including: Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Hyperion, Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control, Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise, Oracle Siebel CRM, Oracle Industry Applications, Oracle Java SE, Oracle Linux and Virtualization, Oracle MySQL, and Oracle and Sun Systems Products Suite.

Although all of the patches from Oracle should be considered important, the set that will get the most attention are the latest patches for Java. Oracle patched 20 vulnerabilities in Java. Eight of the 20 vulnerabilities could allow a hacker to completely compromise a target client. These vulnerabilities are described as being remote exploits which don’t require authentication. In total the CPU provides fixes for 17 Java SE client vulnerabilities, 1 for a JSSE vulnerability affecting client and server, and 2 vulnerabilities affecting Java client and server.

Oracle also points out that Windows XP users should upgrade to a new operating system. The security advisory says that “running unsupported operating systems, particularly one as prevalent as Windows XP, create a very significant risk to users of these systems as vulnerabilities are widely known, exploit kits routinely available, and security patches no longer provided by the OS provider.”

This CPU also includes 5 fixes for the Oracle Database, 29 new security fixes for Oracle Fusion Middleware, 5 fixes for Oracle E-Business Suite, and 3 for the Oracle Sun Systems Products Suite. According to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), the update also include 15 patches for Oracle Virtualization products, and 10 fixes for MySQL.

“Critical Patch Update fixes are intended to address significant security vulnerabilities in Oracle products and also include code fixes that are prerequisites for the security fixes. As a result, Oracle recommends that this Critical Patch Update be applied as soon as possible by customers using the affected products,” wrote Eric Maurice on Oracle’s security blog.

Oracle releases Critical Patch Updates the Tuesday closest to the 17th day of January, April, July and October. The next CPU is due on 14 October 2014.

Microsoft, Adobe release security patches plus high profile domains rush to fix XSS vulnerability

(LiveHacking.Com) – The last few days have seen lots of security related activity from some of the world’s leading software vendors. Both Microsoft and Adobe have released patches for some of their key software while almost simultaneously a Google engineer has released details of an obscure cross-scripting request forgery bug that left several high profile domains scrambling to protect themselves over the weekend.

Microsoft

microsoft logoMicrosoft has released six new security bulletins, to tackle 29 different vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer. Two of these security bulletins are rated Critical, while the rest are either rated as Important or Moderate.

The first of the two Critical level bulletins (MS14-037) is a cumulative security update for Internet Explorer. The update fixes one publicly disclosed vulnerability and twenty-three privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s web browser. The most severe of these vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using IE. This security update is rated Critical for IE 6 through to IE 11 on Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems. For the server versions of Windows the update is rated as Moderate.

The other Critical level update (MS14-038) fixes a remote code execution vulnerability that exists because of the way that Windows Journal parses specially crafted files. The vulnerability could be exploited if a user opens a specially crafted Journal file. The fix is rated Critical for all supported editions of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 (excluding Itanium), Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 (excluding Itanium), Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows RT 8.1.

The other bulletins release by Microsoft are:

  • MS14-039 – Vulnerability in On-Screen Keyboard Could Allow Elevation of Privilege. The vulnerability could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker uses a vulnerability in a low integrity process to execute the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) and upload a specially crafted program to the target system.
  • MS14-040 – Vulnerability in Ancillary Function Driver (AFD) Could Allow Elevation of Privilege. The vulnerability could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker logs onto a system and runs a specially crafted application.
  • MS14-041 – Vulnerability in DirectShow Could Allow Elevation of Privilege. The vulnerability could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker first exploits another vulnerability in a low integrity process and then uses this vulnerability to execute specially crafted code in the context of the logged on user.
  • MS14-042Vulnerability in Microsoft Service Bus Could Allow Denial of Service. The vulnerability could allow denial of service if a remote authenticated attacker creates and runs a program that sends a sequence of specially crafted Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) messages to the target system.

Adobe

adobe-logoAdobe has released security updates for Adobe Flash Player on Windows, OS X and Linux. The updates patch vulnerabilities that could potentially allow a remote attacker to take control of the affected system. The affected software versions are:

  • Adobe Flash Player 14.0.0.125 and earlier versions for Windows and Macintosh
  • Adobe Flash Player 11.2.202.378 and earlier versions for Linux
  • Adobe AIR 14.0.0.110 SDK and earlier versions
  • Adobe AIR 14.0.0.110 SDK & Compiler and earlier versions
  • Adobe AIR 14.0.0.110 and earlier versions for Android

As well as fixing two, as yet undisclosed, security bypass vulnerabilities (CVE-2014-0537, CVE-2014-0539), the update also includes additional validation checks to ensure that Flash Player rejects malicious content from vulnerable JSONP callback APIs (CVE-2014-4671).

XSS

rosettaflash_convertAs mentioned above, the update to Adobe Flasher Player includes additional validation checks for an obscure cross-scripting request forgery bug that was disclosed by Google’s information security engineer Michele Spagnuolo over the weekend. In his blog “Abusing JSONP with Rosetta Flash,” Michele details how his tool Rosetta Flash can convert Adobe SFW files from binary to text. Attackers can then upload the “weaponised” SWF file to a domain where they will be loaded by a victim’s browser and executed by Adobe Flash Player.

Several high-profile websites were vulnerable, including most Google domains, Instagram, Tumblr and eBay. Many of these sites have worked over the weekend to protect themselves against the vulnerability.

Because of the sensitivity of this vulnerability, Spagnuolo first disclosed it internally to Google, and then privately to Adobe. He also told Twitter, eBay, Tumblr and Instagram before going public with his findings.

Apple fixes 44 security bugs in iOS

Apple-logo(LiveHacking.Com) – Apple has released a new point release of iOS 7 to address 44 different security issues with Apple’s mobile operating system. Among the patches are bug fixes for vulnerabilities in the iOS kernel, and fixes for errors in “launchd,” which could allow a malicious application to execute arbitrary code with system privileges. There are also lots of fixes for WebKit, the HTML rendering engine used by Safari.

The kernel vulnerability, which could cause an iOS device to unexpectedly restart, exists because of a null pointer de-reference in the handling of IOKit API arguments. This problem was addressed through additional validation of IOKit API arguments.

launchd has been patched quite extensively in this release. The program is responsible for starting, stopping and managing back ground processes and apps on iOS. According to Apple’s security notice for iOS 7.1.2, launchd has several different vulnerabilities including a heap buffer overflow in the handling of IPC messages, a heap buffer overflow in the handling of log messages, and some unspecified integer overflow/underflow issues. All of these could possibly allow a malicious application to execute arbitrary code with system privileges.

The WebKit HTML rendering engine was also heavily patched with 28 unique bugs being squashed. Many of the bugs were discovered either by Google’s Chrome Security Team or by renowned security researchers like “miaubiz” who were participating in Google’s Vulnerability Rewards Program for Chromium. However Apple did find several bugs on its own. In total, the discovery of 12 of the 28 vulnerabilities is attributed (or co-attributed) to Apple. The result of the “multiple memory corruption issues” in WebKit was that a user visiting a maliciously crafted website could lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.

Two other WebKit vulnerabilities were also found by Erling Ellingsen of Facebook. The first was an encoding issue that existed in the handling of unicode characters in URLs. The result was that a malicious site could send messages to a connected frame or window in a way that might circumvent the receiver’s origin check. The other problem was a spoofing issue that existed in the handling of URLs.

Another interesting issue fixed in this version of iOS was a problem with Siri and lock codes. If a Siri request referred to one of several possible contacts, Siri displayed a list of choices and the option ‘More…’ for a complete contact list. When used at the lock screen, Siri did not require the passcode before viewing the complete contact list.

iOS 7.1.2 is available now for the iPhone 4 and later, the iPod touch (5th generation) and later, and the iPad 2 and later.

Microsoft Malware Protection Engine can be disabled via a specially crafted file

microsoft logo(LiveHacking.Com) – Microsoft has released a security advisory about a denial of service vulnerability with its Malware Protection Engine. According to Microsoft, if the Malware Protection Engine scans a specially crafted file then it can cause a denial of service condition. This means that an attacker who manages to exploit the vulnerability could stop the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine from monitoring the filesystem, until the specially crafted file is manually deleted and the service is restarted. During this time the PC is susceptible to infection by other malware.

To exploit the vulnerability an attacker would need to place a specially crafted file on the target PC. This could be achieved in one of several different ways including via a website, via email message, or in an Instant Messenger message. If the affected anti-malware software has real-time protection turned on (which is the default), then the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine will scan the file automatically, leading to exploitation of the vulnerability.

The Malware Protection Engine is used by a variety of Microsoft products including Windows Security Essentials and Windows Defender. Microsoft has rated the vulnerability as “Important,” but not “Critical.”

Microsoft has fixed the vulnerability and the engine will be updated automatically when your PC next updates its malware definitions. Because the fix is part of the “normal” malware updates then Microsoft won’t be issuing a Security Bulletin about the problem, nor will it feature in a future Patch Tuesday. Microsoft estimates that the built-in update mechanisms will apply the fix within 48 hours of the release, however the exact time frame depends on the software used, Internet connection, and infrastructure configuration.