Many years ago, Matt Blaze and I talked about getting our hands on a casino-grade automatic shuffler and looking for vulnerabilities. We never did it—I remember that we didn’t even try very hard—but this article shows that we probably would have found non-random properties:
…the executives had recently discovered that one of their machines had been hacked by a gang of hustlers. The gang used a hidden video camera to record the workings of the card shuffler through a glass window. The images, transmitted to an accomplice outside in the casino parking lot, were played back in slow motion to figure out the sequence of cards in the deck, which was then communicated back to the gamblers inside. The casino lost millions of dollars before the gang were finally caught.
Stanford mathematician Persi Diaconis found other flaws:
With his collaborator Susan Holmes, a statistician at Stanford, Diaconis travelled to the company’s Las Vegas showroom to examine a prototype of their new machine. The pair soon discovered a flaw. Although the mechanical shuffling action appeared random, the mathematicians noticed that the resulting deck still had rising and falling sequences, which meant that they could make predictions about the card order.
New Scientist article behind a paywall. Slashdot thread.
Posted on October 24, 2022 at 6:37 AM •
In kernel version 5.17, both /dev/random and /dev/urandom have been replaced with a new algorithm—the same one for both—based on the BLAKE2 hash function, which is an excellent security improvement.
Posted on March 24, 2022 at 6:38 AM •
Basically, the SafeZone library doesn’t sufficiently randomize the two prime numbers it used to generate RSA keys. They’re too close to each other, which makes them vulnerable to recovery.
There aren’t many weak keys out there, but there are some:
So far, Böck has identified only a handful of keys in the wild that are vulnerable to the factorization attack. Some of the keys are from printers from two manufacturers, Canon and Fujifilm (originally branded as Fuji Xerox). Printer users can use the keys to generate a Certificate Signing Request. The creation date for the all the weak keys was 2020 or later. The weak Canon keys are tracked as CVE-2022-26351.
Böck also found four vulnerable PGP keys, typically used to encrypt email, on SKS PGP key servers. A user ID tied to the keys implied they were created for testing, so he doesn’t believe they’re in active use.
Posted on March 16, 2022 at 11:35 AM •
We knew the basics of this story, but it’s good to have more detail.
Here’s me in 2015 about this Juniper hack. Here’s me in 2007 on the NSA backdoor.
Posted on September 9, 2021 at 6:13 AM •
A vulnerability (just patched) in the random number generator used in the Kaspersky Password Manager resulted in easily guessable passwords:
The password generator included in Kaspersky Password Manager had several problems. The most critical one is that it used a PRNG not suited for cryptographic purposes. Its single source of entropy was the current time. All the passwords it created could be bruteforced in seconds. This article explains how to securely generate passwords, why Kaspersky Password Manager failed, and how to exploit this flaw. It also provides a proof of concept to test if your version is vulnerable.
The product has been updated and its newest versions aren’t affected by this issue.
Stupid programming mistake, or intentional backdoor? We don’t know.
More generally: generating random numbers is hard. I recommend my own algorithm: Fortuna. I also recommend my own password manager: Password Safe.
EDITED TO ADD: Commentary from Matthew Green.
Posted on July 6, 2021 at 9:27 AM •
Science has a paper (and commentary) on generating 250 random terabits per second with a laser. I don’t know how cryptographically secure they are, but that can be cleaned up with something like Fortuna.
EDITED TO ADD (3/12): Here are free versions of the paper and the commentary.
Posted on March 11, 2021 at 6:15 AM •
I always recommend using a random number generator like Fortuna, even if you’re using a hardware random source. It’s just safer.
Posted on October 31, 2019 at 6:24 AM •
Kaspersky has a detailed blog post about a new piece of sophisticated malware that it’s calling Reductor. The malware is able to compromise TLS traffic by infecting the computer with hacked TLS engine substituted on the fly, “marking” infected TLS handshakes by compromising the underlining random-number generator, and adding new digital certificates. The result is that the attacker can identify, intercept, and decrypt TLS traffic from the infected computer.
The Kaspersky Attribution Engine shows strong code similarities between this family and the COMPfun Trojan. Moreover, further research showed that the original COMpfun Trojan most probably is used as a downloader in one of the distribution schemes. Based on these similarities, we’re quite sure the new malware was developed by the COMPfun authors.
The COMpfun malware was initially documented by G-DATA in 2014. Although G-DATA didn’t identify which actor was using this malware, Kaspersky tentatively linked it to the Turla APT, based on the victimology. Our telemetry indicates that the current campaign using Reductor started at the end of April 2019 and remained active at the time of writing (August 2019). We identified targets in Russia and Belarus.
Turla has in the past shown many innovative ways to accomplish its goals, such as using hijacked satellite infrastructure. This time, if we’re right that Turla is the actor behind this new wave of attacks, then with Reductor it has implemented a very interesting way to mark a host’s encrypted TLS traffic by patching the browser without parsing network packets. The victimology for this new campaign aligns with previous Turla interests.
We didn’t observe any MitM functionality in the analyzed malware samples. However, Reductor is able to install digital certificates and mark the targets’ TLS traffic. It uses infected installers for initial infection through HTTP downloads from warez websites. The fact the original files on these sites are not infected also points to evidence of subsequent traffic manipulation.
The attribution chain from Reductor to COMPfun to Turla is thin. Speculation is that the attacker behind all of this is Russia.
Posted on October 10, 2019 at 1:49 PM •
Wow, is this an embarrassing bug:
Yubico is recalling a line of security keys used by the U.S. government due to a firmware flaw. The company issued a security advisory today that warned of an issue in YubiKey FIPS Series devices with firmware versions 4.4.2 and 4.4.4 that reduced the randomness of the cryptographic keys it generates. The security keys are used by thousands of federal employees on a daily basis, letting them securely log-on to their devices by issuing one-time passwords.
The problem in question occurs after the security key powers up. According to Yubico, a bug keeps “some predictable content” inside the device’s data buffer that could impact the randomness of the keys generated. Security keys with ECDSA signatures are in particular danger. A total of 80 of the 256 bits generated by the key remain static, meaning an attacker who gains access to several signatures could recreate the private key.
Boing Boing post.
EDITED TO ADD (6/12): From Microsoft TechNet Security Guidance blog (in 2014): “Why We’re Not Recommending ‘FIPS Mode’ Anymore.“
Posted on July 1, 2019 at 5:55 AM •
Turns out that the software a bunch of CAs used to generate public-key certificates was flawed: they created random serial numbers with only 63 bits instead of the required 64. That may not seem like a big deal to the layman, but that one bit change means that the serial numbers only have half the required entropy. This really isn’t a security problem; the serial numbers are to protect against attacks that involve weak hash functions, and we don’t allow those weak hash functions anymore. Still, it’s a good thing that the CAs are reissuing the certificates. The point of a standard is that it’s to be followed.
Posted on March 18, 2019 at 6:23 AM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.