Acoustic Denial of Service Attacks on Hard Disk Drives

Will be presented on October 19, 2018, at ASHES '18 workshop, in conjunction with ACM CCS 2018.


Bridging concepts from information security and resonance theory, we propose a novel denial of service attack against hard disk drives (HDDs). In this attack, acoustic signals are used to cause rotational vibrations in HDD platters in an attempt to create failures in read/write operations, ultimately halting the correct operation of HDDs.

We perform a comprehensive examination of multiple HDDs to characterize the attack and show the feasibility of the attack in two real-world systems, namely, surveillance devices and personal computers. Our attack highlights an overlooked security vulnerability of HDDs, introducing a new threat that can potentially endanger the security of numerous systems.