Data Security and eDiscovery Reports
CIA TOOLS SPY ON OFFLINE COMPUTERS
I am sure you have heard that the only way to be sure no one will gain access to the data your machine is to disconnect it from the Internet. While mostly true, you must also tightly control who accessed the machine. A new tranche of CIA documents posted on Wikileaks reveals the methods and practices employed by the CIA to hack “air-gapped” machines. As with many hacks, the CIA relies on the human factor as the weak link.
Over the years there have been a number of ingenious ideas for accessing an air-gapped computer. Few have worked well. The CIA’s methodology is named “Brutal Kangaroo.” To hack an air-gapped system, Brutal Kangaroo is installed custom on an internet-connected system. This is known as the primary host. The Kanga then lies in wait until someone plugs in a USB drive. Then, it hops to the USB drive and copies itself so it can hitch-hike across the air-gap. Should someone plug one of these infected USB drives into the air-gapped system, Brutal Kangaroo then copies itself and begins collecting data as it was programmed to do.
As with most computer systems the X factor is data security is not the computer, but the human operating it. To overcome the human security problem takes conscious and informed efforts o the part of the system operators. Security is everyone's job.
In the old days we always locked our doors and watched for strange people approaching our car. No one wanted to be car jacked. Now the stranger in our car may be invisible. The enemy may be living in your car’s electronic control unit (ECU). Yes, you can be CAR HACKED.
Your car is not just transportation. It is a rolling computer. Computers in your automobile control every aspect of your engine performance, traction control, anti-lock braking, safety apparatus, and passenger environment and entertainment. Further, many are equipped with direct connection to assistance services like GM's On-Star. Many 2016 and 2017 model automobiles have cabin-wide wi-fi that connects to the internet via 3G cellular or satellite connections. All the computers add to and ease the driving experience but what your car does not have is a firewall or virus/malware checker.
Your car’s computer may be an open connection to third parties. Over the past few years, we have seen numerous court cases related to law enforcement "listening" to your in-car conversations via your On-Star type of device. We know it can be done. Law enforcement does it. In addition to the online devices every car sold in the United States has an OBDII port. The OBDII port is a serial port to your car’s electronics. Plug into the OBDII port and you can download a large volume of data about the car. This is how a mechanic does diagnostics. The OBDII port is bi-directional. It can be used to upload data and malware to your car's computers.
Automobile computer vulnerabilities could manifest with the loss of privacy of your conversations, location and GPS travel info and even the capture of email and texts sent through the car’s wi-fi systems. In most current generation cars the acceleration, braking, steering and safety equipment are controlled by the car’s computer. It is possible to hack-in and accelerate or brake the car independent of the driver’s commands.
Protect you privacy and safety. Turn off your car’s wi-fi, don’t synch your devices unless you need them and only allow trusted persons access to your OBDII port