We kicked off this week’s episode chatting about a new XSS vulnerability that was uncovered in the very popular jQuery Validation Plugin. This plugin is used widely as a simple form validator and the researcher, Sijmen Ruwhof, found the bug in the plugin’s CAPTCHA implementation. This bug was very widespread, with a few Google dorks showing at least 12,000 websites easily identified as using it, and another 300,000 – 1 million websites potentially using it, or similar vulnerable code. The piece that was amusing for all of us about this story was that Ruwhof disclosed the bug privately to both the author and to jQuery back in August and received no response. After doing some digging the bug was already in OSVDB from 2013 with no action taken. After warning the plugin’s author and writing the blog post on the research publicly, the bug was closed within 17 hours. A nice little case study on Full Disclosure.
Next, Jeremiah covered the launch of new certificate authority called Let’s Encrypt. This kind of thing wouldn’t normally be news since there are a ton of CAs out there already but what makes Let’s Encrypt interesting is the fact that it is a non-profit, *FREE*, certificate authority. The project is backed by EFF, Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, IdenTrust, and University of Michigan researchers and is focusing on being free and easy-to-use to reduce the barrier to entry of encrypting your web traffic. Robert brings up a good question of browser support, if Microsoft or Google doesn’t support this right away it really only helps the 20% or so of the users using Firefox. The other question here is what effect this will have on for-profit Certificate Authorities.
Now we of course had to mention the blog post that went somewhat viral recently about all the information Google is collecting about you. None of this was terribly surprising to many of us in this industry but was certainly eye-opening for a lot of people out there. You can easily look up their advertising profile on you, which was hilariously inaccurate for me and a few others who were posting their info online (contrary to popular belief I’m not into Reggaeton). However, the creepy one for me was the “Location History” which was *extremely* precise.
These 6 links hitting the blogosphere had good timing as Mozilla also announced that they will be switching the default search engine used in FireFox to be Yahoo. This is HUGE news considering somewhere upwards of 95% of Mozilla’s revenue comes from the fact that Google pays to be the default engine. FireFox also still has 20% market share of browser users all of whom will be using significantly less Google these days.
Robert also dug up a story about a recent ruling from a judge in the United States that said the police are allowed to compel people for any sort of biometric-based authentication but not password-based. For example, a judge has said it is perfectly legal for police to force you to use your fingerprint to unlock your iPhone but still not so for a four-digit-pin. This has all sorts of interesting implications when it comes to information security and personal privacy when it comes to law enforcement.
With absolutely no segway we covered a new story about China which seems to be one of Robert’s favorite topics. Turns out that China came out with a list of a ton of new websites they blocked from anybody accessing and one that stood out was Edgecast. Edgecast was particularly interesting because on it’s own it isn’t a website worth noting but they are a CDN which means China has blocked all of their customers as well which could affect hundreds of thousands of sites. The comparison was made of it being like blocking Akamai. Will be fascinating to see what the repercussions of this are as we go.
Closed out this week just chatting about some extra precautions we are all taking these days in the modern dangerous web. Listen in for a few tips!