Visible to the public Biblio

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Mueller, Tobias, Klotzsche, Daniel, Herrmann, Dominik, Federrath, Hannes.  2019.  Dangers and Prevalence of Unprotected Web Fonts. 2019 International Conference on Software, Telecommunications and Computer Networks (SoftCOM). :1—5.

Most Web sites rely on resources hosted by third parties such as CDNs. Third parties may be compromised or coerced into misbehaving, e.g. delivering a malicious script or stylesheet. Unexpected changes to resources hosted by third parties can be detected with the Subresource Integrity (SRI) mechanism. The focus of SRI is on scripts and stylesheets. Web fonts cannot be secured with that mechanism under all circumstances. The first contribution of this paper is to evaluates the potential for attacks using malicious fonts. With an instrumented browser we find that (1) more than 95% of the top 50,000 Web sites of the Tranco top list rely on resources hosted by third parties and that (2) only a small fraction employs SRI. Moreover, we find that more than 60% of the sites in our sample use fonts hosted by third parties, most of which are being served by Google. The second contribution of the paper is a proof of concept of a malicious font as well as a tool for automatically generating such a font, which targets security-conscious users who are used to verifying cryptographic fingerprints. Software vendors publish such fingerprints along with their software packages to allow users to verify their integrity. Due to incomplete SRI support for Web fonts, a third party could force a browser to load our malicious font. The font targets a particular cryptographic fingerprint and renders it as a desired different fingerprint. This allows attackers to fool users into believing that they download a genuine software package although they are actually downloading a maliciously modified version. Finally, we propose countermeasures that could be deployed to protect the integrity of Web fonts.

Sy, Erik, Burkert, Christian, Federrath, Hannes, Fischer, Mathias.  2018.  Tracking Users Across the Web via TLS Session Resumption. Proceedings of the 34th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference. :289-299.
User tracking on the Internet can come in various forms, e.g., via cookies or by fingerprinting web browsers. A technique that got less attention so far is user tracking based on TLS and specifically based on the TLS session resumption mechanism. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first that investigate the applicability of TLS session resumption for user tracking. For that, we evaluated the configuration of 48 popular browsers and one million of the most popular websites. Moreover, we present a so-called prolongation attack, which allows extending the tracking period beyond the lifetime of the session resumption mechanism. To show that under the observed browser configurations tracking via TLS session resumptions is feasible, we also looked into DNS data to understand the longest consecutive tracking period for a user by a particular website. Our results indicate that with the standard setting of the session resumption lifetime in many current browsers, the average user can be tracked for up to eight days. With a session resumption lifetime of seven days, as recommended upper limit in the draft for TLS version 1.3, 65% of all users in our dataset can be tracked permanently.
Nguyen, Hoai Viet, Lo Iacono, Luigi, Federrath, Hannes.  2018.  Systematic Analysis of Web Browser Caches. Proceedings of the 2Nd International Conference on Web Studies. :64–71.
The caching of frequently requested web resources is an integral part of the web ever since. Cacheability is the main pillar for the web's scalability and an important mechanism for optimizing resource consumption and performance. Caches exist in many variations and locations on the path between web client and server with the browser cache being ubiquitous to date. Web developers need to have a profound understanding of the concepts and policies of web caching even when exploiting these advantages is not relevant. Neglecting web caching may otherwise result in more serve consequences than the simple loss of scalability and efficiency. Recent misuse of web caching systems shows to affect the application's behavior as well as privacy and security. In this paper we introduce a tool-based approach to disburden web developers while keeping them informed about caching influences. Our first contribution is a structured test suite containing 397 web caching test cases. In order to make this collection easily adoptable we introduce an automated testing tool for executing the test cases against web browsers. Based on the developed testing tool we conduct a systematic analysis on the behavior of web browser caches and their compliance with relevant caching standards. Our findings on desktop and mobile versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge show many diversities as well as discrepancies. Appropriate tooling supports web developers in uncovering such adversities. As our baseline of test cases is specified using a specification language that enables extensibility, developers as well as administrators and researchers can systematically add and empirically explore caching properties of interest even in non-browser scenarios.