Security

A 379-post collection

The Difficulty of Disclosure, Surebet247 and the Streisand Effect

This is a blog post about disclosure, specifically the difficulty with doing it in a responsible fashion as the reporter whilst also ensuring the impacted organisation behaves responsibly themselves. It's not a discussion we should be having in 2020, a time of unprecedented regulatory provisions designed to prevent precisely the sort of behaviour I'm going to describe in this post. Here you're going to see - blow by blow - just how hard it is for those of us with the best of intentions to deal with organisations who have a very different set of priorities. This is a post about how hard disclosure remains and how Surebet247's behaviour now has them experiencing the full blown Streisand effect. It began...

Promiscuous Cookies and Their Impending Death via the SameSite Policy

Cookies like to get around. They have no scruples about where they go save for some basic constraints relating to the origin from which they were set. I mean have a think about it: If a website sets a cookie then you click a link to another page on that same site, will the cookie be automatically sent with the request? Yes. What if an attacker sends you a link to that same website in a malicious email and you click that link, will the cookie be sent? Also yes. Last one: what if an attacker directs you to a malicious website and upon visiting it your browser makes a post request to the original website that set the cookie...

Still Why No HTTPS?

Back in July last year, Scott Helme and I shipped a little pet project that tracked the world's largest websites not implementing HTTPS by default. We called it Why No HTTPS? and it gave people a way to see the largest websites not taking transport layer security seriously. We also broke the list down on a country-by-country basis and it quickly became a means of highlighting security gaps and serving as a "list of shame". I've had many organisations reach out and ask to be removed once they'd done their TLS things properly so clearly, the site is driving the right behaviour. Today, we're happy to share the first update since November last year. The Web is More Secure More...

Generated Passwords, UX and Security Absolutism

Last month, Disney launched their new streaming service Disney+; "The best stories in the world, all in one place", apparently. The service was obviously rather popular because within days the tech (and mainstream) headlines were proclaiming that thousands of hacked Disney+ accounts were already for sale on hacking forums. This is becoming an alarmingly regular pattern with online services, the cause of which was soon confirmed by Disney: Disney says that there is “no indication” of a security breach on Disney+, and that the source of the problem might be a so-called “credential stuffing” attack, in which hackers obtain passwords and usernames from Dark Web databases, and then use a brute force method to see if those passwords and usernames...

When Bank Communication is Indistinguishable from Phishing Attacks

You know how banks really, really want to avoid their customers falling victim to phishing scams? And how they put a heap of effort into education to warn folks about the hallmarks of phishing scams? And how banks are the shining beacons of light when it comes to demonstrating security best practices? Ok, that final one might be a bit of a stretch, but the fact remains that people have high expectations of how banks should communicate to ensure that they themselves don't come across as phishers: Just a good old phish. see that there is no slash after .com.au? Very convincing but banks will never send texts like these. Cc @troyhunt @NAB pic.twitter.com/hCW5ADLo0O — Sebastian...

Banks, Arbitrary Password Restrictions and Why They Don't Matter

Allow me to be controversial for a moment: arbitrary password restrictions on banks such as short max lengths and disallowed characters don't matter. Also, allow me to argue with myself for a moment: banks shouldn't have these restrictions in place anyway. I want to put forward cases for both arguments here because seeing both sides is important. I want to help shed some light on why this practice happens and argue pragmatically both for and against. But firstly, let's just establish what's happening: People are Upset About Arbitrary RestrictionsThis is actually one of those long-in-draft blog posts I finally decided to finish after seeing this tweet earlier on in the week: My bank tells me that their exactly-5-digit password policy...

Extended Validation Certificates are (Really, Really) Dead

Almost one year ago now, I declared extended validation certificates dead. The entity name had just been removed from Safari on iOS, it was about to be removed from Safari on Mojave and there were indications that Chrome would remove it from the desktop in the future (they already weren't displaying it on mobile clients). The only proponents of EV seemed to be those selling it or those who didn't understand how reliance on the absence of a positive visual indicator was simply never a good idea in the first place. The writing might have been on the wall a year ago, but the death warrant is now well and truly inked with both Chrome and Firefox killing it stone...

PayPal's Beautiful Demonstration of Extended Validation FUD

Sometimes the discussion around extended validation certificates (EV) feels a little like flogging a dead horse. In fact, it was only September that I proposed EV certificates are already dead for all sorts of good reasons that have only been reinforced since that time. Yet somehow, the discussion does seem to come up time and again as it did following this recent tweet of mine: Always find comments like this amusing: “The main concern about SSL certificates is that all of them are losing their intrinsic trust” Yet an excluded purpose for certs is: “That it is safe to do business with the Subject named in the EV Cert”https://t.co/slZVzqGLfN https://t.co/7FSbBHjj1l — Troy Hunt...

How to Track Your Kids (and Other People's Kids) With the TicTocTrack Watch

Do you ever hear those stories from your parents along the lines of "when I was young..." and then there's a tale of how risky life was back then compared to today. You know, stuff like having to walk themselves to school without adult supervision, crazy stuff like that which we somehow seem to worry much more about today than what we did then. Never mind that far less kids go missing today than 20 years ago and there's much less chance of them being hit by a car, circumstances are such today that parents are more paranoid than ever. The solution? Track your kids' movements, which brings us to TicTocTrack and the best way to understand their value proposition...

The 773 Million Record "Collection #1" Data Breach

Many people will land on this page after learning that their email address has appeared in a data breach I've called "Collection #1". Most of them won't have a tech background or be familiar with the concept of credential stuffing so I'm going to write this post for the masses and link out to more detailed material for those who want to go deeper. Let's start with the raw numbers because that's the headline, then I'll drill down into where it's from and what it's composed of. Collection #1 is a set of email addresses and passwords totalling 2,692,818,238 rows. It's made up of many different individual data breaches from literally thousands of different sources. (And yes,...