Getting Smart with Mobile App GeoLocation to Fight Fraud

If your mobile application includes purchases with credit cards, and a pickup of the merchandise, then you should pay attention to this.

Recently, in our testing lab and during an intelligence engagement, we identified a fraud mechanism where stolen credit cards were being used via the mobile app in question, to fraudulently purchase goods. In fact, the attackers were selling the purchase of the goods as a service on auction and market sites on the dark web.

The scam works like this. The bad guys have stolen credit cards (track data, likely from dumps), which they use to make a purchase for their client remotely. The bad guys use their stolen track data as a card not present transaction, which is standard for mobile apps. The bad guys have access to huge numbers of stolen cards, so they can burn them at a substantial rate without impacting their inventory to a large extent. The bad guy’s customer spends $25 in bitcoins to get up to $100 in merchandise. The bad guy takes the order from the dark net, uses the mobile app to place the order, and then delivers the receipt and/or pickup information to the bad guys customer. The customer then walks into the retailer and shows the receipt for their mobile order, picking up the merchandise and leaving.

The bad guy gets paid via the bitcoins. For them, this is an extremely low risk way to convert stolen credit card info to cash. It is significantly less risky for them than doing physical card replication, ATM use or other conversion methods that have a requirement for physical interaction.

The bad guy’s customer gets paid by picking up the merchandise. They get up to $100 value for a cost of $25. They take on some risk, but if performed properly, the scam is low risk to them, or so they believe. In the odd event, they simply leave the store after making their demands for satisfaction. There is little risk of arrest or prosecution, it would seem, especially at the low rate of $100 – or at least that was how the bad guy was pitching it to their prospective customers…

The credit card issuer or the merchant gets stuck. They are out the merchandise and/or the money, depending on their location in the world, and the merchant agreement/charge back/PCI compliance issues they face.

Understanding the fraud and motivations of the bad guys is critical for securing the systems in play. Organizations could up their validation techniques and vigilance for mobile orders. They could add additional fraudulent transaction heuristics to their capability. They could also implement geo-location on the mobile apps as a control – i.e.. If the order is being physically placed on a device in Ukraine, and pick up is in New York, there is a higher level of risk associated with that transaction. Identifying ways  to leverage the sensors and data points from a mobile device, and rolling it into fraud detection heuristics and machine learning analytics is the next wave of security for some of these applications. We are pleased to be helping clients get there…

To hear more about modern fraud techniques, application security testing or targeted threat intelligence like what we discussed above, drop us a line (info at microsolved dot com) or via Twitter (@lbhuston). We look forward to discussing it with your team.

Clients Finding New Ways to Leverage MSI Testing Labs

Just a reminder that MSI testing labs are seeing a LOT more usage lately. If you haven’t heard about some of the work we do in the labs, check it out here.

One of the ways that new clients are leveraging the labs is to have us mock up changes to their environments or new applications in HoneyPoint and publish them out to the web. We then monitor those fake implementations and measure the ways that attackers, malware and Internet background radiation interacts with them.

The clients use these insights to identify areas to focus on in their security testing, risk management and monitoring. A few clients have even done A/B testing using this approach, looking for the differences in risk and threat exposures via different options for deployment or development.

Let us know if you would like to discuss such an approach. The labs are a quickly growing and very powerful part of the many services and capabilities that we offer our clients around the world! 

Using TigerTrax to Analyze Device Configurations & Discover Networks

One of the biggest challenges that our M&A clients face is discovering what networks look like, how they are interconnected and what assets are priorities in their newly acquired environments. Sure, you bought the company and the ink is drying on the contracts — but now you have to fold their network into yours, make sure they meet your security standards and double check to make sure you know what’s out there.

That’s where the trouble begins. Because, in many cases, the result is “ask the IT folks”. You know, the already overworked, newly acquired, untrusted and now very nervous IT staff of the company you just bought. Even if they are honest and expedient, they often forget some parts of the environment or don’t know themselves that parts exist…

Thus, we get brought in, as a part of our Information Security Mergers & Acquisitions practice. Our job is usually to discover assets, map the networks and perform security assessments to identify gaps that don’t meet the acquiring company’s policies. Given that we have had to do this so often, we have designed a great new technique for performing these type of mapping and asset identification engagements. For us, instead of asking the humans, we simply ask the machines. We accumulate the router, switch, firewall and other device configurations and then leverage TigerTrax’s unique analytics capabilities to quickly establish network instances, interconnections, prioritized network hosts & segments, common configuration mistakes, etc. “en masse”. TigerTrax  then outputs that data for the MSI analysts, who can quickly perform their assessments, device reviews and inventories — armed with real-world data about the environment!

This approach has been winning us client kudos again and again!

Want to discuss our M&A practice and the unique ways that TigerTrax and MSI can help you before, during and after a merger or acquisition? Give us a call at (614) 351-1237 or drop us a line at info (at) microsolved /dot/ com. We’d be happy to schedule a FREE, no commitment & no pressure call with our Customer Champions & our security engineers.

Tool Review: Lynis

Recently, I took a look at Lynis, an open source system and security auditing tool. The tool is a local scanning tool for Linux and is pretty popular.

Here is the description from their site:
Lynis is an auditing tool for Unix/Linux. It performs a security scan and determines the hardening state of the machine. Any detected security issues will be provided in the form of a suggestion or warning. Beside security related information it will also scan for general system information, installed packages and possible configuration errors.

This software aims in assisting automated auditing, hardening, software patch management, vulnerability and malware scanning of Unix/Linux based systems. It can be run without prior installation, so inclusion on read only storage is possible (USB stick, cd/dvd).

Lynis assists auditors in performing Basel II, GLBA, HIPAA, PCI DSS and SOx (Sarbanes-Oxley) compliance audits.

Intended audience:
Security specialists, penetration testers, system auditors, system/network managers.

Examples of audit tests:
– Available authentication methods
– Expired SSL certificates
– Outdated software
– User accounts without password
– Incorrect file permissions
– Configuration errors
– Firewall auditing 

As you can see, it has a wide range of capabilities. It is a pretty handy tool and the reporting is pretty basic, but very useful.

Our testing went well, and overall, we were pleased at the level of detail the tool provides. We wouldn’t use it as our only Linux auditing tool, but is a very handy tool for the toolbox. The runs were of adequate speed and when we tweaked out the configs with common errors, the tool was quick to flag them. 

Overall, we would give it a “not too shabby”. 🙂 The advice is still a bit technical for basic users, but then, do you want basic users administering a production box anyway? For true admins, the tool is perfectly adequate at telling them what to do and how to go about doing it, when it comes to hardening their systems.

Give Lynis a try and let me know what you think. You can give me feedback, kudos or insults on Twitter (@lbhuston). As always, thanks for reading! 

More on MSI Lab Services Offerings

MSI has built a reputation that spans decades in and around testing hardware and software for information security. Our methodology, experience and capability provides for a unique value to our customers. World-class assessments from the chip and circuit levels all the way through protocol analysis, software design, configuration and implementation are what we bring to the table.

 

Some of the many types of systems that we have tested:

  • consumer electronics
  • home automation systems
  • voice over IP devices
  • home banking solutions
  • wire transfer infrastructures
  • mobile devices
  • mobile applications
  • enterprise networking devices (routers, switches, servers, gateways, firewalls, etc.)
  • entire operating systems
  • ICS and SCADA  devices, networks and implementations
  • smart grid technologies
  • gaming and lottery systems
  • identification management tools
  • security products
  • voting systems
  • industrial automation components
  • intelligence systems
  • weapon systems
  • safety and alerting tools
  • and much much more…

To find out more about our testing processes, lab infrastructure or methodologies, talk to your account executive today. They can schedule a no charge, no commitment, no pressure call with the testing engineer and a project manager to discuss how your organization might be able to benefit from our experience.

 

At A Glance Call Outs:

  • Deep security testing of hardware, software & web applications
  • 20+ year history of testing excellence
  • Committed to responsible vulnerability handling
  • Commercial & proprietary testing tools
  • Available for single test engagements
  • Can integrate fully into product lifecycle
  • Experience testing some of the most sensitive systems on the planet

Key Differentiators:

  • Powerful proprietary tools:
    • Proto-Predator™
    • HoneyPoint™
    • many more solution specific tools
  • Circuit & chip level testing
  • Proprietary protocol evaluation experience
  • Customized honeypot threat intelligence
  • Methodology-based testing for repeatable & defendable results

Other Relevant Content:

Project EVEREST Voting Systems Testing https://stateofsecurity.com/?p=184

Lab Services Blog Post https://stateofsecurity.com/?p=2794

Lab Services Audio Post  https://stateofsecurity.com/?p=2565



Operation Lockdown Update ~ Xojo Web App Security

Just a quick note today to bring you up to date on Operation Lockdown. As many of you may know, MSI began working with Xojo, Inc. a year or so ago, focusing on increasing the security of the web applications coded in the language and produced by their compiler. As such, we gave a talk last year at XDC in Orlando about the project and progress we had made. 

Today, I wanted to mention that we have again begun working on OpLockdown, and we remain focused on the stand-alone web applications generated by Xojo. 

Last week, Xojo released Xojo 2014R3 which contains a great many fixes from the project and our work.

The stand-alone web apps now use industry standard HTTP headers (this was true for the last couple of releases) and have the ability to do connection logging that will meet the compliance requirements for most regulatory guidelines.

Additionally, several denial-of-service conditions and non-RFC standard behaviors have been fixed since the project began.

My team will begin doing regression testing of the security issues we previously identified and will continue to seek out new vulnerabilities and other misbehaviors in the framework. We would like to extend our thanks to the folks at BKeeney Software who have been helping with the project, and to Xojo for their attention to the security issues, particularly to Greg O’Lone, who has been our attentive liaison and tech support. Together, we are focused on bringing you a better, safer and more powerful web application development platform so that you can keep making the killer apps of your dreams!

HoneyPoint Used to Confirm Skype URL Indexing

Last week, several sources were talking about the indexing of URLs that happen inside supposedly secure and private Skype sessions. There was a bit of press about it and we thought it would be fun to test it out and easy to do with HoneyPoint Personal Edition. Here’s how we did it:

  • First, we stood up a HoneyPoint Personal Edition and dilated port 80 with a web listener. We configured it to look like a default under construction page on an IIS box. We then exposed it to the Internet.
  • In order to cut down on noise from scanning while we were testing, we decided we would use a target page in our test URL of vixennixie.htm, since scanners aren’t generally looking for that page, if we get scanned while we are testing, it won’t interfere with our data gathering and analysis.
  • Next, we created a Skype chat between to members of the team and made sure each of us was configured for full security.
  • Once this was confirmed, we passed the URL: http://target_ip/vixennixe.htm between us. The time was 1:13pm Eastern.
  • Then, we waited.
  • Lo and behold, we got this nearly 12 hours later:

                     2013-05-22 01:09:45 – HoneyPoint received a probe from 65.52.100.214 on port 80 Input: HEAD /vixennixie.htm HTTP/1.1 Host: target_ip Connection: Keep-Alive

A whois of 65.52.100.214 shows:

#
# ARIN WHOIS data and services are subject to the Terms of Use
# available at: https://www.arin.net/whois_tou.html
#

#
# Query terms are ambiguous. The query is assumed to be:
# “n 65.52.100.214”
#
# Use “?” to get help.
#

#
# The following results may also be obtained via:
# http://whois.arin.net/rest/nets;q=65.52.100.214?showDetails=true&showARIN=false&ext=netref2
#

NetRange: 65.52.0.0 – 65.55.255.255
CIDR: 65.52.0.0/14
OriginAS:
NetName: MICROSOFT-1BLK
NetHandle: NET-65-52-0-0-1
Parent: NET-65-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
RegDate: 2001-02-14
Updated: 2012-03-20
Ref: http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-65-52-0-0-1

OrgName: Microsoft Corp
OrgId: MSFT
Address: One Microsoft Way
City: Redmond
StateProv: WA
PostalCode: 98052
Country: US
RegDate: 1998-07-10
Updated: 2011-04-26
Ref: http://whois.arin.net/rest/org/MSFT

OrgNOCHandle: ZM23-ARIN
OrgNOCName: Microsoft Corporation
OrgNOCPhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgNOCEmail: noc@microsoft.com
OrgNOCRef: http://whois.arin.net/rest/poc/ZM23-ARIN

OrgTechHandle: MSFTP-ARIN
OrgTechName: MSFT-POC
OrgTechPhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgTechEmail: iprrms@microsoft.com
OrgTechRef: http://whois.arin.net/rest/poc/MSFTP-ARIN

OrgAbuseHandle: HOTMA-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: Hotmail Abuse
OrgAbusePhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgAbuseEmail: abuse@hotmail.com
OrgAbuseRef: http://whois.arin.net/rest/poc/HOTMA-ARIN

OrgAbuseHandle: ABUSE231-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: Abuse
OrgAbusePhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgAbuseEmail: abuse@hotmail.com
OrgAbuseRef: http://whois.arin.net/rest/poc/ABUSE231-ARIN

OrgAbuseHandle: MSNAB-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: MSN ABUSE
OrgAbusePhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgAbuseEmail: abuse@msn.com
OrgAbuseRef: http://whois.arin.net/rest/poc/MSNAB-ARIN

RTechHandle: ZM23-ARIN
RTechName: Microsoft Corporation
RTechPhone: +1-425-882-8080
RTechEmail: noc@microsoft.com
RTechRef: http://whois.arin.net/rest/poc/ZM23-ARIN

#
# ARIN WHOIS data and services are subject to the Terms of Use
# available at: https://www.arin.net/whois_tou.html
#

I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what they think about the data. You can draw your own conclusions. We just appreciated yet another use for HoneyPoint and a quick and dirty project to play with. Thanks for reading!

ProtoPredator to Become Family of Products

On Nov 16, we announced the availability of ProtoPredator for Smart Meters (PP4SM). That tool, aimed at security and operational testing of optical interfaces, has been causing quite a stir. Lots of vendors and utilities have been in touch to hear more about the product and the capabilities it brings to bear.

We are pleased with the interest in the PP4SM release and happy to discuss some of our further plans for future ProtoPredator products. The idea is for the ProtoPredator line to expand into a family of products aimed at giving developers, device designers and owners/operators a tool set for doing operational and security testing. We hope to extend the product family across a range of ICS protocols. We are currently working on a suite of ProtoPredator tools in our testing lab, even as we “scratch our own itch” and design them to answer the needs we have in performing testing of SmartGrid and other ICS component security assessments and penetration tests.

Thanks to the community for their interest in ProtoPredator. We have a lot more to come and we greatly appreciate your support, engagement and feedback.