Cryptography Research announced about a new research that proved that the data stored on the smart phones can be revealed using antenna, the results of the research was produced on the RSA computer security conference.
At the RSA computer security conference last week, Gary Kenworthy of Cryptography Research held up an iPod Touch on stage and looked over to a TV antenna three meters away. The signal picked up by the antenna, routed through an amplifier and computer software, revealed the secret key being used by an app running on the device to encrypt data. An attacker with access to this key could use it to perfectly impersonate the device he stole it from—to access e-mail on a company server, for example.
The antenna was detecting radio signals “leaking” from the transistors on the chip inside the phone performing the encryption calculations. Transistors leak those signals when they are active, so the pattern of signals from a chip provides an eavesdropper a representation of the work the chip is doing. When Kenworthy tuned his equipment to look in the right place, a clear, regular pattern of peaks and troughs appeared on his computer screen. They could be seen to come in two varieties, large and small, directly corresponding to the string of digital 1s and 0s that make up the encryption key.
enworthy and Benjamin Jun, Cryptography Research’s chief technology officer, also demonstrated how a loop of wire held close to two models of smart phone could pick up their secret keys. The signal from an HTC Evo 4G smart phone was a direct transcript of the device’s key, used as part of a common cryptographic algorithm called RSA. The researchers required a more complex statistical analysis to successfully capture a key from another HTC device, which was used as part of an encryption scheme known as AES.