Mac Security Updates In OS X 10.5

Apple has finally released the full list of updates in the next version of the Mac operating system, including a section detailing all the security updates. A couple of features look pretty interesting. The biggest is the inclusion of “Library Randomization”, or what we call layout randomization (ASLR) in Vista. System functions are randomized in memory to make exploitation more difficult. I don’t have a Leopard seed to check it out, and I suspect some of the researchers out there will dig in and let us know how good (or bad) the implementation is. Mac OS X already supports Data Execution Prevention, one of the other key Windows XP, Server, and Vista anti-exploitation technologies. Another good feature is tagging of downloaded applications. Any downloaded executable is tagged by the OS and requires the user to approve it on first launch (it doesn’t mention if it’s a password prompt or just clicking an OK box). It appears to list the app name, what tool downloaded it, and (if possible) the URL it came from. Regular users probably won’t pay attention, but this will be nice for those of us who do. Apple also (finally) improved the Mac OS X firewall to include some level of application control. The description makes it look like it only controls inbound connections, which would be too bad. I think the user interface for this one will be pretty important, and maybe outbound control is hidden in the capabilities somewhere. Anyone up to date on ipfw that can let us know if Apple is sticking with that? There’s a new sandboxing feature for some default applications, including Bonjour, Spotlight, and Quick Look. I highly suspect this is a way of limiting the potential exploitation via file and network fuzzing, considering the applications they picked. Most of the rest of the updates are fairly straightforward and good to see. Application signing, 256 bit AES for file encryption, better VPN support, SMB packet signing for Windows compatibility, multiple user certificates, and some updates to access control lists for file sharing (I think, although they don’t say, driven by Windows compatibility issues). There’s increased smart card support designed to meet the needs of the feds, but I might give it a shot (for fun) if the readers are added to default Macs (unlikely). And let’s not forget the biggest security feature in Leopard that didn’t make the list- Time Machine. Getting users to do differential backups will do more to assure the availability of their data than any other security feature. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this all holds up once the security researchers get their hands on it. On paper it looks great, maybe even getting Mac OS X up to the level of Vista (for security- usability on Vista still sucks). But I don’t believe anything until people smarter than me start banging on it and seeing where the cracks are. Share:

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The Irish Government Needs Database Activity Monitoring

Over at BoingBoing they have a couple of articles describing how Irish government employees are abusing their access to government systems for personal gain. Everything from idle curiosity about a neighbor, to aiding and abetting burglary. I normally scoff at vendor press releases that jump on the latest media exploitations stories, but in this case I’m going to do it for them. This is, flat out, the poster child for database activity monitoring. As I described in my introduction to the technology, one of the use cases is to create separation of duties by allowing someone to do their job while looking for unusual activity. If nothing else, you could create audit reports that allow managers (or security administrators) to see all the records a particular employee accessed in a given day/week. Perfect? No. Effective? Yep. You’ll need a Database Activity Monitoring tool, and not something that just collects access logs, since you want to see the actual SQL transactions. If the application uses connection pooling to connect to the database, you’ll either need one of the tools that monitors application activity and correlates it with the database, or some sort of identifier in queries to trace which user is submitting the query (something I’ll talk more about in a later post). I’m more than happy to give the Irish government discounted rates if they’d like me to fly over and help fix this problem. My email is posted on the blog. Share:

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Understanding And Selecting A DLP Solution: Part 6, Central Administration, Policy Management, and W

Welcome to the second to last post in my series on DLP. You can find the other parts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. In this post we’ll be covering the major features of the central management server. Our final post will cover recommendations for evaluating and selecting the best tool for your environment. As we’ve discussed throughout this series, all current DLP solutions include a central management server for administering enforcement and detection points, creating and administering policies, incident workflow, and reporting. These features are frequently the most influential in the selection process. There are a lot of differences between the various products on the market; rather than trying to cover every possible feature, we’ll focus on the baseline of functions that are most important. User Interface Unlike other security tools, DLP/CMP tools are often used by non-technical staff ranging from HR, to executive management, to corporate legal and business unit heads. As such the user interface needs to account for this mix of technical and non-technical staff and should be easily customized to meet the needs of any particular user group. Due to the complexity and volume of information a DLP solution may deal with, the user interface can make or break a DLP product. For example, simply highlighting the portions of an email in violation of a policy when displaying the incident can shave minutes off handling time. A DLP user interface should include the following elements: Dashboard: A good dashboard will have user-selectable elements and defaults for technical and non-technical users. Individual elements can be enabled or restricted based on user and group. The dashboard should focus on the information valuable for that user, and not be just a generic system-wide dashboard. Elements should include number and distribution of violations based on severity and channel and other top-level information to summarize the overall risk to the enterprise. Incident Management Queue: The incident management queue is the single most important component of the user interface. This is the screen incident handlers will use to monitor and manage policy violations. The queue should be concise, customizable, and easy to read at a glance. Due to the importance of this feature we will detail recommended functionality later in this post. Single Incident Display: When a handler digs into a single incident, the display should cleanly and concisely summarize the reason for the violation, the user involved, the criticality, the severity (criticality is based on what policy is violated, severity on how substantial the violation is), related incidents, and all other information needed to make an intelligent decision on incident disposition. System Administration: Standard system status and administration interface. Includes user and group administration. Hierarchical Administration: Status and administration for remote components of the DLP solution, such as enforcement points, remote offices, and endpoints. Reporting: A mix of pre-built reports and ad-hoc reporting. Policy Creation and Management: Next to the incident queue this is the most important element of the central management server. It includes the creation and management of policies. Because it’s so important, we’ll cover it in more detail later. A DLP interface should be clean and easy to navigate. That may sound basic, but we’re all far too familiar with poorly designed security tools that rely on the technical skills of the administrator to get around. Since DLP is used outside of security, possibly even outside of IT, the user interface needs to appeal to a wider range of users. Hierarchical Management, Directory Integration, and Role Based Administration DLP policies and enforcement often need to be tailored to the needs of individual business units or geographical locations. Hierarchical management allows you to establish multiple policy servers distributed throughout the organization, with a hierarchy of administration and policies. For example, a geographic region can have its own policy server slaved to a central policy server. That region can create their own specific policies, ignore (with permission) central policies, and handle local incidents. Violations are aggregated on the central server while some policies are always enforced centrally. The DLP tool must support the creation of global and local policies, assign policies for local or global enforcement, and manage multi-regional workflow and reporting. DLP solutions also integrate with enterprise directories (typically Microsoft Active Directory) so violations can be tied to users, not IP addresses. This is complex when you realize you’re dealing with a mix of managed and unmanged (guest/temporary) employees without assigned IP addresses. The integration should tie DHCP leases to users based on their network login, and update to avoid accidentally tying a policy violation to an innocent user. For example, one product in an earlier version would keep a user associated with an IP address until that address was assigned to another user in the directory. One reference almost fired an employee because a contractor, not in Active Directory, was the next person to use that IP and committed a policy violation. The tool tied the violation to the innocent employee. The system should also allow internal role based administration for both internal administrative tasks, and monitoring and enforcement of users. Internally, users can be assigned to administrative and policy groups for separation of duties. For example, someone can be given the role of enforcing any policy assigned to the accounting group, but not administer the system, create policies, see violations for any other group, or alter policies. Since your Active Directory might not fully represent how you’d like to divide up monitored users, the system should also support groups and roles for dividing up employees for monitoring and enforcement. Policy Creation and Management Policy management and creation is a critical function at the heart of DLP solutions; it’s also (potentially) the most difficult part of managing DLP. The policy creation interface should be accessible to both technical and non-technical users, although heavily customized policies will nearly always need technical skills to define. For policy creation, the system should let you identify the kind of data to protect, a source (if needed)

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Metasploit Includes Exploit For iPhone 1.1.1- Using Same Vulnerability As Jailbreak

H D Moore published details on exploiting the iPhone today using the same vulnerability as the jailbreaks/unlockers. It takes advantage of a vulnerability in the libtiff library for processing TIFF image files. The exploit is now in Metasploit, which means someone with only the technical skills of an ex-analyst can exploit you via email or a web page with a special image file. Apple will hopefully patch this quickly. The bad news is that it will kill all current attempts to load custom applications on the iPhone, but since it’s now remotely exploitable the risk outweighs the reward. Libtiff is a common library and this vulnerability was not unknown. This demonstrates a big problem in locking down a popular system like the iPhone or the Sony PSP- the same techniques needed to customize the device can often be used to exploit the security. For a wildly popular device like the iPhone it seems to make sense to open it up to legitimate, safe developers. This also proves that the excuse of locking the system down to protect the phone network (AT&T) is total bollocks, since it’s far from a perfectly secure system to start. Yes, I’m biased- I want custom apps on the iPhone I’ll probably eventually buy. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong… Share:

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