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What You Need To Know About Nation-State Hacked Hard Drives
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Kelly Jackson Higgins
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Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
3/5/2015 | 6:55:57 AM
Re: Infected conference materials
A few years ago at DEF CON, there was a scare that the conference proceeding disk given to the press was infected with malware. I can't remember the year, or how it all got resolved (I think it may have been a hoax/rumor), but I can tell you that several reporters opted to view preso slides on DEF CON's webiste after that. =)
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
3/4/2015 | 11:39:58 PM
Re: Infected conference materials
You know air gaps aren't failsafe when the International Space Station gets infected by an astronaut's USB stick.  ;)  (As Kaspersky reported in late 2013.)
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
3/4/2015 | 11:35:45 PM
Re: Infected conference materials
I remember, during a meeting with a manager at a client's bank, being stuck for a hard copy of a document that we needed.  I asked if we could print it off of my personal USB stick.  The banker was like, "Sure, absolutely."

Of course, it was an innocent request by an innocent actor, there was no malware involved, and everything went uneventfully.  But it occurred to me: What if I had been a hacker?  Or even an innocent person who unknowingly possessed an infected USB stick?

What bank security!
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
3/3/2015 | 1:01:43 PM
Knock on effects
Although the security concerns people have may not be that valid, the worrying part for me is what his sort of news does to the confidence people have in US businesses. Despite already big impacts on services and sales within the tech industry, the security agencies continue to push for these pretty invasive tactics when it comes to worldwide snooping. 

I don't know if the trade off is going to be worth it. Not only do these schemes cost a lot to implement, but they're costing the American (and arguably the entire Western) tech economy too. 
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
3/3/2015 | 12:31:45 PM
Re: Infected conference materials
Agree . Not only Hard Disk or USB devices, printer hacked in their firmware may give away path to the cover network, same things on CD, and other devices we have in the network such as switches, if you hacked hard disk you most likely hacked Cisco switches too.
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
3/3/2015 | 12:27:01 PM
Re: Infected conference materials
I agree, let's not accept anything from anybody. :--)). Remember nothing is free. I do not think vendors have any incentive for having, unless somebody else forces them to do so.
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
3/3/2015 | 12:24:57 PM
Re: Infected conference materials
I hear you. It is not only USB device problem. Any device connected any other decide is a risk to each other one way or another. They both need to be secure. If you have device at the firmware level no need to talk about security form that point forward.
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
3/3/2015 | 12:20:46 PM
Malware in the firmware
If malware is in the firmware then it is most likely embedded into those ROM devices where it is read only unless you touch the firmware and reprogram it. Malware in firmware is a good way of hacking a system :--))
Kelly Jackson Higgins
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Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
3/3/2015 | 11:35:59 AM
Re: Infected conference materials
@aws0513, you hit on a key problem of the inherent challenge of taking technology away from users once the horse has left the barn. And even if you do airgap a system, there are still risks to it, such as an infected CD-ROM or USB.
aws0513
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aws0513,
User Rank: Ninja
3/3/2015 | 10:37:24 AM
Re: Infected conference materials
It is the classic "what is old is new again" scenario.

Moreover, the ubiquity of USB storage devices has made it very difficult to proactively mitigate USB storage device risks.

Even though it is a policy at my current employer to prohibit the use of personal USB devices, we get instances almost daily where someone attempts or asks to use one on company owned devices (classic scenario is a vendor/customer that insists that they provide their files on a USB device). 

We security conscious pros see the problem, but even trained end users still do not comprehend or have concerns regarding USB storage risks.  This is even after our training materials discuss the problem at length.

I compare it to smoking.  For years, doctors have been telling people that smoking is bad, yet there is a large section of people that continue to smoke.  Albeit USB devices do not have addictive chemicals, their utility is highly addictive.
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