"You're making a mountain out of a mole hill."
I respect your opinion and I don't wish to argue against it, but please look at it from the way I and some others have. I want to eliminate the noise created by the LCD monitor. If this was such a common experience, I would expect at least one of the dozens of other electronic equipment to generate some noise, however faint, on FRS - but they do not.
"You are under the wrong impression that somehow RF hash from the back light can somehow carry data. A liquid crystal display (LCD) does not generate its own light like a CRT or plasma screen and requires a light source to make the display visible. Even those that do cannot transmit computer data being none reaches the monitor."
The LCD is connected to a tower, which other devices connect to. Under testing I've heard the CDROM drive accessing data noises within the FRS channels, along with mouse movements and keyboard activity, along with other noises. When I disable the LCD monitor, all of these disturbances vanish. This means the weakness is in the monitor, and my tower is well shielded or shielded enough so as not to generate any noise in radios I can notice. The reference I made to the strange tape and material within the back side of the LCD monitor at the top could be a sign of some type of antenna or device for amping.
"Their FRS radios will only hear what yours does, RF hash, no data whatsoever THAT IS if one is standing outside your house tapping the radio and scratching his head wondering what's the matter with his radio. You and only you know what it is and where it's coming from."
And what of experienced and curious sysadmins? Rogue crackers? Bored HAMs?
Are there any remote radio injection attacks against systems? This is something I'll research later, as I do believe it was mentioned in at least one whitepaper on side channel attacks.
"Thanks for the chuckles, if the report reveals secrets it would not be published but sent by secret courier to the KGB in Moscow."
I'm not aware of any secrets revealed within the document. But it did raise an interesting point without exposing the method(s) delivered to us from an interesting party. This wasn't just some random article written by some anonymous, disturbed fellow and posted to a pastebin or conspiracy minded blog or forum. And one cannot deny the dozens of TEMPEST attacks available today.
"So... all this and no word on moving the radio farther from the monitor. Why don't you try talking somewhere besides in front of the computer if it bothers you so much?"
Thank you for considering conversation as my reason for posting this, but it is not. I would not choose a noisy channel to talk on. Clear conversation is not the point of this thread. I desire the elimination of this garbage coming from the LCD monitor. I don't care if no one in the world can pick up on it and hear it, I would like to properly resolve it and not ignore it.
One can also dredge up the subject of EMF on health, too, but I have not experienced any disturbance of health from exposure to this noise and most people would argue any possible EMF effects on health to be one of one's over active imagination and not real world application.
A continued discussion was posted elsewhere, this may be useful in the voyage to remove this "noise":
In addition, my CDROM drive light blinks once every second, sometimes with a second or 1/2 second in between, and I found this:
The Risks Digest Volume 19: Issue 60
"I'd worry about a Tempest virus that polled a personal computer's
CD-ROM drive to pulse the motor as a signalling method:
* Modern high-speed CD-ROM drive motors are both acoustically and
electrically noisy, giving you two attack methods for the price of one;
* Laptop computer users without CRTs, and the PC users that can afford
large LCD screens instead of CRTs, often have CD-ROM drives;
* Users are getting quite used to sitting patiently while their
CD-ROM drives grind away for no visibly obvious reason (but
that's quite enough about the widespread installs of software from
Microsoft CD-ROMs that prompted Kuhn's investigation in the first place.)"
"I don't think there should be anymore blinking if you remove the CD/DVD inside."
Does Tails support this at boot?
If not, is there a Linux LiveCD which allows this and does not give you root access at boot?
I've looked at several different distributions which allow you to boot into RAM and remove the CD, but they all give you root and that's a very insecure environment to run the Tor Browser Bundle (TBB) in!
"If it keeps blinking, find out which process uses it."
It doesn't blink on the several distros which boot into RAM, but I don't want to run Tor as root or reconfigure the permissions/PAM/etc. just to use TBB. As above, with Tails and many LiveCDs which don't boot into RAM, 99% of them have this blinking light issue. The actual INSTALLS I've done to HDD experience constant light activity too, even more so, without anything to explain them.
For Linux, I've ran rkhunter, chkrootkit, tiger, and other tools and nothing malicious is found, except for suspect 'strings' within the binaries. Without a deep binary analysis I don't know what else I could do.
For Windows, I use a few programs in the SysInternals Suite and they display strange usage on the system and reference programs which cannot be found with a search on the system, references to impersonation, spoofing, and more. I've ran almost every N.American scanner on the Windows systems, including command line only rootkit detectors and I've seen some strange 'strings' of binaries mentioned, but have no idea on how to clean the system.
I prefer to run LiveCDs because all installations, Windows and Linux, contain unexplainable frenzies of blinking lights, far worse than the blink every second on most LiveCDs. I'm wondering if this is firmware malware on my NIC or the CDROM itself. This has existed for years and never goes away, no matter what system I use, this strange baggage seems to re-infect everything.
"Anyway, you can disable it when you're not using it, if it's bothering you."
"And shield your monitor."
Thanks. I'm investigating and most of the guides require specific addons to the computer's cabling system. Most of the guides appear incomplete, or are in another language other than English.
Any comments on the Tempest/blinking light possibility?
Any comments on why it's spewing out noise to FRS stations and freq hopping?
Any comments on the silver tape and material inside the back of the LCD?
...Disconnection of the LED CDROM and HDD lights could be something I should do to relieve one possible issue.
Some articles with examples:
"If everything is just right, you can pick up signals from some distance. "I was able to eavesdrop certain laptops through three walls," says Kuhn. "At the CEBIT conference, in 2006, I was able to see the Powerpoint presentation from a stand 25 metres away."
uhn also mentioned that one laptop was vulnerable because it had metal hinges that carried the signal of the display cable. I asked if you could alter a device to make it easier to spy on. "There are a lot of innocuous modifications you can make to maximise the chance of getting a good signal," he told me. For example, adding small pieces of wire or cable to a display could make a big difference.
As for defending against this kind of attack, Kuhn says using well-shielded cables, certain combinations of colours and making everything a little fuzzy all work."
- New Scientist Technology Blog: Seeing through walls - New Scientist
TO EASILY VIEW THE PDF files below:
Online viewer for PDF, PostScript and Word:
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Online viewer for PDF, PostScript and Word
The viewer software is open source, licensed under the GNU Public License.
Electromagnetic eavesdropping risks of flat-panel displays
Eavesdropping attacks on computer displays
Compromising emanations: eavesdropping risks of computer displays
- Computer Laboratory – Technical reports: UCAM-CL-TR-577
Compromising emanations of LCD TV sets
"Q: Can I use filtered fonts also on flat-panel displays
My experience so far has been that with LCDs, the video cable is the most significant source of radiated information leakage. Where an analogue video cable (with 15-pin VGA connector) is used, low-pass filtered fonts have the same benefits as with CRTs. Where a purely digital video cable is used (DVI-D, laptop-internal displays with FPD/LVDS links, etc.) only the last step, namely randomizing the least-significant bits, should be implemented.
Where the video signal is entirely encoded in digital form, the low-pass filtered step will not have the desired effect. In fact, it can actually increase the differences between the signal generated by individual characters, and thereby make automatic radio character recognition more reliable."
- Soft Tempest FAQ
Remotely Eavesdropping on Keyboards (and read the comments!)
"The researchers from the Security and Cryptography Laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne are able to capture keystrokes by monitoring the electromagnetic radiation of PS/2, universal serial bus, or laptop keyboards. They've outline four separate attack methods, some that work at a distance of as much as 65 feet from the target.
In one video demonstration, researchers Martin Vuagnoux and Sylvain Pasini sniff out the the keystrokes typed into a standard keyboard using a large antenna that's about 20 to 30 feet away in an adjacent room."
Video eavesdropping demo at CeBIT 2006
- Light Blue Touchpaper » Blog Archive » Video eavesdropping demo at CeBIT 2006
Optical Emission Security – Frequently Asked Questions
"Q: What about LEDs?
For devices with RS-232 serial ports, it is customary to provide a status indicator LED for some of the signal lines (in particular transmit data and receive data). Often, these LEDs are directly connected to the line via just a resistor. As a result, anyone with a line of sight to the LED, some optics and a simple photosensor can see the data stream. Joe Loughry and David A. Umphress have recently announced a detailed study (submitted to ACM Transactions on Information and System Security) in which they tested 39 communications devices with 164 LED indicators, and on 14 of the tested devices they found serial port data in the LED light. Based on their findings, it seems reasonable to conclude that LEDs for RS-232 ports are most likely carrying the data signal today, whereas LEDs on high-speed data links (LANs, harddisk) do not. Even these LEDs are still available as a covert channel for malicious software that actively tries to transmit data optically.
I expect that this paper will cause a number of modem manufacturers to add a little pulse stretcher (monostable multivibrator) to the LEDs in the next chip set revision, and that at some facilities with particular security concerns, the relevant LEDs will be removed or covered with black tape.
The data traffic on LEDs is not a periodic signal, and therefore, unlike with video signals, periodic averaging cannot be used to improve the signal-to-noise ratio. The shot-noise limit estimation technique that I used to estimate the CRT eavesdropping risk can even more easily (because no deconvolution is needed) also be applied to serial port indicators and allows us to estimate a lower bound for the bit-error rate at a given distance. I have performed a few example calculations and concluded that with a direct line of sight, and a 100 kbit/s signal (typical for an external telephone modem), at 500 m distance it should be no problem to acquire a reliable signal (one wrong bit every 10 megabit), whereas for indirect reflection from the wall of a dark room, a somewhat more noisy signal (at least one wrong bit per 10 kilobit) can be expected to be receivable in a few tens of meters distance.
- Optical Emission Security FAQ
Ancient Story on Slashdot: Coming to a Desktop near you: Tempest Capabilities
"New Scientist has an interesting article about a new toy we will all want. It's a card that plugs in one of your PCI slots and allows you to scan the EMF spectrum and read your neighbours terminal. In about 5 years you might be able to get one for just under £1000. (Modern Tempest Hardware costs about £30000) "
Coming to a Desktop near you: Tempest Capabilities - Slashdot
"Any unshielded electrical device with a variable current (including LCDs) will give out EMF radiation. It's the nature of the beast.
For that matter, light is EMF radiation, so unless you have your LCD in a coal-mine, it's reflecting EMF all the time it's switched on.
Then, there's the fact that screen monitoring isn't the only monitoring you can do. I used to use a radio, tuned into the bus for the PET, as a sound card. Worked surprisingly well, for all that very clunky metal shielding. What's to stop a much higher-quality receiver from seeing the data, in an unshielded box, being sent TO the LCD, or to any other device on the machine?
It's a mistake to assume that Tempest technology is single-function and that that single-function only works in a single situation."
- Coming to a Desktop near you: Tempest Capabilities - Slashdot
800Mbps Wireless Network Made With LED Light Bulbs
- 800Mbps Wireless Network Made With LED Light Bulbs - Slashdot
There are a lot of other files, many in PPT format, which can be found easily on this subject of LCD monitor (and other computing devices) TEMPEST sniffing.