Month: October 2013

Alpha Networks Inc. Want to Backdoor Your Router

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In recent news posted on the Dev ttyS0 blog that a spin-off company of D-Link called Alpha Networks Inc. has embedded a backdoor to various D-Link and Planex firmware.

The blog post titled “Reverse-Engineering a D-Link Backdoor” really does a great job showing the step-by-step process the author took find the back door. There are nice visual diagrams and code fragments too.

In a nut shell, the genius programmers at Alpha Networks Inc. wrote some programs or services that needed to change the routers settings remotely. Knowing that the HTTP server on the device could do this, they thought to re-use its functionality. Yeah, 1 step forward, but it needs a password to log in so they though to add a routine to by-pass the authentication check based on a static user-agent, 2 steps backwards or rather 100 steps backwards into a pit of stupidity.

It’s bad enough they got one or more programmers who thought of doing this, it is even worse when you see what the user-agent string is; here have a look:


Now for the grand moment of where genius meets idiot, spell that backwards!


Yeah, Thanks “Joel” and I bet 04882 must be your employee ID code or something else that might be personally or professionally related to you. Thanks for backdooring D-Link firmware. This was already found by Russian hackers in 2010, so who know how long this might have been exploited for.

*** Update ***
Posted buffer overflow exploit proof of concept code on check it out here

WhatsApp ? WhatsCryptography? WhatsEncryption? Answer is: I don’t know

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And it happens again to WhatsApp, being further embarrassed by researchers showing that they do not know how to implement encryption correctly. Recently Help-Net Security published an article about a Dutch Computer Science and Mathematics student (Thijs Alkemade) at Utrecht University has discovered how WhatsApp encrypts and authenticats its messages.

we know that not only does WhatsApp use the same (RC4) encryption key for the messages in both directions, but also the same HMAC key to authenticate messages.

The main problem being:

“But a MAC by itself is not enough to detect all forms of tampering: an attacker could drop specific messages, swap them or even transmit them back to the sender,”

But also points out that there is a simple solution which is using TLS. So in conclusion

  • All WhatsApp users are still not safe
  • Your messages can be sniffed out
  • Your message can be decrypted
  • Your only protection is to stop using WhatsApp
  • Wait for WhatsApp to learn how Encryption works so they can implement it correctly

I’ll end this post with a quote from Thijs Alkemade:

“solution that has been reviewed, updated and fixed for more than 15 years, like TLS.”

Java: ISO-3166 Java Enum

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Having worked software development in a bank before I know how important it is to work with proper data structures and enumerations.

I had a program I needed to write where I had to utilize ISO country codes and there was a lot of interoperability work that needed to be done. So I tried looking for some basic library that had the standard ISO-3166 country codes. Couldn’t find any. I really just needed something I could look up a country code quickly and get its description. Like saving “SLV” or “222” as a key in a database for El Salvador’s currency. Then I can retrieve it and do a look up on a table to get the country name. Or even vice-versa.

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