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BS: Can Viruses Talk?

Mr Red 05 Aug 22 - 02:16 PM
MaJoC the Filk 05 Aug 22 - 05:14 PM
DaveRo 05 Aug 22 - 05:49 PM
Donuel 05 Aug 22 - 07:25 PM
DaveRo 06 Aug 22 - 02:33 AM
MaJoC the Filk 06 Aug 22 - 08:33 AM
MaJoC the Filk 06 Aug 22 - 08:58 AM
Jon Freeman 06 Aug 22 - 09:27 AM
MaJoC the Filk 06 Aug 22 - 10:53 AM

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Subject: BS: Can Viruses Talk?
From: Mr Red
Date: 05 Aug 22 - 02:16 PM

New Scientist, November 13th 2013 - article entitled "Can Viruses Talk"

About how a respected cyber security expert found his Apple Mac was changing configuration without him doing anything. Take it as read he reduced the configuration by disconnecting from the net, switched of all mains power, ran on batteries alone with 2 computers within "earshot". He noticed the effect at that stage, but not when the microphone(s) was disabled. Speculation is that data could be transferred even ultrasonically, at a low bit rate, but computers are left on for long periods, and they beep at you.

He did scan the Macs for viruses and found none. And Apples don't get viruses do they? Do they? So much so you can install a "Defender" on Apple products - Defender/AVI - what's in a name?

So - a subtle loophole or subtle virus? Nearly ten years ago. Apple have probably plugged that gap, without telling anyone. There are precedents for that happening.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can Viruses Talk?
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 05 Aug 22 - 05:14 PM

Beware: you're treading on territory I used to patrol for a living.

MacOS isn't, and never was, immune from viruses or other malware, any more than Linux was. It's just that Microsoft's offerings were initially vastly easier to break into, so that's where those breaking into systems purely for profit focussed their attention to start with, and an unfortunate and misleading legend was born. Once Microsoft upped their game, said vermin looked around for the next-to-lowest-hanging fruit; and Apple kit does tend to be used by people with money, which makes them attractive targets ....

As an illustrative horror story: Quite a few years ago now, I took great delight in pinning up an article outside my office, warning people that a botnet had been discovered which ran exclusively on Apple Macs. Many (tens of?) thousands of Macs were found to have been recruited into it, of which some two or three hundred were inside Apple's HQ.

So no, Apple kit does get viruses and other malware: I compute, therefore I am vulnerable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can Viruses Talk?
From: DaveRo
Date: 05 Aug 22 - 05:49 PM

This sort of exploit is called "air-gapped" - i.e. there's no electrical (or electro-magnetic) connection between the attacker and the victim computer.

They're more often reported than proved to exist. What is this one? The article seems to be paywalled.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can Viruses Talk?
From: Donuel
Date: 05 Aug 22 - 07:25 PM

airgaps are obviously defeated by a thumb drive


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Subject: RE: BS: Can Viruses Talk?
From: DaveRo
Date: 06 Aug 22 - 02:33 AM

Indeed, that often turns out to be the way supposedly secure systems were breached. Stuxnet was introduced into Iran's nuclear plant by leaving a USB memory stick in a washroom.

Which is why secure systems should not have USB sockets. Or CD drives.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can Viruses Talk?
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 06 Aug 22 - 08:33 AM

> Which is why secure systems should not have USB sockets. Or CD drives.

I just the other week discovered that the DVD drive on my desktop machine won't play audio CDs: it grinds awhile, then spins down. When I looked inside, there's no audio cable, and nowhere obvious to connect one. Presumably leaving out the necessary internal software (coding, zoning etc) saves a bit of money, possibly on licence fees.

That'd be a bugger for people who wish to relieve the monotony in clean rooms (or secure zones) by bringing in their favourite greatest-hits CDs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can Viruses Talk?
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 06 Aug 22 - 08:58 AM

Oh, and back at the subject line, bridging an airgap by sound has been demonstrated to be viable enough to leak secrets (slowly) from an airgapped machine and/or send commands to it. And if it's possible, then someone will have done it in anger.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can Viruses Talk?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 06 Aug 22 - 09:27 AM

I think it's been a long while since optical dicks needed an audio connection for sound.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can Viruses Talk?
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 06 Aug 22 - 10:53 AM

(*ahem*) Would you care to rephrase that?


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Mudcat time: 7 August 3:33 PM EDT

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