Hardware Root of Mistrust

We aren’t sure whether it’s because software hardening has been wildly successful or just deemed a lost cause, but implementation and adoption of hardware-based security devices has picked up in recent years. We now have TPMs in our systems to secure our full disk encryption keys. We carry authentication tokens not only to secure our banking and corporate VPN connections, but also to access everything from cloud services to social networking. We have PCs that implement a secure booting mechanism.

While we’ve separated these ‘trusted’ hardware components so that they might be more reliable, we will present 5 scenarios where trusted hardware can be MITM’d, modified, or counterfeited easily. In each case, we’ve undermined intended security assumptions made by their designers and users. In addition to covering technical details about our modifications and counterfeit designs, we’ll explore a few attack scenarios for each. We’ll conclude with a few recommendations on how to decide whether or not you should trust your hardware security module of choice.

About the Speakers