System Overlord

A blog about security engineering, research, and general hacking.

Hacker Summer Camp 2018: Prep Guide

Hacker Summer Camp is the combination of DEF CON, Black Hat USA, and BSides Las Vegas that takes place in the hot Las Vegas sun every summer, along with all the associated parties and side events. It's the largest gathering of hackers, information security professionals and enthusiasts, and has been growing for 25 years. In this post, I'll present my views on how to get the most out of your 2018 trip to the desert.

How the Twitter and GitHub Password Logging Issues Could Happen

There have recently been a couple of highly-publicized (at least in the security community) issues with two tech giants logging passwords in plaintext. First, GitHub found they were logging plaintext passwords on password reset. Then, Twitter found they were logging all plaintext passwords. Let me begin by saying that I have no insider knowledge of either bug, and I have never worked at either Twitter or GitHub, but I enjoy randomly speculating on the internet, so I thought I would speculate on this. (Especially since the /r/netsec thread on the Twitter article is amazingly full of misconceptions.)

BSidesSF CTF 2018: Coder Series (Author's PoV)


As the author of the “coder” series of challenges (Intel Coder, ARM Coder, Poly Coder, and OCD Coder) in the recent BSidesSF CTF, I wanted to share my perspective on the challenges. I can’t tell if the challenges were uninteresting, too hard, or both, but they were solved by far fewer teams than I had expected. (And than we had rated the challenges for when scoring them.)

The entire series of challenges were based on the premise “give me your shellcode and I’ll run it”, but with some limitations. Rather than forcing players to find and exploit a vulnerability, we wanted to teach players about dealing with restricted environments like sandboxes, unusual architectures, and situations where your shellcode might be manipulated by the process before it runs.

The IoT Hacker's Toolkit

IoT and embedded devices provide new challenges to security engineers hoping to understand and evaluate the attack surface these devices add. From new interfaces to uncommon operating systems and software, the devices require both skills and tools just a little outside the normal security assessment. I'll show both the hardware and software tools, where they overlap and what capabilities each tool brings to the table. I'll also talk about building the skillset and getting the hands-on experience with the tools necessary to perform embedded security assessments.

OpenSSH Two Factor Authentication (But Not Service Accounts)

Very often, people hear “SSH” and “two factor authentication” and assume you’re talking about an SSH keypair that’s got the private key protected with a passphrase. And while this is a reasonable approximation of a two factor system, it’s not actually two factor authentication because the server is not using two separate factors to authenticate the user. The only factor is the SSH keypair, and there’s no way for the server to know if that key was protected with a passphrase. However, OpenSSH has supported true two factor authentication for nearly 5 years now, so it’s quite possible to build even more robust security.