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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 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 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!

Fri, 31 May 2013

BlackOps Hacking Training - Las Vegas

Get some.

BlackOps you say?
At SensePost we have quite a range of courses in our Hacking by Numbers series. We feel each one has its own special place. I've delivered almost all the courses over the years, but my somewhat biased favourite is our relatively new BlackOps Edition. Myself (Glenn) and Vlad will be presenting this course at BlackHat Vegas in July.

Where Does BlackOps fit in?
Our introductory courses (Cadet and Bootcamp) are meant to establish the hacker mindset - they introduce the student to psychological aspects of an attacker, and build on that to demonstrate real world capability. BlackOps is designed for students who understand the basics of hacking (either from attending Bootcamp/Cadet, or from other experience) and want to acquire deeper knowledge of techniques. We built the course based on our 12 years of experience of performing security assessments.

But really, what's the course about?
This course is aimed at those who've been penetration testing for a while, but still feel a bit lost when they've compromised a host, or network and want to know the best possible approach to take for the next step. All of the labs in this course come from real life assessments, with the final lab being a full-blown social engineering attack against an admin with pivoting, exfiltration and the works. Specifically, we're going to cover the following topics:

1. Introduction to Scripting
A hacker who can automate a task is an efficient and effective attacker.

2. Advanced Targeting
A hacker who can quickly and effectively identify targets is a successful attacker. We'll be looking at non-standard techniques for identifying targets, such as mDNS, IPv6, and even Pastebin.

3. Compromise
You may know how to roll a generic metasploit payload, but we'll be looking at some lesser utilised approaches to compromis. From WPAD injection, to rogue routers in IPv6, to good old smbrelay attacks.

4. Privilege Escalation
Following on somewhat succinctly, how do you elevate your privileges after compromising a box? Everyone wants to be root or enterprise admin.

5. Pivoting
Once you've compromised a lowly developer's test server on the edge of the network, or the receptionist PC, how do you bounce through that box to get to the good stuff, three DMZs deep? We'll show you how.

6. Exfiltration
A good hacker knows that finding the jewels is only half the battle - smuggling them out can be just as hard. We'll look at how we can use non-standard communication channels to exfiltrate data out of a compromised network. Company X has just deployed a really expensive DLP solution, but you really need to get this data out, how do you bypass it?

7. Client Side Attacks
The weakest layer of the OSI stack - the human. Made über popular over the past 18 months, this is Unit 61398 in action.

8. Camouflage (new for Vegas 2013!)

During the infiltration phase of any attack, a hacker will ultimately need to try and execute code on the target system - whether achieved by means of phishing, payload delivery through an exploit or social engineering - running the code on the target system is the ultimate goal of most cyber attacks in the wild. What this means is that an attacker will need to be capable of bypassing any host-based protection software deployed on the target system for successful exploitation.
This module will run you through the techniques, methods and software currently used by the those targeting large corporates to achieve AV immunity in under any circumstances.

Each module of the above modules is followed by a practical lab to allow you to practise your newly acquired skills. The course finishes with a Capture-the-Flag, with a grand prize. Honestly, this final lab is enjoyable and guaranteed to bring a smile on your face whilst doing it.

We're looking forward to sharing out knowledge, experience, and passion for security with you. Please sign up here.

-Glenn & Vlad

Thu, 23 May 2013

Stay low, move fast, shoot first, die last, one shot, one kill, no luck, pure skill ...

We're excited to be presenting our Hacking By Numbers Combat course again at Black Hat USA this year. SensePost's resident German haxor dude Georg-Christian Pranschke will be presenting this year's course. Combat fits in right at the top of our course offerings. No messing about, this really is the course where your sole aim is to pwn as much of the infrastructure and applications as possible. It is for the security professional looking to hone their skill-set, or to think like those in Unit 61398. There are a few assumptions though:

  • you have an excellent grounding in terms of infrastructure - and application assessments

  • you aren't scared of tackling systems that aren't easily owned using Metasploit

  • gaining root is an almost OCD-like obsession

  • there are no basic introductions into linux, shells, pivoting etc.

As we've always said, it is quite literally an all-hack, no-talk course. We are not going to dictate what tools or technologies get used by students. We don't care if you use ruby or perl or python to break something (we do, actually - we don't like ruby), just as long as it gets broken. The Combat course itself is a series of between 12 and 15 (depending on time) capture the flag type exercises presented over a period of two days. The exercises include infrastructure, reverse engineering and crypto.

These targets come from real life assessments we've faced at SensePost, it's about as real as you can get without having to do the report at the end of it. How it works is that candidates are presented with a specific goal. If the presenter is feeling generous at the time, they may even get a description of the technology. After that, they'll have time to solve the puzzle. Afterwards, there will be a discussion about the failings, takeaways and alternate approaches adopted by the class. The latter is normally fascinating as (as anybody in the industry knows), there are virtually a limitless number of different ways to solve specific problems. This means that even the instructor gets to learn a couple of new tricks (we also have prizes for those who teach them enough new tricks).

In 2012, Combat underwent a massive rework and we presented a virtually new course which went down excellently. We're aiming to do the same this year, and to make it the best Combat course ever. So if you're interested in spending two days' worth of intense thinking solving some fairly unique puzzles and shelling boxen, join us for HBN Combat at BlackHat USA.

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

Thu, 9 May 2013

Wifi Hacking & WPA/2 PSK traffic decryption

When doing wireless assessments, I end up generating a ton of different scripts for various things that I thought it would be worth sharing. I'm going to try write some of them up. This is the first one on decrypting WPA/2 PSK traffic. The second will cover some tricks/scripts for rogue access-points. If you are keen on learn further techniques or advancing your wifi hacking knowledge/capability as a whole, please check out the course Hacking by Numbers: Unplugged, I'll be teaching at BlackHat Las Vegas soon.

When hackers find a WPA/2 network using a pre-shared key, the first thing they try and do most times, is to capture enough of the 4-way handshake to attempt to brute force the pairwise master key (PMK, or just the pre-shared key PSK). But, this often takes a very long time. If you employ other routes to find the key (say a client-side compromise) that can still take some time. Once you have the key, you can of course associate to the network and perform your layer 2 hackery. However, if you had been capturing traffic from the beginning, you would now be in a position to decrypt that traffic for analysis, rather than having to waste time by only starting your capture now. You can use the airdecap-ng tool from the aircrack-ng suite to do this:

airdecap-ng -b <BSSID of target network> -e <ESSID of target network> -p <WPA passphrase> <input pcap file>

However, because the WPA 4-way handshake generates a unique temporary key (pairwise temporal key PTK) every time a station associates, you need to have captured the two bits of random data shared between the station and the AP (the authenticator nonce and supplicant nonce) for that handshake to be able to initialise your crypto with the same data. What this means, is that if you didn't capture a handshake for the start of a WPA/2 session, then you won't be able to decrypt the traffic, even if you have the key.

So, the trick is to de-auth all users from the AP and start capturing right at the beginning. This can be done quite simply using aireplay-ng:

aireplay-ng --deauth=5 -e <ESSID>

Although, broadcast de-auth's aren't always as successful as a targeted one, where you spoof a directed deauth packet claiming to come from the AP and targeting a specific station. I often use airodump-ng to dump a list of associated stations to a csv file (with --output-format csv), then use some grep/cut-fu to excise their MAC addresses. I then pass that to aireplay-ng with:

cat <list of associated station MACs>.txt | xargs -n1 -I% aireplay-ng --deauth=5 -e <ESSID> -c % mon0

This tends to work a bit better, as I've seen some devices which appear to ignore a broadcast de-auth. This will make sure you capture the handshake so airdecap can decrypt the traffic you capture. Any further legitimate disconnects and re-auths will be captured by you, so you shouldn't need to run the de-auth again.

In summary:

  • Don't forget how useful examining traffic can be, and don't discount that as an option just because it's WPA/2

  • Start capturing as soon as you get near the network, to maximise how much traffic you'll have to examine

  • De-auth all connected clients to make sure you capture their handshakes for decryption

Once again, I'll be teaching a course covering this and other techniques at BlackHat Las Vegas, please check it out or recommend it to others if you think it's worthwhile. We're also running a curriculum of other courses at BH, including a brand new mobile hacking course.