Print 49 comment(s) - last by Pirks.. on Aug 6 at 3:58 AM

Attack infects keyboards to record keystrokes and more

No one wants to get their computer hacked or infected with viruses. For a long time, Windows PCs were the only real target of hackers and nefarious users, but as Apple Mac computers have become more popular hacks for these systems are now becoming more common.

A new hack that was demonstrated at DEFCON 2009 doesn't attack the software of Apple computers, rather it attacks the hardware.

Strangely it doesn't attack hardware inside the computer, rather the attack focuses on Apple's USB and Bluetooth keyboards. That means that once infected, the keyboard can’t simply be repaired with a firmware update. The man who devised the hack goes by K. Chen and says he goes by that name because of fear that he would be harassed by Mac fans.

Once infected, the keyboard spits the text most recently typed in reverse order back onto the screen of the computer each time the enter key is pressed. The demonstration shows that the hardware attack is capable of recording keystrokes and injecting them back to the host machine. The key logging capability of the attack can also reportedly work during the boot phase unlocking more hardware and encryption features.

When the keyboard is infected, it can be used to run a bash connect back shell and then give the attacker full control over the computer allowing a root kit to be installed. The level of control is enough that the hacker could wait until the computer was idle and then start the attack.

The exact weakness in the Mac OS used to install the hack on the keyboard is unknown, but Chen says that the code needed to execute the attack in under 100kb and takes under 18 seconds to execute. Once infected the keyboard can’t be fixed and would simply need to be replaced. Chen says he is working with Apple on a fix for the issue.

More and more security issues are being found with Mac computers as they grow in popularity and become more appealing targets for hackers.

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Why hide?
By WoWCow on 8/3/2009 10:53:53 AM , Rating: 2
The man who devised the hack goes by K. Chen and says he goes by that name because of fear that he would be harassed by Mac fans.

Hm... So I see working on Apple products' security is something to be feared.

Anyway, with the hardware hacking issue mandating the keyboard to be replaced is something new to me; can someone explain this in detail?

RE: Why hide?
By Smilin on 8/3/2009 11:02:59 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah the last guy to mess with apple got thrown out of a window then covered up as a suicide.

Also, if you hack/jailbreak on of their products homeland security will have a word with you.

RE: Why hide?
By SpaceJumper on 8/3/2009 2:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
The Apple investors will throw you out of a building.

RE: Why hide?
By Fritzr on 8/3/2009 10:17:39 PM , Rating: 3
He doesn't give enough information to answer that. That said the simplest explanation is that this hack does 2 things

1) Patches the firmware to install and activate the hack
2) Locks out firmware updates to prevent modification of the 'update'

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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