What if it was possible to steal data from a computer through its fan?

What if it was possible to steal data from a computer through its fan?

April 22, 2020 Off By admin

The thing is exceptional or unpublished.

Steal data that is contained in a computer using the tower fan. This is what was discovered by Israeli computer security specialists.

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This rather unusual method was developed by this team following numerous tests conducted for this purpose. Their basic ideas were to use the relatively unsused hardware in the field of security computing, the fan, in order to exfiltrate data from a computer. Precisely a computer that is not connected to the Internet. The project is to use the vibration emitted by the fan to succeed this rather incredible bet. According to the researchers, by receiving in its vibrations and controlling them, it will be possible to transform them into a signal that can be used in this context, as a means of transmission.

The researchers behind this project are actually academics from the higher education institution that is in the Israeli desert of Negev, Ben Gurion. These researchers are working on several methods to transfer data from one terminal that is not connected to the Internet to another with which no prior connection has been established. These are the same people who had managed to demonstrate a few months ago that it was possible to hack a computer by referring to the brightness emitted by the screen. And now they are at a new method just as unusual.

How does it work. According to the researchers' explanations, the components of the computer, the tower fan is the main key to the success of hacking. As we already know, a computer can be composed of at least 3 fans. The one that is affiliated with the graphics card, then the one for the processor. Finally, the tower, which has the function of evacuating hot air outside the computer. This is exactly the one that is at the center of the offline data exfiltration technique. more precisely it is the vibrations emitted by the fan that interests us here. Indeed, it is possible for software by controlling the speed of its rotation, to transform this into computer language that can be understandable and usable against the target computer. It is possible to see the work of the researchers in a video where they try to make a demonstration.

Not to lie about the method, let's say it is ineffective, even if it works. In the presentation video, one can observe a computer totally disconnected from the network. Next to the computer you can find a smartphone, precisely a Galaxy S10. It is actually this phone that serves as a signal receiver, a tool in which the file will be transmitted later. the vibrations that pass through the table are visible by an accelerometer and decoding software, a transmission has indeed taken place between the computer and the smartphone without either of them being previously connected by any wired or non-wire network. If the technique does work as described by the researchers, it remains that there is one that there is a major drawback to take into account. The smartphone is supposed to be at least 150 cm away. As for the transmission speed, it is 0.5 bits per second. Another drawback and not least, it would take for the hacking to work properly, first installing a malware on the targeted PC. Without this, there will be a real problem of vibration decoding.

Moreover, the rotating speed of the fan used for hacking is controlled by a Raspberry Pi tool, which must be exactly between the motherboard and the fan. Also, it is mandatory to access the tower to be able to install the Raspberry pi as well as the transmission software. There is so much gymnastics to be done to achieve a very slow data transmission. Even if it is done offline, it does not mean that this technique is a little too tedious and interests can hackers fortunately, that they already have thousands of ways that work more efficiently.

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