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Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2022 16:03:20 +0200
From: Matthias Deeg <>
To: <>
Subject: [FD] [SYSS-2022-016]: Verbatim Fingerprint Secure Portable Hard
 Drive - Missing Immutable Root of Trust in Hardware (CWE-1326)

Advisory ID:               SYSS-2022-016
Product:                   Fingerprint Secure Portable Hard Drive
Manufacturer:              Verbatim
Affected Version(s):       #53650
Tested Version(s):         #53650
Vulnerability Type:        Missing Immutable Root of Trust in Hardware 
Risk Level:                Medium
Solution Status:           Open
Manufacturer Notification: 2022-02-03
Solution Date:             -
Public Disclosure:         2022-06-08
CVE Reference:             CVE-2022-28383
Author of Advisory:        Matthias Deeg (SySS GmbH)



The Verbatim Fingerprint Secure Portable Hard Drive is a USB drive with
AES 256-bit hardware encryption and a built-in fingerprint sensor for
unlocking the device with previously registered fingerprints.

The manufacturer describes the product as follows:

"The AES 256-bit Hardware Encryption seamlessly encrypts all data on the
drive in real-time. The drive is compliant with GDPR requirements as
100% of the drive is securely encrypted. The built-in fingerprint
recognition system allows access for up to eight authorised users and
one administrator who can access the device via a password. The hard
drive does not store passwords in the computer or system's volatile
memory making it far more secure than software encryption."[1]

Due to insufficient firmware validation, an attacker can store
malicious firmware code for the USB-to-SATA bridge controller on the USB
drive which gets executed.


Vulnerability Details:

When analyzing the Fingerprint Secure Portable Hard Drive, Matthias Deeg
found out that the validation of the firmware for the USB-to-SATA bridge
controller INIC-3637EN only consists of a simple CRC-16 check (XMODEM

Thus, an attacker is able to store malicious firmware code for the
INIC-3637EN with a correct checksum on the used SPI flash memory chip
(XT25F01B), which then gets successfully executed by the USB-to-SATA
bridge controller.

For instance, this security vulnerability could be exploited in a
so-called "supply chain attack" when the device is still on its way to
its legitimate user.

An attacker with temporary physical access during the supply could
program a modified firmware on the Verbatim Fingerprint Secure Portable
Hard Drive, which always uses an attacker-controlled AES key for the
data encryption, for example.

If, later on, the attacker gains access to the used USB drive, he can
simply decrypt all contained user data.


Proof of Concept (PoC):

SySS was able to read and write the SPI flash memory containing the
firmware of the INIC-3637EN controller (128 KB) using a universal

By analyzing the dumped memory content, SySS found out that the
INIC-3637EN firmware is stored from the file offset 0x4000 to the file
offset 0x1BFFB, and that the corresponding XMODEM CRC-16 is stored at
the file offset 0x1FFFC.

Matthias Deeg developed a simple Python tool for updating the checksum
of modified firmware images before writing them to the SPI flash memory

The following output exemplarily shows updating a modified firmware

$ python firmware_hacked.bin
Verbatim Fingerprint Secure Portable Hard Drive Updater v0.1 - Matthias 
Deeg, SySS GmbH (c) 2022
[*] Computed CRC-16 (0x86DD) does not match stored CRC-16 (0x77FF).
[*] Successfully updated firmware file



SySS GmbH is not aware of a solution for the described security issue.


Disclosure Timeline:

2022-02-03: Vulnerability reported to manufacturer
2022-02-11: Vulnerability reported to manufacturer again
2022-03-07: Vulnerability reported to manufacturer again
2022-06-08: Public release of security advisory



[1] Product website for Verbatim Fingerprint Secure Portable Hard Drive
[2] SySS Security Advisory SYSS-2022-016
[3] SySS GmbH, SySS Responsible Disclosure Policy



This security vulnerability was found by Matthias Deeg of SySS GmbH.

E-Mail: matthias.deeg (at)
Public Key:
Key fingerprint = D1F0 A035 F06C E675 CDB9 0514 D9A4 BF6A 34AD 4DAB



The information provided in this security advisory is provided "as is"
and without warranty of any kind. Details of this security advisory may
be updated in order to provide as accurate information as possible. The
latest version of this security advisory is available on the SySS website.



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