Feeds

Android app brings cookie stealing to unwashed masses

Hello. It's time for always-on SSL

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
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.