Here are three of the strangest methods we’ve learned about that actually work.
1. Keyboard hijacking
Keyloggers are malware that may be found on computers and track every keystroke. Keyloggers are programs that can be used to steal information from your computer. Information security experts have discovered that keyloggers can be utilized for a variety of purposes as long as one of the wireless keyboards is connected to the computer.
According to their tests, they were able to detect radio signals passing between the keyboard and computer from a distance of 50 meters. When they examined the data, it became clear that many keyboards were broadcasting this information in plain text, including passwords and payment details.
The good news is that most wireless keyboards now come with Bluetooth, which encrypts the data on keystrokes and makes such data nearly impossible to tamper with. However, if you’re using an older 2.4 GHz wireless keyboard (which usually necessitates the use of a tiny dongle plugged into a USB port), you may need to purchase a new one.
2. Computer fans.
Hackers who break into a computer generally use the Internet to upload stolen data back to themselves. To safeguard critical sensitive information, businesses employ “air gap” machines, which are not linked to the Internet and make it more difficult for cybercriminals to access them.
Almost every computer and laptop now includes cooling fans, according to Israeli cybersecurity experts at Ben-Gurion University. It’s possible to change the speed of the fans in a computer by altering their noise, almost like (silent) musical notes, by infecting such an “air gap” machine with malware.
Each of these “notes” corresponds to a specific letter of the alphabet. Thus, by adjusting the fan speed, the malware can transmit stolen data (such as passwords) in the form of sounds to another nearby device connected to the Internet. However, this approach is time-consuming and relatively safe for home users (few of us use computers with an “air gap”), although it does work.
3. Hard drive microphones
You probably already know that your smartphone and smart speakers are constantly pestering you, and it’s a genuine hazard. Your computer can “listen” as well, not just through the microphone.
Hackers have figured out that they can accomplish the same thing with the hard drive built into your computer. Vibration is kept to a minimum by precisely balancing components within the disk; it pauses reading and writing during shaking. These pauses can last a fraction of a second, but the more intense the vibration, the longer the pause.
Hackers have been able to utilize the hard drive as a microphone by leveraging this knowledge. They are capable of re-creating sounds, such as voices, that cause gaps in speech. The decoded noises can then be sent back to the hacker over the Internet.
The good news, though, is that hard drives are becoming less common in new computers. They’re being replaced by SSDs, which have no moving parts and aren’t affected by acoustic vibrations.
However, you may also defend yourself
All three of these types of assaults are exceptionally rare and have only a minor impact on home users. In any case, you are far more likely to be attacked by traditional malware and phishing, so you should take precautions. To protect yourself from information security hazards such as data theft and encryption, download and install the free trial version of Panda Dome antivirus right now.