$20 antennas can now help breach 256-bit encryption standards

Encryption breach
Fox-IT
Security researchers have devised a method of defeating AES-256bit encryption in as little as five minutes, and most importantly, you don’t need an expensive supercomputer to do it. The technique leverages radio hardware to measure the frequency changes in the magnetic field generated during encryption to record and decode the information from a distance.

Manufacturing and digital security often have the project management triangle in common. Defeating security and breaching encryption can rarely be done fast, well and without significant cost. But what this Fox-IT technique achieves is very close to that ideal, offering the ability to crack even complex AES-256bit encryption in a few minutes with relatively cheap, off-the-shelf hardware.

Although using more-expensive radio recording hardware can yield better results, the technique is capable of cracking software encryption using just a $25 USB stick and a small wire loop antenna.

By measuring the power output of the encrypting system, the snoopers can tell when an algorithm is receiving input data and later outputting it in an encrypted form. With a mixture of guesswork and correlation, the researchers are able to take that and begin to decode the AES algorithm. By attempting to figure out what the correct value (of 256 options) for each of the 32 bytes is, only 8,192 guesses must be made.

If you were to attempt to brute force hack the encrypted message itself, you’d be making an impossible number of guesses (two, to the power of 256). This technique makes the impossible not only viable but easy.

Better yet, the technique doesn’t require direct access to the encrypting hardware. The researchers were able to perform the technique from up to a meter away.

That was technically only possible because of ideal testing conditions though. In reality, the most even those with high-end equipment could expect to conduct such an attack is from 30 centimeters away. Still, being able to make such an attack from a distance with cheap hardware highlights the potential for new attack vectors against typically near-foolproof encryption systems.

Although breaking open someone’s obfuscated files is almost always going to be easier if you “extract” the decryption key from the owner, this system offers a new way for all sorts of organizations and individuals to target it. In turn, this should lead to better shielding for protected hardware in the future.

Computing

How 5G networks will make low-latency game streaming a reality

Faster speeds and more bandwidth are some of the many promises that 5G can deliver, but for gamers, the most important thing is low latency. To achieve low latency, carriers like AT&T and Verizon are exploring hybrid models for game…
Product Review

With the S10e and S10 Plus, do we really need the Samsung Galaxy S10?

The Galaxy S10 is the middle child in this year’s Galaxy S10 range, between the Galaxy S10e, and the Galaxy S10 Plus. There’s no striking reason to buy it, but it’s still an excellent phone you’ll be happy with.
Cars

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

Here are the best Chromebook deals available in March 2019

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- that won't…
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for March 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Deals

Looking for a Chromebook? The Google PixelBook just got a $200 price cut

Once relatively obscure, Chromebooks have come into their own in a big way in recent years. One of our favorites is the super-sleek Google Pixelbook, and it's on sale right now from Amazon for $200 off, letting you score this premium laptop…
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Computing

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.
Computing

Get the most out of your high-resolution display by tweaking its DPI scaling

Windows 10 has gotten much better than earlier versions at supporting today's high-resolution displays. If you want to get the best out of your monitor, then check out our guide on how to adjust high-DPI scaling in Windows 10.
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.
Computing

Nvidia’s GTX 1650 graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over the 1050 Ti

Rumors suggest Nvidia might soon launch the GTX 1650, and a leaked benchmark listing from Final Fantasy XV suggests that the new graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over last generation's GTX 1050 Ti. 
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Computing

Get the new Dell XPS 13 for $750 with this limited-time deal

Dell is currently running a limited time deal lasting through Thursday, March 28, where you can bring home a version of this year's new XPS 13 for around $750 with the use of a special coupon code.