This Week In Security: Default Passwords, Lock Slapping, And Mastodown

The UK has the answer to all our IoT problems: banning bad default passwords. Additionally, the new UK law requires device makers to provide contact info for vulnerability disclosures, as well as a requirement to advertise vulnerability fix schedules. Is this going to help the security of routers, cameras, and other devices? Maybe a bit.

I would argue that default passwords are in themselves the problem, and complexity requirements only nominally help security. Why? Because a good default password becomes worthless once the password, or algorithm leaks. Let’s lay out some scenarios here. First is the static default password. Manufacturer X makes device Y, and sets the devices to username/password admin/new_Complex_P@ssword1!. Those credentials make it onto a default password list, and any extra security is lost.

What about those devices that have a different, random-looking password for each device? Those use an algorithm to derive that password from the MAC address and/or serial number. That may help the situation, but the algorithm can be retrieved from the firmware, and most serial numbers are predictable in one way or another. This approach is better, but not a silver bullet.

So what would a real solution to the password problem look like? How about no default password at all, but no device functionality until the new password passes a cracklib complexity and uniqueness check. I have seen a few devices that do exactly this. The requirement for a disclosure address is a great idea, which we’ve talked about before regarding the similar EU legislation.

Continue reading “This Week In Security: Default Passwords, Lock Slapping, And Mastodown”

Three ZigBee radios in ESD bags, marked "Zigbee Sniffer", "Router" and "Coordinator".

Crash IoT Devices Through Protocol Fuzzing

IoT protocols are a relatively unexplored field compared to most PC-exposed protocols – it’s bothersome to need a whole radio setup before you can tinker on something, and often, for low-level experiments, just any radio won’t do. This means there’s quite a bit of security ground to cover. Now, the U-Fuzz toolkit from [asset-group] helps us make up for it.

Unlike fuzzers you might imagine, U-Fuzz doesn’t go in blindly. This toolkit has provisions to parse protocols and fuzz fields meaningfully, which helps because many of devices will discard packets they deem too malformed. With U-Fuzz, you feed it a couple packet captures, help it make some conclusions about packet and protocol structure, and get suggestions on how to crash your devices in ways not yet foreseen.

This allows for basically arbitrary protocol fuzzing, and to demonstrate, we get examples on 5G, CoAP and ZigBee probing alike, with a list of found CVEs to wrap the README up. As Wikipedia often states, this list is incomplete, and you can help by expanding it. Fuzzing is an underestimated tool – it will help you hack ubiquitous wireless protocols, proprietary standards, and smart home hubs alike.

Dumping script window, showing the bytes being dumped one by one from the STM chip

Need To Dump A Protected STM32F0x? Use Your Pico!

Sometimes, security mechanisms can be bypassed if you just do things slightly out of the ordinary. For instance, readout protection on microcontrollers is a given nowadays, to the point where it’s intentionally enabled and relied upon as a major technical measure to protect intellectual property. The gist is — when you connect to a microcontroller over its debug interface and then ask to read its flash memory, it will politely refuse. However, [Racerxdl] shows us that in practice, it’s not flawless protection – for certain chips, you just need to be a little quicker than usual.

Usually, flashing and debugging software will chat with the microcontroller for a bit, and probe parameters before going for any direct requests. However, if you skip the courtesy and bluntly get to the point immediately right after power is applied to the microcontroller, you can intimidate them just enough to give you one byte of its memory before it refuses to cooperate further. Since that can be any byte you wish, you can read the entire flash — one byte at a time.

You need to power cycle the chip before you can progress, so the hardware does involve a bit more than just an SWD interface, and it will take a fair bit more time than reading out a non-protected chip the usual way; plus, of course, the debugging interface needs to be active for this in the first place, which isn’t always the case. However, it still beats paying a few thousand dollars for a factory in China to decap your chip and read it out using a fancy machine.

[Racerxdl] didn’t just write a proof-of-concept for this attack – they implemented it for one of our favourite chips, the RP2040. As such, you no longer need an unobtainium STM32 to dump an unobtainium STM32.

To be clear, [Racerxdl] didn’t design this attack — it’s been around for some time now. Credit for that goes to Johanes Obermaier. All in all, this is a wonderful reminder that seemingly reliable security mechanisms can be foiled by the simplest tricks. For instance, if your chip erases the flash when you unlock its protection, you can just tell it not to.

This Week In Security: VMWare, Microsoft Teams, Python Fuzzing, And More

There’s a VMWare problem that’s being exploited in the wild, according to the NSA (PDF). The vulnerability is a command injection on an administrative console. The web host backing this console is apparently running as root, as the vulnerability allows executing “commands with unrestricted privileges on the underlying operating system.”

The wrinkle that makes this interesting is that VMWare learned about this vuln from the NSA, which seems to indicate that it was a zero-day being used by a foreign state. The compromise chain they list is also oddly specific, making me suspect that it is a sanitized account of observed attacks.

Microsoft Teams, And the Non-CVE

[Oskars Vegeris] found a pair of interesting problems in the Microsoft Teams client, which together allows an interactionless, wormable RCE. The first vuln is an XSS problem, where a message containing a “mention” can be modified in transit to include arbitrary Javascript. To get that JS past the XSS protection filter, a unicode NULL byte is included in the payload. The second vuln is using the built-in file download code in the Teams app to download and auto-run a binary. Put together, anyone who simply loads the message in their Teams app runs the code.

Vegeris points out that since so many users have a presence in multiple rooms, it would be trivial to use this exploit to build a worm that could infect the majority of Teams users worldwide. The bug was reported privately to Microsoft and fixed back in October. A wormable RCE in a widely used tool seems like a big deal, and should net a high CVE score, right? Microsoft gave two ratings for this attack chain, for the two versions of Teams that it can affect. For the Office365 client, it’s “Important, Spoofing”, which is about as unimportant as a bug can be. The desktop app, at least, was rated “critical” for an RCE. The reason for that seems to be that the sandbox escape only works on the standalone desktop app.

But no CVE was issued for the exploit chain. In the security community, collecting CVEs is an important proof of work for your resume. Microsoft replied that they don’t issue CVEs for products that get updated automatically without user interaction. Kerfuffle ensued. Continue reading “This Week In Security: VMWare, Microsoft Teams, Python Fuzzing, And More”

This Week In Security: Fuzzing Fixes, Foul Fonts, TPM Timing Attacks, And More!

An issue was discovered in libarchive through Google’s ClusterFuzz project. Libarchive is a compression and decompression library, widely used in utilities. The issue here is how the library recovers from a malformed archive. Hitting an invalid header causes the memory in use to be freed. The problem is that it’s possible for file processing to continue even after that working memory has been freed, leading to all kinds of problems. So far an actual exploit hasn’t been revealed, but it’s likely that one is possible. The problem was fixed back in May, but the issue was just announced to give time for that update to percolate down to users.

Of note is the fact that this issue was found through Google’s fuzzing efforts. Google runs the oss-fuzz project, which automatically ingests nightly builds from around 200 open source projects and runs ClusterFuzz against them. This process of throwing random data at programs and functions has revealed over 14,000 bugs.
Continue reading “This Week In Security: Fuzzing Fixes, Foul Fonts, TPM Timing Attacks, And More!”

DEF CON: Abusing Scripts In Multiplayer Games

Everyone has at least a few games on their computer, and I would assume most of the Hackaday readership would be among the enlightened PC gamer bretheren. At this year’s DEF CON, [Tamas Szakaly] gave a talk about the data these games leak to the Internet, the data they accept from the Internet, and what you can do with that data.

[Tamas]’ talk was entirely about scripting games, like the many games that are scriptable in Lua, or Valve’s Squirrel. Developers have thought about this before and have implemented sandboxes and many anti-cheat mechanisms. However, because these sandboxes are poorly implemented, it’s easy to get outside the game and do some real damage.

[Tamas]’ first target was Crysis 2 and the CryEngine3. This game uses a Lua scripting engine and has no sandbox whatsoever. That means [Tamas] can call os.execute, and from there the entire game is over. Or it’s just begun. Either way you look at it, it’s pretty bad.

CryTek notwithstanding, [Tamas] can also use games with Lua scripting that have a real sandbox. DOTA2 has a leaky sandbox and can be used to call OS I/O routines and execute base 64 encoded executables right over the main executable.

The most impressive example of script abuse in various multiplayer games is from Garry’s Mod. This game has custom implementation of dangerous functions, restricted file IO, and a proper Lua sandbox. This was a wise decision from the developers, but the library is huge. If you create a map or mode used on a server, you can have a full HTTP proxy to the gamer’s home network. During the talk, [Tamas] used this exploit to display an image from a webcam on a Garry’s Mod server. It was on the podium right next him, but this could have been done on a server on the other side of the planet.

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The Economics Of Fuzz Testing With The Intel Edison

The Intel Edison is an incredibly small and cheap x86 computing platform, and with that comes the obvious applications for robotics and wearable computing. [mz] had another idea: what if the Edison could do work that is usually done by workstations? Would it make economic sense to buy a handful of Edisons over a single quad-core Xeon system?

[mz] thought the Edison would be an ideal platform for fuzz testing, or sending random, automated data at a program or system to figure out if they’ll misbehave in interesting ways. After figuring out where to solder power and ground wires to boot an Edison without a breakout board, [mz] got to work benchmarking his fuzz testing setup.

Comparing the benchmarks of a fuzzing job running on the Edison and a few servers and workstations, calculations of cost-efficiency worked out well for this tiny x86 system on module. For parallelizable tasks, the Edison is about 8x less powerful than a reasonably modern server, but it’s also about 5-8x cheaper than a comparable desktop machine. Although renting a server is by far the more economic solution for getting a lot of computing power easily, there are a few use cases where a cluster of Edisons in your pocket would make sense.