Black Hat 2015: Cracking just about anything

Tim Greene

Researchers at the Black Hat 2015 conference next week will show how to crack Internet routing protocols, malware-detecting honeypots, radio-frequency ID gear that gates building access, and more, but also offer tips on how to avoid becoming victims to their new attacks.

A pair of researchers will release a hardware device that exploits weaknesses in RFID access controls and show how to use it to break into buildings. The device exploits the communication protocol used by most access-control systems, according to the team, Eric Evenchick, a freelance developer, and Mark Baseggio, a security consultant for Accuvant.

The device, which attackers would embed in the RFID reader protecting doors, can use cell phones or PCs to circumvent access controls via Bluetooth LE, they say. Their goal is to show businesses relying on RFID for physical security that they need to take steps to lower the chance of successful breaches.

Honeypots decoy systems set up to gather information about attackers can be commandeered and used against the networks they are meant to defend, another research team says. It will release a list of vulnerabilities that make it easy for attackers to recognize and avoid honeypots.

Further, honeypots can be not just bypassed but actually turned into an attack tool, according to the researchers, Dean Sysman, Gadi Evron and Itamar Sher, who work for Cymmetria. "As a case study, we will concentrate on platforms deployed in real organizational networks, mapping them globally, and demonstrating how it is possible to both bypass and use these honeypots to the attacker's advantage," they say.

A separate briefing will take the alternative approach and release an open-source honeypot OpenCanary -- that is better designed to lure attackers in so they reveal their intent. "Well deployed honeypots can be invaluable tools in the defender's arsenal, and don't need to look anything like the honeypots of old," say the researchers, Haroon Meer and Marco Slaviero, who both work at applied research firm Thinkst.

"We will explore the factors that limit adoption and will discuss how to overcome them," they say. "We will demonstrate new techniques to make your honeypots more hacker-discoverable and will share data from running actual honeypots in real organizations."        

A separate briefing will show how to hijack internet routing in order to crack the encryption used to protect online transactions. This encryption SSL/TLS trusts the Internet's core border gateway protocol (BGP) routers to swap encryption keys securely. But Artyom Gavrichenkov, a developer for the Qrator DDoS mitigation network, says he can hijack BGP and exploit it to break SSL/TLS. He also says he's going to discuss how to prevent this from happening.

Android is already taking a beating with revelations about flaws in Stagefright, the Android media player, and that problem will be discussed at Black Hat by the man who uncovered it, Joshua Drake, director of platform research and exploitation at Zimperium Enterprise Mobile Security. And other researchers will show other ways to hijack Android devices.

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