Hot answers tagged

142

No, you are just being paranoid. You were probably already connected to him over WiFi. There are many attacks he could have run this way without additional devices. Also if he would have wanted to hack you, he would not have thrown his strange hacking device in your face. He would have hidden it below the table. Side note: I feel like most of the people ...


117

Perhaps he was using one of these wireless chargers that are built into the tables. It certainly fits your description.


80

In 2011 the news was reporting on HP Printers catching fire. HP Responded saying that there was a hardware element called a "thermal breaker" to prevent this from happening. The researcher never produced a burning pile of printer. Also in 2011 Charlie Miller was researching the firmware on Apple's batteries trying to get them to explode or catch fire. ...


76

Overview First, I learned a lot of my information from a combination of my amateur radio experience and an awesome talk I sat in at DEFCON 18. The majority of satellite systems are simple repeaters. The signal that comes in on a transponder is cleaned, amplified, and retransmitted. If you know the location and input frequency, and you pump more effective ...


73

Physical destruction of a drive is tricky business. There are many companies that deal specifically in the field of data destruction, so if you are doing any kind of mass you may want to at least look at their price list. If you contract, make sure the company is properly bonded/insured, and provides audit trails for each destroyed item. In the worst case ...


58

This 2013 article analyses retention time for several DRAM chips. Among the relevant information, one may list the following: Retention time depends on a lot of things, including the values of neighbouring bits. A DRAM bit is a potential well, and it loses its contents by moving charges from or into neighbouring areas, so whether there is room in these ...


49

I'm choosing to assume you're asking why it's a risk rather than how to hack. GPUs are very good at parallelising mathematical operations, which is the basis of both computer graphics and cryptography. Typically, the GPU is programmed using either CUDA or OpenCL. The reason they're good for brute-force attacks is that they're orders of magnitude faster than ...


48

Yes. If you do a normal format, the old data can be recovered. A normal format only deletes/overwrites a tiny bit of filesystem metadata, but does not overwrite all of the data itself. The data is still there. This is especially true on SSDs, due to wear levelling and other features of SSDs. The following research paper studies erasure of data on SSDs: ...


47

People have given great answers here that directly answer your question, but I'd like to give a complementary answer to explain more in depth why GPUs are so powerful for this, and other applications. As some have pointed out, GPUs are specially designed to be fast with mathematical operations since drawing things onto your screen is all math (plotting ...


42

Well "impossible" is impossible to prove which is why in the linked answer I said "almost impossible", maybe even that is overstating it. By using a secure hardware device the attack vector goes from "malware installed remotely on host steals secret," to "attacker needs to physically gain access to the hardware device and destructively remove the private ...


42

There is nothing stopping an attacker from putting a powerline ethernet transceiver as well as a USB-enabled microcontroller into a USB charger. This would allow them to communicate with the charger in the hope to offload some malware onto a smartphone plugged into that port. However, such a device would need to be highly specialized and specifically ...


40

Yes, if an attacker has physical access to your computer it is no longer your computer. While it's theoretically possible to implement spying directly in silicon on a modern CPU, a modern x86-based CPU is extremely complicated. An attacker would be better off using a peripheral device that uses something like USB which exposes certain interrupts in an ...


36

I don't know what that gizmo is, but unless you've got a really bizarre laptop, it wouldn't be useful for attacking your computer. Outside of a laboratory setting, attacking a computer means using its standard input or output capabilities. An ordinary wifi or Bluetooth antenna can reach your laptop from anywhere in the room; a directional antenna can ...


33

Special firms either degauss, destroy or melt the harddrives. Harddrives are magnetic data. Magnetism can be destroyed by either: Degaussing (changing the magnetism) Heating the drive (melting) (which destroys/changes the magnetism) Hammering (shock) (shock damages magnetism somewhat, but the denting of the drive makes it very difficult to read the ...


31

The only NIST approved method to securely erase a hard drive is by utilizing the secure erase internal command - documented at the Center for Magnetic Recording Research (CMRR) - and that is what everyone should be doing. It is an ATA command, and covers (S)ATA interfaces. After that, you can optionally degauss the drive to erase the firmware itself. Lots ...


28

What isn't documented, is not documented. All we can do is infer. From the documentation, we see that the password must be re-entered in a number of conditions (drive unplugged, computer shut down, computer put to sleep...) which boil down to: the drive was not powered at some time. This hints at a security feature done on the drive itself, not in software ...


25

It really depends upon the specific threats you may be facing, the direction of your data transfers, etc. USB specific dangers You mention the dangers of USB. The main one is indeed related to its firmware opening the possibility of a BadUSB type attack. When you need to transfer data in both directions, you may therefore prefer to use SD-Cards which are ...


23

It's taking me a few minutes to come up with something beyond, "That's patently damn absurd!" But... I guess like many things, nobody would write it if somebody didn't buy it. My first thought from the formatting and related image is that this was sensationalist crud from a few decades ago. After all, that machine has a 5 1/4" floppy... but they're talking ...


22

What would be required to hack a satellite (in general terms, any hack really)? When it comes to satellites, the word general does not apply. Almost every satellite, with very few exceptions is custom. Even the currently orbiting GPS satellites are not all the same: there are GPS IIA, GPS IIR, GPS IIR-M, and GPS IIF. I would venture that even satellites ...


22

TL:DR - Yes, routers CAN be vulnerable. Misconfigured/Unconfigured routers - A ton of people just install their routers and leave the default accounts turned on without modification. Thus allowing attackers easy access. Vulnerable built in scripts - http://www.reddit.com/r/netsec/comments/1xy9k6/that_new_linksys_worm/ See: What is the ...


21

Hardware crypto modules like this are regulated by a set of standards called FIPS 140-2 which specify the ridiculous lengths that the devices must go to in order to protect the private keys inside them. There are four levels of FIPS 140-2, briefly summarized as: Level 1: It does basic crypto-y things. Level 2: "Tamper-evident"; it's impossible to extract ...


20

Of course, the hardware/firmware also plays as role. The point is at the end of day, firmware also runs programs, and some controllers even provide full computing environments similar to small computers. It is then no small wonder there are projects that revolve around avoiding proprietary formats, either in binary blobs or in proprietary operating systems ...


18

From a theoretical standpoint the idea of total drive destruction may be the only way of destroying data on a hard drive fully. From a practical standpoint, I've not seen any evidence that it's possible to recover meaningful data from a standard hard drive (ie, not taking SSDs or other devices that use wear levelling or similar technologies) after a once ...


17

There are mechanisms that could result in data remanence in DRAM beyond the charge stored in the gates (which is typically gone in seconds, especially at normal elevated operating temperature). One is movement of ionic contaminants which can cause slight shifts in thresholds. This could be the 'burn in' that Tom's answer refers to. There may not be any ...


17

It is not reasonable to ever assume data you receive (including your operating system, BTW) from an outside source can be made 100% secure. The most secure way to transfer something and all-but-guarantee no side-effects (e.g. the OS mounting an external drive) is to type in all the data by hand while you be sure you understand it all. Even then you still ...


16

There is an element of truth to this one - an attack was discovered which took advantage of data remanence in RAM, allowing an attacker to grab data from the RAM in a machine. There was a very short timeframe (a matter of seconds or minutes) in which to do this, but it wasn't a hack of the PC as such. Simple Wikipedia link to Cold Boot Attack here And the ...


15

1. Backdoor testing accounts. Engineers often include backdoor mechanisms and testing accounts in hardware for debugging purposes, with trivial or no security measures put in place to protect them. Unfortunately, a large number of devices make it to market without having these mechanisms and accounts disabled, allowing attackers to gain illegitimate access ...


15

You don't. Some vendors do indeed ship backdoors with their products, and many computers come with "crapware" pre-installed as a source of revenue for the manufacturers. Even apps that don't contain a backdoor can cause other damage (e.g. Browser toolbars that track browsing). Same concerns apply with hardware, especially in networking equipment. What you ...


14

Call the bank and cancel the card. It's the only way to prevent it from being used, since any merchant with whom you've previously used the card, or anyone who otherwise already has the card data (including simply a photograph of the card) could theoretically run it in a card-not-present transaction. Once you cancel the card, the physical plastic card is ...


14

The Thales nShield HSM (previously nCipher) allow for generic programming. This is a rather expensive option; it must first be enabled in the HSM (through a "feature file" which is signed by Thales and specific to the serial number of a HSM), and then the extra code can run as long as it is signed with a key known to the HSM for such usage. With that ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible