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Something is Rotten in #opdarknet

Update 11/2/11 @ 4:50pm: I again have experienced a DDoS against fscked.org, again through Tor (though some IPs also appeared to be non-Tor), shortly after posting this article. It seems to have subsided, and was not as strong in intensity as the original attack.


I seem to be the target of a vigilante lynch mob (or a subset of one) who will not dispose themselves of the notion that I run a service called Freedom Hosting (despite having evidence in their possession to the contrary).

I have nothing to do with Freedom Hosting. I have no idea who runs it. I have never even used it.

I assume Freedom Hosting is a Tor hidden service that will host content for money and does not reject clients regardless of content, as long as they can pay the bills. This service has attracted the attention of #opdarknet because it apparently has become a home to child porn hosters.

I am not sure exactly why they are targeting me, but I strongly suspect it is meant as a distraction campaign at a key time in Tor's funding and development cycle.

I don't believe all #opdarknet members are involved in this campaign. Indeed, from what I hear, there are a few camps among them: some of them are rational people who think the campaign against me is distracting them from attacking the actual child porn sites, and they have argued vehemently against smearing me. However, the crazy contingent appears to keep winning out somehow, and the libel against me keeps getting posted to pastebin (and then later revised to conceal exonerating evidence).

My guess: The crazy contingent are the ones who started work at 10am sharp each day for three days in a row (even spanning the Halloween weekend) to harass me on IRC, until I pointed it out, after which they stopped. Who pays their salary, I wonder?

Here's the TL;DR breakdown of their "evidence" so far:

Prepaid Cell Phone ID: National Security Through Sales Clerks?

The Washington Post was first to break the story on the proposal of Senators Schumer and Cornyn to require prepaid cell phone purchasers to provide ID. Now, most of the media has been reporting in the same typical "objective" sense, with some grandstanding statements voiced by the Senators being "balanced" by privacy advocates. The final paragraph of these articles typically sums things up by pointing out that about 10-15 countries already require ID for prepaid cell phones. The thing that is appallingly missing is that no one in the mainstream press has stopped to do the minimal amount of research to see if prepaid cell phone registration has at all reduced crime or terrorism in any these countries, nor have they really questioned if it stands any chance of actually working. Not one person has stopped to question the core assumption of this proposal, and that is this: it requires that WE TRUST OUR NATIONAL SECURITY TO OUR POINT OF SALE CLERKS.

It's about damned time

After waiting far, far longer than I had originally anticipated, I'm finally publicly posting the CookieMonster utility. I've worked with a number of developers and site admins to help test and secure their sites properly, but unfortunately, it is still the case that many sites still are vulnerable. In fact, even after much correspondence with Google on the subject, it is still possible to hijack the GMail accounts of users who attempt to use https but are unaware of the Always Use HTTPS Preference. Using Cookiemonster's FULL_BOUNCE_FOR config option to redirect those users to the plain http://mail.google.com url will still cause Google to re-issue an insecure version of their 'GX' cookie which a local attacker can then sniff to hijack their Gmail accounts...

Farewell to Riverbed (So long and thanks for all the bits!)

I've spent the past four and a half years of my professional life working on reverse engineering and accelerating the Microsoft Exchange email protocol for Riverbed Technology, Inc. It's been a maddening journey, and it finally comes to a close this Friday, as I have accepted a position with the Tor Project starting January 1st. What follows is my farewell email to the company. I somewhat regret not documenting the exploits alluded to in this email better outside of various Riverbed email lists. Maybe someday when the statute of limitations is up I'll declassify them and post them retroactively here.

CookieMonster Available for All Site Admins, Bloggers, Students

Two weeks ago, I announced on slashdot that CookieMonster was available via email to people who were security consultants and site admins. Unfortunately, I guess I wasn't crystal clear on the procedure for requesting the tool, and many people simply emailed me with no body. Now I'm announcing it again, and also opening up the field to all journalists and all bloggers as well. So, if you would like a copy of the tool, and are a security consultant, teacher, student, blogger, journalist, or site admin, please email me with which sites you admin, write for, blog on, or consult with, and MAKE SURE to put "CookieMonster" in the subject line. If you can't figure out my email address, you are automatically ineligible for the tool ;).

Amazon Employee Fired For Requesting CookieMonster?

About 3 weeks ago, I sent a preliminary copy of the CookieMonster tool to an Amazon employee who requested it after I announced they were vulnerable, and that it was available for testing/proof. I was glad he contacted me, because I was having a really hard time contacting their security team (all their security pages are FAQs on phishing, and their security alias returns a bounce saying not to trust any mail that comes from it!).

He didn't mention anything in specific or even claim to officially represent Amazon, but we did exchange a couple emails, and he seemed legitimately interested in the tool. Then, about a week or so ago, I received word via a friend of a friend that an Amazon employee had gotten some heat for requesting the tool. Since there was only one Amazon employee who bothered responding or requesting the tool at all, I decided to send him an updated copy and wish him luck on whatever happened. To my great surprise, the email bounced with a "no such user" error. The address certainly was valid when I sent him the first copy, so I'm not sure what this means. I suppose it could be coincidence: the employee could have just quit, but I suspect something fishy is going on..

Fun Snags with Drupal Cookies

Shortly after Drupal fixed their issues with cookie demotion, I applied the patch. Unfortunately, since I run both http and https on my site, when I added ini_set('session.cookie_secure', 1) to my settings.php, it caused cookies for my site to get marked as secure even for http visitors. This had the side effect of breaking comments for my site, since the captcha module could not track users that properly solved it. Some of you noticed and contacted me, thanks for the heads up. Check below the fold for some suggestions and solutions for flagging Drupal and other php-based session cookies as secure for mixed sites.

Overview of Web MITM Vulnerabilities

I've realized that the fact that I'm still getting questions to the effect of "How does this attack differ from Robert Graham's 'Sidejacking' attack?" means I did not do a very good job of classifying what sorts of vulnerabilities a Man In The Middle attacker can exploit over the web, especially with respect to what CookieMonster does that other tools do not (or at least do not automate). This post is an attempt to clarify the situation, and describe the two main classes of cookie stealing Man In The Middle vulnerabilities that popular websites are vulnerable to, depending on their security properties.

CookieMonster Core Logic, Configuration, and READMEs

This post describes the core logic of CookieMonster in more precise terms than the previous overview post. The hope is to drive home exactly how the tool functions, and to underscore that source code counts as speech in this capacity (and in general). In addition, the README that illustrates how the tool is used, and a README describing a "Quick Start" Live CD method for Mac and Windows users who do not have Linux installs are now available. Finally, an example configuration file for the tool is now posted as well. These should hopefully give a clearer picture of how the tool works and how it can be used.

Google Provides Timeline, Twitter Agrees to Provide Secure SSL

Google has committed to providing automatic secure cookie support for https gmail users by 9/4/08 via a mechanism similar but not identical to the method I described in this post, and has requested I not release the tool until then. Additionally, Twitter has informed me they are working on a fix as well.

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