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Sunday, June 21, 2015

BITWHISPER: Hidden Channel between Air Gapped Computers using Thermal Manipulations

1.   Any Cyber Security Policy in an organisation makes a clear and confident mention of the term AIR-GAP to reduce any kind of breach between a corporate Intranet PC/Standalone PC and the Internet.Sadly and surprisingly no more it is safe.Yes...the AIR-GAP is possible to be breached.Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of Israel have recently developed a relatively new method of siphoning classified data off of air-gapped systems called “BitWhisper.” 

2.   The team has developed a method of using CPU load modulation to regulate a victim computer's thermal radiation. By monitoring this fluctuation in temperature via a surrounding system’s pre-existing thermal sensors  allows for a covert channel to be established between the two machines, and thus infiltration into a system previously believed to be secure.

Extract below from "Infiltration of Air-Gapped Systems via Thermal Emissions " by Alex W Luehm, Student, CprE 431" 

The vulnerability of an air-gapped system is the common airspace surrounding the target and attacking computers. By using this common medium, it has been found possible to establish a covert channel between the two machines.BitWhisper, a method established by Israeli researchers,utilizes this common medium to transfer thermal “pings” between the two machines in a predetermined protocol, allowing for the transmission of classified data.

The exploitation is based on two basic principles of modern-day computer systems. 

- The first principle is that physical hardware components of a computer generate and disperse heat. This heat can be generated by various sources such as the power supply, the motherboard, the graphics card, and the CPU.Typically, these thermal emissions are vented away from the computer via a system of rotating fans and ducting in the computer housing. Importantly, these fans are controlled by a series of thermal sensors mounted throughout the computer housing. Under normal circumstances, these sensors ensure that no critical components become too hot and cause damage to surrounding hardware or themselves.
 
- The second principle is that the amount of thermal energy generated and emitted by these components is directly related to the current workload of the computer in question. A system doing more intense calculations over a longer period of time produces a larger increase in the amount of heat emitted.

What the researchers have found, is that by installing a malicious program on the target machine, information could be quite literally emitted by the target in the form of thermal pulses. In addition, these thermal pulses could be detected by a surrounding computer's internal thermal sensors and, by the very same malicious program, decoded into the transmitted data. If one of these systems were connected to the internet, then it would be quite feasible to pass classified data from an air-gapped system to an internet-accessible system for further transmission.These pulses typically were detected as either a raising or lowering of temperature, by 1 – 4 degrees Celsius over a period of time. The spanning distance, arrangement, and type of case of the concerned systems caused varying degrees of transmission rate.

Source of Info : 

3.   Original paper "BitWhisper: Covert Signaling Channel between Air-Gapped Computers using Thermal Manipulations" by Mordechai Guri Matan Monitz, Yisroel Mirski, Yuval Elovici available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.07919

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cloud Forensics: Challenges Only Ahead

1.   Cloud Computing is emerging amongst all the bombilate words of acclivitous technologies as the most prodigious maturations in the chronicles of computing. As it still takes time to settle, a new egressing challenge as felt whilst its implementation across has been a relatively more newfangled field known as Cloud Forensics. Today as Cloud still needs time to mature and offer its full exploitation, the even newer subfield Cloud Forensics is a carking cause to negate immediate acceptance of cloud computing with open arms. The research in this field is still in parturient stages to say from perspective of the way cases and incidents are being handled on ground today. 

2.   My paper got published in "Cyber Times International Journal of Technology & Management".The "Cyber Times International Journal of Technology & Management" (CTIJTM) was launched in 2007 by "Cyber Times - PRESS" in order to promote Latest Research and innovations in the Area of Technology & Management.The"Cyber Times International Journal of Technology & Management" (CTIJTM) is Bi-Annual, Double Blind Peer Reviewed, International Journal with International Serial Standard Number which is available in print and online versions. It provides the new paradigms in the embryonic fields of Technology, Management, Science, Electronics, Law, Economy etc. and visualizes the future developments in the respective areas. It is meant to publish High Quality Research Papers with innovative ideas, inventions, and rigorous research which will ultimately interest to research scholars, academicians, industry professionals, etc.The paper is available at the following links :

http://journal.cybertimes.in/?q=Vol8_A_P1_01


and also for viewing at scribd as below :

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Career in CYBER SECURITY : Where to start ?

1.  I get a lot of queries on my blog posts related to cyber security courses and any time I am in some forum or discussion from all range age  groups regarding serious career scope in India in the field of Cyber Security.Is it worth taking a plunge in a field which currently only has more of a keen interest value rather then offering  lucrative pay packet job?The younger age group which generally has young engineering graduates look little restless of taking the risk but the field is pretty exciting for those who are passionately interested in it.

2.  The field is immense and huge to start with.For a fresher it would be pretty cumbersome to find where to start from.The moment any typical search is made for a cyber security course on google,the results are too huge and confusing to get started on.For a novice guy who doesn’t  have any background in this field but keen to start a career in this field, I would submit few first steps to start before ways and career road automatically starts guiding ahead.

3.   Firstly,make it very clear in your mind that this field is very dynamic...you have to be continuously on your toes to be updated around what’s happening in this field.Millions of cyber incidents are happening,thousands of zero days are being discovered,thousands of case studies are being released about various cyber incidents and as you start understanding you need to prioritize of what all to grasp in detail .....follow up good tweets of cyber security experts.The courses you do in this field will not be like the typical graduation certification that you do once and will make you a B.Tech for the rest of your life without ever some one asking about the syllaabi.Most of the course and certification have a shelf life of 2-3 years after which you need to renew them to continue your professional standing in the market.

4.   The best thing about this field is that you can build your career and get your basics clear by putting in you hard-work along with the world of open-source that’s your window to knowledge bank.Be it the white papers or applications or Operating systems etc most of the entire gambit of tools is free....yes...for last about 8-9 years of my association with the field I have not bought or purchased any software or OS or toolkit to practice basic hacks and penetration tests.

5.   For a start in respect of courses....I would submit that most of the courses valued globally like CEH,CISSP etc by EC-COUNCIL are pretty costly and just doing them does not guarantee anything with respect to job.You have to be aware of lots besides these courses.For a start for a typical Indian novice fresher I would recommend to start with CCCSP,CCCS etc...links given below :

http://cdac.in/index.aspx?id=cyber_security for courses offered by CDAC on cyber security and forensics.



more listed at http://anupriti.blogspot.in/2012/12/cyber-security-courses-in-india.html ....though slightly old post...but everything holds good today...

6. Besides these courses which only give a very basic over view of the field,you should start getting conversant with LINUX flavors available viz UBUNTU, Fedora, OpenSuse, Linux MInt etc to mention a few....besides a horde of excellent security distros are available with all possible youtube videos and manuals on the net for helping from scratch.Get conversant and start playing with maximum tools available in these.Few of the distros that I would recommend are listed  below :

- ARCHASSAULT at https://archassault.org/

- Kali Linux at

- BackBox at

- BackTrack R3 at

- Knoppix STD

- Pentoo

- DEFT

- Parrot

- Caine

- Samurai Web Testing framework

- Matriux Krypton

- Bugtraq

- Node zero

- Cyb org

- Helix

- Network SEcurity Toolkit

- Wireshark(not an OS)

- GRML

- Chaos

- Katana

-  Damn Vulnerable Linux

- Auditor

and I must tell you these are only few to test before you start getting basic idea of what’s happening around.

7.   You have to be passionate enough to carry yourself successfully in this field.The moment you are out of touch for whatever reasons you have a lot to catch.Every thing is available on the net..be it the study material...be it any software to start.....you actually do not straight away enrol for a course..prepare yourself with the basics as available vide these distros...basic linux and then do some course to start building your documented profile.If you have reached reading here and you have queries you can get back to me here ....post a comment.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Get Hacked on just Opening a Image

Stegnography we all know is the technique of hiding messages inside a pic and exactly on the same lines a new malicious technique by the name of STEGOSPLOIT has arrived that allows malicious code and java script execution the moment an image is opened by the user.This image can be of anything that can interest a victim viz Political figure,Actors,Tempting models,Engineering drawings or anything that is a image.The technique has been discovered by security researcher Saumil Shah from India.The technique was demonstrated at the Amsterdam hacking conference Hack In The Box with a talk titled, "Stegosploit: Hacking With Pictures".The video of demonstration is shared below...just watch it...by the looks if it goes...looks simple.


The technology opens the door for attacks executed as simply as pointing users to sites containing a booby-trapped image or delivering the image via email. By virtue of simply viewing the image, the exploit code is triggered and can deliver malware on the victim's computer.The second video below is in continuation of the above video :

The way out for a typical user is to avoid opening any tempting forwarded image from any friend or acquaint,default image downloading disabled for mobiles and PC interface in email/Whatsapp etc application settings.
technique discovered by security researcher Saumil Shah from India. - See more at: http://thehackernews.com/2015/06/Stegosploit-malware.html#sthash.wBuIwSGj.dpuf