Using Radio Signals to Steal Computer Files

A New York cybersecurity company has demonstrated a simple method to hack into seemingly secure computer systems and obtain access to protected information. The method? Turn connected devices into radios!

CNN Money reports that researchers at Red Balloon Security in Manhattan recently demonstrated this surprisingly powerful technique to a group of reporters. In the demonstration, researchers remotely hacked into an office laser printer and successfully modified the printer’s firmware to quickly switch the power state of the printer’s existing input and output ports, generating a modulated radio signal capable of transmitting data.

According to Ang Cui, co-founder of the company, the demonstration illustrates the need for embedded systems to have their own built-in security. “You have network detection, firewalls…but this (technique) transmits data in a way that none of those things are monitoring, noted Cui. “This fundamentally changes how certain we can be of our network security.”

View a video showing the actual data transmitted during the demonstration.

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