Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

Kaminsky: DNS Vulnerability Will Affect Email, Internal Systems, Too

If you think the now-infamous flaw is limited to browsers and the Web, think again, pioneer researcher says

LAS VEGAS – Black Hat 2008 – After almost a month of holding back, security researcher Dan Kaminsky took off the gloves and delivered the full impact of his newly discovered Domain Name Server vulnerability to an audience of more than 2,000 security experts here.

The presentation was the end of a long wait for many security researchers and professionals, who were first tipped off to the threat following an unprecedented, simultaneous patch release conducted by multiple vendors in early July. Kaminsky warned the industry of the flaw when the patch was released, but declined to give details, citing a desire to buy more time for vendors and users to implement the fix. (See Vendors Issue Massive Simultaneous Patch for Common Internet Flaw.)

Today's session didn't reveal anything new about the nature of the flaw, which essentially allows attackers to exploit the DNS design to quickly guess the transaction ID of an address query and potentially re-route the user to an unexpected domain. (See Details, Exploits of Web-Wide DNS Vulnerability Revealed.)

However, Kaminsky went into vivid detail on the ubiquity of the DNS lookup process, and how it might be exploited in the wild. And the potential for attacks is broader than most previous reports indicated.

While most early discussions focused on Web surfing and the potential hijacking of users' browser sessions, Kaminsky today pointed out that DNS address queries are embedded in a wide variety of applications and services that had not entered the conversation previously.

"The Internet is more than just the Web," Kaminsky said. "HTTP is used in more than just the browser."

Most email systems, for example, contain DNS lookup capabilities and even their own name servers, Kaminsky observed. "Email servers are awesome at doing DNS lookups," he said. "They will do a DNS lookup for any reason at all. And your spam filter will not stop this problem."

Many enterprises also believe that their internal DNS environments will not be vulnerable, Kaminsky observed. But many internal environments also work with external DNS servers, and even if they didn't, most internal environments are also connected to DNS servers used by customers or suppliers, he noted.

The DNS flaw can affect any system that uses the Internet, including older applications such as FTP that are still widely used, Kaminsky noted. Back-end IT systems such as Telnet, SNMP, authentication servers (such as Radius), backup and restoral systems, and even service-oriented architecture (SOA) environments all use DNS, and could be subject to attack via the newly discovered flaw.

Traditional Web security technologies like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption also will be largely ineffective in preventing attacks that exploit the DNS bug, Kaminsky said. Most Websites do not fully enforce the use of SSL, and most sites offer a "forgot your password?" option that essentially provides a "skeleton key" that would allow the DNS attacker to bypass many of these Web security tools, he explained.

For now, the best answer continues to be the patch that Kaminsky and a cadre of vendors introduced back on July 8. The patch adds a port randomization factor to the address query, making it much more difficult for hackers to hijack the query than they would with traditional transaction IDs alone, Kaminsky said.

Thus far, about 70 percent of the Fortune 500 has deployed the patch, and another 15 percent has made a deployment but is still wrestling with network address translation problems, Kaminsky said: "Only 15 percent has done nothing, and under the circumstances, that's pretty good."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
10 Ways to Keep a Rogue RasPi From Wrecking Your Network
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  7/10/2019
The Security of Cloud Applications
Hillel Solow, CTO and Co-founder, Protego,  7/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-13611
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
An issue was discovered in python-engineio through 3.8.2. There is a Cross-Site WebSocket Hijacking (CSWSH) vulnerability that allows attackers to make WebSocket connections to a server by using a victim's credentials, because the Origin header is not restricted.
CVE-2019-0234
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-15
A Reflected Cross-site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability exists in Apache Roller. Roller's Math Comment Authenticator did not property sanitize user input and could be exploited to perform Reflected Cross Site Scripting (XSS). The mitigation for this vulnerability is to upgrade to the latest version of ...
CVE-2018-7838
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-15
A CWE-119 Buffer Errors vulnerability exists in Modicon M580 CPU - BMEP582040, all versions before V2.90, and Modicon Ethernet Module BMENOC0301, all versions before V2.16, which could cause denial of service on the FTP service of the controller or the Ethernet BMENOC module when it receives a FTP C...
CVE-2019-6822
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-15
A Use After Free: CWE-416 vulnerability exists in Zelio Soft 2, V5.2 and earlier, which could cause remote code execution when opening a specially crafted Zelio Soft 2 project file.
CVE-2019-6823
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-15
A CWE-94: Code Injection vulnerability exists in ProClima (all versions prior to version 8.0.0) which could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the targeted system in all versions of ProClima prior to version 8.0.0.