Hackers Train Their Guns On Fiber Optic Data Networks

The encryption company InfoGuard, has cautioned that transmitting information through fiber optic cable, regarded as a hacker-resistant procedure, isn't foolproof.

As per the company, several optical tapping techniques can be employed to remove information from fiber optic networks.

In London's Infosecurity exhibition, Infoguard, Swiss encryption gadget company showcased the application of optical tapping to eavesdrop on a Voice over IP phone call passing via an optical cable. No disturbance on the line was comprehended while the tap was proceeding. A computer attached to the optical connection through a media recorder could retrieve the unencrypted information flowing via the link.

The chances of being discovered are very slim and the devices to achieve it are readily procurable, infoGuard alerted.

There are three types of optical tapping techniques. The 'splice technique' involves breaking the link at a certain spot and affixing a splitter.

The clear-cut technique is readily noticeable owing to the breach in service, wherein the deadtime is generally brief and attributed to some fault.

Flexing the glass of fiber-optic cable is required in splitter or coupling techniques. When it curves above a specific radius, a modicum of light streams. Using modern receivers, a little light has to be trapped (0.1dB of the optical grading is adequate) to remove the information from an optical link.

However, the modern and most subtle 'non-contact techniques' implicates powerful photo-detectors to trap specks of light issuing laterally from the glass fiber due to the Rayleigh scattering process.

Optical infringement might seem to be like an imaginary plot from Hollywood's scores of plagiarized movies instead of a realistic risk. But, Infoguard stated that in 2003 a banned tapping tool was detected linked to Verizon's network. Researchers examining the ingress opined that it was driven by an effort to retrieve the quarterly reports of a mutual fund firm. The hackers were able to go undetected.

Infoguard presented the demonstration to emphasize the fact that companies should encrypt data crossing optical links, with tools like its 10Gbps EtherGuard gadgets.

Banks, financial organizations, businesses and public authorities utilize fiber optic networks as a mainstay, thereby making it open to industrial espionage.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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