KRACK WiFi Vulnerability

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 | Mark Bedford | Comments Off on KRACK WiFi Vulnerability

You may have heard about a recent WiFi security problem nicknamed KRACK which was uncovered by a group of researchers early 2017. They discovered that there is a problem with the way WiFi devices negotiate their encrypted connections and this leads to some serious issues, so you should be worried but don’t panic. Your wireless password is safe as it is not disclosed (as long as it is not used elsewhere).

The issues are present in ALL devices that use the WiFi WPA protocol and include Android, Apple iOS, OSX, Windows, Linux, IoT devices. Because the vulnerability can only be exploited by an attacker in your WiFi coverage area you wont be attacked by a bad actor from the other side of the world at 3:00 am but you might by your local neighborhood hacker.

Patched or un-patched, if you use HTTPS or SSH (or anything with SSL/TLS encryption), whatever you send is secure and cannot be plainly seen or intercepted (as far as this vulnerability goes). An attacker will see that there is traffic but not the contents of the traffic. If you use a VPN (no NOT Hola or its ilk) then traffic traversing the VPN is also secure. So there maybe some privacy issues here but not confidentiality issues. In many ways this is no different than using an open WiFi network at the airport or hotel, assume that your traffic is being watched therefore sensitive information should be protected with encryption. Note for Otago VPN users, only the traffic to/from Otago is secure, other traffic may not be.

There is only one remediation at present, patch your device with the security update for this specific vulnerability when it becomes available. Vendors are currently working on patches, or have already released them. This includes lots of devices that are still working after many years of active service (the vulnerability is some 10 years old). Many older devices will never receive security updates so if you continue to use these devices you should assume that all of your traffic is being spied on and potentially altered. Time to dispose of them responsibly and upgrade them to a newer supported device.

For those wanting a more technical discussion, here is a Information Security blog article https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/infosec/2017/10/17/wpa2-krack-technical-notes/

 

Is my home Wifi network ok?

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 | Mark Borrie | Comments Off on Is my home Wifi network ok?

What is it KRACK?

You may have heard about the latest security problem with wifi networks and be wondering what this is all about.

Yes this is a serious problem, and YES your home network is vulnerable. Every network is currently vulnerable to this new issue. More importantly, you computers, laptops, phones and other devices are also vulnerable.

What impact is there?

Potentially this impacts an extensive range of devices including Apple, Android, OpenBSD, Linux, Microsoft, smart computers, smart phones, access points, IoT devices etc. The attack cannot be executed remotely; the attacker must be within range of your wireless network ie physically near your Wi-Fi.

So what can happen? An attacker can insert themselves into your network conversations and listen to what is going back and forth. They could also potentially start changing things. If you are communicating over an encrypted link such as using https then an attacker cannot see your information. This means that your passwords will continue to stay secure.

At this time, there is no evidence that an attack tool exists in the wild but they will come sooner rather than later. Until then the attack will only be possible from a skilled attacker, however once easy-to-use tools are available the skill factor is no longer a barrier . Expect to see your neighbourhood hackers attacking your old iPhone or Android device.

What to do about it?

With this in mind you should patch all of your devices soon.

If you have an older device then the manufacturer may not release patches for this issue. This is a problem and you will need to consider upgrading your device to one that is supported.

If you need to ensure the privacy of your network usage then use a VPN to encrypt all your traffic. VPN is a protocol for encrypting all network traffic between two network points. The University has a VPN service that allows staff to connect to the internal University network from most places on the Internet. You will need to find a suitable VPN service for you.

The Bleeping Computer site is keeping an up to date list of patched devices at https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/list-of-firmware-and-driver-updates-for-krack-wpa2-vulnerability/

Summary

KRACK is an issue for all wireless networks. You should apply the security patches as soon as they become available.

Older devices may not receive security updates and are now at risk of becoming a gateway into your network and privacy. As such, sensible disposal is the preferred approach.

For devices where no patch is available you should assume that all traffic from that device can be spied on and potentially altered. Using a VPN to help mitigate this for you.

WPA2 “KRACK” – Technical notes

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 | Jim Cheetham | Comments Off on WPA2 “KRACK” – Technical notes

KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attacks) is an effective attack on the WPA2 802.11i protocol used for protecting WiFi networks, published on October 16 2017 .

Because it is an attack on the protocol itself, every piece of equipment that can communicate over WiFi is affected. The attack must be carried out by a device that is in range of the network; i.e. this is a local attack, not a remote one.

TL;DR

Be WORRIED, but there is no need to PANIC. If there is a PATCH for your device, apply it as soon as possible. Otherwise, worry until there is.

KRACK tricks your wireless devices into resetting their encryption sessions to a known state, after which the attacker can read everything that they do, and can inject their own data into the network (i.e. a Man-in-the-Middle attack). This effectively turns your “private, secure” WPA2 network into a “public, insecure” one.

If you are safe operating your device on a public insecure network (e.g. airport or coffee-shop WiFi), then you will be equally safe operating it on a compromised WPA2 network.

KRACK does NOT steal your WiFi passwords or credentials.

The only effective fix for KRACK is on your client devices. PCs and laptops are likely to be patched quickly, mobile phones much more slowly if at all, and IoT devices are at serious risk.

KRACK References

  • KRACK website, https://www.krackattacks.com/
  • Key Reinstallation Attacks: Forcing Nonce Reuse in WPA2, https://papers.mathyvanhoef.com/ccs2017.pdf
  • CERT CVEs, http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/228519
    • CVE-2017-13077: reinstallation of the pairwise key in the Four-way handshake
    • CVE-2017-13078: reinstallation of the group key in the Four-way handshake
    • CVE-2017-13079: reinstallation of the integrity group key in the Four-way handshake
    • CVE-2017-13080: reinstallation of the group key in the Group Key handshake
    • CVE-2017-13081: reinstallation of the integrity group key in the Group Key handshake
    • CVE-2017-13082: accepting a retransmitted Fast BSS Transition Reassociation Request and reinstalling the pairwise key while processing it
    • CVE-2017-13084: reinstallation of the STK key in the PeerKey handshake
    • CVE-2017-13086: reinstallation of the Tunneled Direct-Link Setup (TDLS) PeerKey (TPK) key in the TDLS handshake
    • CVE-2017-13087: reinstallation of the group key (GTK) when processing a Wireless Network Management (WNM) Sleep Mode Response frame
    • CVE-2017-13088: reinstallation of the integrity group key (IGTK) when processing a Wireless Network Management (WNM) Sleep Mode Response frame

Timeline

In early 2017 the researchers were finishing off another security publication when they realised that part of the OpenBSD network code for WiFi that they were discussing had a potential problem. By July 2017 a wide range of systems had been confirmed with this problem, and the CERT/CC co-ordinated a wider notification to OS and device vendors in late August. The public announcement was made on 16 October 2017.

Many vendors have made announcements and released patches already, more will be coming soon. OpenBSD patched early due to their relationship to the original discovery, some other vendors seem to have issued patches already but many important ones are yet to patch.

Patches

At the moment I’m getting my information from the CERT/CC and the Bleeping Computer website, but I’ll verify from original sources as soon as I can. https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/list-of-firmware-and-driver-updates-for-krack-wpa2-vulnerability/

No Patches

If you have a device using WiFi, and there are no patches for it, you should assume that all traffic from that device can be spied on and potentially altered. If you are encrypting your communications with TLS/SSL or something equivalent like OpenSSH, then all you are at risk from is a lack of privacy. However, you might need to consider implementing a VPN if you rely on plaintext or easily spoofed protocols.

Further Questions

If you have any further questions, please get in touch with the Information Security Office through the usual channels.

 

Thursday, November 21st, 2013 | Mark Bedford | Comments Off on

Well it is hard to believe that we are well into November and what a month it has been. With the recent Adobe password debacle where 150 million email addresses, their password hashes and the hints were exposed on the internet. Then there was Kiwicon, the New Zealand hacker conference in Wellington, where “AmmonRa” took us for a ride.

With the Christmas shopping season just around the corner many will be purchasing online and there are the usual reminders. Things to watch out for are nicely organised in this SANS article by Lenny Zeltser.

While you are shopping, perhaps this Microsoft blog article from Holly Stewart will encourage you to finally ditch your old XP computer. A couple of noteworthy points in the article are that XP is six times more likely to get infected than Windows 8, and when XP service pack 2 went out of support there was a huge disparity of infections as much as 66% higher than the supported XP service pack 3. So plan now to buy your Windows 8 replacement computer before it gets infected.

 

Patching Java

Monday, October 21st, 2013 | Mark Bedford | Comments Off on Patching Java

Oracle have settled on a quarterly patch period for not only their database products but also Java. I have yet to decide if this is good or bad as I really would like to see a shorter update period to reduce to time that the unpatched vulnerability exists in the wild. The release notes are here for 7u45

The schedule is
14 January 2014
15 April 2014
15 July 2014
14 October 2014

Cyber Attackers Access 72,000 Confidential Employee Details

Thursday, August 1st, 2013 | Mark Bedford | Comments Off on Cyber Attackers Access 72,000 Confidential Employee Details

The University of Delaware was on the 22nd July the recipient of a criminal attack on one of its systems. The criminals were able to steal files that contained 72,000 names, addresses and other personally identifiable information for past, present and student employees. The University is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mandiant to determine the scope of the attack after having taken immediate corrective action. The University has indicated that the attackers used a vulnerability in software acquired from an unnamed vendor.

Content Management System Plugin Patching

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 | Mark Bedford | Comments Off on Content Management System Plugin Patching

Over the past several months there has been an uptick in the number of web sites running Content Management Systems that have been compromised. Systems like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal have all been targeted. Site administrators struggle to keep their CMS’s patched and almost never remember to include all the plugins that are used. In many cases the plugin vulnerabilities can do just as much evil as the core CMS vulnerabilities. Due to the breadth and quality of maintenance and support for plugins vulnerabilities and updates are often not monitored or reported.

A couple of very popular plugins announced serious vulnerabilities recently that allow them to execute arbitary PHP on the server, WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. So take care of the plugins that you deploy and if you no longer need them then uninstall them.

Hardening OS X Lion (10.7)

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 | Mark Bedford | Comments Off on Hardening OS X Lion (10.7)

I was delighted by a recent post on the SANS web site from Johannes B. Ullrich. In his article he lists 5 documents that deal with hardening OSX. For those that don’t know, hardening is the process is securing a computer by reducing the vulnerable attack surface. I was only aware of the Apple documentation and not the others. Ullrich notes that the Apple documents do not cover OS X Lion (10.7). This is disappointing as I would have thought that Apple would have been more proactive given their increasing market share.

Anyway the list included below and anyone exposing an Apple to the internet is advised to check the documents to make sure that they have enabled sufficient sheilding to withstand probes and attacks.

Apple, NSA Guide, Mac Shadows, University of Texas, Center for Internet Security

Android 4 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) update issues for Nexus S devices

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 | Gene Teo | Comments Off on Android 4 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) update issues for Nexus S devices

Recently Google started updating Nexus S smartphones to Android 4.0.

There are reports circulating that Google is occasionally pausing the update process while they monitor progress and feedback. If you are affected by a pause, when you go to Settings > About > System Updates you will be told “Your system is up to date”, even if you’re not on Android 4.0.

If you were able to download the update, click the “Reboot and Install” button, and then see “Your system is up to date” (when again, the update to Android 4.0 hasn’t happened), this is apparently a different problem – see the picture below, and that’s pretty much all the information we have at the moment.

Scrrenshot of the Google Mobile Help Forum post on the Nexus S OTA Update to ICS bug

From the Google Mobile Help Forum

Updating millions of phones is hard, and there are a lot of slightly miffed outraged people out there wanting this update. If you haven’t been able to update, just wait until any bugs have been fixed, and the update process resumes. You will get a more reliable patch as a result.

In the interim, prepare for the update by backing up any important files from the USB storage area of your phone. Just connect your phone to your computer via USB cable – it will show the file storage area just like a USB drive.

To get the best upgrade experience many will factory reset their phones just before or just after the upgrade. You can backup your application data, WiFi passwords, and other settings to Google servers so they can be easily restored after a factory reset. On your Android 2.x phone go to Settings > Privacy > Back up my data

Samsung Galaxy Devices to get Android 4 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) in Q1 2012

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 | Gene Teo | Comments Off on Samsung Galaxy Devices to get Android 4 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) in Q1 2012

Picture of the Samsung GALAXY S 2

The Samsung GALAXY S 2

Update 9 Mar 2012 – it begins!

Hot on the heels of Google releasing an upgrade to Android 4 for the Nexus S, Samsung has announced that their Galaxy product line will get their Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) upgrade in the first quarter of 2012.

The products that will get the upgrade are:

  • Samsung Galaxy S2 (sometimes written as “Galaxy S II”)
  • Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
  • Samsung Galaxy R
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

Of course, it’s the Galaxy S2 owners who will be most excited – and there are many of them! In New Zealand, Samsung has a 28% share of the smartphone market, compared to 13% for Apple. In contrast, Apple has the tablet market all sewn up with 79% market share, vs. 15% for Android.

Sadly it seems that owners of the still-excellent Galaxy S (the predecessor to the Galaxy S2, released in March 2010) will miss out on an upgrade to Android 4/ICS – it’s not mentioned at all in the announcement.