New Hacking Concept Uses PSU to Steal Data

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of examples and weird, wonderful, and frankly bizarre hacking methods. One such instance was a graphics card that was effectively turned into an RF transmitter that had a potential range of up to 50 meters!

Following a post on the YouTube channel “Cyber Security Labs @ Ben Gurion University“, however, a new hacking concept has been revealed that this time utilizes a power supply to steal data from a PC.

PSU Used to Steal Data?

Created by the same team who recently revealed the “AiR ViBeR” hacking concept (a design that stole data by modulating your PC’s vibration via fan speed adjustment) this new system, on the whole (using power supplies instead), is largely pretty similar.

A piece of malware inserted onto the system can look to modulate the CPU frequencies to create certain power requirements that, by proxy, cause the PSU to set-up ultrasonic frequencies. With a phone within 5 meters (set-up to receive the data) it can then effectively record and log keystrokes entered on the system as well as potentially allowing files to be transferred.

What Do We Think?

So, let’s return to planet Earth for a second here. The chances of this hacking method ever seeing a practical application is literally next to zilch. Largely because it only allows a data transfer rate of about 50 bytes per second. In other words, it’d take several hours to steal even a single text document.

Not only that, similar to the prior ‘fan’ method, it requires not only a PC to be affected by the malware but also a phone (specifically set up) within close proximity of the compromised system. In terms of stealing data, it would quite frankly be easier just waiting for the PC user to go to the toilet and jamming as much as you can on a memory stick while they’re AFK.

Still, as a concept, we love it. It’s crazy, it’s thinking outside the box and, quite frankly, mostly just stunning that this is even hypothetically possible, let alone proven in a video!

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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