Of Covid, Buggy Audio Drivers and Industrial Espionage @insinuator
Florian Bausch writes on the ERNW Insinuator of analysing some laptops last year for possible espionage. The devices had been given to employees to work at home during Covid-19.
The reason was that he feared the company could have been victim of industrial espionage. Starting in spring 2020, the IT help desk got several employee laptops with full hard drives, caused by a huge amount of audio recordings. The audio files contained recordings even of highly sensitive telephone conferences. An automated scan on all employee computers for such audio recordings showed that about 300 devices were affected.
The audio driver used on this laptop obviously does not check the return value of the RegQueryValue call and therefore seems to default to a debug mode, which causes the audio driver to write recordings to disk as soon as some program accesses the microphone.
All this trouble with full hard drives was indirectly caused by the Corona pandemic. Until 2019 the customer never experienced this issue, although the audio driver was the same. However, starting in early spring of 2020, the customer sent the employees home. Work from home now was the new standard mode of operation and people needed to communicate. They did this using softphones on their laptops. Before Corona they worked on-site and used desk phones.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.