Love them or hate them, drones have found a new way to sneak into our lives – and now they can also steal our data. Up until recently systems protected by air-gaps (find out more about air gaps in this article on Wired.com) have been considered fairly secure – though by no means foolproof. Now, Israeli researchers from Ben-Gurion University have announced that they discovered a drone’s camera or even a simple telephoto lens can capture an optical stream of computer secrets by filming the winking of the LED on the machine’s hard drive.
Before total paranoia sets in, it’s reassuring to know that a) a hacker would need to install malware on the system first, and b) counter measures are simple and mostly low tech. You can either keep any air-gapped machines away from windows, put anti light-flash film over the glass, install jamming software or, most basic of all, put a sticker over the hard drive LED. Raid your children’s toy chest for some pretty options.