How I Lost My $50,000 Twitter Username

I had a rare Twitter username, @N. Yep, just one letter. I’ve been offered as much as $50,000 for it. People have tried to steal it. Password reset instructions are a regular sight in my email inbox. As of today, I no longer control @N. I was extorted into giving it up. A sad story …

Reverse Engineering a D-Link Backdoor

alpha_auth_check itself is a fairly simple function. It does a few strstr’s and strcmp’s against some pointers in the http_request_t structure, then calls check_login, which actually does the authentication check. It is the final strcmp however, which proves to be the most compelling: This is performing a strcmp between the string pointer at offset 0xD0 …

Long overdue: HTTPS for the App Store

Early July 2012, I reported to Apple numerous vulnerabilities related to their App Store iOS app. Early March Apple finally issued a fix for it and turned on HTTPS for the App Store. I am really happy that my spare-time work pushed Apple to finally enabled HTTPS to protect users. This post discuss the vulnerabilities …

Sandboxed iframes

<iframe sandbox="allow-same-origin allow-scripts allow-popups allow-forms" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets/tweet_button.html" style="border: 0; width:130px; height:20px;"></iframe> The sandbox attribute of the iframe element allows us to tighten the restrictions on framed content. We can instruct the browser to load a specific frame’s content in a low-privilege environment, allowing only the subset of capabilities necessary to do whatever work needs doing. Play …

OAuth & Changing Passwords

Valid point by Brent Simmons: When Twitter was recently hacked, I was among those who got an email saying I was affected. So I changed my password. But here’s what I’ve noticed: changing my password does not cause any of the Twitter clients on my iPhone to ask me again for authentication. They just keep …

Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore

Mat Honan, who’s digital life was destroyed this summer, on passwords The age of the password has come to an end; we just haven’t realized it yet. And no one has figured out what will take its place. What we can say for sure is this: Access to our data can no longer hinge on …

How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking

Mat Honan’s digital life was destroyed: His Google account, Twitter Account, Apple account, … all were gone. Along with that all of his iDevices were remotely wiped by the hackers. Getting into Amazon let my hackers get into my Apple ID account, which helped them get into Gmail, which gave them access to Twitter. Information …

Fixing the petname-as-my-password dogma.

Popular pet names Rover, Cheryl and Kate could be a thing of the past. Banks are now advising parents to think carefully before naming their child’s first pet. For security reasons, the chosen name should have at least eight characters, a capital letter and a digit. It should not be the same as the name …