• Security SIG: Attacks on the Browser Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 06:30PM to 09:00PM
    Cubberley Community Center
    4000 Middlefield Road, Room H-1
    Palo Alto, CA
    Software Architecture and Platform

Security SIG: Attacks on the Browser




    TOPIC: Attacks On the Browser

    Our Internet browsers are a primary entry point that cybercriminals are currently using to gain unauthorized access to data on the our computers, if not complete control of the computer and incorporating it into botnets. This talk discusses a broad range of examples of attacks that have been proposed against the Netscape Communicator application along with ways that the application evolved to block them.

    Although the talk discusses numerous actual attacks across the history of Netscape, it also works to abstract elements of attacks, and show how they assemble to form exploits. The start of the talk, first presented in RSA2001, discusses 6 noteworthy historical attacks. The attacks include DNS False Advertising (not, DNS compromise!), Java class verifier vulnerability to a multi-thread attack, JavaScript Language feature creating a cache handling vulnerability, Java symbol table overrun, FILE: URL facilitating invasion of privacy, and insufficient HTML escaping browser side (not server side!).

    A more generic discussion of issues surrounding security responses to identified security bugs is presented. The resolution to some of the above problems reveals that security patching is significantly different from software bug repair, and that fact needs to be used by response teams. The discussion ranges from problems caused by a lengthily QA cycle (and avoiding thrashing when bug inter-arrival/discovery time is smaller than a QA cycle), to why a bugs bounty is helpful (but why a bounty that is too large is actually problematic). Also presented is a proposed method to prevent reverse engineering of security patches (by distributing encrypted(??) patches).  The method can also automate identification of *which* if any existing patch is critical during an attack, and it can accelerate and even automate patch deployment of the critical patch(es).

    SPEAKER: Jim Roskind

    Jim Roskind was born and raised in the highest crime neighborhood in NYC, in the South Bronx, where security, attack, and vulnerability involved much more than software. Eventually he attended Bronx HS of Science, and later MIT, where he received his SBEE, SBCS, SMEECS, and PhD EECS (1983), with a focus on data communication networks, fault tolerance, and some distributed algorithms (including CoOp work at Bell Laboratories).  In 1994 he co-founded InfoSeek, lead the engineering team, and became their Chief Scientist. In 1995 Jim joined pre-IPO upstart Netscape, and eventually became involved with Java as their Java Security Architect.  He helped evolve and design Netscape's Java security model (including signed Java), contributed to the definition of SSL 3.0, and lead response teams on most all of the Netscape browser security issues (firedrills).  Jim was later promoted to Chief Scientist for Netscape, and eventually VP/CTO AOL Technology Development. His notable open source contributions include a YACCable C++ Grammar, and the current Python Profiler.


    Cubberley Community Center
    4000 Middlefield Road, Room H-1
    Palo Alto, CA


    6:30 - 7:00 p.m. Registration / Networking / Refreshments / Pizza
    7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Presentation and Discussion

    $15 at the door for non-SDForum members
    No charge for SDForum members
    No registration required