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Wes Payne

Host of TechSNAP


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Recent episodes featuring Wes Payne
411: Mobile Security Mistakes
We take a look at a few recent zero-day vulnerabilities for iOS and Android and find targeted attacks, bad assumptions, and changing markets. Plus what to expect from USB4 and an upcoming Linux scheduler speed-up for AMD's Epyc CPUs.Links:Google says hackers have put ‘monitoring implants’ in iPhones for years | Technology | The Guardian — Their location was uploaded every minute; their device’s keychain, containing all their passwords, was uploaded, as were their chat histories on popular apps including WhatsApp, Telegram and iMessage, their address book, and their Gmail database.Project Zero: A very deep dive into iOS Exploit chains found in the wild — We discovered exploits for a total of fourteen vulnerabilities across the five exploit chains: seven for the iPhone’s web browser, five for the kernel and two separate sandbox escapes. Project Zero: In-the-wild iOS Exploit Chain 1 — This exploit provides evidence that these exploit chains were likely written contemporaneously with their supported iOS versions; that is, the exploit techniques which were used suggest that this exploit was written around the time of iOS 10. This suggests that this group had a capability against a fully patched iPhone for at least two years.  Project Zero: In-the-wild iOS Exploit Chain 3 — It’s difficult to understand how this error could be introduced into a core IPC library that shipped to end users. While errors are common in software development, a serious one like this should have quickly been found by a unit test, code review or even fuzzing. Project Zero: JSC Exploits — In this post, we will take a look at the WebKit exploits used to gain an initial foothold onto the iOS device and stage the privilege escalation exploits. All exploits here achieve shellcode execution inside the sandboxed renderer process (WebContent) on iOS.Project Zero: Implant Teardown — There is no visual indicator on the device that the implant is running. There's no way for a user on iOS to view a process listing, so the implant binary makes no attempt to hide its execution from the system. The implant is primarily focused on stealing files and uploading live location data. The implant requests commands from a command and control server every 60 seconds.The implant has access to all the database files (on the victim’s phone) used by popular end-to-end encryption apps like Whatsapp, Telegram and iMessage.iPhone Hackers Caught By Google Also Targeted Android And Microsoft Windows, Say Sources — Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation said that Google’s own Android operating system and Microsoft Windows PCs were also targeted in a campaign that sought to infect the computers and smartphones of the Uighur ethnic group in China.Google's Shocking Decision To Ignore A Critical Android Vulnerability In Latest Security Update — Despite immediately acknowledging the vulnerability and confirming in June that it will be fixed, Google had not provided an estimated time frame for the patch.Android Zero-Day Bug Opens Door to Privilege Escalation Attack, Researchers Warn | Threatpost — “In the unlikely event an attacker succeeds in exploiting this bug, they would effectively have complete control over the target device,” he told Threatpost. Once an attacker obtains escalated privileges, “it means they could completely take over a device if they can convince a user to install and run their application,”Why 'Zero Day' Android Hacking Now Costs More Than iOS Attacks | WIRED — "During the last few months, we have observed an increase in the number of iOS exploits, mostly Safari and iMessage chains, being developed and sold by researchers from all around the world. The zero-day market is so flooded by iOS exploits that we've recently started refusing some them"Linux 5.4 Kernel To Bring Improved Load Balancing On AMD EPYC Servers — The scheduler topology improvement by SUSE's Matt Fleming changes the behavior as currently it turns out for EPYC hardware the kernel has failed to properly load balance across NUMA nodes on different sockets. USB4 is coming soon and will (mostly) unify USB and Thunderbolt | Ars Technica — The USB Implementers Forum published the official USB4 protocol specification. If your initial reaction was "oh no, not again," don't worry—the new spec is backward-compatible with USB 2 and USB 3, and it uses the same USB Type-C connectors that modern USB 3 devices do.
410: Epyc Encryption
It's CPU release season and we get excited about AMD's new line of server chips. Plus our take on AMD's approach to memory encryption, and our struggle to make sense of Intel's Comet Lake line. Also, a few Windows worms you should know about, the end of the road for EV certs, and an embarrassing new Bluetooth attack.Links:A detailed look at AMD’s new Epyc “Rome” 7nm server CPUs | Ars Technica — The short version of the story is, Epyc "Rome" is to the server what Ryzen 3000 was to the desktop—bringing significantly improved IPC, more cores, and better thermal efficiency than either its current-generation Intel equivalents or its first-generation Epyc predecessors.AMD Rome Second Generation EPYC Review: 2x 64-core Benchmarked — Ever since the Opteron days, AMD's market share has been rounded to zero percent, and with its first generation of EPYC processors using its new Zen microarchitecture, that number skipped up a small handful of points, but everyone has been waiting with bated breath for the second swing at the ball. AMD's Rome platform solves the concerns that first gen Naples had, plus this CPU family is designed to do many things: a new CPU microarchitecture on 7nm, offer up to 64 cores, offer 128 lanes of PCIe 4.0, offer 8 memory channels, and offer a unified memory architecture based on chiplets. AMD EPYC Rome Still Conquering Cascadelake Even Without Mitigations - Phoronix — Out of curiosity, I've run some unmitigated benchmarks for the various relevant CPU speculative execution vulnerabilities on both the Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 Cascadelake and AMD EPYC 7742 Rome processors for seeing how the performance differs.Intel’s line of notebook CPUs gets more confusing with 14nm Comet Lake | Ars Technica — Going by Intel's numbers, Comet Lake looks like a competent upgrade to its predecessor Whiskey Lake. The interesting question—and one largely left unanswered by Intel—is why the company has decided to launch a new line of 14nm notebook CPUs less than a month after launching Ice Lake, its first 10nm notebook CPUs.A look at the Windows 10 exploit Google Zero disclosed this week | Ars Technica — On Tuesday, Tavis Ormandy of Google's Project Zero released an exploit kit called ctftool, which uses and abuses Microsoft's Text Services Framework in ways that can effectively get anyone root—er, system that is—on any unpatched Windows 10 system they're able to log in toPatch new wormable vulnerabilities in Remote Desktop Services (CVE-2019-1181/1182) – Microsoft Security Response Center — Today Microsoft released a set of fixes for Remote Desktop Services that include two critical Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerabilities, CVE-2019-1181 and CVE-2019-1182. Like the previously-fixed ‘BlueKeep’ vulnerability (CVE-2019-0708), these two vulnerabilities are also ‘wormable’, meaning that any future malware that exploits these could propagate from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer without user interaction. KNOB Attack — TL;DR: The specification of Bluetooth includes an encryption key negotiation protocol that allows to negotiate encryption keys with 1 Byte of entropy without protecting the integrity of the negotiation process. A remote attacker can manipulate the entropy negotiation to let any standard compliant Bluetooth device negotiate encryption keys with 1 byte of entropy and then brute force the low entropy keys in real time. Troy Hunt: Extended Validation Certificates are (Really, Really) Dead — With both browsers auto-updating for most people, we're about 10 weeks out from no more EV and the vast majority of web users no longer seeing something they didn't even know was there to begin with! Oh sure, you can still drill down into the certificate and see the entity name, but who's really going to do that? You and I, perhaps, but we're not exactly in the meat of the browser demographics.Google wants to reduce lifespan for HTTPS certificates to one year | ZDNet — Scott Helme argues that the security benefits of shorter SSL certificate lifespans have nothing to do with phishing or malware sites, but instead with the SSL certificate revocation process. Helme claims that this process is broken and that bad SSL certificates continue to live on for years after being mississued and revoked.
409: Privacy Perspectives
We examine why it's so difficult to protect your privacy online and discuss browser fingerprinting, when to use a VPN, and the limits of private browsing. Plus Apple's blaring bluetooth beacons and Facebook's worrying plans for WhatsApp.Links:Apple bleee. Everyone knows What Happens on Your iPhone – hexway — If Bluetooth is ON on your Apple device everyone nearby can understand current status of your device, get info about battery, device name, Wi-Fi status, buffer availability, OS version and even get your mobile phone number Facebook Plans on Backdooring WhatsApp - Schneier on Security — In Facebook's vision, the actual end-to-end encryption client itself such as WhatsApp will include embedded content moderation and blacklist filtering algorithms. These algorithms will be continually updated from a central cloud service, but will run locally on the user's device, scanning each cleartext message before it is sent and each encrypted message after it is decrypted. Signal — Privacy that fits in your pocket. xkcd: Security — Turns out it's a $5 wrench, even better!Jim Salter on Twitter — I wonder why #privacy wonks aren't talking about browser fingerprinting more frequently? Privacy Badger, Ghostery, etc don't do a damn thing to prevent or mitigate Canvas / WebGL #fingerprinting. Canvas Fingerprinting - BrowserLeaks.com — The technique is based on the fact that the same canvas image may be rendered differently in different computers. This happens for several reasons. At the image format level – web browsers uses different image processing engines, image export options, compression level, the final images may got different checksum even if they are pixel-identical. At the system level – operating systems have different fonts, they use different algorithms and settings for anti-aliasing and sub-pixel rendering. WebGL Browser Report - WebGL Fingerprinting - WebGL 2 Test - BrowserLeaks.com — WebGL Browser Report checks WebGL support in your web browser, produce WebGL Device Fingerprinting, and shows the other WebGL and GPU capabilities more or less related web browser identity. AmIUnique — Device fingerprinting or browser fingerprinting is the systematic collection of information about a remote device, for identification purposes. Client-side scripting languages allow the development of procedures to collect very rich fingerprints: browser and operating system type and version, screen resolution, architecture type, lists of fonts, plugins, microphone, camera, etc. Panopticlick — Panopticlick will analyze how well your browser and add-ons protect you against online tracking techniques. We’ll also see if your system is uniquely configured—and thus identifiable—even if you are using privacy-protective software. However, we only do so with your explicit consent, through the TEST ME button below. How private is your browser’s Private mode? Research into porn suggests “not very” | Ars Technica — This leaves browser fingerprinting as a method to tie your profiles together—and unfortunately, Incognito mode doesn't appear to help. Privacy Tools - Encryption Against Global Mass Surveillance — You are being watched. Private and state-sponsored organizations are monitoring and recording your online activities. privacytools.io provides services, tools and knowledge to protect your privacy against global mass surveillance. ‘Fingerprinting’ to Track Us Online Is on the Rise. Here’s What to Do. - The New York Times — Fingerprinting involves looking at the many characteristics of your mobile device or computer, like the screen resolution, operating system and model, and triangulating this information to pinpoint and follow you as you browse the web and use apps. Once enough device characteristics are known, the theory goes, the data can be assembled into a profile that helps identify you the way a fingerprint would.Digital 'Fingerprinting' Is The Next Generation Tracking Technology | The Takeaway | WNYC Studios — This growing technology is almost invisible, making it impossible for users to opt-out of the tracking system. As it becomes more popular, tech companies are developing new ways to try and protect consumers from this form of tracking. But is it going to work? New Warning Issued Over Google's Chrome Ad-Blocking Plans — The plans, dubbed Manifest V3, represent a major transformation to Chrome extensions including a revamp of the permissions system. As a result, modern ad blockers such as uBlock Origin—which uses Chrome’s webRequest API to block ads before they’re downloaded–won’t work. Comment on Chrome extension manifest v3 proposal by gorhill — The blocking ability of the webRequest API is still deprecated, and Google Chrome's limited matching algorithm will be the only one possible, and with limits dictated by Google employees. It's annoying that they keep saying "the webRequest API is not deprecated" as if developers have been worried about this -- and as if they want to drown the real issue in a fabricated one nobody made.CanvasBlockerGhosteryDisconnect
408: Apollo's ARC
We take a look at the amazing abilities of the Apollo Guidance Computer and Jim breaks down everything you need to know about the ZFS ARC. Plus an update on ZoL SIMD acceleration, your feedback, and an interesting new neuromorphic system from Intel.Links:ZFS On Linux Has Figured Out A Way To Restore SIMD Support On Linux 5.0+ — Those running ZFS On Linux (ZoL) on post-5.0 (and pre-5.0 supported LTS releases) have seen big performance hits to the ZFS encryption performance in particular. That came due to upstream breaking an interface used by ZFS On Linux and admittedly not caring about ZoL due to it being an out-of-tree user. But now several kernel releases later, a workaround has been devised. ZFS On Linux Runs Into A Snag With Linux 5.0NixOS Takes Action After 1.2GB/s ZFS Encryption Speed Drops To 200MB/s With Linux 5.0+ — A NixOS developer reports that the functions no longer exported by Linux 5.0+ and previously used by ZoL for AVX/AES-NI support end up dropping the ZFS data-set encryption performance to 200MB/s where as pre-5.0 kernels ran around 1.2GB/sLinux 5.0 compat: SIMD compatibility · zfsonlinux/zfs@e5db313 — Restore the SIMD optimization for 4.19.38 LTS, 4.14.120 LTS, and 5.0 and newer kernels. This is accomplished by leveraging the fact that by definition dedicated kernel threads never need to concern themselves with saving and restoring the user FPU state. Therefore, they may use the FPU as long as we can guarantee user tasks always restore their FPU state before context switching back to user space.no SIMD acceleration · Issue #8793 · zfsonlinux/zfs — 4.14.x, 4.19.x, 5.x all have no SIMD acceleration, it is like a turtle. very slow. Chris's Wiki :: ZFS on Linux still has annoying issues with ARC size — One of the frustrating things about operating ZFS on Linux is that the ARC size is critical but ZFS's auto-tuning of it is opaque and apparently prone to malfunctions, where your ARC will mysteriously shrink drastically and then stick there. Software woven into wire, Core rope and the Apollo Guidance Computer — One of the first computers to use integrated circuits, the Apollo Guidance Computer was lightweight enough and small enough to fly in space. An unusual feature that contributed to its small size was core rope memory, a technique of physically weaving software into high-density storage.Virtual Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) software — Since you are looking at this README file, you are in the "master" branch of the repository, which contains source-code transcriptions of the original Project Apollo software for the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) and Abort Guidance System (AGS), as well as our software for emulating the AGC, AGS, and some of their peripheral devices (such as the display-keyboard unit, or DSKY).The Underappreciated Power of the Apollo Computer - The Atlantic — Without the computers on board the Apollo spacecraft, there would have been no moon landing, no triumphant first step, no high-water mark for human space travel. A pilot could never have navigated the way to the moon, as if a spaceship were simply a more powerful airplane. The calculations required to make in-flight adjustments and the complexity of the thrust controls outstripped human capacities.Brains scale better than CPUs. So Intel is building brains | Ars Technica — Neuromorphic engineering—building machines that mimic the function of organic brains in hardware as well as software—is becoming more and more prominent. The field has progressed rapidly, from conceptual beginnings in the late 1980s to experimental field programmable neural arrays in 2006, early memristor-powered device proposals in 2012, IBM's TrueNorth NPU in 2014, and Intel's Loihi neuromorphic processor in 2017. Yesterday, Intel broke a little more new ground with the debut of a larger-scale neuromorphic system, Pohoiki Beach, which integrates 64 of its Loihi chips. Dancing Demon - YouTube — Written in 1979 by Leo Christopherson for the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I computer. This is the best game ever for at that time.
Problematic Privileges
Wes takes a quick look at a container escape proof-of-concept and reviews Docker security best practices.Links:Understanding Docker container escapes | Trail of Bits Blog — Linux cgroups are one of the mechanisms by which Docker isolates containers. The PoC abuses the functionality of the notify_on_release.Felix Wilhelm on Twitter — Quick and dirty way to get out of a privileged k8s pod or docker container by using cgroups release_agent feature.
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Seattle, WA, USA
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
1 week, 4 days