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SCI/TECH: Sounds from keyboard typing could be security risk

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posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 03:36 PM
Guess keeping my systems off the internet is no longer an option if this is the new way to snoop, time to break out the faraday cage and tin-foil wallpaper to keep my stuff safe now. If this is just now being placed in news that means that either A) the goverment has been doing it for years or B) the bad guys started employing it recently...neither of which sets very well with me.

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 03:51 PM
This is a pretty interesting story... though I would be more worried about RF signals that a keyboard would emit when typed on. But this seems to work as well or better than detecting RF maybe.

there always has been a need for insulating and shielding to keep privacy...

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 03:52 PM

Ok, gotta quick question here. Recently I was in france and the keyboards were the "W" was where the "A" is at...or something like that, all messed up and wrong, IMO. So I had to put the typing settings thing for english or whatever. OK, does the UK have keyboards like france or the US?

An interesting point... The QWERTY keyboard isn't used everywhere...

Also, I'd think it'd have some serious problems...

For example, often, I'll softly hit the wrong key (realizing just in the nick of time, but still making the click sound, etc.).

What about other nearby keyboards?

And finally, the biggest...

You'd have to have the manpower to screen the recordings and interpretations....

Not quite the security risk it may seem to be, I'd think...but still interesting...

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 03:53 PM

Originally posted by andy1033
this has been known for decades


i didn't know this...


posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 01:27 PM
I'd guess that a fair percentage of this is from pattern matching too.
Just typing this reply out you can get a feel for it - try it, words of a certain length, with repeats will have a distinctive sound - a quick double tap.

You could mess this around by using a mouse driven, or touchscreen onscreen keyboard, or by cutting and pasting from a plain text file containing the alphabet, and maybe some common words (and how horrid would this be - imagine the tedium), or by just having lots of noise.

Maybe there is a marketing opportunity here - a CD of the noise of typing that you can play really loudly.
Maybe you could record the sound of you typing a message to the people listening in - much like changing the SSID on wireless networks to reflect that special little message you are sending to people looking for wi-fi vulnerabilities whilst out and about.


posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 01:59 PM

Originally posted by jsobecky
Fascinating article, FredT. I can see it now - soon you'll be able to buy "Secure Keyboards" at Circuit City!

And a secure keyboard from circuit city will cost you a mere $229, which people will gladly pay to keep thier ATS posts from prying ears. Would any of you be interested in buying a program that generates a random click sound for each key press? What price would you be willing to pay for this type of software? $10? $25? $100?

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 01:16 AM
The 3 main keyboard layout types are:


Azerty and Qwerty are most used and both exist in various country specific layouts where the most often used signs and extra characters are put in easy to acces places.

The french language for instance uses alot of éàèçù's and german for instance uses the ü ä ö and ß. Also keyboards specific for a country also have the country's currency sign in an easy to access place.

posted on Oct, 2 2009 @ 02:35 PM
This sounds a bit like "Tempest" eavesdropping (sorry, no pun intended). Tempest or "Van Eyck" hacking uses the RF transmitted by a keyboard or CRT display to eavesdrop on the computer operator.

Tempest - SOURCE
Early computer monitors would put out so much RF that older "tunable" TVs, like Philco's, could display what was appearing on the computer monitor. Even old ATMs with CRT displays could be spied upon. The government combats spying on their facilities by "hardening" against Tempest.

The US embassy in Moscow was also the target of a type of Tempest or Van Eyck spying when the Russians would bombard the embassy with a peculiar RF wave that enhanced their ability to spy on keyboards. As you type on a keyboard a signal is carried along a ribbon cable, which can act as a very weak RF transmitter. The Russians devised a way to transmit a carrier wave that interacted with each keyboards unique RF output to be able to spy on their users (and not just one user, but dozens at a time)

(Didn't they tear down this embassy right after it was built because it was so compromised by Russian spy tech?)

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