Jan Van den Herrewegen
Affiliation: School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK
Cutting Through the Complexity of Reverse Engineering Embedded Devices
Performing security analysis of embedded devices is a challenging task. They present many difficulties not usually found when analyzing commodity systems: undocumented peripherals, esoteric instruction sets, and limited tool support. Thus, a significant amount of reverse engineering is almost always required to analyze such devices. In this paper, we present Incision, an architecture and operating-system agnostic reverse engineering framework. Incision tackles the problem of reducing the upfront effort to analyze complex end-user devices. It combines static and dynamic analyses in a feedback loop, enabling information from each to be used in tandem to improve our overall understanding of the firmware analyzed. We use Incision to analyze a variety of devices and firmware. Our evaluation spans firmware based on three RTOSes, an automotive ECU, and a 4G/LTE baseband. We demonstrate that Incision does not introduce significant complexity to the standard reverse engineering process and requires little manual effort to use. Moreover, its analyses produce correct results with high confidence and are robust across different OSes and ISAs.
Dismantling DST80-based Immobiliser Systems 📺
Car manufacturers deploy vehicle immobiliser systems in order to prevent car theft. However, in many cases the underlying cryptographic primitives used to authenticate a transponder are proprietary in nature and thus not open to public scrutiny. In this paper we publish the proprietary Texas Instruments DST80 cipher used in immobilisers of several manufacturers. Additionally, we expose serious flaws in immobiliser systems of major car manufacturers such as Toyota, Kia, Hyundai and Tesla. Specifically, by voltage glitching the firmware protection mechanisms of the microcontroller, we extracted the firmware from several immobiliser ECUs and reverse engineered the key diversification schemes employed within. We discovered that Kia and Hyundai immobiliser keys have only three bytes of entropy and that Toyota only relies on publicly readable information such as the transponder serial number and three constants to generate cryptographic keys. Furthermore, we present several practical attacks which can lead to recovering the full 80-bit cryptographic key in a matter of seconds or permanently disabling the transponder. Finally, even without key management or configuration issues, we demonstrate how an attacker can recover the cryptographic key using a profiled side-channel attack. We target the key loading procedure and investigate the practical applicability in the context of portability. Our work once again highlights the issues automotive vendors face in implementing cryptography securely.
Fill your Boots: Enhanced Embedded Bootloader Exploits via Fault Injection and Binary Analysis
The bootloader of an embedded microcontroller is responsible for guarding the device’s internal (flash) memory, enforcing read/write protection mechanisms. Fault injection techniques such as voltage or clock glitching have been proven successful in bypassing such protection for specific microcontrollers, but this often requires expensive equipment and/or exhaustive search of the fault parameters. When multiple glitches are required (e.g., when countermeasures are in place) this search becomes of exponential complexity and thus infeasible. Another challenge which makes embedded bootloaders notoriously hard to analyse is their lack of debugging capabilities.This paper proposes a grey-box approach that leverages binary analysis and advanced software exploitation techniques combined with voltage glitching to develop a powerful attack methodology against embedded bootloaders. We showcase our techniques with three real-world microcontrollers as case studies: 1) we combine static and on-chip dynamic analysis to enable a Return-Oriented Programming exploit on the bootloader of the NXP LPC microcontrollers; 2) we leverage on-chip dynamic analysis on the bootloader of the popular STM8 microcontrollers to constrain the glitch parameter search, achieving the first fully-documented multi-glitch attack on a real-world target; 3) we apply symbolic execution to precisely aim voltage glitches at target instructions based on the execution path in the bootloader of the Renesas 78K0 automotive microcontroller. For each case study, we show that using inexpensive, open-design equipment, we are able to efficiently breach the security of these microcontrollers and get full control of the protected memory, even when multiple glitches are required. Finally, we identify and elaborate on several vulnerable design patterns that should be avoided when implementing embedded bootloaders.