Bridging the air gap between isolated networks and mobile phones in a practical cyber-attack

Mordechai Guri, Matan Monitz, Yuval Elovici

ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (TIST) 8 (4), 1-25, 2017

Information is the most critical asset of modern organizations, and accordingly it is one of the resources most coveted by adversaries. When highly sensitive data is involved, an organization may resort to air gap isolation in which there is no networking connection between the inner network and the external world. While infiltrating an air-gapped network has been proven feasible in recent years, data exfiltration from an air-gapped network is still considered one of the most challenging phases of an advanced cyber-attack. In this article, we present “AirHopper,” a bifurcated malware that bridges the air gap between an isolated network and nearby infected mobile phones using FM signals. While it is known that software can intentionally create radio emissions from a video card, this is the first time that mobile phones serve as the intended receivers of the maliciously crafted electromagnetic signals. We examine the …