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Hardware and Security Audit

Everything you need to know about the DIMO Hardware and Security audit, manufacturer checklist and approved third party auditor list.
This part of the documentation has been deprecated and moved to https://docs.dimo.zone/developer-platform/dimo-hardware/audits-and-assessments
Archived Content

DIMO Hardware and Security Audit

A hardware and security audit is a critical step in ensuring that any device being added to DIMO is secure and not susceptible to cyber-attacks. In the case of the DIMO network, the connected devices will be installed in automobiles, making the security audit even more crucial.
The primary objective of a hardware and security audit is to identify and assess the potential vulnerabilities of a device, both in terms of hardware and software. This process helps to ensure that the device does not pose a threat to DIMO’s integrity and the platform it operates on. By performing an audit, any potential security risks can be identified and addressed before a device is approved by the DIMO foundation and connected to the network.
One of the most important reasons for a security audit is to protect the DIMO network and the platform's integrity. When a device is approved and whitelisted onto the network, it gains access to the network and possibly other devices connected to it. If a device is not secure and is vulnerable, it could provide an entry point for people to access the network and the platform, potentially causing significant damage.
The consequences of a security breach can be severe, particularly when it comes to connected vehicles. A cyber-attack could potentially result in the loss of control of the vehicle, creating a safety hazard for drivers and passengers. In the worst-case scenario, it could even lead to loss of life. The Hardware and security audit covers the following:
  • Chip-level analysis
  • Firmware analysis
  • Memory analysis
  • Peripheral device analysis
  • Hardware security features analysis

Chip-level analysis

We may conduct a detailed analysis of the hardware components of the device at the chip level to check for any potential vulnerabilities, including backdoors or malicious hardware. DIMO may conduct some or ALL of the following activities when conducting a chip level analysis.
  • Reverse engineering: Reverse engineering the device's hardware by disassembling it and extracting the individual chips. This process can be time-consuming and requires specialized tools and expertise.
  • Physical examination: After the imaging analysis, the auditor will perform a physical examination of the chips to identify any markings, labeling, or other features that could be indicative of potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses.
  • Non-destructive imaging: Once the chips are extracted, the auditor can perform a non-destructive imaging analysis to capture high-resolution images of the chips. This imaging analysis can be conducted using specialized equipment, such as x-ray machines, optical and electron microscopes.
  • Analysis of design and architecture: The auditor will analyze the design and architecture of the chips to determine how they function and to identify any known vulnerabilities or weaknesses.
  • Testing of functionality: The auditor will test the functionality of the chips to ensure that they perform as intended and to identify any potential security vulnerabilities.

Firmware analysis

The DIMO foundation analyzes the firmware of the device to identify any known vulnerabilities, such as unpatched firmware bugs, and determine whether the firmware is signed or not. DIMO conducts some or ALL of the following activities when conducting firmware analysis.
  • Firmware Identification: Identify the firmware version and location on the device. This can involve using specialized tools to extract the firmware from the device, or simply locating it on the device's file system.
  • Disassembly, reassembly and reverse engineering: The approved third party security auditors may disassemble your firmware to assembly, reassemble and reverse engineer your code to analyze the firmware for vulnerabilities and weaknesses. This includes looking for both common security vulnerabilities (buffer overflows, injection attacks, fuzzing or fault injections), or identifying malicious code.
  • Firmware verification: Finally, we verify that the firmware has not been tampered with or modified. This can involve verifying that the firmware is cryptographically signed and that it matches the expected version and checksum.

Memory analysis

The auditor can analyze the memory of the device, looking for signs of tampering, malware or other malicious code. Memory analysis is an important part of a our hardware security audit, as it helps to identify signs of tampering, malware, or other malicious code that may be present in the device's memory. Here are some practical steps that could be taken to conduct a memory analysis during a hardware security audit:
  • Memory dump analysis:: Dumping memory using specialized tools, such as a JTAG debugger or a memory dump utility, to extract the memory contents to a file. After dumping the memory, the auditor will analyze the memory dump to identify any signs of tampering or malicious code. This involves looking for patterns or signatures that are indicative of malware, such as specific strings, data structures, or function calls.
  • Identify running processes: Next, the auditor will identify the running processes in the memory dump.
  • Analyze process memory: Once the running processes have been identified, the auditor will analyze the memory of each process to identify any signs of tampering or malicious code. This involves looking for patterns or signatures in the memory of each process that may be indicative of malware.
  • Check system calls: Checking the system calls that are made by the running processes. This can help to identify any suspicious behavior or actions taken by the processes that may be indicative of malware.
  • Analyze network connections: We analyze network connections made by the device to identify any potential security vulnerabilities. This involves examining the network traffic and identifying any suspicious connections or traffic patterns.
These steps are taken by the DIMO foundation inorder to identify any potential security vulnerabilities or malicious code that may be present in the device's memory. By conducting a thorough memory analysis, the DIMO Foundation ensures the security and reliability of the device.

Peripheral device analysis

The auditor can analyze the peripheral devices connected to the hardware, such as USB or serial ports, to check for potential attack vectors that can be exploited.
  • Identify the peripheral devices: Physically inspecting the device and checking its configuration, and identifying the peripherals connected.
  • Review the device drivers: We analyze device drivers, which involves checking for any known vulnerabilities or weaknesses in the drivers that may be exploited by attackers.
  • Connectors test: The DIMO Foundation can test the connections between the device and the peripheral devices to identify any potential security vulnerabilities. This can involve using specialized tools, such as USB analyzers or serial port sniffers, to capture and analyze the traffic between the device and the peripheral devices.
  • Rouge device tests: Another important part of a peripheral device analysis is checking for rogue devices that may be connected to the device. This can involve using specialized tools to identify any unauthorized devices connected to the network.
  • Assess device security features: Finally, the DIMO Foundation can assess the security features of the peripheral devices, such as encryption or authentication mechanisms, to ensure that they are strong and secure. This involves testing the strength of the encryption algorithms used, the authentication protocols, and the key management system.

Hardware security features analysis

The auditor can review the hardware security features implemented in the device, such as secure boot or secure firmware updates, and the implementation of the secure element to ensure they are implemented correctly and function as intended.

Manufacturer Checklist

When submitting your device to the DIMO foundation for approval, 3 devices are required to be sent to the DIMO foundation, or a DIMO approved security auditor. Here is a checklist for a device manufacturer who is looking to submit their device to the network for an audit:
  1. 1.
    Provide documentation on the design and architecture of the chips used in the device. This includes all datasheets, schematics and layout files.
  2. 2.
    Provide documentation on the firmware version and location on the device (directory structure), along with copies of the firmware images that are going to be analyzed.
  3. 3.
    Ensure that the firmware is signed and that it matches the expected version and checksum upon submission.
  4. 4.
    Configure your device to allow the auditor to dump the memory of the device and analyze it for signs of tampering or malicious code.
  5. 5.
    Provide documentation on the running processes and network connections made by the device.
  6. 6.
    Provide documentation on the peripheral devices connected to the device.
  7. 7.
    Provide documentation on the hardware security features implemented in the device.
  8. 8.
    Ensure that the secure boot and secure firmware updates are implemented correctly and function as intended upon submission.
  9. 9.
    Provide documentation on the implementation of the secure element.

DIMO Approved Hardware Auditors

The DIMO Foundation has strict requirements for the hardware and security audit of any device that is being considered for approval and integration into the DIMO network. To ensure that these requirements are met, only approved hardware and security auditors may be used for approval by the DIMO Foundation.
Currently, Block Harbor is the only approved hardware and security auditor for the DIMO network. Block Harbor has extensive experience in hardware and security auditing, and they have a proven track record of ensuring that the devices they audit meet the strict requirements of the DIMO Foundation..
However, the DIMO Foundation recognizes the importance of having a diverse group of auditors with different perspectives and expertise. Therefore, the list of approved auditors is growing, and the DIMO Foundation is actively seeking new partners with the expertise and experience needed to conduct thorough hardware and security audits.
As new auditors are added to the list of approved auditors, the DIMO Foundation will provide guidance and training to ensure that they understand the requirements and procedures for conducting audits for the DIMO network. This will help to ensure that all devices on the network are thoroughly audited and meet the strict requirements for security and reliability.