The physical components of an IT system.

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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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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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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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276 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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515 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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“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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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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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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493 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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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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369 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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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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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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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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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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317 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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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930 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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166 views

Smartphone motherboard - Does it hold any data?

I recently went for a smartphone repair and got its motherboard replaced. However, it didn't occur to me to ask for the damaged motherboard back. I had confidential credentials and data stored. No ...
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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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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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268 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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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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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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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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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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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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Why fear hardware brought to China, when most of it comes from China?

A lot of people will bring disposable hardware (laptops, phones) to business trips to China, eg. Employee laptops in China. Considering that most of that hardware was manufactured there, what is the ...
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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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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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263 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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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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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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Hardware trojan besides network card?

We all can read news about "Hardware trojans" (it has grown in the recent few years..). But my question is: Besides the network card, could there be any HW trojan that can cause any real damage? ...
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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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269 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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Samsung SSD 850 EVO. Best way to protect personal data against thiefs

I'm wondering what is the best way to protect my personal data stored on Samsung SSD 850 EVO in Linux? I did some research and found this. To set an ATA password, simply access the BIOS, navigate ...
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What comprises the AIS-31 standard for TRNGs?

I'm researching how my smart card's chipset generates random numbers. According to a source in forums the YubiKey NEO is based on the A700x chipset from NXP. The page for the chipset indicates that ...
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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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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 ...