Researchers Turn USB Cable Into Attack Tool
CNet (01/19/11) Elinor Mills
George Mason University researchers will demonstrate a computer device attack using a USB cable at the Black Hat DC conference. Professor Angelos Stavrou and student Zhaohui Wang have written software that changes the functionality of the USB driver, enabling keyboard and mouse functionality to be added to the connection.
The exploit of the USB protocol, which can be used to connect any device to a computing platform without authentication, allows the attacker to start typing commands, click the mouse to steal files, and download malware. Although Macintosh and Windows machines will produce a pop-up message saying a new human interface device has been detected, there is no easily recognizable way to stop the process. Stavrou describes the compromise as viral.
“Say your computer at home is compromised and you compromise your Android phone by connecting them,” he says. “Then, whenever you connect the smartphone to another laptop or computing device I can take over that computer also, and then compromise other computers off that Android.”
The original compromise can result from downloading the exploit from the Web or running a compromised app, and antivirus software would not be able to determine whether the exploit’s activities are controlled or sanctioned by the user.
And then we have quotes from Stonewall Jackson 1824 – 1863(via Van at Quotes of the Day):
The time for war has not yet come, but it will come, and that soon; and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard.
I like liquor — its taste and its effects — and that is just the reason why I never drink it.
I like these two quotes as they illustrate an inability and perhaps even inadvisability to be moderate. I have that problem. It’s somewhat easier now that I’m a little older and my passions are flagging, but my general tendency is still all or nothing. [This is not to say I don’t do half-assed things all the time (cuz I do!) but they are normally more day-to-day routine things that I want to do in a hurry, like … pound a big nail into the wall because I don’t want to go dig through crap in the garage looking for the correct size.]
I think, as an adult, that I should be getting better at being moderate than I am. Diets? Eat everything or eat nothing. That’s where I am. I know better and it doesn’t seem to help a bit. Drinking? Binge or go dry, I’m good either way. Fighting? Don’t get in a serious fight with me because I will hold a grudge forever and you will ALWAYS fall asleep before I do. And I have a bat under the bed. Exercise? Do it til my muscles bleed or lay on the couch all day. And that may the worst thing, healthwise. I wish I had a little insight into why I’m like this. Sometimes I think it’s some sort of shallowly buried death wish.
Here’s a possible current example [or it’s some other type of unexamined psycho-ness]: I had major surgery 5 days ago … and moved heavy furniture Thursday night and Friday morning because I suddenly felt that things were in the wrong place and MUST be moved right now. I normally don’t move furniture except when I change residences but it was suddenly making me crazy last night. Poor Bob, he’s all NO YOU CAN’T DO THIS I WON’T HELP YOU. TAKE IT EASY DAMMIT and so of course I’m doing it myself because he won’t help and then he HAS to help because it’s not in him to watch me do something like that and not help. I guess if I feel like moving furniture I must be okay, anyway. If I was still knocked down that hard from the surgery I’d have no desire to move it, right? Or maybe it was the drugs.
The room looks a lot better now, though. Way worth it.