May 18, 2024

Digital Safety

Their innocuous seems to be and endearing names masks their true energy. These devices are designed to assist determine and forestall safety woes, however what in the event that they fall into the improper fingers?

The hacker’s toolkit: 4 gadgets that could spell security trouble

Can seemingly innocuous objects that feign the looks of standard USB sticks, charging cables or youngsters’s toys be co-opted as instruments to help and abet an precise hack? Or is that this simply the stuff of TV shows?

There are a bunch of widespread geeky devices with endearing names that present precious performance for hobbyist hackers and safety professionals alike. Nevertheless, many such bits of equipment could be likened to double-edged swords – they’ll help each in testing a company’s safety and breaching its defenses. A few of them pack a surprisingly hefty punch and will morph from helpful instruments to potent weapons if misused by people with malicious intent.

This might finally be a trigger for fear, together with as a result of I’ve personally witnessed quite a few corporations grapple with implementing acceptable protections on account of a lack of understanding relating to potential dangers. One such instance is using unknown exterior units on company techniques – particularly those who usually don’t increase suspicion, similar to USB drives. Which brings us to the primary pair of devices that may finally set off safety complications:

Ducky and Bunny

Regardless of resembling run-of-the-mill flash drives, Hak5’s USB Rubber Ducky and Bash Bunny are, in actual fact, USB assault platforms that include some severe capabilities. Initially designed to help penetration testers and different safety professionals in automating their duties, these plug-and-play devices can wreak havoc in mere minutes.

The Rubber Ducky, for instance, can mimic the actions of a human interface gadget (HID), similar to a keyboard or mouse, and trick the system into accepting its inputs as trusted. This implies it may be used to execute malicious instructions as a way to harvest login credentials, monetary data, proprietary firm knowledge or different delicate data.

Figure 1. Rubber Ducky (source:
Determine 1. Rubber Ducky (supply: Hak5)

By posing as a keyboard, it might instruct the pc to go to a malware-laden web site or executing malicious payloads – as if carried out by a hacker sitting on the desk. All it takes is to pre-load the ducky with a sequence of keystrokes that carry out particular actions on the system.

All scripting functionalities obtainable within the Rubber Ducky will also be discovered within the Bash Bunny. Potential dangers related to the Bash Bunny are, due to this fact, not dissimilar from these involving the Rubber Ducky and embrace the set up of malicious software program and data theft.

That mentioned, the Bash Bunny nonetheless ups the ante additional. It retains the Rubber Ducky’s capacity to masquerade as a trusted HID gadget, however builds on it by including options similar to administrative privilege escalation and direct knowledge exfiltration utilizing MicroSD card storage. It’s also optimized for higher efficiency.

To high it off, even frequent thumbnail drives could be co-opted for malicious ends by being transformed into USB Rubber Ducky- and Bash Bunny-style units.

Determine 2. Bash Bunny (supply: Hak5)

Flipper Zero

Flipper Zero is a little bit of a Swiss military knife of hacking that has been turning heads due to its wide selection of options and applied sciences packed right into a compact kind issue. The palm-sized gadget lends itself nicely to pranks, hobbyist hacking and a few penetration testing, particularly when the safety of wi-fi units and entry management techniques must be examined. There’s additionally a whole lot of free third-party firmware that may additional improve its performance.

However, Flipper Zero’s capacity to work together with numerous wi-fi communication protocols and units might enable attackers to realize unauthorized entry to restricted areas or delicate techniques. By combining functionalities similar to RFID emulation, NFC capabilities, infrared (IR) communication, Bluetooth, and Normal Objective Enter/Output (GPIO) management, amongst others, it permits individuals to work together with and manipulate numerous varieties of digital techniques.

Figure 3. Flipper Zero
Determine 3. Flipper Zero (source)

For instance, for the reason that gadget may also transmit and obtain IR alerts, it might be used to manage IR units like TVs or air conditioners. Extra worryingly, the gadget can be utilized to clone RFID-enabled entry playing cards or tags. Until these are correctly secured towards cloning, attackers might use Flipper Zero to realize entry to areas secured by RFID-controlled locks. Flipper Zero may also mimic USB keyboards and execute pre-configured rubber ducky scripts to automate duties and carry out or facilitate particular actions inside a goal setting, similar to extracting delicate knowledge.

As cute as it might be, then, Flipper Zero has copped a whole lot of flak on account of considerations that it may be used to help and abet crimes, notably automobile theft given its capacity to clone key fobs (although, to be honest, this is not without some serious limitations). It has, due to this fact, come below scrutiny from numerous governments, with Canada mulling an outright ban and Brazil seizing incoming shipments of the product at one level.


The O.MG cable seems as unremarkable as your common smartphone charging cable. Developed by a safety researcher who calls himself “MG” online, the cable was created as a proof-of-concept to display the potential safety dangers related to USB peripherals.

Figure 4. O.MG cables
Determine 4. O.MG cables (source)

The cables harbor a plethora of capabilities that enable their misuse for numerous malicious actions. They’ll function equally to the USB Rubber Ducky and Bash Bunny, executing pre-configured code and functioning as a keylogger that make them appropriate for knowledge exfiltration and distant command execution.

Certainly, O.MG cables embrace a Wi-Fi entry level and could be managed from an attacker-controlled gadget through an internet interface. The cables are geared up with connectors which can be suitable with all main varieties of units and could be plugged into, and configured for, units working Home windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Oh my God.

Staying protected

Whereas these instruments have been utilized in numerous demonstrations, there don’t appear to be any reviews of them being really utilized in real-world assaults. Even so, it’s prudent to use a mixture of technical controls, organizational insurance policies and worker consciousness coaching as a way to assist your group keep protected from doubtlessly dangerous devices.

For instance:

  • Organizations ought to prohibit using exterior units like USB drives and different peripheral units and implement insurance policies that require all exterior units to be accredited earlier than being related to company techniques.
  • Bodily safety measures are simply as essential in order that unauthorized people can’t acquire bodily entry to company techniques and units and may’t tamper with them.
  • It’s additionally essential to prepare common safety consciousness coaching for workers and educate them in regards to the dangers related to USB-based assaults, together with being cautious of plugging in random USB drives.
  • Use safety options that may detect and thwart malicious exercise initiated by rogue devices and supply gadget management options that enable admins to specify which varieties of units are allowed to hook up with company techniques.
  • Make certain autorun and auto-play options are disabled on all techniques to stop malicious payloads from being routinely executed when exterior units are related.
  • In some conditions, USB knowledge blockers, often known as USB condoms, might come in useful, as they strip a USB port of its data-transferring capabilities and switch it into charge-only.