Nov 01, 2013

How can a computer virus be transmitted over the air from machine to machine?

I was listening to the radio and heard a report on a new virus that could be transmitted without machines being physically connected. How is this even possible? Is it something to be concerned about at this point?

Researcher skepticism grows over badBIOS malware claims

"Five days after Ars chronicled a security researcher's three-year odyssey investigating a mysterious piece of malware he dubbed badBIOS, some of his peers say they are still unable to reproduce his findings.

"I am getting increasingly skeptical due to the lack of evidence," fellow researcher Arrigo Triulzi told Ars after examining forensic data that Ruiu has turned over. "So either I am not as good as people say or there is really nothing."

There is apparently significant and growing skepticism that badBIOS is real. Other researchers have been unable to confirm the original findings. The original researcher, Dragos Riui, stands by it however. Source: http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/11/researcher-skepticism-grows-over...


Hi, and thanks for the responses. I worded my question poorly, I wasn’t thinking about WiFi, 3G, etc as Carla pointed out. It was the badBios malware (or potential malware) that I heard the piece about, I just missed the name. Glad to hear that it probably is not a serious threat. Thanks for the info.


I think what you may be talking about is badBIOS, since I’ve heard/read a few reports about it in the past week. I assume you meant not on a network, since, as the other poster pointed out, computers are often not physically connected to a network or other device, and WiFi (or other wireless connections) as an attack vector is pretty obvious.


There is some dispute whether badBIOS is real or not, but the basic concept is that it uses the microphones and speakers to transmit malicious code between machines that are not networked in any way. In fact, contrary to initial reports that an infected machine could infect a clean one have been amended to say that two infected machines can communicate using frequencies that are inaudible to the human ear, sort of like an ultrasonic version of an old school modem. 


Here is a fairly thorough article on infoworld about it. 


What about Wifi? Mobile Telecom Technologies 3G, 4G? The computers are not physically connected if you're using  these technologies yet you can get infected if you are not careful.

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