Not an April fool joke

Super User

First posted On Friday, 03 April 2015 

I was going to post this earlier in the week, but realising it would look like an April Fool joke, I held back...

It seems that researchers in Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have managed to communicate with and control an air-gapped computer (one not connected to the network) via the heat output of another nearby computer.  Have a look at the video - it's quite fun.

Now, I imagine this only works if you have malware on both machines that is designed to regulate and detect temperature changes, and you would hope that the "disconnected" computer would not have picked up any malware (though that is not impossible as we saw from the Stuxnet saga.)

So I don't see this as a real threat.  For now, at least, key industrial systems are likely to be safe from this.

The experiment is mostly, I think, a warning to us that we need to keep thinking about channels of attack, and protecting our systems with layers of defenses.  For starters, think about deploying a malware detection and prevention solution as provided by our partners Snoopwall.

And consider what happens if your defenses are breached - if the hackers are in your network, you'll be hoping you have any sensitive data encrypted.  It's a Brave New World out there, and protecting our systems isn't getting any easier, but we can make life harder for the attackers too.

And remember, if you're doing encryption, do it right, by protecting your keys in a FIPS-140 certified device.  If you don't protect your keys, your data is just one step away from being unlocked...