Three sessions at Day 1 of SHAKACON in Honolulu were noteworthy for the ICSsec community.

Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek on Auto Hacking

The big session from this team will be at Blackhat where they will unveil and demo their ability to remotely control cars, most likely through the Bluetooth in the Entertainment System unless they were giving a head fake.

At SHAKACON the pair went into detail on how they moved their research from a real auto to the workbench. It reduced the cost of the hacking rig by more than 75%, and more importantly it reduced the danger of the research.

As they were talking and giving examples, I was a bit surprised they are still alive or at least not injured. It was very old school approach of let’s try this and see if it works like we think it will. This led to oversteering into ditches, running car into the garage wall, loss of brakes and more.

One particularly vivid video was bleeding the brakes on the bench system causing brake fluid squirting out of the braking system. Yes the command will lead to a loss of brakes.

The work Miller and Valasek have released to date shows impressive reverse engineering, but it also is not surprising to anyone in ICS. If you have direct access to an ICS that is monitoring and controlling a process that is running an insecure by design protocol, ipso facto you will be able to monitor and control the process.

It’s regrettable that all this reverse engineering was necessary to set up the next act of showing the risk of remote exploit, danger of increased connectivity, and risk of insecure by design protocols. The auto sector has the knowledge that Miller and Valasek had to figure out at great effort.

Deviant Ollam on Elevator Hacking

Fantastic session with a knowledgeable speaker presenting information in an entertaining manner and punching the key points.

Of course the actual control system has all the same problems loyal readers are well aware of with insecure protocols and applications, default credentials, Windows XP, …

The interesting part was the keys that override the controls, particularly the Fire key for emergencies. These keys are readily available and the bitting code can be found via search so you can make your own keys.

The main takeaway is to treat elevators as stairwells since any of the physical security features integrated into the elevator control are easily overwritten.

The good news is the speaker said elevators are “monstrously safe” primarily due to mechanical safety systems not accessible from the control system. Hmm, SIS separation from control.

Hacking Highly Secured Enterprise Environments by Zoltan Balazs, MRG Effitas

I will be using this presentation many times in the next few years.

Scenario: ICS owner/operator is allowing regular, every day, multiple people remote access to the ICS from the corporate network and Internet. After learning of the risk of this being a pathway for remote attacks on the ICS, and the recommendation that this should only be used in emergencies, the owner/operator wants to know what security software and hardware they need to safely allow everyday, regular remote access to the ICS.

Zoltan’s session showed an example with VPN, 2-factor authentication, AppLocker, firewall (and then “NextGen” firewall) and a bunch of other security controls. He showed busting through all these controls one by one with existing and some newly released tools. It was not a handwaving or vague, he provided the detail, real demos and tools he used are now released.

I’ll post the link to the Powerpoint and video when it is out, but it is a great example that if you use a remote access capability you are providing an attacker with a pathway into your ICS.