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The Most Common Hardware Hacking Tactics

The Most Common Hardware Hacking Tactics

Hardware hacking means to modify an electronic, with the attempt of misusing the device for a malicious reason.

It can refer to the device’s enclosure, behavior or the internal electronics.

Unfortunately, there are many hackers who will attempt to modify an electronic device to perform an action it was not designed to complete. It can, therefore, be a serious risk to manufacturers and consumers.

Learn more about the most common hardware hacking tactics.

Firmware Hacking

Most electronic devices will be programmed with firmware following manufacture.

It is, however, possible to hack into the firmware using the same port that a device was originally programmed. A hacker could then trigger the memory dump feature within a microcontroller, which will enable them to read a chip’s full memory.

While modern devices do feature a locking device to prevent a chip from being either reprogrammed or read, it is common for manufacturers not to activate the feature, which can leave a device vulnerable to a firmware hacking attack.

Consequently, a hacker might be able to modify a file to change a device’s behavior.

A Component Replacement

Engineers will spend a considerable amount of time designing an accurate circuit board, which features next to no flaws.

However, there are some hackers who might attempt to replace a component, which can create a different effect and go against a device’s original purpose.

An Evil Maid Attack

There is a misconception that evil maid attacks are complex.

It is the process of a cybercriminal gaining physical access to a person’s laptop, with the sole intention of installing a malicious malware program onto the device.

For example, they could break into a person’s hotel room or office to install the unwanted program.

In fact, it is a scary attack that can be easily deployed, as a recent video proved an evil maid attack can be executed in as little as four minutes without the need to even open a laptop.

Relay Theft

Many criminals are also embarking on key hacking, which allows them to attack a vehicle’s built-in system to seamlessly unlock a car should the key be nearby, which is known as relay theft.

A thief will place a key relay box close to a person’s home to receive a car key’s signal and can trick a vehicle into registering that a key is close by and unlocking its doors.

There are, however, ways to prevent the manipulation of the hardware, as you can use a key fob blocker to prevent a signal.

What’s more, you could utilize a steering lock as a preventative measure.


Many people make the mistake of believing hardware attacks are too complex or expensive.

However, as hardware technology is becoming cheaper, smaller and more complex, it is making it easier than ever for cybercriminals to hack into a device.

Yet, both security specialists and consumers have yet to fully realize the risks a hardware attack can pose or how they can prepare for it.

This is because cybersecurity experts make the mistake of believing hardware is solid, so focus their attention on protecting operating systems and applications.

It is, however, important to realize that hardware can have flaws that can be easily manipulated.

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