Archive for the ‘backdoors’ Category
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An open source network utility used by administrators and security professionals contains a cryptographic weakness so severe that it may have been intentionally created to give attackers a surreptitious way to eavesdrop on protected communications, its developer warned Monday.
Socat is a more feature-rich variant of the once widely used Netcat networking service for fixing bugs in network applications and for finding and exploiting security vulnerabilities. One of its features allows data to be transmitted through an encrypted channel to prevent it from being intercepted by people monitoring the traffic. Amazingly, when using the Diffie-Hellman method to establish a cryptographic key, Socat used a non-prime parameter to negotiate the key, an omission that violates one of the most basic cryptographic principles.
The Diffie-Hellman key exchange requires that the value be a prime number, meaning it's only divisible by itself and the number one. Because this crucial and most basic of rules was violated, attackers could calculate the secret key used to encrypt and decrypt the protected communications. What's more, the non-prime value was only 1,024 bits long, a length that researchers recently showed is susceptible to cracking by state-sponsored attackers even when prime numbers are used.
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A recently identified backdoor in hardware sold by security company Fortinet has been found in several new products, many that were running current software, the company warned this week.
The undocumented account with a hard-coded password came to light last week when attack code exploiting the backdoor was posted online. In response, Fortinet officials said it affected only older versions of Fortinet's FortiOS software. The company went on to say the undocumented method for logging into servers using the secure shell (SSH) protocol was a "remote management" feature that had been removed in July 2014.
In a blog post published this week, Fortinet revised the statement to say the backdoor was still active in several current company products, including some versions of its FortiSwitch, FortiAnalyzer, and FortiCache devices. The company said it made the discovery after conducting a review of its products. Company officials wrote:
A security scheme that Britain's spy agency is promoting for encrypting phone calls contains a backdoor that can be accessed by anyone in possession of a master key, according to an analysis published Tuesday by a security expert at University College in London.
The MIKEY-SAKKE protocol is a specification based on the Secure Chorus, an encryption standard for voice and video that was developed by the Communications Electronics Security Group, the information security arm of the UK's Government Communications Headquarters. British governmental officials have indicated that they plan to certify voice encryption products only if they implement MIKEY-SAKKE and Secure Chorus.
According to Steven J. Murdoch, a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Information Security Research Group of University College, MIKEY-SAKKE contains a backdoor that allows communications to be decrypted in bulk. It can be activated by anyone who has access to a master private key that's responsible for generating intermediate private keys. Because the master key is required to create new keys and to update existing ones, network providers must keep the master key permanently available.
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