Acoustic bugging of computers

Cypher cypher at
Sat Apr 5 00:34:59 PDT 2014

I saw this a while back and really question it's usability. While it's  
*technically* possible, it seems far to complex for the average hacker  
and far too risky for the intel community.  People who use encryption  
tend to be slightly more paranoid than the average user. Suddenly  
receiving a piece of encrypted, nonsense email might be enough to get  
their key. But I also suspect that, in many cases, that key would  
quickly be revoked and reissued.

Sent from my mobile device

On Apr 5, 2014, at 0:44, jim bell <jamesdbell9 at> wrote:

> ( —A trio of researchers in Israel has discovered that it i 
> s possible to crack 4096-bit RSA encryption keys using a microphone  
> to listen to high-pitch noises generated by internal computer compon 
> ents. Adi Shamir (co-inventor of RSA), Daniel Genkin and Eran Tromer 
>  have published a research paper describing the technique on a Tel A 
> viv University server.
> Read more at:
> Computers make noises, the researchers explain, far beyond the  
> whirring of the fan. The CPU, for example, emits a high pitched  
> noise as it operates, fluctuating depending on which operations it  
> is performing—other components do likewise. Suspecting that they mig 
> ht be able to exploit this characteristic of computers, the research 
> ers set about creating software to interpret noise data obtained usi 
> ng simple microphones and very little other equipment. They also foc 
> used exclusively on trying to achieve one single feat: deciphering a 
> n RSA encryption key. After much trial and effort, the researchers f 
> ound it could be done without much effort.
> Listening and detecting the noise made by a computer as it processes  
> a single character in an encryption key would be impossible, of  
> course, so the researchers devised a method that causes the noise to  
> be repeated enough times in a row to enable capture of its signal.  
> And that can only happen if the attacker is able to send a  
> cyphertext to the machine that is to be attacked and have it  
> processed. The cyphertext contains code that causes looping. By  
> listening to how the computer processes the cyphertext, the  
> researchers can map the noises made by the computer as it crunches  
> different characters, thereby allowing encryption keys sent by  
> others to be cracked.
> What's perhaps most frightening about this method is how easily it  
> can be ported to various machines. The researchers found, for  
> example, that by using a laptop and simple hardware and software  
> they were able to crack encryption keys on a second laptop. Next,  
> they did the same thing using a cell phone as the listening device.  
> They suggest it could also be packaged completely in software and  
> sent out as malware, hacking encryption keys on infected devices and  
> sending them back to the hacker.
> As a side-note, the researchers also found that low-bandwidth  
> attacks on computers are also possible by measuring the electrical  
> potential of a computer's chassis while the circuitry is busy doing  
> its work.
>  Explore further: Researchers at Toshiba design quantum network for  
> secure communications
> More information: RSA Key Extraction via Low-Bandwidth Acoustic  
> Cryptanalysis:
> Read more at:
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