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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113
votes
6answers
27k 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 ...
98
votes
9answers
26k 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 ...
93
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6answers
46k 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 ...
92
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8answers
35k views

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 ...
79
votes
8answers
20k views

How is 'Removing RAM' a security risk?

Today I was watching a video on 'Ethical Hacking' where, while discussing hardware attacks, the narrator said: Removing RAM or components from a desktop or a laptop Here's a screenshot: I ...
68
votes
7answers
24k views

Is it possible the person sitting across from me at Starbucks was trying to hack my laptop?

I was using my laptop at a Starbucks on a table, and a person was using a laptop on the same table across from me, a couple seats to my side. He flicked some plastic thing across the table towards my ...
64
votes
7answers
39k 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 ...
62
votes
14answers
14k views

Emergency method to erase all data off a machine within seconds

Imagine you are carrying highly sensitive information with you, maybe on a mission in a war zone. You get in an ambush and quickly need to erase all the files before they fall in the wrong hands. This ...
61
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5answers
19k 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?
60
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7answers
8k views

Closed source binary blobs in chipsets - privacy threat?

I wanted to buy a Librem Purism 13 because I care about my privacy and generally wanted a laptop to test Linux on. However, I was advised against it because it uses Intel i5 processors which contain ...
56
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13answers
17k 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 ...
55
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6answers
143k 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 ...
53
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7answers
29k views

How are GPUs used in brute force attacks?

I have read that GPUs can be used in brute force attacks? But how can this be done and is there a need for any other hardware devices (hard disks for instance)? Note: I'm more interested in web ...
51
votes
8answers
37k 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 ...
42
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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 ...
41
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5answers
32k views

What are the differences between TPM and HSM?

TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and HSM (Hardware Security Module) are considered as cryptoprocessor, but what are the differences exactly? Does one of them has more advantages than another?
40
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8answers
8k views

Are all USB-based attacks dependent on being able to inject keystrokes?

From what I've seen, USB-based attacks such as RubberDucky need to be able to open a terminal and then execute commands from there, usually to download and then install malware or to open a reverse ...
40
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2answers
6k views

How can it be easy to write but “impossible” to extract the private key from a crypto token?

A number of crypto-dongles make the claim that it is impossible to extract the stored private key once written. Yubico: The YubiKey AES Key information can never be extracted from a YubiKey ...
36
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7answers
7k 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 ...
33
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9answers
7k views

Is it safe to use cheap USB data cables?

Websites like Amazon and eBay sell USB data cables for a pittance, often of unknown or dubious provenance. Should I be wary of using these cables to transfer data to or from my devices? Is it ...
33
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
32
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7answers
48k 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 ...
31
votes
5answers
53k 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 ...
31
votes
3answers
18k 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 ...
28
votes
12answers
6k views

Is there a secure way to transfer data outside the Internet?

Since, recently, it has been proven that transferring data through the usb port is fundamentally flawed, I'm wondering if there are 100% secure ways to transfer data without using the Internet. ...
28
votes
5answers
22k 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?
27
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8answers
8k views

What makes it difficult to have a hardware antivirus?

Posting systems are vulnerable to virus and worms and having an antivirus is almost necessary. How is it possible that hardware antiviruses don't exist? The idea sounds pretty good, if the antivirus ...
25
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2answers
1k views

Aviation security - Lessons to learn from PlaneSploit

A somewhat related question has already been asked (What would one need to do in order to hijack a satellite?), only at a more abstract level. Now we have a presentation by Hugo Teso from n.runs AG ...
24
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1answer
4k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
21k views

How practical is a laser microphone and how to protect against it?

A laser microphone is a "surveillance device that uses a laser beam to detect sound vibrations in a distant object". - Wikipedia. It's also known as a Laser Based Listening System (LBLS). Firstly, ...
21
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2answers
7k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
15k views

Free/Libre software to handle TCG OPAL 2.0-compliant Self-Encrypting Drives (SEDs)?

I'm in search of a free/libre software that is able to handle OPAL (2.0)-compliant SEDs (i.e. manage the setting of Pre-Boot Authentification (PBA) environment, encryption keys...). It could be a ...
20
votes
4answers
10k views

What is the benefit with using encrypted RAM?

I sometimes hear that encryption is used for the RAM, but I don't really understand why this is needed. Why is RAM needed to be encrypted? And is this done by the hardware, the operating system or ...
20
votes
2answers
7k views

What is known about the capabilities of AMD's Secure Processor?

I've found a fair amount of research about what Intel's ME does, including the "Intel x86 considered harmful (Chapter 4 is about ME)" survey paper by Joanna Rutkowska, but I'm having a much harder ...
18
votes
6answers
867 views

What should I do when classified information stayed on a unauthorized laptop?

Has anyone ever had to deal with an unauthorized laptop accidentally getting Top Secret level data on it? How did you quarantine the system. Were you required to turn in the entire laptop or were you ...
18
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
18
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4answers
4k 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 ...
18
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6answers
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 ...
18
votes
2answers
6k 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)...
17
votes
7answers
25k views

Strategies against jamming attacks?

We have some devices which are designed to use standard frequencies/protocols, such as GSM, CDMA, GPS, Wifi and Bluetooth, among others. While our focus is not thought to be used for high-profile ...
17
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
17
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3answers
6k views

How should one properly dispose of a printer or fax which is used for sensitive documents?

If you need to dispose of printers or fax machines that have handled sensitive documents, how should they be handled? Should you permit them to be donated or sold for reuse outside the organization? ...
17
votes
1answer
847 views

Is the Litecoin Scrypt hashing technique a threat to hashed passwords?

The Bitcoin alternative, Litecoin uses a different algorithm to protect the block chain, namely Scrypt (not Sha256). Given that GPU accelerators exists, and ASICS are due to be released, does the ...
17
votes
1answer
2k 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 (...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

Are consumer-grade routers any more or less vulnerable? [closed]

I apologize if this is an obvious question, I'm not very familiar with hardware. I am planning on hosting a few personal websites from my home, but I'm concerned about my security. I'm using a fairly ...
16
votes
4answers
369 views

How serious are security concerns of wireless healthcare devices?

Back in 2008 a wireless defibrillator was shown to be hackable. At this year's Black Hat conference a presenter showed exactly how to hack into a wireless insulin pump. Both of these demonstrated ...
16
votes
2answers
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Is OpenGL a security problem?

Today, almost all desktop and most mobile operating systems and devices support some version of OpenGL. I'm wondering about the security implications of that: In many cases, the GPU has complete and ...
15
votes
1answer
4k views

How can a hacker disable the LED attached to a webcam without critically damaging the hardware?

Some webcams have an LED next to it which notifies the user it's working. Hackers are supposed to be able to disable this LED in order to spy their victims without their knowledge, but how can you ...
15
votes
1answer
4k views

What benefits do Hardware Security Modules provide when keys are not stored inside them?

I'm researching a project that makes use of cryptography. It is a .net application with keys stored in a sql server database. For cryptography, the project uses a Hardware Security Module similar to ...

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