Showing posts from August, 2008

McIrony: An unexpected response from McAfee

Irony: incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.

Right before Black Hat, I put together what I believed was a pretty strong arguement against McAfee Secure - Hacker Safe, at a level heretofore unexplored. I believe it was more damaging than anything I've said to date, and as such, presented potential risk for me. So I ran it by some friends before publishing it. Then a most extraordinary thing happened. I had a long chat with Nate McFeters, who described an awakening he'd recently experienced. He shared with me the belief that a better approach to potentially negative security research might be to try to create a positive outcome, and worry less about press cycles or exposure, the 15 minutes of fame if you will. He pointed to people like Mark Dowd as an example of people who conduct crushingly good research, and steer clear of the petty, ego driven bulls**t.
There I sat, repose like the thinking man, frozen for minutes. "Nate", I said, &qu…

ColdFusion: Hack Me or Help Me

For your consideration, the endless battle between security and convenience.
Front and center: ColdFusion.
I've been picking on ColdFusion-built apps again a bit lately, and one of my observations has been that consistently, if mismanaged, the verbose error reporting features in ColdFusion can be really problematic.

HIO-2008-0713 JOBBEX JobSite SQLi & XSS
HIO-2008-0729 BookMine SQLi & XSS

Recently, I stumbled on an example of way too much information disclosure in a few sites running a ColdFusion-built CMS. The error reporting was so verbose it included the base path, data source name, database username, and yes, the database password.
I've cleaned it up for the protection of all involved, but here's a screen shot of only 1/4 of the details this site coughed up when I tweaked the input to a calendar date variable.

When I reached out to the developers of this app (always and immediately responsive), they assured me that this was not due to a flaw in the app, but that the &…

NIST revises SP800-60 Volume 1: Go forth and classify

According to GCN, NIST has released a revision to SP800-60 Vol 1 and Volume 2. The two-volume Special Publication 800-60 Revision 1, “Guide for Mapping Types of Information and Information Systems to Security Categories,” is a revision of guidelines published in 2004.
Asset and data classification is the keystone to building proper protective schemes. Simply, if you don't know what you have, you can't apply the appropriate levels of value and importance.
SP 800-60's intro reads:
"The identification of information processed on an information system is essential to the proper selection of security controls and ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the system and its information. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-60 has been developed to assist Federal government agencies to categorize information and information systems."
Give this document a read; while it is geared to a federal agency audien…

Cross-site scripting CAN be used to hack a server

UPDATE: They won the Pwnie for this at Black Hat! More surprising is the fact that allegedly someone from McAfee showed up to accept. At least they have a sense of humor. More details soon.

Likely you remember when Joseph Pierini at McAfee Secure / Hacker Safe said XSS wasn't important because "cross-site scripting can't be used to hack a server. You may be able to do other things with it. You may be able to do things that affect the end-user or the client. But the customer data protected with the server, in the database, isn't going to be compromised by a cross-site scripting attack, not directly."
That gem has made McAfee Pwnie worthy (winners announced tomorrow!); may the Lamest Vendor win.
That said, anyone with a clue knows that XSS attacks are ideal for credential theft, and if you can steal credentials, you can hack a server.
Looking for a textbook example? Check out mckt's new blog,
Here's a highlight:
"Every cPanel user's accou…