PowerHammer: Newly Discovered Technique To Hack Systems Through Power Supply

Now it’s time for air-gapped PCs to get hacked. Researchers from Israel have found a way that can be used to hack your systems easily.

No machinery made by man is perfect and so is the CPU (Central Processing Unit) of your computer. After assembling a CPU, the air spaces at points are left unfilled. Did you know these air gaps can now be used to hack in your system?

Researchers have already made some unfair techniques through which data can be extracted from computers that are isolated or air gapped.

Also Read : How To Keep Your Data Safe From Hackers

What Techniques Are Used by The Researchers?

The devious and unfair technique researchers are using is a drone assisted technique. It is performed on a systems LED flashing light by using a CPU’s low frequency magnetic radiations to extract the data, and same can also be done by attacking CCTV cameras that are used to monitor these systems.

Another recent and upcoming technique they made is called ‘PowerHammer’. As the name says it all, it uses the current fluctuations flowing through the electricity lines to get into the air gapped computers.

The founders of this technique were able to extract and have access to data at a rate of 1000 bits per second from the main line whereas from the second power grid, the rate to exfiltrate the data was 10 bits per second in order to save it from hackers in case on an attack.

Magneto and Odini were the attacks that use the same techniques to release the malware into your system. PowerHammer on the other side, could be used to regulate the utilization and to control the power of your system as well.

The attackers can analyze the changes in current flowing through the lines or by the line that is supplying power to the particular system.

The researcher who discovered PowerHammer, Mordechai Guri, lead author of PowerHammer paper said in a statement,

“The data is modulated, encoded, and transmitted on top of the current flow fluctuations, and then it is conducted and propagated through the power lines. This phenomenon is known as a conducted emission”.

In an add-on to his statement he also said,

“We show that a malicious code can influence momentary power consumption of the computer, generating data-modulated conduction on the power lines in the low frequency band. The generated noise travels along the input power lines and can be measured by an attacker probing the power cables.”

This technique functions on after assuming that the system has already been infected and hacked and how will the rest of data could be saved and secured.

Anyone worried about a PowerHammer attack has a range of countermeasure options, such as monitoring the currency flow on power lines for deviations from standard transmission patterns. Other options include power-line filters and signal jammers.

Also Read : Hacks To Increase Broadband Speed In Windows

What Could Be Done to Stay Prevented?

There are various corrective measures that could be taken. The main prevention that should be taken is, keep monitoring the current flowing in power lines for fluctuations more than the standard pattern.

Another prevention that could be taken is to use power line filters and signal jammers so that the attackers won’t be able to read and observe the power rates.

Bonus Tip:

For filling the air gaps in CPUs, Thermal Paste can be used. Thermal paste is also called thermal gel, thermal compound and thermal grease. It is used to fill the air gaps left between the heat sink and the CPU that results in improved performance and overall cooling. There are various types of thermal pastes that include metal based paste, ceramic, silicon and carbon-based. It seals the boundaries of gaps in the CPU, through which we achieve lower temperature and can keep our system cool from overheating.

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