Technical Report Paper abstract bibtex
Security conscious individuals may take considerable measures to disable sensors in order to protect their privacy. However, they often overlook the cyberphysical attack surface exposed by devices that were never designed to be sensors in the first place. Our research demonstrates that the mechanical components in magnetic hard disk drives behave as microphones with sufficient precision to extract and parse human speech. These unintentional microphones sense speech with high enough fidelity for the Shazam service to recognize a song recorded through the hard drive. This proof of concept attack sheds light on the possibility of invasion of privacy even in absence of traditional sensors. We also present defense mechanisms, such as the use of ultrasonic aliasing, that can mitigate acoustic eavesdropping by synthesized microphones in hard disk drives.