Feeds

CyberPatrol censor-ware gives up credit details

Another fine mess

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Web filtering and spyware outfit SurfControl has hit a PR snag since it bought the CyberPatrol child-salvation censorware from toy maker Mattel this Summer, following a recent BugTraq submission detailing laughable credit card protections for its customers.

The problem occurs when a customer attempts to register the product. "All registration info except the credit card number is sent in clear text, and the card number is obfuscated with a trivial substitution cipher," the alert says.

Registration is handled by the software rather than a proper SSL-encrypted Web interface. The software first verifies that the CC number is a valid Luhn number, meaning that doubling every other digit and then adding all the digits produces a sum divisible by ten. (Careful, carder-wannabes - we left out an important detail.)

If the CC number conforms to the Luhn algorithm, the software sends the customer's registration details to the company via HTTP using a POST request. The victim's name, address, e-mail, credit card expiry date and phone number are all sent in plain text.

The card number itself is protected by "an extraordinarily ineffective substitution cipher, equivalent to that which may be found in the games pages of many newspapers", the alert says.

A malicious third party could easily intercept this information by placing a sniffer upstream of the company's servers. With all the ancillary information in plain text, and the cipher breakable using nothing more sophisticated than a pad and pencil, the wind-up is a preposterously easy bug for carders and identity fraudsters to exploit.

Potential customers are advised not to register the product until the security hole has been bunged.

The company itself is admonished to get its act together and start using SSL. "You apparently lack cryptographic expertise on-site - accept this. Don't go out and attempt to merge in a commercial crypto tool kit or even OpenSSL - you don't have the time or the programming staff. Please, take advantage of the widespread deployment of SSL in the browser and have users register on line through an SSL-enabled form," the authors urge.

CyberPatrol has taken a severe battering since filing a federal lawsuit earlier this year, persecuting crypto buffs Eddy Jansson and Matthew Skala for distributing their 'cphack' cracking utility, which exposed the product's controversial list of banned URLs, while simultaneously making a mockery of the company's cryptographic know-how.

The company went so far as to demand server logs of the Web sites where the utility had been available, showing the IPs of people who had downloaded cphack, in an obvious bid to intimidate them.

With that little PR debacle blowing up in their faces, it's no wonder Mattel was in a hurry to dump CyberPatrol onto the far-less-queasy SurfControl, which, in addition to its censorware interests, has nerve enough to make spyware for businesses - and boast about it. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register
You'll Read These And LOL Even Though They're Serious
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.