Towerwall Security / Vulnerability Alert

Security researchers from the Vulnerability Lab have identified a serious security hole that could affect a number of companies which rely on Barracuda products. They’ve discovered a high severity validation filter and exception handling bypass vulnerability in Barracuda’s appliances.

According to the experts, the input filter that’s designed to block out persistent input attacks is flawed, exposing all security appliances.

“The bug is located when processing to save the URL path name (DB stored) with attached file. The vulnerability allows the bypassing of the path URL name parse restriction which leads to the execution on a second vulnerable bound module which displays the input as output listing,” the advisory reads.  

The vulnerable modules – Account MyResource Display and File Upload – persistently execute the saved URL path (which can be a malicious code).

So how does it work?

“The URL path function saves the context of the input path name (parsed) as client side request via URL. If the request is getting bound with the file, which is getting stored (persistent) and displayed later on the overview listings, the code is getting executed unauthorized out of the security application context (persistent|server-side),” the experts explain.

The researchers say that the flaw can be fixed by parsing the second input request of the “file upload” function and the path URL request.

To demonstrate their findings, the experts have published a proof-of-concept video which shows how the input filter in Barracuda SSL VPN can be bypassed by a local attacker to execute code persistently. 

Barracuda Networks has been notified of the issues sometime in May, but so far it’s uncertain when a patch will be made available. 

Update. Vulnerability Lab representatives have contacted us to reveal that the security hole has been addressed by Barracuda. More details on the vulnerability, published by the company, are available here.

Here is the proof-of-concept video made available by Vulnerability Lab

BYOD Brings on a War of Worry

It appears that BYOD, “Bring Your Own Device” to work, is beyond just being a growing trend if not currently a sanctioned practice within the corporate walls. It may seem that bowing to this desire on the parts of employees would have a lot to offer, not the least of which is a reduction in costs for employee-issued hardware. Unfortunately that is not entirely the case.

In fact, cost reduction should be the last reason for considering allowing BYOD.

Embracing this movement requires a well thought out policy that will be acceptable to both employees, who may want the convenience but fear privacy breaches, and the business, which must keep its own data and hardware safe from security threats while getting more productivity from its staff.

Employee concerns about privacy can be easily handled if the IT department has the right tools. But that is actually a smaller part of the issue. The larger element in determining BYOD policy must consider the entire life cycle of devices that are owned by private individuals and the impact on business security.

According to a survey by Cisco and Redshift Research, 48% of companies globally stated they would never authorize employees to BYOD. Contrast this to another finding in the survey: that 57% of companies state that some employees were doing it anyway without anyone’s consent.

Rather than continue to deny the trend, the best route to take is to put into place a policy that spells out what the concerns are from both sides of the aisle and how they will be addressed. Looking at privacy issues, employees tend to worry about:

  • Being tracked through mobile device management systems.
  • Employers viewing private information on their personal devices.
  • Deletion of personal information such as pictures, music, and email profiles.
  • Employers viewing the websites visited during non-working hours.
  • Being required to allow access to installed personal applications.

Tools are being developed by mobile device manufacturers to address some of these concerns. The resolutions include a virtual wall between personal information and what the company can see or the capability of housing two personas on a single phone, one for business and one for personal use. Other tools include allowing IT to push and pull corporate information without being able to access private, personal information.

In addition to this, many mobile device management systems come with security options to protect against employer invasion of employee privacy. Unfortunately, these settings are often not used. A policy should spell these actions out.

Company Security

Businesses must be sure employees understand the risks from a corporate point of view. Part of the BYOD policy should include education for business users regarding how company information is to be accessed, how and when this information may be deleted from the device, and what to do when the device is no longer to be used for work. Emphasize the ease and invisibility of cybercrime.

The rest of the policy must address what IT must do when an employee:

  • Leaves employment, taking the device with him.
  • Decides to use the device only for personal use.
  • Turns in a device for an upgrade.
  • Sells the device. 

Applications are another area that must be handled. The employee will not take kindly to being restricted in the applications he places on his own phone. Also, there is the possibility that the company may need to place a custom application on the phone for work purposes.

BYOD is here to stay. Prudent businesses are getting ahead of the curve by creating a policy that takes the entire device lifecycle into account.

 Download our free eBook “Beware of BYOD”.


By Michelle Drolet, founder and CEO, Towerwall
Special to BostInno

This article was recently published in BostInno

Warning: Java vulnerable to hackers, U.S. government says

Jan 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security urged computer users to disable Oracle Corp’s (ORCL:$34.8625,$-0.0475,-0.14%) Java software, amplifying security experts’ prior warnings to hundreds of millions of consumers and businesses that use it to surf the Web.

Hackers have figured out how to exploit Java to install malicious software enabling them to commit crimes ranging from identity theft to making an infected computer part of an ad-hoc network of computers that can be used to attack websites.

“We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem,” the Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team said in a posting on its website late on Thursday.

“This and previous Java vulnerabilities have been widely targeted by attackers, and new Java vulnerabilities are likely to be discovered,” the agency said. “To defend against this and future Java vulnerabilities, disable Java in Web browsers.”

Oracle (ORCL:$34.8625,$-0.0475,-0.14%) declined to comment on the warning on Friday.

Java is a computer language that enables programmers to write software utilizing just one set of code that will run on virtually any type of computer, including ones that use Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT:$26.652,0$0.192,00.73%) Windows, Apple Inc’s (AAPL:$520.67,00$-2.84,00-0.54%) OS X and Linux, an operating system widely employed by corporations.

Computer users access Java programs through modules, or plug-ins, that run Java software on top of browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox.

The U.S. government’s warning on Java came after security experts warned earlier on Thursday of the newly discovered flaw.

It is relatively rare for government agencies to advise computer users to completely disable software due to a security bug, particularly in the case of widely used programs such as Java. They typically recommend taking steps to mitigate the risk of attack while manufacturers prepare an update, or hold off on publicizing the problem until an update is prepared.

In September, the German government advised the public to temporarily stop using Microsoft’s (MSFT:$26.652,0$0.192,00.73%) Internet Explorer browser to give it time to patch a security vulnerability that opened it to attacks.

The Department of Homeland Security said attackers could trick targets into visiting malicious websites that would infect their PCs with software capable of exploiting the bug in Java.

It said an attacker could also infect a legitimate website by uploading malicious software that would infect machines of computer users who trust that site because they have previously visited it without experiencing any problems.

They said developers of several popular tools, known as exploit kits, which criminal hackers use to attack PCs, have added software that allows hackers to exploit the newly discovered bug in Java to attack computers.

Security experts have been scrutinizing the safety of Java since a similar security scare in August, which prompted some of them to advise using the software only on an as-needed basis.

At the time they advised businesses to only allow their workers to use Java browser plug-ins when prompted for permission by trusted programs such as GoToMeeting, a Web-based collaboration tool from Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS:$70.88,00$0.40,000.57%)

Adam Gowdiak, a researcher with Polish security firm Security Explorations, subsequently said he had found other security bugs in Java that continued to make computers vulnerable to attack.

Java suffered another setback in October when Apple (AAPL:$520.67,00$-2.84,00-0.54%) began removing old versions of the software from Internet browsers of Mac computers when its customers installed new versions of its OS X operating system. Apple (AAPL:$520.67,00$-2.84,00-0.54%) did not provide a reason for the change and both companies declined comment at the time. (Editing by Scott Malone, Steve Orlofsky and Bernadette Baum)

By Jim Finkle