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Computer scientists have developed a malware prototype that uses inaudible audio signals to communicate, a capability that allows the malware to covertly transmit keystrokes and other sensitive data even when infected machines have no network connection.
The proof-of-concept software—or malicious trojans that adopt the same high-frequency communication methods—could prove especially adept in penetrating highly sensitive environments that routinely place an "air gap" between computers and the outside world. Using nothing more than the built-in microphones and speakers of standard computers, the researchers were able to transmit passwords and other small amounts of data from distances of almost 65 feet. The software can transfer data at much greater distances by employing an acoustical mesh network made up of attacker-controlled devices that repeat the audio signals.
The researchers developed several ways to use inaudible sounds to transmit data between two Lenovo T400 laptops using only their built-in microphones and speakers. The most effective technique relied on software originally developed to acoustically transmit data under water. Created by the Research Department for Underwater Acoustics and Geophysics in Germany, the so-called adaptive communication system (ACS) modem was able to transmit data between laptops as much as 19.7 meters (64.6 feet) apart. By chaining additional devices that pick up the signal and repeat it to other nearby devices, the mesh network can overcome much greater distances.
reply to post by theantediluvian
Sorry dude, this has already been posted in October in this forum.
Meet “badBIOS,” the mysterious Mac and PC malware that jumps airgaps
…it is about other researchers creating a proof of concept that demonstrates the feasibility of using HF signals and computers' speakers and mics to communicate covertly.
The article does a very poor job of explaining that while this represents a novel (and very low bandwidth @ 20bps) mode of communication, it does not constitute a new vector for infection. That is to say, both PCs would need to have been already infected through some other means and only after being infected could such communication take place.
What it does mean is that in addition to pulling the network cable, it might be a good idea to disable built-in mics and unplug the speakers when removing an infected PC from your network.