Some of the world’s most sensitive data is not stored on the internet, nor does it even have access to the internet, the computers they exist on are completely isolated from other machines. This precaution is a way to prevent any form of remote hack or security breach. These systems are referred to as isolated machines, and are almost impossible to hack as there is no connection to anything else. But that might change as researchers in Israel have discovered that hackers could use radio signals to steal data. By combining this with mobile phones, it could be possible to attack and steal the information kept in these ‘isolated’ machines.
The attackers use radio frequencies and mobile phones as senders/receivers to siphon data from secure machines. Even though the machines themselves have no way of transmitting the data, mobile phones on the inside, employees’ mobile phones for example, can be vulnerable to transmit the data unknowingly.The process itself is quite complicated but if in the wrong hands, could be disastrous. The signal from a mobile phone is limited so the attack can only occur reasonably close, but with the right technology, this could be extended. Not only is range an issue with this method but also speed. The transmission speed of data is estimated to only be around 60 bytes a second, which works out over 10 hours for a simple document. As the attack isn’t as invasive or obvious when its happened, the attack doesn’t necessarily need to be quick, the hackers could set themselves up and steal the data without disturbance.
The real issue with this vulnerability is that it is very difficult to protect against. Companies who wish to keep their data safe have already isolated them from the internet, but unless they enforce no mobile phones within the building, or a physical barrier to prevent radio signals then they can only hope criminals do not further this technology.
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