Financial News

  • 21 August 2014, 14:07

Laptop Security Cracked 'Using Touch Of Hand'

A modern-day version of safecracking could let hackers compromise computer security with their bare hands.

A computer expert from Tel Aviv University says that with enough technical know-how, simply touching a laptop can be enough to extract the cryptographic keys used to secure the data stored on it.

It is possible because the electrical potential in computers fluctuates according to what is being performed by their processors.

Security expert Eran Tromer says the potential leaked through any exposed metal on a laptop can be enough to determine the keys stored within.

By attaching a wire to a hand then touching a metal area of a laptop during decryption of a folder or email, for instance, the encryption keys can be analysed elsewhere and determined.

Mr Tromer - who demonstrated the technique at a cryptography conference in California this week - says his team has used the method to crack several widely used security standards.

Previous research efforts have found that analysing the power consumption of a computer can reveal cryptographic keys.

The solution could be writing separate code on top of existing code to mask the activity going on inside a computer.

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