Eth(er)ical Hacking – Hacker Defined Radio and analysing Signals

René Pfeiffer/ April 4, 2019/ Call for Papers, High Entropy

There is a lot going on in the wireless world. 5G is all the fashion, because frequencies are being auctioned. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Wireless protocols have become ubiquitous. The IEEE 802.11 family is one widespread example. Bluetooth, mobile networks, ZigBee, Z-Wave, and other wireless transmissions are widely used. If you go looking for signals, your first stop are usually industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio bands. But there is much more. It’s well worth to passively scan what’s all around you. The equipment is often the main obstacle preventing hacker from doing something. When it comes to radio waves you need a suitable antenna (or a couple thereof) plus the hardware to drive it. Even if you limit yourself to passive operation you still need something to catch, amplify,

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DeepSec2016 Talk: Of Mice and Keyboards: On the Security of Modern Wireless Desktop Sets – Gerhard Klostermeier

Sanna/ November 3, 2016/ Conference, Internet, Security

Wireless desktop sets have become more popular and more widespread in the last couple of years. From an attacker’s perspective, these radio-based devices represent an attractive target both allowing to take control of a computer system and to gain knowledge of sensitive data like passwords. Wireless transmissions offer attackers a big advantage: you don’t have to be around to attack something or someone. Plus the victims often don’t know what it happening. At DeepSec 2016 Gerhard Klostermeier will present the results of research on the matter of wireless mouse/keyboard attacks. Furthermore you he will demonstrate ways in which modern wireless desktop sets of several manufacturers can be attacked by practically exploiting different security vulnerabilities. We recommend this talk to anyone still using old-fashioned input devices for creating content. Gerhard is interested in all things

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DeepSec 2015 Slides: Bridging the Air-Gap – Data Exfiltration from Air-Gap Networks! Much Slides! Very Animated! Wow!

Sanna/ June 13, 2016/ Conference, Security

The presentation titled Bridging the Air-Gap – Data Exfiltration from Air-Gap Networks was held at DeepSec 2015. Since the presentation format was not meant to be printed or viewed with generic documents viewers, the slide deck had to be converted. The slides in PDF format can be downloaded from this link: For an animated version of the slides, use one of these links: or in short Mind the gap and enjoy!

DeepSec Video: Visualizing Wi-Fi Packets the Hacker’s Way

René Pfeiffer/ March 3, 2016/ Communication, Conference, Security, Stories

Like the Force wireless data/infrastructure packets are all around us. Both have a light and a dark side. It all depends on your intentions. Lacking the midi-chlorians we have to rely on other sources to get a picture of the wireless forces in and around the (network) perimeter. At DeepSec 2015 Milan Gabor held a presentation about visualisation of wi-fi packets: Today visualizing Wi-Fi traffic is more or less limited to console windows and analyze different logs from an aircrack-ng toolset. There are some commercial tools, but if we want to stay in the Open/Free Source Code (FOSS) area we need to find better solutions. So we used ELK stack to gather, hold, index and visualize data and a modified version of an airodump tool for input. With this you can create amazing dashboards,

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DeepSec Video: ZigBee Smart Homes – A Hacker’s Open House

René Pfeiffer/ February 19, 2016/ Conference, Security, Stories

The data protocols of SmartHomes are the FBI’s wet dream. Why? Because they have no security design. Take ZigBee for example. ZigBee is one of the most widespread communication standards used in the Internet of Things and especially in the area of smart homes. If you have for example a smart light bulb at home, the chance is very high that you are actually using ZigBee by yourself. Popular lighting applications such as Philips Hue or Osram Lightify and also popular smart home systems such as SmartThings or Googles OnHub are based on ZigBee. ZigBee provides also security services for key establishment, key transport, frame protection and device management that are based on established cryptographic algorithms. So a ZigBee home automation network with applied security is secure and the smart home communication is protected?

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DeepSec Video: Bridging the Air-Gap – Data Exfiltration from Air-Gap Networks

René Pfeiffer/ January 25, 2016/ Conference, Security

Isolation is a prime ingredient of information security. The air-gap is the best way to isolate systems. Only wireless communication can transport data across these gaps. Apart from Wi-Fi the signals of mobile radio communication are very common. At DeepSec we have seen a lot of hacking when it comes to mobile phones and their networks. Mordechai Guri and Yisroel Mirsky (both of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) held a talk about how to overcome the air-gap barrier by means of cellular frequencies. Their presentation addresses the way of exfiltrating data across the air-gap: „Although the feasibility of invading such systems has been demonstrated in recent years, exfiltration of data from air-gapped networks is still a challenging task. In this talk we present GSMem, a malware that can exfiltrate data through an air-gap over

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DeepSec 2015 Talk: Bridging the Air-Gap: Data Exfiltration from Air-Gap Networks – Mordechai Guri & Yisroel Mirsky

Sanna/ November 4, 2015/ Conference, Internet, Security

Air does not conduct electricity, usually. Using air gaps between parts transporting electric power by high voltages is a standard method in electrical engineering. Similar strategies are used in information security. Compartmentalisation can be done by network components, logical/physical separation, solid walls, and space filled with air. The only threat you have to worry about are wireless transmissions. Since mobile phone networks permeate our private and business life, access to wireless networks is everywhere. Unless you live in a cave, literally. Mordechai Guri and Yisroel Mirsky have found a way to use cellular frequencies as a carrier in order to transport data out of an air-gapped environment. They will present their results at DeepSec 2015. Air-gapped networks are isolated, separated both logically and physically from public networks. Although the feasibility of invading such systems

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DeepSec 2015 Talk: Visualizing Wi-Fi Packets the Hacker’s Way – Milan Gabor

Sanna/ October 2, 2015/ Conference, Internet

Silent service was the name many submarine services gave themselves. U-boats have the habit of hiding, usually in large bodies of water. How Not To Be Seen remains the prime directive of attackers throughout the age. For the submarines this changed with the introduction of ASDIC and SONAR. You know these technologies from the acoustic sounds of the ping. In the air one often uses radar instead. What do you use for the defence of your wireless networks? At DeepSec 2015 Milan Gabor will show you his idea of Wi-Fi radar, so your IT security admins can become air traffic controllers. Imagine you could see more than console windows from aircrack-ng tools provide. Imagine you could have quick dashboards and deep into more details in short amount of time. And this without writing a

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Surveillance Article: Listening Posts for Wireless Communication

René Pfeiffer/ June 18, 2015/ High Entropy

Modern ways of communication and methods to obtain the transported data have raised eyebrows and interest in the past years. Information security specialists are used to digitally dig into the networked world. Once you take a look at buildings, geographic topology, and photographs of structures your world view expands. Coupled with the knowledge of ham radio operators connecting the dots can give you some new information about structures hiding in plain sight. This is why we have translated an article by Erich Möchel, Austrian journalist who is writing blog articles for the FM4 radio station. Read  this article for yourself and keep our Call for Papers for DeepSec 2015 in mind. If you have ideas how to keep an eye on the environment surrounding your information technology infrastructure let us know. Companies should know

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DeepSec 2013 Video: Uncovering your Trails – Privacy Issues of Bluetooth Devices

René Pfeiffer/ February 3, 2014/ Conference, Security

Devices with Bluetooth capabilities are all around us. We have all gotten used to it. Smartphones, laptops, entertainment electronics, gaming equipment, cars, headsets and many more systems are capable of using Bluetooth. Where security is concerned Bluetooth was subject to hacking and security analysis right from the start. Bluedriving, Bluejacking, cracking PIN codes, and doing more stuff severely strained the security record. Either people have forgotten Bluetooth’s past, ignore it, or have it turned off. At DeepSec 2013 Verónica Valeros and Sebastián García held a presentation which revisits the information Bluetooth devices transmit into their environment. They developed a suite to do Bluedriving more efficiently and shared their findings with the DeepSec audience. If you think Bluetooth is not a problem any more, you should take a look at their talk.

DeepSec 2013 Talk: Uncovering your Trails – Privacy issues of Bluetooth Devices

René Pfeiffer/ October 30, 2013/ Conference, Security

Bluetooth has been around for a while. Hackers and security researchers (such as and others) immediately investigated the weaknesses of protocol and implementations – The specifications have evolved, but so has the proliferation of Bluetooth-capable devices. Smartphones, dumb phones, computers, bulletin boards, media players, tablets, game consoles, headsets, and many more support Bluetooth wireless communication. Even though bugs of the past were fixed, the widespread capabilities of devices allow for a lot of creative use by adversaries. At DeepSec 2013 Verónica Valeros and Garcia Sebastian will give you an update about Bluetooth hacking and your exposure to attackers. When we think about our own privacy, we usually think of our private data, passwords, personal stuff, web pages we have accessed or phone calls we have made. Information about our behaviour in real life (where

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Wireless (Wi-Fi) Security Interview

René Pfeiffer/ August 20, 2012/ Discussion, Press, Security, Stories

Today we had a visit from an Austrian television crew to answer some short questions about wireless security. It’s too bad that journalists always look for „hackers“ who „hack something“. While we had no idea what they were talking about, we delivered a short summary of wireless security. For most of you this is old news, but for a broad audience in front of TV sets it’s still a mystery. Usually no one really know what the difference between WPA and WPA2 is. In addition you have WEP and WPS, in-depth you have TKIP and AES, too. All of this sounds pretty intimidating. If you add some cinematic scenes, you can imagine the hero (or evil villain) discovering a wireless network, pressing some keys and gaining access mere seconds later. Defences have been breached,

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A Brief History of GSM A5/2 and 2G/3G Security

René Pfeiffer/ November 15, 2010/ Stories

MiKa and me shared some knowledge about the design flaws and the state of security in 2G/3G networks. The idea was to present an overview. Those networks have been shrouded in NDAs for too long. It is good to see that this is changing. Given the fact that millions of people use this technology on a daily basis, there should have been more publications and a deeper analysis many years ago. GSM features four A5 encryption algorithms. They are called A5/0, A5/1, A5/2 and A5/3. A5/0 is basically plaintext, because no encryption is used. A5/1 is the original A5 algorithm used in Europe. A5/2 is a weaker encryption algorithm created for export (the weakness is a design feature). A5/3 is a strong encryption algorithm created as part of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project. The

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Hole196 debunked?

Mika/ August 1, 2010/ Security

(Warning: some technical details, not suited for the TL;DR type of audience) “WPA2 vulnerability discovered” was a headline that caught my attention for several reasons: Someone detected a security flaw in 802.11 RSNA (vulgo “WPA2”) that slipped Chuck Norris’ attention for 3 years (replace the name with any respected security researcher). It’s from a Best-of-breed, Award-winning, World-market-leader etc… company. Reminds me of the CfP submission we received from Ligatt Security. But maybe (hopefully) I’m wrong. Virtually all results of the search engine you prefer point to a copy&paste of the press release without any details (as of Jul 28th). Is this just a result of our copy&paste journalism? I have the impression, that nobody verified the possibility in detail. For example JJ from “Security Uncorked” writes (although expressing clear doubt about the impact): “Without

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How to secure Wireless Networks

René Pfeiffer/ July 28, 2010/ Security

You have probably followed the news and heard about AirTight Networks’ demonstration of the WPA2 design flaw. What does this mean for operators of wireless networks? Do you have to care? Do you feel threatened? Is there a way to feel better again? First take a look what the design flaw means and what the attack looks like. Hole 196 means that „an insider can bypass WPA2 private key encryption and authentication to sniff and decrypt data from other authorized users as well as scan their Wi-Fi devices for vulnerabilities, install malware and possibly compromise those Wi-Fi devices”. So an attacker has to be authenticated before she can use the exploit. This does not mean that „WPA2” is compromised entirely (yet). It just means that we (maybe) deal with a design flaw. Attacking „WPA2”

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