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Security – Monitors emit high-pitch sounds that can reveal data

Computer security researchers have discovered that computer screens emit sounds that may reveal information being processed as shared in links below:

http://www.eweek.com/security/researchers-discover-computer-screens-emit-sounds-that-reveal-data

NEWS ANALYSIS: Using a computer version of synesthesia, researchers demonstrate a new vulnerability present in most flat-panel monitors that can reveal contents to a remote party.

Audio Screen Data Capture — For some people with the neurological condition, synesthesia can be a lovely thing when the sounds they hear also produce colors. But computer scientists from Tel Aviv University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan have discovered a computer version of synesthesia that allows them to determine what’s being displayed on a monitor by listening to sounds emitted by the monitor.

As you might suspect, those sounds are very faint and not easily detected by human hearing. But they are there as tiny high-pitched tones produced by a monitor’s power supply in response to the varying demands of the screen display. But special equipment isn’t required to exploit the vulnerability that’s produced by this characteristic of most monitors.

In their paper, which was released on Aug. 21, the scientists showed that those sounds could be recorded using the microphone in a standard consumer webcam, by a smartphone or by a digital assistant such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home device.  Furthermore, this exploit does not require the presence on site of the attacker. They can record the sounds over a remote call, such as one from Google Hangouts.

DETAILS in this 31 page (9MB) in-depth research report

https://www.cs.tau.ac.il/~tromer/synesthesia/synesthesia.pdf

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