Attackers Can Break Laptops By Playing Damaging Sounds

break laptops

Sonic Boom

Just when you thought your laptop was safe from attack comes a new finding from the University of Michigan and Zhejiang University. Their discovery details how attackers can break laptops or desktop computers simply by playing a sound through the device’s speakers.

In a paper called Blue Note, researchers outline how the playing of sonic and ultrasonic sounds through built-in speakers was enough to interfere with hard drives.  The sounds cause vibrations in the computer that disrupt the workings of the hard drive, to the point where they can’t write data. The sounds need only be played for as little as 12 seconds.

“Intentional acoustic interference causes unusual errors in the mechanics of magnetic hard disk drives in desktop and laptop computers, leading to damage to integrity and availability in both hardware and software,” the paper states

Look for a software update to come along to recognize and prevent the sound from being played. Blue Note is the latest in a long line of methods that enable remote attacks. Other recent bugs discovered include text messages containing a white flag emoji, a “0” and a rainbow emoji that can crash an iPhone.

ClickAway technicians continually monitor new bugs, potential attacks and methods to prevent damage or interference. With our free diagnostic, you can stop into one of our Bay Area computer stores to have your laptop checked for safety.

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