Today started the 2014 edition of Hack in Paris, a French security conference held in Disneyland Resort Paris – a very nice place for such kind of event! The conference started with a sunny sky over the conference centre in the New York hotel. I arrived just in time to register and to grab some coffee. Here is my wrap-up for the first day. Happy reading!
And here is the second day wrap-up. The day started with a sunny sky over Amsterdam. After a breakfast and a chat with the Help Net Security team, we moved to the rooms. Like yesterday, the main stage is dedicated to women for two keynotes. The first one should be Pamelo Fusco with her keynote title: “Behind the Crosswire” but she never arrived… No news from the speaker, maybe lost in the Amsterdam night life?
I’m in Amsterdam for the next two days to attend the new edition of Hack In The Box. This is a special edition with many improvements. First, it’s the fifth edition (already!) and the location changed to “De Beurs van Berlage”, a very nice place in the center of the city. Second, the normal conference is also held alongside with HITB Haxpo, a technology and security expo for hackers and geeks. This expo is open to everyone for free. Due to a holiday in Belgium and Holland, I joined Amsterdam smoothly without any traffic jam and was in time to grab my badge, some coffee and some 802.11x packets before the talks.
If we can put the business and some fun together, so why the hesitation? For a while, I’m playing with flying toys. I already played with different models of RC helicopters and recently, I switched to another category: I bought a quadcopter. The idea to mix the technology of drones with WiFi audits popped up in my mind for a while. First of all, this is not something news. Darren from Hak5 had the same crazy idea before me (see the episode 1520). But there is a difference between watching a cool video and doing the same in real life. Thus, I decided to experiment the same! And if I could use it to perform WiFi assessments or pentest, it’s even more cool!
With a little delay, here is my wrap-up of the last OWASP Belgium chapter meeting. It was held at NVISO, an information security company located in Brussels which is known for its ApkScan tool. After some pizzas, drinks and chats with peers, two speakers came on stage. Amongst known faces, a lot of new people were present. That’s good to have fresh blood in such events!
The first speaker was Tiago Teles from Cigital. The title of his presentation was “Securing password storage – Increasing resistance to brute force attacks“. Passwords… a hot topic. Indeed, yesterday, eBay announced to have suffered of a data leak of users data. Passwords are in the wild now. Tiago explained how to handle properly the password of your users and started with a fact:
“Your passwords WILL be extracted from your system”
Thus, we have to make them unusable or at least make the attackers’ job more difficult. Modenr websites allow users to register and use credentials to buy stuff, to access private data, to organize their profile, etc. You’re responsible of those passwords and must protect them in the right way. After a review of the history of protections (do you remember the old /etc/passwd UNIX files with passwords hashed and stored in it, readable for everyone?) and the challenges we are facing, Tiago gave very interesting suggestions to protect the passwords against brute-force attacks. Hashing (with salt!) is a best practice. Why?
- They are unique
- They are resistant to collision
- They can’t be reversed
- They can’t be predicted
- They are… fast!
A technique to attack hashed passwords is to use rainbow tables but they also have limitations. To protect against brute force attack, Tiago explained what are adaptive hashes. They are designed to remove one of the properties of classic hashes: speed! Finally, Tiago give a very good advice to everybody: Be prepared to be attacked and to have a good communication plan! The slides are available here.
After a short break, the second talk was given by Daan Raman and Erik Van Buggenhout (from NVISO). The title was “A history of ATM violence – From blowing up safes over jackpotting to all-round malware“. ATM’s or “Automated Teller Machine” are used daily by most of us and are often nice targets for thieves. As said Erik: “We don’t need to ask why to target them! That’s were the money is…“. After a short history of ATM’s (did you know that they are currently 2.2 millions ATM’s worldwide?), Erik described the standard layout of a modern ATM. It is based on two main parts: the safe itself containing the money and a computer. The safe is usually quite well protected but the computer is vulnerable in many points. To learn how ATM’s work, Erik just bought its own and made some research! Computers used in ATM’s are classic computers with all the required I/O: USB ports, keyboard, mouse, CD player etc… Even if some physical attacks were reviewed with funny pictures, Erik & Daan focused on attacking the ATM via the built-in computer (which remains based on Windows XP in most cases). How?
ATM systems are based on a unique set of APIs that are developed by CEN/XFS (“eXtensions for Financial Services“). They allow to operated with the ATM devices like:
- Cash dispensers
- Identification card units
- Personal identification number keypads (PIN)
- Text terminal units
Like any API, there are two layers: vendor dependent and vendor independent. Using this API and some C code, Erik wrote a PoC tool called “ATMDispenser.exe” which can perform cash-out operations! To demonstrate the tool, a live funny demo was performed using Erik’s ATM fullfilled with fake banknotes. Of course, to install the malicious code, a physical access is required to the ATM but many people have access to it (maintenance team, cleaning teams). Sometimes the ATM is located in a public area. Funny note again, some computers are protected in the ATM rack with a lock and a key. This key looks to be the same for all ATMs and the lock has been opened by Erik in 10 mins using standard lock-picking tools. Nice presentation! The slides are available here.
In a previous post, I spoke about the importance of the “context” during a pentest. In a recent project, I faced a situation similar to airplane crashes. Let me explain this… Despites the fact that the crash of an airplane results sometimes in a huge amount of deaths once, airplaines can be considered as safe. Statistically, flying is less dangerous than driving to the airport with your car! Modern airplanes are very reliable: they all have multiple engines but they are designed to be able to fly with one of them being out-of-service. The cabine crew is also trained to fly in such conditions. Airplanes are also under maintenance regularly and inspected from A to Z.
Warning! In a few weeks, hackers will be back in Disney Land Resort Paris for two events: Hack in Paris and La Nuit du Hack! I should be present to both events to do some live coverage and write wrap-up’s. The two agenda have been published (here & here). In the mean time, the organizers kindly give me some gifts for my readers!
The first event is a classic two-days security conference with top international speakers like Winn Schwartau, Jayson E. Street (as keynote speakers), Sebastien Andrivet or Francis Alexander. The second one is organized during the weekend following the classic conference and is more “funny” with talks, workshops, challenges and a big party. A very long night!
The fourth edition of BSidesLondon is already over! I remember the first one in 2011, things have changed! Year after yesar, it looks more and more professional! As usual, here is my quick wrap-up. I arrived a bit late due to a strike in the London tube. Bad timeing but it’s not a strike which will prevent hackers to meet! According to a tweet from the organizers, 70% of attendees were nevertheless present! Travelling early from Belgium, I was also in that case, it was not easy to get to the venue but I arrived… late but I was there!
“Heartbleed“… Probably one of the top queries typed in search engines for a few weeks! Of course, I followed the story but I did not blog (yet) about it until today. Why repeat again and again what has been said? Some bloggers and analysts wrote very good overviews about this modern nightmare.
I spent the end of the week “somewhere” in Switzerland to attend a nice security event called “DahuCon” or perhaps not! Who knows! The event was organized by two Swiss guys. They successfully attracted 50 security professionals to a very nice place. Attendees came from Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria and… Belgium of course! (only with a personal invitation) The challenge was not to bring them all together in a lost place but in a place without any network coverage! A very weak mobile signal which made all data connections allmost impossible (and forget the 3G!). Honestly, everybody survived!
The particularity of DahuCon was to be based on the “Chatam House Rule“. This means that, in an event held under this rule, anyone who comes to the meeting is free to quote what has been said (except if explicitely requested to not disclose it), but is not allowed to say who. The goal is to make the event more open to discussions.
If there is a domain in which information disclosure can be very touchy, it is information security! So, speakers were free to discuss about their favourite topic, no guideline was given except to be “imaginative” and it was! Some topics covered:
- 0-days attacks
- Full-Disclosure (hot topic for many people!)
- Memory tracing
- Secure messaging
- Old games
- Malware reversing
Thanks to the Chatam House Rule and the “anonymity” of speakers, it was an opportunity to see some talks going much deeper than in regular conferences. Some of them revealing very interesting information!
I would like to thank the organizers for inviting me. It was a pleasure and I hope to be invited to a second edition with the same format. It was really a challenge to organize this and you did it!