A group of Princeton and Purdue researchers has shown that it’s possible to mount a denial-of-service (DoS) attack against hard disk drives via acoustic signals.
Hard disk drives (HDDs) have become the most commonly-used type of non-volatile storage due to their increased reliability, fault tolerance, storage capacity, and so on.
“These technological advances in HDDs, along with the ever-increasing need for storing the huge amount of data, made them one of the core components of modern computing systems. Indeed, HDDs are now an inevitable part of numerous ubiquitous systems, including, but not limited to, personal computers, cloud servers, medical bedside monitors, closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems, and automated teller machines (ATMs),” the researchers noted.
An effective and easy to pull off DoS attack against HDDs could, therefore, lead to considerable real-world problems for individuals and organizations.
The effectiveness of the attack hinges on the attacker’s capability to create the acoustic signal close to the target device, in a way that causes significant vibrations in the drives’ internal components.