The physical components of an IT system.

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93
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8answers
19k views

What would one need to do in order to hijack a satellite?

I realise this borders on sci-fi, but there's been some interesting demonstrations regarding security of various satellites. What would be required to hack a satellite (in general terms, any hack ...
64
votes
7answers
22k views

Is it possible the person sitting across from me at Starbucks was trying to hack my laptop?

I was using my laptop at a Starbucks on a table, and a person was using a laptop on the same table across from me, a couple seats to my side. He flicked some plastic thing across the table towards my ...
62
votes
5answers
36k views

How do you destroy an old hard drive?

How do you destroy an old hard drive? To be clear, unlike questions Secure hard drive disposal: How to erase confidential information and How can I reliably erase all information on a hard drive? I do ...
60
votes
8answers
15k views

How can I reliably erase all information on a hard drive?

As storage technologies change over time, using different encodings and remappings to deal with sector errors, the best way to permanently erase/wipe/shred data changes also. Methods for flash drives ...
47
votes
6answers
8k views

Can RAM retain data after removal?

Is it possible for RAM to retain any data after power is removed? I don't mean within a few minutes such as cold boot Attacks but rather 24 hours plus. Working with classified systems the policy ...
41
votes
11answers
8k views

Is it possible to turn a computer into a bomb?

I know this newspaper article sounds absurd. Even if a machine is compromised we (should) have hardware safe guards in all our devices to prevent the software from damaging the hardware. But is it ...
37
votes
2answers
4k views

How can it be easy to write but “impossible” to extract the private key from a crypto token?

A number of crypto-dongles make the claim that it is impossible to extract the stored private key once written. Yubico: The YubiKey AES Key information can never be extracted from a YubiKey ...
32
votes
6answers
57k views

Can wiped SSD data be recovered?

I was reading another post on destroying IDE drives, and how you could remove data, wipe it, or just destroy the drive. The removed data would still be there in some state, although not easily ...
30
votes
6answers
18k views

How reliable is a write protection switch on a USB flash drive?

I'm currently using a USB flash drive with a live distribution. At times I would plug it into terminals I cannot trust. My threat model here is solely the risk of unauthorized modifications to the ...
29
votes
7answers
4k views

Is it possible to secretly monitor/backdoor hardware?

I've recently gained an interest in anonymity and the technical aspects of it. Is it possible for hardware to be bugged and monitored? I.e, can a seller of a processor bug it in order to report what ...
29
votes
12answers
4k views

Is there a secure way to transfer data outside the Internet?

Since, recently, it has been proven that transferring data through the usb port is fundamentally flawed, I'm wondering if there are 100% secure ways to transfer data without using the Internet. ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Can malware be transmitted via a USB charger plugged into a wall socket?

I have a smart phone that I often plug into a wall socket for charging via a small adapter that rectifies the AC to DC power and transforms the voltage from line (120V or 240V) to 5 V DC, probably ...
26
votes
6answers
14k views

Can a hard drive be destroyed by drowning?

These are some ways of disposing of hard drives: Special firms, degaussing, hammering, pulling apart. Can this be accomplished more quickly by drowning it? Fill a bucket with water, maybe add some ...
22
votes
2answers
1k views

Aviation security - Lessons to learn from PlaneSploit

A somewhat related question has already been asked (What would one need to do in order to hijack a satellite?), only at a more abstract level. Now we have a presentation by Hugo Teso from n.runs AG ...
21
votes
6answers
34k views

How secure is WD MyPassport lock

I have a WD My Passport hard drive. There is an option that allows you to lock your hard drive with a password. How secure is this lock? They don't give details about the encryption algorith or the ...
19
votes
6answers
697 views

What should I do when classified information stayed on a unauthorized laptop?

Has anyone ever had to deal with an unauthorized laptop accidentally getting Top Secret level data on it? How did you quarantine the system. Were you required to turn in the entire laptop or were you ...
19
votes
2answers
5k views

Wireless keyboard sniffing risk

I've just acquired a wireless keyboard/mouse combo (Microsoft Wireless Desktop 3000). Only after having plugged it in did it get me thinking. How susceptible are those kind of setups to sniffing? Are ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

How can the impact of cold boot attacks be minimized?

Short of powering down and maintaining physical security for sufficient time, what are effective strategies for keeping keys from being disclosed by cold-boot attacks, and can anything be done without ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

Are consumer-grade routers any more or less vulnerable? [closed]

I apologize if this is an obvious question, I'm not very familiar with hardware. I am planning on hosting a few personal websites from my home, but I'm concerned about my security. I'm using a fairly ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

How should one properly dispose of a printer or fax which is used for sensitive documents?

If you need to dispose of printers or fax machines that have handled sensitive documents, how should they be handled? Should you permit them to be donated or sold for reuse outside the organization? ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Tamper-proof BIOS password & settings storage with Trusted Platform Module?

In the olden days, one could trivially bypass BIOS passwords on most PCs by removing the BIOS battery and clearing the CMOS. My question is: On modern PCs equipped with a Trusted Platform Module ...
14
votes
4answers
8k views

Recover the prior contents of RAM from a turned-off PC?

I've heard that if your PC is turned off, then an attacker can recover the RAM from the last session. I find this hard to believe. How could it be done?
14
votes
4answers
239 views

How serious are security concerns of wireless healthcare devices?

Back in 2008 a wireless defibrillator was shown to be hackable. At this year's Black Hat conference a presenter showed exactly how to hack into a wireless insulin pump. Both of these demonstrated ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the benefit with using encrypted RAM Memory?

I sometimes hear that encryption is used for the RAM Memory, but I don't really understand why this is needed. Why is RAM Memory needed to be encrypted? and is this done by the hardware, the ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Possible to prevent Juice Jacking by only connecting USB pins 1 & 4?

According to this accepted answer, there is no phone on the market today that is immune from "Juice Jacking"*. I think an easy way to mitigate this threat is to have a filter that blocks USB pins 2 ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Protecting cellphones from USB attacks (a.k.a. Juice Jacking)

We have several smartphone with encrypted data on them (BES, iPhone, Android) and want to prevent an unauthorized person from downloading information from the device via USB. The visual assumption ...
13
votes
2answers
961 views

HSM track records?

What are the track records of popular Hardware Security Modules (HSMs)? Have any been found vulnerable to hacking via creative use of the API, timing or power-monitoring attacks, etc?
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Checking if notebook is clean of hardware spyware

Are there any simple steps one can follow to verify if a notebook is clean from hardware spyware? What should be looked for? How should it look? If any visual tutorials with photographs are ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

Best method of retiring hard drives [duplicate]

What are some typical ways you guys retire hard drives? We have a hard drive that won't mount anymore (makes clicking sounds when it tries to mount). The data on it isn't necessarily sensitive (no ...
12
votes
1answer
555 views

Is the Litecoin Scrypt hashing technique a threat to hashed passwords?

The Bitcoin alternative, Litecoin uses a different algorithm to protect the block chain, namely Scrypt (not Sha256). Given that GPU accelerators exists, and ASICS are due to be released, does the ...
12
votes
1answer
662 views

Slot machine segfault: what can we determine?

We walked into a casino and saw this near the entrance. I don't have a specific question, but is there anything that would be interesting to share and explain from the image?
12
votes
3answers
8k views

Free/Libre software to handle TCG OPAL 2.0-compliant Self-Encrypting Drives (SEDs)?

I'm in search of a free/libre software that is able to handle OPAL (2.0)-compliant SEDs (i.e. manage the setting of Pre-Boot Authentification (PBA) environment, encryption keys...). It could be a ...
12
votes
2answers
717 views

USB to Firewire converter is a security issue?

So: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_1394#Security_issues FireWire has security issues. But what happens if there isn't any FireWire ports on the given machine, and ex.: the Operating system ...
12
votes
2answers
763 views

Is OpenGL a security problem?

Today, almost all desktop and most mobile operating systems and devices support some version of OpenGL. I'm wondering about the security implications of that: In many cases, the GPU has complete and ...
12
votes
1answer
893 views

SCADA / PLC exploit code was released in metasploit. Now what?

Wired reports that there are many security issues with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and now there is an easy to use tool to scan and detect vulnerabilities. They say it's so easy, the ...
11
votes
6answers
5k views

How can mini-computers (like Raspberry Pi) be applied to IT security?

It's no secret that thousands of $35 Raspberry Pi (Model B) computers have just shipped to people around the world. With these, and other similar types of computers becoming cheaper and more ...
11
votes
5answers
799 views

Can a mobile phone battery contain malware?

It has 3 terminals and is presumably a smart battery. I bought it on ebay recently for $2.74 USD and that included postage from China to Australia. It would normally retail for maybe $40 - $50. The ...
11
votes
3answers
557 views

Sourcing hardware that is least likely to contain backdoors

I understand that CPU silicon (for example) is scrutinized for backdoors but there are other aspects of a computer system that may "leak data" to the outside world unbeknownst to the owner regardless ...
10
votes
3answers
750 views

OWASP Top 10 style security guide for implementation in hardware devices

I've seen OWASP Top 10 guides for web apps, native apps, etc., but never anything for embedded systems or hardware devices. These usually involve microcontrollers (e.g. Atmega / PIC) or small ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Are there any hardware HSMs that can host/run custom applications using the HSM processor(s) within the hardened security boundary?

It seems that the majority of commercially available hardware HSMs are only designed to allow authenticated users to generate, store, and use cryptographic keys with various cryptographic algorithms ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Keyboards immune to signal monitoring?

Reading a couple questions and answers here recently got me to thinking. Wireless keyboards run the inherent risk of exposing their data due to the relatively broad transmission range, and the ease ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

“Friend” stole SD card. Tracing an SD card?

First off, let me say that I currently live in Mexico, a land filled with petty theft. I had a group of friends over last night, and they were looking at the photos on my camera. Today, I looked at my ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Are TPM chips or the equiavlent required for FIPS 140-2 security level 1 compliance?

A 'TPM chip' is: a secure cryptoprocessor that can store cryptographic keys that protect information FIPS 140-2 requires a cryptographic module, which can be hardware, software, or both that ...
10
votes
1answer
168 views

How to make sure that the cryptographic hardware accelerator is being used in am335x?

I want to use the AES hardware accelerator in am335x. I was able to generate the cryptodev.ko and cryptosoft.ko drivers. From my application program I am making use of openssl apis in CBC mode, and I ...
10
votes
2answers
252 views

How to know whether a RAM module is vulnerable to rowhammer before buying?

I'd like to know (or at least perform some reasonable guess) if a RAM is vulnerable to rowhammer attack. I haven't found any list of vulnerable or secure RAM modules. I've seen some general rules ...
10
votes
2answers
717 views

Can I use hardware random number generation on my computer? Am I already using it?

A lot of computer security depends on encryption: SSL connections, TCP packet sequencing, encrypted files, etc. These depend on random number generation to ensure that attackers can't guess the ...
9
votes
2answers
414 views

How do you know a computer is not compromised when you first get it?

How do you know a computer is not compromised when you first get it? How do you know that manufacturers have not intentionally built vulnerabilities into the system?
9
votes
4answers
195 views

How to trust ICs?

While it is theoretically possible to thoroughly examine the source code of Open Source Software to check for backdoors (neglecting a Ken Thompson hack), and given sufficiently adequate knowledge in ...
9
votes
2answers
998 views

How to circumvent compromised CPUs in major FOSS operating systems

As Matthew Green puts it, "the NSA has been ... Working with hardware ... vendors to weaken encryption and random number generators." At this stage, however, there is little public knowledge of which ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

How to disable Firewire in OpenBSD/Linux to prevent attacks through Firewire?

Since Firewire lacks security, allowing a plugged-in device to access host memory, it's a good thing to fully disable it. If we're not using the BIOS to disable the Firewire port then how could we do ...