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TEMPEST and You?

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posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 04:15 PM
This is of course a conspiracy related website, and a good portion of the members undoubtedly have a distrust of technology; what I present to you is likely to make that distrust grow even worse.

Computer keyboards are often used to transmit sensitive information such as username/password (e.g. to log into computers, to do e-banking money transfer, etc.). A vulnerability on these devices will definitely kill the security of any computer or ATM.
We found 4 different ways (including the Kuhn attack) to fully or partially recover keystrokes from wired keyboards at a distance up to 20 meters, even through walls. We tested 11 different wired keyboard models bought between 2001 and 2008 (PS/2, USB and laptop). They are all vulnerable to at least one of our 4 attacks.

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. No doubt that our attacks can be significantly improved, since we used relatively inexpensive equipments.

To get to the point this makes me wonder just how many keyboard commonly used (such as HP, Dell, Compaq, etc) by consumers are vulnerable to this method of snooping. We joke about vans on every street pulling down information from our computers at night, listening posts processing our phone calls and text messages, but given that normal people are able to leverage this and gather keystrokes even through walls I wonder how long it could be before we see crooks and other nefarious types using this technique to grab passwords and other PPI from people for such ends as identity theft.

For those who are immediately concerned about the effects of this I would highly suggest looking into Faraday cages to protect their information from the prying eyes of governments and crackers alike. It might be awkward to have a whole computer inside of a copper mesh box, but hey its better than some of the unprotected alternatives.

posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 04:53 PM
I'm pretty sure the article got "wired" and "wireless" mixed up.
A wireless keyboard has to transmit data to a receiver and therefor can be intercepted but a direct link to a ps2/usb port via wire only transmits electrical signals and technicly a very small, miniscule amount of radiation and thermal energy from electrons passing through the wires but I seriously doubt this can even be detected and decoded even with sensors touching the said wire.

Unless of coarse, someone breaks into your house and installs a hardware keylogging transmitter between the keyboard and it's ports

posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 05:43 PM
Nope they didn't get it confused, and if you check out the link they even have video demonstrating the technique in action both with the antenna in the room and in an adjacent room. Its been a topic of interest to the government for quite some time so its no surprise that the general public is finally catching up in technology. Its a given that wireless signals can be intercepted but interception of signals previously though safe because they were on a wire is definitely something the computer security minded sector is taking note of.

posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 08:14 PM
Yep wired keyboards even.

There is another way too! Acoustics! There is a way to detect what key on what row is pressed using acoustics.

posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 11:40 AM
I think I'll go and patent my EMP keyboard accessory. The only probably is that you need to type around 50 feet away from your computer or risk frying it.

Seriously though, this is not good news. I'm not scared of the government's hand in this, I'm scared of my neighbors'

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