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Thread: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

  1. #31
    "Certified" Alphaholic CharlesParker's Avatar
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    I hope this does not come off as an insult but why stop there?
    Give your programmers your admin login for your database...lol

    The single most common security issue WORLDWIDE is - known keys, or passwords...

    Hardly an Alpha issue.
    NWCOPRO Nuisance Wildlife Control Software-My Application: http://www.nwcopro.com "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

  2. #32
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Quote Originally Posted by Davidk View Post
    I'm not sure I understand the point of this thread. If there's an issue with security then letting Alpha know about it quietly should have been the only course... not blabbing it here. It was irresponsible to do so and only hurts the Alpha community.
    It does not harm anybody when talking about passwords, not even Alpha. It is a common subject in forums. Here is good article how it should be done.

    Imagine a conversation with developer and customer:

    - We use this function to encrypt passwords, believe me, very secure function.
    - Sounds good!
    - AND we use this function to decrypt passwords, very fast function.

  3. #33
    "Certified" Alphaholic CharlesParker's Avatar
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Exactly!
    I encrypt all of your info to the database...I want to serve it back to you - uhoh, guess we need to decrypt it...shocking!
    NWCOPRO Nuisance Wildlife Control Software-My Application: http://www.nwcopro.com "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

  4. #34
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Quote Originally Posted by Davidk View Post
    I'm not sure I understand the point of this thread. If there's an issue with security then letting Alpha know about it quietly should have been the only course... not blabbing it here. It was irresponsible to do so and only hurts the Alpha community.
    I brought this up and I can definetely see your point, maybe it was not a good thing to do. At the same time I would have liked anyone else to tell me if they had found out, but I realise now that I might not share this view with all of you.

    Anyway, I have had a lot of very good discussions with Alpha during the last day and I think there will be an update sooner than you think. After the update I will not be concerned about the security anymore but I will let alpha announce the details.

    I also have to say that their reaction to this has been very professional and probably better than I deserve ;) .

  5. #35
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    I agree with Peter,Kevin and Robert each security issue automatically will raise a high priority to Alpha team, it's the principle "clear the desk we have to fix it if indeed it's a bug". It's one of the basic goals from AlphaSoftware to keep our apps hooked to the internet as save as possible, simple because we run apps from real estate to highly confidential medical records regulations etc. It's the strength of the community tocome forward with such issues, so i praise Robert for that, i.a.w. if the impact is so high A5 team will deliver a hotfix asap [if confirmed]. Yeap i agree hackers will do anything to get inside your business data at any time just not only now as of today as a starting point but yesterday.
    Peter is correct he raises the question/answer V11 but what about V10?. The reason i ask i know that until today these apps are running in production with large number of users, it's impossible to upgrade these type of apps on the fly from dbf to SQL. I am not even sure there is a risk as i have knowledge about what percussions have taken place [ don't ask i can't share]. This guy is very alert on security for is apps, but all again there are limits so there holes in the bucket.
    What you could do by example with mysql or mariadb split the case move your websecurity tables to a sandbox model, first verify the user in the sandbox then use dynamic connection string applying for that user, reference the userid / name by a guid, link/reference the schema by DB/schema outside of the apps.
    Take extra safeguard even A5 will prevent SQL injection through components security [have checked this?], it's upto you to tide security to the limit not A5 Cooperation, "easy habits are at risk".

    My advice use a database firewall
    ask yourself this : my connection is "host"--port--3306 user "root" -->password "QWERTREWQ" - result "Grant ALL to" user root, remote connection allowed = "*" eq "*%*, happy hackers!

  6. #36
    Former Alpha Employee JerryBrightbill's Avatar
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    The next pre-release of Alpha Anywhere (after today) will include a new optional password encryption process. This new process creates a longer fixed length encrypted string for the password. This cannot be decrypted with any known key.

    This process has been in testing for some time, and some of the code has been in Alpha Anywhere since build 2614_4409 (Dec 18, 2014). Any passwords created using the new method will be recognized in that build and any newer build. If you use the new method, you will not be able to easily roll back to a build prior to 2614.

    The pre-release notes will include information about the option as well as information on a utility to update any currently encrypted passwords to the new method. This is not required, but is available for any developer wanting to use the new method. The utility can also roll back new passwords to the current method if necessary.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Quote Originally Posted by JerryBrightbill View Post
    The next pre-release of Alpha Anywhere (after today) will include a new optional password encryption process. This new process creates a longer fixed length encrypted string for the password. This cannot be decrypted with any known key.

    This process has been in testing for some time, and some of the code has been in Alpha Anywhere since build 2614_4409 (Dec 18, 2014). Any passwords created using the new method will be recognized in that build and any newer build. If you use the new method, you will not be able to easily roll back to a build prior to 2614.

    The pre-release notes will include information about the option as well as information on a utility to update any currently encrypted passwords to the new method. This is not required, but is available for any developer wanting to use the new method. The utility can also roll back new passwords to the current method if necessary.
    will this be available for version 11?
    thanks for reading

    gandhi

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  8. #38
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Quote Originally Posted by GGandhi View Post
    will this be available for version 11?
    Read Peter post V11 and before is not supported , so that's clear answer, i would be surprised if A5 team created fix/patch

  9. #39
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Quote Originally Posted by bea2701 View Post
    Read Peter post V11 and before is not supported , so that's clear answer, i would be surprised if A5 team created fix/patch
    eric,
    the question is not directed to you as I quoted his post hoping he will address that, if that is the answer from him, well and good.
    Last edited by GGandhi; 02-19-2015 at 11:16 AM. Reason: spelling error in "from"
    thanks for reading

    gandhi

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  10. #40
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    correct it not Peter his answer but what A5 team will do , if V11 is still available "in the shop"cq. supported " i hope most of all that fix will be available to users of V11, let me guess....

  11. #41
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    This will only be available in Alpha Anywhere stating with the next pre-release.

  12. #42
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    I started to try to package up a couple of files for those needing better security but stopped on my better judgment. We use Alpha's security but don't use their built-in login dialog. Instead, we use an old dialog (it's just a username and password field so presentation isn't all that important, but you could probably do it in a Dialog2 component also). We also create and change usernames and passwords with dialogs but there are videos about how to do that already available.

    The difference in our method is that we don't use Alpha's encryption and for our encryption we don't ever decrypt (and couldn't if we wanted). We have a function that takes the entered password as a parameter and encrypts it with a super-long key, but the password is also passed into Alpha's md5() function to create an md5 hash of the password entered by the user. This is one-way--i.e. there is no way to go from the hashed value to the original value (you can see at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MD5 that per computer theory they can theoretically be deciphered but there's nothing like a decrypt function you could use; I also just found Alpha's hmac_hash() function introduced in v11 that might work even better).

    So when the password is created, it's run through this function and the function output is stored in the table. When the password is entered by the user, it's run through this function and the output is compared to the value in the table. If they match, security success and we redirect to the next page; if not, there's a validation error in the dialog and the security settings wouldn't allow the user to access other pages.

    We've been using this for a while without issue. We do have our security in SQL but it should be possible in dbf as well. This is running in v11 but should be possible as far back as Alpha's security has had the same basic functionality (at least back to v8 or v9). It's not a turn-key Alpha's-got-video-instructions-to-copy process, but it's do-able for those concerned about their security. Hope that helps.

  13. #43
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    ****
    Last edited by bea2701; 02-20-2015 at 09:51 AM.

  14. #44
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    If you salt the hash, though, stored passwords are "not found" on the site you shared.

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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    The procedure described #42 in post is just as if should be done. The problem is just using hash algorithm that is not secure hash standard anymore. Salting unsecure hash does not make it secure. Developer should use just standard accepted algorithms that are know to be secure and accepted in developer community and not write owns. Can xbasic developer use those secure algorithms?

  16. #46
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Quote Originally Posted by kkfin View Post
    The procedure described #42 in post is just as if should be done. The problem is just using hash algorithm that is not secure hash standard anymore. Salting unsecure hash does not make it secure. Developer should use just standard accepted algorithms that are know to be secure and accepted in developer community and not write owns. Can xbasic developer use those secure algorithms?
    you made/set a point!

  17. #47
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Just to add to the thought process of passwords and whether or not it is done securely may not even matter...take a look at this blog on PDF passwords. It isn't about salting or hashes or even the process - it's really about the length and known values stolen over the years from servers.
    http://johnaugust.com/2014/try-to-open-this-pdf-contd
    It's just an interesting read and some simple stuff, but very relevant to password security.

    I saw in the pre-release that Alpha has changed the security system going forward and I applaud them for taking this seriously and making the suggested changes but my general feelings are the same. No system is secure when the payload is big enough, in fact I am waiting on the Facebook breach that is coming one day, and we all know that there's more personal information in there than anywhere!
    NWCOPRO Nuisance Wildlife Control Software-My Application: http://www.nwcopro.com "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

  18. #48
    "Certified" Alphaholic CharlesParker's Avatar
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Also if your the trusting sort..check out this website and ponder the usefulness.
    https://howsecureismypassword.net/
    NWCOPRO Nuisance Wildlife Control Software-My Application: http://www.nwcopro.com "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

  19. #49
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Charles,

    Those two links are great! Thanks for posting them! Those are like a 5-minute lesson in security fundamentals.


    P.S. I had no idea there were 94 septemvigintillion years or more!

  20. #50
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    One of the major problems with complex passwords and "strong" passwords of random characters and digits is human nature. Basically, they are hard to remember, so most people write them down or record them somewhere. With the proliferation of web sites and devices that requires some type of security, this becomes even more difficult if the person follows recommendations and uses different passwords for different sites. Most people have literally dozens or hundreds of user name / password combinations.

    Many successful hacks have some sort of inside information or only have to crack a single login for a high level user. So if they have access to the users password "store" (very often a Post-it note under a keyboard, or a notebook on a shelf), they have the password, no matter how complex.

    A complex password is much harder to crack, as are one-way passwords, but as the link on PDF encryption states "Hackers have refined their tools using a pool of hundreds of millions of real-world passwords stolen from servers. They don’t have to use brute force if they know that 80% of people follow certain patterns.". They just keep trying common passwords until they get a "hit".

    The challenge for all encryption schemes is they must be predictable at some level, even one-way passwords. A clear text password must create some predictable string so it can be compared to a stored value to find a match. Since many successful hacks (such as the one that started this thread) have access to the stored values, the system has a vulnerability. If a hacker can determine how the stored value was created (such as a single MD5 hash), they can then examine the stored values and determine what clear text string could have created the value. They do this by using the common password list and trying various common encryption methods until they find a match in the stored value list.

    The point of all schemes such as salts, multi-level encryption, and random passwords is to increase the effort needed to crack the scheme until the time and effort involved exceeds the value of the data being secured. As computers become more powerful, this is always a moving target.

    Most vulnerabilities in security systems are not technical, but human. The user's choice of passwords, where they store the passwords, and access to the encrypted values are normally the most vulnerable areas.

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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    My plan to tighten security as it relates to passwords, is relatively simple, two factor authentication.

    Simply send an sms/email to a person's designated device, request a challenge for it and then it won't matter if anyone knows the password or not. This of course assumes buy in on two factor authentication.

    I enforce two factor authentication of my work email (Google Apps), it's the same strategy banks use with a dongle.

  22. #52
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwibruce View Post
    fully agree
    Fully Agree II
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Salted.png

    This appears to be the extra step in V11

  24. #54
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Most apps have several additional holes. Most allow you to change your userid/email right on a MyAccount page without challenge. Go try this with Facebook or LinkedIn (they do it right). I upgraded my Framework to not allow change of the email address without verification.
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    Fully Fully Agree
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  26. #56
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    Default Re: HUGE security problem in A5 web security :shocked:

    However, you can create your own custom login/encryption schema. The key would be to somehow tie it to A5 security for a5w pages & web components. Haven't thought that through but that might be possible.
    It occurred to me a little while ago. Yes, that is very doable if you want to go that route.

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