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Researchers: How ‘leaky’ smart phones give up their crypto keys

March 4, 2012

Smart phones being used for sensitive transactions leak data that can be used to recover the cryptographic keys securing connections, researchers say. CPUs from as far away as 30 feet, said Benjamin Jun, vice president of technology at Cryptography Research Inc.

The data can be analyzed to reveal the cryptographic keys being generated and used. “That distance was a surprise to me,” said Jun, who is presenting results of the research at this week’s RSA Conference.“What we’re trying to do here is not show the limits of what can be done,” but to determine the amount of data leakage and demonstrate the dangers it poses, Jun said. By analyzing power consumption in the CPU during cryptographic processes, data — including crypto keys — could be extracted.

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