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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How can I reliably erase all information on a hard drive?

As storage technologies change over time, using different encodings and remappings to deal with sector errors, the best way to permanently erase/wipe/shred data changes also. Methods for flash drives ...
nealmcb's user avatar
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58 votes
6 answers
169k views

Can wiped SSD data be recovered?

I was reading another post on destroying IDE drives, and how you could remove data, wipe it, or just destroy the drive. The removed data would still be there in some state, although not easily ...
cutrightjm's user avatar
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98 votes
6 answers
48k views

How do you destroy an old hard drive?

How do you destroy an old hard drive? To be clear, unlike questions Secure hard drive disposal: How to erase confidential information and How can I reliably erase all information on a hard drive? I do ...
Xonatron's user avatar
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33 votes
3 answers
11k views

Can malware be transmitted via a USB charger plugged into a wall socket?

I have a smart phone that I often plug into a wall socket for charging via a small adapter that rectifies the AC to DC power and transforms the voltage from line (120V or 240V) to 5 V DC, probably ...
Stone True's user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
3k views

Protecting cellphones from USB attacks (a.k.a. Juice Jacking)

We have several smartphone with encrypted data on them (BES, iPhone, Android) and want to prevent an unauthorized person from downloading information from the device via USB. The visual assumption ...
makerofthings7's user avatar
114 votes
6 answers
29k views

What would one need to do in order to hijack a satellite?

I realise this borders on sci-fi, but there's been some interesting demonstrations regarding security of various satellites. What would be required to hack a satellite (in general terms, any hack ...
Incognito's user avatar
  • 5,244
56 votes
8 answers
45k views

How reliable is a write protection switch on a USB flash drive?

I'm currently using a USB flash drive with a live distribution. At times I would plug it into terminals I cannot trust. My threat model here is solely the risk of unauthorized modifications to the ...
Karol J. Piczak's user avatar
28 votes
5 answers
26k views

Recover the prior contents of RAM from a turned-off PC?

I've heard that if your PC is turned off, then an attacker can recover the RAM from the last session. I find this hard to believe. How could it be done?
wisdom's user avatar
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21 votes
6 answers
3k views

How can the impact of cold boot attacks be minimized?

Short of powering down and maintaining physical security for sufficient time, what are effective strategies for keeping keys from being disclosed by cold-boot attacks, and can anything be done without ...
Stephanie's user avatar
  • 563
68 votes
7 answers
52k views

Can RAM retain data after removal?

Is it possible for RAM to retain any data after power is removed? I don't mean within a few minutes such as cold boot Attacks but rather 24 hours plus. Working with classified systems the policy ...
MattP's user avatar
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29 votes
1 answer
6k views

DMA attacks despite IOMMU isolation

If you're already familiar with PCI behavior and Linux's handling of DMA buffers, skip to the third section for my actual question. Otherwise read on for a small summary of how PCI devices perform ...
forest's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
1k views

USB to Firewire converter is a security issue?

FireWire has security issues. But what happens if there aren't any FireWire ports on the given machine, and the operating system doesn't support FireWire, like OpenBSD? I mean converters like: usb ...
newuser999's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is the SD card write protection hard-wired or optional?

According to Wikipedia, the SD card reader recognizes if the little tab on the left of the SD card is in the "lock" position or not. Thus, a SD card reader can still write on the SD card even if the ...
Andalur's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
5k views

SSD (Flash Memory) security when data is encrypted in place

I'm surveying current techniques on flash memory security. I've learned that the non-in-place update of flash memories prevent us from adapting the same encryption techniques that we used on hard ...
lferasu's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
blunders's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
2k views

What traces are left on a USB stick after using it?

If one uses a FAT32-formatted USB stick on Windows, Linux, or Android, would there be a way to determine on which computer the USB stick was used by examining the USB stick? I know OS can log which ...
William's user avatar
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56 votes
13 answers
19k views

Is it possible to turn a computer into a bomb?

I know this newspaper article sounds absurd. Even if a machine is compromised we (should) have hardware safe guards in all our devices to prevent the software from damaging the hardware. But is it ...
rook's user avatar
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31 votes
3 answers
20k views

Surveillance: blocking laptop's microphone from spying on you?

It is a known fact that your laptop camera can be hacked to spy on you. While the most often mentioned remedy is very low tech yet effective, everyone seems to omit the fact that the microphone can be ...
daniel.sedlacek's user avatar
22 votes
2 answers
8k views

Wireless keyboard sniffing risk

I've just acquired a wireless keyboard/mouse combo (Microsoft Wireless Desktop 3000). Only after having plugged it in did it get me thinking. How susceptible are those kind of setups to sniffing? Are ...
Karol J. Piczak's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
7k views

Tamper-proof BIOS password & settings storage with Trusted Platform Module?

In the olden days, one could trivially bypass BIOS passwords on most PCs by removing the BIOS battery and clearing the CMOS. My question is: On modern PCs equipped with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM)...
user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
3k views

How to know whether a RAM module is vulnerable to rowhammer before buying?

I'd like to know (or at least perform some reasonable guess) if a RAM is vulnerable to rowhammer attack. I haven't found any list of vulnerable or secure RAM modules. I've seen some general rules (...
v6ak's user avatar
  • 629
14 votes
3 answers
15k 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 ...
Nick Ginanto's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
6k 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 ...
sampablokuper's user avatar
12 votes
6 answers
2k views

Best method of retiring hard drives [duplicate]

What are some typical ways you guys retire hard drives? We have a hard drive that won't mount anymore (makes clicking sounds when it tries to mount). The data on it isn't necessarily sensitive (no ...
Safado's user avatar
  • 732
11 votes
3 answers
1k views

Sourcing hardware that is least likely to contain backdoors

I understand that CPU silicon (for example) is scrutinized for backdoors but there are other aspects of a computer system that may "leak data" to the outside world unbeknownst to the owner regardless ...
makerofthings7's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
2k views

What use does a BIOS/EFI password have?

I have become quite a password-obsessed individual. I password-protect my HDDs, my files, and now even the BIOS/EFI on the various systems I own. But I have discovered that if you forget your BIOS ...
connor's user avatar
  • 111
11 votes
1 answer
10k views

How to generate a unique and uncopyable VPN certificate/key for a specific client hardware device?

The problem is : Nothing prevents the user to copy the certficate/key on a different hardware device and use it from a different hardware device... Is it possible to generate a really unique ...
Erwan's user avatar
  • 213
10 votes
2 answers
7k 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 (TPM vs. HSM and TPM vs. SE)...
DurandA's user avatar
  • 127
10 votes
2 answers
5k views

Magnet to wipe HDD [duplicate]

This question is for HDD, not SDD. Would a Neodymium magnet like this one be strong enough to wipe the contents of a hard disk drive? How long would such an act take to destroy any data so it's not ...
k1308517's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
964 views

How to implement secure device identification in a for-pay wifi router to prevent usage fraud?

After reading this question about how for-pay wifi routers identify specific devices it got me thinking about what a secure alternative might be. I know that certain research has focused on ...
logicalscope's user avatar
  • 6,374
5 votes
3 answers
900 views

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 ...
Boppity Bop's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
5k views

Malware via power outlet [duplicate]

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 ...
user avatar
101 votes
9 answers
40k views

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 ...
GWR's user avatar
  • 1,223
36 votes
7 answers
8k views

Is it possible to secretly monitor/backdoor hardware?

I've recently gained an interest in anonymity and the technical aspects of it. Is it possible for hardware to be bugged and monitored? I.e, can a seller of a processor bug it in order to report what ...
IamCURIOUS's user avatar
33 votes
5 answers
58k views

How secure is WD MyPassport lock

I have a WD My Passport hard drive. There is an option that allows you to lock your hard drive with a password. How secure is this lock? They don't give details about the encryption algorith or the ...
S.I.Tsaklidis's user avatar
33 votes
7 answers
54k views

Can a hard drive be destroyed by drowning?

These are some ways of disposing of hard drives: Special firms, degaussing, hammering, pulling apart. Can this be accomplished more quickly by drowning it? Fill a bucket with water, maybe add some ...
Strapakowsky's user avatar
  • 3,089
20 votes
4 answers
5k views

Are there any hardware HSMs that can host/run custom applications using the HSM processor(s) within the hardened security boundary?

It seems that the majority of commercially available hardware HSMs are only designed to allow authenticated users to generate, store, and use cryptographic keys with various cryptographic algorithms ...
Drew Lex's user avatar
  • 2,023
19 votes
5 answers
17k views

Keyboard sniffing through audio recorded typing patterns

I've been thinking about this for a while; I know people are aware of wireless wiretapping of keyboards. However, has there been research on how to wiretap keyboards based on typing patterns? I'm ...
Ztyx's user avatar
  • 334
18 votes
6 answers
5k views

Keyboards immune to signal monitoring?

Reading a couple questions and answers here recently got me to thinking. Wireless keyboards run the inherent risk of exposing their data due to the relatively broad transmission range, and the ease ...
Iszi's user avatar
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13 votes
4 answers
1k views

How to trust ICs?

While it is theoretically possible to thoroughly examine the source code of Open Source Software to check for backdoors (neglecting a Ken Thompson hack), and given sufficiently adequate knowledge in ...
Tobias Kienzler's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
11k views

How to disable Firewire in OpenBSD/Linux to prevent attacks through Firewire?

Since Firewire lacks security, allowing a plugged-in device to access host memory, it's a good thing to fully disable it. If we're not using the BIOS to disable the Firewire port then how could we do ...
LanceBaynes's user avatar
  • 6,279
11 votes
2 answers
3k views

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 ...
Pacerier's user avatar
  • 3,313
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do you know a computer is not compromised when you first get it?

How do you know a computer is not compromised when you first get it? How do you know that manufacturers have not intentionally built vulnerabilities into the system?
Kinnard Hockenhull's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
25k 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 ...
KnightOfNi's user avatar
  • 2,277
8 votes
1 answer
298 views

Anonymity of sneakernet: identifiable information on removable storage

Alice, an anonymous informant, would like to transmit digital documents to Bob while maintaining her anonymity. For whatever reason, she chooses to copy the documents to some kind of physical ...
twisteroid ambassador's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Intel firmware/microcode updates that make processors "immune" to both Spectre and Meltdown?

Recently Intel has claimed the following in a press release (emphasis added): SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 4, 2018 — Intel has developed and is rapidly issuing updates for all types of Intel-based ...
Alexander O'Mara's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
5k views

What is "NAND mirroring", the alleged technique that the FBI will use to crack the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone?

According to Ars Technica, Jonathan Zdziarski, a leading independent Apple iOS security researcher and forensics expert, has a theory about the FBI's newly discovered potential route into the ...
William's user avatar
  • 181
5 votes
3 answers
484 views

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 ...
Digital fire's user avatar
  • 3,176
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

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 ...
Faraday's user avatar
  • 143
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

How to determine if a PC's hardware and firmware have been modified?

My company own some PCs and laptops. The firmware and hardware may have been modified. It is a waste to dispose of that many PCs and laptops. Are there any scans or anything I could do to determine ...
Morgan's user avatar
  • 31