Researchers create malware that transmits data seamlessly via sound waves

Washington, Dec. 4: German researchers have reportedly created a malware that doesn’t require network connection to infect machines and relies solely on sound waves.

Michael Hanspach and Michael Goetz created a prototype that transmitted information between computers using high-frequency sound waves inaudible to the human ear.

The duo successfully sent passwords and more between non-networked Lenovo T400 laptops via the notebooks’ built-in microphones and speakers, PC World reports.

According to the report, the method was based on software developed for underwater communications and the laptops could communicate 65 feet apart from each other and the researchers said that the range could be extended by chaining devices together in an audio ‘mesh’ network, similar to Wi-Fi.

The researchers said that the infected victim sends all recorded keystrokes to the covert acoustical mesh network while the infected drones forward the keystroke information inside the covert network till the attacker is reached.

However, there is a glaring drawback to the system as transmitting data via sound waves is very slow and Hanspach and Goetz’s malware had a sluggish 20 bits-per-second transfer rate, which was still fast enough to transmit keystrokes, passwords, PGP encryption keys, and other small bursts of information.

The study showed that the so-called ‘air gap’ defense could still be vulnerable to dedicated attackers, if attackers are first able to infect the PC with audio mesh-enabled malware, the report added. (ANI)