Think Twice Before you Type

A team of researchers at the Security and Cryptography Laboratory at the Swiss Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne has figured out how to snatch information from your very fingertips, as long as those fingertips are pounding on a keyboard.

It’s eavesdropping taken to a whole new level using electromagnetic signals produced by every pressed key. By analyzing these signals, the researchers managed to reproduce what a target typed.

Now I doubt any computer spy would be interested in Facebook posts- but computer login information and username/passwords for activities like online banking? Now that’s much more interesting. The results of the study are troublesome to anyone concerned with protecting sensitive information.

Since wired keyboards contain electronic components, they emit electromagnetic waves. By measuring the electromagnetic radiation emitted by each key pressed, the researchers were able to identify individual keystrokes like code is used to decipher a message.

Using a radio antenna to pick up electromagnetic signals, they developed four ways to successfully attack 11 different keyboards, one of which works as far as 65 feet away. Although detailed results of the study haven’t been published yet, they are sure to make some of us keyboard users queasy!

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