The physical components of an IT system.

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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 ...
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Software security V.S Hardware security

In theory, perfect software applications are possible but in real life, they don't exist. When attackers know the software, they can send payloads to exploit vulnerabilities and run any arbitrary code ...
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Have hardware trojans been seen in the wild?

Military and intelligence organizations have spent a lot of resources guarding against the possibility of hardware trojans, unauthorized modifications to hardware circuits that leak information or ...
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Do the new instruction sets found on Intel's Haswell Architecture make any difference in cryptographic operations?

Intel's Haswell architecture has support for several new Bit Manipulation Instructions. In Intel's own words, Bit manipulation instructions are useful for compressed database, hashing , large ...
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294 views

Building's server room is unlocked: What danger is my building in?

In one of the buildings I work in, there are lawyers and accountants, web developers and marketers, and numerous other small businesses. Everyone's (shared) internet is routed through the same server ...
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Does a working JTAG diagnostics port on Android phone add unnecessary risk?

Not enough people seem to know about JTAG outside the hacker and LEO communities but the short version is that JTAG allows anyone with physical access to your phone to chew their way right into it. ...
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1answer
861 views

Is the SD card write protection hard-wired or optional?

According to Wikipedia, the SD card reader recognizes if the little tab on the left of the SD card is in the "lock" position or not. Thus, a SD card reader can still write on the SD card even if the ...
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Anonymity of sneakernet: identifiable information on removable storage

Alice, an anonymous informant, would like to transmit digital documents to Bob while maintaining her anonymity. For whatever reason, she chooses to copy the documents to some kind of physical ...
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Is it possible to make one processor look like another?

(aka) Is it possible to hack CPUID instruction or BIOS to make it show wrong CPU information? Yesterday, I was having a chat with computer sales guy. He is little close to me. During the conversation ...
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Strategies against jamming attacks?

We have some devices which are designed to use standard frequencies/protocols, such as GSM, CDMA, GPS, Wifi and Bluetooth, among others. While our focus is not thought to be used for high-profile ...
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Is it safe to attach a potentially malicious hard drive to a Solaris machine?

We bring in hard drives from un-trusted sources and would like to ensure that they will not contain any harmful content. What kind of risk is there for Solaris? As in, if Solaris is running, and I ...
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Do cell-phones exist with open source baseband processors?

In a recent question (can't seem to find now), someone asked: Is it possible to track a phone which is off? and received a response of Who's to say that it's really off? Your phone has both ...
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SSD (Flash Memory) security when data is encrypted in place

I'm surveying current techniques on flash memory security. I've learned that the non-in-place update of flash memories prevent us from adapting the same encryption techniques that we used on hard ...
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1answer
391 views

Can malicious code be contained outside the filesystem on a USB drive?

I've personally seen it recommended that every time a user inserts a USB thumb drive into a computer, that the thumb drive be scanned for potential malware and malicious code. However, if all that's ...
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2answers
769 views

Do Flash memory (SSD) architecture impacts encryption techniques?

I'm working on encryption techniques on SSD's and my question is: does the erase before write architecture of SSD's has anything to do with the encryption technique? What are the problems I might ...
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4answers
473 views

What do you do to protect data on a Macbook in the event of theft/loss of the device?

What setup do you recommend to protect data on a MacBook in the event of theft/loss of the device? I'm specifically interested in Macs here, rather than laptops generally, and in concrete ...
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Tool or Process to check for AES-NI support on processor?

In another question, Thomas' answer mentioned the AES-NI instruction set, which piqued my curiosity. Is there a tool or process available out there to check whether the instruction set is available ...
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Secure hard drive disposal: How to erase confidential information

When it comes to disposing of hardware that may contain PII, confidential, or other sensitive material, how do you determine what needs special handling? What process do you use? I'd like to expand ...
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728 views

Out-of-the-box Network Intrusion Appliance for non-Power User

First, let me apologize if any of this question is naive or beneath the scope of this board. Bear in mind the context and that I'm asking as an attempt to exhaust all resources. Also, I understand if ...
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What are the differences between TPM and HSM?

TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and HSM (Hardware Security Module) are considered as cryptoprocessor, but what are the differences exactly? Does one of them have more advantages than another?
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How does the predator network prevent outside control by an attacker?

I read several articles saying some of the command and control fleet for the US robotic attack planes may have been infected with a virus. Does this command and control system communicate with the ...
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1answer
431 views

Epson Projector security threats

I have an EPSON PROJECTOR (model EB-824H) And I would like to use it in our company. As I know (but not sure) this kind of projector has no WIFI,no network card and there is no HD in this PROJECTOR It ...
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699 views

WORM media types

Why types of media are Write Once Read Many (WORM) other than CD-R, and DVD-R, say, something in the 100GB range? Are there such devices? What would it take to read them? Are the devices like this ...
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1answer
255 views

How does virtualisation (IaaS) protect from CPU microcode updates and firmware changes?

Is it safe to assume that it's impossible for CPU Microcode updates and firmware updates to be initiated from a guest VM? What software or hardware technologies protect my guest OS from altering or ...
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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 ...
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An OS that does not trust its RAM?

I wonder if it is possible to write a kernel that would keep all of its RAM encrypted, storing the key in the CPU cache, so that the machine would be resistant to cold-boot attacks?
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Can hardware firewalls be infected?

If a computer is directly connected to the internet, it is vulnerable to attacks. So we attach a hardware firewall between the computer and the internet. But doesn't this new setup mean that now our ...
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vt-d Virtualisation and Trusted Execution Technology

Being a long time VirtualBox user and having recently purchased a new laptop equipped with an intel i7 720QM I discovered that it supported vt-d. In the meantime I've found out that vt-d comes with ...
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Is there any way to write-protect a USB or hide its contents from deletion without hardware modifications?

Data on external storage devices are not secure, I understand that. Despite hardware modifications they can still be hacked etc. However files can be hidden (steganography) or encrypted. I'm ...
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1answer
223 views

What can be done to bridge the Air Gap, except autorun?

What can be done to bridge the Air Gap, except autorun? Is there any hardware butterflies that can attack physically isolated Unix/Linux machine in common usb drives, like VSC (Vendor Specific ...
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193 views

Disk Erasing Security - Odd Number of Writes

As one can find in the Disk Utility/Erase/Security Options section, there are two options for erasing disks securely - zero out 7 times or zero out 35 times. Where these numbers come from?
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Does any tablet support remote attestation?

Some PCs come with a TPM. One of the nifty capabilities of TPMs is the ability to perform remote attestation. Remote attestation allows your computer to tell a third computer what software your ...
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Securing the hardware of my computer against remote exploits

How can I secure the BIOS, video card, network card, PCI, etc. of the computer against remote exploit? I have heard that it is possible to remotely exploit a computer using vulnerabilities in these ...
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What aspects of hardware configuration are significant from a security perspective?

What is worth keeping in mind (security-wise) when choosing a set of hardware? For example, might a cheap (or obscure) setup like a Raspberry Pi make for a less secure server than a more standard ...
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Dangerous hardware ports?

Using Passware Forensic Toolkit you can extract the bitlocker key using live memory dumping through Firewire (either by using an existing Firewire port, or by inserting an pcmcia/expresscard ...
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1answer
243 views

What particular devices and processes are available to destroy hard drives, per DoD 5220.22-M?

DoD 5220.22-M specifies the following methods for destruction of hard drives with classified data: Disintegrate Incinerate Pulverize Shred Melt I've seen shredders of the type that might be used ...
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2answers
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How does the encryption of FPGA works?

I know that FPGAS of Altera enables you to encrypt the RTL code while you work with it, what I can't understand is why it is really encrypted since once I have the FPGA, I can take it and with flash ...
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1answer
304 views

Keyboards using 2.4GHz with AES

I got a Microsoft Sculpt keyboard, as it seems to be a small improvement over the much loved Ergo 4000. (What I'd give to have an Ergo 4000 with CheryMX Blues...) On various sites, they have this one ...
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How is hibernation supported, on machines with UEFI Secure Boot?

I've been learning about UEFI Secure Boot, which attempts to prevent "bootkits" by locking down the boot process so that only signed bootloaders and kernels can be loaded. Hibernation seems like a ...
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1answer
276 views

Hardware-based full disk encryption without pre-boot authentication [closed]

I am looking for a possibility to sanitize large amounts of data on regular hard-drives and SSDs. Instead of overwriting the data several times (on regular hard-drives, which could take days and ...
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Is it ok to cut some digits from the front-face of a credit/debit card?

I'm a European expat living in Asia. I usually hide my credit card at my apartment. However, I'm a bit scared about losing it when I carry it (wallet robbed or lost). That's why I already scrubbed ...
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4answers
279 views

How do we know if the hard disk we just bought is “clean”?

When we buy a new hard disk drive, what steps can we take to ensure that it is virus-free? For example, there are many vendors selling hard disk drives on Amazon. When we purchase one, how do we know ...
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4answers
981 views

Would you go with SSD or Disk Hard Drive?

I haven't really heard anything on how the Soild State Drives are doing out in the real world and I was wondering if they are better than traditional hard drives. Is a SSD more secure or less secure ...
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2answers
283 views

Hardware Level Write Protection for a CD-R

Let's say you burn a CD-R and it is finalized. Later, if you put it into a CD drive with some OS running, is it possible for the OS to write to it ? Obviously, this shouldn't typically happen, ...
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Does a commercially available self destructing HDD (set in BIOS) exist?

Does a self destructing HDD (physically destruction) that will destroy after a certain time exist, or when I use some software to initiate its self-destruction? I guess it need to be set in BIOS or ...
4
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2answers
451 views

Are there volatile memory chips which dont retain data after power off?

It was demonstrated that dram modules can retain information up to 10 min after power off in certain conditions. My question - are there memory types which will retain data 10 sec at max even if being ...
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What are the security implications of a device like Coin?

Coin is a new device aimed at replacing up to 8 credit cards in your wallet with a single device. It apparently works by scanning the credit card data into a mobile application that syncs with the ...
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VGA/HDMI Based Attack

Can I attack a PC via the VGA port? Is VGA one way or does it accept data from the other side? How about HDMI or DVI? And if so, are there known malware or PoCs to do that? or is it theoretically ...
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backdoors in hardware (ie. intel/amd cpu) possible? [closed]

There are several reports about hardware based attacks on IT-security as for instance those here: http://wccftech.com/intel-possibly-amd-chips-permanent-backdoors-planted-nsa/ ...
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How safe are CD's for Air Gapped computers?

It is often suggested, for air-gapped PC's, to use CD/DVD's as a transfer medium between machines instead of USB sticks or portable hard-drives as it is difficult to write data to a CD/DVD without the ...