Watch; Researchers Can ‘Steal’ Data by Tracking a PC Monitor’s Brightness

No Network Connection Required

Data from machines without a network connection or old-fashioned physical theft can already be dipped, but that may be one of the better examples. Researchers have found a way to steal “air-gapped” data (no way of connecting to other devices) from computers with the luminosity of an LCD.

This technique requires imperceptible variations to the color values of the RGB on the LCD, which a camera-equipped computer can understand. It could be potentially attempted to load malware on the target system via a USB drive and to pass that information with nearby hacked security cameras.

Don’t worry about someone reading your login details through the window any time soon, though. As the methods imply, a data thief would still have to breach the victim computer and have cameras they control within line of sight.

This could be helpful for intelligence agencies performing Stuxnet-style intrusions, but an attacker can’t just sit outside your home and read data from your computer monitor. Still, it gives ultra-secure facilities something to think about — they might not want to place cameras behind air-gapped computers lest a rival nation pull off some Mission Impossible-level espionage.

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