Air-Gapped Devices Can Send Covert Morse Signals via Network Card LEDs

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A security researcher who has a long line of work demonstrating novel data exfiltration methods from air-gapped systems has come up with yet another technique that involves sending Morse code signals via LEDs on network interface cards (NICs).

The approach, codenamed ETHERLED, comes from Dr. Mordechai Guri, the head of R&D in the Cyber Security Research Center in the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, who recently outlined GAIROSCOPE, a method for transmitting data ultrasonically to smartphone gyroscopes.

"Malware installed on the device could programmatically control the status LED by blinking or alternating its colors, using documented methods or undocumented firmware commands.

The attack can be used to leak various types of information, including passwords, RSA encryption keys, keystrokes, and textual content, to cameras located anywhere between 10m and 50m

 The ETHERLED method is designed to work with any peripheral or hardware that's shipped with Ethernet cards, such as printers, network cameras, network-attached storage (NAS) devices, embedded systems, and other IoT devices.

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