Since a couple of hackers found a way to remotely control a Crysler, we’ve heard a lot of similar successful attempts on other vehicles. The latest comes from researchers over at the University of California, who have taken an interest in third-party devices coupled to the TCUs.
The TCUs are directly linked to a vehicle’s Controller Area Network bus, who sends and receives messages from all systems. The thing is that TCUs also have a SIM card to send data back to the manufacturer or insurance companies. This is how the researchers were able to discover, target and compromise a Corvette’s systems with just a simple text message.
The researchers made a two-staged attack, first by updating the device’s software, then making use of funnel commands which could be sent directly to the CAN bus. They were able to prove on a Corvette that they can remotely start the windshield wipers and ally the breaks while the car was moving.
In the researchers’ paper, they state that finding mobile numbers for TCU SIMs is fairly easy, having assigned numbers that start with the 566 area code. They also said that the TCUs are not cryptographically signed, allowing them to install the malicious software update without the TCU knowing and that TCU NAND flash units share the same SSH key, allowing hackers to use it on other TCUs.
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There are a lot of techniques involving malware, trojans or other sort of attacks, but this one seems to affect the common and widely used HTTPS protocol, making it more ‘nasty’ than the rest. Logjam is a cryptographic attack that targets the Diffie-Hellman key exchange in HTTPS, SSH, SMTPS and other sort of negotiation protocols used by the server and browser.
So why is it so important for us to know about? It’s simple. The technique uses a man-in-the-middle approach to break the 512-bit encryption and make it readable. An academic team said that it was even able to beat a 768-bit encryption, but word is that even a 1024-bit encryption can be taken down with enough effort. What this means is that hackers using the latter technique can easily spy on the top 1 million HTTPS domains and even 66% of VPN servers.
Security specialists say that users should upgrade their browsers to the latest version and server owners should disable support for external cypher suites that generate 2048-bit Diffie-Hellman group along with updating to the latest OpenSSH. They say that the technique at hand can even be used by government agencies to easily spy on your web traffic, so hackers aren’t your only concern.
So, are you keeping everything up to date?
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With all the rambling going on the Internet regarding cyber crime and hacking, nobody can see the full extent of what is really going on. China and the US are reported to constantly ‘clash’ about online spying, having companies and businesses suffering from their actions as a result.
A company from the US called Norse is apparently providing a map which reportedly displays real-time cyber-attacks occurring all over the world. The map can be viewed here (map apparently working best with Chrome), having the company stating that “attacks shown are based on a small subset of live flows against the Norse honeypot infrastructure, representing actual worldwide cyber attacks by bad actors”.
Defence One reports that business hours on Monday in Hong Kong, China has led the list of countries where attacks originated, having the US as China’s top target. The attacks are said to include protocols such as SSH, Telnet, as well as the Windows hacking tool named Crazzynet.
The report also gives examples of targeted and well-organised strikes from China occurring at 1:30 pm on Monday in Hong Kong, having Seattle and Washington as targets. Another example stated originated from Hong Kong and targeted St. Louis just after 4 pm.
Norse is reportedly founded by a former intelligence expert, having previously worked with the US Department of Homeland Security, and a technology consultant.