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.

Endpoint Security

9/12/2018
07:00 AM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now
50%
50%

Tor Browser Flaw Could Allow Governments to Bypass Security Settings

A report from Zerodium found a flaw in the Tor browser that could allow government agencies to bypass security settings within the software. However, the latest version eliminates this security risk.

A vulnerability in Version 7 of the anonymous Tor Browser can allow third parties, including government agencies, to bypass some of the security protections built into the software, according to a company report.

This so-called "serious vuln/bugdoor" was discovered by Zerodium, a company that specializes in buying previously unknown flaws, usually from independent security researchers, and sharing them with its customers, including government agencies.

In a Tweet released earlier this week, Zerodium noted this particular flaw is only in 7.x versions of Tor and that version 8.0 fixes this issue. The Tor Project, which oversees the development of the browser, detailed the new version of the browser in a September 5 blog post.

\r\n(Source: Flickr)\r\n

\r\n(Source: Flickr)\r\n

Specifically, Zerodium found that the vulnerability allows an attacker to bypass the "safest" security levels of the browser's NoScript extension. These browser extensions allow JavaScript, Java, Flash and other plugins to be executed only by trusted websites marked by users.

The report recommends setting the browser's content type of the HTML and JavaScript page to: "text/html;/json."

In an interview with ZDNet, Chaouki Bekrar, CEO of Zerodium, noted that the company acquired the vulnerability several months ago, and that it has been shared with government customers.

Bekrar noted that while the vulnerability is serious, it would need to be chained to another flaw to reveal user data. A Tor spokesperson later confirmed that to the publication as well.

However, the decision to release this information to government customers did not sit well with some members of the security community.

"The big question here is was this vulnerability used by government agencies to access systems they believed were being used by targeted individuals," Chris Morales, the head of security analytics at Vectra, which makes threat management tools, wrote in an email to Security Now.

"Tor does not serve a legitimate business function and is commonly blocked in major enterprises as a risk," Morales added. "We see tor used by attackers as a form of bypassing perimeter security controls to establish remote access and for command and control. Tor is also used to anonymize activity on the web that a person would not want to be monitored by an ISP or government entity. This vulnerability would have allowed for someone to do exactly that -- monitor someone who did not want to be seen."

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Enterprises Are Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Environment
The adoption of cloud services spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in pressure on cyber-risk professionals to focus on vulnerabilities and new exposures that stem from pandemic-driven changes. Many cybersecurity pros expect fundamental, long-term changes to their organization's computing and data security due to the shift to more remote work and accelerated cloud adoption. Download this report from Dark Reading to learn more about their challenges and concerns.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-4172
PUBLISHED: 2022-01-22
Cross-site Scripting (XSS) - Stored in GitHub repository star7th/showdoc prior to 2.10.2.
CVE-2022-23807
PUBLISHED: 2022-01-22
An issue was discovered in phpMyAdmin 4.9 before 4.9.8 and 5.1 before 5.1.2. A valid user who is already authenticated to phpMyAdmin can manipulate their account to bypass two-factor authentication for future login instances.
CVE-2022-23808
PUBLISHED: 2022-01-22
An issue was discovered in phpMyAdmin 5.1 before 5.1.2. An attacker can inject malicious code into aspects of the setup script, which can allow XSS or HTML injection.
CVE-2022-21707
PUBLISHED: 2022-01-21
wasmCloud Host Runtime is a server process that securely hosts and provides dispatch for web assembly (WASM) actors and capability providers. In versions prior to 0.52.2 actors can bypass capability authorization. Actors are normally required to declare their capabilities for inbound invocations, bu...
CVE-2022-21708
PUBLISHED: 2022-01-21
graphql-go is a GraphQL server with a focus on ease of use. In versions prior to 1.3.0 there exists a DoS vulnerability that is possible due to a bug in the library that would allow an attacker with specifically designed queries to cause stack overflow panics. Any user with access to the GraphQL han...