Seven Deadliest USB Attacks


  • Brian Anderson, An avid security researcher with expertise in reverse engineering focusing on vulnerabilities and exploits and advising clients on proper remediation.
  • Barbara Anderson, CCSP, CISSP, CCNP, CCDP

Seven Deadliest USB Attacks provides a comprehensive view of the most serious types of Universal Serial Bus (USB) attacks. While the book focuses on Windows systems, Mac, Linux, and UNIX systems are equally susceptible to similar attacks. The book consists of seven chapters that cover the following: (i) USB Hacksaw; (ii) the USB Switchblade; (iii) viruses and malicious codes; (iv) USB-based heap overflow; (v) the evolution of forensics in computer security; (vi) pod slurping; and (vii) the human element of security, including the risks, rewards, and controversy surrounding social-engineering engagements. This book was written to target a vast audience including students, technical staff, business leaders, or anyone seeking to understand fully the removable-media risk for Windows systems. It provides the tools, tricks, and detailed instructions necessary to reconstruct and mitigate these activities while peering into the risks and future aspects surrounding the respective technologies. The attacks outlined in this book are intended for individuals with moderate Microsoft Windows proficiency.
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Information security professionals of all levels; web application developers; recreational hackers


Book information

  • Published: April 2010
  • Imprint: SYNGRESS
  • ISBN: 978-1-59749-553-0


"Seven Deadliest USB Attacks provides real-world insight into issues a good deal of computer users don't even realize exist. The author's clear voice profiles attack scenarios, tools, as well as mitigation techniques. This book raises the right questions and provides the right answers" - Mirko Zorz, Editor in Chief of Help Net Security and (IN)SECURE Magazine

Table of Contents

About the Authors


Chapter 1 USB Hacksaw

    Sharing Away Your Future

    Anatomy of the Attack

         Universal Serial Bus

         U3 and Flash Drive CD-ROM Emulation

         Inside the Hacksaw Attack

         Hacksaw Removal

    What Is the Big Deal?

         Regulators, Mount Up

    Evolution of the Portable Platform

         Portable Platforms

         Hacksaw Development

    Defending against This Attack



Chapter 2 USB Switchblade

    Passing Grades

    Inside the Switchblade

         Switchblade Tool Summaries

         Switchblade Assembly

    Why Should I Care?

    Evolving Aspects

         Privilege Elevation

    Defensive Techniques

         System Execution Prevention and USB Antidote

         Biometrics and Token Security

         Password Protection Practices

         Windows Group Policy Options

         Browser Settings and Screen Savers


Chapter 3 USB-Based Virus/Malicious Code Launch

    Invasive Species among Us

         An Uncomfortable Presentation

    Anatomy of the Attack

         Malicious Code Methodologies


         How to Recreate the Attack

    Evolution of the Attack

    Why All the Fuss?


         Distributed Denial-of-Service Attacks

         E-mail Spamming

         Infecting New Hosts

         Identity Theft

         Transporting Illegal Software

         Google AdSense and Advertisement Add-On Abuse

    Defending against This Attack




Chapter 4 USB Device Overflow

    Overflow Overview

    Analyzing This Attack

         Device Drivers

         Going with the Overflow

         USB Development and the Hole in the Heap

    Ever-Present Exposures

    Overflow Outlook

    Defensive Strategies


         Physical Protection Mechanisms



Chapter 5 RAM dump

    Gadgets Gone Astray

    Digital Forensic Acquisition Examination

         Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor or Detect and Eliminate Computer-Assisted Forensics?

         Memory Gatherings

         Reconstructing the Attack

    Mind Your Memory

    Advancements in Memory Analysis

         ManTech DD

         Additional Analysis Tools

         Future Memories

         The Room with an Evil View

    Hindering the Gatherers

         Security Framework, Programs, and Governance

         Trackers and Remote Management

         BIOS Features

         Trustless Execution Technology and Module Platform

         Enhancing the Encryption Experience

         BitLocker and TrueCrypt



Chapter 6 Pod Slurping

    Attack of the Data Snatchers

    Anatomy of a Slurp

         How to Recreate the Attack

    Risky Business

         Pod Proliferation

    Advancements in This Attack

         Breaking Out of Jobs’ Jail

    Mitigating Measures

         Put Your Clients on a Data Diet

         Hijacking an iPhone



Chapter 7 Social Engineering and USB Come Together for a Brutal Attack

    Brain Games

    Hacking the Wetware

         Reverse Social Engineering

         Penetration of a Vulnerable Kind

    Elevated Hazards

         Legitimate Social Engineering Concerns

    Generations of Influences

         USB Multipass

    Thwarting These Behaviors

         Security Awareness and Training

         Behavioral Biometrics

         Windows Enhancements