Intelligence-Bearing Emanations


Intelligence-Bearing Emanations (IBE) refers to unintentional signals or emissions that carry sensitive information from electronic devices or systems. These emanations can be intercepted and analyzed by unintended recipients, potentially compromising data privacy and security. IBE is a key consideration in protecting sensitive information from threats such as eavesdropping and information leakage.


The phonetic transcription of the keyword “Intelligence-Bearing Emanations” is:/ɪnˈtɛlədʒəns ˈbɛrɪŋ ɛməˈneɪʃənz/

Key Takeaways

  1. Intelligence-Bearing Emanations (IBE) are unintentional signals emitted by electronic devices that may carry sensitive information, posing as security risks.
  2. IBE can be detected and intercepted by adversaries using specialized equipment, making it essential for organizations to implement countermeasures like shielding and filtering to ensure data protection.
  3. Methods like TEMPEST testing, Zone Protection, and secure communication protocols are employed to minimize the potential exploitation of IBEs and maintain information security.


Intelligence-Bearing Emanations (IBE) is an essential term in the technological world, primarily in the context of information security and data privacy.

The term refers to unintentional signals or emissions produced by electrical and electronic devices that contain confidential information, which could be exploited by malicious actors using specialized equipment.

Understanding and addressing IBE is vital in today’s technological era, as it helps to design better security measures that protect sensitive information from potential unauthorized access and prevent cyber-espionage.

By identifying and mitigating IBE risks, both individuals and organizations can safeguard their intellectual property, personal data, and maintain the integrity of critical systems, thereby contributing to the overall security and stability of information networks.


Intelligence-Bearing Emanations (IBE) are unintentional signals that contain sensitive or classified information, often emitted from electronic devices and equipment. These signals have the ability to be intercepted, analyzed, and exploited, making them a potential source of security vulnerabilities. The purpose of IBEs is not intentional; rather, they are an unavoidable byproduct of electronic systems in operation, such as computers, radio equipment, and other communication devices.

In the realm of cybersecurity and surveillance, understanding and mitigating the risks posed by IBEs is crucial for protecting sensitive and classified information from falling into the wrong hands or becoming compromised. To protect against the threats posed by Intelligence-Bearing Emanations, various countermeasures and security practices have been developed. One of the most well-known techniques is the practice of TEMPEST, which focuses on shielding electronic equipment to minimize electromagnetic emissions, or “emanations,” and lowering the risk of IBE interception.

TEMPEST-compliant equipment adheres to specific standards that ensure it operates with minimal emanations, providing a higher level of security for sensitive information. Additionally, IBE monitoring and analysis can be conducted by organizations to identify potential security issues and better understand the vulnerabilities within their systems. Through the implementation of these countermeasures and ongoing efforts to identify and address IBE risks, organizations can effectively work to secure their valuable information against potential breaches and unauthorized access.

Examples of Intelligence-Bearing Emanations

Intelligence-Bearing Emanations (IBE) are signals that unintentionally convey information about the systems or processes generating them. They often pose a security risk because attackers may use these emanations to intercept sensitive information. Here are three real-world examples of IBE technology:

TEMPEST/EMSEC:TEMPEST is a codename referring to a set of United States National Security Agency (NSA) standards for securing electronic equipment from compromising emanations. Electromagnetic emanations from electronic devices can be picked up and deciphered from a distance, revealing sensitive information. The NSA regulates and enforces standards to mitigate this risk under EMSEC (Emissions Security). These guidelines aim to reduce the effectiveness of surveillance by decreasing compromising emanations from electronic devices.

Van Eck Phreaking:Van Eck Phreaking is a technique used to intercept and read the contents of a CRT or LCD screen by capturing and analyzing its electromagnetic emanations remotely. This technique was named after its discoverer, Dutch computer scientist, Wim van Eck. In 1985, he demonstrated the feasibility of intercepting the electromagnetic signals emitted by video display units and reconstructing the visible information on a separate screen.

Keyboard Emanations:Keyboard emanations are another example of intelligence-bearing emanations. Research has revealed that acoustic and electromagnetic emanations from wired and wireless keyboards can be intercepted and analyzed, leading to the disclosure of the typed content. Attackers could potentially employ various techniques, including sound-based or electromagnetic-based analysis, to reconstruct the exact keystrokes and obtain private information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and messages.

Frequently Asked Questions about Intelligence-Bearing Emanations

What are intelligence-bearing emanations?

Intelligence-bearing emanations are signals or emissions that unintentionally carry sensitive or classified information. These emanations can be intercepted and exploited by adversaries to gain access to protected data or systems.

How do intelligence-bearing emanations occur?

Intelligence-bearing emanations can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as equipment failure, poor shielding, or inadvertent user actions. Any electronic device that processes, stores, or transmits sensitive information can potentially produce these emanations.

What are some common types of intelligence-bearing emanations?

Some common types of intelligence-bearing emanations include electromagnetic radiation, acoustic emissions, and optical emanations. These can be generated by devices like computers, monitors, printers, and network equipment. Compromising emanations can also occur through power lines and communication circuits.

How can intelligence-bearing emanations be mitigated or protected against?

Several methods can be employed to mitigate the risks associated with intelligence-bearing emanations, including shielding, signal filtering, and secure data storage and transmission techniques. Physical security measures, such as access controls and the use of secured facilities, can also help protect sensitive information from being intercepted and exploited.

What is TEMPEST and how does it relate to intelligence-bearing emanations?

TEMPEST is a U.S. government standard that covers the protection of information systems against intelligence-bearing emanations. It focuses on the design and evaluation of electronic equipment, physical security measures, and emissions control to reduce the risks associated with compromising emanations. Compliance with TEMPEST requirements helps ensure that sensitive data is protected from interception and exploitation.

Related Technology Terms

  • TEMPEST (Telecommunications Electronics Material Protected from Emanating Spurious Transmissions)
  • Electromagnetic Emanations Security (EMSEC)
  • Van Eck Phreaking (Electromagnetic Radiation Eavesdropping)
  • Signal Leakage Mitigation
  • Faraday Cage (Electromagnetic Shielding)

Sources for More Information


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