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'Glowworm Attack' Recovers Audio From Devices' Power LEDs

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Israeli scientists have demonstrated a novel passive variant of the TEMPEST exploit called Glowworm, which can extract electronic conversations by analyzing devices' power indicator light-emitting diode (LED).

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers employed a photodiode mated to an optical telescope to monitor fluctuations in LED signal strength on consumer devices, including smart speakers, simple PC speakers, and universal serial bus hubs. The photodiode converts the flickering of power LED output caused by voltage changes into an electrical signal, which is processed by an analog/digital converter and played back directly.

The Glowworm attack requires no active signaling, which would render it resistant to any electronic countermeasure probe; the research team retrieved intelligible audio from 35 meters (114 feet) away. The team describes its work in "Glowworm Attack: Optical TEMPEST Sound Recovery via a Device's Power Indicator LED."

From Ars Technica
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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