Hacking the iPhone PIN retry counter

At our security group meeting on the 19th August, Sergei Skorobogatov demonstrated a NAND backup attack on an iPhone 5c. I typed in six wrong PINs and it locked; he removed the flash chip (which he’d desoldered and led out to a socket); he erased and restored the changed pages; he put it back in … Continue reading Hacking the iPhone PIN retry counter

Another scandal about forensics

The FBI overstated forensic hair matches in nearly all trials up till 2000. 26 of their 28 examiners overstated forensic matches in ways that favoured prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far. 32 defendants were sentenced to death, of whom 14 were executed or died in prison. In the … Continue reading Another scandal about forensics

Chip and Skim: cloning EMV cards with the pre-play attack

November last, on the Eurostar back from Paris, something struck me as I looked at the logs of ATM withdrawals disputed by Alex Gambin, a customer of HSBC in Malta. Comparing four grainy log pages on a tiny phone screen, I had to scroll away from the transaction data to see the page numbers, so … Continue reading Chip and Skim: cloning EMV cards with the pre-play attack

The Smart Card Detective: a hand-held EMV interceptor

During my MPhil within the Computer Lab (supervised by Markus Kuhn) I developed a card-sized device (named Smart Card Detective – in short SCD) that can monitor Chip and PIN transactions. The main goal of the SCD was to offer a trusted display for anyone using credit cards, to avoid scams such as tampered terminals … Continue reading The Smart Card Detective: a hand-held EMV interceptor

Reliability of Chip & PIN evidence in banking disputes

It has now been two weeks since we published our paper “Chip and PIN is broken”. Here, we presented the no-PIN attack, which allows criminals to use a stolen Chip and PIN card, without having to know its PIN. The paper has triggered a considerable amount of discussion, on Light Blue Touchpaper, Finextra, and elsewhere. … Continue reading Reliability of Chip & PIN evidence in banking disputes

Tuning in to random numbers

Tomorrow at Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems 2009 I’m going to be presenting a frequency injection attack on random number generators formed from ring oscillators. Random numbers are a vital part of cryptography — if predictable numbers are being used an attacker may be able to read secret messages, impersonate either party, or replay transactions. … Continue reading Tuning in to random numbers

Defending against wedge attacks in Chip & PIN

The EMV standard, which is behind Chip & PIN, is not so much a protocol, but a toolkit from which protocols can be built. One component it offers is card authentication, which allows the terminal to discover whether a card is legitimate, without having to go online and contact the bank which issued it. Since … Continue reading Defending against wedge attacks in Chip & PIN

PED vulnerability paper receives "Most Practical Paper" award at Oakland

In February, Steven Murdoch, Ross Anderson and I reported our findings on system-level failures of widely deployed PIN Entry Devices (PED) and the Chip and PIN scheme as a whole. Steven is in Oakland presenting the work described in our paper at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (slides). We are very pleased that … Continue reading PED vulnerability paper receives "Most Practical Paper" award at Oakland

Chip & PIN terminals vulnerable to simple attacks

Steven J. Murdoch, Ross Anderson and I looked at how well PIN entry devices (PEDs) protect cardholder data. Our paper will be published at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in May, though an extended version is available as a technical report. A segment about this work will appear on BBC Two’s Newsnight at … Continue reading Chip & PIN terminals vulnerable to simple attacks

Counters, Freshness, and Implementation

When we want to check freshness of cryptographically secured messages, we have to use monotonic counters, timestamps or random nonces. Each of these mechanisms increases the complexity of a given system in a different way. Freshness based on counters seems to be the easiest to implement in the context of ad-hoc mesh wireless networks. One … Continue reading Counters, Freshness, and Implementation