Researchers Demonstrate Hack by Heat

Mar 25, 2015

Malware could pass data and commands between disconnected computers without leaving a trace on the network. 

Several news sources report that scientists at Ben-Gurion University have discovered a new technique for computers in close proximity to communicate through heat pulses. The technique does not depend on any form of conventional wired or wireless networking. According to the report, two disconnected systems placed 15 inches (40 cm) apart can use heat pulses to communicate. The on-board temperature sensor in one unit can detect heat pulses from the other system. If the necessary malware were placed on the systems, they could successfully transmit data and commands without leaving a footprint on the network.

The attack technique is envisioned for situations in which a system on an internal network is located beside a second system with access to the Internet. Isolating the internal network in this way was once thought to provide the ultimate security; the method described by the Ben-Gurion scientists demonstrates that network isolation alone is not enough to guarantee security. 

This method is similar to other recently discovered unconventional techniques for passing information between computers through FM signals and screen images. The article at Wired provides additional details.

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