Young hacker smiling

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Chucky the actual serial killer doll

The anomaly serial killer doll

Hunting missing checks with anomaly detection

In our previous article we focused on taint-style vulnerabilites, i.e., those that are essentially due to the lack of input sanitization which allows tainted, user-controlled data to reach sensitive functions. Some of these arise due to missing checks in code, such as: failure to check authentication, authorization...



Cartoonized dragon book cover

Exploiting code graphs

Mining graph representations for vulnerabilities

As we have seen in our previous revision article, probably the most interesting and successful approach to automated vulnerability detection is the pattern-based approach. Since we expect to extract meaningful patterns from the code we also need a "comprehensive and feature rich representation"[1] of it. Other...



Mark Stamp's book cover. Blue team machine vs read team

Crash course in machine learning

A survey of machine learning algorithms

In this article we mean to clarify some of the undefined terms in our previous article and, by way of it, explore a selection of machine learning algorithms and their applications to information security. We do not pretend to make an exhaustive list of all machine learning (ML) algorithms and …



Can machines learn to hack?

Machine-learning to hack

Machine learning for vulnerability discovery

To date the most important security vulnerabilities have been found via laborius code auditing. Also, this is the only way vulnerabilities can be found and fixed during development. However, as software production rates increase, so does the need for a reliable, automated method for checking or classifiying this code in …



Python proofreading a document

Pars orationis non est secura

Using parser combinators to detect flaws

We like bWAPP around here, because it’s very buggy!. We have shown here how to find and exploit vulnerabilities like SQL injection, directory traversal, XPath injection, and UNIX command injection. All of these have one thing in common, namely: they could have been prevented with a little Input Validation …



Pickled cucumbers

Gherkin on steroids

How to document detailed attack vectors

In the field of information security and ethical hacking, finding all vulnerabilities is as important as reporting them as soon as possible. For that, we need an effective means to communicate with all stakeholders. We have proposed before using the bussiness-readable, domain-specific language Gherkin. In that...



Weak bicycle lock with words

Requiem for a p455w0rD

Why passphrases are better than passwords

What would you rather have at your home door: a simple, weak key that needs to be changed every other week, or a one-time-setup, state-of-the-art, virtually unpickable cruciform key? Figure 1. Lock key comparison via Locksmith Ledger. That’s just the difference between rotating short passwords vs having one good …



Pythia and supplicant in the Oracle of Delphi

The Oracle of Code

About code as data

“Most programs are too large to understand in complete detail”. This was written in the 80’s.[1] Imagine the situation today. Hence the need for automated tools to aid in the process of analyzing code. The solution, according to Oege de Moor from Semmle, is obvious: treat code as …



O'Reilly XML book cover

XML: eXploitable Markup Language

XPath injection on XML files

Markup languages are “systems for annotating a document in a way that is syntactically distinguishable from the text.” [1] What does that really mean? I reckon that’d be better understood with examples. But before, a warning: if you use them for sensitive information storage, you should be really careful …



Orion carrying Cedalion

Stand on the shoulders of giants

About software composition analysis

In our last post, we reproduced the discovery of a vulnerability in libpng. But that is only a small library, you might say, with a very limited scope and only 556 KiB installed. However, many, many packages depend on it. To see how many packages in the Arch Linux repository …



Infinite Monkey Theorem

The infinite monkey fuzzer

Fuzz testing using American Fuzzy Lop

In our last entry, we argued that fuzzing is both “dumb” and surprising. In this article, we’ll continue exploring the possibilities of fuzzing. This time though, we’ll focus on desktop application fuzzing, specifically UNIX applications written in C. When developing in C, you usually have to handle memory …



Fuzzy caterpillar

Fuzzy bugs online

Fuzz techniques for attacking web applications

Web fuzzing is an automated, computerized technique to find bugs and vulnerabilities within a computer system. If you think protecting your site is a matter of simply blocking the most common types of malicious requests, think again. Read on. Injecting SQL into a vulnerable site A fairly common situation is …




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