physical security


Unpatchable USB Malware Now Open Source | WIRED

Andy Greenberg over at Wired has an interesting piece of news coming out of last week’s Derbycon hacker conference in Louisville, Kentucky. According to Greenberg and Wired, researchers Adam Caudill and Brandon Wilson showed off their own version of Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell’s BadUSB malware, and that they’d released the code on Github.   Their presentation raises the stakes for USB manufacturers to fix the BadUSB problem or leave hundreds of millions of users vulnerable, Greenberg writes. At a presentation at the Black Hat Briefings in August, Nohl and Lell, both of Security Research Labs (SRLabs), showed how the controller chips inside common USB devices can be reprogrammed, allowing USB peripherals to impersonate other kinds of devices.  Among other things, Nohl demonstrated how a BadUSB infected device could emulate a USB keyboard, issuing commands to a connected machine using the permissions of the logged-in user. Alternatively, an infected USB could spoof a […]

Consumers Embrace IoT And Wearables, Worry About Security Consequences

A new survey of consumer attitudes and expectations about technology finds that a strong majority of Americans expect wearable technology and biometric security to be common within the next decade. The survey, sponsored by the security company McAfee, asked 1,500 U.S. consumers about lifestyle and technology trends in the home and workplace. The results suggest that consumers are already adjusting their expectations about the future to include pervasive connectivity, a wealth of intelligent devices – and some of the problems that come with both. More than 60% of those surveyed by McAfee said they anticipate having connected appliances like refrigerators that will “automatically add food to a running grocery list if the product is running low.” A strong majority of those polled – 84% – said they were convinced their home security systems will be connected to their mobile device. “As technology, especially the Internet of Things, continues to rapidly advance and […]

What Hollywood Can Teach Us: Passwords Matter More Than Ever

Andrey Belenko had what you might call a ‘brush with infamy’ earlier this week after a presentation he took part in on the security of Apple’s iCloud became a set piece in the news media scramble to identify the source of a huge trove of leaked celebrity photos – many depicting Hollywood A-List stars in various states of undress. “It’s not the kind of attention you want to receive,” said Belenko, a security researcher with the firm ViaForensics. “It’s all really creepy stuff.” Belenko’s link to the celebrity hacking scandal was a matter of happenstance. He was scheduled to give a presentation at a small, St. Petersburg multi-media conference, Chaos Constructions, over the weekend. Belenko was presenting research he had conducted a year earlier on the security of Apple’s KeyChain technology and iCloud – a talk he had given twice before in the last year. Prior to his talk, Belenko […]

Time for an Administrator of Things (AoT)? – Security Intelligence Blog

Trend Micro’s Security Intelligence Blog has an interesting post today that looks at the changing demands of networked environments populated by smart “stuff.” Their conclusion: homes and businesses might find increasing need for someone to manage smart devices. “Managing a household full of smart devices calls for the skills of both a multi-user IT administrator and a handyman. Let’s call this role the Administrator of Things (AoT).” As in the early days of business networks, this role is currently ill-defined, Trend notes, with “ordinary users” taking on AoT tasks despite “scant evidence that they are ready for it.” Trend’s Geoff Grindrod doesn’t take a strong position on what the implications of all this complexity. (“This is something that should be looked into,” the report says.) However, he does anticipate friction. “How well people can actually perform (the job of AoT) has a huge impact on their daily lives, which includes the security of their household,” […]

Report: Thieves Can Hack and Disable Your Home Alarm System | WIRED

Wired’s Kim Zetter reports on (independent) reports by two researchers that show how home alarm setups can be hacked remotely, from as far away as 250 yards. The vulnerabilities could allow a malicious actor to suppress alarms or create multiple, false alarms that would render the system unreliable (and really annoying). Zetter profiles the work of Logan Lamb, a security researcher at Oak Hill Ridge National Lab who conducted independent research on  three top brands of home alarm systems made by ADT, Vivint and a third company that asked to remain anonymous. She also cites work by Silvio Cesare, who works for Qualys who studied common home alarm systems sold in Australia, including devices manufactured by Swann, an Australian firm that also sells its systems in the U.S. Both discovered a litany of similar problems, Zetter reports: The systems use radio signals to report when monitored doors and windows are opened, but fail to encrypt or authenticate the signals being […]