The Drive Drawer

CSE TEMPEST Certification Label

The Mutilated Chassis


CPU Daughterboard

RAM Daughterboard


Back 2 Hardware

TEMPEST-Proof 386
CSE Certified

TEMPEST, van Eck, EMSEC, HIJACK, NONSTOP... all names which are generally used synonymously to refer to the same technology. A technology used to intercept the electromagnetic radiation given off by electronic devices and reconstruct it into meaningful representations. In one of its most interesting incarnations, it can be used to see what you are doing on your computer from a distance completely passively, simply by picking-up the radiation your monitor gives off. In other words, someone can pull up outside your building, point their gear at it, and see on their screen exactly what you are seeing on your computer screen, all in real time, all without you having any clue that it is being done.

To defeat this one must employ appropriate shielding counter-measures to block the emissions escaping the computer. This computer was designed to serve that purpose precisely. Probably costing 10's if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, this incredibly unique custom-fabricated wonder was truly an elite work of art. Every single part of the machine was precisely labelled with a little tag. All cabling, gaps, and openings were fitted with secure plates or covered in a fine mesh. It utilized a very unusual mainboard configuration which everything slotted into. The CPU was on its own duaghterboard, as was the RAM. The RAM was very unusual as well, with each MB being a circuit board with chips on it and two rows of circular pins sticking out the bottom of the little circuit board which plugged into the RAM daughterboard. I have never seen anything like it before or since.

This particular unit was TEMPEST-Certified by the CSE (Communications Security Establishment) - basically Canada's version of the NSA. It was labelled as property of Ontario Hydro. Just why they are using TEMPEST-shielded computers remains a mystery. Originally this machine was aquired by me, CYBØRG/ASM, in the mid-1990's. It came without a hard-drive but otherwise was complete and ran beautifully. After years of dragging this extremely heavy and large computer around I gave it to The Clone.

The Clone (and friends) came up with a plan to "modernize" this computer and promptly proceeded to irreparably maim this piece of equipment. But hey, once you set the hardware free, its destiny is beyond both your control and your concern.

This once magnificent and insanely rare computer is now a useless pile of junk. All that remain are these shitty pictures. R.I.P.


  • 386SX40 (or something like that)
  • 4MB Ram, expandable to 16MB (as I recall)
  • 5.25" Drive
  • 3.5" Drive
  • 1 Locking Hard-Drive Drawer
  • Fully-Shielded Aluminum Case (approx. 24" wide, 20" deep, 6" high, and weighing approx. 50 lbs)
  • Circa 1990?