Ledger to Report on Trezor Vulnerabilities

As reported, the security research by the Attack Lab found 5 serious vulnerabilities 
12 March 2019   4563

The leading manufacturer of cryptocurrency hardware wallets Ledger spoke about the vulnerabilities identified in the devices of his direct competitor Trezor. This is stated in a message distributed by the French company on Monday, March 11.

The Ledger study states that the vulnerabilities were discovered by employees of Attack Lab, a division of the company, which, to increase security, hacks both own wallets and competitors' devices. Representatives of Ledger claim that they have repeatedly contacted Trezor regarding the weak points in their Trezor One and Trezor T wallets, and after the disclosure period ended, they decided to make them public.

The first problem is related to authenticity of devices. As Ledger claims, the Trezor device can be simulated by hacking it with malware, and then resealing it in a box, forging a sticker designed to protect against unauthorized access. The latter, said the French company, is easy to remove. It is also claimed that this vulnerability can be eliminated only by reformatting the entire design of Trezor wallets, in particular, by replacing one of the main components with the Secure Secure chip.

Secondly, Ledger hackers were able to pick up a PIN on a Trezor wallet using an attack on a third-party channel. Later, Trezor solved this problem in its firmware update 1.8.0.

The third and fourth vulnerabilities, which Ledger also proposes to eliminate by replacing the main component with the Secure Element chip, are the possibility of stealing confidential data from the device. Ledger claims that an attacker with physical access to Trezor One and Trezor T can extract all data from flash memory and gain control over the assets stored on devices.

The last discovered weakness is also related to the Trezor security model: as stated by Ledger, the Trezor One cryptographic library does not contain adequate countermeasures against hardware attacks. It is alleged that a hacker with physical access to the device can extract the secret key through an attack on a third-party channel, although Trezor claimed that his wallets are resistant to such an attack.

It is noteworthy that in November 2018 Trezor representatives themselves warned that an unknown third party was distributing individual copies of their flagship device, Trezor One, urging users to buy wallets only through their official website.

However, in its report, Ledger claims that users cannot be sure, even if they buy equipment on the Trezor website. An attacker can buy multiple devices, hack them, and then send them back to the manufacturer for compensation. Ledger researchers conclude that if a compromised device is resold, user cryptocurrencies may be stolen.

There's no comment from Trezor team yet.

Ledger to Discover HSM Vulnerability

HSM is an external device designed to store public and private keys used to generate digital signatures and to encrypt data, used by banks, exchanges, etc
10 June 2019   1634

A group of researchers from Ledger identified several vulnerabilities in the Hardware Security Module (HSM) devices, which can be used to extract keys or perform a remote attack to replace the firmware of an HSM device. The problem report is currently available only in French, the English-language report is scheduled to be published in August during the Blackhat USA 2019 conference. HSM is a specialized external device designed to store public and private keys used to generate digital signatures and to encrypt data.

HSM allows you to significantly increase protection, as it completely isolates keys from the system and applications, only by providing an API to perform basic cryptographic primitives implemented on the device side. Typically, HSM is used in areas where you need to provide the highest protection, for example, in banks, cryptocurrency exchanges, certification centers for checking and generating certificates and digital signatures.

The proposed attack methods allow an unauthenticated user to gain complete control over the contents of the HSM, including extracting all the cryptographic keys and administrative credentials stored on the device. The problems are caused by a buffer overflow in the internal PKCS # 11 command handler and an error in the implementation of the cryptographic protection of the firmware, which bypasses the firmware check using the PKCS # 1v1.5 digital signature and initiates loading the own firmware in the HSM.

The name of the manufacturer, the HSM devices of which have vulnerabilities, has not yet been disclosed, but it is argued that the problem devices are used by some large banks and cloud service providers. At the same time it is reported that information about the problems was previously sent to the manufacturer and it has already eliminated vulnerabilities in the fresh firmware update. Independent researchers suggest that the problem may be in the devices of the company Gemalto, which in May released an update to Sentinel LDK with the elimination of vulnerabilities, access to information about which is still closed.