What internet? Hackers can now steal data from your PC using the power supply unit. Dr. Mordechai Guri, a Cybersecurity researcher at the Ben Gurion University in Israel, recently published a paper detailing how hackers can snoop into your personal computers using the power supply.
The attack works by making the power supply unit relay the data in ultrasonic form and can be used to siphon data from air-gapped systems. For the uninitiated, air gap systems are the ones that are not connected to any sort of connection, including ethernet and Wi-Fi.
Surprisingly, the extraction of data using the power supply unit is quite simple. The malware dubbed POWER-SUPPLaY alters the processing unit’s workload such that the ultrasonic frequencies produced are altered. This way, all the read data can be recorded within a radius of 5m. The changes in ultrasonic frequency emitted comes from the CPU’s transformers and capacitors. They typically lie in the 20 kHz to 20 MHz range.
An attack of this sort does not require any special hardware. Fortunately, the data rate stands at a low 50 bits per second, making the success rate almost negligible. Additionally, the malware needs to be manually installed on the victim’s computer. In most cases, hackers cannot directly access computers.
Here’s the research paper, in case you are interested in learning more.