BSidesSF CTF 2018: Coder Series (Author's PoV)


As the author of the “coder” series of challenges (Intel Coder, ARM Coder, Poly Coder, and OCD Coder) in the recent BSidesSF CTF, I wanted to share my perspective on the challenges. I can’t tell if the challenges were uninteresting, too hard, or both, but they were solved by far fewer teams than I had expected. (And than we had rated the challenges for when scoring them.)

The entire series of challenges were based on the premise “give me your shellcode and I’ll run it”, but with some limitations. Rather than forcing players to find and exploit a vulnerability, we wanted to teach players about dealing with restricted environments like sandboxes, unusual architectures, and situations where your shellcode might be manipulated by the process before it runs.


The IoT Hacker's Toolkit

IoT and embedded devices provide new challenges to security engineers hoping to understand and evaluate the attack surface these devices add. From new interfaces to uncommon operating systems and software, the devices require both skills and tools just a little outside the normal security assessment. I'll show both the hardware and software tools, where they overlap and what capabilities each tool brings to the table. I'll also talk about building the skillset and getting the hands-on experience with the tools necessary to perform embedded security assessments.


OpenSSH Two Factor Authentication (But Not Service Accounts)

Very often, people hear “SSH” and “two factor authentication” and assume you’re talking about an SSH keypair that’s got the private key protected with a passphrase. And while this is a reasonable approximation of a two factor system, it’s not actually two factor authentication because the server is not using two separate factors to authenticate the user. The only factor is the SSH keypair, and there’s no way for the server to know if that key was protected with a passphrase. However, OpenSSH has supported true two factor authentication for nearly 5 years now, so it’s quite possible to build even more robust security.


Preparing for Penetration Testing with Kali Linux

The Penetration Testing with Kali Linux (PWK) course is one of the most popular information security courses, culminating in a hands-on exam for the Offensive Security Certified Professional certification. It provides a hands-on learning experience for those looking to get into penetration testing or other areas of offensive security. These are some of the things you might want to know before attempting the PWK class or the OSCP exam.


Book Review: Red Team by Micah Zenko

Red Team: How to Succeed By Thinking Like the Enemy by Micah Zenko focuses on the role that red teaming plays in a variety of institutions, ranging from the Department of Defense to cybersecurity. It’s an excellent book that describes the thought process behind red teaming, when red teaming is a success and when it can be a failure, and the way a red team can best fit into an organization and provide value. If you’re looking for a book that’s highly technical or focused entirely on information security engineering, this book may disappoint. There’s only a single chapter covering the application of red teaming in the information security space (particularly “vulnerability probes” as Zenko refers to many of the tests), but that doesn’t make the rest of the content any less useful – or interesting – to the Red Team practitioner.