BitWhisper

by Avi Yariv
 
Hacking into computer systems in order to gain remote access to the data they store requires first and foremost communication. There are various methods and means designed to ’trick’ all sorts of communication protocols and standards, clinic thereby enabling the perpetrator to link up with the computer or and ’pump’ them for information. Therefore, pill highly classified material shall be stored in so called Stand-Alone systems, i.e. PCs and such which are not connected. Alternatively, storage will be done over computers which are linked via a closed, highly secure network, which is completely cut off from the outside world. Another alternative is to have said network installed with all sorts of barriers, unidirectional communications, gateways, and so on, which are developed, for instance, by companies such as Waterfall Security Solutions.
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Article courtesy : iHLSIsrael Homeland Security
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A recent report in Israeli economic paper Calalist highlight a breakthrough achieved by Mordechai Guri with the guidance of Prof. Yuval Elovici from the cyber security labs at Ben-Gurion University. The PhD candidate Guri developed a method to identify data over the PC by monitoring the heat emission patterns.The new method is called BitWhisper. It demonstrates communication capability between two computers, albeit at a very low speed for now (8 signals per hour). Alternatively, it is also capable of monitoring. One computer monitors another. This low rate doesn’t really enable actual download of the data from the target computer. Nevertheless, even at this low speed, you can still transmit passwords and encryption codes.

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Another capability this method features is instructing a pre-installed spyware on the target computer, and ’pump’ it for data and info. A computer used for spying does not feature any special sensors, and it is situated within 50 cm from the target system.

Much like many other surveillance means, this capability too is complimentary, and it will remains so even when it matures. Such means abound in today’s market, with some requiring intelligence agencies to become integrators of numerous technological capabilities and gain intelligence-operational understanding thereof, in order to have complete situational awareness.

The NSA too attaches high importance to gathering intelligence from stand-alone computers which are impervious to the internet. According to various reports, the NSA has been installing, since 2008, tiny circuits on USB devices, which relay data at radio frequencies to receivers imbedded in suitcase. The material is subsequently relayed to the NSA’s installations. The distance between the USB device and the nearest receiver could reach up to nearly 13 km. It has been alleged that the espionage and relay have been targeting not only computers but also network elements such as routers and so on.

Having to hide classified data and the counter need to reveal it, are ultimately going to make for source of livelihood for many people. Ben Gurion University is home to an original and interesting method of providing partial solution to the aggressor vis-à-vis the target.

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Article courtesy : iHLSIsrael Homeland Security

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