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What Does TEMPEST Protect You From?

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Shielding: Enclosures and shielding materials can be used to reduce the leakage of electromagnetic radiation. For example, Faraday cages can block RF signals effectively. Take a look at our offering of various shielding solutions, tailored to your specific needs.

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As a continuation to our previous article, we will dive deeper into the practical methods of espionage through the leakage of electromagnetic radiation. This threat involves the unintentional emission of electromagnetic radiation from electronic devices and systems, which can be intercepted and exploited by malicious actors to gather sensitive information.

As mentioned in our previous article, electronic devices emit electromagnetic radiation as a byproduct of their operation. This radiation can take the form of electromagnetic waves or pulses, including radio frequency (RF) signals, electrical currents, or even sound waves. This emission is a natural consequence of the electrical and electronic processes within devices and cannot be prevented at the source.

The unintentional emission of electromagnetic radiation can carry information about the operations and data being processed by electronic devices. This information can include keystrokes from a computer keyboard, display contents, data being transferred between components, or even audio signals from a microphone or speaker. Essentially, any electronic activity has the potential to leak information through electromagnetic radiation.

Malicious actors, such as intelligence agencies or corporate spies, can exploit this radiation to conduct espionage activities. By intercepting and analysing the electromagnetic emissions, they can gain insights into sensitive information, including passwords, encryption keys, classified documents, and proprietary data.

A few methods can be used to exploit electromagnetic radiation leakage, dividable into two broad categories:

  • Electromagnetic Interception: Specialized equipment can be used to capture and analyse electromagnetic emissions. This equipment can include antennas, receivers, and signal processing tools. The intercepted signals can then be processed to extract useful information.

  • Side-Channel Attacks: In some cases, attackers may employ side-channel attacks. These attacks involve monitoring electromagnetic radiation alongside other observable factors like power consumption, timing, or sound to deduce secret information more easily.


As stated before, there is no way to prevent electronic devices from creating emissions. However there are ways to mitigate the threat of espionage through electromagnetic radiation leakage, organizations can implement various countermeasures:

  • Shielding: Enclosures and shielding materials can be used to reduce the leakage of electromagnetic radiation. For example, Faraday cages can block RF signals effectively.
    Take a look at our offering of various shielding solutions, tailored to your specific needs.

  • Filtering and Emission Control: Filters and suppressors can be installed on electronic components and cables to limit electromagnetic radiation.

  • Secure Facility Design: Organizations can design secure facilities with physical and electromagnetic security in mind, including controlled access, secure cabling, and monitoring for unusual emissions.

  • Encryption: Strong encryption can help protect data even if intercepted through electromagnetic radiation. Encrypting sensitive information can render it useless to attackers without the encryption keys.

  • Regular Audits: Conducting regular security audits and assessments, including TEMPEST testing, can help identify and address vulnerabilities in electronic systems.


In several countries, there are regulations and standards that govern the design and testing of electronic equipment to minimize electromagnetic radiation leakage. This is the TEMPEST guidelines covered previously. Compliance with such standards is an easy way to understand and begin to enhance security.

With the advancement of technology and the current security atmosphere, the threat of espionage through the leakage of electromagnetic radiation is a real concern, and organizations need to take steps to mitigate it, especially in sensitive environments where the leakage of classified or proprietary information could have severe consequences. Implementing countermeasures and security best practices can help protect against this form of information leakage.

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