Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ruxcon 2006

Note:(15/11/06): (metlstorm's site - which hosts many of the files linked to here) is down and so I've uploaded all the files related to his talk here:

Its quite a while after Ruxcon is over, but I completely forgot I even had a blog, let alone remembered to actually update it.

Anyway, Ruxcon was awesome, saw some really cool talks, saw some really amazing things, saw more applications for existing ideas.

But the one talk I'm sure will stand out in everyone's mind is's Adam "Metlstorm" Boileau's "Hit By A Bus: Physical Access Attacks with Firewire" talk. Only 2 new things were really unveiled in this talk (not that that minimises their importance), but due to his theatrics it was the one that everyone I talked to mentioned as their favourite for the first day.

I'm not going to outline it since I wouldn't give it the credit it deserves, so i recomend going and having a look at his presentation here: and also on the page relating to the talk on his own website where all the tools/code have been uploaded:

I will cover the 2 new things that he disclosed though:

Firewire Direct Memory Access (DMA) attacks which were previously not possible against Windows now are. The way to gain DMA in a windows machine through firewire is to pretnd to be a trustworthy device like an iPod or similar, not an evil Linux box.

BIOS and Disk Encryption passwords are storedin the realmode keyboard buffer which is not cleared when the computer enters protected mode, and so BIOS and disk encryption passwords are still in memory when the computer is running. THe nly limitation to this though is that the buffer is limited to 15 characters, so while its going to get you the whole passord most of the time, its not going to get it all the time, but even so, 15 characters is still a lot of information.

So as he said "Firewire is great. Everyone should get Firewire.", now time to get a box with a Firewire port and linux on my iPod and we'll see what havoc I can cause, :p

I also rather enjoyed Ilja van Sprundel's talk entitled "Unusual Bugs" for which the presentation can be found here: It was rather interesting to me since I have not had much experience in security outside wb apps, so it helped a lot. There'a a funny little quotes on one of his websites, which I found rather amusing:

A warning: printf uses its first argument to decide how many arguments follow and what their type is. It will get confused, and you will get wrong answers, if there are not enough arguments of if they are the wrong type. You should also be aware of the difference between these two calls:

printf(s); /* FAILS if s contains % */
printf("%s", s); /* SAFE */

-- The C programming language 2nd edition (1988).

And the other talk which i really enjoyed was the second last talk of the conference, which was Ben Hawkes' "Exploiting OpenBSD" for which slides are vailiable at it helped me understand more fully the protections in place in OpenBSD, and Operating Systems in general. Furthermore I found it interesting that the technique which Ben described as "byte for byte" brute forcing is an idea described in several articles in web application security for doing Blind SQL Injection Table Enumeration[1]. This leads me to believe that we are destined to solving the same problems over and over for every single technology, not just finding out that forgetting to Authenticate is bad in web apps, then completely forgetting the idea for AJAX (as per Andrew van der Stock's "Ajax Security" talk), or as the case is here thinking of an idea for attacking web apps and then not trying to think of what other applications the idea might have.

Not that I'm trying to diminish Ben's idea, it is one that really helps, but it is one I'm sure that anyone who has seen the SQL Injection technique I have described will automatically jump to when thinking of how to execute a "better brute force" attack, I know that was the first thing I thought of when he started saying he had thought of a better technique.....

Anyway, I had a great time, saw some interesting things, learned a lot, and met a few people. Also an interesting bit of trivia; at the Google party on the saturday night which I think approximately 60-80 people attended they drank $4,000 of drinks on googleaccount, and the moment this was announced the following morning a huge chear went up, just before another employee's - Morgan Marquis-Boire - talk "Access over Ethernet: Insecurites in AoE".

[1] I'll try to find where I found this mentioned, but essentially the idea is that when performing Blind SQL injection its possible to do checks on single letters rather than whole records, so you can find out how many tables begin with the letter a, the letter b, the letter c, etc, and then for each of those see how many have the second letter asa, as b, etc, etc, and run a brute force letter by letter.

Well, i didn't find the article I read (probably because i read the article on some obscure hacking site at least 6 months ago, and I have no idea where that could be), but I found an article on using a tool which uses the described attak here:


Konrad said...
seems to be unaccessible
as of Dec 5.
Could you please provide
some means to get the files?

kuza55 said...

Its still working for me, there's a link at the top of that page which says "Download File" which you need to click.

If its still not working says so and I'll find somewhere else to upload it.

Anonymous said...

Got it, many thanks.
KDE konqueror managed to (almost) perfectly hide the actual download link.


Konrad said...

Additional Q:
I want to read the Win 2K and XP
DbgPrint buffer via firewire.
(and perhaps other memory areas,
preferably using a Linux machine)
Hints welcome.