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Black Hat: Top 20 hack-attack tools

Tim Greene | July 22, 2013
Upcoming Black Hat conference is a goldmine of tips for hacking just about anything.

= Kevin McNamee, research director at Kindsight, will show how code that turns smartphones into spy sensors can be injected into any phone application. The phones can be attacked and operated from a Web-based command and control server and infected to pick off phone calls, text messages, emails and contact lists. The attacks enable turning on the phones' cameras and microphones without being detected, turning the devices into audio-video bugs.

= Home-based devices that connect to carrier cell networks can be hijacked to intercept voice, texting and data traffic running over the network, says a team from iSec Partners. These femtocell devices distributed by CDMA service providers, sometimes for free, act as cellular base stations to connect customers' cell phones to the providers' networks via Internet connections. Hacking these Linux devices enables attackers to pick off traffic as well as clone connected mobile devices without physical access to them.

= iPhones are vulnerable to attacks from malicious chargers, and a team from Georgia Institute of Technology will show how to build one and use it to install software on a phone. They will show how to hide such applications the same way Apple hides its standard apps it installs on the phones. The charging device, called Mactans, can be built easily and inexpensively. They also have recommendations for owners to protect the phones and steps Apple could take to make such attacks harder to carry off.

= Three researchers from McAfee will demonstrate software that can bypass Windows 8 Secure Boot, which is supposed to block malware from corrupting the operating environment beneath the operating system. With Secure Boot bypassed, it's easier for malware to install itself and remain undetected.

= Google will release a tool called Bochspwn that has already been used to discover about 50 vulnerabilities in the Windows kernel and related drivers. Many of the vulnerabilities have been patched but the tool could be used to find more.

= A team at Cyclance will give away a tool that figures out how pseudorandom number generators work based just on the numbers they generate, enabling attackers to figure out numbers generated in the past and will generate in the future. The implication is that discovering these pseudorandom numbers can help undermine the security systems they are used to protect.

= It's possible to set up an inexpensive sensor-based tracking system for keeping an eye on individuals or groups as they go about daily activities without sending any data to the targets of the surveillance, and law student/security researcher (Malice Afterthought) Brendon O'Connor will show how. His system, called CreepyDOL uses inexpensive sensors and open-source software to ID targets, track them and analyze the data gathered. "In other words, it takes you from hand-crafted, artisan skeeviness to big-box commodity creepiness, and enables government-level total awareness for about $500 of off-the-shelf hardware," according to the Black Hat briefing description.


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