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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Thunderbolt Port

7 New Flaws Affect All Thunderbolt-equipped Computers Sold in the Last 9 Years

7 New Flaws Affect All Thunderbolt-equipped Computers Sold in the Last 9 Years

May 11, 2020Mohit Kumar
A cybersecurity researcher today uncovers a set of 7 new unpatchable hardware vulnerabilities that affect all desktops and laptops sold in the past 9 years with Thunderbolt, or Thunderbolt-compatible USB-C ports. Collectively dubbed 'ThunderSpy,' the vulnerabilities can be exploited in 9 realistic evil-maid attack scenarios, primarily to steal data or read/write all of the system memory of a locked or sleeping computer—even when drives are protected with full disk encryption. In a nutshell, if you think someone with a few minutes of physical access to your computer—regardless of the location—can cause any form of significant harm to you, you're at risk for an evil maid attack. According to Björn Ruytenberg of the Eindhoven University of Technology, the ThunderSpy attack "may require opening a target laptop's case with a screwdriver, [but] it leaves no trace of intrusion and can be pulled off in just a few minutes." In other words, the flaw is not li
New Flaws Re-Enable DMA Attacks On Wide Range of Modern Computers

New Flaws Re-Enable DMA Attacks On Wide Range of Modern Computers

February 27, 2019Mohit Kumar
Security researchers have discovered a new class of security vulnerabilities that impacts all major operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, Linux, and FreeBSD, allowing attackers to bypass protection mechanisms introduced to defend against DMA attacks. Known for years, Direct memory access (DMA)-based attacks let an attacker compromise a targeted computer in a matter of seconds by plugging-in a malicious hot plug device—such as an external network card, mouse, keyboard, printer, storage, and graphics card—into Thunderbolt 3 port or the latest USB-C port . The DMA-based attacks are possible because Thunderbolt port allows connected peripherals to bypass operating system security policies and directly read/write system memory that contains sensitive information including your passwords, banking logins, private files, and browser activity. That means, simply plugging in an infected device, created using tools like Interception , can manipulate the contents o
Thunderstrike 2: World's First Firmware Worm That Infects Mac Computers Without Detection

Thunderstrike 2: World's First Firmware Worm That Infects Mac Computers Without Detection

August 04, 2015Mohit Kumar
If you think Apple's Mac computers are much more secure than Windows-powered systems, you need to think again. This isn't true, and security researchers have finally proved it. Two security researchers have developed a proof-of-concept computer worm for the first time that can spread automatically between MacBooks, without any need for them to be networked. Dubbed Thunderstrike 2 , the new proof-of-concept firmware attack is inspired by previously developed proof-of-concept firmware called Thunderstrike. Thunderstrike Attack , developed by security engineer Trammell Hudson, actually took advantage of a vulnerability in Thunderbolt Option ROM that could be used to infect Apple Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) by allocating a malicious code into the boot ROM of an Apple computer through infected Thunderbolt devices. Thunderstrike 2 Spreads Remotely Although the original Thunderstrike required an attacker to have physical access to your Mac computer to work, t
Apple Mac OSX Zero-Day Bug Allows Hackers to Install RootKit Malware

Apple Mac OSX Zero-Day Bug Allows Hackers to Install RootKit Malware

June 02, 2015Swati Khandelwal
A zero-day software vulnerability discovered deep in the firmware of many Apple computers could allows an attacker to modify the system's BIOS and install a rootkit , potentially gaining complete control of the victim's Mac. The critical vulnerability, discovered by well-known OS X security researcher Pedro Vilaca, affects Mac computers shipped before mid-2014 that are allowed to go into sleep mode. While studying Mac security, Vilaca found that it's possible to tamper with Apple computer's UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) code. UEFI is a low-level firmware designed to improve upon computer's BIOS, which links a computer's hardware and operating system at startup and is typically not accessible to users. But… Vilaca found that the machine's UEFI code can be unlocked after a computer is put to sleep and then brought back up. " And you ask, what the hell does this mean? " Vilaca wrote in a blog post published Friday. " It means th
Thunderstrike — Infecting Apple MacBooks with EFI Bootkit via Thunderbolt Ports

Thunderstrike — Infecting Apple MacBooks with EFI Bootkit via Thunderbolt Ports

January 05, 2015Swati Khandelwal
A security researcher has discovered an easy way to infect Apple's Macintosh computers with an unusual kind of malware using its own Thunderbolt port . The hack was presented by programming expert Trammell Hudson at the annual Chaos Computer Congress (30C3) in Hamburg Germany. He demonstrated that it is possible to rewrite the firmware of an Intel Thunderbolt Mac . The hack, dubbed Thunderstrike , actually takes advantage of a years-old vulnerability in the Thunderbolt Option ROM that was first disclosed in 2012 but is yet to be patched. Thunderstrike can infect the Apple Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) by allocating a malicious code into the boot ROM of an Apple computer through infected Thunderbolt devices. The hack is really dangerous as, according to the researcher, there is no means for the user to detect the hack, or remove it even by re-installation of the complete OS X, only because the malicious code actually is in the system's own separate ROM. "
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