Cover photo
Nycholas Oliveira e Oliveira


Interesting story about a TOR network precursor during the cold war
(Via +Bruce Schneier )
When faced with intense government surveillance and censorship, these people got incredibly creative to stay in touch with loved ones.
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Severity: Moderate

A carefully crafted DTLS message can cause a segmentation fault in OpenSSL due to a NULL pointer dereference. This could lead to a Denial Of Service attack.

This issue affects all current OpenSSL versions: 1.0.1, 1.0.0 and 0.9.8.

OpenSSL 1.0.1 DTLS users should upgrade to 1.0.1k.
OpenSSL 1.0.0 DTLS users should upgrade to 1.0.0p.
OpenSSL 0.9.8 DTLS users should upgrade to 0.9.8zd.

This issue was reported to OpenSSL on 22nd October 2014 by Markus Stenberg of Cisco Systems, Inc. The fix was developed by Stephen Henson of the OpenSSL core team.
OpenSSL Security Advisory [08 Jan 2015] ======================================= DTLS segmentation fault in dtls1_get_record (CVE-2014-3571) =========================================================== Severity: Moderate A carefully crafted DTLS message can cause a segmentation fault in OpenSSL ...
Consolidation is once again in the air for the beer industry. ABInbev is rumored to be exploring an acquisition of SABMiller according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). For its part, SABMiller was rebuffed trying to acquire Heineken. Either deal would create a company responsible for brewing nearly one fifth of the worlds beer or more, and...
'What exactly is the difference between stout and porter?' someone  recently asked me. As I opened my mouth to explain, I realized that the answer is not as cut and dry as you might think. While th...
ejabberd 15.03: Details on a major release

We just released a new major version of ejabberd with a large number of new features and improvements:

- WebSocket support
- Scalability ! Flexible session management with multiple backends: Mnesia/SQL/Redis or custom backend for session manager
- Security improvement with SCRAM based password encryption in SQL authentication backends.
- Package management for ejabberd contributed modules
- Improved Elixir experience
- Automatic clustering scripts
- Added missing index on database
- Important updates on the documentation, with the launch of a new documentation site:
- Several other bugfixes

Enjoy !
ejabberd 15.03 is yet another important release. We have added fixes and some major improvements. You can learn more about the changes and roadmap
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Deprecating Old Crypto in a Linux Distro: A tale of something that looked obvious but .. there's a lesson in it somewhere.

While working on my Linux distro project at work, one of the things I recently wanted to do is phase out old crypto.

Yes we all read Bruce Schneider's text and how important it is, but nothing drives it home like reading The Guardian articles followed
by OpenSSL downgrade attacks in the last year or two.

Now, nothing should be defaulting to some of the antique crypto, but the only way to know 100% sure  that the algorithms in question aren't being used, is to just not compile them into the various crypto libraries of your distro.

So.. step 1 was to look at the algorithm list of openssl:

arjan@clr:~$ openssl ciphers


A few things stand out immediately.

RC4. This like seriously predates MD5, and MD5 is already suspect.

DES. Yes really. DES. in 1995 I worked at a company as an intern that made DES chips that you could use to brute force DES. In 1995, when Twin Peaks was on TV  and you measured transistor sizes of a chip in micrometers not nanometers.

MD5. The general consensus seems to be that for crypto, you shouldn't use MD5 anymore. I'm not talking about SHA1, where one can argue that existing uses are still ok, but MD5.

I decided to draw my first line there, stick to the consensus and all that.

The good news is that OpenSSL is very configurable, and it's pretty easy to say

no-rc4 no-des no-md5

on the configure line (and for good measure, I added no-ssl2 and no-ssl3).

At this point, I thought I was on a roll, removing old crypto is easy, lets finish this 15 minute project before the project meeting starts.

So now on to the bad news. And sadly, there is plenty to be had.

openssl does not even compile with the no-md5 option:

make[1]: Entering directory '/builddir/build/BUILD/openssl-1.0.2a/ssl'
In file included from s3_srvr.c:171:0:
../include/openssl/md5.h:70:4: error: #error MD5 is disabled.
 #  error MD5 is disabled.
In file included from s3_clnt.c:158:0:
../include/openssl/md5.h:70:4: error: #error MD5 is disabled.
 #  error MD5 is disabled.

Ok, so MD5 is technically not insane broken for small packets, and
it's just consensus not so much hard earned proof, so maybe deprecating md5 is a project for another day.

openssl does not even compile with the no-des option:

make[2]: Entering directory '/builddir/build/BUILD/openssl-1.0.2a/apps'
../ undefined reference to `EVP_des_ede3_wrap'

or when you fix that, it does not pass its test suite (I'll spare you the details). 

Now here I had to draw a line. 20 years ago DES was not secure.. never mind today. I wouldn't  be surprised if someone will chime in and say that their smartwatch can brute force DES in realtime now.
So.. fixing it is.

I suppose the good news is that no-rc4 went just fine.

The success story then, with the list of crypto from openssl after no-rc4 and no-des:

$ openssl ciphers

no DES, no RC4.

But, as it was a Monday, the misery only started there (Dave Jones should have taught me that misery is like lawyers, it always comes in pairs).

I threw the no-rc4/no-des package into our build system, and in no time the world came apart on me. Half the distro broke!
Well not half, but several very important pieces.

It turns out that components like curl, libcurl (so anything speaking http), wget, openssh, mariadb, ...

all hard-code DES usage. Now, I'll give curl credit, with creative use of configure options, you can make it not compile DES in, but you can't then make it pass its testsuite.

There must be a lesson in here somewhere.

One, our team will be fixing these projects to not require DES (or RC4), and we'll send those patches to the upstream projects of course.

But more, and this is a call to action: If you're working on an open source project that uses crypto, please please don't opencode crypto algorithm usage.
The algorithm may be outdated at any time and might have to go away in a hurry. 
And if you have to use a very specific algorithm anyway (for compatibility or otherwise), at least be kind and make a
configure option for each algorithm in your project, so that when things go bad (be it in 5 or 20 years), its very feasible to disable the algorithm entirely. 
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This blog post is another in the series demonstrating current insecurities in devices categorised as the 'Internet of Things'. This instalment will reveal how the firmware on Canon Pixma printers (used in the home and by SMEs) can be modified from the Internet to run custom code.