Switching Your Devices Off Just Might Not Be Enough to Avoid Hacking, GIT

Setting your device offline is not enough to prevent leaks, which can lead to the hacking of laptops or mobile phones, according to research from GIT.

Experts have discovered that there are enough leaks coming from offline devices, such as laptops or smartphones, which can alert hackers and result in data interception. Studies are being made, in order to stop this phenomenon from growing and to come up with the proper defensive line.

Georgia Institute of Technology has been researching the emissions of several devices and the leakages that these emissions get to cause in the long run. According to the findings of such research, one device does not need to be online for leading to potential hacking. Instead, the emissions of the signal sent out by devices when they are offline might just as well do the damage and cause the attack.

There is a plethora of methods that can be put into effect by sophisticated hackers, so that they can detect the signal even from afar. Imagine hidden antennas within a handbag or a laptop case spying on your signal – this is just a fraction of what the hackers can engage in, so as to succeed in their goal and get the emissions they are after. A lot of gadgets can be used for achieving the same effect, such as microphones and sensors.

Although the vast attention has been drawn to web surfing and to the devices that operate at a time, it seems that there is an underlying danger creeping in and threatening to capture the data required. According to an assistant professor at Georgia Institute of Technology named Alenka Zajic: “People are focused on security for the Internet and on the wireless communication side, but we are concerned with what can be learned from your computer without it intentionally sending anything.

Even if you have the Internet connection disabled, you are still emanating information that somebody could use to attack your computer or smartphone.” Laptops and smartphones have been targeted and they are prone to sending out the signals, regardless of their actual power.

Due to the masking of the hacking attempts and due to the fact that there is no track of the data interception, it is next to impossible for somebody to identify whether or not he has been hacked in the first place. The technical name of the leaks is “side-channel signals”; these signals are active enough to alert the hacker and get him to listen.

The research has offered experts enough data, in order to study the effects and come up with possible solutions. Within the near future, it is strongly believed that the proper software will have been found that will alert people of the vulnerabilities of their devices. As a result, developers will know exactly what they ought to do, so that the risk ceases to occur. Meanwhile, measurements are being held on a regular basis for delivering even more data to be analyzed.

Stella Strouvali Stella is a certified writer and zealous wordsmith, a true fan of Placebo, technology, Panionios and wellness. Still, her true passion has to do with eagerly learning new things and passing them on to others. “An unexamined life is not worth living”, to quote Socrates.

2 thoughts on “Switching Your Devices Off Just Might Not Be Enough to Avoid Hacking, GIT”

  1. Please clarify your use of the term “hacked”. “Side-channel signals” may well lead to data “leaks” but how is that “hacking”? You are not “hacked” if your device leaks data IMHO.
    Perhaps device manufacturers need to install Faraday cages…

    • Yes, you make a good point there.
      If a device leaks data for any reason, it should be called a “breach”.
      Whereas if a malicious actor gains unauthorized access to a network or a device, then that should be considered “hacking” or “being hacked”.

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