Exploiting JTAG and Its Mitigation in IOT: A Survey




Vishwakarma, Gopal
Lee, Wonjun

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Nowadays, companies are heavily investing in the development of “Internet of Things(IoT)” products. These companies usually and obviously hunt for lucrative business models. Currently, each person owns at least 3–4 devices (such as mobiles, personal computers, Google Assistant, Alexa, etc.) that are connected to the Internet 24/7. However, in the future, there might be hundreds of devices that will be constantly online behind each person, keeping track of body health, banking transactions, status of personal devices, etc. to make one’s life more efficient and streamlined. Thus, it is very crucial that each device should be highly secure since one’s life will become dependent on these devices. However, the current security of IoT devices is mainly focused on resiliency of device. In addition, less complex node devices are easily accessible to the public resulting in higher vulnerability. JTAG is an IEEE standard that has been defined to test proper mounting of components on PCBs (printed circuit boards) and has been extensively used by PCB manufacturers to date. This JTAG interface can be used as a backdoor entry to access and exploit devices, also defined as a physical attack. This attack can be used to make products malfunction, modify data, or, in the worst case, stop working. This paper reviews previous successful JTAG exploitations of well-known devices operating online and also reviews some proposed possible solutions to see how they can affect IoT products in a broader sense.



Internet of Things, JTAG, exploitation, mitigation, IOT, survey


Future Internet 10 (12): 121 (2018)


Electrical and Computer Engineering