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Cybersecurity Researchers Claim Every Network Router at Risk of Secretly Leaking Data

By TechRepublic

June 7, 2017

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Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) Cyber Security Research Center in Israel have demonstrated a method for stealing information by exploiting a network router's light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The researchers say they employed their proprietary xLED malware to hijack the router and commandeer the LEDs to flash a pattern that transmits data.

"Sensitive data can be encoded and sent via the LED light pulses in various ways," notes BGU's Mordechai Guri. "An attacker with access to a remote or local camera, or with a light sensor hidden in the room, can record the LED's activity and decode the signals."

The researchers say xLED can make routers leak data at rates from 10 bits/second to more than 1 Kbit/second. The malware also can make the LEDs pulse at more than 1,000 flickers per second for each light.

The researchers note they used a drone to steal data from LEDs on an air-gapped computer.

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