The physical components of an IT system.

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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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1k views

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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1answer
70 views

Should I wipe a brand new Machine and HDD ?

So I am buying a brand new machine and a HDD separate, when I buy this new HDD should I wipe it before I install it ? What necessary steps should I take to make sure it's pretty much clean of any ...
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1answer
198 views

Why are countermeasures against control-flow hijacking attacks mostly implemented in software?

I wonder why countermeasures against code-injection and control-flow hijacking attacks (e.g. stack-based buffer overflows and heap-based buffer overflows) are mostly implemented in software. Examples ...
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925 views

Write-protection at hardware level for security

It seems to me that to maximise server security, one ought - in addition to the usual security measures implemented in software - to prevent the overwriting of certain parts of the server system, such ...
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1answer
763 views

How does UEFI Secure Boot prevent “evil twin” spoofing attacks?

I've been learning about UEFI Secure Boot. It is designed to prevent malware from infecting the boot process and overwriting the bootloader. It has hardware-level protections to ensure that only a ...
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204 views

Disable USB keyboard pluggability on MacBook

I'm concerned about USB devices being physically attached to my MacBook laptop when I am about to unlock my computer or while my computer is unlocked. My threat model involves an attacker who is ...
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1answer
41 views

do i need to use the cipher command with a newer SSD to erase files?

I've used Eraser in the past, and recently became aware of the cipher command in Windows 8. Specifically, with the /w flag: /w removes data from portions of the volume it can access and have not ...
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1answer
180 views

Is there any protection against malicious devices on a CAN bus?

CAN (controller area network) is a bus used in all modern cars. You can read a lot of the cars information over this bus and I think (but I'm not too sure about this) that some critical control ...
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115 views

Realistic: Exploiting a computer on BIOS/ hardware level in less than an hour? (Infinite preparation time)

I wonder how hard it it to infect a laptop or netbook in 60 minutes or less in a way the victim cannot easily clean their machine by wiping hard disk drives. Let's assume the following: The ...
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260 views

HeartBleed and Closed Source Hardware like Cisco

With the release of heartbleed how does one protect themselves with closed source networking hardware like cisco? Especially hardware with VPN variety. Would it be best to replaced such systems with ...
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OPAL Hardware Encryption [closed]

I recently bought a laptop which has OPAL compliant Self encrypting hard drive. I wanted to know how I could use/check the status of the Hardware Encryption features of an OPAL drive (windows, linux ...
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510 views

Malware via power outlet

This is perhaps a very dumb question, but as I have no knowledge nor experience of IT security I have no option but to ask here. Is it possible to get malware onto your computer or smartphone by ...
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Can malware physically damage a hard drive?

I recently responded to an incident of supposed malware infection. The symptoms were simply, "My computer freezes at random times." The response ended with replacement of the physical hard drive and ...
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Could “system volume information” and $RmMetadata pose information leakage on a nuked HDD?

I recently nuked my HDD(s) via a Windows program (Disk Wipe to be precise: http://www.diskwipe.org/), now everything is fine when I try to retrieve the information on that disk by any program I can ...
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2answers
413 views

How do hard-wired backdoors work?

How can a vulnerability be hardwired? Just read this article, which got me thinking. Is there simply vulnerable software running on a piece of hardware that is read/write only or..?
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547 views

Hardware token to authenticate web application

My company is developing a web application, and I was asked to research how to do hardware-based token authentication to login into our web application. Let me repeat: basically there will be a web ...
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1answer
242 views

Is this a security risk for us to lost TPM or others to access to reset BIOS ?

In the previous post Physically secure the system case it is recommended to physically protect the system. But in case stolen laptops where intruder have physical access to TPMs. What are the security ...
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EMV Security? How is it possible that it's secure?

I recently read some articles on EMV and the various ways in which it has been improved over the years. I then read this which shows that it has been possible for some time to exploit EMV via a man ...
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1answer
2k views

Is hardware based disk encryption more secure that software based?

As a spin-off of my question on "Advice on buying an encrypted disk" -- and in an effort to address the question "how is hardware based disk encryption better?" -- I've started a new question. My ...
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1answer
169 views

HSM maintenance

I have a HSM that is an asset within a information security management system and the help desk team tells me that the device is displaying a critical failure alert. So my questions are: Must I ...
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How does YubiKey protects it's secret key?

From what I understand, a YubiKey stores a secret key which can be used to generate passwords to enter a server. How does a YubiKey protect it's secret key? If it is plugged into an infected ...
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815 views

Does a flatbed scanner remember any of its previous scans?

I'm about to get rid of an older scanner and I want to make sure that no one is able to acquire any sensitive information that was scanned previously with the machine. I assume it does have some kind ...
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Possible to use a YubiKey in HSM mode to secure a Windows CA infrastructure?

I'm looking for a low-cost Hardware Security module, and discovered that YubiKey has a HSM mode. I'm not entirely clear if this HSM mode is what I'm thinking, but I'd like to use it as the offline ...
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259 views

Equipment required for sniffing data / address buses via EM emission

What kind of equipment would be required to sniff data from the electromagnetic emissions of data / address buses on an average motherboard? I'd imagine a sensitive hall probe, a faraday cage and ...
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1answer
637 views

Intel SGX and MSRs - what do developers need to know?

Intel SGX is an intriguing new technology that will ship as part of upcoming Intel processors. It is designed to enable running software in a secure enclave. Code running in the enclave will be ...
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How is it on some removable media, when enabling/disabling password protection the changes happen immediately?

For example I have a WD Passport external hard drive. After installing WD security I can enable and disable password protection, however the settings basically get applied instantaneously. Does this ...
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Are there implementations of password hashing algorithms for major frameworks that utilizes specialized hardware like GPUs/FPGAs?

It is common knowledge that password cracking attempts can greatly benefit from specialized hardware such as large clusters of GPUs or FPGAs. Are there any implementations of the commonly recommended ...
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2answers
671 views

Electromagnetic induction attacks - reverse TEMPEST?

I know that electromagnetic emissions from a device can be used to extract information from a system, e.g. TEMPEST or Van Eck phreaking. I also know it's possible to induce a signal into a ...
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1answer
136 views

Ring Oscillator: True Random Number Generator (TRNG) vs Physically Unclonable Function (PUF)

Ring oscillators can be used in hardware true random number generators (TRNG), and also in physically unclonable functions (PUFs). The designs seem fairly similar: TRNG based on ring oscillators: ...
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1answer
8k views

Are there GPS tracker for laptops?

Are there location tracker hardware (GPS receiver) which can be fitted inside of a laptop and it sends live location data to a remote location ? If yes, how to detect such trackers ?
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What are the pros and cons of using yubikey with ssd hardware encryption?

I'm considering trying out yubikey and I've recently discovered that the (crucial m500) SSD I recently bought supports hardware encryption. I think it should be possible to use a yubikey to provide ...
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1answer
349 views

Trial version security

I am developing stand-alone software in BDS 2006. I want to provide a trial version for 6 months -- the user can use it for just 6 months, but no more on a particular system. I have handled most ...
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1answer
2k views

good product to physical lock down a mac mini server?

Since the recent theft of a mac mini and macbook pro Im looking into products to lock down the mac mini server 2011 model. There are many cable solutions out there like kensington but the mac mini has ...
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48 views

Freshness for SGX enclaves

Future Intel processors will support SGX (Software Guard Extensions), which allows running security-critical software on your processor in a way that is isolated from all the other code. The hardware ...
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1answer
43 views

Securing the bootloader

When using full disk encryption the bootloader is not encrypted thus allowing attacks like the Evil Maid. My question is how can I secure myself from this? Can I encrypt the drive or store it in a ...
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1answer
63 views

“Memory Sinkhole” attack and virtual machines?

Recently a design flaw in some Intel X86 processors was revealed at Blackhat. The flaw enables malicious code to gain access to SMM. The flaw can be exploited by an attacker with administrator ...
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What can virtualisation infrastructure operators do about ring 0 SMM exploits?

Just saw this new privilege escalation from Ring 0 to SMM. Say I am operating a small VM/cloud infrastructure for internal people to run whatever they like, is there any way to prevent this ...
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Is malware or screen capture possible with iMac as external display?

If using a foreign iMac as an external display (through the Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt, or Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable, and Command+F2 on the iMac, as per iMac Target Display Mode FAQ), ...
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Literature about IT security from a hardware standpoint

Can you point me to any book, blog, paper, anything about IT security on the lowest possible level (hardware)? I'm primary interested in the motherboard, CPU & GPU, however, if you know any good ...
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Are scanners secure?

I have a dead tree document. In order to reduce the risk of being compromised, I would like to digitize and encrypt the document, and then destroy the physical copy. Let's assume my computer itself ...
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1answer
139 views

Are auto-mounting hard drives a security issue?

Why are hard drives mounted by default in Windows OS, while they aren't in Linux OS? Is that a security issue? If your computer was hacked, can unmounted drives be considered clean?
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What can manufactures of hardware do to prevent attacks on the firmware?

Given the revelations since The Equation Group was discovered. As well as that it is possible to not guarantee removal of a rootkit even with a nuke from high orbit. What properties of a harddrive ...
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1answer
383 views

How do I properly bury a hard disk drive to keep it healthy?

As a way of backing up big amounts of data (about 1-2 TB) I thought it's good idea to bury a hard disk drive (in a damage-preventing shell) to be able to dig it later and read all the data from it if ...
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2answers
148 views

Long term HDD storage solution

I have some HDDs which are encrypted to what I think is a decent standard. I want to lock these away in a remote storage facility, but am a little worried about EMP/Magnetic stuff from wiping the ...
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2answers
140 views

Is any company or group working on secure hardware architectures? [closed]

My impression is that mature Unix-like operating systems are less vulnerable to trojans that might be present, mainly because of well-debugged kernel code, including correct use of hardware memory ...
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1answer
2k views

Does microwaving a hard drive erase it?

Kind of a silly question, but I'm genuinely curious: (in part because I recently saw several questions that refer to "nuking" a hard drive...) what would a microwave DO to an HDD? Would it erase data ...
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122 views

Secure one way radio communication

I was thinking about the feasibility of one way remote control using radio signals. The sending hardware would be bound to a computer and therefore have enough computing power, while the reciever ...
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Is bugged CPU mean “gameover” for whole Computer? [closed]

I'm looking for answer on such question. Imagine that CPU bugged on the factory simply like Blue Pill, but for the network's interconnections. How exactly firewall of OS could protect station ...