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Black Hat conference to expose holes in ARM, x86, embedded systems

Posted: 25 Jul 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Black Hat conference? embedded systems? mainstream systems?

Security experts will show vulnerabilities in everything from ARM processors to x86 CPUs and even hotel locks at the annual Black Hat conference in Las Vegas this week. A number of sessions will detail security holes in broad sets of embedded systems and mainstream systems software including Apple's iOS, HTML 5 and Microsoft's as yet unreleased Windows 8.

The Black Hat session aim to expose sometimes shocking vulnerabilities in widely used products. They also typically show countermeasures to plug the holes.

There will be a class called "Advanced ARM exploitation" that will detail hardware hacks of multiple ARM platforms running Linux and also a security flaw in a popular Broadcom cable modem chip.

Intel's x86 chips are also a target at Black Hat. There will be discussions about Rakshasa, a malware that is said to be able to open a "back door" on x86 processors.

Accuvant Labs will show ways to spoof near-field communications now being designed into many smartphones. It will describe ways hackers can completely take over control of the phone via NFC, including stealing photos, contacts, even sending text messages and making phone calls.

Also to be analyzed is an experimental protocol developed to extract part of the code that runs on an embedded system using an analysis of its power consumption. This interesting session will focus on techniques for studying the electrical current used by an embedded system during the execution of a program to determine a sequence of opcodes and data the device uses without gaining physical access to the device.

A separate talk will show a console called FRAK for reverse engineering firmware on a HP LaserJet printer, a Cisco IP phone or router using Cisco's IOS software. The tool enables the disassembly, manipulation and re-assembly of firmware binary images.

One talk will shock attendees by describing flaws in Onity locks used in about half of all hotel rooms. It will reveal how these locks are insecure by design and release a number of critical, unpatchable vulnerabilities.

Other sessions will describe ways to break into systems as diverse as smart meters, intrusion detection systems and cellular microcells. There will also be talks about security problems in Apple's iOS, Windows 8 and HTML 5.

Rick Merritt
??EE Times U.S.

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