B1 Intermediate Other 1444 Folder Collection
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So my name is Bogdan Alecu. And the topic for today will be "Business Logic Flaws in
Mobile Operators Services." For those that don't know me, everything is about me. I work
as a systems administrator as a day job. And during my free time, when I have it, I like
to break into a lot of mobile stuff. I started on this particular journey a couple
of years ago with GSM networks by using my old Nokia phone and continued with voice over
IP and got to GSM and mobile phones. If you want to keep in touch with me, you can find
me on Twitter or on my Web site. So the goals for today would be for you to
have a really high overview regarding the SIM toolkit. What it is. How we will exploit
it. Then a couple of business logic flaws I've identified on some carriers. And I think
you're going to find them really interesting. And also in the end if there is a way to protect
you from this that I'm going to show you. We're going to call these HTTP headers, data
traffic, extra digit and a summary at the end.
So who has heard about SIM toolkit? Okay. To keep it simple, think about it as a platform
for the carriers in order that they use it in order to install applications on your SIM
card. This is how SIM toolkit looks like on an Android device. On some other devices
you might find in them like an extra menu with the carriers namely like Orange, Vodafone
and so on. And from this SIM toolkit menu, you can find things like exchange rates, the
weather, how is the weather like or calling customer support. So different activities.
And if you think about it, it's a pretty good thing. Because you have these applications
on your SIM card. And no matter what phone you use and you put your SIM card in, you'll
still have this application. So you don't need to install anything else in order to
have them. Since this application sits on your SIM card,
the carrier has a way to update these applications or modify or delete them and so on.
So for example, if the customer support number changes, the carrier will send an over-the-air
update which is basically a text message to your SIM card saying that the SIM card should
update the phone number for the customer support. This message is kind of special message, a
comment message. And in order to have this comment message, they may use the SMS of the
user data header. The same user data header is used in cases like when you go over the
160 characters limit and do concatenated messages. So you have two messages which are concatenated
into one message. And this makes use of the user data header and of course also in cases
for -- who remembers the old Nokia ringtones? They also used user data headers.
This is how the comment packet looks like for such a SIM toolkit SMS. So as I -- you
have the user data header, then other fields like comment packet, link comment, header
link, security parameter indicator and so on.
The most important one that I want you to keep in mind this security indicator. The
number you see below represents the number of bytes each element has.
So this -- all of these specifications can be found on GSM specs. In order to also have
this comment, you also add other two important fields.
Data coding scheme and protocol ID. By setting the protocol ID to 7F, it means
that you do a SIM data download and data coding scheme to F6 means that this type of text
message is directly addressed to your SIM card.
So according to the GSM specification, what will happen when you receive such a comment
message, the phone will transparently pass this SIM message this comment message through
your SIM card and will not alert you in any other way so basically when your carriers
sends this message saying okay I want to update the number for the customer support, you will
have no idea that you have just got a text message.
And I told you keep in mind security parameter indicator.
So you are setting this comment. But you need some kind of acknowledgement to know that
this comment message has been received. And this is called proof of receipt which can
be set in the first two bits. If you set it for example to 01 it means you
always want to get a proof of receipt. So no matter if there was an error or there wasn't
any error, you will always get a proof of receipt.
And how you get it, you set it in the bit number 6, and there are two ways of getting
this proof of receipt back. By SMS submit which means by a regular text
message which is sent by our SIM card or by SMS delivery report which is like a delivery
report when you send a text message and you want to know if the target person has received
your text message. So again, we have this structure. And we need
to fill in the elements. The user data header the protocol ID, the
data coding scheme I have presented you. And then the others. And as you would imagine
in order to make this update of the customer support number, you need to have some proper
security keys. But if you look at this example, you will
see that ciphering keys that are KIC are set to zero. Because I do not care about ciphering
keys at all. Why? Because of the security parameter indicator. If we drill down to this
security parameter indicator you will see the first two bits are set to 01 meaning that
I want to get a proof of receipt, always get a proof of receipt.
And I want to get it by text message. So basically when -- if I'm going to send
this text comment message to you, what will happen, it will get to your phone. The phone
will pass it to the SIM card. The SIM card will try to execute it. It will see that I
don't have any proper security keys. But in return, it will send me back a text message
without you controlling it, without you even knowing it.
And in order to make sure that how the things are like, here is the screen shot of a wire
shark capture. And as you see the comment is to send short message. It has been initiated
by the card application toolkit so it wasn't a human initiated action.
So SIM card automatically replies to the sending number. There's nothing in your inbox, nothing
in your outbox. Basically you will have no idea that your SIM card has just sent a text
message back to me. Only if you look at the -- on your bill, on
your call records you will see that sometimes your SIM card has just sent a text message
to someone. So let's see it in action.
so here I have the destination number. I have the user data header. The binary data, the
fields that I filled in. The protocol ID and the data coding scheme.
And I have the target's phone. On this phone, this is a prepaid phone. And
there is -- it's balance is zero so I have no credit on it.
So it will try to send a text message. But since it has no balance, I will get a text
message from the carrier saying: Hey, you don't have any credit. You need to refill.
Now, once I submit this, it says sending. And there is no way to stop this. I can't
push any button. The SIM card just sends -- tries to send a text message. You cannot control
it. It keeps trying to send if I had a look at it I would have -- if I hadn't looked at
it I would have no idea I just did this so if it's in your pocket you will have no idea
your SIM card is trying to send a text message. And I also got some text messages from my
carrier saying you do not have enough credit for sending SMS to this number. Please recharge
your account. But I didn't send any text message by myself. The SIM card tried to do so.
So maybe you will think that okay maybe this is not something -- I don't know -- important
let's say. I can make your SIM card send the text message back to me.
Well, maybe that's not a big deal. But let's think on some other way.
Let's say there are services that allows you to send a text message from any number. So
you can send someone a text message coming from whatever number you want. Now, let's
say you also have a premium rate number. International premium rate number and you send a comment
message coming from the premium rate number to some target phone number. What will happen,
the target phone number will send back a text message to the premium rate number you have.
So you're paying like a couple of cents for sending a text message. And in return you
get 20 times more. So it's a pretty good conversion rate, right?
And the target phone as I told you, some phones don't even though that there is a text message
sending in progress. Even if you keep your eyes on them.
So until you will get your monthly bill, you have no idea you have just sent text messages
to premium rate numbers. Now let's talk a little bit about HTTP headers. The easiest
way you can think about them is by identifying the browser you are using. So if you're browsing
from Firefox let's say, that browser will have HTTP headers if you're browsing from
Safari it will have other headers and so on. Now, with this in mind, there are some -- most
of the carriers have a mobile page where you can find your balance, you can change your
services, you can download ringtones, videos and whatever.
This page addresses using am.carrier.com so the carrier name.
If you try to access that page from your computer you will most probably get something like
this. So they will detect that you're not connected
to their network. And they will tell you: Okay, you have to connect to our network in
order for us to show you the page. But in some cases, if you pretend to be browsing
from a mobile device, they will display this page. So what I did was to use Firefox extension
called user agents feature. And I identify myself as a Nokia 871 phone once I did that
I got the display page the mobile page of the carrier.
But it was just a general page because I was not authenticated so I could not see any balance.
I could not download any ringtones. I couldn't do anything.
Well, this is how -- the things where they start to get interesting.
The operators, the carriers know how to charge based also on HTTP headers. So the idea was
to well sniff all the traffic my phone does and see if there are any HTTP headers specifically
in my phone number. But I failed that. Because there weren't any
HTTP headers. Then after some monitoring I found a research paper called privacy leaks
in mobile phone Internet access where he noticed that when someone from a mobile device was
accessing his Web site, that carrier was also sending the phone number.
So he did a list with all of the HTTP headers that the carrier was sending. And published
it. And the carriers no longer -- are no longer sending these HTTP headers.
Okay. So they are not sending the headers. But what if I will inject the headers in the
traffic? So I chose a couple of HTTP headers which
identified the phone number. And as their value, it is the phone number in international
format so with the country code. So now I can access that mobile page of the
carrier from my computer by identifying myself as a mobile device and I can also authenticate
myself by injecting these HTTP headers. And what happens now? I can see anyone else's
balance. I can change their subscription plan. I can reveal any other account. And stuff
like this. Whatever carrier allows me to do so. And some
carriers are even tieing up the phone number with the bank account so you can even see
the bank details of that specific customer. But I didn't stop here.
Remember when there was a time we had to call the Internet with our phones? Well, I was
surprised to see that there are still carriers who still have CSD. So think about it just
like a dialup connection from your phone. So the carrier has the dial-in number. You
set up a dialup connection from your phone to that number. And you're browsing the Internet
with 9.6 kilobits per second around 1 kilobyte per second pretty good speed right? But since
it's just a phone call it also has the vulnerabilities of a phone call, which is are caller ID spoofing.
Now, guess what was my reaction when I first set up that connection to a Voice over IP
provider which was spoofing my caller ID and then forwarding the call back to the dial-in
number and I was authenticated. So this is just the target phone. The screen
of the target phone. And also I have connected mobile phone via Bluetooth because I want
to have a GSM modem attached to my computer. So first I'm calling myself on my own number.
With my own number. So this is what it means own number.
So this works then I'm making up the connection as you see I'm using a pretty old Nokia phone
and I'm connected to the carrier's network. What is the goal of this? Is, well, if I do
the caller ID spoofing will I be authenticated like any other user and incur charges to that
target account? So once I'm registering to the network, I'm
going to check for my balance in order to see the initial balance and the after attack
balance. So the current balance is 6.05 euros.
Next I'm going to choose something to download. And I'm choosing some image.
It goes pretty slow because remember, I'm browsing with 1 kilobyte per second. So and
also the call goes internationally. Okay. I am choosing some image which cost 1.99 euros.
And once I click buy now, I will get a text message on the target phone. So the thing
worked apparently and it says thank you for your purchase and so on.
So now I'm going to check again for the balance so previously I had 6.05 and this one cost
1.99. So now I should have 4.06 euros. And indeed I have 4.06 euros so I was successful
just by spoofing the caller ID I was authenticated just like any other customer.
Let's talk a little bit about data traffic. Let's say you have a prepaid account. And
you have some data included in your subscription. You have no more money on your account. And
you have finished all your data in your subscription, what will happen? Will you still be able to
have data connection? Well, you will still be able to have data
connection. But the only page you will be able to browse would be the carriers web page
because maybe you want to do a refill and browse again the Internet.
While I had no more money in my account, then I thought well what would happen if I performed
a DNS query. So I tried to find the IP address of Google.com and I got a reply from the DNS
that my carrier was using. Okay. That works. But what happens if I use
open DNS servers. And I also got a reply from open DNS servers although I could not browse
any web page but the DNS replies worked. So then I thought of this: What if I set up
a VPN server on my cable connection at home. And make that server run on port 53 UDP which
is the DNS port and then set up the VPN connection from my phone to my server.
So think about it just like a regular VPN connection. But this VPN server is listening
on port 53 UDP. Guess what happens? You have free Internet.
(Applause) >> BOGDAN ALECU: It and even though I had
the spend limit now with this, the spend limit is gone.
But I didn't stop here. Since I'm living near the border at home I
thought, okay, what happens if I force my phone to connect to our network across the
border and try the same. And it also works in roaming.
(Applause). >> BOGDAN ALECU: So right now instead of paying
$12 per megabyte I'll let you guess how much I'm paying.
(Chuckles). >> BOGDAN ALECU: Next the extra digit. I'm
pretty sure you have here a flat rate plan with unlimited minutes inside your operator's
network. So if you're from Verizon you'll have unlimited minutes in Verizon. But if
you call to AT & T, for example, you will not have unlimited minutes.
And you also have mobile number portability. So you can transfer your current number to
a different operator. Well, let's think of this scenario: You have
two mobile numbers, two phone numbers, a operator. And you decide to transfer the second number
to the B operator. If you're calling now from the first number to the second number, you
will be charged like calling across the network from A to B.
But in some cases, if you dial the same second number but add some extra digits at the end
of it, the carrier will have no idea that the number has been transferred. So you will
be billed like calling inside the same A operator. And also it also works the other way around.
So if you have two different numbers in two different networks and you decide to transfer
the second number to the A network, if you're going to call with the extra digit you will
pay more because it will not know it's in the same network as yours. So this on this
side, it's not so good. But if you have them on different networks, then it will be even
good. So let's see how that worked. So here I have 2077 minutes inside my whole
network and 58 minutes national minutes and international minutes.
So what I'm going to do, I'm going to call a regular ten-digit number, which has been
transferred in the same network as mine. So it's the second case scenario where I am
paying more than I should. Now I'm going to check again for my balance
now I have 2076 minutes so one minute has gone from the national minute plan. Now I'm
going to dial the same number again but add two extra digits at the end of it.
I'm going to add 1-5 at the end. I'm going to hang up. Check again for the
balance. And now I should have 2075 national minutes
but the national minutes have the same. And you see it has been deducted from the 57 minutes
even though the number is in the same network. So I wasn't -- it wasn't deducted from these
minutes but from the minutes to other networks. And what's even funnier is that on some carriers,
this first when I dial the number, you see it has a P at the end which means it has been
transferred and it has been deducted my call from the 150 national minutes. The second
time I added two extra digits and this one means unknown so I've been deducted from the
unknown plan. Which means I get to talk free for this ported number. Even though I do not
have unlimited calls. If that doesn't work, try with all of the digits, one carrier was
working -- worked with this attack only if I had used one digit and that digit had to
be No. 2. I have no idea why. But if I put 2, then it worked.
Well, after reporting this, be the carriers, most of them have fixed it.
So now when I'm calling with the extra digit, I get a voice prompt back saying you have
dialed the wrong number. So I can no longer dial myself the wrong number. But how can
I make the carrier dial the number instead of me?
Well, it's pretty simple. My code for wording for all calls and to the -- I put the wrong
number and once the call reaches to that forwarded number your carrier will successfully dial
the wrong number for you. So it will still work.
As a summary I would like to start with some reply I got from customer support. Our technology
does not allow unauthorized access. Occurrence of errors in billing regarding data traffic
or voice is excluded because of their technology. Okay. Alien technology?
Test yourself all of this and maybe report into your carrier. Check if your carrier allows
you to disable prememory numbers access. This way you will at least be protected from the
SIM comment attack. The carriers can filter all of these SIM toolkit
messages but until now I haven't found any of them that will do this. Because they could
say only allow SIM toolkit messages that are coming from specific numbers and the other
ones, just drop them. Also, do not rely on the caller ID. There
are still a lot of services that rely on caller ID. And they consider this as a good authentication.
This is really not proper authentication. Do a proper authentication.
And an example of some really good authentication. I don't know why sound is not working.
(Beep). >> BOGDAN ALECU: Okay. I don't know if you're
going to hear it. (Ringing).
>> Starting with the area code please enter the number you're calling about. If you're
not a customer -- (Beep).
>> BOGDAN ALECU: So basically what I'm doing now, I'm calling the customer support of some
carrier in the U.S. And I'm using Skype because it's free to call 1-800 numbers. And if you're
calling the customer support from a different network, it will ask you to authenticate by
inputting -- by entering your number. Your number. Right?
>> Main menu for your minutes or usage or your account balance, press 1. Payments, 2.
Technical -- all right. Payments. Please enter your billing account password.
>> BOGDAN ALECU: Oh, so it has some kind of protection. It has the password I need to
enter. Well, what do I have to lose. Let's enter some passwords, random passwords.
>> Your entry does not match our records. >> BOGDAN ALECU: Maybe better luck next time.
>> Please press the corresponding keypad number. Your entry does not match our records.
>> BOGDAN ALECU: Maybe a third time. >> Your current balance is (speaker off mic).
(Applause). >> BOGDAN ALECU: So I don't know if we implemented
this. But I love this guy. Because usually on the third failure attempt you get kicked
out but in this case on the third failure attempt, they let you in.
(Chuckles). >> BOGDAN ALECU: How cool is that? If I knew
that previously, I would have tried it on some many systems. Really. Just enter three
wrong passwords and you are in. Okay. Okay. To summarize, this is the good authentication.
So thank you very much for your attention. I hope you enjoyed all of the things I showed
you. If you have any questions, you can follow me on Twitter, send me an e-mail address or
on my Web site. Thank you once again. (Applause)
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DEF CON 21 - Bogdan Alecu - Business logic flaws in mobile operators services

1444 Folder Collection
Franco Liu published on December 19, 2015
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