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Black Hat USA 2014: AppSec Grab Bag

If Black Hat had a middle name -- it doesn't, for the record -- it could well be Application Security. Which is actually two names, so maybe we'd have to hyphenate it. You can see it gets complicated. Today's five Black Hat Briefing highlights cover a potpourri of application security topics, ranging from vulnerabilities in webapps and the cloud to weaknesses in shared libraries.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) remain one of the most severe security vulnerabilities of the web. Browser vendors' client-side XSS filters help. Unfortunately, they are far from perfect. Call To Arms: A Tale of the Weaknesses of Current Client-Side XSS Filtering examines the particulars of Google Chrome's XSS Auditor, in which the presenters have discovered 17 separate flaws that enable them to bypass its filtering. They'll debut tools to automate these attacks, and they'll wrap with a wider look at XSS vulnerabilities in the Alexa Top 10,000, along with a look at future XSS protection prospects.

When it comes to online social network (OSN) authorization, it's generally believed that correct use of OAuth 2.0 (by provider and app developer) is secure enough. But that's not so. How to Leak a 100-Million-Node Social Graph in Just One Week? A Reflection on Oauth and API Design in Online Social Networks will demonstrate a massive user data leak achieved through subtle feats of application impersonation and $150 of Amazon Web Service. You'll see that industrial practitioners have some work cut out for them when designing the next generation of sign-on protocols.

Speaking of abusing cloud services, what happens when criminals start using friendly cloud services for malicious activities? CloudBots: Harvesting Crypto Coins Like a Botnet Farmer will explore just how easy it is to generate massive amounts of unique emails, use them to get free trial accounts, deploy code, and distribute commands (C2), creating a semi-legal botnet that evades malware protections and web filters. The presenters will share their botnet-related pentest and security research tools, and they will reveal how they found out that they weren't the only ones doing this.

A common side-channel vulnerability in many web applications comes in timing side-channels, which allows an attacker to extract information based on different response times. Alas, the severity of these vulnerabilities is woefully misunderstood. Time Trial: Racing Towards Practical Timing Attacks will debut a tool for detecting these vulnerabilities and show just how common they can be. This should be of interest to a spectrum of Black Hat attendees, including pentesters and defensive specialists.

The last item -- and the one with the single most impressive word in its title -- is Epidemiology of Software Vulnerabilities: A Study of Attack Surface Spread, which will blow a whistle on security flaws in third-party software libraries (middleware) of the sort widely adopted by developers. Third-party libraries can spread a single vulnerability across multiple products, exposing enterprises and requiring repeated patches. How big of an issue is this, and which shared libraries are the worst offenders? Come find out.

Please visit Black Hat USA 2014's registration page to register.

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