Schedule

Schedule

Tuesday, October 21

1413936000 All About Android
1413945000 Padre's Corner

Wednesday, October 22

1413991800 FLOSS Weekly
1413997200 Tech News Today
1414000800 Windows Weekly
1414008000 This Week in Google
1414018800 Tech News 2Night
1414026000 Ham Nation

Thursday, October 23

1414083600 Tech News Today
1414087200 Know How...
1414090800 Marketing Mavericks
1414096200 Coding 101
1414099800 Home Theater Geeks
1414105200 Tech News 2Night
1414107000 The Giz Wiz

Friday, October 24

1414170000 Tech News Today
1414173600 This Week in Law
1414180800 Android App Arena
1414191600 Tech News 2Night

Saturday, October 25

1414260000 The Tech Guy

Sunday, October 26

1414346400 The Tech Guy
1414360800 This Week in Tech

Monday, October 27

1414429200 Tech News Today
1414432800 Triangulation
1414438200 iPad Today
1414450800 Tech News 2Night

Tuesday, October 28

1414515600 Tech News Today
1414519200 MacBreak Weekly
1414526400 Security Now
1414533600 Before You Buy
1414537200 Tech News 2Night
1414540800 All About Android
1414549800 Padre's Corner

Wednesday, October 29

1414596600 FLOSS Weekly
1414602000 Tech News Today
1414605600 Windows Weekly
1414612800 This Week in Google
1414623600 Tech News 2Night
1414630800 Ham Nation

Thursday, October 30

1414688400 Tech News Today
1414692000 Know How...
1414695600 Marketing Mavericks
1414701000 Coding 101
1414704600 Home Theater Geeks
1414710000 Tech News 2Night
1414711800 The Giz Wiz

Friday, October 31

1414774800 Tech News Today
1414778400 This Week in Law
1414785600 Android App Arena
1414796400 Tech News 2Night

Most Recent Episodes

Tech News 2Night

3-D gun printer gets prison time, Nielsen goes after web ratings

Security Now
Episode #478: Poodle Bites October 21st, 2014

Steve Gibson takes a deep dive into the "Poodle" security vulnerability.

MacBreak Weekly

OS X Yosemite, Apple Pay, and more.

Tech News Today

Samsung announced that its Knox security platform received NSA approval for use by US Government.

This Week in Enterprise Tech

Enterprise Storage with Howard Marks

iPad Today

Clips for smart copy/paste, Flickr's new iPad app, iOS 8.1

Tech News 2Night

iOS 8.1 is now available

Triangulation

Writer, editor, and professional bohemian.

Tech News Today

Reports claim that the Chinese government is intercepting connections to Apple's iCloud from China.

This Week in Tech
Episode #480: And. Roid. October 19th, 2014

Apple Pay, Twitter turmoil, cable chaos, and more.

Know How... 106

Bad USB, I Am Groot, and Defcon

August 14 2014

A USB hack that will make you drop your packets, Patrick Djelahanty shows how he built the "Baby Groot" out of common parts, see soundwaves, lock picking, and Defcon wrap up.

"Bad USB"
* German Researchers Karsten Knoll and Jacob Lell discovered an exploit in the way USB works
* ALL USB devices use some form of controller. They're small computers that interface the USB serial communications protocol with whatever device we want to connect via USB.
-- That controller is actually a small computer... and the computer runs an operating system that is determined by firmware.

What's the Exploit?
* The way that USB was created, that firmware is updateable. It's updateable because the creators of the USB standard wanted manufacturers to be able to reprogram the firmware if a flaw was ever discovered in that firmware.
* HOWEVER, that also means that a malicious user (hacker) could reprogram the firmware to make the device act in a way that the manufacturers had not intended.

What does that all mean?
* This means that a USB flash drive could be reprogramed to act like a keyboard
-- So after you plug it in, it issues a series of keystrokes that (for example) open Internet Explorer, navigate to a page that contains malware, then close the browser... all in a matter of seconds
* Or a USB flash drive could be reprogrammed to act like a network adapter
-- All the traffic you send and receive from your network would pass through this new network adapter, which would forward the packet stream to another computer before sending your trafic to the proper destinations.

Worse still... since your computer has USB devices INTEGRATED into the system (Keyboard, Mouse, Webcamera, Card Reader) a compromised USB device could be used to compromise the USB devices in your computer, which would then compromise any USB device that connects to your computer.

Ok... so why not just run an anti-virus? Or copy over new firmware? Or just make USB firmware non-programmable?

Let's take that one at a time: Anti-Virus
* Your system cannot see past the controller of a USB device.
-- The way USB devices work, the system can query the controller, and the controller will tell the system the status of the USB device.
-- If the controller is compromised, then you cannot trust it to report the correct status
** In other words, the only way an Anti-Virus would work would be if the malware infecting the USB device was programmed to tell the system that it was compromising the controller... an unlikely scenario.

Copying New Firmware:
* As with the Anti-Virus question, the system cannot see past the controller.
* When you update firmware on a USB device, the new firmware is loaded into memory, then the controller is responsible for overwriting its old firmware and reporting back to the system with the new firmware status.
* If I was writing BadUSB malware, the first thing I would to would be to disable that process: Allow the controller to copy the new firmware to memory, then strip off the revision number of the new firmware and report THAT to the system.
-- The system thinks it has new firmware, but the malware is still there.

Making USB devices unprogrammable:
* This is the most likely solution, but there are two MAJOR problems
1. It doesn't fix the BILLIONS of USB devices that are already in the wild.
2. If a manufacturer ever discovers a problem with their firmware (say, an exploit) there is no way to patch it.

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