This last weekend I took a trip up to Montreal for REcon. If you’re unfamiliar with REcon, it’s a small security conference focused on topics most interesting to reverse engineers. As such, the talks are more technical than you will find at other more mainstream conferences like BlackHat or DEFCON, and generally require a certain level of expertise as a baseline. If you don’t understand assembly language, you’ll probably not get much out of at least half of the lectures.
Archive for the ‘telephony’ Category
If someone is selling you a network penetration test, and then running a vulnerability scanner and handing you a report, you’re not getting what you paid for, period.
Recently the OSVDB Blog had an interesting article regarding vulnerability duplication via the “hazard of 0day” wherein a vulnerability being exploited in the wild was mistaken for a new vulnerability when in fact it was not. This caused many of the vulnerability database vendors to issue new IDs, send out threat warnings, bring in the livestock from the impending storm, and so forth. The resulting fallout from realization that it in fact was not a new vulnerability ranged in varying degrees between one vendor’s complete backtrack and removal of the vulnerability from their database to another vendor’s nearly ignoring the mistake altogether.
While this is definitely a serious problem, resulting in various degrees of erroneous or duplicated vulnerability information, it’s not nearly as bad as the real topic of this post, intentional vulnerability duplication.
CSI 2007 was the first time I’ve ever attended a CSI conference. I was actually a CSI member way back in the day when I was running my own consulting firm and needed as many business development avenues to explore as possible, but after closing my consultancy and going back to work for The Man(tm) I didn’t keep up my membership as I really wasn’t getting much out of the organization at that point. For some reason I had never attended any of their conferences. The CSI Annual Conference is billed as “The leading management, strategy and policy event for today’s security professionals”, so it’s a very different conference from what I’m used to. While I generally attend the more technical events, this one was targeted at an entirely different demographic. There was a lot of large enterprise and government presence, and I got plenty of scowls as people noticed my green hair, but in the end I believe I won most of them over…
The evening of my talk there was also a Capture the Flag game. Unfortunately I wasn’t aware of this until I ran into Dave Aitel that evening and he told me about it, or I would have had my laptop with me and been prepared to compete. This game was essentially a race through various goals with clues and hints along the way. The guy that won achieved the final goal at just under 2 hours. One potential vulnerability that I pointed out to the event organizers was that most of the information was given away to the audience in the observation room near the start of the competition, and had the competition not been 3 floors underground where there was no cellular signal, I could have easily relayed the information to Dave’s mobile via SMS or AIM or something. Had we had some other form of local wireless communication, cheating would have been trivial. Perhaps next time they’ll not give away so much information at the beginning to the audience…
Below are my thoughts on the couple of talks I was able to attend. Unfortunately I was only there for the one day that I was speaking and I was busy preparing to speak and recording a shorter version of my talk to actually attend many of them.
ToorCon is always one of my favorite conferences of the year, and this year was no different. Actually, I take that back, it WAS different, it was even better than usual. I got something out of almost every talk that I attended, and the conference ran very smoothly. The conference is small and intimate and the speaker badges are green… I really can’t ask for much more. This year the conference was split between the two days; the first day being traditional hour-long presentations whereas the second day took the cue from ToorCon Seattle (beta) and was entirely 20-minute turbo talks. I thought the conference format worked out really really well and provided a much larger breadth of subject-matter than would normally have been possible with entirely traditional-length talks.
Below are my thoughts on the various talks I attended.
I’ve been invited to speak at the Computer Security Institutes’s Annual Conference (CSI 2007) this November in Washington D.C., on the subject of VoIP Attacks. This presentation was originally intended to be a “state of the industry” type talk given every year or so, and the last time I gave it was at EUSecWest last March so it’s about time to update it and present it again.
Apparently, some guy purchased video of all of the DEFCON 15 talks on DVD, then ripped them all to MP4 and uploaded them to Google Video. If you couldn’t make DEFCON this year and wanted to see my talk, or don’t have the patience to read the 50 page paper but have about an hour to watch a video, you should check it out.
My paper detailing the research I presented last month at DEFCON 15 was published today in Uninformed Journal Vol. 8. The paper is entitled “Real-time Steganography with RTP” and details using steganographic techniques to establish a covert channel within the protocol commonly used for the media channel in VoIP calls as well as a reference implementation.
DEFCON 15, in their second year at the Riviera, seemed a little more settled than the turbulent vibe from last year. Unfortunately DEFCON already seems to be outgrowing this space as a couple of the talks I wanted to see were standing room only and attendees were spilling out into the halls.
The badge this year was a large rectangular PCB with the DEFCON logo parts down the left side and the letters “DEFCON” down the right side. In the center, oriented vertically, was a mini LED pixel display which was controlled by an on-board chip. In it’s default state, the display scrolled the text “I <heart> DEFCON”, however you could program the display through various sequences of pressing your fingers to the DEFCON logo parts down the left side. The badge this year was interesting, but it definitely had some quality issues. The controls to program the scrolling LED display were too easily triggered accidentally, causing most badges to be usually scrolling one of the menu texts instead of the custom message. Also, toward the end of the conference I was seeing a lot of the badges with stuck displays, only having a couple of random LED pixels lit up on them. The badges may have also been a little over-engineered as the instructional poem in the DEFCON book alluded to being able to solder on more components like an RF transceiver, an accelerometer, and potentially some other stuff. I identified at least three different places where you could add components to the badge. There was also WAY too much information about the badge in the DEFCON book such as what types of components you could add, where to get complete source code, how to debug it, etc. This seemed way more like being led down a path than actually being able to “hack” the badge.
Due to speaking this year and having a bunch of friends from DFW in town partying and gambling I didn’t really do the DEFCON social/party thing. I didn’t even have time to attempt Caezar’s Challenge, which from what I could tell merged this year with the Ninja Networks party since the challenge was on the back of the Ninja party pass. Oh well, the couple hundred bucks I made playing BlackJack and hanging out with my DFW friends was worth it.
Out of the presentations and events I attended, here’s my thoughts:
BlackHat Briefings 2007 was a bit disappointing this year. This year, the first day of briefings had an entire track devoted to Voice Services. Being the sole VoIP researcher for TippingPoint’s DVLabs, I of course attended this entire track. In short, three words: waste of time. Out of 5 talks on VoIP security, I learned one single new piece of information. At best, the content was the same old attacks against new or attention-starved targets. At worst, it was the same old attacks against the same old targets. In all honesty, if the BlackHat CFP review board had accepted the updated version of my VoIP Attacks! talk that I had submitted, 80% of the attacks shown in the VoIP Services track would have been covered by about 50% of my slides. Maybe not in as much detail, or against the same targets, but that’s kinda the point of my VoIP Attacks! talk; almost all the attacks I speak about work against most protocols or multiple targets, just with slightly different implementations. But then I guess that would have removed the need for an entire VoIP track, which I’m guessing they wanted to have since it’s a hot topic. Also, my RTP Steganography talk that was accepted to DEFCON rather than BlackHat would have been much more appropriate for this track than some of the talks they accepted. I’m not bitter though (:
The second day I saw the talks by the other DVLabs researchers which of course were excellent.
One thing that struck me this year was the names of the people speaking. For a conference that’s actually named BlackHat, there was only a single person speaking under their handle or nym. To me that speaks volumes about the type of content being presented versus the image that the conference is purporting. Also, identifying the number of speakers associated with the conference sponsors versus those that aren’t is an interesting exercise for anyone that cares to look into it. I think this conference is becoming way to corporate and is beginning to do it’s attendees a disservice. This probably stems from the fact that the conference was sold recently and is now managed by a corporate entity.
Here are my summaries of the presentations that I attended: