Archive for the ‘Android’ Category

DEFCON 24: 0-day notes.

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Another year observing DEFCON remotely. Maybe next year, if I get lucky, or the year after that.

The schedule is here. If I were going, what would I go to? What gets me excited? What do I think you should look for if you are lucky enough to go?

(As a side note, one of my cow-orkers was lucky enough to get a company paid trip to Black Hat this year. I’m hoping he’ll let me make archival copies of the handouts.)


Random thought.

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Sensors included on the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro:

  • Touch ID
  • Three-axis gyro
  • Accelerometer
  • Barometer
  • Ambient light sensor

Not included: GPS, unless you purchase one of the cellular models. It looks like “assisted GPS and GLONASS” are built into the cellular chipset or something?

I keep thinking about getting an iPad or some other sort of tablet to supplement my first generation Kindle Fire. But it always comes back to this: I want GPS, and can’t get it. Okay, I could if I bought a cellular model, but:

  1. The cellular iPad 2 is $130 more than the Wi-Fi equivalents in every memory configuration. Same with the iPad Pro. Except the Pro only has one cellular/Wi-fi memory config, and that’s over $1,000.
  2. I don’t want cellular data. I don’t have the $60 to $85 a month it would take to add a device to my plan. $60 to $85 a month is at least one good Smith and Wesson a year. I’d be perfectly happy with a device that just does Wi-fi, as long as it has GPS. If I desperately needed data in non-Wi-fi areas, I’d enable the hotspot feature on my phone – at least that’s only $30 a month, I think.

It isn’t just Apple, though. I’ve looked at Android tablets too. I’ve heard that Android gives you lower-level access to GPS data than iOS, but I haven’t been all that impressed by the Android tablets I’ve seen. The price/memory ratio just seems out of whack to me.

Best Buy, for example, is selling a Nexus 9 with 32GB of memory (which to me is a hard minimum; I’d prefer 64GB) for $432. I can get a Mini 2 for $319 from Apple, or a Mini 4 with 64GB for $499. Decisions, decisions. Do I want an Apple device that doesn’t have GPS, but that I can trust to be updated regularly and work for a while? (I’m still using a MacBook I bought in 2007 as my main computer.) Or do I want to buy another shoddy piece of crap Android thing that’s going to stop getting updates in 18 months, but does have GPS?

Or does it? The specs on Google’s site show the Nexus 9 does, but they also show it has a cellular chipset. Does the Wi-Fi only version do GPS? Can I buy a cellular tablet and use GPS on it without a carrier? Who knows? I can’t find that on Google’s site, the specs on Best Buy’s site don’t mention GPS, and asking a Best Buy employee seems like a good way to invoke the customer appreciation bat.

Am I making this too hard? Am I asking too much? All I want is a reasonably priced tablet that does GPS and doesn’t require a cellular data plan. Why is this so hard?

DEFCON 23 notes: August 7, 2015.

Friday, August 7th, 2015

I kind of skipped over yesterday, because Thursday is traditionally slow. And it is a little early for stuff to be up today, plus many of the good presentations are scheduled for tomorrow.

But! BlackHat 2015! Not everything from BlackHat gets duplicated at DEFCON, and vice versa, but there’s always some overlap. Some things that are already up:

There are a couple of other overlaps I’ve found (specifically the Josh Drake presentation on Stagefright and the Valasek/Miller car exploit) but those don’t have any slides or other material attached yet.

More links and stuff as and when I find it and am able to post.

Edited to add: Just noticed this on the DEFCON 23 site. Download the conference CD optical disc here. Woo hoo woo hoo hoo. (The .rar file is 419 MB. Good thing I work for a networking company.)

DEFCON 23: -2 day notes

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

DEFCON 23 starts Thursday. Black Hat USA 2015 starts tomorrow.

Once again, it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it out to Vegas. Once again, I’m going to try to cover things from 1,500 miles away. It isn’t completely clear to me that anyone other than me is getting any benefit from this, but I’ve been doing this for long enough that I have a hard time stopping now.

Here’s the schedule. There are several presentations that are already getting media attention:

So what would I go see if I was there? What sounds interesting to me?


Changing the face of dining.

Friday, January 31st, 2014

We have a noodle truck at the office on Thursdays.

The Forbidden. Beef stewed for four hours in an Indonesian-style red curry. DFG Noodles, Austin, Texas.

The Forbidden. Beef stewed for four hours in an Indonesian-style red curry. DFG Noodles, Austin, Texas.

And it is pretty damn good.

And they take credit/debt cards. You’ve seen it before, haven’t you? iPad with a credit card swiper, pick your tip, sign, have your receipt emailed to you?

This observation isn’t original to me, and I’m not sure it is terribly profound, but: services like Square have revolutionized credit card processing. I remember the old days, when setting up a merchant account was hard to do, and you needed a phone line, and you needed bulky equipment, and the credit card processors charged enormous fees. Now? I’m kind of far from retail, so I’m not sure if Square has resulted in downward pressure on fees (though I suspect it has).

Someone I know who is in retail and takes credit cards reviewed an early draft of this post and provided this information: they pay 2.61% for credit card processing, but each month’s statement also contains a laundry list of “cryptic inexplicable fees” that they have to pay as well. Square claims to charge a flat 2.75% for swiped transactions (Visa, MC, AmEx, Discover) with no additional fees. (I say “claims” because I have not used Square and can’t verify that for myself.)

Square also claims to deliver your money in one to two business days, no matter what type of card it is. The retail person I know says that AmEx fees depend on how long you let AmEx keep your money: they let AmEx hold their money for 15 days, and pay between 2% and 3%.

But fees aside, anyone who has a bank account can take credit cards these days, and all you need is an iPhone or iPad (or a supported Android device, though frankly that looks a little painful). Little to no bulk, no landline, and the money goes into your linked bank account.

The big thing, as I see it, isn’t the merchant charges: it is the portability. Your credit card machine is your phone or tablet, and it fits in a trailer. Or in a pocket. And you don’t need anything else – you don’t even need a printer, you can just email receipts to your customers. (Okay, you might want a charging cable, depending on how good battery life is on your device. But other than that, nothing.)



Today’s update from the Department of Things That Make You Go “Hmmmmmmmmmmm”.

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

I found a couple of interesting little tidbits while going through the “Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report”. Before I begin, disclaimer and explainer: keep in mind that I am a contractor for Cisco. However, the 2014 Report is not a Cisco internal document, but is available to the public. You can download it here, though you do have to enter your name and an email address.

Things that I found interesting:

Ninety-nine percent of all mobile malware in 2013 targeted Android devices. Android users also have the highest encounter rate (71 percent) with all forms of web-delivered malware.

You. Don’t. Say.

Spam volume was on a downward trend worldwide in 2013. However, while the overall volume may have decreased, the proportion of maliciously intended spam remained constant.

So we’re winning? Maybe?

Of all the web-based threats that undermine security, vulnerabilities in the Java programming language continue to be the most frequently exploited target by online criminals, according to Cisco data.


Data from Sourcefire, now part of Cisco, also shows that Java exploits make up the vast majority (91 percent) of indicators of compromise (IoCs) that are monitored by Sourcefire’s FireAMP solution for advanced malware analysis and protection (Figure 12).

So should you disable Java? I think Borepatch would probably say “yes”. But this is also interesting:

90 percent of Cisco customers use a version of the Java 7 Runtime Environment, the most current version of the program. This is good from a security standpoint, since this version is likely to offer greater protection against vulnerabilities…
…However, Cisco TRAC/SIO research also shows that 76 percent of enterprises using Cisco solutions are also using the Java 6 Runtime Environment, in addition to Java 7.

JRE6 has been end-of-lifed and is no longer supported. I’m thinking the best practice here is:

A. Carefully evaluate your need for Java.
II. If you do need it, use the most current version.

At 43.8 percent, Andr/Qdplugin-A was the most frequently encountered mobile malware, according to Cisco TRAC/SIO research. Typical encounters were through repackaged copies of legitimate apps distributed through unofficial marketplaces.

“unofficial marketplaces”. You. Don’t. Say.

There’s a lot more in the report, including a brief discussion of Wireshark and Python tools for doing data analysis. I do commend it to your attention, even though my bias here is obvious.

Edited to add: left out one I intended to include.

In a recent project reviewing Domain Name Service (DNS) lookups originating from inside corporate networks, Cisco threat intelligence experts found that in every case, organizations showed evidence that their networks had been misused or compromised.
For example, 100 percent of the business networks analyzed by Cisco had traffic going to websites that host malware, while 92 percent show traffic to webpages without content, which typically host malicious activity. Ninety-six percent of the networks reviewed showed traffic to hijacked servers.

Bad Idea Jeans.

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Scentee, a Japanese tech brand, has created a product that attaches to your smartphone and releases a scent. The plug-in accessory fits into the headphone socket of a smartphone (iPhone and Android). The device works with a companion app that tells it to spray a burst of fragrance into the air when you receive a message.

Available scents are claimed to include:

…rose, mint, curry, jasmine, cinnamon roll, lavender, apple, strawberry, ylang-ylang (a fragrant flower), coconut, and if you remember the fried corn soup fritters at KFC Japan from earlier this year, the corn soup scent should come as no surprise. There’s also a limited-edition Korean BBQ collection with two meat scents and baked potato. A bacon scent is in the works.

Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it in action. But even if this does turn out to be real, and not a hoax, I still think it is a damn stupid idea. (Anyone remember the iSmell?)


Almost as cool as making the theme song to “The Wire” (the Season 5 version) your ringtone … almost.

Oh, bullshit. Everyone knows the Season 1 version (with the Blind Boys of Alabama) is the best version.

Edited to add: I have been challenged to provide support for the above statement.

Here’s a handy page that contains YouTube versions of the theme song from all five seasons.

TMQ Watch: August 13, 2013.

Friday, August 16th, 2013

We were trying to come up with a clever introduction to the return of Tuesday Morning Quarterback (and, thus, the TMQ Watch) but we couldn’t. On the other hand, we were also suffering from a bad case of 70s nostalgia (brought about by many things, but exacerbated by the death of Bert Lance). So we thought we’d throw some vintage music your way before cracking open this week’s TMQ after the jump. Oddly enough, it turns out to be fitting for reasons we’ll see later on…


And even more DEFCON 21 links: August 9, 2013.

Friday, August 9th, 2013

DEFCON 21 update: August 5, 2013.

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Yeah, I know, I’ve been quiet. Much of Friday’s blogging time was eaten by Bluehost instability, and Saturday and Sunday were busy.

But I do have some updates and links.

I’m going to cut things off here for right now. I’m still trying to find links to some of the other presentations I mentioned (in particular, I’d love a link of some sort to Anch’s “Pentesters Toolkit” if anyone has one) and will post updates as they come in. Depending on what I dig up, there may be a second post tomorrow. In the meantime, this should keep you busy.

DEFCON 21: -1 day notes.

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Just because I’m not going to DEFCON 21 doesn’t mean I can’t try to cover it. From 1,500 miles away. Sort of half-assedly.

DEFCON hasn’t even started yet, but Black Hat is going on, and some stuff is coming out. The biggest story so far has been Barnaby Jack’s death. I haven’t mentioned it previously because I’ve felt like it was well covered elsewhere (even FARK).

Another “big” (well, I think it is) story that I haven’t seen very much coverage of is the phone cracking bot. Justin Engler (@justinengler on Twitter) and Paul Vines, according to the synopsis of their talk and the linked article, built a robot for under $200 that can brute force PINs. Like the one on your phone.

Robotic Reconfigurable Button Basher (R2B2) is a ~$200 robot designed to manually brute force PINs or other passwords via manual entry. R2B2 can operate on touch screens or physical buttons. R2B2 can also handle more esoteric lockscreen types such as pattern tracing.

This is one I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Borepatch is in Vegas this year, attending both Black Hat and DEFCON. He’s got a couple of posts up: a liveblog of the NSA director’s presentation at Black Hat, and another post about the links between black hats and political candidates.

So the DEFCON schedule is up. If I was going, what would get me excited? (I’ve included the Twitter handles of the speakers from the DEFCON 21 schedule information; I figure this gives a central source for looking up someone’s feed and getting copies of their presentation.)

From Thursday’s talks: I’d probably go to “Hacker Law School“, as I’m a frustrated wanna-be lawyer anyway. Why not?

Anch’s (@boneheadsanon) “Pentesters Toolkit” talk makes my heart skip a beat:

You’ve been hired to perform a penetration test, you have one week to prepare. What goes in the bag? What is worth lugging through airport security and what do you leave home. I’ll go through my assessment bag and show you what I think is important and not, talk about tools and livecd’s, what comes in handy and what I’ve cut out of my normal pen-test rig.

Push some more of my buttons, please.

The Aaron Bayles (@AlxRogan) “Oil and Gas Infosec 101” talk kind of intrigues me, but it would depend on my mood at the time as to whether I went to that one, or skipped out for a break.

Likewise with the Beaker and Flipper talk on robot building: yeah, robot building is something I’m interested in doing, but I might just be in a mood to visit the Atomic Testing Museum instead, and read your slides later. Nothing personal: I’m sure it will be a great talk.

I’m intrigued by the ZeroChaos (@pentoo_linux) panel on the Pentoo LINUX distribution for penetration testing. I’m not sure how that differs from, say, BackTrack, but I’d probably show up just so I could find out.

The “Wireless Penetration Testing 101 & Wireless Contesting” talk by DaKahuna and Rick Mellendick (@rmellendick) hits yet another of my hot buttons. I can’t tell from the description how much of this is going to be describing contests in the Hacker Village, and how much will be practical advice, but I’d show up anyway.

That takes us into Friday. Just from a preliminary look at the schedule, it looks like the big thing this year is hacking femtocells. Doug DePerry (@dugdep) and Tom Ritter (@TomRitterVG) are doing a talk on “I Can Hear You Now: Traffic Interception and Remote Mobile Phone Cloning with a Compromised CDMA Femtocell”:

During this talk, we will demonstrate how we’ve used a femtocell for traffic interception of voice/SMS/data, active network attacks and explain how we were able to clone a mobile device without physical access.

The Charlie Miller (@0xcharlie) and Chris Valasek (@nudehaberdasher) talk, “Adventures in Automotive Networks and Control Units“, sounds interesting as well. I’m just slightly more interested in femtocells than automotive hacking, so apologies to Mr. Miller and Mr. Valasek: if the two weren’t in conflict, I’d hit your talk for sure.

And if you haven’t been to a software defined radio talk, Balint Seeber’s (@spenchdotnet) sounds promising.

The Secret Life of SIM Cards” by Karl Koscher (@supersat) and Eric Butler (@codebutler) intrigues me the most out of the 11:00 talks. And I’m kind of interested in the Ryan W. Smith (@ryanwsmith13) and Tim Strazzere “DragonLady: An Investigation of SMS Fraud Operations in Russia” presentation because, well…

This presentation will show key findings and methods of this investigation into top Android malware distributors operating in Russia and the surrounding region. The investigation includes the discovery of 10’s of thousands of bot-controlled twitter accounts spreading links to this type of SMS fraud malware, tracing distribution through thousands of domains and custom websites, and the identification of multiple “affiliate web traffic monetization” websites based in Russia which provide custom Android SMS fraud malware packaging for their “affiliates”. During this investigation we have mapped out an entire ecosystem of actors, each providing their own tool or trade to help this underground community thrive.

There’s not much that intrigues me after Benjamin Caudill’s (@RhinoSecurity) presentation on “Offensive Forensics: CSI for the Bad Guy“. If I was at DEFCON, this is the time where I’d probably be browsing the dealer’s room, though I might go to the Amir Etemadieh (@Zenofex)/Mike Baker (@gtvhacker)/CJ Heres (@cj_000)/Hans Nielsen (@n0nst1ck) Google TV panel: these are the same folks who did the Google TV talk at DEFCON 20.

I feel kind of conflicted at 4:00. The Daniel Selifonov talk, “A Password is Not Enough: Why Disk Encryption is Broken and How We Might Fix It” sounds interesting. But I’m also intrigued by the “Decapping Chips the Easy Hard Way” with Adam Laurie and Zac Franken. Decapping chips is something I’ve been fascinated by, and it looks like Adam and Zac have found methods that don’t involve things like fuming nitric acid (and thus, are suitable for an apartment).

This is also the time when we, once again, present the “Hippie, please!” award to Richard Thieme for “The Government and UFOs: A Historical Analysis“.

I’m slightly intrigued by Nicolas Oberli’s (@Baldanos) talk about the ccTalk protocol, “Please Insert Inject More Coins”:

The ccTalk protocol is widely used in the vending machine sector as well as casino gaming industry, but is actually not that much known, and very little information exists about it except the official documentation. This protocol is used to transfer money-related information between various devices and the machine mainboard like the value of the inserted bill or how many coins need to be given as change to the customer.

Saturday morning, we have the second femtocell talk, “Do-It-Yourself Cellular IDS”, by Sherri Davidoff (@sherridavidoff), Scott Fretheim, David Harrison, and Randi Price:

For less than $500, you can build your own cellular intrusion detection system to detect malicious activity through your own local femtocell. Our team will show how we leveraged root access on a femtocell, reverse engineered the activation process, and turned it into a proof-of-concept cellular network intrusion monitoring system.

Opposite that, and worth noting, are the annual Tobias/Bluzmanis lock talk, and the David Lawrence et al talk on using 3D printers to defeat the Schlage Primus.

More than likely, I’d hit the Daniel Crowley et al (@dan_crowley) talk, “Home Invasion 2.0 – Attacking Network-Controlled Consumer Devices“, and the Philip Polstra (@ppolstra) presentation “We are Legion: Pentesting with an Army of Low-power Low-cost Devices“. I’m particularly intrigued by the Polstra talk, as one of my areas of interest is how small can we make devices that can still do useful hacking? What’s the smallest feasible wardriving system, for example?

I do want to give Jaime Sanchez (@segofensiva) a shout-out for his talk on “Building an Android IDS on Network Level“. This is worth watching.

I’d have to go to the Phorkus (@PeakSec)/Evilrob “Doing Bad Things to ‘Good’ Security Appliances” talk:

The problem with security appliances is verifying that they are as good as the marketing has lead you to believe. You need to spend lots of money to buy a unit, or figure out how to obtain it another way; we chose eBay. We now have a hardened, encrypted, AES 256 tape storage unit and a mission, break it every way possible!

Because, tape! But the Wesley McGrew “Pwn The Pwn Plug: Analyzing and Counter-Attacking Attacker-Implanted Devices” talk also interests me.

The PIN cracking device talk is on Saturday, opposite Amber Baldet’s (@AmberBaldet) talk on “Suicide Risk Assessment and Intervention Tactics“. I’m glad DEFCON accepted her talk, and I am looking forward to seeing the presentation online.

Also noteworthy, I think: James Snodgrass and Josh Hoover (@wishbone1138) on “BYO-Disaster and Why Corporate Wireless Security Still Sucks“.

Todd Manning (@tmanning) and Zach Lanier (@quine) are doing a presentation on “GoPro or GTFO: A Tale of Reversing an Embedded System“. I don’t have a GoPro (yet) or much of a use for one (yet) but I think they are interesting devices, so I’ll be watching for slides from this talk. Same for the conflicting Melissa Elliott talk, “Noise Floor: Exploring the World of Unintentional Radio Emissions“.

This takes us to Sunday. There’s not a whole lot that really turns me on early, though I admit to some interest in the Jaime Filson/Rob Fuller talk on harvesting github to build word lists:

After downloading approximately 500,000 repositories, storing 6TB on multiple usb drives; this will be a story of one computer, bandwidth, basic python and how a small idea quickly got out of hand.

I like the idea behind John Ortiz’s “Fast Forensics Using Simple Statistics and Cool Tools“, and he teaches at the University of Texas – San Antonio, so I’d probably go to that.

Now is when things start heating up from my perspective. Joseph Paul Cohen is giving a talk on his new tool, “Blucat: Netcat For Bluetooth“:

TCP/IP has tools such as nmap and netcat to explore devices and create socket connections. Bluetooth has sockets but doesn’t have the same tools. Blucat fills this need for the Bluetooth realm.

Holy crap, this sounds awesome. All I ask for is code that compiles.

(Unfortunately, this is up against the Eric Robi (@ericrobi)/Michael Perklin talk on “Forensic Fails“, which sounds like fun. But Bluetooth hacking is a big area of interest for me; sorry, guys.)

Speaking of Bluetooth hacking, Ryan Holeman (@hackgnar) is doing a talk on “The Bluetooth Device Database”. Which is exactly what it sounds like:

During this presentation I will go over the current community driven, distributed, real time, client/server architecture of the project. I will show off some of analytics that can be leveraged from the projects data sets. Finally, I will be releasing various open source open source bluetooth scanning clients (Linux, iOS, OSX).

Dude lives in Austin, too! Holy crap^2!

And that takes us through to the closing ceremonies and the end of DEFCON 21. I will try to link to presentations as they go up, significant news stories, other people’s blogs, and anything else I think you guys might be interested in. If you have specific requests or tips, please either let me know in comments or by email to stainles at mac dot com, stainles at gmail dot com, or stainles at sportsfirings dot com.

I went back to Ohio, but my city was gone.

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Well, not really “gone”. I hadn’t been back to Ohio for nine years, and it amazed me somewhat both how much and how little has changed.

For example, there’s an entire grocery chain that I don’t remember from my last trip…that takes the Discover card and cash. No Visa/AmEx/MasterCard/Diner’s Club, not even debt cards with a PIN, just cash and Discover. Who came up with this idea?

On the other hand, the tractor tire store that was a landmark on the way to Grandma’s place is still there, after 40 something years. And Grandma’s place still feels remote from everything, even though there’s major strip centers at the end of her road, and even though much of the land was sold off over the past few years (and now has houses sitting on it).

And the old NASA hanger is still visible from the airport. That was another landmark for us kids. (My dad worked there, back when it was still the Lewis Research Center, before it was renamed “NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field“. Which is a mouthful. Not that I’m bitter or anything over the renaming; by gosh, if anyone deserved to have a NASA facility named after him, it was John Glenn.)

This is shaping up to be a long post, and sort of “stream of consciousness”, so I’m going to put the rest of it behind a jump. Before I do, here’s Grandma’s obituary, just for the record.