Routers LEDs can be used to Steal Data

Ben-Gurion University in Israel specialists presented new data extraction technique of closed networks. At this time, researchers have suggested using to transmit information routers or other network equipment, but a very original way: data transfer offer by controlled flashing LED equipment. The attacker will only arm the simplest video equipment to record and decode the signal transmitted by the device.

routers LEDs can be used to steal data

The cornerstone of the attack in this case is the malware, named x-LED, which need to infect the target router. The malware is programmed to intercept specific data passing through the device, and the subsequent conversion of this information into a binary code. Then xLED intercepts control over built in the unit LEDs. Thus, included is a unit diode and turned off is zero.

The information is transmitted by an attacker-controlled flashing LEDs, which must be written at the camera for subsequent decoding. The only condition for such an attack is to find a router in line of sight. However, previous researchers from the University of Ben-Gurion already demonstrated that this type of attack can even use a camera equipped with a drone that will be able to “see” in the right window of the building, or a video camera.

During the tests, experts have recreated various attack scenarios and used to capture camera LED-signals in smartphones, portable cameras, video cameras and so on. The best result was obtained by use of optical sensors, since they are able to recognize the LED-signals at a high speed, which creates a high-speed data transmission channel, to 1000 bits per second for a single diode.

The researchers also point out that most of the routers and other network devices are equipped with more than one LED, so that data transmission can be greatly accelerated by employing multiple diodes. The following table can be seen the comparison of different non-standard speed data transmission techniques developed by specialists. XLED technique is one of the fastest, namely through the use of multiple LEDs simultaneously.
Of course, the question remains why the attacker, who has managed to infect a network equipment company Malvar, spend time on data transfer by means of flashing LEDs? But despite a certain impracticality of this method, xLED project is an interesting complement to other methods and techniques to retrieve data from isolated computers that were previously developed university experts Ben-Gurion

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