Tag Archives: hacks

FBI Snatch Attack

From the Silk Road trial:

As soon as Ulbricht was distracted, another agent grabbed the open computer and gave it to Kiernan, who is an FBI computer specialist. Kiernan spent the next three hours doing “triage” on the machine. Without allowing it to go idle, and thus become encrypted, he took photographs, went through the browser history, and ultimately handed it off to another agent who imaged the hard drive.

So the FBI grabbed the laptop, shoved a mouse jiggler into the USB port and began to photograph the screens while simultaneously arresting Ulbricht. Good. Clever. Maybe b cause I was a a wannabe script kiddie (I never did anything) reading alt.2600 and alt.cypherpunks back in the day, but I read this and immediately thought about ways to make a deadman switch to foil the snatch attack.

It’s All Just Bytes

Iñigo Quilez has more code-fu than you. In the video above, he creates a an eyecandy demo using Photoshop.

It’s a simple idea. He simple creates a 9 by 9 image, and places carefully chosen pixel values to write the assembly. The “magic” is that he saves the file as raw data, and then renames it as a .com file for execution in a DOS shell. Since the file is read as a raw stream of bytes, using Photoshop in this way, isn’t any different from using a hex editor. In fact, back in The Day™ (i.e. 1992-1994) PC World would recommend using write.exe to edit different DLLs in Windows 3.1 in order to create custom menus in file manager and such. The only catch was to avoid memory alignment problems by keeping the edited string the same length as the original.