via Samuel K. Moore - writing for IEEE Spectrum Magazine - comes this outstanding article published on October 7th, 2019; in which, Mr. Moore details the application of well-known-and-leveraged X-Ray techniques (also known as Ptychographic X-Ray Laminography) to the functional reverse-engineering of chipsets. Today's MustRead! H/T
via Bianca Bharti - writing for Canada's National Post, comes news of Google, Inc's (Nasdaq: GOOGL) stunning accomplishment in quantum computation. Described in a paper entitled 'Quantum supremacy using a programmable superconducting processor' and published at NASA (since taken down, but, available here, along with a bibliography document entitled 'Google Quantum Supremacy (Supplementary information) 09-2019' here.). Read it and weep for the quantum advertising onslaught from Serge and Larry coupled with the complete demise of your future self's privacy in all alternate universes...
"The tantalizing promise of quantum computers is that certain computational tasks might be executed exponentially faster on a quantum processor than on a classical processor. A fundamen- tal challenge is to build a high-fidelity processor capable of running quantum algorithms in an exponentially large computational space. Here, we report using a processor with programmable superconducting qubits to create quantum states on 53 qubits, occupying a state space 253 ∼ 1016. Measurements from repeated experiments sample the corresponding probability distribution, which we verify using classical simulations. While our processor takes about 200 seconds to sample one instance of the quantum circuit 1 million times, a state-of-the-art supercomputer would require approximately 10,000 years to perform the equivalent task. This dramatic speedup relative to all known classical algorithms provides an experimental realization of quantum supremacy on a com- putational task and heralds the advent of a much-anticipated computing paradigm." - via the Google AI Quantum and collaborators, et al - enumerated within the paper here**
The Weaponization of Yubikey - A Primer..., or, Why (Oh Why) Did I Take The Attractive Golden Key Shaped Device At That Trade Show? via Michael Allen, writing over at the fascinating Black Hills Information Security blog. Enjoy!
"Although the YubiKey is an excellent two-factor authentication device, it’s definitely missing a few features that would make it an ideal USB HID attack tool, and there are other products that already do the job much better. Probably the main strength of the YubiKey as an attack tool is that it looks like a YubiKey." - via Michael Allen, writing over at the always fascinating Black Hills Information Security blog.
Friend of the Blog Trey Blalock of Firewall Consultants sent a link in yesterday which amgically trasnprted us to Ramtin Amin's Web Blog yesterday (in actuality, a Hardware Security blog of considerable reknown)(gracias Trey!). Ramtin's work is indicative of a curious intellect, and tremendous hardware investigatory chops - (plus, keen eye-hand coordination!). If you are at all fascinated by hardware security (coupled with mobile telephony, femto-cells, cabling/dongles and the like) his blog will come as a refreshing changement de rythme of to-the-point discussions of same. Don't Doddle, Chop-Chop, Enjoy!
Meanwhile, in Spectre (PDF) news, comes word from Ars Technica's Peter Bright, of a newly discovered attack vector (PDF) (dubbed NetSpectre) using the pernicious speculative-execution in-built microcode from the Minds of Intel Corporation. Now - and this is truly lovely - the vectors' not local, but external and free from the constraints of local environs (perhaps endpoint security, etc) and is consequently a more pernicious network-resident information operation. Thanks Intel You're Swell!
"That impact is now a little larger. Researchers from Graz University of Technology, including one of the original Meltdown discoverers, Daniel Gruss, have described NetSpectre: a fully remote attack based on Spectre. With NetSpectre, an attacker can remotely read the memory of a victim system without running any code on that system." - via Peter Bright,, whilst writing at Ars Technica
via Chris Williams, Editor in Chief of The Register, comes this surprising/yet not surprising fourth security flaw that now joins the Spectre/Meltdown Speculative Execution flaw in modern CPUs. Bad news for all.
"Variant 4 is referred to as a speculative store bypass. It is yet another "wait, why didn't I think of that?" design oversight in modern out-of-order-execution engineering. And it was found by Google Project Zero's Jann Horn, who helped uncover the earlier Spectre and Meltdown bugs, and Ken Johnson of Microsoft." - via Chris Williams, Editor in Chief of The Register targeting the fourth known Spectre/Meltdown flaw.
I am sure you have all read the news of Grayshift's issues battling extortionists and their ilk. I have, however, not seen any significant commentary regarding the data theft this SNAFU could facilitate.
Here's the thought problem (looking for culpability, specifically): A Law Enforcement agency has taken custody (adhering to standards of Generally Accepted Chain of Custody guidelines) of a suspect's iPhone. Unbeknownst to the trusted Sworn Officers and Forensicators (often, one in the same) examining the device, the Grayshift appliance undergoes an unfortunate successful attack - mounted by external miscreant(s) unknown, and succumbs to the exfiltration of all data on the applicance AND the slurped data on the iPhone.
Subsequent forensication by the Sworn Officers or Forensicators (again, often one in the same - at least in smaller agencies) entrusted with reasonable and prudent Chain of Custody of the device under scrutiny, discover that the Grayshift appliance and the suspect's iPhone have both undergone the indignity of significant data leakage. How does the Agency proceed in the effort to lay charges - or not - and protect the Agency, as well?
Oh, and while they are at it, perhaps they could explain why the device is attached to a forward facing TCP/UDP connection to our beloved Interweb?