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Logitech vulnerability (DoS, man-in-the-middle-attack) - Resend
From: Axel Hammer <info () daten-treuhand de>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 11:52:08 +0200
Every information provided is based on the tested devices. We cannot
ensure that other sets, sold elsewhere, may be vulnerable OR NOT!
Logitech Cordless Desktop, sold in Germany.
Keyboard: M/N: Y-RC14
P/N: 867097-0102 125283-401A
Working at 27.145 MHz
in combination with several others from Logitech, sold in Germany.
These devices transfer data (mouse-movements, keystrokes) wireless via
Modulation is very likely AM, mutliplexing is done by kind of CDMA
The syncronisation between the wireless devices and the receiver is
initiated by pressing a connect-button first on the receiver and then on
the wireless devices to
find a matching and undistorted transmit-code. The cordless devices seem
to cycle through a fixed set of codes every time you press 'connect' and
the receiver seems to lock in on the first code he receives undistorted.
Any pair of transmitter <-> receiver sold doesn't seem to be hard-coded
to match each other. They simply seem to run out of the fab and the
customer connects them the first time he is using the set, according to
the manual. This leaves the cruical backdoor to connect whatever device
you have to whatever receiver you have.
The receiver waits for 30 minutes after initialising a connect for new
devices to sync to them, even if there has been an undistorted reception
of at least one sync-code.
An attacker is able to sniff the connect-sequence of a victim's device
from far and to lock-in to the code of the victim's devices or to take
control of a victim's device.
It is possible to gain access to cordless devices. The keystrokes may be
sniffed in plain, unscrambled text.
It is possible for the victim AND the attacker to read the keystrokes
without the victim to notice the attack, since it's a (mostly, see
below) non-intrusive 'trojanizing', to say so ;-).
To sniff a connection of wireless devices, you need a receiver from the
same manufacturer, same model.
By slight modifications it is possible, to extend the range of the
receiver to about 30m (using an external antenna). This range may be
further extended by using a preamplifier and directional antennas.
It is neccessary to 'remotely' initiate a reconnection of the victim's
devices by the victim himself.
This can be done by jamming the signals with any ordinary
CB-transceiver, tuned to an appropriate frequency as provided by
logitech. This is also a way for a brute-force DoS. After having jammed
the wireless link, the victim wants to re-establish the (as he thinks)
broken connection between the keyboard and the receiver (this is the
only intrusive action to be noticed by the victim. In most cases, the
innocent victim just thinks 'uh, another interference, lets
reconnect...'). The reconnection he will
achieve by 'connecting' the devices, as described in the manual.
The attacker now also has to initiate a connection-sequence by also
pressing the 'connect'-button on his modified receiver. Since these
receivers wait for 30 minutes for a connect-sequence after pressing the
button, it is very likely to phase-in to the victims keyboard. If the
attacker fails, well, he hits the PTT on his transceiver again.
If a successful connection has been established, the attacker now is
able to read the victim's keystrokes in plain unscrambled text. Starting
on a morning, he most likely will receive logins, passwords and other
informations. There's no need to be a genius to interpret what he's
The receiver of the attacker stores the code, so there ist alwas
the possibility to come back some time later and to look what's going on
(unless there has been a new connection-procedure done on either side).
We intend strongly NOT TO USE these devices in security-relevant
locations. In case cordless devices are absolutely neccessary, we
stronlgy intend to use either infrared devices or to wait for
manufacturers to supply you 'hardened' devices.
informed. no reaction yet.
Details about this exploit , especially the mofidifcation to the
receiver to extend the range can be found at our homepage
This Advisory is Copyright (c) 2001 Daten-Treuhand.de and Axel Hammer.
You may distribute it unmodified. You may not modify it and distribute
it or distribute parts of it without the author's written permission.
In no event shall the author be liable for any damages whatsoever
arising out of or in connection with the use of this information.
Any use of this information is at the user's own risk and for
informational purposes only.
All trademarks are properties of their respective holders and are fully
- Logitech vulnerability (DoS, man-in-the-middle-attack) - Resend Axel Hammer (May 22)