Blinking Lights: The Newest Hack

    Date07 Mar 2002
    CategoryHacks/Cracks
    3210
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    Light may be the latest way to steal sensitive data from computer systems, according to three researchers who claim to have discovered ways of using illumination as a spy tool. Research papers made available online Wednesday detail methods of grabbing information . . . Light may be the latest way to steal sensitive data from computer systems, according to three researchers who claim to have discovered ways of using illumination as a spy tool. Research papers made available online Wednesday detail methods of grabbing information from computers via the light reflected by some kinds of monitors and through the flickers of the LED displays on some devices.

    Security experts say the discoveries were interesting in a theoretical sense, confirming experiments that have been conducted since the mid-1960s, but also stressed that these exploits should not concern most people. "Let's face it -- there are far easier ways to grab data from networks than snagging beams of light," Rick Adorama, a security researcher based in London, said.

    Experts say the most interesting discovery was that the flickers of some LED displays may actually be a sort of Morse code that transmit information about the data being processed.

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