Yes this is still eTeknix and no you haven’t tuned in for the latest Jamie Oliver recipe, oh and before you ask, no I am not wearing a tin foil hat while preaching that the world is going to end. This is the slightly bizarre story of how a Pitta Bread has been used by researchers from Tel Aviv University to conceal a radio transmitter capable of stealing encrypted keys.
As this image below demonstrates, the PITA Device uses an unshielded loop antenna made of plain copper wire which is wound into 3 turns of diameter 13 cm. A tuning capacitor is chosen to maximize sensitivity at 1.7 MHz; this technique captures the key-dependent leakage signal with an SDR receiver being used and which is controlled by a small embedded computer.
How this device connects and steals an encrypted key is by monitoring the differing signals a CPU makes while undertaking various activities, by analysing these radio signals it became possible to discover the key being implemented to secure an encrypted email.
Well this certainly adds a new meaning to the phrase “I think there’s something wrong with that loaf” On a slightly serious Bagel, I mean note, the research demonstrates albeit in a controlled test environment that it is possible, in theory for an attacker to conceal a small device within an object which in turn could possibly decrypt a key which is potentially guarding sensitive documents.
Currently the researchers have developed a range at which this transmitter would be able to steal encryption keys at around (1ft 8in) from said target device. Which is compelling considering this project has been developed at a university with the potential for an unknown source to harness and develop this technique with the aim of executing this device in the real world.
Thank You tau.ac.il for providing us with this information