Optus Breach Sept 2022: Drivers Licence Western Australia and DoT WA

Optus (part of Singtel) was breached due to poor development practices in September 2022.

UPDATE 28/Sept/2022: The Premier has announced that new drivers licences will be available, with new IDs. 

It appears the team implementing their APIs did not have the skills to apply authentication, firewalling, rate limiting, alerting, and/or simulated data in non-production environments. It appears the management for this team did not know or enforce these protections either. And it appears the upper management did not check that lower management was taking necessary precautions and standards when handling PII.

There’s going to be some implications for this. Perhaps better engineering will be one of them.

I’m in the breach data as an Optus customer, and after a few days of news items, I received a confirmation email from Optus.

I’ve seen that in NSW, the digital-savvy minister Victor Dominello is already discussing re-issuing drivers licences in NSW. I thought I’d call the Western Australian Department of Transport and see what they are doing.

It’s been a public holiday Monday this week, so on Tuesday after 55 minutes in a queue, I got through to someone at DoT. Of course, to authenticate me on the phone they asked for the same information as shown in the data breach.

I learned:

  • DoT WA are not re-issuing licences at this stage
  • the ID number o the licence cannot currently be changed – it is perpetual
  • if they were to re-issue them with the same ID but a new expiry date, it would be on the same day and month, but 5 years later, so for any attacker trying a combination, the correct expiry date is the one in the breach, plus one, two, three for our five years.

The WA Department of Transport needs to look at this issue and fix a few items: The ID number issued to the public should be temporary and rotating for every issuance. I suspect there’s a few databases with this public number as a primary key. Perhaps the expiry date will need to be investigated to have 5 years +/- 30 days or so, and every re-issue should include the same variance. Indeed, perhaps reduce the lifetime from 5 years to two years to force rotation of the ID number, or let customers pay for the number of days they would like pro-rata, from 180 to 3650.

I know a few people at the Department, and I know they’re going to get a lot of focus from this issue. They’re welcome to reach out and chat with me; they have my details, after all. I know its a busy week for my contacts, so for anyone else out there, let’s stand back and wait.

AWS Consulting Services Partners and Certifications

There some 937 partners listed today (25 July 2022) on the AWS Partner Finder who are Consulting Services Partners. Summing together shows around 102,189 AWS Certifications held by there consulting partners (as a minimum), for an average of 115 certifications each.

Some partners show zero certifications, and 244 listed partners have less than 20 AWS certifications in the organisations. 18 organisations are massive with over 2,000 certifications held.

AWS Consulting Partners by AWS Cert tally

As you can see from the graph, after you graduate your Consulting organisation past the 100-199 bucket, the numbers drop off quite markedly; just 126 partners fit in the 200+ certification range.

This is an inexact science, and it will be interesting to review in six months’ time.

Home VoIP Telephones

I first used a physical VoIP phone when I was living in London, in 2003. It was made by Grandstream, was corded, and registered to a SIP provider in Australia (Simtex, whom I think on longer exist).

It was rock solid. Family and friends in Australia would call our local Perth telephone number, and we’d pick up the ringing phone in London. Calls were untimed, no B-party charging, and calls could last for hours without fear of the cost.

The flexibility of voice over internet was fantastic. At work, I had hard phones in colo cages and office spaces from San Francisco, to New York, Hamburg and London, avoiding international roaming charges completely.

The move to Siemens Gigaset

Sometime around 2008/2009, I swapped the Grandstream set for a Siemens Gigaset DECT wireless system: a VoIP base station, and a set of cordless handsets that used the familiar and reliable DECT protocol. The charging cradle for handsets only required power, meaning the base station could be conveniently stashed right beside the home router – typically with DSL where the phone line was terminated.

It was fantastic; multiple handsets, and the ability to host two simultaneous, independent (parallel) phone calls. In any household, not having to argue for who was hogging the phone, and missed inbound calls was awesome. And those two simultaneous calls were from either the same SIP registration or up to 6 SIP registrations.

Fast forward to 2022, and I still use the exact, same system, some 13 years later. I’ve added additional handsets. I’ve switched calling providers (twice). Yes, we have mobile phones, but sadly, being 8,140 meters from the Perth CBD is too far for my cell phone carrier (Singtel Optus) to have reliable indoor coverage. Yes, I could switch to Telstra, for 3x the price, and 1/3 the data allowance per month (but at least I’d get working mobile IPv6 then).

Gigaset has changed hands a few times, and while I’ve looked at many competitors over the years, I haven’t found any that have wrapped up the multi-DECT handset, answer phone, VOIP capability as well.

Yes, there are some rubbish features. I do not need my star sign displayed on the phone. Gigaset themselves as a SIP registrar has been unnecessary for me (YMMV).

And there are some milder frustrations; like each handset having its own address book, and a clunky Bluetooth sync & import to a laptop, or each handset having its own history of calls made. And, no IPv6 SIP registration.

I’ve started to try and work out what the product succession plan is. Between the base station and handsets, there is a compatibility matrix, and Gigaset have produced a web page where you can chose which model to check against.

What they haven’t done (that I have found) is make it clear which model is newer, and which models are superseded. Indeed, just discovering some of the models of base station in the domestic consumer range is difficult.

So the base station: which model is current? A Go Box 100? N 300? Comfort A IP flex? N300? Try finding the N300 on the gigset.com web site!

Can I easily compare base station capabilities/differneces without comparing the handsets – no!

I am looking for a base station that now supports IPv6, and possibly three simultaneous calls (two is good, but three would be better).

I keep returning to gigaset.com to hope they have improved the way they present their product line up, but alas, after 5 years or looking, it’s not got any better. It’s a great product, fantastic engineering, let down by confusing messaging and sales. At least put the release year in the tech spec so we can deduce what is older and what is newer, for both handsets and base station.

I feel that if Gigaset made their procurement of base station and handsets clearer they’d sell far more.

Web security and the 2022 Australian Federal Election

One thing is sure, these days every political party has a website to publish their message, and right now its one of their key places to disseminate their content from – often reticulating from the web site to the wider broadcast media.

As a source of truth for each party, how well are they implementing modern web security that’s free to implement and use?

I’ve used a number of tools in the past, but I chose just two to do a straw poll to examine them.

The first is Scott Helm’s SecurityHeaders.com. A simple rating A through F gives the general overview of the way the curators of the various sites have activated browser support to help ensure their content – and the visitors to their sites – are as protected as possible.

Scott does a fantastic job of adjusting the ratings over time, as new capabilities are established as commonplace amongst the major web browser platforms. It’s a free service to check any site, publicly available, and you can check your favourite site (such as your employer, or band) right now!

The second services is Qualys’ SSLLabs.com (originally by Ivan Ristic, who now operates hardenize.com – worth a look too). Instead of looking at the simple text headers, SSLLabs looks at the encryption used over the untrusted Internet, and a few other attributes, and again gives an A through F report, so it is easy to understand who does a good job, and who is not quite there yet.

The Australian Labour Party

The ALP lives at https://www.alp.org.au/. Let’s start with the simple security headers rating:

D rating for alp.org.au on 14 May 2022

That’ s a pretty poor outing. The first header activated is a legacy security header used to instruct browsers about having content rendered with iframe and frame HTML elements – these days accomplished via a Content Security Policy. Secondly they have indicated to browsers that their site is an HTTPS site and should only ever be contacted using encrypted communications (TLS, or HTTPS), and never over plain-text unencrypted HTTP.

So what?

Content Security Policies (CSPs) are about to become a mandated part of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, currently in draft, that any payment page on the Internet (you know, the one you use every day when you buy something online and enter card holder details) will be required to have a CSP to help protect the security of the web page. A CSP doesn’t cost anything, it’s just a text field letting your browser know boundaries from where it can fetch additional content to render the page. And if it’s good enough for a payment page, then its good enough for anything you’re trying to have a strong security reputation on.

OK, let’s move to the TLS (formerly called SSL) strength, with SSLLabs:

ALP.org.au on SSLLabs on 14 May 2022

Well, they’ve left the older TLS 1.1 protocol enabled. That’s been deprecated since around 2016, so only 6 years out of date. It’ s nice to see the newest TLS 1.3 is enabled here, and the encryption ciphers are ordered with stronger crypto before weaker ciphers (why are those older ones still enabled, as they are likely ever legitimately used?). The test shows that the more efficient HTTP2 has not been enabled, and the simple Certificate Authority Authorization record in DNS has not been set – which helps declare which Certificate Authorities are permitted to issue the trust certificates for alp.org.au.

We notice that there is just one IPv4 address returned when doing this check which raises a few questions:

  1. there is no apparent Content Delivery Network in place
  2. dual-stack support for IPv6 has not been enabled
  3. there’s possibly only one site for this service to run from?

A traceroute for this appears to disappear into MSN.net in Melbourne.

Liberal Party of Australia

Move to the Liberals who are at https://www.liberal.org.au/. Cranking up Security Headers shows:

liberal.org.au on Security Headers.com on 14 May 2022

This is just marginally better than the Labour Party: they have enabled one extra header: the Permission Policy. This tells the browser what capabilities its allowed to use when rendering your content.

Its a good start: but the policy contains just “interest-cohort=()”. This policy is opting out of Google Analytics cohort analysis. as shown here, but its only supported on the Chrome browser. They’ve missed the chance to disable geo-location and other browser capabilities to protect their viewers.

The configured headers the admin has left enabled declare they have a Varnish Cache, and Apache/2.4.29. I’d recommend turning off as much of this identification as possible (hey admin, look up: ServerTokens PROD).

OK, on to SSLLabs analysis, but as we do, we get a different initial screen compared to our first review:

libaeral.org.au on SSL labs on 14 May 2022

This time, we’ve detected two distinct site locations that this content has been served from. Again we’re only talking IPv4, but the reverse DNS shown gives away where; the AWS Sydney Region (which I helped launch as an AWS staff member in 2013).

This is possibly an AWS managed load balancer, configured across two Availability Zones (for those coming here for the first time, an Availability Zone, or AZ, is a cluster of data centres, so each AZ can be through of as a site: Central North Sydney, South Sydney. Indeed, The Sydney AWS Region has three AZs available as at May 2022, and not using the third AZ when its just sitting there is possibly a missed opportunity for higher fault tolerance.

Of course, both site locations are configured identically so we already know they rate as an A, so we can inspect any of the two in detail:

libaeral.org.au on SSLLabs on 14 May 2022

That’s pretty satisfying to start with.

We still note a missing DNS Certificate Authority Authorization (CAA) entry, as per the Labour Party. But we note that ONLY TLS 1.2 is enabled, and not the current best-in-show, TLS 1.3 (which is slightly optimised in connection establishment).

What is unusual is the ordering of the encryption ciphers here; some weaker ones are priorities over stronger ones:

liberal.org.au on SSL labs on 14 May 2022

Normally you would want your strongest encryption ciphers first before the ones that are known to be weak are selected (or better yet, don’t even support the weak ones).

We note that only HTTP 1.0 is supported, not HTTP/1.1 not HTTP/2.

The Australian Greens

Start with the headers:

greens.org.au on Securityheaders.com on 14 May 2022

This is looking marginally more polished. It’s a Drupal 9 site (the headers show this – would be good to not advertise it). This time one additional legacy security header is set: x-content-type-options; this tells browsers to trust the mime content-type that is sent with objects, and not try and double-guess them (if the website admin got it wrong). For example, if we try and download an image, and the response is a content-type of image/jpeg, but the payload is JavaScript, then treat it as a broken image! Don’t keep guessing as browsers have in the past, as that guessing may trick the browser into executing some browser code that the admin had not intended.

OK, move to the crypto on SSLLabs – and this time we have three sites serving this content:

greens.org.au on SSL Labs on 14 May 2022

Nice, the Greens are also using AWS in Sydney, and are spread across all three Availability zones. (Shout out to an old friend: Grahame Bowland, are you doing this? 😉 ). Its still only IPv4, sadly. But already see see a stellar A+ rating:

greens.org.au on SSL Labs on 14 May 2022

The same DNS CAA record is missing, but we see HTTP/2 is enabled, as well as just TLS 1.2 and 1.3. More over the cipher suite is super strong, with nothing weak supported:

greens.org.au on SSL Lab son 14 May 2022

This is what a site that doesn’t take weak encryption as acceptable is supposed to look like!

The Climate200 Collective

There are a lot of candidates under this umbrella, and instead of reviewing them all independently, I’ll just pop over to https://www.climate200.com.au/. Lets roll with security headers:

climate200.com.au on SecurityHeaders.com on 14 May 2022

But this is stronger than it looks, because we finally have a Content Security Policy. However the extend of the policy is to limit frames and iframes, with “frame-ancestors ‘self’“. So much more has been missed, like enforcing everything the browser loads comes form the same domain, over HTTPS.

Now, headers are indicating this is an Open Resty server running on Containers (with Kubernetes management) in AWS’s US West 2 Region – also known as the AWS Oregon Region. AWS often speaks of this Region as running from a lot of green energy, which may be the reason for this.

OK, lets scoot to the network transport encryption report from SSL Labs, and again we have the three site presentation choice:

climate200.com.au on SSLLabs on 14 May 2022

As with SecurityHeaders.com, the confirmation of using AWS, this time US-west-2 (Oregon) Region. All sites rating an A, but only using IPv4.

The Australian Election Commission

Now lets look at who is running the election, the AEC. A hat tip to their social media team who have been having a right ripper time with some bon humeur in the lead up to Democracy Sausage day (many polling booths in Australia will have a local, volunteer, non-partisan community group running a barbecue (bbq) with a sausage in a roll, possibly with grilled onion – oh I can smell it now!).

Right, AEC, how are your security headers:

aec.gov.au on Security headers on 14 may 2022

Oh. Erm.

Lets move to your crypto and see if we can recover this:

aec.gov.au on SSLLabs on 14 May 2022

What a save! They are using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to front their origin web service. That’s the fourth time in this article it’s been an AWS based service as well, but again its IPv4 only. Let’s lean in to the first site:

aec.gov.au on SSLLabs.com on 14 May 2022

So we have TLS 1.3 enabled, with TLS 1.2 as a backdrop, but none of the older risky protocols. Nice. But the ciphers for TLS 1.2 are a little confused:

aec.gov.au on SSLLabs.com on 14 May 2022

That CBC use of AES in yellow should be either below the other green ones, or removed. However, custom configuration is very limited with Amazon CloudFront; AWS does permit you to chose some good TLS options (I’ve worked for years with them to ensure these choices are available to customers).

Moving down the details shown, we saw HTTP/1.0, 1.1 and 2 are all available, which is also good.

An Overview

Lets put those ratings for the above organisations, and add a few more for good order, into a table:

PartySec HeadersSSLLabsHostingMulti-siteIPv6
Labour PartyDBMelb?NoNo
Liberal PartyCAAWS Sydney2 AZNo
Australian GreensBA+AWS Sydney3 AZNo
Climate 200DAAWS Oregon3 AZNo
Australian Electoral CommissionFAAWS CloudFrontMany (4 sites in DNS response)No
United Australia PartyFBCloudFlareMany (6 sites in DNS response)Yes
One NationCBCloudFlareMany (4 sites in DNS response)Yes
Liberal DemocratsDACloudFlareMany (4 sites in DNS response)Yes
Australian ChristiansFAHost Universal in MelbourneNoNo
All assessments as at 14 May 2022

So what can we deduce?

  1. None of them have populated a DNS CAA record to help ensure only their authorised Certificate Authority is issuing certificates in their name.
  2. Minor parties are using CloudFlare and permitting IPv6; none of the major parties have discovered IPv6!
  3. None of them have strong Content Security Policies
  4. Most major parties and the AEC are AWS Customers.
  5. I didn’t observe any of them implement Network Error Logging (NEL). Now there’s a nice feedback loop to help detect web security incidents as they happen…

So who would I chose as my winner here? It would be… the Greens, with the stronger ratings they have. There’s still room for improvement (like dual-stack IPv6, using CloudFront, a proper CSP), but they are ahead of the rest leading both of these basic assessments.

And the loser? Well, let’s not punch down too much; the explanations here are plain enough for any tech to follow the bouncing ball and enable better security, availability, and speed (at no additional cost!).

Does this make any difference to policies, fairness, environment (well, Australian Greens are using the AWS Oregon Region)? No, not really right now. I doubt any future minister for telecommunications is going to understand if the simple security adjustments shown could help increase security in any cyber attack. I just find this interesting…

As always, my thanks to Scott Helme for Security Headers, Ivan Ristic for SSLLabs, and the people who contribute to web and browser security improvements.

Frustrating IoT Devices!

I’ve been continuing my IoT journey, finding that IoT devices are a little fickle.

My first LGT92 GPS Tracker device failed back in 2021; and I tried contacting both the retailer (IoT Store Perth), and the manufacturer. I was instructed by the manufacturer to open the clamshell case and take numerous photos to send to them. They suggested a fault, and that they would organise a replacement, but after 6 months, nothings happened.

During that period, i ordered a second LGT92, and it failed on first use. I contacted IoT Store again – by webform, email, and phone, and after many weeks, spoke to “Sam”, who from the sound of it was on the phone in his car. While he said he would look into this (and the original, nothing came of it, and I tried following up several times.

I then tried to get an IP67 rated, solar power device; however, what IoT Store sent me had no solar panel or GPS tracker device, just a box with some wires and screws. Again I spoke with “Sam” (in his car again) having tried webforms, email and his mobile number multiple times, and again he said he’d follow up on it, and that’s been three months and no success.

So I’m never buying anything from IoT Store again, and I strongly advise against anyone else doing so. The customer service is terrible. Not one of the emails I’ve sent have been replied to. Not one of the contact me forms have been responded to. And when I have managed to speak with Sam, he is evasive, and does not follow up on the actions he says he’ll take.

Next up is the RAK Wireless 10700, a new GPS tracker device, again IP67 rated, with solar power. Released in 2022, these devices shipped from China after about 3 months, but without a battery that the solar panel would charge. I ordered a LiPO battery from Amazon.com.au, but naturally these had a different connector, so I find myself soldering again after 15 years.

But they do power up, with device firmware 1.0.4 installed. I connected a serial power and enter the AT command to dump the config: Dev EUI, App EUI and App Key.

I enter this into the AWS IoT Core device registration, and ensure thing slike the frequency are correct, but the device refuses to join the LoRaWAN network with the local gateway running basicstation (current build at this time), with the best log output from the basicstation gateway showing:

Mar 28 14:15:19 rak-gateway basicstation[12538]: 2022-03-28 13:15:19.629 [S2E:VERB] RX 917.0MHz DR2 SF10/BW125 snr=-14.8 rssi=-89 xtime=0x6900001BA46F94 - jreq MHdr=00 JoinEUI=ac1f:9ff:f915:4631 DevEUI=ac1f:9ff:fe06:7117 DevNonce=35258 MIC=1390227384

Mar 28 14:15:20 rak-gateway basicstation[12538]: 2022-03-28 13:15:20.093 [S2E:WARN] Unknown field in dnmsg - ignored: regionid

And the output on the tracker device showing:


Out of interest, the AT+STATUS shows (with some of the keys and addresses hidden with underscores):

Device status:
   Auto join enabled
   Mode LPWAN
   Network not joined
LPWAN status:
   Dev EUI AC1F09FFFE______
   App EUI AC1F09__________
   App Key AC1F09__________________________
   Dev Addr 26021F__
   NWS Key 323D155A000DF335307A16DA0C______
   Apps Key 3F6A66459D5EDCA63CBC4619CD______
   OTAA enabled
   ADR enabled
   Public Network
   Dutycycle disabled
   Send Frequency 2
   Join trials 2
   TX Power 0
   DR 3
   Class 0
   Subband 1
   Fport 2
   Unconfirmed Message
   Region AU915
LoRa P2P status:
   P2P frequency 916000000
   P2P TX Power 22
   P2P BW 125
   P2P SF 7
   P2P CR 1
   P2P Preamble length 8
   P2P Symbol Timeout 0

I did notice the documentation from RAKWireless says that firmware 1.0.1 supports LoRaWAN MAC version 1.0.2 (not the 1.0.3 that the LGT92 supported); and this version difference is defined in a device profile in AWS IoT Core for LoRaWAN.

What I also noticed was the documentation for the RAK 10700 at https://docs.rakwireless.com/Product-Categories/WisBlock/RAK10700/Datasheet/#software mentioned that the firmware version available is 1.0.1, so older than what shipped to me on the device:

+VER:1.0.4 Jan 14 2022 14:17:02

But, on that same documentation page, is a link to download for a firmware, but is unfortunately a 404!

So, my journey continues, but I’ve learnt a few lessons. The IoT device landscape seems… littered with failures. The quality, of commodity devices is low, the compatibility is bewildering, and the standards are evolving.