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Researchers have demonstrated how sonic and ultrasonic signals (inaudible to human) can be used to cause physical damage to hard drives just by playing ultrasonic sounds through a target computer’s own built-in speaker or by exploiting a speaker near the targeted device.

Similar research was conducted last year by a group of researchers from Princeton and Purdue University, who demonstrated a denial-of-service (DoS) attack against HDDs by exploiting a physical phenomenon called acoustic resonance.

Since HDDs are exposed to external vibrations, researchers showed how specially crafted acoustic signals could cause significant vibrations in HDDs internal components, which eventually leads to the failure in systems that relies on the HDD.

images from Hacker News