Perimeter
8/3/2009
11:32 PM
John H. Sawyer
John H. Sawyer
Commentary
50%
50%

'FOCA' And The Power Of Metadata Analysis

Metadata is an interesting -- and often unrealized -- problem for anyone who uses office applications, like Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and Adobe Acrobat.

Metadata is an interesting -- and often unrealized -- problem for anyone who uses office applications, like Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and Adobe Acrobat.I've written about it before because its impact is often misunderstood both from the publicity and security standpoint. On one hand, metadata provides the necessary data to help organize documents in enterprise document management systems. At the same time, if left in documents sent to others, it provides an unnecessary amount of extra information that could embarrass an organization or be used by an attacker to pull off a more targeted attack.

During the presentation "Tactical Fingerprinting Using Metadata, Hidden Info and Lost Data Using FOCA" Sunday at Defcon, Chema Alonso and Jose Palazon discussed a tool called FOCA, which they had released at Black Hat Europe earlier this year. After watching the presentation, I'm shocked it hasn't received more attention from the security community. It is by far one of the best metadata collection and extraction tools I've seen.

Several other metadata extraction tools exist, like metagoofil, libextractor, and cewl, but FOCA combines nearly all their features and much more. It can perform searches using Google and Bing, then automatically downloads files and extracts data into an organized list.

One of the coolest features is the ability to "map the network" using data from collected files -- files that were either downloaded directly through the app or already on the hard drive, where they can be dragged and dropped into the FOCA interface. A basic network map is created based on server, host, and operating system information pulled from files.

Based on what Chema and Jose showed at Defcon, plus some of my own preliminary testing, I can tell you that FOCA is a tool I'll definitely be using regularly during risk assessments and pen-tests. It's a very powerful tool for enumerating files and metadata from both an offensive and defensive point of view.

Those of you who are not penetration testers can use it to see what information your organization is exposing to anyone who knows how to look. And you're likely to be quite surprised. As Chema said, "It's not a crime. The documents are public. We read public documents, just in a different way."

Now you can, too.

John H. Sawyer is a senior security engineer on the IT Security Team at the University of Florida. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are his own and do not represent the views and opinions of the UF IT Security Team or the University of Florida. When John's not fighting flaming, malware-infested machines or performing autopsies on blitzed boxes, he can usually be found hanging with his family, bouncing a baby on one knee and balancing a laptop on the other. Special to Dark Reading.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-6477
Published: 2014-11-23
Unspecified vulnerability in the JPublisher component in Oracle Database Server 11.1.0.7, 11.2.0.3, 11.2.0.4, 12.1.0.1, and 12.1.0.2 allows remote authenticated users to affect confidentiality via unknown vectors, a different vulnerability than CVE-2014-4290, CVE-2014-4291, CVE-2014-4292, CVE-2014-4...

CVE-2014-4807
Published: 2014-11-22
Sterling Order Management in IBM Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite 9.3.0 before FP8 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (CPU consumption) via a '\0' character.

CVE-2014-6183
Published: 2014-11-22
IBM Security Network Protection 5.1 before 5.1.0.0 FP13, 5.1.1 before 5.1.1.0 FP8, 5.1.2 before 5.1.2.0 FP9, 5.1.2.1 before FP5, 5.2 before 5.2.0.0 FP5, and 5.3 before 5.3.0.0 FP1 on XGS devices allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary commands via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-8626
Published: 2014-11-22
Stack-based buffer overflow in the date_from_ISO8601 function in ext/xmlrpc/libxmlrpc/xmlrpc.c in PHP before 5.2.7 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code by including a timezone field in a date, leading to improper XML-RPC encoding...

CVE-2014-8710
Published: 2014-11-22
The decompress_sigcomp_message function in epan/sigcomp-udvm.c in the SigComp UDVM dissector in Wireshark 1.10.x before 1.10.11 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (buffer over-read and application crash) via a crafted packet.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?