Israeli researchers showcase the use of PC fan vibrations to steal data
In addition to vulnerabilities in software and hardware network communication protocols, in recent years we have also seen various weird PC data theft schemes, such as leaking data through electromagnetic waves while the chip is working, or speaker/microphone schemes. Recently, researchers at Ben Gurion University in Israel demonstrated how to successfully steal data from a PC through fan vibration and a smartphone.
Even if they are physically isolated from each other and are not connected to the Internet, this solution, called AiR-ViBeR, can still leak data in a way that people cannot detect. Theoretically, we can use the vibration modes of electromechanical components such as CPU, GPU, chassis fan, power-station fans and other special malware to directly control the speed of the fan.
During the proof of concept, the researchers used a smartphone that was placed on the same table as the computer. Although there is no physical and common wireless connection between the two devices, the phone can still record changes in vibration through an accelerometer.
Another advantage of this approach is that the attacker does not need to hack any mobile device, no need to enable special permissions on the Android/iOS device to read the accelerometer data in the background.