When learning about modern cybersecurity tools
and techniques there is often an emphasis placed on software tools
and programs used to gather information, compromise devices, and gain access to restricted features and functions. However, there exists a very wide variety of hardware devices for cyber security, and as of recent, these hardware solutions have been regaining some popularity.
What some options?
One of the most popular and accessible types of cyber security hardware tools is the hardware keylogger
. This device is placed covertly between the case and keyboard with an output for the computer case and input for the keyboard. As hardware standards have changed over time, a USB hardware keylogger provides access on many devices. Another commonly used hardware tool is wireless antennae. These can be used to surveil a wide variety of wireless communications, including local cellular and internet service networks. More mechanical and general devices may include lockpicks or portable probes and hijack chips for compromising electronic devices through the physical circuit.These devices can vary wildly in function, price, and quality so it is important to carefully consider the best solution. In the same way, applications and other software can be expensive and provide a wide variety of functions as well as quality and results. Constantly improving security systems requires the constant development of new tools and techniques. An organization carrying out penetration testing or reconnaissance should consider what tools and techniques are necessary as well as the costs involved in acquiring and maintaining them. Cyber security software may require updates and physical devices may require repair or maintenance.The risks involved in using physical cyber security tools are parallel to the risks involved in a true software approach. Many of these devices require gaining some proximity or physical access to devices involved in reconnaissance and penetration testing. Installing a hardware keylogger or any other physical input surveillance device requires gaining physical access to a device. An attacker could use wireless or wired access to the target’s networks to gain physical access or use physical access to compromise the wireless network. These devices can collect crucial information that is transmitted digitally just as analog devices collect information that passes through radios, phones, and other communication devices. Some attackers use compromised digital devices in this way to collect audio/visual information and control physical systems such as electricity, locks, cameras, and even water systems. When used in combination with proper cyber security training
and software skills, hardware security tools can be a very powerful asset. The tools of surveillance and security still exist in use alongside their modernized counterparts, and new tools, as well as defenses, are constantly being developed, designed, and utilized.