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POODLE Bites SSL – WSWiR Episode 125

October Patch Bonanze, Leaky Apps, and POODLE

Cyber security has gone main stream, which means we’re getting a lot more security news each week than we used to. This week was even busier than usual, with updates fixing hundreds and hundreds of security vulnerabilities, as well as a significant vulnerabilities in a encryption standards. If you’re having trouble keeping track of the most important security info on your own, let our week video summary do it for you.

Today’s episode covers a ton of updates for October’s Patch Day, data leaks affecting SnapChat and DropBox, and a relatively serious SSL vulnerability called POODLE. The video is a bit longer than usual in order to better describe the POODLE flaw. Press play to learn more, and check the references for other interesting stories.

Enjoy your weekend, and beware what you click online.

(Episode Runtime: 16:37)

Direct YouTube Link:

Episode References:


— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

How to Neuter POODLE (New SSL Vulnerability)

Surprise, surprise… Researcher’s have found yet another OpenSSL vulnerability. They’ve named this one POODLE. Silly name, I know, but at least it stands for something—Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption.


In short, POODLE is a protocol level cryptography flaw in Secure Sockets Layer version 3 (SSLv3), which is one of the many encryption protocols available to SSL/TLS implementations like OpenSSL, used to encrypt network traffic. While SSL can encrypt any traffic, it’s most commonly associated with secure web communications (HTTPS). SSLv3 is one of the older encryption protocols in OpenSSL’s library, having been around for 18 years or so. Newer protocols like TLS 1.0-1.2 are much more secure, but we’ve kept SSLv3 around for legacy interoperability reasons. Since this new vulnerability allows attackers to decrypt SSLv3 traffic, it’s time we get rid of SSLv3 for good.

The POODLE flaw is fairly complex, and hard to understand without a deeper comprehension of cryptography. If you’d really like to dive into the details, I recommend you read the paper [PDF] by the Google researchers who found the flaw, or check out this detailed explanation. However, here are the basics:

  1. First, this vulnerability requires a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack to succeed. An attacker can only perform it if he can intercept traffic between you and the SSL server. Performing MitM attacks can range from extremely difficult to trivial, depending on the circumstances. For instance, if you join an unsecured WiFi network, attackers on the same network can quite easily intercept your traffic, whereas intercepting Internet traffic is exceptionally more difficult, and typically requires ISP level interception (or at least DNS poisoning) to pull off.
  2. Next, this attack only works against SSLv3 encrypted traffic, so the attacker needs to somehow force you to use it. This is a much easier hurdle for attackers to overcome. The SSL/TLS protocol includes a “downgrade” feature that allows SSL clients and servers to negotiate which encryption protocol they agree on, depending on what they both support. With a MitM attack, the attacker can intercept and manipulated the negotiations to ensure your browser and the server settle on SSLv3 encryption.
  3. At this point, an attacker can take advantage of the SSLv3 flaw (which is essentially a vulnerability in how SSLv3’s CBC cipher suites use padding) to decrypt certain bytes of your secured traffic. Again, see the paper if you are interested in the technical and mathematical detail. However, there are some caveats here. Basically, the educated guesses used in this attack will only work 1 in 256 times.  So this attack requires the same data be sent over newly created SSLv3 connection hundreds of times. Forcing hundreds of requests is easy when targeting web browsers, since the MitM attack allows the attacker to inject malicious javascript into your web session. This javascript allows the attacker to silently force your browser to do what he needs. However, there are many other clients that use SSL/TLS to encrypt communications, including VPN clients, and apps on your mobile device. Since this attack relies on malicious javascript, attackers can’t easily exploit it against non-browser SSL clients. In any case, once this attack succeeds in decrypting one byte, it’s trivial for the attacker to decrypt the rest of your secure message.
  4.  So what can attackers do by decrypting SSL encrypted web sessions? Most likely, they’d leverage this flaw to try to intercept your encrypted HTTP session cookie. This essentially allows them to hijack your secure web sessions, and do anything you could do on the particular secure site you’re visiting. They wouldn’t obtain your passwords, but they’d have access to your secure web account.

While this sounds pretty bad, and it can be when the attack succeeds, the mitigating factors mentioned above really lessen the severity of this flaw. MitM attacks are not trivial to pull off in most cases, and this exploit’s javascript requirement means it can only easily target web browsers, not other SSL-based clients. Furthermore, if either end (client or server) disables SSLv3, the attack is dead in the water. In fact, NIST only assigns this vulnerability (CVE-2014-3566) a CVSS severity rating of 4.3, which is on the lower medium range of their severity scale. Though many of the media outlet reporting on this flaw have made it sound extremely dangerous, I would only give it a medium severity. It’s definitely something you want to mitigate, but it is not nearly as dangerous as the Heartbleed and Shellshock flaws the media has compared it to.

How to Protect Yourself from POODLE:

Simply put, disable SSLv3!

SSLv3 is an antiquated and broken encryption protocol. Every modern browser and SSL client supports much more recent encryption options. Disabling SSLv3 is the only way to completely protect yourself.

That said, some organizations may still use some legacy web applications, especially ones that require Internet Explorer (IE) 6 running on XP, which depend on SSLv3. Frankly, it’s time you get rid of those applications. In order to quantify today’s minimal SSLv3 usage, CloudFlare monitored all their customers’ traffic and found only 0.09% of it was SSLv3. When monitoring only secure web (HTTPS) traffic, SSLv3 usage jumped to 0.65%, but that’s still a tiny fraction of web traffic. We recommend you help bring this number to zero by getting rid of SSLv3 in your organization

So how do you disable SSLv3? There are two sides to the equation—the server and the client. You only have to disable one side for the attack to fail.

Since this attack targets clients, and seems to primarily affect web browsers, I recommend you disable SSLv3 in your browsers first. All popular web browsers have configuration settings that allow you to do so. The folks at have kindly provided an instruction page detailing how to disable SSLv3 in the popular browsers; check it out. Furthermore, most browser vendors have promised to disable SSLv3 by default in their next software release. Once you have disabled SSLv3 in your browser, attackers cannot leverage this flaw to decrypt your traffic, even if you connect to a web server that still has SSLv3 enabled.

That said, you also should disable SSLv3 on any servers you run, just to help protect the rest of the world against this flaw. The creators of OpenSSL have released an update that fixes this vulnerability (and three others). Besides allowing you to disable SSLv3 on your server, the latest version of OpenSSL supports a feature called TLS_FALLBACK_SCSC, which essentially prevents MitM attackers from forcing clients to downgrade to a certain encryption protocol. Many other Linux distributions and SSL implementations have also released updates. Go get them.

As an aside, once you’ve disabled SSLv3 in your browsers and servers, you can check the results using the following sites:

Are WatchGuard Products Affected by POODLE?

In short, yes.

WatchGuard appliances use OpenSSL and are affected by this vulnerability to varying degrees. The impacted products include:

  • XTM appliances – WatchGuard’s web-based user interfaces (UI), whether the administrative interface or the VPN client portal, do support SSLv3, and are vulnerable to this. However, you can mitigate this flaw by limiting exposure to the Web UI. There is no reason to allow Internet users to access that administrative interface. Also, our SSL VPN clients do NOT support SSLv3. So mobile VPN connections are not affected. We are making updates to our XTM firmware to disable SSLv3 by default.
  • XCS appliances – The XCS’s Web UI does support SSLv3 by default. However, you can disable it for the Web UI, and should do so. Our mail engine does also support SSLv3, and you can’t currently disabled it in the mail engine. That said, this exploit primarily targets web browsers, so the exposure in the mail engine should be low. In any case, we are making changes to the XCS firmware to disable SSLv3.
  • SSL VPN appliances – The SSL VPN appliances administrative Web UI uses SSLv3, and your currently can’t disable it. However, you can limit exposure simply by not allowing external access to the Web UI. As far as client VPN connections, you can disable SSLv3 in the Manage System => Device Setting page. Doing so ensures attackers can’t exploit this flaw to intercept and decrypt mobile SSL VPN traffic. We will release and update to disable SSLv3 in the Web UI.

This vulnerability’s impact to our appliances is relatively low. Nonetheless, WatchGuard will release updated versions for all affected software and devices that are under support. We are currently planning all these releases, and we will update this post as the dates and releases become available. In any case, if you limit access to the web-based administration interfaces on your WatchGuard appliances, the vulnerability poses you little risk. Furthermore, if you disable SSLv3 in your browser, attackers can’t even leverage it against you, whether or not the appliance uses SSLv3.

To summarize, POODLE is a big enough issue that you should definitely disable SSLv3 in all your browsers and servers as soon as you can. However, despite the wide and alarming coverage of this issue, it does not pose a huge, real-world risk to most users. If you update your browsers, and avoid unsecured WiFi connections, POODLE will likely not bite, and is easy to neuter. — Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)


ATM Trojan – WSWiR Episode 124

Nine MS Bulletins, Sneaky DRM, and ATM Trojan

Every week, the security community learns about new attacks, exploits, breaches, security patches, and more. However, keeping track of all this fresh information security (infosec) news can be challenging for most IT practitioners. If you need a little help separating the security wheat from the chaff, this weekly video podcast is for you.

Today’s episode warns you about next week’s upcoming Microsoft patch, covers how Adobe DRM snoops on your reading habits, and shares details about an ATM trojan that has helped its creators steal millions in cold hard cash. Watch the video for details, and check out the reference section for most interesting infosec stories.

(Episode Runtime: 5:45)

Direct YouTube Link:

Episode References:


— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

WatchGuard Security Week in Review in Writing (Oct.3, 2014)

iOS Trojan, BadUSB PoC, and Gamer Hackers Charged

Normally, I post a weekly video that summarizes the three biggest information and network security stories every Friday. However, due to a busy travel and work schedule I couldn’t find a convenient time to shoot. But fear not… Instead, I’ll post a written summary this week, and continue with the video posts next week. Read on for the latest security news:

  1. “First” iOS Trojan released in the wild – A mobile security company, Lacoon, claims they have found the “first” iOS trojan being used in the wild. They call the malware Xsser mRAT, and it’s related to a similar Android trojan called Xsser. If it infects your mobile device, it’s capable of stealing all kinds of information including texts, emails, passwords, and so forth. Allegedly, the malware comes from Chinese government actors targeting the Occupy Central protesters in Hong Kong. However, the trojan can only infect jailbroken iPhones.
  2. BadUSB malware exploit is now available to the public – In previous videos, I told you about the extremely dangerous new threat against USB devices. At Black Hat this year, Karsten Nohl of SRlabs showed how you could exploit flaws in USB controller firmware to create malicious USB devices that are almost impossible to detect. Thankfully, Nohl did not release Proof-0f-Concept (PoC) code for the attack, since USB manufacturers did not yet have a solution to the problem. However, this week some of his co-researchers decided to release PoC on Github during DerbyCON; apparently in hopes of pressuring USB vendors into figuring out a fix. Personally, I think this was a major mistake. While I think “full disclosure” is a good thing, I believe it should be done responsibly, after giving vendors time to protect their customers. While historically researchers have used early disclosure as a way to pressure companies to do the right thing, this is an industry-wide, standards-level vulnerability with no easy solution. All these researchers have done is make it easier for the bad guys to start exploiting this issue (IMHO).
  3. Four hacker’s charged with stealing millions in IP from Microsoft, Epic, Valve, and the military – This week, legal documents came out detailing the charges against four hackers who stole data and games from many gaming companies, and even the military. The alleged hackers are from the US, Canada, and Australia. According to documents, this group used mostly SQL injection (SQLi) techniques to steal a ton of data. They stole Xbox ONE and Xbox Live information, games like Gears of War 3, and they even stole a military Apache simulator. This case is related to the SuperDAE hacker I mentioned in a video months ago.

Thanks for following our weekly summary, and be sure to join us next week when I resume the video. Also, don’t forget to check out references to many other interesting security stories below.

Extras Story References:

— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Shellshock – WSWiR Episode 123

Serious Bash Flaw affects *nix, Mac OS X, and IoT

Normally, my weekly video covers a number of important information and network security stories, in order to keep you informed of the latest threats. However, this week one story is so important I give it the primary focus.

Today’s show covers the critical “Shellshock” vulnerability in Bash. If you use Unix, Linux, or Mac systems, or any other embedded device that might run Linux, you’ll want to watch this episode to learn how this flaw affects you. Click play for more details.

Oh, and don’t forget WatchGuard appliances aren’t affected, and our IPS can protect you. Enjoy your weekend!

(Episode Runtime: 9:23)

Direct YouTube Link:

Episode References:


I’m skipping the extra stories this week so you focus on taking care of the Bash flaw.

— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Printer Doom Hack – WSWiR Episode 122

Apple Patches, Kindle XSS, and Doom Printer Hack

If you want to stay current with the Internet “threatscape,” our weekly video can help. It summarizes each week’s top information and network security news in one convenient place. Subscribe today!

Today’s episode covers, Apple and Adobe security updates, a cross-site scripting flaw that affects Kindle users, and an interesting printer hack that allowed an attacker to run doom on a printer. Watch the video for details and see the Reference section below for more info.

Enjoy your weekend!

(Episode Runtime: 5:39

Direct YouTube Link:

Episode References:


— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Old Gmail Leak – WSWiR Episode 121

Patch Day, Home Depot Update, and Gmail Leak

Why go searching for all the week’s information security (infosec) news when you can find it in one convenient place. This weekly vlog summarizes the important security updates, hacks, and threats so you can protect yourself.

This week’s episode arrives a bit late due to my business travel in Europe. Today’s show covers the week’s Microsoft and Adobe patches, the latest news on the Home Depot breach, and a story about a potentially new (but likely old) Gmail credential leak. Watch the video for the details, and check the references below for more info and some extra stories.

I will be continuing my business travel next week as well. So my weekly post may arrive earlier or later than normal. Have a great day!

(Episode Runtime: 4:53)

Direct YouTube Link:

Episode References:


— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Adobe Patches Flash but Delays Reader Update


  • This vulnerability affects: Adobe Flash Player running on all platforms and Adobe Air
  • How an attacker exploits it: By enticing users to visit a website containing malicious Flash content
  • Impact: In the worst case, an attacker can execute code on the user’s computer, potentially gaining control of it
  • What to do: Download and install the latest version of Adobe Flash Player for your platform


Adobe Flash Player displays interactive, animated web content called Flash. Although Flash is optional, 99% of PC users download and install it to view multimedia web content. It runs on many operating systems, including mobile operating systems like Android.

In a security bulletin released this week during Patch Day, Adobe released an update that fixes a dozen security vulnerabilities affecting Flash Player running on any platform. The bulletin doesn’t describe the flaws in much technical detail, but does say most of them consist of various types of memory corruption flaws. If an attacker can entice one of your users to visit a malicious website containing specially crafted Flash content, he could exploit many of these vulnerabilities to execute code on that user’s computer, with that user’s privileges. If your Windows users have local administrator privileges, an attacker could exploit this flaw to gain full control of their PCs.

Though attackers aren’t exploiting these flaws in the wild yet, Adobe rates them as a “Priority 1” issues for Windows, Mac, and Linux users, and recommends you apply the updates within 72 hours. These vulnerabilities also affect other platforms as well, though not as severely. I recommend you update any Flash capable device as soon as you can.

As an aside, though Adobe promised a Reader update this month, they seem to have delayed it for some reason. You may want to keep an eye on Adobe’s Security page for more updates.

Solution Path

Adobe has released new versions of Flash Player to fix these issues. If you allow Adobe Flash in your network, you should download and install the new versions immediately. If you’ve enabled Flash Player’s recent “silent update” option, you will receive this update automatically.

You can download Flash for your computer at the link provided below. See the bulletin’s “Affected Software” section for more details on getting Flash updates for other platforms:

Keep in mind, if you use Google Chrome or Internet Explorer 10 or 11 you’ll have to update it separately.

For All WatchGuard Users:

If you choose, you can configure the HTTP proxy on your XTM appliance to block Flash content. Keep in mind, doing so blocks all Flash content, whether legitimate or malicious.

Our proxies offer many ways for you to block files and content, including by file extensionMIME type, or by using very specific hexidecimal patterns found in the body of a message – a technique sometimes referred to as Magic Byte detection. Below I list the various ways you can identify various Flash files:

File Extension:

  • .flv –  Adobe Flash file (file typically used on websites)
  • .fla – Flash movie file
  • .f4v – Flash video file
  • .f4p – Protected Flash video file
  • .f4a – Flash audio file
  • .f4b – Flash audiobook file

MIME types:

  • video/x-flv
  • video/mp4 (used for more than just Flash)
  • audio/mp4 (used for more than just Flash) reported Magic Byte Pattern:

  • Hex FLV: 46 4C 56 01
  • Hex FLA:  D0 CF 11 E0 A1 B1 1A E1 00

(Keep in mind, not all the Hex and ASCII patterns shared here are appropriate for content blocking. If the pattern is too short, or not unique enough, blocking with them could result in many false positives) 

If you decide you want to block Flash files, the links below contain instructions that will help you configure your Firebox proxy’s content blocking features using the file and MIME information listed above.


Adobe has released updates to fix these Flash vulnerabilities.


This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

Windows 8.x and Server 2012 Suffer From Local EoP Vulnerability

Severity: Medium


  • These vulnerabilities affect: Windows 8.x, Server 2012, and RT
  • How an attacker exploits it: By running a specially crafted application
  • Impact: A local low privileged attacker can gain SYSTEM privileges on your Windows computers
  • What to do: Deploy the appropriate update at your convenience, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you


In a security bulletin released as part of Patch Day, Microsoft described an Elevation of Privilege (EoP) vulnerability that affects the latest versions of Windows—specifically, Windows 8.x, Server 2012, and RT.

The flaw lies in the Windows Task Scheduler, a service that allows you to automate the execution of tasks at certain times. Microsoft doesn’t describe the vulnerability in much detail, only saying the Task Scheduler does not properly check the integrity of tasks. By running a specially crafted application, an underprivileged local attacker could take advantage of this to execute programs with full SYSTEM privileges. Of course, the local attacker would have to log into a vulnerable system using valid credentials, which significantly lower the impact of this flaw.

Solution Path:

You should download, test, and deploy the appropriate Windows update immediately, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you. You can find links to the updates in the “Affected and Non-Affected Software” section of Microsoft’s Windows security bulletin.

For All WatchGuard Users:

This is a local vulnerability. We recommend you install Microsoft’s updated to completely protect yourself from this flaw.


Microsoft has released patches to fix this vulnerability.


This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).

Microsoft Corrects Lync Server and .NET Framework DoS Flaws

Severity: Medium


  • These vulnerabilities affect: Lync Server and .NET Framework
  • How an attacker exploits them: Various, including by sending maliciously crafted packets or launching specially crafted calls
  • Impact: An attacker could slow down or disrupt connections to the server, or stop it from responding at all.
  • What to do: Install the appropriate Microsoft patches as soon as possible, or let Windows Automatic Update do it for you.


Today, Microsoft released two security bulletins that fix a pair of Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerabilities in two of their products; Lync Server and the .NET Framework. If you used either of these products, you should update them as soon as you can. We summarize the two DoS bulletins below:

  • MS13-053: .NET Framework DoS Vulnerability

The .NET Framework is a software framework used by developers to create custom Windows and web applications. Though it only ships by default with Windows Vista, you’ll find it on many Windows computers. It suffers from a DoS vulnerability involving the way it handles communications that are hashed. In short, if a remote attacker sends a small amount of specially crafted packets to a server that uses .NET Framework ASP applications, he can cause the server to slow down, and eventually stop responding. If you have any public servers or web applications that use .NET, you should download and install the update as soon as possible.

Microsoft rating: Important

 Lync is a unified communications tool that combines voice, IM, audio, video, and web-based communication into one interface. It’s essentially the replacement for Microsoft Communicator. It suffers from three vulnerabilities, including a DoS flaw involving the way it handles specially crafted calls. By sending a malicious call to your Lync server, a remote attacker can exploit the DoS flaw to cause the Lync Server to stop responding. If you rely on Lync for communications, you should patch your servers as soon as you can.

Microsoft rating: Important

Solution Path:

Microsoft has released patches that correct both these vulnerabilities. You should download, test, and deploy the appropriate updates throughout your network as soon as possible. If you choose, you can also let Windows Update automatically download and install these updates for you.

The links below point directly to the “Affected and Non-Affected Software” section of each bulletin, where you can find all of Microsoft’s update links:

For All WatchGuard Users:

Though you can use your XTM appliance to block the ports necessary for Lync, or use application control to restrict it, this would prevent you from using it externally at all. Right now, Microsoft’s patch are your best solution to these issues.


Microsoft has released patches correcting these issues.


This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept).

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