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Published on Jun 23, 2016
Smart Sheriff, Dumb Idea. The wild west of government assisted parenting
Would you want to let your kids discover the darker corners of the internet without protection? Wouldn't it be handy to know what they do online, to be alerted when they search for dangerous keywords and to be able to control what websites they can visit, and even when they play games? Worry no longer, the South Korean government got you covered. Simply install the "Smart Sheriff" app on your and your kids' phones. Smart Sheriff is the first parental-control mobile app that has been made a legally required, obligatory install in an entire country! Yay, monitoring! Well, something shady yet mandatory like this cannot go without an external pentest. And even better, one that wasn't solicited by the maintainer but initiated by the OTF and CitizenLab and executed by the Cure53 team! In this talk, two of the Cure53 testers involved into the first and, who would have guessed, second penetration test against the "Smart Sheriff" app, will share what they found. Maybe all was fine with the app, maybe the million kids forced to have this run on their devices were all safe. Maybe. But would there be a talk about it then? We all know, mandated surveillance apps to protect children are a great idea, and outsourcing to the lowest bidder, always delivers the best results. Right? Going over the first and second pentest results we will share our impressions about the "security" of this ecosystem and show examples about the "comprehensive" vendor response, addressing "all" the findings impeccably. This talk is a great example of how security research about a serious political decision and mandate might achieve nothing at all - or show, how a simple pentest together with excellent activist work can maybe spark a political discussion and more.