CD-LEAK: Leaking Secrets from Audioless Air-Gapped Computers Using Covert Acoustic Signals from CD/DVD Drives

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Air-gapped networks are isolated from the Internet, since they store and process sensitive information. It has been shown that attackers can exfiltrate data from air-gapped networks by sending acoustic signals generated by computer speakers, however this type of covert channel relies on the existence of loudspeakers in the air-gapped environment. In this paper, we present CD-LEAK - a novel acoustic covert channel that works in constrained environments where loudspeakers are not available to the attacker. Malware installed on a compromised computer can maliciously generate acoustic signals via the optical CD/DVD drives. Binary information can then be modulated over the acoustic signals and be picked up by a nearby Internet connected receiver (e.g., a workstation, hidden microphone, smartphone, laptop, etc.). We examine CD/DVD drives and discuss their acoustical characteristics. We also present signal generation and detection, and data modulation and demodulation algorithms. Based on our proposed method, we developed a transmitter and receiver for PCs and smartphones, and provide the design and implementation details. We examine the channel and evaluate it on various optical drives. We also provide a set of countermeasures against this threat - which has been overlooked.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2020 IEEE 44th Annual Computers, Software, and Applications Conference, COMPSAC 2020
EditorsW. K. Chan, Bill Claycomb, Hiroki Takakura, Ji-Jiang Yang, Yuuichi Teranishi, Dave Towey, Sergio Segura, Hossain Shahriar, Sorel Reisman, Sheikh Iqbal Ahamed
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages808-816
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781728173030
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020
Event44th IEEE Annual Computers, Software, and Applications Conference, COMPSAC 2020 - Virtual, Madrid, Spain
Duration: 13 Jul 202017 Jul 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2020 IEEE 44th Annual Computers, Software, and Applications Conference, COMPSAC 2020

Conference

Conference44th IEEE Annual Computers, Software, and Applications Conference, COMPSAC 2020
Country/TerritorySpain
CityVirtual, Madrid
Period13/07/2017/07/20

Keywords

  • acoustic
  • air gap
  • covert channels
  • exfiltration

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