Friday, September 13, 2013

Bitsquatting at DEFCON21 and More

I was very excited to see that several researchers are investigating bitsquatting and writing about it. There were two presentations about bitsquatting at DEFCON 21, a presentation at ICANN 47, and a research paper presented at WWW2013.

Jaeson Schultz - DEFCON 21 - Examining the Bitsquatting Attack Surface
Jaeson presented some excellent ways to exploit bitsquatting that I did not think of -- such as using bitsquats in URL delimeters to target otherwise unexploitable domains. As an example taken from the paper, can become

Additionally Jaeson presents a great mitigation that can be implemented at the local level -- Response Policy Zones. From the paper:
An RPZ is a local zone file which allows the DNS resolver to respond to specific DNS requests by saying that the domain name does not exist (NXDOMAIN), or redirecting the user
to a walled garden, or other possibilities. To mitigate the effects of single bit errors for users of a DNS resolver the resolver administrator can create a Response Policy Zone that protects against bitsquats of frequently resolved, or internal-only domain names.  

Robert Stucke - DEFCON 21 - DNS Has Been Found To Be Hazardous To Your Health
Robert demonstrated some new vectors for bitsquatting, such as web applications and hosted email providers. Speifically, he bitsquatted (a site that serves static content for Google properties). Not only was he able to return arbitrary content to people using Google's search services, he could also affect web applications, such as feed readers, that rely on correct resolution of Robert also bitsquatted, a hosted email provider. This allowed him to potentially receive other people's email.

Nigel Roberts - ICANN 47 - Bitsquatting
Nigel (who runs .gg) presented about bitsquatting to ICANN. Hopefully this will result in more research at the ccTLD level. 

Nick Nikiforakis, et al. - WWW2013 - Bitsquatting: Exploiting Bit-flips for Fun, or Profit?
Nick and his coauthors did a measurement study about the prevalence of bitsquatting and what content appears on bitsquatted domains. They identified several that are used for adverstising, affiliate programs, and malware distribution.  There is also a great graph in the paper where you can see a huge spike in bitsquat domain registration after my Blackhat presentation :).

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