From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Thu, 7 Mar 2002 13:19:32 -0600

  [decrypting the signals of sound and light, beyond TEMPEST teapots]

summary from NewsScan Daily, 7 March 2002 ("Above The Fold"):

Scientists in the U.S. and the U.K. have found a way to remotely eavesdrop
on a computer by monitoring the flashes of LED lights on electronic
devices. Optical signals from the light-emitting diode lights found in
computer modems and keyboards can be captured with a telescope and
processed to reveal all the data passing through the device, says Joe
Loughry, a computer programmer at Lockheed Martin. "It requires little
apparatus, can be done at a considerable distance, and is completely
undetectable. In effect, LED indicators act as little free-space optical
data transmitters, like fiber optics without the fiber." Loughry says the
most vulnerable devices are equipment used in low-speed, long-distance
networks, such as ATMs (automatic teller machines). Corporate LANs and home
Internet connections are generally not susceptible to the spying technique.
Loughry says his interest in LEDs dates back to his days in graduate
school: "I was working very late one night and waiting for a long file
transfer to complete and I was just staring at these lights on the front of
the modem and started to wonder if there was anything there." Loughry
recommends locating equipment away from windows, putting black tape over
the LEDs or deactivating when not in use. (Reuters 7 Mar 2002)

c.2002 NewsScan. [fair-use fwd, 2oo2 ~e.org]

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