Feeds

Android app brings cookie stealing to unwashed masses

Hello. It's time for always-on SSL

Seven Steps to Software Security

A developer has released an app for Android handsets that brings website credential stealing over smartphones into the script kiddie realm.

FaceNiff, as the Android app is called, can be used to steal unencrypted cookies on most Wi-Fi networks, giving users a point-and-click interface for stealing sensitive authentication tokens sent over Facebook, Twitter, and other popular websites when users don't bother to use encrypted SSL, or secure sockets layer, connections. The app works even on networks protected by WPA and WPA2 encryption schemes by using a technique known as ARP spoofing to redirect local traffic through the attacker's device. An attacker would have to know the security password, however.

To be sure, FaceNiff doesn't do anything that hasn't been done for decades, and based on a YouTube video and comments on an official support forum, the app seems to have its share of quirks. Programs such as SSLSniff, released years ago by Moxie Marlinspike, contain considerably more powerful capabilities even if they lack a smartphone GUI.

But by making it possible for ordinary Android users to hijack other people's Web 2.0 accounts, FaceNiff has the potential to be something like the smartphone equivalent of Firesheep, a Firefox browser extension that brought new urgency to the decades-old threat of using unencrypted web connections. FaceNiff lacks some of the automated features of Firesheep, but that could change with a few updates to the Android app.

Over the past year or so, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft have upgraded a variety of their services to add always-on SSL, which is the only effective way to prevent the theft of authentication tokens. Those protections on several occasions have been found to be far from perfect, but they're a step in the right direction.

And they've been rolled out increasingly thanks to the growing awareness that comes from DIY man-in-the-middle tools like Firesheep. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.