New Type of Malware Uses Sound to Cross Air Gaps

Researchers using high-frequency sound transmission have developed a prototype malware.

A unique kind of malware has been successfully developed and tested by researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing, and Ergonomics. The malware prototype communicates using an inaudible audio signal, allowing it to operate and transmit small amounts of data, such as keystrokes or passwords, without the need of a traditional network connection.

This high-frequency signal can be transmitted from almost 65 feet away and is able to penetrate the “air gap” which is often used as a defense for computers with highly sensitive information. With this method, computers which are designed to be isolated can easily be connected to each other.

Currently, the transmission rate is only 20 bits per second. This means that the type of malware transmitted is limited to mostly keyloggers and memory dumpers. This could be enough however for thieves to steal valuable information such as password and username combinations.

New discoveries like this remind us to exercise our suspicious mind! Since there are magnitudes more unknown vulnerabilities as there are known, we should stretch our paranoia, and pay attention to “out-of-the-box” attack possibilities.

Original article by Dan Goodin.
Read the full story here.

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