Spy platform zero day exposes cops' wiretapped calls

Laundry list of fail includes backdoor, remote unauth access to intercept box


National security boosters have just taken a kick to the ego, with revelations that hackers can access exactly the kind of wiretap kit they believe should be deployed in every ISP and telco around the world.

The zero-day that's turned up in kit from New Jersey outfit NICE would give attackers access to wiretapped voice recordings along with names and email addresses for suspects monitored by police.

The flaws affect the NICE's Recording eXpress voice recording product, which targets police and law enforcement agencies.

Prolific fail flaunter, SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab, quietly disclosed nine flaws to NICE and went public after five holes remained unpatched nearly six months after being reported.

The flaws included a root backdoor and remote unauthenticated access to intercepted voice recordings. Hackers could also break into the voice recording server and move laterally to launch further attacks against internal voice virtual local area networks.

The security bods strongly recommended cops stop using the platform until the flaws were fixed and further testing was done.

NICE comms director Erik Snider said customers were notified of the flaws and downplayed the risk of attack.

"We have been addressing the issues based on priority, and can confirm that we have already resolved almost all of them, and expect the remaining fixes to be completed shortly," Snider said.

"We do not believe any of our customers have been impacted by the items raised in this report, as these systems are deployed in a very secure environment and are not accessible outside of the organisation."

He did not respond by the time of publication to El Reg's request to explain how the platform was not accessible outside organisations.

The backdoor was a hidden and hard coded administrator account within the platform's MySQL deployment and together with exposed voice recordings was the most severe of the published vulnerabilities.

"For example, unauthenticated attackers are able to gain access to exported lists of user accounts that are being monitored/recorded. Attackers gain access to detailed information such as personal data like first/last name, email address and username/extension," researchers Johannes Greil and Stefan Viehböck wrote in a disclosure.

Multiple cross site scripting and SQL injection flaws were also reported. The penetration testers said further critical vulnerabilities were assumed present. ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • GPL legal battle: Vizio told by judge it will have to answer breach-of-contract claims
    Fine-print crucially deemed contractual agreement as well as copyright license in smartTV source-code case

    The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has won a significant legal victory in its ongoing effort to force Vizio to publish the source code of its SmartCast TV software, which is said to contain GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 copyleft-licensed components.

    SFC sued Vizio, claiming it was in breach of contract by failing to obey the terms of the GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 licenses that require source code to be made public when certain conditions are met, and sought declaratory relief on behalf of Vizio TV owners. SFC wanted its breach-of-contract arguments to be heard by the Orange County Superior Court in California, though Vizio kicked the matter up to the district court level in central California where it hoped to avoid the contract issue and defend its corner using just federal copyright law.

    On Friday, Federal District Judge Josephine Staton sided with SFC and granted its motion to send its lawsuit back to superior court. To do so, Judge Staton had to decide whether or not the federal Copyright Act preempted the SFC's breach-of-contract allegations; in the end, she decided it didn't.

    Continue reading
  • US brings first-of-its-kind criminal charges of Bitcoin-based sanctions-busting
    Citizen allegedly moved $10m-plus in BTC into banned nation

    US prosecutors have accused an American citizen of illegally funneling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country.

    It's said the resulting criminal charges of sanctions busting through the use of cryptocurrency are the first of their kind to be brought in the US.

    Under the United States' International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEA), it is illegal for a citizen or institution within the US to transfer funds, directly or indirectly, to a sanctioned country, such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, or Russia. If there is evidence the IEEA was willfully violated, a criminal case should follow. If an individual or financial exchange was unwittingly involved in evading sanctions, they may be subject to civil action. 

    Continue reading
  • Meta hires network chip guru from Intel: What does this mean for future silicon?
    Why be a customer when you can develop your own custom semiconductors

    Analysis Here's something that should raise eyebrows in the datacenter world: Facebook parent company Meta has hired a veteran networking chip engineer from Intel to lead silicon design efforts in the internet giant's infrastructure hardware engineering group.

    Jon Dama started as director of silicon in May for Meta's infrastructure hardware group, a role that has him "responsible for several design teams innovating the datacenter for scale," according to his LinkedIn profile. In a blurb, Dama indicated that a team is already in place at Meta, and he hopes to "scale the next several doublings of data processing" with them.

    Though we couldn't confirm it, we think it's likely that Dama is reporting to Alexis Bjorlin, Meta's vice president of infrastructure hardware who previously worked with Dama when she was general manager of Intel's Connectivity group before serving a two-year stint at Broadcom.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022