BitWhisper: It’s possible to steal data from air-gapped computers using heat

Computer security researchers from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University have discovered it is possible to steal data from highly secure air-gapped computers by manipulating the thermal sensors inside them.

Air-gapped systems are computers deliberately isolated from connecting to the internet or any other computers in order to make sure they stay secure and data cannot be stolen from them.

These systems are routinely used by financial payment networks to process credit card transactions for retailers, classified military networks or industrial control systems that operate important infrastructure like a city’s electrical grid. The only way to remove data from an air-gapped computer is to physically access the machine.

But now, security researchers have realised that if two air-gapped computers are located adjacent and within 40cm (15in) of each other in a room, it is possible to manipulate the machines‘ built-in thermal sensors that control heat emissions to prevent the computer from overheating.

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Blog English, Cyber Security