Computers are devices that our world’s circle around. Not only do we use them to access the internet and run all sorts of program, but they also serve as a safe space for a lot of crucial data.
While the safekeeping abilities of a computer isn’t a big deal for regular people, it is still a big issue for people who regularly house highly sensitive information of their computers.
To make sure that this data is kept secure from potential attempts at hacking, it is often suggested that computers with such information be kept disconnected from the internet, also known as air-gapped computing.
This is a good enough measure to prevent external attacks, but if the virus is already on your computer, there are still programs that can convert your data into audio signals and export it via your computer speakers.
To prevent that, such computers are also disconnected from any speakers/microphones as well, known as audio-gapped computing.
However, even if you take all these extreme measures, your computer can still be hacked, as recently proved by scientists from Israel.
In an experiment done by researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Cyber Security Research Centre, it was shown that a malware program called Fansmitter, could export data through the sound of a computer’s internal fan.
It did so by converting the data into audio signals, and then exporting those signals through acoustic waveforms generated through controlled operation of the internal fan.
Obviously, for this feature to work, the malware has to be physically present on the computer itself. However, it still showcases a glaring gap in current data security systems.
Until a solution is found for this very specific problem, it can be assumed that no information is secure, no matter how secure you think your computer may be.