Your computer can leak data in many ways

Here is some interesting information on leaking information from air-gapped computers. Most methods shown here use computer power supply to leak some pieces of information. But there are also some other methods shown.

A researcher from Israel described a new method to covertly steal highly sensitive data from air-gapped computers using power supply units. Dubbed ‘POWER-SUPPLaY, ‘ the latest research builds on a series of techniques leveraging electromagnetic, acoustic, thermal, optical covert channels, and even power cables to exfiltrate data from non-networked computers.

He and his team have found a way to turn the power supply in an isolated, muted machine into a speaker of sorts, one capable of transmitting data at a rate of 50 bits/sec.
“We show that malware running on a PC can exploit its power supply unit (PSU) and use it as an out-of-band speaker with limited capabilities,”
He calls the attack POWER-SUPPLaY.
“By intentionally starting and stopping the CPU workload, we are able to set the SMPS so it switches at a specified frequency and hence emit an acoustic signal and modulate binary data over it,” the paper explained

You can find research paper here:
POWER-SUPPLaY: Leaking Data from Air-Gapped Systems by Turning the Power-Supplies Into Speakers

Here is a video of the research:

OK, so you’ve air-gapped that PC. Cut the speakers. Covered the LEDs. Disconnected the monitor. Now, about the data-leaking power supply unit…
I have no mouth, and I must scream

POWER-SUPPLaY Attack Exfiltrates Data by Turning a PC Power Supply Into a Functional Speaker
In yet another clever attack on air-gapped systems, Dr. Guri has successfully turned data into audio — played through the PC’s power supply.

Security researcher Dr. Mordechai Guri is back with another data exfiltration technique for supposedly air-gapped computers — this time by turning the power supply into a speaker. High-security computer systems are frequently “air-gapped” — used with no connection to an external network of any kind, and in the most extreme examples even using local battery or generator power to avoid wiring into a power grid.

Older power supply information leakage research links

Last month, researchers showcased two techniques for using a computer’s fans or its graphics card to broadcast information for exfiltration. Now, there’s yet another technique: Using the power supply as a speaker.

Security Researchers Turn Cooling Fans, Graphics Processing Units Into Data Exfiltration Vectors
One approach turns fans into seismic data-broadcasters; the other turns to power management for a modern twist on TEMPEST.

MOSQUITO Attack Allows Air-Gapped Computers to Covertly Exchange Data

Air gapping PCs won’t stop data sharing thanks to sneaky speakers
Boffins shows that sound output devices secretly capture audio

Air-Gap Research Page


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    OK, so you’ve air-gapped that PC. Cut the speakers. Covered the LEDs. Disconnected the monitor. Now, about the data-leaking power supply unit…
    I have no mouth, and I must scream

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Simple chat program using near ultrasonic frequencies. Works without Wifi or Bluetooth and won’t show up in a pcap.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    WebRTC signaling using sound. Works with all devices that have microphone + speakers. Runs in the browser.
    Nearby devices negotiate the WebRTC connection by exchanging the necessary Session Description Protocol (SDP) data via a sequence of audio tones. Upon successful negotiation, a local WebRTC connection is established between the browsers allowing data to be exchanged.
    The WebRTC technology allows two browsers running on different devices to connect with each other and exchange data. There is no need to install plugins or download applications. To initiate the connection, the peers exchange contact information (ip address, network ports, session id, etc.). This process is called “signaling”. The WebRTC specification does not define any standard for signaling – the contact exchange can be achieved by any protocol or technology.
    In this project the signaling is performed via sound. The signaling sequence looks like this:
    Peer A broadcasts an offer for a WebRTC connection by encoding the session data into audio tones
    Nearby peer(s) capture the sound emitted by peer A and decode the WebRTC session data
    Peer B, who wants to establish connection with peer A, responds with an audio answer. The answer has peer B’s contact information encoded in it. Additionally, peer B starts trying to connect to peer A
    Peer A receives the answer from peer B, decodes the transmitted contact data and allows peer B to connect
    Connection is established
    Try it yourself:


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *