Data Exfiltration with LED Traces (and Asimov/FBI, 9-eyes, Snowden)

(Since it may not have been clear, I should take a moment and note my coverage of Appelbaum doesn’t mean I’ve reversed my earlier-elucidated skepticism of the guy.)

This won’t work so easily on your desktop, at least without a really solid understanding of the hardware. Nevertheless, some Argentinian researchers have demonstrated exfiltrating data on a 100Mhz carrier… by pulsing the PCB traces leading to LEDs. They achieved a 5 meter range, which is quite enough to get data out of an apartment or hotel room if someone like, oh, Laura Poitras was working on some secret documents on an air gapped machine.

The researchers used an FPGA to synthesize the signal and picked up the harmonic at 900mhz (square wave = loads of harmonics) with an RTLSDR and GQRX. Presumably if they were willing to shell out more than $20 for a receiver they could have gotten a bit better range!

Was Asimov’s “Foundation” — ending with a decision to turn the galaxy into a telepathic collective — actually Communist propaganda? The FBI seems to have at least considered the possibility.

Here’s a different accounting who’s on the “9-Eyes” surveillance inner circle — this list includes Germany and drops Denmark. They also drop NZ from “Five Eyes” to create 4-Eyes, which is odd. REL 4-EYES (AUS, CAN, GBR, USA)

Snowden may have social engineered his coworkers. You know, people go around saying, “his statements are too polished! His media relations skills are too good! How can a computer geek be THIS GOOD at influencing other people?” All of them seem to have forgotten that he started his career at an agency whose specialty is training people to lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate others…! Of course, if you want those abilities, I suggest you study the open literature* instead of joining up — ethics aside, remember the former Chekist rule.

* Much more of this stuff than you’d think is available in the open literature. Even if it’s not easy to find or labeled “spy skills.”

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