INSIGHTS, NEWS & DISCOVERIES
FROM IOACTIVE RESEARCHERS

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Inside the IOActive Silicon Lab: Reading CMOS layout

By Andrew Zonenberg @azonenberg

Ever wondered what happens inside the IOActive silicon lab? For the next few weeks we’ll be posting a series of blogs that highlight some of the equipment, tools, attacks, and all around interesting stuff that we do there. We’ll start off with Andrew Zonenberg explaining the basics of CMOS layout.

Basics of CMOS Layout


When describing layout, this series will use a simplified variant of Mead & Conway’s color scheme, which hides some of the complexity required for manufacturing.

Material
Color
P doping

N doping

Polysilicon

Via

Metal 1

Metal 2

Metal 3

Metal 4


The basic building block of a modern integrated circuit (IC) is the metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistor, or MOSFET. As the name implies, it is a field-effect transistor (an electronic switch which is turned on or off by an electric field, rather than by current flow) made out of a metal-oxide-semiconductor “sandwich”.

 (Terminology note: In modern processes, the gate is often made of polycrystalline silicon, aka polysilicon, rather than a metal. As is the tradition in the IC fab literature, we typically use the term “poly” to refer to the gate material, regardless of whether it is actually metal or poly.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Remotely Disabling a Wireless Burglar Alarm

By Andrew Zonenberg @azonenberg

Countless movies feature hackers remotely turning off security systems in order to infiltrate buildings without being noticed. But how realistic are these depictions? Time to find out.

Today we’re releasing information on a critical security vulnerability in a wireless home security system from SimpliSafe. This system consists of two core components, a keypad and a base station. These may be combined with a wide array of sensors ranging from smoke detectors to magnet switches to motion detectors to create a complete home security system. The system is marketed as a cost-effective and DIY-friendly alternative to wired systems that require expensive professional installation and long term monitoring service contracts.
     


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Brain Waves Technologies: Security in Mind? I Don't Think So

By Alejandro Hernández @nitr0usmx

INTRODUCTION

Just a decade ago, electroencephalography (EEG) was limited to the inner rooms of hospitals, purely for medical purposes. Nowadays, relatively cheap consumer devices capable of measuring brain wave activity are in the hands of curious kids, researchers, artists, creators, and hackers. A few of the applications of this technology include:
·       Brain-controlled Drone
·       Neurowear (Clothing)
I’ve been monitoring the news for the last year, searching keywords brain waves, and the volume of headlines is growing quickly. In other words, people out there are having fun with brain waves and are creating cool stuff using existing consumer devices and (mostly) insecure software.

Based on my observations using a cheap EEG device and known software, I think that many of these technologies might contain security flaws that make them vulnerable to Man-in-The-Middle (MiTM), replay, Denial-of-Service (DoS), and other attacks.