Feeds

CyberPatrol censor-ware gives up credit details

Another fine mess

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.