Entries Tagged "Juniper"
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GCHQ currently has capabilities against:
- Juniper NetScreen Firewalls models Ns5gt, N25, NS50, NS500, NS204, NS208, NS5200, NS5000, SSG5, SSG20, SSG140, ISG 1000, ISG 2000. Some reverse engineering maybe required depending on firmware revisions.
- Juniper Routers: M320 is currently being worked on and we would expect to have full support by the end of 2010.
- No other models are currently supported.
- Juniper technology sharing with NSA improved dramatically during CY2010 to exploit several target networks where GCHQ had access primacy.
Yes, the document said “end of 2010” even though the document is dated February 3, 2011.
This doesn’t have much to do with the Juniper backdoor currently in the news, but the document does provide even more evidence that (despite what the government says) the NSA hoards vulnerabilities in commonly used software for attack purposes instead of improving security for everyone by disclosing it.
EDITED TO ADD: In thinking about the equities process, it’s worth differentiating among three different things: bugs, vulnerabilities, and exploits. Bugs are plentiful in code, but not all bugs can be turned into vulnerabilities. And not all vulnerabilities can be turned into exploits. Exploits are what matter; they’re what everyone uses to compromise our security. Fixing bugs and vulnerabilities is important because they could potentially be turned into exploits.
I think the US government deliberately clouds the issue when they say that they disclose almost all bugs they discover, ignoring the much more important question of how often they disclose exploits they discover. What this document shows is that — despite their insistence that they prioritize security over surveillance — they like to hoard exploits against commonly used network equipment.
Hopefully details are forthcoming, but the folks at Hacker News have pointed to this page about Juniper’s use of the DUAL_EC_DBRG random number generator. For those who don’t immediately recognize that name, it’s the pseudo-random-number generator that was backdoored by the NSA. Basically, the PRNG uses two secret parameters to create a public parameter, and anyone who knows those secret parameters can predict the output. In the standard, the NSA chose those parameters. Juniper doesn’t use those tainted parameters. Instead:
ScreenOS does make use of the Dual_EC_DRBG standard, but is designed to not use Dual_EC_DRBG as its primary random number generator. ScreenOS uses it in a way that should not be vulnerable to the possible issue that has been brought to light. Instead of using the NIST recommended curve points it uses self-generated basis points and then takes the output as an input to FIPS/ANSI X.9.31 PRNG, which is the random number generator used in ScreenOS cryptographic operations.
This means that all anyone has to do to break the PRNG is to hack into the firewall and copy or modify those “self-generated basis points.”
Here’s a good summary of what we know. The conclusion:
Again, assuming this hypothesis is correct then, if it wasn’t the NSA who did this, we have a case where a US government backdoor effort (Dual-EC) laid the groundwork for someone else to attack US interests. Certainly this attack would be a lot easier given the presence of a backdoor-friendly RNG already in place. And I’ve not even discussed the SSH backdoor which, as Wired notes, could have been the work of a different group entirely. That backdoor certainly isn’t NOBUS — Fox-IT claim to have found the backdoor password in six hours.
More details to come, I’m sure.
EDITED TO ADD (12/21): A technical overview of the SSH backdoor.
EDITED TO ADD (12/22): Matthew Green wrote a really good technical post about this.
They then piggybacked on top of it to build a backdoor of their own, something they were able to do because all of the hard work had already been done for them. The end result was a period in which someone — maybe a foreign government — was able to decrypt Juniper traffic in the U.S. and around the world. And all because Juniper had already paved the road.
Another good article.
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.