Feeds

'High impact' Gmail password security hole blew accounts wide open

Payday for researcher who spotted webmail programming gaffe

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Vid Google has fixed a "high impact" security bug in Gmail's password reset system that could have left any account wide open to a crafty hijacker.

The flaw, spotted by security researcher Oren Hafif, was exploited by sending a spoofed email that reminds the Gmail user that it's time to reset their password. Clicking on the link sends the user to a website that masquerades as a Google page and asks for the user for a new password. That hacker-controlled site also initiates a cross-site request forgery attack via XSS that tricks Google into handing over the victim's login cookie.

"I want you to be honest and agree that if Google says that 'you've confirmed ownership' of your Google Account, and asks you to choose a new password you will not do so? At least your auntie would!" Hafif said in a blog post explaining the attack.

The spoof site can shift the user to a secure Google web page, but by this point, the attacker will have harvested the username, new password and the login cookie for the account. Once inside, they would also get free rein to change passwords on other services associated with that Gmail email address.

Hafif says he alerted Google to the issue and the Chocolate Factory fixed it within 10 days and confirmed he will receive a payment under its bug bounty program, although Google isn't saying how much it is giving him.

Youtube video of the Gmail exploit

Hafif, who'll earn a bounty for reporting the flaw, has also uploaded a video, see above, showing how the attack takes place, backed by some Euro happy house (Can't slow down by Nicco and Bastian Bates, ahem) that will have you reaching for the glowsticks and green lasers and gurning in sympathy. ®

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'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
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
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
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.