35C3: Refreshing Memories

Hello fellow Troopers and Happy new Year!

35C3 is over, and the recordings are available so in case you did not have the chance or the time to watch the live streams during the holidays or overwhelmed with the number of talks, see in the following a list of recommended talks to fill your evenings or weekends. Apart from the broad coverage of topics in different areas (Ethics, Society & Politics, Hardware & Making, Resilience, Art and Culture, Security, Science, Resilience), foundation talks were aiming for the very basics following this year’s motto “Refreshing Memories.”

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A Life Without Vendors Binary Blobs

This blogpost will be about my first steps with coreboot and libreboot and a life with as few proprietary firmware blobs as possible. My main motivation were the latest headlines about fancy firmware things like Intel ME, Computrace and UEFI backdoors. This post is not intended to be about a as much as possible hardened system or about coreboot/libreboot being more secure, but rather to be able to look into every part of software running on that system if you want to.

I first got curious about coreboot and libreboot at the 33C3 (Bootstraping a slightly more secure laptop). Then I searched for some old retired hardware at ERNW which I could flash coreboot to and found an old Thinkpad X61. Finding the X60 as officially supported hardware on the libreboot homepage, I have read through the libreboot and coreboot manuals to learn about the main coreboot part and it’s several payloads. Continue reading “A Life Without Vendors Binary Blobs”

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33c3 Talks – What could possibly go wrong with “insert x86 instruction here” ?

This was one of the few technical talks at 33c3 I managed to see, by that I mean live-stream during an access control shift, by Clémentine Maurice and Moritz Lipp.

The talk gave an overview of some already known possible information leaks by abusing certain x86 instructions(the same concept applies to ARM too though) and demonstrating the various ways an attacker could use them. Continue reading “33c3 Talks – What could possibly go wrong with “insert x86 instruction here” ?”

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ERNW at 33C3 – Part 1

This is part 1 of our report series on interesting talks of the 33rd Congress of the Chaos Computer Club. Every year the congress attracts hundreds (up to twelve thousand this year) of technical interested people with the opportunity to socialize and exchange knowledge with each other. The congress is organized by the European largest hacker association and speakers give talks about technical and societal issues like surveillance, privacy, freedom of information, data security and various more.

Talks in this part deal with CCC at schools, Wi-Fi security and the security of the N26 banking app.

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DPRK’s RedStar OS on 32c3

Niklaus and me had the chance to talk about our research on RedStar OS on the 32nd Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg this year. You can see the talk online at or on Youtube.

We talked about the details of the watermarking mechanism that we found in July and additional features of RedStar OS like it’s “Virus Scanner” and the system architecture. During the days after our talk we were able to find watermarks applied by RedStar OS in the wild on some sites on the Internet. We can confirm at least 7 different instances of RedStar OS that have applied watermarks to JPGs. Cleaning up the data is work in progress and we will get back to you with the results! Niklaus has put our presentation and additional resources in the git. Feel free to join us in our research and make the world a safer place!

32c3 was amazing, as every time! Big thanks to all the volunteers who made this possible. Niklaus and I enjoyed every second! 🙂

Hope to see some of you at Troopers 16 in March 2016!



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31C3 Recap

As every year some of us used the holidays to visit the Chaos Communication Congress to socialize with like-minded people and to hear interesting talks.
I mean what other reasons than learning about security might exist to leave behind all your lovely in-laws you’ve been sharing some relative’s house with the days before … 😉
Here is a short recap of some of the talks we found most interesting:

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Some notes on 30C3

We wish you a happy new year and a good start to 2014. A new year has begun and, just before that, 30C3 took place. I think almost all of you have heard about the congress and its topics. In particukar there was Glenn Greenwald’s keynote or there were new publications/revelations by Jacob Appelbaum, which you will probably have heard about from main media.
But besides of all that, there were really a lot of other interesting talks we want to give you a short introduction to. Overall it was a really good conference this year and a lot of awesome talks. But, like always, it is not possible to see all of them, so here is a short summary of some of our favorites:

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