Feeds

OpenID warns of 'psychic paper' authentication attack

Baddies can modify cross-site personal data ... though no one has yet

Remote control for virtualized desktops

OpenID has warned of bugs in its authentication technology that create a possible means for hackers to modify data sent between sites.

The flaw is noteworthy because many high-profile sites – including Google, Yahoo! and Flickr – use the technology so that once users have logged into one site, they aren't constantly prompted for passwords. Thousands of smaller sites also use the technology.

The security weakness stems from an implementation flaw in authentication exchange, an extension to the OpenID system that gives sites the ability to exchange identity information between endpoints. The bug meant that proper checks on whether authentication information had been correctly signed were not carried out in some cases, thus creating a mechanism for hackers to offer false information that is accepted as genuine.

The security bug has been confirmed in OpenID4Java and Kay Framework, but is not necessarily limited to them. Both libraries have been updated. Janrain, Ping Identity and DotNetOpenAuth are immune from the bug.

There's no evidence that hackers have actually carried out any "psychic paper" trick along these lines, but the mere fact that the cryptography was weak is good reason enough for OpenID to advise sites to update their technology to a new version, without vulnerable implementations, or apply patches designed to plug the security hole, as explained in an advisory by OpenID here.

"For apps that are vulnerable, we recommend modifying application code to accept only signed attribute values as an initial step," it said.

OpenID credits security researchers Rui Wang, Shuo Chen and XiaoFeng Wang with discovering the flaw. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?