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Friday, October 8 • 11:00 - 12:00
Exorcising the Ghost in the Machine: A Critical Assessment of Supply Chain Intrusion Vectors

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Supply chain attacks appear to be among the most concerning threat vectors for many organizations - yet most descriptions of such threats appear to either ignore or be ignorant of the steps required to actualize an implant for offensive purposes. First, this talk will work to disambiguate two distinct attack types often lumped together: software/hardware supply chain attacks via modification, and trusted third-party/vendor/contractor compromise to facilitate access to supported organizations. This distinction is very important, and looking at these two event types as event equivalents is deeply confusing.

After setting the groundwork for discussion, physical or software supply chain attack (e.g., modification of device hardware, firmware, "adding a rice-sized chip" to a motherboard, or altering source code) functionality and execution will be analyzed in detail: how these attacks work in practice, and what actions and accesses are required to make these attacks useful. Based on this exploration, defenders will gain insight into the true scope and meaning of such attacks, specifically: how such attacks are overhyped; why such attacks are extremely difficult to execute; and how multiple defensive measures exist to detect or mitigate against such attacks. From this analysis, defenders and information security stakeholders will learn how to precisely orient the risk of supply chain compromise events, and exorcise the persistent threat of a “ghost in the machine”.

avatar for Joe Slowik

Joe Slowik

Joe Slowik has over 10 years experience across multiple roles in both offensive and defensive cyber operations. Currently leading threat intelligence and detection development efforts at Gigamon, Joe continues to apply an adversary-focused approach to network security issues.

Friday October 8, 2021 11:00 - 12:00 CEST
01. Westvleteren University