Feeds

Android app brings cookie stealing to unwashed masses

Hello. It's time for always-on SSL

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.