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Blogs | RESEARCH | July 19, 2017

Multiple Critical Vulnerabilities Found in Popular Motorized Hoverboards

Not that long ago, motorized hoverboards were in the news – according to widespread reports, they had a tendency to catch on fire and even explode. Hoverboards were so dangerous that the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) issued a statement recommending consumers “look for indications of acceptance by recognized testing organizations” when purchasing the devices. Consumers were even advised to not leave them unattended due to the risk of fires. The Federal Trade Commission has since established requirements that any hoverboard imported to the US meet baseline…

Thomas Kilbride
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  …

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 | INSIGHTS | September 3, 2013

Emulating binaries to discover vulnerabilities in industrial devices

Emulating an industrial device in a controlled environment is a really helpful security tool. You can gain a better knowledge of how it works, identify potential attack vectors, and verify the vulnerabilities you discovered using static methods. This post provides step-by-step instructions on how to emulate an industrial router with publicly available firmware. This is a pretty common case, so you should be able to apply this methodology to other scenarios. The target is the Waveline family of industrial routers from the German automation vendor Weidmüller. The firmware…

Ruben Santamarta
Blogs | INSIGHTS | December 18, 2012

Striking Back GDB and IDA debuggers through malformed ELF executables

Day by day the endless fight between the bad guys and good guys mostly depends on how fast a countermeasure or anti-reversing protection can be broken. These anti-reversing mechanisms can be used by attackers in a number of ways: to create malware, to be used in precompiled zero-day exploits in the black market, to hinder forensic analysis, and so on. But they can also be used by software companies or developers that want to protect the internal logic of their software products (copyright). The other day I was thinking: why…

Alejandro Hernandez
Blogs | INSIGHTS | November 21, 2012

The Future of Automated Malware Generation

This year I gave a series of presentations on “The Future of Automated Malware Generation”. This past week the presentation finished its final debut in Tokyo on the 10th anniversary of PacSec. Hopefully you were able to attend one of the following conferences where it was presented: IOAsis (Las Vegas, USA) SOURCE (Seattle, USA) EkoParty (Buenos Aires, Argentina) PacSec (Tokyo, Japan)   The Future of Automated Malware Generation from

Stephan Chenette
Blogs | INSIGHTS | June 6, 2012

Summercon 2012

Hi Everyone, Chris Valasek guest blogging here at IOActive. I just wanted to tell everyone a little bit about my involvement with Summercon and what to expect at the conference. Although I’m one of the current organizers (along with Mark Trumpbour @mtrumpbour), I’m obviously not the originator, as it started many years back (1987, I believe) as detailed in the most recent Phrack magazine (  I started attending in 2000 when it was in Atlanta, GA and had a fantastic time. Over the years, the conference has…

Chris Valasek
Blogs | INSIGHTS | February 3, 2012

Solving a Little Mystery

Firmware analysis is a fascinating area within the vast world of reverse engineering, although not very extended. Sometimes you end up in an impasse until noticing a minor (or major) detail you initially overlooked. That’s why sharing methods and findings is a great way to advance into this field. While looking for certain information during a session of reversing, I came across this great post. There is little to add except for solving the ‘mystery’ behind that simple filesystem and mentioning a couple of technical details.  …

Ruben Santamarta

Commonalities In Vehicle Vulnerabilities

With the connected car becoming commonplace in the market, vehicle cybersecurity continues to grow more important every year. At the forefront of security research, IOActive has amassed real-world vulnerability data illustrating the general issues and potential solutions to the cybersecurity threats today’s vehicles face.

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