Safari on a Mac and Internet Explorer 8 in Windows 7 were also exploited
It’s been an action-packed couple of days of Pwn2Own hacking contests at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver. Hackers eroded Apple’s image of superior security, making quick work of both Microsoft and Apple products alike.
The fireworks began with an iPhone exploit coded primarily by Vincenzo Iozzo and Ralf Philipp Weinmann. The exploit works on fully patched iPhone 3GS (and presumably other models). It allows a malicious user to lure a target to a website and then steal any or all of the following — the person’s SMS text database (including deleted messages), their contacts, pictures, and iTunes music files.
Describes Iozzo, “Basically, every page that the user visits on our [rigged] site will grab the SMS database and upload it to a server we control.”
Halvar Flake also helped the pair develop the exploit. He says that the iPhone’s sandbox protections don’t do enough to protect the user fully. He states, “This exploit doesn’t get out of the iPhone sandbox. Apple has pretty good counter-measures but they are clearly not enough. The way they implement code-signing is too lenient.”
He posts more details on a blog here.
The exploit currently crashes the browser, but the collaborators are planning a version that allows the browser to keep running. They sold the rights to the vulnerability to TippingPoint Zero Day Initiative, which is in turn working with Apple to come up with a patch.
Iozzo and Winmann scored the iPhone 3GS they hacked and a $15,000 cash prize.
That wasn’t the only Apple product exploited — as promised, Charlie Miller successfully hacked a Mac computer for the third year in the row. Conference organizers navigated to a prepared webpage which downloaded content without informing the user. That download was used by Miller to gain root access to the machine.
Miller is a champion of a hacking/testing technique known as fuzzing. Fuzzers throw random inputs such as environment variables, keyboard and mouse events, and sequences of API calls to try to get a program to do something it doesn’t usually do (like compromise its security).
For his efforts Miller scored another MacBook Pro (though he probably doesn’t need it). He’s cooperating with Apple on a patch and won’t release details of the vulnerability until it lands.
Apple wasn’t the only OS maker to have their products hacked, though. Windows 7’s much celebrated memory protections were cracked.
Dutch hacker Peter Vreugdenhil infiltrated a fully patched Windows 7 64-bit machine by bypassing the ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) and DEP (Data Execution Prevention) memory protections. With the protections down Vreugdenhil used Internet Explorer 8 exploits to hijack the machine.
Vreugdenhil is also a proponent of fuzzing to discover exploits. He describes, “I started with a bypass for ALSR which gave me the base address for one of the modules loaded into IE. I used that knowledge to do the DEP bypass. I specifically looking through my fuzzing logs for a bug like this because I could use it to do the ASLR bypass.”
IE team members were on hand to witness the feat. They said that they are working with conference organizers to determine the nature of the vulnerability and make a patch to protect against it.