Revealing Embedded Fingerprints: Deriving Intelligence from USB Stack Interactions 2013

Embedded systems have become a part of our day to day lives and examples of these can be seen everywhere from TVs to aircraft, printers to weapon control systems,  but as a security researcher it is often difficult to know how to begin when testing one of these black boxes. If the device has a USB port this can often be a good place to start as lots of useful information to be gained here.

While there has been plenty of research into the USB security over the last few years it has focused on the different ways that USB hosts can be tested for vulnerabilities and the issue of revealing configuration information about a connected USB host has had limited research.

The aim of this research is to demonstrate how analysis of USB stack interactions can deliver information such as: 

  • The Operating System running on the embedded device.
  • The USB drivers that are installed.
  • Supported devices.

This information can them be used in the testing process, increasing efficiency and streamlining the testing process.

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