So, you wanna post some personal data on the Internet?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fred Williams


Hey everyone, Merry Christmas! I'm off from grad school for the semester and need to study for my Master's comp exams in March but I'm doing some research in a few different areas and thought I would post a few thoughts.

I've been reading the book Hacking the Next Generation by Dhanjani, Rios and Hardin and that got me to thinking.... The authors explain in the chapter "Intelligence gathering" that in order to execute a successful attack against a target, the attacker must gain as much intelligence about the target as possible.

What are some of the ways the authors suggest to gather intelligence? The Internet of course. I used my former company as an example target. What if I was a disgruntled former employee bent on vengeance against either the company as a whole or just the former CIO? Both are ripe for the plucking.

1) Gathering information on company technical infrastructure - an attacker needs to know as much about the target's computer systems and infrastructure. One way to do this is to use a search engine and look for keywords such as the company's domain address. The reason I chose this was that, as a programmer, I am always searching forums and other source of information on problems that I may be having. So, I search for my former company's email address on Google.

I see some very interesting information. I come across some postings from software developers on the SpringSource developer forums. I know they are from my former company since the posters are using the company's email address in their profiles. From these postings I gather the team is using Spring framework for their MVC layer. If I wanted to attack some of the systems, I can find vulnerabilities in the Spring framework that I can utilize. I also see that one of the developers posted a URL of one of the development servers where others can test his theories. I can also use this URL as the attack target since it is accessible to the outside world. And since this was a development server, it is possible the perimeter defenses aren't as formidable as those on the production servers.

2) Using Google hacking as an intelligence source
- Google is a well known vehicle for intelligence gathering. JohnnyIHackStuff has a great Google hacking database on his site. I first try a few searches using "filetype:doc companyname" as a start. Hello! in the first 10 hits I find the online resume of a former developer. The "Skills" and "Projects" section of this resume gives me some very critical information.

First of all, I see Websphere server experience. I now know that this company is using IBM's Websphere as a webserver. I make a note of this. In the experience section, I also see that this developer worked on a Single Sign On application for this company. If I can find a user id and password for the SSO application, it is possible that I can get access to many of the company's critical web applications. I also find it interesting the SSO is a homegrown SSO type of application. Very good news for me since commercial brand SSO's traditionally have had security holes. What kind of holes does a homegrown SSO have? Lot's, I'm sure.

The developer mentioned that he/she built a JAAS authentication model that users of the SSO use. The developer also put in that he/she built an developer SSO hack so developers can bypass SSO on developer machines. I wonder if the hack made it into production? Probably so. I also wonder if this developer (whom so nicely put contact information in the resume for me) is as disgruntled as I am? It may be worth a few beers to talk with this developer about his experience at the former company. Maybe $1000 would interest him for some details about his SSO experience?

That's it for now. It literally took me 15 minutes to get this amount of information.

Next up will be a post on intelligence gathering targeting the former CIO of this former company. 

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