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malpolud



Joined: 18 Jul 2011
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malpolud
Hello everybody.

Does anybody of you have some knowledge about what hardware is and what is not secure? I mean what hardware can possibly have backdoors or contain backdoored firmware. For example Intel AMT/vPro seem to be a feature that could be quite undesireable if it could be secretly used by anybody. Recently I heared about some Chinese smarphones that could be infected by backdoors.

Cheers!

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Post 26 Jun 2014, 17:48
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HaHaAnonymous



Joined: 02 Dec 2012
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HaHaAnonymous
[ Post removed by author. ]


Last edited by HaHaAnonymous on 28 Feb 2015, 18:08; edited 1 time in total
Post 26 Jun 2014, 17:59
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malpolud



Joined: 18 Jul 2011
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malpolud
HaHaAnonymous: proof/source or just OS hating kiddie, expressing opinion?
Post 26 Jun 2014, 18:22
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HaHaAnonymous



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HaHaAnonymous
[ Post removed by author. ]


Last edited by HaHaAnonymous on 28 Feb 2015, 18:08; edited 1 time in total
Post 26 Jun 2014, 19:17
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
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revolution
For the most part anything that is programmable is exploitable. And an exploit can be very small and require very few parts to be effective. There were even rumours that the Intel RNG supporting the rdrand instruction was compromised at the fab level. No one knows for sure but it casts doubt on the security of the chip.

So in answer to your question: Treat all programmable hardware as not trustworthy until proven otherwise. As to whether it is secure or not is something that needs to be investigated before you can trust it.
Post 27 Jun 2014, 01:46
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nop



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
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nop
revolution wrote:
Treat all programmable hardware as not trustworthy until proven otherwise.
but how to prove otherwise? just hardware hating kiddie expressing opinion? Laughing
Post 27 Jun 2014, 04:03
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


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revolution
nop wrote:
revolution wrote:
Treat all programmable hardware as not trustworthy until proven otherwise.
but how to prove otherwise?
Go down to the beach, get some sand, make a die, impregnate with various impurities, put it in a carrier with legs/solder-balls and now you have a chip you can trust. Razz
Post 27 Jun 2014, 04:19
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malpolud



Joined: 18 Jul 2011
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malpolud
revolution: that is quite a resonable point, thank you for your answer.

What makes me wonder is if hardware / firmware backdoors are really a threat so far? Propably it is hard to confirm such info, but I read somewhere that agencies failed to decrypt computers of a famous double agent. That means that in hardware he used there were no backdoors or the backdoors failed.
revolution wrote:
Go down to the beach, get some sand,[...]

Or go get an fpga Wink

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Post 27 Jun 2014, 05:38
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JohnFound



Joined: 16 Jun 2003
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JohnFound
Every hardware needs some firmware in order to provide a backdoor. One can change the whole firmware of the computer and to get secure machine as a result. AFAIK, there are some open source BIOS around.
Post 27 Jun 2014, 06:04
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


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revolution
JohnFound wrote:
Every hardware needs some firmware in order to provide a backdoor. One can change the whole firmware of the computer and to get secure machine as a result. AFAIK, there are some open source BIOS around.
Not quite. The possible rdrand exploit I mentioned above needs no firmware or software to activate or deploy. It is baked into the chip. The only way to avoid it is to not use it if you don't trust it.

It might also be possible that the power/clocking circuits are varying/modulating their outputs and leaking information via a backdoor channel. How would you even know unless you were looking for it? BTW Many older smart-cards had this exact problem and would leak secret keys to a knowledgeable attacker.
Post 27 Jun 2014, 08:54
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JohnFound



Joined: 16 Jun 2003
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JohnFound
revolution, I am not sure that it is possible to make a backdoor, based on random number generator... Or, more exactly - it is possible, but the result "random" numbers generated will not be random at all, which is easy detectable.
On the other hand, the protection against such a backdoor (if implemented) is fairly easy - just use second randomness source and randomize additionally.
Also, it is good to distinguish between theoretically possible exploit and exploit, useful for the government/hackers.
In theory, your keyboard changes its power consumption on every keystroke and theoretically it is possible to detect the pressed key, measuring the power consumption. On the other hand, changed power causes some EM waves to be emitted by the keyboard wires. So, theoretically, it is possible to make wireless key-logger. But in practice, such a device is impossible to be made, because of many reasons. The main reason is that it is easier to make the needed key-logger in software, using internet and the OS installed on the computer.
Post 27 Jun 2014, 09:10
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


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revolution
JohnFound wrote:
revolution, I am not sure that it is possible to make a backdoor, based on random number generator... Or, more exactly - it is possible, but the result "random" numbers generated will not be random at all, which is easy detectable.
Actually that is not correct. Such changes can be hidden quite successfully. Current tests for randomness are very poor. And one of the easiest ways to break crypto is to have control of the RNG.
JohnFound wrote:
On the other hand, the protection against such a backdoor (if implemented) is fairly easy - just use second randomness source and randomize additionally.
Sure, in theory. But getting good randomness is not such an easy proposition. Which is why things like rdrand exist to make it easier to get good crypto (if you can trust it). IMO currently the only good trustworthy method of random generation is an open source external hardware RNG module.
Post 27 Jun 2014, 09:27
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JohnFound



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JohnFound
Quote:
And one of the easiest ways to break crypto is to have control of the RNG.


Yes of course, but what "have control" actually means? IMO, it means that you should be able to predict the next values, if you have some sequence of the generated numbers. But it is not a trivial task, even for pseudo random generators with known algorithm. So, if you want to use such exploits, you have to know the seed and the algorithm in the same time. And even very weak additional randomness will ruin your efforts.

Of course, all this is IMHO, because I am not an expert in cryptanalysis.
Post 27 Jun 2014, 10:39
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


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revolution
Well it has been discussed elsewhere but basically a good hash algo can produce an output indistinguishable from randomness according to all current tests. So all you have to do is seed with a counter and produce "random" sequences that no one else can predict except the person that knows the seed. As for adding in other randomness, yes this helps but you have to get it right else if it is too weak it can be bypassed or guessed. And, no, adding in "even very weak additional randomness" will not do much to help you. You have to add in strong randomness. Don't be fooled by thinking that obscuring it a little bit will make it unbreakable. Lots of people have done this in the past and paid the price for their folly.

Anyhow, there is little point in using an RNG if you don't trust it. Don't bother trying to "ruin" it with other stuff, just don't use it at all.
Post 27 Jun 2014, 10:51
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BAiC



Joined: 22 Mar 2011
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BAiC
JohnFound: having control of a RNG does not mean predicting the next output. it means being the one who determines the next output. you don't need to predict data if your the source of the data Cool .

anyway; people with dillusional paranoia can't be helped. if you really require the lack of a backdoor then prepare to go back to the 50s 'cuz your gonna have to build the machine by hand. trusting any Foundry to make it for you, even one you buy, is itself a possible backdoor.

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Post 27 Jun 2014, 13:51
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malpolud



Joined: 18 Jul 2011
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malpolud
So actually hardware is quite safe. One can always audit the firmware himself.

I know there is a company reverse-enigneering chips in my homecity. They peel layers of the chip and this way they can reproduce the circuit. If any manufacturer implemented some backdoor logic in his product, this could be detectable. Of course it is quite hard to detect, the backdoor could be only in some batches or it could be detected years after the chip was manufactured.
Post 28 Jun 2014, 11:57
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Dr F



Joined: 01 Apr 2014
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Dr F
basically hardware wich u have made and verified by knowldged people u know yourself and verified by you multiple times at least 1 month period in between verificaitions is considered secure. hardware wich u have not made considered not secure.


Then u can start to believe in one hardware being secure.

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Post 28 Jun 2014, 21:37
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sleepsleep



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sleepsleep
maybe we need something really simple, obvious stuff to replace current available computer.
Post 29 Jun 2014, 18:55
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


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revolution
sleepsleep wrote:
maybe we need something really simple, obvious stuff to replace current available computer.
We should go back to stone axes and horses. Although be sure to carefully clean the axe so that the blood stains don't provide evidence to convict you. Wink
Post 30 Jun 2014, 14:03
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Dr F



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Dr F
wtf revolution?

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Post 30 Jun 2014, 21:51
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