Cisco CloudCenter: Get the Hybrid IT Advantage

Van Eck Phreaking

Definition - What does Van Eck Phreaking mean?

Van Eck phreaking is a form of digital espionage whereby an eavesdropper detects and analyzes digital signals using equipment that can pick up the electromagnetic emissions put out by a cathode ray tube (CRT) or LCD display. This makes it possible for someone to read the images on another person's display from a distance.

There are ways to obscure or reduce display emission in order to thwart Van Eck phreaking, but they are not commercially viable because the security risk that Van Eck phreaking poses to the general public is considered to be very small. This is because Van Eck phreaking requires specialized knowledge and decoding equipment that is not widely available. Highly sensitive computer networks do, however, use Faraday cages to prevent any possibility of a breach via Van Eck phreaking.

Techopedia explains Van Eck Phreaking

The ability to read a display using the electromagnetic radiation it emits was first discovered by a Dutch researcher named Wim van Eck. In his 1985 paper, "Electromagnetic Radiation from Video Display Units: An Eavesdropping Risk?", Eck provided the theoretical explanation that makes Van Eck phreaking possible.

The emissions from the display are collected and then demodulated into an understandable facsimile of the display, so a CRT display that is not electromagnetically shielded can be viewed from nearby using special equipment. The range is limited so the equipment has to be within a short distance of the target computer screen.

Modern LCD flat panels are thought to also be susceptible to electromagnetic eavesdropping using a similar method to Van Eck phreaking

Share this:

Connect with us

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter

The 4th Era of IT Infrastructure: Superconverged Systems
The 4th Era of IT Infrastructure: Superconverged Systems:
Learn the benefits and limitations of the 3 generations of IT infrastructure – siloed, converged and hyperconverged – and discover how the 4th...
Approaches and Benefits of Network Virtualization
Approaches and Benefits of Network Virtualization:
Businesses today aspire to achieve a software-defined datacenter (SDDC) to enhance business agility and reduce operational complexity. However, the...
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide:
This white paper is for leaders of Operations, Engineering, or Infrastructure teams who are creating or executing an IT roadmap.
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor:
Virtual Health Monitor is a free virtualization monitoring and reporting tool for VMware, Hyper-V, RHEV, and XenServer environments.
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic:
Turbonomic delivers an autonomic platform where virtual and cloud environments self-manage in real-time to assure application performance.