Author: Clive Robinson Language: text
Description: #BADBIOS - You Were Warned About This For Years! (v2) Timestamp: 2013-11-01 09:49:43 -0400
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#BADBIOS - You Were Warned About This For Years!

The first recorded case of using ultrasonics for spy / counter spy is Peter Wrights book "Spy Catcher"
and he attributes it back to MI5 discovering and using it back in the 1950's. Tony Sale of Bletchly Park
fame was his assistant.

Back in the 1950's equipment was either motor driven electro-mechanical or based on thermionic
valves that had both high voltage and high impeadence outputs, which were coupled together by
transformers that were either "E-core, laminated soft iron" or "Iron oxide etc dust compressed into
slugs". Both suffered from magnetoconstriction and thus produced sound in sympathy with the
alternating current and at many harmonics. This could be picked up by an appropriate microphone
used in "spike mic" configuration. This enabled them to "bug" many third world countries embasies
to find "ground settings" for crypto equipment that GCHQ then used as a crib to cryptoanalyse the
Encrypted signals from telex and other transmission systems.

As for malware in Flash BIOS if you care to look at the schneier.com blog you will find that I and
others have been warning about "semi-mutable" memory on the main board, on IO cards and in
many System on a Chip (SoC) devices that contain ARM or MIPS CPU cores and attendant
semi-mutable flash or EE ROM.
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