Feeds

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

Payday for researcher who spotted webmail programming gaffe

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
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
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
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

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.