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I have an Aegis Secure Key from my org, I only create the 'User PIN', and do not own the 'Admin PIN' and this device is set to 'READY ONLY' mode by the administrator. I need read many confidential data from this stick such as a special software, boot an os, or a client cert, etc.

If my 'User PIN' is compromised, and the stick is also accessed physically by the attacker, then he may:

  • a) steals the data on the usb key, or
  • b) (man-in-the-middle via reset) copies the data, complete resets the usb key into factory mode, writes into a tampered version of the original data, set to 'read only' again, and at last set the same 'User PIN' as previous. After that I cannot detect any changes as a user, and then I could run a malware from the attacker or grant the incorrect client cert from the attacker.

My question is that, to avoid man-in-middle attack via reset (b), HOW can I (as a user) verify the stick is not reset between the real admin and me?

When the administrator can sign the contents with his GPG key, it is easy to detect this kind of attack. But if the usb key is used as a bootable os, I could not trust the self verifying result from a maybe-tampered os.

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