Questions tagged [hardware]

For attacks against, or best practices for physical components of an Information Technology system. It can consist of network equipment, servers, CPUs, hardware security module, smartcards, etc. When using this tag, also include an additional tag for the specific type of hardware.

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Are the security basics of a non-wifi router different from securing your desktop? [duplicate]

I have studied much about securing a desktop from enabling firewall to browsing internet safely among other things. I also know that many steps can be taken to improve the security of wifi routers. ...
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39 views

Malware egress and detection [on hold]

I've been researching if malware could be physically installed on a device (the device is never connected to a network and does not have the hardware to support this), inject malicious code, and ...
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1answer
127 views

How can I challenge an attacker to reliably identify their hardware? [closed]

I distribute a client application where I would like to identify a user's hardware specifications when they begin interacting with my server. I am specifically interested in identifying the user's GPU ...
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3answers
125 views

Can PCB's contain spyware?

I'm thinking about purchasing a keyboard PCB from someone overseas, but I'm not 100% sure if it's safe. The firmware I'm going to install is QMK which is open source and I feel safe using it. ...
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2answers
135 views

Easiest way to secure my home network from work pc

I am about to start a work at home position using a mac. I will be using my own personal internet to connect to their servers through their VPN. I want to isolate my work PC from accessing my home ...
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1answer
67 views

How to make USB drive read only and write by a password or key or certificate?

I am trying to distribute a software, a simple exe file, that can be executed directly from an USB drive. I would like to make that USB drive read only to avoid any malware infection and accidental ...
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1answer
107 views

Requiring hardware key at boot-up on normal laptop

I am sure that a question like this already exists and has probably been answered. I just couldn't find any results (probably due to my inability to word my question correctly). We use laptops at ...
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1answer
234 views

Estimating Password Cracking Speed Based on GPU?

I was wondering if there was a calculator or formula I could use to find a rough estimation of the time it takes to crack hashes based on GPU. I am trying to assess how much performance I would lose/...
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1answer
103 views

How secure is a Mac if it passes Apple Diagnostics?

Recently I brought my MacBook Air to a Genius Bar to perform a clean MacOS installation. For security purposes, I asked for a hardware check as well. The Genius Bar technician ran Apple Diagnostics, ...
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1answer
177 views

Do video cards store any personal information? Should they be destroyed when getting rid of them?

I realize this question sounds a bit ridiculous but I figured it couldn't really hurt to ask. I am in the process of getting rid of some old computers of mine, and I know that I need to destroy the ...
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4answers
9k views

Should one buy new hardware after a system compromise?

If there are places on a laptop malicious programs can leave elements, hooks, backdoors etc, in locations such as BIOS, device controllers, firmware etc - what confidence can one have in wiping the ...
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2answers
160 views

Does “Restore Factory Defaults” Wipe Out My Data Completely?

I used to have a IBM Thinkpad (Lenovo) T440. I have been using that laptop for over 8 years. This device has been reset to factory default multiple times (probably up to 6-10 times if not more) ...
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263 views

Is there a “no-spy, no-backdoors standard” for telecom hardware manufacturing?

The BBC News article Huawei says willing to sign 'no-spy' agreements reports the following: Huawei has also said it is independent from the Chinese government, but some countries have blocked it ...
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728 views

What are the new MDS attacks, and how can they be mitigated?

Several new hardware side-channels were discovered called MDS attacks, which allow reading arbitrary memory, like Meltdown. Many existing mitigations are useless against them. The relevant CVEs are: ...
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1answer
121 views

Is faulty RAM a security risk?

If the RAM is only slightly faulty, so that the machine boots apparently normally, but sometimes crashes. Can the fault be leveraged somehow?
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1answer
30 views

A SIM module-based security system and radio signal interruptions

I would like to setup a simple alarm system using something like a Raspberry Pi or Arduino, some sensors, and a SIM module to send me an alarm when an intrusion is detected. If I were dealing with an ...
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2answers
254 views

What are the differences between HSM and SE?

What are the differences between a Hardware Security Module (HSM) and a Secure Element (SE)? Can both terms be used interchangeably? I came across various related question (TMP vs. HSM and TPM vs. SE)...
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Phoenix/Samsung BIOS/HDD security

I have a laptop bought in 2011. I want to protect its BIOS and HDD (data is already encrypted anyway). But I have seen these vulnerabilities: After 3 incorrect tries, I see "System Disabled" with ...
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80 views

Local area network multi-device network communication protocol

I am planning to build a local area network that will have one Master device and multiple Slave devices. The communication should be able to handle only ON/OFF functionality of the devices (devices ...
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1answer
212 views

What is risky about international travel?

I have seen guidelines which suggest that traveling overseas is particularly risky when it comes to protecting your intellectual property. I'm confused about what specifically are the factors that ...
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1answer
91 views

Does Apple supply hardware keyloggers? [closed]

I received a brand new Mac laptop for work that is basically ours and doesn’t have to be returned, even after quitting. It was inside the box and sealed. I was wondering if Apple supplies and installs ...
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54 views

Is Linux dangerous for secure environments because it's open source? [duplicate]

I work for a company that sells hardware products with Linux embedded into the product. We lost a job for a defense contractor due to our hardware running Linux. Their reason was "because it's open ...
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1answer
181 views

Anomaly on new laptop. Does it suggest tampering?

My laptop has a plastic chassis whose panels click into place (no screws on the outside). When I bought it (new), there was a gap on one side along the seam joining the top and bottom halves of the ...
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1answer
83 views

External hard drive's hardware vulnerabilities [closed]

You have an external hard drive that was left in a public place. The data is encrypted. What are the hardware or software vulnerabilities one can use to get the encryption password when one decrypts ...
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9answers
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Buying a “Used” Router

I am buying a "new" router from an open-box sale at a company that liquidates eCommerce returns. Plan to use it for a home network at cottage. I'm a bit nervous that it could have been modified by ...
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1answer
138 views

Why must Meltdown use probe array?

This is code snippet of Meltdown assembly language code: 1. ; rcx = kernel address, rbx = probe array 2. xor rax, rax 3. retry: 4. mov al, byte [rcx] 5. shl rax, 0xc 6. jz retry 7. mov rbx, ...
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How to securely generate a License tied to 1 Computer for each user

This question is related to my first question: How secure is this schema for Online Licensing System? I'm trying to sell a subscription based software and I can't find a good way to generate a serial ...
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132 views

How is it possible that the Metasploit meterpreter can take pictures without “notifying” the user?

Im curious how the Meterpreter can take pictures from my webcam without turning on the webcam LED? Ive read that you have to write/change a driver, or a firmware, or you just change some DLLs, but ...
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127 views

Why don't smartphone manufactures write the IMEI onto one time writable ROM so that it can't be tampered with? [closed]

The title says it all basically. Even now, why is tampering IMEI possible at all? Shouldn't manufactures be using one time writable memory to embed IMEI into phones? Why don't they?
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1answer
269 views

Are there any observed Rowhammer attacks in the wild

Due to the latest news regarding Rowhammer and its applicability to ECC DRAM, I was wondering whether there are any Rowhammer attacks spotted in the wild. Given the various approaches to conduct a ...
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1answer
141 views

Does IOMMU protect against malware insertion through PCI Network card/Sound card DMA?

I've just read about this: https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/security-data-protection/backdoors-hardware-attacks-rakshasa-malware/ Asides from the question in the title, I'd also like to add ...
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1answer
94 views

What hardware components in a laptop should be removed in order to prevent it from wirelessly communicating with other devices?

If you have a laptop, what hardware components should be removed in order to prevent it from wirelessly communicating with other devices? In other words, how can I prevent a laptop from getting ...
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1answer
52 views

The main things a cloud data center could inject into its hardware

So some cloud service providers like Amazon use custom hardware to improve different characteristics of their servers. This also means they can control the security better, because there is nothing ...
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74 views

Is it possible to completely prevent Speculative Execution Side-Channel attacks?

I'm learning about computer architecture recently, and I heard that branch prediction is really tricky but may improve the efficiency of cpu a lot, then I came across this term. My question is that is ...
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1answer
40 views

Commodity Conversion Cables with Write Blockers

Looking at write-blocking devices I've notice a large variety of specialized hardware based on different source connector types, including USB-to-USB write blockers. It seems as though it should be ...
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2answers
240 views

How to securely destroy old cellphone, to avoid personal data recuperation?

While cleaning I've found an old cellphone. This phone does not turn on, and I'm not sure if contains personal data. I would like to throw away this phone, but I'm concerted if this data can be ...
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3answers
152 views

Are DTMF tones decoded by the DTMF producer?

If I generate a DTMF(dual tone multi frequency) tone on phone A, clearly the tone gets decoded by the other phones (phone B, C...) on the call. Does the DTMF tone also get decoded by phone A? How is ...
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5answers
16k views

What are the risks of buying a used/refurbished computer? How can I mitigate those risks?

I bought a used computer that appears to be wiped clean, but can I be sure?
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3answers
91 views

Protect hdd from writing permanently

I am looking for a way to permanently lock an external hdd to read-only mode without a way for the external attacker to make it writable. If it is not possible to use a password or pin to make disk ...
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2answers
151 views

The most secure external hard drives on the market

Wondering what the most secure hard drives are on the market, as stuff like this points out that sometime the "encryption software" that comes bundled with external hard drives is probably insecure ...
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1answer
67 views

How to completely clear an external hard drive from scratch

I am currently wondering how to detect malware on an HDD, so trying to break apart the questions into smaller chunks. For this question I am wondering how to completely clear an external hard drive (...
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2answers
302 views

How to detect malware on an HDD from scratch

I am wondering how to detect a virus or malware or anything that exists on an HDD (I am thinking of external hard drives). Doing a quick search led to these which aren't quite related: Virus checking ...
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1answer
88 views

How to reuse a rewritable DVD from an unknown source?

I have a used rewritable DVD that I want to wipe and use to store new data. The DVD has been written to before by someone I don't know and can't necessarily trust. Is there a safe way to use the disc? ...
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1answer
4k views

New CVE-2018-5407 “PortSmash vulnerablity” in Intel CPU

I just heard in the news: Intel CPUs impacted by new PortSmash side-channel vulnerability. Is it as threatening as Meltdown/Spectre? Is it patched? What should we do to be safe? Does it affect AMD CPU'...
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2answers
143 views

PC hardware and firmware modified?

My company own some PCs and laptops. The firmware and hardware may have been modified. The adversary is a hacker who works for a mid sized company. It is not a three letter agency or the government. ...
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1answer
48 views

Decryption only on specific Device

Let's say I have a closed user group and want to send them encrypted data over an insecure channel. I have previously had access to their devices and could have installed a decryption key. Is there ...
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1answer
169 views

How do Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) compare to Graphics Processing Units (GPUs); for cracking hashes?

As a general rule, GPUs are more effective than CPUs when it comes to performing acutely repetitive tasks, like iterating over lists and generating permutations of a set (i.e. exhausting dictionaries &...
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0answers
95 views

Can maliciously modified ACPI AML be executed without a reboot?

ACPI tables contain ACPI Machine Language, or AML, which is executed by an interpreter in the kernel at boot. Certain ACPI tables, such as the DSDT, are necessary to support hardware ACPI events such ...
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1answer
112 views

How to enforce on the OS level to recognise only certain keyboards

I give employees AES wireless keyboards. I would like to enforce the OS to only recognise the keyboard we supply. Is that possible? Assuming my employees OS are Windows 10, Ubuntu, Mac OSX. How could ...
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1answer
178 views

A hardware spy chip was found in server equipment recently. How does it work? [closed]

According to Bloomberg (and many other sites) some servers manufactured in China and shipped to the US were infiltrated with a spy chip the size of an SMD capacitor (as it says in the article): https:/...