CloudSigma and OpenVPN partner to provide secure, ... » Palo Alto, Calif: CloudSigma has announced that it has partnered with OpenVPN to develop a software ... Check Point launches new 13800 and 21800 Data Cent... » Check Point has launched two new security gateways aimed at demanding, high-bandwidth data centre an... G4S Technology and ENTERTECH SYSTEMS in joint part... » Birmingham and Gloucestershire, UK: ENTERTECH SYSTEMS and G4S Technology have announced a technology... CCL Solutions Group partners with Nuix » London, UK: Nuix and CCL Solutions Group have signed an extended partnership to supply collaborative... BLESMA partners with Bolton Wanderers FC » Sky Bet Championship side Bolton Wanderers have announced BLESMA – The Limbless Veterans as their na... Duke goes to Afghanistan...raises morale of office... » THE Duke of York has paid a morale boosting visit to personnel in Camp Bastion and Kandahar Airfield... Qualys bolsters continuous monitoring for proactiv... » REDWOOD CITY , Calif.: Qualys, Inc. has announced it has further bolstered its industry-leading clou... Leeds City College selects MOBOTIX to protect data... » UK: MOBOTIX AG, a leading manufacturer of digital high-resolution, network-based video security syst... Linksys launches high performance managed network ... » Rushden, UK: Linksys has announced its first managed switches in the Linksys Business product line-u... snom okays new handsets » Manchester: snom technology AG has said the complete snom handset range comply fully with the new In...

CLICK HERE TO

Advertise with Vigilance

Got News?

Got news for Vigilance?

Have you got news/articles for us? We welcome news stories and articles from security experts, intelligence analysts, industry players, security correspondents in the main stream media and our numerous readers across the globe.

READ MORE

Subscribe to Vigilance Weekly

Information Security Header

London: Commenting on Kim Dotcom’s offer of a 10,000 euro bounty on the first person to crack his new Mega file storage and sharing service, Venafi says the bounty is likely to be collected, as the encryption keys are stored along with the users’ files on the system.

According to Calum MacLeod, EMEA Director with the Enterprise Key and Certificate Management (EKCM) experts, this means that anyone gaining access to a user’s ID and password will gain access to their encryption key as well, dramatically increasing the compromise likelihood.

“This bizarre, and quite frankly, less secure approach to encryption seems to be in place solely to protect Mr Dotcom from prosecution, on the basis that he and his staff cannot have any knowledge of the data that is being stored on their cloud computing servers,” he said.

“While this is perhaps understandable given the fact that Mr Dotcom was arrested in New Zealand 12 months ago in connection with copyright infringement surrounding his original MegaUpload file storage and sharing service, the lack of security surrounding the encryption keys leaves the system vulnerable,” he added. The encryption keys are the figurative keys to the kingdom, and the attackers can wreak havoc with unfettered access to data and systems with the keys in hand.

The Venafi EMEA Director went on to say that Mr Dotcom’s offer of a bounty to successful crackers of his new system is good publicity, but a more practical governance approach would have been to stage a private launch of Mega, inviting cryptographers to use - and abuse - the system, and then offer up their recommendations in return for a lifetime paid-for subscription.

The problem with Mega, MacLeod explained, is that the user’s password has the double burden of supporting account authentication - without disclosing that password to Mega’s servers – as well as outer level data encryption.

The outer level key, he says, is derived from the user’s password using a key derivation approach, generating a master key for symmetric AES encryption – all data from that point on is encrypted to the master key or its subsets.

When the user logs into the Mega service, he adds, their email address and user hash data is used to authenticate them, with Mega’s servers returning the user’s master key, as well as a session identifier.

This approach, says MacLeod, is a weak security system as obtaining the master key is based on a simple token system that can be replayed, rather than the more usual secure challenge/response technology seen on commercial services.

“This weakness could be exploited through the use of a timing vulnerability when the server compares the user’s hash data, allowing a hacker to progressively learn how to access the system using multiple attempts. We fully expect this methodology to be exploited by would-be crackers wanting to collect the 10,000 euro bounty,” he said.

In the end, it’s critical that the encryption keys that secure the data and authenticate systems and applications are properly controlled and managed. The admins who create and issue the keys should not be the same as the admins and app owners who use the same keys to encrypt, decrypt and access the data