Is your computer's blinking light a vulnerability?written by Chris Griesemer

Have you ever looked at your computer and noticed there is a hard drive light that is always blinking? My computer could be inactive for 15 minutes and it seems like that light is blinking away. I was curious to learn what this could mean; here’s what I found…

According to Nicky Cappella at The Stack, a security site, hackers have created malware that when loaded on a computer, can turn the hard drive light into a Morse-code type message. The malware caused the light to blink at 5800 blinks per second and can transmit data at about 2 mb per hour. This is not very fast but when all that is being transmitted is usernames and passwords, it doesn’t have to be fast.

In the example I viewed, researchers from Ben-Gurion University loaded the malware on a computer in a locked office and then used a drone to fly outside the window of the office housing the computer, record the blinking light for 2 minutes, landed the drone and then downloaded the data and decrypted the blinking light into a message.

If this type of hacking becomes popular, new security strategies will have to be used to hide the hard drive light or at least keep it out of public view. For questions on this or any technology security needs, please contact us 417-881-1045.