September 30, 2016

90% of all HTTPS Websites Insecure

(LiveHacking.Com) – SSL Pulse, a new project that monitors the quality of SSL sites across the Internet and reports on its findings, has discovered that 90% of all HTTPS websites are insecure. The project has tested the top 200,000 SSL web sites on the Internet and discovered that nearly 180,000 of them are insecure.

The project measures key features about an SSL configuration and ranks the website according to the SSL Server Rating Guide. According to the report 40% of the worlds top SSL sites use 128 bit (or less) ciphers for data transfer and a handful of sites have certificates with keys below 1024 bits.

The biggest weaknesses are insecure renegotiation and susceptibility to a BEAST attack. Over 8,500 sites support insecure renegotiation which since 2009 as been considered insecure. A successful exploitation of this vulnerability allows an active man-in-the-middle attacker to inject arbitrary content into an encrypted data stream. The results is that the attacker can impersonate a valid client and steal confidential data.

The SSL Pulse survey reports that 75% of SSL websites are still open to BEAST attacks. A BEAST attack is based on a flaw in the SSL protocol. A successful exploitation of this issue will result in a disclosure of a victim’s session cookies, allowing the attacker to completely hijack the application session. It was resolved in TLS v1.1, but now six years later, most clients and servers do not support newer protocol versions. To protected against a BEAST attack servers need to be configured to use TLS v1.1 or to only use RC4 with TLS v1.0 or SSL v3.0.

“About 50% (99,903 sites) got an A, which is a good result. Unfortunately, many of these A-grade sites (still) support insecure renegotiation (8,522 sites, or 8.5% of the well-configured ones) or are vulnerable to the BEAST attack (72,357 sites, or 72.4% of the well-configured ones). This leaves us with only 19,024 sites (or 9.59% of all sites) that are genuinely secure at this level of analysis,” wrote Ivan Ristic, director of engineering at Qualys and creator of SSL Labs.

The project hopes that these startling numbers will raise awareness of these issues and help web site owners improve their SSL implementations.

Microsoft Fixes Eight Security Vulnerabilities in its Products

(LiveHacking.Com) – Microsoft has released seven security bulletins as part of its Patch Tuesday program. One of seven bulletins is rated Critical, with the remaining six classified as Important. The Critical bulletin addresses two issues in Windows Media Player. If exploited these vulnerabilities would allow remote code execution on the affected PC. Although there are no known active exploitations of these bugs, they can be triggered by a hacker crafting a malicious MIDI or DirectShow file. If the user then opened this file their PC would become vulnerable as the attacker could gain the same user rights as the local user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

The remaining fixes are:

  • Vulnerability in Windows Object Packager That Could Allow Remote Code Execution – The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a legitimate file with an embedded packaged object that is located in the same network directory as a specially crafted executable file.
  • Vulnerability in Windows Client/Server Run-time Subsystem That Could Allow Elevation of Privilege – The vulnerability could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker logs on to an affected system and runs a specially crafted application. The attacker could then take complete control of the affected system and install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. This vulnerability can only be exploited on systems configured with a Chinese, Japanese, or Korean system locale.
  • Vulnerability in Microsoft Windows That Could Allow Remote Code Execution – The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Microsoft Office file containing a malicious embedded ClickOnce application.
  • Vulnerability in SSL/TLS Could Allow Information Disclosure – This vulnerability affects the SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 protocols and is not specific to the Windows operating system. The vulnerability could allow information disclosure if an attacker intercepts encrypted web traffic served from an affected system. TLS 1.1, TLS 1.2, and all cipher suites that do not use CBC mode are not affected. This should protect users  from the tool known as BEAST (Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS).
  • Vulnerability in AntiXSS Library Could Allow Information Disclosure – The vulnerability could allow information disclosure if a an attacker passes a malicious script to a website using the sanitization function of the AntiXSS Library.

Chrome 15 Broke The Wall Street Journal While Trying to Beat the BEAST

(LiveHacking.Com) – Earlier this month Juliano Rizzo and Thai Duong released details of a vulnerability in the encryption mechanism used in HTTPS (Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol). They also released a tool known as BEAST (Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS). Consequently browser makers, including Google, have been trying to tweak the SSL implementations in their browsers to reduce the risks from the BEAST.

As part of the Chrome 15 release Google did some SSL tweaking:

The NSS network library was updated to include a defense against so-called BEAST. This defense may expose bugs in Brocade hardware. Brocade is working on the issue.

Well it looks like it did expose problems. As soon as users started to upgrade to Chrome 15, reports started that users couldn’t login to Barrons Online or The Wall Street Journal.

Further investigation by Google revealed that a change, which sends only one byte of data in the first CBC encrypted application data record, broke the sites.

Google back tracked on the change and released Chrome 15.0.874.106 for Windows, Mac and Linux. Since then Barron’s has updated its site, and secure sign-in is now working with 1/n-1 SSL record splitting when using the development build of Chrome 16. No word on what, if any, changes The Wall Street Journal has made to its site.

Is SSL/TLS Under Attack from the BEAST?


(LiveHacking.Com) – Juliano Rizzo and Thai Duong have released details of a vulnerability in  TLS (Transport Layer Security) 1.0, the encryption mechanism used in HTTPS (Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol). TLS is the successor to SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and is widely used on the Internet. The vulnerability resides in versions 1.0 and earlier of TLS, but not in versions 1.1 and 1.2, however they remain almost entirely unsupported in browsers and websites.

At the Ekoparty security conference in Buenos Aires, Juliano and Thai released a tool, known as BEAST (Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS), that compromises TLS by exploiting the vulnerability  that has actually been known about for years but which has been regarded as just theoretical until now.

The problem is all to do with block ciphers and Cipher Block Chaining (CBC). With CBC, each ciphertext message starts with a single extra random block, or IV (“initialization vector”). TLS <= 1.0 uses CBC but has a problem in that instead of using a new random IV for every TLS message sent, it uses the ciphertext of the last block of the last message as the IV for the next message. This means that the IV is now something an attacker can predict. A more detailed look at how the attack works can be found here.

The two-factor authentication service PhoneFactor has suggested websites use the RC4 cipher to encrypt SSL traffic instead of algorithms such as AES and DES, as RC4 is not vulnerabile to this CBC/IV problem.

According to Sophos, the pair reported their findings to the major browser vendors a month ago. However so far Google is the only company to respond with a fix (which can currently be found in the beta test versions of the browser).