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When creators of the state-sponsored Stuxnet worm used a USB stick to infect air-gapped computers inside Iran's heavily fortified Natanz nuclear facilitytrust in the ubiquitous storage medium suffered a devastating blow.
Now, white-hat hackers have devised a feat even more seminal—an exploit that transforms keyboards, Web cams, and other types of USB-connected devices into highly programmable attack platforms that can't be detected by today's defenses.
In a demonstration scheduled at next week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, a USB drive, for instance, will take on the ability to act as a keyboard that surreptitiously types malicious commands into attached computers.
A different drive will similarly be reprogrammed to act as a network card that causes connected computers to connect to malicious sites impersonating Google, Facebook or other trusted destinations.
The presenters will demonstrate similar hacks that work against Android phones when attached to targeted computers. They say their technique will work on Web cams, keyboards, and most other types of USB-enabled devices. Every time anybody connects a USB device to your computer, you fully trust them with your computer. It's the equivalent of [saying] 'here's my computer; I'm going to walk away for 10 minutes. Please don't do anything evil.
BadUSB – now with Do-It-Yourself instructions
In many respects, the BadUSB hack is more pernicious than simply loading a USB stick with the kind of self-propagating malware used in the Stuxnet attack. And for another, it's almost impossible to detect a tampered device without employing advanced forensic methods, such as physically disassembling and reverse engineering the device. Antivirus scans will turn up empty. Most analysis short of sophisticated techniques rely on the firmware itself, and that can't be trusted.
Most troubling of all, BadUSB-corrupted devices are much harder to disinfect. Reformatting an infected USB stick, for example, will do nothing to remove the malicious programming. Because the tampering resides in the firmware, the malware can be eliminated only by replacing the booby-trapped device software with the original firmware.
Given the possibility that traditional computer malware could be programmed to use BadUSB techniques to infect any attached devices, the attack could change the entire regimen currently used to respond to computer compromises.
Here's a List of 29 Different Types of USB Attacks
He said the attack is similar to boot sector infections affecting hard drives and removable storage. A key difference, however, is that most boot sector compromises can be detected by antivirus scans.
BadUSB infections can not. The Black Hat presentation, titled BadUSB—on accessories that turn evilis slated to provide four demonstrations, three of which target controller chips manufactured by Phison Electronics. They include:. Nine months after Ars reported security researchers were unable to independently reproduce his findingsthat remains the case.
This is something that's absolutely possible. Nohl said there are few ways ordinary people can protect themselves against BadUSB attacks short of limiting the devices that get attached to a computer to those that have remained in the physical possession of a trusted party at all times. The problem, he said, is that USB devices were never designed to prevent the types of exploits his team devised.
By contrast, peripherals based on the Bluetooth standard contain cryptographic locks that can only be unlocked through a time-tested pairing process. The other weakness that makes BadUSB attacks possible is the lack of cryptographic signing requirements when replacing device firmware.Researchers from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel have identified 29 ways in which attackers could use USB devices to compromise users' computers.
The research team has classified these 29 exploitation methods in four different categories, depending on the way the attack is being carried out. Once connected to a host computer, the Rubber Ducky poses as a keyboard and injects a preloaded keystroke sequence.
Developed by the NSA. It relies on changing the content of files while the USB mass storage device is connected to a victim's computer.
LNK exploit used by Stuxnet and Fanny malware. Attack uses USB hidden storage to store preset commands tha map computers in air-gapped networks.
Info on networks is saved back to the USB flash drive's hidden storage. There's an entire malware category dedicated to this called autorun malware. This happens because operating systems will enumerate the devices and functions run certain predetermined operations when a USB device is inserted [ 1234 ]. This attack is possible, but very hard to pull off in the real world. The Ben-Gurion team detailed all these attacks in an article published last year in the ScienceDirect journal.
The purpose of this research was to alert users of the many ways that USB devices can be abused to infect their systems and covertly steal data from protected and air-gapped networks.
The research team's recommendation is that USB devices be forbidden or at least strictly controlled in secure networks. What about the good old bashbunny from Hak5? Not a member yet? Register Now. To receive periodic updates and news from BleepingComputerplease use the form below.
Emsisoft Anti-Malware. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. Windows Repair All In One. Learn more about what is not allowed to be posted. March 13, AM 2. A By reprogramming the USB device's internal microcontroller.
The device looks like a particular USB device e. B1 By reprogramming the USB device's firmware to execute malicious actions such as malware downloading, data exfiltration, etc. C USB-based electrical attacks. Hardware USB. Catalin Cimpanu Catalin Cimpanu is the Security News Editor for Bleeping Computer, where he covers topics such as malware, breaches, vulnerabilities, exploits, hacking news, the Dark Web, and a few more.
For other contact methods, please visit Catalin's author page. Previous Article Next Article. SteveClement - 2 years ago. You may also like:. Popular Stories. Newsletter Sign Up To receive periodic updates and news from BleepingComputerplease use the form below. Latest Downloads. AdwCleaner Version: 8. Emsisoft Anti-Malware Version: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Version: 4.Can someone explain what BadUSB is? I know it have something to do with plugging a USB into a computer and then it can issue commands, the attacker can access the camera and microphone, etc.
Its a USB flash drive that has had its firmware reflashed to appear to be a keyboard or other usb device. It is exploit for USB software - your flash drive acts as HID - human interface device for example keyboard and types very very fast.
You can deploy a lot of client-side attacks. Something really simillar is called "rubber ducky" by hak5 or teensy. It is modyfied ducky or not teensy arduino based board with microprocessor. You can use it like badUSB flash drive for client side attacks very good during SE pentests in corporations to show, how dangerous can be picking drives from the ground or to automate your sysadmin tasks you can program it to run whatever command you want, so if you need to make backup simply plug in the teensy, wait few seconds and move to the next box.
You just put the code in, attach the phone by USB then click execute. No, it's a feature added to nethunter you can compile your own kernel and run it on other device than nexus and exploit for flashdrives.
On github you have proof-of-concept, so just google it, you can read which chips are vunerable to firmware swap and then Nethunter says the badUSB attack is based on an attack demonstrated at defcon so maybe they used a USB like device to execute it. Good point, it is good to automate attack, when you are "inside" with someone's computer, but to perform SE attack you need something that looks more like a flash drive. And cost like the flash drive ;D. Well in theory you could take your phone and say "hey can I plug this into your pc to charge it?
Tap execute attack when they're not looking. Of course you are right. There are a lot of vectors and usages.
Be creative! And well just modify some scripts and attack will be really hard to detect hiding terminal etc. Subscribe Now. So its only available on Nethunter not USB?
Thank you guys for the information! Share Your Thoughts Click to share your thoughts. Hot Active.Most people who are familiar with computers would have at least one experience in using USB device. This article is going to present you this topic using the simplest possible language, to make it easier for novice readers to understand. The new thread is named BadUSB. What is malware? According to Wikipedia, is any software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems.
However, this malware is different from our usual understanding of malicious software. They published their result in Github because they believe to release the flaw to the public so people can develop something to defend against such flaw. It can make a computer detects a USB drive as keyboard, therefore it can do whatever a human user can do without any human actually believing it. The computer will treat those keyboard inputs just like believing what we type using actual keyboard.
It can make a computer detects a USB drive as network card. It can transforms an Android phone into a network card. So when it connects to a WiFi network, it can do things pretending to be someone from the network administrator. It stays inside the firmware of a USB interface.
What is a firmware? Updating a firmware is usually possible. However, updating a firmware cannot be done without communication with existing firmware. Since BadUSB malware is about pretending to be another hardware, basically any device with any operating system that accepts USB devices can receive harm. So, this is a dangerous flaw in the design of USB standard. There is no easy patch to fix this malware. Then what can we do as normal computer users?
Avoid plugging untrusted USB devices. Try to be in front of your computer when attaching a USB device. This way you can quickly notice if the computer start doing something without your action. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.GitHub is home to over 40 million developers working together to host and review code, manage projects, and build software together. If nothing happens, download GitHub Desktop and try again.
If nothing happens, download Xcode and try again. If nothing happens, download the GitHub extension for Visual Studio and try again. BadUSB is an attack method used to gain code execution on systems particularly "air-gapped" networks. The most common method of BadUSB is to emulate a keyboard and use it to automatically input keystrokes, particularly to type out and run a script e. This cannot be prevented without impacting human experience i.
I actually tested this with RubberDucky on a system using one of these products to prove the simplicity of it. Needless to say the test was successful. This proof of concept intercepts all keystrokes from any attached keyboards and checks the rate at which a person is typing. Brief tests and statistics from wikipedia indicate that moderate-fast human type speed is 1 keystroke every milliseconds. BadUSB is not limited by human type speed and can be as fast as the attacker likes.
The slower BadUSB types, the more noticeable it is to the unsuspecting user that plugged in the device, it is therefore in the attackers interest to make the keystrokes as quick as possible which then differentiates the behaviour from normal user activity. Larger applications take many more keystrokes, for example, to use powershell to download a file from the Internet and run it, took keystrokes at a rate of 2 milliseconds per stroke and there was still a short flash of the powershell prompt visible to the user.
While BadUSB isn't a very good attack vector if the attack doesn't want to get caught, it can still be used by an Insider i. This proof of concept monitors keystroke rate and prints a message when the key rate is less than 35 milliseconds between strokes. There is a flaw in this method of detection in that a user sitting on the keyboard or bashing it will trigger it, and it is true an attacker can slow down keystrokes but that isn't in the attackers interest, particularly with a large payload such as would be needed against an air-gapped network.
Skip to content. Dismiss Join GitHub today GitHub is home to over 40 million developers working together to host and review code, manage projects, and build software together.
Sign up. Branch: master. Find file. Sign in Sign up. Go back. Launching Xcode If nothing happens, download Xcode and try again. Latest commit Fetching latest commit…. You signed in with another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session. You signed out in another tab or window.Several security experts have built a malicious version of a USB charging cable, one that can compromise a computer in just a few seconds.
Once plugged in, it turns into a peripheral device capable of typing and launching commands. Their work showed that an attacker can reprogram the controller chip of a USB drive and make it appear to the computer as a human interface device HID.
With USBHarpoon, security experts replaced the USB drive with a charging cable, something that is as ubiquitous, but less likely for users to be cautious of.
The cable comes with modified connectors that allow both data and power to pass through so it will fulfill the expected function. This feature enables it to be accompanied by any type of device that powers through USB fans, dongles distributed at conferenceswithout raising suspicions about plugging the cable.
What about embedding the attack inside a USB cable? Just a quick test for a few things I'm hoping to make over the next month. BadUSB Cable 2.
BAD USB Attack : Hacking by Just USB
Great for shared workspaces! Build info coming this month. Still working out some things. Mitnick told Bleeping Computer that he asked MG to build a cable for him to use in a keynote speech to demonstrate new attack methods, but he did not receive it in time for the presentation.
After not receiving the cable, Mitnick says that he did not give up on the idea of having a malicious USB cable and contacted Dennis Goh with the proposition to build one. Goh accepted the challenge and together with Olaf Tan finished the job in a few days as a favor for Mitnick, but the value for the security sector, especially in penetration testing, is huge.
After seeing USBHarpoon, MG commented that the cable looked very similar, if not the same, as the one he created for his videos and shared internal images of with Mitnick. Heh, looks like the same boots I showed Kevin earlier this year, but with tape holding together? Just use some potting compound to seal it! Hey vysecurity did you do anything besides adding 2 resistors for charge pass through?
That seems to work fine. Data passthrough though On Windows, the commands can run directly from the Run prompt; on Mac and Linux it could launch a terminal and work from there. This activity is visible on the screen, so the attacker has to come up with a method to hide it. Yiu says the team is currently exploring methods to trigger the attack when the victim is not around. Delaying the action is one avenue they study, but there are other channels they consider for getting the desired response.
Bluetooth and radio signals could be part of the solution. Protecting against attacks that rely on a USB connection is not easy.
A potential answer is to use a data-blocking device, also known as USB condom. An electronic accessory like this blocks the data pins on a USB cable and allows only power to go through. But MG proves a valid point in a video where he shows that USB condoms can be infected just as well, and you cannot trust them unless you have a way to audit them before use. Tempted to get a run of these made for the vendor area at the next security con. Even if there are differences, it is very likely that the victim does not notice them.
To demonstrate the functionality of USBHarpoon, Yiu published a short video where a drone connects to a Windows PC and sends it commands to list content in a folder on the system drive. Only defence I can think of is USB condom build in OS or hardware although both can be exploitable and carefuly choosing cable manufacturer and seller. Would there be an operating system setting that one could change to prevent this?
Could a fix at the operating system level be developed? Or is this something that can sneak under any OS and must be fixed at the hardware level? You sort of can by only allowing drivers to be installed by their GUID.
Here are some of mine i have listed.BadUSB is a dangerous USB security flaw that allows attackers to turn a simple USB device into a keyboard, which can then be used to type malicious commands into the victim's computer. It was first detailed at this year's Black Hat conference by security researcher Karsten Nohl; now, it has been released to the public for all to mis use.
Originally, Nohl decided not to release the BadUSB code publicly, fearing that the exploit could not be easily fixed. By hacking the code of the USB micro-controller of an "innocent" device, like a USB memory stick, you can turn it into something far more capable, such as a keyboard or a network card.
Stick the device into a computer and it could execute commands or even a malicious program without the owner knowing. This is made worse by the fact that malware scanners cannot access the firmware running on USB devices, meaning they cannot fix the problem.
But that's obviously an oversimplification," he said there. Caudill and Wilson's code allows for several types of attacks, including the aforementioned "fake keyboard" trick, as well as disabling a USB device's data password protection or hide a malicious program inside the USB micro-controller's firmware.
Caudill and Wilson are hoping USB manufacturers will now start looking into the issue seriously. Meanwhile, they're working on a much more dangerous type of exploit — one that could inject malware into files as they're copied from a USB device to a computer and back — but still aren't sure whether they will release that one to the public. Unfortunately, developing a fix might prove to be a painfully long process, which probably involves changing the very foundations of the USB standard.
For the average user, the best bet for now is to avoid sticking unknown USB devices into your computer. We're using cookies to improve your experience.
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