Feeds

Twinkle, twinkle little LED (now I know what's in your head)

Pass the duct tape, Alice

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Security researchers have published a paper warning that LED status indicators on datacomms kit can leak information to eavesdroppers.

A paper, Information Leakage from Optical Emanations, by Joe Loughry of Lockheed Martin Space Systems and David A.Umphress of Auburn University in Alabama explains how it's possible to correlate flickering lights with information flowing through a device.

On the face of it this seems impractical but the researchers have carried out tests which show "that it is possible to intercept data under realistic conditions at a considerable distance". Snoopers could intercept data from at "least across the street" using inexpensive equipment (which they haven't actually built yet), they suggest.

"Many different sorts of devices, including modems and Internet Protocol routers, were found to be vulnerable" to what the researchers describe as an "Optical Tempest" attack. Tests suggest lower speed device (such as 56Kbps) might be most subject to the theoretically undetectable attack.

The ability to monitor computer by intercepting stray radio-frequency emanations computers and displays has been common knowledge for some time, but there's been little mention of spying on signals in the optical spectrum.

One drawback is that such signals may be a noisy representation of the data flowing through them, as Loughry and Umphress acknowledge. Another difficulty, is that an attacker would need line of sight for effective snooping.

Paranoid punters may want to review that paper on the subject before deciding if they need to put duct tape over their LEDs or equipment redesign, both of which are suggested as countermeasures by the researchers. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?