Researchers at security firm Duo have tweaked an AMD Radeon Pro WX3100 graphics card as a radio transmitter to transmit data without having to physically modify the hardware in any way.
They did this by manipulating the graphics card’s shader clock rates to become a tunable radio device which they then used to steal data from an air-gapped PC that was behind a wall 50 feet away.
AMD Radeon Pro WX3100 GPU Hijacked Used To Steal Data’s On PC
This is an example of a side-channel attack that steals data by manipulating and then observing external indicators such as blinking lights or fan vibrations on a user’s PC. What makes these kinds of attacks so dangerous is the fact that since the hardware is working as designed, it is not detectable by antivirus scanners or any other security software.
To siphon data from the air-gapped PC, the Duo researchers used the radio frequencies generated by the GPU as it operated at different clock rates.
Duo’s researchers proved that they could use a GPU to transmit data over detectable radio waves to steal info from a host computer even if it is not connected to the internet. However, there are limitations to this technique as the host machine would need to be compromised by another attack such as malware to set up the correct code.
You can read on the rest if you want to learn more about how the researchers were able to transmit data using a GPU, full report is here.