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5/14/2013
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Black Hat USA 2013 Rolls Out SIM Card, Femtocell Hacking Talks

Organizers have confirmed some early details on Briefings talks

[NOTE: Black Hat and Dark Reading are both part of UBM Tech. As the key July 27th-August 1st information security event in Las Vegas approaches, we'll be sharing information about the show directly from its creators here on Dark Reading.]

As July's Black Hat US in Las Vegas nears, organizers have confirmed some early details on Briefings talks, revealing brand-new breaking information about subjects as diverse as femtocell hacking, BIOS security, finding and exploiting on-chip debug interfaces, and rooting SIM cards.

First, the National Institute of Standard and Technologies (NIST) 2011 publication of 800-155 one-upped the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) PC client specification by better detailing BIOS content that should be measured to provide an adequate Static Root of Trust for Measurement (SRTM). In BIOS Security, John Butterworth, Corey Kallenberg, and Xeno Kovah of MITRE Corp. will show how a laptop (pre-NIST 800-155) SRTM can be manipulated, even with signed updates enabled. The trio will also demonstrate a 51-byte SRTM patch that can trick the TPM into believing the BIOS is pristine. Reflashing the BIOS may not restore the SRTM's integrity; an esoteric technique involving a timing side-channel may be needed for the BIOS to indicate its integrity.

Next up, crypto-infosec researcher Karsten Nohl will present Rooting SIM Cards. There are over 7 billion SIMs in active circulation, yet shockingly little is known about their security traits. It is generally believed they're unbreakable, but this is only because there's a general belief that they've never been known to be exploited. In his briefing, Nohl will shatter this pretense with confirmation that SIM cards, like any other computing system, are plagued by implementation and configuration bugs.

On-chip debug (OCD) interfaces are very useful, but not always easy to find. They can provide chip-level control of a target device, and are a primary vector to extract program code or data, modify memory contents, or affect device operation on the fly. In JTAGulator: Assisted discovery of on-chip debug interfaces, electrical engineer Joe Grand will introduce JTAGulator, a piece of open-source hardware that will help you locate OCD connections without breaking a sweat. Also expect a brief on reverse-engineering methods, the field's prior art, and in-depth info on how OCD interfaces work.

Finally - femtocells are low-power cellular base stations, often offered cheaply by mobile network operators. They use a standard Internet connection to relay CDMA phone call data to the actual cellular network, sort of like a small cell tower, and work seamlessly, so users never even know they're connected to a femtocell rather than a typical tower. Cellular network authentication isn't easy to break, but Femtocells run Linux inside. In I Can Hear You Now: Traffic Interception and Remote Mobile Phone Cloning with a Compromised CDMA Femtocell iSEC Partners' Tom Ritter and Doug DePerry will show you how to completely own a Femtocell, using it to intercept voice/SMS/data, attack the network, and clone a mobile device without physical access.

More information about Black Hat USA 2013, which has a rapidly growing set of Briefings talks, as well as a comprehensive set of 2 and 4-day trainings, is available now - early, reduced-rated registration is open until May 31st.

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