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Blogs | RESEARCH | August 2, 2018

Discovering and Exploiting a Vulnerability in Android’s Personal Dictionary (CVE-2018-9375)

I was auditing an Android smartphone, and all installed applications were in scope. My preferred approach, when time permits, is to manually inspect as much code as I can. This is how I found a subtle vulnerability that allowed me to interact with a content provider that was supposed to be protected in recent versions of Android: the user’s personal dictionary, which stores the spelling for non-standard words that the user wants to keep. While in theory access to the user’s personal dictionary should be only granted to privileged accounts,…

Daniel Kachakil
Blogs | EDITORIAL | July 13, 2018

Secure Design Remains Critical

From time to time, a technically astute person challenges me around some area of secure design. Not too long ago, a distinguished engineer opined that “Threat modeling doesn’t do anything.” A CTO asked why there was any need for security architects, arguing, “We pay for static analysis. That should fix our secure development problems.” I’m not making these comments up. The people who made them are not clueless idiots, but rather, very bright individuals. These are worthy questions. If we, security architects (that is, those of us trying to create…

Brook S.E. Schoenfield
Blogs | RESEARCH | March 9, 2018

Robots Want Bitcoins too!

Ransomware attacks have boomed during the last few years, becoming a preferred method for cybercriminals to get monetary profit by encrypting victim information and requiring a ransom to get the information back. The primary ransomware target has always been information. When a victim has no backup of that information, he panics, forced to pay for its return.

Lucas Apa & Cesar Cerrudo
Blogs | EDITORIAL | January 31, 2018

Security Theater and the Watch Effect in Third-party Assessments

Before the facts were in, nearly every journalist and salesperson in infosec was thinking about how to squeeze lemonade from the Equifax breach. Let’s be honest – it was and is a big breach. There are lessons to be learned, but people seemed to have the answers before the facts were available. It takes time to dissect these situations and early speculation is often wrong. Efforts at attribution and methods take months to understand. So, it’s important to not buy into the hysteria and, instead, seek to gain a clear vision…

Daniel Miessler
Blogs | EDITORIAL | January 24, 2018

Cryptocurrency and the Interconnected Home

There are many tiny elements to cryptocurrency that are not getting the awareness time they deserve. To start, the very thing that attracts people to cryptocurrency is also the very thing that is seemingly overlooked as a challenge. Cryptocurrencies are not backed by governments or institutions. The transactions allow the trader or investor to operate with anonymity. We have seen a massive increase in the last year of cyber bad guys hiding behind these inconspicuous transactions – ransomware demanding payment in bitcoin; bitcoin ATMs being used by various dealers to…

Neil Haskins
Blogs | RESEARCH | January 17, 2018

Easy SSL Certificate Testing

tl;dr: Certslayer allows testing of how an application handles SSL certificates and whether or not it is verifying relevant details on them to prevent MiTM attacks: https://github.com/n3k/CertSlayer. During application source code reviews, we often find that developers forget to enable all the security checks done over SSL certificates before going to production. Certificate-based authentication is one of the foundations of SSL/TLS, and its purpose is to ensure that a client is communicating with a legitimate server. Thus, if the application isn’t strictly verifying all the relevant details of the…

Enrique Nissim
Blogs | RESEARCH | January 11, 2018

SCADA and Mobile Security in the IoT Era

Two years ago, we assessed 20 mobile applications that worked with ICS software and hardware. At that time, mobile technologies were widespread, but Internet of Things (IoT) mania was only starting. Our research concluded the combination of SCADA systems and mobile applications had the potential to be a very dangerous and vulnerable cocktail. In the introduction of our paper, we stated “convenience often wins over security. Nowadays, you can monitor (or even control!) your ICS from a brand-new Android [device].” Today, no one is surprised at the appearance of an…

Alexander Bolshev & Ivan Yushkevich
Blogs | RESEARCH | November 21, 2017

Hidden Exploitable Behaviors in Programming Languages

In February 28th 2015 Egor Homakov wrote an article[1] exposing the dangers in the open() function from Ruby. The function is commonly used when requesting URLs programmatically with the open-uri library. However, instead of requesting URLs you may end up executing operating system commands. Consider the following Ruby script named open-uri.rb: require ‘open-uri’ print open(ARGV[0]).read The following command requests a web page: # ruby open-uri.rb “https://ioactive.com”   And the following output is shown: <!DOCTYPE HTML> <!–[if lt IE 9]><html class=”ie”><![endif]–> <!–[if !IE]><!–><html><!–<![endif]–><head>                 <meta charset=”UTF-8″>                 <title>IOActive is…

Fernando Arnaboldi
Blogs | EDITORIAL | November 14, 2017

Treat the Cause, not the Symptoms!

With the publication of the National Audit Office report on WannaCry fresh off the press, I think it’s important that we revisit what it actually means. There are worrying statements within the various reports around preventative measures that could have been taken. In particular, where the health service talks about treating the cause, not the symptom, you would expect that ethos to cross functions, from the primary caregivers to the primary security services.  I read that the NHS Digital team carried out an onsite cyber assessment of 88…

Neil Haskins

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.

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IOACTIVE CORPORATE OVERVIEW (PDF)