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It is a common misconception that computers cannot be hacked unless connected to the internet. This research will analyze different ways a criminal could hack an air-gapped computer. Air-gapped computers could be hacked through light, sounds, vibrations, temperature changes, and by measuring a computer’s power consumption. Light can be measured with a video camera to see the changes in a computer’s LEDs when writing or reading files from the hard drive. Sound can be measured using a decibel meter to listen to changes created with a computer’s fan speed. Vibrations are controlled by typing on a computer and can be measured with an accelerometer. By using a stress-test program and infrared thermometer, temperature changes can be manipulated and measured. Finally, power consumption can be measured using an electricity usage meter and controlled by changing a screen’s brightness or using a stress-test program. This research will also examine previous incidents where air-gapped machines have been hacked. For example, Stuxnet – a computer worm that was created to sabotage the Iranian nuclear centrifuges. Attacks used on air-gapped machines will also be examined, such as AIR-FI. AIR-FI is an attack that will use an air-gapped machine’s RAM and turn it into Wi-Fi to steal data. The goal of this research will be to explain how vulnerable air-gapped machines truly are.


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • Computer Science & Information Systems

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
  • Event date
    • 26 March 2021

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Bryson Payne