Air-gap (technology)

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An Air-Gap refers to the physical separation of an electronic device such as a computer from all networks. A device may be vulnerable to intrusion or spying, but in theory, this is a logical "low-tech solution to a high-tech problem" which prevents all remote spying and attack attempts.[1]

Problems with an air-gap

The obvious problem is that while attackers cannot remotely access the air-gaped device, that device also cannot access other harmless servers and resources on the Internet or LAN. Only off-line activity is possible. However, even an air-gaped device can be monitored. Delayed reporting strategies can be used, such as having spyware record activity which may be physically retrieved at a later time. Another such strategy would be loading logs onto the user's external device, such as a flash drive, and retrieving it from that storage device when it is later connected to a networked computer.
Other strategies which would not use spyware include either attaching monitoring hardware directly to the device, or even recording electromagnetic emissions from a computer keyboard. This can be dome over some distance, and although it can prove difficult to separate out meaningful EM pules from ambient interference, this can be used effectively to determine the binary output of the keyboard. These binary signals can then be translated into the letters they represent.[2][3]