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AirHopper — Hacking Into an Isolated Computer Using FM Radio Signals

In order to secure sensitive information such as Finance or business data many companies and government agencies generally use totally secure computer systems by making sure it aren’t connected to any network at all. But the most secure systems aren’t safe anymore.

Security researchers have found a way to snoop on a personal computer even with no network connection.

Researchers have developed a malware that can infiltrate a closed network to lift data from a machine that has been kept completely isolated from the internet or any Wi-Fi connection by using little more than a mobile phone’s FM radio signals.

This new technology is known as ‘AirHopper’ — basically a keylogger app to track what is being typed on the computer or the mobile phone. AirHopper is a special type of keylogger because it uses radio frequencies to transmit data from a computer, all by exploiting the computer’s monitor display, in order to evade air-gap security measures.

The technology works by using the FM radio receiver included in some mobile phones. AirHopper is able to capture keystrokes by intercepting certain radio emissions from the monitor or display unit of the isolated computer.
The researchers can then pick up the FM signals on a nearby smartphone and translate the FM signals into the typed text.

The technique is completely new, although it has some limitations. The team claims that textual and binary information can be gathered from a distance of up to 7 meters with an effective FM-bandwidth of 13-60 bps (bytes per second).
This, according to researchers, is enough to steal a secret password. Therefore, in an effort to obtain secret data an attacker can infect a mobile phone of someone from the staff using AirHopper method working in stealth mode, and then transmit the data.