Keyboard sniffing possibilities revealed

News by Dan Raywood

Swiss students have revealed a possible new form of cyber attack called 'keyboard sniffing.'

Swiss students have revealed a possible new form of cyber attack called ‘keyboard sniffing.'


Doctoral students Martin Vuagnoux and Sylvain Pasini from the Security and Cryptography Laboratory at the Swiss Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne have revealed that the electromagnetic signals produced by every keystroke can be tracked by hackers.


The students claimed that by analysing the signals produced by keystrokes, they can reproduce what the target typed. Results led the students to claim that keyboards were not safe to transmit sensitive information.


They tested the technology on 11 keyboard models that were connected either by a USB or a PS/2 socket and every keyboard tested was vulnerable to at least one of the four attacks the researchers used. One attack was shown to work over a distance of 20 meters.


The students used a radio antenna in their research to fully or partially recover keystrokes by spotting the electromagnetic radiation emitted when keys were pressed.


Full findings are expected to be reported in a peer-reviewed journal soon.


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