Thursday 9 August 2012
This is the third part of a series of my first time to Las Vegas and defcon. If you missed either of the first two, you can find part 1 here, and part 2 here and as this is the third part, I'm going to be discussing the talks from the Sunday, the last day of defcon. We start from the start of Sunday..
..Feeling pretty refreshed surprisingly, and there's some interesting talks on in the morning, but it's mainly the ones in the afternoon I'm looking forward to..
We have you by the gadgets by Mickey Shkatov, Toby Kohlenberg
I actually saw this talk at blackhat (the slides can be found here), so I'm presuming the content is identical, but I quite liked this talk, and there had been a bit of buzz around it as Microsoft had officially told the public to completely turn off Windows sidebar gadgets due to the research done for this presentation. Mickey and Toby started off the talk by going over what gadgets are, and despite their decline in use, the point of why this actually matters is due to the fact this style of application development is taking off in a big way, especially within the phone applications market.
It also seems partly surprisingly that Microsoft have a fairly standard security model, and even have guides to help with secure development of gadgets but despite this, for the most part they are actually very insecure programs. After this they went through their two main attack scenarios:
-Attacking with gadgets, and
-attacking gadgets themselves.
So for attacking with gadgets, was a fairly simple malware attack, getting somebody to install their gadget, and people are perhaps slightly more trusting as they don't see them as proper programs, but in the end you can still execute code, and along with this was a demo, also showing the fact that they share the cache and so see all the cookies etc from a person's browser.
As for attacking gadgets themselves, they found that a lot of places where they tried to download gadgets, it was often malware hiding as gadgets in the first place, but then there was a lot of shared code, which was made with poor security practices and in the end were fairly trivial to break. One simple way was the fact that very few gadgets would download updates over SSL, making it very easy to setup a proxy and inject whatever malicious code you want.
In conclusion, I thought this presentation was quite good and it came with a couple of funny demos, but it was just astonishing that so many applications were written so poorly and so vulnerable to attack, although they did point out that the gadgets written by Microsoft themselves seemed very secure and were all written in silverlight.
Owning the network: adventures in router rootkits by Michael Coppola
This talk was yet again something quite lot down, although not quite hardware hacking this was looking at the software on the routers themselves. Because the majority of the routers out there run on a version of linux, they have to be opensource and it turns out the vast majority are running on linux kernel version 2.4 to 2.6, the versions of which were released a long time ago and so are bound to have holes in, but nonetheless we weren't really looking at that. I'll note however what was quite good to see was that asking the vendor can sometimes help, as part of the source (their customised version of unsquashfs) was missing and after discussing with the vendor for a couple of weeks, Michael finally received an email with a download for the last piece of software he needed to finish looking over the OS and patches. But the main part of this was to do with creating rootkits within the router and after going through making one, he went through the Router Post-Exploitation Framework (RPEF) he had created in
order to basically automate this for other images. It would allow you to create a rootkit with an exploit of choice, add it to an image and flash the image onto the router to pwn it whenever you want.
In conclusion though, I quite liked this talk. I admit I don't know much about rootkits but it was an interesting topic and I'm sure I'll be looking further into them in the future, plus the framework along with slides can be found on Michael's website: http://www.poppopret.org/.
..That was another great talk, although considering this track seems like it has twice the amount of people in it can actually hold, and everyone wants to see the next talk too. Ruh-roh...
Hacking [redacted] routers by FX, Greg
I've got to start off this by saying this was a shocker, partly because of the presentation and partly because of the audience. This was an hour long talk, but was put into track 4 (the smallest), and after waiting in a couple of hundred metre line for the talk before, everyone in the room still wanted to see this talk, along with the 500 or so waiting outside. But the goons were excellent and realised halfway through the talk before that there was a serious problem with spacing, so stopped everyone passing in the hallway so that a couple of thousand people could go from track 4 to track 1, which was no mean feat and they pretty much made it go off without a hitch.
But anyway, back to the talk, it was really good, and if you haven't already heard (it's been all over the infosec news) [redacted] is actually referring to Huawei. So FX started off by going through who the company are and their line of products and how huge they are over the entire world, and since their Chinese based, there have been a lot of controversy around them as certain countries have been unwilling or even slightly scared of their products being backdoored, allowing people in the Chinese government easy access. However, they also went over the strange fact that they appear to have no way of disclosing vulnerabilities to them 'responsibly' and it seems difficult to get into any sort of contact with a security department or person within the company, and any security updates they may have to their software are not marked as such, so the way they go about things is a bit odd to start off with.
After this FX went onto the VRP (Versatile Routing Platform), which is the software platform used on data communication products of the vendor, and went through a few versions of these and some problems with these even before trying to attack the machines, and went through some of the features of the VRP. After this he also went through information about the images, and the default services, which stupidly being able to turn off the standard services is a new feature and can't be done on older routers.
Then FX got to code quality and the lack there of, and it was just shocking some of the code decisions, such as 1 image calls sprintf 10,730 times, and another calls it 16,420 times, and there were often reimplementations of commonly flagged functions such as memcpy, strcpy, strnstr, etc, and then the NULL-Page is RWX mapped and their SSH server is a complete rewrite which even fails poorly.But now down to looking at the Web UI for a change (which only works in Internet Explorer), which uses a poorly designed Session-ID which is easy to spoof making logging in trivial (they showed a small perl script which could create the session-ID). Slide after slide brought more insecurities to the hardware, including easy to find buffer overflows.
After the buffer overflow though, Greg came on and started talking about the heap, as they found a fairly straightforward heap overflow coming from a the BIMS client function which parses an HTTP response. And Greg went through in great detail how to exploit the vulnerability, but their conclusion was simple, that the routers have 90's style bugs, which require 90's style exploitation, as there are no OS hardening, along with no security advisories and not even any security releases, and that they didn't appear to have any backdoors, but there are so many holes in the routers that there doesn't need to be and at least they could have plausible deniability by just claiming that it was insecurely written.
In my conclusion though, this was a really fun talk, getting down to software bugs and exploitation, showing Huawei routers may be scary, but not because of backdoors, just because of their plain lack of security. To see the slides to this excellent talk, they can be found on the phenoelit website here: http://phenoelit.org/stuff/Huawei_DEFCON_XX.pdf
..Wow, people actually worry about China backdooring products? Seems you should be more worried about people hacking your router from outside in their car rather than the Chinese government. Anyway, I like games so lets see about hacking them...
Fuzzing online games by Elie Bursztein, Patrick Samy
This was an interesting talk and something a bit different from the norm. It basically went over how they fuzzed the online elements to two example games, Diablo III and League of Legends. Basically even with these two games, security measurements to stop people even trying to fuzz them are wildly different and Elie and Patrick went through how they went about reverse engineering, and fuzzing the online parts to the game along with the difficulties they had and how they managed to get around them.
It was fairly interesting but it was very specific to the particular games and although it was funny in parts it just seemed a little lacking in something. I know these aren't very constructive comments but it just didn't seem to have anything that seemed particularly new, it was just the fact that it was a game instead of a 'normal' program.
..Hmm mixed feelings about that talk, but I better get to the next talk quick as it looks like it will be completely packed. Should be interesting..
Owned in 60 seconds: from network guest to Windows domain admin by Zack Fasel
Zack was a new talker at defcon but apart from failing at demoing (much drinking was done as punishment), I thought this was a really good talk. It was a talk on SMB and particularly on about NTLM, and NTLM relaying (not passing the hash), and how he could basically own pretty much anything with it. Now I didn't take notes during this talk (my bad), and Zack's slides are nowhere to be found at the moment (they're not online yet and the disk says the URL they will be at when online) so this post may require an update at some point as I'm trying to remember all of this from the top of my head. He went over NTLM, the different versions and things wrong with them, basically going over things which had been discussed at other points, but his point was that this has been going on for so long and it really should be solved by now. So after the success firesheep, showing it can be really easy to hijack an HTTP session, Zack wanted to create a tool, ZackAttack which showed the ease with which you could relay hashes and
completely own an entire network let alone a single person's account and although his demo didn't work (cue drinking), he still went through some of the tool showing how it would work and it honestly looked like a really slick tool and something which could be used by somebody who barely knows what they're doing. It may be quite a good tool to show along with a pentesting report to companies to show just how easy it is to do this, in the same way armitage can show the layman how easy it can be to hack computers.
In conclusion, it was a shame the demo didn't really work but it was a good talk nonetheless and I would definitely like to see Zack back at defcon speaking again.
Notable other talks I didn't get to see but wanted to:
-SIGINT and Traffic Analysis for the Rest of Us
-No More Hooks: Trustworthy Detection of Code Integrity Attacks
-Post Metasploitation: Improving Accuracy and Efficiency in Post Exploitation Using the Metasploit Framework
-Looking into the Eye of the Meter
-Can Twitter Really Help Expose Psychopath Killers' Traits?
-SQL Injection to MIPS Overflows: Rooting SOHO Routers
-Hacking the GoogleTV
-bbqSQL: Blind SQLi Exploitation
-How to Hack All the Transport Networks of a Country
So that was it for my talks at defcon, now I'm only including the official talks here and not the hacker pyramid, or any of the parties but they will probably be discussed in another post, along with any crazy experiences I can remember from my first experience of Las Vegas, but I can gladly say I had a great time. I managed to get into blackhat (I was working but I managed to get to a couple of talks), and had an awesome time at defcon and the parties around everything, plus I got to see Las Vegas for the first time. Along with all of this I managed to finally meet a lot of people I previously only knew from twitter, and met a ton of great new friends along the way (shocking news: some people working in the security industry are NOT on twitter)
But even though I had a great time, it still seems like I missed so much. I didn't get a ticket to BSidesLV, I didn't get around to going to hacker jeopardy (although I was in the 303 party at the time, which made up for it), I didn't manage to get around going to the hardware hacking village, and I spent very little time in the CTF, lockpick village and didn't get into the wireless hacking village at all. So despite the fact I had a great time, I feel I owe it to myself to go again next year, or at least that's my excuse ;)
..Now to stop drinking and go on a diet in preparation for BruCON..
Part 1 Part 2
Tuesday 7 August 2012
So this is the second part of my first time in Vegas and defcon, and as this is the second post, this post will be on the talks on, the second day. If you missed part 1, you can find it here. So we start from around midday Saturday
..Head still pounding..I need coffee...guess I should go to my first talk of the day though after sleeping through..
..Head still pounding..I need coffee...guess I should go to my first talk of the day though after sleeping through..
Hardware backdooring is practical by Jonathan Brossard
I thought this was really interesting talk and a great way to start off my day (read Notable others for info on talks before this). This was talk was talking about the x86 architecture and the flaws with it in general, as although it was understandable to have made the mistakes when it was initially designed, the fact we've stuck with it without change for so long is a surprise, and in hindsight of this talk a poor decision most probably due to backwards compatibility. Another point of this talk was to also discuss whether it would be feasible for state level backdooring (spoiler alert: the answer is yes) as when we get down to the hardware level, encryption and a lot of safety mechanisms to protect against intrusion simply won't work.
Jonathan started off by going over the basics as per usual, explaining the whole x86 architecture and how pieces of hardware work together and then went onto the goals of his research. Now most of these goals for a 'regular' exploit would be very difficult or nearly impossible (or at least impossible altogether) as he wanted the backdoor to be:
-stealthy (virtually undetectable)
-plausible deniabile, have non attribution (state-level quality)
-would completely cross network perimeters
What I also really liked about this was the fact that everything was built upon completely opensource software, which already ticks off a few of the goals from above. Then Jonathan showed what could be done with certain tools and certain things that can easily be turned off that are at hardware level such as removing the NX bit (you can find further information about the NX bit here), along with multiple other things to completely pwn a system. And because everything can be done on hardware or through memory, it also means that nothing needs to be left on disk, meaning it's practically impossible to realise anything is going on in the first place, making this much stealthier and harder to remove than a regular backdoor.
Once he had explained everything here, Jonathan also explained why he used certain software instead of doing it himself (as it's much quicker and there's some plausible deniability along with non-attribution), or used certain software in favour of others, then he went through the demos showing how it could easily be done, and I've got to say with his demos, most of the time there were no differences at all. You could simply be booting into whatever OS you use, except really you would never know that all the while you were being infiltrated before the OS even started.
Once through with the first set of demos, Jonathan went through updating malware, which primarily should use encryption, and how hardware backdoors can easily get around any sort of cryptography and that really putting AV on a server is in itself pointless usually. And amusingly he made this clear with some examples of AV trying to find older exploits (an example 3 year old exploit was found by only a small few and with packing, this dropped to 0). Once through with explaining how to own somebody's system left, right and centre, including possible attack scenarios (not including state-level attack surfaces) such as simply selling a NIC on an auction site which has a exploited firmware on, Jonathan went through some possible ways mitigations against getting completely owned this way, which basically turns into flashing every new piece of hardware with open source software, although unfortunately even these countermeasures he gave can't completely save the victim as the backdoor may be able to flash the original firmwares back remotely.
And as a last point Jonathan went through his goals which hadn't been completely answered and answered them with accuracy, so the backdoor can look like nobody's ever been there, and on the chance they find out there has been foul play, there's no reason to suspect the criminal as they can easily make it look like a mistake which was exploited by a third party.
In summary I thought this talk was really interesting, and I was left sitting there wishing it could have been an hour longer just so he could have gone into more detail, as you can probably tell by my summary of the talk, there was a lot to go through. After what I had seen the day before, this opened my eyes further to some of the awesome things that can be done once you get to a really low level.
..Wow. Mind blown..the darkness helps the brain stop hurting too :) Some more hardware anyone?
This talk from Atlas was basically going on about, you guessed it, hardware that runs at a frequency of less than 1Ghz . Now due to the size of the talk (it takes a lot of time to move people) and turning up slightly late, he had to actually speed through a lot of the information which was disappointing (luckily I can see as the slides at my leisure as they came as part of the pack at registration), but he started off by going over why people actually care about this, and why we should care about it if we don't. Then Atlas went into the technology he used to go over this information himself and going over the cc1111 chip and some information about it such as the radio state engine, configuration and other information. He also made very clear that RfCat (I will go into further detail about this further down) hides a lot of these details by default, and went over some interesting information we want to know along with some standard frequencies that are simply handy to know generally, just in case you want to go trying to hack them in the future.
Once through this atlas went through some general information about waves such as modulation, data rate, channel width and the technical details about these (although some of this was skipped over or gone over very quickly).
Once this was done he went over understanding frequency, either finding information out online (through patents and open source material), or reversing it to find information, and how to go about doing this. And at this point Atlas finally got around to introducing RfCat properly (told you I would get around to it), and it's the RF Chipcon-based Attack toolset and is as atlas has stated "an interactive python access to the
Atlas now went onto something a bit surprising, as he was telling us about his diabetic friend, since he was now going to talk about how to play around with medical devices (warning: I will say the same as atlas here, mucking around with these on people could cause serious injury or possibly even death, so shouldn't really be screwed with unless the equipment is going to be thrown away after or never used on an actual person), and how he went about getting the frequency, the "packet capture", and what he could do with it. After this Atlas went onto playing with (the slightly less dangerous) power meters, although without authorisation, this is completely illegal, and that basically the only reason he was doing any of this in the first place was because he was originally asked to test out a power meter. He then continued to go through this, finding the parts of the frequency which are important, and came away with this conclusion that companies are simply remaining ignorant in this field and expecting somebody else to secure it, which is why he has released rfcat,
as a basis for people's attack tools.
In my conclusion, I found this talk OK, but unfortunately again there just wasn't the time to go through everything, so a lot of points were gleaned over and unless you know a fair bit about frequencies already (such as ham radio fanatics) it's unlikely you would have had a great experience from this talk, as there just wasn't enough time to go over either the details of what the tool was used for or enough details of what rfcat could do. Looking over the slides now I can see rfcat looks really cool and the presentation could have been quite good but unfortunately I think the amount of time didn't really allow for the talk it could have been.
..Hmm bit of a downer, but who cares there's an SAP reverse engineering talk coming up, and my first time in the Penn & Teller theatre...
Uncovering SAP vulnerabilities: reversing and breaking the DIAG protocol by Martin Gallo
I was really interested in this talk as I've wondered about SAP security for a little while myself, and as a first time speaker at defcon, I thought Martin did a good job of it. He started by going over what the DIAG protocol is, which is the Dynamic Information and Action Gateway, the link between the presentation layer (GUI) and the application layer (SAP Netweaver). Then Martin continued by going over the history of the subject with previous work and his motivation to reverse engineering and find vulnerabilities in the protocol, as he showed most work behind the protocol before had been regarding decompression and the inner workings were still unknown to most, so he wanted to find out, and hopefully be able to help with making proper tools for finding issue with it in the future, and also went over the SAP netweaver architecture and layout of the protocols briefly.
Now Martin got into the reverse engineering, of which it was completely black box but he didn't do any binary reverse engineering and instead decided to stick with enabling tracing, then analyse the network and application traces while interacting with the components and through this he could incrementally build his knowledge of the application and finding out if he did something in particular, it was do a certain response and if he didn't do it, it would have another response. His results shows how the protocol is made up, along with states, and what each part is and what it does.
From here he could create a wireshark plugin which easily shows the information and then importantly was able to fuzz the protocol and gave examples of the vulnerabilities he found this way, and possible attack scenarios for some of these vulnerabilities, and gave a demo showing one of the vulnerabilities in order to get a shell.
Once the demo was out of the way, he went onto countermeasures, some of which are fairly obvious such as restricting network access and enabling encryption, but others such as restricting the use of GUI shortcuts aren't so obvious, as it turned out often having certain things enabled (which could be enabled with shortcuts) would allow vulnerabilities to be exposed. And now Martin has done this, it means the protocol details are available publicly to be scrutinised and tested, along with the use of tools for dissection of the protocol. Of course though, with the components, there is actually still a lot left over which could be tested as this was purely on finding issues with the protocol, this still hasn't really tested the GUI or app server particularly.
In conclusion I liked this talk a lot and for me there was enough detail while still staying high level enough for nearly anyone to follow along. Plus it was bringing something completely new to the table as not very much to do with the DIAG protocol has been previously documented or even scrutinised before and now with what Martin has given us, it can be tested more thoroughly and security issues resolved more suitably.
..Now that was a great talk..and just to note really comfy chairs..I guess onto the next one. This looks interesting..
Overwriting the exception handling cache pointer - dwarf oriented programming by Rodrigo Branco, Sergey Bratus and James Oakley
I'll say now, this was probably my favourite talk and just shows that pretty much anybody can get to you, and that really AVs are often fundamentally screwed as some certain attacks, just like the hardware backdoor previously, AV has practically no chance against.
This talk comes on from "Exploiting the hard-working DWARF" talk at Schmoocon which can be found here and is basically talking about DWARF bytecode (Debugging With Attributed Records Format), which comes in compiled binaries compiled with GCC when they include exception handling. Now if you haven't already clicked on the link above, I would suggest you do so as they give a far better, and more detailed explanation than I do but DWARF bytecode is basically an interpreted language which is run underneath the program in a virtual machine, interpreted to describe the stack frame layout. And because DWARF is turing-complete it can basically be used to perform almost any computation, and is very powerful because of what it does, so it can read arbitrary memory, perform arbitrary computations with values in registers & memory and is generally meant to influence the flow of the program, since this is what exception handling does.
One of the speakers (I believe James, please comment if you know I'm wrong) created a tool called Katana which allows the user to easily see and modify unwind tables in an easy way, controlling the unwinding flow to avoid exception handlers, redirect exception handlers, find symbols and calculate relocations.
Once past this they explained how exception handling is setup and how it works within GCC, and explained key differences within different versions of gcc, which don't particularly make exploitation harder, but it means you have to then exploit them a different way and requires a memory leak, although these are fairly common so that shouldn't be too big an issue. After explaining everything, they then went to a demo showing exploiting a program using DWARF.
In conclusion, I thought this presentation was awesome, as although the speakers weren't perhaps the best speakers ever (this may have partially been due to some slight time constraints), the subject and their enthusiasm for it shone through, and although being very complicated I felt that this presentation was missed out by way too many people. Albeit a similar presentation was done at Schmoocon and Dan Kaminsky's talk was going on simultaneously, I still think that this talk deserved at least 3 times the attendance, as it was simply an amazing subject and a great talk (although I had to go through the slides a few times to understand it fully). Again if you haven't clicked above to see the schmoocon presentation above, I suggest you do as it is simply an awesome topic I had never heard of before, and was probably my favourite talk of the entire conference.
..Oh...My...God...I'm going to have to go back over the slides but that was awesome. Pwnage all round! The last day's going to be awesome.....
Now unfortunately I was sort of up drinking the night before and a problem went wrong with my alarm meaning I missed a couple of talks, but here are the talks I wanted to see, and other good talks along with some notes on them:
Defeating PPTP VPNs and WPA2 Enterprise with MS-CHAPv2 with Moxie Marlinspike, David Hulton and Marsh Ray.
I haven't heard any reviews from other people on this talk however I've seen the general content, which Moxie (one of the speakers), created a blog post you can find here.
The general idea about the talk is about the implementation of the aforementioned MS-CHAPv2 and it's weaknesses, as previous weaknesses were thought to be purely down to the difficulty to guess the password. But this shows they've found that due to it's use of MD4, in fact the implementation can be brute forced with the same strength of single DES (2^56). Now back in 1998, when the password weaknesses were discovered, this was infeasible anyway, but with today's hardware, they've shown this would take at the very LONGEST of around 23 hours, averaging around half a day. Although I can't say exactly what was in the talk, you should at least give the above post a read, as Moxie shows in detail (that isn't too difficult to understand) why it is as such.
Exploit archaeology: Raiders of the lost payphones by Josh Brashars
This talk was about modern techniques of hacking payphones, which is where a lot of people started off within hacking. He talks about the difference styles of payphones, getting his own, opening it up without destroying it, then reprogram it so that he could get free telephone calls. After figuring out how it all worked, he was then able to do other things with the phone along with coming up with idea to combine it with other hardware to create better hacks.
Other notable talks I couldn't see due to clashes:
Hellaphone: Replacing the Java in Android
Bruce Schneier answers your questions
Hacker + Airplanes = No Good can come of this
Friday 3 August 2012
This was my first time to defcon and Las Vegas at all, and I really wanted to make as much effort to meet new folks, see as much of defcon as possible and see as many great talks as possible. This is the first post in a series which will cover defcon, the talks, the social aspect of it, and las vegas in general.
And although a bit belated, this post in particular is about the talks of defcon I went to on the Friday of defcon, which was the first full day. The Thursday had a few events throughout, although I wasn't able to attend these so I'll start here.
..At the Rio, have my badge and amazingly despite what I've heard, there was practically no line, except to buy the official swag. So onto my first talk of defcon..
Making Sense of static - new tools for hacking GPS by Fergus Noble and Colin Beighley
This was my first talk of the day, and as far as talks go this wasn't the best presentation I've ever seen. Although I first thought the idea for the talk was quite a good one, there was simply too much of going through the technical details of how GPS works, and waves and other not too interesting details. Although there was a tool introduced, very little time was actually spent on this, whereas I thought it should have been the other way around or at least near equal amounts of time. I'm not sure if both or either of the speakers were first timers, but there were a few moments of stopping and staring into space as they had forgot what they were going to say, which seemed to be due to nerves. In the end I thought the subject matter could have been interesting, and I think the information could be quite interesting but it just wasn't presented as an interesting subject, and seemed almost like a research talk instead of something where a tool was created.
..So not a great start to my defcon talks, but onto the next..
Passive bluetooth monitoring in scapy by Ryan Holeman
I thought this was quite a good talk, although at the start Ryan said he had performed this at blackhat where he had more time and so had to shorten the talk for defcon, which was a shame, but the talk was still good nonetheless [Update: Ryan contacted me on twitter and turns out I misheard and this was longer than the one at blackhat. Still, wish the talk could have been a little longer just because it was cool tool]. Ryan started by going over the subject, having an overview of bluetooth and the ubertooth board (further information about the ubertooth project can be found here) to interact with bluetooth and the scapy-btbb library he created with the simple goal to get bluetooth baseband traffic with python.
This will allow easy data analysis of btbb (bluetooth baseband) traffic, with the compatibility across hardware through using pcap files, and so can be easily integrated into tools for debugging, auditing, or exploitation, whichever is your inclination.
Now I haven't used the library myself, but Ryan went through a couple of demos and it generally seemed like it has at least the basic functionality that would be wanted: reading btbb packets from a pcap, seeing all the information to do with the bluetooth packets, writing btbb pcap files, and streaming btbb packets. Basically everything that seems would be needed for integrating into debuging, auditing or exploitation.
He has also added some handy functionality to the library as well, the part I particularly noted liking was the fact you can get the vendor name. This is because as Ryan noted, it can be difficult keeping tracking of multiple bluetooth signals and a name is generally easier to keep track off than a MAC address.
..So getting warmer. What next?
Don't stand so close to me: an analysis of the NFC attack surface by Charlie Miller
Ok now this is the kind of talk I wanted to see while at defcon. Charlie actually did this talk at blackhat as well, so as of the time of writing the slides can be found here.
It turns out this started off when the speaker was having a conversation with Moxie Marlinspike, who happened to tell him the NFC stack was poorly designed, and so this is what got Charlie interested in the subject, but anyway, back to the presentation. Charlie started off as you would think, going over the NFC protocol, and as he realised, despite such a small amount of bytes being sent, the protocol is actually quite complex, and that there are two different ways an NFC communication can take place, either
-there is an initiator and a target e.g. a NFC-enabled phone and an NFC tag, or
-it can be done peer-to-peer, which needs two devices which are powered e.g. two different NFC-enabled phones.
After this he actually went into far greater detail than I am going to here, but this can basically seen from the paper I've linked to above, along with example data to give you an idea of what's happening. Now we're finally onto the interesting part that people want to hear about though -- fuzzing of the NFC stack (or is that just me?). This was particularly interesting for me, and he went through his setup, including what hardware was used for emulating a passive tag, and how he fuzzed so that he basically wouldn't have to sit there manually placing the phone near an emulator and taking it away again (especially in fuzzing terms, due to the cases often ranging in the thousands, or tens of thousands, manual=bad and automated=good. For an overview on fuzzing you can see a previous post about it here). I thought it was interesting to note that as Charlie was fuzzing wildly different sections, he used both generation and mutation based fuzzing, and he went through what was fuzzed in which way for each platform tested on, and some results which at face value seem to be not that interesting.
However the talk became most interesting when you delve into what the phone does with the data it receives, rather than if there are issues parsing it, so when you look into this, the attack surface for NFC gets blown wide open as for starters with android, you can get people to visit a website in the browser with NO USER INTERACTION. As you can imagine, by the amount of different fileformats with web browsers, and possible plugins this has all of a sudden changed to an enormous attack surface instead of just being parts from the NFC stack. There are some caveats depending on the platform being used, but Charlie generally went through these and possible workarounds. And with these came the real crowd pleasers: the demos. Charlie had multiple demos showing different attack scenarios, all leading to full exploitation of the other person's phone and in general it seemed although there was a bug found in Android 2.3 (although fixed in a later version, the vast majority of android phones use 2.3 or lower), the major problem with NFC is what's done with the data. As NFC in itself isn't too insecure, the fact is the platforms just give the information straight out to another application without a second thought.
..This is going pretty well. What else could there be going on?
Bypassing Endpoint security for $20 or less by Phil Polstra
With this talk I really didn't know what to expect, and I'll fully take the blame for that as I didn't read further information about the presentation. Basically this is about endpoint security of USB sticks, so basically a way to get around when only certain USB sticks are allowed to connect to a machine (filtered by their VID/PID -- the equivalent of MAC filtering in networking), you can still have any USB connect to the machine and mount successfully and cheaply. Phil Polstra initially went through the hardware and software in use and how the parts communicate with each other in detail (some C knowledge is advised) particularly with mass storage devices (like USB sticks), then we got down to the interesting part and what needs to be done. Basically we'll be using a microcontroller as a proxy between the USB stick and the computer, except it will change the VID to a valid one, effectively spoofing it. Phil went through the particular chip choices and detailed information about them, and then implementations, either to do one of two things: use a known valid VID to impersonate, or brute force finding a valid VID. Luckily Phil has also done a lot of the hard work and has created a list of the most common VIDs [update: Phil has told me he didn't create the list, but found somebody who maintained a list. This is attributed in the code, which can be found here], and then in the chance a valid VID isn't in this list then it will manually brute force through every possible iteration. Plus as a nice addition of a demo showed the bypass in action.
I do wish in hindsight, I knew more about microcontrollers as I feel if I knew more about this or hardware hacking in general, I would've enjoyed the talk more, but still the talk had many interesting and funny moments and opened my eyes up a bit to the hardware side of hacking.
..That was a bit enlightening. Is there anything going on in the last talk of the day?
Anti-Forensics and Anti-Anti-Forensics: Attacks mitigating techniques for digital-forensic investigation by Michael Perklin
I'll fully admit, I know practically nothing about computer forensics, but I thought seeing as I'm at my first defcon, and I had just learnt something interesting about an area of security I knew nothing about (hardware), that I would try something else I knew absolutely nothing about. So onto the talk, Michael Perklin made this a funny talk, mostly coming down to his constant drinking whenever he forgot to mention his running total (which I'll get onto later).
Michael went through the methodologies taken by forensic investigators and the general workflow used. What I found particularly interesting was he continuously made it clear that it isn't about stopping the forensic investigator (which they can be stopped in a few simple ways -- for example destruction of the physical media) but mitigation of the forensic investigator trying to find information (as shown in the title). Basically the more time it takes, the more money it takes and therefore the bigger likelihood that the prosecutor will just want to settle out of court or stop the trial altogether. He quite cleverly kept this as a running total in each corner of hours and cost, of which every time he forgot to mention that the cost went up, he would need to take a drink.
Notable talks I didn't get to see (but wanted to):
-welcome & badge talk
-APK File infection on an Android System
-Owning one to rule them allow
-NFC hacking: the easy way
-detecting reflective injection
-how to hack vmware vcenter server in 60 seconds
-new techniques in SQLi
-post-exploitation nirvana: Launching OpenDLP agents over Meterpreter sessions
-The art of the con
-safes and containers - insecurity design excellence