Feeds

Security researcher warns over Dropbox authentication security flaw

Knitted in insecurity

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Attackers able to get their hands on a Dropbox configuration file would be able to access and download any files a user synchronises through the service without betraying any signs of compromise, a security researcher has discovered.

Derek Newton discovered that a Dropbox authentication token, stored in a config file of the Dropbox directory of a Windows PC, allows access to an associated account with the file-synchronisation service – even if a user changes his password. Dropbox allows the automatic synchronisation of files between multiple computers and mobile devices. The freemium-based service works on multiple operating system platforms and mobile devices. It also offer a web-based interface to data held through an account; these are free to consumers for storage synchronisation volumes of up to 2GB.

The Windows config file might be lifted after a machine becomes compromised via a Trojan, the most obvious attack scenario. If stolen, the host_id config file can used on any other system and the breach can only be resolved by logging into an account and revoking this credential rather than simply changing passwords. Users will not be informed if a new computer is added to a synchronisation list.

Newton blames designs flaws in the Windows version of Dropbox for what he argues is a security weakness. It is unclear whether or not Linux, Mac OS X or mobile Dropbox authentication tokens might lend themselves to similar attacks.

Arash Ferdowsi, Dropbox's CTO, contested this assessment, arguing that if an attacker succeeded in either planting a Trojan on a PC or otherwise hacking into a machine, then all the files on the system are up for grabs anyway. Nonetheless, Ferdowsi said that the design of the Dropbox client may be improved in the light of Newton's research. Possible ideas include making sure that Dropbox authentication tokens are tied to a particular system and not portable, H Security reports. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
IT crisis looming: 'What if AWS goes pop, runs out of cash?'
Public IaaS... something's gotta give - and it may be AWS
Linux? Bah! Red Hat has its eye on the CLOUD – and it wants to own it
CEO says it will be 'undisputed leader' in enterprise cloud tech
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Hey, what's a STORAGE company doing working on Internet-of-Cars?
Boo - it's not a terabyte car, it's just predictive maintenance and that
Troll hunter Rackspace turns Rotatable's bizarro patent to stone
News of the Weird: Screen-rotating technology declared unpatentable
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.