Highlighting breaking news, events, and analyst commentary on cyber security from around the world
Author: Shape Security
Shape Security defends Global 2000 corporations from increasingly sophisticated automated cyber-attacks, including large-scale account takeover, credential stuffing, content scraping and content aggregation attacks on web and mobile applications. Shape has deflected over $1B in fraud losses for major retailers, financial institutions, airlines, and government agencies. Shape Security is headquartered in Silicon Valley and backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Norwest Venture Partners, Venrock, Baseline Ventures, Google Ventures, and other prominent investors. Read our blog to get insights.
This week over 1400 software developers are gathering in San Francisco for QCon to share the latest innovations in the developers’ community. The conference highlights best practices in a wide range of emerging technology trends such as microservices, design thinking, and next generation security.
Below are three sessions that will inspire your thinking in next-gen web security and technology.
Wednesday Keynote: The Imitation Game – The New Frontline of Security, 9:00 am, Grand Ballroom, Shuman Ghosemajumder
As one of the four keynote speakers, Shuman Ghosemajumder, Shape’s VP of product management, will discuss the next wave of security challenges: telling the difference between humans and bots. From Blade Runner to Ex Machina, robots in sci-fi have become increasingly sophisticated and hard to distinguish from humans. How about in real life? How are bots taking advantage of user interfaces designed for humans? In his keynote on Wednesday, Shuman will explain how a complex bot ecosystem is now being used to breach applications thought to be secure.
Wednesday Track: The Dark Side of Security, 10:10 am, Bayview A/B, Nwokedi Idika
As Sun Tzu noted in The Art of War, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” To win the battle against rising cyber criminals, you must know your enemy. How do they think? What do they do before and after the compromise? How do they monetize? In this track, Dr. Nwokedi Idika, Senior Research Scientist at Shape, will guide you on a journey into the minds of the cyber criminals.
Want more QCon inspirations? Follow #ShapeSecurity and #QConSF on twitter now.
CSP (Content Security Policy) is a W3C candidate recommendation for a policy language that can be used to declare content restrictions for web resources, commonly delivered through the Content-Security-Policy header. Serving a CSP policy helps to prevent exploitation of cross-site scripting (XSS) and other related vulnerabilities. CSP has wide browser support according to caniuse.com.
There’s no downside to starting to use CSP today. Older browsers that do not recognise the header or future additions to the specification will safely ignore them, retaining the current website behaviour. Policies that use deprecated features will also continue to work, as the standard is being developed in a backward compatible way. Unfortunately, our results of scanning the Alexa top 50K websites for CSP headers align with other reports which show that only major web properties like Twitter, Dropbox, and Github have adopted CSP. Smaller properties are not as quick to do so, despite how relatively little effort is needed for a potentially significant security benefit. We would be happy to see CSP adoption grow among smaller websites.
Writing correct content security policies is not always straightforward, and mistakes make it into production. Browsers will not always tell you that you’ve made a typo in your policy. This can provide a false sense of security.
Today, Shape Security is releasing Salvation, a FOSS general purpose Java library for working with Content Security Policy. Salvation can help with:
parsing CSP policies into an easy-to-use representation
answering questions about what a CSP policy allows or restricts
warning about nonsensical CSP policies and deprecated or nonstandard features
safely creating, manipulating, and merging CSP policies
rendering and optimising CSP policies
We created Salvation with the goal of being the easiest and most reliable standalone tool available for managing CSP policies. Using this library, you will not have to worry about tricky cases you might encounter when manipulating CSP policies. Working on this project helped us to identify several bugs in both the CSP specification and its implementation in browsers.
Try It Out In Your Browser
We have also released cspvalidator.org, which exposes a subset of Salvation’s features through a web interface. You can validate and inspect policies found on a public web page or given through text input. Additionally, you can try merging CSP policies using one of the two following strategies:
Intersection combines policies in such a way that the result will behave similar to how browsers enforce each policy individually. To better understand how it works, try to intersect default-src a b with default-src; script-src *; style-src c.
Union, which is useful when crafting a policy, starting with a restrictive policy and allowing each resource that is needed. See how union merging is not simply concatenation by merging script-src * with script-src a in the validator.
An important web security concept around “A Breach Anywhere is Breach Everywhere,” will be highlighted at Shape’s booth during Black Hat conference this week. Prominent attacks such as Uber account hijackings highlight how spilled credentials obtained from previous breaches can lead to account hijackings on another B2C site.
Make sure to check out Black Hat sessions relevant to escalating web security threats such as password cracking (Cracklord) as well as expanding web attack surface on technologies like EdgeHTML and Node.JS. You can also engage with web security anti-automation experts at the Shape Security booth #558. On Wednesday at 2:30 pm Shape will be hosting Ted Schlein, Partner at Kleiner Perkins (investor in ArcSight, Fortify, Mandiant), former CEO of Fortify and executive at Symantec.
Cracklord – A Friend of Credential Stuffers
If credential stuffing allows criminals to turn lead into gold, hash cracking is the act of digging lead from the Earth. Cracklord, a system designed to crack password hashes, will be explained by researchers from Crowe Horwath. As password cracking tools increase the pool of available credentials, B2C companies need to strengthen their web security defenses to defeat credential stuffing and account hijacking attacks.
New web attack surfaces revealed
Web attack surfaces are constantly expanding as new web technology frameworks and browser technologies continue to be developed and popularized. Those web frameworks offer both the opportunity for built-in security, as well as the risk of a vulnerability affecting the entire user base. In this year’s BlackHat, two briefings on EdgeHTML and Node.JS are particularly relevant.
Researchers from IBM will talk about new attack surfaces within Microsoft’s next generation rendering engine EdgeHTML (codename Project Spartan). Researchers from Checkmarx will talk about different attack methods on Node.JS as well. It’s important for B2C companies to be aware of these new vulnerabilities as attackers are likely to exploit them.
Stop by Shape’s booth #558
Stop by to engage with Shape’s anti-automation specialists to evaluate risks to your website and learn how to protect your web application and mobile API services. On Wednesday, you will get a chance to meet with Ted Schlein, Veteran VC at KPCB (investor in ArcSight, Fortify, Mandiant) and former CEO of Fortify and exec at Symantec.
Have fun and hope you enjoy your week at Black Hat!
Last week, Shape Security attended the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. Hundreds of CEOs, CIOs, and senior IT professionals from all over the world met to discuss the issues that keep them up at night.
Here we have distilled for you the three most captivating points discussed during the cybersecurity panel.
3. “We are approaching a cybersecurity perfect storm,” said George Wrenn, CSO of European electricity distribution leader Schneider Electric.
Wrenn believes the convergence of “aging infrastructure, the interconnection of everything, the increasing sophistication of cybercriminals, and the unfixed security weaknesses of the early Internet age” leaves consumers and enterprises vulnerable to attack for the foreseeable future. Not only will it be difficult to address these issues individually, but it will be near impossible to survive a severe, multi-platform attack.
2. “No IT leader wants to stand in the way of innovation or customer satisfaction,” said Roland Cloutier, CSO of payroll services leader ADP
To prevent and survive future attacks, enterprises must shift their focus to mitigating risk over short-term rewards. Customer growth and user retention will only get a company so far if the danger of a breach is always looming. To combat this attitude, product and security leaders must lower risk tolerance across all departments and work together to establish a realistic baseline – for example, a threshold of affected users or records lost.
1. “Adversaries have better technology capabilities than security professionals do sometimes,” said Roland Cloutier, CSO of payroll services leader ADP
Today’s attackers are well-funded entities armed with thousand-node botnets, sophisticated malware, and an entire darknet economy willing to do anything for the right price. This leaves enterprises stuck implementing reactive security measures. The eventual worst-case scenario would be a major national attack that would spur enterprises, governments, and regulatory bodies to produce and enact new security standards. Although the situation would be devastating, the outcome could lead to better protections for consumers.
General Keith B. Alexander, who retired as NSA Director in 2014, has become the founder and CEO of a new startup, Ironnet. During his RSA session this year, he talked about how to heal the wounds to the tech community and what gift he’d send Snowden if he were given the opportunity. For the tech community, he recommended classified briefings to get technology companies the facts. For Snowden, he said he would send him the oath, which was met with loud applause from the audience. Take a look at the FCW article here.
2. Breaches are happening, even during RSA
On the 2nd day of RSA, a major hotel chain notified their 18 million members via email that their accounts had been reset out of an abundance of caution. According to us at Shape, it seems possible, even likely, that account checkers had been used to hijack 200 accounts at the hotel chain. Take a look at the Shape blog post on account checkers.
3. Taking security up one level – to the Board
Everyone seemed to like and agree with what was said at the presentation, “A CISO’s Perspective on Talking to the Board about Cybersecurity”. See what WSJ wrote about it here.
4. Password management is hard
Shape’s own Zhiwei Li spoke about password managers, exposing several vulnerabilities (now plugged) and discussing which manager would be the best manager in various cases. Take a look at his presentation slides.
5. Botnets are alive and well despite takedowns
Botnets are alive and well, despite takedowns. The federal agencies behind the takeover of a major Zeus botnet (12 governments, 13 companies, 4 non-profits and 3 USG federal agencies) said the criminal enterprises have learned and adapted to build more sophisticated and evasive botnets. Check out the list of agencies involved on the RSA session summary page.
It was a great show for Shape Security. If you go to a lot of conferences, like we do, then we’ll be seeing you at Blackhat in Vegas, and again at RSA in San Francisco in 2016.
Shape will be at O’Reilly’s Fluent Conference in a big way next week and we’re hoping to meet a huge round of new faces in the web community. Several of us will be speaking, doing a book signing, and hanging around our booth in the sponsor’s hall. Make sure you stop by and say hello to:
Adding a WebSocket service to an application is often misunderstood to be high performance by default, however there are many more considerations that must be made, both on the client and server, before the best performance can be achieved. Real-time technologies like SPDY, WebSocket, and soon HTTP 2.0 have their own sets of hurdles and anti-patterns to overcome and this talk will provide the checklist you need to fine tune your application’s real-time performance.
High Performance Websites, by Steve Souders, was first released in 2007. The follow-up – Even Faster Web Sites – was published in 2009. These books have served as web optimization canon for a generation of web developers. The problem is: it’s now 2015. Browsers, browser features, internet connectivity – they’ve all changed dramatically. A lot of the best practices from 2007 and 2009 no longer apply. And yet, many developers are still holding on to those practices – advocating for performance tweaks that are no longer relevant.
The Emperor’s New Password Manager: Security Analysis of Password Managers
Friday, April 24, 2015
9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
Session abstract: We conducted a security analysis of popular web-based password managers. Unlike local password managers, web-based password managers run in browsers. We identify four key security concerns and representative vulnerabilities. Our attacks are severe: in four out of the five password managers we studied, attackers can learn credentials for arbitrary websites. This work is a wake-up call for developers.
RSA 2015 is around the corner. Will you be attending? Come meet with Shape Security and learn more about our technology. We have a booth, are hosting a private meeting suite at the St. Regis hotel, and offering free expo passes to everyone with our discount code. Read more details below.
Private Meeting Suite
Our Co-Founders sponsored a Suite in the St. Regis. The suite has food, wifi, and a relaxing place to put up your feet. Reserve a time to come unwind and learn about Shape.
What if the feature you’re looking for isn’t popular enough to be well documented? Maybe you’re looking for confirmation of some combination of esoteric behaviors that isn’t documented anywhere?
BrowserStack & JSBin
BrowserStack has a service that allows you to take screenshots across a massive number of browsers. Services like these are often used to quickly verify that sites look the same or similar across a wide array of browsers and devices.
While that may not sound wildly exciting for our use case, we can easily leverage a service like jsbin to whip up a test case that exposes the pass or failure in a visually verifiable way.
Using a background color on the body (red for unsupported, green for supported) we can default an html body to the ‘unsupported’ class and, upon a successful test for our feature, simply change the class of the body to ‘supported’. For example, we recently wanted to test the browser support for document.currentScript, a feature that MDN says is not well supported but according to actual, real world chrome and IE/spartan developers, is widely supported and has been for years!
Well we had to know, so we put together a jsbin to quickly test this feature.
After the bin is saved and public, we select a wide range of browser we wanted to test in browserstack and pass it the output view of the JSBin snippet. In this case we wanted to test way back to IE6, a range of ios and android browsers, opera, safari, and a random sampling of chrome and firefox.
After a couple minutes, we get our results back from BrowserStack and we can immediately see what the support matrix looks like.
This binary pass/fail approach may not scale too well but you could get creative and produce large text, a number, or even an image that is easily parsable at varying resolutions, like a QR code, to convey test results. The technique is certainly valuable for anyone that doesn’t have an in-house cluster of devices, computers, and browsers at their disposal simply for browser testing. Credit goes to Michael Ficarra (@jspedant) for the original idea.
Oh, and by the way, document.currentScript is definitely not widely supported.
A working definition of the use of stolen credentials is available on an OWASP page. The occurance of stolen creds rose from #7 in 2009 to #1 in 2013. 2013 is the most recent data. Here at Shape Security, we hear about stolen credentials, credential stuffing and account checkers every day. We’ve also blogged about what Gartner told us. According to Gartner’s fraud expert Avivah Litan, “clients have reported a significant rise over the last two months in the use of stolen credentials to access accounts”.
Contact Shape if you would like our help protecting your site from the use of stolen credentials. Our technology blocks account checkers, credential stuffing and other automated attacks.