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Scientists have developed software that turns a USB device into a transmitter to steal data from isolated computers

Scientists have developed software that turns a USB device into a transmitter to steal data from isolated computers

by sigismund » 2016-08-30 18:28:45


To intercept a 4096 bit encryption key by using the USBee will take less than 10 seconds.


As it became known in 2013 from Edward Snowden declassified documents of the national security Agency of the United States, in the Arsenal of the security services is a specially modified USB device that allows you to discreetly steal data even from physically isolated, unconnected to any networks of computers. Scientists from the University of Ben-Gurion went even further. Researchers have created a program by which an unmodified USB device becomes a transmitter, capable of extracting large amounts of data even from physically separate computers.

Developed by scientists AT the got the name USBee (from the English "bee" - "bee") because the principle of its operation is reminiscent of flitting from place to place a bee, bit by bit, bit by bit, collecting information. The tool used by the NSA CottonMouth involves connecting the implant hardware to enterprise networks, where target is a stand-alone computer. In contrast, the USBee turns in the transmitter is a USB device already used in the enterprise.

The program is suitable for any drive that supports USB 2.0. Exception are devices, including some cameras, unable to get from the infected computer bit streams. The data transfer speed USBee is 80 bytes per second, that is, the transfer of the 4096-bit encryption key would require less than 10 seconds. The range is up to 2.7 m if the data passed through the "stick", and to 7.9 m, if the transmitter used a USB with a short cable acting as an antenna.

USBee transmits data through radio signals received by the receiver with support for GNU Radio and demodulator. As a result, attackers can steal data from the compromised computers, even if they are not connected to the Internet and have disabled Bluetooth and microphones.
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