Security

A 403-post collection

Breach Disclosure Blow-by-Blow: Here's Why It's so Hard

For many years now, I've lamented about how much of my time is spent attempting to disclose data breaches to impacted companies. It's by far the single most time-consuming activity in processing breaches for Have I Been Pwned (HIBP) and frankly, it's about the most thankless task I can imagine. Finding contact details is hard. Getting responses is hard. Not having an organisation just automatically assume you're trying to shake them down for cash is hard. So hard, in fact, I thought I'd record the process end-to-end and share it publicly to help demonstrate just how painful the process is. I'd filed the (alleged) Avvo breach away in the "too hard" basket a long time ago and it was only...

How Everything We're Told About Website Identity Assurance is Wrong

I have a vehement dislike for misleading advertising. We see it every day; weight loss pills, make money fast schemes and if you travel in the same circles I do, claims that extended validation (EV) certificates actually do something useful: Why are you still claiming this @digicert? This is extremely misleading, anyone feel like reporting this to the relevant advertising standards authority in their jurisdiction? https://t.co/enzJUodhdG pic.twitter.com/Rnx6CDexhv — Troy Hunt (@troyhunt) February 9, 2022 Someone had reached out to me privately and shared the offending page as they'd taken issue with the false claims DigiCert was making. My views on certificate authority shenanigans spinning yarns on EV are well known after having done many...

Beg Bounties

When someone passed me hundreds of thousands of records on kids taken from CloudPets a few years ago, I had a nightmare of a time getting in touch with the company. They'd left a MongoDB instance exposed to the public without a password and someone had snagged all their data. Within the data were references that granted access to voice recordings made by children, stored in an S3 bucket that also had no auth. So, why didn't CloudPets respond to attempts to contact them? Their CEO later explained it very succinctly: "We did have a reporter, try to contact us multiple times last week, you don't respond to some random person about a data breach. — Michael...

You Don't Need to Burn off Your Fingertips (and Other Biometric Authentication Myths)

111 years ago almost to the day, a murder was committed which ultimately led to the first criminal trial to use fingerprints as evidence. We've all since watched enough crime shows to understand that fingerprints are unique personal biometric attributes and to date, no two people have ever been found to have a matching set. As technology has evolved, fingers (and palms and irises and faces) have increasingly been used as a means of biometric authentication. I'm writing this on a PC that uses a Verifi fingerprint reader. I'll probably continue to draft it from a comfy spot later on using my Lenovo laptop that has a built in reader. I'll also go backwards and forward between my iPhone and...

Hello CISO - Brought to You in Collaboration with 1Password

Today I'm really excited to announce a big piece of work 1Password and I have been focusing on this year, a totally free video series called "Hello CISO". This is a multi-part series that launched with part 1 and when I say "free", I don't mean "give us your personal data so we can market to you", I mean here it is, properly free: This is intended to be a very practical, broadly accessible series and whilst it has "CISO" in the title, we expect it'll be relevant well beyond the pointy end of the infosec ladder. Part 1 on the downfall of on-prem security is a perfect example of that; all of us in the industry have heard the...

Why No HTTPS? The 2021 Version

More than 3 years ago now, Scott Helme and I launched a little project called Why No HTTPS? It listed the world's largest websites that didn't properly redirect insecure requests to secure ones. We updated it December before last and pleasingly, noted that more websites than ever were doing the right thing and forcing browsers down the secure path. That's the good news, the bad news is that there are still some really wacky, unexplainable anti-HTTPS views out there, but those voices are increasingly less relevant as the browsers march forward: Beginning in M94, Chrome will offer HTTPS-First Mode, which will attempt to upgrade all page loads to HTTPS and display a full-page warning before loading sites that don’t...

Data Breaches, Class Actions and Ambulance Chasing

This post has been brewing for a while, but the catalyst finally came after someone (I'll refer to him as Jimmy) recently emailed me regarding the LOQBOX data breach from 2020. Their message began as follows: I am currently in the process of claiming compensation for a severe data breach which occurred on the 20th February 2020Now I'll be honest - I had to Google this one. There are so many data breaches today that I have trouble keeping track of them and there was nothing noteworthy whatsoever about this one that caused it to stick in my memory. Turns out there were a bunch of tweets mentioning me in this context in Feb 2020, but that was all. The...

I Now Own the Coinhive Domain. Here's How I'm Fighting Cryptojacking and Doing Good Things with Content Security Policies.

If you've landed on this page because you saw a strange message on a completely different website then followed a link to here, drop a note to the site owner and let them know what happened. If, on the other hand, you're on this page because you're interested in reading about the illicit use of cryptomining on compromised websites and how through fortuitous circumstances, I now own coinhive.com and am doing something useful with it, read on. You know how people don't like ads? Yeah, me either (at least not the spammy tracky ones that invade both your privacy and your bandwidth), but I also like free content on the web and therein lies the rub; how do content...

Gab Has Been Breached

I've investigated hundreds of data breaches over the years (there are 514 of them in Have I Been Pwned as I write this), and for the most part, the situation with Gab is just another day on the internet. But Gab is also different, having grown dramatically in recent months as an alternative to mainstream incumbent platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and drawing a crowd primarily focused on right wing American politics. A couple of days ago, I posted a thread about their alleged breach. I want to go back through that thread here, explain the thinking further and then provide some commentary on the actual data that was exposed. It all began here: So, the @getongab data breach...

IoT Unravelled Part 3: Security

In part 1 of this series, I posited that the IoT landscape is an absolute mess but Home Assistant (HA) does an admirable job of tying it all together. In part 2, I covered IP addresses and the importance of a decent network to run all this stuff on, followed by Zigbee and the role of low power, low bandwidth devices. I also looked at custom firmware and soldering and why, to my mind, that was a path I didn't need to go down at this time. Now for the big challenge - security. As with the rest of the IoT landscape, there's a lot of scope for improvement here and also just like the other IoT posts, it gets...