Google Glass – Yup it’s Hackable!

Google_Glass

As the way cool Google Glasses roll out to customers, it makes one wonder, what if it could be hacked?

Well, it can!

Early adopters have begun to receive their Google Glasses, the Android based wearable computer, and some couldn’t help but to try to hack it. And hack it they did.

Android and iOS developer Jay Freeman hacked his in just a couple hours, while he ate dinner…

It took me two hours while I was having dinner with friends at the time,Freeman told Forbes.The implementation from B1nary is for normal Android tablets and phones, I learned how it worked and then did the same thing on Glass…which was quite simple.

Being an Android based system, it is susceptible to the same attacks that affect smart phones and tablets.

Sadly, due to the way Glass is currently designed, it is particularly susceptible to the kinds of security issues that tend to plague Android devices,” Freeman wrote on his blog.

The one saving grace of Android’s track record on security is that most of the bugs people find in it cannot be exploited while the device is PIN-code locked. Google’s Glass, however, does not have any kind of PIN mechanism: when you turn it on, it is immediately usable.”

But apparently that was the point, according to a Google developer, the units are shipped so they can be hacked!

Not to bring anybody down… but seriously… we intentionally left the device unlocked so you guys could hack it and do crazy fun shit with it.  I mean, FFS, you paid $1500 for it… go to town on it.  Show me something cool.

That’s cool that they want people to go nuts on these things to find out what really can be done with them. I just have one question. What would a Denial of Service look like on Google Glass?

I mean will people be walking around bumping into things?

Or will the Google Glass user just stand there in a zombie like state with drool dripping down their chin?

Inquiring minds want to know!  🙂

South Korean Students see Cyber Attack as top North Korean threat

Korea Internet Security Center (Ahn Young-joon/Associated Press Photo)
Korea Internet Security Center (Ahn Young-joon/Associated Press Photo)

According to a recent survey of South Korean university students, about 60 percent believe that an attack from North Korea is likely, with the largest threat being a cyber attack.

Recently Professor Yu Jae-du at Mokwon University polled 236 college students concerning the likelihood of a North Korean attack. His findings, announced on Monday showed that most students believed North Korea would most likely attack the South with some form of cyber attack:

“59% believing the most likely attack was cyberterror, followed by a bomb attack (53%), a chemical or biological attack (47%), a nuclear attack (43%), and an attack on airplane (11%).”

The largest concern according to the feedback being a Denial of Service attack. “University students have grown up with and been familiar with computers from a young age, so they see cyberterror such as a direct denial of service attack as the greatest risk from North Korea,” said Professor Yu.

North Korea has a very strong cyber war force. But of all the different types of computer related attacks – like public infrastructure attacks, sabotage, espionage, and cyber crime – it is interesting to see the greatest concern of Korea’s future leaders is Denial of Service type attacks.

Then again, S. Korea is the most wired nation in the world to the point of having abandoned textbooks in all public schools in favor of tablets.

An Eleven Character Linux Denial of Service Attack & How to Defend Against it

Sometimes it is the oddest, harmless looking things that could cause problems. I can’t think of anything more innocuous looking than the following Linux shell command:

But DO NOT run this on a Linux system, or chances are that you will perform a Denial of Service attack on your own machine! You may have to hard reset your system to get it back and you COULD LOSE DATA!

This is not new, I have seen this floating around, and it looked interesting. It was referenced in a 2007 post that said it didn’t work anymore because most modern OS’s are configured to protect against it. So of course I just HAD to try it.

I booted up my Ubuntu 12.04 system, opened a command shell, entered the command and…

It locked dead!

Okay just what is this command???

FORK BOMB PROCESS ATTACK

Meet the “Fork Bomb”. Basically all it does is instruct Linux to open processes – over and over again for an almost infinite number of times. Your RAM and CPU usage rises until the system no longer responds to input.

Let’s see what it does to an Ubuntu 12.04 system.

Here is an Ubuntu 12.04 System Monitor screenshot of a system before I ran the Fork Bomb:

The CPU and Memory usage are steady.

Now once the Fork Bomb is started:

Notice the significant increase in CPU and RAM usage. It even doubled the CPU usage on the virtual host, taking it from 8% to 17% while the attack was running.

I lost all control of the Ubuntu system. Even the keyboard lights were unresponsive. Supposedly some operating systems will recover if left alone long enough. But I waited a while and I never got control back.

(Okay, for all those out there claiming that it was just a Virtual Machine, I tried it on a stand alone Ubuntu 12.04 system with the same results. Okay, there was a quarter second pause before I lost control of the machine!)

DEFENDING AGAINST THE ATTACK

This is very easy to defend against. All you need to do is set limits to the number of processes that a user can open. These can be set per user, per group or globally. And you can set this one of two ways.

You can use the ulimit command for instant change that only lasts until the user logs off, or make the change permanent by editing the /etc/security/limits.conf file.

To use the ulimit command simply type “ulimit -u” with the number of processes that you want users to be allowed to run. So to set the limit to 512 just type:

sudo ulimit -u 512

Does this work? Absolutely – after running ulimit, the fork bomb is effectively throttled:

As you can see from the screenshot above, there is very little increase in RAM usage and the CPU usage is much more tolerable. And more importantly, I had full control of the system.

You can also change the /etc/security/limits.conf file to make the change permanent. Full instructions can be found on AskUbuntu.com, but basically just add the following line to the config file:

*    hard    nproc    512

The “*” means apply the change to everyone, “Hard” means it is a hard limit, and “nproc 512” locks the number of processes to 512.

You need to adjust the number of processes to a number that would be the best setting for your system. 512 seemed to work great on mine. Don’t set the number to low, or you may have other “denial of service” type issues, lol.

Oh, and for all the Mac Fanboys out there, this command didn’t seem to have any effect when run on a newer Mac. Okay, my friend ran it and it ate up 24 Gb of RAM, but seeming he had 64Gb of RAM on the system, it just laughed the attack off.

Even running it on a Mac with 24Gb of RAM had no discernible effect, other than getting a screen full of “Bash Fork: Resource Temporarily Unavailable” error messages like above. Looks like Mac’s have process limits enabled by default. (Thanks Command_Prompt and Bill!)

This should be obvious, but for the record, you should never run this command on systems that you do not own… Or put it in someone’s startup script.

But knowing how to limit a user’s ability to run processes is very important and throttling them on Linux systems where it is not done by default could curtail some problems before they surface.

Numerous Israeli Websites Down – Anonymous Claims Responsibility

This morning I was on a forum that was discussing IDF Special Forces and one person mentioned that they just ordered a IDF Special Forces t-shirt that they thought was very cool and to check it out. The only problem was the link did not seem to be working. The site seemed to be down. I went to another website that sold IDF t-shirts, again, they appeared to be having website problems. Lastly I went to a real IDF backed site and the website was very sluggish.

Finally, it dawned on me that this could be the work of pro-Gaza Islamic supporters.

Sure enough it looks like Anonymous has stepped into the online social media battle that is being waged between the IDF and Gaza militants. As rockets fall on Israel and Israel retaliated, a war of words was being fought on Twitter and Facebook. As was mentioned yesterday, I figured it would only be a matter of time before political hacktivists would get involved and target websites.

Well, it didn’t take long at all as the hacker group “Anonymous” kicked off “#OPIsrael”.

Anonymous claimed in a tweet to have taken down 40+ Israeli government and military websites in three hours. Not so, claimed the security company Radware in a NY Times Report:

“Radware, a computer security company, said that in all but a few cases they were unsuccessful. But they did take down a blog page belonging to the I.D.F. and replaced the home page of what they said was a private Israeli surveillance and security company with an image of Gaza in flames and the following message: “Stop bombing Gaza! Millions of Israelis & Palestinians are lying awake, exposed and terrified.”

According to the article Anonymous recruited hackers through Twitter, IRC Chat and a Pastebin post to run Denial of Service programs, like the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) to attack Israeli backed sites. Apparently the attack is still ongoing as several Israeli government and military themed sites that I tried to visit today were down or seriously sluggish.

Many times Denial of Service attacks are not hi-tech, they simply flood websites with tons of simultaneous requests from thousands of computers and bog the servers down. Called Distributed Denial of Service Attacks, they can be very effective if target websites do not have ways to deflect or absorb the large volume of requests.

I am sure the Israeli Cyber teams will respond with attacks on Anonymous sites and group members. But unfortunately it looks like the the possibility of a ground military operation could be forthcoming as Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak has called for up to 30,000 reservists to be activated. With most of those being from the Engineering Corp, that would prepare paths for armored vehicles to enter into Gaza.

We will have to watch this closely as a military operation into Gaza could cause increased conflict in the area, with one Israeli media outlet even hinting that the escalation could lead to war with Iran.