Air-ViBeR attack steals data via fan vibrations

Posted on Thursday, Apr 23 2020 @ 14:45 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
The Cyber Security Research Center at Ben-Gurion University of Negev, Israel is at it again with another wacky cyberattack idea. HotHardware writes about Air-ViBeR, a method to steal data from airgapped PCs by recording fan vibrations:
According to he and his team's research, internal fans cause PCs to vibrate at different frequencies, depending on the rotational speed of the spinning blades. For the most part, these subtle vibrations go unnoticed by the human ear. However, these vibrations get transmitted to the surface the PC is on, like a table or desktop, and can be picked up a device on the same surface, or an adjacent one.
Executing the attack is extremely hard as it requires the infection of both a computer and the target's smartphone:
This is not your everyday type of cyber espionage. It is a bit of an elaborate scheme, as an attacker would have to infect a target PC, but then also the target's smartphone, and hope it gets placed on the same surface as the computer. The malicious app on the smartphone is tasked with deciphering the vibration data. Alternatively, we suppose a local attacker could infect their own smartphone and plop it on the same surface.
Furthermore, the low data transmission rate makes an attack like this even less feasible.



Previously, the university showed off spyware that can transmit data via fans, a way to record sound via your headpones, how to steal data via router LEDs, and how to get data frm airgapped PCs via speakers. All pretty interesting, but not something to worry about if you're an average citizen.


About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.



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