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Even if you have read our previous posts on data security and encryption, your computer data is probably still at risk. Scientific American recently reported on a variety of “side-channel” data vulnerabilities–threats of data theft through passive or mechanical means that bypass your software and operating system altogether.
Below are five frightening new ways to steal the data on your computer:
1. Reading data from the reflection on your eyeball
New techniques involving telescopes and cameras are now able to capture computer data from monitor reflections on eyeballs, glasses, and office picture frames.
2. Stealing data from your monitor’s radio emissions
Computer monitors radiate low-voltage signals from their power cords which allow people with sophisticated monitoring equipment to capture and reassemble the images on your monitor.
3. Capturing network data from the flashes on a router
The constantly-flashing LED lights on network routers can be recorded to capture the data bits traveling through them. These patterns can be reassembled to decipher communications going through the router.
4. Copying printer data from the sound of the printer head
Some printers — especially the old dot matrix variety — make small noises as they move across your paper. These sound frequencies are slightly unique depending on what movement the printer head is making. By recording the sound waves of a printer, special algorithms can decipher the text being printed.
5. Learning your passwords from the radio frequency of your keyboard
Similar to capturing the electronic frequencies emitted by monitors, keyboards emit unique low-voltage radio frequencies with each keystroke. Basic radio-frequency monitors can be combined with capture software to copy anything typed. Check out this video of keystroke theft in action:
Thankfully, at this point these data invasion methods are seldom-used. However, for that reason, there also are few countermeasures or security products on the market to prevent espionage through these side-channel methods. While it is unlikely most attorneys need to worry much about these vulnerabilities, anyone with especially-secure client or corporate data should at least spend a few minutes thinking about whether they could present real threats.
How Hackers Can Steal Secrets from Reflections | Scientific American