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The Hacker Mindset

The Hacker Mindset

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The Hacker Mindset

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  1. The Hacker Mindset CSE 591 – Security and Vulnerability Analysis Spring 2015 Adam Doupé Arizona State University http://adamdoupe.com

  2. What is a Vulnerability? • Make the application to do something that it is not supposed to do • Therefore, in order to find vulnerabilities, you must first understand the application • What is the intended functionality? • What is the intended behavior? • What does the application use as input? • What does the application produce as output?

  3. Example • Find: unauthenticated users can edit page content • Is this a vulnerability? • On cnn.com, yes! • On wikipedia.org, no! • This is why understanding the web application is critical

  4. How to Rob a Bank* *Knowledge comes from movies • Step 1: Reconnaissance • Who works at the bank? • What is their role? • Who has the keys? • When do the guards change or take a break? • What does the layout of the bank look like? • What does the vault look like? • What kind of lock does the bank use? • … • Step 2: Build elaborate plan • Step 3: Everything goes wrong • Step 4: Profit?

  5. How to Rob a Web Application • Step 1: Reconnaissance • How does the application work? • Are there user accounts? • Do the user accounts have different privileges? • How are privileges enforced? • What does the layout of the web application look like (URLs)? • What URLs should only be accessible via a certain privilege? • What is the input to the web application? • What is the output of the web application? • How is the web application probably written? • Step 2: Develop vulnerability hypothesis • Step 3: Test vulnerability hypothesis • Step 4: Develop exploit • Step 5: Profit

  6. Injection Vectors • All user input to the web application • Some examples • Query parameters • URL path • POST parameters • Cookies • Referer header • Files • Other websites (twitter feed) • Emails

  7. Understand Data Flow • How does the input data flow through the program? • Data on page X is displayed on page Y and used to calculate the result of page Z • How does the output of a page flow through the program? • Result of a calculation used as part of a tweet

  8. Summary • First step to hacking is reconnaissance • Critical to understand the web application • Helps to decide what is a vulnerability and what is not! • Want to reverse engineer the web application • Ask yourself how would I have written this web application? • What mistakes might the developer have made?