Security & Fraud

Malware Drone Steals Data Off Computer Hard Drive

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University’s cybersecurity lab have come up with a way to use malware installed on a drone to steal data off of computers by watching the optical stream of the LED on the computers’ hard drives and sending it to a camera outside the window.

The drone that steals data was created to showcase how the researchers developed a method to get around a security protection dubbed an “air gap” in which sensitive computer systems are separated from the internet to keep the information protected from hackers. If a hacker can put malware on one of the systems, it can quickly steal the secrets off a machine that is supposed to be isolated and thus protected. According to a report highlighting the demonstration, every blink of a hard drive’s LED indicator can provide sensitive information to a hacker with a line of sight to the computer, whether it’s by using a drone or a telescopic lens.

“If an attacker has a foothold in your air-gapped system, the malware still can send the data out to the attacker,” said Ben-Gurion researcher Mordechai Guri said in the report. “We found that the small hard drive indicator LED can be controlled at up to 6,000 blinks per second. We can transmit data in a very fast way at a very long distance.”

According to the report, exploiting the LED on a computer’s hard drive has the potential to be a much sneakier and longer-distance hack than seen in the past. The researchers in their demonstration were able to move data at around 4,000 bits a second, which the report noted is close to a megabyte per half hour. The person receiving the data can then record it and use optical messages at a later time to decode all the information. What’s more, Guri said the malware can even replay the LED blinks in a loop so that every part of a transmission can be seen.

——————————

NEW PYMNTS DATA: HOW WE SHOP – SEPTEMBER 2020 

The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

Click to comment

TRENDING RIGHT NOW