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Virus Bulletin news

VB2014 paper: Exposing Android white collar criminals

Luis Corrons dives into the world of shady Android apps.

Over the next few months, we will be sharing VB2014 conference papers as well as video recordings of the presentations. Today, we have added 'Exposing Android white collar criminals' by Panda Security researcher Luis Corrons.

Android is by far the most popular operating system when it comes to mobile malware, and it isn't surprising that this year's conference programme included a number of talks on the tricks used by Android malware to infect devices.

But not all malicious apps need to use such tricks: Luis Corrons discussed various apps that use social engineering to subscribe the victim to premium rate SMS services. In many cases, the methods used are verging on legal - for instance, an app that requires the user to accept its terms and conditions, which openly state its purpose, but in a very small font.

"To view the contents, you need to accept the terms and conditions." Note the extremely small font used to display those terms and conditions.

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Black Hat Europe - day 2

IPv6 versus IDPS, XSS in WYSIWYG editors, and reflected file downloads.

After a busy first day, I was somewhat glad that the talks on the second day of Black Hat Europe appealed slightly less to my personal tastes and interests, as this gave me a chance to meet some old and new friends, and to have those conversations that perhaps form the heart of a security conference.

I did attend three talks though, each of which was very interesting.

Early in the morning, Antonios Atlasis, Enno Rey and Rafael Schaefer gave a presentation on IPv6. A few years ago, I wrote an article about the security implications of the switch to IPv6, the most important takeaway from which was that IPv6 isn't just IPv4 with longer addresses - it is a new protocol, in which many things work rather differently, and this has implications for security.

One thing that distinguishes IPv6 from IPv4 is the ability to use 'extension headers'. These make the protocol rather flexible and allow for future extensions that we haven't even though of. But, as Antonios, Enno and Rafael showed, combined with packet fragmentation, these extension headers tend to confuse intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS).

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Black Hat Europe - day 1

Programme packed with interesting talks.

Though the prestige of Black Hat Europe doesn't compare to that of its American parent conference, and the event certainly doesn't dominate the debate on Twitter in quite the same way, more than 800 security experts descended on Amsterdam this week where, in the RAI Convention Centre, the 14th edition of Black Hat Europe is taking place.

The conference opened with a keynote from Adi Shamir (perhaps still best known as the 'S' in the RSA protocol) on side channel attacks. He started by describing how it is possible for an adversary to extract the private RSA key by measuring the power usage of a computer that uses that key to decrypt data.

Most of Adi's presentation, however, concentrated on an attack that used a printer/scanner, a laser, and ultimately even a drone to extract data from an air-gapped network after it had been infected with malware. It was a fascinating presentation, even if probably of little practical use for anyone not in the business of writing film scripts.

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VB2014 paper: DNSSEC - how far have we come?

Nick Sullivan describes how DNSSEC uses cryptography to add authentication and integrity to DNS responses.

Over the next months, we will be sharing conference papers as well as video recordings of the presentations. Today, we have added 'DNSSEC - how far have we come?' by CloudFlare's Nick Sullivan.

It is rather scary to think about how much of the Internet depends on DNS, and how little guarantee that protocol provides about its responses being correct. The Kaminsky attack is well mitigated these days, but cache poisoning attacks do happen and there are various other ways in which the DNS response given may not be one that can ultimately be traced to the domain owner.

In his paper, Nick explains how DNSSEC uses cryptography to add authentication and integrity (but not confidentiality) to DNS responses, thus allowing DNS clients to trust the responses they receive from recursive name servers.

But DNSSEC could bring some bad news too: in its standard form, it allows an attacker to 'walk' a DNS zone, thus revealing all domains hosted on a nameserver, while the increased response sizes mean DNSSEC could be used for DNS reflection DDoS attacks.

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POODLE attack forces the Internet to move away from SSL 3.0

Users and administrators urged to stop supporting the protocol, or at least to prevent downgrade attacks.

After Heartbleed and Shellshock, or the SSL/TLS attacks CRIME and BEAST, 'POODLE' does sound rather cute. Yet the vulnerability in version 3.0 of the SSL protocol that was disclosed by Google researchers yesterday is fairly serious and shouldn't be ignored.

Details on POODLE, which stands for 'Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption', were shared in a document on OpenSSL's website ( PDF), but it is important to note that the vulnerability is in the protocol rather than in the implementations, and other implementations of SSL 3.0 are just as vulnerable. Microsoft, for instance, published an advisory here.

The vulnerability has to do with the way SSL 3.0 handles padding: adding characters to a plaintext to make its length an integral number of blocks, which is necessary in order to make cipher-block chaining (CBC) work. Technical details on the vulnerability and how it can be attacked - both of which require some basic understanding of cryptography - have been posted by, among others, Adam Langley, Matthew Green and Daniel Fox Franke.

RFC 6101, which defines SSL 3.0.

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