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Blogs | RESEARCH | February 23, 2021

A Practical Approach to Attacking IoT Embedded Designs (II)

In this second and final blog post on this topic, we cover some OTA vulnerabilities we identified in wireless communication protocols, primarily Zigbee and BLE. As in the previous post, the findings described herein are intended to illustrate the type of vulnerabilities a malicious actor could leverage to attack a specified target to achieve DoS, information leakage, or arbitrary code execution. These vulnerabilities affect numerous devices within the IoT ecosystem. IOActive worked with the semiconductor vendors to coordinate the disclosure of these security flaws, but it is worth mentioning that…

Ruben Santamarta
Blogs | RESEARCH |

Probing and Signal Integrity Fundamentals for the Hardware Hacker, part 2: Transmission Lines, Impedance, and Stubs

This is the second post in my ongoing series on the troubles posed by high-speed signals in the hardware security lab. What is a High-speed Signal? Let’s start by defining “high-speed” a bit more formally: A signal traveling through a conductor is high-speed if transmission line effects are non-negligible. That’s nice, but what is a transmission line? In simple terms: A transmission line is a wire of sufficient length that there is nontrivial delay between signal changes from one end of the cable to the other. You may also see…

Andrew Zonenberg
Blogs | RESEARCH | February 11, 2021

A Practical Approach To Attacking IoT Embedded Designs (I)

The booming IoT ecosystem has meant massive growth in the embedded systems market due to the high demand for connected devices. Nowadays, designing embedded devices is perhaps easier than ever thanks to the solutions, kits, chips, and code that semiconductor manufacturers provide to help developers cope with the vast number of heterogeneous requirements IoT devices should comply with. This never-ending race to come up with new features within tight deadlines comes at a cost, which usually is paid in the security posture of the commercialized device.

Ruben Santamarta
Blogs | RESEARCH | January 28, 2021

Probing and Signal Integrity Fundamentals for the Hardware Hacker

The latest new widget just showed up on your desk. You excitedly crack open the case, look around a bit, and find a signal that looks interesting. You fire up your oscilloscope, touch a probe to the signal, and… the widget won’t boot! Or maybe it works fine, but you see garbage on the scope screen that looks nothing like a useful digital waveform. It’s a problem that’s becoming all too familiar to hardware hackers. As technology advances, signals become faster, which makes them more sensitive and less tolerant to…

Andrew Zonenberg
Blogs | RESEARCH | January 7, 2021

TAPing the Stack for Fun and Profit: Shelling Embedded Linux Devices via JTAG

While it may not come as a surprise to those who have worked with embedded devices, it is not uncommon to find the JTAG interface on embedded devices still enabled, even in production. Often cited as providing “ultimate control” over a device, JTAG debugging usually provides the user with full read/write privileges over device memory (and by extension over MMIO) as well as the ability to read and write control registers.  On a simpler embedded device (for example, a “smart” lock), leveraging open JTAG can be fairly straightforward: dump the…

Ethan Shackelford
Blogs | RESEARCH | December 15, 2020

Warcodes II – The Desko Case

Six months ago we published a blog post describing ‘Warcodes’ a novel attack vector against industrial barcode readers used in the baggage handling systems deployed at a significant number of international airports. This time we targeted boarding gate readers used as part of the passenger boarding and flow control. 

Ruben Santamarta
Blogs | GUEST BLOG | November 19, 2020

Hiding in the Noise | Corey Thuen

Greetings! I’m Corey Thuen. I spent a number of years at Idaho National Laboratory, Digital Bond, and IOActive (where we affectionately refer to ourselves as pirates, hence the sticker). At these places, my job was to find 0-day vulnerabilities on the offensive side of things. Now, I am a founder of Gravwell, a data analytics platform for security logs, machine, and network data. It’s my background in offensive security that informs my new life on the defensive side of the house. I believe that defense involves…

Blogs | GUEST BLOG | November 3, 2020

Low-hanging Secrets in Docker Hub and a Tool to Catch Them All | Matías Sequeira

TL;DR: I coded a tool that scans Docker Hub images and matches a given keyword in order to find secrets. Using the tool, I found numerous AWS credentials, SSH private keys, databases, API keys, etc. It’s an interesting tool to add to the bug hunter / pentester arsenal, not only for the possibility of finding secrets, but for fingerprinting an organization. On the other hand, if you are a DevOps or Security Engineer, you might want to integrate the scan engine to your CI/CD for your Docker images. GET THE…

Blogs | RESEARCH | November 2, 2020

CVE-2020-16877: Exploiting Microsoft Store Games

TL; DR. This blog post describes a privilege escalation issue in Windows (CVE-2020-16877) I reported to Microsoft back in June, which was patched in October. This issue allows an attacker to exploit Windows via videogames by directly targeting how Windows handles Microsoft Store games. This issue could be exploited to elevate privileges from a standard user account to Local System on Windows 10.

Donato Ferrante
Blogs | RESEARCH | October 6, 2020

A journey into defeating regulated electronic cigarette protections

TL;DR: This blog post does not encourage smoking nor vaping. The main focus of this blog will be defeating the protections of a regulated electronic cigarette to assess the ability of it being weaponized via a remote attacker by modifying its firmware and delivering it through a malware which waits for electronic cigarettes to be connected over USB or discovered over Bluetooth.

Ehab Hussein

Arm IDA and Cross Check: Reversing the 787’s Core Network

IOActive has documented detailed attack paths and component vulnerabilities to describe the first plausible, detailed public attack paths to effectively reach the avionics network on a 787, commercial airplane from either non-critical domains, such as Passenger Information and Entertainment Services, or even external networks.

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