Hacked with Invisible Light
Researchers Discover Security Camera Flaws
Did you know that invisible light can easily hack security cameras? According to one study conducted by cybersecurity experts from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel, researchers showed how infected cameras with malware could become hacked using infrared (IR) lights. This type of hack is especially dangerous because it can invade an entire network, sharing the security camera’s sensitive data.
The researchers explained their findings in their work titled, “aIR-Jumper: Covert Air-Gap Exfiltration/Infiltration via Security Cameras & Infrared (IR).” In the article, they claimed that the hack could be done on cameras for businesses and residential security cameras. Furthermore, the hack can even infiltrate LED doorbells. Using infrared light to hack data is difficult to prevent because it’s invisible to the human eye.
“In this paper, we show how attackers can use surveillance cameras and infrared light to establish bi-directional covert communication between the internal networks of organizations and remote attackers. We present two scenarios: exfiltration (leaking data out of the network) and infiltration (sending data into the network),” the researchers documented.
Hackers Use Infrared Light
Dr. Mordechai Guri, the leader of the cyber expert research group, showed how Infrared (IR) light is used to establish a secret channel of communication between a computer’s internal network malware and a hacker that is only a short distance away with a line of sight. Also, the team was able to leak sensitive data at a bitrate of 20 bit/s per camera.
Furthermore, they successfully orchestrated network commands at a bitrate of more than 100 bit/s from a single security camera. In other words, PIN codes, encryption keys, and passwords become encoded, and then given directly to hackers.
“Security cameras are unique in that they have ‘one leg’ inside the organization, connected to the internal networks for security purposes and ‘the other leg’ outside the organization, aimed specifically at a nearby public space, providing very convenient optical access from various directions and angles,” Mordechai Guri said.
Guri’s research team uploaded videos on YouTube to demonstrate how hackers can use infrared lights on security cameras. The first video shows hackers sending infrared lights directly to a security camera.
The second video shows hackers extracting important data from the impacted network of an infected security camera with malware.