February 7, 2023

DOUG.  LastPass once more, enjoyable with quantum computing, and cybersecurity predictions for 2023.

All that, and extra, on the Bare Safety podcast.


Welcome to the podcast, all people.

I’m Doug Aamoth.

He’s Paul Ducklin.

Paul, let’s see if I keep in mind how how to do that…

It’s been a few weeks, however I hope you had a terrific vacation break – and I do have a post-holiday reward for you!

As you recognize, we prefer to be within the present with a This Week in Tech Historical past section.

DUCK.  Is that this the reward?

DOUG.  That is the reward!

I imagine you’ll be on this extra than simply about some other This Week in Tech Historical past section…

…this week, on 04 January 1972, the HP-35 Portable Scientific Calculator, a world first, was born.

Image from The Museum of HP Calculators.
Click on calculator to visit Museum exhibit.

Named the HP-35 just because it had 35 buttons, the calculator was a problem by HP’s Invoice Hewlett to shrink down the corporate’s desktop-size 9100A scientific calculator so it might slot in his shirt pocket.

The HP-35 stood out for having the ability to carry out trigonometric and exponential features on the go, issues that till then had required the usage of slide guidelines.

At launch, it bought for $395, nearly $2500 in at present’s cash.

And Paul, I do know you to be a fan of previous HP calculators…

DUCK.  Not *previous* HP calculators, simply “HP calculators”.

DOUG.  Simply usually? [LAUGHS]

Sure, OK…

DUCK.  Apparently, on the launch, Invoice Hewlett himself was displaying it off.

And keep in mind, it is a calculator that’s changing a desktop calculator/laptop that weighed 20kg…

…apparently, he dropped it.

When you’ve ever seen an previous HP calculator, they have been superbly constructed – so he picked it up, and, after all, it labored.

And apparently all of the salespeople at HP constructed that into their repartee. [LAUGHS]

Once they went out on the street to do demos, they’d by chance (or in any other case) let their calculator fall, after which simply choose it up and stick with it regardless.

DOUG.  Find it irresistible! [LAUGHS]

DUCK.  They don’t make ’em like they used to, Doug.

DOUG.  They definitely don’t.

These have been the times – unbelievable.

OK, let’s speak about one thing that’s not so cool.

DUCK.  Uh-oh!

DOUG.  LastPass: we mentioned we’d keep watch over it, and we *did* keep watch over it, and it received worse!

LastPass lastly admits: These crooks who received in? They did steal your password vaults, in spite of everything…

DUCK.  It seems to be a protracted working story, the place LastPass-the-company apparently merely didn’t realise what had occurred.

And each time they scratched that rust spot on their automotive somewhat bit, the opening received greater, till finally the entire thing fell in.

So how did it begin?

They mentioned, “Look, the crooks received in, however they have been solely in for 4 days, they usually have been solely within the improvement community. So it’s our mental property. Oh, expensive. Foolish us. However don’t fear, we don’t suppose they received into the client information.”

Then they got here again and mentioned, “They *positively* didn’t get into the client information or the password vaults, as a result of these aren’t accessible from the event community.”

Then they mentioned, “W-e-e-e-e-e-l, truly, it seems that they *have been* in a position to do what’s identified within the jargon as “lateral motion. Based mostly on what they stole in incident one, there was incident two, the place truly they did get into buyer data.”

So, all of us thought, “Oh, expensive, that’s unhealthy, however no less than they haven’t received the password vaults!”

After which they mentioned, “Oh, by the best way, once we mentioned ‘buyer data’, allow us to inform you what we imply. We imply an entire lot of stuff about you, like: who you might be; the place you reside; what your cellphone and electronic mail contact particulars are; stuff like that. *And* [PAUSE] your password vault.”


DUCK.  And *then* they mentioned, “Oh, once we mentioned ‘vault’,” the place you most likely imagined a terrific large door being shut, and an enormous wheel being turned, and big bolts coming via, and the whole lot inside locked up…

“Properly, in our vault, solely *some* of the stuff was truly secured, and the opposite stuff was successfully in plain textual content. However don’t fear, it was in a proprietary format.”

So, truly your passwords have been encrypted, however the web sites and the online companies and an unspoken record of different stuff that you just saved, properly, that wasn’t encrypted.

So it’s a particular type of “zero-knowledge”, which is a phrase they’d used quite a bit.


[COUGHS FOR ATTENTION] I left a dramatic pause there, Doug.


And *THEN* it turned out that…

…you understand how they’ve been telling all people, “Don’t fear, there’s 100,100 iterations of HMAC-SHA-256 in PBKDF2“?

Properly, *possibly*.

DOUG.  Not for everybody!

DUCK.  When you had first put in the software program after 2018, that is perhaps the case.

DOUG.  Properly, I first put in the software program in 2017, so I used to be not aware of this “state-of-the-art” encryption.

And I simply checked.

I did change my grasp password, however it’s a setting – you’ve received to enter your Account Settings, and there’s an Superior Settings button; you click on that and then you definately get to decide on the variety of occasions your password is tumbled…

…and mine was nonetheless set at 5000.

Between that, and getting the e-mail on the Friday earlier than Christmas, which I learn; then clicked via to the weblog put up; learn the weblog put up…

…and my impression of my response is as follows:


Only a lengthy sigh.

However most likely louder than that in actual life…

DOUG.  It simply retains getting worse.

So: I’m out!

I feel I’m accomplished…

DUCK.  Actually?


DOUG.  That’s sufficient.

I had already began transitioning to a unique supplier, however I don’t even need to say this was “the final straw”.

I imply, there have been so many straws, they usually simply stored breaking. [LAUGHTER]

Once you select a password supervisor, you need to assume that that is a number of the most superior know-how obtainable, and it’s protected higher than something.

And it simply doesn’t seem to be this was the case.

DUCK.  [IRONIC] However no less than they didn’t get my bank card quantity!

Though I might have gotten a brand new bank card in three-and-a-quarter days, most likely extra shortly than altering all my passwords, together with my grasp password and *each* account in there.

DOUG.  Ab-so-lutely!

OK, so if we’ve folks on the market who’re LastPass customers, in the event that they’re considering of switching, or in the event that they’re questioning what they will do to shore up their account, I can inform them firsthand…

Go into your account; go to the final settings after which click on the Superior Settings tab, and see what the what the iteration rely is.

You select it.

So mine was set… my account was so previous that it was set at 5000.

I set it to one thing a lot greater.

They provide you a really useful quantity; I might go even greater than that.

After which it re-encrypts your entire account.

However like we mentioned, the cat’s out of the bag…. for those who don’t change all of your passwords, they usually handle to crack your [old] grasp password, they’ve received an offline copy of your account.

So simply altering your grasp password and simply re-encrypting the whole lot doesn’t do the job utterly.

DUCK.  Precisely.

When you go in and your iteration rely continues to be at 5000, that’s the variety of occasions they hash-hash-hash-and-rehash your password earlier than it’s used, as a way to decelerate password-guessing assaults.

That’s the variety of iterations used *on the vault that the crooks now have*.

So even for those who change it to 100,100…

…unusual quantity: Bare Safety recommends 200,000 [date: October 2022]; OWASP, I imagine, recommends one thing like 310,000, so LastPass saying, “Oh, properly, we do a extremely, actually type of gung-ho, above common 100,100”?

Critical Safety: The right way to retailer your customers’ passwords safely

I might name that someplace in the midst of the pack – not precisely spectacular.

However altering that now solely protects the cracking of your *present* vault, not the one which the crooks have gotten.

DOUG.  So, to conclude.

Comfortable New Yr, all people; you’ve received your weekend plans already, so “you’re welcome” there.

And I can’t imagine I’m saying this once more, however we’ll keep watch over this.

Alright, we’ll keep on the cryptography prepare, and speak about quantum computing.

Based on america of America, it’s time to get ready, and one of the best preparation is…

[DRAMATIC] …cryptographic agility.

US passes the Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act – and why not?

DUCK.  Sure!

This was a enjoyable little story that I wrote up between Christmas and New Yr as a result of I believed it was fascinating, and apparently so did a great deal of readers as a result of we’ve had energetic feedback there… quantum computing is the cool factor, isn’t it?

It’s like nuclear fusion, or darkish matter, or superstring principle, or gravitons, all that type of stuff.

Everybody has a obscure concept of what it’s about, however not many individuals actually perceive it.

So, the idea of quantum computing, very loosely talking, is that it’s a manner of setting up an analog computing machine, for those who like, that is ready to do sure forms of calculation in such a manner that, primarily, all of the solutions seem instantly contained in the machine.

And the trick you will have is that for those who can coallpse this – what is known as, I imagine, a “superposition”, based mostly on quantum mechanics…

…for those who can collapse this superposition such that the reply you truly need is the one which pops out, and all of the others vanish in a puff of quantum smoke, then you possibly can think about what which may imply for cryptography.

Since you may be capable to scale back the time taken to do cryptographic cracking dramatically.

And, actually, there are two important types of algorithmic speedup which can be potential, if highly effective sufficient quantum computer systems come alongside.

One in all them offers with cracking issues like symmetric-key encryption, like AES, or colliding hashes, like SHA-256, the place, for those who wanted an effort within the quantity of X earlier than quantum computing, you may be capable to try this cracking with an effort of simply the sq. root of X afterwards.

However much more importantly, for an additional class of cryptographic algorithm, notably some types of public-key cryptography, you could possibly scale back the cracking effort required from X to the *logarithm* of X.

And to offer you an concept of how dramatic these modifications may be, speaking in base 10, let’s say you will have an issue that may take you 1,000,000 models of effort.

The sq. root of 1,000,000 is 1000 – sounds far more tractable, doesn’t it?

And the logarithm of 1,000,000 [in base 10] is simply 6!

So, the priority about quantum computing and cryptography is just not merely that at present’s cryptographic algorithms may require changing at a while sooner or later.

The issue is definitely that the stuff we’re encrypting at present, hoping to maintain it safe, say, for a few years, and even for a few a long time, may, *throughout the lifetime of that information*, abruptly turn out to be crackable nearly instantly…

…particularly to an attacker with loads of cash.

So, in different phrases, we’ve to make the change of algorithm *earlier than* we expect that these quantum computer systems may come alongside, somewhat than ready till they seem for the primary time.

You’ve received to be forward as a way to keep stage, because it have been.

We now have to stay cryptographically agile in order that we will adapt to those modifications, and if crucial, so we will adapt proactively, properly upfront.

And *that* is what I feel they meant by cryptographic agility.

Cybersecurity is a journey, not a vacation spot.

And a part of that journey is anticipating the place you’re going subsequent, not ready till you get there.

DOUG.  What a segue to our subsequent story!

With regards to predicting what is going to occur in 2023, we should always do not forget that historical past has a humorous manner of repeating itself…

Bare Safety 33 1/3 – Cybersecurity predictions for 2023 and past

DUCK.  It does, Doug.

And that’s the reason I had a somewhat curious headline, the place I used to be considering, “Hey, wouldn’t or not it’s cool if I might have a headline like ‘Bare Safety 33 1/3’?

I couldn’t fairly keep in mind why I believed that was humorous… after which I remembered it was Frank Drebin… it was ‘Bare *Gun* 33 1/3’. [LAUGHS]

That wasn’t why I wrote it… the 33 1/3 was somewhat little bit of a joke.

It ought to actually have been “simply over 34”, however it’s one thing we’ve spoken about on the podcast no less than a few occasions earlier than.

The Web Worm, in 1988 [“just over 34” years ago], relied on three important what-you-might-call hacking, cracking and malware-spreading methods.

Poor password alternative.

Reminiscence mismanagement (buffer overflows).

And never patching or securing your present software program correctly.

The password guessing… it carried round its personal dictionary of 400 or so phrases, and it didn’t should guess *all people’s* password, simply *any individual’s* password on the system.

The buffer overflow, on this case, was on the stack – these are more durable to take advantage of as of late, however reminiscence mismanagement nonetheless accounts for an enormous variety of the bugs that we see, together with some zero-days.

And naturally, not patching – on this case, it was individuals who’d put in mail servers that had been compiled for debugging.

Once they realised they shouldn’t have accomplished that, they by no means went again and altered it.

And so, for those who’re in search of cybersecurity predictions for 2023, there might be numerous corporations on the market who might be promoting you their implausible new imaginative and prescient, their implausible new threats…

…and sadly, the entire new stuff is one thing that you need to fear about as properly.

However the previous issues haven’t gone away, and in the event that they haven’t gone away in 33 1/3 years, then it’s affordable to count on, except we get very vigorous about it, as Congress is suggesting we do with quantum computing, that in 16 2/3 years time, we’ll nonetheless have these very issues.

So, in order for you some easy cybersecurity predictions for 2023, you possibly can return three a long time…


DUCK.  …and be taught from what occurred then.

As a result of, sadly, those that can not keep in mind historical past are condemned to repeat it.

DOUG.  Precisely.

Let’s stick with the long run right here, and speak about machine studying.

However this isn’t actually about machine studying, it’s only a good previous provide chain assault involving a machine studying toolkit.

PyTorch: Machine Studying toolkit pwned from Christmas to New Yr

DUCK.  Now, this was PyTorch – it’s very extensively used – and this assault was on customers of what’s known as the “nightly construct”.

In lots of software program tasks, you’ll get a “steady construct”, which could get up to date as soon as a month, and then you definately’ll get “nightly builds”, which is the supply code because the builders are engaged on it now.

So that you most likely don’t need to use it in manufacturing, however for those who’re a developer, you might need the nightly construct together with a steady construct, so you possibly can see what’s coming subsequent.

So, what these crooks did is… they discovered a package deal that PyTorch depended upon (it’s known as torchtriton), they usually went to PyPI, the Python Package deal Index repository, they usually created a package deal with that title.

Now, no such package deal existed, as a result of it was usually simply bundled together with PyTorch.

However due to what you could possibly take into account a safety vulnerability, or definitely a safety concern, in the entire dependency-satisfying setup for Python package deal administration…

…if you did the replace, the replace course of would go, “Oh, torchtriton – that’s constructed into PyTorch. Oh, no, grasp on! There’s a model on PyPI, there’s a model on the general public Package deal Index; I’d higher get that one as an alternative! That’s most likely the actual deal, as a result of it’s most likely extra updated.”

DOUG.  Ohhhhhhhh….

DUCK.  And it was extra “updated”.

It wasn’t *PyTorch* that ended up contaminated with malware, it was simply that if you did the set up course of, a malware element was injected into your system that sat and ran there independently of any machine studying you may do.

It was a program with the title triton.

And principally what it did was: it learn an entire load of your non-public information, just like the hostname; the contents of assorted vital system information, like /and so forth/passwd (which on Linux doesn’t truly include password hashes, happily, however it does include an entire record of customers on the system); and your .gitconfig, which, for those who’re a developer, most likely says an entire lot of stuff about tasks that you just’re engaged on.

And most naughtily-and-nastily of all: the contents of your .ssh listing, the place, often, your non-public keys are saved.

It packaged up all that information and it despatched it out, Doug, as a sequence of DNS requests.

So that is Log4J another time.

You keep in mind Log4J attackers have been doing this?

Log4Shell defined – the way it works, why it’s essential to know, and easy methods to repair it

DOUG.  Sure.

DUCK.  They have been going, “I’m not going to hassle utilizing LDAP and JNDI, and all these .class information, and all that complexity. That’ll get seen. I’m not going to attempt to do any distant code execution… I’m simply going to do an innocent-looking DNS lookup, which most servers will enable. I’m not downloading information or putting in something. I’m simply changing a reputation into an IP quantity. How dangerous might that be?”

Properly, the reply is that if I’m the criminal, and I’m working a website, then I get to decide on which DNS server tells you about that area.

So if I search for, in opposition to my area, a “server” (I’m utilizing air-quotes) known as SOMEGREATBIGSECRETWORD dot MYDOMAIN dot EXAMPLE, then that textual content string in regards to the SECRETWORD will get despatched within the request.

So it’s a actually, actually, annoyingly efficient manner of stealing (or to make use of the militaristic jargon that cybersecurity likes, exfiltrating) non-public information out of your community, in a manner that many networks don’t filter.

And far worse, Doug: that information was encrypted (utilizing 256-bit AES, no much less), so the string-that-actually-wasn’t-a-server-name, however was truly secret information, like your non-public key…

…that was encrypted, in order that for those who have been simply trying via your logs, you wouldn’t see apparent issues like, “Hey, what are all these usernames doing in my logs? That’s bizarre!”

You’d simply see loopy, bizarre textual content strings that regarded like nothing a lot in any respect.

So you possibly can’t go trying to find strings which may have escaped.

Nevertheless: [PAUSE] hard-coded key and initialisation vector, Doug!

Subsequently. anyone in your community path who logged it might, if they’d evil intention, go and decrypt that information later.

There was nothing involving a secret identified solely to the crooks.

The password you employ to decrypt the stolen information, wherever it lives on the planet, is buried within the malware – it’s 5 minutes’ work to go and get well it.

The crooks who did this at the moment are saying, [MOCK HUMILITY] “Oh, no, it was solely analysis. Sincere!”

Yeah, proper.

You wished to “show” (even greater air-quotes than earlier than) that provide chain assaults are a difficulty.

So that you “proved”( even greater air-quotes than those I simply used) that by stealing folks’s non-public keys.

And also you selected to do it in a manner that anyone else who received maintain of that information, by honest means or foul, now or later, doesn’t even should crack the grasp password like they do with LastPass.

DOUG.  Wow.

DUCK.  Apparently, these crooks, they’ve even mentioned, “Oh, don’t fear, like, truthfully, we deleted all the information.”


A) I don’t imagine you. Why ought to I?



DOUG.  So the place do issues stand now?

Every part’s again to regular?

What do you do?

DUCK.  Properly, the excellent news is that if none of your builders put in this nightly construct, principally between Christmas and New Yr 2022 (the precise occasions are within the article), then you need to be tremendous.

As a result of that was the one interval that this malicious torchtriton package deal was on the PyPI repository.

The opposite factor is that, so far as we will inform, solely a Linux binary was supplied.

So, for those who’re engaged on Home windows, then I’m assuming, for those who don’t have the Home windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) put in, then this factor would simply be a lot innocent binary rubbish to you.

As a result of it’s an Elf binary, not a PE binary, to make use of the technical phrases, so it wouldn’t run.

And there are additionally a bunch of issues that, for those who’re fearful you possibly can go and test for within the logs.

When you’ve received DNS logs, then the crooks used a selected area title.

The explanation that the factor abruptly grew to become a non-issue (I feel it was on 30 December 2022) is that PyTorch did the correct factor…

…I think about together with the Python Package deal Index, they kicked out the rogue package deal and changed it primarily with a “dud” torchtriton package deal that doesn’t do something.

It simply exists to say, “This isn’t the actual torchtriton package deal”, and it tells you the place to get the actual one, which is from PyTorch itself.

And which means that for those who do obtain this factor, you don’t get something, not to mention malware.

We’ve received some Indicators of Compromise [IoCs] within the Bare Safety article.

We now have an evaluation of the cryptographic a part of the malware, so you possibly can perceive what might need received stolen.

And sadly, Doug, if you’re unsure, or for those who suppose you might need received hit, then it might be a good suggestion, as painful because it’s going to be… you recognize what I’m going to say.

It’s precisely what you needed to do with all of your LastPass stuff.

Go and regenerate new non-public keys, or key pairs, in your SSH logins.

As a result of the issue is that what numerous builders do… as an alternative of utilizing password-based login, they use public/non-public key-pair login.

You generate a key pair, you place the general public key on the server you need to connect with, and you retain the non-public key your self.

After which, if you need to log in, as an alternative of placing in a password that has to journey throughout the community(though it is perhaps encrypted alongside the best way), you decrypt your non-public key regionally in reminiscence, and you employ it to signal a message to show that you just’ve received the matching non-public key to the server… and it permits you to in.

The issue is that, for those who’re a developer, plenty of the time you need your packages and your scripts to have the ability to try this private-key based mostly login, so plenty of builders could have non-public keys which can be saved unencrypted.


Properly, I hesitate to say this, however we’ll keep watch over this!

And we do have an fascinating remark from an nameless reader on this story who asks partly:

“Would it not be potential to poison the crooks’ information cache with ineffective information, SSH keys, and executables that expose or infect them in the event that they’re dumb sufficient to run them? Mainly, to bury the actual exfiltrated information behind a ton of crap they should filter via?”

DUCK.  Honeypots, or pretend databases, *are* an actual factor.

They’re a really useful gizmo, each in cybersecurity analysis… letting the crooks suppose they’re into an actual web site, so that they don’t simply go, “Oh, that’s a cybersecurity firm; I’m giving up”, and don’t truly strive the methods that you really want them to disclose to you.

And in addition helpful for regulation enforcement, clearly.

The problem is, for those who want to do it your self, simply just remember to don’t transcend what’s legally OK for you.

Legislation enforcement may be capable to get a warrant to hack again…

…however the place the commenter mentioned, “Hey, why don’t I simply attempt to infect them in return?”

The issue is, for those who try this… properly, you may get plenty of sympathy, however in most nations, you’d however nearly definitely be breaking the regulation.

So, guarantee that your response is proportionate, helpful and most significantly, authorized.

As a result of there’s no level in simply making an attempt to mess with the crooks and ending up in scorching water your self.

That might be an irony that you could possibly properly do with out!

DOUG.  Alright, superb.

Thanks very a lot for sending that in, expensive Nameless Reader.

When you have an fascinating story, remark, or query you’d prefer to submit, we’d like to learn it on the podcast.

You’ll be able to electronic mail [email protected], you possibly can touch upon any certainly one of our articles, or you possibly can hit us up on social: @NakedSecurity.

That’s our present for at present.

Thanks very a lot for listening.

For Paul Ducklin, I’m Doug Aamoth reminding you, till subsequent time, to…

BOTH.  Keep Safe!