When IoT Attacks – The End of the World as We Know It?

Excerpts of my interview with Phil Muncaster @philmuncaster

InfoSecurity Magazine Q4/2017, 4 October 2017

https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/digital-editions/digital-edition-q4-2017/

Focus on the Firmware

A cursory look at OWASP’s IoT Security Guidance will highlight just how many elements in the IoT ecosystem could be exploited. Among others, these include the web interface, network, transport encryption layer, mobile app and device firmware. The latter is a key area of focus for the prpl Foundation, a non-profit which is trying to coral the industry into taking a new hardware-based approach to IoT security. Cesare Garlati, chief security strategist, claims that hackers could exploit IoT chip firmware to re-flash the image, allowing them to reboot and execute arbitrary code. “The issue with this kind of attack is that it gives the hackers complete control of the device and it is persistent; it can’t be undone via a system reboot, for example”, he tells Infosecurity. The answer is to ensure IoT systems will only boot up if the first piece of software to execute is cryptographically signed by a trusted entity. “It needs to match on the other side with a public key or certificate which is hard-coded into the device, anchoring the ‘Root of Trust’ into the hardware to make it tamper proof ”, says Garlati.

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Embedded World 2017 – IoT coming of age.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Embedded World 2017 in Germany as I was invited to give a couple of presentations on the pioneering work we have been doing at the prpl Foundation with regards to the prplHypervisor™ and prplPUF™ APIs for securing IoT. As it turns out, IoT was the top line at the conference that drew in more than 30,000 trade visitors – and the event solidified the notion that embedded computing is now synonymous with IoT.

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Interview: Cesare Garlati, Chief Security Strategist, Prpl Foundation

by Contributing Editor, Infosecurity Magazine

 

In 2016, the danger posed by the Internet of Things (IoT) became a reality. Add in factors such as the Mirai botnet and industrial control systems, and the problem becomes more than just Fitbits being connected to the network.

The problem was countered with the first industry guidance in November 2016, when both the Department of Homeland Security and NIST issued documents on IoT: with the DHS advising manufacturers, services providers, developers and business-level consumers; while NIST went for more detail for manufacturers/developers with guidance on how to engineer safer products.

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RSA Conference 2016 – A New Hardware-Based Approach to Secure the Internet of Things

Live Demo: A New Hardware-Based Approach to Secure the Internet of Things
RSA Conference 2016 – Abu Dhabi
November 16, 2016 | 11.20 – 12.10 hrs | Level 1 | Room: Etihad Ballroom 2

rsa-2016-garlati-clip

Quick look – This session will address four key elements that have introduced serious weaknesses into the IoT: proprietary systems, connectivity, unsigned firmware and lateral movement. Discussion will showcase a new approach to IoT security demonstrating how SoC virtualization and security through separation can address these vulnerabilities, which have already been shown to have potentially life-threatening consequences.

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Securing The Internet of (broken) Things: A Matter of Life and Death

Securing the Internet of broken thingsIf you’re like me you’ll probably be getting desensitized by now to the ever-lengthening list of data breach headlines which have saturated the news for the past 24 months or more. Targeted attacks, Advanced Persistent Threats and the like usually end up in the capture of sensitive IP, customer information or trade secrets. The result? Economic damage, board level sackings and a heap of bad publicity for the breached organization. But that’s usually where it ends.

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The Data Breach Pandemic: Information Security is Broken

Verizon Data Breach Report 2015Have enterprises basically just given up on IT security? Global budgets fell by 4% in 2014 over the previous year and as a percentage of total IT budget they’ve remained at 4% or less for the past five years. The picture is even starker for firms with revenues of less than $100m, who claim to have reduced security budgets 20% since 2013.

Yet the threats keep on escalating. When it comes to information security, there are really only two situations out there: companies that have been breached, and companies that still don’t know it.

If 2014 was the “Year of the Data Breach” then 2015 is proving to be at least its equal. This month alone we’ve seen TV stations shunted off air by pro-jihadi cyber terrorists; the discovery of major new state-backed attack groups; and another massive data breach at a US healthcare provider.

We talk today about managing risk, rather than providing 100% security – because there’s no such thing. The conclusion I have reached is that the traditional information security model is broken. But why? And how can we fix it?

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The GitHub attack – is the worst still to come?

What we can learn from the recent cyber attack to the popular website GitHub and why we should worry about what is likely to come next.

 

TTL analysis performed by Netresec in SwedenOver the last few days the popular website GitHub has been the target of a massive Distributed Denial Of Service attack – DDoS, apparently originated from China. As I write this note, the GitHub status webpage now indicates “Everything operating normally” and “All systems reporting at 100%”. However, I am afraid the story is far from over and the worst may still be to come.

GitHub is the largest and most popular repository of open source projects and a key infrastructure website for the Internet. Among other, GitHub hosts the Linux project – arguably the world’s most widespread open source software. Various flavors of Linux power most of the Internet servers and an ever-increasing number of consumer devices across the globe.

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European Data Protection Reform – What you should know.

European Data Protection ReformIf your company touches any Europeans’ data you’d better prepare for what’s coming.


The EU data protection reform is steadily moving forward. On March 12, 2014, the European Parliament adopted the current proposal in its first reading. The new regulation is intended to strengthen consumer privacy rights and to boost Europe’s digital economy. However, many experts across the Atlantic have expressed deep concerns with regard to some controversial aspects of the incoming laws, which introduce bigger fines, 24 hour disclosure and the enforced Data Privacy Officer. The proposed regulation applies to the processing of personal data pertaining to data subjects in the EU even if the controller or processor of such data is not established in the EU. U.S. companies with or without operations in the EU that fail to comply with the new rules can trigger fines up to €100 million. If your company touches any Europeans’ data, you’d better prepare for what’s coming and know what to do to minimize the impact on your organization when the regulation is enforced.

 

EU regulation vs. U.S. laws: a matter of cultural bias?

The consolidated version of the EU commission´s proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation following the LIBE Committee vote of October 21, 2013 differs fundamentally from the U.S. approach to the protection of personal data. “Whether one approach is better than the other, is a question of data protection culture. You might think that these are two extremes. On the one hand you have very restrictive regulation with higher fines, which are in my opinion over the top. On the other hand, there is so much leeway under the U.S. data protection laws that you can do almost anything as long as it’s not specifically prohibited.” observes Andreas Leupold, the German IT attorney recipient of the “Lawyer of The Year 2013” award who advises clients across Germany, England and the U.S.

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How secure is Mobile Device Management anyway?

Objective-C HookingResearchers have successfully breached the Good Technology container. MDM software can only be as secure as the underlying operating system.


As the adoption of smartphones and tablets grows exponentially, one of the biggest challenges facing corporate IT organizations is not the threat of losing the device – likely owned by the employee – but the threat of a targeted attack stealing sensitive corporate data stored on these mobile devices. As a first line of defense, an increasing number of companies rely on Mobile Device Management software and Secure Container solutions to secure and manage corporate data accessed from these mobile devices. However, a recent analysis conducted by Lacoon Mobile Security – presented a few weeks ago at the BlackHat conference in Amsterdam – shows that the leading secure container solution Good Technology can be breached and corporate email stolen from Apple iOS and Android devices.

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