Technical Report: Friend-in-the-Middle (FITM) Attacks

Posted: July 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: fitm, research, security | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Abstract. In the ongoing arms race between spammers and the multi-million dollar anti-spam industry, the number of unsolicited e-mail messages (better known as “spam”) and phishing has increased heavily in the last decade. In this paper, we show that our novel friend-in-the-middle attack on social networking sites (SNSs) can be used to harvest social data in an automated fashion. This social data can then be exploited for large-scale attacks such as context-aware spam and social-phishing. We prove the feasibility of our attack exemplarily on Facebook and identify possible consequences based on a mathematical model and simulations. Alarmingly, all major SNSs are vulnerable to our attack as they fail to secure the network layer appropriately.


FITM Attacks (Image by

Who On Earth Is ”Mr. Cypher“: Automated Friend Injection Attacks on Social Networking Sites

Posted: June 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: research, security | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Abstract. Within this paper we present our novel friend injection attack which exploits the fact that the great majority of social networking sites fail to protect the communication between its users and their services. In a practical evaluation, on the basis of public wireless access points, we furthermore demonstrate the feasibility of our attack. The friend injection attack enables a stealth infiltration of social networks and thus outlines the devastating consequences of active eavesdropping attacks against social networking sites.


Tor HTTP usage and Information Leakage

Posted: May 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: research, security, tor | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Abstract- This paper analyzes the web browsing behaviour of Tor users. By collecting HTTP requests we show which websites are of interest to Tor users and we determined an upper bound on how vulnerable Tor users are to sophisticated de-anonymization attacks: up to 78 % of the Tor users do not use Tor as suggested by the Tor community, namely to browse the web with TorButton. They could thus fall victim to de-anonymization attacks by merely browsing the web. Around 1 % of the requests could be used by an adversary for exploit piggybacking on vulnerable file formats. Another 7 % of all requests were generated by social networking sites which leak plenty of sensitive and identifying information. Due to the design of HTTP and Tor, we argue that HTTPS is currently the only effective countermeasure against de-anonymization and information leakage for HTTP over Tor.

Get the preprint here:

Facebook: A security and privacy nightmare?

Posted: April 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: random, research, security | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Apparently Facebook decided to open-up profiles to the public yet a little further in future, read more at this blog entry. So whilst a plethora of security research highlights how broken this service really is, Facebook keeps on exposing more private information to third-parties on a sneaky opt-out basis.
Want to catch up how broken Facebook is? Read some interesting (academic) publications regarding Facebook Security:
A Practical Attack to De-Anonymize Social Network Users
All Your Contacts Are Belong to Us
Towards Automating Social Engineering Using Social Networking Sites

What can Facebook users do to protect themselves? So far not that much; at least: adapt your privacy settings, protect your communication with browser extensions such as ForceTLS.

As soon as all review cycles are finished, I plan to publish more information on a new security threat with SNSs that we recently discovered.

(C) Joy of Tech

(C) Joy of Tech

New publications coming up soon …

Posted: February 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: research, security, tor | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Our publications have been accepted at the IFIP CMS’2010 and the SEC 2010 conference. I will publish preprints soon.