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Fri, 22 Nov 2013

Mobile Hacking on the West Coast

December sees SensePost presenting Hacking by Numbers: Mobile at BlackHat West Coast Trainings. This course was first presented at BlackHat Vegas 2013 and 44Con 2013, growing in popularity and content with each iteration. For more information continue reading below or visit https://blackhat.com/wc-13/training/Hacking-by-Numbers-Mobile.html.


The mobile environment has seen immense growth and has subsequently seen organisations racing to be the first to market with the next best app. The rapid increase in mobile popularity and the speed at which developers are forced to produce new applications has resulted in an ecosystem full of security vulnerabilities. As more organisations are moving from web applications to mobile applications, penetration testers are required to adapt their testing methodology to keep pace with the changing platforms. Mobile applications developers have been lulled into a false sense of security due to the belief that "the platform will take care of the security". The Hacking by Numbers: Mobile course aims to help both penetration testers and mobile applications developers to find and understand common security vulnerabilities on a wide range of mobile platforms. The course teaches a mobile application security testing methodology that can easily be applied to mobile applications on Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Mobile.


Rather than focus on a specific mobile platform or a set of testing tools, the Hacking by Numbers Mobile course covers the following:


  • Android, iOS, RIM and Windows 8 Platform security

  • Communication protocols

  • Programming languages for mobile development

  • Building your own mobile penetration testing lab

  • Mobile application analysis

  • Static Analysis

  • Authentication and authorization

  • Data validation

  • Session management

  • Transport layer security and information disclosure


The structure of the course makes it ideal for testers and developers new to the mobile application security space, starting with the basic concepts of mobile security testing all the way through to decompilation, analysis and modification of mobile applications. As with all Hacking by Numbers courses, the mobile edition focuses on hands-on experience, with numerous lab exercises designed to provide students with practical experience to match the theory.Previous iterations of the course has seen real world applications being downloaded from the app store and common security vulnerabilities being identified.


Lab exercises include:


  • Finding and retrieving sensitive files.

  • Interception and Analysis of network traffic.

  • Runtime analysis of Application memory state.

  • Decompilation and static analysis of applications.

  • Runtime modification of application functions.
    And many more...


Training will be held from 11-12 December and more information can be found at https://blackhat.com/wc-13/training/Hacking-by-Numbers-Mobile.html.


Looking forward to seeing you all in Seattle!

Hacking by Numbers - The mobile edition

West Coast in the house, well actually more like an African visiting Seattle for Blackhat's West Coast Trainings.


We've had a great year delivering the latest course in our amazing Hacking by Numbers training series: Mobile. What's cool about this course, is like the others, we teach a hacking methodology rather than punting a tool or a magic, do it all solutions.


Mobile was created to match the continuous growth in mobile phone usage, with a specific focus on showing you how you would go about testing the mobile platforms and installed applications, to ensure they have been developed in a secure manner. HBN Mobile provides a complete and practical window into the methods used when attacking mobile platforms and presents you with a methodology that can be applied across platforms. This course is structured to cater to penetration testers who are new to the mobile area and who need to understand how to analyze and audit applications on various mobile platforms using a variety of tools.


Some of the material covered in the course includes:


  • Android, iOS, RIM and Windows 8 Platform security

  • Communication protocols

  • Programming languages for mobile development

  • Building your own mobile penetration testing lab

  • Mobile application analysis

  • Static Analysis

  • Authentication and authorization

  • Data validation

  • Session management

  • Transport layer security and information disclosure


The methodology presented is structured to allow testing to be performed on different mobile platforms and is demonstrated using both the Android and iOS platforms. Like all the HBN courses, the mobile edition focuses heavily on demonstration and hands-on practicals.



Blackhat Las Vegas 2013 saw the introduction HBN Mobile with two training sessions being presented. The course was well attended and consisted of students with varying degrees of mobile experience, however, the vast majority were new to Mobile application security and HBN Mobile provided the ideal launch pad for them. The great thing about the HBN series is that it accommodates people from all technical and security backgrounds. This held true with the Mobile edition, where we had reverse engineers, penetration testers, development managers, aerospace engineers and developers just to name a few. The feedback from the course was extremely positive and has been fed back into the course and used to improve it even further. Then we had the chance to give it to students over at 44Con in London and this again gave us a chance to take your feedback and make the course even better.


What's slightly different about this course is that you get to find flaws in common mobile applications available both in the Google Play and Apple App store. In addition, we have devices for you to use, so not everything is done in an emulator. As a result, students on the last course found common security vulnerabilities in numerous well known and popular applications.


On the 11th December in Seattle, I'll be delivering Hacking by Numbers: Mobile edition at Blackhat and I cannot wait to get on that plane. If you want to learn more about how to tear apart mobile apps, this is definitely for you. The regular price goes up on the 5th of December, so take advantage of this now and book your place.



Look forward to seeing you there.

Fri, 6 Sep 2013

Offence oriented defence

We recently gave a talk at the ITWeb Security Summit entitled "Offense Oriented Defence". The talk was targeted at defenders and auditors, rather then hackers (the con is oriented that way), although it's odd that I feel the need to apologise for that ;)


The talks primary point, was that by understanding how attackers attack, more innovative defences can be imagined. The corollary was that common defences, in the form of "best practise" introduce commonality that is more easily exploited, or at least degrade over time as attackers adapt. Finally, many of these "security basics" are honestly hard, and we can't place the reliance on them we'd hoped. But our approach doesn't seem to want to acknowledge the problem, and much like an AA meeting, it's time we recognise the problem.


If you had to look at the average security strategy or budget items, you often end up with a list containing a couple of these:


  • Compliance/GRC - building policies, auditing against them, responding to audits

  • Risk Management - enumerating and ranking all the info sec risks, prioritising them, and justifying spend to mitigate

  • Best Practises - strengthening passwords, pushing patches, configuration management, etc.

  • Technology - cue buzzwords - UTM, WAF, DLP, DAM, SIEM, IPS, AV

  • Staff - everyone needed to get the above stuff done: compliance specialists, risk specialist, security managers, device ops managers


But, the truth is many of these items don't actually block attacks, or the few that do, don't really counter the common bypassed used to side-step them. For example:


  • It's really hard to link risk-based priorities to meaningful technical priorities.

  • Compliance drives a "teach the test" approach with little incentive to create contradictory measurements.

  • Then how can we have a bunch of things called "best practise" when we can't honestly say we know how to defend. Even then, some BPs are practically impossible to achieve in anything but a point in time. And the main point of this talk; common practises have common bypasses.


The current place we seem to be in is akin to having everyone build a wall. Attackers get to evaluate the wall, figure out how to get over it, and add to their capability (i.e. get a longer rope). But once they have a longer rope, they can use it over and over again, and against more than one wall. So attackers, who are quite good at sharing, get to keep building their tool chain, while all defenders can do it to keep building a higher wall, and maintaining the increasingly untenable structure. By understanding how attackers attack, we can break out of this and try more innovative approaches.


The talk is illustrated with four broad examples: Passwords, Patches, Anti-Virus and DMZs. For each, the belief around specific configurations is discussed, and how those don't stand up to how attackers actually attack. For example, the way AV's believed to work doesn't seem to correspond with how easy they are to bypass, or the common configuration of standard password controls such as lockout, don't seem to take into account horizontal brute-force attacks.


The point I want to make here is somewhat subtle; if you walk away thinking I've described new attacks, then you've missed it, if you think I'm recommending "the basics" then you've missed it. Truthfully, maybe it's just that I didn't make it very well ... decide for yourself, here are the slides:

Sat, 1 Jun 2013

Honey, I’m home!! - Hacking Z-Wave & other Black Hat news

You've probably never thought of this, but the home automation market in the US was worth approximately $3.2 billion in 2010 and is expected to exceed $5.5 billion in 2016.


Under the hood, the Zigbee and Z-wave wireless communication protocols are the most common used RF technology in home automation systems. Zigbee is based on an open specification (IEEE 802.15.4) and has been the subject of several academic and practical security researches. Z-wave is a proprietary wireless protocol that works in the Industrial, Scientific and Medical radio band (ISM). It transmits on the 868.42 MHz (Europe) and 908.42MHz (United States) frequencies designed for low-bandwidth data communications in embedded devices such as security sensors, alarms and home automation control panels.


Unlike Zigbee, almost no public security research has been done on the Z-Wave protocol except once during a DefCon 2011 talk when the presenter pointed to the possibility of capturing the AES key exchange ... until now. Our Black Hat USA 2013 talk explores the question of Z-Wave protocol security and show how the Z-Wave protocol can be subjected to attacks.


The talk is being presented by Behrang Fouladi a Principal Security Researcher at SensePost, with some help on the hardware side from our friend Sahand Ghanoun. Behrang is one of our most senior and most respected analysts. He loves poetry, movies with Owen Wilson, snowboarding and long walks on the beach. Wait - no - that's me. Behrang's the guy who lives in London and has a Masters from Royal Holloway. He's also the guy who figured how to clone the SecureID software token.


Amazingly, this is the 11th time we've presented at Black Hat Las Vegas. We try and keep track of our talks and papers at conferences on our research services site, but for your reading convenience, here's a summary of our Black Hat talks over the last decade:



2002: Setiri : Advances in trojan technology (Roelof Temmingh)


Setiri was the first publicized trojan to implement the concept of using a web browser to communicate with its controller and caused a stir when we presented it in 2002. We were also very pleased when it got referenced by in a 2004 book by Ed Skoudis.


2003: Putting the tea back into cyber terrorism (Charl van der Walt, Roelof Temmingh and Haroon Meer)


A paper about targeted, effective, automated attacks that could be used in countrywide cyber terrorism. A worm that targets internal networks was also discussed as an example of such an attack. In some ways, the thinking in this talk eventually lead to the creation of Maltego.


2004: When the tables turn (Charl van der Walt, Roelof Temmingh and Haroon Meer)


This paper presented some of the earliest ideas on offensive strike-back as a network defence methodology, which later found their way into Neil Wyler's 2005 book "Aggressive Network Self-Defence".


2005: Assessment automation (Roelof Temmingh)


Our thinking around pentest automation, and in particular footprinting and link analyses was further expanded upon. Here we also released the first version of our automated footprinting tool - "Bidiblah".


2006: A tail of two proxies (Roelof Temmingh and Haroon Meer)


In this talk we literally did introduce two proxy tools. The first was "Suru', our HTTP MITM proxy and a then-contender to the @stake Web Proxy. Although Suru has long since been bypassed by excellent tools like "Burp Proxy" it introduced a number of exciting new concepts, including trivial fuzzing, token correlation and background directory brute-forcing. Further improvements included timing analysis and indexable directory checks. These were not available in other commercial proxies at the time, hence our need to write our own.


Another pioneering MITM proxy - WebScarab from OWASP - also shifted thinking at the time. It was originally written by Rogan Dawes, our very own pentest team leader.


The second proxy we introduced operated at the TCP layer, leveraging off the very excellent Scappy packet manipulation program. We never took that any further, however.


2007: It's all about timing (Haroon Meer and Marco Slaviero)


This was one of my favourite SensePost talks. It kicked off a series of research projects concentrating on timing-based inference attacks against all kinds of technologies and introduced a weaponized timing-based data exfiltration attack in the form of our Squeeza SQL Injection exploitation tool (you probably have to be South African to get the joke). This was also the first talk in which we Invented Our Own Acronym.


2008: Pushing a camel through the eye of a needle (Haroon Meer, Marco Slaviero & Glenn Wilkinson)


In this talk we expanded on our ideas of using timing as a vector for data extraction in so-called 'hostile' environments. We also introduced our 'reDuh' TCP-over-HTTP tunnelling tool. reDuh is a tool that can be used to create a TCP circuit through validly formed HTTP requests. Essentially this means that if we can upload a JSP/PHP/ASP page onto a compromised server, we can connect to hosts behind that server trivially. We also demonstrated how reDuh could be implemented under OLE right inside a compromised SQL 2005 server, even without 'sa' privileges.


2009: Clobbering the cloud (Haroon Meer, Marco Slaviero and Nicholas Arvanitis)


Yup, we did cloud before cloud was cool. This was a presentation about security in the cloud. Cloud security issues such as privacy, monoculture and vendor lock-in are discussed. The cloud offerings from Amazon, Salesforce and Apple as well as their security were examined. We got an email from Steve "Woz" Wozniak, we quoted Dan Geer and we had a photo of Dino Daizovi. We built an HTTP brute-forcer on Force.com and (best of all) we hacked Apple using an iPhone.


2010: Cache on delivery (Marco Slaviero)


This was a presentation about mining information from memcached. We introduced go-derper.rb, a tool we developed for hacking memcached servers and gave a few examples, including a sexy hack of bps.org. It seemed like people weren't getting our point at first, but later the penny dropped and we've to-date had almost 50,000 hits on the presentation on Slideshare.


2011: Sour pickles (Marco Slaviero)


Python's Pickle module provides a known capability for running arbitrary Python functions and, by extension, permitting remote code execution; however there is no public Pickle exploitation guide and published exploits are simple examples only. In this paper we described the Pickle environment, outline hurdles facing a shellcoder and provide guidelines for writing Pickle shellcode. A brief survey of public Python code was undertaken to establish the prevalence of the vulnerability, and a shellcode generator and Pickle mangler were written. Output from the paper included helpful guidelines and templates for shellcode writing, tools for Pickle hacking and a shellcode library.We also wrote a very fancy paper about it all...


We never presented at Black Hat USA in 2012, although we did do some very cool work in that year.


For this year's show we'll back on the podium with Behrang's talk, as well an entire suite of excellent training courses. To meet the likes of Behrang and the rest of our team please consider one of our courses. We need all the support we can get and we're pretty convinced you won't be disappointed.


See you in Vegas!

Mon, 20 May 2013

Your first mobile assessment

Monday morning, raring for a week of pwnage and you see you've just been handed a new assessment, awesome. The problem? It's a mobile assessment and you've never done one before. What do you do, approach your team leader and ask for another assessment? He's going to tell you to learn how to do a mobile assessment and do it quickly, there are plenty more to come.


Now you set out on your journey into mobile assessments and you get lucky, the application that needs to be assessed is an Android app. A few Google searches later and you are feeling pretty confident about this, Android assessments are meant to be easy, there are even a few tools out there that "do it all". You download the latest and greatest version, run it and the app gets a clean bill of health. After all, the tool says so, there is no attack surface; no exposed intents and the permissions all check out. You compile your report, hand it off to the client and a week later the client gets owned through the application... Apparently the backend servers were accepting application input without performing any authentication checks. Furthermore, all user input was trusted and no server side validation was being performed. What went wrong? How did you miss these basic mistakes? After-all, you followed all the steps, you ran the best tools and you ticked all the boxes. Unfortunately this approach is wrong, mobile assessments are not always simply about running a tool, a lot of the time they require the same steps used to test web applications, just applied in a different manner. This is where SensePost's Hacking by numbers: Mobile comes to the fore, the course aims to introduce you to mobile training from the ground up.


The course offers hands-on training, introducing techniques for assessing applications on Android, IOS, RIM and Windows 8. Some of the areas covered include:



  • Communication protocols

  • Programming languages for mobile development

  • Building your own mobile penetration testing lab

  • Mobile application analysis

  • Static Analysis

  • Authentication and authorization

  • Data validation

  • Session management

  • Transport layer security and information disclosure



Unlike other mobile training or tutorials that focus on a specific platform or a specific tool on that platform, Hacking by Numbers aims to give you the knowledge to perform assessments on any platform with a well established methodology. Building on everything taught in the Hacking by Numbers series, the mobile course aims to move assessments into mobile sphere, continuing the strong tradition of pwnage. The labs are a direct result of the assessments we've done for clients. Our trainers do this on a weekly basis, so you get the knowledge learned from assessing numerous apps over the last few years.


On your next mobile assessment you'll be able to do both static and dynamic analysis of mobile applications. You will know where to find those credit card numbers stored on the phone and how to intercept traffic between the application and the backend servers.


The course: Hacking by numbers: Mobile