BSoDomizer blue-screens your enemies

In case you were wondering what industrious hacker [Joe Grand] was doing when he’s not building stuff for Prototype This!, designing Defcon badges, or testifying before congress, it’s this: The BSoDomizer is a VGA pass through device that displays an image of your choice on the victim’s screen. It can do this either periodically or via an IR trigger. The image of choice is a Windows style Blue Screen of Death. It’s powered by a watch battery. The project site has all the schematics you need plus ASCII goatse imagery; you’ve been warned. Embedded below is a demo of the device. We unfortunately didn’t get to see it when it was originally presented during Defcon 16. [Read more...]

Subway hacker speaks

Popular Mechanics has an interview with [Zach Anderson], one of the MIT hackers that was temporarily gagged by the MBTA. The interview is essentially a timeline of the events that led up to the Defcon talk cancellation. [Zach] pointed out a great article by The Tech that covers the vulnerabilities. The mag stripe cards can be easily cloned. The students we’re also able to increase the value of the card by brute forcing the checksum. There are only 64 possible checksum values, so they made a card for each one. It’s not graceful, but it works. The card values aren’t encrypted and there isn’t an auditing system to check what values should be on the card either. The RFID cards use Mifare classic, which we know is broken. It was NXP, Mifare’s manufacturer, that tipped off the MBTA on the actual presentation.

Defcon 16: List of tools compiled

Zero Day posted a list of tools and applications that were released at Defcon 16. The applications run the gamut, from Beholder, an open source wireless IDS tool, to CollabREate, a reverse-engineering plugin that allows multiple people to share a single project. The list covers a lot of ground, and there’s a lot for hackers to play around with and explore. It’s nice to see someone bothering to maintain a list since the majority of conference tools just get lost in the shuffle and are never seen again.

Defcon 16: Biometric cloning

One of the more novel talks we saw at Defcon was [Zac Franken] presenting on access control systems. He covered several different types, but the real fun was his live demo of bypassing a hand geometry scanners like the one pictured above. With the help of two assistants, 4 pounds of chromatic dental alginate, and 5 liters of water, he made a mold of his hand. The box he placed his hand in had markings to show where the pegs on the scanner are located. After 2 minutes he could remove his hand from the cavity. They then filled the mold with vinylpolysiloxane, making sure to remove all bubbles. 20 minutes later the hand was solid and passed the scanner’s test. This may not be a completely practical attack, but it does defeat the overall idea of biometrics; biometrics are built on the assumption that every person is unique and can’t have their features reproduced.

[Zac] also showed an interesting magnetic card spoofer that emulated all three tracks using coils of magnet wire. We hope to see more about that in the future.

[photo: morgan.davis]

Defcon 16: Glimpses of the Network Operations Center

Wired’s Threat Level takes us on a photo tour of the Defcon Network Operations Center, giving a unique behind-the-scenes perspective of one of the largest computer security conventions. The Defcon Network Operations Center is run by a volunteer group named the “Goons”. They keep operations running smoothly and securely with both high and low-tech resources, like a Cisco fiber switch and an armed guard, to protect the router and firewall.

Defcon 16: Covert Warballooning flight

Since last month, when the Defcon warballooning event was announced, [Rick Hill] finished building his rig and even got FAA approval for the flight. Just when everything seemed set, the Riviera Hotel management decided not to allow the takeoff from their property. So, naturally, [Rick] and his team rented a moving truck and covertly inflated the balloon inside. They launched it in an abandoned parking lot and drove through the Vegas strip. They were surprised to find that about one third of the 370 wireless networks they scanned were unencrypted.

[photo: JoergHL]

[via /.]

Defcon 16: Pacemaker-B-Gone

A collaboration of various medical researchers in the academic field has led to proof that pacemakers can be remotely hacked with simple and accessible equipment. [Kevin Fu], an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, led the team. [Kevin] first tried to get documentation from the manufacturers, believing they would support the effort, but they were not interested in helping. They were forced to get access to an old pacemaker and reverse engineer it. They found that the communication protocol used to remotely program the device was unencrypted. They then used a GNU radio system to find access to some of the machine’s reprogrammable functions, including accessing patient data and even turning it off.

Although this was only done with one particular pacemaker, it proves the concept and should be taken seriously by the medical companies who produce these devices. If you are interested in the technical aspects, check out the paper the team released in May disclosing the methods.