Is dog whistle hacking the new security threat?

Security

by Jimmy Nicholls| 13 June 2014

Ultrasonic frequencies can be used to send data between computers.

Your dog may soon be able to listen to hackers steal your data, as a group of German security researcher has discovered how to breach your computer with sound.

Ultrasonic frequencies outside of the human range of hearing are broadcast by one computer and listened to by another, creating a "mesh network" that allow the two machines to transmit up to 20 bits per second of information to one another.

Michael Hanspach and Michael Goetz of security firm the Fraunhofer Institute said: "Acoustical networking as a covert communication technology is a considerable threat to computer security and might even break the security goals of high-assurance computing systems that did not consider acoustical networking in their security concept."

Once the network has been established hackers will be able to set up keyloggers, relaying the information acoustically until it reaches a hacker's machine where it can be emailed or stored on a flash drive.

Acoustical networking usually requires machines to be within sight of one another, and can easily be blocked by furniture or people standing in the way, but according to the researchers the networks will resend information where receipt has not been confirmed.

Hanspach and Goetz recommended that users switch off speakers and microphones to eliminate the possibility of this breach, or use an acoustic filter to prevent frequencies being transmitted above and below a certain threshold.

A healthy person is able to hear between the frequencies of 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz, while dogs can hear sounds at up to 60,000 Hz, or 60,000 vibrations per second.

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