Swiss researchers can steal passwords from 65 feet away

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A bunch of Swiss researchers have worked out “a variety” of ways to steal passwords from wired keyboards. That’s right – wired keyboards. It relies on the electromagnetic emanations that happen when you push the keys on the keyboard, and you can see a demonstration in the video above.

You’ll need a whopping big antenna, and some way of focusing the signal on the keyboard in question. It seems, however, that once all that’s in place, interference from computer monitors or lights doesn’t seem to have any effect. The scientists say that:

“We conclude that wired computer keyboards sold in the stores generate compromising emanations (mainly because of the cost pressures in the design), hence they are not safe to transmit sensitive information.”

So basically, your keyboard is no longer safe to type passwords in on. 11 models tested by the researchers were vulnerable to the attack, using a “wide range” of connection types, including PS/2 and USB.

Compromising the Electromagnetic Emanations of Wired Keyboards (via the Register)

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Duncan Geere