It's tempting to think of infosec purely in virtual terms, as electrons flowing through circuits and logic gates. But these microscopic events can of course affect the human-scale physical world, and unexpected physical interventions can also break seemingly secure micro-systems. Today's trio of Black Hat USA 2015 Briefings all demonstrate how this street runs both ways.
RFID access controls are broken, and in Breaking Access Controls with BLE Key you'll see how to break into buildings using just-released open-source hardware. This has been a long time coming. Every aspect of access control systems has been known deficient for years, yet they've seen no meaningful improvements. Presenter Evenchick and Baseggio's hardware exploits their most common communications protocol, and can allow a phone or PC to circumvent access controls, log access information, and clone RFID cards. With any luck hacks like this one will force the access control industry to innovate again.
Speaking of cloned cards, 3G/4G SIMs are thought to be fairly secure, with no known practical attacks yet published. That could change with Cloning 3G/4G SIM Cards with a PC and an Oscilloscope: Lessons Learned in Physical Security, in which Yu Yu will show how to apply differential power analysis to recover encryption keys and other secrets in a divide-and-conquer manner in less than an hour. End result: cloned 3G/4G SIM cards, from a variety of operators and manufacturers. You'll also learn about Yu's self-made hardware setup and what exactly happens when cloned 3G/4G sims receive calls or texts simultaneously.
If attacking software could be described as "unexpected computation," then attacking a physical process is all about "unexpected physics." Mixing a corrosive chemical into a cleaning agent, for example. While finding process-specific flaws often requires subject-matter expertise in the victim process, certain generic, "bread and butter" attacks apply to a wide range of scenarios. Remote Physical Damage 101 - Bread and Butter Attacks will show how common configurations of valves, pumps, pipes and such can allow attackers to inflict physical damage. Adding only a few physical process controls can greatly mitigate this risk, which will be key in preventing even greater damage once an attacker has code execution.
Black Hat USA 2015 will occur at the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas. It goes down August 1-6, so be sure to register to lock in your attendance. There's just one more week to lock in the standard rate!