[CRITICAL] CVE-2015-7547: glibc getaddrinfo stack-based buffer overflow

Have you ever been deep in the mines of debugging and suddenly realized that you were staring at something far more interesting than you were expecting? You are not alone! Recently a Google engineer noticed that their SSH client segfaulted every time they tried to connect to a specific host. That engineer filed a ticket to investigate the behavior and after an intense investigation we discovered the issue lay in glibc and not in SSH as we were expecting. Thanks to this engineer’s keen observation, we were able determine that the issue could result in remote code execution. We immediately began an in-depth analysis of the issue to determine whether it could be exploited, and possible fixes. We saw this as a challenge, and after some intense hacking sessions, we were able to craft a full working exploit!

In the course of our investigation, and to our surprise, we learned that the glibc maintainers had previously been alerted of the issue via their bug tracker in July, 2015. (bug). We couldn’t immediately tell whether the bug fix was underway, so we worked hard to make sure we understood the issue and then reached out to the glibc maintainers. To our delight, Florian Weimer and Carlos O’Donell of Red Hat had also been studying the bug’s impact, albeit completely independently! Due to the sensitive nature of the issue, the investigation, patch creation, and regression tests performed primarily by Florian and Carlos had continued “off-bug.”

This was an amazing coincidence, and thanks to their hard work and cooperation, we were able to translate both teams’ knowledge into a comprehensive patch and regression test to protect glibc users.

That patch is available here.

 

Issue Summary:

Our initial investigations showed that the issue affected all the versions of glibc since 2.9. You should definitely update if you are on an older version though. If the vulnerability is detected, machine owners may wish to take steps to mitigate the risk of an attack. The glibc DNS client side resolver is vulnerable to a stack-based buffer overflow when the getaddrinfo() library function is used. Software using this function may be exploited with attacker-controlled domain names, attacker-controlled DNS servers, or through a man-in-the-middle attack. Google has found some mitigations that may help prevent exploitation if you are not able to immediately patch your instance of glibc. The vulnerability relies on an oversized (2048+ bytes) UDP or TCP response, which is followed by another response that will overwrite the stack. Our suggested mitigation is to limit the response (i.e., via DNSMasq or similar programs) sizes accepted by the DNS resolver locally as well as to ensure that DNS queries are sent only to DNS servers which limit the response size for UDP responses with the truncation bit set.

 

Technical information:

glibc reserves 2048 bytes in the stack through alloca() for the DNS answer at _nss_dns_gethostbyname4_r() for hosting responses to a DNS query. Later on, at send_dg() and send_vc(), if the response is larger than 2048 bytes, a new buffer is allocated from the heap and all the information (buffer pointer, new buffer size and response size) is updated. Under certain conditions a mismatch between the stack buffer and the new heap allocation will happen. The final effect is that the stack buffer will be used to store the DNS response, even though the response is larger than the stack buffer and a heap buffer was allocated. This behavior leads to the stack buffer overflow. The vectors to trigger this buffer overflow are very common and can include ssh, sudo, and curl. We are confident that the exploitation vectors are diverse and widespread; we have not attempted to enumerate these vectors further.

Exploitation:

Remote code execution is possible, but not straightforward. It requires bypassing the security mitigations present on the system, such as ASLR. We will not release our exploit code, but a non-weaponized Proof of Concept has been made available simultaneously with this blog post. With this Proof of Concept, you can verify if you are affected by this issue, and verify any mitigations you may wish to enact. As you can see in the below debugging session we are able to reliably control EIP/RIP.

(gdb) x/i $rip => 0x7fe156f0ccce <_nss_dns_gethostbyname4_r+398>: req (gdb) x/a $rsp 0x7fff56fd8a48: 0x4242424242424242 0x4242424242420042

When code crashes unexpectedly, it can be a sign of something much more significant than it appears; ignore crashes at your peril! Failed exploit indicators, due to ASLR, can range from:

  • Crash on free(ptr) where ptr is controlled by the attacker.
  • Crash on free(ptr) where ptr is semi-controlled by the attacker since ptr has to be a valid readable address.
  • Crash reading from memory pointed by a local overwritten variable.
  • Crash writing to memory on an attacker-controlled pointer.

We would like to thank Neel Mehta, Thomas Garnier, Gynvael Coldwind, Michael Schaller, Tom Payne, Michael Haro, Damian Menscher, Matt Brown, Yunhong Gu, Florian Weimer, Carlos O’Donell and the rest of the glibc team for their help figuring out all details about this bug, exploitation, and patch development.

 

 

Credit:  Fermin J. Serna and Kevin Stadmeyer

Another Door to Windows | Hot Potato exploit

Microsoft Windows versions 7, 8, 10, Server 2008 and Server 2012 vulnerable to Hot Potato exploit which gives total control of PC/laptop to hackers

Security researchers from Foxglove Security have discovered that almost all recent versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system are vulnerable to a privilege escalation exploit. By chaining together a series of known Windows security flaws, researchers from Foxglove Security have discovered a way to break into PCs/systems/laptops running on Windows 7/8/8.1/10 and Windows Server 2008/2010.

The Foxglove researchers have named the exploit as Hot Potato. Hot Potato relies on three different types of attacks, some of which were discovered back at the start of the new millennium, in 2000. By chaining these together, hackers can remotely gain complete access to the PCs/laptops running on above versions of Windows.

Surprisingly, some of the exploits were found way back in 2000 but have still not been patched by Microsoft, with the explanation that by patching them, the company would effectively break compatibility between the different versions of their operating system.

Hot Potato

Hot Potato is a sum of three different security issues with Windows operating system. One of the flaw lies in local NBNS (NetBIOS Name Service) spoofing technique that’s 100% effective. Potential hackers can use this flaw to set up fake WPAD (Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Protocol) proxy servers, and an attack against the Windows NTLM (NT LAN Manager) authentication protocol.

Exploiting these exploits in a chained manner allows the hackers to gain access to the PC/laptop by elevating an application’s permissions from the lowest rank to system-level privileges, the Windows analog for a Linux/Android root user’s permissions.

Foxglove researchers created their exploit on top of a proof-of-concept code released by Google’s Project Zero team in 2014 and have presented their findings at the ShmooCon security conference over the past weekend.

They have also posted proof-of-concept videos on YouTube in which the researchers break Windows versions such as 7, 8, 10, Server 2008 and Server 2012.

You can also access the proof of concept on Foxglove’s GitHub page here.

Mitigation

The researchers said that using SMB (Server Message Block) signing may theoretically block the attack. Other method to stop the NTNL relay attack is by enabling “Extended Protection for Authentication” in Windows.

 

 

Credit:  Vijay Prabhu, techworm

BlackEnergy Attacking Ukraine’s Critical Infrastructures

The cybercriminal group behind BlackEnergy, the malware family that has been around since 2007 and has made a comeback in 2014 (see our previous blog posts on Back in BlackEnergy *: 2014 Targeted Attacks in Ukraine and Poland and BlackEnergy PowerPoint Campaigns, as well as ourVirus Bulletin talk on the subject), was also active in the year 2015.

ESET has recently discovered that the BlackEnergy trojan was recently used as a backdoor to deliver a destructive KillDisk component in attacks against Ukrainian news media companies and against the electrical power industry. In this blog, we provide details on the BlackEnergy samples ESET has detected in 2015, as well as the KillDisk components used in the attacks. Furthermore, we examine a previously unknown SSH backdoor that was also used as another channel of accessing the infected systems, in addition to BlackEnergy.

BlackEnergy evolution in 2015

Once activated, variants of BlackEnergy Lite allow a malware operator to check specific criteria in order to assess whether the infected computer truly belongs to the intended target. If that is the case, the dropper of a regular BlackEnergy variant is pushed to the system.

The BlackEnergy malware stores XML configuration data embedded in the binary of DLL payload.

Figure 1 – The BlackEnergy configuration example used in 2015

Figure 1 – The BlackEnergy configuration example used in 2015

Apart from a list of C&C servers, the BlackEnergy config contains a value called build_id. This value is a unique text string used to identify individual infections or infection attempts by the BlackEnergy malware operators. The combinations of letters and numbers used can sometimes reveal information about the campaign and targets.

Here is the list of Build ID values that we identified in 2015:

  • 2015en
  • khm10
  • khelm
  • 2015telsmi
  • 2015ts
  • 2015stb
  • kiev_o
  • brd2015
  • 11131526kbp
  • 02260517ee
  • 03150618aaa
  • 11131526trk

We can speculate that some of them have a special meaning. For example 2015telsmi could contain the Russian acronym SMI – Sredstva Massovoj Informacii, 2015en could mean Energy, and there’s also the obvious “Kiev”.

KillDisk component

In 2014 some variants of the BlackEnergy trojan contained a plugin designed for the destruction of the infected system, named dstr.

In 2015 the BlackEnergy group started to use a new destructive BlackEnergy component detected by ESET products as Win32/KillDisk.NBB, Win32/KillDisk.NBC and Win32/KillDisk.NBD trojan variants.

The main purpose of this component is to do damage to data stored on the computer: it overwrites documents with random data and makes the OS unbootable.

The first known case where the KillDisk component of BlackEnergy was used was documented by CERT-UA in November 2015. In that instance, a number of news media companies were attacked at the time of the 2015 Ukrainian local elections. The report claims that a large number of video materials and various documents were destroyed as a result of the attack.

It should be noted that the Win32/KillDisk.NBB variant used against media companies is more focused on destroying various types of files and documents. It has a long list of file extensions that it tries to overwrite and delete. The complete list contains more than 4000 file extensions.

 

Figure 2 – A partial list of file extensions targeted for destruction by KillDisk.NBB

Figure 2 – A partial list of file extensions targeted for destruction by KillDisk.NBB

The KillDisk component used in attacks against energy companies in Ukraine was slightly different. Our analysis of the samples shows that the main changes made in the newest version are:

  • Now it accepts a command line argument, to set a specific time delay when the destructive payload should activate.
  • It also deletes Windows Event Logs : Application, Security, Setup, System.
  • It is less focused on deleting documents. Only 35 file extensions are targeted.
Figure 3 – A list of file extensions targeted for destruction by new variant of KillDisk component

Figure 3 – A list of file extensions targeted for destruction by new variant of KillDisk component

As well as being able to delete system files to make the system unbootable – functionality typical for such destructive trojans – the KillDisk variant detected in the electricity distribution companies also appears to contain some additional functionality specifically intended to sabotage industrial systems.

Once activated, this variant of the KillDisk component looks for and terminates two non-standard processes with the following names:

  • komut.exe
  • sec_service.exe

We didn’t manage to find any information regarding the name of the first process (komut.exe).

The second process name may belong to software called ASEM Ubiquity, a software platform that is often used in Industrial control systems (ICS), or to ELTIMA Serial to Ethernet Connector. In case the process is found, the malware does not just terminate it, but also overwrites the executable file with random data.

Backdoored SSH server

In addition to the malware families already mentioned, we have discovered an interesting sample used by the BlackEnergy group. During our investigation of one of the compromised servers we found an application that, at first glance, appeared to be a legitimate SSH server called Dropbear SSH.

In the order to run the SSH server, the attackers created a VBS file with the following content:

Set WshShell = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
WshShell.CurrentDirectory = “C:\WINDOWS\TEMP\Dropbear\”
WshShell.Run “dropbear.exe -r rsa -d dss -a -p 6789″, 0, false

As is evident here, the SSH server will accept connections on port number 6789. By running SSH on the server in a compromised network, attackers can come back to the network whenever they want.

However, for some reason this was not enough for them. After detailed analysis we discovered that the binary of the SSH server actually contains a backdoor.

Figure 4 – Backdoored authentication function in SSH server

Figure 4 – Backdoored authentication function in SSH server

As you can see in Figure 4, this version of Dropbear SSH will authenticate the user if the password passDs5Bu9Te7 was entered. The same situation applies to authentication by key pair – the server contains a pre-defined constant public key and it allows authentication only if a particular private key is used.

Figure 5 – The embedded RSA public key in SSH server

Figure 5 – The embedded RSA public key in SSH server

ESET security solutions detect this threat as Win32/SSHBearDoor.A trojan.

Indicators of Compromise (IoC)

IP addresses of BlackEnergy C2-servers:
5.149.254.114
5.9.32.230
31.210.111.154
88.198.25.92
146.0.74.7
188.40.8.72

XLS document with malicious macro SHA-1:
AA67CA4FB712374F5301D1D2BAB0AC66107A4DF1

BlackEnergy Lite dropper SHA-1:
4C424D5C8CFEDF8D2164B9F833F7C631F94C5A4C

BlackEnergy Big dropper SHA-1:
896FCACFF6310BBE5335677E99E4C3D370F73D96

BlackEnergy drivers SHA-1:
069163E1FB606C6178E23066E0AC7B7F0E18506B
0B4BE96ADA3B54453BD37130087618EA90168D72
1A716BF5532C13FA0DC407D00ACDC4A457FA87CD
1A86F7EF10849DA7D36CA27D0C9B1D686768E177
1CBE4E22B034EE8EA8567E3F8EB9426B30D4AFFE
20901CC767055F29CA3B676550164A66F85E2A42
2C1260FD5CEAEF3B5CB11D702EDC4CDD1610C2ED
2D805BCA41AA0EB1FC7EC3BD944EFD7DBA686AE1
4BC2BBD1809C8B66EECD7C28AC319B948577DE7B
502BD7662A553397BBDCFA27B585D740A20C49FC
672F5F332A6303080D807200A7F258C8155C54AF
84248BC0AC1F2F42A41CFFFA70B21B347DDC70E9
A427B264C1BD2712D1178912753BAC051A7A2F6C
A9ACA6F541555619159640D3EBC570CDCDCE0A0D
B05E577E002C510E7AB11B996A1CD8FE8FDADA0C
BD87CF5B66E36506F1D6774FD40C2C92A196E278
BE319672A87D0DD1F055AD1221B6FFD8C226A6E2
C7E919622D6D8EA2491ED392A0F8457E4483EAE9
CD07036416B3A344A34F4571CE6A1DF3CBB5783F
D91E6BB091551E773B3933BE5985F91711D6AC3B
E1C2B28E6A35AEADB508C60A9D09AB7B1041AFB8
E40F0D402FDCBA6DD7467C1366D040B02A44628C
E5A2204F085C07250DA07D71CB4E48769328D7DC

KillDisk-components SHA-1:
16F44FAC7E8BC94ECCD7AD9692E6665EF540EEC4
8AD6F88C5813C2B4CD7ABAB1D6C056D95D6AC569
6D6BA221DA5B1AE1E910BBEAA07BD44AFF26A7C0
F3E41EB94C4D72A98CD743BBB02D248F510AD925

VBS/Agent.AD trojan SHA-1:
72D0B326410E1D0705281FDE83CB7C33C67BC8CA

Win32/SSHBearDoor.A trojan SHA-1:
166D71C63D0EB609C4F77499112965DB7D9A51BB

Credit: welivesecurity

OmniRAT – the $25 way to hack into Windows, OS X and Android devices

 

Just last week, police forces across Europe arrested individuals who they believed had been using the notorious DroidJack malware to spy on Android users.

Now attention has been turned on to another piece of software that can spy on communications, secretly record conversations, snoop on browsing histories and take complete control of a remote device. But, unlike DroidJack, OmniRAT doesn’t limit itself to Android users – it can also hijack computers running Windows and Mac OS X too.

And that’s not the only difference between DroidJack and OmniRAT. Both of them may be being sold openly online, but OmniRAT retails for as little as $25 compared to DroidJack’s more hefty $210.

Security researchers at the anti-virus company Avast describe OmniRAT as a “Remote Administration Tool.

And it certainly can be used for entirely legitimate purposes, with the permission and consent of the owners of Android, Mac and Windows computers it tries to control.

But, in the wrong hands, it can also be considered a “Remote Access Trojan” – giving malicious hackers an opportunity to sneakily spy on and steal from unsuspecting users duped into installing the code.

OmniRAT

In his blog post, researcher Nikolaos Chrysaidos describes how he believes hackers have infected Androids with OmniRAT after sending an SMS.

Apparently, a German Android user explained on the Techboard-online forum how he had received an SMS telling him that an MMS had not been delivered directly to him due to the StageFright vulnerability.

In order to access the MMS, the user was told to follow a bit.ly link within three days, and enter a PIN code.

However, as Crysaidos explains, visiting the URL would initiate the attempt to install OmniRAT onto the target’s Android device:

Once you enter your number and code, an APK, mms-einst8923, is downloaded onto the Android device. The mms-einst8923.apk, once installed, loads a message onto the phone saying that the MMS settings have been successfully modified and loads an icon, labeled “MMS Retrieve” onto the phone.

Once the icon is opened by the victim, mms-einst8923.apk extracts OmniRat, which is encoded within the mms-einst8923.apk. In the example described on Techboard-online, a customized version of OmniRat is extracted.

Android app icon

Perhaps the long list of permissions requested by the app would make you think twice, if it weren’t so common for so many popular apps in the Google Play store to make similar requests.

App permissions

The problem of course is that through its cunning social engineering, and the target’s keen attempt to view the MMS that they might have been sent, it may be all too likely that the user grants permission for the app to be installed without thinking of the possible consequences.

And, as the app is capable of sending its own SMS messages, it may be that your infected Android device could then send further messages with malicious intent to your friends, family and colleagues, in the hope of hijacking further devices. After all, users are more likely to be tricked into believing a message is legitimate, and letting their guard down, if they receive a message apparently coming from someone they know and trust.

Sadly victims will probably have no clue that their devices are compromised, and even if they uninstall the MMS Retrieve icon, the customised version of OmniRAT remains installed on their Android smartphone, and will be sending data to a command and control (C&C) server seemingly based in Russia:

Russian domain

So, the question to ask is how should you protect yourself?

Well, clearly you should resist the urge to install apps onto your smartphone from anywhere other than the official app stores. Although malware has unfortunately snuck into the Google Play store in the past, you’re much more likely to encounter malicious code from unauthorised sources.

Furthermore, I would recommend running a security product on your Android device to detect malicious code and that – if possible – you keep your Android smartphone patched with the latest version of the operating system.

Finally, always think long and hard before clicking on links from untrusted sources. It could be that you’re just one click away from a hacker trying to take remote control of your Android phone.

 

 

Credit: 

Newly Discovered Exploit Makes Every iPhone Remotely Hackable

The government would love to get its hands on a foolproof way to break into the new highly encrypted iPhone. And it looks like some clever hackers just gave it to them.

Bug bounty startup Zerodium just announced that a team has figured out how to remotely jailbreak the latest iPhone operating system and will take home a million dollar prize. It’s unclear if Apple will get a peek at the zero-day exploit.

But wait, isn’t that what security researchers are supposed to do? Expose the exploit? Not when there’s this kind of cash on the line.

The hack itself seemed impossible. Zerodium required the exploit to work through a Safari, Chrome, a text message, or a multimedia message. This meant that hackers wouldn’t have to find just one vulnerability but rather a chain of them that would enable them to jailbreak an iPhone from afar. Once the phone’s jailbroken, the hackers could ostensibly download apps to the phone or even upload malware. It could also be a killer surveillance tool for anyone from law enforcement to spy agencies, which is what makes the details of this situation even more unsettling.

Zerodium is no ordinary security company. As Motherboard’s Lorenzo Francheschi-Biccierai explains:

[Founder Chaouki] Bekrar and Zerodium, as well as its predecessor VUPEN, have a different business model. They offer higher rewards than what tech companies usually pay out, and keep the vulnerabilities secret, revealing them only to certain government customers, such as the NSA.

Oh, that sounds bad. But it gets worse:

But there’s no doubt that for some, this exploit is extremely valuable. …This exploit would allow [law enforcement and spy agencies] to get around any security measures and get into the target’s iPhone to intercept calls, messages, and access data stored in the phone.

So unlike a lot of news that comes out of the security industry, this is a real threat. Zero-day vulnerabilities are often shared with the vendor before research is released so that they can have a patch ready. In this case, Zerodium and the winning team of now millionaire hackers will probably keep the bug a secret so that the proprietors of state secrets can take advantage of it. Again, Bekrar and his various ventures have been doing this for years.

There’s a chance Apple will figure out how to patch the vulnerability before the NSA takes off with it. After all, the Cupertino-based purveyor of very expensive gadgets is historically terrific at security. This is actually the first report of a method for jailbreaking an iPhone remotely since iOS 7. Hopefully, it will be the last.

 

 

Credit:  Adam Clark Estes – gizmodo

iOS 9 Hack: How to Access Private Photos and Contacts Without a Passcode

 

Setting a passcode on your iPhone is the first line of defense to help prevent other people from accessing your device. However, it’s pretty easy for anyone to access your personal photographs and contacts from your iPhone running iOS 9 in just 30 seconds or less, even with a passcode and/or Touch ID enabled.

 

Just yesterday, the Security firm Zerodium announced a Huge Bug Bounty of 1 Million Dollars for finding out zero-day exploits and jailbreak for iPhones and iPads running iOS9. Now…

 

A hacker has found a new and quite simple method of bypassing the security of a locked iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod touch) running Apple’s latest iOS 9 operating system that could allow you to access the device’s photos and contacts in 30 seconds or less. Yes, the passcode on any iOS device running iOS 9.0 is possible to bypass using the benevolent nature of Apple’s personal assistant Siri.

 

Here’s the List of Steps to Bypass Passcode:

You need to follow these simple steps to bypass passcode on any iOS device running iOS 9.0:
  1. Wake the iOS device and Enter an incorrect passcode four times.
  2. For the fifth time, Enter 3 or 5 digits (depending on how long your passcode is), and for the last one, press and hold the Home button to invoke Siri immediately followed by the 4th digit.
  3. After Siri appears, ask her for the time.
  4. Tap the Clock icon to open the Clock app, and add a new Clock, then write anything in the Choose a City field.
  5. Now double tap on the word you wrote to invoke the copy & paste menu, Select All and then click on “Share“.
  6. Tap the ‘Message‘ icon in the Share Sheet, and again type something random, hit Return and double tap on the contact name on the top.
  7. Select “Create New Contact,” and Tap on “Add Photo” and then on “Choose Photo“.
  8. You’ll now be able to see the entire photo library on the iOS device, which is still locked with a passcode. Now browse and view any photo from the Photo album individually.

Video Demonstration

You can also watch a video demonstration (given below) that shows the whole hack in action.
It isn’t a remote flaw you need to worry about, as this only works if someone has access to your iPhone or iOS device. However, such an easy way to bypass any locked iOS device could put users personal data at risk.

How to Prevent iOS 9 Hack

Until Apple fixes this issue, iOS users can protect themselves by disabling Siri on the lock screen from Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. Once disabled, you’ll only be able to use Siri after you have unlocked your iOS device using the passcode or your fingerprint.
Credit: 

 

3D Imaging System in Driver-less Cars Can Be Hacked

google-driverless-car1

The laser navigation system and sensors of driverless cars can be easily exploited by hackers as they can trick them into getting paralyzed thinking about a probable collision with another person, car or hurdle.

Lidar 3D Imaging System is vulnerable to hack attacks. It is a system used by autonomous vehicles to create an image of the surroundings and navigate through the roads. However, research reveals that a cheap low-power laser attack lets hackers trick this system into thinking that something is blocking their way and forcing the vehicle to slow down, stop and/or take elusive action.

Driverless-Car-hack

The University of Cork’s Computer Security Group’s former researcher Jonathan Petit identified this vulnerability of the well-known laser powered navigation system while trying to discover the cyber vulnerabilities of self-directed vehicles.

Petit’s research will be presented at the Black Hat Europe security conference that is due in November this year. He explained that the combo of a pulse generator and a low-power laser let him record encrypted or non-coded laser pulses emitting from the high-profile Lidar system.

These pulses can later be replicated with a laser to produce fake objects that can easily trick a driverless car into thinking that there is an obstacle present at the front.

While speaking to IEEE Spectrum, Petit stated:

“I can take echoes of a fake car and put them at any location I want. And I can do the same with a pedestrian or a wall. I can spoof thousands of objects and basically carry out a denial-of-service attack on the tracking system so it’s not able to track real objects.”

He further added that the primary basis of the vulnerability lies in the fact that some driverless cars have poor quality input systems. This means such cars can make wrong decisions if these are fed incorrect data of surrounding environment and/or the road.

“If a self-driving car has poor inputs, it will make poor driving decisions,” said Petit.

However, one wonders that Lunar laser ranging technology is the most expensive and technically advanced one that is currently available in the market, then how can these commit mistakes?

In response to this, Petit says that autonomous cars can be hacked easily and cheaply as

“You can easily do it with a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino. It’s really off the shelf.”

The research reveals that driverless cars are not fully reliable and have inherent security related issues regardless of the fact that the technology has been cleared after being tested on UK roads.

We can comprehend that excessive insertion of connected technology into vehicles nowadays is making our cars prone to risks and threats from hackers.

History of vulnerability in vehicles: 

In this Black Hat USA 2015 session, two security researchers namely Charles Millerand Chris Valasek will gave a presentation about their discoveries related to the security vulnerability they found in the on-board infotainment system of all the vehicles manufactured by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, leaving more than 470,000 vehicles vulnerable to these similar hacking attempts.

Using this vulnerability, both of these hackers managed to remotely take control over the vehicle, which allowed them to manipulate the vehicle’s brakes, acceleration, entertainment system and what not.

Another hacker demonstrated how hackers could locate, unlock and start GM cars with a hacked mobile app and how to hack Corvette with a text message.

During the same the DefCon and BlackHat security conferences researchers also exposed how hackers could easily exploit the vulnerabilities found within the Megamos Crypto to start the vehicle without any key, and the vulnerability could be exploited within 60 minutes!

 

 

 

Credit: 

Self-driving Cars Hacked Using a Simple Laser and a Raspberry Pi

Wake-up call for driverless-car makers to solve this glaring security problem. Self-driving cars are easy to hack with a modified laser pointer.

A security researcher has discovered that self-driving cars with laser-powered sensors that detect and avoid obstacles in their paths can easily be fooled by a line-of-sight attacker using a laser pointer to trick those sensors into detecting and avoiding obstacles that don’t actually exist.

Self-driving or driverless cars are widely predicted to be the next big innovation in automotive technology — indeed, it’s possible that today’s infants will come of age in a world where “driving your own car” is as obsolete as horse-and-buggy combos are now.

Google has already developed and tested a semi-driverless car (which still requires a licensed and alert human driver as a failsafe in case anything goes wrong). Various car manufacturers including Lexus, Mercedes and Audi are developing self-driving prototypes of their own. But, of course, driverless cars with wireless computer controls are as vulnerable to hacking as any other Internet-connected device – and have a few other vulnerabilities as well.

google-self-driving-car-wb

 

Lidar systems

Driverless cars use laser ranging systems, known as “lidar” (a riff off of “radar”), to detect obstacles and navigate their way through them. Radar, which was originally a semi-acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging, “sees” things by sending out radio waves, then measuring whether and how many of those waves reflect back after bouncing off of various objects. Lidar does the same thing with lasers, which are narrower and far more precise than the radio waves used in radar.

Jonathan Petit, a scientist at the software-security company Security Innovation, told IEEE Spectrum that he was able to fool the lidar systems of self-driving cars with a device he made out of only $60 worth of off-the-shelf technology.

“I can take echoes of a fake car and put them at any location I want. And I can do the same with a pedestrian or a wall.” Petit made his device using a low-powered laser and a pulse generator, although he said “you don’t need the pulse generator when you do the attack. You can easily do it with a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino. It’s really off the shelf.”

Once he made this device, Petit could use it to create from a lidar’s perspective the illusion of a car, wall or pedestrian while he was anywhere from 20 to 350 meters (roughly 65 to 1,500 feet) away from the lidar system. Perhaps even more disturbingly, Petit could carry out these attacks on a lidar-equipped car without the car’s passengers even being aware of it.

The good news is that, according to Petit, there is a way for car or lidar manufacturers to solve this problem. “A strong system that does misbehavior detection could cross-check with other data and filter out those that aren’t plausible,” he said. “But I don’t think carmakers have done it yet. This might be a good wake-up call for them.

Petit plans to formally present his findings at the Black Hat Europe security conference this November.

 

 

Credit:  Jennifer Abel

Car Hacking | Report reveals security flaw in immobilizers

Over 100 models at risk from wireless attacks; study was hidden for two years

A security flaw in Volkswagen, Volvo and Fiat cars could allow hackers to remotely start and steal vehicles without having a key, a report has revealed.

The report, titled ‘Dismantling Megamos Crypto: Wirelessly Lock-picking a Vehicle Immobilizer’, was recently released after a Volkswagen court injunction blocking its publication was lifted after two years.

Cars are only supposed to start if the key is present in the car. But the report says anti-theft systems on some models can be hacked – allowing the car to be simply driven away.

Report authors Roel Verdult, Flavio Garcia and Baris Ege wrote: “We were able to recover the key and start the engine with a transponder-emulating device. Executing this attack from beginning to end takes only 30 minutes.”

The hackers were able to eavesdrop on the signals sent between the cars’ immobilizers and their keys.

Cars from Porsche, Ferrari, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Alfa Romeo are among those that use the same transponders that the experts hacked.

Car hacking: could it happen to you?

The researchers are calling for their findings to be taken into account by car companies that use radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, so necessary security measures can be put in place. But unlike a recent security flaw discovered on the Tesla Model S, the latest security risk cannot be fixed by a simple software upgrade.

The researchers who uncovered the flaw believe their findings should be made public and used as an incentive for car manufacturers to increase their cyber-security efforts.

The manufacturers, on the other hand, prefer to keep the discussion under wraps.

Volkswagen Group of America, along with 12 other car manufacturers, is lobbying for car technology to fall under the protection of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the US. If successful in its efforts, research of this nature would become illegal.

In a statement, Volkswagen said: “In this connection, Volkswagen does not make available information that might enable unauthorized individuals to gain access to its vehicles.

“In all aspects of vehicle security, be this mechanical or electronic, Volkswagen goes to great lengths to ensure the security and integrity of its products against external malicious attack.”

 

You can download the full report here

 

 

Credit: Simon Davis

Researchers Hack Car via Insurance Dongle

Small devices installed in many automobiles allow remote attackers to hack into a car’s systems and take control of various functions, researchers have demonstrated.

 

Researchers at the University of California in San Diego analyzed commercial telematic control units (TCU) to determine if they are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

TCUs are embedded systems on board a vehicle that provide a wide range of functions. The products offered by carmakers, such as GM’s OnStar and Ford’s Sync, provide voice and data communications, navigation, and allow users to remotely control the infotainment systems and other features.

Aftermarket TCUs, which connect to the vehicle through the standard On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port, can serve various purposes, including driving assistance, vehicle diagnostics, security, and fleet management. These devices are also used by insurance companies that offer safe driving and low mileage discounts, and pay-per-mile insurance.

Researchers have conducted tests on C4E dongles produced by France-based Mobile Devices. These TCUs, acquired by the experts from eBay, are used by San Francisco-based car insurance firm Metromile, which offers its per-mile insurance option to Uber.

Aftermarket TCUs are mostly used for data collection, but the OBD-II port they are connected to also provides access to the car’s internal networks, specifically the controller area network (CAN) buses that are used to connect individual systems and sensors.

“CAN is a multi-master bus and thus any device with a CAN transceiver is able to send messages as well as receive. This presents a key security problem since as we, and others, have shown, transmit access to the CAN bus is frequently sufficient to obtain arbitrary control over all key vehicular systems (including throttle and brakes),” researchers explained in their paper.

The experts have identified several vulnerabilities in the Mobile Devices product, including the lack of authentication for remotely accessible debug services, the use of hard-coded cryptographic keys (CVE-2015-2906) and hard-coded credentials (CVE-2015-2907), the use of SMS messages for remotely updating the dongle, and the lack of firmware update validation (CVE-2015-2908).

In their experiments, researchers managed to gain local access to the system via the device’s USB port, and remote access via the cellular data interface that provides Internet connectivity and via an SMS interface.

In a real-world demonstration, the experts hacked a Corvette fitted with a vulnerable device simply by sending it specially crafted SMS messages. By starting a reverse shell on the system, they managed to control the windshield wipers, and apply and disable brakes while the car was in motion. The experts said they could have also accessed various other features.

Corvette hacked via insurance dongle

The remote attacks only work if the attacker knows the IP address of the device or the phone number associated with the SIM card used for receiving SMS messages. However, researchers determined that Internet-accessible TCUs can be identified by searching the web for strings of words unique to their web interface, or by searching for information related to the Telnet and SSH servers. Thousands of potential TCUs were uncovered by experts using this method.

As for the the SIM phone numbers, researchers believe many of them are sequentially assigned, which means an attacker might be able to obtain the information by determining the phone number for one device.

Researchers have reported their findings to Mobile Devices, Metromile, and Uber. Wired reported that Mobile Devices developed a patch that has been distributed by Metromile and Uber to affected products.

Mobile Devices told the researchers and the CERT Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University that many of the vulnerabilities have been fixed in newer versions of the software, and claimed that the attack described by experts should only work on developer/debugging devices, not on production deployments.

However, researchers noted that they discovered the vulnerabilities on recent production devices and they had not found the newer versions of software that should patch the security holes.

This is not the first time someone has taken control of a car using insurance dongles. In January, a researcher demonstrated that a device from Progressive Insurance used in more than two million vehicles was plagued by vulnerabilities that could have been exploited to remotely unlock doors, start the car, and collect engine information.

White hat hackers demonstrated on several occasions this summer that connected cars can be hacked. Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek remotely hijacked a Jeep, ultimately forcing Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 million vehicles to update their software. Last week, researchers reported finding several vulnerabilities in Tesla Model S, but they applauded the carmaker for its security architecture.

In July, senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal introduced new legislation, the Security and Privacy in Your Car (SPY Car) Act, in an effort to establish federal standards to secure cars and protect drivers’ privacy.

 

 

Credit:  Eduard Kovacs