Israeli researchers have devised new malware that can jump air gaps and transform any USB device on an already compromised system into a data transmitter. Dubbed USBee due to its apian characteristics, the malware could prove valuable for both intelligence agencies and cyber crime syndicates.
Jumping the air gap is a hacking method in which an isolated device, usually computer, is accessed despite having no connection to a network or other systems. Until fairly recently air gapping was seen as a reliable security measure, but more and more malware is being researched and developed with the aim to exploit hitherto disregarded vulnerabilities.
USBee utilises electromagnetic signals and is not reliant on any hardware modifications. The malware detects and modulates electromagnetic signals which are then used to transfer data up to a distance of 26 feet. In order to be effective, however, the target system must already be infected with malware.