Here comes a new threat for data on the hard drives! According to the researchers at the Ben-Gurion University Cyber Security Research Center, the data from the hard drive of an air-gapped computer can be filched by just reading the LED light pulses using sensors or cameras.
The air-gapped computers are physically and logically kept away from the public in order to prevent the hacking threats over the Internet and also the company network. They are mainly isolated as they contain the most confidential data of a particular organization.
According to Dr. Mordechai Guri and his team, they conducted a study using the hard drive activity LED lights which are emitted by most of the desktop computers and laptops. The data from the computers can be stolen by keeping a track of the LED light pulses. Once the malware is on the computer, a control on the hard drive activity LED lights, by rapidly switching it on and off, can be obtained. The on and off process happens so quickly at a blink off an eye that the threat cannot be detected by the human eye. The LED lights can thus leak out the most confidential information which can be tracked and recorded by the sensors or the cameras.
As there is about thousand hard drive LED flickers per second taking place an individual is not bound to get suspicious about any change in the activity happening in the computers. This technique is covert in comparison to the LED exfiltration.
Hence, the researchers were capable of proving that the LED lights released from the hard drive can become a major source of threat.