How LANtenna Attack Works

At the home and business level, it is much safer to use Ethernet network cables than WiFi connectivity, for this reason, all servers and computers that move sensitive information use a network cable to connect to a switch, which is correctly configured to avoid or mitigate the main attacks on networks, and avoid information theft. A group of researchers has discovered a way to create wireless signals through an Ethernet network cable, with the aim of stealing information, this new attack is called LANtenna Attack.

What is the LANtenna Attack?

This attack consists of a mechanism to exfiltrate data that uses Ethernet network cables as a transmission antenna, in this way, information can be sent to a receiver. Of course, this transmitting antenna is capable of diverting highly confidential information that travels over the Ethernet network cable to the receiver, with the aim of stealing very valuable information. Generally, network cables are used to protect against wireless attacks, but with this attack, what came to solve the problem “of the air”, makes it become the fundamental piece of the attack.

This very novel data exfiltration technique allows malicious code in computers to accumulate confidential data that later on they want to exfiltrate or send to a receiver, to later encode them through radio waves using Ethernet network cables as an antenna. Malicious code can be run in a normal user mode process, no administrator permissions are required, and it could also operate successfully within a virtual machine. Transmitted radio signals can be intercepted by a nearby software-defined radio receiver (SDR) and completely wirelessly, logically this system does not have too much range, but it does have enough to put sensitive and confidential information on computers at risk. of work. The receiver should be close,

The entire data exfiltration process is done with any wireless interface disabled or physically removed, that is, there is no native sender. This same security researcher has already demonstrated highly unconventional ways of leaking confidential computer data, such as when he designed a method that employs small changes in the brightness of an LCD screen, or when he demonstrated how malware could use a PC’s power supply. to reproduce sounds and use it as a secondary out-of-band “speaker”. Finally, this same researcher was also able to take advantage of WiFi signals as a covert channel to exfiltrate confidential information without requiring the presence of WiFi hardware on the target computer.

How this attack works

In order to carry out this attack, it is necessary to use malware on the target computer with air gap, to induce the Ethernet network cable to generate electromagnetic emissions in the 125MHz frequency bands that are then modulated and intercepted by the nearby receiver. In tests carried out by this researcher, it was found that information can be sent at a distance of about 2 meters, more than enough to steal a large amount of information passively.

In the following video you can see a demonstration of how this data exfiltration technique works:

Of course, as with other attacks of this style, it is necessary to infect the victim’s computer in the target network, through any vector: a pendrive, an email using social engineering or directly infect the pendrives from their manufacture with the goal of spying on a larger scale.

How can I avoid this attack?

Security researchers have proposed some recommendations to avoid or mitigate this attack, the first thing is to prohibit the use of radio receivers in the surroundings of the network, and of course, to monitor the activity of the link layer of the network card that let us have to avoid covert channels. Signals can also be blocked using metallic shielding to limit interference from electromagnetic fields that occur in network cables.

Although a distance of 2 meters may seem very little, the researchers have indicated that with dedicated and expensive antennas they could have a greater distance, and could easily reach tens of meters with some cables, therefore, this attack could put anyone in check. company that does not take security as a fundamental piece. Taking into account that it is necessary to infect a computer with malware, it is very necessary to monitor what can be installed on corporate computers, with the aim of minimizing as much as possible that an attacker can infect us.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

Leave a Comment