Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Partner Perspectives  Connecting marketers to our tech communities.
12/6/2016
12:50 PM
Matthew Rosenquist
Matthew Rosenquist
Partner Perspectives
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
50%
50%

PoisonTap USB Device Can Hack A Locked PC In A Minute

This is just one example of an emerging technology that enables anyone with physical access to a computer's USB port to potentially harvest data and gain access by spoofing an Internet ecosystem.

PoisonTap is a fully automated proof-of-concept USB device that, when connected to a locked PC, hacks the device and installs a backdoor onto the user’s PC, allowing the attacker to access the victim’s online activities. It takes less than a minute and costs about $5.

Coffee In The Café

Imagine you are in the popular café near your workplace where everyone tends to frequent, and you get up to refresh your drink. Being security conscious, you lock your laptop before you get up. Gone for only two minutes, it was enough for a smooth attacker to come by and slyly insert a small device into your laptop’s USB drive and then moments later remove it and walk away without anyone suspecting foul play. You return to your locked PC none the wiser and continue to work, never knowing you have just been hacked.

Security researcher Samy Kamkar built the working proof-of-concept (POC) on Raspberry Pi Zero and Node.JS. When installed, it siphons cookies, exposes internal routers, and installs a Web backdoor.

USB ports and drives have always been an infection point for malware to gain a foothold on computers. The reason for this is that most computers will install plug-and-play drivers for USB devices without much scrutiny. This trust can be taken advantage of by hackers who present less-than-secure drivers as a way to get in. With access to the USB port, credentials can be stolen even when the screen is locked. Current exploits can work against Windows, OSx, and Linux operating systems.

Protecting Devices

A new generation of hacking USB drives is being developed, putting all of our PCs at risk while we step away for a moment or are distracted. They will get more powerful and virulent over time. Professionals are at risk while at conferences, meetings, coffee shops, and other venues where potentially untrustworthy people are present. It could happen in public, while at a customer’s site, or even in your own work office. It can take as little as 13 seconds and in many cases less than a minute to compromise a system and install a backdoor for remote access by the attacker.

PoisonTap is just one example of an emerging technology that enables anyone with physical access to a computer’s USB port to potentially harvest data and gain access by spoofing an Internet ecosystem. Such bold and scary attacks highlight the need to incorporate both improved physical security and cybersecurity aspects to properly manage the evolving risks.

Interested in more? Follow me on Twitter (@Matt_Rosenquist) and LinkedIn to hear insights and what is going on in cybersecurity.

Matthew Rosenquist is a cybersecurity strategist who actively advises global businesses, academia, and governments to identify emerging risks and opportunities.  Formerly the cybersecurity strategist for Intel Corp., he benefits from 30 years in the security field. He ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
oxitech239
50%
50%
oxitech239,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/7/2016 | 9:39:34 AM
mostly F.U.D.
PoisonTap is yet another sad example of the growing lack of know-how on security in the security news industry. Or should i say, sensationmaking news.

PoisonTap is harder to pull-off than you'd expect and much easier to counter than one would expect.

It's shame even security fell to newsmaking and reputationcultivation.
Navigating Security in the Cloud
Diya Jolly, Chief Product Officer, Okta,  12/4/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-16772
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-07
The serialize-to-js NPM package before version 3.0.1 is vulnerable to Cross-site Scripting (XSS). It does not properly mitigate against unsafe characters in serialized regular expressions. This vulnerability is not affected on Node.js environment since Node.js's implementation of RegExp.prototype.to...
CVE-2019-9464
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
In various functions of RecentLocationApps.java, DevicePolicyManagerService.java, and RecognitionService.java, there is an incorrect warning indicating an app accessed the user's location. This could dissolve the trust in the platform's permission system, with no additional execution privileges need...
CVE-2019-2220
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
In checkOperation of AppOpsService.java, there is a possible bypass of user interaction requirements due to mishandling application suspend. This could lead to local information disclosure no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is not needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVers...
CVE-2019-2221
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
In hasActivityInVisibleTask of WindowProcessController.java there?s a possible bypass of user interaction requirements due to incorrect handling of top activities in INITIALIZING state. This could lead to local escalation of privilege with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction ...
CVE-2019-2222
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
n ihevcd_parse_slice_data of ihevcd_parse_slice.c, there is a possible out of bounds write due to a missing bounds check. This could lead to remote code execution with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVersions: Android-8.0 Android...