Schedule

Schedule

Sunday, March 29

1427652000 The Tech Guy
1427666400 This Week in Tech

Monday, March 30

1427734800 Tech News Today
1427738400 Triangulation
1427743800 iPad Today
1427751000 Coding 101
1427756400 Tech News 2Night

Tuesday, March 31

1427821200 Tech News Today
1427824800 MacBreak Weekly
1427833800 Security Now
1427842800 Tech News 2Night
1427846400 All About Android

Wednesday, April 1

1427902200 FLOSS Weekly
1427907600 Tech News Today
1427911200 Windows Weekly
1427918400 This Week in Google
1427929200 Tech News 2Night
1427931000 Android App Arena
1427936400 Ham Nation

Thursday, April 2

1427994000 Tech News Today
1427997600 Know How...
1428003000 Marketing Mavericks
1428008400 Home Theater Geeks
1428015600 Tech News 2Night
1428017400 The Giz Wiz

Friday, April 3

1428080400 Tech News Today
1428084000 This Week in Law
1428094800 Before You Buy
1428102000 Tech News 2Night
1428105600 Padre's Corner

Saturday, April 4

1428170400 The Tech Guy

Sunday, April 5

1428256800 The Tech Guy
1428271200 This Week in Tech

Monday, April 6

1428339600 Tech News Today
1428343200 Triangulation
1428348600 iPad Today
1428355800 Coding 101
1428361200 Tech News 2Night

Tuesday, April 7

1428426000 Tech News Today
1428429600 MacBreak Weekly
1428438600 Security Now
1428447600 Tech News 2Night
1428451200 All About Android

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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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