By now you’ve probably heard that Apple plans to push a new and uniquely intrusive surveillance system out to many of the more than one billion iPhones it has sold, which all run the behemoth’s proprietary, take-it-or-leave-it software. This new offensive is tentatively slated to begin with the launch of iOS 15—almost certainly in mid-September—with the devices of its US user-base designated as the initial targets. We’re told that other countries will be spared, but not for long.
You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned which problem it is that Apple is purporting to solve. Why? Because it doesn’t matter.
On 19 August, OnlyFans announced to the world that from October 2021 they would no longer host “any content containing sexually-explicit conduct”. For the uninitiated, OnlyFans is a “content-subscription” service that allows individuals to upload any content they wish — from instructive cooking videos to fitness workouts — all hidden behind a protective paywall. But make no mistake: it is an open secret that the majority of the euphemistically-phrased “content” is porn.
Wagner is a Russian mercenary group whose operations have spanned the globe, from front-line fighting in Syria to guarding diamond mines in the Central African Republic. But it is notoriously secretive and, as such, difficult to scrutinise.
Now, the BBC has gained exclusive access to an electronic tablet left behind on a battlefield in Libya by a Wagner fighter, giving an unprecedented insight into how these operatives work.
And another clue given to us in Tripoli - a “shopping list” for state-of-the-art military equipment - suggests Wagner has probably been supported at the highest level despite the Russian government’s consistent denials that the organisation has any links to the state.
Canonicalization Attacks occur when a protocol that feeds data into a hash function used in a Message Authentication Code (MAC) or Digital Signature calculation fails to ensure some property that’s expected of the overall protocol.
But there’s a more interesting attack to think about, which affects the design of security token/envelope formats (PASETO, DSSE, etc.) and comes up often when folks try to extend basic notions of authenticated encryption (AE) to include additional authenticated (but unencrypted) data (thus yielding an AEAD mode).
Let’s start with a basic AE definition, then extend it to AEAD poorly, then break our extension. Afterwards, we can think about strategies for doing it better.
The text delivered last month to the iPhone 11 of Claude Mangin, the French wife of a political activist jailed in Morocco, made no sound. It produced no image. It offered no warning of any kind as an iMessage from somebody she didn’t know delivered malware directly onto her phone — and past Apple’s security systems.
Once inside, the spyware, produced by Israel’s NSO Group and licensed to one of its government clients, went to work, according to a forensic examination of her device by Amnesty International’s Security Lab. It found that between October and June, her phone was hacked multiple times with Pegasus, NSO’s signature surveillance tool, during a time when she was in France.
We performed a detailed security analysis of the encryption offered by the popular Telegram messaging platform. As a result of our analysis, we found several cryptographic weaknesses in the protocol, from technically trivial and easy to exploit to more advanced and of theoretical interest.
For most users, the immediate risk is low, but these vulnerabilities highlight that Telegram fell short of the cryptographic guarantees enjoyed by other widely deployed cryptographic protocols such as TLS. We made several suggestions to the Telegram developers that enable providing formal assurances that rule out a large class of cryptographic attacks, similarly to other, more established, cryptographic protocols.
By default, Telegram uses its bespoke MTProto protocol to secure communication between clients and its servers as a replacement for the industry-standard Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. While Telegram is often referred to as an “encrypted messenger”, this level of protection is the only protection offered by default: MTProto-based end-to-end encryption, which would protect communication from Telegram employees or anyone breaking into Telegram’s servers, is only optional and not available for group chats.
We thus focused our efforts on analysing whether Telegram’s MTProto offers comparable privacy to surfing the web with HTTPS.
Today, the European Parliament approved the ePrivacy Derogation, allowing providers of e-mail and messaging services to automatically search all personal messages of each citizen for presumed suspect content and report suspected cases to the police. The European Pirates Delegation in the Greens/EFA group strongly condemns this automated mass surveillance, which effectively means the end of privacy in digital correspondence. Pirate Party MEPs plan to take legal action.
TCC is meant to protect user data from unauthorized access, but weaknesses in its design mean that protections are easily overridden inadvertently.
Automation, by design, allows Full Disk Access to be ‘backdoored’ while also lowering the authorization barrier.
Multiple partial and full TCC bypasses are known, with at least one actively exploited in the wild.
TCC does not prevent processes reading and writing to ‘protected’ locations, a loophole that can be used to hide malware.
The continuous improvement of security solutions has forced attackers to explore alternative ways to compromise systems. The rising number of firmware attacks and ransomware attacks via VPN devices and other internet-facing systems are examples of attacks initiated outside and below the operating system layer. As these types of attacks become more common, users must look to secure even the single-purpose software that run their hardware—like routers. We have recently discovered vulnerabilities in NETGEAR DGN-2200v1 series routers that can compromise a network’s security—opening the gates for attackers to roam untethered through an entire organization.
We discovered the vulnerabilities while researching device fingerprinting in the new device discovery capabilities in Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. We noticed a very odd behavior: a device owned by a non-IT personnel was trying to access a NETGEAR DGN-2200v1 router’s management port. The communication was flagged as anomalous by machine learning models, but the communication itself was TLS-encrypted and private to protect customer privacy, so we decided to focus on the router and investigate whether it exhibited security weaknesses that can be exploited in a possible attack scenario.