Feeds

Popular password protection programs p0wnable

LastPass, RoboForm, My1Login, PasswordBox and NeedMyPassword all flawed

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Researchers have detailed a series of quickly patched vulnerabilities in five popular password managers that could allow attackers to steal user credentials.

"Critical" vulnerabilities were discovered and reported in LastPass, RoboForm, My1Login, PasswordBox and NeedMyPassword in work described by the University of California Berkeley researchers as a "wake-up call" for developers of web password vaults.

"Our attacks are severe: in four out of the five password managers we studied, an attacker can learn a user’s credentials for arbitrary websites," Researchers Zhiwei Li, Warren He, Devdatta Akhawe, and Dawn Song wrote in the paper The Emperor’s New Password Manager: Security Analysis of Web-based Password Managers (PDF).

"We find vulnerabilities in diverse features like one-time passwords, bookmarklets, and shared passwords.

"The root-causes of the vulnerabilities are also diverse: ranging from logic and authorisation mistakes to misunderstandings about the web security model, in addition to the typical vulnerabilities like CSRF (cross site request forgery) and XSS (cross site scripting)."

The LastPass bookmarklet option which permitted ad-hoc integration with Safari on iOS was found vulnerable if users were tricked into running the Java code on an attackers' site.

A carder, for example, could set up a fake banking site in an attempt to con the less than one percent of LastPass users running bookmarklets to log in. Doing so could allow attackers to extract passwords from the victim's LastPass vault.

A second CSRF bug affected LastPass one time passwords. It could allow attackers to see which apps and devices were running LastPass, to steal the entire master password-encrypted vault for later brute-forcing, and to erase any stored website password.

The disclosure prompted LastPass to issue a statement playing down vulnerabilities affecting its Java bookmarklets and one time passwords which if run on a malicious website could compromise user accounts prior to a fix pushed out in September.

"If you are concerned that you’ve used bookmarklets before September 2013 on non-trustworthy sites, you may consider changing your master password and generating new passwords, though we don’t think it is necessary," chief information officer Joe Siegrist said.

"The OTP attack is a 'targeted attack' requiring an attacker to know the user’s username to potentially exploit it, and serve that custom attack [for each] user [which is] activity which we have not seen.

"Even if this was exploited, the attacker would still not have the key to decrypt user data."

The research did not signal curtains for web password managers, but rather served as a warning to developers and users of inherent security risks.

"Widespread adoption of insecure password managers could make things worse: adding a new, untested single point of failure to the web authentication ecosystem," researchers wrote, adding that design of a secure password manager required systematic defense-in-depth.

The boffin quartet said they will develop tools to automate their vulnerability inspection for password managers and planned a "principled, secure-by-construction" password manager. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
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?
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.