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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: hardware hacking

Unpatchable 'Starbleed' Bug in FPGA Chips Exposes Critical Devices to Hackers

Unpatchable 'Starbleed' Bug in FPGA Chips Exposes Critical Devices to Hackers

April 21, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A newly discovered unpatchable hardware vulnerability in Xilinx programmable logic products could allow an attacker to break bitstream encryption, and clone intellectual property, change the functionality, and even implant hardware Trojans. The details of the attacks against Xilinx 7-Series and Virtex-6 Field Programmable Gate Arrays ( FPGAs ) have been covered in a paper titled " The Unpatchable Silicon: A Full Break of the Bitstream Encryption of Xilinx 7-Series FPGAs " by a group of academics from the Horst Goertz Institute for IT Security and Max Planck Institute for Cyber Security and Privacy. "We exploit a design flaw which piecewise leaks the decrypted bitstream," the researchers said. "In the attack, the FPGA is used as a decryption oracle, while only access to a configuration interface is needed. The attack does not require any sophisticated tools and, depending on the target system, can potentially be launched remotely." The findings wil
Over 40 Drivers Could Let Hackers Install Persistent Backdoor On Windows PCs

Over 40 Drivers Could Let Hackers Install Persistent Backdoor On Windows PCs

August 11, 2019Swati Khandelwal
If you own a device, or a hardware component, manufactured by ASUS, Toshiba, Intel, NVIDIA, Huawei, or other 15 other vendors listed below, you're probably screwed. A team of security researchers has discovered high-risk security vulnerabilities in more than 40 drivers from at least 20 different vendors that could allow attackers to gain most privileged permission on the system and hide malware in a way that remains undetected over time, sometimes for years. For sophisticated attackers, maintaining persistence after compromising a system is one of the most important tasks, and to achieve this, existing hardware vulnerabilities sometimes play an important role. One such component is a device driver, commonly known as a driver or hardware driver, a software program that controls a particular type of hardware device, helping it to communicate with the computer's operating system properly. Since device drivers sit between the hardware and the operating system itself and in
DHS Warns Small Airplanes Vulnerable to Flight Data Manipulation Attacks

DHS Warns Small Airplanes Vulnerable to Flight Data Manipulation Attacks

July 31, 2019Swati Khandelwal
What could be more horrifying than knowing that a hacker can trick the plane's electronic systems into displaying false flight data to the pilot, which could eventually result in loss of control? Of course, the attacker would never wish to be on the same flight, so in this article, we are going to talk about a potential loophole that could allow an attacker to exploit a vulnerability with some level of "unsupervised" physical access to a small aircraft before the plane takes off. The United States Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) has issued an alert for the same, warning owners of small aircraft to be on guard against a vulnerability that could enable attackers to easily hack the plane's CAN bus and take control of key navigation systems. The vulnerability, discovered by a cybersecurity researcher at Rapid 7, resides in the modern aircraft's implementation of CAN (Controller Area Network) bus—a popular vehicular networking standard used in au
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
Researchers Implant "Protected" Malware On Intel SGX Enclaves

Researchers Implant "Protected" Malware On Intel SGX Enclaves

February 13, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a way to hide malicious code in Intel SGX enclaves, a hardware-based memory encryption feature in modern processors that isolates sensitive code and data to protect it from disclosure or modification. In other words, the technique allows attackers to implant malware code in a secure memory that uses protection features of SGX which are otherwise designed to protect important data from prying eyes or from being tampered, even on a compromised system. Introduced with Intel's Skylake processors, SGX (Software Guard Extensions) allows developers to run selected application modules in a completely isolated secure region of memory, called enclaves, which are designed to be protected from processes running at higher privilege levels like the operating system, kernel, BIOS, SMM, hypervisor, etc. However, a team of researchers, some of whom were behind the discovery of the Spectre-Meltdown CPU flaws , managed to bypass this protection and g
Flaws in Popular Self-Encrypting SSDs Let Attackers Decrypt Data

Flaws in Popular Self-Encrypting SSDs Let Attackers Decrypt Data

November 06, 2018Swati Khandelwal
We all have something to hide, something to protect. But if you are also relying on self-encrypting drives for that, then you should read this news carefully. Security researchers have discovered multiple critical vulnerabilities in some of the popular self-encrypting solid state drives (SSD) that could allow an attacker to decrypt disk encryption and recover protected data without knowing the password for the disk. The researchers—Carlo Meijer and Bernard van Gastel—at Radboud University in the Netherlands reverse engineered the firmware several SSDs that offer hardware full-disk encryption to identify several issues and detailed their findings in a new paper ( PDF ) published Monday. "The analysis uncovers a pattern of critical issues across vendors. For multiple models, it is possible to bypass the encryption entirely, allowing for a complete recovery of the data without any knowledge of passwords or keys," the researchers say. The duo successfully tested their
New Intel CPU Flaw Exploits Hyper-Threading to Steal Encrypted Data

New Intel CPU Flaw Exploits Hyper-Threading to Steal Encrypted Data

November 04, 2018Swati Khandelwal
A team of security researchers has discovered another serious side-channel vulnerability in Intel CPUs that could allow an attacker to sniff out sensitive protected data, like passwords and cryptographic keys, from other processes running in the same CPU core with simultaneous multi-threading feature enabled. The vulnerability, codenamed PortSmash (CVE-2018-5407), has joined the list of other dangerous side-channel vulnerabilities discovered in the past year, including Meltdown and Spectre , TLBleed , and Foreshadow . Discovered by a team of security researchers from the Tampere University of Technology in Finland and Technical University of Havana, Cuba, the new side-channel vulnerability resides in Intel's Hyper-Threading technology, the company's implementation of Simultaneous MultiThreading (SMT). Simultaneous MultiThreading is a performance feature that works by splitting up each physical core of a processor into virtual cores, known as threads, allowing each core to
Two New Bluetooth Chip Flaws Expose Millions of Devices to Remote Attacks

Two New Bluetooth Chip Flaws Expose Millions of Devices to Remote Attacks

November 01, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers have unveiled details of two critical vulnerabilities in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) chips embedded in millions of access points and networking devices used by enterprises around the world. Dubbed BleedingBit , the set of two vulnerabilities could allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code and take full control of vulnerable devices without authentication, including medical devices such as insulin pumps and pacemakers, as well as point-of-sales and IoT devices. Discovered by researchers at Israeli security firm Armis, the vulnerabilities exist in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Stack chips made by Texas Instruments (TI) that are being used by Cisco, Meraki, and Aruba in their enterprise line of products. Armis is the same security firm that last year discovered BlueBorne , a set of nine zero-day Bluetooth-related flaws in Android, Windows, Linux and iOS that affected billions of devices, including smartphones, laptops, TVs, watches and automobile audio sy
Chinese Spying Chips Found Hidden On Servers Used By US Companies

Chinese Spying Chips Found Hidden On Servers Used By US Companies

October 04, 2018Mohit Kumar
A media report today revealed details of a significant supply chain attack which appears to be one of the largest corporate espionage and hardware hacking programs from a nation-state. According to a lengthy report published today by Bloomberg, a tiny surveillance chip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, has been found hidden in the servers used by nearly 30 American companies, including Apple and Amazon. The malicious chips, which were not part of the original server motherboards designed by the U.S-based company Super Micro, had been inserted during the manufacturing process in China. The report, based on a 3-year-long top-secret investigation in the United States, claims that the Chinese government-affiliated groups managed to infiltrate the supply chain to install tiny surveillance chips to motherboards which ended up in servers deployed by U.S. military, U.S. intelligence agencies, and many U.S. companies like Apple and Amazon. "Apple made its discovery of suspi
Facebook Plans to Build Its Own Chips For Hardware Devices

Facebook Plans to Build Its Own Chips For Hardware Devices

April 19, 2018Wang Wei
A new job opening post on Facebook suggests that the social network is forming a team to build its own hardware chips, joining other tech titans like Google, Apple, and Amazon in becoming more self-reliant. According to the post , Facebook is looking for an expert in ASIC and FPGA—two custom silicon designs to help it evaluate, develop and drive next-generation technologies within Facebook—particularly in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The social media company is seeking to hire an expert who can "an end-to-end SoC/ASIC, firmware and driver development organization, including all aspects of front-end and back-end standard cell ASIC development," reads the job listing on Facebook's corporate website. SoC (system-on-a-chip) is a processor typically used in mobile devices with all the components required to power a device, while ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) is a customized piece of silicon designed for a narrow purpose that companie
Intel Warns Users Not to Install Its 'Faulty' Meltdown and Spectre Patches

Intel Warns Users Not to Install Its 'Faulty' Meltdown and Spectre Patches

January 23, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Don't install Intel's patches for Spectre and Meltdown chip vulnerabilities. Intel on Monday warned that you should stop deploying its current versions of Spectre/Meltdown patches , which Linux creator Linus Torvalds calls 'complete and utter garbage.' Spectre and Meltdown are security vulnerabilities disclosed by researchers earlier this month in many processors from Intel, ARM and AMD used in modern PCs, servers and smartphones (among other devices), which could allow attackers to steal your passwords, encryption keys and other private information. Since last week, users are reporting that they are facing issues like spontaneous reboots and other 'unpredictable' system behaviour on their affected computers after installing Spectre/Meltdown patch released by Intel. Keeping these problems in mind, Intel has advised OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors as well as end users to stop deploying the current versions of it
Alexa, Are You Spying On Me? Not Really, Maybe, It's Complex!

Alexa, Are You Spying On Me? Not Really, Maybe, It's Complex!

August 02, 2017Mohit Kumar
Do you own an Amazon Echo? So are you also worried about hackers turning out your device into a covert listening device? Just relax, if there's no NSA, no CIA or none of your above-skilled friends after you. Since yesterday there have been several reports on Amazon Echo hack that could allow a hacker to turn your smart speaker into a covert listening device, but users don't need to worry because the hack is not simple, requires physical access to the device and does not work on all devices, as well. Amazon Echo is an always-listening voice-activated smart home speaker that is designed to play music, set alarms, answer questions via the Alexa voice assistant, and control connected smart home devices like WeMo, Hive and Nest. Hack Turns Amazon Echo Into Spying Device (But It's Complex) Now researchers from MWR InfoSecurity have demonstrated a hack, showing how hackers can exploit a vulnerability in some models of Amazon Echo to turn them into covert listening d
Raspberry Pi launches PIXEL OS for Mac and PCs

Raspberry Pi launches PIXEL OS for Mac and PCs

December 22, 2016Mohit Kumar
Here's the Raspberry Pi's Christmas treat for tech community! The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released an experimental version of its lightweight Linux-based Debian operating system called PIXEL OS that can run on most standard desktop computers ships with Windows and Mac OS X without the need of a Raspberry Pi. Initially launched in September this year, the PIXEL operating system, stands for "Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight," was originally designed to work with Raspberry Pi to turn it into a fully-functional PC. However, Raspberry Pi has now released a version of PIXEL that comes preloaded with a variety of popular tools and can be installed directly on PCs and Mac computers, so you do not have to buy a Raspberry Pi to use PIXEL anymore. "There is a massive installed base of PC and Mac hardware out there, which can run x86 Debian just fine. Could we do something for the owners of those machines?" Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton s
Oh, It's On Sale! USB Kill to Destroy any Computer within Seconds

Oh, It's On Sale! USB Kill to Destroy any Computer within Seconds

September 09, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Remember Killer USB stick ? A proof-of-concept USB prototype that was designed by a Russian researcher, Dark Purple, last year, to effectively destroy sensitive components of a computer when plugged in. Now, someone has actually created the Killer USB stick that destroys almost anything – such as Laptops, PCs, or televisions – it is plugged into. A Hong Kong-based technology manufacturer is selling a USB thumb drive called USB Kill 2.0 that can fry any unauthorized computer it's plugged into by introducing a power surge via the USB port. It costs $49.95 . How does USB Kill 2.0 work? As the company explains, when plugged in, the USB Kill 2.0 stick rapidly charges its capacitors via the USB power supply, and then discharges – all in a matter of seconds. The USB stick discharges 200 volts DC power over the data lines of the host machine and this charge-and-discharge cycle is repeated several numbers of times in just one second, until the USB Kill stick is removed. &
Edward Snowden Designs an iPhone Case to Detect & Block Wireless Snooping

Edward Snowden Designs an iPhone Case to Detect & Block Wireless Snooping

July 22, 2016Swati Khandelwal
We just cannot imagine our lives without smartphones, even for a short while, and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had not owned a smartphone since 2013 when he began leaking NSA documents that exposed the government's global surveillance program. Snowden fears that cellular signals of the smartphone could be used to locate him, but now, to combat this, he has designed an iPhone case that would detect and fight against government snooping. With help from renowned hardware hacker Andrew "Bunnie" Huang, Snowden has devised the design, which they refer to as an " Introspection Engine, " that would keep journalists, activists, and human rights workers from being tracked by their own devices leaking their location details. "This work aims to give journalists the tools to know when their smartphones are tracking or disclosing their location when the devices are supposed to be in airplane mode," Huang and Snowden wrote in a blog post published Thu
IoT Botnet — 25,000 CCTV Cameras Hacked to launch DDoS Attack

IoT Botnet — 25,000 CCTV Cameras Hacked to launch DDoS Attack

June 28, 2016Swati Khandelwal
The Internet of Things (IoTs) or Internet-connected devices are growing at an exponential rate and so are threats to them. Due to the insecure implementation, these Internet-connected embedded devices, including Smart TVs, Refrigerators, Microwaves, Set-top boxes, Security Cameras and printers, are routinely being hacked and used as weapons in cyber attacks. We have seen how hackers literally turned more than 100,000 Smart TVs and Refrigerator into the cyber weapon to send out millions of malicious spam emails for hacking campaigns; we have also seen how hackers abused printers and set-top-boxes to mine Bitcoins. And now… Cyber crooks are hacking CCTV cameras to form a massive botnet that can blow large websites off the Internet by launching Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Researchers at Security firm Sucuri came across a botnet of over 25,000 CCTV cameras targeting business around the globe while defending a small jewelry shop against a DDoS attack . Al
Using SimpliSafe Home Security? — You're Screwed! It's Easy to Hack & Can't be Patched

Using SimpliSafe Home Security? — You're Screwed! It's Easy to Hack & Can't be Patched

February 18, 2016Swati Khandelwal
If you are using a SimpliSafe wireless home alarm system to improve your home security smartly, just throw it up and buy a new one. It is useless. The so-called 'Smart' Technology, which is designed to make your Home Safer, is actually opening your house doors for hackers. The latest in this field is SimpliSafe Alarm . SimpliSafe wireless home alarm systems – used by more than 300,000 customers in the United States – are Hell Easy to Hack , allowing an attacker to easily gain full access to the alarm and disable the security system, facilitating unauthorized intrusions and thefts. …and the most interesting reality is: You Can Not Patch it! As the Internet of Things (IoT) is growing at a great pace, it continues to widen the attack surface at the same time. Just last month, a similar hack was discovered in Ring – a Smart doorbell that connects to the user's home WiFi network – that allowed researchers to hack WiFi password of the home user. How
Wanna Mine Bitcoins Faster? Researchers Find New Way to Do it

Wanna Mine Bitcoins Faster? Researchers Find New Way to Do it

February 15, 2016Unknown
A new machine for Bitcoin Mining called " Approximate Hardware " would make Bitcoin mining easier. Bitcoin had gained tremendous popularity over a few couple of years among the virtual currencies due to its decentralized principle. Mining a single Bitcoin is not an ice cake walk, as it requires an enormous amount of computing power to dig Bitcoins. To overcome this issue and mine Bitcoins faster, security researchers has conducted a study and made a new loophole in the mining process in an effort to mine the Bitcoins easily. How to Mine Bitcoins Faster? A team of Illinois-based researchers led by Indian Scientist, Rakesh Kumar, has designed a new hardware named " Approximate " that could reduce the pain of Bitcoin mining by 30 percent. The proposed system would make use of the faults in the hardware system such as: False Positives where an error is not present but notifies a fake error. False Negatives where an error is present but
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