Even though PowerPC mostly disappeared from the consumer device market, its architectural properties continue being popular for highly specialized systems. This particularly includes embedded systems with real-time requirements that are deeply integrated into critical infrastructures as well as aeronautics, transportation, control systems in power plants, etc. One example is Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA), a digital radio system used in the public safety domain and deployed in more than 120 countries worldwide: base stations of at least one of the main vendors are based on PowerPC. Despite the criticality of the aforementioned systems, many follow a security by obscurity approach and there are no openly available analysis tools. While analyzing a TETRA base station, we design and develop a set of analysis tools centered around a PowerPC binary patcher. We further create various dynamic tooling on top, including a fast memory dumper, function tracer, flexible patching capabilities at runtime, and a fuzzer. We describe the genesis of these tools and detail the binary patcher, which is general in nature and not limited to our base station under test.
Dinosaur Resurrection: PowerPC Binary Patching for Base Station Analysis
Uwe Muller, Eicke Hauck, Timm Welz, Jiska Classen, Matthias Hollick (Secure Mobile Networking Lab, TU Darmstadt)
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