The annual Black Hat Briefings hacker conference got off to a rocky start Sunday after thousands of registered delegates to the Black Hat Briefings hacker conference in Las Vegas received a fishy smelling “account password reset” e-mail that contained a suspicious URL. But a message from conference organizers hours later said the errant e-mail was no phishing attack, but merely an “abuse of functionality” by a bored Black Hat volunteer. The e-mail, with the subject line “Your admin password” was sent to around 7,500 people who have registered to attend the annual hacker confab in Las Vegas, Nevada at around 11:50 AM on Sunday. The brief e-mail, sent from an e-mail at itn-international.com read: “This is a note from BlackHat 2012. You have requested a new password. Here are your details.” That message was followed by a blank Username and Password and a URL that recipients were asked to use to sign in. Reaction from BlackHat’s notoriously security-conscious attendees was swift. Security experts used their Twitter accounts to inquire about what many assumed was a phishing e-mail or social engineering attack. Just three hours later, however, conference organizers said jangled nerves to rest, acknowledging that a volunteer tinkering with a loosely secured script on a Black Hat registration server was responsible for sending out the e-mail blast to conference attendees. “We have reviewed the server logs, we know the user, host, and have spoken with the volunteer who has emailed each of you this morning…The email this morning was an abuse of functionality by a volunteer who has been spoken to,” wrote Black Hat general manager Trey Ford. “This feature has since been removed as a precautionary measure.”
Karsten Nohl has updated his BadUSB research, looking at the top eight USB controller chips and determining that about half are susceptible to being maliciously reprogrammed.
Researchers who released attack code against vulnerabilities in USB devices followed that up with a patch, that they and researcher Karsten Nohl acknowledge isn’t enough to solve the problem.
Two researchers published attack code exploiting weaknesses in USB similar to the BadUSB research presented at this year’s Black Hat conference.