Agent Pitta Bread Is Listening

/ 1 year ago


Yes this is still eTeknix and no you haven’t tuned in for the latest Jamie Oliver recipe, oh and before you ask, no I am not wearing a tin foil hat while preaching that the world is going to end. This is the slightly bizarre story of how a Pitta Bread has been used by researchers from Tel Aviv University to conceal a radio transmitter capable of stealing encrypted keys.

As this image below demonstrates, the PITA Device uses an unshielded loop antenna made of plain copper wire which is wound into 3 turns of diameter 13 cm. A tuning capacitor is chosen to maximize sensitivity at 1.7 MHz; this technique captures the key-dependent leakage signal with an SDR receiver being used and which is controlled by a small embedded computer.


How this device connects and steals an encrypted key is by monitoring the differing signals a CPU makes while undertaking various activities, by analysing these radio signals it became possible to discover the key being implemented to secure an encrypted email.

Well this certainly adds a new meaning to the phrase “I think there’s something wrong with that loaf” On a slightly serious Bagel, I mean note, the research demonstrates albeit in a controlled test environment that it is possible, in theory for an attacker to conceal a small device within an object which in turn could possibly decrypt a key which is potentially guarding sensitive documents.

Currently the researchers have developed a range at which this transmitter would be able to steal encryption keys at around (1ft 8in) from said target device. Which is compelling considering this project has been developed at a university with the potential for an unknown source to harness and develop this technique with the aim of executing this device in the real world.

Image courtesy of something awful &

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  • Eoin Mc Namara

    But why a pita bread?