If you are interested in cyber security or information security then you will come across this unfamous term ‘air gapping’. Air gapping a computer is a security measure to keep the computer isolated from other computers or networks.This isolation is done physically i.e it is designed in a way that no other can access these computers remotely , it can only be operated manually or physically. The transmission of data can only be done through physical means (USB,hard drives,CDs ..etc). Don’t get messed with the air gapped computers. The main plot here is , that they will not have any type of network connection.To mean it simply, a computer which is newly bought is air gapped .Lets move it more interestingly with tom cruise’s Mission impossible where the air gapped computer was screened globally for the first time.
Why should we use air gapped machines..?
AG computers provide you maximum security to store classified datas with an intelligent mechanism.These systems are used in military forces , FBI and many other secret sources to manage their database in a secured manner to make it unhackable .But these machines became a major target for the hackers and security researchers to find a loop hole in it and make it vulnerable. This gives us a more interesting scenario, that how a machine that is isolated from networks can be hackable with out any physical connections. Again becoming a movie freak folks, (SNOWDEN)
In this specific scene, Edwards snowden tries to copy the database from the system with a memory card in the cube , because it can’t be transferred through network as it was a airgapped system built in a military center. movie apart 🙂 let’s move technical…
Using air gapped computers with networks…!
Here ,I am breaking the actual name of the game. Yes, air gapped computers can be used with network connections and still can be remained as air gapped. This can be done with the use of browser isolation system. It is an hardware device that saves the users from all browser malware and gives you the filtered results.Let me explain the complete process involved in using the air gap technology in association with the browser isolation system (BIS).
The first and the foremost problem starts here , when an end user downloads files from the web , he also downloads the unwanted craps ,technically malware with them. This happens when you are directly get connected with the network through the browser from the system. But when an isolation system comes as an intermediate between the browser and the network there will be no congestions . whenever a browser requests a data it will be sent through the BIS and create a VM (virtual machine) for each sessions. So, there will be no sharing of your memory of CPU or any other that belongs to your system.But, what happens when the VM gets affected by the malware . There is no chance of happening, but if happened the VM has no malware detection technology but can encode the data and sends it to the end user.Through encoding ,the malware cannot be entered in any of the means.
Vulnerability in air gapped computers..!
Though it is air gapped it is still a computer which transmits and receives the radio frequencies . These frequencies can be captured by the Airhopper decoder which taps your key logs from the air gapped machine and prints it in your decoder application. To be honest this Airhopper decoder was removed from the web due to some issues and I was not able to find it. May be it can be available in the dark Web .This technology is detailed in the previous post.But later ,came a scene where these malware can also be implemented in air gapped systems with a computer worm called stuxnet from where we derived (STUXNOID) , though it is not important now 🙂 . When security develops the vulnerability is not patched it is just hidden.