Signal Injection Attacks against CCD Image Sensors

19 Aug 2021  ·  Sebastian Köhler, Richard Baker, Ivan Martinovic ·

Since cameras have become a crucial part in many safety-critical systems and applications, such as autonomous vehicles and surveillance, a large body of academic and non-academic work has shown attacks against their main component - the image sensor. However, these attacks are limited to coarse-grained and often suspicious injections because light is used as an attack vector. Furthermore, due to the nature of optical attacks, they require the line-of-sight between the adversary and the target camera. In this paper, we present a novel post-transducer signal injection attack against CCD image sensors, as they are used in professional, scientific, and even military settings. We show how electromagnetic emanation can be used to manipulate the image information captured by a CCD image sensor with the granularity down to the brightness of individual pixels. We study the feasibility of our attack and then demonstrate its effects in the scenario of automatic barcode scanning. Our results indicate that the injected distortion can disrupt automated vision-based intelligent systems.

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