A team at the Research Institute of Computer Science and Random Systems (IRISA) in France developed a novel way to detect malware that requires no software be installed on target devices.
As Tom’s Hardware reports, the researchers created a system based on a Raspberry Pi capable of scanning a device for electromagnetic waves using an oscilloscope and a H-Field probe. Specific waves signal the presence of malware on the device, with the researchers managing to “obtain precise knowledge about malware type and identity.”
What makes this new technique so impressive is the fact it requires no modification of the target device or any interaction beyond being able to scan for EM waves. No software installation also means any obfuscation techniques employed by malware writers simply don’t work. In fact, obfuscation techniques can also be detected and analyzed.
The end result is a system with a malware detection accuracy of 99.82% that could prove invaluable to malware analysts. It’s also going to prove to be a nightmare for malware writers as they attempt to figure out how to hide their malicious code from an EM scanner without being able to detect its presence.