Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Listen Up: Online Spies Can Hear Your Computer

View as: Print Mobile App Share:
A desktop computer with speakers.

The audio speakers of any desktop or laptop computer can be 'hacked' to secretly send out private and confidential data transmissions that are inaudible to the human ear.

Credit: Calgary Herald (Canada)

Experts have long believed that if a computer is not networked or connected to the Internet, hackers cannot infiltrate it. But researchers at a German university say it is possible to access a non-connected computer through its speakers.

Michael Hanspach and Michael Goetz have published a report on how data, including confidential databases or keystroke logs, can be sent covertly at near-ultrasonic frequencies between already compromised machines. The researchers were able to use a laptop and its built-in microphones and speakers to establish communications over a distance of nearly 20 meters via super-high frequencies.

The authors note the sounds could be used to secretly transmit almost any type of data, from text files to private encryption keys. Recommended countermeasures include the use of low pass audio filtering in computing systems or a kind of intrusion detection system that analyzes a computer's audio input and output to identity any unusual activity.

From Calgary Herald (Canada)
View Full Article


Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


No entries found

Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account