Teardown: Recon Sentinel

It might be hard to imagine now, but there was a time when the average home had only a single Internet connected device in it. This beige box, known as a “desktop computer” in those olden days, was a hub of information and productivity for the whole family. There was a good chance you might even need to wait for your turn to use it, since it’s not like you had a personal device in your pocket that let you log on from the bathroom whatever room you might be in at the time. Which is just as well, since even if you had broadband back then, you certainly weren’t shooting it around the house with the Magic Internet Beams that we take for granted now.

Things are a lot more complicated today. Your computer(s) are only part of the equation. Now there’s mobile phones and tablets sharing your Internet connection, in addition to whatever smart gadgets you’ve brought into the mix. When your doorbell and half the light bulbs in the house have their own IP address, it takes more than a fresh copy of Norton AntiVirus to keep everything secure.

Which is precisely what Cigent Technology says the Recon Sentinel was designed for. Rather than protecting a single computer or device, this little gadget is advertised as being able to secure your entire network by sniffing out suspicious activity and providing instant notifications when new hardware is connected. According to the official whitepaper, it also runs a honeypot service Cigent calls a “cyber deception engine” and is capable of deploying “Active Defense Countermeasures” to confuse malicious devices that attempt to attack it.

It certainly sounds impressive. But for $149.99 plus an annual subscription fee, it better. If you’re hoping this teardown will tell you if it’s worth springing for the $899.99 Lifetime Subscription package, don’t get too excited. This isn’t a review, we’re only interested in cracking this thing open and seeing what makes it tick.

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Security This Week: Racoons In My TLS, Bypassing Frontends, And Obscurity

Raccoon is the next flashy security flaw with a name, cute logo, and a website (and a PDF). Raccoon is a flaw in TLS version prior to 1.3, and seems to be a clever bit of work, albeit one with limited real-world application. The central problem is that these older versions of TLS, when using Diffie Hellman (DH), drop leading all-zero bytes in the resulting pre-master key. As that key is part of the input for calculating the master session key, a shortened pre-master key results in a slightly faster calculation of the master key. If an attacker can make fine-grained timing measurements, he can determine when the pre-master key is trimmed.

Let’s review Diffie Hellman, briefly. The client and server agree on two numeric values, a base g and modulus p, and each party generates a secret key, a and b. Each party calculates a public key by raising the shared base to their own private key, mod the shared modulus: A = g^a mod p. These public keys are exchanged, and each party raises the received key to their own secret key: A^b. Exponents have a non-obvious quirk, the power rule. A value raised to a power raised to a power is the same as the value raised to the power of the exponents multiplied together. g^a^b is equal to g^(a*b). By going through this mathematical dance, the server and client have arrived at a shared value that only they know, while preserving the secrecy of their private keys. Continue reading “Security This Week: Racoons In My TLS, Bypassing Frontends, And Obscurity”

This Week In Security: Zero Days, Notarized Malware, Jedi Mind Tricks, And More

Honeypots are an entertaining way to learn about new attacks. A simulated vulnerable system is exposed to the internet, inviting anyone to try to break into it. Rather than actually compromising a deployed device, and attacker just gives away information about how they would attack the real thing. A honeypot run by 360Netlab found something interesting back in April: an RCE attack against QNAP NAS devices. The vulnerability is found in the logout endpoint, which takes external values without properly sanitizing them. These values are used as part of an snprintf statement, and then executed with a system() call. Because there isn’t any sanitization, special characters like semicolons can be injected into the final command to be run, resulting in a trivial RCE.

QNAP has released new firmware that fixes the issue by replacing the system() call with execv(). This change means that the shell isn’t part of the execution process, and the command injection loses its bite. Version 4.3.3 was the first firmware release to contain this fix, so if you run a QNAP device, be sure to go check the firmware version. While this vulnerability was being used in the wild, there doesn’t seem to have been a widespread campaign exploiting it.

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Dropping Zip Bombs On Vulnerability Scanners

If you’ve ever looked at the server logs of a computer that lives full-time on the Internet, you know it’s a rough world out there. You’ll see hundreds of attempts per day to break in to your one random little box. Are you going to take that sitting down? Christian Haschek didn’t.

Instead of simply banning IPs or closing off services, [Christian] decided to hit ’em where it hurts: in the RAM. Now, whenever a bot hits his server looking for a poorly configured WordPress install, he serves them 10 GB of zeroes, compressed down into 10 MB by gzip:

dd if=/dev/zero bs=1M count=10240 | gzip > 10G.gzip

The classic trick uses zip multiple times on itself, which lets you compress arbitrarily large files into just a few kB. [Christian] tried this with gzip, and discovered that it didn’t automatically recurse, so he’s taking a small bandwidth hit for the team. If you know how to get more data packed smaller using gzip, leave a note in the comments.

Nobody really knows if this works on the bad guys’ servers, but [Christian] said that they stopped hitting him after downloading a couple payloads. If you want to test out what it does to your system, click this link. If you don’t run a server, but phishing e-mails get you hot under the collar, check out [Robbie Gallagher]’s talk on phishing the phishers from last year’s Schmoocon for cathartic tales of revenge.