Security

Hundreds of thousands of engine immobilisers hackable over the net

Kiwi hacker finds brutal holes in location, tracking units


Kiwicon Kiwi hacker Lachlan Temple has found holes in a popular cheap car tracking and immobilisation gadget that can allow remote attackers to locate, eavesdrop, and in some cases cut the fuel intake to hundreds of thousands of vehicles, some while in motion.

The gadgets are rebranded white box units from Chinese concern ThinkRace that allow users to attach to their cars to enable remote tracking, engine immobilisation, microphone recording, geo-fencing, and location tracking over a web interface.

In Australia the units badged as "Response" sell for about A$150 at electronics chain JayCar or through some mechanics who offer to install the devices.

One of the unit's relay leads is commonly attached to car fuel pumps as a means to remotely-immobilise stolen vehicles.

But session cookie vulnerabilities turn that function - in the worst case scenario - into a means to shut off fuel supply to cars while in motion over the internet.

Temple (@skooooch) told the Kiwicon security confab in Wellington today the flaws allow attackers who log into any account -- including a universal demonstration account - to log into any of the 360,000 units ThinkRace claims it sold without need of a password.

"You just brute force everyone account, you can increment each one," Temple told Vulture South.

"You could disable someone's car if they have wired the relay, so if that happened on a freeway that is pretty dangerous.

"Most people would wire it this way, that's the main point of it and the reason why mechanics sell it."

Lachlan Temple. Photo by Darren Pauli / The Register

Temple says consumers can wire the relay to the starter motor meaning it would not stop the car while in motion and instead would prevent it starting up once turned off.

He says consumers should throw out the units.

Attackers could also find user personal details including phone numbers which are registered in order for the device to issue alerts via an installed SIM card.

The GPS units and kid's watch. Photo Darren Pauli / The Register.

A microphone installed in the devices also allows attackers to eavesdrop on cars.

The same units are built into children's watches sold by ThinkRace and likely contain the same flaws allowing kids to be eavesdropped and tracked.

Temple will next turn his attention to more expensive tracking gadgets more likely used in commercial fleets. ®

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Cisco warns of security holes in its security appliances

Bugs potentially useful for rogue insiders, admin account hijackers

Cisco has alerted customers to another four vulnerabilities in its products, including a high-severity flaw in its email and web security appliances. 

The networking giant has issued a patch for that bug, tracked as CVE-2022-20664. The flaw is present in the web management interface of Cisco's Secure Email and Web Manager and Email Security Appliance in both the virtual and hardware appliances. Some earlier versions of both products, we note, have reached end of life, and so the manufacturer won't release fixes; it instead told customers to migrate to a newer version and dump the old.

This bug received a 7.7 out of 10 CVSS severity score, and Cisco noted that its security team is not aware of any in-the-wild exploitation, so far. That said, given the speed of reverse engineering, that day is likely to come. 

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Azure issues not adequately fixed for months, complain bug hunters

Redmond kicks off Patch Tuesday with a months-old flaw fix

Updated Two security vendors – Orca Security and Tenable – have accused Microsoft of unnecessarily putting customers' data and cloud environments at risk by taking far too long to fix critical vulnerabilities in Azure.

In a blog published today, Orca Security researcher Tzah Pahima claimed it took Microsoft several months to fully resolve a security flaw in Azure's Synapse Analytics that he discovered in January. 

And in a separate blog published on Monday, Tenable CEO Amit Yoran called out Redmond for its lack of response to – and transparency around – two other vulnerabilities that could be exploited by anyone using Azure Synapse. 

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CISA and friends raise alarm on critical flaws in industrial equipment, infrastructure

Nearly 60 holes found affecting 'more than 30,000' machines worldwide

Updated Fifty-six vulnerabilities – some deemed critical – have been found in industrial operational technology (OT) systems from ten global manufacturers including Honeywell, Ericsson, Motorola, and Siemens, putting more than 30,000 devices worldwide at risk, according to private security researchers. 

Some of these vulnerabilities received CVSS severity scores as high as 9.8 out of 10. That is particularly bad, considering these devices are used in critical infrastructure across the oil and gas, chemical, nuclear, power generation and distribution, manufacturing, water treatment and distribution, mining and building and automation industries. 

The most serious security flaws include remote code execution (RCE) and firmware vulnerabilities. If exploited, these holes could potentially allow miscreants to shut down electrical and water systems, disrupt the food supply, change the ratio of ingredients to result in toxic mixtures, and … OK, you get the idea.

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If you're using older, vulnerable Cisco small biz routers, throw them out

Severe security flaw won't be fixed – as patches released this week for other bugs

If you thought you were over the hump with Patch Tuesday then perhaps think again: Cisco has just released fixes for a bunch of flaws, two of which are not great.

First on the priority list should be a critical vulnerability in its enterprise security appliances, and the second concerns another critical bug in some of its outdated small business routers that it's not going to fix. In other words, junk your kit or somehow mitigate the risk.

Both of these received a CVSS score of 9.8 out of 10 in severity. The IT giant urged customers to patch affected security appliances ASAP if possible, and upgrade to newer hardware if you're still using an end-of-life, buggy router. We note that miscreants aren't actively exploiting either of these vulnerabilities — yet.

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Halfords suffers a puncture in the customer details department

I like driving in my car, hope my data's not gone far

UK automobile service and parts seller Halfords has shared the details of its customers a little too freely, according to the findings of a security researcher.

Like many, cyber security consultant Chris Hatton used Halfords to keep his car in tip-top condition, from tires through to the annual safety checks required for many UK cars.

In January, Hatton replaced a tire on his car using a service from Halfords. It's a simple enough process – pick a tire online, select a date, then wait. A helpful confirmation email arrived with a link for order tracking. A curious soul, Hatton looked at what was happening behind the scenes when clicking the link and "noticed some API calls that seemed ripe for an IDOR" [Insecure Direct Object Reference].

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Mega's unbreakable encryption proves to be anything but

Boffins devise five attacks to expose private files

Mega, the New Zealand-based file-sharing biz co-founded a decade ago by Kim Dotcom, promotes its "privacy by design" and user-controlled encryption keys to claim that data stored on Mega's servers can only be accessed by customers, even if its main system is taken over by law enforcement or others.

The design of the service, however, falls short of that promise thanks to poorly implemented encryption. Cryptography experts at ETH Zurich in Switzerland on Tuesday published a paper describing five possible attacks that can compromise the confidentiality of users' files.

The paper [PDF], titled "Mega: Malleable Encryption Goes Awry," by ETH cryptography researchers Matilda Backendal and Miro Haller, and computer science professor Kenneth Paterson, identifies "significant shortcomings in Mega’s cryptographic architecture" that allow Mega, or those able to mount a TLS MITM attack on Mega's client software, to access user files.

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Microsoft fixes under-attack Windows zero-day Follina

Plus: Intel, AMD react to Hertzbleed data-leaking holes in CPUs

Patch Tuesday Microsoft claims to have finally fixed the Follina zero-day flaw in Windows as part of its June Patch Tuesday batch, which included security updates to address 55 vulnerabilities.

Follina, eventually acknowledged by Redmond in a security advisory last month, is the most significant of the bunch as it has already been exploited in the wild.

Criminals and snoops can abuse the remote code execution (RCE) bug, tracked as CVE-2022-30190, by crafting a file, such as a Word document, so that when opened it calls out to the Microsoft Windows Support Diagnostic Tool, which is then exploited to run malicious code, such spyware and ransomware. Disabling macros in, say, Word won't stop this from happening.

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How refactoring code in Safari's WebKit resurrected 'zombie' security bug

Fixed in 2013, reinstated in 2016, exploited in the wild this year

A security flaw in Apple's Safari web browser that was patched nine years ago was exploited in the wild again some months ago – a perfect example of a "zombie" vulnerability.

That's a bug that's been patched, but for whatever reason can be abused all over again on up-to-date systems and devices – or a bug closely related to a patched one.

In a write-up this month, Maddie Stone, a top researcher on Google's Project Zero team, shared details of a Safari vulnerability that folks realized in January this year was being exploited in the wild. This remote-code-execution flaw could be abused by a specially crafted website, for example, to run spyware on someone's device when viewed in their browser.

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For a few days earlier this year, rogue GitHub apps could have hijacked countless repos

A bit of a near-hit for the software engineering world

A GitHub bug could have been exploited earlier this year by connected third-party apps to hijack victims' source-code repositories.

For almost a week in late February and early March, rogue applications could have generated scoped installation tokens with elevated permissions, allowing them to gain otherwise unauthorized write or administrative access to developers' repos. For example, if an app was granted read-only access to an organization or individual's code repo, the app could effortlessly escalate that to read-write access.

This security blunder has since been addressed and before any miscreants abused the flaw to, for instance, alter code and steal secrets and credentials, according to Microsoft's GitHub, which assured The Register it's "committed to investigating reported security issues."

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1Password's Insights tool to help admins monitor users' security practices

Find the clown who chose 'password' as a password and make things right

1Password, the Toronto-based maker of the identically named password manager, is adding a security analysis and advice tool called Insights from 1Password to its business-oriented product.

Available to 1Password Business customers, Insights takes the form of a menu addition to the right-hand column of the application window. Clicking on the "Insights" option presents a dashboard for checking on data breaches, password health, and team usage of 1Password throughout an organization.

"We designed Insights from 1Password to give IT and security admins broader visibility into potential security risks so businesses improve their understanding of the threats posed by employee behavior, and have clear steps to mitigate those issues," said Jeff Shiner, CEO of 1Password, in a statement.

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We're now truly in the era of ransomware as pure extortion without the encryption

Why screw around with cryptography and keys when just stealing the info is good enough

Feature US and European cops, prosecutors, and NGOs recently convened a two-day workshop in the Hague to discuss how to respond to the growing scourge of ransomware.

"Only by working together with key law enforcement and prosecutorial partners in the EU can we effectively combat the threat that ransomware poses to our society," said US assistant attorney general Kenneth Polite, Jr, in a canned statement.

Earlier this month, at the annual RSA Conference, this same topic was on cybersecurity professionals' minds – and lips.

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Info on 1.5m people stolen from US bank in cyberattack

Time to rethink that cybersecurity strategy?

A US bank has said at least the names and social security numbers of more than 1.5 million of its customers were stolen from its computers in December.

In a statement to the office of Maine's Attorney General this month, Flagstar Bank said it was compromised between December and April 2021. The organization's sysadmins, however, said they hadn't fully figured out whose data had been stolen, and what had been taken, until now. On June 2, they concluded criminals "accessed and/or acquired" files containing personal information on 1,547,169 people.

"Flagstar experienced a cyber incident that involved unauthorized access to our network," the bank said in a statement emailed to The Register.

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