By Tim Greene
If attackers intent on data theft can tap into an electrical socket near
a computer or if they can draw a bead on the machine with a laser, they
can steal whatever is being typed into it.
How to execute these attacks will be demonstrated at the Black Hat USA
2009 security conference in Las Vegas later this month by Andrea
Barisani and Daniele Bianco, a pair of researchers for network security
consultancy Inverse Path.
"The only thing you need for successful attacks are either the
electrical grid or a distant line of sight, no expensive piece of
equipment is required," Barisani and Bianco say in a paper describing
The equipment to carry out the power-line attack could cost as little as
$500, and the laser attack gear costs about $100 if the attacker already
owns a laptop with a sound card, says Barisani. Carrying out the attacks
took about a week, he says.
"We think it is important to raise the awareness about these
unconventional attacks and we hope to see more work on this topic in the
future," Barisani and Bianco say in their paper. Others with more time
and money could doubtless create better spying tools using the same
concepts, they say.
Attend Black Hat USA, July 25-30 in Las Vegas,
the world's premier technical event for ICT security experts.
Network with 4,000+ delegates from 50 nations.
Visit product displays by 30 top sponsors in
a relaxed setting. http://www.blackhat.com