Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion, Machine Learning , Agile Computing

ColdFusion: Article

Did You Get the Web 2.0 Memo?

No, you did not miss the memo or a software upgrade notice, yet you've already arrived at Web 2.0

Web-Borne Malware
Web-borne malware exploits a blind spot in many security implementations. Specifically, many applications fail to inspect the data returned from a visit to an Internet Website. Typically using Java Script, malicious hackers literally append malicious code to the Internet Web page. When the unsuspecting user visits the infected Web page, the JavaScript runs in the user’s browser and in most cases causes malware (such as a key logger or root kit) to be downloaded to the user’s PC. This methodology has also been referred to as “Drive By Hacking” and has impacted several high-profile Websites. One prime example: at the peak of the NFL playoffs, hackers compromised the Miami Dolphins’ Website and malware was automatically loaded onto visitors’ PCs. Similarly, the Center for Disease Control Website was compromised, and unsuspecting visitors had malware loaded onto their PCs.

The most notable Web-borne malware event to date involved the storm worm and its respective spam botnet. Starting in January 2007, the storm worm has gone on to impact hundreds of thousands of users. The malware generated over 9 million e-mails to users. Each message directed recipients to Websites containing malicious code. While the social engineering aspects change regularly, the Web 2.0 / Web-borne malware delivery methodology remains the vehicle of choice for the delivery of its root kit / spam bot malware.

Still in Denial
Even today, Web server administrators irresponsibly dismiss Web-borne malware as non-malicious attacks, while thousands of their Website visitors are put at risk. An estimated 450,000 URLs point to malicious Websites hosting malware on the Internet. That’s nearly half-a-million hidden landmines that casual users and even advanced users can’t spot on their own.

RSS / ATOM Feeds
Nearly 12% of Internet-connected users take advantage of RSS / Atom feeds to receive timely news and data content. Alas, most users don’t consider the security ramifications of connecting to a remote server for an RSS / Atom feed. To be sure, using RSS to deliver malware is well within the realm of possibilities.

The RSS threats aren’t new. As far back as 1995, Yahoo was alerted to an RSS feed vulnerability in the company’s RSS aggregator. A more recent security issue has been found with the AOL ICQ Toolbar (CVE-2006-4660). In this example, the default options2.html Web page is not validated before loading. This permits a hacker to execute arbitrary script / coding by tricking them into visiting a malicious Website. A second vulnerability in AOL ICQ Toolbar (CVE-2006-4661) takes advantage of a failure to validate the title and description fields of the feed. This sets the stage for a hacker to trick a user into visiting a malicious Web site to execute arbitrary HTML / scripting.

XSS Scripting
XSS allows malicious hackers to inject code into the Web pages viewed by others. This methodology has become popular in Web 2.0 phishing exploits and browser vulnerabilities. In some cases, it allows the hacker to bypass access controls within the user’s network

There have been several XSS exploits on the Internet and two received a great deal of media attention:

  • MySpace XSS Worm: A worm written to exploit an XSS vulnerability in MySpace brought the service down for nearly two days. The exploit injected JavaScript into users’ pages and when the Web page was visited, the JavaScript was executed in the visitors’ browsers.

  • Yahoo XSS: XSS vulnerability in Yahoo tricked users to click on a booby-trapped link. After each user clicked on the link, the hacker gained access to the user’s Yahoo account including e-mail, address book, and calendar entries.

It should also be noted that a security researcher recently uncovered 40 flaws in Google’s YouTube Website. The vast majority of these flaws were XSS issues that put users at risk of having their profiles infected with a fast-spreading worm that could potentially steal users’ credentials.

Cross-Site Request Forgeries (CSRF)
CSRF is often confused with XSS exploits. However, CSRF does not rely on any client-side active scripting. Instead, CSRF exploits a victim’s prior relationship and authority with a Website to allow unwanted or unapproved actions by a malicious hacker.

Several CSRF exploits have been reported. One particular CSRF vulnerability in phpMyAdmin (CVE-2006-5116) could allow a remote attacker to perform unauthorized activities posing as another user simply by setting a token in a specially crafted URL. Another CSRF issue demonstrated at the 2006 BlackHat conference showed that a user’s DSL router configuration could easily be changed because the user’s browser automatically supplied the DSL router with the user’s credentials – even though the hacker (not the user) was accessing the DSL router.

CSRF exploits in security products are not limited to DSL routers. In an article at Calyptix, CSRF exploits were found to exist in at least four mainstream security appliances, allowing a remote user to gain administrative access.

XSS Filter Bypassing
With the large number of XSS issues plaguing the Web 2.0 world, administrators began utilizing filters to ward off XSS attacks. Filtering to block XSS attacks can be effective but is often found to be weak when the Website must support multi-national users. Simply put, most XSS filters are written to support a given character set for a specific language. To bypass the XSS filters, hackers simply switched the default language encoding (e.g., UTF-8 to US-ASCII).

XSS filter bypassing issues have been found in several software products including PHPNuke and the firewall product from NetGear (FVS318) that allowed hackers to run XSS attacks against FVS318 administrators.

Exponential XSS Attacks
While a traditional XSS attack targets an individual user, an exponential XSS attack targets hundreds or perhaps thousands of users. Proof of Concept code for an exponential XSS attack can now be found on the Internet.

The example attack, known as the “Nduja Connection,” is a worm that targets Web-based e-mail systems. It collects the e-mail of a given user, collects all of the user’s contact e-mail addresses, and then self-propagates to all of the user’s contacts. This exponential XSS attack was used successfully against Liberi.it, Tiscali.it, Licos.it, and Excite.com Web-based e-mail systems.

More Stories By Paul A. Henry

Paul Henry is global information security expert, with more than 20 years' experience managing security initiatives for Global 2000 enterprises and government organizations worldwide. At Secure Computing, he plays a key strategic role in new product development and directions. In his role as vice president of technology evangelism, he also advises and consults on some of the world's most challenging and high-risk information security projects, including the National Banking System in Saudi Arabia, Department of Defense's Satellite Data Project, USA, and both government as well as telecommunications projects through out Japan.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Julian 09/19/07 07:23:21 PM EDT

Awesome read - well done...
We recently wrote a blog post that's probably also of interest to readers on this topic. http://julian101.com/archives/88

It talks about Web2.0 and sheds some light on whether we're really at Web2.0 or Web 16.0...

Julian Stone - ProWorkflow.com

@ThingsExpo Stories
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.