April 24, 2024

Newest epidode – pay attention now.

DOUG.   Busts, shutdowns, Samba, and GitHub.

All that, and extra, on the Bare Safety podcast.


Welcome to the podcast, everyone.

I’m Doug Aamoth; he’s Paul Ducklin.

Paul, how do you do immediately, Sir?

DUCK.   I’m very properly, Douglas.

DOUG.   Allow us to begin the present with our Tech Historical past section – that is an fascinating one.

This week, on 01 February 1982, the Intel 80286 16-bit microprocessor was launched, and went on to turn out to be a mainstay in IBM PC/AT computer systems for years.

Apparently, Intel didn’t anticipate the 286 for use for private computer systems, and designed a chip with multitasking and multi-user techniques in thoughts.

DUCK.   Its main use, as you say, was the PC/AT, the “Superior Know-how” pc from IBM, which was principally designed to run DOS.

Though DOS is proscribed to 1MB of RAM (or 640KB RAM and the remainder ROM), you can have further reminiscence, and you can use it for issues like…

…bear in mind HIMEM.SYS, and RAM caches, all of that stuff?

Besides that as a result of Intel had safety in thoughts, bless their hearts, once they designed the 286…

…when you had switched from the mode the place it ran like an 8086 into the super-powerful so-called “protected mode”, *you couldn’t change again*.

When you flipped into the mode that allow you to entry your HIMEM or your RAMDISK, you have been caught.

You couldn’t return and keep on operating DOS!

And IBM really jury-rigged their PC – you despatched this particular command to (imagine it or not) the keyboard controller, and the keyboard controller principally rebooted the CPU.

Then, when the CPU began up once more, the BIOS mentioned, “Oh, that’s not a real reboot, that’s a sneaky ‘change again illegally to actual mode’ reboot,” [LAUGHTER] and it went again to the place you have been in DOS.

So the issue is, it was super-inefficient.

The opposite factor with the 286, although it might entry 16MB RAM in whole, is that, similar to the 8086, it might solely work on a most of 64KB at a time.

So the 64-kilobyte restrict was nonetheless principally wired into the DNA of that 286 microprocessor.

It was majestically and needlessly, because it turned out, difficult.

It’s sort of like a product that was super-cool, however didn’t actually match a necessity available in the market on the time, sadly.

DOUG.   Effectively, let’s begin in on our first tales.

We have now a two-pack – it’s crime time.

Let’s discuss shutdowns and lock-ups, beginning with the FBI shutting down the Hive ransomware servers in the end.

That’s excellent news!

Hive ransomware servers shut down ultimately, says FBI

DUCK.   It does appear so, doesn’t it, Doug?

Though we have to say, as we all the time do, primarily, that “cybercrime abhors a vacuum”.

Sadly, different operators steam in when one lot get busted…

…or if all that occurs is that their servers get taken down, and the precise folks working them don’t get recognized and arrested, usually what occurs is that they maintain their heads under the parapet for a short time, after which they simply pop up elsewhere.

Generally they reinvent the previous model, simply to thumb their nostril on the world.

Generally they’d come again with a brand new title.

So the factor with Hive – it seems that the FBI had infiltrated the Hive ransomware gang, presumably by taking up some sysadmin’s account, and apparently that occurred in the midst of 2022.

However, as we’ve mentioned on the podcast earlier than, with the darkish net, the truth that you’ve gotten somebody’s account and you may log in as them…

…you continue to can’t simply search for the IP variety of the server you’re connecting to, as a result of the darkish net is hiding that.

So evidently, for the primary a part of this operation, the FBI weren’t really in a position to determine the place the servers have been, though apparently they have been in a position to get free decryption keys for fairly plenty of folks – I believe a number of hundred victims.

In order that was fairly excellent news!

After which, whether or not it was some operational intelligence blunder, whether or not they simply acquired fortunate, or… we don’t know, however evidently finally they did work out the place the servers have been, and bingo!


DOUG.   OK, excellent.

After which our second of those crime tales.

We’ve acquired a Dutch suspect in custody, charged for not simply private information theft, however [DOOM-LADEN VOICE] “megatheft”, as you set it. Paul:

Dutch suspect locked up for alleged private information megathefts

DUCK.   Sure!

Plainly his “job” was… he finds information, or buys information from different folks, or breaks into websites and steals large tranches of knowledge himself.

Then he slices-and-dices it in numerous methods, and places it up on the market on the darkish net.

He was caught as a result of the corporate that appears after TV licensing in Austria (a whole lot of European international locations require you to have a allow to personal and function a TV set, which primarily funds nationwide tv)… these databases just about have each family, minus a couple of.

The Austrian authorities grew to become conscious that there was a database up on the market on the darkish net that appeared very very like the sort of information you’d get – the fields, and the way in which all the things was formatted… “That appears like ours, that appears like Austrian TV licences. My gosh!”

In order that they did a very cool factor, Doug.

They did an undercover buy-back, and within the technique of doing so, they really acquired a great deal with on the place the individual was: “It appears like this individual might be in Amsterdam, within the Netherlands.”

And they also acquired in contact with their friends within the Dutch police, and the Dutch have been in a position to get warrants, and discover out extra, and do some raids, and bust someone for this crime.

Maybe unusually, they acquired the fitting from the court docket, primarily, to carry the man incommunicado – it was all a secret.

He was simply locked away, didn’t get bail – in actual fact, they’ve nonetheless acquired a pair extra months, I believe, that they’ll maintain him.

So he’s not getting out.

I’m assuming they’re anxious that [A] he’s acquired a great deal of cryptocurrency mendacity round, so he’d most likely do a runner, and [B] he’d most likely tip off all his compadres within the cyberunderworld.

It additionally appeared that he was making loads of cash out of it, as a result of he’s additionally being charged with cash laundering – the Dutch police declare to have proof that he personally cashed out someplace within the area of half-a-million euros of cryptocoins final 12 months.

So there you might be!

Various derring-do in an investigation, as soon as once more.

DOUG.   Sure, certainly.

OK, it is a traditional “We are going to regulate that!” sort of story.

Within the meantime, we’ve a Samba logon bug that reminds us why cryptographic agility is so essential:

Critical Safety: The Samba logon bug brought on by outdated crypto

DUCK.   It’s a reminder that when the cryptographic gurus of the world say, “XYZ algorithm is now not match for objective, please cease utilizing it”, snd the 12 months is – let’s consider – the mid 2000s…

…it’s properly price listening!

Make it possible for there isn’t some legacy code that drags on, since you kind-of assume, “Nobody will use it.”

It is a logon course of in Microsoft Home windows networking which depends on the MD5 hashing algorithm.

And the issue with the MD5 hashing algorithm is it’s a lot too simple to create two information which have precisely the identical hash.

That shouldn’t occur!

For me to get two separate inputs which have precisely the identical hash ought to take me, on my laptop computer, roughly 10,000 years…

DOUG.   Roughly! [LAUGHS]

DUCK.   Kind of.

Nevertheless, only for that article alone, utilizing instruments developed by a Dutch cryptographer for his Grasp’s thesis again in 2007, I created *ten* colliding MD5 hash-pair information…

…in a most of 14 seconds (for one in every of them) and a minimal of below half a second.

So, billions of instances quicker than it’s presupposed to be attainable.

You may due to this fact be completely certain that the MD5 hash algorithm *merely doesn’t dwell as much as its promise*.

That’s the core of this bug.

Mainly, in the midst of the authentication course of, there’s a component that claims, “ what, we’re going to create this super-secure authentication token from information provided by the consumer, and utilizing a secret key provided by the consumer. So, what we’ll do is we’ll first do an MD5 hash of the info to make it good and quick, after which we’ll create the authentication code *primarily based on that 128-bit hash.”

In idea, when you’re an attacker, you’ll be able to create various enter information *that may give you the identical authentication hash*.

And meaning you’ll be able to persuade the opposite finish, “Sure, I *should* know the key key, in any other case how might I probably create the fitting authentication code?”

The reply is: you cheat in the midst of the method, by feeding in information that simply occurs to give you the identical hash, which is what the authentication code is predicated upon.

The MD5 algorithm died years in the past, however but it lives on – and it shouldn’t!

So the repair is simple.

Samba simply mentioned, “What we’re going to do is, if you wish to use this previous algorithm, any more, you’ll have to leap by means of hoops to show it on. And if that breaks issues, and if all of a sudden you’ll be able to’t log into your personal community since you have been utilizing weak safety with out realising it… that’s the value we’re all keen to pay.”

And I agree with that.

DOUG.   OK, it’s model 4.17.5 that now forces these two choices, so head on the market and choose that up when you haven’t already.

And final, however definitely not least, we’ve acquired code-signing certificates stolen from GitHub.

However there’s a silver lining right here, happily:

GitHub code-signing certificates stolen (however might be revoked this week)

DUCK.   It’s been fairly the few months for cloud breaches and potential provide chain assaults.

DOUG.   Severely!

DUCK.   “Oh pricey, stolen signing keys”… GitHub realised this had occurred on 07 December 2022.

Now, hats off to them, they realised the very day after the crooks had acquired in.

The issue is that they hadn’t acquired into wander round – evidently their skill to get in was primarily based on the truth that they might obtain non-public GitHub repositories.

This isn’t a breach of the GitHub techniques, or the GitHub infrastructure, or how GitHub shops information – it’s simply that GitHub’s code on GitHub… a few of the stuff that was presupposed to be non-public acquired downloaded.

And as we’ve spoken about earlier than, the issue when supply code repositories which can be presupposed to be non-public get downloaded…

…the issue is that, surprisingly usually, these repositories might need stuff in that you just don’t wish to make public.

For instance, passwords to different companies.

And, importantly, the code-signing keys – your signet ring, that you just use to place your little seal within the wax of this system that you just really construct.

Even when you’re an open supply venture, you’re not going to place your code-signing keys within the public model of the supply code!

In order that was GitHub’s concern: “Oh pricey. We discovered the crooks nearly instantly, however they got here in, they grabbed the code, they went… thus, injury already completed.”

It took them fairly a very long time, practically two months, to determine what they might say about this.

Or not less than it took two months till they mentioned something about it.

And it sounds as if the one issues which may impact clients that did get stolen have been certainly code-signing keys.

Solely two initiatives have been affected.

One is the supply code editor often known as “Atom”, GitHub Atom.

That was principally outmoded in most builders’ lives by Visible Studio Code [LAUGHS], so the entire venture acquired discontinued in the midst of 2022, and its final safety replace was December 2022.

So that you most likely shouldn’t be utilizing Atom anyway.

And the excellent news is that, as a result of they weren’t going to be constructing it any extra, the certificates concerned…

…most of them have already expired.

And ultimately, GitHub discovered, I believe, that there are solely three stolen certificates that have been really nonetheless legitimate, in different phrases, that crooks might really use for signing something.

And people three certificates have been all encrypted.

One in all them expired on 04 January 2023, and it doesn’t appear that the crooks did crack that password, as a result of I’m not conscious of any malware that was signed with that certificates within the hole between the crooks getting in and the certificates expiring one month later.

There’s a second certificates that expires the day we’re recording the podcast, Wednesday, 01 February 2022; I’m not conscious of that one having been abused, both.

The one outlier in all of it is a code-signing certificates that, sadly, doesn’t expire till 2027, and that’s for signing Apple applications.

So GitHub has mentioned to Apple, “Be careful for something that comes alongside that’s signed with that.”

And from 02 February 2022, all the code-signing certificates that have been stolen (even those which have already expired) might be revoked.

So it appears as if it is a case of “all’s properly that ends properly.”

After all, there’s a minor side-effect right here, and that’s that when you’re utilizing the GitHub Desktop product, or when you’re nonetheless utilizing the Atom editor, then primarily GitHub is revoking signing keys *for their very own apps*.

Within the case of the GitHub Desktop, you completely have to improve, which try to be doing anyway.

Sarcastically, as a result of Atom is discontinued… when you desperately have to proceed utilizing it, you really should downgrade barely to the latest model of the app that was signed with a certificates that isn’t going to get revoked.

I’ll have made that sound extra difficult than it truly is…

…however it’s a nasty search for GitHub, as a result of they did get breached.

It’s one other dangerous search for GitHub that included within the breach have been code-signing certificates.

But it surely’s a great search for GitHub that, by the way in which they managed these certificates. most of them have been now not of any use.

Two of the three that may very well be harmful could have expired by the point you take heed to this podcast, and the final one, in your phrases, Doug, “they’re actually keeping track of.”

Additionally, they’ve revoked all of the certificates, regardless of the actual fact that there’s a knock-on impact on their very own code.

So, they’re primarily disowning their very own certificates, and a few of their very own signed applications, for the larger good of all.

And I believe that’s good!

DOUG.   Alright, good job by GitHub.

And, because the solar begins to set on our present for immediately, it’s time to listen to from one in every of our readers.

Effectively, when you bear in mind from final week, we’ve been making an attempt to assist out reader Steven roll his personal USB-key-based password supervisor.

Primarily based on his quandary, reader Paul asks:

Why not simply retailer your passwords on a USB persist with {hardware} encryption and a keypad… in a conveyable password supervisor equivalent to KeePass? No have to invent your personal, simply shell out a couple of dollars and maintain a backup someplace, like in a protected.

DUCK.   Not a nasty concept in any respect. Doug!

I’ve been that means to buy-and-try a type of particular USB drives… you get hard-disk sized ones (though they’ve SSDs normally nowadays), the place there’s loads of room for a keypad on the highest of the drive.

However you even get USB sticks, they usually usually have two rows of 5 keys or two rows of six keys subsequent to one another.

It’s not like these commodity USB drives that, say, “Contains free encryption software program,” which is on the stick and you may then set up it in your pc.

The concept is that it’s like BitLocker or FileVault or LUKS, like we spoke about final week.

There’s a full-disk encryption layer *contained in the drive enclosure itself*, and as quickly as you unplug it, even when you don’t unmount it correctly, when you simply yank it out of the pc…

…when the ability goes down, the important thing will get flushed from reminiscence and the factor will get locked once more.

I suppose the burning query is, “Effectively, why doesn’t everybody simply use these as USB keys, as a substitute of standard USB units?”

And there are two causes: the primary is that it’s a trouble, and the opposite drawback is that they’re a lot, way more costly than common USB keys.

So I believe, “Sure, that’s an important concept.”

The issue is, as a result of they’re not mainstream merchandise, I don’t have any I can advocate – I’ve by no means tried one.

And you’ll’t simply go into the typical PC store and purchase one.

So if any listeners have a model, or a sort, or a selected class of such product that they use and like…

…we’d love to listen to about it, so do tell us!

DOUG.   OK, nice.. I really like a bit crowd-sourcing, folks serving to folks.

Thanks very a lot, Paul, for sending that in.

In case you have an fascinating story, remark or query you’d prefer to submit, we’d like to learn it on the podcast.

You may electronic mail [email protected], touch upon any one in every of our articles, or hit us up on social: @NakedSecurity.

That’s our present for immediately – thanks very a lot for listening.

For Paul Ducklin, I’m Doug Aamoth, reminding you till subsequent time to…

BOTH.   Keep safe!