6G technology is now hackable in minutes, using only household items

Researchers from Rice University have developed a metasurface to eavesdrop on 6G wireless signals using simple office supplies.

Published Tue, May 17 2022 4:32 AM CDT   |   Updated Sun, Jun 5 2022 11:21 PM CDT

A study on the hack titled "Metasurface-in-the-Middle Attack: From Theory to Experiment" will be presented at the Proceedings of the 15th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (2022).

6G technology is now hackable in minutes, using only household items 01 | TweakTown.com

Researchers from Rice University have created a tool to eavesdrop on 6G wireless signals (which range from 110 to 170 gigahertz, or GHz), dubbed the "Metasurface-in-the-Middle." Metasurfaces are thin sheets of material with particular designs that allow them to manipulate light or other electromagnetic waves, while a "Man-in-the-middle" attack is a type of hack where an eavesdropper secretly intercepts communications between two parties.

"Awareness of a future threat is the first step to counter that threat. The frequencies that are vulnerable to this attack aren't in use yet, but they are coming and we need to be prepared," said study co-author Edward Knightly, Rice's Sheafor-Lindsay Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The team designed the metasurface to exact specifications to diffract the 6G (150 GHz) signal how they wanted and printed it on regular office paper using a standard laser printer. Using a common hot stamping technique used in crafting, they placed metal foil atop the printed paper and fed it through a laminator.

This bonded the metal and toner, creating the metasurface from foil-covered paper. The attack is then carried out by diffracting a portion of a given signal towards the location of the eavesdropper using the metasurface.

"We developed this approach in order to lower the barrier for fabrication of metasurfaces, so that researchers could test many different designs quickly and inexpensively. Of course, this lowers the barrier for eavesdroppers too," said Brown University engineering Professor Daniel Mittleman.

You can read more from the study here.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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