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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

12/27/2013
04:37 PM
50%
50%

Researchers Reveal Snapchat Security Issues

Security researchers release proof-of-concept code for issues they say they disclosed months ago to Snapchat

Snapchat, the popular photo messaging service, got a visit from the privacy Grinch this Christmas season after researchers released details of an exploit that abuses Snapchat's "Find My Friends" feature.

The visit was the work of Gibson Security, which first notified Snapchat of this and other security issues back in August. According to the group, Snapchat did not respond, compelling Gibson Security to publicly release more details and some proof-of-concept code on Christmas Eve. The first target: Snapchat's Find My Friends feature.

Typically, Find My Friends enables users to look up their friends' usernames by uploading the phone numbers in their devices' address book and searching for accounts that match those numbers. The researchers, however, were able to abuse that capability to do that on a massive scale.

"We did some back-of-the-envelope calculations based on some number crunching we did (on an unused range of numbers)," the researchers state in their advisory. "We were able to crunch through 10 thousand phone numbers (an entire sub-range in the American number format (XXX) YYY-ZZZZ - we did the Z's) in approximately 7 minutes on a gigabit line on a virtual server. Given some asynchronous optimizations, we believe that you could potentially crunch through that many in as little as a minute and a half (or, as a worst case, two minutes). This means you'd be railing through as many as 6666 phone numbers a minute (or, in our worst case, 5000!)."

Gibson Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Dark Reading. However, in an email with ZDNet, researchers say an attacker could use the Snapchat API to write an automated program that generates phone numbers and searches them against the Snapchat database as a step toward building a database of social networking profiles that could be sold to others.

"Hopping through the particularly ‘rich’ area codes of America, potential malicious entities could create large databases of phone numbers and corresponding Snapchat accounts in minutes," the researchers wrote.

The researchers also presented proof-of-concept code for the bulk registration of accounts. The issue takes advantage of what the researchers say in their advisory is "lax registration functionality."

"The mass registration exploit could be used to create thousands of accounts, which could be used for speeding up the above process, or possibly for spam," Gibson Security told ZDNet.

Snapchat did not respond to a request for comment from Dark Reading.

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

Brian Prince is a freelance writer for a number of IT security-focused publications. Prior to becoming a freelance reporter, he worked at eWEEK for five years covering not only security, but also a variety of other subjects in the tech industry. Before that, he worked as a ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
9 Tips to Prepare for the Future of Cloud & Network Security
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  9/28/2020
Malware Attacks Declined But Became More Evasive in Q2
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  9/24/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-12505
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
Improper Authentication vulnerability in WAGO 750-8XX series with FW version <= FW07 allows an attacker to change some special parameters without authentication. This issue affects: WAGO 750-852 version FW07 and prior versions. WAGO 750-880/xxx-xxx version FW07 and prior versions. WAGO 750-881 ve...
CVE-2020-12506
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
Improper Authentication vulnerability in WAGO 750-8XX series with FW version <= FW03 allows an attacker to change the settings of the devices by sending specifically constructed requests without authentication This issue affects: WAGO 750-362 version FW03 and prior versions. WAGO 750-363 version ...
CVE-2020-4629
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
IBM WebSphere Application Server 7.0, 8.0, 8.5, and 9.0 could allow a local user with specialized access to obtain sensitive information from a detailed technical error message. This information could be used in further attacks against the system. IBM X-Force ID: 185370.
CVE-2019-17098
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
Use of hard-coded cryptographic key vulnerability in August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge App, Connect Firmware allows an attacker to decrypt an intercepted payload containing the Wi-Fi network authentication credentials. This issue affects: August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge App version v10.11.0 and prior version...
CVE-2020-15731
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
An improper Input Validation vulnerability in the code handling file renaming and recovery in Bitdefender Engines allows an attacker to write an arbitrary file in a location hardcoded in a specially-crafted malicious file name. This issue affects: Bitdefender Engines versions prior to 7.85448.