Tagged: security

Encryption on the TETRA Protocol has been broken

TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) is a digital voice and text radio communications protocol often used by authorities and industry in European and many countries other than the USA. A major advantage to a digital communications protocol like TETRA is it's ability to be secured via encryption.

Recently the security researchers at Midnight Blue in the Netherlands have discovered a collection of five vulnerabilities collectively called "TETRA:BURST" and most of the five vulnerabilities apply to almost every TETRA network in the world. These two most critical vulnerabilities allow TETRA to be easily decrypted or attacked by consumer hardware.

The first critical vulnerability is designated CVE-2022-24401 is described as decryption oracle attack.

The Air Interface Encryption (AIE) keystream generator relies on the network time, which is publicly broadcast in an unauthenticated manner. This allows for decryption oracle attacks.

The second vulnerability CVE-2022-24402 notes that a backdoor has been built into TEA1 encrypted TETRA, which allows for a very easy brute force decryption.

The TEA1 algorithm has a backdoor that reduces the original 80-bit key to a key size which is trivially brute-forceable on consumer hardware in minutes.

Midnight Blue are due to release more technical details about the vulnerabilities on August 9 during the BlackHat security conference. Due to the sensitivity of the findings, the team have also held back on their findings for over 1.5 years, notifying as many affected parties as possible, and releasing recommended mitigations. It's unclear at the moment how many TETRA providers have implemented mitigations already.

For more detail about the possible implications the team write:

The issues of most immediate concern, especially to law enforcement and military users, are the decryption oracle and malleability attacks (CVE-2022-24401 and CVE-2022-24404) which allow for interception and malicious message injection against all non-E2EE protected traffic regardless of which TEA cipher is used. This could allow high-end adversaries to intercept or manipulate law enforcement and military radio communications.

The second issue of immediate concern, especially for critical infrastructure operators who do not use national emergency services TETRA networks, is the TEA1 backdoor (CVE-2022-24402) which constitutes a full break of the cipher, allowing for interception or manipulation of radio traffic. By exploiting this issue, attackers can not only intercept radio communications of private security services at harbors, airports, and railways but can also inject data traffic used for monitoring and control of industrial equipment. As an example, electrical substations can wrap telecontrol protocols in encrypted TETRA to have SCADA systems communicate with Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) over a Wide-area Network (WAN). Decrypting this traffic and injecting malicious traffic allows an attacker to potentially perform dangerous actions such as opening circuit breakers in electrical substations or manipulate railway signalling messages.

The deanonymization issue (CVE-2022-24403) is primarily relevant in a counter-intelligence context, where it enables low-cost monitoring of TETRA users and their movements in order to allow a state or criminal adversary to avoid covert observation or serve as an early warning of impending intervention by special forces.

Finally, the DCK pinning attack (CVE-2022-24400) does not allow for a full MitM attack but does allow for uplink interception as well as access to post-authentication protocol functionality.

Below is a demonstration of the TEA1 CVE-2022-24402 attack on TETRA, and if you are interested the Midnight Blue YouTube channel also contains a video demonstration for the CVE-2022-24401 decryption oracle attack.

Demo: TETRA TEA1 backdoor vulnerability (CVE-2022-24402)

Currently, it is possible to decode unencrypted TETRA using an RTL-SDR with software like TETRA-Kit, SDR# TETRA Plugin, WinTelive, and Telive. In the video the research team appear to use Telive as part of their work.

We also note that in the past we've run several stories about Dejan Ornig, a Slovenian researcher who was almost jailed because of his research into TETRA. Dejan's research was much simpler, as he simply discovered that many Police radios in his country had authentication turned off, when it should have been on.

TETRA Decoding (with telive on Linux)
TETRA Decoding (with telive on Linux)

Video showing Flipper Zero Smoking a Smart Meter may be Fake

A few days ago we posted a YouTube video by Peter Fairlie which shows him using a Flipper Zero to turn a smart meter on and off, eventually causing the smart meter to destroy itself by releasing the magic smoke.

The video has rightly gone viral as this could have serious implications for the security of the residential electricity infrastructure in America. However there has however been some skepticism from smart meter hacking expert "Hash", and over on his YouTube channel RECESSIM he has talked about his suspicions in his latest Reverse Engineering News episode.

In Peters video the description reads "Flipper Zero's attack on a new meter location results in the sudden destruction of the Smart Meter. Something clearly overloaded and caused the meter to self destruct. This might have been caused by switching the meter off and on under a heavy load.", and so it appears he is talking about Flipper Zero directly controlling a smart meter service disconnect feature wirelessly via some sort of RF interface.

However, Hash is an expert in hacking smart meters having done many experiments and videos on his channel about the topic. He raises suspicion on this video with the biggest point being that the Ameren meter brand and model number featured in the video actually does not have any ability to be switched on and off wirelessly. Hash instead believes that the smart meter may instead be connected to a custom wireless relay system created by Peter which is not shown in the video.

Secondly, Hash was able to track down Peters address via GPS coordinates Peter accidentally released in another video. This shows him in Ontario, Canada, outside of the Ameren meter service area, which is for Illinois and Missouri only. Hash speculates that the Ameren meter was purchased on eBay for his experiments.

So while the meter breaking and smoking may be real, other Ameren meters should be safe as the only reason it was able to be controlled wirelessly and insecurely was due to it being connected to a custom wireless relay system. 

It's not clear if Peter set out to purposely mislead to gain notoriety, or if its simply an experiment that he did not explain very well. Peters YouTube channel is full of other legitimate looking Flipper Zero and RF hacking videos so it's possible that it's just a case of Peter not explaining the full experiment that he was doing correctly.

(In the video below Hash talks about the Flipper Zero Meter story at timestamp 4:31)

Flipper Zero Kills Smart Meter?? - Reverse Engineering News - June 13th 2023

Flipper Zero Self Destructs an Electricity Smart Meter

Flipper Zero is an affordable handheld RF device for pentesters and hackers. It is not based on SDR technology, however it uses a CC1101 chip, a digitally controlled RX/TX radio that is capable of demodulating and modulating many common digital modulations such as OOK/ASK/FSK/GFSK/MSK at frequencies below 1 GHz. 

We've posted about the Flipper Zero a few times before on this blog, especially given that it is now a famously known device, having found popularity on TikTok and having been reviewed by famous Tech YouTubers like Linus Tech Tips

Recently a video on YouTube by Peter Fairlie has shown the destructive power of the Flipper Zero. In the video it appears that Peter was using the Flipper Zero to wirelessly turn the power meter on and off, which also controlled the power to a large AC unit. Eventually switching the meter on and off while under a heavy load resulted in the meter self destructing and releasing the magic smoke.

Flipper Zero Smokes Smart Meter !

Rolling-Pwn: Wireless rolling code security completely defeated on all Honda vehicles since 2012

Back in May we posted about CVE-2022-27254 where university student researchers discovered that the wireless locking system on several Honda vehicles was vulnerable to simple RF replay attacks. A replay attack is when a wireless signal such as a door unlock signal is recorded, and then played back at a later time with a device like a HackRF SDR. This vulnerability only affected 2016-2020 Honda Civic vehicles which came without rolling code security.

Recently a new vulnerability discovered by @kevin2600 that affects ALL Honda vehicles currently on the market (2012-2022) has been disclosed. The vulnerability is dubbed 'Rolling-PWN' (CVE-2022-27254) and as the name suggests, details a method for defeating the rolling code security that exists on most Honda vehicles. Rolling code security is designed to prevent simple replay attacks, and is implemented on most modern vehicles with wireless keyfobs. However @kevin2600 notes the following vulnerability that has been discovered:

A rolling code system in keyless entry systems is to prevent replay attack. After each keyfob button pressed the rolling codes synchronizing counter is increased. However, the vehicle receiver will accept a sliding window of codes, to avoid accidental key pressed by design. By sending the commands in a consecutive sequence to the Honda vehicles, it will be resynchronizing the counter. Once counter resynced, commands from the previous cycle of the counter worked again. Therefore, those commands can be used later to unlock the car at will.

The vulnerability has been tested on various Honda vehicles with HackRF SDRs, and this seems to indicate that all Honda vehicles since 2012 are vulnerable.

Although no tools have been released, the vulnerability is simple enough and we've already seen people replicate results.

The story of Rolling-Pwn has already been covered by magazines and news organizations such as TheDrive, Vice, NYPost, and FoxLA.

It should be noted that when the previous replay attack vulnerability was highlighted, Honda released a statement noting that it has no plans to update its older vehicles. It is likely that Honda will not issue updates for this vulnerability either. It is possible that this vulnerability extends beyond just Honda vehicles too.

Opening and Starting Honda Civic Vehicles with a HackRF Replay Attack

A few months ago University student Ayyappan Rajesh and HackingIntoYourHeart reported cybersecurity vulnerability CVE-2022-27254. This vulnerability demonstrates how unsecure the remote keyless locking system on various Honda vehicles is, and how it is easily subject to very simple wireless replay attacks. A replay attack is when a wireless signal such as a door unlock signal is recorded, and then played back at a later time with a device like a HackRF SDR.

Most car manufacturers implement rolling code security on their wireless keyfobs which makes replay attacks significantly more difficult to implement. However, it appears that Honda Civic models (LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, Si, Type R) from years 2016-2020 come with zero rolling code security:

This is a proof of concept for CVE-2022-27254, wherein the remote keyless system on various Honda vehicles send the same, unencrypted RF signal for each door-open, door-close, boot-open and remote start(if applicable). This allows for an attacker to eavesdrop on the request and conduct a replay attack.

In the videos on the GitHub demonstration page they show a laptop with GNU Radio flowgraph and a HackRF SDR being used to turn the engine of a Honda civic on, and to lock and unlock doors.

Various news agencies reported on the story, with "The Record" and bleepingcomputer contacting Honda for comment. Honda spokesperson Chris Martin replied that it “is not a new discovery” and “doesn’t merit any further reporting.” further noting that "legacy technology utilized by multiple automakers” may be vulnerable to “determined and very technologically sophisticated thieves.”. Martin went on to further note that Honda has no plans to update their vehicles to fix this vulnerability at this time.

Laptop and HackRF used to turn on a Honda Civic Engine via simple Replay Attack.

In the past we've seen similar car hacks, but they have mostly been more advanced techniques aimed at getting around rolling code security, and have been difficult to actually implement in the field by real criminals. This Honda vulnerability means that opening a Honda Civic could be an extremely simple task achievable by almost anyone with a laptop and HackRF. It's possible that a HackRF and laptop is not even required. A simple RTL-SDR, and Raspberry Pi with the free RPiTX software may be enough to perform this attack for under $100.

More information about the hack can be found on HackingIntoYourHeart's GitHub page. He writes:

Recording the "unlock" command from the target and replaying (this works on most if not all of Honda's produced FOBs) will allow me to unlock the vehicle whenever I'd like to, and it doesn't stop there at all On top of being able to start the vehicle's ENGINE Whenever I wished through recording the "remote start", it seems possible to actually (through Honda's "Smart Key" which uses FSK) demodulate any command, edit it, and retransmit in order to make the target vehicle do whatever you wish.

Samy Kamkar Talks Hardware Security on Hackster Café

Samy Kamkar is famous in the wireless and hardware information security scene for his research on various security exploits including methods to defeat rolling code security, and using a children's toy to open wireless garage doors. In a recent Hackster.io Hackster Café interview Samy talks about various security related topics including software defined radios.

Samy Kamkar first became notorious for software and hardware security exploits – including SkyJack, a custom drone that could take control of other UAVs, and OpenSesame, a hacked child's toy that can open remote-controlled garage doors. He now brings this deep experience to Openpath, the touchless access control company he co-founded in 2016. From security celebrity to founder, we sit down for a chat with Samy on this episode of Hackster Café (new episodes every Tuesday at 10am Pacific).

Samy Kamkar on Hardware Security // Hackster Café

Reverse Engineering a 30 Year Old Wireless Garage Door Opener with a HackRF and GNU Radio

At his childhood home Maxwell Dulin discovered that his garage door was controlled by a 30 year old system called the "Sears Craftsman 139.53708 Garage Door Remote". Being interested in SDRs Maxwell decided to see if he could reverse engineer the remote using his HackRF.

His first steps were to search for the frequency which he found active at 390 MHz. He then moved on to analyzing the signal with Inspectrum, discovering the OOK modulation, then working his way towards the binary control strings. One thing that helped with his reverse engineering was the use of the 9-bit DIP switches on the remote that configure the security code that opens up a specific door as this allowed him to control the transmitted bits, and determine which bits were used for the security code. With this and a bit of GNU Radio code he was able to recreate the signal and transmit it with his HackRF.

Finally Maxwell wanted to see how vulnerable this door is to a brute force attack that simply transmits every possible security code. Through some calculations, he discovered that brute forcing every possible security code in the 9-bit search space would only take 104 minutes to open any garage using this opener.

GNU Radio replaces a 30 year old garage door remote

SDR Videos from DEFCON 29

Recently some videos from this years (mostly virtual) DEFCON 29 conference have been uploaded to YouTube. Defcon is a major yearly conference all about information security, and some of the talks deal with wireless and SDR topics. Some interesting talks that we've found from the main Defcon and Villages are posted below.

You can view all the talks directly as well as the many others via the main stage DEFCON YouTube channel, the ICS Village Channel, RF Village Channel and the Aerospace Village. There are also several talks from the Ham Radio Village recorded on Twitch. Did we miss any interesting talks? Please let us know in the comments.

Smart Meters: I'm Hacking Infrastructure and So Should You (Hash Salehi)

Why Smart Meters? This is a question Hash is often asked. There's no bitcoin or credit card numbers hiding inside, so he must want to steal power, right? Openly analyzing the technology running our critical infrastructure and publishing the findings is something Hash is passionate about. In the wake of the great Texas freeze of 2021, we can no longer "hope" those in power will make decisions that are in the people's best interest. This talk will present research on the Landis+Gyr GridStream series of smart meters used by Oncor, the largest energy provider in Texas.

Cyber attacks on Industrial Control Systems (ICS) differ in scope and impact based on a number of factors, including the adversary's intent, sophistication and capabilities, and familiarity with ICS and automated indutrial processes. In order to understand, identify and address the specific points that can prevent or stop an attack, a systematic model known as "Cyber Kill Chain" is detailed, a term that comes from the military environment and registered by the Lockheed Martin company. While most are familiar with terms and theoretical diagrams of how security should be implemented, in this talk we want to present live how an attack chain occurs from scratch to compromise industrial devices, the full kill chain, based in our experiences. The goal is to land these threats into the real world without the need to carry out these attacks with a nation-state budget.

Smart Meters: I'm Hacking Infrastructure and So Should You (Hash Salehi)

DEF CON 29 - Paz Hameiri - TEMPEST Radio Station

TEMPEST is a cyber security term that refers to the use of electromagnetic energy emissions generated by electronic devices to leak data out of a target device. The attacks may be passive (where the attacker receives the emissions and recovers the data) or active (where the attacker uses dedicated malware to target and emit specific data).

In this talk I present a new side channel attack that uses GPU memory transfers to emit electromagnetic waves which are then received and processed by the attacker. Software developed for this work encodes audio on one computer and transmits it to the reception equipment positioned fifty feet away. The signals are received and processed and the audio is decoded and played. The maximum bit rate achieved was 33kbit/s and more than 99% of the packets were received.

Frequency selection not only enables maximization of signal quality over distance, but also enables the attacker to receive signals from a specific computer when several computers in the area are active. The software developed demonstrates audio packets transfers, but other types of digital data may be transmitted using the same technique.

[Slides Link] [Whitepaper]

DEF CON 29 - Paz Hameiri - TEMPEST Radio Station

DEF CON 29 RF Village - cemaxecuter - RF Propagation and Visualization with DragonOS

"Today's presentation will start with a brief history of DragonOS, where it started and where it's at today. After a short introduction, I'll dive into the subject of visualizing RF propagation with DragonOS. I'll be showing a fresh OS install and the necessary steps to generate a rough estimate of a transmitter based on SRTM-3 elevation data, as well as a new feature enabling visualization/calculations of the path between transmitter and receiver .

Topics and hands on (pre-recorded) demonstrations will include the following,

  • SPLAT! is an RF Signal Propagation, Loss, And Terrain analysis tool for the electromagnetic spectrum between 20 MHz and 20 GHz.
  • Signal Server Multi-threaded RF coverage calculator
  • Dr. Bill Walker's role
  • Signal Server and DragonOS integration
  • DF-Aggregator Developer / Modifications for visualization

I’ll conclude talking about future improvements to RF propagation and visualization tools."

DEF CON 29 RF Village - cemaxecuter - RF Propagation and Visualization with DragonOS

Continue reading