Georgia Institute of Technology are warning the risk of hacking. According to them, laptops and smartphones are leaking the signal including important personal data, even if they are not connected to the internet.
They published the results of the research at the 47th Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture in Cambridge, U.K. They demonstrated the measurement of side channel emissions from the device with several tools, replicating the password the user inputted at a distance.
Georgia Tech: Researchers work to counter a new class of coffee shop hackers
Electronic devices make several invisible products, such as noise, light, and electric wave. But they are so tiny that it seems impossible to extract meaningful information from them. In this experiment, combination of gathering methods enabled gaining critical information from devices.
A Practical Methodology for Measuring the Side-Channel Signal Available to the Attacker for Instruction-Level Events
This is surprising at a glance. But, usage of the device in a public space is no more safe, to begin with. There is a greater risk of social engineering - being peeped. Secret work is not recommended at a cafe. Usual attention should be much prioritized at the moment.
On the other hand, imagining the situation that criminals are willing to gather the personal information such as credit card numbers is annoying. Product makers should prepare to reduce the risks in the future. Devices unlikely to radiate an electric wave may be also eco-friendly.