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Posts Tagged ‘vulnerability’

More on Poll Automation and some Tools

Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on March 24, 2009

Readers of this blog may be getting bored about poll automation, however there are news articles that are pertinent and give good arguments that I believe ought to be posted here.

Dennis Posadas, the Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering, wrote an article entitled, “Computers can be hacked, so what?” The article details that we take a lot of technology based risks everyday, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t use them. In other words, we make dozens of cost-benefit analyses each day but in the end we mostly benefit.

I am all for the automation of elections, there’s a possibility of it being a game changer and we may actually have a lot less fraud at the polls… something unheard of in my generation. However, I believe that it should be correctly implemented to minimize fraud, because if not, all those billions of pesos in taxpayer money might not go to the pockets of our corrupt officials… oops I mean, all that money will be for nought, and we’ll have the same or even more problems than we do with the un-automated version. The length of time for implementation and the logistical challenges full poll automation presents just strenghthens the case that maybe partial automation may be better.

Technology is an enabler, it can enable poll fraud to be harder, or it can actually make it easier. It all depends on the process.

Intelligent, competent and honest people should run the show (poll automation in this case). Leaders that put too much confidence and give statements that a yet implemented system cannot be hacked, borderline on ignorance, and shouldn’t be there at all… unless of course they have technical advisors that are the best the country can offer.


Re-post of earlier Comments

I am re-posting an earlier comment by dts, made by Patrick Dailey since its in the comments section and may not be seen by people who don’t check the comments.

dts said
March 21, 2009 at 10:14 am e

Comments made by
Patrick Dailey CISSP, GCFA, IT Audit and Security Consultant – Managing Director at DigiThreat Solutions
[http://www.linkedin.com/newsArticle?viewDiscussion=&articleID=29343049&gid=1851931]

From an IT project management point of view, 80,000 machines with source code, voter information data, vote data, and other information will be installed throughout the country. Additionally, the provision of transmission of data to a centralized location (presumably via Internet) will have to be procured from each location where the machines are installed. Supplies of ballot paper, training, technical support, and warehousing are all part of this project, and all aspects of this project need to be completed by May 10th, 2010 (417 days from now). The winning bidder is announced on April 27th, 2009, giving the bidder 378 days to complete all tasks.

To say that this project is ambitious would be an understatement – let’s do the math. It will require that the winning bidder install the machines, the software, and (hopefully) test an average of over 200 machines a day, travel not included. This does not account for machines that are dead on arrival. Internet access will need to be procured at locations throughout the country. Ever tried to get an Internet connection procured in a remote province? It can take months to get a reliable connection even in Metro Manila. What about remote islands that offer no Internet service whatsoever?

Logistics will also play a major role – while slightly less than 2000 mothballed counting machines from the 2004 election are sitting in four floors of storage (costing taxpayers P30 million a year), how much storage will 80,000 counting machines require? If the same size of machines and stacking capability is utilized as is the current storage, it will require 160 floors, or roughly 40 hectares, of storage space. Phasing the storage of equipment in warehouses will add to the complexity of the project, and delivery of machines and other materials to the end location to install (and coordinating with the installers) would almost require a Ph.D. in logistics, if there was such a degree. Add training and technical support to the equation, and you have an extremely difficult project. I have no reason to doubt Mr. Tolentino when he has confidence in the bidders capabilities, but this type of project would stretch many large multi-national companies. Simply put, whoever wins this project has their hands very full, and I do wish them the best of luck.

Assuming the bidder can survive the project demands and logistics, they will then have to contend with the security risks that are involved with this undertaking. While “hackers” are the “in” thing to talk about, they are a very small subset of the overall security risks. Here are some very basic IT security questions the winning bidder should be asking before even bidding on the project:

-Are there a defined information security policies and procedures for this project?
-What is the overall network architecture of this project, including systems, ports, data transmission, data locations, and other pertinent information? Where are its weak points?
-Will firewalls be a part of the architecture? What is blocked? What is allowed? What is needed?
-Are wireless technologies utilized? If so, is it secured, or can someone sit outside the precinct offices and modify the votes?
-Is SMS an option being considered, and if so, what is being done to secure SMS?
-How does the transmission of data occur? Is it encrypted? If so, how?
-Is data transmission from one location to another vulnerable to man-in-the-middle or other attacks? If you do not know what a man-in-the-middle attack is, it is probably recommended that you not bid on this project.
-What happens if there is no electricity, or there is an outage during the middle of the election? What happens if there is an Internet/telco outage? Is there a detailed continuity and/or recovery program? If so, does the introduction of people handling the data provide added risk?
-How is the centralized data secured? Is it centralized on a SQL database? If so, how secure is your SA password and how vulnerable are you to SQL injection attacks?
-What if there are discrepencies between the vote tallies at the precinct, and the vote tallies that ends up being stored at the centralized location? What happens?

Many more IT questions could and will be asked, but the IT questions go well beyond the source code of the application. The source code could be absolutely fine, but if the underlying architecture has problems, then there are significant risks. It’s like building a mansion on an unstable slope – it might look good, but will crumble at the first sign of stress.

In a case such as elections, people pose an additional risk. Some questions to ask include:

-Will all programmers, installers, and other employees undergo background checks to help ensure that they cannot be compromised by third parties?
-How are devices physically secured from being compromised? Are guards watching them? If so, do they know what to look for? Or are they part of the problem?
-What if it weren’t typical “hackers”, but a foreign government trying to ensure that their preferred candidate gets elected? If you think that is far-fetched, then why were both the campaigns of John McCain and Barack Obama hacked by a foreign entity last year while leading up to the election? Why is the Chinese government repeatedly alleged to be hacking into foreign government systems?

The project scope, risks, and huge budget make this an extremely difficult endeavor. While Mr. Tolentino makes some pretty bold statements, it’s ultimately up to the winning bidder to follow through on the assertions he has made. Our company, as I am sure many other information security companies, would love to see the finished product. However, the source code is only a small component of the overall product and project, and will not give an overall picture of the security of the 2010 elections.


Seminars and Conventions

DEFCON Philippines BeerTalk II will be on April 24, 2009 7PM at Grilla, Paseo De Roxas Avenue Branch (near Greenbelt), Makati City, Philippines

THE 2ND SOCIAL NETWORKING AND E-BUSINESS CONFERENCE 2009 will be on April 23 – 24, 2009 at the Grand Ballroom, Hotel Intercontinental, Makati City, Philippines


Tools for Man in the Middle Attacks

Middler by Jay Beale
sslstrip by Moxie Marlinspike


Tips

(The H Security) The right way to handle encryption with Firefox 3


Other InfoSec News


(SC Magazine US) Internet Explorer 8 “critical” flaw in final version

(Computerworld Philippines) New IE8 still the slowest browser
(SearchSecurity) Internet Explorer 8 includes a bevy of security features
(Computerworld) IE8 best at blocking malware sites, says Microsoft sponsored study
(The Register) A grim day for browser security at hacker contest
(The H Security) Pwn2Own 2009 ends: Smartphones & Chrome unbroken

(The Register) Newfangled rootkits survive hard disk wiping
(Security Focus) Researchers aim low to root hardware

(SC Magazine US) OWASP Security Spending Benchmarks Report published
(Computerworld Philippines) Asia’s top infocomm event continues to chart region’s IT direction
(Security Focus) China more friend than foe, says white hat
(Computerworld) In poor economy, IT pros could turn to e-crime

(Security Focus) Cybercriminals optimize search for cash
(The Register) Scareware affiliates playing search engines
(Washington Post – Security Fix) Web Fraud 2.0: Data Search Tools for ID Thieves
(The Register) Cybercrime server exposed through Google cache

(The Register) Worm breeds botnet from home routers, modems
(The H Security) Botnet based on home network routers
(The H Security) An Analysis of Conficker-C
(Computerworld) Conficker’s next move a mystery to researchers

(The H Security) Twitter XSS vulnerability
(SecurityFocus) No more bugs for free, researchers say
(The H Security) HP publishes free security tool for Flash developers

(Computerworld) Start-up unveils hybrid cloud/on-site backup service

(SearchSecurity) Diebold ATMs in Russia targeted with malware
(The H Security) Windows Trojan on Diebold ATMs

(SearchSecurity) Firms muddle security breach response, expert says

(SearchSecurity) Microsoft Threat Management Gateway has some drawbacks

Posted in News, Opinion, Philippines, seminars, Social Networking, tools | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Curse of Silence Update

Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on January 9, 2009

F-Secure apparently has a solution for this, but you would have to pay for it after 15 days. I’ve also confirmed that this attack works on at least one of the major local networks. No word yet if they have changed their settings to what was suggested to stop the attack. Sony Ericsson UiQ devices were found by F-Secure to also be vulnerable to the attack.

Nokia isn’t very worried about it since it is a denial of service attack and doesn’t allow an attacker to leach information from your cellphone. I still think it would be very annoying if I would have to do a factory reset of my phone, losing all my contacts, settings and messages. I also wouldn’t like it if my competitor knows my company uses the vulnerable phones and starts shutting down SMS capabilities until we notice it. That could potentially hit productivity and the bottom line.

I have no details of the local test done except that it exists and it was possible. If one watches the video, the victim wouldn’t even know who sent the message. The phone just stops receiving messages… in other words, Nokia’s advice in the Heise Security article is pretty useless.

Nokia which got the demo around a month before the public release and which recently acquired Symbian, is currently working on a remedy for the vulnerability. I will post it here as soon as I get word of it.

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Info Sec News: Nov 18, 2008

Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on November 18, 2008

BBC Click on Biometrics

A few weeks ago BBC News Click published How biometrics could change security. The week after, they then published, “The pitfalls of biometric systems“.

Since its somewhat related to physical security, A UK fingerprint developer can read a letter from its envelope.

More news about the keyboard electromagnetic sniffing that was making the news last month:

  • From The Register Swiss boffins sniff passwords from (wired) keyboards 65 feet away
  • From BBC Keyboard sniffers to steal data
  • Video on keyboard sniffing from the very people that did the experiment can be found at COMPROMISING ELECTROMAGNETIC EMANATIONS OF WIRED KEYBOARDS.

  • The Register gives a tutorial on encrypting e-mails in, “Still sending naked email? Get your protection here“.


    Pretty sad that a UK Anti-Fraud site has crashed due to DDOS attack.

    The popular and free AVG Anti-virus has once again identified a trojan that isn’t one.

    A Vulnerability has also been discovered in the SSH Specification.

    The New York Times reports that Privacy Laws Trip Up Google’s Expansion in Parts of Europe

    The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Secrecy blog, reports that terrorists can presumably use twitter, instant messaging, etc. The article Spy Fears: Twitter Terrorists, Cell Phone Jihadists by Noah Shachtman on Wired talks about it more.

    If you’re interested on the pdf exploit (also see below in other news), Didier Steven’s Blog, talks about Shoulder Surfing a Malicious PDF Author.

    Other News:

  • Email ruse uses Federal Reserve Bank name to drop PDF exploit
  • Cybercrime expected to ramp during holiday season
  • New attack targeting Windows Mobile phones
  • Apple issues 11 security updates for Safari browser
  • How Outsourced Call Centers Are Costing Millions In Identity Theft
  • Although somewhat unrelated, InfoSec Professionals might also be interested in this article on airport security, The Things He Carried

  • White paper on Designing and implementing malicious hardware presented at the LEET ’08

    White Hat World Webinar on 10 Reasons your Existing SIEM Sucks! This will be held on Thursday, November 20, 2008 4:00 am Philippine time.

    Posted in ISMS, News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Global InfoSec Surveys and Adobe Reader Vulnerabilities

    Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on November 8, 2008

    Ernst & Young’s 2008 Information Security Survey

    EY released their Global Information Security Survey 2008 a few weeks ago. The survey was conducted from June 6 – August 1, 2008, in more than 50 countries and with nearly 1,400 participating organizations.

    Some of the key findings were:

  • Protecting reputation and brand has become a significant driver for InfoSec
  • People remain the weakest link
  • International InfoSec standards are gaining greater acceptance
  • Growing third-party risk are not being addressed
  • Business continuity still bound to IT
  • Another notable finding is that despite of the current period of economic pressures and of slowed growth, only 5% of respondents indicated a planned reduction in InfoSec expenditures, while 50% were planning to increase their investment in InfoSec. This is supported by similar numbers from CIO Magazine, CSO Magazine and PWC’s Global state of information security survey 2008 (pdf, 2.79 MB). Key highlights are stated here, and another summary can be found in a NetworkWorld.com article.

    For more information about the survey, click here. If you want a pdf copy of Ernst & Young’s 2008 Global Information Security Survey (1.42 MB) click here. For other informative pdfs from Ernst & Young regarding InfoSec, check out their Technology and Security Risk Services page.


    Adobe Reader vulns remind us why updating ASAP matters

    What I mean by ASAP here is after the correct patch management or change management procedures have been done. Patching/updating with no concern for proper procedures can easily lead to downtime and possibly even more vulnerabilities.

    I’m saying this after the SANS Internet Storm Center came across pdf files that exploited the recently found Javascript buffer overflow vulnerability. They also took note that at the time of writing (Nov 7, 2008) NO ANTI VIRUS could detect the malicious pdf.

    However, had you updated your Adobe Reader to version 9 (Windows systems) a few weeks back, you wouldn’t even need to think of the problem.

    Posted in ISMS, News, vulnerability | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Wireless Hacking part 2

    Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on November 7, 2008

    Yesterday, I had a post on Using Nmap to detect Rouge Wireless Access Points. With that post were various links to tools on hacking wireless networks that are freely available on the net. This is of course to help inform the public on the perils of wireless network computing. However, I also posted a link on the advantages on wireless and how to secure it. As is often the case, one must seek a balance or prioritize among that OTHER security triad of COST vs SECURITY vs CONVENIENCE.

    For the history buffs, there is a A Brief History of Wireless Security from SecurityUncorked.com. CSOonline, back in May 2008, also published a very informative article on Wireless Security: The Basics.

    News from SC Magazine US, SecurityFocus.com and Heise Security just came out that WPA can now be cracked in around 15 minutes.

    The SecurityFocus.com news item above talks about Recovering a WEP key in less than a minute using the aircrack-ptw tool that is used with the aircrack-ng toolsuite.

    I remember a few months ago Risky Business podcasts interviewed the maker of Metasploit framework, HD Moore, regarding his evil Eee PC. It’s about the new KARMA+Metasploit 3 framework which is a set of tools that listens to all client probe requests and can then become a fake wireless AP for any requested network. The scary thing here is that you can possibly get owned as long as your wireless is enabled and its automatically looking for a wireless access point, without the user even knowing it. The older Karma framework is available here.

    If the Risky Business podcast didn’t get you a wee bit paranoid, an interview by Network World on, Wireless security foiled by new exploits, just might do the trick. They interviewed Joshua Wright who writes the security blog WillHackforSushi.com and is also the author of the six-day SANS Institute course, Assessing and Securing Wireless Networks.

    I wonder what tools were used for the “Wall of Sheep” at the Defcon conferences, which was also at the BlackHat, this year. In case you’ve never heard of the “Wall of Sheep”, its a wall with a projection of Usernames and part of the passwords for the users foolish enough to not have enough security on their wireless connections. MySpace and Gmail accounts have also shown up (in spite of Gmail using the default https, but just for log-on) through the use of replay attacks. Apple iPhones and Window’s mobile phones have also shown up.

    Since you’ll want to save some of the information from the KARMA+Metaploit 3 framework, I’m guessing newer mini-notebooks like the Acer Aspire One which retails for around $350, and Lenovo Ideapad S10 which retails for around $400, would both be great for this.

    Since its related, there’s an On Demand Webcast sponsored by Nokia on, Corporate Mobility Policy and Device Management. In case your organization is PCI compliant or is looking forward (or dreading) compliance in the future, Network World will be having a webcast next month on PCI Wireless Compliance Demystified.

    Posted in ISMS, News, Philippines, vulnerability, Wireless | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Obama and McCain Campaign Computers Hacked

    Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on November 7, 2008

    Newsweek reports that both the Obama and McCain camps had computers that were hacked. This is apparently also around the time Gov. Palin’s Yahoo account got hacked (details of how the hacker got into Palin’s account are here). SecurityFocus reports on the hack here.


    On a related topic, SCMagazineUS reports that hackers began spreading malware soon after Obama got elected. In the typical bait-and-switch method of social engineering, spam e-mails that were supposed to contain a link to Obama’s “amazing speech” were actually links to trojans.


    New critical vulnerabilities were found for the popular VLC media player. However the Window’s version has not been updated to close the said vulnerabilities. Workarounds can be found in a Heise Security report.


    Heise Security also reports that the BotHunter tool has been updated with the new features listed here. The tool helps network administrators find out if their network has zombie computers.


    There are now more worms that exploit the MS08-67 Critical vulnerability that was reported last month. So if your Windows system uses the “Server” service, you’ll hopefully have it patched soon. For home users that do not need this dis-service, they can easily disable it, by going to services.msc while using their Admin account.

    Posted in News, vulnerability | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »