Research and Development


Here at Portcullis, we are frequently involved in “red team” exercises, which means we subject an organisation’s information security systems to rigorous testing and analysis. The opposite of a red team is a “blue team”. A blue team attempts to identify and stop the red team from compromising systems. One of the techniques used when red teaming is to write malicious code to test the security systems of our clients. One of the issues we face resides in the fact that we need to bypass sandbox systems that analyse our files in real-time to identify if the potentially malicious file should be blocked and Indicators Of Compromise (IOCs) generated or if the files are benign and safe. At the same time, blue teams that catch our files will try to reverse engineer them in order to understand how we may be compromising systems. Even though the last point is not really relevant for us (ultimately we’re not the bad guys), the first point is. Continue reading

This document is a written form of a workshop and presentation I gave at Portcullis Labs in late July 2015. It is a beginner’s walkthrough to understand the recent Flash bug that was discovered in Hacking Team’s pocket and given the sweet name of CVE-2015-5119. It was found and exploited by Vitaliy Toropov. Continue reading

VENOM (Virtualised Environment Neglected Operations Manipulation) is a vulnerability that could allow an attacker to escape a guest virtual machine and access the host system, along with other virtual machines running on this system, and access their data. This could potentially allow an attacker to steal sensitive data on any of these virtual machines and gain elevated access to the host’s local network and its systems. Continue reading

Consider the case of a setUID binary that runs as root and allows the caller to execute certain other scripts and binaries from a given restricted directory. The Portcullis Labs team recently spotted such a case and I was asked to take a look to determine exploitablity. What follows is a short analysis of what I found. Continue reading