Your Hard Disk As An Accidental Microphone article tells that modern hard disks can sense sounds around them unintentionally. [Alfredo Ortega] has uncovered in his talk at the EKO Party conference in Buenos Aires where he he demonstrates how a traditional spinning-rust computer hard disk interacts with vibration in its surroundings, and can either become a rudimentary microphone, or be compromised by sound at its resonant frequency (PDF). Regular spinning Hard disk drives can be used to detect movement and sound. Modern Operative system provide very high resolution timers, even to unprivileged users -give potential to timing attacks.
Quick teaser of @ekoparty talk “Turning hard disk drives into accidental microphones”
View also this related video where Brendan Gregg from Sun’s Fishworks team makes an interesting discovery about inducing disk latency: