Friday, 31 December 2010

Security Digest #15: 27C3 Special

The 27th Annual Chaos Communication Congress

With the application of my superior skills of decryption, I deduce that this logo says 27C3. Well, the 27th CCC has just happened in Berlin, spread over the last four days (Monday 27th to Thursday 30th December). Required viewing for all security professionals, the conference was broadcast live on the Internet, which is where I caught the absolutely riveting presentation of Sony PS3 Security Epic Fail. More on that later.

Blah, blah, blah...
  • GSM eavesdropping is now easier and cheaper than ever. Wow, I thought they'd have patched that one by now. Not. One of the most interesting aspects of Tuesday's presentation was the researchers' casual references to two-terabyte rainbow tables. Now we really are living in the future. The use of these tables of precomputed encryption keys is as old as decryption itself, but their sheer size allowed the session's secret encryption key to be found in less than 20 seconds. The presenters also used various software (open source), one laptop, and for their network sniffers: four $15 telephones.
  • FireEye security researcher Julia Wolf discloses a plethora of new PDF vulnerabilities. Actually this one is new (in the detail) and worrying indeed (in scope). I read it and wept, nearly.
  • WikiLeaks defector details new whistle blowing model, OpenLeak. Well, Wikileaks itself was born at CCC in 2007, in a presentation by Julian Assange; so this is an entirely appropriate time and place to announce that. Good luck with your new venture, you former WL operatives, I'll see your new site and raise you 9,000 others. I mean, shouldn't we be calling this Hololeaks already?

Sony FB Part 3

Required viewing for all Sony development engineers. And I'm quite certain every one of them has watched this by now.

As a PS3 owner, I should have a vested interest in Sony's ability to protect their private walled and perfumed garden of game software development. That I do not in fact feel that interest, is a consequence of some cold industry facts. Specifically:
  1. Protected development is no longer directed at creating the staggeringly imaginative games found on previous console generations - Zelda Ocarina on the Nintendo 64 being both archetype and zenith - but instead aims for common denominator, hyper-realistic sandboxes or short span missions, quite devoid of creativity. In fact...
  2. One of the best things to come out of Sony last year was a Sly Cooper retread, retrofitting HD textures to the identical set of polygons first marketed to us (abysmally marketed, in the case of SCE Europe) way back in 2002; adding some unbelievably meh Move mini games, and trumpeting 3D capability. After all, who's going to remember the original Sly 3 from 2005, arriving on the PS2 already replete with anaglyphic 3D and free blue-red specs? Meanwhile, 2011 seems set to repeat such repeats, with an HD/3D reskinning of Ico & Shadow of the Colossus poised for imminent release.
  3. More than most electronic conglomerates, scofflaws Sony appear particularly to despise their customers, treating them with the same apparent level of dismissive contempt as the corporation exhibits towards all consumer protection legislation, internationally. Examples are legion, and entire websites exist solely to bear testament to this single proposition.
Therefore it was with the squealing glee of a wee girl, that I found and devoured the brilliantly presented 40-minute CCC talk Console Hacking 2010: PS3 Epic Fail, presented by fail0verflow members bushing, sven, marcan and segher...

After a little history, the ubiquitous Michael Steil appeared in cameo to present statistics relating to the time taken to hack various consoles, and supporting his assertion that any console without Linux will be hacked to run it within its first year. The apparently atypical run of luck enjoyed by the PS3 (four years) seems to have been due to Linux already being officially available there. But Sony, famously and illegally, removed that feature; now their security has likewise been annihilated. Again, within that twelve month window.

Interesting though, how this narrative thread fits into an emerging pattern of virtual terrorism (cf the many DDoS attacks recently launched both against and in support of Wikileaks). Upsetting the Linux/hacker community looks a bit like pissing off 4chan, or anonymous, in that, you probably don't want to do it. Anyone can see that DDoS attacks in support of say, Wikileaks, are just as indefensible as attacks on Wikileaks itself; yet they continue, trumpeted by the same, sometimes naive, mostly disingenuous, idealistic justifications.

Anyway (removes equivocation apparatus)...

The core of fail0verflow's presentation featured a table of security features implemented on a sampling of consoles. This was followed by a step-by-step account of the group's deconstruction and reverse-engineering of each of these, by means of spectacularly varied and creative vectors of attack. At the finish, as evidenced by the same table, the wretched PS3's security features had been comprehensively deleted, and you could feel nothing but pity for it:

There's a lot to love about this presentation, but the highlights for me were (1) the playing of the Sony "Trophy!" bell and icon each time another layer of security was breached; and (2) the hilarious specific details of one particular attack, the compromising of ECDSA signatures.

This latter was deliciously presented by fail0verflow member and future standup legend segher, who self-deprecatingly explained just enough about this solid encryption scheme to make it obvious to any high school student, that a certain private random number must be truly random.

Actually, he didn't explain that at all. That would have insulted the intelligence of his audience of hackers. Instead he showed the relevant formula, then observed "... but m is supposed to be a random number. And for some reason, Sony uses the same random number all the time." Instantly, the overhead display changed to show two simultaneous equations. The hall erupted in a gaggle of hysterical laughter, and the kind of rapturous and loud applause that actually hurts your hands and feet.

Just to rub salt in the wounds of any Sony devs watching, he showed us his attempt at reverse-engineering Sony's prang:
// Sony's ECDSA code
int getRandomNumber()
return 4; // Chosen by fair dice roll; guaranteed to be random.
As I mentioned above, there's much more very clever stuff in the presentation; but come on, who could ever follow that? See you next year!

Security Digest is brought to you by the inimitable flavours of Talisker, the only single malt scotch whisky from the Isle of Skye. Actually that Glenmorangie fae Tain's no hauf bad an' all. Aye, and the Lagavulin. Which isnae a patch on Highland Park, incidentally... Happy New Year! Hic.

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