Tuesday, December 20, 2016

In Flight Hacking System

By Ruben Santamarta

In my five years with IOActive, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some awesome places, often thousands of kilometers from home. So flying has obviously been an integral part of my routine. You might not think that’s such a big deal, unless like me, you’re afraid of flying. I don't think I can completely get rid of that anxiety; after dozens of flights my hands still sweat during takeoff, but I've learned to live with it, even enjoying it sometimes…and spending some flights hacking stuff.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Let's Terminate XML Schema Vulnerabilities

By Fernando Arnaboldi

XML eXternal Entity (XXE) attacks are a common threat to applications using XML schemas, either actively or unknowingly. That is because we continue to use XML schemas that can be abused in multiple ways. Programming languages and libraries use XML schemas to define the expected contents of XML documents, SAML authentications or SOAP messages. XML schemas were intended to constrain document definitions, yet they have introduced multiple attack avenues.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Five Attributes of an Effective Corporate Red Team

By Daniel Miessler and Ryan O'Horo

After talking recently with colleagues at IOActive as well as some heads of industry-leading red teams, we wanted to share a list of attributes that we believe are key to any effective Red Team.

[ NOTE: For debate about the relevant terminology, we suggest Daniel's post titled The Difference Between Red, Blue, and Purple Teams. ]

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Multiple Vulnerabilities in BHU WiFi “uRouter”

By Tao Sauvage

A Wonderful (and !Secure) Router from China

The BHU WiFi uRouter, manufactured and sold in China, looks great – and it contains multiple critical vulnerabilities. An unauthenticated attacker could bypass authentication, access sensitive information stored in its system logs, and in the worst case, execute OS commands on the router with root privileges. In addition, the uRouter ships with hidden users, SSH enabled by default and a hardcoded root password…and injects a third-party JavaScript file into all users’ HTTP traffic.

In this blog post, we cover the main security issues found on the router, and describe how to exploit the UART debug pins to extract the firmware and find security vulnerabilities.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Inside the IOActive Silicon Lab: Interpreting Images

By Andrew Zonenberg @azonenberg

In the post “Reading CMOS layout,” we discussed understanding CMOS layout in order to reverse-engineer photographs of a circuit to a transistor-level schematic. This was all well and good, but I glossed over an important (and often overlooked) part of the process: using the photos to observe and understand the circuit’s actual geometry.

Optical Microscopy

Let’s start with brightfield optical microscope imagery. (Darkfield microscopy is rarely used for semiconductor work.) Although reading lower metal layers on modern deep-submicron processes does usually require electron microscopy, optical microscopes still have their place in the reverse engineer’s toolbox. They are much easier to set up and run quickly, have a wider field of view at low magnifications, need less sophisticated sample preparation, and provide real-time full-color imagery. An optical microscope can also see through glass insulators, allowing inspection of some underlying structures without needing to deprocess the device.

This can be both a blessing and a curse. If you can see underlying structures in upper-layer images, it can be much easier to align views of different layers. But it can also be much harder to tell what you’re actually looking at! Luckily, another effect comes to the rescue – depth of field.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Got 15 minutes to kill? Why not root your Christmas gift?

By Tao Sauvage

TP-LINK NC200 and NC220 Cloud IP Cameras, which promise to let consumers “see there, when you can’t be there,” are vulnerable to an OS command injection in the PPPoE username and password settings. An attacker can leverage this weakness to get a remote shell with root privileges.

The cameras are being marketed for surveillance, baby monitoring, pet monitoring, and monitoring of seniors.

This blog post provides a 101 introduction to embedded hacking and covers how to extract and analyze firmware to look for common low-hanging fruit in security. This post also uses binary diffing to analyze how TP-LINK recently fixed the vulnerability with a patch.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Inside the IOActive Silicon Lab: Reading CMOS layout

By Andrew Zonenberg @azonenberg

Ever wondered what happens inside the IOActive silicon lab? For the next few weeks we’ll be posting a series of blogs that highlight some of the equipment, tools, attacks, and all around interesting stuff that we do there. We’ll start off with Andrew Zonenberg explaining the basics of CMOS layout.

Basics of CMOS Layout

When describing layout, this series will use a simplified variant of Mead & Conway’s color scheme, which hides some of the complexity required for manufacturing.

P doping

N doping



Metal 1

Metal 2

Metal 3

Metal 4

The basic building block of a modern integrated circuit (IC) is the metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistor, or MOSFET. As the name implies, it is a field-effect transistor (an electronic switch which is turned on or off by an electric field, rather than by current flow) made out of a metal-oxide-semiconductor “sandwich”.

 (Terminology note: In modern processes, the gate is often made of polycrystalline silicon, aka polysilicon, rather than a metal. As is the tradition in the IC fab literature, we typically use the term “poly” to refer to the gate material, regardless of whether it is actually metal or poly.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Remotely Disabling a Wireless Burglar Alarm

By Andrew Zonenberg @azonenberg

Countless movies feature hackers remotely turning off security systems in order to infiltrate buildings without being noticed. But how realistic are these depictions? Time to find out.

Today we’re releasing information on a critical security vulnerability in a wireless home security system from SimpliSafe. This system consists of two core components, a keypad and a base station. These may be combined with a wide array of sensors ranging from smoke detectors to magnet switches to motion detectors to create a complete home security system. The system is marketed as a cost-effective and DIY-friendly alternative to wired systems that require expensive professional installation and long term monitoring service contracts.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Brain Waves Technologies: Security in Mind? I Don't Think So

By Alejandro Hernández @nitr0usmx


Just a decade ago, electroencephalography (EEG) was limited to the inner rooms of hospitals, purely for medical purposes. Nowadays, relatively cheap consumer devices capable of measuring brain wave activity are in the hands of curious kids, researchers, artists, creators, and hackers. A few of the applications of this technology include:
·       Brain-controlled Drone
·       Neurowear (Clothing)
I’ve been monitoring the news for the last year, searching keywords brain waves, and the volume of headlines is growing quickly. In other words, people out there are having fun with brain waves and are creating cool stuff using existing consumer devices and (mostly) insecure software.

Based on my observations using a cheap EEG device and known software, I think that many of these technologies might contain security flaws that make them vulnerable to Man-in-The-Middle (MiTM), replay, Denial-of-Service (DoS), and other attacks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

More than a simple game

EKOPARTY Conference 2015, one of the most important conferences in Latin America, took place in Buenos Aires three months ago. IOActive and EKOPARTY hosted the main security competition of about 800 teams which ran for 32 hours, the EKOPARTY CTF (Capture the Flag).

Teams from all around the globe demonstrated their skills in a variety of topics including web application security, reverse engineering, exploiting, and cryptography. It was a wonderful experience.

If you haven’t competed before, you may wonder: What are security competitions all about? Why are they essential for information security? 

Competition, types, and resources

A security competition takes place in an environment where the contestants try to find a solution to specific problems through the systematic application of knowledge. Each problem (or challenge) is worth a different number of points. The number of points for each challenge is based on its level of difficulty and the time needed to reach the solution (or flag).

Security competitions help people to develop rare skills as it requires the use of lateral thinking and a low-level technical knowledge of many topics at once, this is a small list of some of their benefits:
  • Fun while learning.
  • Legally prepared environments ready to be hacked; you are authorized to test the problems.
  • Recognition and use of multiples paths to solve a problem.
  • Understanding of specialized attacks which are not usually detectable or exploitable by common tools.
  • Free participation, typically.
  • Good recruiting tool for information security companies.

You will find two types of competitions:
  1. CTFs (Capture the Flag) are restricted by time:
    1. Jeopardy: Problems are distributed in multiple categories which must be solved separately. The most common categories are programming, computer and network forensics, cryptography, reverse engineering, exploiting, web application security, and mobile security.
    2. Attack - defense: Problems are distributed across vulnerable services which must be protected on the defended machine and exploited on remote machines. It is the kind of competition that provides mostly a vulnerable infrastructure.
  2. Wargames are not restricted by time and may have the two subtypes above.

Two main resources can help you to get started:

Also, you can see solutions for many CTF problems in the following github repository:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Drupal - Insecure Update Process

By Fernando Arnaboldi

Security updates are a common occurrence once you have installed Drupal. In October 2014, there was a massive defacement attack that effected Drupal users who did not upgrade in the first seven hours after a security update was released. This means that Drupal updates must be checked as frequently as possible (even though by default, Drupal checks once a day). 

Just a few days after installing Drupal v7.39, I noticed there was a security update available: Drupal v7.41. This new version fixes an open redirect in the Drupal core. In spite of my Drupal update process checking for updates, according to my local instance, everything was up to date: 

Issue #1: Whenever the Drupal update process fails, Drupal states that everything is up to date instead of giving a warning.