Speaker and Mic: The new route of Virus Attacks on PCs
Computers without network can also become victims to threats! Surprised? But, it’s now a proven reality, where researchers have found proof of software that can help in PC communication via microphones and speakers that are built-in, even when there is no network connection.
Computer researchers have created a malware that can establish connections between devices, which are not actively connected with the network. This finding has raised a big question on the reliability of ‘air gap’ that is considered a reliable way to protect information and data.
New malware jumps protected ‘air gap’ barrier using audio signals
The scientists created a prototype malware, which makes use of inaudible audio signals to transmit data in small amounts over hidden channels, located within a distance of about 65 feet. This can happen via the in-built speakers and microphones. The distance can be further elevated by connecting a device network that can help in repeating signals.
This proof-of-concept software, has thus suggested that an internet connection is not enough, and even without it a computer can experience threats from the outside world. The research came after the unveiling of a mysterious malware, which made use of high-frequency signals to move from one non-connected device to another.
The computer used for carrying out this test was Lenovo T400, and the primary aim was of creating software that can help with underwater communications. The first version developed by the R&D division at Underwater Acoustics and Marine Geophysics was capable of transmitting 20 bits data per second up to 64.6 feet. For covering greater distances, an acoustical mesh network that connects nearby devices to the chain could be used.
Even with the small rate of transmissions, researchers suggest and warn that hackers and cybercriminals can make the malware more powerful with Keyloggers that can help in recording sensitive information. An example is the login details of the user who has been victimized.
Acoustical communications are usually not considered, so this concept seems a little out of league. But, the findings are all real and something that can prevent this are using a host-based intrusion detection system that’s capable of analyzing audio signal. Also, it must contain a low-pass filter that blocks high frequency signals and allows only signals of low frequency to pass.
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