Quartz Oscillator Interference? – Digitalmunition

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  TrustmeImaConsultant 4 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #310696


    This is a question for my own interest. I recently learned a little bit about the basics of timing in computers, and about how a quartz Oscillator is used for the timing circuit.

    My question is whether anyone has heard about intentionally interfering with the resonance of the quartz timing circuit to disrupt a computer.

    I have very limited technical knowledge here, but the concept of having an ultra thin piece of piezo electric crystal seems possible to mess with. Electrical changes would destroy the resonance, but I assume there’s some sort of shielding for that. I’d be curious if there’s a frequency of sound that could also resonate? I’m not sure, but I’m curious if there’s anything out there. I didn’t find any research papers with a quick Google.

  • #310697


    There are actually documented attacks to specific (secure) systems that are based on messing with the timing of frequency crystals and the fact that the implementation of the algorithm relied on a specific frequency being present and operating the device outside that specified frequency caused side effects that could be leveraged for an attack, but unless you REALLY know what you’re doing, I’d stay away from that. We’re talking some pretty advanced hardware hacks here that work under very specific conditions for very specific systems for very specific reasons that you’d have to understand to properly replicate them.

    And no, sound doesn’t play a role here. Any sound you can create will be in the range of at a maximum of a few Kilohertz while the average frequency crystal involved here starts at a few Megahertz.

  • #310698


    When I used to refurbish computers, I would use a specific tool to disrupt the circuit for BIOS lock, so I could bypass the BIOS, and then change the password to nothing.

  • #310699


    1: Shielding
    2: Sound? Not very likely.
    3: An unstable oscillator = unstable system.

    With as sensitive as computers are, this would probably be a very unlikely thing to achieve.

  • #310700


    Sound is a bit to weak for this. You would have to hit (shake) the crystal at a couple of Mhz’s. Rather than that I would try to use timed EM fields. Like blasting the system with a magnetic field that’s the exact opposite to the amplitude of the oscillator to negate it’s clock and then slightly tweak it until you reach your desired clockrate.

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