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Blogs | INSIGHTS | March 22, 2016

Inside the IOActive Silicon Lab: Interpreting Images

In the post “Reading CMOS layout,” we discussed understanding CMOS layout in order to reverse-engineer photographs of a circuit to a transistor-level schematic. This was all well and good, but I glossed over an important (and often overlooked) part of the process: using the photos to observe and understand the circuit’s actual geometry. Optical Microscopy Let’s start with brightfield optical microscope imagery. (Darkfield microscopy is rarely used for semiconductor work.) Although reading lower metal layers on modern deep-submicron processes does usually require electron microscopy, optical microscopes still have…

Andrew Zonenberg
Blogs | RESEARCH | March 9, 2016

Got 15 minutes to kill? Why not root your Christmas gift?

TP-LINK NC200 and NC220 Cloud IP Cameras, which promise to let consumers “see there, when you can’t be there,” are vulnerable to an OS command injection in the PPPoE username and password settings. An attacker can leverage this weakness to get a remote shell with root privileges. The cameras are being marketed for surveillance, baby monitoring, pet monitoring, and monitoring of seniors. This blog post provides a 101 introduction to embedded hacking and covers how to extract and analyze firmware to look for common low-hanging fruit in security. This post…

Tao Sauvage
Blogs | RESEARCH | February 24, 2016

Inside the IOActive Silicon Lab: Reading CMOS layout

Ever wondered what happens inside the IOActive silicon lab? For the next few weeks we’ll be posting a series of blogs that highlight some of the equipment, tools, attacks, and all around interesting stuff that we do there. We’ll start off with Andrew Zonenberg explaining the basics of CMOS layout. Basics of CMOS Layout   When describing layout, this series will use a simplified variant of Mead & Conway’s color scheme, which hides some of the complexity required for manufacturing.   Material Color P doping   N doping   Polysilicon…

Andrew Zonenberg
Blogs | RESEARCH | February 17, 2016

Remotely Disabling a Wireless Burglar Alarm

Countless movies feature hackers remotely turning off security systems in order to infiltrate buildings without being noticed. But how realistic are these depictions? Time to find out.   Today we’re releasing information on a critical security vulnerability in a wireless home security system from SimpliSafe. This system consists of two core components, a keypad and a base station. These may be combined with a wide array of sensors ranging from smoke detectors to magnet switches to motion detectors to create a complete home security system. The system is marketed…

Andrew Zonenberg
Blogs | RESEARCH | February 3, 2016

Brain Waves Technologies: Security in Mind? I Don’t Think So

INTRODUCTION Just a decade ago, electroencephalography (EEG) was limited to the inner rooms of hospitals, purely for medical purposes. Nowadays, relatively cheap consumer devices capable of measuring brain wave activity are in the hands of curious kids, researchers, artists, creators, and hackers. A few of the applications of this technology include: ·       EEG-controlled Exoskeleton Hope for ALS Sufferers ·       Brain-controlled Drone ·       Brain Waves Used as a Biometric Authentication Mechanism ·       Translating Soldier Thoughts to Computer Commands (Military) ·       Detect Battlefield Threats via Brain Waves

Alejandro Hernandez
Blogs | RESEARCH | January 26, 2016

More than a simple game

EKOPARTY Conference 2015, one of the most important conferences in Latin America, took place in Buenos Aires three months ago. IOActive and EKOPARTY hosted the main security competition of about 800 teams which ran for 32 hours, the EKOPARTY CTF (Capture the Flag).   Teams from all around the globe demonstrated their skills in a variety of topics including web application security, reverse engineering, exploiting, and cryptography. It was a wonderful experience.   If you haven’t competed before, you may wonder: What are security competitions all about? Why…

Daniel Correa & NullLifeTeam
Blogs | RESEARCH | January 6, 2016

Drupal – Insecure Update Process

Just a few days after installing Drupal v7.39, I noticed there was a security update available: Drupal v7.41. This new version fixes an open redirect in the Drupal core. In spite of my Drupal update process checking for updates, according to my local instance, everything was up to date:    Issue #1: Whenever the Drupal update process fails, Drupal states that everything is up to date instead of giving a warning.   The issue was due to some sort of network problem….

Fernando Arnaboldi
Blogs | RESEARCH | December 17, 2015

(In)secure iOS Mobile Banking Apps – 2015 Edition

Two years ago, I decided to conduct research in order to obtain a global view of the state of security of mobile banking apps from some important banks. In this blog post, I will present my latest results to show how the security of the same mobile banking apps has evolved.

Ariel Sanchez
Blogs | RESEARCH | December 9, 2015

Maritime Security: Hacking into a Voyage Data Recorder (VDR)

In 2014, IOActive disclosed a series of attacks that affect multiple SATCOM devices, some of which are commonly deployed on vessels. Although there is no doubt that maritime assets are valuable targets, we cannot limit the attack surface to those communication devices that vessels, or even large cruise ships, are usually equipped with. In response to this situation, IOActive provides services to evaluate the security posture of the systems and devices that make up the modern integrated bridges and engine rooms found on cargo vessels and cruise ships. [1]  …

Ruben Santamarta
Blogs | RESEARCH | November 25, 2015

Privilege Escalation Vulnerabilities Found in Lenovo System Update

Lenovo released a new version of the Lenovo System Update advisory ( about two new privilege escalation vulnerabilities I had reported to Lenovo a couple of weeks ago (CVE-2015-8109, CVE-2015-8110). IOActive and Lenovo have issued advisories on these issues.   Before digging into the details, let’s go over a high-level overview of how the Lenovo System Update pops up the GUI application with Administrator privileges.   Here is a discussion of the steps depicted above: 1 – The user starts System Update…

Sofiane Talmat

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.