Trust The Wire, They Always Told Me!: On Practical Non-Destructive Wire-Tap Attacks Against Ethernet

Matthias Schulz, Patrick Klapper, Matthias Hollick, Erik Tews, Stefan Katzenbeisser

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ethernet technology dominates enterprise and home network installations and is present in datacenters as well as parts of the backbone of the Internet. Due to its wireline nature, Ethernet networks are often assumed to intrinsically protect the exchanged data against attacks carried out by eavesdroppers and malicious attackers that do not have physical access to network devices, patch panels and network outlets. In this work, we practically evaluate the possibility of wireless attacks against wired Ethernet installations with respect to resistance against eavesdropping by using off-the-shelf software-defined radio platforms. Our results clearly indicate that twisted-pair network cables radiate enough electromagnetic waves to reconstruct transmitted frames with negligible bit error rates, even when the cables are not damaged at all. Since this allows an attacker to stay undetected, it urges the need for link layer encryption or physical layer security to protect confidentiality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWiSec '16. Proceedings of the 9th ACM Conference on Security & Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages43-48
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-4270-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event9th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks - Darmstadt, Germany
Duration: 18 Jul 201620 Jul 2016
Conference number: 9
https://www.sigsac.org/wisec/WiSec2016/

Conference

Conference9th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks
Abbreviated titleWiSec 2016
CountryGermany
CityDarmstadt
Period18/07/1620/07/16
Internet address

Keywords

  • attack, eavesdropping, ethernet, fpga, signal processing, tempest

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    Schulz, M., Klapper, P., Hollick, M., Tews, E., & Katzenbeisser, S. (2016). Trust The Wire, They Always Told Me!: On Practical Non-Destructive Wire-Tap Attacks Against Ethernet. In WiSec '16. Proceedings of the 9th ACM Conference on Security & Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (pp. 43-48). Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). https://doi.org/10.1145/2939918.2940650