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.

Analytics

3/14/2008
09:45 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Hacking Vista's Smart Cards

Former Microsoft security team member will demonstrate how his new fuzzer hacks smart card plug-in

The recent wave of smart card hacks have been aimed mainly at the card’s chip and bypassing physical security, but not this latest one: A former Microsoft security team member has demonstrated an attack that compromises the smart card’s middleware plug-in for Vista machines. (See Black Hat Researcher Hacks Credit Cards and 'Gecko' Penetrates Building Access Systems.)

Researcher Dan Griffin, who previously worked for Microsoft on its smart card program, has developed a custom fuzzing tool that hacks smart card and third-party vendors’ plug-in software that use Microsoft’s Smart Card Minidriver Interface, which is built into Vista. "I’m not focusing on the smart card chip," Griffin says. "If I just attack a few specific parts [of the middleware], it will fall over."

Griffin says these smart cards being used for building and machine access come with Java code that allows you to write malicious code into the card. "Writing a hacker applet on the card is not that hard or far-fetched," he says. And he stresses that it’s "not Microsoft code I blow up," but the smart card or third-party plug-in vendor’s.

Griffin’s custom SCardFuzz tool basically forces a heap buffer overflow attack on an unnamed vendor’s smart card plug-in/middleware, allowing an attacker to crash the Vista machine or take it over, says Griffin, a security consultant with JW Secure Inc. "You insert it into a reader on an unattended machine... And you can take out a system process and at best, make it crash, or at worst, take over that process and control it."

The tool provides the card’s plug-in with bogus and jumbled data to cause the overflow attack.

In a proof-of-concept demonstration that he will give at the upcoming CanSecWest conference, Griffin will use a live smart card and its middleware: “Instead of modifying the applet on the card, I instead hook one of the low-level smart card API calls. So logically, the fuzzer sites between the card and the middleware,” he says, explaining that this make it more visual for the demo and shows the API.

“I’m therefore simulating what could be done by writing an evil applet and running it on the card," he says.

He admits he’s a little nervous about releasing SCardFuzz publicly, even after his CanSecWest presentation of it and other Vista Hacking tools he has previously demonstrated over the past year (encryption, firewall, and IPSec ).

"I was thinking that if someone was really interested in using it, I could provide them with the fuzzer but take out the [smart card plug-in] vendor commands," he says.

And XP users with smart card access, beware: This type of attack isn’t restricted to plug-ins that work with Vista machines. "It’s [the smart card interface] been made available down-level, so it would apply to XP as well."

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.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
How Attackers Could Use Azure Apps to Sneak into Microsoft 365
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  3/24/2020
Malicious USB Drive Hides Behind Gift Card Lure
Dark Reading Staff 3/27/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
Data breaches and regulations have forced organizations to pay closer attention to the security incident response function. However, security leaders may be overestimating their ability to detect and respond to security incidents. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-10940
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
Local Privilege Escalation can occur in PHOENIX CONTACT PORTICO SERVER through 3.0.7 when installed to run as a service.
CVE-2020-10939
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
Insecure, default path permissions in PHOENIX CONTACT PC WORX SRT through 1.14 allow for local privilege escalation.
CVE-2020-6095
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
An exploitable denial of service vulnerability exists in the GstRTSPAuth functionality of GStreamer/gst-rtsp-server 1.14.5. A specially crafted RTSP setup request can cause a null pointer deference resulting in denial-of-service. An attacker can send a malicious packet to trigger this vulnerability.
CVE-2020-10817
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
The custom-searchable-data-entry-system (aka Custom Searchable Data Entry System) plugin through 1.7.1 for WordPress allows SQL Injection. NOTE: this product is discontinued.
CVE-2020-10952
PUBLISHED: 2020-03-27
GitLab EE/CE 8.11 through 12.9.1 allows blocked users to pull/push docker images.