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Drone steals data from a PC's blinking LED

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posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 12:05 AM
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originally posted by: TobyFlenderson
I'm no techie, but it seems to me that if they could control the computer enough to make its lights blink out morse code, or binary, or whatever, to tell someone information on the computer, then they should be able to just have the computer communicate with the controller in a more reasonable fashion, say by operating it's wifi or bluetooth. No?


Nooooo... that's not secret squirrel talk.

Are you a trump terrorist or something??




posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 12:23 AM
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a reply to: savemebarry
Did you even read the paper? They make the led blink by issuing specific, short read/write comands to the hdd.



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 01:18 AM
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originally posted by: Quaria
a reply to: savemebarry
Did you even read the paper? They make the led blink by issuing specific, short read/write comands to the hdd.




SOS

ok good start.



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 01:20 AM
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Next on the list, fridges that vibrate at a rate to let the PTB know you're having salsa.

it's just retarded.. and .. dare I say it, crap.


edit on 5-3-2017 by savemebarry because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 01:24 AM
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originally posted by: Quaria
a reply to: savemebarry
Did you even read the paper? They make the led blink by issuing specific, short read/write comands to the hdd.



Even worse, I should have said this in my initial reply..

So *they* make the hdd make the led flash. or... show me evidence of an LED being capable of this, one that is stock standard in a PC, under a desk. what a stupid posit. jesus, and the trump threads appear more and more aloof.. There is a rock on mars you know, I think it looks like a rat. No, really. it's a rat. fossilised. and standing there for 9 billion years.

ugh

edit on 5-3-2017 by savemebarry because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 01:32 AM
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originally posted by: savemebarry

originally posted by: Quaria
a reply to: savemebarry
Did you even read the paper? They make the led blink by issuing specific, short read/write comands to the hdd.



Even worse, I should have said this in my initial reply..

So *they* make the hdd make the led flash. or... show me evidence of an LED being capable of this, one that is stock standard in a PC, under a desk. what a stupid posit. jesus, and the trump threads appear more and more aloof.. There is a rock on mars you know, I think it looks like a rat. No, really. it's a rat. fossilised. and standing there for 9 billion years.

ugh



Sooooo, are you saying it is not the best idea you've ever heard?






posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 02:36 AM
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originally posted by: burgerbuddy

originally posted by: savemebarry

originally posted by: Quaria
a reply to: savemebarry
Did you even read the paper? They make the led blink by issuing specific, short read/write comands to the hdd.



Even worse, I should have said this in my initial reply..

So *they* make the hdd make the led flash. or... show me evidence of an LED being capable of this, one that is stock standard in a PC, under a desk. what a stupid posit. jesus, and the trump threads appear more and more aloof.. There is a rock on mars you know, I think it looks like a rat. No, really. it's a rat. fossilised. and standing there for 9 billion years.

ugh



Sooooo, are you saying it is not the best idea you've ever heard?





I'm still up for the hearing camera that can hear singing from plants.

That worries me.. this.. well I did once make my commodore 64 1541 floppy drive play music.. killed it, but I still did it
I'm sure it could have been used as a spy device, playing eerie music when I wasn't around, and my modem could have relayed it back to the powers that be.. all they had to do was knock.. I was 12. bastards !!



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 02:38 AM
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a reply to: Discotech

This is fake news put out by the tape industry to sell more tape.

edit on ? by MyHappyDogShiner because: more tape



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 02:42 AM
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originally posted by: MyHappyDogShiner
a reply to: Discotech

This is fake news put out by the tape industry to sell more tape.


What is wrong with Tape??

Are you one of those string fellows?? You leave my elasticity alone you !!!




posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 02:45 AM
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I know you don't...

that's why I posted before you did.



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 03:42 AM
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You could do it but there is only a slim chance of making it work writing directly to the HDD LED.

You could write a low level driver in assembly that either hooks interrupt 13 and then set up a timing loop so you have consistent 0's and 1's, at that point issue a seek or read command Int 13 AH=02 for a designated amount of time and then stop (here you would have to hook syscalls to stop all other activity from accessing during your time) .
Start the LED to flash a predetermined ACK command so your drone will know where the info transfer is starting and another to designate the End of Transmission.

This assumes that the HDD controller actually fluctuates the LED during the access period according to what it is really doing. Some HDD controllers will just turn the light on at first access and then off after a predetermined amount of time.

If that's the case, you might have to write a hardware level call to the Legacy I/O ports for the primary PATA or SATA HDD 0X1f - 0x1f7 and issue command outb(0x1F7, 0x20) to issue writes while also calling the HDD controller's Set/Clear Status light command if it has one and if it has been documented. You can sometimes get to the HDD the controller diagnostics, some RAID controllers will blink patterns out in the LEDS to indicate Fault Levels. The biggest problem with all of this is that every controller is proprietary and may need different commands at the lowest levels to do anything useful so it is unlikely that you will succeed. You could write some tests for the most commons controllers out there for the target Laptop that you wish to infiltrate and hope for the best but it really seems like a crap shoot to me.


originally posted by: savemebarry

originally posted by: roadgravel
a reply to: savemebarry

The idea is controlling the disk access to use the led as a signalling device.


It doesnt have that capacity.

unless you specifically build a device and already had physical access to the data - rendering the entire thing moot - you just wont get an led to do that.

not by software.

edit on 5-3-2017 by evc1shop because: spelling



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 09:02 AM
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a reply to: evc1shop

What are you google? or microsoft?

it's gonna take more than sneaking in, sticking a program on a pc, and sneaking out with your super snooper drons in the sky to do any of that.

Tell me, what is the speed of a modern hdd, let alone solid state drives? and you're saying you can blink the speed required? they've had it wrong all these years with cables. we can just use an led and an IR led. Problem?

fancy words dont make things real. or we'd be using magnets like this.




posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 09:10 AM
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originally posted by: seasonal
a reply to: roadgravel

All it takes is a 1/2" piece of electrical tape to solve this one.


Or just don't connect the HDD led wire to the MB...simple.



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 12:39 PM
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This seems more about desktops than server rooms where the machines are normally in racks and have a caged door locking them in front and back and most server rooms don't have windows etc allowing someone to point a camera anyway.

Generally if you could get the software on the computer in the first place you probably will use a lot of other exploits to get the data out.



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 02:03 PM
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I believe the point of all of this is that it's another method that most people would overlook. Don't expect it as a wide spread exploit. More of "it can be done".



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 02:05 PM
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originally posted by: savemebarry

originally posted by: roadgravel
a reply to: savemebarry

The idea is controlling the disk access to use the led as a signalling device.


It doesnt have that capacity.

unless you specifically build a device and already had physical access to the data - rendering the entire thing moot - you just wont get an led to do that.

not by software.


And yet, in their paper linked in the original post...



D. Implementation
We implemented a prototype of the transmitter for the Linux OS. We choose to use the read operation to turn on the HDD activity LED, because it leaves no traces on the file system. We executed a C program which uses the direct addressing system calls and the fseek(), fopen(), and fread() system calls [43] [44]. We also implemented a shell script version of the transmitter using the Linux dd command-line utility [45]. This is a low level utility of Linux which can perform a wide range of HDD operations (e.g., read or copy) at the file or block level.

...

E. Caching avoidance
In order to efficiently modulate data over the LED signal, we need to precisely control the duration of the read operations ... Before the transmissions, we turned off the disk caching using the /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches, in order to instruct the kernel to free the pagecache, dentries, and inodes. We also turned off the HDD write-back cache mechanism, using the hdparm command line tool [46]. In the shell script, we used the dd tool with 'direct' flag (use direct I/O for data), and 'sync' flag (use synchronized I/O for data).


I'm surprised at the levels of efficacy that they are claiming, but not really surprised at the general principle.



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 02:05 PM
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a reply to: savemebarry

Some questions are answer by the material referenced.


"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," Ben-Gurion researcher Mordechai Guri told Wired.



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 03:32 PM
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Nothing fancy about the words. I sensed that you might be technically savvy and I was responding to you. I am not Google or Microsoft, I am a Software Developer who spends a lot of time creating microcontroller code and embedded systems. I have a solid background in electronics and am quite familiar with PC architecture dating all the way back to 8088 based systems.

The speed of the drive wouldn't actually matter if you have direct access to the Hard drive light. You wouldn't actually need to even access the drive. You could just block all calls to turn the light on and off other than your own and set up a timing loop to create steady blink patterns. It is theoretically possible, that is my point. It would also be extremely hard to do, my other point, due to the fact that there is not a standard controller or a standard command on the controller to directly talk to the LED. It can be done if you have the white papers / command set for the specific controller on a specific machine, if that controller supports that mode of port access. The LED output is typically an addressable IO port but may not available for direct access and may only be driven off the HDD Controllers Processing unit, this would cause the attempt to do direct access to fail in that case.

I have been writing drivers to talk to hard drives directly since the days of MFM and RLL drives that could store 2-5MB and were considered huge. I have written Multi-User Dos software for use in Retail Store Environments so that 32 WYSE terminals could access inventory control databases.

I do not know what your skill set is but I figured you could probably take my words and make something meaningful out of them.

I work as a consultant these days, mostly for a company I used to work at and I do a lot of their work for Law Enforcement and DHS related sites. In my previous years, I worked for Matsu#a (Panasonic/Technics) on the electronics side of the coin.

I do not know if you can do things the way the article points out but i do know that if you can get to the LED on the controller via the controllers command set, you can do this. Another thing to think about is the little light for the camera access or any other indicator light (caps Lock, num lock, sleep indicator) can all be controlled with the right BIOS or lower level calls.
On a practical level, you would probably only yield about 2400 baud using an LED unless you can encode the information into a carrier frequency like the 38k or 40k infrared remote controls as this helps cut down switching noise of the actual LED color's own switching frequency (RED LED's are typically in the 630-635 nanometer wavelength spectrum. The carrier frequency would require a steady timing of the base light blinking frequency and then a chopping of the blinking light such that the "chopped" light is the data within the blinking stream.

It really would be better to just steal the computer in my opinion.






originally posted by: savemebarry
a reply to: evc1shop

What are you google? or microsoft?

it's gonna take more than sneaking in, sticking a program on a pc, and sneaking out with your super snooper drons in the sky to do any of that.

Tell me, what is the speed of a modern hdd, let alone solid state drives? and you're saying you can blink the speed required? they've had it wrong all these years with cables. we can just use an led and an IR led. Problem?

fancy words dont make things real. or we'd be using magnets like this.


edit on 5-3-2017 by evc1shop because: spelling, and tidy up



posted on Mar, 5 2017 @ 05:30 PM
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a reply to: evc1shop

You have to realize that some here just state a opinion based on some notion that may only been pulled out of the air.

And of course, skipping the background material helps.



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