Bridging the Air Gap: Inaudible Data Exfiltration by Insiders

20th Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS 2014), 7-10 August 2014, Association for Information Systems, Forthcoming

12 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014

See all articles by Samuel O’Malley

Samuel O’Malley

University of South Australia

Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo

The University of Texas at San Antonio

Date Written: May 1, 2014

Abstract

As critical systems are increasingly dependent on software and are connected to the Internet, insider threats will be of ongoing concern. For example, corrupt insiders could deliberately introduce malicious software into the organisation’s system to surreptitiously gain control, and launch online attacks via and against compromised systems. In this paper, we present a method that an insider can use to facilitate data exfiltration from an air-gapped system without using any modified hardware. The method presented here uses inaudible sounds transmitted from the target machine’s speakers, which can transfer data to a nearby computer equipped with a microphone. We demonstrate how inaudible communication bridge air-gapped systems without any additional hardware. Our system is low-risk for an insider as it only requires one-off access to a system, and can be erased leaving little-to-no trace once it is no longer required. Finally we provide some recommendations for organisations to avoid similar data exfiltration techniques.

Keywords: Cybercrime, Data exfiltration, Insider threats, Inaudible sound

JEL Classification: C88, C89, K42, K49

Suggested Citation

O’Malley, Samuel and Choo, Kim-Kwang Raymond, Bridging the Air Gap: Inaudible Data Exfiltration by Insiders (May 1, 2014). 20th Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS 2014), 7-10 August 2014, Association for Information Systems, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2431593

Samuel O’Malley

University of South Australia ( email )

37-44 North Terrace, City West Campus
Adelaide, South Australia 5001
Australia

Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo (Contact Author)

The University of Texas at San Antonio ( email )

San Antonio, TX 78249
United States
+12104587867 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/raymondchooau/

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