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2FA, U2F, OOB, and Other Terrifying Security Acronyms

Eric Mann
February 16, 2018

2FA, U2F, OOB, and Other Terrifying Security Acronyms

February 2018 NomadPHP presentation demystifying various security and authentication acronyms.

Eric Mann

February 16, 2018

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  1. Background • Tozny develops authentication and data security developer toolkits

    • Since 2013, but with backing from our parent company • Funded partly through gov't sponsorships and grants • Tekton (or "builder") at Tozny • I write PHP, JS, Go, Ruby, Java, Scala, C#... • I used to work full time with WordPress • Security Principles for PHP Applications
  2. SS7 • Signaling System 7 • Developed in 1975 to

    manage phone network switching • The framework has several vulnerabilities • Anyone can track user movements with 70% success • Calls and messages can be forwarded to third parties
  3. NIST Discourages SMS • In 2016, announced that SMS was

    “deprecated” as a second factor • Later clarified who the deprecation was for • As of the latest guidance, SMS is still allowed, just discouraged
  4. TLDR - Don’t use SMS • The underlying infrastructure is

    laughably insecure • Telecom providers are notorious for enabling identity theft • Inter-telecom relationships can be fragile and/or unreliable • Often the device receiving the message is the same one logging in • There is no 2 in 2FA at this point! • SMS is considered insecure for sensitive installations
  5. OOB • OOB means “out of band” • Applies to

    more than just security • Imagine a speaker sending their presentation ahead of time • … or a courier delivering a package to an event venue for you • The point is to leverage multiple channels of communication • It’s hard to leverage exploits in multiple channels simultaneously
  6. OOB: HOTP • HMAC-base One-Time Password • Leverages a shared

    secret key • Uses a counter to guarantee every OTP is unique • Can use a hardware or a software token
  7. OOB: TOTP • Time-based One-Time Password • Fundamentally identical to

    HOTP • Uses a timestamp as a counter • Also available in hardware or software • There's a PHP library available ;-)
  8. OOB: Magic Links • Send a one-time password token via

    email • Tied to a user, functions like a password • Can also use as a first factor • Only as secure as your user’s inbox
  9. U2F • Universal Second (2) Factor • Open standard from

    the FIDO Alliance • Fast Identity Online • Industry group established in 2013 • Built on top of HMAC and asymmetric keys • Supported by (almost) all major browsers
  10. Mobile Push: • APNS - Apple Push Notification Services •

    GCM - Google Cloud Messaging • SNS - Amazon Simple Notification Service • Submit a challenge to a mobile device to be signed and returned • Can leverage a securely-stored private key APNS, GCM, SNS
  11. Other Providers • Auth0 - Magic links, SMS • Authy

    - App • Duo - App, 2FA • Yuibco - Hardware tokens
  12. Keep in mind … • NIST’s SMS deprecation is a

    recommendation, not a requirement • Using SMS for 2FA is better than nothing • SS7 is exploitable, but the exploits are difficult • All of these 2FA providers offer SDKs - use them • Never roll your own when it comes to auth - use a proven solution