Category Archives: Security Roots

Posts about Security Roots, press, events and announcements.

New Kid On The Block

The blog title gives it away but I’m the new guy over at Security Roots working on Dradis. My name is Matt and I love to explore the world. I was born in Poland, grew up in Canada and I am currently hanging out in one of the most tech savvy capitals, Shenzhen, China. Since I am the new guy I wanted to introduce myself, give you some inside scoop, my experience working with the team and a little bit about my first assignment. 👋

Over many years I have worked on a number of web design and development projects. I pride myself in being a designer with a creative edge and although I have extensive knowledge and experience with design concepts, HTML/CSS/JS, Photoshop, Illustrator, Xd and more, I strive to continuously expand my knowledge with all the ever changing technologies. Currently, as a result of joining Security Roots, I am learning Ruby and Ruby on Rails which, I have quickly realized, it’s quite different from Python and Django. I also enjoy video production/editing using Final Cut Pro X and I have my eyes on a DJI Mavic 2 Pro. 👀

Now let me tell you a little bit about my first month at Security Roots. Initially I was drawn to the job posting because it really resonated with me and I was thrilled when I got an email from Daniel (he’s the big cheese over here if you aren’t sure who I’m talking about) and we discussed the opportunity and by the end of it, all of my needs and wants had been checked off for my dream job. I did a small test assignment, which apparently went well since I’m here, and I got to meet the team. I was a bit nervous about this since I knew everyone had been working together for a few years now and are already in the groove of things. I had all kinds of thoughts going through my mind but I was very excited to join the team. All the nervous feelings were put to rest moments after I joined the workspace as I was welcomed with (virtual) open arms by everyone. With the warm welcome I could feel there was excitement and enthusiasm from everyone that a designer has joined the team. I quickly learned that everyone is friendly, very helpful and extremely knowledgable and skilled in their roles. The work environment at Security Roots is very different from anything I have experienced before but is also the most interesting and effective one in comparison! Everyone works independently on their assignments but at the same time is always collaborating and communicating with each other. Every week there is a new topic that everyone answers in a video and posts it to share with the team. This is a great way to get to know the people on the team and promotes more of a social vibe in a work environment. Curious about what the office looks like? Where is it located? Who has the best parking spot or the prime corner view? Well this is actually one of the MANY perks of being part of the Security Roots team. We all work 100% remotely all over the world, so the office can be anything from a home office to a co-working space, or even a boat! Another great feature of being on the team is consistent personal development. Daniel is constantly encouraging us to grow and develop! Whether you want to learn something new within the industry, take a course or read a book, we have it covered. I love to learn so being part of a company that promotes personal development was very important to me. Security Roots really knows how to treat their employees! ✅

I could go on and on about the perks and first impressions but let’s move on to something you will get to see and experience first hand. The first thing I tackled during my first month on the team was a redesign and update of the user profile page. When I am presented with a new feature that needs to be designed, or a current view that needs to be redesigned, I like to make a list of objectives and goals for the design. I want understand how it will be integrated into the overall project. I do background research on the feature, and use a variety of tools to come up with a few variations of a design, then decide on the best one to continue to develop and finalize. In the case of the profile page redesign, I looked at the current design and identified what the issues were with the flow. We also decided to update to the most current version of the HTML/CSS/JS framework incorporated into the project. There was quite a bit of work to be done to make the view work in the current layout regarding HTML structure and CSS class names. I got the view into something that could be navigated and jumped over to Adobe Xd and made mock ups to see how I could make the page flow better and be more visually appealing. I decided to incorporate a 2-column view which focused on arranging the fields in a way that made more sense. I opt-ed to make the left column show the avatar and API token reset and moved all the text fields into the right column and arranged them in a natural order of flow. Once the front end components were arranged, I added some validation styling and magic to make it all work and BOOM! My first project was completed with better flow and a more user friendly experience. 💣

As a team we truly hope that the new designs are beneficial to you and look forward to any feedback from users on the new designs that will be coming soon to Dradis CE & Pro!

Matt,
Designer.

w00t and pillage – Captain’s bLog: day 4

My Atheros AR9271 USB device arrived!  Now I’m back into my courses as originally planned.  I now keep my course in one workspace and a Kali VM in another.  I have used Kali before, but never under guidance – just fiddling around with a Live USB.

Step 1 today was changing the MAC address of my wi-fi adapter.  Reminds me of the first time I lived in shared housing, back at Oxford University.  To get ethernet access for my new PC after the old one packed it in, I had to submit my new computer’s ethernet MAC address for approval by the sysadmin.  I couldn’t be bothered, so I changed the MAC address to match the old one instead.

Step 2 was setting up monitor mode on my wi-fi adapter.  Even without manipulating any of the outputs of airodump-ng wlan0, the potential power here is obvious.  I’m not in a high-tech location. Everyone’s routers are broadcasting freely, and everyone has at least a smartphone turned on and typically connected to publicly visible wi-fi.  Since Viber is more popular than actual phone minutes or SMS, and virtually nobody takes steps towards anonymising themselves, there are privacy implications right off the bat – and I reckon almost nobody here is aware of it.  The data itself is encrypted, of course, but the fact of the data traffic being visible at all is noteworthy – and pretty cool.

Step 3 was my first ever deauthentication signal with aireplay-ng –deauth.  Or, in other words: with $23 of hardware incl. shipping, I booted my phone off my wi-fi, without touching it, and could keep it offline as long as I wanted, after 15 minutes of video lectures.  Only ethics stops me from keeping my neighbours off the internet. This made it sink in just how easy it actually would be to cause general havoc with vulnerability hacking.

I wonder why societies or the media in general don’t seem to take security vulnerabilities very seriously?  Many moons ago when I lived in –redacted–, there were rumours and mutterings followed by a full-blown scandal when it was discovered that the NSA’s Echelon program had a partner station there.  In fairly short order, cries about national sovereignty and privacy violations were silenced with statements like “the data is all encrypted anyway”. Even if encryption in general use by the general public at the time was effective and reliable (spoiler: nope), data flow itself is useful information – such as if your spouse’s phone regularly connects to the router of the attractive neighbour.

That is what struck me most about Edward Snowden’s revelations – enormous outcries for a short period, followed by… essentially nothing.  Despite the revelations that some of our online service providers, probably even chipset and OS manufacturers, are cooperating with foreign intelligence agencies to be able to manipulate or even access our personal data, most people don’t seem to take the slightest measures to protect their own data.

I look forward to learning a lot more about protecting data systems beyond the obvious steps I take already.  Although I now also have to fight the impulse to boot the harbourmaster off his wi-fi.

A bleak winter’s day in –redacted–

w00t and pillage – Captain’s bLog: day 3

Happy New Year! The local sailing club held a New Year’s Eve Regatta in the bay, a dozen vessels of very different sizes and types playing around. I couldn’t participate due to a broken cotter pin on the mast and the lack of a proper reefing system, but I did spend the evening afloat. Looking at the array of vessels from dinghies to superyachts in the bay or moored nearby, I got to thinking of maritime security.

Technology has vastly changed the maritime world. While an 18th-century ship of the line could have in excess of 1,000 souls aboard, and a 19th-century merchant ship could have a crew of hundreds, a modern cargo ship may not even have a dozen people aboard. In the 21st century, IT is everywhere. It is hardly a surprise that every yacht or commercial vessel today will have a GPS, even if only as a mobile device – but the IT aboard is more connected than you may expect.

The International Maritime Organisation’s SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) treaty mandates that all vessels of 300 tonnes or more (and all passenger ships regardless of size) must be fitted with AIS – the Automatic Identification System. Anyone with an AIS receiver may then see data of vessels equipped with AIS transponders – ID number and vessel name, position, status (e.g. anchored or under way), speed, and even destination and ETA. You can even see this data now at https://www.marinetraffic.com. I use it myself on occasion to identify superyachts (which, given my location, I affectionately refer to as “mafia tubs”) pulling into the neighbouring luxury marina.

One would think that this system would be designed with security in mind? Well, quite the opposite, according to Trend Micro.  AIS data can be hacked and altered. In theory one could stop marine traffic in busy channels or harbours by exaggerating the size of one’s own vessel – imagine your transponder claiming your vessel was one square kilometer in size, when the transponder could be aboard a rowboat. One could also spoof signals, for example broadcasting warnings about drifting mines, or faking a maritime distress.

The consequences are serious. In the best case, a fake signal would just be an annoyance on a clear day, and backup and visual navigation plus radio communications would move everyone along – although with a number of blaring alarms that could cause chaos either from distraction or by leading to crew ignoring real signals lost in the noise. In the worst case, malicious actors could shut down vessel movement in an area completely, which in the case of poor weather and low visibility, could lead to severe accidents – or the publicly-available data could enable piracy. Combine it with a hack of a corporate database to identify the most lucrative targets, and a modern-day Bart Roberts could make a fortune without exceptional skills.

It gets better! AIS is rarely an isolated system. In modern vessels larger than a pleasure craft, AIS is likely to be integrated with the other navigational systems, such as GPS, ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display), and by extension potentially the entire control system of a vessel. One alleged hack in 2017 of a vessel travelling to Djibouti led to the captain being unable to maneuver at all for 10 hours, with the intention being to direct the vessel into waters where pirates could board and seize the vessel.

Modern commercial shipping relies so much on integrated computer systems that losing access to those systems, or receiving deliberately deceptive data from those systems, can raise absolute havoc. Cargo ships are not exceptionally maneuverable at the best of times – witness the recent Norwegian frigate collision, with a frigate sunk and a ship damaged even with all their computer systems working, due primarily to human factors and low visibility.

I recommend the Trend Micro report for further reading, as well as this.

I do not see a clear solution, nor a legal alternative for commercial vessels, beyond pressing ship owners to harden their security as much as they are able. As for myself – I’m well below the tonnage to require AIS and have no need of it, and can use a radar reflector on the mast to be more visible to ships less able to maneuver easily. I have a VHF radio and paper charts and am fully capable of navigating safely enough day or night by dead reckoning, charts, binnacle compass, and even celestial navigation and sextant if I were to head offshore. Low visibility? Down anchor, break out the rum.

Simpler rules for simpler vessels from a simpler time

w00t and pillage – Captain’s bLog: day 2

Today I got started with the basics of wireless network hacking.  The instructor went through the basics of what networking is and how it functions.  Obviously the key is that in any network, the assets (like individual laptops, mobiles, tablets) do not connect to the end resource (a server, or the internet) directly, but all go through a router or similar.  With wireless networking, that provides ample possibilities for pre-connection attacks, attacks by gaining access, and post-connection attacks.

I ran into a small hardware roadblock at this point.  Since I’m now doing things “properly” with a Kali VM for learning and practise, my VM can’t properly access my wireless card.  Therefore I need a USB wireless adapter so the VM can access the wireless hardware through the USB. The instructor recommends the Atheros AR9271 chipset, and sells them alongside the course… since I live in a tiny agriculture-based non-EU nation that doesn’t even exist in many online stores’ dropdown menus, my options for buying a suitable device were limited.  So the instructor made another $23 off me with his online store. Well, merry Christmas to me.

While I’m waiting on shipping, I get to think about connectivity through the ages.  I grew up in Africa, and my first experience with the internet was borrowing my dad’s connection at work to find out in real-time how Garry Kasparov’s chess match against Deep Blue was going.  Yep, I was that kind of teenager. In later years in Africa I would get my own connections at home, with the 28.8 modem running across the phone line, which meant the connection would drop if anyone picked up the phone.  Later there was a habit of phone lines getting crossed, which meant that when I was trying to get online I could hear diplomats’ phone conversations through my modem – quite a security problem in itself, especially as I spoke their language as well.

Now, of course, wi-fi is ubiquitous, and most people don’t give a second thought to their network access at the local bar or coffee shop.  I was in Cuba some time ago, and there, internet access is controlled by the state (with domestic LAN-based alternatives replicating a surprising amount of internet functionality on the island for free).  Every hotel would have its outside walls lined with Cubans accessing the outside world on their Android devices. How security-conscious are they, I wonder? As for myself, I thought it safer to stick to the rum and cigars, offline.

I look forward to learning more about the intricacies of networks.  Networks aren’t my strong point. Fortunately, they are my girlfriend’s strong point, so she advises me whenever I’m stuck.

Old and new in Havana

w00t and pillage – Captain’s bLog: day 1

I am venturing into the as-now uncharted waters of ethical hacking…

For context: I have been using computers daily since the age of 4, where I would sneak in my brother’s room to borrow his Commodore 128 (who remembers 5 1/4 inch flippy disks?).  Growing up in Africa I got addicted to flight simulators and would reprogram my joysticks. Internet access arrived in 1996 where I lived, on a 28.8 modem on an “iffy” phone line. My formal studies were in history, but my work ultimately took me to overseeing bespoke simulator software and antivirus tech support. Even so, I stuck with operations and administration – until I got a Google scholarship for Android development, which brought me into Java programming. It turns out that was addictive.

Thus, by the time I joined Security Roots to join the Dradis Support team, I had a fair bit of IT operations experience, an awareness of best security practices, and a budding interest in programming and development. My skills are being tested daily, and growing as a result. So now I want to get deeper into the InfoSec and security testing worlds!

I have signed up to a number of online security courses about Ethical Hacking and purchased a virtual pile of books for my e-book reader for long nights aboard my sailing yacht. I will start with a general course covering most aspects of Ethical Hacking going into practical exercises for each realm. Next, I have a particular interest in learning about Android security and wireless hacking. To start my journey I have set up a fresh Kali virtual machine, and my first semi-formal training in network hacking begins tomorrow. I feel at home with Linux (even being no stranger to Kali and Tails, which I explored earlier out of curiosity), less so with networks. Let’s go!

Dradis Framework Founder’s Letter – 2017

Good Software Takes Ten Years. I didn’t know that when we started back in 2007, but I’ve come to terms with that rule since then. A lot can change in 9 years. You can go from the first commit of an internal project released as open-source to a small, independent, self-funded software team that is making a difference for 300+ teams in 34 countries around the world.

Did I have a clue about where we’d get in 9 years when I pushed that first commit? Most definitely not. Was I confident that we’d be working with 1,000s of InfoSec experts every day when I quit my security consulting job over 2 years ago to concentrate my efforts on Dradis Pro full time? Not even close. Do we have a clue about where we’re heading over the next 2 years? We have clues but most likely, we really don’t know. But that’s fine, we’re not alone in this journey. We’re bringing our entire community along with us. And most importantly, we have the freedom to choose where we’re heading.

We don’t have investors so we can keep our users front and center. Were trying to grow as slowly as possible. By focusing on the fundamentals, we’ve managed to get this far. And, we’re sticking to the same approach going forwards: do the work, keep our users happy, and care about their long term success.

A brief history of our project

Just to put things into perspective, here is what working on the same piece of software every single day for 9 years did:

  • Dec 2007: Start working on an internal tool for pentest collaboration.
  • Jan 2008: Release Dradis Framework as open-source.
  • …3,000 code commits.
  • Jul 2011: Launch a side-business offering additional functionality and official support (Dradis Professional announcement).
  • …work with 140 teams, 17 new releases, 2,967 commits.
  • Feb 2014: Make the side-business our main business.
  • …7 new releases, 782 commits.
  • Mar 2015: Welcome Rachael, our second full-time member of the team
  • …13 new releases, 2,503 commits…

The last 12 months

With the growth in the Dradis Pro side of things, we have been able to reinvest a lot of man-hours in Dradis Community Edition. It’s our way to give back to the community that helped us along the way. The code was refreshed and updated. Many of the enhancements that were created for the Pro edition were backported to CE. Plus, the documentation was rewritten, step-by-step guides were created, and screencasts were recorded. We also created and released OWASP, PTES, HIPAA and OSCP compliance packages with testing checklists, report templates and more.

Dradis Community edition GitHub repo commits in 2016

The activity in the Dradis CE repo shows how a lot of this effort was concentrated earlier in the year to sync the CE and Pro code bases (kudos to the GitLab team for the inspiration).

Our community is growing stronger than ever. We’re averaging 400 git clones each week. Plus, we have a thriving Slack channel and dozens of new threads in our community forums.

Dradis community edition is being downloaded an average of 400 times per weekWhat we are going to be focusing on over the next 12 months

Over the last 12 months, we’ve pushed 11 new releases of Dradis Pro. From performance and interface to functionality and stability, we’ve noticeably improved every single aspect of the app. The product today is in a completely different category from where it was 12 months ago. And still,  there is so much room to grow, refine, and improve!

2017 is exciting for us in many ways. We’re now working with over 300+ teams. This is a challenge, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Plus, this the first time that we have a small team of very talented people working full time on taking care of product development and user experience.

I’m sure that the speed at which we’ll be making progress is going to feel break-neck. I can’t wait to see the things that we’re going to be able to build with you and for you and the rest our community.

To our best year ever,

Daniel

Giving back to the InfoSec community

Today is a good day, 3 years and 19 days after the last release of the Dradis Framework open-source project the team announced a new release: Dradis Framework 3.0: A New Hope.

For a very long time the Community Edition of the framework had been put on hold trying to get Security Roots off the ground. When starting a new venture you’ve got more questions than you’ve got answers and you never know who things are going to play out. In fact, the jury is still out.

A few years ago we had to make a hard decision: as a newborn organization we didn’t have the resources to maintain active development of two different editions of the framework and had to decide what to do: to try to keep both editions (semi) alive and running or to focus 100% in the recently created Dradis Professional edition with the premise that if we were successful a day would come in which we’d have the time and resources to really give the Community Edition the attention it deserved.

Today there are over 200 teams in 31 countries around the world using Dradis Pro. We’ve achieved what we set out to achieve back then, and it is time to give back to the same InfoSec community that made Dradis a successful project with over 25k+ downloads.

And when I say today I don’t mean literally today 20th of February. Today’s release of Dradis Community Edition 3.0 has been months in the making (check the hectic activity across the board in all the of Dradis’ repos on GitHub). But today we get a chance to tell you about it, to show the results of that work and to give back.

Dradis Framework started as an open source project and will die as an open source project. Whether we can make Security Roots as successful as the open source project has been, only time will tell, we most definitely hope so.

Please visit the redesigned project website, the new community forums and get involved in any way you see fit.

Dradis Pro is sponsoring BSides London 2014

Dradis Professional is sponsoring the next edition of the B-Sides London security conference:

http://www.securitybsides.org.uk/

B-Sides London 2014 will be held at the Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall on April 28, 2014 in London, UK.

We’ve put together a page for the event and are raffling a Dradis Pro license, read more at:

http://securityroots.com/dradispro/events/bsideslondon2014.html

Are you planing to attend or want to get in touch? Contact us or ping us on Twitter: @dradispro

Happy 5th Birthday to Corelan Team from Dradis Pro

Corelan Teams's logo
&
Dradis Professional Edition logo
 

Today is the 5th anniversary of the amazing Corelan Team. Through their blog, their articles, their tools and their forums they have contributed like very few other communities to spread and enhance the knowledge of the security community at large.

We’ve prepared a few anniversary presents for the team and their community. To find out more, please head on over to the official blog post at:

Keep up the good work guys, everyone is looking forward to what the next 5 years will bring!

BSides London 2013 aftermath

BSides London took place last Wednesday the 24th on the Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall near High Street Kensington tube station in London.

I was really looking forward to this year’s edition as for the first time ever Dradis Pro was a sponsor in a security event. There are a lot of lessons learned on that front alone, but I’ll save them for another post.

It was a really long day. I only finished the slides for the Creating Custom Dradis Framework Plugins workshop around midnight the night before and I got to the venue by 8am to give the organisers a hand with the preparations. On the bright side, we had a really good turnout on the workshop:

BSides_London_2013_276

Creating Custom Dradis Framework plugins in action (more pics)

I think that the final head count was around 500 people both from around the country and from abroad. The downside is that we had to prepare around 500 tote bags with sponsor swag, the upside is that some sponsors provided some really nice goodies 😉

BSides swag by ScotSTS, 7Elements and Dradis Pro

The truth is that running an event such as BSides is a ton of work, and the team do it for free. And it doesn’t cost a penny to attend and you get a really nice free t-shirt:

BSides London t-shirt

I don’t think people thank the organisers enough. Thanks guys! To both the visible faces of the organisation but also to the rest of the conference goons that make all the little moving parts of the event tick.

As usual in this type of event, it’s easy to let yourself be distracted by the social side of things. I managed to finally catch up with a lot of Dradis Community contributors and Dradis Pro users. And hopefully meet a few future ones 😉 I finally put a face to some of the #dc4420 peeps and manage to catch up with some people that I no longer get to see that often.

It always baffles me that after working for a company for the last 5 years you get to meet some of your colleagues in a random security event instead of in the office or in an official company event. I guess that’s the nature of the industry we are on though. It was also good to catch up with ex-colleagues from previous lives.

Even though the scheduling gods decided I had to miss Marion & Rory’s workshop in the morning, I managed to get myself a WiFi Pineapple after Robin’s, just in time to rush to the main hall to catch the closing ceremony.

WiFi Pineapple kit

And before you realise it, the day was over and you are having a pint too many at the official BSides after-party…