Hacking has become synonymous with today’s digital ecosystem, and whether it is the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or JP Morgan, size, resources or capability are irrelevant if someone wants the information you have badly enough. The breach these organizations experienced is proof. But in these cases, some points of their infrastructure were connected to the internet, which might lead one to ask, can my computer be hacked if it is not connected?
Can an Offline Computer be Hacked?
Technically — as of right now — the answer is no. If you never connect your computer, you are 100 percent safe from hackers on the internet. There is no way someone can hack and retrieve, alter or monitor information without physical access. But there are efforts to overcome this obstacle. A New York Times article reported about an NSA technology allowing hackers to get into a computer, even if it is not connected and alter the data. But even this technology requires physical access to the computer. According to the Times report, “In most cases, the radio frequency hardware must be physically inserted by a spy, a manufacturer or an unwitting user.”
This however is not the only way unconnected computers or smartphones can be accessed or monitored. An article on Business Insider reveals several ways in which this can be achieved. These include electromagnetic radiation spying, power consumption analysis, using a smartphone’s accelerometer as a Key Logger, radio waves that intercept the most secure of networks, using the heat generated by your computer, and accessing data through steel walls.
Most of these techniques are in the research phase carried out by scientists in ideal conditions, and your average hacker will not be able to replicate them. But it highlights the developments that are taking place in this segment.
So What are the Chances These Technologies Will be Used Against a Small Business?