Security is important part of software development and often it doesn’t get enough attention or developers don’t know enough about it. I have been following Troy Hunt on Twitter for some time and as he was coming to Owasp Helsinki Chapter Meeting #27 it was great opportunity to hear about application security at first hand. Especially about hacking yourself first. The event was held at Life Science Center in Keilaranta and although it didnt’ provide much new information about security and how to protect against hackers, it was nice event. The event consisted talks presented by Troy Hunt: 50 Shades of AppSec and Hack yourself first.
50 Shades of AppSec
The first talk was “50 shades of appsec” which covered a broad spectrum of what’s happening in our industry and how challenging it’s becoming for those of us working in AppSec to keep ahead of the attacks. Troy covered everything from the social aspects of hacking through to some of the more obscure attacks and the increasing challenges we have as defenders.
There was some nice bad examples how not to do things and hilarious examples how even criminal masterminds are fallible. Asking questions in StackOverflow with an account tied to your real identity, take a photo with iPhone and not clearing the EXIF data (which has location info).
“50 Shades of AppSec” talk didn’t provide much new information which I wouldn’t have read from Twitter or other news sources but was entertaining anyways. Good presentation matters.
Hack yourself first
If you’re protecting applications against attacks it’s good to know how attackers can exploit your application’s security holes. The online attacks against websites has accelerated quickly and the same risks continue to be exploited. These are often easily identified directly within the browser; it’s just a matter of understanding the vulnerable patterns to look for.
Troy Hunt’s “Hack Yourself First” talk was about developers building up cyber-offence skills and proactively seeking out security vulnerabilities in their own websites before an attacker does. It looked at website security from the attacker’s perspective and how to exploit common risks in a vulnerable web application. As usual the issues were quite basic information and could be easily identified and fixed with right knowledge and tools like Havij and Fiddler.
One interesting example was to use Fiddler to proxy your device’s traffic and look how remote server communicates with it and even decrypt HTTPS. You can e.g. edit request and response and change values sent to mobile. One example is to change the value for admin and see if the mobile application validates it on every request or do you really get admin rights to the application or service. Practical example was capture the traffic sent to British Airways mobile app and see the WiFi password list for free WiFi.
Second interesting example was about using WiFi Pineapple. To trick devices to connect with “known” wireless network, capture and circumvent it’s traffic. You did know that devices broadcasts the SSIDs they have previously connected and with devices like Pineapple you can easily see it and then do some magic.
Q & A and afterwords
The questions and answers section was quite active as security is an interesting topic. There were good questions like how do you verify companies you use, like you’re using Freedome from F-Secure? It’s about choosing the least risky option. Better than WiFi at airport without VPN. You don’t really know.
Other interesting topic was about how security people don’t understand development and developers don’t understand security. It’s about working together and not just security people saying “There are vulnerabilities, fix those.” More cooperation would be better and it needs support from higher up to work together.
Afterwards the event had reserved the sauna on the 7th floor which provided also nice views over Laajalahti and some refreshments. Time to network and try to do small talk although I’m not the most social person. I wasn’t surprised that Troy didn’t join us to the sauna but it was nice that he had some time to talk in the lounge.
I didn’t get the Owasp sticker but I got some crafty swag from Nixu and Troy also provided one month free pass for Pluralsight which has courses to educate yourself
Thanks to the organizers and event sponsor Nixu. Nicely noticed that Hunt is in Europe and to get him to talk about security. I also got a ride home with some good tips about restaurants in Tallinn which was nice. Thumbs up.