Security and Privacy flaw in UC Browser leaks personally identifiable information

A visual summary of privacy and security issues presented by UC Browser. PC: Citizen Lab
A report has shown that a security and privacy flaw in a popular mobile web browser in India and China - Transmits users' personal and other information without encryption.

The report titled “A Chatty Squirrel: An Analysis of Privacy and Security Issues with UC Browser” has revealed that Chinese and English-language versions of UC Browser for Android, a mobile web browser which is owned by a China-based company, allows any network operator or in-path actor on the network to get the user’s personally identifiable information like location, search details and mobile subscriber and device ids.

The application is using symmetric AES/CBC encryption for sending device IDs,location data, Wi-Fi Mac Address, SSID and other information rather than encryption. The key 'autonavi_amaploc' used for the encryption is Hard-coded in the application.

"The use of symmetric encryption with a hard-coded key means that anyone who knows the key can decrypt UC Browser (Chinese) traffic in transit. Moreover, key holders can also retroactively decrypt any historical data that they have collected or obtained." The report reads.

Personal identifiers like IMEI, IMSI, android id, build serial number is being transferred to Umeng (a mobile analytics service) in an unecrypted form.

The transmission of unencrypted search engine queries enables third parties to monitor searches. Sensitive personal information can be inferred from search results including health conditions like pregnancy, disease, mental and psychological conditions, marital relations, and medical information. Third parties can use it to develop, use, and sell user profiles and by corporate or government agents to modify or prevent access to certain search results.

“We informed our findings to Alibab on April 15, 2015 and we would publish this report on or after April 29, 2015. The company responded on April 19, 2015, indicating that Alibaba security engineers were investigating the issue. We followed up on April 23, 2015 to reiterate our intention to publish this report on or after April 29, 2015,” the report said.

The report added that on May 19, 2015 they tested version 10.4.1-576 of the Chinese language version of UC Browser, which was downloaded from the website. However, the version does not appear to send location data insecurely to AMAP.

Security Explorations reveals several vulnerabilities in Google App Engine

Security Explorations, a Poland-based security firm, on May 15 disclosed technical details and Proof of Concept (PoC) codes for unconfirmed and unpatched vulnerabilities presence in Google App Engine for Java.

In October 2012, the company started its research on Google App Engine for Java however it could not continue it. Then, in October 2014, it resumed the project.

The company confirmed more than 30 vulnerabilities in December.

According to a report published on SecurityWeek, it had identified and reported a total of 41 issues to the authority concerned, but the Google said it internally fixed those flaws.

“That does not speak well about Google GAE engineers and their Java security skills in particular,” Adam Gowdiak, founder and CEO of Security Explorations, told SecurityWeek.

Till the date, Google has confirmed a total of 36 vulnerabilities. However, the Security Explorations confirmed that a few of them were still left unpatched.

Although, in Mid-March Security Exploration revealed 31 flaws which were later fixed by Google, Gowdiak, wrote in a mail that there are seven different vulnerabilities still exist in the Google service which he briefly discussed in his mail.

He said that the flaws have been reported to Google three weeks ago. However, he has not received confirmation from the Google officials. Nor, the authority concerned has not fixed any of them.

"It has been three weeks and we haven't heard any official confirmation or denial from Google with respect to Issues 37-41," Gowdiak wrote. "It should not take more than 1-2 business days for a major software vendor to run the received POC, read our report and / or consult the source code.”

He added that it is easy to exploit the flaws by attackers. They could use the freely available cloud platform to run a malicious Java application. The app would then break out of the first sandboxing layer and execute code in the highly restricted native environment.

The hackers could use the restricted environment to attack lower-level assets and to retrieve sensitive information from Google servers.

Google had decided to award Security Explorations with $70,000 for disclosing the vulnerabilities. The total amount of $50,000 was already paid to the company on March 20.

Gowdiak said that now, Google might not give them remaining $20,000 as they have disclosed the unpatched and unconfirmed vulnerabilities. However, the company believes that rewards cannot influence the way a vulnerability handling/disclosure of a security research is made.

“We need to treat all vendors equal. In the past, unconfirmed, denied or silently fixed issues were the subject to an immediate release by us,” he said.

Venom Vulnerability allows hackers to escape from VM and hack Host Machine

CrowdStrike’s senior security researcher Jason Geffner disclosed the vulnerability in the virtual Floppy Drive Code used by many computer virtualization platforms.

Vulnerability VENOM, CVE-2015-3456, attacker can easily escape from the confines of virtual machine guest and exploit the code-execution access to the host. This may result in  elevated access to the host’s local network and adjacent systems.

By exploiting  the VENOM vulnerability one can get access to corporate intellectual property (IP), sensitive and personally identifiable information (PII), which will potentially affect thousands of organizations and millions of end user’s connectivity, storage, security, and privacy.

According to the researcher, the bug is in QEMU’s virtual Floppy Disk Controller (FDC), notably used in  Xen, KVM, and the native QEMU client. Whereas VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Bochs hypervisors are not impacted by this vulnerability.

“The VENOM vulnerability has existed since 2004, when the virtual Floppy Disk Controller was first added to the QEMU codebase“ wrote Jason Geffner in his blog post.

Cisco releases software updates to address serious flaws in TelePresence products

Cisco has released software updates to address several vulnerabilities that have been identified in its TelePresence products, which can be exploited by hackers to compromise a vulnerable system.

It has also urged its customers to update their TelePresence software. Similarly, they are advised to consult their maintenance providers or check the software for feature set compatibility and known issues that are specific to their environments.

Cisco said in an advisory published on May 13 that the workarounds that mitigate the vulnerabilities, which have been identified by during its internal tests and product security reviews, are not available.

“The vulnerability in the web framework of multiple Cisco TelePresence products could allow an authenticated or remote attacker to inject arbitrary commands that are executed with the privileges of the root user,” Cisco said in its advisory.

“The vulnerability is due to insufficient input validation. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by authenticating to the device and submitting crafted input to the affected parameter in a web page."

"Administrative privileges are required in order to access the affected parameter. A successful exploit could allow an attacker to execute system commands with the privileges of the root user,” the advisory added.

Cisco said that although, this is a serious vulnerability with a CVSS score of 9.0, it hasn’t found evidence that shows flaw has been leveraged for malicious purposes.

PHP Object Injection Vulnerability in Bomgar Remote Support Portal

A security vulnerability has been found in the Bomgar Remote Support Portal version 14.3.1 and earlier versions, which is the part of Bomgar's appliance-based remote support software,  deserialize untrusted data without verifying the validity of the resulting data.

The data can be exploited by both authenticated as well as unauthenticated attackers.

An unauthenticated attacker can inject arbitrary input at one point in vulnerable PHP file, while authenticated attacker can inject at multiple points.

To exploit this vulnerability, the attacker has to find the appropriate classes with beneficial  effects,  if there is no classes with beneficial effects, it is not exploitable.

"One way to exploit this vulnerability is by utilizing the Tracer class. It is used to write stack trace information to a log using a Logger instance, which wraps an instance of PEAR's Log class. By using a Log_file instance as an instance of Log, it is possible to write the arbitrary data to the arbitrary file." The researcher wrote in his blog post.

Update your Wordpress, Prevent Your website from Being Hacked

WordPress has come up with its 4.2.2 version in order to increase its users security. It has also urged people to update their sites immediately.

Samuel Sidler, researcher at, wrote that the new version is aimed to address two security issues.

The first one is the Genericons icon font package, used in themes and plugins, which contained an HTML file vulnerable to a cross-site scripting attack. 

On May 7 all affected themes and plugins including twenty fifteen default theme have been updated by the WordPress security team after a DOM-based Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability was discovered.

Security researchers from Sucuri warned that the vulnerability is being exploited in the wild days before disclosure.

Robert Abela of Netsparker reported that in a bid to protect other Genericons usage, WordPress 4.2.2 scans the wp-content directory for this HTML file and removes it.

Secondly, WordPress versions 4.2 and previous versions are affected by a critical cross-site scripting vulnerability, which could enable anonymous users to compromise a site. So, WordPress 4.2.2 includes a comprehensive fix for this issue according to a separate report by Rice Adu and Tong Shi.

WordPress 4.2.2 also contains fixes for 13 bugs from 4.2.

People just have to download WordPress 4.2.2 or venture over to Dashboard. Then click “Update Now” button. 

Sites that support automatic background updates have begun to update to WordPress 4.2.2.