Sławomir Jasek with research firm SecuRing is sounding an alarm over the growing number of Bluetooth devices used for keyless entry and mobile point-of-sales systems that are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.
Jasek said the problem is traced back to devices that use the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) feature for access control. He said too often companies do not correctly implement the bonding and encryption protections offered in the standard. This shortcoming could allow attackers to clone BLE devices and gain unauthorized access to a physical asset when a smartphone is used as a device controller.
Security researchers are eager to poke holes in the chip-embedded credit and debit cards that have arrived in Americans' mailboxes over the last year and a half. Although the cards have been in use for a decade around the world, more brains trying to break things are bound to come up with new and inventive hacks. And at last week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, two presentations demonstrated potential threats to the security of chip cards. The first involved fooling point-of-sale (POS) systems into thinking that a chip card is a magnetic stripe card with no chip, and the second involved stealing the temporary, dynamic number generated by a chip card and using it in a very brief window of time to request money from a hacked ATM.
A startup on a shoestring budget is working to clean up the Android security mess, and has even demonstrated results where other "secure" Android phones have failed, raising questions about Google's willingness to address the widespread vulnerabilities that exist in the world's most popular mobile operating system.
"Copperhead is probably the most exciting thing happening in the world of Android security today," Chris Soghoian, principal technologist with the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, tells Ars. "But the enigma with Copperhead is why do they even exist? Why is it that a company as large as Google and with as much money as Google and with such a respected security team—why is it there's anything left for Copperhead to do?"
For the initial check, the updated Trojan (verdict Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Shade.yb) searches the list of installed applications and looks for strings associated with bank software. After that the ransomware looks for “BUH”, “BUGAL”, “БУХ”, “БУГАЛ” (accounting) in the names of the computer and its user. If a match is found, the Trojan skips the standard file search and encryption procedure and instead downloads and executes a file from the URL stored in the Trojan’s configuration, and then exits.
In 2013, when University of Birmingham computer scientist Flavio Garcia and a team of researchers were preparing to reveal a vulnerability that allowed them to start the ignition of millions of Volkswagen cars and drive them off without a key, they were hit with a lawsuit that delayed the publication of their research for two years. But that experience doesn’t seem to have deterred Garcia and his colleagues from probing more of VW’s flaws: Now, a year after that hack was finally publicized, Garcia and a new team of researchers are back with another paper that shows how Volkswagen left not only its ignition vulnerable but the keyless entry system that unlocks the vehicle’s doors, too. And this time, they say, the flaw applies to practically every car Volkswagen has sold since 1995.
Later this week at the Usenix security conference in Austin, a team of researchers from the University of Birmingham and the German engineering firm Kasper & Oswald plan to reveal two distinct vulnerabilities they say affect the keyless entry systems of an estimated nearly 100 million cars. One of the attacks would allow resourceful thieves to wirelessly unlock practically every vehicle the Volkswagen group has sold for the last two decades, including makes like Audi and Škoda. The second attack affects millions more vehicles, including Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, and Peugeot.