Vulnerabilities / Threats // Advanced Threats
8/7/2014
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Sara Peters
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Heartbleed, GotoFail Bring Home Pwnie Awards

The Pwnie Awards celebrate the best bug discoveries and worst security fails.

Black Hat USA — Las Vegas — With nerdy security-themed music, a splash of sequins, and a general attitude of good-natured disorder, the security community celebrated its very best and very worst at the Pwnie Awards, Wednesday evening at the Black Hat conference. The Pwnies are awarded by a panel of security researchers who would no doubt be Pwnie winners themselves if they were eligible to enter: Dino Dai Zovi, Justine Aitel, Mark Dowd, Alexander Sotirov, Brandon Edwards, Christopher Valasek, and HD Moore.

The winners are:

Best Server-Side Bug: (Surprise, surprise) Heartbleed, credited to Neel Mehta and Codenomicon. Heartbleed is perhaps the most famous security trouble of the year, which brought more attention to the many drawbacks of SSL. Although Mehta and Codenomicon were lauded for their work in solving the problem, the open-source community was nominated for the Pwnie for "Most Epic Fail," being that the flaw existed for two years.

Best Client-Side Bug: Google Chrome Arbitrary Memory Read-Write Vulnerability, credited to Geohot. According to the Pwnie organizers, Geohot earned the accolades for "chaining together four vulnerabilities, starting with a logic flaw in Chrome that let him read and write arbitrary memory."

Best Privilege Escalation Bug: AFD.sys Dangling Pointer Vulnerability, credited to Sebastian Apelt. As the Pwnie people say, "This exploit is a great example of using a kernel exploit to escape the Internet Explorer 11 sandbox on Windows 8.1."

Most Innovative Research: RSA Key Extract Via Low-Bandwidth Acoustic Cryptanalysis, credited to Daniel Genkin, Adi Shamir, Eran Tromer. "The attack can extract full 4096-bit RSA decryption keys from laptop computers (of various models), within an hour, using the sound generated by the computer during the decryption of some chosen ciphertexts."

Lamest Vendor Response: AVG, saying that a software weakness was "by design" and therefore not a vulnerability. This offense even beat out another nominee: "Daniel" from Open Cert who replied to a researcher's request for the appropriate email address for vulnerability disclosures, with "it was not ignored dick head why lie! are you a professional or not? professionals don't need to lie to prove a point they use facts!"

Most Epic Fail: Apple GotoFail. The critical "goto fail" SSL flaw in OS X -- caused by a line of C code that says "goto fail" -- could allow attackers to eavesdrop on a target's communications, including emails, FaceTime video conversations, and Find My Mac tracking information. Plus it has "fail" right in the name.

Most Epic 0wnage: Mt. Gox, another example of cryptocurrency risky business. Hackers seized control of the personal blog of Mark Karpeles, CEO of the bankrupt Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange, accusing him of stealing 100,000 bitcoins.

Best Song: the SSL Smiley Song, by 0xabad1dea. To the tune of "Jingle Bells," in a sweet, breathy voice one might attribute to a grown-up Cindy Lou-Who, she sings "Dashing through the cloud / On a 10 giabit link / One packet in a crowd / Falls into the data sink." Although the songstress herself was not in attendance, her colleague accepted the Pwnie on her behalf and sang "I'm a Little Teapot" in an admirable falsetto as Brandon Edwards danced along. The SSL Smiley Song even beat out a 50 Cent parody celebrating every security pro's favorite certification, "I'm a C I Double-S P."

 

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

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bpaddock
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bpaddock,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/15/2014 | 1:21:01 PM
No excuse to have a double GOTO go undetected

There are several things that would have found a double 'goto', had they been used:

First as simple as turning on all of the compiler warnings, and then allowing no warnings in code:

GCC:
#-Wunreachable-code
#Warn if the compiler detects that code will never be executed. [Seems to give bogus results]

# -Werror : Make all warnings into errors.

Follow a programming standard such as MISRA that is commonly used in the embedded space:


MISRA rule 14.1 does not permit unreachable code, as the second 'goto' would be unreachable:

http://www.misra.org.uk/

"Unreachable code:
Code is unreachable if the syntax does not permit the code to be accessed.

Infeasible code:
Code is infeasible code if the syntax allows it to be accessed but the semantics ensure that it cannot be reached whatever input data is provided.

Dead code:
Code is dead if it reachable and feasible, but has no effect on the outputs."

Then there any number of tools that can be used for static analysis such as Gimpel Software's Lint amoung others:

MSG#527 Unreachable code at token Symbol -- A portion of the program cannot be reached.

The problem is the many programmers find doing things correctly "cramp their style".

What will really cramp their style is when software developers will be required to have a license by the state.  If we don't clean up our own act, someone else will do it for us, and no one is going to like it!
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