By: Ang Cui, Francois Charbonneau, Jatin Kataria

Scheduled on: June 18 at 17:00

There are multiple x86 processors in your monitor! OSD, or on-screen-display controllers are ubiquitous components in nearly all modern monitors. OSDs are typically used to generate simple menus on the monitor, allowing the user to change settings like brightness, contrast and input source. However, OSDs are effectively independent general-purpose computers that can: read the content of the screen, change arbitrary pixel values, and execute arbitrary code supplied through numerous control channels. We demonstrate multiple methods of loading and executing arbitrary code in a modern monitor and discuss the security implication of this novel attack vector.

We also present a thorough analysis of an OSD system used in common Dell monitors and discuss attack scenarios ranging from active screen content manipulation and screen content snooping to active data exfiltration using Funtenna-like techniques. We demonstrate a multi-stage monitor implant capable of loading arbitrary code and data encoded in specially crafted images and documents through active monitor snooping. This code infiltration technique can be implemented through a single pixel, or through subtle variations of a large number of pixels.

We discuss a step-by-step walk-through of our hardware and software reverse-analysis process of the Dell monitor. We present three demonstrations of monitoring exploitation to show active screen snooping, active screen content manipulation and covert data exfiltration using Funtenna.

Lastly, we discuss realistic attack delivery mechanisms, show a prototype implementation of our attack using the USB Armory and outline potential attack mitigation options.

We will release sample code related to this attack prior to the presentation date.