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Blogs | INSIGHTS | June 4, 2013

Industrial Device Firmware Can Reveal FTP Treasures!

Security professionals are becoming more aware of backdoors, security bugs, certificates, and similar bugs within ICS device firmware. I want to highlight another bug that is common in the firmware for critical industrial devices: the remote access provided by some vendors between their devices and ftp servers for troubleshooting or testing. In many cases this remote access could allow an attacker to compromise the device itself, the company the device belongs to, or even the entire vendor organization. I discovered this vulnerability while tracking connectivity test functions within the firmware…

Sofiane Talmat
Blogs | INSIGHTS | May 29, 2013

Security 101: Machine Learning and Big Data

The other week I was invited to keynote at the ISSA CISO Forum on Incident Response in Dallas and in the weeks prior to it I was struggling to decide upon what angle I should take. Should I be funny, irreverent, diplomatic, or analytical? Should I plaster slides with the last quarter’s worth of threat statistics, breach metrics, and headline news? Should I quip some anecdote and hope the attending CISO’s would have an epiphany that’ll fundamentally change the way they secure their organizations? In the end I did…

Gunter Ollmann
Blogs | INSIGHTS | May 23, 2013

Identify Backdoors in Firmware By Using Automatic String Analysis

The Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) this Friday published an advisory about some backdoors I found in two programmable gateways from TURCK, a leading German manufacturer of industrial automation products. Using hard-coded account credentials in industrial devices is a bad idea. I can understand the temptation among manufacturers to include a backdoor “support” mechanism in the firmware for a product such as this. This backdoor allows them to troubleshoot problems remotely with minimal inconvenience to the customer. On the other hand, it is only a…

Ruben Santamarta
Blogs | INSIGHTS | May 7, 2013

Bypassing Geo-locked BYOD Applications

In the wake of increasingly lenient BYOD policies within large corporations, there’s been a growing emphasis upon restricting access to business applications (and data) to specific geographic locations. Over the last 18 months more than a dozen start-ups in North America alone have sprung up seeking to offer novel security solutions in this space – essentially looking to provide mechanisms for locking application usage to a specific location or distance from an office, and ensuring that key data or functionality becomes inaccessible outside these prescribed zones. These “Geo-locking” technologies are…

Gunter Ollmann
Blogs | INSIGHTS | April 30, 2013

Fact or Fiction: Is Huawei a Risk to Critical Infrastructure?

How much of a risk does a company like Huawei or ZTE pose to U.S. national security? It’s a question that’s been on many peoples lips for a good year now. Last year the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence warned American companies to “use another vendor”, and earlier in that year the French senator and former defense secretary Jean-Marie Bockel recommended a “total prohibition in Europe of core routers and other sensitive IT equipment coming from China.” In parallel discussions, the United Kingdom, Australia and…

Gunter Ollmann
Blogs | INSIGHTS | April 18, 2013

InfoSec Europe 2013 – Security on Tap

It’s that time of the year again as Europe’s largest and most prestigious information security conference “Infosecurity Europe” gets ready to kick off next week at Earls Court, London, UK. This year’s 18th annual security gathering features over 350 exhibitors, but you won’t find IOActive on the floor of the conference center. Oh no, we’re pulling out all the stops and have picked a quieter and more exclusive location to conduct our business just around the corner….

Gunter Ollmann
Blogs | INSIGHTS | April 16, 2013

Can GDB’s List Source Code Be Used for Evil Purposes?

One day while debugging an ELF executable with the GNU Debugger (GDB), I asked myself, “How does GDB know which file to read when you use the list command?” (For the uninformed, the list command prints a specified number of lines from a source code file -— ten lines is the default.)   Source code filenames are contained in the metadata of an ELF executable (in the .debug_line section, to be exact). When you use the list command, GDB will open(), read(), and display the file contents if and only…

Alejandro Hernandez
Blogs | INSIGHTS | April 10, 2013

What Would MacGyver Do?

“The great thing about a map: it gets you in and out of places in a lot different ways.” – MacGyver    When I was young I was a big fan of the American TV show, MacGyver. Every week I tuned in to see how MacGyver would build some truly incredible things with very basic and unexpected materials — even if some of his solutions were hard to believe. For example, in one episode MacGyver built a futuristic motorized heat-seeking gun using only a set of batteries, an electric mixer,…

Sofiane Talmat
Blogs | INSIGHTS | April 2, 2013

Spotting Fake Chips in the Supply Chain

In the information security world we tend to focus upon vulnerabilities that affect the application and network architecture layers of the enterprise and, every so often, some notable physical devices. Through various interrogatory methods we can typically uncover any vulnerabilities that may be present and, through discussion with the affected business units, derive a relative statement of risk to the business as a whole.   An area of business rarely dissected from an information security perspective however is the supply chain. For manufacturing companies and industrial suppliers, nothing is more…

Christopher Tarnovsky
Blogs | INSIGHTS | March 28, 2013

Behind ADSL Lines: How to Bankrupt ISPs While Making Money

Disclaimer: No businesses or even the Internet were harmed while researching this post. We will explore how an attacker can control the Internet access of one or more ISPs or countries through ordinary routers and Internet modems. Cyber-attacks are hardly new in 2013. But what if an attack is both incredibly easy to construct and yet persistent enough to shut Internet services down for a few hours or even days? In this blog post we will talk about how easy it would be to enlist ordinary home Internet connections in…

Ehab Hussein

Arm IDA and Cross Check: Reversing the 787’s Core Network

IOActive has documented detailed attack paths and component vulnerabilities to describe the first plausible, detailed public attack paths to effectively reach the avionics network on a 787, commercial airplane from either non-critical domains, such as Passenger Information and Entertainment Services, or even external networks.