Columbus OWASP Meeting Presentation

Last week, I presented at the Columbus OWASP meeting on defensive fuzzing, tampering with production web applications as a defensive tactic and some of the other odd stuff we have done in that arena. 

The presentation was called “Hey, You Broke My Web Thingee :: Adventures in Tampering with Production” and I had a lot of fun giving the talk. The crowd interaction was excellent and a lot of folks have asked for the slide deck from the talk, so I wanted to post it here

If you missed the talk in person, feel free to reach out on Twitter (@lbhuston) and engage with me about the topics. I’d love to discuss them some more. Please support OWASP by joining it as a member. These folks do a lot of great work for the community and the local chapter is quite active these days! 

OWASP Talk Scheduled for Sept 13 in Columbus

I have finally announced my Columbus OWASP topic for the 13th of September (Thursday). I hope it turns out to be one of the most fun talks I have given in a long while. I am really excited about the chance to discuss some of this in public. Here’s the abstract:

Hey, You Broke My Web Thingee! :: Adventures in Tampering with Production

The speaker will tell a few real world stories about practical uses of his defensive fuzzing techniques in production web applications. Examples of fighting with things that go bump in the web to lower deployment costs, unexpected application errors and illicit behavior will be explained in some detail. Not for the “play by the book” web team, these techniques touch on unconventional approaches to defending web applications against common (and not so common) forms of waste, fraud and abuse. If the “new Web” is a thinking admin’s game, unconventional wisdom from the trenches might just be the game changer you need.

You can find out more about attending here. Hope to see you in the crowd!

PS – I’ll be sharing the stage with Jim Manico from White Hat Security, who is always completely awesome. So, come out and engage with us!

Focus On Input Validation

Input validation is the single best defense against injection and XSS vulnerabilities. Done right, proper input validation techniques can make web-applications invulnerable to such attacks. Done wrongly, they are little more than a false sense of security.

The bad news is that input validation is difficult. White listing, or identifying all possible strings accepted as input, is nearly impossible for all but the simplest of applications. Black listing, that is parsing the input for bad characters (such as ‘, ;,–, etc.) and dangerous strings can be challenging as well. Though this is the most common method, it is often the subject of a great deal of challenges as attackers work through various encoding mechanisms, translations and other avoidance tricks to bypass such filters.

Over the last few years, a single source has emerged for best practices around input validation and other web security issues. The working group OWASP has some great techniques for various languages and server environments. Further, vendors such as Sun, Microsoft and others have created best practice articles and sample code for doing input validation for their servers and products.

Check with their knowledge base or support teams for specific information about their platform and the security controls they recommend. While application frameworks and web application firewalls are evolving as tools to help with these security problems, proper developer education and ongoing training of your development team about input validation remains the best solution.

What the Heck Is FeeLCoMz?

FeeLCoMz is a string I often get a lot of questions about. Basically, people see it and other strings in their logs, or if they are unlucky, they run into it like this, in a file in their web directories:
 Basically, if this is in the file system, then the system has been compromised, usually by a PHP RFI vulnerability. Other strings to check for, if you feel you want to run some basic grep checks against web files, include: 
“ProGraMMeR”,”CyBeRz” and “mIRC”
If you find those strings, they usually indicate other PHP scanners, worms or attack tools have compromised the system. Now, if you don’t find those, it does NOT mean the system is safe, the list of all of those relevant strings would be too large and dynamic to manage. 
Another good grep check to parse files for in web directories, especially PHP and text files, if the nearly ubiquitous, “base64_decode(“, which is an absolute favorite of PHP bot, shell and malware authors. Any files you find using that call should be carefully inspected.
If you want to find more information on how PHP RFI attacks and other such issues occur, check out these links 
Basically, if you find files with the FeeLCoMz tag in it in the web directories, you have some incident response and investigation work to do. Let us know if we can assist, and stay safe out there. 
PS – It’s a good idea to have all PHP applications, even common ones like WordPress and the like, assessed prior to deployment. It might just save you some time, hassle and money! 

Columbus OWASP Quarterly Meeting August 18 – We’ll See You There!

We’ve been involved with the Columbus, Ohio Chapter of OWASP and have met some great folks. If you’re involved with information security and haven’t visited yet, you’ll want to be at this meeting! Below are the details with a link to register. We look forward to seeing you there!


When? August 18, 2011, from 1PM to 4PM

Where? The Conference Center of BMW Financial

The Columbus OWASP chapter will be presenting its Third Quarter Meeting, specifically on the subject of Web Application Security Analysis. We are pleased to present two local speakers leading discussions on malware, and the OWASP Enterprise security framework.

Speaker: Brent Huston CEO & Security Evangelist of MicroSolved, Inc. (MSI)

This presentation will discuss PHP and ASP malware, discovery techniques, how the attackers are staging and processing malware-based attacks, as well as the relevance of anti-virus against these forms of malware. Drawn from real world attacks and compromises, examples will be displayed and discussed. Take aways will include the architecture of attacker cells, their targeting and use of compromised hosts and insight into how simple, basic controls can assist us in fighting these forms of assault.

Speaker: Kevin Wall – ESAPI Committer / Owner at OWASP & Staff Security Engineer at CenturyLink

OWASP Enterprise Security API (ESAPI) is one of the flagship projects at OWASP, but as of yet, not many application development teams have adopted it. This presentation will provide a brief history and overview of ESAPI, including its goals and all its language implementations, before taking a deeper dive into ESAPI for Java.

The ESAPI for Java portion will discuss major changes from ESAPI 1.4 to ESAPI 2.0 and how the various ESAPI 2.0 security controls map as mitigations for the OWASP Top Ten. We will also examine the relative maturity of each security control.

This will be followed by a few examples of how to use ESAPI, including an in-depth one of using ESAPI’s symmetric encryption. Finally, we will briefly describe how the OWASP AppSensor project has the ESAPI’s Intrustion Detection mechanism to provid an powerful intrustion detection system at the application layer and describe some of the advantanges of this versus an more traditional IDS.

Register today!