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Showing posts from November, 2011

Encrypted ZIP Archives Leak Information

This post is just a quick note to remind people who use encrypted ZIP archives to store or transfer confidential information, that the headers of the archive are not encrypted. Therefore, the filenames, dates and sizes of all the files within the archive can be read by anyone, without the key. Is this a problem?

Well, I believe it is. Many people and organisations have naming conventions for files. How do you know which report to open if the filename doesn't give you some clue? Often filenames will include project names or codes, departments and even the names of the people writing the report. Would you give this information out to anyone walking down the street? I have seen targeted Spear Phishing attacks on users whereby emails have been sent with what look like project spreadsheets attached with the correct naming conventions and project codes. These attacks were very convincing for an unsuspecting user. Filenames can leak enough data to start launching social engineering attac…

Flaw in email security means signed mails cannot be encrypted

I was at a company the other day that uses a well-known email encryption solution as they have some very sensitive information that they need to send both internally and externally. As is common for these solutions, it is possible to automatically sign the email by putting a keyword in the subject line, such as 'signemail'. Similarly, the mail will be encrypted automatically if the confidential flag is set or a keyword, such as 'encryptemail' is added to the subject.

So far, so good. There are no messy button presses or extra steps for the user. However, there is a flaw with the solution. (I should point out that at this moment it is unclear if it is a product problem or a configuration problem, hence my not mentioning the product.)

The issue is that signing the message appears to take precedence over encryption. So, if you add both keywords to the subject then the message will only be signed and not encrypted. Now the encryption solution does also sign the message, …