Posts Tagged ‘LLC.’

Hosted Solutions A Hackers Haven

Human beings are lazy by nature.If there is a choice to be made between a complicated technology solution and an easy technology solution, then nine times out of ten people will choose the easy solution.The problem is that the easy solutions are often riddled with hidden risks and those risks can end up costing the consumer more money in damages then what might be saved by using the easy solution.

The advantages of using a managed hosting provider to host your email, website, telephone systems, etc, are clear.When you outsource critical infrastructure components you save money.The savings are quickly realized because you no longer need to spend money running a full scale IT operation.In many cases, you don’t even need to worry about purchasing hardware, software, or even hiring IT staff to support the infrastructure.

What isn’t clear to most people is the serious risk that outsourcing can introduce to their business.In nearly all cases a business will have a radically lower risk and exposure profile if they keep everything in-house.This is true because of the substantial attack surface that hosting providers have when compared to in-house IT environments.

For example, a web-hosting provider might host 1,000 websites across 50 physical servers.If one of those websites contains a single vulnerability and that vulnerability is exploited by a hacker then the hacker will likely take control of the entire server.At that point the hacker will have successfully compromised and taken control of all 50 websites with a single attack.

In non-hosted environments there might be only one Internet facing website as opposed to the 1000 that exist in a hosted environment.As such the attack surface for this example would be 1000 times greater in a hosted environment than it is in a non-hosted environment.In a hosted environment the risks that other customers introduce to the infrastructure also become your risk.In a non-hosted environment you are only impacted by your own risks.

To make matters worse, many people assume that such a risk isn’t significant because they do not use their hosted systems for any critical transactions.They fail to consider the fact that the hacker can modify the contents of the compromised system.These modifications can involve redirecting online banking portal links, credit card form posting links, or even to spread infectious malware.While this is true for any compromised system, the chances of suffering a compromise in a hosted environment are much greater than in a non-hosted environment.

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Cambium Group, LLC. CAMAS Advisory

We’ve finally released the Cambium Group, LLC Content Management System (“CAMAS”) advisory after much waiting and debate. These security risks were discovered in CAMAS during a customer penetration test that we did in August of 2007 (we notified the Cambium Group about these risks on 08/24/2007). The security vulnerabilities that are disclosed in the advisory are kept very high level and low detail as to not arm any potentially malicious people. Unfortunatley the vulnerabilities still exist today (almost two years later) according to some recent Google research that we did. In fact, according to Google’s cache the Cambium Group’s own website was vulnerable as of Feburary 9th 2009 to the exact same vulnerabilities that we alerted them to on 08/24/07 (see the screen shot below).


We can’t ethically test Cambium Group customer’s websites without their permission, hence why we rely on Google for this information. Google sometimes triggers vulnerabilities in websites while crawling them and the results get recorded to Google’s database. When that happens they become searchable (and get cached). Malicious hackers and script kiddies also use Google in this way to identify websites that are vulnerable to SQL Injection. This gives them an easy set of targets that they can compromise with little effort.

You can check to see if Google stumbled upon a vulnerability in your instance of CAMAS by using the following technique. Type the following string into the Google search engine but replace www.company.com with your company’s domain (see the screen shot below as an example.) String (without the quotes): “inurl:www.yourcompany.com 1064 You have an error in your SQL

When you hit the search button (and if Google has a cached version of your website being vulnerable) you will see a link that reads something like “1064: You have an error in your SQL syntax near ” at line 1 select * from Template where TemplateID =”. That error is an SQL error that demonstrates that your website is (or was) vulnerable to SQL Injection. SQL Injection Vulnerabilities are one of the more serious risks because they can be used by hackers to gain administrative levels of access to websites, web servers and their respective content.

Unfortunatley, if Google doesn’t respond with something like the response shown above, you might still be vulnerable. SQL Injection vulnerabilities can also be blind in nature, meaning that they do not throw errors back to the attacker but that they can still be used to penetrate into systems (in some cases they may throw non-informational errors). *Additionally, CAMAS isn’t only vulnerable to SQL Injection, but it is also vulnerable to Cross-Site Scripting, Cross-SIte Request Forgery, Local File Inclusion, Remote File Inclusion, and some Cryptographic Weaknesses (*according to testing done in 2007 and to more Google homework).

The reason why we were unable to come forward with this advisory back in 2007 is because the Cambium Group hadn’t yet fixed the vulnerabilities that we discovered in our customers instance of CAMAS. We were only recently able to come forward because an ex Cambium Group consultant exposed these same vulnerabilities in a posting that he made to the Full Disclosure mailing list. As a result we felt that it would be prudent to release a formal advisory to help CAMAS users become aware of the risks and defend against them.

Our normal process for vulnerability research and advisory release is to work with the vendor in a friendly and professional manner. We’ve got quite a bit of expereince in doing this with vendors like Apple, HP, etc. In most cases vendors respond with questions about how to fix the vulnerabilities that we discovered. We provide them with all of the information that we can and wait for them (while working with them) to create a fix.

In most cases this process takes anywhere from 3 to 6 months, but when its done, we’ve done our job and the risks are eliminated. Not only does this type of work help the vendor to keep their customer’s safe, but it also enables the vendor to demonstrate to their customers that they take security seriously. We attempted to follow the same practice with the Cam
bium Group, LLC.
but no fixes were ever pushed out to their customers (based on what we saw). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a CAMAS advisory has been released about the vulnerabilities that we discovered in 2007. If that is inaccurate, please leave us a comment and we’ll consider updating this entry.

In addition to our advisory being published, there also exists a good article that was written by Dan Goodin at the register. Dan Goodin took the time to contact the Cambium Group to hear their side of the story before writing the article (as any good reporter does). Something to make note of before reading the article is a quote from Scott Wells where he said “All of the recommendations that Netragard gave were followed and the site was then able to pass their validation process.” We’re not sure why he said that, we never rechecked the customer site and we don’t have a “validation process”.

If you are a Cambium Group customer then there are a few things that you can do to ensure the saftey of your website and its respective users. The first recommendation that we have is to perform a Web Application Penetration Test against your website. You can do this yourself in a light weight sort of way by using a scanner like NTOspider or WebInspect (we’re not affiliated with either but we’d recommend NTOspider). Having said that, we’re not too fond of relying on automated tools for security so we recommend that you hire a qualified third party to test the security of your website. Make sure that they do manual testing, not just automated testing.

We also recommend that any Cambium Group customer consider installing a reverse proxy with application layer filtering capabilities. These proxies are designed to analyze web traffic being sent from web users to your website. If the data is normal web traffic then it is allowed to reach your website, but if it contains malicious data that matches known attack patterns then it is blocked and never reaches your website. This prevents attackers from being able access the vulnerable components of websites that suffer from various risks. Examples of such proxies are ModSecurity and BlueCoat (there are many others and we’re not affiliated with any of them).

The other way to defend against these vulnerabilities is to impliment properly designed parameterized stored proceedures and to use strong input validation and data sanitization techniques as defined by the Open Web Application Security Project. This is true for for any Web Application, not just CAMAS. Never the less, in the case of CAMAS the Cambium Group would need to impliment these changes, you would probably not be able to because CAMAS is not an open source product.

If you have any questions about this blog entry please do not hesitate to contact us with any of your questions or concerns. You can either leave us a comment on the blog and we’ll respond promptly, or you can contact us off-line and we’ll keep it confidential. Your privacy and security are our top concern.

Update:  One of our readers sent us a link to The Vermont Statutes Online, Title: 9 Commerce and Trade Chapter: 62 Protection of Personal Information 2435. Notice of security breaches.  If you are a CAMAS customer then it is our understanding that you should have received notification of these risks based on the aforementioned statute. 
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